And they're off

I see that the General Election in the 26 counties has got into full swing with election day set for the 24th May.

Sinn Féin will be standing 42 candidates in 41 constituencies.

I don't quite understand why our comrades in Dublin South are putting up two candidates in the form of Sorcha Nic Cormac and Shaun Tracey when our vote share in the last election was 3.93% in Dublin South.

We should be challenging for a second seat in Cavan/Monaghan, yet we don't have a second candidate there. Topping the poll is not important, increasing our number of TD's is.

The party seems to be embracing new technology (no jokes please) with quite a few videos on YouTube.

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said,

"Sinn Féin's team of TDs has been honoured to serve our constituents over the past five years and we are seeking a renewed mandate in the forthcoming General Election.

We are confident of receiving that renewed and strengthened mandate and are preparing for the election of a significant number of additional Sinn Féin TDs."

"Our aim is for our party to be in Government North and South and ultimately for Sinn Féin to be part of an all-Ireland government. This is about changing Ireland; it is not about political careers."

"Our priority going into the General Election and in the next Dáil is the provision of premium public services on the basis of fair and equal access for all.

This is especially needed in healthcare and housing where the Fianna Fáil/PD government has, for the past decade, failed miserably to use economic prosperity to ensure that all our people have access to the best healthcare and to decent housing.

Instead they have left housing provision to the developer-driven market and are in the process of privatising our health services."

I firmly believe that we will make significant gains in this election however we will not know how significant until the vote is taken.

In my opinion the "Alternative Coalition" AKA Blue Shirts and Stickies will not form a government.

I also don't foresee the Greens being in government with Fianna Fail as that would upset the property developers that Fianna Fail rely on so much.

At the moment it is not clear who will form the next government however I'm afraid at the moment Fianna Fail will be part of what ever administration is set up.

The PD's are gone, that much is sure. What a happy day it will be when this country says good-bye to Herr McDowell as Minister for Injustice.

I believe there is a very real prospect that Sinn Féin could hold the balance of power however I don't see us in government after this election.

I could be wrong but I can't see it for a multitude of reasons.

We have put forward our case to the electorate, let's wait for their decision.

Become a Winner.....Vote for the Shinner!

RIP Michael McAnespie

I was sorry to hear that Michael McAnespie, a Sinn Féin councillor on Omagh District Council, has died after a farming accident involving a bull.

This is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with his family, friends and comrades in Tyrone.

I didn't know Michael but according to those who knew him he was a man of great integrity and dignity.

Party President Gerry Adams said "Michael was an extremely hard working councillor who ably and conscientiously represented the people of Omagh,"

"His loss will be deeply felt by all who knew him, but especially by his family and friends."

The Chairman of the Council, Sean Begley said that the death of Michael was a devastating tragedy for his family and a huge loss for the district as a whole.

“Our deepest and heartfelt sympathy is extended to his wife and family, and our condolences to his wide circle of friends. He will be greatly missed by his Council colleagues who worked with him for the past ten years”

My prayers go out to all who knew him

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam


Get your hands off my Ballot box Bertie!

I see that BBBBertie has said that Ireland is the laughing stock of Europe because we still vote using pencils.

According to the exulted one we should all be using electronic voting like the French and the Indians.

I say, Bollocks!!

Our election results days are part of our shared political culture. It's a time to sit back, glued to the TV and wait for the drama to unfold.

The tallymen are a proud tradition in Ireland, able to tell the twists and turns of how an election has went simply by looking at samples of the voting slips.

That is a part of our political culture that I don't wish to see cast aside in the hopes of having the results within two hours.

Besides Bertie has a brass neck to talk about E-Voting after the £63 million that Martin Cullen wasted on that Fianna Fail wet dream, not to mention the £1 million a year it costs to store the damned things.

The Irish people don't want electronic voting, they don't trust electronic voting!

I see that in the North we are to have counting beginning as soon as the polls in Westminster elections close. I'm not too keen on this and it's entirely from a partisan point of view.

As a Sinn Féin member we are out from about 6:30 am on the day of an election until 10.00pm that night.

If you're lucky you may get a sandwich at lunch time. By the time 10pm comes all I want to do is go home, have something to eat, get a shower and go to bed.

It's the next day that I look forward to.

At the last Assembly election results day myself and four other party members watched the drama unfold in a friends house.

The Whiskey was cracked open from early on and as each result from the individual counts came in we were frantically adding up the numbers to try and tell where the seats would go.

Added to that the phone calls to comrades across the 6 counties it made for a very enjoyable day.

As an election junkie I view election coverage like a fine whiskey. Something to be savoured, never rushed and always enjoyed.

Leave this simple pleasure to us political junkies Bertie, after all, we have to listen to you talk shite year in year out.

It's Sinn Féin who will decide

That was the reaction of Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin when asked about which party we would be seeking to enter coalition with after the election.

"If the circumstances are right, if we have the numbers, if the configuration opens up the opportunity, if whatever other party or parties are interested in being involved with Sinn Féin, that their specific programme - what they're prepared to do - meets our requirements and our demands, it will be Sinn Féin who will make that decision and Sinn Féin alone."

The party have always said that it is not a case of

"Will Fianna Fáil go into government with Sinn Féin?" or "Will Fine Gael/Blue Shirts go into government with Sinn Féin"

The real question is will Sinn Féin go into government with either of these parties?

Sinn Féin are not about power at all costs or power for the sake of it. We will only be entering government if we can be sure that it will advance our political objectives.

The fact that most commentators and political pundits still fail to realise that should shock me but it doesn't.

They are so used to dealing with political parties that would sell their granny for a fiver! Parties whose elected reps are only concerned about their own advancement up the greasy pole to ministerial office.

Sinn Féin elected reps only receive the average industrial wage, the rest of their salary goes into the party.

My own preferred choice would be for Sinn Féin to stay out of government at this stage. If we hold the balance of power then we should seek to support a minority government which delivers on our shopping list.

I would no more relish government with Bertie than I would government McDowell!

No Miss Behavin'

It seems the House of Lords has over-ruled the Court of Appeal decision which found that the denial of a licence to a sex shop in Belfast by the city council was a breach of human rights.

This came about after the council consistently refused to licence Miss Behavin' Ltd on Gresham Street, in the city centre.

The four-year-long legal wrangle began in 2003 when councillors decided that the Gresham Street/North Street area of Belfast was not an appropriate place for sex shops and refused to license them.

Among the reasons they gave were proximity to schools, bus stops and areas of family shopping and because of future development of the area.

The latest decision by the Lords means council prosecutions against Miss Behavin' and six other sex shops in the area for trading without a licence - which have been on hold pending the outcome of the appeal to the Lords - may proceed.

Ruling in favour of the council, Lord Hoffmann said

"The right to vend pornography is not the most important right of free expression in a democratic society and the licensing system does not prohibit anyone from exercising it - it only prevents him from using unlicensed premises for that purpose."

Sean Fox said his client might decide to take the case to Europe.

"The judgement was only released today and we would like to take time to consider it carefully, but on first viewing it is clear to us that there may well be adequate grounds to refer this matter to the court of human rights."

I'm in two minds about this decision.

I believe that if people want to visit grotty sex shops in order to get their rocks off then they should be allowed to do that.

However I believe this should be in full consideration to those people who don't want their children anywhere near a place like that.

How about Larne?

It's time for Independence

That seems to be the war cry of a lot of Scots leading up to the Scottish elections for Holyrood. This comes on the back of huge advances in popularity for the SNP.

Alex Salmond has said that if his party comes out the winner in these elections then a referendum will be held in 2010 in order to ask the Scottish people if they will endorse their plan for Independence.

I'm not Scottish, I'm Irish and so in one sense what ever party comes out on top in the upcoming election it will not effect me. However as someone who seeks the destruction of the Union I fully support our Celtic cousins in their quest for Independence.

If I was a Scot I would not be a SNP supporter, I view them as nothing more then a Scottish Fianna Fail. As a Socialist Republican my views would be much closer to the Scottish Socialist Party.

"The United Kingdom, this nominally multi-national creation, was, and remains, nothing less than an Anglo-centric, centralist state with all political power vested in the Crown and Westminster.

There is no doubting that many Scots on the make have benefited from the Union. Indeed, one such is poised to become Prime Minister. But the people, the ordinary, working people of Scotland, have gained nothing from the Union and lost much.

The SSP has been at the forefront of the call for independence, as a major democratic advance, a means by which, at last, we can decide who, if at all, we go to war with, how we treat our workers, how we run our welfare state and organise our energy resources"

The SNP's plan to keep the English Queen as their head of state post-Independence seem as a little odd to me.

"That is the argument to transfer full political and economic control to Scotland, not to interfere with either the monarchy or social union between England and Scotland.

The two countries will be independent but with the same head of state."

It seem odd to the SSP as well who had this to say

"Nor do we subscribe to the bizarre idea that the Queen should remain the Head of State in an independent Scotland.

Our call is for a Scottish socialist republic, in which the people are sovereign, not some dim descendant of the house of Saxe-Coburg, and not the multinationals who like to squat on our shores till the government subsidies run out."

The fact remains that the tide is with the SNP and not the SSP and so they are the party who can lead the charge for Independence.

The polls suggest that the Labour party are in line for a kick in the bollocks by the voters.

In all 3 votes the SNP are in the lead.

During the campaign we have had lists of major business men and women voicing their support for either Independence or the Union with England.

There is no doubt that Scottish Independence would be a wake up call to Unionism here and could very well act as a catalyst for a United Ireland and for that reason I wish the Scots well.

Let's hope that together we can consign the Act of Union, be it the 1707 or the 1800, to the dustbin of history alongside its brother the British Empire.

Éirinn go Brách agus Alba gu bràth


Dirty tricks squad strike again

I see that the Police have questioned members of the Ombudsman's office in relation to a ridiculous suggestion from former RUC members that they leaked information to the press.

These allegations concern the report which she published earlier in the year which looked at RUC collusion with Unionist death squads.

The Retired Police Officers' Association AKA RUC old boys club has claimed highly confidential details of the investigation were leaked to reporters.

The RUC old boys club rejected her report at the time and described it as "error riddled".

They wrote to Hugh Orde earlier this month alleging that staff working for Ms O'Loan leaked details to journalists - including the names of police officers under investigation - long before the findings were published.

They said that breaches legal restrictions on the disclosure of information.

Are they serious?

Despite the fact that there is no evidence for such a claim how many times did the RUC leak information to Paisley?

How many times did they pass on names and information to Unionist death squads?

In a statement, Mrs O'Loan said she rejected any suggestion that her staff have broken the law.

As far as I am concerned this is nothing more than an attack upon the integrity and autonomy of the office of Police Ombudsman. She has not been that nice token taig they all hoped, she is prepared and eager to investigate them.

The fact that Hugh Orde is allowing this fishing expedition to continue is a joke. The sooner he has to answer to our members on the Policing board the better.

It's time to put a stop to this nonsense!


Sinn Féin picks Policing Board members

I see that Sinn Féin have announced who their representatives on the Policing Board will be once it has been re-constituted.

Sinn Féin Policing and Justice spokesperson Alex Maskey will be joined by Martina Anderson and North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay.

This is a very strong team and one which I have no doubt will hold the Police to account or as Gerry would say, put manners on them.

Alex is from Andersonstown in West Belfast and was the first Sinn Féin Councillor to be elected to Belfast City Council when he won a by-election in 1983. He was the first republican Mayor of Belfast in 2002 and was widely acclaimed for the inclusive approach he adopted in carrying out his role.

He has overcome two attempts on his life by Unionist death and is a senior negotiator for the party.

Martina is from the Bogside area of Derry. She has been involved with the Republican struggle for over 30 years. Having spent over 13 years in prisons in England and Ireland she was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Following last years Ard Fheis, at which the Party President Gerry Adams indicated a priority of developing an entirely new relationship with unionism Martina was appointed to the role of Sinn Féin's Director of Unionist Engagement.

Daithí is currently the Head of the Sinn Féin Council Grouping on Ballymoney Council and was recently elected to the Assembly. Daithí is the youngest Sinn Féin Councillor in the north and youngest member of the Assembly at 25 years of age.

I feel that this team has the right balance of seasoned Republican veterans and youthful Republican activists.

These are the people who are faced with the unenviable task of holding the peelers to account.

I wish them well

Ferris caught drink driving

I see that Sinn Féin TD for Kerry-North Martin Ferris has been caught drink driving by the Gardaí. Martin said he was embarrassed and disappointed with his actions which led to his arrest.

He should be!

In an interview on local radio, Martin admitted that he had drank two pints and a glass of red wine in the course of Saturday night. He said he is awaiting results of analysis on a urine sample that he gave to Gardaí.

Martin said that he is hoping he will be okay but added that if the results show he was over the limit he would be putting his hands up. He also said he would commend the Gardaí for what they are doing.

He said they did the right thing and that, if the results of the analysis show that he was over the limit, he would owe the people of North Kerry a huge apology.

In my opinion you should never drink and drive, one drink is one too many!

I am not going to sit here and attack Martin though as that would make me a hypocrite. While I have never been drunk while driving I have been in cars with people who have and I am not just talking about a few pints either.

I have not done so for a long time and I will never do so again as I have seen the carnage that can follow drink driving. I have attended the wake and funeral of people who have been killed as a result of drink driving.

There is a culture of drink driving in the country, more so in rural areas, that has to be stopped. The main offenders are not young people though, it is older members of our society.

I think that Martin had done a lot of excellent work for the people of North Kerry and he is a very able TD. On this occasion however he has shown a complete lack of judgement and should be ashamed with himself.

A single death on the roads as a result of drink driving is one too many


The Punt, always the Bridesmaid!

I see Paisley has revealed that, contrary to popular belief amongst political circles, he will be serving the full term as First Minister.

In an interview with UTV that is set to be screened on the 8th May he was asked how long he intended to serve, he said

"I am pleased you asked me that question. I will serve the full four years. I will not be resigning."

This will come as a shock to poor Peter the Punt who, it's understood, had an agreement with Paisley that he would serve for 6 months and then resign thus delivering the position of First Minister to him.

Doesn't your heart just bleed for poor Peter?

I mean after all his years of loyal service to Paisleyism he is still playing second fiddle to an 82 year old.

I mean we had brave Peter who struck a blow for Ulster when he invaded a petrol station in Clontibret.

Then we had his red beret period in which the organisation he was a member of (Ulster Resistance) imported thousands of illegal arms.

Those same guns were used in the attack on Sean Graham bookmakers on the Ormeau Road as well as countless other attacks.

I mean what does Robbo have to do in order to get his respect.

Not to worry, I am sure he will go home and have some wife beater, I mean have a bottle of Stella.

Cheer up Pete, it might never happen!

Sick Bastard!

I was disgusted to see that a teenager raped and robbed a 15 year old girl and then phoned her Mother to tell her about it.

A Belfast court heard how Michael Sean Quinn rung the poor girls mother in order to tell her that he had "enjoyed raping your girl".

I would like to hear the liberal posters tell me what they would do with a scumbag like this?

My views are well known when it comes to crime and punishment, I would string this rapist up from the nearest lamp post.

However failing that he should spend every single last day of his life in prison.

I feel for this poor girl and her family, by lunchtime tomorrow she will only be a statistic and her attackers will be out in a few years.

That is not justice!

Massacre in Virginia

I was very sad to hear about what can only be described as a massacre at Virginia Tech University. 32 people were killed and 15 injured in two separate gun attacks by a single gunman who then killed himself.

There were two incidents two hours apart, at a student dorm where two were killed and at an engineering building where 30 and the gunman died.

This is the deadliest campus shooting in US history and there has been some terrible campus shootings.

-1 August 1966 - Sniper Charles Whitman kills 14 people and injures dozens at University of Texas in Austin when he went to the top of the tower in the middle of campus and opened fire on people 27 stories below.

-20 April 1999 - Two teenagers at Columbine High School, Colorado, kill 13 before killing themselves

-21 March 2005 - A teenager on an Indian reservation in Red Lake, Minnesota, kills nine

Despite what some may believe I have a lot of respect for certain American institutions and none more so than the US Constitution.

I am a firm believer in codified constitutions that safeguard civil liberties.

That being said this tragedy highlights the need for the American people to re-examine the second amendment.

In certain parts of the US buying a gun is as easy as buying a packet of sweets. This sort of dangerous attitude to guns and gun control by many Americans is placing their children in danger.

I can understand the thinking behind the second amendment in the 18th century however we are now living in the 21st century and a new attitude and a new maturity is needed.

The reaction to gun crime should not be to give even more people guns, that's the sort of false logic that has led to more people dying of gun accidents in the US than the entire number of US casualties from every major war they have fought in for the last century.

Gun control is necessary and this is coming from a bloke who almost got suspended before for wearing a "No Decommissioning" t-shirt to non-uniform day.

My immediate thoughts are with these poor souls and their families, that is where my prayers will be.

When time has passed however this is an issue which the American people will need to address or else they will have another massacre in the not too distant future.


Oh, that's all right then! NOT!

I see that PUP leader Dawn Purvis has, instead of ensuring the UVF lifted their death threats, sought to question the "credibility" of these threats.

This comes after a weekend when Republicans and Nationalists in Derry and North Antrim were visited by the PSNI and told that their lives were at risk .

A Victims Campaigner was also informed that his life is under threat as well.

This is placed in context with the news that a PSNI Administrative worker was charged with possessing documents and of illegally accessing the PSNI computer system.

According to information placed before the courts today this intelligence gathering operation has been ongoing for 5 years.

Sinn Féin Policing Spokesman Alex Maskey said

"Throughout the weekend republicans and nationalists have been visited in their homes and warned of a significant threat against them. They were told that their personal details were in the hands of unionist paramilitaries. It is believed that the organisation involved is the UVF"

"This raises a number of very serious questions both for the PSNI and the British Government..

-How was this operation allowed to go on for so long without being detected?

-What has happened to the much talked about mechanisms and procedures which we are told were put in place to prevent this type of policing?

- Where did this individual work and what documents had he access to?

- How many people have been placed in danger?

- What measures are being put in place to help these people?"

Alex is absolutely correct, they are the questions that now need to be answered and instead of Dawn Purvis bluffing she would be better doing something constructive.

Like getting any threats lifted and ensuring that Unionist death squads decommission their weapons!

UPDATE: Over 100 people have been told that their security is at risk because of the UVF

Trimble to become a Tory

I see that David Trimble looks set to break his links with the UUP and join the Conservative party. This has been on the cards ever since Trimble led his party into political meltdown.

Trimble made many mistakes while he was leader of the UUP, his own arrogance was responsible for many of them. His first mistake was to never support the peace process 100%. He was always one foot in and one foot out.

He allowed a powerful block to develop against him within his party and he was constantly fighting off leadership contests in the UUC.

His biggest mistake however was trying to be more clever than the Republican movement. He made a commitment to re-enter power sharing and then got cold feet after Republicans had delivered.

He may not have noticed but his party is now in ruin and Sinn Féin are continuing to grow from strength to strength.

He joins a fraternity of political losers who trotted off to the House of Lords including Alderdice and Gerry Fitt.

If the House of Lords is the last bastion for useless political party leaders then David better keep a seat for Mark Durkan, he's going to need one very shortly.

The New Executive

With today's announcement by the DUP we now know who will be Ministers and what position they will be taking up.

In reality this was not any great secret however the one surprise was the UUP choice of Michael McGimpsey over Danny Kennedy or Alan McFarland.

Perhaps Mr McFarland's "extra curricular activities" didn't sit well with Cunningham House.

The full line up will be

Ian Paisley: First Minister
Martin McGuinness: Deputy First Minister

Gerry Kelly: Junior Minister in DFMDFM

Ian Óg: Junior Minister in DFMDFM

Conor Murphy: Minister of Regional Development
Michelle Gildernew: Minister of Agriculture
Caitriona Ruane: Minister of Education

Peter 'the punt' Robinson: Minister of Finance
Nigel Dodds: Minister of Enterprise Trade and Investment
Arlene Foster: Minister for Environment
Edwin Poots: Minister for Culture Arts and Leisure

Reg Empey: Minister for Higher Learning
Michael McGimpsey: Minister for Health
Margaret Ritchie: Minister of Social Development

I am very glad with the choices that we made.

Conor will have responsibility for Rural Planning and Water Rates, very important issues in South Armagh and across the 6 counties.

Caitriona will have a massive job of work and big boots to fill as Martin McGuinness did an excellent job as Minister for Education the last time.

I hope that the party don't do a deal with the DUP in relation to Academic Selection in return for an Irish language act. Irish language speakers are entitled to demand proper legislation and the Brits gave a promise at St Andrews however we have the power to keep Academic Selection out.

The fact that the 11+ is already gone ensures that there can be no form of Academic Selection unless we agree to it.

We owe it to our children and especially to kids in areas like the Shankhill to ensure that they get a proper education.

We need to make sure that the cycle of poverty that these children find themselves in ends.

Let battle commence!


MacCionnaith leaves Sinn Féin

I was sorry to hear that Upper Bann Republican Breandan MacCionnaith has left Sinn Féin. Breandan was working as a Political Advisor to our Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd.

Breandan first came to public prominence as the head of the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition.

Now, before I hear cries of "Athboy" and "Sinn Féin residents groups" I would like to cut some of the crap that one often hears when Orange Parades are mentioned.

Orange Order parades that seek to go through Nationalist and Republican areas are nothing more than acts of communal deterrence.

They are designed with only one purpose in mind, putting the croppies in their place.

The real aim of Orange Order parades, Protestant Triumphalism!

This nonsense about the "right" to march the "Queen's Highway" has already been revealed as bollocks when Unionists opposed a Republican parade in Ballymena.

I was marching on Sunday and yesterday at our local Easter commerations but they were in our own district. I would never attend a Republican march which sought to walk though a Unionist area with the sole aim of sticking up two fingers at the local residents in that area.

Only a lowlife would do that but when you see some of the dross that attend Orange Order marches it sort of proves my point, their combined IQ must be something like 12.

South Armagh does not have many, if any, Unionist areas but I suppose a similar scenario would be the Seamus Steele Cumann in Camlough seeking to march past the "pit" in Bessbrook.

It is for this reason that Breandan deserves great credit for the work that he and others did to highlight the plight of local residents who were forced to become prisoners in their own home so that the local knuckle dragging bigots could march through their area.

The reason for Breandan's decision to quit the party is not known however many suggest that he had issues with the direction in which the party was heading.

I have met Breandan on quite a few occasions at internal party meetings/conferences and also at Armagh GAA matches and I have found him to be a sound bloke.

Anyone that has ever had any dealings with him will always testify to his hard work and dedication.

Although Breandan is no longer a member of the movement John O'Dowd was correct when he said that he remains a "friend and comrade".


Eirí amach na Cásca

Easter is a very important time for Republicans; it's a time when we remember all of our Patriot dead who paid the ultimate price in the pursuit of Irish freedom.

We remember the men and women of Easter Week 1916 who went out and struck a blow against British rule in Ireland.

We remember the courage that they showed in facing the might of the British Empire. We remember how their sacrifice lit the flame that reignited the heart of this nation.

That fire has yet to be quenched and it will continue to flame until we have achieved full independence for every county in our country.

Life springs from death, and from the graves of patriot men and women spring live nations

Every decade since the Rising in 1916 there have been Irish men and women who have stepped forward to do what they can to bring freedom to Ireland.

More often than not it was through the barrel of a gun. That was the only recourse left open to these people.

Today we have a different situation; we have the means to bring about Irish freedom through politics. Be under no illusion though, the struggle carries on.

The same struggle that Padraig Pearse and James Connolly fought in 1916 is still being fought today.

That struggle will not end until we have achieved our independence!

We will wear the Easter lily as a sign that we remember the sacrifice of past generations and a symbol of hope for the unity between Orange and Green.

Fianna Fail and other so-called Republicans who only pay lip service to the men and women of 1916 and the principles they stood for would do well to remember this quote from Thomas Davis.

“As well might you leave the fairies to plough your land or the idle winds to sow it, as sit down and wait for freedom.”


Eoin Morley, an IRA apology

I am glad to see that Óglaigh na hÉireann have issued an apology to the family of Eoin Morley for the killing of their son and brother.

Eoin Morley was a Newry Republican from a strong Republican family. He was a member of the IRA but then left and joined the IPLO. He was killed amid allegations that he was an informer.

I remember some years back a family member telling me about this and their disgust for the person who ordered it.

The person that ordered Eoin's killing did not get authorisation and is no longer a member of the movement, he's a dissident.

In fact there has long been a suspicion in Republican circles that he was, and remains, an informer.

British agent Kevin Fulton also claimed that he was involved in the killing of Eoin Morley.

Ivan Morley, Eoin's brother, has always sought justice for his brother's name and went to the Police Ombudsman and asked her to investigate.

Ivan maintains that those who killed Eoin were Brit agents masquerading as IRA volunteers. The killing, he claims, was designed to provoke a bloodbath between the IPLO and the IRA.

I think this is a very logical argument from the facts that we know.

I am glad that the Army have come out and apologised to the Morley family, it won't bring their son and brother back but it at least offers them some comfort in the fact that his name is cleared once and for all.


Paisley, the secret republican

Ian Paisley made another historic picture today when he publicly shook hands with the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, at Farmleigh House in Dublin this morning.

RTÉ are reporting that as Paisley got out of his car he said in a loud voice 'I have to shake this man's hand'. He went over to the Taoiseach and slapped him on the back as he shook hands with him.

You couldn't make it up!

They are expected to discuss a future financial package for the power-sharing executive and how political relationships between north and south could develop when the new institutions are up and running.

Move over Gerry Adams, Republicans have a new man determined to see a United Ireland.

Ian Paisley for Uachtaráin Na hÉireann in 2011! LOL

The Rite of Exorcism

I have always been very interested in the "unspoken" part of the Catholic faith. By this I mean the Church's view of the devil, ghosts, demonic influence, exorcism etc.

Every Catholic diocese has a trained exorcist who can carry out the exorcism ritual.

The diocesan bishop's authorisation is required to perform an exorcism. This authorisation can be granted for a specific case, or in a general, permanent way to the priest who exercises the ministry of exorcist in the diocese.

On the 26th January 1999 Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, published the revised ritual of exorcism.

De Exorcismus et Supplicationibus Quibusdam ("Concerning Exorcisms and Certain Supplications") is what it was called and this change was made on the back of a recommendation of the Second Vatican council.

The revised rite of exorcism, which replaces Pope Leo XIII's version of 1614, has been 10 years in the making.

According to Cannon law an exorcism is described as follows

"Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter: treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness (cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 1172)."

Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1673)

In the Catholic Church there are three different types of exorcism, the steps that an exorcist must follow in each situation are linked below.

1- Exorcism of the possessed

2- Baptismal exorcism

3- Other Exorcisms

I remember my father telling me about one of his mates who received an exorcism when he was younger.

Let's first remember that according to the Church only 1 in 5000 reported cases receive the exorcism ritual so it isn't a common occurance.

It seems that his mate and his brother had been left alone in the house and decided to try the Ouija Board. Whilst trying this dark art the name that came up was that of a man who had been killed three miles away an hour before hand (a fact the boys did not know at the time).

The spirit or whatever was extremely violent and threw my Da's mate all over the house.

His brother ran for help and a priest was called. The afflicted lad was constrained until the exorcist arrived and was fine after the ritual.

For that reason my father has always went berserk when one of us mentioned Ouija Boards.

Interesting to say the least!


Yes, Minister

I haven't been posting for a few days because the fishing season has started again and I have been enjoying a few relaxed days on the lake instead of the usual blogging.

I see it has been revealed today how the different ministerial portfolios will be shared by the four main parties.

Sinn Féin selected Education, Regional Development and Agriculture.

The DUP selected Finance, Enterprise, Environment and Culture. The UUP took Health and Higher Education. The Stoops meanwhile take on Social Development.

After the election myself and a mate went through all the different positions and there was no surprise in the selection of portfolios.

I see our ministers have been announced and it again comes as no real surprise.

Conor Murphy, Michelle Gildernew, Caitriona Ruane and Gerry Kelly have been chosen to work alongside Martin McGuinness as the Sinn Féin ministerial team.

Alex Maskey has also been selected to take over as our Policing and Justice spokesperson, taking over from the excellent work done by Gerry Kelly.

It's still not certain which person will relate to which ministry but I would expect Conor to take on Education, Catriona for Regional Development, Michelle for Agriculture and Gerry as the Junior Minister in the DOFMDFM.

The DUP will most likely go for Robinson, Dodds, and Foster this first rotation alongside possibly Ian Óg as well. Their selection is not so clear cut as the other parties.

The Stoops will pick Margaret Ritchie for Social Development and the UUP will pick Reg for Health and possibly Danny Kennedy for Higher Education.

It's going to be an interesting time ahead!

UPDATE: It now seems that the powers that be have decided it is going to be Conor for Regional Development and Catriona for Education.