29 April 2006

Court set to rule on Maiden city's name

Belfast Telegraph

By Brian Hutton
28 April 2006

The epic debate over the name of Northern Ireland's second largest city is to be decided once and for all by a High Court Judge, it was announced today.

Mr Justice Weatherup, granting leave in the High Court for an application by Derry City Council to have the city's name determined, said the issue was "loaded with history, conflict and debate".

Significantly, the Department of the Environment (DOE), representing the Government, welcomed a legal resolution to the contentious matter.

Appearing for the DoE, Bernard McCloskey said the Government is entirely neutral as to the outcome. "It's a pure question of law", he said. Mr McCloskey vowed that the DoE would participate in a "non-contentious and non-hostile manner" and give its "full co-operation" to the court.

"It has been a difficult question for a number of decades", he added.

Michael Lavery QC, representing Derry City Council, outlined three key issues it is seeking declarations on:

Is there a separate legal entity known as Londonderry at all?

Has that entity, if it exists, been absorbed into Derry City Council and is it now known as Derry City?

Has the functions of the corporate entity Londonderry City been absorbed by Derry City Council?

Derry City Council now has 14 days to set out its arguments and serve papers on the High Court, formally requesting a legal determination on the matter. The DOE will have six weeks from then to respond with an affidavit setting out its views. The case will be heard again on June 29.

In an anecdotal aside, Mr Justice Weatherup said a visiting friend of his from Geneva was recently confused about why the city was referred to Derry and Londonderry on some maps.

The judge said it gave him considerable difficulty attempting to explain the situation to his French-speaking friend.

"Maybe I'll send him this judgment, whoever writes it", he quipped.

PSNI pays for the most expensive maildrop in history

Daily Ireland

Here’s the thing – and, forgive me, but there’s no other way of putting this: the hoods who are wrecking the streets and homes and cars in the shadow of the famous old Divis Tower are already working for the Trevors

Robin Livingstone
28/04/2006

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe PSNI sent a van out round the Lower Falls this week towing one of those portable ad hoarding-type thingies. The message on the board read: “Rat on the rats.” At the same time, a bunch of Trevors went round the doors posting letters.
Before we go into the details of the letter, I have to reveal that I have written a letter of my own, to the Guinness Book of Records no less, nominating this as the most expensive maildrop in the history of modern communications. My local residents’ association did a maildrop recently and paid a handful of young fellas a few quid to spend a couple of hours in the evening doing the needful. Quite why these letters had to be hand-delivered by a battalion of highly-paid and well-armed officers is not entirely clear to me – perhaps they managed to glean some low-grade intelligence as they went – lay-out of hall and living room, existence of security measures, nature of pictures on the wall, that sort of thing. Let’s hope so. Hate to think they went to all that expense for so little.
Anyway, the letters enable local people to do what the ad behind the van told them: “Rat on the rats.” It urged them to write down in the space provided the names and addresses of any young people known to be engaged in anti-social behaviour in the locality so that they can be hit with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs). This is a splendid idea, of course.
Allowing harassed householders to shop the young thugs who are making their lives a misery, and to do it anonymously, is clearly an excellent idea, but, as ever, it’s so much more complicated than that.
Here’s the thing – and, forgive me, but there’s no other way of putting this: the hoods who are wrecking the streets and homes and cars in the shadow of the famous old Divis Tower are already working for the Trevors.
Now listen, bear with me on this. You think I’m just saying that because I don’t like the PSNI and that I’m forever trying to score a cheap point at their expense. This is all true, I freely admit it. But I didn’t find out that the hoods in the Lower Falls are in the pay of the PSNI by stumbling across some secret documents or because one of them admitted to it while hanging upside down in a cattleshed in Co Louth. I found out about it because an officer said it on a radio programme. I should know, I was on the radio programme with him when he said it.
So I think local people should knock up a letter of their own and deliver it to Grosvenor Road barracks – what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and all that. They could demand to see the list of Lower Falls death drivers, drug dealers, burglars, knife-merchants and general all-round ne’er-do-wells who are effectively PSNI reservists and who will never feel a hand on their collar of their short-sleeved checked Ben Shermans or have bread and water for breakfast on Christmas morning.

Disturbances sectarian say police

BBC

The police said they are treating attacks on buildings in a County Derry village as sectarian.

Windows were smashed in a hotel, houses and a car during the trouble at Main Street in Garvagh in the early hours of Saturday.

There are no reports of any injuries. Two men were arrested. One has since been released on police bail.

Sinn Fein councillor Billy Leonard said an asthmatic girl was living in one of the houses which were attacked.

"Purely and simply because they are easy targets, people can come along, damage their car, break their windows, so obviously they are very distressed," Mr Leonard said.

"Can you image that person, who had a serious asthmatic attack in recent months, being wakened up to the sound of breaking glass and shouting thugs?"

Meanwhile, in Derry 25 people were involved in clashes on the Glendermott Road at about 0215 BST. One man was arrested.

The crowd involved in both incidents dispersed when the police arrived.

Police in Derry would like witnesses to contact them.

Two arrested over Dublin rioting

BBC


There was rioting in Dublin city centre

Two men have been arrested in connection with rioting in Dublin during a loyalist parade, Irish police have said.

The men, aged 19 and 20 years, were both arrested in Dun Laoghaire, a port outside Dublin on Saturday.

Trouble broke out on 25 February after republican protestors tried to stop a Love Ulster rally to remember the victims of republican violence.

A Garda press officer said the men were being detained at Store Street station.

During the trouble, Irish police and youths fought pitched battles along O'Connell Street and 41 people were arrested.

The rioting saw 21 Garda officers injured.

Retailers claimed they lost 10m euro in sales after shoppers fled the area.

Fenian Brotherhood Commemoration

Politics.ie

Press Release

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usYou are invited to attend a commemoration in honour of the founder of the Fenian Brotherhood, John O’Mahony, which will take place on the 28th May 2006 at 2pm by his grave in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

Click photo to view - image from >>here

The commemoration is organised to coincide with the 130th anniversary of the first Fenian Raids on Canada in which several Irish patriots died for the cause of Irish freedom. It will also recall all the members of the Fenian Brotherhood, Irish Republican Brotherhood and Clan na nGael who died in the many actions in Ireland and England in their fight against English Crown Forces. The main speaker of the day will be Tommy McKearney, a former IRA Hunger-striker who will give an oration on the brutal prison conditions that Fenians had to endure under English rule. Several noted Fenian leaders died from the severity of the conditions imposed, while others were murdered in their cells after long incarcerations. Amongst those killed were the famous Edward Duffy, the young Fenian martyr James Cody, William Meagher, Richard J. Stowell along with Fenian commanders John Lynch and Brian Dillion from Cork, to mention a few. The commemoration will also remembers Fenians such as Captain Mackey as well as his brother and also John Fleming who died trying to blow up London Bridge, along with Stephen O’Donoghue and Thomas Farrell who died fighting near Tallagh during the Fenian Rising. John O’Mahony who had taken part in the 1848 Rising along with John Mitchel and James Stephens, was exiled first to France and then to the US. He founded the Fenian Brotherhood in 1860 with the object of freeing Ireland; naming it after the army of the great heroic cycle of Finn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna. He became a Colonel in the 69th Regiment during the American Civil War and during that period expanded the Fenian Brotherhood in the US to over a 100,000 men. With the failure of the Irish Republican Brotherhood to rise in 1865, O’Mahony helped organise the first Fenian invasion into Canada in an attempt to provoke the English into war with the US. He eventually died the following year in 1897 and his body was returned home to Ireland to be buried in Glasnevin. While the most famous Fenians of the period were the Manchester martyrs, whose song ‘God Save Ireland’ was the Irish national anthem till the writing of Amhran na bhFíann, there were hundreds of other Fenians such as Thomas Clarke, Charles J. Kickham, O’Donavan Rossa etc, who were the inspirational force that kept the Fenian spirit alive for another generation, eventually helping to inspire the 1916 rising. A booklet of 33 rare Fenian poems/ballads, written by martyrs such as Brian Dillion, Charles J. Kickham and O’Donavan Rossa is available to purchase as part of the fundraising for the commemoration and can be attained for €5. Look forward to seeing you there on the day.

Organised by Craobh Gál Gréine
Irish Cultural Society

craobhgalgreine@yahoo.ie

28 April 2006

Border areas ‘struggle’

Daily Ireland

Sinn Féin holds northwest launch of party’s vision of united Ireland

Eamonn Houston
27/04/2006

The partition of Ireland has left border communities struggling under a lack of services both North and South, a Sinn Féin conference was told yesterday.
Party president Gerry Adams, vice-president Pat Doherty and chief negotiator Martin McGuinness were in Derry to oversee the northwest launch of Sinn Féin’s vision of a united Ireland.
Mr Adams told delegates that partition had had “a disastrous impact” on border areas.
He said communities living along the border corridor had fewer “life opportunities”. He said the regions were burdened by high unemployment, low educational achievement and substandard health provision.
“The northwest is the poorest area of the poorest regions.
“We would argue that we cannot understand these problems or seek to solve them unless we view them in the context of partition,” he said.
Mr Adams called on the Irish government to to produce a green paper aimed at achieving Irish unity.
“The Irish government has a responsibility to take the lead and develop a strategy for Irish self-determination. The British government should act as persuaders for Irish unity and there should be an ongoing engagement with unionist opinion,” he said.
The Sinn Féin president said the existence of the border had resulted in inefficiencies in essential services. Mr Adams called for a regional cross-border strategy for health, agriculture and education.
“All of this makes sense. The IRA has fulfilled its commitments. The army has addressed unionist concerns, and the onus now lies with the DUP,” Mr Adams said.
Closing the conference, Sinn Féin Buncrana mayor Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said partition had created serious economic and social problems in border areas.
“Partition has failed. There can be no prosperity in the border corridor area while partition remains.
“Sinn Féin, working with the people of Ireland, wants to change this reality.
“The reality of Sinn Féin in government at all levels throughout the island of Ireland will herald social justice, economic stability and growth through the all-Ireland economy and planned reintegration.
“We must work with the people of Ireland to ensure the continuing process of reintegration is an inclusive one that facilitates social equality.
“The adverse effects of partition are felt most acutely here, in the border corridor area itself,” he said.

Realistic bronze of blanket man

Daily Ireland

H-block project takes its toll on sculptor

By Connla Young
27/04/2006

A County Cork man who crafted a life-like sculpture of a blanket man has spoken of the emotional toll the project took on him.
Brendan Byrne spent several months handcrafting a bronze blanket man designed to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike.
The former bank manager turned artist even wore a blanket in his own home in a bid to make his bronze creation as realistic as possible.
At a recent mass to remember the hunger strikers, family members were presented with one of the 16-inch high bronze figures.
Mr Byrne says he was touched by the reaction of hunger-strike families to his work.
“It really was an emotional thing for me. Normally I sell a piece in retail and never see where it ends up. I never see how people react to the work. I didn’t realise the impact it would have on the families. Young people were there and older family members were able to explain what the blanket protest was like using the figure.
“It was difficult to make. I had to make the figure look as thin as possible. Most of the lads were down to eight and a half stone and reflecting that in the piece was difficult. Another difficulty was trying to express both the strength of the men and the physical weakness at the same time. It was a learning experience for me.
“This was recent history and people remember it so it was important to keep my eye on the detail. We wanted it to be authentic as possible. The style of the writing on the sculpture was taken from communications sent from the prison.”
Produced by Tyrone company Créumha Loch nEacha, the bronze figures are available from the Art Shop on Belfast’s Falls Road.

Hain is accused of delay on Drumcree

Belfast Telegraph

NIO denies trying to stall court case

By Chris Thornton
28 April 2006

Garvaghy Road residents have accused Secretary of State Peter Hain of trying to delay their court action against his Parades Commission line-up until their Drumcree decision has been reached.

The group, which is opposed to the annual Orange parade in Portadown, said the NIO has been seeking to have their High Court hearing re-scheduled for June.

John Duffy, a resident, is taking a judicial review of Mr Hain's decision to appoint Portadown Orangemen David Burrows and Donald MacKay to the Commission.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Weatherup admitted new evidence to Mr Duffy's case, which alleges that the Secretary of State was biased in favour of unionists and the loyal orders when he made the appointments last November. If the action is successful, Mr Hain could be forced to make new appointments.

The new evidence introduced this week includes affidavits from former Probation Board chief Breidge Gadd, who was turned down for a place on the Commission; SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly, who was used as a reference by Mr MacKay without her knowledge; and Residents' Coalition leader Breandan MacCionnaith, who noted that his group was not consulted about the appointments while Orangemen were.

The Residents' Group says that during the hearing, NIO lawyers sought to have the case - scheduled for May 12 - put back until June.

In a statement, the group said "most people" would assume that it was best to have the case "resolved as quickly as possible".

"However, those acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, against whom the judicial review has been granted, appear to be resorting to delaying tactics in this case," it said.

The residents said the NIO "requested a delay in any proceedings until mid-June, literally days before the ruling on the annual Drumcree Orange march will be made".

The parade, which has been blocked in the past few years without the widespread violence that marked previous marches, is scheduled for July 9.

The Commission would be expected to issue its ruling in early July.

The residents said the appointment by Mr Hain of two Portadown Orangemen created "serious question marks over the appointments process".

An NIO spokeswoman pointed out that the hearing is due to go ahead as scheduled on May 12, after an additional hearing on May 10. "The NIO wants to see this case resolved as soon as possible," she added.

Delusions of power-sharing

Guardian

Unionists are not about to kiss and make up with Sinn Féin, argues Henry McDonald

Friday April 28, 2006

Is the Democratic Unionist Party on the verge of doing a "David Trimble" and enter a power-sharing arrangement with their historic enemies in Sinn Féin?

Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, and some more gullible sections of the Irish media seem to think so. Perhaps their confidence that the DUP is about to perform a Trimbleite 360-degree turn is bolstered by two events this week.

The first was the unprecedented visit to an Anglo-Irish joint parliamentary body, which was sitting in Killarney in the deep south of the Irish Republic.

At this gathering and at a previous speech in New York before Easter, DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson appeared to indicate the party was shifting ground.

Yes, the DUP wanted powersharing, Mr Robinson told his two diverse audiences, but only when it could be sure that the republican movement had ended all illegal activities, he added.

On Wednesday, the body established to oversee the IRA and loyalist ceasefires, the International Monitoring Commission, delivered its most positive report to date.

It found that the IRA was distancing itself further from all forms of paramilitary activity. However, the IMC report was not the "clean bill of health" some news organisations and the two governments claimed it was.

The committee found that IRA units still held on to arms even though the provisionals, according to General de Chastelain and two Irish clergymen, were meant to have decommissioned their entire arsenal last summer.

But in the round, as they say up in Stormont, there was now next to no excuse for the DUP not to share with Sinn Féin.

All of this positive spin ignores two critical factors that in reality will prevent the DUP entering government with Sinn Féin before Tony Blair's final, final, absolutely final deadline at the end of November.

The first is the unionist electorate, which replaced David Trimble with the Reverend Ian Paisley as top dog in unionism last year.

Mr Robinson, the DUP's key strategist, has stated that between now and the November deadline, his party will hold wide-ranging consultations with the unionist community in Northern Ireland.

In essence, the DUP will hold a series of local opinion polls to gauge support for a possible deal with Sinn Féin and others. This process will include meetings with church groups, local community associations, cross-sections of voters in key constituencies and so on.

The answer they are likely to receive is a resounding no.

Even if the next IMC report happens to be even more positive and if the issue of who killed IRA man turned British spy Denis Donaldson does not exercise this electorate, the prospect of a Sinn Féin minister (possibly an ex-IRA prisoner/leader) taking charge of policing or justice in Northern Ireland will horrify the average unionist voter.

Devolving policing or justice powers - a key republican precondition for ultimately supporting the Police Service of Northern Ireland - to a republican minister will be a deal breaker.

The second factor in holding back the dealmakers within the DUP is the political situation on the other side of the Irish Sea.

The slow, seemingly inexorable disintegration of Tony Blair's premiership is being watched carefully not only by Mr Robinson but other DUP luminaries including the Cambridge-educated North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds and the party's hard-line MEP, Jim Allister.

They regard Tony Blair as having given, rightly or wrongly, too many concessions over the years to republicans to buy off the IRA and its armed campaign.

From their viewpoint they owe Mr Blair nothing and would happy to see him dispatched from Downing Street unable to wrap himself up in the glory of having achieved a real, final settlement in Northern Ireland. They are "waiting for Gordo".

Blair's woeful Black Wednesday is the DUP's opportunity, or at least their space to consult, hesitate and hold on until someone else occupies Number Ten, whether that be Gordon Brown or someone else.

· Henry McDonald is Ireland Editor of The Observer

Community worker fears summer 'trouble'

Derry Journal

28 April 2006

CURRYNIERIN COMMUNITY worker Mickey Carlin has said he fears there will be trouble this summer after the estate experienced at least 24 attacks in the last 6 weeks.
The PSNI recorded 24 incidents on the interface between March 13 and April 25 this year, including two involving petrol bombs and others involving damage to property and vehicles.
But Mr. Carlin told the 'Journal' that there were "about another ten to 15 incidents" that had not been reported to police.
"It's mostly every night. Even on quiet nights the
residents are still sitting there waiting for something to happen.
"They're worried every single night, and that's no
way to live."
Mr. Carlin said that he was worried the attacks would continue throughout the summer.
"The general feeling is that there is going to be
trouble this year.
"But the Currynierin Community Association is working very closely with the Tullyally Development Group to get out there and to try to get talking about it."
Mr. Carlin explained that he, youth worker Brian Murphy and a
group of volunteers, were out almost every night talking to the young people in the area.
"We go out, and we talk to the young people in Currynierin, and to date they have responded great - they sit and listen
to us.
"Our volunteers, they don't get paid at all, and they do a fantastic job under pressure and under threat of being attacked.
"We're working very hard with Tullyally, and we will continue to do so."
Brian Dougherty, Chairperson, Waterside Development Group and
Co-Ordinator of Tullyally Development Group, said that while the community was working hard to address the problem, he
believed the police should be doing more.
"Both sides are agreed that we're disappointed in the police response.
"This is simply antisocial behaviour, which will turn sinister if it's not nipped in the bud.
"Unfortunately a lot of kids are getting tied up in that, orchestrated by one or two main players, and it's up to the authorities to deal with these ringleaders.
"ASBOs have been in force for nearly two years, and I think somebody has to be made an example of.
"Estates are sick and tired of young hoodlums engaging in anti-social behaviour.
"It's not a sectarian thing, it's indicative of anti-social behaviour, which is happening right across the city, and
unless the police make some effort, it's going to spiral out of control."

Judge throws out Omagh bomb suspect's legal challenge

BN.ie

28/04/2006 - 15:04:46

The trial of the man charged with the Omagh bomb atrocity should go ahead in September, a judge ruled today.

Confirmation that Sean Hoey, aged 36, should stand trial came when a judge threw out an application by lawyers acting for the electrician that the charges should be dropped.

In a ruling at Belfast Crown Court Mr Justice Weir said he had carefully considered submissions made by both the defence and the Crown during a No Bills Application and had decided there was a case to answer and the charges should stand.

Hoey stood in the dock and formally pleaded not guilty to 29 charges of murdering the victims of the Real IRA car bomb attack in the Co Tyrone town in August 1998.

Hoey faces a total of 58 charges relating to the Omagh bomb massacre and a series of other terrorist strikes across the North at around the same period.

As well as murder he pleaded not guilty to a series of charges including conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause explosion, causing an explosion and possession of explosives with intent.

Hoey, who has been in custody for nearly three years, was again remanded in custody.

Mr Justice Weir told lawyers representing both Crown and defence that he wanted no slippage in plans for the trial to start in September.

He told them: “I expect anything that needs to be attended to be attended to in the next month or so.”

The case was lifted for a review on June 2 to ensure there are not any problems to prevent a September start.

Threat of taxi strike looms

BN.ie

28/04/2006 - 15:28:23

The country could be facing a National Taxi Strike on June 3.

Members of the Cork branch of the Taxi Drivers Federation have threatened a work stoppage unless the Taxi Regulator agrees to address their concerns.

Taxi drivers have said they have a series of problems with the proposed changes to their work practices.

Chairman of the Cork branch, Derry Coughlan has called on other branches to support the work stoppage.

Mr Coughlan said: “This is an option that all members have taken in Cork and we are, at the moment, looking for the backing of all other taxi and hackney vehicles in Ireland because this thing is going out of control.”

“Nobody will be able to exist under the Taxi Regulator’s policies and costs in particular. We just have to make the public aware of this.”

Court to decide on base raid case

BBC


Mr Zaitschek was a chef at Castlereagh police station

A decision on prosecuting a New York chef over a raid on a Belfast police station could be made within six weeks.

Larry Zaitschek, 38, worked in the canteen at Castlereagh when Special Branch offices were broken into and files stolen on 17 March 2002.

The High Court was told on Friday the Public Prosecution Service had not yet reached a decision on prosecuting him.

Both sides agreed to adjourn for another six weeks, with the next hearing scheduled for 9 June.

A judicial review has challenged the failure by the PPS to reach a decision on whether to prosecute him.

Mr Zaitschek worked as a chef in Castlereagh police station for seven years.

He was questioned by police in Belfast and later in New York when he returned to the US five days after the raid.

Petition demands Megan's murderer is never released

Belfast Telegraph

By Claire Regan
28 April 2006

The devastated family of a 16-year-old Belfast girl brutally raped and murdered has launched a passionate campaign to ensure her killer is never freed.

Close relatives of Megan McAlorum have taken to the streets of Belfast to collect signatures and petitions of support which they intend to give to the judge who will be sentencing the teenager's evil killer.

The family hope the initiative will highlight the family's fears that 19-year-old Thomas Purcell may one day be freed to rape and kill again. The Belfast man pleaded guilty to murdering young Megan at Craigavon Crown Court earlier this week and will be sentenced on May 26.

The 16-year-old's semi-naked body was found on a desolate stretch of land in a forested area close to the Glenside Road in Dunmurry on April 12 2004. She had been raped by Purcell and suffered head injuries so severe they were similar to what would be expected in someone who had fallen head-first from a four-storey building.

Megan's parents, Frankie and Margaret McAlorum, have urged the judge responsible to give him a life sentence and ensure that "life means life".

The youngster's 27-year-old twin sisters, Lynn Sutcu and Paula McAlorum, began gathering petitions yesterday afternoon at two shopping centres in west Belfast.

They will bring the campaign to Belfast city centre on Saturday and urged any shoppers who spot them to sign a petition. The sisters are being helped by friend Siobhan Keenan and aunt Geraldine McGoran.

Speaking from the Westwood Centre yesterday afternoon, where they gathered petitions before going to the Park Centre, Mrs Sutcu said: "We've been getting loads of support from people. We've already got hundreds of signatures.

"We are hoping that the city centre will be bunged with people on Saturday and we want to gather as much support as possible.

"It's very important to get a message out that Purcell should not be allowed to see freedom ever again."

Megan's mother also urged people to show their support for the petition campaign.

"We are terrified that the courts will show him leniency because he pleaded guilty. He didn't do it to save us going through a trial; he did it to save his own skin," she said.

"We are urging the judge to make sure Purcell is never free to walk the streets again.

"It's important to us to send a message to the judge that life should mean life."

Speaking earlier this week at their Glencolin Way home in west Belfast, Mr and Mrs McAlorum revealed the brutal death their much-loved child had suffered at the hands of Purcell.

They told about the desperate measures Purcell undertook to cover his crime, included bringing two young female relatives, thought to be aged 12 and 14, to the ditch where he had dumped the body and pretending to find it.

Basque leader is jailed for praising former head of ETA

Belfast Telegraph

By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid
28 April 2006

Arnaldo Otegi, the radical Basque politician and a key figure in the incipient peace process, has been jailed for 15 months for glorifying terrorism.

Spain's High Court also banned Otegi, one of the most prominent and outspoken leaders of Basque nationalism, from standing for political office or voting for seven years at yesterday's hearing. Otegi, 47, the leader of the outlawed pro-separatist Batasuna party, is thought to have played a decisive role in persuading ETA armed separatists to declare a permanent ceasefire last month.

He had long been in discreet contact with members of the ruling Socialist party to prepare for the ceasefire, and is considered Spain's nearest equivalent to Sinn Fein's leader, Gerry Adams, in his importance to the Basque peace process.

While Basque Socialists consider him a key interlocutor, Otegi is one of the few non-combatant radical Basques with clout among ETA's military hotheads - because of his record as a former Eta hitman. He is likely to be a vital participant in future peace talks.

"I think the bases for the abandonment of violence are firm and will not be affected by these kind of events," the Socialist parliamentary spokesman, Ramon Jauregui, said.

Otegi was sentenced for praising the ETA leader Jose Miguel Benaran Ordenana, known as Argala, at a memorial service in 2003. He denied at his trial this month his homage amounted to the glorification of terrorism or ETA. "My message was only an act of remembrance for a person murdered 25 years ago for political reasons," he had said.

Argala was suspected of masterminding the assassination in 1973 of Franco's right-hand man, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, whose death in an explosion shook the dictatorship's foundations. Argala was amnestied in 1977 and murdered a year later, supposedly by extremists seeking vengeance for Blanco's death.

Otegi is on bail in connection with a trial to establish Batasuna's links with ETA. He was sentenced to a year in jail in November for insulting the king, whom he accused of being "responsible for torturers", but the term was waived as "a first offence". He can appeal to the Supreme Court, which has the last word on whether he should go to jail for the latest offence.

Before the court ruling yesterday, Otegi sought permission to travel to Dublin to take part in Sinn Fein events, invited by Gerry Adams. Mr Adams is said to have advised him on how to orchestrate ETA's transition from armed action to peace talks, and has praised him publicly.

* Bob Dylan will perform a free concert for peace in the Basque resort of San Sebastian on 11 July, to celebrate the new climate of peace following ETA's ceasefire, the organisers said.

Orange chiefs talk to Dublin

Belfast Telegraph

Historic parades meeting with Irish government

By Chris Thornton
28 April 2006

Orange Order leaders have held a groundbreaking meeting with the Irish government as part of their campaign to get the Parades Commission replaced.

A delegation from the Order's Grand Lodge and other marching organisations met officials from the Dublin government at Schomberg House, the Orange headquarters in east Belfast, just before Easter.

Leaders of the Orange Order, Royal Black Preceptory and Independent Orange Order briefed the Irish civil servants about their joint strategy for dealing with parades. They are also due to meet the SDLP next week.

Drew Nelson, the Order's Grand Secretary, said: "This is probably the first time in our history that we've been talking to the nationalist community."

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Nelson described the talks as an "amicable enough meeting".

"We met civil servants from the Irish government, from the Department of Foreign Affairs," he said.

"The main aim of that discussion was to explain to them why we thought the present legislation was flawed and to convince them that we were genuinely attempting to seek a long-term resolution and better system of regulating high impact public events.

"We made our position clear and we explained to them to the best of our ability why we thought the present system was flawed.

"They listened, they asked some questions and they put some points from the nationalist perspective which we answered."

George Dawson, the DUP MLA who is Grand Master of the Independent Orange Institution, also took part in the meeting.

"Our feeling is that they are not without influence in the nationalist community," Mr Dawson said. "We feel it's important to get everyone on board."

The three marching organisations have been preparing their joint strategy since last year and recently began a series of briefings - meetings so far have included Secretary of State Peter Hain, Irish officials, Protestant church leaders, and the Alliance Party.

However, the Orange Order's Grand Lodge is maintaining an official ban on contact with the Parades Commission - in spite of two Orangemen joining the body - and Sinn Fein.

"We're in the mode of explaining to as many people as possible, people of influence in Northern Ireland society, why we think the present legislation is flawed," Mr Nelson said.

"Essentially at the minute we're willing to discuss and talk to everybody except Sinn Fein.

"We're not at the minute talking to Sinn Fein because of their history, because of their attitude towards violence, because we have hundreds - literally hundreds - of our members in their graves, murdered by the republican movement. So it is not on our agenda to talk to Sinn Fein."

The loyal orders have revealed few details of their joint strategy, but Mr Nelson, a Dromore solicitor, said they do not envisage decisions on parades returning to police. The Parades Commission was created to cushion police from the blame for particular parades being blocked or going ahead.

"We see the Parades Commission being replaced by a more equitable body or bodies and working within a fairer legislative framework to handle the whole high impact public events problems," he said.

"The police would be part of that, but we don't foresee them being part of the decision making process.

"I want to say that the debate within the institution is much more mature than it has been as to how to tackle the problem of partial legislation, and that we've had a very long think about it over the past few months."

Police 'let loyalist free to kill and kill again'

Belfast Telegraph

David Gordon
28 April 2006

Two retired detectives have alleged that a multiple loyalist killer could have been put behind bars after his first murder.

The former officers said the paramilitary was allowed to evade justice while working as a paid Special Branch informer.

And they said he should have been charged with the brutal sectarian murder of Catholic woman Sharon McKenna as long ago as the early 1990s.

Their claims will add to the growing scandal over alleged security force collusion with a vicious UVF gang from north Belfast's Mount Vernon estate.

A long-awaited report from Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan on the issue is due to be published shortly.

The retired detectives - Johnston Brown and Trevor McIlwrath - worked together in CID in north Belfast in the 1980s and 1990s.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Brown elaborated on his previous claims about the activities of Special Branch agents.

His allegations have been backed up by Mr McIlwrath.

They centre on the same senior Mount Vernon UVF figure who has been at the heart of the Police Ombudsman's investigations.

Mr McIlwrath said he had initially recruited this individual as a CID informer and tried unsuccessfully to stop him joining the UVF.

Special Branch subsequently took control of handling him because of his involvement in paramilitarism, he said.

Both Mr Brown and Mr McIlwrath said the loyalist should have been charged with the murder of a Catholic in the early 1990s - his first killing.

It is believed he committed the killing to "prove" to the UVF that he was not an informer.

"We could have brought charges within a week to 10 days," Mr Brown said.

"We were denied clearance, denied assistance and not allowed to do our duty."

Mr McIlwrath said: "He should have been brought to book for the murder. Senior police have questions to answer."

He added: "Everything I know about him is down in the records of the police service.

"They have all the information they need about him."

The two retired officers said the loyalist and his Mount Vernon associates were involved in a string of subsequent murders.

"A blind eye was turned. They acted with impunity and terrorised their own community," Mr Brown said.

"They were involved in terrorism in other parts of Northern Ireland and as far away as the Republic."

Mr McIlwrath said: "They were unlike any other UVF unit. They were a law onto themselves."

The Mount Vernon loyalist and alleged informer has also been accused of ordering the murder of ex-RAF man Raymond McCord jnr in 1997.

Mr McCord's father, Raymond snr, complained to the Police Ombudsman in 2002 about the case, prompting one of Mrs O'Loan's biggest investigations to date.

Her report on her findings is currently being finalised.

A police spokeswoman said the force could not comment on matters that are the subject of ombudsman investigation.

"We would make the general point that significant changes have been made in recent years to the way informers are handled," she added.

Mr Brown and Mr McIlwrath did not name the senior north Belfast loyalist.

RIR militia head Collins remarks challenged

Sinn Féin

Published: 28 April, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy has launched a strong attack on the former leader of the British Army militia the RIR, Tim Collins, after he made insulting remarks about the community in South Armagh during a lecture last night in Dublin.

Mr Murphy said:

"During the course of a lecture last night in Dublin Tim Collins, the former head of the discredited militia the RIR, and a man investigated for war crimes in Iraq, made insulting and disparaging remarks about the community in South Armagh. He accused the people of South Armagh of being involved in drug dealing, pornography and counterfeiting.

"I would suggest that Tim Collins should look closer to home to find those guilty of such crimes. Within the ranks of the British Army he will find individuals guilty of these and worse crimes. But unlike the community in South Armagh who repudiate crime, those guilty of offences such as murder are elevated and promoted within the ranks of the British Army.

"Irish Republicans will take no lectures from a former leading member of the RIR. The RIR is little more than a unionist militia, which is precisely why Sinn Féin argued for so long to see its Home Service Battalions disbanded.

"Collins also made disparaging remarks about the Republican plot in Crossmaglen graveyard. No doubt these remarks are motivated by a sense of embarrassment given the fact that the IRA in South Armagh proved to be such formidable and ultimately undefeatable opponents for the British Crown Forces despite all of their resources and firepower." ENDS

Corrib gas project ‘has polluted Mayo drinking water’

BN.ie

28/04/2006 - 08:25:18

Opponents of the Corrib gas pipeline are claiming that drinking water from Carrowmore Lake in Co Mayo has been heavily contaminated as a result of the project.

The Shell to Sea campaign says the water has been polluted with aluminium as a result of the removal of peat from the site of the onshore gas terminal being built by Shell in Ballinaboy.

The group is due to present a sample of the water to the Environmental Protection Agency today in an effort to get the agency to investigate the concerns.

Order 'diminished' says Trimble

BBC


David Trimble said the Order's standing had diminished

Former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has launched a strong attack on the leadership of the Orange Order.

Mr Trimble, an Orangeman, said some unionists had entered into a 'Faustian pact' with elements of the Order in 1998 to bring down the Agreement.

He was speaking at the launch of a book by a Presbyterian minister and Orangeman which is also highly critical of those at the top of Grand Lodge.

He said it was "disappointing" to see the way senior officials had behaved.

"It is disappointing for me as an Orangeman, which I have been and intend to continue to be," he said.

He was speaking at the launch of The Orange Order - A Tradition Betrayed, written by Reverend Brian Kennaway.

Mr Trimble said: "There's no doubt that the standing of the Order in the community has diminished and there's no doubt that the Order is now in a much more difficult position than it was, say, a decade ago."

He said that this was partly due to the events of 1998 in the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement, when his enemies within unionism were lining up against him.

"They saw the Orange Order, Portadown District and the Drumcree issue as a battering ram that they would use to destroy the Agreement," he said.

He said the Order had been manipulated "with the intention of creating massive public disorder and violence so that it would have a political impact".


Mr Trimble criticised senior Orangemen

These comments were rejected by the DUP's David Simpson, who ousted Mr Trimble in last year's Westminster election.

The Upper Bann MP said the former UUP leader needed "to get a grasp of reality".

"I think that if people go back to 1998, they will see that Mr Trimble manipulated the institution in many ways to get the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party," he said.

The Orange Order has also rejected criticism in the book The Orange Order: A Tradition Betrayed by Rev Brian Kennaway.

In a statement the Order said it "continues to have a constructive and positive role to play in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland into the future".

"The Orange institution remains true to our foundation principles, and any suggestions otherwise are misleading," the statement said.

The Protestant marching season is one of the fixed elements of Northern Ireland life, and in recent years some parades have led to disputes and street violence.

The government-appointed Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether controversial parades should be restricted.

27 April 2006

Future of Shoukris to be known soon

Belfast Telegraph

By Brian Rowan
26 April 2006

Senior figures in the Ulster Defence Association have met in Belfast with a leadership statement on the paramilitary future of the Shoukri brothers now expected within days.

According to one source, police monitored yesterday's meeting in the west of the city.

Five of the UDA's six "brigades" were represented.

The north Belfast leadership was excluded - a further indication of how Ihab Shoukri and his closest associates are being isolated before being removed from their leadership positions.

Significantly, the UDA in south-east Antrim was represented.

Its position in this paramilitary power struggle has not been clear.

The Shoukri brothers, Ihab and Andre, have already lost the support of four of the organisation's six so-called brigadiers - Jackie McDonald (south Belfast), Matt Kincaid (west Belfast), Billy McFarland (north Antrim/Londonderry) and the leader in east Belfast.

Their position will be significantly strengthened if supported by south-east Antrim.

The organisation's leader in that area did not attend yesterday's meeting, but he was represented.

Sources suggest the UDA leadership - its Inner Council - could issue a statement soon stating that it no longer recognises the leadership in north Belfast, where Ihab Shoukri replaced his brother Andre as brigadier.

This would signal the beginning of the end for the Shoukri brothers and other significant leadership figures in the north of the city.

Sources are stressing that the paramilitary group wants to remove the Shoukri leadership without using violence, and for that reason, it may take longer to achieve.

Another leadership meeting is expected within days.

Meanwhile, the UVF leadership has now briefed its members in Scotland and England as part of the internal debate on its future.

Senior figures in the UVF and Red Hand Commando leaderships travelled to Glasgow and returned to Belfast through Liverpool.

An announcement on the future of the groups is being delayed until after the November 24 deadline for a political deal here.

Loyalist double killer buried in Derry

Belfast Telegraph

Exiled supergrass part of infamous gang

By Sarah Brett
27 April 2006

A notoriuos loyalist double killer, gangster and supergrass living under a secret identity in England for almost 20 years has been buried in his native Londonderry.

The Belfast Telegraph can reveal today that Leonard Campbell, who was also part of an infamous gang that tortured and robbed North West pensioners during a two-year reign of terror in the early eighties, has been laid to rest in the city after living in exile under an assumed name since his early release from prison in 1993.

Ten years earlier, the 36-year-old Campbell was given a 16 year sentence for 18 chargers linked to 10 separate robberies in which eight pensioners were assaulted.

Between them, Campbell and his eight cohorts were given 65 years behind bars for the brutal crimes.

While in prison in 1986 Campbell then confessed to his part in the horrific UDA murders of Catholics Kevin Mulhern and John Toland a decade before, and conspiring to murder Michael McHugh the same year, claiming "a troubled conscience" had forced him to come clean.

He was given two life sentences.

Kevin Oliver Mulhern was shot six times in the hallway of his Knockwellan Park home in the Waterside area of Derry on October 3 1976.

John Toland was shot four times as he served customers at the Happy Landings bar in Eglinton.

The 1987 court case arising from his shocking admissions heard that Campbell would have been the driver for Mr McHugh's execution on January 21 1976, but the killers did not call for him because the roads were too slippery.

Mr McHugh, a forestry worker in Castlederg, was later murdered by the UDA.

Campbell's lawyer told the court that his client was genuinely sorry for his role in the killings and pointed out that police would never have suspected his involvement had he not offered the information voluntarily.

In addition to the two life sentences, concurrent sentences for 15 other crimes totalling 90 years were handed down to the Waterside man that day in April 1987.

The charges included hijacking, armed robbery, burglary, intimidation, conspiracy to wound, conspiracy to rob and possession of a gun with intent to resist arrest.

Reports of Campbell being bundled into a plane at Belfast International Airport were the last sightings of him for almost two decades until he was brought home for burial on April 14 in the Waterside. He was 59.

Sources said that his funeral was a brief service attended by a handful of people.

Unique record of Carlow and Laois volunteers is unearthed

Laois Nationalist

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A LIST of Carlow and Laois people involved in the Irish National Volunteers in 1914 has been discovered by a local historian.

Brendan “Gala” Hutton has, for several years, been examining the thousands of documents that comprise the Pat Purcell Papers. From his research he has unearthed evidence of nearly 100 local men who joined the INV which was formed in early 1914 to combat the threat of the heavily armed Ulster Volunteer Force.

The list of local volunteers is a record of an attendance at a short rifle range in Ballickmoyler on August 4 1914, the day Britain declared what turned out to be World War 1 on Germany. Interestingly, the meeting was addressed by prominent local businessman, Michael Governey.

Soon afterwards, the volunteers were split when John Redmond (the main home-ruler of the day) advised INV members to join the British Army, to help them win this war that would be over by Christmas and secure the goodwill which would grant Ireland autonomy.

Seventy five per cent of the Irish National Volunteers backed Redmond, many of whom joined the British forces. It is not known how many of the Carlow and Laois volunteers fought in the “war to end all wars.” One that certainly did was Tom Mulhall who was killed in 1918.

Many of the names on the list went on to become active in the Irish Republican Army in the 1920s. Pat McDermott, Martin O’Neill and Tom Seeley are three Carlow examples of this.

“This is a major find. It’s the first contemporaneous list of Volunteer activity in Carlow/Laois in 1914, just after the move-ment was formed and just before it split,” said Carlow historian Michael Purcell, a nephew of the late Pat Purcell. Michael Purcell was left the papers in his uncle’s will and passed them over to Gala Hutton to examine.

Pat Purcell, of Killeshin and Quinagh, passed away in 1994 at 98 years of age. He was a member of the Irish National Volunteers and active at the time the letter you see printed was written.

The letter was sent by JW Feehan, who ran the Post Office in Ballickmoyler, to Pat Purcell who leased the land where the firing range was set up at Rossena quarry from Michael Quinn who was living in America.

The meeting on August 4 takes place soon after the Asgard, navigated by Erskine Childers, landed 1,500 guns for the Irish volunteers at Howth. Also present in Rossena were young members of Na Fianna scouts movement.

“Irishmen who joined the British forces for World War one are often portrayed as traitors,” said Michael Purcell. “This is not the case. Those that went to fight against Germany did so in the belief that it would secure Home Rule for Ireland in a matter of months. They weren’t to know how that war would turn out.”

Durkan challenged over Westminster remarks

Sinn Féin

Published: 27 April, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member Caitriona Ruane today said that the observations on the state of the political process by SDLP leader Mark Durkan had become increasingly comical. Ms Ruane‚s remarks came after Mark Durkan alleged that a delay in reforming the political institutions was to the advantage of Sinn Féin.

Ms Ruane said:

"Since the collapse of the political institutions by the British government Sinn Féin have been the lead party in attempting to pressurise both governments to challenge the rejectionists and get back onto the Good Friday Agreement agenda.

"Unlike others we have never been content with standing outside the process and leaving the hard work and hard decisions to others. As the lead nationalist and the lead pro-Agreement party, Sinn Féin have a responsibility to provide leadership.

"Sinn Féin are determined to see the two governments deliver on the Good Friday Agreement. That is why, unlike Mark Durkan's party, we have avoided giving succour to the DUP through publicly settling for proposals far short of that benchmark.

"Sinn Féin want to see fully functioning institutions. That is why we have put so much effort into the process in recent times. It is comical for Mark Durkan to suggest anything else and many may speculate that his increasing desire to see the November deadline shifted into the following year is motivated by a desire to try and ensure the continued payment of MLAs salaries.‰" ENDS

'I don't lose any sleep as long as there are great songs to sing'

Telegraph

(Filed: 27/04/2006)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWriter's block is just the latest of Christy Moore's demons. But he's not bothered: he is a better man now, he tells Colin Randall

The trouble with Christy Moore, said a seen-it-all Dubliner before the show, is that he wrote all his best songs drunk

Dry, and dried up: Christy Moore.

The trouble with seen-it-all Dubliners, Moore might have said back, is that they have no idea what they're talking about. Later, as Moore overcame his horror of big venues to perform brilliantly at Dublin's Point Depot, I thought both views have force.

Some of Moore's most memorable songs were indeed written during his drinking years. Delirium Tremens ("Goodbye to the port and brandy / To the vodka and the stag") was his precursor to sobriety. Yet Moore can also count among his finest works North and South, a powerful view of the dying phase of the Troubles written in the mid-1990s, long after he took his last drop. Not much has followed since, and Moore readily owns up to writer's block.

"My songwriting has dried up," he says, in subdued mood after the last of his run of Dublin concerts. "There was none at all on my last album. But it doesn't bother me because I consider myself a singer who occasionally writes songs rather than a singer-songwriter. I constantly try, but don't lose any sleep over it as long as there are great songs to sing."

To most fans, it hardly matters. Moore dips into past repertoire, songs about life in Ireland, love, tragedy and the radical causes he espouses. He makes other people's songs seem his own, too, even when they are Dylan's or Morrissey's. Sometimes, he forgets the words, but a gift for repartee allows him to turn this into part of his triumph. Moore's forthcoming UK tour will re-acquaint fans with this marvellous stage presence.

Moore grew up in small-town Ireland and started work as a bank clerk. But the troubadour's life seemed more romantic, so in the mid-1960s he headed for England to become a popular folk-club fixture. Alcohol, and later drugs, featured prominently in his life until a heart attack in 1987 sent its sobering warning. Even then, it took him two years to give up.

He once told me he'd reached the stage where he "had to drink to exist, drink to work, drink to think, drink to talk, drink to drink". Now, nudging 61, he doesn't miss it at all. "I cannot even remember when I last had any compulsion. I don't enjoy the company of heavy drinkers. I'll stay as long as is prudent and then slip away."

When he sees people damaged by alcohol or drug abuse, he says nothing. "When I was there, I didn't want anybody interfering, and resented anyone suggesting I had a problem. I wasn't receptive until I was f***ing beaten, and then I was glad of a helping hand."

Giving up brought its own problems. He became more obsessive about work, and had a breakdown at the end of the 1990s. His comeback in ebullient form is a tribute to his resilience.

In darker times, Moore eagerly embraced Irish republicanism. Hardened by Bloody Sunday, he took pride in singing for IRA prisoners and dedicating a song to a bomber. But in successive interviews throughout the 1990s, I noticed him softening in clear parallel with progress towards a patchy Ulster peace.

He has no regrets, but welcomes the end of the Troubles. "There's a very different atmosphere in Belfast, Derry, the Six Counties. Problems remain but I don't know any people straining at the leash to go back to war." In the past, Moore has seemed a truculent character, capable of bursts of rage. He feels he is a better person now. But there is also another side not everyone sees, beyond even the disarming honesty about his professional and personal demons.

I have known him for 35 years. Although I have praised his work, my criticism of his republican stance might easily have made him a sworn enemy. But when I tentatively asked, a few years ago, if he would make a tape for the wedding of a friend who adored his music, he recorded two songs and a spoken message of beautiful simplicity for her. My memory of a terrific gesture, sadly, has outlived the marriage.

-- 'Burning Times' is out now. 'Christy Moore: Live from Dublin, 2006' (CD and DVD) is out May 22. For tour info, visit www.christymoore.com/gigs.php

Queen in terror plot

Irish Examiner

By John O'Mahony
Thursday, April 27, 2006

IN a move certain to cause a major security alert, hardline republicans in Kerry have warned that the safety of the Queen of England will be compromised if she goes ahead with a proposal to visit the county next year.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIn an alarming statement issued to The Kingdom, a group calling itself the Kerry Command of the Continuity IRA warned that a visit by Queen Elizabeth would be “resisted with force”.

The statement, which was sent by email to the newsdesk of this newspaper, using a hard-to trace web-based email account, was accompanied by a digital photograph showing three men in military gear, brandishing weapons and wearing balaclavas. The were sitting at a table on which a tricolour and four bullets had been placed and the IRA slogan had been roughly daubed on a makeshift partition at their backs.

The statement says the volunteer seated in the picture, flanked by two armed and masked men, is formally reading the statement opposing the royal visit.

The six-paragraph statement, which contained a localised codeword and was signed by the Kerry Command of the CIRA, warned that any visit by the Queen of England to Kerry or any part of the country will be “fully opposed” by those who cherish the Irish nation and the goal of an All-Ireland republic.

“The Queen of England is not welcome and any such visit shall be resisted with all the force at our disposal,” the statement warned.

Sources close to the Irish and British governments have indicated that the visit by Queen Elizabeth and, possibly, other members of the royal family, will almost certainly go ahead after next year’s general election. It is further understood that a visit by the Queen to Kerry is very likely as she is anxious to retrace the steps of Queen Victoria who holidayed in the county in 1861 when she stayed at Muckross House in Killarney.

But the worrying CIRA statement insisted that a royal visit to Kerry would meet with firm republican resistance.

“The Kerry Command view with concern the preparation of public opinion for a visit to the county by the Queen of England next year to follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria.

“We wish to state that we are totally opposed to any such proposed visit and speculation of such a visit must be viewed as yet further evidence of a desire to normalise British rule in Ireland,” the statement read.

The emailed statement went on to criticise the established politcal parties for attempting to “reclaim the republican tradition” with the celebrations to mark the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

“The fact remains that the Easter Rising of 1916 was an uprising against the unjust British rule and must be viewed as a watershed in the continued fight for Irish self-determination,” the statement continued.

“The revisionism must end and attempts to normalise British rule in Ireland must cease. It is time to reawaken the true spirit of Irish republicanism and continue to strive for the All-Ireland republic proclaimed on the steps of the GPO in 1916,” it added.

But it is the final paragraph that will cause real concern for the garda authorities and tourism industry chiefs who would welcome a royal visit to Kerry for economic reasons.

It warns that a visit by Queen Elizabeth would be resisted with “all the force at the disposal” of the Kerry Command of the CIRA.

'Border Fox' gets extended leave

BBC


O'Hare was once the Irish Republic's most wanted man

Dessie O'Hare, the INLA man known as the Border Fox, has been granted extended temporary release by the Irish Republic's prison service.

O'Hare, originally from County Armagh, was serving a 40-year sentence for kidnapping and mutilating the Dublin dentist, John O'Grady, in 1988.

He took a High Court action and was declared a qualifying prisoner under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

He has previously been released for short periods.

O'Hare was the most wanted man in the Republic after he kidnapped and mutilated Mr O'Grady

He chopped off bits of two of the dentist's fingers with a chisel, because a ransom demand had not been paid.

Irish police managed to free Mr O'Grady, but O'Hare escaped before eventually being recaptured after a shoot-out in County Kilkenny.

O'Hare was sent to the high security Portlaoise prison but was later moved to the more relaxed Castlerea jail.

SQUINTER: Welcome to our new traditional route, brethren

Irelandclick

Sweet Jesus, here we go again. Squinter doesn't know about the rest of you but the advent of each new marching season disproves the old adage that people mellow with age. When Squinter heard that the Pride of the Village flute band plans to march past two new mixed housing estates in Stoneyford (right) he felt so angry and bitter that it could have been 1981 again.

So much for traditional routes. In the traditionally Protestant village the brethren walked the same path for years. But suddenly when the developers moved in and built some new houses, and when it turned out that some of the people in those new houses were - horror of horrors! - Catholics, then it was a case of out with the old and in with the new. Sod the old route, let's go and annoy the Fenians. Perhaps somebody should remember that come Drumcree weekend and the usual bleatings about “walking where we have always walked”.

Not that such a thing as the “marching season” exists, in any case. Every sport takes a break, be it for the summer or the winter; every worker takes a break, whether formal or informal; the Oireachtas takes a break; Parliament takes a break. But not the Orangies, oh no. It is now the case that the loyal brethren march somewhere in Ireland every month of the year, which means that they're annoying Catholics the whole year round, which is perhaps why they want ten fortunes in community relations money this year. And they'll get it.

Eroding West’s greenery

Irelandclick

by Damian McCarney

As another house was this week demolished to make way for apartments in Upper Dunmurry Lane, Sinn Féin have called for an agreed housing strategy for the area.

The party claim that the countryside, green space and every stand of trees in the Dunmurry Lane area are being eroded at an astonishing rate as developers buy houses with gardens in order to build apartments.

Sinn Féin’s Michael Ferguson MLA has written to the direct rule minister Jeff Rooker to call for a halt to developments to enable local communities, in conjunction with environment protection agencies, to adopt a sensible housing strategy.

Much to the concern of local residents, one large detached house on Upper Dunmurry Lane was demolished on Monday to make way for six new apartments.

It is understood that a planning application will be submitted by developers for further apartments to be built on an adjoining property.

Speaking as a digger was tearing down the remains of the house and uprooting shrubs and trees, Mr Ferguson vowed to object to any future applications for apartments in this area.

“I have written to the direct rule minister asking him to call a halt to any further building in the Dunmurry, and particularly the Upper Dunmurry Lane, area where every piece of open space, green tree wedge or small forest is under threat.

“At the moment builders are buying up existing properties adopting a scorched earth policy and ripping out trees, flowers, fauna and eradicating all wildlife to make quick money by putting in six properties where there had been one.

“In the interests of the environment and the quality of life for those living in the area all building should be stopped so that an agreed strategy for the area can be produced and one that not only protects sustainable environment for this generation but for the next generation as well,” said Mr Ferguson.

Journalist:: Damien McCarney

It’s best flute forward again

Irelandclick

Here we go once more... Stoneyford Catholics brace themselves for the start of the marching season

by Roisin McManus

The loyalist Pride of the Village Flute Band have again applied to the Parades Commission to march past Catholic homes in Stoneyford Village on July 11.

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Butler says he is alarmed by the application and believes that the marches will stoke up tension in the area.

The contentious march proposes to march down Main Street and will take in new local estates, Stonebridge Meadows and The Beeches, at 7pm.

This is an alteration to the band’s traditional route.

The proposed return route at 9pm would also take in the mixed housing developments.

The application states that 30 people will be taking part in the march.
Councillor Butler said that he would be contacting the Parades Commission to voice his concerns.

“The parade has filed to march past the house of a Catholic couple who were petrol-bombed out of their home in February this year,” said Councillor Butler.

“It will be seen by many Catholics as provocative and an act of naked sectarianism designed to strike fear into the Catholic community.

“It should not be allowed to happen,” he added.

Councillor Butler urged the Parades Commission to ban the parade from the mixed housing estates.

“In early 2006 Catholic-owned homes were attacked in the village in sectarian attacks which mirrored those launched by loyalists against Catholics following last year’s parade.

“Sinn Féin will be making it very clear to the Parades Commission that this parade into the mixed Beeches and Stonebridge Meadows developments is unacceptable and motivated solely by sectarianism.

“The only acceptable course of action is to ban this parade from the mixed housing estates to limit the amount of disruption to villagers,” he added.

A spokesman for the Parades Commission said that the parade will be considered on June 28.

Journalist:: Roisin McManus

Bobby Sands remembered

Irelandclick

by Francesca Ryan

Next Friday republicans across the world will pause to remember the sacrifice of Bobby Sands who died on hunger strike on May 5, 1981.

The legacy that Bobby left behind will never be forgotten and as the date approaches, the Colin ‘81 Committee are putting the final touches to a series of commemorative events to be held next weekend to mark the 25th anniversary of his death.

The 24th annual Bobby Sands Lecture is being held in the function room at the Devenish Complex next Friday (May 5) evening where Robert McBride, South African foreign affairs official and ANC activist, will deliver the lecture.
“We've come a long way since the first Bobby Sands Lecture in 1982," said Sam Baker, an organiser with the Colin ‘81 Committee.

“The first lecture was held in the Kilwee in Twinbrook which held a few hundred local people. Next Friday's event will be a national gathering attracting over one thousand people. We are honoured to have Robert McBride delivering the lecture, he is the first international speaker to do so.”

In previous years, the Bobby Sands Lecture has focused on various themes including collusion and the role of women in the struggle, however this year the lecture will focus on Bobby and how his and the other hunger strikers’ sacrifice affected other struggles around the world.

Michelle Gildernew, MP for the seat which Bobby held when he died, Fermanagh/South Tyrone, will chair the proceedings which commence at 8.30pm sharp.

On Saturday May 6, the Balmoral Hotel will host Talkback, a question and answer session focusing on the legacy of the hunger strikes and a vision of Ireland for the future.

Panelists will include John Finucane, Chris McGimpsey, Toireasa Ní Fhearaiosa and Alan McBride who lost relatives in the Shankill bomb of 1993.
“This is significant in that these people can share a panel together and talk about what the future holds,” said Sam.

“It's a sign that people are prepared to move things forward and look ahead to the future.”

The session is open to everyone, particularly young people aged between 18 and 25, and begins at 1pm.

On Sunday, May 7, Robert McBride will unveil a sculpted rock in Twinbrook dedicated to the hunger strikers.

“There will be a march from the Dairy Farm at 1pm to the site in Twinbrook.
“Following the unveiling of the rock, which can be seen from Bobby's house, Robert McBride and Raymond McCartney MLA will give speeches.”

The Colin area's first hurling team, the Bobby Sands Club, will play Dungiven's Kevin Lynch Club at Twinbrook pitches in the afternoon and the commemorations will wrap up with a function in the PD on Sunday night.

“The Colin ‘81 Committee has worked very hard to organise these events and activities and we'd like to thank everyone who put in the effort to help us mark the 25th anniversary of Bobby's death in the best way we could.”

Journalist:: Francesca Ryan

Cops ask for help with the hoods

Irelandclick

by Roisin McManus

Local Sinn Féin councillor Fra McCann says he is amazed that the PSNI have delivered questionnaires asking local people to give details on those responsible for anti-social behaviour in the Lower Falls.

Councillor McCann says he now intends to write to the Chief Constable asking him how many of those involved in anti-social behaviour in the Lower Falls are paid touts working with the PSNI.

Households in the Lower Falls received letters from the West Belfast DCU Anti-Social Behaviour Unit yesterday asking them to fill in an ‘Information Gathering Questionnaire’.

Householders are asked to provide the names and addresses of those involved in anti-social behaviour and are asked what they think should be done about the behaviour.

Councillor McCann said that while he welcomed any measure that would tackle anti-social behaviour, he believes that this exercise is pointless.

“Certainly as an elected representative I welcome a solution to the anti-social problem, but it is ironic that the PSNI, who use many of these people as paid informers, are now asking local people to identify them.

“These people are well known, they are known to the dogs in the streets. They are arrested and released and they re-offend.

“I will now write to the Chief Constable and ask him how many of the people responsible for this behaviour are in his paid employment.

“I think this is a charm offensive by the PSNI to garner the support of people in West Belfast. I would encourage local people to support their local neighbourhood watches in the fight against anti-social behaviour,” he added.
A spokeswoman for the PSNI said that the leaflet is to inform the local community about the issue of tackling anti-social behaviour through various means.

She said that the PSNI, working in partnership with Belfast City Council and the Housing Executive, wish to tackle issues to improve community safety, to reduce crime and the fear of crime.

Inspector Darren Rice from the Community Safety Unit added: “We carried out the leaflet drop this morning and already have had a very favourable response from the local community.

“I believe that this response demonstrates that people are not prepared to tolerate this type of behaviour in their area any longer,” he added.

Journalist:: Roisin McManus

The Easter Rising: As seen through the pages of the 'Western People'

Western People

By James Laffey
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

News of the 1916 Rising was slow to reach the West of Ireland but when it finally did it had a seismic effect on public opinion, writes James Laffey

THE First sign that something was awry in Dublin came on Tuesday morning, April 25th, 1916, when neither letters nor newspapers arrived in Ballina. It was only then that the people of the town became aware of the grave events that had taken place in the capital city during the previous 24 hours. But details of the Easter Rising were still sketchy, to say the least.

The Western People admitted in its edition of Saturday, April 29th, that it was unable to offer any definitive information on the events in Dublin.

“We have not the means of knowing at this writing how matters actually stand, for all communication with the metropolis by rail or newspaper or letter has been absolutely cut off since Monday, and we are perforce living, as it were, on a desert island...there have been so many rumours born of the wild excitement of the moment that one cannot well say how near they approximate to the truth, or if they have any foundation in fact at all.”

The confused state of affairs was reflected in some of the information that was published in that first edition after the Easter Rising. It was claimed that 25,000 men - ten times the actual figure - had “assembled in great force in the city” and seized a number of key public buildings. The newspaper went on to report that 10,000 soldiers “armed to the teeth with rifle and cannon’ were landed in Dublin on Wednesday, April 26th, and a gun boat had been brought up the Liffey to shell Liberty Hall.

The information deficit in the West of Ireland had not been helped by the cutting of the Midland rail-line between Dublin and Mullingar. The Western People reported that no trains were travelling from Dublin and it had now reached the stage where “the wildest rumours of every kind have been in circulation”. Even the news on casualty figures was woefully inadequate. Official reports were stating that the number of deaths did not exceed ten or twelve, five of these being soldiers.

One of the few parts of the country from where the Western People had received reasonably accurate information was Galway. The newspaper’s North Galway reporter had forwarded a “special dispatch” on the two o’clock train from Tuam to Ballina on Friday, April 28th, four days after the Rising began in Dublin. The reporter revealed that news had reached Galway of an attempt to land arms in the south of Ireland, resulting in the arrest of Sir Roger Case-ment. The dispatch also contained details of a minor skirmish involving Sinn Féin supporters in Oranmore as well as a more serious incident at Carranmore, between Loughgeorge and Oranmore, which resulted in the shooting of a policeman. There were also ominous reports coming from Athenry where 1,500 Sinn Fein members had marched on the Department’s Model Farm before leaving in the direction of Gort. The presence of such a large contingent of Sinn Fein personnel in the Athenry area was undoubtedly the reason for another incident that was reported in the dispatch from the industrious North Galway reporter - shelling had been heard in Galway city on Wednesday afternoon. The shells had been fired from a light cruiser in Galway Bay and they had been “hurled through the air in the Athenry direction”.

But it would be several days before a clearer picture of the events in Dublin and elsewhere would emerge. One can almost sense the bewilderment and fear that pervaded the West of Ireland as one “wild rumour” after another emanated from Dublin.

“The Volunteers have been called upon to surrender within a time limit, and if they refuse the streets of Dublin, it is to be feared, may run red with blood,” noted the Western People’s editorial. “This would be a tragic ending to a tragic movement, tragic in the sense of the infinite harm it has already done the country and the resultant harm which must follow.”

The newspaper was quick to point the figure of blame at Sir Edward Carson whose gun-running expeditions on behalf of the Ulster Volunteers had provoked “treason and revolution”.

“If he had been properly dealt with as a conspirator against the safety of the realm what happened in Dublin this week would have been made impossible...The interests of Ireland have been gravely imperilled by what has taken place; another tragic moment in our fate seems to have arrived.”

News from Dublin was more readily available by the time the Western People hit the streets on Saturday, May 6th, 1916. At that stage, the rebels had surrendered and some sort of normality was beginning to return to the streets of Dublin. Eyewitness accounts were also beginning to filter back to the West of Ireland.

One of the first people to escape the carnage in Dublin was Mr Waters, of the Provincial Bank in Ballina, who miraculously managed to leave the city on the evening of the Rising. He told the Western People that everything had been normal in Dublin up to 12 noon on Easter Monday when he saw a company of Lancers being fired into as they passed down the street. Mr Waters eventually managed to depart the city after he was granted a permit by the Volunteers who, at that stage, were in “almost complete possession” of Dublin.

Others were not so fortunate and they remained trapped in the capital for the entire duration of the Rising. A Moygownagh man, named McAndrew, told the Western People that he had got out of the city on Monday, May 1st, and had cycled all the way to Ballina. He said his experience was a very frightening one - “between fires and crashing houses and people being shot down.”

Another man from Ballina, Mr Robert Hunter, of Crofton Park, had been staying in Clontarf when the Rising occurred and he reported a “stiff fight” on Howth Bridge. He said the greatest inconvenience suffered by the residents of Clontarf was a scarcity of food and provisions. For some days no meat could be procured and the price of foodstuffs went up tremendously.

Mr Hunter revealed that he had visited O’Connell Street after the Rising and found it to be “nothing but a mass of smoking ruins”. All the dead bodies had been removed off the streets but carcasses of several horses were lying about in the vicinity of the Parnell monument.

“It was an experience,” said Mr Hunter, “that I would not like to undergo again, and I was very glad when I got my heels out of the city.”

There was certainly no celebration of the Easter Rising in the edition of the Western People on May 6th. Indeed, the opposite was the case: the rebellion in Dublin was condemned as a “mad enterprise” that had bequeathed a “legacy of misery” to the city of Dublin.

“Ruined homes, broken families, countless orphans - this is the saddest part of the affair, and where the real pity of it lies, and most of all in relation to the poor, many of them being now without their bread-winners.”

The newspaper reflected on the negative impact of the Rising in Co Mayo where there was little buying or selling of stock at fairs beyond purely local transactions. No buyers had attended the fair at Balla on the previous day and a similar scenario was expected to unfold at the “great Ballina fair” of May 12th.

“If the indirect losses, as we may call them, total up to a very formidable figure already, the direct losses are appalling in their character. Capt. Purcell, head of the Dublin fire brigade, estimates the damage done to property in the city at two million pounds, inclusive of losses of stock. How the capital can ever recover from the setback it has received looms into a very serious proposition.”

The editorial was scathing in its condemnation of those in the Sinn Fein party who had fraternised with the German government in advance of the Rising.

“...it is best and most charitable to say of them that their failure has come as an open blessing rather than as one in disguise, because we can conceive of no greater misfortune that could befall us than that our lives and liberty should be placed at the mercy of a despot whose crimes against other small nations in the war cry aloud to Heaven for venegance.”

The dissatisfaction in the county at the events in Dublin was also evident in a report from Charlestown in which it was stated that news of the surrender of the Sinn Fein forces had been greeted with “much jubilation”.

“The local band paraded the town, accompanied by the Boy Scouts, carrying at their heads a Belgian flag, and the streets of the town were brilliantly illuminated with electric lamps. Since the first intelligence of the revolt was received the people of the district viewed the affair with equanimity, but condemned it in vigorous terms.”

But for all the condemnation of the Easter Rising there were subtle hints at a change in attitude amongst the general public. The edition of May 6th carried numerous reports of wholesale arrests throughout the region. In Claremorris, Mr Peter O’Rourke, a native of Co Sligo, and a well-known commerical traveller had been brought before the local magistrate on a charge of prejudicing his Majesty’s relations with foreign powers. The reporter noted that Mr O’Rourke was “an exceedingly popular man on the road” who had been arrested as he boarded the train in Claremorris.

Meanwhile the arrest of another well-known man in Claremorris, hotel proprietor, John T. Jordan, was described as causing a “terrible sensation”.

In Cong, Colum O’Leary, a well-known Gaelic League organiser, was taken into custody, while in Kiltimagh, John Corcoran was charged with attempting to cause sedition or disaffection among the civil population.

But the greatest number of arrests took place in Westport when 98 Volunteers, headed by the Boy Scouts, marched through the streets of the town on Sunday, April 30th, only hours after the rebels surrendered in Dublin. Some of the men displayed rifles and although they were not arrested on the spot they were rounded up on Monday morning. A total of ten men were arrested: Messrs Gannon and Gavin (teachers in the Brothers schools); Thomas Ralph, railway porter; Thos and Michael Derrig, J. McDonagh, Michael Duffy, J. Ruddy, Owen Hughes, Aughagower, and M.J. Ring, Drumindoo. The newspaper reported that the men were conveyed to Castlebar jail by a force of 40 armed police.

The public outrage that had been evident in the immediate aftermath of the Rising was clearly abating and questions were now being directed at the military who were making summary arrests all over the country. There was also sympathy in some quarters for the rebels and one article in the Western People of May 6th reflected the changing mood. It was penned by a correspondent of the Press Association who had witnessed the deportation of the first batch of prisoners to England.

“There were certainly a few amongst them who would be classed as intellectuals - tall, clean cut looking men, whose avocations in life were probably to be found in the professions. It was a mixed crowd, representing almost all classes of the community. But the most surprising thing of all was their demeanour, notwithstanding their miserable condition, firmly stamped upon their faces. Some went jauntily below, while others, with set lips and stern faces, walked between the onlookers, looking to neither one side nor the other.

“There was a striking incident when a young Sinn Fein officer, who could be not much more than 20, came on board. He was wearing the full uniform of the Irish Volunteers, with cap, Sam Browne belt, and pack. Standing six feet in height, with a clean, open countenance, he calmly folded his arms and stood on deck in the glare of the light of an officer’s electric torch. There was no evidence of fear written upon his face; it reflected nothing but determination...It was impossible not to admire the youth’s dignity of bearing.”

*** ***

By the time the next edition of the Western People appeared on the streets on May 13th the situation in Ireland had changed dramatically. Twelve of the leaders of the Easter Rebellion had been executed by court martial and fears were rising of further death sentences being imposed on Sinn Fein members.

News of the executions in Dublin were compounded by the ever-increasing military activity throughout the West of Ireland. The newspaper reported that 800 military personnel were now stationed in Castle-bar following the arrival of reinforcements earlier in the week. Special troop trains had conveyed to the town half a battalion of the North Stafford-shire Regiment, and 250 men of the 16th and 17th Lancers, together with machine guns, light artillery, armoured motor cars and transport. It was noted that all of the men had taken part in quelling the recent Dublin Rising.

“The arrival of the soldiers created a great stir in the town, and big crowds have watched them drilling on the Mall...The arrival of the military was kept a dead secret, even from the police.”

The reinforcements were badly needed in Castlebar as the number of republicans in the county jail grew with every passing day. Westport continued to be one of the hardest hit towns in the region with the arrest of 18 men on the morning of May 10th. They were conveyed to Castlebar Prison where, it was stated, they would be tried by court marital. It was said that they did not comply with the Lord Lieu-tenant’s Proclamation and failed to hand up their arms.

There were also “sensational developments” in Ballaghaderreen with the arrival in the early hours of May 11th of a detachment of troops. They arrested more than 20 young men and commandeered the local St Mary’s Hall as their headquarters. It was reported that a vigorous search was made in the various houses visited by the military, resulting in the seizure of six or seven “antiquated” rifles and two Irish volunteer uniforms.

“Though the raid was not wholly unexpected it came as a great surprise to many people,” noted the reporter. “No resistance was offered to the operations of the military, who were heavily armed.”

The arrests continued apace. In Castlebar, Mr John Hoban, a blacksmith from Linenhall Street, who was said to be a commander in the local corps of Sinn Fein Volunteers, and Mr Mike McHugh, a foreman in Heverin’s drapery establishment, were arrested in their beds. On the same morning, May 10th, police and military forces visited Balla and arrested Dick Walsh, Pat Fallon, J. Reilly, M. Golding Jnr and P. Keville. It was claimed that the arrests in Balla and Castlebar were the result of a recent “seizure” of arms in Balla.

The spotlight was also beginning to belatedly fall on some of the men who had been executed in Dublin. The edition of May 13th carried a detailed report of the midnight wed-ding of Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford, who were married at Richmond Barracks before Plunkett was sent to his death in the stone-breakers yard at Kilmainham Gaol. The same report also noted that Ms Gifford’s sister was married to another of the executed lead-ers, Thomas MacDonagh, who was the father of two young children - a boy, aged three years, and a girl, aged 18 months. Elsewhere in the newspaper, a headline proclaimed the latest news from the capital: ‘Four More Shot --Eamonn Ceannt among the executed’.

The editorial of the same edition reflected the sense of unease and anger that was starting to sweep the country.

“The executions which have taken place in Dublin, where twelve of the leaders of the recent rising have been shot, have begun to cause beyond doubt a very grave reaction of feeling in the country...Disaffection may be stamped out for the time but can never be crushed by the application of extreme force. The tragedy that has taken from us so many young lives leaves after it a benumbing sense of sorrow. They risked all for ideals which they believed to be right, and they fought with wild courage and bravery, as their most bitter enemies, like the ‘Daily Mail’, admit. It is this which makes the sacrifice they have given go down deeper into one’s feeling when we think it over...”

The cells in Castlebar Prison were already beginning to empty as the Western People hit the streets on May 13th,

1916. The British Government --in its wisdom - had ordered the immediate deportation of countless republican suspects who were arrested in the wake of the Easter Rising. The West-port men who had refused to hand in their arms were among the first to be sent to Richmond Barracks in Dublin for transportation to Wandsworth Detention Barracks. A total of 25 men with Westport addresses were included on a long list published in the Western People of May 20th. Among the names was that of Joseph Ring, who would later become a key figure in the War of Independence and a founding father of An Garda Síochána. Ring, who was killed by Irregular forces during the Civil War, was granduncle of current Mayo Fine Gael T.D., Michael Ring.

Others who were deported to England were John Corcoran, from Kiltimagh, and Peter O’Rourke, the popular commercial traveller who had been arrested in such dramatic circumstances at Claremorris Railway Station. There were also large contingents from Cliffoney in Sligo and Athenry in Galway.

The British Government was already sowing the seeds of a bitter harvest. Pressure was mounting for self-governemnt in Ireland and the Western People’s editorial of May 20th could hardly have been more unambiguous: “Whatever may be the outcome of all that is being said and written, one fact stands pretty clear, that Dublin Castle rule will have to go.”

The die had been cast.

THE first to arrive in Castlebar from the metropolis were Sergeant Maher, R.I.C., and Mr. T.J. Drum, of the C.D. Board staff, both of whom went to Dublin for the Easter week.

It appears that early last Friday morning they made their way [out of the city] and into the suburbs, and after several exciting adventures succeeded in passing the cordon of military drawn around the city, and keeping to the canal bank, they ultimately reached Clonsilla, where they got a train for the West on the following day. They arrived home on Saturday evening and had a cordial reception from numbers of friends. Interviewed by our representative, they stated that at the time of their departure from Dublin fierce fighting was going on in different parts of the city.

The next to arrive in Castle-bar was Mr Thomas Murphy, the well-known contractor. He arrived by the evening train on Monday, and informed our representative that when he left Dublin on Saturday morning the fighting had not concluded. He was staying in Wynne’s hotel, and when Liberty Hall was shelled the vibrations were such that the large bay windows in the hotel completely fell out as if cut by a razor.

One of the shells started a fire, and in Mr Murphy’s own words, “the whole block of beautiful houses bounded by Liberty Hall, Hopkins and Hopkins and Wynne’s Hotel, were quickly burned to the ground.”

Mr Murphy lost all his luggage, and, with hundreds of others, was given shelter and food in the Custom House by the military. Talking about the effect of the shells, Mr Murphy said: “In Eden Quay the Volunteers erected a formidable barricade across the street, composed of carts, boxes and huge piles of paper which they seized in the ‘Independent’ office. The exact range must have been signalled out to the gunboat in the Liffey, for a shell came shrieking through the air. When the smoke cleared away there wasn’t a sign or a vestige left of the barricades or the unfortunate men guarding it.”

On Saturday the military authorities gave him a pass to Belfast. He alighted at Drogheda where he secured a motor car, which conveyed him to Mullingar and from whence he came on to Castlebar.

The next Castlebar man to arrive home was Mr Larry Kelly, foreman of Lavelle and Co’s establishment. Early on Saturday morning he evaded the military cordon beyond the Botanic Gardens, and following the canal bank, reached Enfield, but found that no train would be likely to run to the West for several days. Borrowing a bicycle from an Enfield gentleman, he set off for Castlebar, and all went well until he reached Roscommon, where the police arrested him on suspicion. Protests were of no avail, and he was detained in custody until the Castlebar police were communicated with, and of course they verified the state-ments made by Mr Kelly, who is a prominent member of the National Volunteers. After being released Mr Kelly continued his journey on the bicycle and reached Castlebar on Tuesday morning.

Mr Dixon-Addey, a member of the Congested Districts Board staff, Castlebar, arrived back from the city on Wednesday evening. He had many exciting adventures to relate. He happened to be in the General Post Office when the Sinn Feiners entered it. The order “hands up” was given, and after being searched, all civilians were allowed their freedom.

Mr Addey brought back several souvenirs, including a copy of the Proclamation posted up announcing the establishment of an Irish Republic. He had several narrow escapes from death, a stray bullet penetrating his coat and vest.

Mr Joe Winters, a shop assistant, who was attending the annual conference of the Irish Drapers’ Assistants’ Association, had several narrow escapes from bullets.

Mr Paddy Bourke, a member of the well-known firm of Bourke and Sons, Castlebar, arrived home on Wednesday evening from Galway. He states that all approaches to the city are guarded by police and military, and that all day on Tuesday chara-a-bancs and motor cars were conveying prisoners from the direction of Athenry into Galway.

• Western People, May 6th, 1916

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