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Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin to hold major seminar on Suicide

Published: 31 January, 2005

Sinn Féin is to hold a major seminar to discus the issue of suicide in Ballynahinch next month, a town which within South Down has been identified as having a particular problem and statistics show that per head of capita has one of the highest suicide rates in Western Europe.

The seminar will be held in the Market House, Ballynahinch on the 23rd of February starting at 8pm to discus what support can be offered to families touched by suicide and how preventative measures can be put in place to tackle a crisis that has now reached epidemic levels

Speaking as plans were finalised for the meeting South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane said:

“The high suicide rate blighting urban and rural communities across the island of Ireland affects families regardless of class, religion or politics. It is an issue that is still a taboo subject but unless the causes are dealt with seriously the only guarantee will be that many more families have to face such a loss.

“Within South Down Ballynahinch has been identified as having a particular problem and statistics show that per head of capita it has one of the highest suicide rates in Western Europe.

“To be successful, it is important for this initiative top have cross party support and the meeting will be open to all political parties, churches, schools, statutory agencies and individual members of the community. Only by acting collectively can we hope to address this problem. The system is failing our young people and others at risk of self-harm. At what is a very difficult time for families it is essential that the community provides the necessary help and support for people to deal with the bereavement and loss that death by suicide brings.

“Suicide is currently the number one cause of death of males under 25 and although all age groups are affected young people seem particularly at risk. To change this, we need a community-led, strategic approach to mental health involving awareness-raising; suicide prevention; crisis intervention and family support.

“I welcome some of the initiatives that have taken placed in schools in the Ballynahinch area. This is very important work and deserves to be supported.

“Society seems unable to acknowledge the scale of the problem, and it is important that people start talking about it and treat it with the seriousness it deserves. Suicide must be addressed with the same vigour and determination given to reducing deaths on the roads and we must raise public awareness and seek to reduce the number of people who for many reasons have taken their own life. This is still very much a taboo subject and is a hidden tragedy for many families.

“Suicide is a subject that is rarely, if ever, discussed within the home or in school and as a consequence young people are ill equipped to cope with the emotional crisis that can provoke a suicide attempt. We need to learn from other areas with similar problems throughout Ireland and study what initiatives and support mechanisms they have taken to deal with this issue. Schools and youth groups must be given the funding to do more to raise awareness of the problem and government money must be allocated to prepare young people for life as adults.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin to hold major seminar on Suicide

Published: 31 January, 2005

Sinn Féin is to hold a major seminar to discus the issue of suicide in Ballynahinch next month, a town which within South Down has been identified as having a particular problem and statistics show that per head of capita has one of the highest suicide rates in Western Europe.

The seminar will be held in the Market House, Ballynahinch on the 23rd of February starting at 8pm to discus what support can be offered to families touched by suicide and how preventative measures can be put in place to tackle a crisis that has now reached epidemic levels

Speaking as plans were finalised for the meeting South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane said:

“The high suicide rate blighting urban and rural communities across the island of Ireland affects families regardless of class, religion or politics. It is an issue that is still a taboo subject but unless the causes are dealt with seriously the only guarantee will be that many more families have to face such a loss.

“Within South Down Ballynahinch has been identified as having a particular problem and statistics show that per head of capita it has one of the highest suicide rates in Western Europe.

“To be successful, it is important for this initiative top have cross party support and the meeting will be open to all political parties, churches, schools, statutory agencies and individual members of the community. Only by acting collectively can we hope to address this problem. The system is failing our young people and others at risk of self-harm. At what is a very difficult time for families it is essential that the community provides the necessary help and support for people to deal with the bereavement and loss that death by suicide brings.

“Suicide is currently the number one cause of death of males under 25 and although all age groups are affected young people seem particularly at risk. To change this, we need a community-led, strategic approach to mental health involving awareness-raising; suicide prevention; crisis intervention and family support.

“I welcome some of the initiatives that have taken placed in schools in the Ballynahinch area. This is very important work and deserves to be supported.

“Society seems unable to acknowledge the scale of the problem, and it is important that people start talking about it and treat it with the seriousness it deserves. Suicide must be addressed with the same vigour and determination given to reducing deaths on the roads and we must raise public awareness and seek to reduce the number of people who for many reasons have taken their own life. This is still very much a taboo subject and is a hidden tragedy for many families.

“Suicide is a subject that is rarely, if ever, discussed within the home or in school and as a consequence young people are ill equipped to cope with the emotional crisis that can provoke a suicide attempt. We need to learn from other areas with similar problems throughout Ireland and study what initiatives and support mechanisms they have taken to deal with this issue. Schools and youth groups must be given the funding to do more to raise awareness of the problem and government money must be allocated to prepare young people for life as adults.” ENDS

Irelandclick.com

Sensational escape from Belfast prison

There is a lot of speculation going around at the moment about the future of the Crumlin Road Prison.

I for one strongly believe that the jail should be maintained and used as a dry storage facility for the Public Records Office.

One other thing I believe should be done is that people are allowed into visit the site and to be taken on guided tours.

Up until recently the Glenravel Project had been conducting sample tours of the complex and those attending were shocked and horrified at the buildings history.

Unfortunately these have now ceased as major restoration work is now being carried out but it is something that is being worked on as a permanent feature.

One sad feature of the Crumlin Road Prison’s history is that people assume that it began in 1969 when the Troubles broke out. But the fact of the matter is that this jail gives a fascinating insight into Belfast’s history going right back to the period known as the Famine.

Like many prisons the ‘Crum’ had its fair share of escapes and, once again, people automatically associate these with the Troubles.

This is certainly not the case and while recent escapes have been something else, one of the most spectacular occurred in 1927 when four men managed to get away after a considerable amount of planning.

The following is how it was reported in the Northern Whig on the 10th of May 1927…
“One of the most sensational gaol breaking episodes in the records of British prisons occurred at dawn yesterday, when three men under life sentences for murder, and a fourth serving a sentence of twelve years’ penal servitude, escaped from Belfast Gaol.”

The men were, Frank O’Boyle, of Beragh, County Tyrone; William Conlon, of Sixmilecross, County Tyrone; and Hugh Rodgers of Sixmilecross, County Tyrone, who were convicted at a court martial in July, 1921, for the murder of William McDowell, motor car proprietor, Gilford, on 3rd September, 1920.
The fourth man was Edward Thorton, of Belfast, who was serving a sentence of twelve years penal servitude for wounding a girl in a railway carriage between Holywood and Belfast in November, 1922.

A reward of £500 has been offered by the Government of Northern Ireland for information which will lead to the recapture of the men.

The escape was carried out at dawn. It had been carefully planned, and was carefully and systematically carried out.

The men must have had help from outside, and the affair was worked to a time-table, with the overpowering, gagging, and binding of two of the wardens.

The story of the occurrence reads more like a cinema reel or a chapter from some sensational novel than a story of real life.

That the men had been contemplating their escape for some time is quite clear, and that they had been able to secure outside assistance in the way of a powered motor car to carry them off once they have broken prison is just as evident.

The men had one great advantage in that their cells were situated close to each other. Long-sentence men, it seems, are kept in the penal side of the prison facing Crumlin Road.

There were only two wardens in charge at the time, one inside the building and one outside.

Conlon, Boyle, and Rodgers were lodged in cells beside each other, and investigations since the prisoners escaped have revealed how the escape was effected.

THE FIRST ESCAPE
One of the prisoners, it does not matter which, obtained a small block of wood, which he inserted into the socket which caught the laten of his cell.
This prevented the latch when the door was closed, from going direct into the socket. It “caught” to the extent of about the sixteenth part of an inch.

Then he obtained a long nail or drill, with which he made a hole in the framework of the door behind the socket, and when the opportunity arrived he pushed either the nail or a piece of wire against the block of wood, which pushed back off the latch, and the door stood open.

Having thus opened the door of his own cell, this man proceeded to release his two comrades.

For this he must have obtained keys, but where he procured them is for the present a mystery.

He was able to liberate the other men, and when at 4am the night warder came along on his rounds he was suddenly pounced upon.

He was taken entirely by surprise, and was overpowered almost at once.
With odds of three to one his task would have been hopeless in any case, but the element of surprise deprived him of any chance.

He was unarmed, but his defenceless condition did not save him from violence, and he was badly maltreated before he was finally bound. This was done in a thoroughly unmanlike manner.

ONE TO FOUR
Once he was thoroughly quietened and trussed up the three men released Thornton. They took the warden’s keys, and, having to guard against the possibility of alarm, tied up the bell of the telephone, they proceeded to the door which led to the yard.

Here the other warden on duty was posted. He was armed with a revolver. The four convicts waited a favourable opportunity, and then made for him. He, too, was overpowered, but not without a great deal of resistance.

The night warders, it seems, carry some sort of a ‘clock’ convenience, with which they check in their rounds. This second warder, set upon so unexpectedly, had no time to draw his revolver, but he promptly attacked the man nearest him with this clock, and that he served out some punishment was evident from the blood which was to be seen later in the morning upon the ground.

The odds against him, however, were too heavy, and, like the man inside, he too was overpowered and tied up securely.

The escaping convicts tore up all their sheets, quilts, and blankets to make ropes, which they used not only for binding up the warders, but also for scaling the walls.

OUT OF PRISON
It was now an hour since the men had commenced their great adventure. They had long waits before the favourable moments presented themselves for attacking their victims.

The second warder was relieved of his revolver and rendered harmless, but the escaping convicts had still to get out of the prison yard.

That, however, was child’s play to men who had already achieved so much. Working like furies, they tied all the available ropes of sheets, blankets etc together, and with a brick as a weight they threw the sling over the wall bordering St Malachy’s College grounds.

They knew the ground thoroughly. The wall there is lower than at any other section in the prison grounds. Fortunately for the escaping men, there is a gate here, and once the sling was over a hand was pushed through the rails, the end of the improvised rope was secured to the rails, and the men were over like monkeys.

MOTOR CAR DASH
The convicts, it is presumed, made their way from here to the Crumlin Road, beside the Mater Hospital, where, it is believed, the previously arranged outside help was in readiness in the way of a fast motor car.

From this point on everything is supposition. The men escaped, and no trace of them has since been found. But there is good ground for the belief that they did, in fact, disappear in a motor car.

In the early hours of the morning a policeman on duty in Donegall Street was startled by the roar of a car coming down from Crumlin Road at terrific speed. There were no lights up, and as the speed was in his opinion something in the vicinity of fifty or sixty miles an hour, he attempted to stop it.

His attempt was futile, however. The big car dashed on, and disappeared round Royal Avenue corner. That was the last that was seen of it.

It is one of the minor mysteries of the affair that no further trace of the car could be found. There is no doubt that the car raced down Donegall Street at break-neck speed, but the most diligent inquiries of the police have failed to discover where it went or to whom it belonged. Its number could not be seen.
All that is known of it is that it was painted red.

It has been suggested that the men made for the Free State, and this may be correct. But, if so, they will find themselves no safer there than in Northern Ireland.

No state would willingly harbour convicted murderers, and the Civil Guard in the Free State were put on high alert early in the day, and are keeping a sharp look-out for the fugitives.

Any assumption that they might be less anxious to capture the men in the South than in the North is based on an entire misapprehension.

The close accord with which the police of the two governments act has been frequently commented upon, and has formed the subject of commendation by judges North and South.

On the other hand there is no real evidence to show that the convicts have sought sanctuary in the South. It is at least as likely that they are still at no great distance from Belfast, and a very thorough search for them is being carried out. Motor cars and motor buses in all parts of the country were closely scrutinised from an early hour yesterday morning, the search being carried on all day.

No arrests have not yet been made, but the police are confident that the men will be laid by heels within a comparatively short time.

£500 REWARD
The Home Office announced this morning that a reward of £500 will be given to anyone who, within three months, gives information leading to their capture. The reward will be divided according to the value of the information.

The following is the official description of the wanted men. Frank O’Boyle, of Beragh, County Tyrone, age 28 years, motor garage owner, height 5ft 6in; ruddy complexion, hair brown, eyes grey; medium build, oval face, mole right cheek, third and fourth fingers on right hand deformed, birth mark right shoulder blade, scar on left hand.

William Conlon, age 38 years, no occupation, American citizen, height 5ft 3/4in, complexion fresh, hair dark, eyes hazel, medium build, oval face, mole right cheek, tattooed cross on back of right forearm and heart on left forearm, cross and dot on back of left hand, scar on tip of left thumb, scar on left forearm.

Hugh Rodgers, of Sixmilecross, County Tyrone, aged 32 years, motor driver, height 5ft. 5in, complexion fresh, eyes grey, hair brown turning grey, medium build, oval face, mole on right ear and left breast, two scars left thigh, eight scars on inside of left leg, scar on outside of left leg.

Edward Thornton, native of County Monaghan, last residing at 108 Spamount Street, Belfast, labourer, age 37 years, height, 5ft. 6in, complexion fresh, hair brown turning grey, eyes blue, stout build, oval face, scar right side of throat, scar on side of left eye, lump on back of neck.

NEXT WEEK…
Two recaptured

Irelandclick.com

Sensational escape from Belfast prison

There is a lot of speculation going around at the moment about the future of the Crumlin Road Prison.

I for one strongly believe that the jail should be maintained and used as a dry storage facility for the Public Records Office.

One other thing I believe should be done is that people are allowed into visit the site and to be taken on guided tours.

Up until recently the Glenravel Project had been conducting sample tours of the complex and those attending were shocked and horrified at the buildings history.

Unfortunately these have now ceased as major restoration work is now being carried out but it is something that is being worked on as a permanent feature.

One sad feature of the Crumlin Road Prison’s history is that people assume that it began in 1969 when the Troubles broke out. But the fact of the matter is that this jail gives a fascinating insight into Belfast’s history going right back to the period known as the Famine.

Like many prisons the ‘Crum’ had its fair share of escapes and, once again, people automatically associate these with the Troubles.

This is certainly not the case and while recent escapes have been something else, one of the most spectacular occurred in 1927 when four men managed to get away after a considerable amount of planning.

The following is how it was reported in the Northern Whig on the 10th of May 1927…

“One of the most sensational gaol breaking episodes in the records of British prisons occurred at dawn yesterday, when three men under life sentences for murder, and a fourth serving a sentence of twelve years’ penal servitude, escaped from Belfast Gaol.”

The men were, Frank O’Boyle, of Beragh, County Tyrone; William Conlon, of Sixmilecross, County Tyrone; and Hugh Rodgers of Sixmilecross, County Tyrone, who were convicted at a court martial in July, 1921, for the murder of William McDowell, motor car proprietor, Gilford, on 3rd September, 1920.

The fourth man was Edward Thorton, of Belfast, who was serving a sentence of twelve years penal servitude for wounding a girl in a railway carriage between Holywood and Belfast in November, 1922.

A reward of £500 has been offered by the Government of Northern Ireland for information which will lead to the recapture of the men.

The escape was carried out at dawn. It had been carefully planned, and was carefully and systematically carried out.

The men must have had help from outside, and the affair was worked to a time-table, with the overpowering, gagging, and binding of two of the wardens.

The story of the occurrence reads more like a cinema reel or a chapter from some sensational novel than a story of real life.

That the men had been contemplating their escape for some time is quite clear, and that they had been able to secure outside assistance in the way of a powered motor car to carry them off once they have broken prison is just as evident.

The men had one great advantage in that their cells were situated close to each other. Long-sentence men, it seems, are kept in the penal side of the prison facing Crumlin Road.

There were only two wardens in charge at the time, one inside the building and one outside.

Conlon, Boyle, and Rodgers were lodged in cells beside each other, and investigations since the prisoners escaped have revealed how the escape was effected.

THE FIRST ESCAPE

One of the prisoners, it does not matter which, obtained a small block of wood, which he inserted into the socket which caught the laten of his cell.

This prevented the latch when the door was closed, from going direct into the socket. It “caught” to the extent of about the sixteenth part of an inch.

Then he obtained a long nail or drill, with which he made a hole in the framework of the door behind the socket, and when the opportunity arrived he pushed either the nail or a piece of wire against the block of wood, which pushed back off the latch, and the door stood open.

Having thus opened the door of his own cell, this man proceeded to release his two comrades.

For this he must have obtained keys, but where he procured them is for the present a mystery.

He was able to liberate the other men, and when at 4am the night warder came along on his rounds he was suddenly pounced upon.

He was taken entirely by surprise, and was overpowered almost at once.

With odds of three to one his task would have been hopeless in any case, but the element of surprise deprived him of any chance.

He was unarmed, but his defenceless condition did not save him from violence, and he was badly maltreated before he was finally bound. This was done in a thoroughly unmanlike manner.

ONE TO FOUR

Once he was thoroughly quietened and trussed up the three men released Thornton. They took the warden’s keys, and, having to guard against the possibility of alarm, tied up the bell of the telephone, they proceeded to the door which led to the yard.

Here the other warden on duty was posted. He was armed with a revolver. The four convicts waited a favourable opportunity, and then made for him. He, too, was overpowered, but not without a great deal of resistance.

The night warders, it seems, carry some sort of a ‘clock’ convenience, with which they check in their rounds. This second warder, set upon so unexpectedly, had no time to draw his revolver, but he promptly attacked the man nearest him with this clock, and that he served out some punishment was evident from the blood which was to be seen later in the morning upon the ground.

The odds against him, however, were too heavy, and, like the man inside, he too was overpowered and tied up securely.

The escaping convicts tore up all their sheets, quilts, and blankets to make ropes, which they used not only for binding up the warders, but also for scaling the walls.

OUT OF PRISON

It was now an hour since the men had commenced their great adventure. They had long waits before the favourable moments presented themselves for attacking their victims.

The second warder was relieved of his revolver and rendered harmless, but the escaping convicts had still to get out of the prison yard.

That, however, was child’s play to men who had already achieved so much. Working like furies, they tied all the available ropes of sheets, blankets etc together, and with a brick as a weight they threw the sling over the wall bordering St Malachy’s College grounds.

They knew the ground thoroughly. The wall there is lower than at any other section in the prison grounds. Fortunately for the escaping men, there is a gate here, and once the sling was over a hand was pushed through the rails, the end of the improvised rope was secured to the rails, and the men were over like monkeys.

MOTOR CAR DASH

The convicts, it is presumed, made their way from here to the Crumlin Road, beside the Mater Hospital, where, it is believed, the previously arranged outside help was in readiness in the way of a fast motor car.

From this point on everything is supposition. The men escaped, and no trace of them has since been found. But there is good ground for the belief that they did, in fact, disappear in a motor car.

In the early hours of the morning a policeman on duty in Donegall Street was startled by the roar of a car coming down from Crumlin Road at terrific speed. There were no lights up, and as the speed was in his opinion something in the vicinity of fifty or sixty miles an hour, he attempted to stop it.

His attempt was futile, however. The big car dashed on, and disappeared round Royal Avenue corner. That was the last that was seen of it.

It is one of the minor mysteries of the affair that no further trace of the car could be found. There is no doubt that the car raced down Donegall Street at break-neck speed, but the most diligent inquiries of the police have failed to discover where it went or to whom it belonged. Its number could not be seen.

All that is known of it is that it was painted red.

It has been suggested that the men made for the Free State, and this may be correct. But, if so, they will find themselves no safer there than in Northern Ireland.

No state would willingly harbour convicted murderers, and the Civil Guard in the Free State were put on high alert early in the day, and are keeping a sharp look-out for the fugitives.

Any assumption that they might be less anxious to capture the men in the South than in the North is based on an entire misapprehension.

The close accord with which the police of the two governments act has been frequently commented upon, and has formed the subject of commendation by judges North and South.

On the other hand there is no real evidence to show that the convicts have sought sanctuary in the South. It is at least as likely that they are still at no great distance from Belfast, and a very thorough search for them is being carried out. Motor cars and motor buses in all parts of the country were closely scrutinised from an early hour yesterday morning, the search being carried on all day.

No arrests have not yet been made, but the police are confident that the men will be laid by heels within a comparatively short time.

£500 REWARD

The Home Office announced this morning that a reward of £500 will be given to anyone who, within three months, gives information leading to their capture. The reward will be divided according to the value of the information.

The following is the official description of the wanted men. Frank O’Boyle, of Beragh, County Tyrone, age 28 years, motor garage owner, height 5ft 6in; ruddy complexion, hair brown, eyes grey; medium build, oval face, mole right cheek, third and fourth fingers on right hand deformed, birth mark right shoulder blade, scar on left hand.

William Conlon, age 38 years, no occupation, American citizen, height 5ft 3/4in, complexion fresh, hair dark, eyes hazel, medium build, oval face, mole right cheek, tattooed cross on back of right forearm and heart on left forearm, cross and dot on back of left hand, scar on tip of left thumb, scar on left forearm.

Hugh Rodgers, of Sixmilecross, County Tyrone, aged 32 years, motor driver, height 5ft. 5in, complexion fresh, eyes grey, hair brown turning grey, medium build, oval face, mole on right ear and left breast, two scars left thigh, eight scars on inside of left leg, scar on outside of left leg.

Edward Thornton, native of County Monaghan, last residing at 108 Spamount Street, Belfast, labourer, age 37 years, height, 5ft. 6in, complexion fresh, hair brown turning grey, eyes blue, stout build, oval face, scar right side of throat, scar on side of left eye, lump on back of neck.

NEXT WEEK…

Two recaptured

Irelandclick.com

Tourist mania hits Northern
Sightseers flock to scene of £26.5m bank heist

They say that every cloud has a silver lining and that may be true of the Northern Bank raid as the scene of the robbery is fast becoming the number one tourist attraction in the city.

Fascinated tourists are now cashing in on the notoriety of the Northern Bank Cash Centre in Donegall Square West, scene of the £26.5 million robbery on December 20.

The bank is set to become the most photographed place in the city as visitors stop to have a snap taken to show their friends and family back home.

Eoghan Ó Néill, a reporter with the Irish language daily Lá, has seen the evidence for himself. He says he saw tourists gather there on Saturday night around 7pm.

“About a dozen tourists were hanging about the front of it on Saturday night. They were all smiling and all these flashes were going off.

“They all had their thumbs up as well,” said Eoghan.

“They had to be posing for cameras outside the building because of the bank raid, there’s no way they were there to capture the bank’s architectural beauty.

“It’s one of the ugliest buildings in Belfast!”

It now seems that the Belfast bank is becoming one of Belfast’s sightseeing spots, although whether it will ever match top notch tourist sites such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Vatican in Rome remains to be seen.

No one was available for comment from the NI Tourist Board or the Northern Bank.

Journalist:: Áine McEntee

Irelandclick.com

Tourist mania hits Northern

Sightseers flock to scene of £26.5m bank heist

They say that every cloud has a silver lining and that may be true of the Northern Bank raid as the scene of the robbery is fast becoming the number one tourist attraction in the city.

Fascinated tourists are now cashing in on the notoriety of the Northern Bank Cash Centre in Donegall Square West, scene of the £26.5 million robbery on December 20.

The bank is set to become the most photographed place in the city as visitors stop to have a snap taken to show their friends and family back home.

Eoghan Ó Néill, a reporter with the Irish language daily Lá, has seen the evidence for himself. He says he saw tourists gather there on Saturday night around 7pm.

“About a dozen tourists were hanging about the front of it on Saturday night. They were all smiling and all these flashes were going off.

“They all had their thumbs up as well,” said Eoghan.

“They had to be posing for cameras outside the building because of the bank raid, there’s no way they were there to capture the bank’s architectural beauty.

“It’s one of the ugliest buildings in Belfast!”

It now seems that the Belfast bank is becoming one of Belfast’s sightseeing spots, although whether it will ever match top notch tourist sites such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Vatican in Rome remains to be seen.

No one was available for comment from the NI Tourist Board or the Northern Bank.

Journalist:: Áine McEntee

Irelandclick.com

We Say
The President’s words

The furore over the comments made by President Mary McAleese has died down after the Orange Order and the DUP said that they accepted her apology. Pointedly though, they also said that they don’t envision any meetings with the President in the foreseeable future.

The President said that her remarks were “clumsy”, and perhaps they were – and in that context an apology was probably in order. But it is a bit rich for the opposition to the remarks to be led by the Orange Order and the DUP – two institutions that are the very embodiment of the point that the President was trying to make.

Before it slates the President for her remarks, the Orange Order would do well to get its own house in order. It is a byword for intolerance and division and a trawl through the archives will quickly illustrate the centrality of the Orange Order to much of the violent hatred that has scarred this country for hundreds of years. If it were just an historical footnote that would be bad enough, but the Orange Order continues to be a reactionary and divisive force to this very day. The next marching season will no doubt prove that in spades yet again.

And as for the DUP, well where do you start? The leader and founder of that party, Ian Paisley, made his name by uttering contemptible and inflammatory words at street corners and from the pulpit. The statements he has made about the Catholic Church and about the Pope angered and incensed Catholic people in Ireland – and beyond.

Rather than point fingers at the President, those members of the DUP who got on their high horse when this controversy erupted last week might be better advised to ask their leader whether he doesn’t think it a good idea to apologise for his baleful oratory.

An apology from the President was magnanimous and helpful – one from Ian Paisley is inconceivable.

Irelandclick.com

We Say

The President’s words

The furore over the comments made by President Mary McAleese has died down after the Orange Order and the DUP said that they accepted her apology. Pointedly though, they also said that they don’t envision any meetings with the President in the foreseeable future.

The President said that her remarks were “clumsy”, and perhaps they were – and in that context an apology was probably in order. But it is a bit rich for the opposition to the remarks to be led by the Orange Order and the DUP – two institutions that are the very embodiment of the point that the President was trying to make.

Before it slates the President for her remarks, the Orange Order would do well to get its own house in order. It is a byword for intolerance and division and a trawl through the archives will quickly illustrate the centrality of the Orange Order to much of the violent hatred that has scarred this country for hundreds of years. If it were just an historical footnote that would be bad enough, but the Orange Order continues to be a reactionary and divisive force to this very day. The next marching season will no doubt prove that in spades yet again.

And as for the DUP, well where do you start? The leader and founder of that party, Ian Paisley, made his name by uttering contemptible and inflammatory words at street corners and from the pulpit. The statements he has made about the Catholic Church and about the Pope angered and incensed Catholic people in Ireland – and beyond.

Rather than point fingers at the President, those members of the DUP who got on their high horse when this controversy erupted last week might be better advised to ask their leader whether he doesn’t think it a good idea to apologise for his baleful oratory.

An apology from the President was magnanimous and helpful – one from Ian Paisley is inconceivable.

Irelandclick.com

Mary didn’t set out to hurt anybody says Fr Aidan Troy

Following the retraction and apology made by President Mary McAleese for her controversial comments made during a Holocaust memorial event, Fr Aidan Troy has called on people to “leave it at that”.

On Thursday the President said that the Nazis “gave to their children an irrational hatred of Jews in the same way that people in Northern Ireland transmitted to their children an irrational hatred of Catholics, in the same way that people give to their children an outrageous and irrational hatred of those who are different colour and all of those things.” She later apologised for her “clumsy” choice of words in a bid to defuse the looming row with the Protestant community. The DUP and the Orange Order have both welcomed the swift apology but added that they are not considering a meeting with the President any time soon.

Father Aidan Troy, Parish Priest of the Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne, spoke to the Andersonstown News to voice his views on the issue.

“My take is that Mary McAleese never set out to hurt anybody, it is not in her nature to do so. I believe that she tried to give a good example of how easy it is for a community to slip into a sectarian way of thinking, she gave an example of a situation she knows but the reaction has just got out of hand. I know both Mary and her husband very well and there isn’t a trace of malice there. She has apologised and people should leave it at that.” he said.

Mrs McAleese, who hails from the Ardoyne area of North Belfast, said she didn’t intend to “single out” the Protestant community and that she hopes to continue building relations with both sections of the community.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Irelandclick.com

Mary didn’t set out to hurt anybody says Fr Aidan Troy

Following the retraction and apology made by President Mary McAleese for her controversial comments made during a Holocaust memorial event, Fr Aidan Troy has called on people to “leave it at that”.

On Thursday the President said that the Nazis “gave to their children an irrational hatred of Jews in the same way that people in Northern Ireland transmitted to their children an irrational hatred of Catholics, in the same way that people give to their children an outrageous and irrational hatred of those who are different colour and all of those things.” She later apologised for her “clumsy” choice of words in a bid to defuse the looming row with the Protestant community. The DUP and the Orange Order have both welcomed the swift apology but added that they are not considering a meeting with the President any time soon.

Father Aidan Troy, Parish Priest of the Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne, spoke to the Andersonstown News to voice his views on the issue.

“My take is that Mary McAleese never set out to hurt anybody, it is not in her nature to do so. I believe that she tried to give a good example of how easy it is for a community to slip into a sectarian way of thinking, she gave an example of a situation she knows but the reaction has just got out of hand. I know both Mary and her husband very well and there isn’t a trace of malice there. She has apologised and people should leave it at that.” he said.

Mrs McAleese, who hails from the Ardoyne area of North Belfast, said she didn’t intend to “single out” the Protestant community and that she hopes to continue building relations with both sections of the community.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Irelandclick.com

Launch day for daily

An exciting new era in Irish media opens up tomorrow (Tuesday) with the launch in West Belfast of the new nationalist newspaper, Daily Ireland.

Backed by the Andersonstown News Group and circulated nationwide, the new daily has already given a shot-in-the-arm to the West Belfast economy by creating 40 much-needed jobs.

Its top-drawer roster of columnists includes author Danny Morrison, writer Jude Collins, former Green MEP Patricia McKenna, unionist commentator John Coulter and film-maker and former hunger striker Lawrence McKeown.

With Editor Maria McCourt at the helm, Daily Ireland is pledging an exciting, modern read aimed at thinking readers of all ages.

“This is a quality newspaper for an audience which is crying out for a newspaper which tells the whole story,” said Maria. “The professionalism of the news team we’ve recruited, not only from across Ireland but across the globe, has thoroughly impressed me and I’m confident that we’ll be first for scoops, sports and features.”

Pioneering a complete new look in newspapers, Daily Ireland has been designed by Tony Sutton of Canadian-based News Design Associates who is in Belfast for the launch. Also advising on the editorial approach of the new paper has been former Chicago Tribune Editor Howard Tyner while managerial support for the project has come from Fermanagh businessman and former GAA President Peter Quinn.

The breakfast launch of Daily Ireland will take place in the Cultúrlann at 8am on Tuesday February 1 – St Brigid’s Day and traditionally the start of spring – and all are welcome.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Irelandclick.com

Launch day for daily

An exciting new era in Irish media opens up tomorrow (Tuesday) with the launch in West Belfast of the new nationalist newspaper, Daily Ireland.

Backed by the Andersonstown News Group and circulated nationwide, the new daily has already given a shot-in-the-arm to the West Belfast economy by creating 40 much-needed jobs.

Its top-drawer roster of columnists includes author Danny Morrison, writer Jude Collins, former Green MEP Patricia McKenna, unionist commentator John Coulter and film-maker and former hunger striker Lawrence McKeown.

With Editor Maria McCourt at the helm, Daily Ireland is pledging an exciting, modern read aimed at thinking readers of all ages.

“This is a quality newspaper for an audience which is crying out for a newspaper which tells the whole story,” said Maria. “The professionalism of the news team we’ve recruited, not only from across Ireland but across the globe, has thoroughly impressed me and I’m confident that we’ll be first for scoops, sports and features.”

Pioneering a complete new look in newspapers, Daily Ireland has been designed by Tony Sutton of Canadian-based News Design Associates who is in Belfast for the launch. Also advising on the editorial approach of the new paper has been former Chicago Tribune Editor Howard Tyner while managerial support for the project has come from Fermanagh businessman and former GAA President Peter Quinn.

The breakfast launch of Daily Ireland will take place in the Cultúrlann at 8am on Tuesday February 1 – St Brigid’s Day and traditionally the start of spring – and all are welcome.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Belfast Telegraph

IRSP honours founder of INLA

By Brendan McDaid
31 January 2005

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

More photos of ceremony from here

The Irish Republican Socialist Party has unveiled a memorial to INLA founder, Red Mickey Doherty, in Derry.

IRSP spokesman Martin McMonagle said during Saturday’s service at the Bogside: “It is our duty and indeed an honour that we acknowledge and pay tribute to Red Mickey’s lifelong contribution to the ongoing struggle for justice, socialism and freedom on this island.”

Mr McMonagle described Mr Doherty as an inspiration for all those seeking a united Ireland and an end to injustices against the working class.

He said: “His conscience would not allow him to follow any other path. Mickey was a political activist and his heart lay with the working class, the people who have nothing but their dignity.

“He understood what it was to live from hand to mouth, day by day, under the repressive British regime. He also understood that nothing would change as long as our people live in a capitalist society whether or not that capitalism was under the control of British or Irish capitalist masters.”

Belfast Telegraph

IRSP honours founder of INLA

By Brendan McDaid

31 January 2005

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

More photos of ceremony from here

The Irish Republican Socialist Party has unveiled a memorial to INLA founder, Red Mickey Doherty, in Derry.

IRSP spokesman Martin McMonagle said during Saturday’s service at the Bogside: “It is our duty and indeed an honour that we acknowledge and pay tribute to Red Mickey’s lifelong contribution to the ongoing struggle for justice, socialism and freedom on this island.”

Mr McMonagle described Mr Doherty as an inspiration for all those seeking a united Ireland and an end to injustices against the working class.

He said: “His conscience would not allow him to follow any other path. Mickey was a political activist and his heart lay with the working class, the people who have nothing but their dignity.

“He understood what it was to live from hand to mouth, day by day, under the repressive British regime. He also understood that nothing would change as long as our people live in a capitalist society whether or not that capitalism was under the control of British or Irish capitalist masters.”

Belfast Telegraph

Veteran MP launches bid with attack on Sinn Fein
McGrady to defend seat

31 January 2005

South Down MP Eddie McGrady has been reselected to defend his seat at the next general election.

His candidacy was confirmed at a selection meeting in the Donard Hotel in Newcastle last night.

Last year there had been suggestions that the 69-year-old might retire, but Mr McGrady allowed his name to go forward for nomination this week.

The general election is expected to take place in May.

Mr McGrady, who has held South Down since 1987, launched his candidacy with an attack on Sinn Fein. Catriona Ruane of Sinn Fein will be his main opponent.

“People are getting tired of Sinn Fein going into and coming out of meetings lecturing everybody about their mandate,” said Mr McGrady.

“The reality is that they have abused their mandate. The Irish people voted for the Agreement, for progress, for peace.

“No nationalist voted for armed robberies, kidnappings and punishment beatings.

Yet sadly that is what we are getting – and it is ripping the life out of the Good Friday Agreement.

“That’s why many are now wondering if Sinn Fein wants the Agreement at all – or whether they are only interested in their own political development North and South.”

Mr McGrady added: “Sinn Fein promised at the time of the elections that they would get the Agreement implemented, win change and put manners on the DUP.

“But what has happened since? Despite warnings from the SDLP – which stood strong for the Good Friday Agreement – Sinn Fein agreed a new so-called “agreement” with the DUP that gave Ian Paisley new vetoes over nationalists.

“Then the IRA carried out a bank raid that played right into the hands of the DUP. The result? We are left with suspension, direct misrule and no progress whatsoever on the North South agenda – and the DUP comes out laughing.”

He said continued IRA activity is “wrecking the Agreement”.

“Instead of Sinn Fein lecturing everybody on Sinn Fein’s mandate, they need to get serious about the mandate that the Irish people gave the Good Friday Agreement,” the MP continued.

Mr McGrady holds a majority of almost 14,000.

But Sinn Fein has built up their share of the vote from from 15% in the 1998 Assembly election to 26% in 2003.

Belfast Telegraph

McAleese visit will go ahead as planned
Tour of Protestant area confirmed

By Senan Molony
31 January 2005

President Mary McAleese will go ahead with a visit to Belfast in three-and-a-half weeks’ time despite the controversy over her remarks about religious discrimination.

Mrs McAleese’s official spokeswoman confirmed that the February 24 visit, already cleared by the Government, will go ahead as planned. It is due to include a trip to a Protestant area of Belfast.

While the President will address Catholic students in St Malachy’s College, the balancing engagement in the Protestant community was due to be reviewed by her staff today.

The nature of the appointment was not being disclosed last night, but former Belfast Lord Mayor Hugh Smyth said she would not be welcome on the Shankill Road.

And an Ulster Unionist Assembly member, Derek Hussey, said she should resign in spite of her apology for comparing hatred of Catholics in Northern Ireland with Nazi hatred for the Jews.

She later said she should have described all sectarian hatred in the terms she used during a radio interview.

Mr Hussey said: “Unlike my colleague Michael McGimpsey, I do not accept the Irish President’s apology nor that this matter should now be over.

“Mrs McAleese has, irrevocably insulted the Protestant people of all of Ireland, caused untold damage to ongoing peace efforts in Northern Ireland and tainted the integrity of her position as Head of State of the Republic.

“Belated clumsy efforts at papering over the cracks in an effort to save her own skin just don’t measure up to the enormity of what she has implied. Mary McAleese should do the right thing and resign.”

Meanwhile, reports that Buckingham Palace had called off an official trip to Ireland by the Queen in the wake of the President’s “Nazi” comparisons were being denied in both London and Dublin yesterday.

A spokeswoman for Aras an Uachtarain said there had been no definitive plans made for the monarch to visit Ireland. An informal invitation had been extended on more than one occasion.

“The President has said that she would welcome a visit by the Queen. But the timing of such a visit would be a matter for the two Governments.

“No formal invitations have issued and there are no plans in place for such a visit,” said a spokeswoman.

She confirmed that the President and Dr Martin McAleese had been “in constant contact” with their friends on both sides in Northern Ireland since the storm broke over the President’s radio remarks for which she later abjectly apologised.

While the matter was now considered closed, the President was grateful for the speedy acceptance of her retraction of the remarks by senior figures in the Protestant and Unionist communities, the spokeswoman added.

A security review of all aspects of the February 24 programme of engagements is likely shortly before the President is due to visit Northern Ireland.

Her spokesman said that many receptions planned in the interim for the Aras, which included a significant Northern element, as was the President’s custom, would go ahead as normal.

The spokesman declined to comment on any special security measures that might be taken in connection with the Belfast visit in the next number of weeks, citing long-stated policy. She said, however: “The President is very happy and very relieved that her apology has been accepted.”

Belfast Telegraph

Veteran MP launches bid with attack on Sinn Fein

McGrady to defend seat

31 January 2005

South Down MP Eddie McGrady has been reselected to defend his seat at the next general election.

His candidacy was confirmed at a selection meeting in the Donard Hotel in Newcastle last night.

Last year there had been suggestions that the 69-year-old might retire, but Mr McGrady allowed his name to go forward for nomination this week.

The general election is expected to take place in May.

Mr McGrady, who has held South Down since 1987, launched his candidacy with an attack on Sinn Fein. Catriona Ruane of Sinn Fein will be his main opponent.

“People are getting tired of Sinn Fein going into and coming out of meetings lecturing everybody about their mandate,” said Mr McGrady.

“The reality is that they have abused their mandate. The Irish people voted for the Agreement, for progress, for peace.

“No nationalist voted for armed robberies, kidnappings and punishment beatings.

Yet sadly that is what we are getting – and it is ripping the life out of the Good Friday Agreement.

“That’s why many are now wondering if Sinn Fein wants the Agreement at all – or whether they are only interested in their own political development North and South.”

Mr McGrady added: “Sinn Fein promised at the time of the elections that they would get the Agreement implemented, win change and put manners on the DUP.

“But what has happened since? Despite warnings from the SDLP – which stood strong for the Good Friday Agreement – Sinn Fein agreed a new so-called “agreement” with the DUP that gave Ian Paisley new vetoes over nationalists.

“Then the IRA carried out a bank raid that played right into the hands of the DUP. The result? We are left with suspension, direct misrule and no progress whatsoever on the North South agenda – and the DUP comes out laughing.”

He said continued IRA activity is “wrecking the Agreement”.

“Instead of Sinn Fein lecturing everybody on Sinn Fein’s mandate, they need to get serious about the mandate that the Irish people gave the Good Friday Agreement,” the MP continued.

Mr McGrady holds a majority of almost 14,000.

But Sinn Fein has built up their share of the vote from from 15% in the 1998 Assembly election to 26% in 2003.

Belfast Telegraph

McAleese visit will go ahead as planned

Tour of Protestant area confirmed

By Senan Molony

31 January 2005

President Mary McAleese will go ahead with a visit to Belfast in three-and-a-half weeks’ time despite the controversy over her remarks about religious discrimination.

Mrs McAleese’s official spokeswoman confirmed that the February 24 visit, already cleared by the Government, will go ahead as planned. It is due to include a trip to a Protestant area of Belfast.

While the President will address Catholic students in St Malachy’s College, the balancing engagement in the Protestant community was due to be reviewed by her staff today.

The nature of the appointment was not being disclosed last night, but former Belfast Lord Mayor Hugh Smyth said she would not be welcome on the Shankill Road.

And an Ulster Unionist Assembly member, Derek Hussey, said she should resign in spite of her apology for comparing hatred of Catholics in Northern Ireland with Nazi hatred for the Jews.

She later said she should have described all sectarian hatred in the terms she used during a radio interview.

Mr Hussey said: “Unlike my colleague Michael McGimpsey, I do not accept the Irish President’s apology nor that this matter should now be over.

“Mrs McAleese has, irrevocably insulted the Protestant people of all of Ireland, caused untold damage to ongoing peace efforts in Northern Ireland and tainted the integrity of her position as Head of State of the Republic.

“Belated clumsy efforts at papering over the cracks in an effort to save her own skin just don’t measure up to the enormity of what she has implied. Mary McAleese should do the right thing and resign.”

Meanwhile, reports that Buckingham Palace had called off an official trip to Ireland by the Queen in the wake of the President’s “Nazi” comparisons were being denied in both London and Dublin yesterday.

A spokeswoman for Aras an Uachtarain said there had been no definitive plans made for the monarch to visit Ireland. An informal invitation had been extended on more than one occasion.

“The President has said that she would welcome a visit by the Queen. But the timing of such a visit would be a matter for the two Governments.

“No formal invitations have issued and there are no plans in place for such a visit,” said a spokeswoman.

She confirmed that the President and Dr Martin McAleese had been “in constant contact” with their friends on both sides in Northern Ireland since the storm broke over the President’s radio remarks for which she later abjectly apologised.

While the matter was now considered closed, the President was grateful for the speedy acceptance of her retraction of the remarks by senior figures in the Protestant and Unionist communities, the spokeswoman added.

A security review of all aspects of the February 24 programme of engagements is likely shortly before the President is due to visit Northern Ireland.

Her spokesman said that many receptions planned in the interim for the Aras, which included a significant Northern element, as was the President’s custom, would go ahead as normal.

The spokesman declined to comment on any special security measures that might be taken in connection with the Belfast visit in the next number of weeks, citing long-stated policy. She said, however: “The President is very happy and very relieved that her apology has been accepted.”

::: u.tv :::

Bloody Sunday demonstrators demand release of republican

The British government is facing new demands to free a republican jailed for refusing to testify to an inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings.

MONDAY 31/01/2005 08:26:07
By:Press Association

As over 10,000 people gathered in Derry yesterday for a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of the day when paratroopers shot dead 13 civil rights marchers, speakers insisted Martin Doherty`s detention cannot be justified.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP also cast doubt on the chances of the marathon hearing delivering the truth when tribunal chairman Lord Saville finally publishes his report later this year.

Mitchel McLaughlin, the SF chairman, told crowds: “Many of us, when Tony Blair announced that he was setting up the Inquiry and that it would receive the full co-operation of his government and its agencies took a very sceptical view of such an announcement.

“The disgraceful imprisonment of Martin `Ducksie` Doherty was just further evidence of the British government and its agencies determination to criminalise republicans rather than expose the truth of its dirty war in Ireland.”

Doherty, 49, from the Creggan area of the city, was jailed for three months for contempt after failing to co-operate with the inquiry into the January 1972 shootings.

The 49-year-old from the Creggan area of Derry, was known in court as PIRA 9, and became the first person jailed in connection with the hearing.

Despite Derry City Council passing a motion calling on Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy to secure his release, the British government insisted last week such a move would be inappropriate.

That refusal incensed Mr McLaughlin, who told the rally: “It is a scandal that Ducksie, an unapologetic Irish Republican who wasn`t even present at the march should be the only one to see the inside of a prison because of Bloody Sunday.

“We are here today demanding the Truth about Bloody Sunday and we are here in solidarity with `Ducksie` and his family and we demand his immediate and unconditional release.

“I reject from this platform Paul Murphy`s claim that he has no powers to intervene.” He added: “People will wonder and ask, will Saville be different, will he look at the evidence without prejudice and come to a conclusion based solely on the evidence presented to his panel of Inquiry, or will he too, like Widgery (earlier inquiry) be influenced by his political masters and make his determination based on the effect it will have on the reputation of his government?

“We will just have to wait and see. If the treatment of Ducksie Doherty is an indicator, then it doesn`t bode well for the outcome.”

SDLP Assembly member Dominic Bradley spoke of the rising concerns about the report`s findings.

“Will the Saville Inquiry will uncover the full truth of Bloody Sunday?” he asked.

“People are increasingly fearful that Saville will fall short of that standard. And when a Derryman, Martin Doherty, is the only person to serve a prison sentence over Bloody Sunday, those fears are exacerbated and amplified.

“But in spite of all the doubts and uncertainty, one thing remains absolutely clear: the Bloody Sunday campaign will carry on until truth is served and justice is done.”

::: u.tv :::

Bloody Sunday demonstrators demand release of republican

The British government is facing new demands to free a republican jailed for refusing to testify to an inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings.

MONDAY 31/01/2005 08:26:07

By:Press Association

As over 10,000 people gathered in Derry yesterday for a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of the day when paratroopers shot dead 13 civil rights marchers, speakers insisted Martin Doherty`s detention cannot be justified.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP also cast doubt on the chances of the marathon hearing delivering the truth when tribunal chairman Lord Saville finally publishes his report later this year.

Mitchel McLaughlin, the SF chairman, told crowds: “Many of us, when Tony Blair announced that he was setting up the Inquiry and that it would receive the full co-operation of his government and its agencies took a very sceptical view of such an announcement.

“The disgraceful imprisonment of Martin `Ducksie` Doherty was just further evidence of the British government and its agencies determination to criminalise republicans rather than expose the truth of its dirty war in Ireland.”

Doherty, 49, from the Creggan area of the city, was jailed for three months for contempt after failing to co-operate with the inquiry into the January 1972 shootings.

The 49-year-old from the Creggan area of Derry, was known in court as PIRA 9, and became the first person jailed in connection with the hearing.

Despite Derry City Council passing a motion calling on Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy to secure his release, the British government insisted last week such a move would be inappropriate.

That refusal incensed Mr McLaughlin, who told the rally: “It is a scandal that Ducksie, an unapologetic Irish Republican who wasn`t even present at the march should be the only one to see the inside of a prison because of Bloody Sunday.

“We are here today demanding the Truth about Bloody Sunday and we are here in solidarity with `Ducksie` and his family and we demand his immediate and unconditional release.

“I reject from this platform Paul Murphy`s claim that he has no powers to intervene.” He added: “People will wonder and ask, will Saville be different, will he look at the evidence without prejudice and come to a conclusion based solely on the evidence presented to his panel of Inquiry, or will he too, like Widgery (earlier inquiry) be influenced by his political masters and make his determination based on the effect it will have on the reputation of his government?

“We will just have to wait and see. If the treatment of Ducksie Doherty is an indicator, then it doesn`t bode well for the outcome.”

SDLP Assembly member Dominic Bradley spoke of the rising concerns about the report`s findings.

“Will the Saville Inquiry will uncover the full truth of Bloody Sunday?” he asked.

“People are increasingly fearful that Saville will fall short of that standard. And when a Derryman, Martin Doherty, is the only person to serve a prison sentence over Bloody Sunday, those fears are exacerbated and amplified.

“But in spite of all the doubts and uncertainty, one thing remains absolutely clear: the Bloody Sunday campaign will carry on until truth is served and justice is done.”

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile

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'So venceremos, beidh bua againn eigin lá eigin. Sealadaigh abú.' --Bobby Sands