Newry/Armagh Election Broadcast by Cathal Boylan

Following on from my post yesterday about the Newry and Armagh constituency I would like to draw your attention to an Election Broadcast by one of our canditates, Cathal Boylan.

Cathal has been on Armagh City and District Council since 2005. He is currently the Sinn Féin Party Group Leader for Armagh Council and is a member of the Internal Scrutiny Committee, Public Services Scrutiny Committee, The public Parks Scrutiny Committee and the Market Place Theatre Management Board.

He is also Vice –chairperson of both the East Border Region Partnership and the Local Strategy Partnership (LSP).

A lifelong resident of Keady, he has a deep passion for the GAA and is an active member of the local GAA Club, where he has been involved in coaching and underage football for many years.

He sits on the recently formed Keady Regeneration Committee, and for many years his membership of Keady Residents Association has involved his participation in discussions with the Parades Commission.

The married man is the Chairperson of the local Mc Verry / Mc Elvanna Sinn Féin Cumann of which he was a founder member.

I would like to congratulate Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin for this very sucessfull video.

I would like to wish Cathal all the best in the election and look foward to him being a strong representative for Newry and Armagh after this election.


Newry and Armagh

Now seems like as good a time as any to start my look at the various constituencies in this upcoming election and I have decided to look at the constituency I know the best, my own, Newry and Armagh.

Sammy Morse has already looked at this constituency however I feel he has made several miscalculations.

According to Sammy he expects Frazer to get in the region of 2,000 votes. There is not a mission of that happenning. Frazer will get about 600-800 votes at a maximum.

According to Sammy "Brady, on the other hand, is a former member of the Workers' Party who has only been a member of Sinn Féin for a few months. Whether this is a stroke of genius which will widen SF's appeal or a miscalculation which will enrage Stickie-hating old Republicans remains to be seen."

That is not the word that I have been getting from the canvass trail. Our traditional supporters and indeed people who would never have voted Sinn Féin before will be voting for Mickey.

Mickey will be a Sinn Féin MLA in March, of that I am sure.

"While Adams has kept the bulk of the South Armagh IRA on board through masterful diplomacy and a certain amount of chutzpah, there's bound to be leakage, as much from ordinary SF voters who just don't like the direction of political travel as from big names."

The fact remains that not a single member of the Republican movement in South Armagh walked away over the policing issue. This great split in South Armagh that many people were having wet dreams about has never happenned.

Davy Hyland is also a Newry based politican and people in South Armagh can see through his blatent hypcocrisy on Policing. South Armagh republicans have never had time for people who misrepresent their position.

Republicans in South Armagh also know that the Davy Hyland vote will be an "anyone but the Shinners vote" and they will not bite that sandwich.

What also needs to be considered is that many of those who may have voted for Hyland to shaft the Shinners are not on the register as they don't register.

They won't have a vote on the 7th March.

"Hyland must get a big local vote in Newry Town and pull a big disaffected Republican vote in Slieve Gullion to stand a chance"

There is not a "big disaffected Republican vote in Slieve Gullion" so his luck is out. In Slieve Gullion over 75% of people voted Sinn Féin last time and judging by canvass returns and from engagement with the electorate this is not going to change.

I can't see Davy getting a vote bigger than 2,000 votes, if that, and that will not be enough.

In Newry/Armagh Sinn Féin are standing a strong team in the form of Conor Murphy, Cathal Boylan and Mickey Brady.

Cathal will be standing in the North of the Constituency down as far as Belleeks, Mickey will be standing in Newry and as far into South Armagh as Meigh and Conor will have the rest of South Armagh.

There is no one who thinks that this is going to be an easy election for Sinn Féin, which one is ever easy, however I fully expect Sinn Féin to return 3 MLA's from this area.

I would like to wish Cathal, Mickey and Conor all the best


Sinn Féin Election Website

I see that the party has launched the Election website for the Assembly Elections. I am happy to say that the party seems to have engaged with all that the internet has to offer.

The new website goes through our Assembly Candidates in some detail and even offers a blog(Needs more than one post)

The usual media statements can also be found.

The fact that the party has moved to engage this new media suggests a realisation that you can connect with a different class of voter through the internet.

It will never and should never replace our very active "on the ground" campaining but it will add a different dimension to that campaign.

Stigma needs to be removed

The NSPCC is calling for the British government to significantly upgrade counselling services for young people in the Six Counties.

The demand comes as the charity revealed 140 young girls here rang Childline worried about suicide.And of the 12,000 children who contacted the charity last year 550 youngsters, some of them only eight years old, wanted advice about mental health problems.

However, each year more young men than girls take their own lives and the charity wants more support to help to break their silence and seek support.

There were 645 reported deaths by suicide across Ireland in the year 2004 to 2005. The death toll from suicide is greater than the number of people killed in traffic accidents in the same period.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP today praised the efforts of all those, but especially the families, who are working hard to raise awareness around the increasing problem of suicide.

Gerry will today launch the 'Reaching Out' campaign at the start of Suicide Awareness Week on the Whiterock Road. The campaign has been organised by the Westrock Parent and Youth Support Group.

He said that "Because this is an all-Ireland problem it requires an all-Ireland strategic approach"

"Specifically it should be made an area of co-operation under the auspices of the North-South Ministerial Council. This should be an issue of priority for the Irish Minister for Health Ms Harney and the current British direct rule Minister Paul Goggins, or his local successor in the event of the Executive being re-established."

I believe that more needs to be done to remove the stigma that surrounds counselling, with young males in particular.

I myself have went to counselling, it was at a time in my life when I was going through a bad time because of my parents seperation.
It is nothing to be ashamed of, why the need to suffer in silence?


Celtic tigers maul English pussies

Yesterday was a day for new experiences, Ireland played England at Croke Park and I had a few drinks in Lisburn. With my exams over I flew back into Belfast yesterday and ended up in a bar/restaurant in Lisburn.

While waiting for the steak to come out I realised the anthems were about to start in Croke Park. Now there has been a lot of nonsense this last week about Ireland fans being disrespectful when the English/British national anthem was played.

I myself was wondering how the fans in the pub I was in were going to react when Amhrán na bhFiann was played. To my surprise there was complete silence for both Anthems and a huge roar for Ireland when the game started.

It was a very surreal experience for me

Ireland were magnificent yesterday, after the heartache of the loss to France the game against the old enemy proved to be one of the best games I have ever seen. With the Celtic Tigers in full roar, the poor English just didn't have a chance.

I received a text afterwards from a friend which amused me

"Gerry Adams is to lay a wreath in Croke Park tomorrow to remember the fifteen Englishmen massacred there today"

A great day, a dignified occasion and a fantastic result.

It would seem that God saved the Green and forgot about the Queen!



I know Lawyers have a bad rep but do they really deserve it? In most cases the answer is yes. A friend sent me a few good Lawyer jokes, hope you enjoy.
Q: What's the difference between a jellyfish and a lawyer?
A: One's a spineless, poisonous blob. The other is a form of sea life
Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a trampoline?
A: You take off your shoes before you jump on a trampoline.
Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and God?
A: God doesn't think he's a lawyer.
Q: How are an apple and a lawyer alike?
A: They both look good hanging from a tree
Q: What do you call 25 lawyer's buried up to their chins in cement?
A: Not enough cement.
Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and a prostitute?
A: A prostitute will stop screwing you when you're dead.
Q: Why does the law society prohibit sex between lawyers and their clients?
A: To prevent clients from being billed twice for essentially the same service.
Q: How can you tell when a lawyer is lying?
A: Their lips are moving.
Q: What is the definition of a shame (as in "that's a shame")?
A: When a busload of lawyers goes off a cliff.
Q: What is the definition of a "crying shame"?
A: There was an empty seat.
Q: What do lawyers and sperm have in common?
A: One in 3,000,000 has a chance of becoming a human being.


Frazer Watch: New Allegations

I was surprised this morning when I opened my e-mails to see that I had an e-mail from a person who claimed to be a loyalist from South Armagh.

Upon reading this e-mail I was in two minds as of what to make of it as it contained a lot of allegations against Willie Frazer from a person who claims he was once close to him.

Now this site, perhaps the only site on the web, has been to the fore in exposing the bigotry and rank hypocrisy of Willie Frazer. While this document contains allegations which I and other Republicans in South Armagh are well aware of it also contains some new and interesting allegations.

The person who e-mailed me said that some of these allegations could be substantiated if I dug a little and that is what I intend to do before I expose myself to the threat of libel.

These new allegations range from the political, the personal and the financial in relation to Frazer.

The e-mail contains information about some of Frazer's dead relatives, the organisations that they were part of and the roles that they played within these illegal organisations.

If the person who contacted me was genuine, and I have no way of knowing, then he can rest assured that when I have enough evidence gathered to back up these allegations I will publish them.

Balrog's Frazer Watch continues...


The War in Iran???

George Bush seems to be making the same kind of noises about Iran that he did about Iraq just before he ordered the invasion.

According to Bush Iran is supplying deadly weapons to fighters in Iraq, this is in despite of the fact that he has no evidence of such.

Bush, in his first news conference of the year, said it was vital to protect US troops against the new threat, saying: “I’m going to do something about it.”

This revelation by Bush comes shortly after Iran announced that it is to sell its oil in Euros and not Dollars. This is something that Saddam did just before the Yanks invaded him, what a coincidence.

Should Iran sell its oil in Euros this will seriously damage the American economy. Something I am sure that Mr Ahmadinejad is well aware of.

I find it very convient that as soon as Iran poses a threat to American economic interests it is suddenly implicated in arms deals with Iraqi insurgents.

Didn't the yanks once claim that Saddam was involved in 9/11 only for it later to be revealed as bogus?


Vótáil Sinn Féin

It seems the Assembly election is underway albeit at a trot rather than a gallop. This is perhaps one of the most important elections that Sinn Féin has fought since 1918.

At the moment we have the Stoops on our left flank fighting for survival as they have always fought for political relevance. On our other flank we have a rag tag bag of reprobates, divided and leaderless.

This election is being heralded as the election when Sinn Féin falters, the election that will punish us for our recent initiative on policing. I believe that these prophets of doom are sniffing too much air freshener.

There are people fighting this election on an "anyone but Sinn Féin" ground. They don't care if the seats fall to Unionists or even god forbid, the stoops! This motley crew are united only by their hatred of the Sinn Féin agenda.

They have no policies, no strategy and a vote for them is not a vote for progress.

It is a vote for stagnation and failure!

This is the election in which to maximise the Sinn Féin vote,. This is the election where we need hardworking Sinn Féin MLA's in there to press forward with the All-Ireland agenda.

We don't need British direct rule ministers making decisions on water charges, rates, education and health.

We need Irish people who are elected by Irish people and as such accountable to Irish people to be taking these decisions.

I have exams next week and then I am back for a fortnight. When I come back next weekend I intend to look at each of the constituencies individually

Tis going to be some craic before its all over!

USI need to get real

I see that the 32 county student movement, USI, are to enter the fray of party politics. Now they are not standing in elections but they are moving there LGBT campaign into that arena.

It seems USI are going to do an audit of TDs’ votes For/Against the Civil Unions Bill when voting takes place in the Dáil next Wednesday.

USI have said that they will note precisely which TDs try to block the legislation in the Second Stage vote.

Now I am speaking as someone who supports the Civil Unions Bill but USI are coming out with some extremely rash statements. According to USI the “overwhelming majority” of the public support Civil Union legislation.

Now apart from the fact that they have no evidence to back this up it wouldn't matter as this is not a populous piece of legislation. It is above improving equality between all couples be they homosexual or heterosexual.

I do however disagree 100% with USI LGBT officer Steve Conlon when he argues that "USI continues to seek justice for same-sex couples who should have the right to marry in this State"

USI President Colm Hamrogue is a sound bloke, even if he is from Donegal, but he must be very careful about the direction in which he brings the student movement. Colm has political affiliations the same as the rest of us but he knows as well as I do that USI is not a body of independently minded students.

It is made up of factions off all the political parties, be it Sinn Féin, PD's, Fine Gael or even heaven forbid, Fianna Fail.

To suggest that USI will have any sway at all over the way students vote is absurd, the ice cream man down the street has more sway over peoples political voting habits.

Colm and USI, if they are to obtain a fair innings for students, must remain realistic in their methods. These kind of foolish statements will hardly make the Dept of Education listen to them more.

By all means, support the Civil Union bill but don't open yourselves up to the charge of being naive to the point of being ridiculous!


Parliamentary Privilege, tool of cowards!

Out of all the parliamentary conventions that I despise, Parliamentary Privilege is by far the worst. Members of legislatures seem to have scant regard for peoples reputation, family integrity and privacy and indeed the persons personal safety.

The case that shows this in point is that of Pat Finucane. A defence Solicitor who was killed by Unionist Death squads and British government agencies.

Less than 4 weeks before Pat was killed Douglas Hogg MP, then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, in a Committee Stage debate on the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill on 17 January 1989 said

“I have to state as a fact, but with great regret, that there are in Northern Ireland a number of solicitors who are unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA.”

The simple fact is that MP's hide behind this when they haven't got the proof to mention it in public, this is taking the cowards way out and leaves the implicated party with no legal recourse.

We have seen DUP and UUP MP's time and again hide behind this bastardisation of speech. Just today we have witnessed the fact that Peter Curistan, named by Peter Robinson as a business man involved with "IRA dirty money" vindicated.

Yet Robinson et al are still allowed to hide behind Parliamentary Privilege despite the fact that they have failed to offer any evidence.

Abuse of this convention should be made a criminal offence!

Recently we have seen the Stoops also hide behind this ridiculous construction when Durkan named the former RUC officers who refused to co-operate fully with the O'Loan report.

Now Durkan could have stood outside the SDLP HQ (Phonebox) and spouted out those names to the press and I would have respected him for having the balls to do so. All he would have had to do, if sued, is to rely on the full O'Loan report which named the officers involved anyway.

Some Politicians argue that they have no choice but to mention the names in Parliament as it involves questions to Ministers. That however is easily solved as MP's can use Section 13 to waive their Parliamentary Privilege.

The fact remains however that most MP's refuse to do so and instead take the cowards way out, standing behind their Mammy AKA Parliamentary Privilege


Blog Awards: Vótáil Balrog

It seems the nominations are in for the Irish Blog Awards and Balrog is up for 3 awards.

Balrog is up for

1. Best Blog Post: McDowell should walk over Rape crisis

2. Best Political Blog

3. Best Group Blog

You can vote here

Voting will close on February 16th at 5pm and so in true Republican fashion I would ask that you


Páirc an Chrócaigh

Tomorrow will be first time that Rugby has ever been played in Croke Park. Most of you will know that I opposed the GAA move to relax Rule 42.

My opposition was not based on the fact that Rugby and Soccer are garrison sports, it was based on the fact that the IRFU and the FAI showed cheek beyond belief.

Why was it that the amateur sporting body was expected to save the blushes of the two supposedly "professional" sporting bodies ?

The IRFU and the FAI are totally incompetent and couldn't run a piss up in a brewery!

That being said the association made their decision and it is time to move on. One of the plus sides of Rule 42 being relaxed is that people who would otherwise never attend Croke Park for Gaelic Games will have a chance to experience some, if not all, of the magic.

I am thinking of people like David Vance, who has said he will he will there tomorrow. Now I hope David leaves tomorrow with a different attitude towards the GAA, though I doubt it.

As a fellow South Armagh man I hope that David will don his Orange Sash and join his fellow Orangemen in the summer when we head down to Croker to watch Armagh play.

I support Ireland in what ever sport they play apart from cricket, I never liked cricket!

I will be rooting for Ireland tomorrow when they take on France in what promises to be a key game along the road towards the Grand Slam.

That being said I don't believe that any sport can compare to Gaelic games in terms of enjoyment.

I don't believe that if Ireland played in the world cup final and won in Croke Park that it would even begin to match the joy that I felt watching Armagh lift Sam for the first time in 2002.

Maybe that's just me though

Unite so you may be free

I would firstly like to apologise for my lack of blogging, I have exams coming up and assignments due in. The next two weeks are going to be hectic.

I was delighted to hear that Fatah and Hamas have been able to secure a power-sharing deal between them.

The two factions have been on a collision course ever since Hamas won the parliamentary elections last year and formed a Cabinet, splitting power with President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.

The deal was concluded on Thursday in Saudi Arabia however officials on both sides have urged caution as the implementation could be difficult.

I am happy that both factions have placed National interests above any personal differences that they may have. The Zionists in Israel will use any division in the Palestinian camp for their own perverse squalid agenda.

It is for that reason that Palestinians must remain united in face of continuing Israeli aggression and occupation.

The only way that Palestinians will attain full and lasting independence is if they are as one. United they will stand but divided they will fall.

I wish them all the best in the future.


Bloody Cheek

It was with much fury and a descending red mist that I read some of the comments of the IRSP about the republican movement in the build up to last weekends specail Ard Fheis.

Who are these ruffians trying to fool? They are no more republican than any of the other dissident groups and have an absolute cheek to accuse Sinn Fein of selling out the republican cause over policing.

Were the IRSP so worried about the republican cause when their cohorts in the Irish National Lunatic Association were peddling drugs in Inner City Dublin and North Belfast???

These guys never had republican credentials in the first place to sell them out. The INLA are descended from a long line of criminals that have brought nothing but ignominy and opprobrium on the republican liberation struggle.

Gone are the days when those of credibility like O'Hara, Lynch, Devine, Convrey and Bunting donned the green battle dress and took to the streets to engage the Brit war machine in combat.

The army's war may well be over, but those like the INLA and Coca Cola heads never begun a war never mind bring one to a successful conclusion. These chaps are not republican, they are only interested in lining their own pockets hence the fact they spend more time killing each other than killing Brits.

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hyland???

It was with much sadness and indeed a palpable degree of anger and disgust that I learned that former Sinn Fein MLA for Newry/Armagh Davy Hyland is to contest the forthcoming elections as an 'Independent Republican' candidate (no seriously I'm not joking he really is!!!).

Whilst I acknowledge the hurt and pain Davy must be experiencing after his acrimonious de-selection I believe that Davy has gone down the wrong road by leaving the party and thus further splitting the republican vote in the area.

I would like now to acknowledge the sterling work Davy done whilst a councillor on NMDC. However truth be told that when elevated to a full time paid political rep Davy just could not make the grade. This was manifest in the fact that he received only 3 votes at the recently held election convention. Surly there are more than 3 members of Davys own cumann?

I recognise that after 25 years servitude to the republican cause and movement the de-selection must have been a bitter pill for Davy to swallow. However the party membership had their say and choose a very capable and willing candidate in welfare rights champion Mickey Brady (maith thu Mickey and good luck in your campaign).

Davy is at the moment a wounded ego intent on lashing out at republicans and using any excuse to justify doing so.

Where were your concerns on policing in the days prior to the convention Davy???

The 25 years service I spoke of earlier could indeed be erased in one fell swoop should Davy cost republicanism a seat in the elections. As everyone knows Davy is using the policing issue as a smoke screen for abandoning ship after being deselected.

However more pathetic than this is the fact that Davy is willingly allowing himself to be ruthlessly manipulated by malcontents with an anti-Sinn Fein agenda. The rag-tag band of dissident ruffians weighing in behind his campaign proves this beyond irrefutable doubt.

When you have Pat Mc Namee, Jim Mc Allister and the IRSP speaking out in your favour, you know your republican credentials are pretty much bollocked. I say to Davy that the people of Newry/Armagh will have their say on 7th March and they will see you for what you rightly are: a wounded ego.

-On 8th March where will the malcontents that are so eager to back you now be Davy???

-What will you do when it is Mickey Brady who wins the Newry seat???

Obviously your scheme was not too well thought out Davy. I would like to finish by wishing you luck Davy, because you really do need it (failing that invest in a fairy godmother and you should be alright!!!!).