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)

April 08, 2007

Thousands Line Street to Remember Easter Rising Heroes

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 04/08/07 Thousands Line Street To Remember Easter Rising Heroes
RN 04/08/07 Annual Easter Statement Issued By Provisional IRA (2007).
BB 04/08/07 Easter Parade Cancelled Over Teen Deaths
BB 04/08/07 Mass Held Outside Closed St Joseph Church
BT 04/08/07 Paisley Urged: Admit Trimble Was Right All Along
BT 04/08/07 Allister Fury At Paisley Chat To Nolan
LA 04/08/07 Opin: Illegal? Better If You're Irish
PI 04/08/07 A Lifeline For Northern Ireland's Troubled Children
BN 04/08/07 Lobby Groups Clash Over Hunting Ban


Thousands Line Street To Remember Easter Rising Heroes

08/04/2007 - 14:50:29

Several thousand people lined Dublin's O'Connell Street
today as Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and President Mary McAleese
led commemorations to mark the 91st anniversary of the
Easter Rising.

In a relatively low-key ceremony, 350 members of the
Defence Forces stood guard outside the iconic GPO in
glorious sunshine as the traditional honours were offered
to the heroes of 1916.

Just after midday a short prayer and the Proclamation were
read, the Tricolour on top of the GPO was lowered to half
mast and President McAleese laid a wreath before a minute's
silence was observed and the last post sounded.

A rooftop fly past by the Air Corps the length of O'Connell
Street rounded off the ceremony, which lasted just over
half an hour.

Garda¬° estimated that 5,000 people lined O'Connell Street.

The somewhat subdued commemoration was planned by the
Government to be much smaller than last year's 90th
anniversary celebrations which saw regiments of officers
march through the capital and put the best of the Defence
Force's equipment on display.

Although this year's event involved several hundred troops
it was in marked contrast to 12 months ago with no parade,
none of the military hardware which dominated last year's
tribute on show and no speeches.

President McAleese and the Taoiseach led the dignitaries
taking part in the event who included Defence Minister
Willie O'Dea, former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, Fine Gael
leader Enda Kenny and Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte.

Relatives of those who fought and died in the Easter Rising
also attended the ceremony and later attended a private
function in the GPO.

The ceremony began around midday with the 350 members of
the Defence Forces forming in front of the GPO. Included
were officers from the 1st Southern, 2nd Eastern and 4th
Western Brigades, as well the Defence Forces Training
Centre in the Curragh, the Air Corps and Naval Service.

All troops paraded with their respective brigade and
service colours as Mr O'Dea inspected the troops.

A Guard of Honour from the Cadet School of the Military
College stood directly in front of the GPO as President
McAleese's motorcade arrived flanked by motorbike

A 107 strong presidential Guard of Honour drawn from the
62nd and 63rd Reserve Infantry Battalions and the 62nd
Reserve Regiment of the Reserve Defence Forces also lined
the street.

The President inspected the troops before taking her place
at the head of dignitaries facing the building.

A brief prayer was offered by Army chaplain Right Reverend
Monsignor Eoin Thynne and the Proclamation of Independence
was read by Captain Therese O'Keeffe on the steps of the

President McAleese was invited by the Taoiseach to lay a
wreath at the front of the building in honour of those who
fought and died for the Republic in 1916.

A minute silence and the national anthem drew the ceremony
to a close as the Tricolour was returned to full mast and
the Air Corps performed its fly past.


The Following Is The Annual Easter Statement Issued By The
Provisional IRA (2007).

On this, the 91st anniversary of the 1916 Rising the
leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann extends solidarity to the
families of our patriot dead.

This year also marks the 50th Anniversary of the Border
Campaign and we remember with pride those comrades and
friends who gave their lives in that phase of our struggle.

We send solidarity greetings to our imprisoned comrades and
their families.

We believe that the outstanding endorsement of the Sinn
Fein position last month is further validation of the
initiatives and decisions taken by us in recent times.

We believe that Irish republicanism is stronger, more
united and more confident than at any time since partition
and that we can achieve an end to the partition of our
country and the establishment of a free

and independent Ireland.

We firmly believe that our republican goal of a united
Ireland is achievable through purely peaceful and
democratic means. We remain fully committed to the
establishment of the ideals and principles

enshrined in the Proclamation of 1916.

The will of the people has been and is to see advances in
the political process. The British and Irish governments
and all of the political parties must ensure that this
happens. We welcome the breakthrough on

Monday 26 March and we commend all involved and we urge
them to continue their efforts to advance the peace

Beirigi Bua.


Parade Cancelled Over Teen Deaths

Republicans have cancelled an Easter Sunday parade in
Castlewellan as a mark of respect to two cousins who died
while canoeing on a local lake.

Rory McAlinden, 18, and Claire Steel, 16, went missing in
the water at Forest Park at Castlewellan Forest Park 0100
BST on Saturday.

Prayers have also been said for the teenagers at churches
in the town on Sunday morning.

Sinn Fein Councillor Eamon McConvey said their deaths were
a "tragedy".

He said: "Instead of parading round the town with the bands
and maybe a couple of thousand people we have decided just
to have a wreath-laying ceremony.

"We as republicans would just like to share sympathy and
show our respect for the family."

A third person in the canoe managed to swim ashore and dial

Friends and relatives mounted a vigil at the lakeside as
their bodies were recovered by a search party.

Laurence Cummings of the Coastguard said the cousins were
found by a local dive team at about 1100 BST on Saturday.

"They were located in the north east corner of the lake,
not very far from a small jetty," he said.

"It is our understanding that they were between 30 to 40ft
from the shore."

The coastguard, the police and the fire and rescue service
had all been involved in the search. A police helicopter
was also used in the operation.

Superintendent Peter Loughins said the third person who
managed to swim to safety was not physically injured, but
was in a state of shock.

"Shortly after 1100 BST, police dogs and a civilian dog
located in the water a body," he confirmed.

"In response to that the Mourne Underwater Search Team
subsequently found the bodies of Clare Steele and Rory

He added: "We give our sympathy to the families involved at
this time."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/08 12:59:56 GMT


Mass Held Outside Closed Church

Campaigners calling for a Belfast church to be reopened
have held Easter Sunday Mass outside the building.

St Joseph's, situated in the Sailortown district, was
closed in 2001 because of falling congregation numbers.

However, the group set up to save the church say the
authorities should reconsider the decision because new
homes are being built in the area.

'Al fresco' services have become a regular feature at the
church with the congregation worshipping at its door.

Father Des Wilson, who has been a long supporter of the
campaign to save St Joseph's, celebrated Mass.

Since the church, which is due to be weather proofed, was
closed it has been falling into disrepair, and the
buildings around it have been knocked down.

But Gerry Gallagher, the secretary of the Save St Joseph's
campaign, says redevelopment in the area is giving new hope
for the listed building's future.

"We're actually quite positive about the fact that the
buildings on either side have been knocked down because
those old buildings will soon be replaced with newly built
housing and for the first time in a number of years people
will once again live within sight and sound of St Joseph's
church," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/08 12:15:36 GMT


Paisley Urged: Admit Trimble Was Right All Along

[Published: Friday 6, April 2007 - 08:48]
By Noel McAdam

Former Environment Minister Sam Foster last night urged Ian
Paisley to admit that former Ulster Unionist Party leader
David Trimble was initially right.

And he warned the DUP leader: "The trouble with pulling the
wool over the voters' eyes is that they soon recognise the

The retired Ulster Unionist also insisted his party had
done the spadework while Mr Paisley and others had sat on
the fence.

"Now we are all aware, of course, that Paisley is wearing
the Ulster Unionists clothes," the former politician said
in a letter.

"It is general knowledge that Paisley now reaps the
benefits of the foraging the Ulster Unionists did in the
earlier years.

"If Dr Paisley is as Christian as he (purports) to be, he
would, in all honesty, admit that David Trimble was right

Mr Foster said he had not been impressed by Mr Paisley's
BBC interview with Stephen Nolan or the historic handshake
with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

And he dismissed Mr Paisley's claim that he had been forced
into a deal with Sinn Fein because of the Government threat
of greater Irish involvement in the affairs of Northern
Ireland as "a load of bluff".

c Belfast Telegraph


Allister Fury At Paisley Chat To Nolan

[Published: Thursday 5, April 2007 - 14:42]
By Noel McAdam

Former DUP MEP Jim Allister today railed against his former
party leader Ian Paisley over his BBC Stephen Nolan

The DUP leader said he had no alternative to doing a deal
with Sinn Fein because of the threat of 'Plan B' involving
an enhanced role for the Irish government.

"How would I have faced my people if I had allowed this
country to have the union destroyed and the setting up of a
joint government by the south of Ireland?" he asked.

But just over a week after quitting the party - though
staying on as MEP - Mr Allister said he was intrigued that
Plan B had become "the primary excuse now for dashing into
government with Sinn Fein".

The most high-profile member of the party to quit said he
believed Mr Paisley was "protesting too much" and argued
that the interview supported his argument that the DUP's
decision to go into government had been premature.

"If the primary reason for the dash into government with
Sinn Fein/IRA was indeed the threat of 'Plan B', then I am
astounded that never once was this so-called 'Plan B' laid
before DUP party officers, of whom I was one, so that they
could make a measured judgment," he said.

"Me thinks he doth protest too much about the supposed
threat of 'Plan B'. We vilified (Lord) Trimble for years as
the epitome of 'pushover unionism', now it seems all it
took from (Tony) Blair was the unspecified and exaggerated
threat of a supposed Plan B to roll over Ian Paisley.

"This interview itself illustrates the prematurity of the
DUP decision to partner Sinn Fein in government, because
Ian Paisley had to concede that he does not know if Gerry
Adams still believes in terror.

"Likewise, his evasion and prevarication on the necessity
for an end to the Army Council shows that this one time
prerequisite is to be fudged and forgotten."

Tensions within the DUP continued to surface today as Upper
Bann member Alan Reavie said his party executive's decision
to go into government had been " politically and morally

In a letter to the News Letter, he said it was arrant
nonsense to claim the DUP branch of unionists is
controlling the conditions for government.

"Why was no default mechanism agreed prior to any power-
sharing agreement and why was a mandatory coalition
accepted when the DUP stated its opposition to it."

c Belfast Telegraph


Opin: Illegal? Better If You're Irish

Gregory Rodriguez

An estimated 30,000 undocumented immigrants who aren't
Latino live a more native-born life in New York.

April 8, 2007

Woodlawn, The Bronx - IMAGINE HILLARY Clinton holding up a
T-shirt that read: "Legalize Mexicans." That's not going to
happen, right?

Well, last month in Washington, at a rally hosted by the
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, the leading Democratic
candidate for president actually did have her picture taken
holding a shirt that read: "Legalize the Irish." That's the
lobby's in-your-face slogan, which says a lot about the
role that race (and ethnicity) plays in the debate about
illegal immigration. Latino activists bend over backward
trying to cloak undocumented Mexican migrants in the slogan
"We are America," but their Irish counterparts don't feel
similarly obliged.

There are an estimated 50,000 Irish illegal
immigrants in the U.S.; 30,000 of them are thought to live
in New York City. Today, this tiny corner in the northern
reaches of the Bronx is perhaps the most heavily Irish-born
neighborhood in New York, and advocates believe that as
many as 40% of local immigrants are undocumented.

On Tuesday afternoon, I walked up Katonah Avenue,
Woodlawn's main shopping street, trying to guess who was or
wasn't here illegally. How about that blond woman walking
with her child? Or perhaps the redhead in pink sweats?
Surely the two rough-hewn construction workers enjoying a
lunchtime beer at the Rambling House bar didn't have
papers. Like the woman I met in California's Central Valley
a few months ago who told me how odd it had been to see
white people engaged in farm labor in Australia, it was a
decidedly new sensation for me to suspect all the white
people around me of being illegal.

"When I tell people I'm undocumented, it shocks them," said
Mary Brennan, a nurse's aide who has lived in the U.S. for
almost 17 years. "They think of JFK or Ronald Reagan, and
they can't understand how an Irish person could be

Though Brennan shares the hardships of undocumented status
with other illegal immigrants throughout the country - last
year she was unable to attend her brother's funeral in
Ireland for fear that she'd be denied reentry to the U.S. -
she acknowledges that Irish illegals do have a slight
advantage. It's all in the stereotypes - race-based,
language-based, class-based.

Her friend, contractor Dermot Byrne, who also is here
illegally, agrees. "From my experience, we're not singled
out. If someone's driving down the street and they see five
Mexican guys on one side and five Irish guys on the other,
they're going to think that the Mexicans are illegal, even
though it could be the other way around."

Despite his status, Byrne has placed a pro-immigration-
reform sticker on his car, as well as Irish versions of an
"I love Jalisco" decal that identify his and his wife's
home counties in the old country.

Irish immigrant advocates are acutely aware that the
American public doesn't identify the Irish as alien, let
alone illegal, and they consciously leverage this positive
prejudice to their advantage.

"The fact that they're white Europeans agitating for
immigration reform is helpful," said Niall O'Dowd, chairman
of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and publisher of
the Irish Voice newspaper. "Bottom line is that every
ethnic group brings their own strength to the debate. We
can't put a million people in the street, but we have
positive political identification and a lot of access to
Democrats and Republicans."

There are 40 million Americans of Irish descent, and O'Dowd
believes that a good portion of them, particularly the
politicians, are sympathetic to the plight of illegal Irish
immigrants. His office is filled with snapshots of him
shoulder to shoulder with the likes of John McCain, Bill
Clinton and Ted Kennedy. "The key is to have sympathetic
politicians of the same ethnic background," he said.

Seeking to put a white Irish face on the issue of illegal
immigration, O'Dowd and the Irish Lobby sent a delegation
of 3,000 undocumented workers to Washington last month, not
to protest but to lobby U.S. lawmakers. "We Irish are good
at playing politics from the inside," he said. "When
politicians see that even the Irish can be undocumented,
then they realize that there's something wrong with the
immigration system."

But whites' more favorable view of illegal immigrants who
look like them may not translate to the growing number of
Americans whose ancestors do not hail from Europe. The
Pakistani-born cab driver who took me from the subway
station to Katonah Avenue said he generally found Irish
immigrants to be nice, as well as good tippers. "But they
won't rent you an apartment around here if you're not
Irish," he said. "They don't want to mix with other races."

Damn immigrants.


A Lifeline For Northern Ireland's Troubled Children

In Ireland, it's known as the Troubles - the violence and
prejudice in Northern Ireland that pits Catholics and
Republicans against Protestants and Loyalists. But for the
children of Northern Ireland, especially those from
Belfast, it's known by a different name.


A brief respite comes for a few weeks each summer when
families such as West Deptford's Marie and Phil Hempsey
welcome these children, Catholic and Protestant, into their
homes and hearts as participants in Project Children.

The Hempseys have never traveled to Northern Ireland, but
this family has had an impact on its people.

Question: Can you give us the background of Project

Marie Hempsey: It was started in 1975 by Denis Mulcahy, a
New York City police officer and Irishman who immigrated to
New York from his home in County Cork. In the '70s, the
Troubles were at their height - bombs, snipers, kids losing
their parents and in danger themselves. Mulcahy decided to
get kids out. He started with six kids.

Q: How many have been brought over to date?

Marie Hempsey: Around 15,000.

Q: How did your family get involved?

Marie Hempsey: Divine intervention! Eight years ago, we
were at the Irish festival in Gloucester. Papers were
blowing down the street. The woman chasing them was Sister
Francis Kirk, the local coordinator for Project Children.
We started talking.

Phil Hempsey: It took some string pulling because Sister
thought we had our hands full with our four kids . . . and
another on the way. They assigned us one child.

Q: And how many have you had since?

Marie Hempsey: We've hosted 16 so far, and four years ago
when Sister Francis had a stroke, she asked me to take over
as coordinator.

Q: How do your children and the kids from Northern Ireland
get along?

Phil Hempsey: Our kids range in age from 21 to 11, so the
kids we host always have someone around their age to pal
around with. Both sides become close, consider the other
part of their family and keep in touch well past their time

Q: Since the signing of the Good Friday Peace Accord in
1998, some people think that the Troubles are over. Have
any of the children's stories really painted a picture of
how bad things still are?

Marie Hempsey: We hosted two sisters, Chloe and Rebecca
McKernan. To get to their elementary school, Holy Cross,
which is a girls' Catholic school, they had to walk down a
street that people call the gauntlet. The street has two
levels and Protestants would stand on the higher level and
scream at the girls, insult them and throw bottles full of
urine. Some people called them Finnian whores.

Phil Hempsey: Chloe was in the second grade. Rebecca was in
kindergarten. We've seen video.

Q: Is the main mission of Project Children to get these
kids away from the violence and prejudice, or to introduce
them to children that they were raised to hate?

Marie Hempsey: To get them away from the violence. The
hatred goes deep - hundreds and hundreds of years deep.
It'll take a generation that is removed, who hasn't lost a
parent or had one jailed by the Troubles, to cause them to
end. Sometimes, the children do meet kids from the other
side here in the States. Friendships do happen.
Understandings do happen. But giving these kids a safe way
to spend the summer is our main goal.

Phil Hempsey: And to keep them away from the recruiters.
Extremists on both sides recruit children during the
summer, it's easier to target kids.

Q: Where do the funds come from to make Project Children

Marie Hempsey: Donations. All the money goes toward getting
the children over. Everybody who is involved is a
volunteer. Nobody is paid. One of the big events we do in
the Southern Jersey/Philadelphia area is a beef and beer at
the Ancient Order of Hibernians in National Park.

Phil Hempsey: It's April 14. Three Irish bands have donated
their time to play - the Shantys, Bare Knuckle Boxers, and
the Broken Shillelaghs. We're also raffling off a trip to

Q: What do families who would like to host a child need to

Marie Hempsey: I want people to know that you don't have to
be Irish, Catholic or Protestant. Anybody is encouraged to
host a child.

- Kerry O'Connor


Lobby Groups Clash Over Hunting Ban

08/04/2007 - 10:43:20

Rival lobby groups battling it out over the future of fox
hunting in Ireland have clashed over calls for an outright

The row comes after a major survey found 64% of people
support a ban on fox hunting, while 68% condemned it as

But pro-hunt campaigners have dismissed the poll
commissioned by The League Against Cruel Sports.

Researchers asked to test public opinion questioned nearly
1,000 people at 62 locations around Ireland following
Britain outlawing the sport.

League spokeswoman Fionna Smyth said the survey found major
opposition to fox hunting and argued the Irish people were
sending out a clear message in favour of a ban.

"This is a deeply unpopular 'sport', and it is grotesque
that it should be allowed to continue in a civilised
society," she said.

"It simply allows a minority of bloodsports enthusiasts to
chase our wildlife for hours until it is exhausted and then
ripped to pieces."

The Millward Brown poll found 68% of people believed fox
hunting was cruel, though 15% believed it to be humane.

The survey also found 64% supported a ban on hunting, with
19% saying they believed it should remain legal and 16%

But Ronan Gorman of Countryside Alliance Ireland which
supports hunting, dismissed the findings.

"If it was true that this kind of number of people didn't
support hunting, then the hunt could not take place," he

"A hunt needs the overwhelming support of a local community
to go ahead.

"Hunts take place over large areas and they have to have
access to large areas of uninterrupted territory.

"Hunting is the sort of activity that physically could not
take place if there was this level of opposition."

Fox hunting is banned in Britain, but is legal in Northern
Ireland and in the Republic, where this latest survey was

Hunt groups in England have nevertheless sought to exploit
loop-holes in the law.

The British legislation includes an exemption for hunting
with birds of prey and fox hunts have brought birds with
them in an attempt to evade the ban.

This has led critics to claim huntsmen are setting out to
defy the law.

Mr Gorman argued hunting boosted the economy and helped in
pest control in rural areas.

He also denied it was cruel, claiming most foxes escaped
the hunt, with sick or diseased animals most likely to be

But Fionna Smyth denied hunting served any practical
purpose and highlighted complaints by landowners that hunts
had crossed their property without permission.

"It is ineffective predator control and causes significant
havoc for many countryside dwellers, who have their
livestock distressed and family pets ripped apart," she

"This result shows us what we have known for a long time.
The Irish public think hunting is cruel and should be

The survey follows a separate poll commissioned by the
League Against Cruel Sports showed 68% backed a ban on hare

To Subscribe to Irish Aires Google News List, click Here.
To Unsub from Irish Aires Google News List, click Here
For options visit:

Or get full news from Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here

To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)

To April Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?