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March 01, 2007

IMC Report Delivered To Governments

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 03/01/07 IMC Report Delivered To Governments
BT 03/01/07 Will There Be A Working Assembly After Election
TA 03/01/07 Paisley Fails To Stir Up Dull Poll
BT 03/01/07 Snapshot Reveals The Voters' Mood
BT 03/01/07 Turnout Likely To Be High... But Mind The Soaps
BT 03/01/07 Sinn Fein Out In Front In The West
BT 03/01/07 Doubts Over Paisley And McGuinness Double Act
BT 03/01/07 Law And Order Debate Will Make For Rough Ride
BT 03/01/07 What? Justice. When? We'll Get Back To You
BT 03/01/07 DUP Aiming To Control Finance Department
BT 03/01/07 DUP Councillor Resigns, Says More Will Follow
HN 03/01/07 Irish Fight For Reform Of Immigration
RC 03/01/07 Why Giuliani Is The Top Candidate
BT 03/01/07 Opin: Gambles Paid Off For Paisley And Adams
BT 03/01/07 Camera's Eye On 40 Years Of Ulster History
BB 03/01/07 NI Priest Is Shot In Johannesburg
BN 03/01/07 February 'Warmest Since 2002'
RF 03/01/07 Irish Films To Mark St. Patrick's Day In London
ET 03/01/07 Luck Of The Irish - And Everyone Else
MW 03/01/07 Getting Dark With The Black Donnellys

(Note: On March 1, 1981, IRA member Bobby Sands began a hunger
strike at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland; he died 65
days later.)


IMC Report Delivered To Governments

Thu, Mar 01, 2007

The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) said today it
has presented its 14th report to the Irish and British

The report will be published by the two governments

Although no details of the content have been revealed, the
IMC report is expected to say the Provisional IRA continues
to shun paramilitary activity.

The last IMC report, published in January, said the
Provisional IRA was not involved in terrorist activity,
shooting and assaults, intelligence gathering, sectarian
violence or intimidation, other forms of crime, exiling or
fund raising.

It found some IRA members were committing crime for
personal gain but that this was declining.

The IMC reported that dissident republican groups such as
the "Real IRA", Continuity IRA and a new group calling
itself Oglaigh na hireann still posed a threat.

Loyalist armed groups remained active, although there were
some encouraging, if hesitant, signs of moves towards
politics, it said.

c 2007


Will There Be A Working Assembly At The End Of It All?

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 09:39]
By Chris Thornton

Even when the dust settles after next week's election,
there's no certainty that a fully-functioning Assembly -
and the all-important Executive that goes with it - will be
waiting on the other side.

It's not certain the DUP will agree to enter a power-
sharing administration with Sinn Fein.

The Government has left about 18 days after the counts for
a rush of negotiations to settle the question. March 26th
is their deadline - they say that if the Assembly isn't
working by then, the plug will be pulled. " Devolution or
dissolution" is Peter Hain's catchphrase.

During that grey period between the election and the
deadline, the new members of the Assembly could meet in the
same way that the old ones did before - as a Transitional
Assembly without any power. But that's no guarantee that it
will be transformed into a working Assembly in the end.

So, an important question for voters is 'will it work?'
It's one that could have an impact on turnout, since some
voters will want to know whether there is a point to the
whole exercise.

In today's result's from the Ipsos MORI poll for the
Belfast Telegraph, half of the respondents said they
thought the current process will wind up with a working
Assembly and Executive.

It's a response that Protestants and Catholics broadly
agree on - 50% of Protestants and 53% of Catholics said it
was likely the Assembly would succeed.

That's not an overwhelming vote of confidence, but the
positive responses do outweigh the negative. Overall, 34%
thought the return of a working Assembly is unlikely.
Another 10% were neutral - thinking it neither likely or
unlikely - with 5% saying they don't know.

c Belfast Telegraph


Paisley Fails To Stir Up Dull Poll

David Sharrock
March 02, 2007

THE Northern Ireland election campaign entered its final
week yesterday, but you would be forgiven for not having

The local newspapers claim it has been the dullest election
in memory. If that is true, then the voters are too
apathetic even to voice their anger about being called to
the polls for the 10th time since the signing of the Good
Friday agreement in 1998.

The Reverend Ian Paisley, now 80, is no longer breathing
fire but is walking at a regal pace, bragging to reporters
that it is thanks to him alone that Northern Ireland is
returning to the polls next Wednesday.

We can report with some certainty that this will be the old
bruiser's last election campaign. At his shoulder is Peter
Robinson, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.

If all goes to plan for British Prime Minister Tony Blair,
next week's election for the Northern Ireland Assembly -
the third time that people have voted in its 108 members -
will pave the way for a power-sharing executive on March 26
with Mr Paisley as First Minister and Martin McGuinness, of
Sinn Fein, as his deputy.

If only it were that simple. Mr Paisley, with one eye on
his own hardliners, is still talking tough.

Asked if he would be in office with Sinn Fein by the date
set by last October's St Andrews agreement, Mr Paisley
snorted: "Not at all, that's a dream that the Secretary of
State (Peter Hain) has had and it's a nightmare now,
because he'll never have that."

It is the sort of response that once chilled the blood of
cabinet ministers. But there is now usually an addendum to
the rejection, and here it comes: "But of course, if the
IRA delivers we could have anything, but I think the people
of Northern Ireland will desire some time to see if it's
genuine. If the IRA ceases to be the IRA, if all the
weapons are handed in, if they start co-operating with the
courts and the police, it's a different game altogether."

The government view is that Mr Paisley will do the deal
because he wants to finish his political career not as Dr
No but as the man who finally said "yes". Then it would be
time to hand over to Mr Robinson.

Sinn Fein launched its manifesto this week and the signs
were encouraging for Mr Paisley. One of the few points on
which he and Gerry Adams agree is that Northern Ireland
needs another slab of British taxpayers' money. Mr Adams is
demanding pound stg. 10 billion ($25 billion) over the next
10 years.

That would take the province to 2017, a year beyond the
date that the Sinn Fein leader anointed as Irish
reunification time, the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising
and the proclamation of an Irish republic.

In his comments, Mr Adams seemed to be addressing a
different electorate to that which will vote next week. The
eyes of Sinn Fein are fixed on the Republic's general
election, expected in May. For Mr Adams, next week is a dry
run at the polls without, for the first time, the taint of
terrorism around his neck.

It is easy, then, to understand why the election lacks
"oomph". The extremes have moved to the centre ground,
leaving it a crowded place for the old moderates, the SDLP
and the Ulster Unionists.

The Times


Snapshot Reveals The Voters' Mood

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 09:30]
By Noel McAdam

At first sight the DUP looks like it's getting its vote out
for the Assembly elections.

In terms of voting intentions, 25% of people polled declare
they will vote for the DUP, according to an Ipsos MORI poll
released today for the Belfast Telegraph.

That total is just over half a percentage point lower than
the poll share the party achieved at the last Assembly poll
in November, 2003.

22% of those questioned said they intend to vote for Sinn
Fein, a reduction of 1.5% on its vote share almost three-
and-a-half years ago.

The bare figures also contain a fillip for the SDLP and
Alliance, but bad news for the Ulster Unionists.

Indications of voting intentions must, however, be
approached with a considerable degree of caution. For a
start, the statistics on intentions do not include those
who have yet to make up their minds.

It is, naturally, made up of those who know - and are
prepared to reveal - what their intentions are, always an
overwhelming majority of voters in Northern Ireland. Yet,
it is those who have yet to decide who could effect any
major changes which the actual election brings about.

Polls are only a snapshot in time, and election campaigns
are a relatively volatile time when the public mood can
change. As Harold McMillan put it: " Events, Dear Boy" and
all of that.

And apart from the fact that public opinion can change,
even in Northern Ireland, the possibility of a sampling
error arises. Lesley McClure, Managing Director Ireland of
MORI, said: "Although it is a simplification of the true
position, we normally state this in terms of a 'margin of

"For a poll with a sample size of 1,000, the margin of
error is plus-or-minus three percentage points on the
measurement of each party's share."

Points of comparison are also important. More people tend
to vote for the smaller parties in Assembly elections
because they stand a greater chance of winning seats than
in the Westminster race, for example.

When compared to the vote share in the last Westminster
election for the DUP, today's MORI result of 25% is a
significant drop from the party's almost 34% share in
November, 2005.

And the 22% of those polled who declared their intention to
vote for Sinn Fein is more than two percentage points down
on the party's actual share in the House of Commons vote.

By the same token, the 16% who declare their intention to
vote for the Ulster Unionists is down by 1.7% on their
Westminster performance, but almost 7% points down on
November, 2003.

The Voting Intention question is, however, good news for
the SDLP and Alliance, which have both talked up the
prospect of improved performances in recent days.

A total of 20% say they intend to vote for the SDLP, just
two percentage points behind Sinn Fein and a full three
point improvement on the party's November, 2003 showing.

In the Westminster battle almost a year and a half ago, the
SDLP share was a similar 17.5%.

Alliance is, according to today's poll, rising even faster.
A total of nine percent of those polled say they intend to
vote Alliance, up from 3.7% in November, 2003, a result
virtually mirrored in the Westminster race.

The Greens are also poised for a major improvement, if
today's poll results translate in the polling booths next
Wednesday. From a share of 0.4% in the November, 2003 poll,
a total of three percent say they intend to go Green come
March 7. Will that prove to be enough, however, to win the
party a breakthrough seat?

Robert McCartney's United Kingdom Unionists, the
Progressive Unionists, Conservatives and independents are
all on one percentage point.

c Belfast Telegraph


Turnout Likely To Be High... But Mind The Soaps

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 09:24]
By Noel McAdam

Northern Ireland is looking at a relatively high turnout
for the Assembly election if the results of today's Ipsos
MORI/Belfast Telegraph poll is borne out at the polling
booths next Wednesday.

Despite widespread fears over increasing apathy, a total of
61% of those polled said they were "absolutely certain" to
vote in the Assembly poll.

That figure is remarkably close to the 62.6 % turnout for
the last Assembly elections of November, 2003.

But it could still be affected by factors on the day,
including the weather, sport and even, as some senior
political analysts have already pointed out, whether Ken
Barlow's daughter Tracy goes on trial in Coronation Street.

The breakdown of the overall statistics are interesting,
particularly on an age basis.

Almost three-quarters of those aged over 55 - 73% - said
they were " absolutely certain" to vote.

The figure falls significantly in the younger the age
bracket, with 62% of those aged 35 to 54 and 49% of those
aged between 18 and 34 "absolutely certain".

Statistically, the results are insignificant, but 62% of
men compared to 61% of women and 63% of Catholics compared
to 62% of Protestants said they were " absolutely certain"
to come out.

c Belfast Telegraph


Sinn Fein Out In Front In The West...

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 09:46]
By Victoria O'Hara

It would be an easy political assumption to make that the
election in West Belfast is a one-party race, with Sinn
Fein the only runner.

The dominance of republican ideology in this part of the
city is clearly evident in the Irish tricolour flags
fluttering above buildings and in the murals asking us all
to remember 1981 hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Even with the staunchly loyalist Shankill embedded in this
political constituency, Sinn Fein has enjoyed the majority
of votes since the mid 1980s.

And now the party is hoping to recreate the influence it
clearly demonstrated over the electorate in 2003.

Four years ago, it scooped four out of the six Assembly
seats, with the DUP and the SDLP only managing to scavenge
one each.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams proved to be the voters'
number one choice, receiving 18.9% of the vote.

The strength of Sinn Fein support in the area was also
flaunted in the face of the SDLP two years later, when
Adams won a landslide victory in the 2005 Westminster
election with 70.5% of the vote.

The only blip in Sinn Fein's electoral history in West
Belfast was when Adams, who was first elected as MP in 1983
and re- elected in 1987, lost narrowly to the SDLP's Joe
Hendron in 1992.

However, he regained it convincingly in 1997.

Ten years on, there are 14 candidates fielded in West
Belfast for the Assembly Elections.

This year, five of them are Sinn Fein candidates and they
are determined to win five seats.

Following the death of Michael Ferguson, Sinn Fein has put
forward a team consisting of Gerry Adams, Fra McCann and
Sue Ramsey, who inherited her seat from MEP Bairbre de
Brun, Paul Maskey and Jennifer McCann.

The SDLP, meanwhile, hope to regain their one seat by
fielding outgoing MLA Alex Attwood along with Margaret

But the fight to win a seat for the unionists has been
whittled down to two parties as the PUP, who contested the
last Assembly election, has not put its hat in the
political ring.

Instead, the DUP's Diane Dodds and the UUP's Louis West,
who has replaced veteran Ulster Unionist Chris McGimpsey,
are the only two unionists hoping to be elected.

There's a big question as to whether Dodds, who was voted
into her seat back in 2003 with just 97 votes to spare,
will manage to retain her MLA status.

Among other new faces running for election is 19-year-old
Se n Mitchell-the youngest candidate in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year, he threatened to take Secretary of State
Peter Hain to court for opting Northern Ireland out of a
new law which reduced the eligible age for candidates.

Mitchell is running with the People Before Profit Alliance
on an anti-water charges platform. And with recent
statistics showing 79% of the West Belfast population lives
in the most deprived area in Northern Ireland, he may
attract a respectable number of transfer votes.

The Workers' Party are again fielding John Lowry, while the
eccentric independent Rainbow George of Make Politicians
History Party has put himself forward in West Belfast, too.

The Green Party, despite orchestrating a province-wide
campaign, have not fielded a candidate here.

But one element could throw a political hot potato into the
mix for Sinn Fein.

This will be the first time voters in the republican
heartland of Belfast have had an opportunity to vote after
Sinn Fein members agreed to back policing in Northern

Another concern is the level of voters.

On average, the register fell by 7% in Northern Ireland
constituencies last year.

West Belfast was the worst hit, with a drop of more than
15%, raising concerns among politicians.

However, following a push by the Electoral Commission at
the beginning of the year, the register managed to jump by
11.2% in West Belfast.

But it still doesn't match the previous levels of
registered voters.

So, regardless of Gerry Adams' obvious popularity, it still
remains to be seen whether Sinn Fein has the ability to
effectively manage the electorate and attract enough second
and third preference votes to win that elusive fifth seat.

c Belfast Telegraph


Doubts Over Paisley And McGuinness Double Act

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 09:21]
By Noel McAdam

There's a joke Ian Paisley probably likes even less than
the one Rhodri Morgan told a Labour Party dinner last week.

Possibly because it involves Martin McGuinness, the man
with whom the DUP leader will share the First Minister's
office if a devolution deal is achieved.

And yet Mr Paisley roared the first time he heard the
McGuinness jibe - which comes across better in the telling
than the writing.

In the Welsh First Minister's jest, Mr Paisley has a
deathbed conversion to Catholicism because, he explains,
'tis a better thing that a Catholic dies than a Protestant.

The other joke has it that a weary Mr Paisley is believed
by some shocked supporters to have turned to the demon

"He was seen running through the corridors at Stormont,
shouting 'where's McGuinness'." (M' Guinness - geddit?)

In reality the people of Northern Ireland don't expect that
to become a reality anytime soon.

According to today's Belfast Telegraph/MORI poll, almost
two thirds of those polled - 64% - do not expect the
veteran unionist firebrand and the former IRA member to
work well together.

A total of 37% overall, when asked how well they thought
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness can work together said:
"Not very well".

A further 27% think that they will not work well together
at all.

When the responses are broken down to the two main
communities, 39% of Protestants and 37% of Catholics expect
their work together will go " not very well".

22% said they believed the two politicians can work "quite
well" together - 21% of Protestants and 23% of Catholics.

Just 2% of Protestants and 4% of Catholics believe they can
work together " very well" - 3% overall.

c Belfast Telegraph


Law And Order Debate Will Make For Rough Ride

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 09:23]
By Chris Thornton

A successful return to power-sharing won't guarantee smooth
political sailing.

Even if they're around the Executive table together, the
parties will still be tussling about when they should take
responsibility for law and order in Stormont's own
Department of Justice.

Sinn Fein made a timetable for the devolution of justice
powers one of their conditions for supporting the PSNI.

The DUP also say they want the transferral of powers - but
not yet.

They say Sinn Fein's commitment to the rule of law needs to
be tested and oppose the transfer for "a political

The Belfast Telegraph election poll asked people for their
views on this key post-election issue.

A majority - 58% - are in favour of justice and policing
powers being devolved to local politicians. Just over a
third oppose the move, and 8% say they don't know.

However, the overall figures obscure the difference of
opinions between Protestants and Catholics.

Catholics were strongly in favour of putting policing
powers in local hands. More than two out of three said yes.

More Protestants favour the transfer than oppose it, but
there is not an outright majority (49%) in favour and the
Protestant opposition is significant - 42%.

It's also interesting that older people favour the transfer
more than younger adults, and more men want justice
devolved than women.

c Belfast Telegraph


What Do We Want? Justice. When Do We Want It? Er, We'll Get
Back To You

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 09:55]

There are plenty of ifs about the whole enterprise.

If Stormont gets back up and running in another 25 days,
and if the DUP and Sinn Fein operate together in relative
harmony, and if the timing is right, at some stage one of
the candidates shaking the rain off on your doorsteps could
become the Justice Minister.

He or she - probably along with a deputy who wears their
badge on the other side of the shirt, so to speak - will
take responsibility for policing policy, prisons and the

It would arguably be the single most significant act of

Running schools and hospitals is all very well, but law and
order are the oldest and most fundamental functions of

They are also elements that widely excite the interests of
the governed - policies on nursery education may grip the
parents of the very young, but pretty much everyone has an
interest in the functions of the proposed Justice

Whether you're concerned about your door being kicked in by
burglars or overpowered by police, the protections offered
by it should matter.

The devolution of justice powers also has a great deal of
political significance.

It is one reason its future is uncertain.

Sinn Fein wants the powers devolved because they can argue
that the police are no longer under British control.

The DUP, its potential partners in government, doesn't buy
that argument.

It also says it wants powers transferred from London to
Belfast because it is devolutionist - its members reckon
most things are run better locally.

It agrees that things should be run from Stormont, but
disagrees on the reasons why and also when it should

Sinn Fein says the sooner, the better, and has tied its
support for policing to a timetable for devolution.

The DUP says it's too soon - and Sinn Fein's support for
policing has to be tested.

If it does happen, a Justice minister will face the same
problem that every other Stormont minister will have -

Security will come with a big budget.

The PSNI currently costs more than œ800m a year - but
control over the purse strings will remain in London.

And the Treasury has already indicated there will be cost-
cutting pressures.

But perhaps the toughest problem will be doing something

A big argument for devolution is that local ministers are
smarter about local problems. To prove that, they will have
to make a visible difference to the fight against crime.

Tough stance needed on criminality

By Ian Paisley Jnr

There are few things more important to a society than
ensuring its citizens are free from crime and the fear of

A fundamental element of this is confidence in those
entrusted with responsibility to administer such functions.

That is why the DUP ensured that justice and policing
functions could only be transferred to the Assembly when
there is sufficient community confidence and even then,
with electoral support, the DUP will have a veto over who
any Justice Minister will be.

The devolution of policing and justice functions is
certainly not a panacea to law and order problems. Indeed,
much of the welcome tougher law and order legislation
passed at Westminster in recent years may not have been
able to command a cross-community majority in the Assembly.

The DUP believes in taking a strong law and order stance
and supports rigorous enforcement by the police and tough
sentencing for serious crimes.

We've enough to do without adding justice

By Fred Cobain

A new Executive will have a wide range of issues to address
- water charges, education, rates.

Immediately adding the controversial issue of justice to
the list would hinder a stable partnership between the
parties. For that reason, the UUP advocates justice only
being devolved when greater community confidence exists.
For our communities to be safer, we do not actually need
justice powers to be devolved immediately. Since 1997,
Labour has passed laws making 3,023 new offences - but are
communities any safer because of this?

The Executive, the Policing Board, and other agencies
already have the powers and ability to reduce crime.

Reducing police numbers does not make sense when
communities want neighbourhood policing. Nearly 50% of
prisoners go on to be convicted for re-offending after
release. Prison must be more than incarceration; it also
needs to robustly challenge and change behaviour.

Empower the communities to fight crime

By Dawn Purvis

Most people in Northern Ireland just want to be able to
enjoy their home in peace. Sadly this is not always the

An increased fear of crime and anti-social behaviour is
affecting our quality of life. Noise nuisance, vandalism,
graffiti, abusive behaviour and bullying create a community
where the vulnerable are afraid to go out and where the
environment is unwelcoming to residents and visitors.

A new justice minister needs to work in partnership with
local communities and the police. We need to examine the
causes of crime, generate new ideas and work in partnership
to create safer neighbourhoods.

In the event of justice powers being devolved, I would
ensure that effective community and voluntary projects
dealing with criminal justice issues are replicated across
the country so that everyone can benefit.

Empowering communities that have already found ways to
create safer neighbourhoods is the key to participative

Policing has to be made accountable

By Gerry Kelly
Sinn Fein

Sinn F‚in has argued to have the transfer of powers on
policing and justice to make policing and justice
democratically accountable.

In that event, an immediate, time-bound review would be
initiated to assess how the policing and justice system is
failing the most vulnerable sections of our community.

That is the elderly, women and children and those subject
to homophobic, sectarian and racist attacks or car crime.

It would also examine what can be done to protect and
support those affected by physical, sexual or domestic
abuse. Voluntary and community sector measures to build
safer communities would be part of this.

A review of the role of the Public Prosecution Service
would need to be part of this and forging a new agenda for
civic policing on an all-Ireland basis, including an
integrated all-Ireland sex offenders register, would
compliment the effective measures necessary.

Public safety of paramount importance

By Alban Maginness

The SDLP wants to make real progress on a system of justice
which accords with the highest standards of human rights
and delivers on public safety.

Young people must be safe and feel safe on our streets,
older people must feel safe in their homes. Devolution of
justice should mean increased community confidence in the
administration of justice and the end of damaging
influences from within the British system.

Unlike others, the SDLP has also diligently worked to
create a judiciary, prosecution service, court service, and
other institutions of justice that are representative,
accountable, subject to vigorous scrutiny, comply with
human rights and international standards and which earn and
maintain the confidence of the community.

Public safety requires a coherent and consistent sentencing
policy, and better training of police so that more
prosecutions come to court and are upheld.

c Belfast Telegraph


DUP Aiming To Control Finance Department

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 11:17]
By Noel McAdam

The DUP today gave the clearest signal yet it is preparing
to go into government - by indicating which department it
most hopes to take charge.

As the likely largest party, the DUP will have first choice
of the Departmental portfolios under the Assembly D'Hondt

Leader Ian Paisley signalled he will select the Department
of Finance and Personnel, previously the domain of the SDLP
under ministers Mark Durkan and Sean Farren.

And there was speculation today that the new minister would
be the DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson.

At a press conference the DUP argued the move would put the
party in the best position to tackle the water charges

Leader Ian Paisley said: "While a final decision on this
issue will be one for the whole Executive and Assembly to
determine, the primary responsibility for bringing forward
proposals will lie with the DFP Minister.

"I want my minister to take charge of this issue."

In a letter contained in another party glossy leaflet, the
DUP leader also reaffirmed that his party intends making
the 'peace dividend' economic package a pre-condition for
entering a power-sharing Executive.

"Without such a package the Assembly would be left with the
unpalatable and unacceptable choice of keeping water
charges or having to make substantial cuts to public
services in Northern Ireland," he said.

"This is not an acceptable choice. Because of the wider
political situation we will never have a stronger
negotiating position with the Government than in the period
after the election and before devolution.

"The DUP has already put the Government on notice that
resolving the issue of water charges is an essential
component of the financial package."

He said during the election campaign he has spoken to
'countles' people opposed to the new arrangements on water
charges "not just because they have to pay more, but more
importantly because they see the proposals as being
fundamentally unfair."

He added: "People rightly believe that they have been
paying for water and are now being asked to pay twice.

"Many people also believe that it is unfair to charge them
for water on the basis of the value of their homes.

"These concerns must be addressed."

c Belfast Telegraph


DUP Councillor Resigns, Says More Will Follow

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 11:15]
By Noel McAdam

A Ballymena councillor has quit the DUP - and predicted
more may follow.

Davy Tweed was among seven councillors in the Co Antrim
town who had told the leadership they would not come out to
work for the party in this election.

Crisis talks involving leader Ian Paisley followed and some
sort of settlement had appeared to be worked out.

But now Mr Tweed has resigned, following his near neighbour
Leslie Cubitt, who is standing for rival Bob McCartney's
United Kingdom Unionists, and George Ennis in Strangford.

Mr Tweed, a former Irish rugby international, said in a
letter: "I sincerely think the DUP intends to, and they are
already in a process of, going into government with Sinn

"There's a lot of other people in the same situation as

I have just went earlier than some of them, but there will
be others who do similar following my resignation."

Mr Tweed, who was capped four times for Ireland and played
37 times for Ulster, intends to remain on Ballymena Council
as an independent.

His resignation came as a public meeting by the Voice For
Democracy group in Omagh last night was told the DUP has
"surrendered" its principles.

Portadown-based spokesman Bertie Campbell said as a result
of accepting the D'Hondt system and changed mechanisms the
posts of First and Deputy First Minister will go to Ian
Paisley and Martin McGuinness "as of right" .

"This will mean that a self-confessed and unrepentant
member of IRA/Sinn Fein will exercise exactly the same
powers as the DUP leader, with the only difference being a
mere matter of title," he said.

And he added: "This sorry state of affairs does not exist,
nor would it be permitted to exist, in any democratic forum
in the western world."

Meanwhile, Poilin Ui Cathain, a Sinn Fein councillor in
Fermanagh, has quit her seat, but no the party, due to her
opposition to the recent decision on supporting the police.

The resignations come as both parties are in the middle of
a tough election campaign ahead of the planned restoration
of devolution next month.

c Belfast Telegraph


Irish Fight For Reform Of Immigration

By Ian Swanson

Thousands of Irish-Americans will arrive in Washington 10
days before St. Patrick's Day to lobby members of Congress
to reform immigration laws.

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) organized the
March 7 event and expects as many as 4,000 people to
attend, many of them traveling to D.C. by bus from the
heavily Irish communities of New York, Boston and

Several members of Congress, including Sens. John McCain
(R-Ariz.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who are writing an
immigration bill, spoke at a similar rally last year, as
did presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton
(D-N.Y.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). ILIR Chairman Niall
O'Dowd hopes to offer a similar lineup next week.

"They're pretty powerful," said Rep. Christopher Shays (R-
Conn.), a member of the Friends of Ireland caucus in the
House who credited the Irish lobby as a "major force" in
winning immigration reforms in 1986.

ILIR's executive director, Kelly Fincham, said the group's
focus this year is on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-
Calif.), since Pelosi would be capable of bringing an
immigration reform bill to the floor. She said about 200
members of the group are expected to travel to Washington
next week from San Francisco.

O'Dowd said the group supported the Kennedy-McCain bill
introduced last year and will be pressing members of
Congress to move that legislation this year. O'Dowd said he
expects the two senators to introduce their legislation in
the next two weeks.

The Irish lobby can make a difference by reminding members
of Congress of the diversity of immigrants, according to
Stacy Terrel of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic
civil rights and advocacy organization. ILIR estimates
there are 50,000 unauthorized Irish immigrants in the U.S.,
many of whom overstayed tourist visas and want to remain in
the country. That number is dwarfed by estimates on the
number of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central

"I'm thrilled they're coming," said Angela Kelley, deputy
director of the National Immigration Forum. She said
participants last year caught the attention of members of
Congress and staff by marching through office buildings
wearing green-and-white T-shirts bearing the slogan,
"Legalize the Irish."

O'Dowd said McCain credited the group with changing the
minds of four or five senators last year.

That said, ILIR has not convinced all of its traditional
allies to support legislation creating a pathway for
unauthorized immigrants to receive citizenship. O'Dowd
described Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) as a friend of the group
on other issues, but said it was disappointed with his
views on immigration.

King, whose parents hail from Ireland, said the world
changed on Sept. 11, 2001. The U.S. no longer can afford to
turn a blind eye to illegal immigrants, and it also cannot
carve out an exception for the Irish, the ranking
Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee said.

"You can't be saying, 'We're looking just at Arabs and
Muslims and look the other way at Irish immigrants or any
other group,'" King said.

He acknowledged the differences over immigration have
caused friction with some Irish groups. "I used to get
their awards. Now I'm public enemy No. 1 for some people,"
King said.

He noted that in the past, when there was fighting in
Northern Ireland, there was a fear that Irish citizens
deported could be detained or even tortured if they were
sent home. King also pointed to the growing Irish economy,
which many believe has cooled Irish immigration to the U.S.

Despite the strong economy, O'Dowd said Irish people still
want to emigrate to the U.S. because of longstanding
personal connections.

"There's a 200-year history that isn't going to go away
anytime soon," he said. "Irish people are still fascinated
and still want to come to America."

That history lives on in one Irish immigrant with whom the
Hill spoke through ILIR. Brian, who asked that his last
name not be used for fear of deportation, works as a
plumber in New York and originally came to the U.S. to
visit an uncle. He overstayed a tourist visa and will have
been in the U.S. for nine years in April. Brian married
another Irish immigrant in 2005, and the couple had a baby
three weeks ago

"We could go back and do just as well in Ireland, but we
like this country," Brian said.


Why Giuliani Is The Top Candidate

By Robert Tracinski

Yes, I know it is very, very early to begin thinking about
the 2008 election, but there are two good reasons why the
campaign is already under way and why it's worth paying a
little attention early on.

First, 2008 will be an unusual election year. Because
President Bush can't run for office again, and because Dick
Cheney won't run, this is a rare election in which there is
no presumptive candidate for either party--which raises the
stakes and means an earlier contest on both sides. The
candidates are already trying to hone their message and
image, and it is worth paying attention now--before some of
these candidates have successfully re-written their history
and re-packaged themselves for the voters.

The more important reason we should be paying attention to
the candidates is that the next president may well have to
be the one to confront and defeat Iran. I have held out
some hope that President Bush will attempt to do so before
he leaves office. That is still possible--but it is looking
less and less likely, as the Bush administration seems to
have settled into a policy of "containment" whose goal is
to manage the problem of Iran until it can be handed over
to a new administration.

Even if Bush wanted to act against Iran, he may not be able
to do so given the constraints of a hostile Congress and
his own personal unpopularity. I do not think that Bush's
low approval ratings have discredited a vigorous war
policy. I think the American people have simply concluded
that this particular leader is not capable of fighting the
war successfully. Bush could reverse this conclusion by
taking serious action and showing success on the ground; I
believe this is what he intends to do with the "surge" in
Baghdad. But we may have to wait for a new pro-war leader
to come forward and regain Americans' confidence that
victory is possible.

So who are the candidates that have emerged so far, and
what do they stand for?

I will gloss over the top Democratic candidates very
quickly, because I regard all of them as obviously
unacceptable. By now, they have all adopted an anti-war
line in order to appease the hard left--even Hillary
Clinton, who had shrewdly hedged her bets before last
November's election. By anti-war, I mean that they are not
just opposed to the Iraq War; they are also advocating
negotiations with Iran and opposing the use of force
against the mullah's regime.

And the candidates have negatives beyond their stance on
the war. Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of the "it all
depends on what the meaning of 'is' is" approach to
politics. She represents the idea that there are no fixed
facts that require leaders to take a definite stand and
stick to unwavering principles. Instead, there are only
words to be manipulated in order to appease various
constituencies. James Taranto makes some perceptive
observations about the cold calculation behind Clinton's
shifting stance on the war and the complacency with which
the left-leaning mainstream media takes her cynicism for

The main alternative to Hillary Clinton is Barack Obama,
whose main purpose is to use his clean-cut, wholesome,
telegenic image to sell us on corrupt old leftist ideas.
Thomas Sowell hit the nail on the head recently when he
explained, "Senator Obama is being hailed as the newest and
freshest face on the American political scene. But he is
advocating some of the oldest fallacies, just as if it was
the 1960s again, or as if he has learned nothing and
forgotten nothing since then."

The only good news about the Democratic candidates is that
they are already sniping at each other. If you haven't seen
it already, don't miss this delightful story about their
dust-up, particularly former supporter David Geffen's
perfect summation of the Clintons: "Everybody in politics
lies, but they do it with such ease, it's troubling." (See
also a good Cox & Forum cartoon on this.)

The worst news about the Democratic candidates is that
there is now a movement to draft Al Gore to run for
president on a platform of shutting down industrial

Over on the Republican side, the big news is something I've
been expecting for a while: the failure of the religious
right to field a major candidate. They haven't done it so
far, and I don't think they will manage to do so. If there
were such a candidate, I think we would know by now who he

That story was recently covered in the New York Times,
which inaccurately attributes the trend partly to the
recent mid-term election loss. That's not true: the current
roster of leading Republican candidates was already
established before last November. The fact is that this is
still a predominantly secular country, and secular issues
(such as the war) carry more political weight than the
cultural agenda of the religious right, which is still a
small minority.

The top three Republican candidates--and I don't expect
another strong Republican contender to challenge them--are
former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Senator John
McCain, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Mitt Romney is a man who truly deserves the description
"empty suit." As far as I can tell, he has no firm
convictions and a record of swinging with the swing voters.
The best description of Romney is from a writer at The
Politico: "Mitt Romney is Bill Clinton with his pants up."
He wants to be all things to all people.

The worst example is his position on abortion. In the past,
he has swung from being anti-abortion (to appeal to Mormons
back in Utah), to being pro-abortion (to appeal to voters
in Massachusetts), and back to being anti-abortion again
now that he's seeking the Republican nomination. (Go here
for more description of the flip-flops on abortion by
Romney and John McCain.)

McCain is not an empty suit. He stands for something.
Unfortunately, he stands for the worst kind of political
altruism. He has repeatedly preached about the need for the
individual to "sacrifice for something greater than
yourself," and he's built up a pretty good list of what he
thinks you should sacrifice. He think you should sacrifice
the right to free speech; the campaign finance law he
championed imposes limits on the ability of independent
political groups to criticize politicians during an
election. And he also thinks you should sacrifice your
prosperity: he opposed President Bush's tax cuts, and more
recently he has vigorously promoted the global warming

Two of the most critical legislative attacks on liberty in
recent decades may end up being named after him: McCain-
Feingold, the campaign finance law that launched this
nation's first direct assault on the freedom of political
speech, and McCain-Lieberman, a proposed bill to choke off
power production by capping America's carbon dioxide

Of course, McCain has been relatively good on the war, but
my line on that (which you may have noticed) is that if
John McCain saves us, who will save us from McCain?

That leaves Rudy Giuliani, who is emerging as far and away
the best Republican candidate. Giuliani is, of course, most
associated with the September 11 attacks on New York City;
since then, he has been a strong supporter of the War on
Terrorism. And while other candidates have attempted to
alter their views on abortion, "gay marriage," and other
parts of the agenda of the religious right, Giuliani has
not done so--which has actually worked to endear him more
to conservative voters. The article I linked to above,
about Romney's and McCain's meanderings on abortion, ends
with this observation: "Meanwhile, Giuliani soars [in the
polls] despite offering social conservatives few
concessions. Perhaps the moral of the story is this: If you
can't respect life, at least try to respect pro-lifers'
intelligence." Giuliani is earning points just for taking a
stand and sticking to it.

Even more interesting is a speech he delivered this week
outlining his domestic agenda. According to a report in the
New York Sun, Giuliani "call[ed] on the Republican Party to
redefine itself as 'the party of freedom,' focusing on
lower taxes, school choice, and a health care system rooted
in free market principles." In particular, Giuliani defined
the difference between Democrats and Republicans in this
way. "He said that while Republicans believe that the
American economy is 'essentially a private economy,'
Democrats 'really believe, honest, that it is essentially a
government economy.'"

I do not want to exaggerate Giuliani's virtues. He first
made his name as an over-zealous US attorney persecuting
Wall Street figures like Michael Milkin, he has no real
record as a defender of economic liberty, and even his
strong stance on terrorism can be exaggerated. I remember
back in the mid-1990s that he made headlines by refusing to
admit Yasser Arafat into a New York City event--but at
about the same time, he hosted a city event for Gerry
Adams, the political front man for the IRA. I suggested at
the time that one could explain these two contradictory
actions by his need to appease two different
constituencies: Jewish and Irish voters. Giuliani is, after
all, a politician.

So far, however, Giuliani looks like he is the best
candidate for advocates of the "secular right": that is,
for those of us who favor free markets and a vigorous war
against totalitarian Islam overseas--while opposing the
intrusion of religion into politics here at home. And
fortunately, he's now decisively in the lead.

These are my preliminary observations, but I want to stress
that they are only preliminary. As the election contest
continues, we will be inundated with a flood of new
information about the ideology, platform, and personal
character of all of the candidates--and I will have plenty
of opportunities to comment on this new information in the
more than 600 days still left before the election.

Robert Tracinski writes daily commentary at
He is the editor of The Intellectual Activist and


Opin: Gambles Seem To Have Paid Off For Paisley And Adams

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 09:32]

Forecasts of a close election have been borne out by
today's exclusive Belfast Telegraph-Ipsos Mori poll,
setting the scene for a return to devolved government at
Stormont on March 26. If the indications of voting
intentions are correct, the top four parties that would
form an executive are the same as before, with the DUP and
Sinn Fein out in front and the only surprise that the two
main nationalist parties would finish narrowly ahead of the
two main unionists by 42% to 41%.

Both Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams may heave sighs of relief
when they discover that the gambles they took with their
electorates appear to have paid off. Compared to the last
Assembly election in 2003, their support is almost
unchanged - at 25% and 22% respectively - although the DUP
has dropped from 30% and Sinn Fein from 23% in the 2005
local government election. For Ian Paisley, the decision to
keep open the option of power-sharing has failed to split
his party and for Gerry Adams, support for the PSNI has
been endorsed by the opinion poll.

Once again, it seems the nationalist electorate may hold
together better than the unionist, with the UUP suffering
from the old malaise of a salami-sliced vote, distributed
between various pro-union parties and independents.

As the gap between the two blocs narrows, there is every
incentive for the DUP to clinch the deal, while unionists
are ahead, rather than risk a pan-nationalist majority

If these results are reflected in the real poll, on March
7, there should be no insuperable obstacles to a devolution
deal by the government's deadline of March 26. It will be
hard going, with a St Patrick's Day break in Washington to
bolster the pro-devolution negotiators, but the basis for
agreement is clearly present. Half of those questioned for
the opinion poll believed a working Assembly and Executive
was possible, although only a quarter thought that Ian
Paisley and Martin McGuinness could work reasonably well
together, as opposed to two-thirds who disagreed.

As for the proposal to transfer criminal justice and
policing powers to a devolved Assembly - which played a big
part in getting Sinn Fein to endorse the PSNI - there is a
clear split between the two communities. Just less than
half of Protestants support the move, compared to 70% of
Catholics, leaving an overall majority of 58% in favour.
With such a division of opinion, only one of many, a busy
three-week period of negotiations lies ahead. But the prize
of local decision-making, on bread and butter issues, is
too valuable to turn down.

c Belfast Telegraph


Camera's Eye On 40 Years Of Ulster History

[Published: Thursday 1, March 2007 - 11:57]
By Matthew McCreary

Images from Northern Ireland's troubled past will be going
on display next week as part of a new exhibition.

Out of the Darkness celebrates 40 years of Press
photography in the province, from the years when car bombs
and riots were a daily occurrence, to the recent steps
towards peace and political settlement.

Among the pictures which will be on display at the Ormeau
Baths Gallery are the funeral of one of two policemen
killed by the IRA in 1997 just before it announced a
ceasefire, and celebrations in east Belfast following the
collapse of the power-sharing executive in 1974.

Around 120 images will be on show at the gallery, with
around 300 more available to visitors in a special DVD
viewing room.

The exhibition has been organised by the Northern Ireland
Press Photographers Association and many of the images on
show are by well-known Belfast Telegraph photographers.

The display will also be travelling to Washington DC as
part of this year's Rediscover Northern Ireland programme
and the Smithsonian Institution's Folklife Festival. The
images will be displayed at the prestigious National Press
Club in the city.

"Local photographers showed us the grim aftermath of a life
in Northern Ireland punctuated by the Troubles," said John
Harrison, chairman of the Northern Ireland Press
Photographers Association.

"Many of these photographs have made the news on a global
scale. Northern Ireland has come a long way since the civil
unrest in the early 70's and with 60 NIPPA photographers
taking part in this exhibition I hope that this positive
chapter in our history continues."

Rois¡n McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council,
said: "This is a fascinating exhibition by some of Northern
Ireland's best photographers.

"The photographs are perhaps more remarkable because they
capture moments in an extraordinary passage in the history
of Northern Ireland.

"Photographers are now recording the many positive aspects
of our cultural life, the arts, concerts, business life and
sporting events as well as the personal stories and
achievements of ordinary Northern Irish people going about
their business."

Out of the Darkness is open to the public from Thursday,
March 8, and continues until March 24. The Ormeau Baths
Gallery on Ormeau Avenue is open Tuesday to Saturday, from
10am to 6pm and admission is free.

c Belfast Telegraph


NI Priest Is Shot In Johannesburg

A missionary priest originally from north Belfast has been
shot in South Africa.

Father Kieran Creagh, who works with Aids sufferers in
Johannesburg, was attacked by robbers in the hospice he

He is now believed to be in a stable condition in hospital.

Father Creagh's brother Liam said it was a traumatic
experience. "Two men came in and they over-powered the
guards," he said.

They went up to the apartment where he stays at the hospice
and they rang the bell.

"He thought it was a patient coming to get him. He opened
the door and I think there was a bit of a struggle.

"They fired two shots at least. One shot hit him in one of
his lungs - and it is lodged there - and the other shot
went through his arm."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/01 13:21:52 GMT


February 'Warmest Since 2002'

01/03/2007 - 13:05:58

The warmer-than-normal winter continued through February,
Met ireann said today, with last month's average
temperatures one degree higher than usual.

Even though we had our fair share of frosty nights, mild
weather during the day ensured there was a feeling that
spring had finally sprung.

While temperatures rose to a high of 14.7C in Kilkenny on
Monday, Clones in Co Monaghan felt the coldest on February
7 with a low of -6.5C.

Valentia station, off the Kerry coast, was the warmest on
average at 7.9C, while Knock in Co Mayo was the coldest at
an average 5C.

Met ireann's summary for the month said it was mild and
mostly sunny but wet in the south.

Rainfall totals were above normal across the southern half
of the country, but the north stayed relatively dry.

Met ireann said that despite little rain before February
7, the total number of wet days, when 1mm or more of rain
fell, was above normal everywhere. Most weather stations
had 14 to 16 wet days, compared with the normal 11 to 15.

Valentia was by far the wettest with 20 days of rain.

We had our fair share of wintry showers over three days
from February 7 to 10 with widespread falls of sleet or
snow and hail or snow showers.

The sun shone right through the month, giving us a sunnier
than normal February, yet most stations had their brightest
days in the first week.

Forecasters said that at most stations it was the warmest
February since 2002.

Frost affected most of the country in the first week, but
for the rest of the month they were relatively uncommon.

Inland stations recorded between eight and 11, around
normal for February, but none were recorded at either
Rosslare or Valentia.


Irish Films To Mark St. Patrick's Day In London

As part of London's activities to mark St Patrick's Day, a
series of films is being screened at the Barbican and the
Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square, illustrating Irish
history and Irish experience in the British capital.

Curated by director-producer David P Kelly, a partner at
the European Co-Production Bureau in London, the Irish Film
Festival includes 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley' and
silent classic 'Irish Destiny', plus documentary and Irish
language short films. It is being supported by the Mayor of
London, in partnership with the Irish Film Institute, the
Irish Film Board and Culture Ireland.

On Tuesday 13 March, to launch the festival, the Barbican
has a special showing of Irish Destiny, one of Ireland's
greatest and most historically significant silent films.
Produced to mark the tenth anniversary of the Easter Rising
and believed lost for decades, Irish Destiny was
rediscovered in the early 1990s. The film is a love story
set against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence
and includes actual newsreel footage of the Black and Tans,
the burning of Cork and the burning of Dublin's Customs
House. Michael O'Suilleabhain, who wrote the music, will
introduce the film, with a welcome by Mayor Ken

The other films in the festival are being shown from 2.30pm
until 5.45pm on Sunday 18 March at the Prince Charles
Cinema, Leicester Square. The afternoon will be introduced
by M. Hickman and T. Murray from the Irish Studies
Department, London Metropolitan University.

Films include Ken Wardrop's 'Undressing My Mother', winner
of the best short film at the European Film Awards, which
explores an Irish woman's perspective on her fading looks
and ageing body.

'An diog is faide' tell the real life tale of Sonnie
Murphy, who got the chance to represent Ireland in the
steeplechase in the Los Angeles 1932 Olympics. Hugh
Farley's film won the best Irish language award at the Cork
film festival.

David P. Kelly's 'I Only Came Over For A While' is an
evocative film that merges together a host of interviews
with elderly Irish women and men, who share their memories
of coming to London during the 1940s to 1960s. The film has
been acclaimed as a moving and valuable record of an often
forgotten but important section of London's population.

Closing the festival will be Ken Loach's award winning 'The
Wind That Shakes The Barley'. The Cannes Film Festival
winner is set during the Irish War of Independence and the
subsequent Irish Civil Warand tells the story of two
brothers who become part of a small group of Irish
Republican Army activists.

The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: "We wanted
Londoners to have the opportunity to find out more about
Irish history and to glimpse a part of the Irish story in
London. The Irish community is a big part of London's
cultural life and hope the Irish Film Festival will become
an annual event as part of the capital's St Patrick's Day

The Irish Film Festival is one of many events taking place
across the city to mark St Patrick's Day, including the
annual parade and festival, also on Sunday 18 March. All
the screenings at the Prince Charles Cinema are free and
everyone is welcome to attend.



Luck Of The Irish - And Everyone Else Month Of Events For
Public Celebrates St. Patrick's Day

By Rosemary Ford , Staff Writer

For some people, St. Patrick's Day is just one day. In some
areas, the celebration extends to a week.

Here in Greater Lawrence, the celebration takes an entire

Lawrence's Rev. James T. O'Reilly Division 8 of the Ancient
Order of Hibernians and the Lawrence Irish Foundation have
organized a month of activities packed with Irish culture
for North of Boston - and there's not a green beer or a
drinking contest among them.

"We try to combat some of that silly stuff," said David
Burke of Lawrence, a Hibernian and celebration organizer.
"Most Irish-Americans don't really know about their
heritage and their culture and the sacrifices generations
before them have made. The green beer and the St. Patrick's
cards have made a mockery of it."

Lawrence's official affinity with the Irish goes back
nearly 100 years - the City Council was the first
governmental body to recognize the Republic of Ireland in
1919 when President of Ireland Eamon DeValera came to the
city. And while there aren't as many Irish eyes smiling in
the city today, the connection to the Emerald Isle remains
strong here, according to Burke.

"Lawrence is very unique. The Latinos' participation in St.
Patrick's Day celebrations is unbelievable," said Burke.
"It's a great, great thing to have everybody joining in and
marching for the St. Patrick's Day Parade."

You see this affinity today in the crowds attending Irish
performances and lectures in the area. Peter Waldron,
artistic director of the Rogers Center for the Arts at
Merrimack College, said that any Irish event at the college
tends to sell out any time of year - although March events
go the quickest. This month, the center's concert by tenor
John McDermott is already sold out, with performances of
the New England Civic Ballet's "Enchanted Glen" not far

"John McDermott is more than sold out, we have a waiting
list," said Waldron. "People love their traditions, and the
Irish tradition here is a fun one."

Even with those events full or close to, there's still
plenty to do around North of Boston this month.

Why do the Irish conjure such a celebration? Experts say
because being Irish, especially at this time of year, is
just that great, and that feeling trickles over into the

"To be Irish is to be enamored of the music in language,"
said Gene Haley, a Newburyport resident and Irish historian
at Harvard University. "And that is not a bad thing to be,
that is why we produce so many great poets."

A month of Irish events

The Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Irish Foundation of
Lawrence have joined forces to present a series of cultural
programs for Irish Heritage Month throughout the Merrimack
Valley. You don't have to be Irish or a Hibernian to enjoy
these events, which include special exhibits, lectures and
presentations, concerts, food and children's programs.


* Photography: Exhibit of photos of the 1916 Uprising that
paved the way for Irish freedom begins today at the
Lawrence Heritage State Park, 1 Jackson St., open 9 a.m. to
4 p.m. daily, free.

* Paintings: The work of Irish artists is on display at
Lorica Artworks, 90 Main St., Andover, beginning today.
Viewing hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and
admission is free.


* Storytelling: "An Afternoon with Nora Joyce, wife of
James Joyce" presented by Grammy-nominated storyteller
Sharon Kennedy at the Lawrence Public Library, Sargent
Auditorium, 51 Lawrence St., Sunday, March 18 at 1:30 p.m.
Note: Not for people under age 18.

* Lecture: "The Irish Fight for Freedom: Easter 1916" by
University of Massachusetts Prof. William Matthews,
Saturday, March 3 at the Lawrence Heritage State Park, 1:30
p.m., free.

* Lecture: "The History of the Harvard Celtic Department
and Lawrence's Contribution To It" by Dr. Gene Haley of
Harvard University, Sunday at the Louise Haffner Fournier
Education Center, Northern Essex Community College,
Lawrence Campus, 78 Amesbury St., at 2 p.m., free.

* Reading: Artist and author John Connery speaks about his
new book "Under a Black Thornbush," Thursday, March 15 at
the Claddagh Restaurant and Pub, 399 Canal St., Lawrence,
at 6:30 p.m., free.

* Film: Irish Film Festival Saturday, March 17 at Lawrence
Heritage State Park Visitor's Center beginning at 11 a.m.,
free. Call 978-794-1655 for details.


* Tenor: "An Evening with John McDermott," Friday, March 16
at the Rogers Center, Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike St.,
North Andover. Tickets are $35 general admission or $25 for
seniors. Call 978-837-5355.

* Traditional music: Claddagh Restaurant and Pub, Saturday,
March 17, all day, free.

* Piano: "Ireland in Song - a Recital on a Steinway Piano,"
Sunday, March 25, Sargent Auditorium, Lawrence Public
Library at 2 p.m., free


* Ballet: "The Enchanted Glen," at the Rogers Center,
Merrimack College, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 24
and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. Tickets are for $22 general
admission and $20 for seniors. Call 978-837-5355.


* Breakfast: Claddagh Restaurant and Pub, 8 a.m. to 11
a.m., $8 per person, Saturday, March 3.

* Dinner: St Patrick's Day Dinner Dance at the Claddagh
Restaurant and Pub, Saturday, March 10. Tickets are $25 per

* Lunch: 38th annual Corned Beef and Cabbage Luncheon at
the Claddagh Restaurant and Pub, Friday, March 16. Music by
the Silver Spears Irish Show Band. Tickets are $30. For
information and reservations, call 603-898-7766.

Children's programs

* Reading: Marianne Bolger of the Irish Consulate in Boston
and Mayor Michael J. Sullivan at the South Lawrence Branch
of the Lawrence Public Library, Friday, March 2, 135 Parker
St., 11:30 a.m., free admission includes refreshments.

* Storytelling: Monday, March 12 at 11 a.m., and Monday,
March 19 at 11 a.m., at the South Lawrence Branch of the
Lawrence Public Library. Free, refreshments served.


* Race: 13th annual Irish Classic Four Mile Road Race and
Walk at 11 a.m. at the Claddagh Restaurant and Pub in
Lawrence on Sunday, March 4. Proceeds to benefit cancer
research. Call 978-688-8337 for details.


* Parade: St Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday, March 11 at 1
p.m. in Lawrence. Starts at the intersection of Salem and
South Union streets in Lawrence.

Copyright c 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.


Jonathan Tucker And Olivia Wilde Get Dark With The Black Donnellys

Tucker and Wilde discuss the subject matter of the show,
the relationship between their characters, and working with
writer/director Paul Haggis

With The Departed taking the Best Picture honors at this
years Academy Awards, the time certainly seems ripe for a
show about an Irish American family to grace the small
screen. The Black Donnellys follows an Irish family living
in New York in a crime-ridden neighborhood. The Donnelly
family includes four brothers who are very close and
protective of one another. The show is filmed in New York
City, and is based on the background of Bobby Moresco, one
of the series' executive producer-creators. The other
executive producer/creator who also directed The Black
Donnellys pilot is Paul Haggis. Moresco and Haggis are the
Academy Award winning co-writers of last years Best Picture

We recently sat on conference call with Jonathan Tucker,
who plays Tommy Donnelly and Olivia Wilde, who plays Jenny
Reilly on the show.

Jonathan, how do you get prepared for a scene? Do you
listen to the Dropkick Murphys? Do you watch The Departed?

Jonathan Tucker: I do use music a lot for my acting and I
do have a personal playlist that I create. iTunes has been
great for that because it allows me to personalize the
scenes. I don't do the Dropkick Murphys because they're not
on iTunes. I've been doing Flogging Molly which is a
wonderful band for the Irish stuff.

Since there's a lot of testosterone on the set, Olivia, do
you play any pranks on the guys to hold your own?

Olivia Wilde: They play enough pranks on each other so
there's no room for my pranks. They are such a pleasure to
work with that I never really feel outnumbered. I guess I
feel like one of the guys and they feel like one of the

Do you two find the duality of the characters interesting?
They're nurturing but at the same time they're also very
tough on the outside?

Olivia Wilde: I think it's a matter of survival. That's
what they have to do in order to keep going in that world.
I think the women have to remain incredibly strong and sort
of turn the other cheek, pretend they're not seeing a lot
of what's going on, and yet keep everything going and

Are either of you worried about playing into the
stereotypes of Irish Americans with these roles on this

Olivia Wilde: Because we're working under the guidance of
Bobby Moresco who grew up in Hell's Kitchen, I feel like
there's absolutely no creative license we're taking with
who these people are and their essence. I don't think
there's any negative stereotypes being drawn on the show. I
think the most important thing we're showing is that this
is a community that sticks together no matter what. It's a
very isolated community but it is very difficult to
extricate yourself from it and move beyond it. I hope that
no Irish people take offensive at any of the statements
being made in the show. Of course, it's very different from
Irish Americans and I think we're making a point of showing

Jonathan Tucker: The show is about contrast. We try and
show it as fully and as richly as we can in the stories
that there is violence, there is alcohol, and there's this
sense of impetuousness that you see with young boys but
there's also tremendous love and family values and great

Olivia, do you ever envy that the guys are the ones who get
to walk around with the guns?

Olivia Wilde: Oh you just wait, Jenny gets tougher and
tougher. I love her restraint. There's a few times when you
think, "If I were Jenny, I would blow up at that point or I
would break down." She has learned to practice extreme
restraint and self control. I think that makes it really
fun for me as an actress to give sort of the opposite
reaction that you think she should. She does get tougher
and tougher. The only reason she doesn't fight as much as
they do is because she knows it's usually not a good idea.

Jonathan, you come from a dance background. That's an
interesting contrast. Did that help with the fight
choreography or anything?

Jonathan Tucker: I wish I could give you a good answer and
say that it did. It really really helped when I was
younger... with punctuality and the ability to listen and
take direction, that was invaluable.

What is the big obstacle now with your two characters
getting together?

Olivia Wilde: Basically, the difference between this show
and a normal television drama is that when it comes to love
interests and the love story, we don't have the luxury of
dwelling on the ups and downs and flirting and all of that
business. There's too many life or death things to be
worrying about. The stakes are too high. I think that they
both realize that. Even though Jenny would have loved for
Thomas to not get in that elevator, and to stay with her...
that wasn't because she wanted him to be with her. She's
trying to save his life. She sees him going down that road
of his brothers, of losing his way out of the neighborhood
and losing his life.

As far as their romance together, it continues to be this
difficult decision of "Do we give in to our instincts?" Or,
"Do we remember that this can't happen?" A) Because I'm
married, B) because I morally object to everything that
he's doing. I told him not to do it and he did it against
my will and I think that's really what stops them.

Jonathan Tucker: I think Olivia's response to that is where
we all are as actors in terms of the conversations that
we're having with each other. You think about acting kind
of as an iceberg where you've got that 5% that you see...
but in order to have that 5%... you have to have another
95%. What we were really talking about on this set was how
we're fighting against something. That's particularly
between Tommy and Jenny. We're trying to not show how much
we care about each other. Or, not show how much something
hurts us or costs us emotionally. In order to fight against
it, you have to have a lot going on under the water.

What's it like working with Paul Haggis?

Jonathan Tucker: This is their show and they were day to
day workers. So it was a very intimate relationship that
was created between all of us. Paul is a beautifully
complex person with an incredible sense of empathy. You
feel when you're working with him, both behind and in front
of the camera that he's right there next to you. Sometimes,
he's even right there next to you. He can be very close to
you and walk you through things and talk you through
things. You feel like he's sculpting you in some ways. He's
a huge part of the performance.

Olivia Wilde: I agree he sort of became my mentor after we
shot the pilot. I think a lot of people assume that he's
not really around and he just slapped his name on it.
That's really not the case. He not only directed two
episodes. He supervised the writing and editing on all of
them and was always available to us, and was open to my
very early morning calls about "Would Jenny be standing
behind the counter at the diner again?" Or, "Would she say
this?" Or, "Would she kill this person?" He's very hands on
and a wonderful person.

The Black Donnellys airs on Monday nights at 10pm (EST) on NBC.

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