Jonathan Swift on Lawyers

 I do feel that he was a little harsh with the following although I know a great many who would agree with him.

"He added, "that he had heard too much upon the subject of war, both in this and some former discourses. There was another point, which a little perplexed him at present. I had informed him, that some of our crew left their country on account of being ruined by law; that I had already explained the meaning of the word; but he was at a loss how it should come to pass, that the law, which was intended for every man's preservation, should be any man's ruin.

Therefore he desired to be further satisfied what I meant by law, and the dispensers thereof, according to the present practice in my own country; because he thought nature and reason were sufficient guides for a reasonable animal, as we pretended to be, in showing us what he ought to do, and what to avoid."

I assured his honour, "that the law was a science in which I had not much conversed, further than by employing advocates, in vain, upon some injustices that had been done me: however, I would give him all the satisfaction I was able."

I said, "there was a society of men among us, bred up from their youth in the art of proving, by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black, and black is white, according as they are paid. To this society all the rest of the people are slaves.

For example, if my neighbour has a mind to my cow, he has a lawyer to prove that he ought to have my cow from me. I must then hire another to defend my right, it being against all rules of law that any man should be allowed to speak for himself. Now, in this case, I, who am the right owner, lie under two great disadvantages: first, my lawyer, being practised almost from his cradle in defending falsehood, is quite out of his element when he would be an advocate for justice, which is an unnatural office he always attempts with great awkwardness, if not with ill-will.

The second disadvantage is, that my lawyer must proceed with great caution, or else he will be reprimanded by the judges, and abhorred by his brethren, as one that would lessen the practice of the law. And therefore I have but two methods to preserve my cow. The first is, to gain over my adversary's lawyer with a double fee, who will then betray his client by insinuating that he hath justice on his side. The second way is for my lawyer to make my cause appear as unjust as he can, by allowing the cow to belong to my adversary: and this, if it be skilfully done, will certainly bespeak the favour of the bench.

Now your honour is to know, that these judges are persons appointed to decide all controversies of property, as well as for the trial of criminals, and picked out from the most dexterous lawyers, who are grown old or lazy; and having been biased all their lives against truth and equity, lie under such a fatal necessity of favouring fraud, perjury, and oppression, that I have known some of them refuse a large bribe from the side where justice lay, rather than injure the faculty, by doing any thing unbecoming their nature or their office."

It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever has been done before, may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice, and the general reason of mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities to justify the most iniquitous opinions; and the judges never fail of directing accordingly."

In pleading, they studiously avoid entering into the merits of the cause; but are loud, violent, and tedious, in dwelling upon all circumstances which are not to the purpose. For instance, in the case already mentioned; they never desire to know what claim or title my adversary has to my cow; but whether the said cow were red or black; her horns long or short; whether the field I graze her in be round or square; whether she was milked at home or abroad; what diseases she is subject to, and the like; after which they consult precedents, adjourn the cause from time to time, and in ten, twenty, or thirty years, come to an issue."

It is likewise to be observed, that this society has a peculiar cant and jargon of their own, that no other mortal can understand, and wherein all their laws are written, which they take special care to multiply; whereby they have wholly confounded the very essence of truth and falsehood, of right and wrong; so that it will take thirty years to decide, whether the field left me by my ancestors for six generations belongs to me, or to a stranger three hundred miles off."

In the trial of persons accused for crimes against the state, the method is much more short and commendable: the judge first sends to sound the disposition of those in power, after which he can easily hang or save a criminal, strictly preserving all due forms of law."

Here my master interposing, said, "it was a pity, that creatures endowed with such prodigious abilities of mind, as these lawyers, by the description I gave of them, must certainly be, were not rather encouraged to be instructors of others in wisdom and knowledge."

In answer to which I assured his honour, "that in all points out of their own trade, they were usually the most ignorant and stupid generation among us, the most despicable in common conversation, avowed enemies to all knowledge and learning, and equally disposed to pervert the general reason of mankind in every other subject of discourse as in that of their own profession."

Gulliver's Travels, 1726

It can be a bit daunting at times to be entering into a profession that is loathed by so many people. I can only say that I entered law for , what I believe to be, the right reasons.

I remember my first day of University and our tutor asking about 20 of us why we wanted to be a Solicitor, I was the only one who didn't say "for the money".

I decided to be a Solicitor because I wanted to help people, to stand up for the vulnerable and to speak out for those without a voice. That's why I choose to specialise in subjects like Family and Criminal law rather than the more lucrative property and commercial subjects.

I have always believed that "the law" is the preserve of those with money. You can always buy "justice" when you have the money to do so.

As I am not yet admitted to "the roll" I have to be careful with any advice I give, I can't present myself as a solicitor just yet. As a result any advice which I give, free of charge, will always be accompanied with the proviso that they go and see a Solicitor to back up what I have said.

Just to give an example of this, I recently had a person come to me for advice in relation to a Family problem. I advised them on some of the suitable Section 8 Orders that would help. I should also say that this person has limited financial means and a family to feed and even if I was fully qualified I would never have charged them.

Now, the fucker of a Solicitor they went to gave them some very suspect advice, advice that would make the situation worse but which would line their pockets. As a result of this advice which lasted a half hour they charged this person £175.

Is it any wonder so many people hate Lawyers!!


Allez-vous faire foutre

That's the message that the Irish "Vote No" campaign should send to Jean Marie Le Pen.

Le Pen has said he is prepared to come to Ireland to oppose the referendum on the EU Reform Treaty.

Ireland is the only European country that will be giving its citizens the right to vote on this move towards a European Super State.

When I say the only country, France and Holland have already voted NO yet the Euro elite seem to have forgotten that little piece of democratic exercise by the French and Dutch.

I am opposed to the EU Reform Treaty however I am just as opposed, if not more so, to Le Pen and his motley crew of fascists and reprobates that make up the Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty grouping of the European Parliament.

This grouping includes the leader of Azione Sociale and former Playboy model Alessandra Mussolini. She is the grand-daughter of Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP and National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald has strongly rejected Le Pen’s offer to come to Ireland to support the No Vote.

"Sinn Féin is resolute that the politics of Le Pen, the National Front and the far right alliances of the European parliament should have no place in the Irish No Campaign."

“Sinn Féin will encourage and engage in a robust and mature debate during the campaign but we will not align ourselves with the politics and policies of the far right."

“Le Pen and his ilk will only serve to damage the Vote No campaign by tainting it with their racist and inequitable agenda. The left in Ireland’s vision for Europe is a world apart from what Le Pen and his people advocate. We want nothing to do with him or his political groupings.”

The Vote No campaign will give voters the cold hard facts in this debate, that debate will however be a mature and honest affair.

Le Pen and his ilk have no place in that debate, their presence is neither wanted or needed.

Faithful through and through.

I am sure that after last nights loss to Benfica many were not expecting a Celtic thread to-day, but true to form I decided that I would run with one regardless.

Firstly, yes it was another away disaster for Celtic in Europe. Seems to be an inexorable trend in the last few seasons. If it is not the first ten minutes they fuck up in, its the last ten minutes. Perhaps this is where the lack of European experience at a top level becomes apparent.

In Europe you are not playing against Gretna or Livingstone and simply won't get away with it. That said the Hoops were within minutes of claiming a precious away point, that in my opinion would have set them in good stead to progress. Now progression is not so certain.

I decided to blog about Celtic to-day because it is all too easy to sing the praises of team in victory, and ignore the bitter disappointment of defeat. Yes Celtic lost to the Teddy Bears on Saturday and yes they lost to Benfica last night but does that mean I or any of there other thousands upon thousands of loyal fans will quit supporting them? Does it bollocks!!!!

Celtic fans are renowned for their loyalty to their sacred club and no other fans are on a par with them. The fans have ensured that the good name of Celtic is upheld no matter where they go. In Seville for the UEFA Cup Final there was in excess of 100,000 Hoops fans and there was no a single arrest.

Could any English team realistically say the same of their fans?

Yes things may be a bit down at the moment but I am backing the team to bounce back and keep their current spot at the apex of the SPL. We've been through much worse (Rangers 9 in a row, John Barnes, losing the UEFA Cup Final, verge of bankruptcy), this is merely a blip and indubitably in the end the League Flag will be unfurled at Paradise again.

I'll leave with a song called "Raised on Celtic" dedicated to the legions of loyal Celtic fans.

A moral obligation?

I see that Paul Goggins has announced that he intends to introduce legislation outlawing kerb crawling next year. He commented that "We are going to change the law to introduce this as a specific offence".

Whilst acknowledging that something must be done to remedy this problem, I am not quite sure that this is the most effective manner to achieve this.

In certain circumstances I can see how it will be advantageous in combating such activity. In the case of trafficked prostitutes this may work. They will no longer be able to stand on street corners touting for punters or walk the streets plying their immoral trade.
However what this legislation will fail to recognise is that many are not kerb crawling out of choice!

Many are duped into coming to this island, then have their passport confiscated and are then effectively held at ransom and pimped out by ruthless gangsters. Will this legislation change the heinous mentality of these bullies and pimps? I do not think so.
If they can find it acceptable to traffic women and children into this country for the purpose of making them sex slaves, I am sure the fact that it is illegal will do little to deter these godfathers.

As someone who can see a lot of the merits of legalised prostitution in certain conditions, I believe that this issue should be tackled in another manner. It fails to account for the fact that many of these women are not selling themselves on street corners out of choice. For those who are not marginalised and forced into it by traffickers and pimps, they are forced into it by destitution, poverty, tragedy and in many cases drug addiction.

Is criminalising these victims of society the correct way to deal with this particular scourge? These people have already been cast aside by society, are frowned upon and now will ultimately be outlawed. Is this morally acceptable?

There are a number of other ways this issue could be addressed. The first is the long running argument that prostitution should be legalised. Exponents of this view argue that this may aid the women who find themselves caught in this trap of despair. This ,they contend, is achievable by removing control of the sex industry out of the hands of ruthless gangsters and into the hands of an independent agency. This they argue, will en sure that the industry is properly regulated and reduces the scope for exploitation and oppression. This may also lead to proper health screening ensuring that the industry remains 'clean'.

They point to Amsterdam as a paradigm of how this may work in practice. Whilst this may carry a certain degree of validity there is also a number of flaws. The first is that even in Amsterdam there are women forced into the sex trade and indubitably oppressed whilst firmly in its clutches. It fails to recognise, also, that there are a number of backstreet brothels in Amsterdam that are outside the remit of regulation and health and safety.

I believe that perhaps the best way to deal with the problem is to follow the Swedish solution. Here it is the man that solicits the kerb crawler that is held culpable under the law. Surely this would be more apt, punishing a pervert hell bent on a bit of titillation instead of the woman forced into this terrible situation?

Outlawing prostitution has failed to dent the massive industry that the oldest profession in history has evolved into, but by outlawing those who attempt to engage vulnerable women in such a manner this may be more effectual.


Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

In response to the English defeat (double!) at the weekend I would like to express my congratulations to our comrades in South Africa.

The links between Irish Republicans and the ANC have been long established and to this day we remain friends and comrades.

I first heard Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika when Ronnie Kasrils, the South African Minister for Intelligence and senior representative of the African National Congress, attended a Sinn Féin organised event.

I am quite a fan of national anthems and my favourite is the Soviet national anthem

Myself and Setanta have recently taken to singing La Marseillaise whilst drunk , however that is for the purpose of annoying a certain individual rather than any love of the anthem.

Northern Representation in the Dáil

I am pleased to see that Northern Representation in the Dáil is beginning to make some progress.

The six counties 18 MP's are to be allowed to attend committee meetings in the Oireachtas whenever they want for the first time.

One of these is the newly-formed Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Oireachtas committees are cross-party parliamentary bodies made up of Dáil and Seanad members.
They shadow various departments and deal with a range of investigations to advise the government.

Sinn Féin has made longstanding calls for speaking rights for MP's in the Dáil and Seanad.

This was backed by the all-party Oireachtas committee on the Constitution in 2002, but the process to implement this has stalled because of the lack of political will on Fianna Fáil's behalf.

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has welcomed the establishment of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and has noted his party's intention to build on this initial step towards 32 county representation in the Oireachtas.

"We have called for representation in the Dáil for citizens in the Six Counties. We maintain this call and we do not see the new Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement as a substitute for Six-County representation in the Dáil."

Exactly, and while this is a welcome move it is only a start, more needs to be done!

The Dublin government have a responsibility to ensure that Articles 2 and 3 of Bunreacht Na hÉireann are more than just words on a page.

Only a sport???

It was with great amusement that I read some of Celtic goalkeeper Artur Borucs comments to-day.

He was answering a question as to why he failed to shake hands with any of the Teddy Bears after the final whistle had gone in Saturdays game at Castle Greyskull.

His reply was less than cordial. He stated that some of the Huns had set out to "provoke" and "offend" him before the final whistle blew. His reason for refusing to shake hands was:
"I don't have to love anyone. I don't like this club, these players... The season is continuing in Scotland, we are enemies and we are competing for the championship".

Some may not like this and consider it sour grapes but Artur definitely gets my vote on this one!!!!!!!!!!

Whose agenda????

Many 'republicans' (and I use the term as loosely as possible) have been heralded in the media as experts offering accurate and in-depth knowledge of the goings-on within the republican movement.

Maybe its just me, but sometimes I really do wonder how the media rationalises having some disaffected and pissed off reptile portrayed as an expert or the leading voice for Irish republicanism. I mean lets just look at some of the useless cretins they have dared to employ to attack the integrity of the republican movement.

Sean (Sham) O Callaghan is often wheeled out on documentaries to try and inflict a bit of damage on the leadership and stir things up a little bit. This man was a bloody tout! so how can he articulate the mood of republicanism??? The man would not know the truth if it hit him in the face, as many paid perjurers wouldn't. Indeed he has made numerous scurrilous allegations against the late Pat Finucane and is obviously working to an anti-republican agenda.

Willie Carlin is another tout we've had shown on the TV screens as the true voice of republicanism. Eamon Collins was giving the same star treatment from the media. What did they have in common? They were both touts working to a Brit driven agenda.

During the policing debate Paddy Murray was heralded by the media as the authority on hard core republican principles and was afforded several column inches to get a boot into the leadership. Isn't it ironic that rumours are fast circulating that the afore mentioned was actually an MI5 agent and is apparently now in protective custody.

Indeed in the last few days yet another disaffected former republican has seized an opportunity to stick the boot into the movement. This is clear to anyone that knows the person in question. He has long had an axe to grind with the movement. He tried it to no affect by backing Davy Hyland and has now attempted in a reprehensible manner to do the same by laying the blame for a truly terrible murder at the door of the republican movement. The same person has been deafening in his silence about the murders of other young men in the area by criminals. Why?

Because it did not suit his agenda to highlight this. The truth will come out eventually and he will be exposed for what he truly is. People can see through this facade and there is no way to masquerade a wounded ego behind that of a concerned 'republican'.


Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

The great Robert Frost!


Frazer Watch: Part 2

I meant to blog on this at the weekend however with my social calender full I never found the time. I am a bit miffed that Martin McGuinness has decided to indulge the lies of Willie Frazer and Co at FAIR.

The Deputy First Minister has agreed to meet a small delegation from the "victims" group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR).

I personally wouldn't indulge Frazer's wanton paranoia and lies for a second let alone a full meeting.

This is a man who describes, and campaigns on behalf of, Robert McConnell and the like as an "innocent" victim.

A man that has hid the fact that his deceased relatives who were killed were members of the UDR and UVF Glenanne Gang, like his father for example.

He stated live on Radio Ulster that the “Loyalists” released under the GFA agreement should never have been jailed in the first place.

He said that Billy Wright was “a friend” and a “good man”.

Has associations with “Loyalist” death squads as claimed by the PSNI and upheld by the High Court when they denied him a firearms license - the judge said that the PSNI presented clear and irrefutable evidence to support their accusations.

He and his organisation inferred for years that the Reavey brothers were involved in the Republican movement and were murdered for that reason.

The Glenanne Gang

A ruthless group of sectarian killers who were responsible for the deaths of 120 innocent people. This gang was made up of members of the British Army, the RUC and Unionist death squads and was run by British Military Intelligence and RUC Special Branch.

I hope Martin reminds Frazer of this when he meets him and Frazer starts spouting this nonsense about "innocent" victims.

No Republican involvement

That's the very clear message in relation to the brutal murder of Cullyhanna man Paul Quinn. He was found brutally beaten outside a farm house in Castleblaney and later died in hospital.

It has only been 48hrs since this mans brutal murder but already the usual suspects are trying to suggest IRA involvement.

The family have blamed the IRA for his killing however this has been strongly denied by both Gerry Adams and Conor Murphy.

Gerry Adams had this to say

"The people involved are criminals. They need to be brought to justice and it is fairly obvious to me that this is linked to fuel smuggling and to criminal activity."

"Others may want to play politics with this dreadful murder. I don't and I won't."

"There is no republican involvement whatsoever in this man's murder and all of us should be careful that we don't end up playing politics with what is a dreadful, criminal action."

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy also denied any Republican involvement

"I have spoken to republicans on the ground and they are as shocked as we are, Cullyhanna is a small place and people know the motivation of what's going on behind others' actions. I am confident that the republicans I know in that area were not involved in any way, shape or form."

Added to this mix is former Sinn Féin member Jim McAllister, he has his own motivations for wanting to blame the IRA.

People in South Armagh are well aware that Jim supported Davy Hyland in his failed endeavour to cost Sinn Féin an Assembly seat. They are also aware of the scumbags that they sought support from during this campaign and the hurt those scumbags have caused and continue to cause in the South Armagh area.

When you lie down with dogs you are going to get fleas Jim!

This mans brutal murder should never have happened and those responsible should be put in jail. Anyone with any information should contact an Garda Síochána or the PSNI.

There are those who wish to use this death for their own purposes, Republicans will not let that happen.

Justice from a gun

I see that the inquest into the death of drugs baron Brendan 'Speedy' Fegan was held in Newry last Wednesday. Fegan was 24, when he was gunned down by two gun men wearing wigs and fake moustaches who entered the Hermitage Bar in Cana St and shot him at least 14 times.

Whilst many were quick to blame DAAD or the IRA, there has long been speculation that Fegan was killed by some of his own vermin over a drugs deal gone wrong. Fegan had survived a similar murder bid some weeks before the fatal attack and had relocated to Moira although still ruthlessly pumping the Newry area full of drugs with cohort Brendan Campbell (also shot dead).

The inquest threw up some confusing theories. The most fantastical of all was that the Real IRA shot Fegan for his drug dealing. This holds no credibility considering that this band of useless bastards couldn't score a hit at Auschwitz, never mind a crowded bar. Many believe that this theory is being peddled to cover up the fact that Speedy was a police informer given immunity from arrest in exchange for information on republicans and some of his fellow scumbag dealers.

It was with much anger that I heard the judge refer to the men who killed this lowlife bastard as "cowardly". He also said that despite what people may think of Speedy he was but a young man "with no criminal record".

This is outrageous. Surely the judge should have been commending the people that shot this spineless bastard instead of condemning them? This lowlife scumbag has caused more deaths with his drug dealing than the gunmen who done this honourable deed have. He had spleened his poison for far too long, causing misery and pain and ruining so many young lives.

Its a pity more of these 'cowards' did not dispatch more of these drug dealing, criminal reptiles in the manner they took care of Speedy, Bap Campbell, Moneybags Mooney and Bull Downey. These 'cowards' should be exalted for ridding this world of the scourge of bastards like Speedy Fegan instead of being criminalised by some right wing judge.


Ritchie is losing the plot!

I had initially decided to refrain from comment on the Margaret Ritchie affair as a lot of the info seemed to be missing from the debate. Today, for my part anyway, saw a new clarity enter the process.

Poor Ritchie is obviously cracking under pressure and the slap dash approach in which she has handled this affair is all too clear.

There has been some very baseless accusations made and spinning by stoop hacks that Sinn Féin were opposed to Ritchie's decision to stop funding the UDA by way of the CTI contract.

There is no one in Sinn Féin who wishes to see the UDA get any public money, the £1.2 million contract should never have been awarded in the first place. FFS the UDA have killed scores of our party members and even more of our supporters.

However there are rules to be followed and legal procedures that have to be completed in order to revoke the funding legally and I don't believe that Ritchie has complied with those procedures.

As Martin McGuinness has said already, she has lost the run of herself! Her performance on Hearts and Minds is testament to that fact.

The simple facts are thus

At last weeks executive meeting Ritchie agreed to provide the First and Deputy First Minister and the Minister for Finance with a copy of legal advice from the departmental solicitors office on the issue of funding.

As an aside I find it a very clear sign of gross incompetence that she was only receiving legal advice about the implications of withdrawing funding at that stage, despite the fact that the 60 days were almost up.

She also agreed to come back to the executive before making any announcement, she didn't do that.

Her version of events are about as credible as Bertie Ahern's Socialist credentials.

1. Legal Advice

She got two pieces of legal advice, both internal and external, in relation to this debacle. When quizzed as to why she sought the second piece of advice, the external advice, she claimed it was for a separate issue of concern.

Now, as anyone with half a brain will tell you Solicitors can offer advice on more than one issue of concern. The only credible reason for her seeking the second piece of advice is because she was unhappy with the first.

This premise is supported by Peter Robinson when he says

"The official legal advice the Minister received not only warned her she was vulnerable to a successful legal challenge but it helpfully set out the process to be followed in order that a lawful decision could be taken on such matters"

When asked if she would make public the legal advice she received in order to clear this up she hid behind the privileged excuse.

2. Minutes

She has claimed that the minutes of the last meeting of the executive are fabricated. Aside from the fact that this is a serious allegation and a slur against the head of the Civil Service Nigel Hamilton, Sinn Féin and the DUP both agree that the minutes are a true and accurate account.

Why then, if the minutes were fabricated, did she not raise this issue before now?

She claims that she only received a draft copy yesterday but then admitted that she had knowledge that a draft copy was sent to the departmental solicitors office and the permanent secretary at the DSD last week.

She then tried to claim that Sinn Féin was opposed to her decision and when it was put to her that Sinn Féin supported the move to remove funding from the UDA she claimed that Sinn Féin were opposed to her because

“they voted against..eh..eh..me in..eh…my version of the minutes”

Of course they did because your version was incorrect

3. Briefings against her

The poor woman is claiming that everyone is briefing against her. She has claimed that Sinn Féin, the DUP, the British Government, the US Administration and the NICS have all briefed against her or tried to destabilise her.

She has more paranoia than a church full of Free P's and a bigger persecution complex than Willie Frazer.

I mean, come on Margaret, catch a grip!!!

The simple fact is that Margaret did not follow the agreed procedures or the Ministerial Code in this instance. As a member of the executive she is bound by collective responsibility and she did not heed that responsibility.


The greatest of them all!!!

I am going to continue with Celtic themed blogs for to-day. There are many differing views about the greatness of many Celtic legends. Is Stracho better than O' Neill (in my opinion yes), was Maley a better manager than big Jock ( I don't necessarily think so)?

However a debate that I have recently became entangled in with a Hoops supporting mate of mine is who is the greatest ever Celt to have graced the hollow grounds of Gallowgate.

For many the debate is narrowed down to only two contenders, however I feel this is unjust and overlooks many Hoops legends. Some argue that King Kenny must be up there with the best. In my opinion he was very good, but still doesn't challenge for the coveted title. Paul Mc Stay is in with a shout in the opinion of others, and whilst indubitably a midfielder of world class and master of the pass, I don't think he deserves the crown.

Some of the older generation even espouse the belief that Charlie 'The Belfast Bhoy' Tully has a valid claim to the title (who else can score directly from a corner kick twice in the one match?).

A rank outsider is Donegal born Patsy Gallagher. Known as 'The Mighty Atom' Patsy was a foot balling genius and his summersault goal against Dundee in the cup final is the stuff of legends. Indeed there was a commemoration for Patsy earlier this year in Donegal.

It was interesting to note the comments of one guy there who had a brief chat with the legendary Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld. The guy told Bertie that Jinky was his boyhood hero and Bertie replied that Patsy was his. The guy asked Bertie what Patsy was like and Bertie replied "have you ever seen Jimmy Johnstone play? Well Patsy was even better!"

In relation to my generation, Henrik is the obvious contender. He is the greatest foot balling talent that my generation has had the extreme good fortune to witness at Paradise. Whilst he may not have been a big name signing when Wim Jansen signed him, he was certainly a fucking legend when he left.

I watched clips of his last game at Parkhead against Dundee Utd on youtube today and the love he had for the club and fans was evident in the tears that were running down his face. Mc Stay and Lubo were other great talents that I can remember as were Di Canio and Pierre but they do not compare to the King of Kings.

However it is my belief that the greatest ever Celt to walk on this planet was Jimmy 'Jinky' Johnstone. The man is an absolute legend and his name is synonymous with Celtic FC. His performance at home against Red Star Belgrade is notorious as he single handedly tore them to shreds( all because he was afraid of flying and Jock told him if he played good enough he would get a pardon for the away game!!!!).

He was referred to by Jock Stein in a pre-match conference before the European tie with Leeds as "the man who is going to tear Leeds apart". Indeed even when he was injured the Benefica manager told Jock he had to play Jinky as his fans were going to cause chaos if they didn't get to see the genius that was 'the flea'.

I favour Jinky over Henrik for a few reasons. Firstly that Jinkys contribution to the success of the Lisbon Lions is a massive factor. Parallel to this is the fact that when Jinky was on top of his game for the Celts they were a huge force in European football, thus fame and praise would be harder to generate. But what clinched it for me was that Jinky was Celtic born and bred from the moment he left View Park to pull on the Hoops for the first time in March 1963. He was a life long Celt fan and embodied everything positive about Celtic. He was often seen knocking back a whiskey or two in Bairds and when he ended up behind the bar of The Celtic Bar on the Falls Rd after opening it is a story of just how ordinary this extraordinary foot balling talent was.

I know Henrik loved Celtic too,(as I alluded to above) but there is something special about the Jinky's, Mc Neills, Hays, Lennons, Hartleys, Keanes and Mc Geadys that makes them playing for their favourite club do it for me.

Hopefully it will not be too long before Parkhead is again blessed with talent like Henriks, Jinky's and Patsy's. Naka, Boruc and Scott Brown all have potential but there will never be another Jinky again.

Ní tír gan teanga

I welcome the fact that Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív has urged Edwin Poots to implement an Irish language Act.

This comes as Human Rights commissioner Monica McWilliams has written to the SOS asking how he plans to proceed on the issue of an Irish language act. There is currently no legislation on Irish in the six counties, this is a minimum expected by the Framework Convention on National Minorities.

Minister Ó Cuív said "The Act is a commitment in the St Andrew's Agreement and I hope that all political parties will work together to find a way forward."

Poots decided against an Irish Language Act despite the fact that 65% of respondents to the departments consultation were in favour of it.

Mr Ó Cuív added "I will play my part as the minister in the Republic with direct responsibility for the Irish language"

One of the things that many will not know is that as Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív has a responsibility to advance the use of the Irish language "in the rest of the country, both North and South"

I remember when I was on the QUB Students' Union executive and we were facing opposition to the bi-lingual student hand book, Éamon Ó Cuív offered us tremendous help and support.

I have no doubt that if it wasn't for his help and support we never would have been able to produce the Bi-lingual "Book they tried to ban".

I hope that Éamon Ó Cuív is able to help with this impasse, he has a statutory responsibility to advance the use of Irish on this island and this Act is a major part of that.


For GAA and Ulster

I am glad to see that the Ulster final will once again be returning to St Tiernach's Park.

The Ulster senior football final was played at Croke Park between 2004 and 2oo6, of which Armagh one all three, because of the demand for tickets.

I think it is proper however that the Ulster final is not only played in Ulster but that it's played in Clones. I can remember the first time I ever saw Armagh win the Anglo-Celt cup when we beat our old rivals Down in 1999.

That feeling was only bettered when we won the Sam Maguire in 2002. I must admit that beating Tyrone in the replay at Croke Park in 2005 was good however Ulster final day in Clones is special.

As a proud Ulsterman I'm glad to see the final return to Uladh

Primacy of Armagh restored

I see that Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Seán Brady, is to be made a Cardinal. The Holy Father made this announcement at the end of his weekly audience in St Peter's Square.

This move will mean that the traditional right to vote in a Papal election is restored to the See of Armagh following the appointment of Archbishop Desmond Connell, the then Archbishop of Dublin, as Cardinal six years ago.

While I am glad to see the primacy of Armagh restored I am somewhat indifferent to the recipient of this honour.

Seán Brady is an arch-stoop and has long since been a mouth piece for the NIO, as such I believe he is unfit to inhabit the same position as Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich.

When Raymond McCreesh died, Cardinal Ó Fiaich said

"Raymond McCreesh was captured bearing arms at the age of 19 and sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment. I have no doubt that he would have never seen the inside of a jail but for the abnormal political situation. Who is entitled to label him a murderer or a suicide?"

The fact that a man like Seán Brady is head of the Church in Ireland is a sad reflection on all us Catholics.


Suspicious Minds!!!!

It would appear that loyalism is on the verge of imploded once again. After rioting in Bangor and some parts of Belfast, there is trouble once again in Carrickfergus.

Now this is not a surprise to anyone who has watched these state killers tear each other apart on numerous occasins in the last seven or eight years. Indeed no one even thinks to bat an eyelid when they hear the words 'loyalist feud' on the news any more.

First there was the UFF vs UVF feud centring on the Shankill, which claimed the lives of several prominent secterian murderers and stae agents most notably 'Topgun' Mc Keague. Then there was friction between Mad Dogs 'Seacat Company' and the rest of the UDA which saw John Gregg going for his tea. Then Doris Day was next to be sent on a one way journey to Hydes. Then the Shoukris were given the old P45 either side of a feud between the UVF and The LVF( Who were also feuding with the Red Hand Commandos at one stage). Now it seems that the SEA UDA and the 'Beyond Conflict'( no its not a bad joke) are next in line for the old heave-ho. Therse also talk that West Belfast could be next for a change of 'leadership'( if you can call people who murder young teenagers with drugs leaders that is),

However one has never fully examined the reason why these state killers are tearing themselves apart at the seams. Many people have evinced their own theories on this and I will share them with you.

One theory I once heard was that it was due to the paranoi caused by drug taking. As many know the UDA leadership would be no strangers to the odd line of coke. Indeed whilst republican POW's were using their time in jail to obtain degrees, 90% of the reading materail that went down the loyalist wing was either porn, bodybuilding or motorbikes. This in itself speaks volumes about the type of scum that were on this wing. They failed to move on due to their fixation with that of glorified criminality and gangsterism and allowed this to misguide them from a sucessful transformation from conflict to peace, instead sidetracking them on a crusade to ruin many young lives by pumping drugs into their community and to plague it with prostitution, extortion etc..

Another theory was that, unlike republicans, loyalists never had the support of thrie respective community. It took many to leave the jail before this dawned on them. I once listened to loyalist ex-prisoner Colin Haliday, talk about how he was the only ex-prisoner in Dromore and how he was effectively an outcast upon his release. This must have been hard for many to take and thus make explain why they failed to make the successful transformation from conflict to peace that the republican movement have made.

The most credible theory yet to emerge is that it is actually their paymaster securocrats that are instigating the entire feud. They have had their agents in place all through the dirty war, but now many of them have gone irreparably out of control and will not follow the wishes of their masters. Thus the only way to do this is by whipping up discontent and dissent and force a coup. Many of the agents who have prepetrated some of the most heinous deeds of the Dirty War (Gray, Wright, Fulton, Mc Keague, Gregg, Stobie) have all been silenced and the only question that remains is who is next!!!!!!!!!!!


Orange Order is not the sum of Protestant Culture

I cast a wry smile of disbelief when I heard that the head of the Orange Order in Ireland, Robert Saulters, described an attack on an Orange hall as "a form of ethnic assault, a direct attack on Protestant religion and culture".

Now let's get the preliminaries out of the way, without reservation I condemn any attack on an Orange hall. The cretins who carry out these attacks are a collective mixture of scumbags and idiots.

That being said, to describe an attack on an Orange hall as an attack on the Protestant religion and "culture" (what exactly is "Protestant culture"?) is complete and utter nonsense.

I know many Protestants who wouldn't touch the bigoted Orange Order with a fifty foot bargepole! That doesn't make them any less Protestant!

Orangeism is not and has never been a byword for Protestant religion and culture and for them to suggest it is shows just how arrogant they are.

To this very day the Orange Order still insist on trying to force their "culture"/bigotry onto others by using parades as an act of communal deterrence. They still think they're top dog and that the croppies will lie down and indulge their inferiority complex.

While I disagree with these attacks I am not prepared to indulge these sad people and their bigoted ways.


No separate water charges

I am delighted to see that the recommendations of the Independent Water Review Panel, set up by Sinn Féin Minister for Regional Development Conor Murphy, is that we will not be paying twice for our water.

The direct rulers told us that we would have to start paying for our water with separate and high water charges. They tried to claim that we have not been paying for water all this time.

Sinn Féin and others have always said that we have been paying for our water through our rates. They also questioned why Brit ministers had not invested any money in our water service this last 30 years.

The Review Panel, Chaired by Queen's University Professor Paddy Hillyard, has said that we already pay, on average, £160 per year on water charges through our rates. They have suggested that an extra, on average, £120 per year be paid to invest in our water system and sewage.

That amount is a lot, lot lower than was being suggested by direct rule ministers. It will also mean that those from low income families and the most vulnerable in society will not pay at all. This is in stark contrast with what was being suggested by the direct rulers.

This increased amount through our rates will not begin until 2009 and will be based on the value of your house in 2005 as opposed to the current value.

That's a good and fair deal for consumers and is supported by the ICTU and the Consumer Council.

Eleanor Gill of the General Consumer Council has welcomed the review's proposals

"People will have lower bills than they expected because they will not pay for water twice or pay any more until April 2009 when water will be clearly identified on the rates bill," she said.

"Stripping out unfair costs like roads drainage, having one bill with the water payment clearly identifiable and requiring greater efficiency from the water company will ensure that consumers get a fair deal and value for money."

I believe it is a fair and just set of proposals

The Auld Triangle

Following on from Adelante's musical post on Woody Guthrie I have decided to share with ye one of my favourite Irish songs, The Auld Triangle.

It was written by that great Irishman Brendan Behan. It was in his play "The Quare Fellow" and was written during his stay in Mount Joy.

The Dubliners give it a haunting melody that fit the song perfectly.

I have always found myself drawn to the tragedy and wit of Behan. As well as being a successful poet, author and playwright he was also a Republican and a member of the IRA.

His biographer Ulick O'Connor recalls one day, at the age of eight, he was returning home with his granny and a crony from a drinking session. A passer-by remarked "Oh, my! Isn't it terrible ma'am to see such a beautiful child deformed?" "How dare you," said his granny, "he's not deformed, he's just drunk!"

For those who criticised his drinking he exclaimed "Where I came from, to get enough to eat was an achievement. To get enough to get drunk was a victory."

To accusations that the IRA court-martialled him he said, "Yes, I was court-martialled in my absence, and sentenced to death in my absence. So I said 'go ahead and shoot me. ..in my absence!'

Another occasion saw him enter a priest's house, badly shaking with alcohol withdrawal and gasping for a "cure". The priest provided him with a little whiskey in a glass, exhorting that providing him with it was like "tapping a nail into your coffin". Behan reportedly looked at the meagre amount and said, "You wouldn't mind giving the nail another tap would you father?"

He once said, "It's not that the Irish are cynical. It's rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody."


Was anyone surprised??

I see that the Public Accounts Committee has sharply criticised the University of Ulster/Ulster Polytechnic and the Department of Employment and Learning over the failed Springvale project.

The report said the scheme was "stamped with failure" and that both parties lost the will to succeed.

The committee of MLA's feel "very strongly" that DEL "failed in its role as the government's representative on Springvale".

I still find it surprising that anyone would be surprised at this outcome, after all this is from a "university" that brought us "dot-to-dot" degrees and "paint by numbers" masters.

This Queen's graduate can't help but sit and smile at their woeful incompetence.

Come fly away with me!!!

Interesting to see that Aer Lingus are now taking bookings for Winter flights out of Belfast Airport. Interesting development this is indeed considering that they could have no pilots to fly them

Many are predicting a strike following the draconian actions of Aer Lingus. Five pilots have been suspended for refusing to train new pilots to fly the planes out of Belfast. This is an attempt to prevent the demise of services out of Shannon.

Indeed all pilots received a letter yesterday from CEO of Aer Lingus Dermot Manion. The letter duly stated that unless they reaffirm their commitment to all duties (including training new pilots) by Monday 15th Oct they will be suspended from the company payroll from 3am on Tuesday 16th of October.

This is just another in a long line of strikes and one cannot help but sympathise with the pilots, postal workers and classroom assistants.

Indeed the real losers in the whole situation could be anyone that has booked a flight.

Don't be too hasty in buying those sunglasses and beach ball just yet Chris.

Hey there Woody Guthrie

Unfortunately due to a prior family engagement I was unable to attend the 4oth anniversary gig tribute to Woody Guthrie in the Empire Music Hall Belfast last Sunday, Guthrie is a man for whom I have the utmost respect.

For those who may not know, Guthrie was a political activist and left wing protest singer.


As an avid Celtic fan I am partial to his song 'This Land Is Your Land' but am also a fan of his other songs such as his tribute to legendary revolutionary Victor Jara.

Indeed it is Guthries song Deportees that encapsulates all the genius of this unsung hero for me. As someone once commented to me the song shows how the rigours of capitalism has led society to totally disregard those of no property and have cast them aside without a thought.

Indeed it is held that there is not a protest singer of the 60's or 70's that was not either directly or indirectly influenced by Woody Guthrie. Indeed the legendary Bob Dylan viewed him as a mentor and often visited Guthrie in hospital while he was dying from Huntingston Disease. Indeed such was his influence on Dylan, that Dylan penned Tribute to Woody in his memory.

It is therefore sad that today we are devoid of artists of the calibre of Guthrie. Today's 'artists' do not question the status quo but merely reinforce it by providing youngsters with a surfeit of drugs, sex and anorexia.

Guthrie possessed a genius that will never again be recreated and it is safe to say that the world has been the loser in his absence.

Hey Woody when will we see your likes again?

Victim Impact Statements

Minister for Justice, Brian Lenihan, has indicated that the Government will not legislate to limit the publication of Victim Impact Statements in the wake of comments made last night by Mr Justice Paul Carney.

He said that this was a matter for the courts and not the legislature.

I am caught between a rock and a hard place on this issue. I believe the VIS's have a valuable role to play in the sphere of criminal justice as they allow victims who often feel removed from the process, especially in sexual offences cases, a chance to present their views.

That being said they are open to abuse and can have an negative impact on Article 6 of the ECHR, the right to a fair trial.

In the case to which Mr Justice Paul Carney was refferring, the case of Wayne O'Donoghue, I have no doubt that an abuse took place.

The victims mother, Majella Holohan, departed from her victim impact statement to ask why the prosecution had never introduced evidence of semen on her son's body.

This then led to O'Donoghue being wrongly branded as a paedophile killer by the media and had left him with "no future in this country" according to Mr Justice Paul Carney.

Ms Holohan is quoted this morning as saying she is "offended and hurt" by the remarks and would not have done justice to Robert if she did not mention the semen.

She says she understands that some matters cannot be put before the jury for legal reasons, but her remarks were being put before Mr Justice Carney to show how the crime had impacted upon her, rather than being directed at the jurors.

I'm sorry but that's a load of nonsense!

Did she ask the judge this question in open court with the jury present or in a Voir Dire????

I have no doubt that she knew exactly what she was doing when she rung that bell, she knew that would always be in the mind of the jurors despite what the trial judge said.

That to me is an abuse and I hope the court takes action against those who commit such abuses in the future.


Time for a cull

That is the only option that can work against these foreign hordes that place the indigenous Irish at risk. I am of course speaking about the grey squirrel population.

The 2007 Irish Squirrel Survey is suggesting placing the grey squirrel on "the pill", no this isn't a piss take that is what they are recommending. They are suggesting this despite the fact that no such pill exists.

The all-Ireland report recorded no red squirrels in County Armagh with only 47 sightings across the rest of the six counties in a seven-month period.

The first grey squirrels to arrive in Ireland are thought to have been six brought over from England as a wedding present in 1911. It is believed they were released into woods somewhere in County Longford in that same year.

The only way to ensure that the Irish red squirrel survives is to shoot as many of these little grey bastards as possible!

Ireland for the Irish and so forth...

Celts go marching on!!!!

It has been with much delight that I have watched Celtic march on in the last seven days. Firstly there was an amazing victory over reigning European Champions AC Milan at Paradise last Wednesday.

Now many of the begrudgers have been quick to denigrate the victory by claiming that Milan are a team in terminal decline. This is a team that demolished Man Utd and Liverpool in Europe only 6 or 7 months ago.

Surely it is not valid to argue that Milan have become devoid of talent in such a short period of time. Furthermore the press chose to run with headlines about the misdemeanours of some drunken reptile in a bid to detract from an awe inspiring Celtic performance.

Of course the Hoops had to win after Rangers impressive 3-0 demolition of Lyon on Tuesday(no no, credit where it is due!!!)

However how a team can play one of the best teams in Europe of the pitch away, yet fail to win over inferior opposition at home is beyond me. It was with delight that I learned that the Huns had been beaten at home by Hibs( and fair play to them, that's both Old Firm scalps they have claimed this season so far).

In light of this the Hoops duly dispatched of Gretna, albeit just about, to reclaim their rightful position at apex of the SPL. There's been alot of talk about how things are looking up for Scottish football in general recently.

I say bollocks to that shit, the future is looking up for only one half of Glasgow: The Green half!!!!!!!!!!!

Green tongue???

It was with much amusement that I watched ministers question time last Monday. Interestingly enough Michelle Gildernew was taking questions on 'Blue tongue' and true to form wee Willie 'Daniel O Donnell' Mc Crea piped up with his usual diatribe.

Willie remarked that when the minister referred to 'the North' he was confused and unsure as to whether this meant the north of England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland. Indeed he even remarked that the words 'Northern Ireland' would burn the ministers lips if she dared utter them.

Whilst assuming that this was just wee Willie embarking on another mindless tirade it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps wee Willie's ineptitude at geography is the reason why he has caused so much controversy.

I attributed this originally to Willie being a bigoted megalomaniac but perhaps I have been too harsh on him and ridiculed him for what is nothing more than an inability to read a map????

Geographical confusion could surely explain why wee Willie managed to find himself sharing a stage with Billy Wright at the height of the Drumcree standoff. It may also explain incursions by the Third Force into the 26 counties.

However, more tellingly, it may explain why wee Willie was forced to flee to South Antrim and contest the Westminster seat there after Martin Mc Guinness deposed him in Mid Ulster.

In the words of the rebel band Summerfly in their song Reverend Willie:

'Well how does it feel Reverend Willie Mc Crea,
to know that your voters have all ran away?
But don't give up your night job you could still be a star,
with King Rat as your agent you won't get too far!

Well you can march to Dunloy, march to Drumcree,
march up the mountains and into the sea, but you never will walk over the green flag again,
cos you've been stopped in your tracks by the man from Sinn Fein'

So how's that for Green tongue then Willie??????


Can the left rise again?

I ask this question as we purvey over the wreckage that is the left in Ireland.

The left in this country is consumed with infighting, betrayal, personalities and an eerie urge to fight one another in a scramble to see who can be the mudguard to either of the two failed and right-wing civil war parties.

At a time when left-wing unity is more important than ever I see no real moves to make this a possibility.

As a proud Sinn Féin member I accept that many within the party view the national struggle for Independence and Unity as the number one concern. I also know from speaking to many comrades that they are asking themselves the question, "Must Labour Wait?".

They are asking this question because we have yet again supported the introduction of PFI's and PPP's inside the Assembly.

In 2004 I asked the QUB Sinn Féin Cumann to send a motion to the Ard Fheis demanding the no elected Sinn Féin rep support the introduction of PFI's or PPP's. That motion was endorsed by the Ard Fheis, albeit with a watered down Ard Chomhairle amendment.

The fact that such an amendment was even suggested is, in itself, a sad indictment on a party that seeks a 32 county Socialist Republic....fuck! I forgot, an Ireland of Equals.

We should all remember the words of James Connolly, the father of Irish Republican Socialism, when he said

“If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle., unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs”.

It's hard to argue with that when you think about Tesco's, BT, Granada, Boots, Marks and Spencer etc.

You often hear people cry that the left is dead in Ireland, that we are so obsessed with material possessions and social climbing that the right has an unassailable lead.

We hear the same, what can only be described as, capitalist pigs asserting that the right offers freedom while the left offers only control.

Yes, its true, the right does offer freedom.

It offers you the freedom to die in the gutter, it offers you the freedom to stab your compatriot in the back for an extra fiver and it offers working class people the freedom of their poverty pen. It affords the rich the chance to get richer and the poor the opportunity of enjoying their cycle of inequality.

At this time when community spirit is at an all time low, when the gap between rich and poor is getting wider and when we are getting into more and more personal debt to fuel this hedonistic capitalist lifestyle the need for left wing unity grows ever more greater.

I accept the left in Ireland have serious issues, both personal and political, with each other however if we agree on a three principle approach then perhaps there may be hope.

Those three principles should be Socialism, Republicanism and Environmentalism, the three strands that characterises the left in Ireland.

In the words of Jim Larkin,

"The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise!"

Unionist bigotry alive and well

I formed that opinion after watching Stormont live today. That little shitehawk David McNarry is nothing more than a wannabe middle-Englander who has an inferiority complex and the manners of a pig!

I watched as Dominic Bradley spoke "as Gaelige" during the debate on Arts spending only to see McNarry laugh and mock Dominic because he spoke in his native tongue.

McNarry then presented a motion seeking to ban the use of Irish in the Assembly chamber. According to McNarry he was "tired of listening to Irish" in the chamber.

Thankfully Sinn Féin put down a motion of concern which meant that the motion would require cross community support, in any event this was not needed as the Alliance party also opposed the motion and it was defeated 46 votes to 44.

Sinn Féin's Caral Ni Chuilin said the debate would recruit scores of fresh Irish language recruits.

"The issue of language rights, a non-controversial issue in Wales, Scotland, the south of Ireland and throughout Europe, an expression of human rights, has now become a political football in the battle for supremacy between the unionist parties,"

It seems that in a bitter attempt to appear relevant the OUP has reverted to the age old Unionist tactic of fermenting division through bigotry.

Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste, ná Béarla cliste!


Dan Keating 1902-2007

It was with great regret that I learned that life long Republican and Tan War veteran Dan Keating has passed away.

Dan Keating was 14 years old and working in Tralee as an apprentice to the bar and grocery trade when the 1916 Rising broke out in Dublin. Following on from the execution of the leaders of the rebellion there was a major shift in public opinion in favour of those seeking independence from England.

In Kerry support for Sinn Fein rose above 90%. Towards the end of that year Dan had joined Fíanna Éireann - the youth wing of the Irish Republican Army. By 1919, having purchased his own rifle for £1 from a profiteering British soldier at the local barracks, Dan became a fully fledged member of the Farmer's Bridge (Boherbee B) Company of the local IRA.

Very soon, having been wrongfully accused of involvement in the shooting of Denny O'Loughlin in Knightly's public house in Tralee, he was on the run, and so began his full time service as an active participant in the War of Independence.

While many viewed the War of Independence (Tan War) as a success Dan didn't. His refusal to accept an IRA Veterans' Pension is a testament to his feelings on the matter. As he says, "Sure we achieved nothing. The British still hold part of our country".

Recalling the actions of the Free Staters in the Civil war he remembers the brutality

"They were far worse than the Black and Tans" asserts Dan. "They murdered nineteen republican prisoners at Ballyseedy Cross, Countess's Bridge and elsewhere in Kerry in three days. The Tans never did anything as bad as that",

Read more here..

Dan was a life long Republican and although he shared different politics from Sinn Féin all Republicans should lift their hat to a man who gave his life for the struggle.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam


Wee Willie blows his top

Gun totting Minister Willie O’Dea verbally abused two people during a pub row over Shannon Airport and offered to fight one of them, it was claimed last night.

John Fahey, chief executive of the Meet Limerick/Shannon conferencing promotion group, and Geraldine Morrissey, spokeswoman for Aer Lingus workers at the airport, are demanding an apology from the minister over the remarks they say he made.

However, Mr O’Dea claimed last night it was he who had been abused and denied he offered to fight.

The row happened after Willie called to South’s pub in Limerick last Saturday night with Tánaiste Brian Cowen. Mr Fahey, a prominent hotelier in the mid-west, was there with his wife and Ms Morrissey.

“Mr O’Dea was there with the Tánaiste,” said Mr Fahey. “Then they both left together. As they did, a number of people said, ‘What about Shannon, what about Shannon?’” A short time later, Mr O’Dea returned.

Mr Fahey said when Mr O’Dea approached their group, Ms Morrissey challenged him over not being present in the Dáil for a vote on the Shannon issue. “She asked him why he did not take part in the Dáil debate,” Mr Fahey said. “He said he was the minister for defence and I said, ‘You did not defend the interests of Shannon very well’.

At that, he turned around and said, ‘Who is that big prick?’ and asked me out saying he would like to hit me. I told him, if he was any bigger I might. He then turned to Geraldine Morrissey and said, ‘I don’t give a fuck about you’.”

Ms Morrissey said she was stunned at Mr O’Dea’s behaviour. However, Mr O’Dea insisted the allegations were “rubbish”. He said he returned to the pub to collect his wife only to be “roundly abused”.

Poor Willie seems to exhibit all the signs of having short man syndrome.

The allegations against Willie came on a bad day for Fianna Fáil.

One of its councillors resigned from the party pending the outcome of a Garda investigation into an allegation that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy.

Have they really changed?

I ask that question in relation to the PSNI as we see, yet again, that police officers were uncooperative during an investigation by the Ombudsman.

Crucial intelligence was wiped from a computer and police officers were uncooperative during an investigation into the first fatal shooting carried out by the PSNI, as opposed to the many by the RUC/UVF.

While Nuala O’Loan had no criticism to make of the police officer who fired the fatal shots which killed 21-year-old Neil McConville in April 2003 she did accuse the PSNI of adopting a high risk strategy in the operation which led to Mr McConville’s death.

Mrs O’Loan’s report said the tactic of pursuing the vehicle and stopping it from behind was inherently dangerous, placing both officers and suspects at risk.

She was also concerned that three officers in the control room at the time of the investigation were uncooperative with her investigation – with an inspector and sergeant refusing to be interviewed and an Acting Inspector refusing to write a witness statement when ordered to do so.

“The lack of cooperation and the attitudes displayed by these officers is totally unacceptable and will undermine public confidence in the PSNI, particularly as they are employed in such a sensitive department of the organisation,”

The Police Ombudsman warned, “Their attitude was in stark contrast to the officers involved at the incident scene, who were fully cooperative.”

It's quite simple, if any police officer of whatever rank refuses to co-operate with the Police Ombudsman then they should be sacked and denied pension rights for their time served.

This is the start of a new era in relation to policing in the North, the modus operandi has changed. If some relics of the past can't accept that then they better get out before they are pushed.


Equality is more than just a word

I was delighted to learn that an Armagh man has successfully challenged a law that prevented some people with learning disabilities from voting.

The 17th Century law, which was still in use until recently, contained offensive and degrading language.

It said "idiots" could not vote and "lunatics" could only vote in certain circumstances. Trevor Rhodie, who has learning difficulties, said he was very offended by the terminology.

"I took action because I didn't like the phrases they were using. So I decided to write to try to get it changed. I met with MLA's and MPs and wrote to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and he sent me a letter saying it was a 120 year old law and couldn't be changed because it was common law."

I find it incredible than someone like Tony Blair, a solicitor by trade, would come out with nonsense like that. Imagine saying that common law can't be changed, what utter crap!

Reforming the law now means people with learning disabilities have equal rights to vote.

Mencap supported Mr Rhodie in his fight. Liam Burns from the charity said the change was long overdue.

Mr Burns said "The language was medieval. No-one else would accept being described in that way so why should people with learning disabilities."

Mr Rhodie said he was delighted with his success. "It's important people with learning disabilities have the right to vote and the right to live where they want and to be treated the same as everyone else as first class citizens," he said.

It's a small step but an important one towards full equality.

Only the educated are free

The above is one of my favourite quotes from Epictetus and in this country the Catholic Church are the group that educated most Irish children.

It is therefore with great regret and a certain degree of anger that I learn that Catholic bishops have said it may be necessary to reduce the church's involvement in the running of the country's primary schools.

The Catholic bishops are patrons to 92% of Ireland's primary schools

I was very annoyed when I was watching Questions and Answers last night and listened to quite a few self-loathing Catholics and West-Brits like David "I'm the only gay in the village" Norris.

They seemed repulsed at the idea that a Catholic school would require children who wished to present themselves for admission to produce a Baptismal cert.

Now it needs to be made clear from the start that Bunreacht Na hÉireann guarantees a person the right to denominational education. The schools and their grounds in this country are the property of the Catholic Church. The government then fund them to educate the nations children.

The Church has also been very generous in relation to the use of their property for other groups with a different religion.

The simple fact is that if people want non-religious state schools then so be it, parental choice is paramount in my eyes. Let the government pay for it but stop blaming the Church for a problem that lies with government.

The same shower, the kind who describe themselves and more often others as "Roman Catholics" ( I hate that phrase, used by "stoopish" Catholics), more often than not don't even have children but think they know better than parents.

There is nothing wrong with a Catholic school favouring Catholics and the fact that some see that as a problem suggests that the pendulum has swung too far in this country.

Third world healthcare for first world country

I must admit that I was ignorant to the plight of Billy Caldwell, an Omagh two year old with a deadly form of epilepsy, until I was contacted by a Balrog reader (hat-tip Susan).

Billy suffered from very bad seizures that left his body limp as a rag doll. Belfast doctors didn't offer his mother much hope.

"They basically said take him home, he has six months to live," said Charlotte Caldwell.

More than a year later, her 2-year-old son is alive and undergoing a battery of epilepsy tests at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, as the focus of an international medical case that has inspired hope and provoked controversy.

Before leaving for Chicago earlier this month, Charlotte Caldwell met with Michael McGimpsey who refused to release government funds for Billy's tests in Chicago.

It's a travesty that the Caldwells had to leave not only their home but the island of Ireland to get a glimmer of hope for Billy's future.

Health Minister McGimpsey did at long last finally offer to help them get to London, but by that time the wheels were already in motion for Children's Memorial in Chicago and Billy's mum felt it was her only child's last, best, hope.

Both mother and son must be fiercely determined to have made it as far as they have.