3/31/2005

Colombia 3

Devestating though the news must be for the anti-Republican media, it seems that the convictions of the "Colombia 3" are based on questionable evidence according to one of the judges who presided over the case. This statement further brings the Colombian justice system to which these men have been subjected to into further disrepute. The Irish government must make a meaningful intervention in this case soon.

Much Ado about Nothing

It seems Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon, who has previously been involved in controversy regarding complaints made about her handling of a children's compeition, is once again in the headlines. Her employers are accused of overlooking English candidates in preference to a Celtic candidate. Surely this is the most politically charged employee in Blue Peter history!

3/30/2005

A-Maze-ing imcompetence?

I see the Maze site has been choosen by the British government as the site for the new stadium in the north. Leaving the political implications aside, from a sporting point of view and as a member of the GAA, I must say I have little enthusiasm for this project. Why should the GAA bother with this stadium when it will offer little more than the present facilities in Caement Park or in grounds across the north already owned by the GAA. From what I was lead to believe initially, the government pressurised the GAA into accepting the project as they wanted all three major sports in the north on board. Yet it seems that the Maze site is unpopular with both Rugby and Soccer supporters with the Ulster Rugby Branch focused on redeveloping their current facilities in Ravenhill. Predictions on slugger that this stadium was never intended to be built could be very close to the truth, leading me to wonder why we all allowed ourselves by be hoodwinked by these elaborate farces!

Tracking the trains

Fair play to UUP MLA Ken Robinson for highlighting the inadequency of the railway system in the north. Rail travel is something I believe should be developed in order to keep cars off the roads and encourage public transport, yet on the both sides of the border the railway system is sadly lacking. In the north, there are railway stations in only 4 of the 6 counties and down south there is a similar lack of infrastructure. A couple of summers ago I was trying to organise a trip to Donegal only to find that in one of the most popular counties for tourism, there is not a single rail link. Indeed none of the tourist spots around Ireland can be reached by rail without travelling through Dublin. I believe we need an island-wide review of rail travel and investment should be made in order to widen the choices people have in using this method of transport.

What religion are you?

Have a go at this interesting quiz to find out what religion you are best suited to. Personally I'm 75% Christian which has left me in a dilemna as to how to deal with the 25% heathen in me! It would be interesting to see a quiz which wieghed up the different strands of Christianity as, despite being a commited Catholic, there are one or two points of doctrine on which I would take a different approach to the Catholic Church.

3/29/2005

Government for Sale

I must say I am disgusted by this latest "idea" from Fianna Fáil. They are offering prominent business people “networking opportunities” with ministers and TDs if they pay membership fees of €1,500 a year for three years. This is elitism in the exterme and I find it appaling that any government should think it acceptable to effectively rent out their time. No doubt those paying their €4,500 will be expecting more than a pint with Bertie, Willie and the lads. Access to government should be EQUAL for all the nation. It should be decided on the people's need for access, not FF's need for election funds.

Babes on beaches?

Not having been on a foreign holiday since I was much younger and more innocent, I have no way of telling if this particular tale of the foreign habits of Irish women is true. If it is, I'll be on to the travel agent ASAP!

What's Up Doc?

I see from sluggerotoole that Dr. Kieran Deeney has now decided that he is in fact, not a single issue candidate and since smelling the slight possibility of a seat in Westminister, he will be branching out into other issues. This is all very well, however the fact remains that when elected Dr. Deeney told his voters that he would be concerned with health issues and HEALTH ISSUES ALONE. My question is, as he is intending to break this pedge, a prominent part of his manifesto, will he be resigning his assembly seat?

Now you are just being silly!

According to a "Senior Irish Political official" (some PD or Fianna Fail wannabe) the IRA are using money from the Northern Robbery to buy property in the UK.

In the report it says they are using untraceable notes, so how in the name of St Jude can they know these imaginary purchases are being bought with the money from the Robbery?

People are now clutching at straws in their pathetic attempt to criminalise Republicans

For anyone who reads this news report and doesn't view it as total bullshit then I suggest you take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself one question

Why am I so gullible?

P.S. I am away to Clare so I will report back at the weekend until then I leave you in Paddy’s capable hands.

3/28/2005

In nomine Patris,et Filii,et Spiritus Sancti

It was with great sadness that I saw the state of the Pontiff's health.

Myself and the Catholic Church differ on a great many issues and I haven't been to mass in about 5 years but you have to admire the current Pope.

Not for his policies but for the life he has led and the difficulties he has faced.

I fear however that any future Pope will continue with the age old doctrine of Conservatism.

If the Church has any chance of bringing back the "lost sheep" it must come into the 21st Century.

Allow priest's to marry and stop depriving them of the most, I would imagine, wonderful experience in the world

Fatherhood

Sorry

Apologies for not being active in the last week, I was at home working.

I will also be away the rest of the week at a conference in Clare and then next week at a conference in England.

I see that PS has kept you entertained nonetheless ;)

I will try and get a few posts done over the next two weeks but from the 11th its business as usual.

P.S. I hope you are all still wearing your Easter lilies

£30,000 for a Brit Army piss up

The Daily Ireland reports that the organisers of Belfast's St Patrick's Day carnival have been left £7,000 in debt due to the Council's refusal to fund the festivities. However while I have made my thoughts clear on what I think of the council's decision, what angers me is that the Council were in fact happy to fund, the oh-so inclusive Royal Irish Regiment for a fancy £30,000 dinner (thems dear steaks) and in a stunning display of hypocrisy, Mayor Tom Ekin, who voted AGAINST funding of the carnival, still felt fit to use the council's money for his trip to celebrate St Patrick's day in London. It seems some councillors simply have no shame.

Why keep Stormont?

Mark Langhammer, a member of Irish Labour and somebody with a great interest in affairs north of the border, gives a southern perspective on the SDLP's recent proposals for a United Ireland. He is more than critical of the SDLP's stance and I must say I tend to agree with him. I do not think that in a United Ireland we should retain a six county assembly. As outlined previously in this blog, I believe that in the context of a 32 county state, re-assurance can be given to Unionism without subjecting the state to remants of the failed policy of parition.

Sing-song

Q magazine has produced a list of the "10 ultimate booze anthems". Can't say I agree with any of the choices, recently I've been more likely to burst into a rendition of Tony Christie's classic "Is this the way to Amarillo". Still its good to know that such vital research is being carried out!

Government got it right - Shocker!

Despite the controversy the smoking ban caused on its imposition almost a year ago, the tables have certainly been turned on those who opposed the ban with 98% of the population in favour of the ban, including many smokers. At the time I was undecided on whether the ban was a good idea or not, but having seen the success with which it was been implemented in the south, I look forward to a smoking ban coming to this side of the border.

3/27/2005

Strong words, big issue

Controversial though they might have been, I would like to add my support to the recent comments made by the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor. The cardinal expressed his complete opposition to the Abortion Act and likened abortions to Nazi attempts to control birth. As a practicising Catholic and somebody with strong pro-life views I welcome Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor's comments. I realise that there are strong views on both sides of this deabte but I cannot see the practice of abortion as being anything other than MURDER. It is shocking to think that the lives of six million have been terminated due to the abortion act. One abortion is a tragedy but the loss to humanity caused by six million is staggering. I vehemently hope that the abortion on demand practices in Britian are never legalised on this island.

Easter Commerations

Today Republicans across the country came out in force to celebrate the 89th anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916 and to honour all the Republican dead. While unable to attend a commeration personally, it was heartening to see the great colour and the tricolours waving in Crossmaglen this afternoon. Easter is a time both to remember our patriot dead and also to evaluate how the cause of Irish freedom for which they died can be best forwarded despite recent difficulties.

In their Easter message both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness dealt with the McCartney issue. At a commeration in Derry Mr. Adams spoke of his anger at the cowardly manner in which Robert's killers will not accept responsibility for their actions and Martin expressed on television his opinion that the IRA offer to shoot these thugs was a mistake. I must admit that I believe both men spoke well and I would like to back their respective messages.

3/26/2005

Tackling Racism

I'm delighted to see that as part of Sinn Féin's céad bliain celebrations the party has adressed the growing problem of racism with a function in Belfast. I had actually intended to be present on Wednesday night but I had a prior engagement. However I'm delighted to see the problem being dealt with head on. Racism is a terrible blight on our society and I fail to understand the mentality of those who seem to think that those with a different coloured skin and somehow sub-human. I welcome the influx of immigrants to this island as I believe multi-culturalism is a positive thing and it is perhaps time for Ireland to give back what many of its sons and daughters gained from immigration. We should be thankful that econmic propserity means that young Irish men and women can stay at home and be successful rather than begrudging those who wish to join us in this time of prosperity.

Bad day at the office

A bad day for Irish soccer as a last minute Israeli goal meant Ireland only managed a draw in Tel Aviv. In truth, the two sides were almost as bad as each other in what must have been a dour game for the neutral. Ireland never really got going and didn't seem to have the invention nor the will to add to Clinton Morrison's early strike. A massive improvement will be required if they are to reach the World Cup finals in Germany.

Elsewhere, Northern Ireland slumped to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of a much superior English side who dominated throughout.

Lilies and Poppies

Philip McGuigan, Sinn Féin MLA, makes an excellent point with regards to the different attitude which prevails towards the British remembrance symbol, the Poppy compared to the symbol of Irish Republicanism, the Easter Lilly. In this current era of equality, surely both symbols should be afforded the same respect, yet major organisations see fit to prioritise one over the other. Philip McGuigan highlights the BBC yet the policy of exclusion prevails throughout the north. In QUB Students' Union, it is deemed acceptable to sell poppies in the shop but when asked to stock Easter Lilies, the relevant authorities refused this request. In many schools students would not be allowed to wear Lilies, yet Poppies are often seen adorning school uniforms in November. I respect the rights of those who consider themselves British to honour their war dead, but Irish republicans must be afforded the same rights.

UnHealthy Cop Out?

I see the SDLP are considering pulling out of the election race in West Tyrone in order to avoid a hammering, sorry I mean in order to try to unseat current MP Pat Doherty. They are considering supporting Independent (and certainly not Nationalist) candidate Kieran Deeney. This is typical of the current SDLP who seem to feel that their raison d'etre is to attack Sinn Féin at all costs. Mr. Durkan wants Mr. Deeney to expand the issues which he deals with, yet this would break the 2003 election pledge of Mr. Deeney who promised only to speak on health issues. I realise that there is considerable dissapointment in Tyrone with regards to the hospital situation, however difficult decisions had to made. The real fault here lies with those who have underfunded the health service, if money was spent properly there could be enough for adequete services in Fermanagh and Tyrone.

With regards to the election itself, even if the SDLP aren't brave enough to throw their hat into the ring, Sinn Féin polled 16111 votes to Dr. Deeney's 6158. I'm extermly confident that Pat Doherty will be returned as MP for West Tyrone.

3/25/2005

You wish, Mr. Robinson

Good to see that the taoiseach, despite his recent involvement in the attempt to criminalise 342,000 voters, is not falling for Peter Robinson's ridiculous idea that Sinn Féin cannot be involved in power-sharing for a generation. While Mr. Robinson's comments are an insight into the policy of exclusion that Unionists would like to see imposed, his wish is an absolute non starter. Sinn Féin represent the majority of nationalists in the north and if Mr. Robinson doesn't like that, then tough! Any power sharing deal, by its very nature, must involve Sinn Féin. The DUP must recognise this and return to the negotiating table after the elections.

3/24/2005

Full steam ahead for May 5th

Despite recent Unionist negotiation with regards to electoral pacts for the forthcoming General Election and the claim that Sinn Féin's MP for Fermanagh/ South Tyrone could be unseated by a united unionist challenge, it seems from a report on Sluggerotoole that even Peter Robinson does not believe Unionism's own propaganda as he predicts a 9-2 seat margin for DUP compared to the UUP, a number which would leave the total amount of Unionist seats unchanged and would therefore mean the retention of Michelle's seat.

Whether or not this talk of a pact comes to fruition, I am very confident that Sinn Féin will be adding seats not losing them come May.

McDowell in "I was wrong" shocker!

Good to see Minister for "Justice" Michael McDowell admitting that he was wrong to deport a Nigerian student from this country. I look forward to Mr McDowell having to make similar retractions with regards to his spurious allegations against Republicans recently. Hopefully the injustice done to this particular student will not be repeated. I hope his visa is extended past 6 months and that he goes on to make a valuable contribution to this nation.

But a word of advice to Mr McDowell - Michael if you don't want to end up in an embarassing retraction situation again, don't predict PD involvement in the next government!

100,000 welcomes?

Fair play to Socialist TD Joe Higgins for highlighting in the Dáil the disgraceful treatment of some migrant workers in this country. Listening to his speech last night in the Oireachtas Report, I thought it was disgraceful that the Turkish company, who receive tax benefits to trade in Ireland, are exploiting their own countrymen in such a cruel way. The Irish people would be appalled if an irish worker had worked over 80 hours a week and received less than €1000 but had 3/4 of his salary stolen, so too must we be as viligant in protecting the rights of foreign workers in our country.

3/23/2005

Big Deal

According to Ian Pearson the PSNI/RUC should be 30% Catholic by 2011.

So by 2011 it will be a Catholic cop harassing you as opposed to a Protestant one.

Why are people so naive as to believe Catholic membership will change the PSNI/RUC?

In order for Catholics to be accepted they invariably become more bigoted than their Protestant comrades.

What we need is a police service; we have already had a police force.

Do leopards change their spots?

Not content with the murder of an innocent woman, it seems our "new reformed security services" are determined to carry through a policy of harrasment aginst a Republican family who have suffered more than most throughout the conflict. Fair play to the Daily Ireland, it's great to see that we finally have a daily paper in the north willing to highlight these sorts of issues.

"Tone" it down?

I see the DUP have gotten their knickers in a twist over Martin Morgan's portrait as Lord Mayor which is to be hung in Belfast's City Hall. Eric Smyth objects to the inclusion of United irishman, Wolfe Tone in the painting. However as the Daily Ireland points out;

The building flies the Union flag from its mast, while its many halls and corridors contain monuments to the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force, the British army’s Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Surely it would take more than a corner of a painting to provide balance in this building. Fair play to Mr. Morgan, a man I have a good deal of respect for, for paying tribute to a patriot and the man who founded modern day Irish Republicanism with a wish to unite "Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter."

Death Penalty; Where do you stand?

Just now when talking about racists I made a comment that surprised me "Hang em"

I have never really explored my views on the Death penalty. There are those who are for and those who are against it.

Where do I stand?

In a United Ireland would I support the death penalty?

The answer is most likely to be, YES

I know the problems associated with the death penalty but for me growing up in an era were punishment beatings received the "he didn't get it for nothing" response, it seems to have left a mark on me.

I believe child abusers, pedophiles and rapists deserve the rope and I make no apology for it.

Where do you stand?

United is the BEST way

George Best has called for a United Ireland, football team that is.

It doesn't make sense for an island this small to have 2 different teams. It may also help to take some of the sectarianism out of the game.

We do it in Rugby, now let’s do it in soccer.

3/22/2005

Losing the plot

It seems that Michael "my granda was a republican therefore I am" McDowell is losing the plot.

In response to the outrage of the recent deportation of a Nigerian student he said "If we don’t deport some people we may as well not have any laws at all,"

That type of comment typifies the ignorance that permeates the PD's

It really annoys me when Irish people forget that their own families were forced to emigrate in order to find work yet some of us seem unwilling to repay the favour.

Where has the Ireland of a hundred thousand welcomes gone?

Oh yes! The PD's privatised it.

NB:UPDATE The Teachers' Union of Ireland and the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin have this afternoon joined calls for the return of deported Nigerian student Olunkunle Eluhanla.

Bertie's Satisfied

It seems Bertie and the Gardaí are "absolutely and totally satisfied" that cash recovered during raids in Cork earlier this year was stolen during the December 20 robbery.

Good stuff, so when can we expect arrests, charges?

I presume the Gardaí have all of their forensic evidence collated so that convictions can follow?

Stop talking rubbish Bertie, you may be totally satisfied but it is not enough for you to be satisfied.

You have to provide evidence that will satisfy a court or has the doctrine of innocent until proven guilty been abolished by your PD masters as well?

"Foreign" Education policy

I see the House of Lords have voted against the wishes of all the political parties in the North of Ireland.

They have decided that Students in the North should pay Top-Up fees.

It just goes to show how flawed this whole "Union" is when a foreign government can dictate to Irish students about how much fees they should pay at University.

Barry Gardiner has a cheek dictating his "foreign" education policy in the North of Ireland?

FF- the Republican Party?!

Very dissapointed to see that Dermot Ahern has ignored his former party leader and has ruled out a Green paper on Irish Unity. Surely as part of a so-called "Republican" party, Fianna Fáil should be encouraging a debate on a 32 county state rather than ruling it out. Mr. Ahern says that the calls are a "red herring" and claims that;

Those who are calling for a green paper are doing it to distract from getting the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement up and running again.

Sorry Mr. Ahern but this is plain nonsense. There is nothing in the GFA which says that the insitutions are dependent on nationalists not asserting their right to argue for a United Ireland. The institutions can exist simultaneously with the arguement for Irish unity. In my view, this is a cop out from Fianna Fáil and they should have a long hard look aat themselves before they stick about stick the phrase "Fianna Fáil - the Republican Party" on their election posters in future.

Unity for all

Carrying on from the debate on Slugger about the SDLP's proposals for a United Ireland. I would like to outline some of my own views on what a 32 county state should look like. I realise the need for unionism to be reassured of their status within a United Ireland and with this in mind I would advocate the following measures;

- over representation for the 6 counties in the 32 county Dáil so as to reassure Unionism that their views will be properly represented.

- respecting the right of those who wish to keep their British identity by allowing retention of a British identity, symbolised by a right for all on the Island to a British passport.

- retention of all equality leglislation negotiated by the GFA and possibly the apointment of a "Unionist Ombudsman" to ensure Unionists feel their rights are being respected.

- the retention of the 12th July as a public holiday

- re-affirmation of the guarantee of civil and relgious liberty for all.

However, I also believe that nationalists alone cannot define the safeguards which unionism would like to have put in place. Unfortunately, the catch 22 of this position is that those of us arguing for a United Ireland cannot find out what Unionists would expect in a 32 county state since the vast majority are not willing to enter the debate.

3/21/2005

Scum

I really don't have the words to express what I think of the thugs who carried out this attack on an innocent child. Secterian attacks, whichever side they come from, are a terrible blight on our society but little girls are getting attacked in such a cowardly manner, it makes me sick to think what sort of society we live in to produce such a warped mind.

Justice for ALL- not just the media popular

Carrying on with the topic of collusion, the Daily Ireland has recently been publishing a series of articles from families who have been bereaved through the policy of collusion. The story of the death of Gerard Slane is particularly gut wrenching. Some sections of the media should have a look at these words from the dead man's widow;

“I want the truth for me and for my children, and I want the British government to admit its role in murdering my husband.
“I’ve been vocal about it but no one listens. I look at other high-profile murders and how much attention they’ve been getting, especially recently, and I wonder why Gerard’s murder hasn’t ever been treated like that.
“The answer is that the British government doesn’t want its dirty secrets to come out in public, and most of the media happily accept that.

Now I won't attempt to insult the intelligence of any reader by claiming that the conflict in the north was a black and white tale of good being represented by Republicans and evil being the security forces. Both sides committed terrible acts throughout the troubles. However the question we must ask ourselves is this;

Why is nobody listening to this woman in her search for justice?

SDLP begin to catch up with the rest of us?

I'm delighted to see that former taoiseach Albert Reynolds has echoed Sinn Féin's call for the Irish government to produce a Green Paper on the subject of Irish Unity. Mr. Reynolds' remarks come as the SDLP launch a policy document on their proposals for a United Ireland. While I of course welcome these proposals, however belated they might be, I must admit as to being somewhat cynical as to the timing of this announcement, coming only weeks before an election. The SDLP must realise that Irish Unity is an issue which must be given constant priority, not brought up merely in the weeks before an election. However as Mitchel McLaughlin points out, it is good to see the SDLP moving away from their fancicul talk of a "post-nationalist era". There is an onus on all of us who believe in the cause of Irish unity, however great our differences may be on other matters, to act as persuaders for the cause of a united Ireland. I must admit to not agreeing with all the proposals but forward by the SDLP, espicially their call for the retention of a six county parliament, however I do realise that it must be upmost in the minds of those calling for a United Ireland to make sure that the Ireland which we wish to create is an Ireland of Equals, an Ireland where all the children of the nation are cherished equally and an Ireland where the so called "secterian divide" no longer seems important. We must ensure that proper safeguards are put in place to reassure Unionism that a United ireland can work in the best interest of BOTH sides of the political divide, and that it will not merely be a triumph for nationalism.

3/20/2005

Wall of Silence

I see the McCartney sisters have demanded that Sinn Féin break down what they call the "Wall of Silence" regarding their brother's murder. With all my heart, I wish to see this bereaved family get justice for their brother, however I cannot see what else Sinn Féin as a party can be expected to do. The party has urged ALL those with any information to take it to the Police Ombudsman and has also called on those involved to take responsibility for their actions. Sinn Féin has done its upmost to tackle this problem and I am not sure what more the sisters are suggesting Sinn Féin can do. Sinn Féin are appalled by the manner in which these brutal thugs have sullied the name of Irish Republicanism and abhor their actions. However Sinn Féin cannot force these men to confess to their wrongdoing. Much play is made of the fact that this terrible incident started in packed bar, in the presence of some members of Sinn Féin, however the actual murder itself was witnessed by far fewer, probably only by those who would be found guilty of murder if they came forward with the truth. Surely Sinn Féin cannot be blamed for the moral cowardice of these men, even though the party has done everything in its power to bring about a resolution to the awful situation.

Tales from the H-Blocks

Last weeks An Phoblacht gave Republicans a chance to reply to the claims made by Richard O'Rawe in his new book. O'Rawe has claimed that the IRA allowed six of its prisoners to die during the Hunger Strike while a deal was on the table. However his credibility has been shattered by the stories of those closer to the situation than him who have stated that the only people capable of deciding on whether the Hunger Strike was to continue or be stopped were in fact the prisoners themselves. The outside Republican leadership apparently had no control. In addition to this, we learn from Hunger Striker Paul McGlinchey that Mr. O'Rawe has in fact lied on many accounts, including his assertion that he was on the same wing as Martin Hurson.

It seems that Mr. O'Rawe's tale is little more than an attempt to cash in on the suffering of ten of his comrades and his "book" should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

3/19/2005

Anti-Criminalisation Protest

Good to see that hundreds of Republicans gathered in our nation's capital today to protest against the continuing attempts to criminalise the Republican movement. Similar gatherings have taken place across the north and I was at a very well attended meeting in the Hilton Hotel in Belfast a number of weeks ago.

The message coming from Republicans is clear and must be heeded.

WE ARE NOT CRIMINALS

THE STRUGGLE TO ACHIEVE IRISH UNITY IS A NOT CRIMINAL ONE.

342,000 VOTERS WERE NOT CRMINALS, NEITHER ARE THEIR REPRESENTATIVES.

SINN FÉIN'S MANDATE MUST BE RESPECTED.

Collusion not an Illusion

Carrying on with the subject of Collusion, I must welcome calls from Congressman Chris Smith and Judge Peter Cory, author of the Cory Report, for the British government to abandon the new legislation designed to ensure that public inquiries are on fact nothing of the sort since much evidence will be considered "in private". All victims of state collusion must be given a full public inquiry, not to do so is to cheapen the lives of their loved ones. The evidence presented must in the public domain, so as to ensure that people can see for themselves the effect the policy of collusion in the north had. Any attempt to hear evidence in private stinks of a cover-up. As a Republican commentator once pointed out on slugger, when the Brits speak of wishing to keep certain issues from the public as a "question of national security", the phrase national security can be translated to mean "murderous activities we don't want you to know about."

Murder most foul

Very disappointed to see that the High Court has blocked an attempt to clarify whether the murder of Rosemary Nelson and the threats she received before her death have been properly investigated. The 6th anniversary of Rosemary's death took place this week and still nobody has been charged with her murder, nor have the strong suspicions of collusion between the RUC and the loyalist paramilitaries been dealt with. This ruling must ring alarm bells in the ears of those hoping that the forthcoming inquiry will be allowed to find the real truth behind Rosemary's death. Mrs. Nelson was a brave and brilliant woman and it was her courage in representing her clients that lead to her brutal murder. I can only hope that one day the real truth of what happened will be revealed.

Irish Despair

Ireland failed to win a second successive Triple Crown today as they were, in truth, outclassed for long periods by a superior Welsh team who clinched a fully deserved Grand Slam at the Millennium Stadium today. Unfortunately Ireland have once again stopped a step or two short of major honours and while most of the team will remain in tact, it's hard not to think that this year was possibly their best ever chance of grabbing that elusive Championship.

Where is your natural home?

This is a fun way to see how you fit into the political sphere

My rank 1 was Sinn Féin, surprise, surprise ;)

Where is your natural home?

Funny Shit

I am a big fan of Dark humour and it doesn't get much better than this.

People who are easily offended should look away now

Langerland

3/18/2005

Alliance/ NIO

In yesterday's Irish News, Brian Feeney gives an excellent analysis of the pitiful role the Alliance Party play in northern politics as well as exposing the hypocrisy of their position on the funding for yesterday's St Patrick's day festival in Belfast.

Abuse of privilege

This week's Newry Democrat (apologies for the lack of a link)reports that Newry Estate Agent has challenged Ian Paisley to repeat remarks made in the House of Commons in a public sphere without the safeguard of parliamentary privilege. Mr Paisley made allegations that Mr. John Collins was involved in a VAT fraud scheme, a charge which Mr. Collins vehemently denies.

I believe that this system of privilege is archaic and out dated and should be abolished. It is disgraceful that Mr. Paisley can make such wild accusations without those on the receiving end having recourse to the laws of libel. This is not the first time Mr. Paisley has acted in such a manner. He has previously used the Commons to made allegations of IRA membership against individuals and indeed in the late 1980s a Sinn Féin councillor was murdered after previously having been named by Mr. Paisley in such a manner.

If MPs do not have the guts to make statements in public, they should keep their mouths shut.

Unionist's Unite

Apparently the OUP and the DUP have embarked on an Anti-Sinn Féin campaign.

Surprise, Surprise

They are looking to have a pact to try and stop the forward march of Sinn Féin. It just goes to show the fear that certain Unionist’s have of a strong, united republican party who won't be pushovers like the stoops.

Well it seems the game is on and I personally can't wait till May 5th.

3/17/2005

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona dhaoibh

Have a very Happy St Patrick’s Day and remember, Paddy's day is about more than getting pissed ;)

Here is some of the things other people will be doing

3/16/2005

National Anthem, what's your favorite?

I always wonder what do people actually make of National Anthems, while I love my own (Amhrán Na bhFiann) my favorite would have to be the Soviet National Anthem.

It instills power and belief in the listener

What's your favorite, if any?

SDLP blame everyone but themselves

It seems poor Seamus has lost the run of himself

It would appear the SDLP would like to blame everyone but themselves for their fall from grace. The SDLP took Nationalist support for granted for too long and now they are reaping their reward for 30 years of pandering to the British presence in Ireland.

As for negotiating skill, the stoops don't have any.

Smoking!

I see the people of the north are divided (surprise, suprise) on the issue on smoking in public places.

While I know that my fellow blogger will strongly disagree with me, I must say that I am in favour of this ban being extended to this part of the island. As a non-smoker I feel as though I have the right to go out for the night and not have smoke blown into my face. Quite apart from the obvious health issues, it's not exactly the most pleasant thing in the world and I believe that staff in bars should not be subjected to such a health risk simply because they have to go to work. When the ban came into force in the south, I was initially sceptical, however having seen how well it has worked in the 26 counties and how the atmosphere in bars has improved, I am looking forward to the eventual introduction of this leglislation in the north.

Money, money, money?

Despite the glee with which the media intitially reported the supposed ban on Sinn Féin fundraising in the United States, recent reports suggest that all may not be as it seems.

3/15/2005

Save the Union

The EGM of Queens Union Club (QUC) occurred today in the Student’s Union.

As a member of QUC I was shocked that the membership of QUC was being asked to dissolve the club. The more startling thing was that no explanation was given as to why certain elements in the University wanted the club dissolved however a few of us have our suspicions. We were told that the assets of QUC i.e. Bar profits had been given over to the University but could not be told by whom and when exactly.

Serious questions must be asked of the University top brass and indeed previous Presidents of the Student's Union.

Legal advice is currently been sought to see how best to resolve the issue and to see were the previous actions illegal.

I would call on all students to support this campaign to uphold the integrity and independence of the Student’s Union.

What other Student’s Union is run by the University?

The fight is on and we are going for the jugular, stay tuned for more info and anyone interested in the campaign can contact the Deputy President at the Students Union or on 02890971068

Questions need to be asked

It seems now that the PSNI have turned away two key people in the investigation of Robert McCartney.

Why were these people turned away?

It would seem the PSNI are more interested in trying to vilify republicans than actually doing their job and bringing justice to the family.

If these allegations are true then it underlines my firm belief that the PSNI have not changed from the RUC and they are still following a political protocol rather than being the new police service that was promised.

Time for truth, Time for Justice

Following on from PS's post on Martin McGuinness’s comments, what did Martin say which was untrue?

The Family of Robert McCartney does need to be careful that their campaign for justice is not tainted by electoral politics. Let's look at the reason for elections; they are about public services, hospitals and schools. They are about people deciding who is best to represent their needs. Electoral politics is not the place for the McCartney family campaign. This should not be a campaign to get people elected but it should be a campaign to get truth and justice for the McCartney family.

If one of the sisters stood in my constituency I would still vote Sinn Féin because they best represent my interests, does that mean by me not voting for them I don't support their campaign, NO. The people who carried out this act have sullied the name of Irish Republicanism. They didn't and don't act in my name. They should hand themselves in and allow the family of Robert McCartney closure to grieve.

This campaign however could be tainted by entrance into electoral politics and I hope and pray the family gets justice for their brother but they need to be sure they are not being led by others whose only objective is to vilify Republicans.

Treading Carefully?

I must admit to being amazed at the furore over Martin McGuinness' recent comments. While I realise that the media now seems to feel that it is their duty to twist and distort the words of every Sinn Féin member or sympathetiser, the allegation that there is somehow an implicit threat in the Sinn Féin MP's comments is to me stretching the bounds of credibility. The phrase "need to be careful" is one used commonly in everyday life in the north. It does not constitute a threat and certainly Martin McGuinness did not intend it to be used in this manner.

The valid point Mr. McGuinness was trying to make is that the McCartney issue is above party politics, it is an issue for the courts, for the justice system and while politicians must make every effort to aid the McCartney's in their plight, it is difficult to see what purpose could be served by their advance into electoral politics. If the McCartney's claim that they are not being forced into decisions then we must believe them, however I can't help but think that their time might be better served in questioning the investigation techniques of the PSNI.

The attempt to enter into a party political "blame game" over this issue is unhelpful. There are a small number of people responsible for this tragedy and those people should heed the call of all decent people and give themselves up. It is their actions which have caused this terrible situation and they must be held responsible for their actions.

Bertie contradicts himself

It seems Bertie believes the Dublin robbery "could only have been carried out by one of a small number of criminal gangs or by a paramilitary group."

It's funny how the Northern Bank robbery could only have been carried out by the IRA in Bertie's eyes.

If these criminal gangs he talks about were involved in the Dublin robbery then wouldn't they also be suspects for the Northern Bank robbery as they seem to have the same MO.

Then again it suited Bertie politically to categorically blame the IRA.

3/14/2005

Creative Historians

When researching the history of the SDLP for a presentation on the north's political parties I couldn't help but laugh at the fact that party's chronology stops just before the elections of 2003.

If you were being cynical you might think that a few things happened after May 03 that the SDLP don't want to admit actually were true!

He's at it again

Once again Durkan is spewing his totally ambiguous clap-trap. Mark really needs to work on his ability to be concise.

He talked about Republicans accepting policing; Guess what Mark we aren't the sdlp and we will not accept anything less than what we promised the electorate.

Mark said "We will be reiterating that it is not enough to recycle flawed approaches and failed deals"

Don't worry Mark people have no intention of letting the sdlp negotiate on their behalf ever again.

Ford or backwards?

I see the leader of the "neither Unionist or Nationalist, but definitely not Nationalist" Alliance party, David Ford wants the British government to carry on with the old policy of exclusion of Republicans.


When will the likes of Mr. Ford understand that what the Good Friday Agreement is actually about is faciliating an agreement between Unionism and nationalism which the majority of each community must support. Well I'm sorry to trouble you with the facts again Mr. Ford, but in case you hadn't, Sinn Féin are the largest Nationalist party in the six counties, and while you might find that not to your liking, in short - Tough! Sinn Féin's mandate through the six counties and throughout the island is here to stay and must be recognised. He is right in one sense however, Tony Blair has defied the agreement but he has done to try to thwart republicans, not include them.

3/13/2005

Get a grip Davy

According to Trimble the presence of a Sinn Féin assembly candidate in Magennis's bar the night of Robert McCartney killing "underlines the seamless connection which exists between Sinn Fein and the IRA"

OK so when I am in the Union with DUP and UUP members does that mean there is a seamless connection between Sinn Féin and the DUP or UUP for that matter?

This woman has issued a statement to her solicitor and that should suffice.

What has this woman done wrong? Simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

UPDATE:
Sinn Féin reiterates support for McCartney family

Agreement not kept

The prisoners in Castlerea have said they don't want their release to be included in any future negotiations. They also apologised to the Family of Gerry McCabe and Ben O'Sullivan. They said they didn't wish to be used "as pawns or hostages to undermine this process"

Their release however shouldn't even be an issue as they qualify for early release.

The Dublin government should honor their commitments in the GFA and release these men.

Sporting View

Very mixed weekend from a sporting viewpoint. Ireland fought bravely in the second half yesterday at Lansdowne Road but in the end a late French try means that the Grand Slam dream seems as far away as ever.

That said, the old enemy were vanquiahed today in Crossmaglen (that's Down I mean, not the British army!) as Armagh climbed to joint top of div 1B of the National Football League. On a absolutely freezing day in Crossmaglen a decent crowd watched Armagh miss a huge number of chances before running out narrow victors in a game which is unlikely to live long in the memory.

By-elections - Disturbing, but not quite ghastly?

While I'm sure Bertie Ahern is waking up quite shaken this morning after poor by election results for Fianna Fáil on Friday, for the sake of us all, let's hope his nerves hold up better than this other national leader

Disgusting Journalism

I am absolutely disgusted by this article which I found through a link from the excellent Nuzhound. In this article Alan Ruddock attempts to argue than Gerry Adams is actually attempting to seek poltical advantage from the brutal McCartney murder.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Gerry Adams, like every true Irish Republican, was absolutely appalled by the McCartney murder. Those who perpetrated this evil deed have nothing in common with Republicanism and certainly they have violated the comand of the 1916 Proclamation;

we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, in humanity, or rapine.

Gerry Adams has made his contempt for the murderers clear and I echo his call that those who have ANY information such bring that information forward to whichever avenue they feel most appropriate. To claim, as this article does, that this murder is being used by Gerry Adams to further his political objective is a scandalous allegation and one rooted in no factual base.

There are those manipulating the plight of this bereaved family for political gain, but these people certainly aren't Gerry Adams.

3/12/2005

Lá 'le Pádraig

On the back page of this week's Newry Reporter the Mayor of the city has released the details of a celebration on 17th March which he hopes will be "the envy of many other towns and cities throughout Ireland" Nothing unusual in the mayor leading the St. Patrick's Day celebrations in a staunchly Nationalist town, you might think, but Mayor Henry Reilly is actually a member of the UUP.

I'm delighted to see a Unionist politican taking such a active interest in the St Patrick's Day celebrations and I welcome his positive statements on the inclusiveness of the day as according to the UUP councillor himself "every effort had been made to ensure the opportunity to participate this year was offered to all." If only his UUP colleagues could have taken a similar honest and inclusive decision with regards to the festivities in Belfast...........

Voting Pact

Today's election was the first examination of the FG/ Labour transfer pact which is expected to continue into the General election when those two parties hope to form a government together. It's difficult to extrapolate how this pact worked in practice from results in Meath since both Sinn Féin and Labour were eliminated on the same count. Also in Kildare North FG may not have benefited from Labour transfers in the numbers they might otherwise have expected since the independent candidate was in fact a former member of the Democratic Left and the Labour Party.

The true test of this alliance will come at the next general election. However with Sinn Féin share of the vote continuing to rise in the 26 counties continues, SF seem well placed to at least double their number of Dáil seats. Both the Green party and the PD's seem to be going backwards based on last year's results and both may have an insignificant number of TD's. This could leave the interesting situation where Fianna Fáil may have no possible viable coalition powers if the PD's slump and Labour tie themselves to Fine Gael. Sinn Féin will most likely hold the balance of power and in that situation we could be seeing a very different atitude from Bertie Ahern.

Meath Election Results

The final result is in here and Sinn Féin have preformed very well. Joe Reilly has increased the Sinn Féin share of the vote in the face of a massive onslaught from every other party on the island. In the circumstances I think this is an excellent result and if it was repeated in a 5 seat constituency Sinn Féin could well be looking at another TD. . While I realise the changes in the electoral boundaries will make Joe's task harder at the next election, Sinn Féin are undoubtedly on the rise in Meath.

Let SF's detractors put whatever spin they wish on this result. However, YET AGAIN, the little graph slows a plus sign beside the Sinn Féin share of the vote. While this continues few can doubt that Sinn Féin are ever expanding as an electoral force both North and South of the border.

Meath

Unoffical Tallies from the Meath constitutency show Sinn Féin have polled an excellent 12.2% of the vote in the consituency. While this obviously won't be enough to see Joe Reilly elected, it does represent an additonal almost 3% of voters compared with the 2002 election results . Sinn Féin seem to be placed third in this constituency, ahead of Labour and with more than DOUBLE the vote of the Progressive Democrats. I assume FG's slight lead will be enough to see McEntee elected considering the FG/Labour electoral pact since FF's disgraceful treatment of the Sinn Féin mandate in recent weeks will cost them a lot of Sinn Féin transfers, I would think.

More later when the official results and final counts from both consitutencies arrive.

3/11/2005

Student friendly?

Belfast students, one of which I am myself, have tended to get a very bad press in recent months, as evidenced by the furore today over the suspension of a QUB student for "lewd" behaviour. However I was glad to see a bright spot on the horizon for once with news of an inclusive St Patrick's day celebration for students taking place in a Presbyterian church . I wish those organising this event well and I hope it is well attended. 'Good news' stories such as these rarely get an airing in the media and I hope that the celebration prooves both that students and residents can live together harmoniously and also that St Patrick's Day is a not a cold house for Protestants.

Who should be worrying?!

Despite the vicious invective aimed towards Sinn Féin in the media recently, it seems of the two Nationalist leaders, it's Mark Durkan who has more to worry about.

A Belfast Telegraph poll shows that only 55% of HIS OWN PARTY'S voters believe that Mr. Durkan is performing very or fairly well. This is compared with a rating of 88% for Gerry Adams. The question is who do the other 45% of SDLP voters think could do a better job? The poll also suggests that the Northern electorate is a lot more enamoured with Fianna Fáil leader, An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. It's looking increasingly likely that May's election will be the last one fought by the SDLP before the white flag is raised and FF enter the fray.

Ballymoney Walkout

I see Unionists in Ballymoney have pathetically walked out simply because they didn't like a Sinn Féin councillor's motion on a United Ireland.

My main reaction to this story is simply - WHY?
Is Unionism so lacking in confidence that it can't even argue its case effectively? I mean its not as if the Unionist councillors weren't going to win the vote, they outnumber Nationlists hugely in Ballymena. And surely they could have had the good grace to at least listen to the relevant arguements. Philip McGuigan wasn't demanding that the Unionist councillors agreed with him, however they should at least have had the decency to LISTEN.

Northern Bank

Yesterday's Belfast telegraph poll tells an important story about what Nationalists ACTUALLY think of this entire Northern Bank farce.

Despite the constant ramblings of Hugh Orde, the demented screechs of Michael McDowell and the pathetic manner in which ALL the major parties (except SF) have blindly accepted the word of the PSNI constable, only 32% of northern Catholics believe the IRA were responsible. Produce a little bit of EVIDENCE Mr. Orde!

In my opinion, what happened in this case is very clear. An incompetent police force failed to stop one of the largest crimes ever in Europe even after being told about it. In an attempt to get the policing board and the public off their back, they needed a scapegoat. And who better to blame than their greatest enemy, the republican movement. In one tidy press conference Hugh Orde stemmed the tide of criticism heading in his direction and instead gave Unionism what they wanted so much more than convinctions for the Northern Bank raid - an excuse not to share power with Republicans.

Vote early, Vote often

The Meath by-election is taking place today and I would like to wish Joe Reilly the best of luck.

I say to the good upstanding people of Meath Vote early, Vote often ;)

P.S I have no great love for Meath after they beat Armagh a few years ago but now is the time for them to redeem themselves.

SDLP "leader" double speak

So much for Mark Durkan standing up for the full implementation of the GFA.

We all have sympathy for the family of Garda McCabe but there can't be a hierarchy of victim hood.

The Castlerea 5 are entitled for release under the agreement and yet Mark wants to keep the men in prison even though they qualify for early release.

3/10/2005

You must be joking

The DUP's Nigel Dodds has said

"All of the recent happenings have vindicated the attitude adopted by the DUP and its refusal to legitimise Sinn Fein as a normal democratic party. The political process must now move ahead without Sinn Fein/IRA and each possible sanction available must be used to isolate and distinguish Sinn Fein as a party"

Listen up Nigel 10 men died rather than be classed as criminals and no attempt to criminalise republicans now will be accepted.

It is not up to the DUP to legitimise Sinn Féin our electorate of 342,000 does that

White collar crime

I wonder will the people Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD refers to be arrested for their criminal activities?

I won't hold my breathe.

The way Harney and Martin have handled this case has been a disgrace

Farce

According to UTV
"Sinn Fein MPs were today stripped of around £440,000 of Commons allowances as punishment for the party's links to an IRA bank robbery"

When was the trial?

I thought the trial preceded the punishment but then again this is "British" justice.

Usual tactics

The six men arrested in Leitrim have been realeased with out charge.

Now why does that sound familiar...oh yes the Gardaí arrested Martin Ferris before the last general election and we have a by-election in Meath tomorrow.

Interesting

What more can the IRA do?

It has been revealed that the man arrested today in relation to the death of Robert McCartney has been released

The family believe it is up to the Republican movement to resolve this but what else can it do?

3/09/2005

Bertie enters reality

Bertie has now claimed there is a distinction between the IRA and Sinn Féin, no shit Sherlock

Most people have known that for years

Perhaps the campaign of criminalisation himself and McDowell and the rest of the establishment have been waging against Sinn Féin isn't working.

McDowell

"Justice" Minister McDowell has criticised the IRA for its offer to shoot the murderers of Robert McCartney.

He says they have no right to administer their own form of justice, the same goes for you Michael.

3/08/2005

Meath by-election

According to tonight’sPrime Time on RTÉ the Meath Chronicle are publishing a poll tomorrow which shows Sinn Féin's Joe Reilly on 14.9%, up 5.5% on the previous general election.

Alarm bells must be ringing in McDowell’s ears if this is indeed true.

IRA offer

It would seem the IRA offered to shoot those involved in the killing of Robert McCartney. Most people will find this disgraceful but people have been demanding that the IRA do more for weeks now, so what more do people realistically want the IRA to do?

IRA offer