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)

June 30, 2007

Table of Contents - 06/07

To Index of Monthly Archives
News Searches & Links to News Sources

To receive this news via email, click
HERE. No Message is necessary.
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click

Table of Contents 05/07
Table of Contents 04/07
Table of Contents 03/07

06/06/07 – PSNI Resists Calls For Unarmed Police Force
BN 06/06/07 PSNI Chief Resists SF Calls For Unarmed Police Force
BT 06/06/07 Ruane In Historic Presbyterian Meeting
DJ 06/06/07 Mayor Refuses Photo With Sinn Fein Deputy
BB 06/06/07 Adams In Call For Eta Peace Talks
BB 06/05/07 Victim Of Attack 'Feigned Death'
BB 06/05/07 Major Push For Irish Language Law
BN 06/06/07 Junior And Leaving Cert Exams Begin Today

06/06/07 – McAliskey Extradition Bid On Hold
BB 06/06/07 McAliskey Extradition Bid On Hold
IM 06/04/07 International Day Of Action For Roisin
BB 06/05/07 Support For Bloody Sunday View
BB 06/06/07 SF In First Public Board Meeting

06/04/07 – Saville Will Not Get To 'Truth'
BB 06/04/07 Saville Will Not Get To 'Truth'
IT 06/04/07 UUP Seeks Halt To Devolved Policing
IT 06/05/07 Paisley Jnr Raises Doubts On Policing Timetable
IT 06/05/07 Paisley Lays Out His Vision & Promises Equality
SB 06/03/07 Where It All Went Wrong For Sinn Fein
SB 06/03/07 Opin: Ahern Solid As A Rock With Cowen By His Side
IT 06/05/07 Irish Man In US Hopes To Get Seanad Nomination

06/03/07 - Raymond McCord: I Will Name Haddock's Handlers
SL 06/03/07 Raymond McCord: I Will Name Haddock's Handlers
BB 06/03/07 Paisley Remarks 'Were Homophobic'
SL 06/03/07 Craig McCausland Rejects UVF Chief's Offer To Meet
SL 06/03/07 Split Fears As UVF Expels 60 In Mid-Ulster
DC 06/03/07 New Evidence With Links To IRA re:‘93 Brinks Robbery.
BG 06/03/07 The Lack Of The Irish
BN 06/03/07 Pope To Canonise New Irish Saint Today

06/02/07 – First Policing Board Meeting A 'Significant Step'
DJ 06/02/07 First Policing Board Meeting A 'Significant Step'
BB 06/01/07 O'Loan: 'I Was Going To Quit'
AP 06/02/07 Interview : Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams
BT 06/01/07 Paisley Defends Himself In Gay Remarks Storm
BB 06/01/07 UDA Told 'Ditch Guns Or No Cash'
IT 06/01/07 NI Schools Face Closure, Committee Told
DN 06/01/07 Vote Management Elects Coughlan & Gallagehr
II 06/01/07 Opin: Enda Kenny And Sinn Fein
BB 06/01/07 What Is On Gerry Adams' iPod?

06/01/07 – Wright Murder Inquiry Hit By Missing Papers
TE 06/01/07 Wright Murder Inquiry Hit By Missing Papers
IH 05/30/07 Probe Into Jail Killing Begins Hearing Testimony
BT 05/30/07 Wright Inquiry Frustrates Finucane Family

To receive this news via email, click HERE.No Message is necessary.
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click

News Searches & Links to News Sources
To Index of Monthly Archives

June 06, 2007

PSNI Resists Calls For Unarmed Police

News about Ireland & the Irish

BN 06/06/07 PSNI Chief Resists SF Calls For Unarmed Police Force
BT 06/06/07 Ruane In Historic Presbyterian Meeting
DJ 06/06/07 Mayor Refuses Photo With Sinn Fein Deputy
BB 06/06/07 Adams In Call For Eta Peace Talks
BB 06/05/07 Victim Of Attack 'Feigned Death'
BB 06/05/07 Major Push For Irish Language Law
BN 06/06/07 Junior And Leaving Cert Exams Begin Today


PSNI Chief Resists SF Calls For Unarmed Police Force

06/06/2007 - 18:10:44

The North's top police officer resisted demands for an unarmed
force today as Sinn Fein questioned him in public for the first

Republicans challenged Chief Constable Hugh Orde and his senior
command team during their debut on the new-look Policing Board in

No voices were raised, but Constable Orde was swift to reject
Sinn Fein representative Alex Maskey's assessment that he has
"robocops" patrolling neighbourhoods with guns.

Stressing the urgency of shifting the Police Service of Northern
Ireland towards becoming routinely unarmed, Mr Maskey wanted to
know what steps the force was taking to make it happen.

The South Belfast MLA insisted one of the Good Friday Agreement's
objectives was to end the days when all officers in the North are
equipped with guns.

However Mr Orde insisted it was never likely to happen.

He told the 19-member authority no other UK forces operated
completely without weapons.

"The notion of an unarmed police service is quite frankly a non-
starter," he said.

"Currently my assessment is that we are where we need to be.

"I have no plans to start removing guns."

Mr Orde's position briefly threw him into confrontation with Mr

Making clear his opposition, the Sinn Fein representative
declared: "Almost every officer is armed.

"Most of these officers carry these arms not from a security
point of view, but from a cultural one, as a personal protection

Despite the significance of Sinn Fein's arrival on the Board,
following it's historic decision in January to end decades of
opposition to the North's police and justice systems, the 90-
minute session was relatively muted.

Mr Maskey and colleague Daithi McKay - the party's third member
Martina Anderson was unable to attend due to other business -
challenged senior officers as they had pledged to do without any
heated exchanges.

Later, however, the party insisted that some of the most critical
work would take place behind closed doors.

"We tabled a number of questions for the PSNI Chief Constable to
deal with including the lack of co-operation with inquests into a
series of killings in Belfast and Tyrone, the lack of movement
towards an unarmed service and the continuing under
representation of Catholics in senior positions," said Mr Maskey.

"While public sessions like the one today are important,
particularly to allow members of the public to ask questions,
much of our work will take place on the committees."


Ruane In Historic Presbyterian Meeting

[Published: Wednesday 6, June 2007 - 11:38]
By Alf McCreary

The Education Minister, Caitriona Ruane, has made history by
becoming the first Sinn Fein member of a devolved assembly to
address a meeting of the Presbyterian General Assembly.

The Minister took part last night in a Talk Education session in
Church House in Belfast.

The audience included the deputy leader of the Ulster Unionists,
Danny Kennedy, and the Auxiliary Catholic Bishop of Down and
Connor, Dr Donal McKeown.

Those who made short presentations included the Reverend Ian
Ellis, secretary of the Transferor Representatives'


The Minister told the meeting: "Your churches have a long and
distinguished history of supporting education.

"I am keen to talk further to you about the future, and I want to
ensure that together we can create a culture of education and a
commitment to every child and young person."

She said that she had recently attended a presentation by 12
Shankill Road schools.

"It was a credit to them. Any successful schools I have seen are
those linked to their communities."

Last night's meeting was not a formal part of the General
Assembly which is being held this week, but it was an important
gathering in association with the Assembly which was addressing
key educational issues.

Five years ago there was controversy when Alex Maskey became the
first Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast to attend the

Opening Night of the General Assembly.

The atmosphere last night was relaxed, and the Minister was given
a warm welcome.

Music was provided by the pupils of Roddensvale Special School in
Larne, and there was Irish dancing from the pupils of Glynn
Primary School.

The presenter for the evening was Seamus McKee of the BBC.

c Belfast Telegraph


Mayor Refuses Photo With Sinn Fein Deputy

The new DUP Mayor of Derry Alderman Drew Thompson has confirmed
he refused to be photographed with his new Sinn Fein deputy after
his election, saying that "unresolved issues" remain over
Protestant alienation and trust.

The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Patricia Logue, said she was
saddened by the situation and the Mayor could have shown

Alderman Thompson, who declared he would be Mayor for all the
city, declined to be pictured with Deputy Mayor Logue at the
council's AGM in the Guildhall.

Ald. Thompson told 'FN' he did not believe that refusing to be
pictured with his deputy was a major issue.

"There are still a lot of issues that need to be resolved. I
intend to have a working relationship but we do not have to be
all 'buddy buddy' about it.

"I believe there is a lot of trust that has to be built. There
are still a lot of barriers there, one being Protestant
alienation and the other being trust. You have to feel confident
in the people you are working with and that doesn't happen over
night. It takes time.

"We have come along way. On Monday there was no Unionist
opposition to the choice of Deputy Mayor. That is the first time
that has happened for a long time."

Cllr Logue said: "I wasn't asked to have my photo taken with Drew
but I never knew he had refused to have it taken with me. If that
is the case then I am saddened. He could have taken this
opportunity to have his photo with me and to show leadership
between us for the sake of the city. Maybe the time will come one
day when he can sit down and have his photo taken with me.

"I think this has great potential and it's very petty if he
refused. It does nothing for the positive portrayal of the city.
He should want to sit down with me as Deputy Mayor for the people
of Derry."

Speaking about the growing closeness between political leaders in
Northern Ireland, she added: "This should be across the board."

Last Updated: 06 June 2007

Premium Article

To read this article in full you must have registered and have a
Premium Content Subscription with this site.


Adams In Call For Eta Peace Talks

The Spanish government and Eta must return to the negotiating
table, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has said.

Speaking after the Basque separatist group said it was ending its
ceasefire, Mr Adams said there was disappointment negotiations
had broken down.

Eta said its "permanent" ceasefire would end on Wednesday.

Mr Adams said that both sides had to show "restraint" and that it
was important to redouble efforts to resolve the conflict

"The lessons of the Irish peace process and indeed every conflict
resolution process throughout the world tells us that it is now
important to redouble efforts to put the process there back on
track," he said.

"All sides should show restraint and do everything in their power
to ensure that a process is put in place which can allow this
conflict to be resolved peacefully through genuine dialogue and

Mr Adams visited Madrid and the Basque country last year to urge
both sides to develop a peaceful settlement to their long-running
dispute, which centres around Eta's pursuit of an independent
Basque state.

It was reported in Spain that senior Sinn Fein politicians were
involved in the negotiations which led to last year's Eta


Eta declared a "permanent" ceasefire in March 2006, and had
insisted it still held, despite a bomb that killed two people at
Madrid airport in December.

After the airport attack Spain's Socialist government broke off
peace talks.

In a message printed by the Basque newspaper Berria on Tuesday,
the banned group said "minimum conditions for continuing a
process of negotiations do not exist".

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero condemned
Eta's move.

"Eta's decision goes totally in the opposite direction of the
path that Basque and Spanish society want, the path of peace," he
said. ETA's four-decade campaign to achieve independence for the
Basque region of Spain and southwestern France has claimed more
than 800 lives.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/06/06 05:25:51 GMT


Victim Of Attack 'Feigned Death'

A Ballymena man pretended to be dead to survive a sectarian
attack during which he was strangled, stabbed and beaten, Belfast
Crown Court has heard.

Aaron White, 35, of no fixed abode, is accused of attempting to
murder Michael Liam Reid in October 2003.

He is one of three men alleged to have carried out the attack in
a house in Patrick Place in Ballymena.

A prosecuting QC said Mr Reid escaped when left with one
attacker, while the others went for a saw to "cut him up".

He said that during the attack, Mr Reid came to the conclusion he
was going to die and decided his only chance of survival was to
feign his death.

The QC said the motive of the attack was vicious sectarianism.

He added that police later discovered Aaron White's glasses and
mobile phone in the house.

In September 2005, Mr White's 30-year-old brother Neil White from
Wakehurst Road, Ballymena, was jailed for 16 years after
admitting the attempted murder charge.

Mr Reid, who is a Catholic, told the court the attack on him
started after the two Whites and a third man came into the house
of a friend he was in and asked him who he was and where in
Ballymena he was from.


He said after telling them the truth, he was battered with a
"heavy object", while attempts were made to strangle him before
he was stabbed in the neck and shoulder with a kitchen knife.

Mr Reid said he intially tried to struggle but felt himself going
dizzy and losing strength. He then let his body go limp and
played dead.

He said he was left alone with Neil White while the other two
looked for a saw.

He was able get away after a struggle and ran into the street, he

Under cross-examination from a defence QC, Mr Reid rejected
suggestions that he was "disorientated" and did not know what was
really going on.

The trial continues.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/06/05 17:39:11 GMT


Major Push For Irish Language Law

As many as 4,000 responses to a proposed new Irish language law
have been sent to the government, as a consultation period comes
to an end.

The draft bill proposed that public bodies should specify
measures for using Irish when providing services.

It also proposed the creation of an Irish language commissioner
and giving people the right to use Irish in court.

Nationalists are strongly in favour of the measure, but unionists
have promised to block any bill in Stormont.

It is thought Department of Culture officials will not finish
analysing the responses until the end of the summer.

In a previous exercise this year, the department received 688
letters, 1376 postcards and a petition signed by 2,500 people.

Out of these responses, 93% were in favour of the Irish Language

The current consultation, ending on Tuesday, is on the basis of
draft legislation prepared under direct rule, which former
culture minister Maria Eagle described as a middle-ground

Meanwhile, supporters of the legislation gathered outside BBC
Broadcasting House in Belfast to protest about coverage.

Irish language activists and Sinn Fein's Francie Brolly were
joined by pupils from a primary school in Turf Lodge to protest
against what they said was the BBC's failure to cover a march
through Belfast supporting the act in February.

The campaigners also wish to see more Irish language programming
and greater protection for Irish speakers' rights in Northern

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/06/05 13:35:11 GMT


Junior And Leaving Cert Exams Begin Today

06/06/2007 - 07:31:06

More than 100,000 school children will today begin the 2007
Junior and Leaving Cert examinations.

Around three million exam papers have been distributed to 4,500
centres around the country for the 13-day trial which will run
until June 21 for Junior Cert and June 22 for Leaving Cert

Examinations will be held in 89 curricular subjects and native
speakers from across the EU will sit the exams in their mother
tongues at Leaving Cert level.

"I want to send my best wishes to all those students sitting the
Leaving and Junior Certificate examinations over the coming
weeks," said Minister for Education Mary Hanafin.

"For those taking the Leaving Cert, this is an important step on
their path to lifelong learning.

"All their study and hard work up until now will give them a huge
choice in further studies and career options in the future."

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

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here

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

To June Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News

McAliskey Extradition Bid on Hold

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 06/05/07 McAliskey Extradition Bid On Hold
IM 06/04/07 International Day Of Action For Roisin
BB 06/05/07 Support For Bloody Sunday View
BB 06/06/07 SF In First Public Board Meeting

(Poster's Note: I have been posting less news lately. There are
a couple of reasons: 1) Sharing of power in N. Ireland has
changed the type of news in Ireland. Much of it, in my opinion,
is of less interest. That is really good news, but good news
makes boring news. 2) My wife & I are both retiring. Now I have
more to do than I did when I was employed. Retirement is good
news! 3) Part of what I have had to do was to get ready for a
trip we are leaving on this Saturday. We are going to Ireland
for SIX weeks. Really good news!! However, for posting news it
does not bode well. I will have limited internet access and
won't be able to post much news. Jay PS – Sorry about being
late with the Int’l Day of Action for Roisin story, but the good
news is that extradition has been put on hold for now.)


McAliskey Extradition Bid On Hold

A move to extradite Roisin McAliskey to Germany has been put on
hold to allow her lawyers to prepare an abuse of process

The daughter of former MP Bernadette McAliskey is wanted for
questioning about an IRA bomb at a British army barracks at
Osnabruck in 1996.

The 35-year-old is currently on bail after being arrested at her
home in Coalisland, County Tyrone, in April.

The German authorities are seeking her extradition for the second

The first bid was abandoned in 2000 when the Crown Prosecution
Service in England ruled she had no case to answer.

Defence solicitor Peter Corrigan told Belfast Recorder's Court on
Tuesday that the case had been "politically motivated" at the
highest level of the Northern Ireland Office.

Mr Corrigan said he required time to get evidence to support an
application for abuse of process and would also be relying on the
undue delay by the authorities in Northern Ireland in acting on
the German warrant which was received last October.

The hearing was adjourned until 27 June.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/06/06 10:49:16 GMT


International Day Of Action For Roisin

International Rights And Freedoms Event Notice
Monday June 04, 2007 22:43
By Kate - Coalition Of Irish Republican Women

Urgent last day to call, email, fax British Government to say no
to extradition for Roisin!

We are asking everyone to please send emails, faxes, phone calls
and hand written and delivered letters to British Consulates near
you to help stop the extradition of Roisin McAliskey. This is a
final action before her hearing is scheduled, Wednesday, June 6th.

For Roisin McAliskey

The Coalition of Irish Republican Women and the Irish Freedom
Committee request you to join us on Tuesday, June 5th to call,
email, fax and/or hand deliver a letter to your nearest British
consulate or embassy. The Irish Freedom Committee has a page with
all the contact information here:

Some of the phone numbers may go to a "menu," so if you call and
do not get a live person press the following:

Atlanta: 5
Boston: 4
Chicago: 1
Houston: 5
L.A. : should pick up, if not, call 877-514-1233
San Francisco : 4
New York: should pick up, if not, call 212-745-9391

The British embassy in Washington may be phoned at (202) 588-
7800. For British consulates and embassies outside of the United
States, please see

Also, If you haven't already contacted, them, please communicate
the same request by email to the NIO and prime minister through
the contact forms on their respective webpages:

We thank everyone who has already sent e-mails, but we also ask
that you join us once again for a big push aimed at the
consulates/embassies. This Day of Action is of vital importance
to exert some last minute pressure on the British government
prior to Roisin's extradition hearing on Wednesday, June 6th.
Please help!!

Points to raise in your correspondence:

:: Roisin McAliskey has always maintained her innocence, and
substantial evidence supports her claim, including an alibi and a
principal prosecution witness's inability to identify her a few
months after the attack.

:: Britain has already determined that there is insufficient
evidence to try Roisin McAliskey for the Osnabruck attack.

:: Almost 11 years have elapsed since the Osnabruck attack, and
the passage of time makes it a great deal more difficult to
obtain a fair trial and defend against the charges, as witnesses
are more difficult to locate and may have died or become
incapacitated or too infirm to testify, witnesses' memories
naturally will have dimmed or been artificially shaped by
intervening publicity, and physical evidence may have
deteriorated or be unavailable for testing by the defense.

Sample text :

Honorable Consul General,

I am writing to oppose the extradition of Roisin McAliskey to
Germany and to ask that you inform your government of this

Ms. McAliskey has always denied involvement in the Osnabruck
attack and substantial evidence supports her innocence. She was
in Ireland at the time of the attack. Within a few months of the
attack, one of the chief prosecution witnesses, when interviewed
on German television, was unable to identify Ms. McAliskey as a
participant. Consistent with this state of evidence, the British
government previously determined there was insufficient evidence
to prosecute Ms. McAliskey in Britain. It rejected a request by
Germany to take over the prosecution.

In addition, the passage of nearly 11 years since the attack has
made it unlikely Ms. McAliskey can obtain a fair trial and defend
herself against the charges. Witnesses will have become difficult
to locate, and some may have died or become incapacitated. Even
available witnesses' memories will have dimmed substantially or
been artificially shaped by intervening publicity about the case.
Physical evidence may have deteriorated or be unavailable for
testing by the defense.

I ask that you relay my letter to your government.


Thank you from

The Irish Freedom Committee and CIRW


Support For Bloody Sunday View

The brother of a man killed on Bloody Sunday says he agrees with
a former civil servant that the Saville Inquiry won't get to the

At a lecture, Maurice Hayes said the Saville Inquiry's 200m cost
could also have been put to better use.

Liam Wray, whose brother was shot dead by the army, says the
comments were valid but could have been made earlier.

"I would agree with what Maurice Hayes said, it's not going to
bring out the essential truth," he said.

However, Mr Wray said the former civil servant should have been
involved earlier.

"Making sure that those in power were responsible for creating a
mechanism that could probe into those areas of government, and
into military matters, that could bring out the essential truth,"
he continued.

In January 1972, paratroopers opened fire during a civil rights
march in Derry, killing 14.

The Saville Inquiry was established in 1998 by Prime Minister
Tony Blair after a campaign by families of those killed and

Its findings will not be published until at least the end of next

Mr Hayes's comments were made at the Tip O'Neill Peace Lecture at
the University of Ulster's Magee campus in Londonderry.

He also warned a fixation with past atrocities could threaten the
work of the devolved policitical institutions.

"The general political will that the institutions should be made
to work (and) should be allowed to do so could easily be
frustrated if we insist on picking at the sores of old wounds,"
he said.

Mr Hayes is an independent member of the Irish Republic's Senate
and a former Northern Ireland Ombudsman.

His high-profile career has also included roles as a Permanent
Secretary in Northern Ireland's Department of Health and Social
Services and on the Patten Commission on policing.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/06/05 12:16:02 GMT


SF In First Public Board Meeting

The newly reconstituted policing board has held its first public

It was the first time that Sinn Fein has taken part in a public
session of the board.

Members of the board sat at the table and posed for cameras last
week - but there were no PSNI officers present and the talking
was behind closed doors.

On Wednesday, board members sat across the table from Chief
Constable Sir Hugh Orde and his senior officers in public session
for the first time.

Questions have been tabled on a wide range of issues.

They include Sir John Steven's investigation into allegations of
collusion between the security forces and loyalist
paramilitaries, and the murder of Robert McCartney, who was
stabbed to death by members of the IRA outside a Belfast bar more
than two years ago.

Sinn Fein voted in January to back police in Northern Ireland for
the first time.

Its three representatives on the board are Alex Maskey, Martina
Anderson and Daithi McKay.

The DUP is the largest political party on the board, with four
members. The Ulster Unionists have two, and the SDLP has one.

The board also has nine independents.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/06/06 11:28:19 GMT

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

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click

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

To June Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News

June 04, 2007

Saville Will Not Get To Truth

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 06/04/07 Saville Will Not Get To 'Truth'
IT 06/04/07 UUP Seeks Halt To Devolved Policing
IT 06/05/07 Paisley Jnr Raises Doubts On Policing Timetable
IT 06/05/07 Paisley Lays Out His Vision & Promises Equality
SB 06/03/07 Where It All Went Wrong For Sinn Fein
SB 06/03/07 Opin: Ahern Solid As A Rock With Cowen By His Side
IT 06/05/07 Irish Man In US Hopes To Get Seanad Nomination


Saville Will Not Get To 'Truth'

The inquiry into Bloody Sunday will not uncover the definitive
truth surrounding the killings, a former senior civil servant has

Irish Senator Maurice Hayes said the œ175m spent on the inquiry
so far could have been put to better use.

His comments came at the Tip O'Neill Peace Lecture at the
University of Ulster's Magee campus in Londonderry.

He warned a fixation with past atrocities could threaten the work
of the devolved policitical institutions.

"The general political will that the institutions should be made
to work (and) should be allowed to do so could easily be
frustrated if we insist on picking at the sores of old wounds,
raising old ghosts, revive old animosities and suspicions, and
most of all shattering the burgeoning trust which is a
prerequisite for peaceful co-existence and co-operation, " he

Mr Hayes is an independent member of the Irish Republic's Senate
and a former Northern Ireland Ombudsman.

His high-profile career has also included roles as a Permanent
Secretary in Northern Ireland's Department of Health and Social
Services and on the Patten Commission on policing.

In January 1972 paratroopers opened fire during a civil rights
march in Derry, killing 14.

The Saville Inquiry was established in 1998 by Prime Minister
Tony Blair after a campaign by families of those killed and

Its findings will not be published until at least the end of next

Mr Hayes warned against expecting too much from the tribunal.

He also suggested other outrages had a case for similar public

"I do not believe that the Saville Inquiry will unearth the
essential truth, the definitive account of the events on Bloody
Sunday, which are so deeply incised on the psyche of this city,"
he said.

"I can think of many better things to do for the families of
victims and survivors for œ200m.

"And if Bloody Sunday, why not inquiries for every other atrocity
beginning at Abercorn and ending at Omagh?"

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/06/04 20:00:37 GMT


UUP Seeks Halt To Devolved Policing

Mon, Jun 04, 2007

Controversial moves to devolve policing and justice powers to
Northern Ireland should not go ahead while the police are
investigating the IRA's role in the Northern Bank robbery, the
Assembly heard today.

Ulster Unionist David Burnside said there was no demand in the
community for a local minister in charge of the sensitive

An Assembly committee chaired by the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson will
consider the political hot potato and report back to the full
chamber by February 29th.

Mr Burnside asked: "Why is this motion is being brought before
the house at this early stage when there's no demand from the
community for the transfer of justice and policing and there
still is a criminal investigation into the Northern Bank robbery
carried out by the republican movement Sinn Fein/IRA?"

Robbers escaped with stgœ26.5m during the raid in Belfast city
centre in December 2004. PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde
blamed the IRA for the operation, in which masked men held a
family at their west Belfast home and forced the bank employee to
open the vaults.

The motion was passed without debate after Speaker William Hay
cut off Mr Burnside.

Mr Donaldson chairs the Assembly and Executive Review Committee,
which will consider the matter.

His party colleague, Finance Minister Peter Robinson, has said it
could be "several political lifetimes" before there was the
community confidence to have policing and justice powers devolved
to Northern Ireland because of "the rate Sinn Fein are going".

He said it was essential Sinn Fein recognise the need to build
confidence in the community.

The new powers, currently reserved by the Northern Ireland
Office, are a key demand of Sinn Fein and were planned for review
as part of the St Andrews Agreement which paved the way for last
month's power-sharing.

c 2007


Paisley Jnr Raises Doubts On Policing Timetable

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
Tue, Jun 05, 2007

The transfer of policing and justice powers to the Northern
Assembly could be delayed for several years, a senior Democratic
Unionist Party politician claimed yesterday.

Ian Paisley jnr said that, contrary to the St Andrews Agreement
target of May next year, the transfer of policing and justice
powers to the Assembly could only happen in a "future Assembly" -
which at the earliest would be in 2011.

Mr Paisley, a junior Minister in the North's new administration,
made clear yesterday that the DUP would use its effective
political veto in the Assembly to prevent any attempt to devolve
policing and justice powers by May next year or at any other time
if the party did not believe there was sufficient public
confidence to justify this transfer.

In the critical political negotiations of recent months, Sinn
Fein made the transfer of these powers by May next year a key
priority for agreeing to devolution.

The British and Irish governments also stated in the St Andrews
Agreement of October last year they believed that sufficient
community confidence should be established by May 2008 to devolve
these powers.

However, at a conference in Belfast yesterday, "Criminal Justice
Facing Devolution", Mr Paisley said he did not believe the
transfer of policing and justice - effectively the creation of a
Northern Executive department of justice - was achievable in the
lifetime of the current Assembly, which runs out in May 2011.

Mr Paisley said this summer's marching season would be a
significant test and a measuring scale of how much was being
achieved in creating public confidence. "If community confidence
can be built during these periods that were once high with
tension then the prospects of devolving policing and justice some
time during the life of a future Assembly will be better than
they are today," he said.

"As a person within the DUP keen to see these powers devolved, I
am realistic enough to know that devolving them prematurely and
before we have built that community confidence would be
foolhardy," said Mr Paisley.

When asked by The Irish Times, on the margins of the conference,
was he categorically stating the devolution of these powers would
not happen by May next year, he replied, "I believe that,
realistically, it will be for a future Assembly. It won't be for
this Assembly mandate . . . I made it fairly clear - I think I
made it explicitly clear - that it is for a future Assembly, and
there is no point in kidding around with that, that somehow
things could be done," said Mr Paisley.

However, Sinn Fein Assembly member Alex Maskey, who also
addressed the conference, said the parties were working to the
"agreed timeframe" of St Andrews. "We are working in the context
that transfer of power will happen next year," he said.

"It is up to the parties to work together and not to be making
silly grandstand headline statements which really would set the
thing back. Our job as politicians is to create confidence within
the public and within the communities and to agree the timeframe,
agree the modality, and get the thing done," said Mr Maskey, who
also serves on the policing board.

Asked could Mr Paisley's statement cause tensions in the
powersharing Executive and Assembly, Mr Maskey said he was not
"that concerned" by the junior Minister's comments. Referring to
last week's controversy over Mr Paisley's comments that he was
"pretty repulsed" by homosexuality, Mr Maskey said, "I don't know
whether he wants to distract from one headline by creating

c 2007 The Irish Times


Paisley Lays Out His Vision For North And Promises Equality

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
Tue, Jun 05, 2007

First Minister the Rev Ian Paisley referred to Martin Luther King
in the Northern Assembly yesterday and spoke passionately about
his dream where people in Northern Ireland could easily live and
work together regardless of their political, religious or ethnic

Dr Paisley, when discussing an Alliance Party motion on the need
for a "shared future" in Northern Ireland, also implicitly gave
an undertaking that he would promote equality for all groups,
including gays and lesbians.

Dr Paisley did not specifically mention homosexuality or the
recent Hot Press remarks of his son and junior Minister Ian
Paisley jnr, that he was "pretty repulsed" by homosexuality. But
it was clear to what he was referring when he "prefaced" his
comments on a shared future with his comment that his office was
"totally committed to promoting equality and human rights".

And he added, "The First Minister and Deputy First Minister are
completely opposed to any form of discrimination or harassment
against any citizen. So are all in their offices and those under

On the motion itself, Dr Paisley said there was no doubt that a
shared society must be created. "Like another King, I have a
dream where children can play together, where people can work
together and where families can live happily side by side,
regardless of their community background, their ethnic background
or their religious beliefs."

Dr Paisley said that conflict and violence had left a profound
legacy and "time was needed to mend relationships, to heal
wounds, to repair fractured communities".

"But let us be clear: intolerance, sectarianism and racism or
violence must have no place in this or any other society." The
First Minister said he sent his children to a mixed school.

"They brought their Roman Catholic mates home with them and my
hadn't they all great appetites. I knew that to my cost. But I
was happy to see them and I am glad today those people are still
friends of mine even though I disagree with them in their
religion and they with my religion, and although they disagree
with me politically and I disagree with them politically."

He added, "It is right that we get the people of our beautiful
province living together, working together, enjoying one
another's company and I trust that we will see more of this.

"I have lived in Northern Ireland 81 years. I have some little
experience of the ordinary man of the street. The ordinary man of
the street today, both nationalists and unionists, Roman
Catholic, Protestant, or any other religion, there is all within
them today a hope that something has changed, that we are going
to move forward to better times.

"We in this Assembly can be the persons that can lead this
community to a community that will do this part of this island
proud, and I look forward to that."

c 2007 The Irish Times


Where It All Went Wrong For Sinn Fein

03 June 2007 By Colm Heatley in Belfast

There was only one question on the minds of Sinn Fein activists
across Ireland last week - what went wrong?

The general election was supposed to be the breakthrough election
for the party, which expected years of work cultivating its vote
in the Republic to pay off.

The restoration of the Assembly in the North on May 8 was
expected to boost Sinn Fein and make the party at least
kingmakers in the next Dail, if not coalition partners.

For a party that has orchestrated electoral victories in the
North and the Republic over the past decade, defeat and losses
weren't in the script.

But the party is now facing the reality that the vast majority of
the electorate in the Republic has rejected it, even with the
historic deal in the North completed.

In Belfast, the engine room of the party, Sinn Fein activists
were left scratching their heads. Electoral success in the
Republic is of such paramount importance to Sinn Fein's strategy
that the results of the election cannot be ignored or glossed

And the importance of electoral success in the Republic cannot be
overstated. Entry to the Dail was what led to the split in Sinn
Fein in the mid1980s, resulting in the creation of Republican
Sinn Fein.

Even then, in the midst of the violence in the North, Adams had
identified gaining power - or at least real influence - in the
Republic as a key objective.

Since the 1990s, and certainly since 2002, when the party had its
first real taste of success in politics in the Republic, the idea
of Sinn Fein holding power north and south has been a lynchpin of
its strategy.

Difficult issues, especially policing in the North, were partly
sold to the party on the basis that electoral success beckoned in
the Republic.

Some party activists complained last week that the policing
debate was rushed through earlier this year with the general
election in mind.

Working solely within the Stormont Assembly has limitations for
Sinn Fein. The party wants to emphasise the notion that the
Assembly operates in a wider all-Ireland context and there would
be no better way to do that than by being in power in the

More importantly, Sinn Fein would have real power if it was in
government on both sides of the border. The party had hoped that
good election results would allow it to push through its
proposals for speaking rights in the Dail for northern
politicians, but that is now in cold storage.

As part of its strategy in the Republic, Sinn Fein has
consciously portrayed itself as the 'can do' party and has
targeted certain groups - the young, the urban poor, the
marginalised - with some success. But it has not been enough to
move the party beyond its current support base.

Undoubtedly one of the biggest problem areas for the party is its
economic policies, which are at best confusing and, at worst,
scaring off voters.

The party's willingness to ditch its corporation tax policy just
weeks before the election suggested desperation.

Privately, Sinn Fein acknowledges that getting its economic
policies in order is a key priority. Economic policies were never
central to Sinn Fein strategy and while the party is beginning to
address its shortcomings, its commitment to left-wing policies
means it will always be vulnerable to accusations that it will
damage the Celtic Tiger.

The party's failure to attract any significant numbers of
transfer votes was a key factor in its failure to capture seats.
Even in the North, Sinn Fein has found that attracting transfers
from SDLP-inclined nationalists is still a real issue.

While Sinn Fein claims that the strong performance of Fianna Fail
and Fine Gael lessened its vote in the election, it has not
explained why floating voters did not give the party second or
third preferences in any real numbers. The lack of transfers was
a crucial factor in the failure of Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse
Doherty to win seats.

The public perception of Sinn Fein as a northern party with no
understanding of issues in the Republic is widespread, and was
not helped by party leader Gerry Adams' admission that he did not
get around to dealing with certain issues in the Republic because
of events in the North.

While Sinn Fein has won some recognition and praise for its work
on the peace process, it has still to prove its credentials as a
party that understands the electorate in the Republic.

Nearly all of its best-known members are from the North, so the
failure of McDonald and Doherty - two fresh-faced southerners -
was a blow, not just in terms of seats, but overall strategy.
Sinn Fein must now try to achieve credibility on issues in the
Republic such as the economy, while still putting Irish unity at
the top of its agenda. It must do this as one, cohesive, all-
Ireland party.

That won't be easy. Irish unity and partition are real, live
issues that affect almost all aspects of civil and political
society in the North. For many in the Republic, however, Irish
unity is an abstract notion, an aspiration rather than a reality
of day-to-day life.

Sinn Fein has been sustained in the North by the appetite of a
significant section of the population to end the existence of the
state. But that is simply not the case in the Republic and the
party will have to recognise that reality.

There is no single reason why Sinn Fein's vote did not
materialise, just lots of smaller ones, which need to be

Some of those reasons are within the party's power to change -
its economic policies, Adams' performance in live debates, the
public perception that it is a single issue party.

Others are outside of the Sinn Fein leadership's control - the
hostility of all the major parties to Sinn Fein being in power in
the Republic, the fact that for many, the republican leadership
is still 'beyond the pale', the fact that events such as the
Northern Bank robbery and the McCartney murder are still
routinely used against the party.

How then will Sinn Fein seek to get its strategy back on track in
the Republic? Clues may be found in its strategy in the North
since the early 1980s,when it entered local councils and gained a
reputation for hard-work and exposing widespread malpractices.

Until the late 1970s, Sinn Fein was a weak party that was
subservient to the IRA. But by building up local political
networks and a reputation for on-the-ground work, the party had,
by the 1990s, developed into probably the best organised, most
sophisticated political machine in the North.

To this end, Sinn Fein will focus on the 2009 local elections as
an opportunity to significantly strengthen its party machine in
the Republic for the next general election. The Assembly will
also be used as a 'shop window' for Sinn Fein when the next
elections are called.

If all goes according to plan, the party will by then have
experience of government, of delivering on issues other than the
peace process, and the North will quite possibly boast a
healthier economy. Sinn Fein will claim credit for any of those
successes and hope that the experience will make it more

All the while, the party will look to develop its policies in the
Republic, promote its candidates in the Republic and position
itself as a party in tune with issues in the Republic.

The challenge for Sinn Fein is to do that without abandoning its
electorate in the North or its emphasis on Irish unity.


Opin: Ahern Solid As A Rock With Cowen By His Side

03 June 2007 By Vincent Browne

Bertie Ahern gave an intriguing interview to RTE's Charlie Bird
last Sunday on the banks of the Royal Canal. It was intriguing
because of two things that he said.

One was that the criterion he would apply to the formation of a
new government would be stability. The other was that he would
consult Brian Cowen on government options, as he consulted him on
almost everything.

First, the stability issue. If Ahern were serious about stability
being the primary requirement of government, the manoeuvring with
the Progressive Democrats and Independents over the last week has
been just a smokescreen.

With the support of the PDs, Fianna Fail would also need the
support of four of the five Independents, Beverley Flynn, Jackie
Healy-Rae, Finian McGrath, Tony Gregory and Michael Lowry.

If Fine Gael is astute, it could nobble Lowry by inviting him to
rejoin the party, and there is good reason why it should do that.
The proceedings of the Moriarty Tribunal now show that there is
no evidence that Lowry delivered the second mobile phone
franchise to Denis O'Brien in return for bribes.

So on what basis can Lowry remain excluded from Fine Gael?
Because he cheated on his taxes? How can that be a problem for
Fine Gael, when that party as a corporation did precisely the
same in making under-the-counter payments to staff and involving
itself in the pick-me-up scam?

Then there is the problem with Tony Gregory. He would not support
a government that persisted with co-location of private and
public hospitals, nor would he go along with the continued use of
Shannon by American troops on their way to and from Iraq. So, no
go there.

There shouldn't be much problem with Beverley Flynn - a nod to
RTE to stop pursuing her for its legal costs and an invitation to
rejoin the party would suffice. A few more piers in south Kerry
should ensure the support of Jackie Healy-Rae.

T h at leaves Finian McGrath. A government reliant on McGrath
would not be stable. The independent TD has recently been taking
refuge in the cliche of politics being the art of the possible.
Is this a prelude to abandoning his previous positions on
hospital co-location and Shannon? If McGrath is prepared to
abandon previously ''principled'' positions, then by the same
token is he capable of reneging on any five-year arrangement -
all the more so if, along the way, he discovers other

Ahern might be tempted to take a chance on a government supported
by the PDs and four Independents, but that certainly would not be
stable. So either Ahern was not serious about stability last
Sunday, or the manoeuvrings with the PDs and Independents last
week was definitely a smokescreen.

It isn't believable that he would opt for government with the
Greens either, although he has given some indication that such a
deal remains an option.

Even if the Greens could be persuaded to agree to government with
Fianna Fail - and that is doubtful - a party ruled by its members
rather than its parliamentary party, would be far too volatile.

The obvious partner is Labour - the only problem being that Ahern
would have to sacrifice five cabinet posts and five junior
ministers - this would involve dropping three cabinet ministers
currently in office - and Ahern hates taking tough decisions that
are unpopular with his party.

But then there would be no volatility with Labour. Pat Rabbitte
would extricate himself from his repeated assurances that he
would not put Fianna Fail back in government with the usual guff
about the national interest.

The Labour conference would stamp on the predictable left-wing
outrage over ''sleeping with the enemy'' and would be oh-so-loyal
and compliant.

But, more than that, a Fianna Fail/Labour government would be
devastating for Fine Gael. No hope of office in five years, a
return to government of Fianna Fail a certainty in 2012.

Back to that other Ahern comment on the banks of the Royal Canal,
about Brian Cowen. Ahern rarely says anything without
calculation, even when what he is saying is unintelligible
(perhaps especially when what he is saying is unintelligible).

Saying he would discuss options for government with Cowen and
that he discussed everything of importance with Cowen was
certainly calculated.

It might just have been a public acknowledgement of the support
Cowen was to him in the election campaign, but it might also be
an insurance strategy. If things get rough for him in government
over the next while because of tribunal revelations, he will have
Cowen on his side - and with Cowen on his side he would be
invulnerable internally in Fianna Fail. Without Cowen, he might
indeed be vulnerable.

For the going could get rough for Ahern in the next year or so if
the tribunal continues its examination of his finances and
questions him about them in public.

There are very difficult issues for him and there might be
pressures from a coalition partner or supporter for him to vacate
the Fianna Fail leadership and go.

He has also caused problems for himself by confirming that he
will go before the next election, as there could be demands for
him to go well in advance to leave his successor time to make his
(or her) mark.

But with Cowen on side, there will be no pressures.


Irish Man In US Hopes To Get Seanad Nomination

Tue, Jun 05, 2007

Ray O'Hanlon will know in July if he is to become the first
emigrant rights representative in the Seanad, writes Se n
O'Driscollfrom New York

A Dublin journalist will know in the next month if he is to
become the first emigrant rights representative in the Seanad.

New York-based Irish Echo journalist Ray O'Hanlon said he had
been having talks with both Fianna F il and Fine Gael and had had
a very good response from Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.

The aim is to secure the support of the two main parties for an
agreed emigrant candidate.

O'Hanlon says he would eventually like to see a panel for two or
three emigrant representatives but does not want to rush the
political parties into sudden change.

Many emigrant campaigners in the United States, including
O'Hanlon, would like to see emigrants directly voting in Irish

Samantha Morton, a barwoman in Yonkers, New York, says it is a
shame that another Irish general election has gone by without
foreign voting rights.

"I've been on a few of the Irish radio talk shows about
emigration. I get the feeling we're an embarrassment in Ireland.

"The country's trying to look confident and assertive and they
think we're over in America showing the poor mouth," she says.

Nearly 20 years after a Bill allowing emigrants to vote was
narrowly defeated in the D il, the desire for voter rights has
been raised again by US immigration rights lobbyists. Many want
to use their votes to reward Irish politicians who back US
immigration reform that would legalise more than 12 million
undocumented immigrants.

Much of the resistance to emigrant votes has come from
politicians who fear protest votes, especially those going to
Sinn Fein.

Morton, originally from Palmerstown in Dublin, is a socialist and
occasional Sinn Fein supporter, but she admits that republican
sentimentality gives emigrant voter rights a bad reputation.

"You meet old fellas who are ardent republicans. Some of them are
real cheesy idiots who play the Wolfe Tones and they haven't a
clue. The voters from 10 bars in New York could be enough to
swing an election. There's a lot of different dynamics at play."

It might be feasible to put a limit on the number of years a
voter can be outside the country and still retain the right to
vote, she says.

Fellow New York resident Tom Woodlock, originally from Tipperary,
is a Sinn Fein supporter but he also recognises the complex
politics among US emigrants.

Like Morton, he is annoyed by sentimentalists and is particularly
dismayed by small groups of Northern republicans who chant
partisan slogans at meetings on immigration reform and who are
not calling for votes for Irish citizens.

"They're the type who think they have an in with the IRA or
something and they probably ran for their lives to get over
here," he says.

Although he has great respect for Enda Kenny, who met US
emigrants in March, Woodlock does not believe that emigrant votes
are coming soon.

"There are so many politicians out there who will promise you
everything and do absolutely nothing," Woodlock adds.

"If we got the vote at home it would really help, but we don't
see any political will for it."

For O'Hanlon, the internet has allowed emigrants to keep up with
Irish politics and globalisation has greatly increased the
relationship between Ireland and its citizens living abroad.

"There is no longer this sense of exile and distance. The state
may end at the Cliffs of Moher, but the economy doesn't,"
O'Hanlon says.

"People are more aware and more than ever before. Now there has
to be a complementary political voice to match it."

c 2007 The Irish Times

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

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here

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

To June Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News

June 03, 2007

McCord: I Will Name Haddock's Handlers

News about Ireland & the Irish

SL 06/03/07 Raymond McCord: I Will Name Haddock's Handlers
BB 06/03/07 Paisley Remarks 'Were Homophobic'
SL 06/03/07 Craig McCausland Rejects UVF Chief's Offer To Meet
SL 06/03/07 Split Fears As UVF Expels 60 In Mid-Ulster
DC 06/03/07 New Evidence With Links To IRA re:‘93 Brinks Robbery.
BG 06/03/07 The Lack Of The Irish
BN 06/03/07 Pope To Canonise New Irish Saint Today


Raymond McCord: I Will Name Haddock's Handlers

[Published: Sunday 3, June 2007 - 09:48]
By Stephen Breen

Anti-collusion campaigner Raymond McCord last night vowed to name
the RUC Special Branch officers who protected UVF serial killer
Mark Haddock.

He issued the warning after security minister Paul Goggins
confirmed he would meet him to discuss his son Raymond jnr's

Although the north Belfast man had hoped Tony Blair would meet
him, he welcomed the opportunity to raise the victims' issue with
the senior NIO official.

Crusading Mr McCord - who'll be joined at his meeting with Mr
Goggins by North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon - will discuss the
findings of Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's controversial report.

He said: "I'm pleased Paul Goggins has agreed to meet me - I just
hope he doesn't fall asleep the same way Peter Hain did when he
met me!

"I had hoped to meet Tony Blair, but I think he's forgotten about
the O'Loan report into my son's case because he is leaving soon.

"I'll be giving Mr Goggins the names of these officers and it's
up to him to take appropriate action. So far, nothing has been
done about it.

"Victims still have a right to know why people were allowed to
kill while they were working as police informers.

"My son was murdered as a result of collusion and the Government
- just like the new Assembly - cannot be allowed to bury its head
in the sand over this issue."

Mr McCord says he will also name the high-ranking UVF informers
during the Troubles.

He added: "I know their names and I will give them to the
Government in the hope they do something about it.

" These people were paid huge amounts of money and we still
haven't been told the reason why this happened.

"I am confident that I will see the informers who murdered my son
in court, but this won't stop me from continuing to highlight the
issue of collusion."

c Belfast Telegraph


Paisley Remarks 'Were Homophobic'

A leading Presbyterian minister has criticised the DUP's Ian
Paisley Jnr for allegedly saying he was "repulsed" by

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday Sequence, Reverend Bobby
Liddle claimed Mr Paisley's remarks were "homophobic".

"I think his language was immoderate, I think it was unhelpful in
the debate," he said.

Mr Paisley, a junior minister in the NI Executive, made the
comments in an interview with Hot Press magazine.

Reverend Liddle is convenor of the church's social issues and
resources panel.

He has recently written a report on the issue of homophobia,
which will be discussed by the church's General Assembly on

Mr Paisley is quoted in the magazine as saying: "I am pretty
repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong.

"I think that those people harm themselves and - without caring
about it - harm society.

"That doesn't mean to say that I hate them. I mean, I hate what
they do."

The DUP has said there was no suggestion Mr Paisley's comments
were any form of discrimination.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/06/03 11:25:15 GMT


Family Of Innocent Loyalist Feud Victim Reject UVF Chief's Offer
To Meet

[Published: Sunday 3, June 2007 - 09:58]
By Stephen Breen

The UVF godfather suspected of ordering the killing of innocent
loyalist feud victim Craig McCausland has offered to meet the
young man's family.

Sunday Life can reveal the top loyalist - the terror group's
commander in the Woodvale area - requested the meeting with
Craig's aunt, Cathy McIlvenny, earlier this month, through an

The paramilitary boss also passed a message to the family,
denying any involvement in Craig's killing during the bitter LVF-
UVF feud in July 2005.

But Mrs McIlvenny, whose sister and Craig's mum, Lorraine, was
murdered by the UDA in 1987, rejected the UVF leader's offer.

The west Belfast woman claims the terrorist has only offered to
meet the murder victim because he hopes to secure a highly-paid
job in the local community.

The Shankill-based hairdresser, who has raised her concerns with
Belfast City Council and the police, hit out at the terrorist for
requesting the meeting.

Said Mrs McIlvenny: "Why did this man not request this meeting
two years ago?

"Why is he only issuing these denials now?

" We are not afraid to meet him, but there's no point because he
will just tell us lies. We believe he ordered the murder of an
innocent person, because the police told us they believed he had.

"He is going for a big job now in the community and I think he is
worried because I have been contacting different people about
him, including the funders of various community posts.

"I am not trying to stop community groups, but important jobs
should be given to individuals who make a positive impact in the
areas - not someone who continues to intimidate and threaten

"This man wants a good job because his organisation has said that
their arms have been put beyond use.

"He wants to meet with us in a bid to prove he had nothing to do
with my nephew's killing, but we know the truth."

Sunday Life knows the name of the top terrorist, but cannot
publish it for legal reasons.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan is also investigating Craig's
killing over claims the gunmen were police informers.

Craig was one of four men murdered by the UVF in a six-week
killing spree in 2005.

Police have confirmed that he was not a member of any
paramilitary organisation.

It has been suggested he may have been targeted because he
refused to join the UVF.

c Belfast Telegraph


Split Fears As UVF Expels 60 In Mid-Ulster

[Published: Sunday 3, June 2007 - 09:46]
By Stephen Breen

More than 60 members of the UVF in mid-Ulster have been stood
down by the terror group, Sunday Life can reveal.

Senior security sources say the terrorists were forced to leave
on the orders of the UVF's Shankill-based 'chief of staff'.

Sources say they were booted out after questioning the
leadership's decision to put its arms "beyond use".

Those expelled include two high-ranking 'officers', two notorious
brothers from Banbridge and the UVF's leader in the Waringstown

Their number also includes former supporters of LVF mass murderer
Billy Wright.

Said a senior source: "There is some dissension within the UVF's
ranks in the mid-Ulster area over the direction the group has
taken and that's why the leadership has stepped in.

"Criminality is still ongoing in the area, but the Belfast-based
leaders are determined to put an end to it.

"A special meeting was held last month in which the members were
told they were being stood down. There was no discussion and it
was all over in minutes.

"A lot of the men didn't take it too well because many of them
believe there is still a threat from dissident republicans in the

" Nobody knows if the expelled members will form their own group
to continue with their criminality.

"These men were disobeying orders and other members have been
told that this will not be tolerated."

The UVF has instructed its members to end all their criminal
enterprises. Sources claim senior figures in north and east
Belfast have been told to " monitor" their members' activities
over the coming weeks.

Added a source: "The leadership has received some complaints
about the criminal actions of people with links to the UVF and
they are determined to stamp this behaviour out.

"They have been told to keep a close eye on people because the
leadership is sticking to its stance on keeping everyone behind
the one strategy."

c Belfast Telegraph


Hot on trail of two local cold cases

Authorities Unearth New Evidence In Crimes With Links To IRA,
1993 Brink's Robbery.

Gary Craig
Staff writer

June 3, 2007 4:55 am - Damien McClinton was finishing up his
shift at Genesee Brewery's northwest Rochester distribution
warehouse when someone fired six shots into his midsection, knee
and face, killing him.

That Dec. 3, 1987, slaying remains unsolved to this day.

Almost eight years later, Joseph "Ronnie" Gibbons, a retired
welterweight boxer, borrowed a car in Manhattan and drove to
Rochester. Here, he spent the night with a friend, drove to a
Greece restaurant the next morning, left the car and stepped into
another vehicle with two men.

Since Aug. 10, 1995, he has not been seen or heard from and is
presumed dead.

Gibbons' disappearance, like the McClinton slaying, is also

Now, Rochester police and State Police are reviving
investigations into the two "cold cases."

In a city with dozens of homicides annually, police have no
shortage of unsolved crimes to investigate. But these two cases
are uncommon, involving one of the largest robberies in the
country's history and rumors of connections with the Irish
Republican Army.

Police will say little about why they've reopened the cases.

Rochester police Lt. Michael Wood, who heads the department's
homicide investigative unit, would say only: "We have had some
recent developments (regarding evidence)."

State Police Lt. David Hennessy said recently that the State
Police unearthed some evidence in a different investigation that
they brought to Rochester police, prompting them to reopen the

Neither Hennessy nor Wood would provide specifics about the new
evidence. They did say, however, that in recent months police

Scoured the hundreds of pages of police reports and court files
connected to the cases.

Conducted more than a dozen interviews.

Reviewed what evidence can be submitted for state-of-the-art
forensic testing. "Things have changed in the last 20 years,
especially as far as science goes, and our evaluation of physical
evidence and our ability to link certain people to crime scenes,"
Wood said.

Researched claims by an incarcerated killer from Orleans County
that he knows where Gibbons' body is buried, as well as the
bodies of others who have no connection to these crimes. That man
has refused to provide specifics to police, and some authorities
think he's lying.

At first blush, the two crimes - McClinton's slaying and Gibbons'
vanishing - appear unconnected. And, in fact, the two men
apparently did not know one another. But there are common

Both McClinton and Gibbons shared a passionate Irish nationalism.

McClinton, an Irish immigrant, was once active in Irish political
organizations, and some Irish media outlets covered his slaying,
alleging that it could have been linked to militant groups such
as the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

Gibbons' roots also are Irish, though he lived in England before
moving to the United States in the early 1970s. Similarly, he had
ties to a crime that also prompted claims of IRA links: the 1993
robbery of the Brink's Inc. depot in Rochester.

Some authorities speculated that the $7.4 million robbery, then
the fifth largest of an armored car company in the United States,
provided funds to the IRA, although police provided no evidence
to support the allegations.

"There were certainly items that helped support (the theory),"
said retired FBI Special Agent William Dillon, one of those who
investigated the heist.

Gibbons was friends with one of the robbers, Samuel Ignatius
Millar, and also helped with the initial planning, according to a
2003 book Millar wrote after finishing a prison sentence for his
involvement in the crime.

Millar, who'd been jailed in the notorious Northern Ireland
prison Long Kesh for IRA-connected crimes, also knew McClinton.

Brewery slaying

McClinton, 38, was a father of four young daughters when he was
slain. He and his wife had separated. He'd remained here in
Greece while his estranged wife and his children returned to
Belfast, Ireland. A gregarious man, McClinton seemed to have few
if any enemies, which made his slaying all the more difficult to
understand - and to solve.

"He was my best friend, the life and soul of the party," said
Joanne McClinton, 35, who lives in Belfast and was 15 when her
father was slain. "He just loved to socialize and have a good

McClinton had a routine at the brewery that was predictable,
right down to his locking the gate of the 20 Ferrano St.
distribution center as he left in the evening, said retired
Rochester police Investigator William Mayer, who headed physical
crimes in 1987 and investigated the killing.

"My first thoughts were ... that it was an ambush, that it was
someone who knows him, knew his schedule and had planned it all
out beforehand," Mayer said. "It wasn't a robber."

Ultimately, police developed three theories: that a romantic
entanglement may have been the cause, that McClinton had angered
someone in the local Irish nationalist circles, or that an angry
drug dealer shot him because a friend of McClinton had fled town
owing a significant debt for drugs.

Each theory was investigated thoroughly but police were unable to
build a case, Mayer said.

Damien McClinton's brother, Brendan, said he thinks the claims of
IRA connections were specious, perhaps driven by the fact that
many of the people involved were fervent about Irish nationalism.

"I don't believe it," said Brendan, who lives in Henrietta.

What partly drove the allegations of IRA involvement with
McClinton's slaying was an episode in Belfast several years
before his killing, Brendan McClinton said. Then, Damien
McClinton's girlfriend was spotted in a club known as an IRA
stronghold with a family friend who, it turned out, worked for
the arch-enemies of the IRA - the Royal Ulster Constabulary
police force.

The girlfriend was unaware of the man's law enforcement job, as
was Damien, but some nationalists questioned their sympathies
afterward, Brendan McClinton said. Mayer confirmed he also
learned of this episode during the investigation.

Brendan McClinton, 64, said he hasn't given up hope that his
brother's killer will be found.

"It hurts to think that the person who did this can walk around."

Joanne McClinton said recently that for years she didn't want to
know about her father's slaying because "it wasn't going to bring
him back."

But now, she said, "I want closure. It makes me hopeful that they
have opened the case."

Brink's link

In January 1993, masked gunmen robbed the Brink's depot at 370
South Ave. of $7.4 million. Immediately, federal authorities and
police suspected an inside job and focused on one of the Brink's
guards, retired Rochester Police Officer Thomas F. O'Connor.

O'Connor, who lives in Irondequoit, did not reply to several
requests for comments for this story.

According to his admissions in court, O'Connor, who took great
pride in his Irish heritage, had met Samuel Millar about a decade
before and ultimately smuggled him into the United States through

O'Connor also knew McClinton. They'd both worked at the Genesee
Brewery, where O'Connor became a security guard after retiring
from the police force in 1982. O'Connor was questioned about
McClinton's slaying in 1987, but was never named as a suspect.

After months of investigation into the Brink's robbery, the FBI
arrested O'Connor and Millar, who by then had moved to Queens
where he ran a comic book store.

Also arrested and connected to the heist was the Melkite priest,
the Rev. Patrick Moloney, who ran a home for troubled youth in
Manhattan's lower east side.

As part of its Brink's investigation, authorities also subpoenaed
records of the local chapter of the Irish Northern Aid Committee.
NORAID maintained that its role was humanitarian - including
raising funds to help the families of jailed IRA members. British
authorities have contended that the organization sometimes
funneled weapons to the IRA.

A federal judge refused to allow the speculation of IRA
connections to be part of the prosecution case at the Brinks
trial. The seven-week trial in Rochester ended in November 1994,
with the jury convicting Millar and Moloney of possessing cash
from the heist, while acquitting O'Connor of all charges.

The authorities then knew nothing of Gibbons or any link he might
have had to the crime.

But Gibbons apparently decided that he was an integral part of
the planning for the heist, according to an interview with
Gibbons' close friend, Terry Quinn of New York City, and Millar's
book about the robbery, On The Brinks.

In August 1995, Gibbons told Quinn about the robbery and said he
was going to Rochester to get a cut of the $5 million that had
not been recovered by authorities.

Always long on charm but short of cash, Gibbons borrowed Quinn's
car and told him to call Gibbons' brother in Liverpool, England,
if he didn't come back.

He didn't come back.

"He didn't call me the next day," said Quinn, a New York City
firefighter who is the lead consultant on the FX television
series, Rescue Me. "Two days went by and he didn't call me. This
was unusual, especially since he had my car."

Eventually, Quinn called two of Gibbons' boxing friends. They
were able to retrace his steps to Rochester by finding Gary
Brown, a childhood friend of Gibbons' with whom Gibbons had spent
the night here. Brown said that Gibbons had asked for directions
to the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar in Greece the morning
he left, though Gibbons gave no information about why he was
going there.

The two friends of Gibbons drove to the Applebee's, found the car
abandoned in the parking lot, and popped the trunk open, Quinn
said. There they found some of Gibbons' papers and a pager he
typically carried.

"They were completely freaked out," Quinn said.

Quinn contacted Gibbons' family in England, and they alerted the
FBI. The FBI learned that Gibbons had been seen by an Applebee's
waitress getting into a car in the parking lot with two men, but
couldn't find further information.

But in 2004, more than eight years after the disappearance, an
Orleans County man, Gerald O'Connor, was scheduled to be
sentenced for murder, kidnapping and sodomy. On the eve of
sentencing, he told authorities that he'd helped Gibbons' killer
bury the body, according to Orleans County District Attorney
Joseph Cardone.

Gerald O'Connor, who is no relation to Thomas O'Connor, also said
he'd helped killers bury three other bodies in Orleans County
over the course of more than a decade. But he refused to lead
police to any of the supposed burial sites, prompting some
authorities to decide he'd lied in a desperate bid to get a
reduced sentence.

Gerald O'Connor, 69, maintained his innocence at trial; he is not
eligible for parole until 2049. He has refused to speak with the
Democrat and Chronicle about the allegations he made then.

Yearning for answers

Police are now investigating Gerald O'Connor's claims, as well as
any possible links between the McClinton slaying and the Gibbons

"We're exploring the relationships between these people,"
Rochester police Lt. Wood said.

Gibbons' mother, Margaret, 76, who lives in Liverpool, England,
said that authorities called the family years ago, when a body
washed ashore in Florida, but it turned out not to be her son.

"I told them, 'Please call when you know you've got the right

For years, she heard little about her son's disappearance, she
said. But recently she spoke by telephone with Rochester police
homicide Investigator William Lawler, a member of the team
looking into the cases, she said.

"It certainly cheered me."

Joanne McClinton recalls how much she looked forward to her
father's telephone calls when she was a teenager in Belfast. Her
family didn't have a phone, so they'd go to the home of a
neighbor, and her father would call there.

"My daddy never wrote," she said.

Several days after his death, however, she and her sisters got a
letter from him.

"We received this letter saying how much he missed us and how
much he couldn't wait to see us," she said.

She and her sisters treasure the letter, a reminder of the father
who didn't get to see them grow up.

And rarely, she said, does she not think of him - or wonder how
and why he died.

"I want answers."


The Lack Of The Irish

Long before baseball ruled this town, the quirky sports of Gaelic
football and hurling provided Irish arrivals with a vital link to
their homeland. But now, with fewer and fewer legal - and illegal
- immigrants washing ashore, these Gaelic games are in the fight
of their lives.

By Jeremy Miller June 3, 2007

As the sun is going down on a Saturday in March, three youngsters
- Jack Lynch, 12, of Weymouth, Joseph Kennedy, 12, of Milton, and
Jack Young, 10, of Walpole - kick a Gaelic football around an
empty playing field in Canton. In warm-up jackets zipped to their
chins, they cut and fake, as if to shake invisible defenders. One
delivers a pass by dropping the ball, which looks like a swollen
volleyball, from his hand to his instep. The other catches the
ball midstride, bounces it once like Paul Pierce on a drive into
the lane, and delivers a low, bending drop kick on goal that
caroms off the post. If I hadn't known what I was looking at, I'd
have thought this was a serendipitous game of childhood
imagination. But the sport is ancient, and it is thoroughly
Irish. Though Lynch, Kennedy, and Young were born in the United
States, all of them have Irish parents and have played Gaelic
football, a mix of soccer and rugby, since they were 5 or 6 years
old. They've also been playing hurling, which is similar to
lacrosse, for about as long.

"But are these games nearly as fun to play as, say, basketball,
soccer, or baseball?" I ask, expecting a conciliatory "No" in

"Oh, yeah," says Kennedy, the group's self-appointed spokesman.
"They're just different."

"Do any of your friends at school play them?" I press.

All three shake their heads. "No," says Kennedy, grinning coyly
at his mates. "I play hurling and Gaelic football with my Irish
friends." Then he drops the ball to the turf and delivers a kick
that snaps it into the net beyond Young's outstretched hands.

And there lies the challenge for those working to preserve
traditional Irish sports in Boston and other US cities. Twenty-
five years before ground was broken on Fenway Park, in 1886, the
first Gaelic football match was played on Boston Common. Since
its founding in 1884, the Boston Northeast Gaelic Athletic
Association has done more than organize these matches. It has
nourished and spread Irish culture and political viewpoints and
provided a critical economic and social safety net to new Irish
immigrants. "On a psychological level, it has been hugely
significant, particularly for those of a rural background coming
to a heaving, busy metropolis," says Paul Darby, a senior
lecturer in the School of Sports Studies at the University of
Ulster in Northern Ireland. Darby, who's working on a book about
the Gaelic Athletic Association in the United States and Canada,
came to Boston in the late 1990s as a guest player for the
Boston-based Armagh-Notre Dame club and experienced the
phenomenon firsthand. "It's tremendously reassuring to find a
group of like-minded people playing games you would have played
back home. In a way, it feels like coming home."

Not surprisingly, the GAA in Boston and other US cities depends
almost exclusively on Irish-born players to fill its rosters. But
today, the flow of Irish immigration to the United States is
ebbing. According to the Irish government, nearly 14,000 people,
most returning Irish emigrants, moved from the United States to
Ireland between 2000 and 2005. The Irish-born population in this
country dropped by 18 percent, to 128,000, between 2000 and 2004,
according to US Census figures. The Boston GAA, the largest
member league outside Ireland with 22 clubs, has seen an even
more precipitous decline. The league has lost nearly 700 players,
or 35 percent of its membership, since 1999.

As fear of summary deportation swirls in the wake of the New
Bedford raid and Irish immigrants box up their Massachusetts
homes and return to their native country for good, many in the
Boston GAA see the struggles of local sports clubs as a loosening
thread in the city's already fragile Irish tapestry. They find
themselves asking an ominous question at the start of the new
athletic season: Could this be the end for Irish sport in Boston?

A common misconception about Gaelic sports is that the "amateur"
label is synonymous with "laid-back." The stakes are high. The
athletes are fit. Play is crisp and - for lack of a better term -

In Gaelic football, played by both men and women, participants
carry the ball by hand and pass and shoot it by foot. Hurling and
its women's version, camogie, are played with ax-shaped wooden
sticks called "camains" and "camogs," which are used to strike a
hard leather ball called a "sliothar." The "Clack!" of clashing
sticks is to hurling what squeaking shoes are to basketball. The
devil is in the stickwork, says Fiona Gohery, a nanny from
Waltham who plays for the Brighton-based Eire Og Camogie team.
"The tough part of the game," she says, "is what seems basic -
learning to solo [balancing or bouncing the ball on the stick] or
simply getting the ball up off the ground with a load of
defenders around you."

While practices take place throughout metro Boston, all games are
played at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton.
Gaelic football, hurling, and camogie all use a playing field
more than twice the size of a standard American football field.
It has to be big to accommodate the long-range passes and driving
shots that careen like meteors toward the H-shaped goals at each
end. A whack of the sliothar or a kick of the football through
the upper crossbars is worth 1 point, a shot past the goalie on
the lower goal, 3. The games move frenetically - forward and
back, side to side - like marbles on the deck of a rolling ship.

US teams follow the same rules as those in Ireland, as all teams
in this country are overseen by an Irish governing body, the
Cumann Luthchleas Gael. Because of the smaller pool of players in
the United States, the games are played 13 to a side instead of
the traditional 15. The effect of fewer bodies on the massive
piece of real estate, says Gerry McKenna, coach and treasurer for
the Aidan McAnespie Gaelic Football Club in South Boston, is
similar to four-on-four penalty time in hockey. "It becomes a
much more offensive-minded game," he says. The McAnespies, clad
in the red and white of Ulster, know something about offense:
They've won Boston's senior Gaelic football championships the
last two years.

Christy Lynch, a greyhoundlike halfback for the McAnespies, says
he's noticed some distinct differences between football in Boston
and Ireland. "I think because of the intense rivalries here, the
games tend to be more rough and tumble," says Lynch, who arrived
in April from Belfast just to play for the club.

Ireland's former economic and political woes were long the North
American GAA's gain. For years, the league was able to lure top
Irish talent with the promise of employment. In the 1980s, during
the last great surge of Irish immigration to the United States,
unemployment in Ireland hovered near 17 percent. "If you go back
to the '80s and early '90s, Ireland was leaking 20,000 people,
officially, every year. That did not count the people who went
over on J-1s [temporary visas] and stayed illegally," says Mike
Cronin, academic director for Boston College's Centre for Irish
Programmes in Dublin. In the Irish-friendly milieu of metro
Boston, visiting players had little reason to fear serious
repercussions for overstaying their 90-day visas. Indeed, many
never went back.

But the combination of post-9/11 scrutiny and an unprecedented
era of Irish prosperity, political cohesion, and self-assuredness
has made it increasingly difficult to get top Irish players to
join American clubs. Today, according to United Nations figures,
Ireland has the world's third-highest per-capita income. Northern
Ireland's two rival factions, Sinn Fein and the Democratic
Unionist Party, have met in a power-sharing assembly. Earlier
this year, rugby and soccer, long-banned English games, were
played for the first time at Dublin's Croke Park, the epicenter
of Irish sport.

Boston, in turn, has come to be seen as craggy terrain for
illegals. Stories of undercover agents staking out Boston pubs,
spurned lovers placing calls to immigration services, and minor
traffic infractions escalating to full-blown deportation
proceedings color local conversation.

Nevertheless, some players still make the journey. Those who
successfully navigate the US Customs Service and the league's
rigid visiting-player system get royal treatment, says Connie
Kelly, an ursine Belmont man who's promoted Gaelic sports in
Boston for almost 40 years and is the spokesman for the
Dorchester-based Kerry Gaelic Football Club. "We pick them up at
the airport. We put them up in an apartment. We get them a good
job." For the best players, it can become an outright bidding
war. "Say we've got our eye on a player. Well, there are eight
other clubs that are interested in him as well. The minute they
hear Johnny is coming over to play, they call and ask, 'What's
Kerry offerin' ya?' " says Kelly. "It's just like the Red Sox and
Yankees." The Boston GAA, he adds, is well connected; many
coaches and managers are also local contractors, pub owners, or
restaurateurs. That top players have been offered cash incentives
by clubs in cities such as Boston, New York, San Francisco, and
Chicago, however, has been a source of great friction. GAA rules
are clear: The league is amateur, and players are not to get
paid. "These inducements," says Darby, the University of Ulster
professor, "have heightened the underlying tension between the
GAA in Ireland and the US." Fergal McNeill, spokesman for the GAA
in Dublin, says the topic of player payments by US clubs was
discussed this April at a GAA congress meeting in Dublin. "I
think," says McNeill, "we've come to an understanding on the

Amid the changes at home and abroad, the average GAA player in
Boston has also undergone a shift. "It's a generalization to say
all the guys that play GAA are working construction," says hurler
and civil engineer Fergal Brennock, who lives in Watertown and
plays for the Galway Hurling club of Boston. "Many are highly
educated - computer programmers and engineers. The guys that come
over to play are not all desperate for work anymore." McNeill
says this has to do with the rapid modernization that has taken
place in Ireland. "Ireland has changed, and so has the makeup of
the players in the GAA."

While the men's teams are struggling to cope with the lack of
players, the Boston GAA's women's clubs, says league secretary
Sharon O'Brien, have begun to adjust. O'Brien, a nanny who has a
cherubic face and a subtly devious smile, lives in Arlington and
plays Gaelic football and camogie for the Brighton-based Tir na
Nog and Eire Og clubs. They have successfully recruited players
from local university rugby teams and city soccer leagues,
O'Brien tells me over an afternoon pint at the Banshee Pub in
Dorchester. (Although that day the Red Sox are facing the Angels
at Fenway, Schilling on the hill, the TV above us stays
faithfully tuned to the test pattern of Setanta, the Irish sports
network.) "Almost all of the men playing are Irish," she says.
"But the women's teams are much more diverse. We have Chinese,
black, and Latina women out there." A mere 7 percent of the
players on Boston's men's teams are American-born; that figure
jumps to more than 25 percent in the women's league.

The men's league's intense focus on luring top talent from
Ireland, say youth league officials in Boston, has coincided with
neglect of local youth programs. "We've spent too much time
feeding the head while letting the body starve," says youth coach
Martin Bannon, of Hyde Park. Still, there have been some efforts,
including demonstrations of Gaelic sports at schools and Irish
events around the country. Larry McCann, a no-nonsense Ulsterman
who first came to New York City in the 1970s as a Gaelic
footballer and now lives in Hanson and works as a youth league
chairman, says his group signed up 40 boys and girls at this
year's St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston. "These games are
a thread of Irish life," he says. "But we've got to figure out
how to get American kids excited about them."

While Gaelic football can be picked up later in life, hurling and
camogie have a more specialized skill set. To master them, in
most cases, you must be exposed to them at an early age. Hurling
and camogie's sticks are swung in impossibly close quarters, and
you must learn to step into the swing of the opposing player. If
you don't, it's only a matter of time before a stick catches you
full force in the jaw. "You've got to start by age 7," says
Michael O'Connor, of Milton, the North American GAA's youth
officer. "If you don't develop these instincts at an early age,
you'll never play."

Unless interest can be generated among American youth, says
O'Connor, hurling and camogie will disappear in the United
States. (Gaelic football appears less threatened.) Sharon O'Brien
says that six years ago, eight all-Irish camogie teams played in
the United States; now there are only five teams and, of those,
only three are all-Irish (the other two, based in Milwaukee and
Washington, D.C., have all American players). The New York GAA
has lost five hurling teams in the last five years, and Boston is
expected to lose one this year.

"The games and the [Irish] community are interdependent," says
Boston GAA youth officer Frank Hogan, of Westwood. "When the
leagues suffer, the community suffers." Gaelic sports are, at
their core, a resounding expression of Irishness. "Being a member
of the GAA has traditionally been tied up with a political act,"
says Cronin of Boston College. "It is a statement." While the
North American GAA, historically, has exploited Irish talent,
Ireland has exploited the financial resources and nationalist
sentiments of the North American GAA. "Nationalists in Ireland
recognized that in order to be successful in their broader
political objectives, they'd need the help and finances of the
Irish diaspora," says Darby of the University of Ulster. He's
found evidence in the Irish-American press that the GAA
participated directly in fund-raising for the Easter Rising in
1916. This trend reemerged in the 1970s through the early 1990s,
says Darby, when GAA events were used as fund-raising
opportunities by members of Irish Northern Aid, an American
organization that sent money to the families of political
prisoners and, many believe, the IRA.

But now, out of necessity, the Boston GAA's political gaze has
shifted away from Ireland and to domestic affairs. The league
backs changes in US immigration laws, including increased
opportunities to legalize undocumented immigrants already here.
"The GAA was the canary in a coal mine for the Irish immigration
issue," says Kelly Fincham, director of the New York City-based
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform. "That's why they've been so
receptive to our efforts."

Indeed, the GAA has emerged as the movement's de facto ground
force. At an Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform rally on a snowy
afternoon in March, a raucous crowd crammed into a stuffy banquet
hall in Washington, D.C. They came to hear Senate headliners Ted
Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and Chuck Schumer pledge support for a
now-defunct bipartisan immigration bill sponsored by Senators
John McCain and Kennedy. According to organizer estimates, about
90 percent of those attending from Boston were affiliated with
the Boston GAA. Above the stage, a few green balloons tucked
themselves into the crevices of a massive ceiling fixture made of
sharp glass. An Irish rock band led a rowdy version of the 19th-
century famine ballad "The Fields of Athenry." A close inspection
of the crowd revealed a motley array of Gaelic sports jerseys
peeking out from under white T-shirts that read

Like the legendary road to Dublin, the path through Washington to
immigration reform will be a rocky one. But it's a fight the
Boston GAA and Connie Kelly, the Kerry club spokesman, can't
imagine losing. "We'd better get a handle on this soon, or else
we'll find we've lost a whole generation of players," says Kelly,
striding in Kerry green and gold as the sun sets on the empty
fields of Canton. "If we don't, we're extinct."

c Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company


Pope To Canonise New Irish Saint Today

03/06/2007 - 11:10:41

Pope Benedict is to canonise a new Irish Saint in St Peter's
Square in Rome.

President McAleese will attend the ceremony in the Vatican.

Blessed Charles of Mount Argus was born in the Netherlands, but
became known for his holiness in south Dublin in the late 19th

Before that, he also helped Irish people in England, who were
fleeing famine in the 1850s.

He is the first Irish Saint to be canonised since Saint Oliver
Plunkett in 1975.

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

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here

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

To June Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News

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