News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

March 30, 2007

British Leave Crossmaglen Tomorrow

Brian Crockard and Irene McAuley and the photograph
of them together on the Crumlin Road in 1969

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 03/30/07 British Leave Crossmaglen Tomorrow
BB 03/30/07 Reveal Police Links To Informer: McCord
IN 03/30/07 Jail Terms Too Lenient: SDLP
BB 03/30/07 DUP Founding Member Quits Party
BT 03/30/07 Donaldson Surprise At Simpson's Statement
BN 03/30/07 Rail Disruption As 4 Dissident Republicans Quizzed
IN 03/30/07 Police Ombudsman To Probe Arrest Of Candidate
BT 03/30/07 Kids From Iconic Troubles Photo Reunite In Peace
BT 03/30/07 Opin: Times?... They Are A-Changin'
BT 03/30/07 Opin: Give Army Council Marching Orders
IN 03/30/07 Opin: Irish History Never Quite Happens As It Should
BT 03/30/07 Opin: Sigh Of Relief As Ceasefire Called On Warfare
BT 03/30/07 Bono Says Of Paisley & Adams: U2 Inspired Me
IN 03/30/07 Belfast Actor Rea Gets In New Irish Film
IN 03/30/07 Galway Water Crisis Drives Down Tourism
JN 03/30/07 Movie Review: Ken Loach's "Barley" Set In Ireland

(Poster’s Note: See video of Paisley & Adams press conference Jay)


British Leave Crossmaglen Tomorrow

Fri, Mar 30, 2007

British troops are to leave Crossmaglen, south Armagh, tomorrow.

There will be no official farewell after more than 30 years in
what was once the IRA's most feared battleground, and locals said
they will be glad to see the back of them.

Philip O'Reilly (34), a barman, said: "We never wanted them here
in the first place, and we're delighted they're finally going."

Demolition is already completed on the lookout tower and the
British army and police base that loomed over Tomas O Fiaich

Earlier this month a British army helicopter crashed in a village
field earlier this month, injuring six people inside. As police
guarded the site, youths bombarded them with petrol bombs, stones
and bottles.

c 2007


Reveal Police Links To Informer: McCord

[Published: Friday 30, March 2007 - 12:44]
By Chris Thornton

Campaigning father Raymond McCord said today that a landmark
legal judgment should force the PSNI to publicly reveal police
links to the UVF informer behind the murder of his son.

After former police officers claimed there is not enough evidence
to show collusion in the 1997 murder of Raymond McCord Jnr, Mr
McCord said the new ruling should force out much of the evidence
seen by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.

"We want those documents and we're entitled to them," Mr McCord

Law Lords ruled earlier this week that the PSNI is required to
give coroners any information they hold relevant to a death being
investigated by an inquest - unless it is subject to a
ministerial gagging order.

The PSNI insisted they already comply with ruling - although a
number of legal sources pointed to a series of controversial
inquests which have been on hold because police withheld witness

Almost ten years after the murder, no inquest has yet been held
into the murder of Raymond McCord Jnr, who was battered to death
by UVF members in November 1997.

In January, Mrs O'Loan reported that a UVF police agent known as
Informant One - and named in the Dail as Mount Vernon loyalist
Mark Haddock - was involved in the murder and at least nine other

Earlier this month, the Retired Police Officers' Association
issued their own report, disputing Mrs O'Loan's finding and
demanding a public apology. They said the Ombudsman had not
produced evidence acceptable to the Prosecution Service.

Mr McCord said the new ruling on the release of evidence should
mean " full disclosure" of police material on the role of Haddock
and other loyalists in the murder.

"In particular, we want the documents that show when police
became aware of Informant One's role," he said.

"Mrs O'Loan's report says that in the hours and days after
Raymond's murder they received information, both CID and Special
Branch, about Informant One's involvement.

"But Haddock was not questioned until February 25, three-and-a-
half months later.

"Who made the decision not to question him for that length of
time? I think that should be disclosed.

"When this material is released, I think it will counteract what
the Retired Police Officers' Association was saying."

In this week's ruling, the Law Lords said police should give the
Coroner all the information they have about the killing of IRA
member Martin McCaughey by SAS soldiers.

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, writing the majority opinion, said it
would " plainly frustrate the public interest in a full and
effective investigation if the police were legally entitled ...
to withhold relevant and perhaps crucial information".

He said evidence could only be withheld where legal privilege or
immunity is involved - a reference to ministerial orders known as
Public Interest Immunity Certificates.

The PSNI insisted they already comply with the ruling.

"The judgment (at paragraph 44) affirms the position adopted by
the Police Service whereby police accept and observe their
continuing obligation to supply relevant information to the
coroner and states that 'the police were right to do so'," a PSNI
spokeswoman said.

However, in 2003, the PSNI and MoD defied a ruling by the East
Tyrone Coroner requiring them to hand over full witness
statements for four inquests - two UVF attacks and two SAS
ambushes of IRA gunmen.

c Belfast Telegraph


Jail Terms Too Lenient: SDLP

By Claire Simpson

LOYALISTS involved in up to 20 criminal cases were able to escape
prison on charges that should have resulted in custodial
sentences, the SDLP has claimed.

The party has written to the Criminal Justice Inspector to
complain about the "lenient sentencing" of loyalist
paramilitaries, claiming some sentences "do not fit the crime".

Among the cases they list are those of three loyalists from
Portglenone - Stephen Maternaghan, John McDonald and Gary
McDonald - who received suspended sentences despite mounting an
armed road block and pointing a deactivated AK47 at two motorists
and three police officers.

The Irish News highlighted the case in a front-page story in
October 2005, reflecting outrage among nationalists over the
courts' attitude to loyalist gun crime.

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, later criticised the
sentences as "too lenient" and referred the case to the Court of

The sentences were overturned and the three men imprisoned for
two years.

SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness claimed in some cases
loyalists had received shorter sentences than republicans
convicted of similar charges.

The SDLP alleged that lenient sentencing had "damaged the
confidence of both nationalists and unionists".

Another case highlighted by the party centred on three loyalist
paramilitary 'footsoldiers' who claimed to control the ice cream
trade in south Antrim - Carrickfergus men John Steven Millar,
Robert Glen Murray and Thomas McCrea. In August 2005 they were
given suspended sentences despite pleading guilty to assaulting
an undercover policeman while a fourth Carrickfergus man, Mark
Gourley, who also pleaded guilty, received only 18 months'

The SDLP insists the men should each have been given a prison

Mr Maginness said the problem often did not lie with the
judiciary and complained police and the prosecution "minimised
the seriousness of the offences committed by loyalists and
protect the offenders".

"We cannot accept that those guilty of serious paramilitary
offences should be able to avoid prison," he said.

The party called on the Attorney General to monitor loyalist
sentences and to intervene where lenient.

It also asked the police and prosecution service to review their
handling of loyalist paramilitary cases to ensure "all
paramilitary cases are treated equally seriously".


DUP Founding Member Quits Party

A founding member of the DUP has quit the party in protest at its
plans to share power with Sinn Fein.

Roy Gillespie, a member for more than 40 years, is the third
Ballymena DUP councillor to resign in recent weeks.

Mr Gillespie said of Monday's historic meeting between Ian
Paisley and Gerry Adams: "I'm still in a state of shock and
mourning - I am devastated."

He said he had quit with a "heavy heart", but "the DUP have
joined hands with an unrepentant terrorist party".

"My conscience and principles will not allow me to stay in a
party which, I believe, has stepped away from all the principles
it once held," he said.

Mr Gillespie said he would remain as a Protestant Unionist

DUP Ballymena councillor Maurice Mills said people had to move in
the direction decided by the electorate.

He expressed regret at Mr Gillespie's departure and said he had
served the party well.

On Tuesday, MEP Jim Allister resigned from the DUP a day after Mr
Paisley's meeting with the Sinn Fein president.

A number of DUP assembly members have spoken of their concerns
about power-sharing with Sinn Fein on 8 May, but none has

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/30 11:11:11 GMT


Donaldson Surprise At Simpson's Statement

[Published: Friday 30, March 2007 - 12:13]
By Noel McAdam

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson has voiced surprise at his MP
colleague David Simpson's description of the party's decision to
go into government with Sinn Fein as "premature".

And it was not clear today whether the statement by Mr Simpson
and his Upper Bann Assembly colleague Stephen Moutray had been
authorised by the party.

Party sources confirmed, however, that both voted in favour of
the party's Executive's resolution last Saturday saying the party
would share power with republicans in May.

Their statement came as two more councillors, Roy Gillespie and
Audrey Patterson, resigned from the party.

c Belfast Telegraph


Rail Disruption As Four 'Dissident Republicans' Are Quizzed

30/03/2007 - 10:40:33

Detectives were questioning four dissident republican suspects
today as part of an intelligence operation in the North.

And with police searches near a railway line in Co Armagh, the
Belfast to Dublin train route faced major disruption.

The men were arrested after being stopped in a car on the Antrim
Road, Lurgan, last night.

They were taken for interview at the Police Service of Northern
Ireland's serious crime suite in Antrim.

As the operation continued, officers sealed off the railway line
between Moira and Lurgan.

St Michael's Grammar School in the town was also closed during
the searches.

Cross-border train passengers were bussed between Belfast and
Newry, Co Down.


Police Ombudsman To Probe Arrest Of Candidate

By Staff Reporter

The police ombudsman is to investigate the arrest of an assembly
election candidate as he left a count centre in Omagh.

Independent republican candidate Gerry McGeough was freed on bail
in Belfast's High Court yesterday.

The 48-year-old, from Carrick Castle Road in Dungannon, has been
charged with attempting to murder a part-time UDR soldier in 1981
and possessing firearms with intent to endanger life.

Mr Justice McLaughlin said there was evidence that McGeough had
been living openly in the north since last September and that he
had sufficient roots to reduce the risk of him absconding.

He added that even if he was convicted it was unlikely he would
serve any more than two years in prison under the terms of the
Good Friday Agreement.

Crown lawyer Charles McKay had earlier alleged that McGeough was
a dissident republican aligned to Continuity IRA.

He said the wounded UDR man, Samuel Brush - now a DUP councillor
- shot one of his attackers in the attack near Ballygawley.

He alleged McGeough was one of the attackers and was later
treated for a gunshot wound in Monaghan County Hospital.

Mr McKay said McGeough escaped from police custody in the
Republic and went to America where he allegedly tried to buy
stinger missiles for republicans before the plot was uncovered by
the FBI and he fled.

He said he turned up in Germany and was carrying fire-arms when
he was arrested, with the guns having been used in the murder of
a soldier in the Netherlands.

Mr McKay said McGeough was extradited to America and was jailed
for attempting to send arms to Ireland and on his return lived in

A co-accused, Vincent McAnespie (44) from Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone,
was granted bail last week after the court heard two witnesses
had withdrawn statements but Mr McKay said that had been due to a
"fundamental error" on the part of the Public Prosecution Service
and the bail might be revoked.

Defence counsel Joe Brolly said McGeough had no interest in using
violence to bring about change and since being deported from the
US had lived openly in Ireland.

When asked why police arrested McGeough as he left the election
count, Mr McKay said: "It was the first time police were aware he
was in Northern Ireland."

The judge replied: "Then the police intelligence is not very good
because I am told this man has been over the border many times
and has been effectively living here since last September."

Releasing McGeough, the judge set personal bail at œ500 pounds
with a surety of œ2,500 and ordered him to report to police three
times a week.


Kids From Iconic Troubles Photo Reunite In Peace

[Published: Friday 30, March 2007 - 08:39]
By Eddie McIlwaine

Labourer Brian Crockard (44) has good reason to remember the day
in August 1969 that cameraman Stanley Matchett snapped a famous
picture of him and his pal Irene McCarroll on the Crumlin Road in

Nearly 38 years on, the pair have been reunited thanks to the
Belfast Telegraph.

Brian, who lives in Taughmonagh, made contact after seeing the
picture in this newspaper and he and Irene, now a 47-year-old
grandmother, met for a chat and another picture together.

"Reviving that old photograph now couldn't be at a better time
with what is happening around us in politics," Brian said.

At the time the photo was taken, the Troubles were erupting all
around them and Brian's mother, Martha, was fighting for her life
in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

"Mum was shot in the back by a gunman in a passing car in Percy
Street while she was out looking for my brother Harry during
trouble in the area," said Brian, who was only seven at the time.

"When she saw our picture in a morning newspaper, she was worried
about what we were getting up to while she was lying in her sick

Mrs Crockard recovered from the shooting and was soon back home
in Sydney Street West looking after the family.

"But she was never the same again," says Brian. "She died 10
years ago at 70."

Seeing the Matchett picture again in the Belfast Telegraph and
later at the Northern Ireland Press Photographers Association
exhibition Out of the Darkness - which ends at the Ormeau Road
Baths Gallery tomorrow (10am to 5.30pm) - brought back memories
of his mother and father, an asbestos victim, who is also now

Brian was seven and Irene was just 10 when the picture, which
captured the essence of dark times in the city, was taken on the
pavement between Disraeli Street and Hooker Street - long since
demolished - with a soldier on guard behind.

Stanley Matchett, a former Belfast Telegraph and Daily Mirror
photographer, is presenting Irene and Brian with framed copies of
his famous print.

c Belfast Telegraph


Opin: Times?... They Are A-Changin'

[Published: Friday 30, March 2007 - 12:13]
By Dean Pittman

In the Sixties, my fellow countryman Bob Dylan wrote a song that
typified the political divisions and social upheaval facing the
United States at the time.

The Times They Are a-Changin' remains one of Dylan's best known
songs, and the album of the same name makes many references to
the troubles endured in my home state of Mississippi.

Dylan's evocative lyrics resonated with me on Monday. The
compelling sight of Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams side-by-side was
a clear signal that Northern Ireland had, indeed, stepped into a
new era.

I was heartened to see seasoned commentators, much more
experienced with the twists and turns of the peace process,
equally as moved as I was following Monday's dramatic events. It
is a clich‚ that a picture says a thousand words, but that's only
a modest estimation of the coverage that newspapers in America
gave to these developments.

The Washington Post reported extensively about the "once-
unthinkable" meeting of Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams. A Boston
Globe editorial described how Northern Ireland's political
conflict did "not yield itself to easy resolution" but that it
hoped, "familiarity would breed consensus, not contempt". The New
York Post said the two leaders acted as " accountable democrats"
in delivering the promise of peace that their constituents cared
deeply for.

Events at Stormont were watched closely by senior representatives
of my government. Northern Ireland's Special Envoy, Under
Secretary Paula Dobriansky, offered the United States'
congratulations to everyone involved, saying that their
leadership throughout the process was critical to bringing a
successful conclusion.

Similar praise also came from prominent Americans like Senator
Kennedy and, of course, Senator Mitchell who spent so much time
in Northern Ireland working for just such an outcome.

Once again, the eyes of the world are on this corner of Europe.

Thankfully, it's not because of bombs, conflict, or even
deadlock. It's about the unprecedented political progress and the
very real spirit of optimism that is on the horizon.

The headlines across the world reinforce the message I continue
to send back home: Northern Ireland is moving forward and has
become a terrific place to visit and to invest.

That's also the message I took to Washington during the hugely
productive St Patrick's celebrations in the Capitol. On my return
to Northern Ireland last week, I was greeted by further good news
that a number of locally-based businesses had gained lucrative
deals in the US.

These companies were participating in an exciting exhibition in
Washington DC that offered them access to US government
representatives looking to purchase technology solutions.

One success story was the Newry-based CoreWorkflow, established
only two years ago. Following their visit to the US, they are now
aiming to double their workforce after securing a multi-million
dollar deal. In fact, I was told that the majority of the 18
participating companies made successful connections across the

Invest Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Chamber of
Commerce do a great job in facilitating these trade missions. But
in the end, it's the companies who have to sell themselves and
I've found Northern Ireland's entrepreneurs can compete with the
best of them.

Now, with the prospects of real peace and political stability,
those companies will be able to reach out more confidently to
large markets like the United States without the political
baggage of the past.

Here's an interesting statistic: in the decade following the Good
Friday Agreement, US investment in Northern Ireland created
20,000 jobs. Northern Ireland tourism has increased four-fold
since the height of the Troubles.

I have no doubt these increases were directly related to the
prospects for a peaceful settlement in Northern Ireland. I
suspect that Monday's events and a successful march to May 8 will
increase those investment and tourism numbers exponentially.

As business opportunities increase, so do cultural opportunities.
The Consulate is proud to support efforts that show off Northern
Ireland's diverse and rich culture and also to bring American
artists to Northern Ireland.

One such event was the highly successful Belfast/Nashville
Songwriters' Festival held in February.

Now in its third year, I doubt that this Festival could ever have
reached its full potential during the dark days of the Troubles.

Colin Magee, its organiser, recently forwarded me some feedback
written by the American performers. The comments would do any
city proud: "I have never been anywhere where I felt so at home"¨
"You all could not have been more hospitable"¨. "The people I met
are the warmest I've ever known".

Having experienced this hospitality myself, I know the writers
are not just being polite.

And, on the other side of the Atlantic just last week, my fellow
Americans enjoyed the wonderful music of Barry Douglas and
Camerata Ireland, and the sensational sounds of Northern
Ireland's own Snow Patrol, both events part of the fantastic
Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme now under way in the United

It's an exciting time to be a diplomat in Northern Ireland. There
is so much good and positive news to tell. While we realise there
are still many challenges ahead, I am optimistic the future
course is bright.

I am also thrilled the Northern Ireland that American tourists
and investors are now 'rediscovering' is one that has firmly
committed itself to a peaceful future.

The youthful Bob Dylan used his famous anthem to urge "Senators,
Congressmen" to "please heed the call". Courageously, the
overwhelming majority of Northern Ireland's politicians have now
heeded the call. America wishes them every success in their
continued and collective endeavours.

c Belfast Telegraph


Viewpoint: Give Army Council Marching Orders

[Published: Friday 30, March 2007 - 11:03]

Even though Gerry Adams has attempted to play down the
significance of the issue, he is no doubt fully aware of the
damage that the continuing existence of the IRA Army Council is
doing to the building of confidence within the unionist

What the people of Northern Ireland voted for earlier this month
was a province free of any paramilitary threat - republican or
loyalist. But at present the focus is on the IRA Army Council
primarily because Sinn Fein is within six weeks of becoming a
partner in a Stormont executive.

Indeed, the continued existence of the IRA's command structure
was one of the chief reasons cited by Jim Allister for his
decision to resign. His remarks have clearly struck a raw
republican nerve but the point he makes is valid.

As more worrying rumblings emerge from within the DUP, Mr
Allister is not " yesterday's news", as Mr Adams suggests. The
reality is that neither the peace process nor the DUP can afford
to lose a politician of his calibre.

Thanks to Mr Adams' leadership, the republican movement has come
a long way in recent years, and deserves credit for that. But
now, with the IRA ceasefire having been followed by
decommissioning and a declaration that the war is over, what role
is there left for the Army Council?

Sinn Fein has clearly committed itself to the democratic process,
as Monday's historic events demonstrated. But until the Army
Council is disbanded, and replaced by something like an old
comrades' association, the shadow of the gunman will continue to
hang over Sinn Fein.

Not only does this undermine Sinn Fein's credentials, but it also
adds to the difficulties facing its prospective partners in the
executive, the DUP, and increases the risk of the deal

Mr Adams has predicted that the issues of concern will be
addressed "to the satisfaction even of a Jim Allister", but there
is no time to waste. The Sinn Fein leadership must use the
occasion of its forthcoming Easter Rising commemorations to
condition its supporters for life without an IRA Army Council.

Republicans should have the confidence to complete the final leg
of the journey upon which they have embarked, and May 8 provides
a most appropriate deadline for dismantling the Army Council.
From a strategic point of view, the Sinn Fein leadership must be
aware that if prompt action is not taken, this issue will return
to haunt the party in the fast approaching Irish elections.

The standing down of the IRA Army Council is both a logical move
and one which would intensify the pressure on the disparate
loyalist groupings to disarm and disband. There never was any
justification for loyalist violence but if there is no IRA, what
is the rationale for the UDA, UVF, LVF or any of their offshoots
remaining in being?

c Belfast Telegraph


Opin: Irish History Never Quite Happens The Way It Should

By Patrick Murphy

Tony Blair had expected to deliver the definitive answer
yesterday to what his government has historically called the
Irish question. But instead of a fully functioning assembly, we
are now faced with some new Irish questions, along with many of
the old ones.

That's the problem with Irish history - it never quite happens
the way the English would like it to. So when events turned out
in the way which Peter Hain had promised on 56 occasions would
not happen (the DUP were apparently counting), he created a new
set of questions. Not all of them are political and some of them
are not exclusively Irish.

The political questions are obvious. They centre on whether
power-sharing will work in a democratically accountable manner in
the hands of extreme parties. Most people would hold Ian Paisley
responsible for the failure to establish an assembly at Stormont

But in the overall historical context of the past 20 years, the
problem can ultimately be traced to honest, well-meaning and
genuine political thinkers such as Albert Reynolds and John Hume.
These men - and other significant political figures inspired by
them - set out to replace violence with political structures and
systems which would bring the Provisional IRA in from the cold.

Supposedly a struggle for Irish liberation, the PIRA campaign was
- in much of its content and all of its consequence - a sectarian
war. In seeking to end that conflict, Hume and Reynolds had a
choice - create the conditions whereby sectarianism could be
accommodated, or develop systems and structures to sideline it.

With the best will in the world they went for what appears to
have been the wrong option - they set out to accommodate it. Even
if we assume that they made the right choice, their decision
failed to recognise that, because power-sharing is based totally
on trust, it will work best when managed by moderates.

But the arrival of the DUP and Sinn F‚in at the conference table
brought a cynicism to the process which its architects had not
planned for. It was a cynicism which delivered those parties to
power but how fairly and openly they will use that power remains
the biggest question to arise from yesterday's events.

More significant than the political questions are those which
relate to the type of public administration which the political
process here in recent years may have encouraged. Have our
politicians created a culture in which honesty, decency, respect
and trust are regarded as weaknesses? If we have - and Peter
Hain's 56 broken pledges are pretty good evidence of it - how can
we expect the rest of the public sector to behave differently?

Why should any junior civil servant ever again be held to a
deadline if his/her superiors have broken every deadline they
promised to abide by, on issues from decommissioning to forming
an assembly?

How can any teacher, bus-driver or road-sweeper be disciplined
for dishonesty when it is endemic in political life?

Will members of Sinn F‚in and the DUP sit in unblushing judgement
on public servants and criticise them for waste, inefficiency or
poor judgement?

But the most important questions relate to the nature of our
wider society.

How can our children be taught to respect authority when those
who wield it are seen to abuse it for party political purposes?

Who will tell our children that their education system was not
planned for their learning and development but for the political
gratification of Ian Paisley?

Who could teach them now that it is wrong to hold out until you
get your way?

How will we explain to them that taxes, such as water charges,
are nothing to do with water or taxation and all to do with
secret political deals between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams?

Paisley and Blair claim a common interest in religion and Gerry
Adams feels it important to preach in Clonard Monastery.

Has it occurred to them that the style and content of their
leadership might have implications for the moral and ethical
behaviour of those whom they wish to lead?

Tony Blair's spokesman once said that Downing Street did not do
God. Most religions would presumably teach it as God's view that
Downing Street and Stormont should not do dishonesty.

Many with no religion would probably share that belief.

History was not made at Stormont yesterday, it was manufactured.

The problem with manufactured history is that it tends to raise
new questions.

For the first time, the Irish question is not just about


Opin: Big Sigh Of Relief As Ceasefire Called On Ulster Tribal

[Published: Friday 30, March 2007 - 11:17]

By Bob McCullough, Deaf Talkabout

The warm-hearted deaf population of Northern Ireland will breath
a sigh of relief at the decision of the DUP and Sinn Fein to
share power from May 5.

The tribal warfare, that has formed the basis of most of our
province's troubled history, is alien to the great majority of
deaf people, and neither politics nor religion has troubled our
friendship during the trauma of the past 30 years.

But it is nevertheless true that the atmosphere of fear and
antagonism has diverted attention from the many things that need
to be done to improve the quality of life among the large number
of deaf and hard of hearing folk in Northern Ireland and I hope
we have seen the end of those ministers who have promised us the
earth and then left their grandiose proposals to gather dust on
the shelf.

The Government's plans to completely ban academic selection is
one issue to be settled now we are getting our own ministers and
there is an urgent need to get some certainty back into the

Billions of pounds have been promised towards the regeneration of
our province and I see three areas affecting deaf people, which
would benefit from a generous injection of funds.

When Tony Blair was installed as premier he told us his first
priority would be education, education and education. We are all
agreed on the importance of good teaching, but for many years the
education of deaf children has been bedevilled by the never-
ending quarrel on the best way to achieve this. The deaf
community is no different from the hearing in the variety of
intelligence and commitment we possess and funds need to be
provided for the different levels of communication and support


Several years ago, along with a small party of deaf leaders, I
took part in a wide-ranging discussion on these matters in
Rathgael House, Bangor, with key education officials from around
the province and a decision was agreed on setting up what were to
be known as 'deaf friendly schools' around the province.

The idea was that instead of spending large sums of money on
sending our brightest young deaf to second level colleges in
England we would arrange for them to benefit from high-level
education in their home towns. But only after the schools
selected had undergone courses of deaf awareness training to make
the deaf scholars feel at home.

It is true that some kinds of deaf schoolchildren benefit from
the added incentive and impetus of competing with their hearing
peers, but on the debit side they might feel lonely and isolated
and I pointed this out to the educationalists.

The idea was magnanimous and was to include not only the teachers
but all staff down to the cleaning ladies in the deaf awareness
training. But the proposal was quietly dropped and we've heard
nothing more about it. Was it too costly? And will the new
Assembly accept such innovative and high-minded suggestions?


Funding will also be needed for the expansion of interpreter
training in the province. We have 10 at the moment and need many
more. Interpreters are vital for all areas of life but have to be
booked months ahead.

Money will also be required for lip-reading classes and a more
rapid turnover in the supply of digital hearing aids. Technical
discoveries to improve the lot of those who aim for a solution to
their hearing loss has voice recognition as the Holy Grail.

Can the money be found?

All our deaf centres are in high-density areas with little room
to park. Most of us now own cars and travel is no problem so a
new building in the suburbs big enough to hold all our myriad
organisations is a priority. Is it only a dream?

c Belfast Telegraph

Rock Knight Bono Says Of Paisley And Adams: U2 Inspired Me

[Published: Friday 30, March 2007 - 08:43]
By Brian Hutton

Irish rock star Bono accepted an honorary knighthood from the
Queen yesterday - and said this week's groundbreaking meeting
between DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein president Gerry
Adams had inspired him.

The U2 frontman was awarded the honour during a brief ceremony at
British ambassador David Reddaway's official residence in Dublin.

Band members Edge and Adam Clayton joined Bono's wife Ali and
their children - Jordan, Eve, Eli and John - for the reception.

Afterwards, Bono - who famously stood on stage with John Hume and
David Trimble to raise support for the original Good Friday
Agreement in Belfast's Waterfront Hall - revealed he had been
planning a much quieter affair to mark the recognition of his
music and campaigning.

But the latest historic developments in Northern Ireland changed
his mind.

"I wasn't even going to have a bit of a do, I was going to slip
it in, keep it very, very quiet," he said.

"But when I saw Big Ian sitting down there with Gerry Adams I
just thought this is the end of an era, but the beginning of a
much better one."

Like Bob Geldof, Bono is technically not entitled to be called
"Sir" as he is not a British citizen.

"By the way, you can call me pretty much anything you want,
except sir," he remarked.

He then suggested suitable alternatives.

"You can call me lord of lords or a demi-god," he said.

A letter to Bono from Prime Minister Tony Blair described the
Dubliner (46) as an inspiration in the fight against global

He said he was delighted that he had accepted the award in
recognition of his outstanding contribution to music and
remarkable humanitarian work.

Accepting the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Bono
said: " It has been a great year for this award to happen in and
it does feel like this country and Great Britain are closer than
they have ever been," he said.

Mr Reddaway opened the informal ceremony around midday, joking
that Bono's family and friends might be disappointed that there
was no swords or kneeling involved.

The rock star put his hand on the ambassador's shoulder and
remarked: " Please, I wasn't expecting you to kneel."

Bono said he was accepting the award on behalf of his wife,
children, the other members of U2 and his closest friends.

He said: "May the circle never be broken."

c Belfast Telegraph


Belfast-Born Actor Rea Gets In Festive Spirit For New Irish Film

By Staff Reporter

Oscar-nominated Irish actor Stephen Rea is appearing in a new
Christmas film being shot around Dublin.

Kisses, which tells the tale of two young children who run away
from home, will bring a festive flavour to parts of O'Connell

The film is written and directed by Lance Daly who also made The
Halo Effect and Last Days in Dublin.

The film features two young Dubliners 10-year-old Kelly O'Neill,
and 11-year-old Shane Curry, in the lead roles.

They were chosen from thousands of young hopefuls in auditions
which took place before Christmas.

The film stars Belfast-born Rea as well as Paul Roe (Adam & Paul)
and Neili Conroy (Intermission).

Rea, who appeared in Breakfast on Pluto, was nominated for an
Oscar for best actor for his 1992 role in The Crying Game, which
was written and directed by Neil Jordan.

Kisses is filming in Dublin city centre, Tallaght, Ballyfermot
and Ringsend.

Scenes include the children making their escape and hitching a
ride on a boat, which is filmed along the canal from Ballyfermot
to Ringsend, and Christmas Day scenes on O'Connell Street.

Many senior production staff are Irish. Production designer
Waldemar Kalinowski, whose previous credits include The Fast and
the Furious and Leaving Las Vegas is also working on the set.

Kisses is produced by Fastnet Films with funding from Bord
Scannan na hEireann/the Irish Film Board, Zentropa, Film I Vast,
TV3, BCI and Section 481.


Galway Water Crisis Drives Down Tourism

By Valerie Robinson Southern Correspondent

Galway's tourism industry is feeling the effects of the
cryptosporidium crisis that has caused dozens of people to fall
ill from contaminated water.

Up to 90,000 households and businesses have been warned they will
have to boil their water for several more weeks.

More than 120 people have been treated for stomach upsets as a
result of swallowing the cryptosporidiosis parasite in tap water
and it is suspected there may be other victims who have not
sought treatment.

For the past fortnight residents in the city and adjoining areas
have been boiling all water used for drinking, washing food and
brushing teeth.

Tests this week showed that the affected water supply contained
traces of human and animal waste.

The Republic's environment minister Dick Roche said yesterday he
would travel to Galway to discuss the problems with councillors.

He said it was unacceptable that so many households do not have
safe drinking water, adding that e21.5 million of funding had
been made available to improve the region's water supply since
2002 but remains unspent.

The minister was responding to a five-point plan issued by Galway
Mayor Niall O Brolchain.

Mr O Brolchain said Lough Corrib had been classified as in the
highest pollution risk category by the Western River Basin
District Project since 2005.

He urged the government to provide free clean drinking water for
the areas affected by the outbreak and to intensify efforts to
locate the sources of the bug.

The Green Party councillor also called for local authorities to
be assisted in putting in place modern water treatment plants.

Galway's vintners have expressed frustration with the situation,
warning that they would be seeking a rebate on water charges.

Galway Chamber of Commerce and Industry warned that its members
were beginning to feel the effect of the crisis, suffering a
downturn in tourism of up to 20 per cent.

They have expressed fears that Galway's annual race meeting,
which brings the city up to e100 million, could be badly hit if
the problems continue until July.


Movie Review: Ken Loach's "Barley" Set In Ireland

By Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
(Original Publication: March 30, 2007)

Review The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Now playing at the Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville.
Stars: Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham,Gerard
Kearney, William Ruane.
Director: Ken Loach.
Studio: ICF First Take.
Web site:
Rated: Not rated.
Running time: 127 minutes.
Bottomline: A-

The dean of British independent filmmakers, Ken Loach has the
gift of finding the intensely moving private emotions in broad,
societal dilemmas.

He does that with his fine new film, "The Wind That Shakes the
Barley," and he does a few new things as well.

"Barley" is the only one of Loach's works to use a recognizable
international star: Cillian Murphy, memorable as the evil
Scarecrow in "Batman Begins."

Named after a poem that favored Irish independence from Britain,
"Barley" takes place in Ireland in the early 1920s, a time that
remains so controversial that some British newspapers savagely
attacked Loach's film, even going so far as comparing the
director to Third Reich glorifier Leni Riefenstahl.

For a film so controversial, "Barley" starts quietly, with an
afternoon game of hurling on land near Cork belonging to Sinead
(Orla Fitzgerald) and her family. Among the players are Damien
(Murphy), set to begin a medical residency in London in a few
days, and his brother Teddy (Padraic Delaney).

Suddenly, the afternoon explodes with the appearance of a platoon
of gun-toting Black and Tans, thuggish British troops determined
to humiliate and demean the Irish for daring to gather for any
purpose at all.

Things violently spiral out of control, as they do again when
Damien attempts to take his train to London, and as a result the
young man decides to stay and join the clandestine Irish
Republican Army in its dedication to gaining Irish independence
by any means necessary.

It is these sequences, as well as a brief but intense scene of
British torture, that has led to the criticisms of "Barley."
Though Loach makes no apologies for either, the fact that stories
of colonizers acting badly are not exactly new is something the
film has to overcome.

But "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" turns out to be a more
complicated, more dramatically potent story. It's concerned at
its core not with how bad the British were, but with what the
cost of dealing with them was for the Irish - even when

Murphy is especially good at playing the zealotry as well as the
soul-searching and the regret, at showing us a man who is eaten
up alive because he's forced to act in ways that are contrary to
his background and his training.

When he says, at one particularly potent junction, "I hope this
Ireland we're fighting for is worth it," it's an especially
moving moment of doubt.

This is especially true after the truce of 1922, when the rebels
face an agonizing choice: Do they accept partial independence as
a British dominion along with the loss of Northern Ireland or do
they continue to fight, likely hopelessly, for a complete
independence that would lead to a more egalitarian society?

As written by Loach's frequent collaborator Paul Laverty, the
discussions are compelling, the air in the rooms electric. Both
sides have strongly thought-out points of view, the film tips its
hand neither one way nor the other, and, given that the
consequences of the actions taken have lasted until today, it's
all a rather thrilling situation.

"If a group is united against oppression, when the oppressor
goes, all the splits and divisions emerge," Loach explained at
Cannes. "If you were alive at that time it must have been an
agonizing choice. There were no good people or bad people, all
responses to the situation have a logic - that's the terrible
dilemma." And the source of wonderful drama as well.

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