Please stop by and check out my friend Oliver Curran's latest art. He is known worldwide as THE
artist of the Irish famine
and specialises in vivid folk art with Irish themes. You can enjoy his personal website or join the Curran Art Facebook group. (links below)
. This painting is titled 'Antrim Farmhouse'
and is one of my favourites.Curran Art Facebook Group
Original website: http://curranart.com/
- Location:art, irish art, oliver curran
5 Feb 2013Memorial plaque to victims of the Magdalene Laundries in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin - Photo from Newsletter.co.ukSurvivors of the Magdalene Laundry have quickly rejected the Taoiseach's apology, and demanded a fuller and more frank admission from government and the religious orders involved.
Maureen Sullivan, Magdalene Survivors Together, said: “That is not an apology. He is the Taoiseach of our country, he is the Taoiseach of the Irish people, and that is not a proper apology.”• Audio of Enda Kenny's statement
Mary Smyth said she endured inhumane conditions in a laundry, which she said was worse than being in prison.
“I will go to the grave with what happened. It will never ever leave me,” said Ms Smyth, also of the group.
The Justice for Magdalenes group (JFM), which has collected testimony from survivors who attest to severe psychological and physical suffering even in stays of less than a year, has been leading campaigns for an apology.
“It can no longer be claimed that these institutions were private and that ’the vast majority’ of the girls and women entered voluntarily as has been claimed by former minister Batt O’Keeffe and testimony before the UN Committee Against Torture given by Sean Aylward, the former secretary general of the Department of Justice,” the group said.
Survivors have been campaigning for the last 10 years for an apology from state and church and a transparent compensation scheme.
Religious orders the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity ran laundries at Drumcondra and Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin, the Sisters of Mercy in Galway and Dun Laoghaire, the Religious Sisters of Charity in Donnybrook, Dublin, and Cork, and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Limerick, Cork, Waterford and New Ross.
The last laundry, Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin’s north inner city, closed in 1996.
Justice for Magdalenes said it is aware of at least 988 women who are buried in laundry plots in cemeteries across Ireland and therefore must have stayed for life.
The inquiry could only certify 879.
The Taoiseach said action should have been taken before to clear the names and reputations of the women put to work in the institutions.
“That the stigma, that the branding together of the residents, all 10,000 needs to be removed and should have been removed long before this and I’m really sorry that that never happened, and I regret that never happened,” Mr Kenny said.
“I’m sorry that this release of pressure and understanding of so many of those women was not done before this, because they were branded as being the fallen women, as they were referred to in this state.”
Senator McAleese said he hopes his report brings healing and peace of mind to survivors.The Journal.ie
5 February 2013
**More links onsiteA REPORT COMPILED following an 18-month investigation has found the Irish State was directly and fundamentally involved in the Magdalene Laundry system.Senator Martin McAleese’s report, published this afternoon
, reveals that more than 2,500 women who were incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundries were sent in directly by the State. In reality, that number is higher but many records did not survive.
McAleese said he hopes the findings bring “healing and peace of mind to all concerned, most especially the women whose lived experience of the Magdalene Laundries had a profound and enduring negative effect on their lives”.
Advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes welcomed the report, stating it ensures that the State can no longer claim the institutions were private, as has happened in the past, or that the majority of Magdalenes entered voluntarily.
According to the report, the State gave lucrative contracts to the 10 Magdalene Laundries, located across the country. It did so without complying with Fair Wage Clauses and in the absence of any compliance with Social Insurance obligations.
Evidence shown to the Inter-departmental Committee set up in the wake of an United Nations Committee Against Torture recommendation, revealed that the State inspected the Laundries under the Factories Acts and in doing so oversaw and furthered a system of forced and unpaid labour.
Survivors have long claimed that the forces of An Garda Síochána were used to keep women and girls incarcerated and working with no pay or education.
The report investigated these claims. There was a statutory basis for the deployment of the Gardaí in some cases but the Report notes, “The large majority of women who engaged with the Committee spoke of the deep hurt they felt due to their loss of freedom, they were not informed why they were there, they had no information on when they could leave and were denied contact with the outside world, including their family and friends.” The report also notes that the Gardaí “brought women to the Magdalen Laundries on a more ad hoc or informal basis.”
Justice for Magdalenes noted that the statistics compiled in today’s publication omit the records of the Mercy-run Galway and Dun Laoghaire Magdalene Laundries because of incomplete information from the two institutions. It believes the figure of just over 10,000 girls and women confined in this system is, therefore, in need of significant upward revision.
The report also fails to provide information on how 1,987 of the total number were referred to the institutions. According to the report, half of the girls and women incarcerated were under the age of 23. More than 4,000 of them spent more than a year in the system and 15 per cent spent more than five years.
There are some aspects that require “substantial clarification”, according to JFM. It is currently in dialogue with McAleese and his team.
Three decades on, the kidnapping of Derby-winning racehorse Shergar remains one of the great unsolved crimes in Irish history, writes John Daly
By John DalyIrish Examiner
2 Feb 2013Shergar with the Aga Khan after he won the Irish Derby in 1981EVEN before the kidnapping of Shergar on Feb 8, 1983, grabbed headlines around the world, the Irish new year had begun with ominous undertones.
In January, Malcolm MacArthur, the killer of nurse Bridie Gargan, had been sentenced to life — an individual whose actions brought into the Irish lexicon Gubu — ‘grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre and unbelievable’ — as defined by then Taoiseach, Charles Haughey.
In the North, tensions continued to run high, unemployment hit 16%, and mass emigration was once again rising as thousands headed to the US and Canada.
In a winter with little to cheer about, the exploits of Shergar were still a cause for national celebration, especially around Ballymany Stud in Kildare. The young stallion had become enshrined in Irish sporting folklore, having had one of the most extraordinary debut seasons in racing history in 1981, winning the Epsom Derby by a record distance, the first in a historic triple he added to with the Irish Derby and the King George.
With a telltale white blaze on his face, four white socks, and a distinctive racing style where his tongue stuck out one side of his mouth — “like a 10-year-old solving a tricky math problem” as one commentator put it — Shergar captured the imagination of the public like few thoroughbreds before or since. “He left the other horses for dead,” commentator Derek Thompson recalled. “He was surreal. He crossed that line of instant recognition where he wasn’t just a racehorse anymore, he was a superstar.”
When his owner, the Aga Khan, decided to retire the three-year old prodigy to his Kildare stud at the height of his glory in Sep 1981, a measure of his impact on Irish pride resulted in a civic reception in Newbridge, where he paraded the length of the town to the cheers of hundreds who turned out to applaud this remarkable creature.
Two years later, the five-year-old Shergar was about to enter his second season in stud when the audacious, and ultimately tragic, kidnapping happened on a foggy evening, 30 years ago this week.
Though he hadn’t raced in two years, the exploits of this ‘wonder horse’ still occupied much media space, now for his post-track success as a breeding stallion where he covered 35 mares in his first season at fees up to £80,000 a time. He was syndicated for £10m, divided into 40 shares worth £250,000 each, six of which the Aga Khan kept for himself.
Despite the ongoing troubles in the North, security around most stud farms in Ireland was minimal in those days, and Ballymany was no exception.
It was 8.30pm when head groom Jim Fitzgerald, 53, who lived at the stud, heard a knock on his door. When his son Bernard opened the door, three armed men wearing masks burst in. “We’re here for Shergar. We want £2m for him,” the terrified family were told.
Having begun his working life at Ballymany aged 16, Jim followed his father, also head groom before him. Succeeding his father in the late 1960s, he developed an instant affinity with the horse who would go on to create racing history. “It was easy to like Shergar,” he recalled. “He settled in well and he was a nice horse to do anything with. We cared for them all to the best of our ability.”
The raiders led him into the stable yard at gunpoint, as his wife Madge and the two youngest of their six children, Patrick, 8, and Gillian, 5, were held in the house.
Moving quickly, they led Shergar to a horsebox attached to a waiting car with four other gang members inside, while the head groom was bundled into a second vehicle. His wife was warned her husband would be killed if she gave the alarm. Mr Fitzgerald remembers most of the gang being in a state of excitement, brandishing guns and shouting abuse. “All sorts of thoughts were racing through my head about what they might do to me. One of them, with a revolver, was very aggressive.” He also remembers one of them saying “sorry” to him.
Driven around the back roads of Kildare for over three hours, Mr Fitzgerald was finally released just outside Kilcock village, about 30km from Ballymany. “They told me not to look back, and I didn’t,” he recalled.
“I was just happy to be on the ground.”
Walking into the town, he telephoned his brother, Des, to collect him. Returning to the stud just before midnight to find his family shaken but safe, he then rang the French stud manager, Ghislain Drion, who immediately called Stan Cosgrove, Shergar’s vet and a member of the owning syndicate.
Mr Cosgrave then rang Captain Seán Berry, chairman of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, who in turn phoned his neighbour, the recently appointed finance minister, Alan Dukes.
“They were obviously in a very agitated state,” Mr Dukes recalled. “The horse had disappeared and nobody knew where it was gone. I said they should call the police immediately which they did pretty soon after that.”
Given that Dukes was due to present his very first budget later that morning, he was keen to pass the reins of this groundbreaking event to other, more appropriate, hands. “I was woken up at three in the morning and you’re not too lucid in those circumstances, but I knew I wanted to have this particular chalice pass from me, so I said who I can shift the burden to?” The obvious choice was his colleague Michael Noonan, the recently appointed justice minister.
Time was of the essence, and gardaí were a vital eight hours behind the events. The kidnappers could have been anywhere in the country, or even overseas, by the time the gardaí were finally notified. The difficulties were compounded by the timing of the raid — happening on the same day as the biggest horse sale of the year at the nearby Goff’s. With dozens of horseboxes already travelling on the roads and lanes of Leinster, the raiders and their precious cargo had already become the proverbial pin in the haystack for their pursuers.
While appeals were made to farmers to check their outbuildings and lands for suspicious vehicles or activity, it served only to compound the logistics with numerous sightings and theories wasting vital police time.
By the afternoon of the following day, the story was making news headlines around the world. Within days, crews and reporters from all the major global news agencies were descending on Newbridge.
One of those who emerged as a personality was Inspector Jim ‘Spud’ Murphy, the local garda in charge of the case. “A stallion cannot be kept by people who are not well up in the horsey field,” he told the world’s press reporters.
On another occasion, he said: “We have got a good description, but what we haven’t got is a clue.” With his trademark trilby hat, he earned the soubriquet ‘Inspector Clouseau’. At one point, he confided that the gardaí were open to outside help with their enquiries: “We are working with diviners, clairvoyants, and psychics, we must be running up to 50 in all three categories at this point.”
While Insp Murphy provided some light relief in a search yielding no clear answers, much media speculation focused on the possibility that the Dublin and Kildare forces reportedly refused to share information and believed they were in direct competition.
In a case that became as baffling as it was bizarre, two groups of kidnappers appeared to emerge over the following days. Within hours of the abduction in Kildare, Co Down horse breeder, Judy Maxwell, received a phone call from an individual claiming to have Shergar and demanding a £40,000 ransom. This was followed by a call to the BBC in Belfast, asking that three, well-known racing journalists — John Oaksey of the Sunday Telegraph, Peter Campling from The Sun, and ITV’s Derek Thompson — would come to Belfast to negotiate. All three turned up at The Europa Hotel, as instructed, to receive a call from an anonymous voice directing them to the Maxwells’ farm. Eventually, they received a call at 3am telling them all negotiations had been cancelled as there had been an accident and Shergar was dead.
Meanwhile, across the border at Ballymany Stud, another anonymous individual using the code name, King Neptune, which had been given to Mr Fitzgerald during his abduction, opened another negotiation. He demanded £2m and a number for the Aga Khan’s office in Paris. Numerous calls to Paris followed, but as the Aga Khan’s office needed unanimous agreement from Shergar’s diverse syndicate, it proved impossible to reach an agreement. Paying any ransom would give out the wrong message, went the thinking, all other studs in Ireland’s bloodstock industry would be under threat. “They’re asking for £2m, but they won’t get 2m farthings,” said racing commentator John McCricrick. “The Aga Khan is in no position to pay them.”
In another twist, Ballymany vet and syndicate member Stan Cosgrove was told to go to the Crofton Hotel in Dublin and pick up an envelope using the name of Eurovision winner, Johnny Logan. The envelope contained a picture of Shergar’s head next to a current copy of a Belfast newspaper.
However, the Aga Khan’s office was not satisfied and demanded a full standing shot of the horse as ultimate assurance he had not been harmed. No such photograph was ever forthcoming. It marked the end of the negotiations, and the last contact made by the kidnappers.
After 30 years, the mystery of what happened ‘the world’s greatest racehorse’ seems no closer to being solved.The theories
Theories over who had kidnapped Shergar have been as plentiful as they were fanciful over the years. Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi figured prominently in the early days, with some suggesting the IRA had kidnapped the horse in return for weapons.
Others suggested Gaddafi wanted Shergar to enhance his profile as part of his plan to become leader of the Islamic people, rather than the Aga Khan, the direct descendant of the prophet Mohamed.
Another theory involved the US Mafia, who had loaned French bloodstock dealer Jean Michel Gambet a substantial sum to purchase a horse from the Aga Khan. The deal eventually collapsed, with Gambet having gambled away the mob’s money. He was eventually found shot through the head in a car in Kentucky.
The Mafia still believed they were owed a horse and farmed out the kidnap of Shergar to local criminals in Ireland.
Like an equine Lord Lucan, sightings of Shergar emerged for many years after his kidnapping. Fanciful tales of the horse being put to stud at secret locations in the Middle East competed with stories he had been smuggled to Asia as the personal pet of a billionaire.
On one occasion, a horse’s head with two bullet holes was discovered in undergrowth at Foley’s Glen, outside Tralee, during a clean-up operation. But forensic testing proved it was the head of a two-year-old.
Much credence is given to former IRA member-turned-informer Seán O’Callaghan’s belief that Shergar was shot within hours of being kidnapped after he became aggressive in the horsebox and broke his leg.
Tallying with that phone call to the Maxwells’ stud the day after the kidnap saying the horse was dead, his comments carry some weight.
“They had to kill him because they obviously couldn’t call a vet, they had the most recognisable horse in the world on their hands,” he said.
“It was a total cock-up from start to finish.”
GERRY MORIARTY, Northern EditorIrish Times
30 Jan 2013Joe McCann - Photo from THE LOST REVOLUTION: THE STORY OF THE OFFICIAL IRA AND THE WORKERS PARTY by Brian Hanley & Scott MillarThe killing of Official IRA commander Joe McCann, who was shot dead by British paratroopers in the Markets area of central Belfast over 40 years ago, was not justified, according to an inquiry by the North’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET).
McCann was viewed as a leading IRA member by the British army and RUC. Aged 24, he was shot as he was running away from British soldiers in April 1972 after being spotted by RUC Special Branch officers. He was in disguise and unarmed at the time.‘Should have been arrested’
His wife, Anne, and four children yesterday acknowledged that he was a senior IRA figure but asserted the HET report established that he could and should have been arrested rather than shot. “He should have been arrested at the time,” said Ms McCann, who now lives in Galway.
McCann was something of an icon among republicans in the early days of the Troubles.
He took the Official rather than the Provisional IRA side as the IRA split into two factions in 1969/1970. He was involved in the 1972 attempt on the life of the then unionist Stormont minister John Taylor, now Lord Kilclooney, who survived to lead an active political and business life.
The interim HET report noted how RUC special branch officers recognised him in the Markets area and sought the assistance of British paratroopers who were nearby. When confronted, McCann ran, and evidence at the time from a police officer, soldiers, an anonymous witness and a local shopkeeper “was that they shouted at Joe to stop or they would open fire”.
The HET report continued: “One of the soldiers then fired two warning shots into a wall above his head. He did not stop and all three soldiers fired at him as he ran, hitting him with two or three bullets.”
As he lay dying he said to the soldiers who were searching him words to the effect, “ ‘you’ve got me cold, I’ve no weapon’,” the report added.
The HET found that the original investigation into the killing was “flawed” and overall they ruled: “Even though one of the soldiers said he thought Joe was leading them into an ambush the HET considers that Joe’s actions did not amount to the level of specific threat which could have justified the soldiers opening fire in accordance with . . . standard operating procedures.”
28 Jan 2013The anniversary march was the first since the PSNI said it was opening a new investigation into Bloody SundayUp to 3,000 people have attended a march in Derry to mark the 41st anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when 14 civilians were killed after British army paratroopers opened fired on a civil rights demonstration in the Bogside area.
At Free Derry Corner the crowds were addressed by Bernadette McAliskey, who had been the main speaker at the Bloody Sunday rally in 1972.
This was the first commemoration in Derry since the PSNI confirmed last month that it is opening what it says will be a lengthy and complex investigation into the events of 1972.
That decision by the police followed the Saville Public Inquiry into Bloody Sunday and after an apology was given to the victims and their families by British Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons.
Earlier, on the other side of Derry city, several hundred people attended a loyalist protest linked to the ongoing Union flag controversy.
This weekend also marks the 8th anniversary of the killing of Robert McCartney.
He was an innocent man who was attacked when attempting to intervene in a row in a Belfast bar.
The clientele there include a group who had earlier attended a Bloody Sunday commemoration in Derry.
Nobody has ever been brought to justice for Mr McCartney's murder.
28 Jan 2013Up to 500 republicans from across Ireland attended the funeral of Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price today.
Her sister, Marian, who is in prison accused of dissident republican activity, was not at the service at St Agnes Church in Andersonstown, west Belfast.
Price, 62, was an unrepentant republican hard-liner who fell out with Sinn Féin after the party endorsed the peace process, encouraged the IRA to give up its guns and embraced power-sharing with unionists at Stormont.
No public representatives from the mainstream republican movement were at the ceremony.
In his address, Father Raymond Murray, who had been prison chaplain at Armagh jail, told mourners that Price and her sister were like bosom twins.
He said: “Dolours’ family can relate her nature and her talent, both of which is outside the knowledge and understanding of those who did not know her personally.
“She was clever and witty, full of fun and held people enthralled by her conversation.
“She was very devoted to her parents. Her mother, Chrissie, died on February 1, 1975.
“Their mother never saw Dolours or Marian back in Ireland. They did not get compassionate leave from prison in England to attend her funeral.
“A week afterwards they were repatriated to Ireland but that grief of not seeing her mother meant she never found closure.”
Price’s father, Albert, had also been a prominent IRA member and was interned by the Irish Government at the Curragh Camp during the 1950s.
Black flags were erected on lampposts across Andersonstown today.
There was also a visible police presence in the area.
Price, the former wife of actor Stephen Rea, was convicted and jailed along with her sister for the 1973 car bomb attack on London’s Central Criminal Court in which one man died and more than 200 people were injured.
She spent eight years in jail including several weeks on hunger strike before being released in 1980.
In recent years she clashed with Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams over her allegations that he had been her IRA Officer Commanding during the early 1970s.
Among those who took part in today’s funeral service was Hugh Feeney, who was also jailed in connection with the Old Bailey bombing.
Price consistently claimed that Mr Adams, now a Louth TD, ordered the kidnap and killing of Jean McConville in 1972.
The Catholic mother-of-10 was among dozens of people – later known as the Disappeared – who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republican militants during the Troubles.
Mr Adams has always denied being a member of the IRA. He said he was saddened by Price’s death.
Although Ed Moloney maintains that Dolours Price never once mentioned Jean McConville by name in her Boston College taped interviews, as the following link from Slugger O'Toole explains:
'Dolours Price’s death does
offers the opportunity for her taped testimony and interviews with Anthony McIntyre to finally be released and published in book or documentary form in the short to medium term.'
For the article with many relevant links to other sources, please go here: Death of Dolours Price... at Slugger O'Toole
Gardaí investigate after former IRA veteran, 62, dies at home
24 Jan 2013Dolours Price, left, with her sister Marion in Belfast in 1972. (Photograph: PA Archive/Press Association Image)Dolours Price, the IRA Old Bailey bomber who later became a bitter critic of Sinn Féin's peace strategy, has been found dead at her home in north Dublin.
The Garda Síochána are investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of the former Irish republican icon in her apartment in Malahide, although she had been in general ill health.
Republican sources confirmed to the Guardian that the former IRA veteran, 62, who was once married to the Hollywood actor Stephen Rea, had died at her home.
Price was involved in a car bombing at the Old Bailey in 1973, which injured more than 200 people and may have led to one person's death of heart failure. The ex-IRA prisoner, who went on hunger strike with her sister Marion in the 1970s and was subjected to force feeding in English prisons, had struggled with alcohol problems later in life.
She became an arch critic of Gerry Adams, claiming the Sinn Féin president had ordered her to have one of the most famous victims of the IRA – Jean McConville – abducted from her west Belfast home, murdered across the border in the Republic and buried in secret in 1972.
Price alleged that she was given the task of driving McConville, a widow, away from her 10 children in the Divis flats complex to her death on the Co Louth coast. McConville became the most famous of the "Disappeared" – IRA victims whom the organisation killed and buried in secret during the Troubles.
Price claimed Adams had set up a secret IRA unit in Belfast to weed out informers both in its ranks and within the nationalist community who were helping the security forces. The Sinn Féin Louth TD, one of the key architects of the Northern Ireland peace process, has consistently denied her allegations.
In an interview with CBS television in the United States last year, Price repeated her claims about Adams and McConville. She said: "I drove away Jean McConville. I don't know who gave the instructions to execute her. Obviously it was decided between the general headquarters staff and the people in Belfast. Gerry Adams would have been part of that negotiation as to what was to happen to her.
"I had a call one night and Adams was in a house down the Falls Road and she had been arrested by Cumann [the IRA's female unit] women and held for a couple of days. She got into my car and as far as she was concerned she was being taken away by the Legion of Mary to a place of safety.
"It wasn't my decision to disappear her, thank God. All I had to do was drive her from Belfast to Dundalk. I even got her fish and chips and cigarettes before I left her."
Price was unrepentant about her alleged role in the disappearance and death of McConville.
Marion Price, also a fierce critic of the direction the IRA and Sinn Féin took during the peace process, is in Maghaberry prison in Northern Ireland, where she is facing terrorist-related charges.
By Ken Foy and Cormac MurphyIndependent.ie
24 January 2013CONVICTED republican terrorist Dolours Price has died suddenly at her Co Dublin home.
Gardai are investigating after the veteran republican - and former wife of well known actor Stephen Rea - was found dead from a suspected drugs overdose in Malahide, north Co Dublin.
It is understood that the body of Ms Price (62) - was found at her home on St Margaret's Road in Malahide at around 10pm.
Gardai say that there is nothing to indicate suspicious circumstances in relation to the sudden death of the well known Republican activist who had been in bad health for some time.
Price - who is believed to have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder - was a convicted IRA car bomber who took part in a bombing attack on London's famous Old Bailey Court in 1973 in which more than 200 people were injured.
A senior source said: “She was found unconscious on her bed last night by her son. She has taken overdoses before so that is what is being looked at.”
A post mortem is due to take place on her body at the Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown later today.
Dolours' sister, Marian Price, is a known associate of murdered Real IRA boss Alan Ryan.
The two sisters joined the IRA following the reintroduction of internment in 1971.
Marian Price (58) served seven years in prison for the 1973 Old Bailey bombings but was released in 1980.
Dolours was sentenced to life in 1973, but released on compassionate grounds in 1980.
In 1983, Dolours married the actor Stephen Rea, who was one of the voices dubbed over that of Gerry Adams during the 1980s broadcasting ban in Britain.
The couple, who have two sons together, divorced in 2003.
She remained politically active and during the late 1990s spoke out against the Good Friday Agreement.
Price later claimed to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being force-fed in jail and attempted suicide on a number of occasions.
Dolours herself was a convicted IRA bomber who more recently accused Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams of personally ordering abductions.
She had made numerous claims relating to Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams alleged IRA membership and terrorist activities.
Mr Adams was forced to deny claims made by her that he was a central figure in an IRA decision in the early 1970s to launch a bombing campaign in Britain.
She believed the Louth TD betrayed the republic movement by supporting the Northern Ireland peace process.
Former IRA bomber Dolours Price described how Mr Adams ordered her to ferry captives, including Ms McConville, across the Border to be murdered.
Though Mr Adams vehemently denied the claims, Ms Price also spoke about how he approved the IRA's bombing campaign in mainland Britain.
Ms Price came from a staunch republican background -- her father Albert was interned by the Irish government in the Curragh Camp in the 1950s for IRA activity.
Her aunt, Bridie Dolan, was also an active republican who was blinded when explosives she was handling went off prematurely.
**Imagine my surprise after reading this interesting tribute to Arthur Quinlan by Roy Greenslade in the Guardian to find that an article I had re-posted over 8 years ago from the Scotsman via the I.R.B.B. was one of the sources Mr Greenslade listed. I was delighted, since I often ask myself why I have spent almost a decade re-posting news. The simple answer is that it has been a sure-fire way for me to educate myself as well as to make sure that many of the articles are still available when sites disappear, move abruptly, delete things or go behind paywalls. I don't post much anymore because it seems history is unfortunately repeating itself and people appear to have learned nothing from the past, which makes me sad. If something interests me, however, I put it up. This article by Mr Greenslade interested me.
_____On the evening of March 13 1965, a man whose face was soon to become one of most famous in the world walked unrecognised into Hanratty's Hotel in Limerick.
Che Guevara, for it was he, had been forced to spend a night in Ireland when his plane made an unscheduled stopover at Shannon airport after developing mechanical trouble. He had been flying with Cuban government officials and friends from Prague to Havana.
Though a writer in Ireland's (now defunct) Sunday Tribune described the surprise visit by the Latin American revolutionary as "one of the great missed scoops of Irish journalism" one reporter was on hand to interview Guevara. That was Arthur Quinlan, the self-styled "Shannon airport correspondent" who died, aged 92, just before Christmas. And his story duly appeared on the front page of the Limerick Leader.Continue reading >>here
**I am posting this and asking for you to please keep Ryan in your thoughts and prayers. If everyone who sees this could please send out some positive energy for Ryan and his family in whatever way you can, whether it be prayers, good thoughts, best wishes or just anything positive, I know it would help. Thank you so much. BBC
31 Dec 2012The family of a teenager who had his legs amputated after complications following a heart transplant, say they have been "overwhelmed" by support from the community in Dungiven, County Derry.
Hundreds of people turned out on Sunday for a fundraising walk for the teenager.Ryan O'Connor is currently in hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Ryan's aunt, Tricia Harkin, said he is an heroic figure.
"He was born with a congenital heart disease.
"In the last year his heart started to deteriorate and he did need a transplant.
"He has been in Newcastle for 15 weeks and five weeks ago he got the news that a donor had been found.
"This was all Ryan wanted, a new heart and a new start.
"But he had early complications which caused circulation problems and we just received devastating news that his legs couldn't be saved."
Ryan's mother and father are with him at the hospital in Newcastle, and Tricia is in constant touch with them.
She said: "At the moment he isn't too good.
"He has suffered a bleed to the brain and there has been no change for the last week or so.
"The doctors are hoping that the bleed might disperse itself but really only time will tell."
Tricia said the family are taking comfort from the numbers who turned out for Sunday's sponsored walk.
"It was absolutely amazing.
"There were so many strangers there, people we will probably never know but we'd like to thank them for turning out on such a bad day. We were absolutely overwhelmed.Ryan with the Olympic torch
"Ryan is very special, he has touched so many hearts and I am looking forward to all those people meeting him.
"He has been so brave and so positive.
"Last summer he had the honour of carrying the Olympic torch.
"It was fantastic, he carried it through Ballykelly where his granny and grandad are from..
"He was quite sick at that time as well but it was amazing for his family to see him do it."
ÁINE McMAHONIrish Times
31 Dec 2012A Mass and commemoration service was held in Belturbet, Co Cavan, yesterday to mark the bombing that claimed the lives of two teenagers there 40 years ago.
On December 28th, 1972, a car bomb exploded in the town, killing local girl Geraldine O’Reilly (15) and Paddy Stanley (16) from Clara, Co Offaly. She was buying chips when the bomb went off. He was in a phone box talking to his parents.
Others were injured in the explosion and the bomb devastated the small border town. A loyalist group is alleged to have been responsible, but no one has ever been charged. A monument was erected in 2007 on the site of the bomb.
The victims’ families continue to press for an inquiry into the bombings, and the call was repeated by the Justice for the Forgotten group yesterday. Sinn Féin TD for Cavan Monaghan Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called on Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to release the files in his department on the incident.
The call came after it emerged yesterday that a Freedom of Information request by RTÉ's This Week
programme had been refused by the Department of Justice.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - PRESS RELEASE – 12 DECEMBER 2012
The British prime minister, David Cameron, has today described loyalist/state collusion revealed in the de Silva review relating to the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane as “unbelievably ghastly”.
The Pat Finucane Centre, however, believes those words would be better applied to the British government’s continuing refusal to establish a full, public, independent inquiry.
Cameron is pushing the line that there was no “over-arching” state conspiracy into Pat Finucane’s murder, yet:
1. The UDA, whose gunmen (including RUC agent Ken Barrett) murdered Pat, whose “intelligence” unit was headed by a British military agent (Brian Nelson) and whose “quarter-master” (Billy Stobie) provided the weapon used (stolen from a British Army barracks in Holywood, County Down) was a legal organisation at the time of the murder.
It took a further three years before the UDA was banned. The Pat Finucane Centre has uncovered documents showing that, as far back as the early 1970’s, the UDA was viewed as a “release valve” for “Protestant extremists”.
2. In January 1992, the then Department of Public Prosecutions reached a deal (effectively a cover-up), allowing Nelson to plead guilty to five counts of conspiracy to murder. This prevented the courts examining his activities as a British military agent. Nelson was given a derisory ten year prison term.
3. The man who acted as Nelson’s “handler” and who gave him a glowing character reference during the 1992 court hearing was Brigadier Gordon Kerr who became head of the Force Research Unit in 1987, two years before Pat Finucane’s murder.
In 1997 (eight years after Pat Finucane’s murder), Kerr was promoted and became Britain’s military attaché in Beijing, where he was awarded an OBE. He also holds the Queen’s Medal for Gallantry. Two weeks after he was identified in the Stevens Report into collusion in the murder of Pat Finucane, Tony Blair sent him to Iraq. He has never been charged with a single offence.
Pat Finucane was stalked by a British military agent who was then given effective immunity by the office of the DPP. The gun used to murder him was of British military origin. It was supplied by one RUC agent and fired by another RUC agent.
Pat Finucane’s murder was authorised and carried out by state agents. What more evidence is needed before London grants the public inquiry demanded by the Finucane family?
 Photocopy of document retrieved from British National Archives available from our offices on requestPaul O'ConnorPFC
Unit B8, Ráth Mór Centre
Bligh's Lane, Derry, BT48 0LZ
Tel: 028 71268846PFC Contacts:
Armagh: 028-37515191 firstname.lastname@example.org
Derry: 028-71268846 email@example.com
Dublin: +35318554300 firstname.lastname@example.org
PM says report highlights 'shocking levels of collusion' with terrorists in Northern Ireland, but widow labels report a sham
Henry McDonald and Owen BowcottGuardian
12 Dec 2012>>VIDEO: The prime minister, David Cameron, makes a statement in the House of Commons on collusion between British security forces and loyalist terrorists David Cameron has apologised to the family of the murdered Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane and agreed that there was state collusion between police officers and soldiers and his loyalist killers.
Launching the De Silva report (see this post)
into one of the most divisive murders of the Northern Ireland Troubles, the prime minister said there were "shocking levels of collusion" in the killing. Cameron told the House of Commons that the depth of the co-operation between the security forces and Finucane's loyalist killers was "unacceptable".
Addressing parliament, Cameron said that "on the balance of probability", an officer or officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) did propose Finucane as a target to loyalist terrorists.
He did, however, deny there was any overarching conspiracy to use loyalists to target members of the nationalist community or active republicans.
However, Finucane's widow, Geraldine, was scathing about the report, describing it as a "sham … a whitewash … a confidence trick. Most insulting of all, this report is not the truth."
"Yet another British government has engineered the suppression of the truth about the murder of my husband, Pat Finucane," she told a press conference.
The prime minister admitted that the report made for "extremely difficult reading" in regard to Sir Desmond de Silva's findings, such as the revelation that 80% of the Ulster Defence Association's intelligence information came from official state sources.
The UDA was responsible for shooting Finucane dead in front of his family at their north Belfast home in February 1989. His family and human rights campaigners have insisted over the past 23 years that there was collaboration between the UDA in west and north Belfast and members of the security forces.
The De Silva report concluded that British army agent handlers "deliberately" helped loyalist gunmen select their targets in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.
But ministers may have been unaware that Finucane was being lined up for assassination, De Silva said.
The legal supervision of agents in paramilitary gangs was nonetheless woefully inadequate and the high-level ignorance was possibly intentional, his report said.
"There was a wilful and abject failure by successive governments to provide the clear policy and legal framework necessary for agent-handling operations to take place effectively within the law," he said.
"The system appears to have facilitated political deniability in relation to such operations, rather than creating mechanisms for an appropriate level of political oversight."
Those who directed and took part in the murder of Finucane were mainly agents and informers working for the army's Force Research Unit (FRU).
De Silva's report shows the RUC was aware of two previous plans to kill Finucane earlier in the 1980s but did not notify him of the threat.
"Notwithstanding the apparent seriousness of the threat to Finucane's life," the report says, "the decision was taken by RUC special branch, supported by the Irish Joint Section (of MI5 and MI6), to take no action to warn or otherwise protect him because to do so could compromise an agent from whom the intelligence derived."
It adds, in reference to another solicitor suspected of having links to paramilitaries: "Steps were often not taken to secure the protection of those who were considered to be a thorn in the side of the security forces during this period of the Troubles."
Addressing the Finucane family, who were in London for the report's launch, the prime minister said he was "deeply sorry" in relation to the scandal. However, he tried to exonerate the former Tory cabinet minister Douglas Hogg over comments he made prior to the Finucane murder in which Hogg said some solicitors in Northern Ireland were unduly sympathetic to the IRA.
The prime minister insisted that Hogg made his remark because of briefings he had received back then. The comments Hogg made were not intended to encourage people to attack Finucane, according to De Silva, Cameron added.
Amnesty International, however, said the De Silva review had failed the Finucane family and had not delivered them justice.
Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty's director in Northern Ireland, said: "The Finucanes, and indeed the public, have been fobbed off with a 'review of the paperwork' – which reneges on repeated commitments by the British government and falls short of the UK's obligations under international law.
"It is unacceptable and Amnesty, his family and the public should not settle for anything other than the full and independent investigation that this case, and Patrick Finucane's memory, warrants. The state has accepted that there was collusion in Patrick Finucane's killing. Those responsible must be held accountable."
The prime minister said he "respectfully disagreed" with the Finucane family over their demand for a full, independent public inquiry and cited the cost of the Bloody Sunday tribunal as one reason for opposing it.
He also accepted that RUC special branch was "responsible for seriously obstructing the investigation".
One of the security force whistleblowers in the Finucane case, the ex-military intelligence officer Ian Hurst, who belonged to a secretive army unit running agents inside the UDA, said there was little chance of either police or military handlers or their loyalist informers facing the courts. He has faced charges of breaching the Official Secrets Act for leaking information about the role of army intelligence in running agents within the UDA who committed crimes including the targeting of Finucane.
"There is as much chance of that happening as there is of Sir Jimmy Savile returning as a saint and making love to the Queen," Hurst told the Guardian.
He said he backed "100%" the Finucanes' demand for a full, independent inquiry.
"They should be entitled to the whole truth, not a version of it," the ex-intelligence officer added.
In his speech to the Commons, the prime minister said that both RUC special branch and the army group Hurst once belonged to, the FRU, had advance notice of assassinations the UDA was planning but took no action.
One of the agents who was centrally involved in the Finucane murder plot was Brian Nelson, the UDA's so-called intelligence officer at the time. FRU officers provided Nelson with intelligence files on IRA and republican suspects, which the former soldier then passed on to his UDA colleagues.
On the army's role, Cameron told MPs that the military and Ministry of Defence officials provided ministers with "misleading and in parts factually inaccurate advice about the Force Research Unit's handling of Nelson".
Nelson was certainly not alone in terms of informants working inside the UDA. At least 29 members of the UDA in north and west Belfast were informers for at least one or more security force agencies at the time Finucane was shot dead.
Intriguingly, the prime minister during his speech admitted that the attorney general in John Major's government was under "considerable political pressure to ensure Nelson was not prosecuted". Cameron said Sir Patrick Mayhew deserved credit for resisting these demands to protect the agent inside the UDA.
Opposition politicians also expressed their dismay over the Finucane scandal and De Silva's findings. Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Liberal Democrat leader, said he had never heard a statement in the Commons that filled him with more "revulsion" than the prime minister's address.
By Fiach Kelly and Fionnan SheahanIndependent.ie
December 12 2012TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has challenged Gerry Adams to "tell the truth" about the death of Jean McConville and also appeared to link Sinn Fein to the Northern Bank robbery.
In a strong attack on the Sinn Fein president, Mr Kenny said it was time Mr Adams told the truth about his past, specifically mentioning the mother of 10 who was murdered by the IRA.
"I would love to hear you speak the truth about some elements of your past," he said.
"You might some day tell the truth about the tragedy and the remorse and about the compassion that should have been shown for Jean McConville. Maybe you might do that, Deputy Adams," he added.
Mr Adams asked Mr Kenny withdraw the remark, but the Taoiseach refused. Mr Kenny also raised the Northern Bank raid in response to Mr Adams' claims about ministers being "millionaires".
"Deputy Adams has made a disgraceful comment about the ministers here today. I assure him that none of these people was funded by the Northern Bank or by the assets of the Northern Bank," he said.
The Dail was suspended after a furious row erupted between Mr Kenny and Mr Adams over the disappearance of Ms McConville.
Mr Adams was criticising Mr Kenny, Fine Gael and Labour over the harsh measures contained in the Budget.
But Mr Kenny told Mr Adams he wished he could detail the exact details of the Sinn Fein leader's past. The spat led Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett to suspend the house for 10 minutes. Mr Adams again protested when the Dail resumed.
Mr Adams has repeatedly denied he was a member of the IRA and rejects allegations of involvement in the murder of Ms McConville.Disappeared
However, earlier this year, former IRA bomber Dolours Price described how Mr Adams ordered her to ferry captives, including Ms McConville, across the border to be murdered.
Ms McConville was the most notorious of the cases of the so-called Disappeared, victims murdered by the IRA and whose bodies were then hidden south of the border.
Mr Adams has faced repeated calls to make a Dail statement on Ms McConville's disappearance. The Sinn Fein leadership has also denied any knowledge of the Northern Bank raid in December 2004.
Leaked US Embassy diplomatic cables revealed former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was "certain" that Mr Adams and Martin McGuinness had advance knowledge of the Northern Bank raid.
A leaked dispatch reports that Mr Ahern was convinced the Sinn Fein pair had known of the £26.5m (€33.3m) robbery in 2004 because they were members of the "IRA military command".
The cable is dated February 4, 2005 and is among a batch released by WikiLeaks.
10 Dec 2012Michael Finucane said he was not surprised to learn the gun that killed his father was given back to the British Army by the RUCA pistol used in the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was handed back to the British Army by the RUC, previously unpublished papers show.
New details about collusion between the RUC and the loyalist killers who targeted the 38-year-old in 1989 have been revealed in a report.
The unseen chapter from the Stevens Inquiry is highly critical of the RUC's "inadequate" investigation in the case and found officers deliberately destroyed vital evidence, while exhibits and records could not be found and fingerprints at the scene were not compared against suspects.
It stated one of two murder weapons, a Browning pistol, was recovered by police but then given back to the British army, from where it had previously been stolen by loyalists.
Mr Finucane's son Michael said he is not surprised by the revelations.
"Unfortunately, many other families are in a similar position to ourselves where they are finding out after the fact because the material has been held back for so long, that what they were told was a diligent and efficient and effective investigation was in fact anything but," he said.
Four chapters of a report by Sir John Stevens were published in 2003.
In the newly-released nine-page chapter six, entitled Murder Investigation, Mr Stevens criticised the handling of the murder weapon by the RUC.
"This was not a case of administrative oversight, or even some loss occasioned by a lack of care," he wrote.
"I believe it was a clear and deliberate decision to relinquish control of a key exhibit, resulting in the destruction of vital evidence.
"The lack of records has prevented the identification of the person responsible for this decision.
"The potential consequences of this particular disposal are obvious, with allegations made from the start of collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries.
"The face that the firearm, when recovered, was found to have originated from the army no doubt fuelled that suspicion."
Stevens added the decision not only compromised a key exhibit, but also put any solider using it legally at risk of being implicated.
Chapter six was released following a four-year battle by RTE reporter Richard Dowling under the Freedom of Information Act in the UK.
Its contents emerged as a mural to commemorate the continuing legacy of Mr Finucane was unveiled close to where he grew up in west Belfast and days before a new report into his death is published.
His widow Geraldine has vowed to keep up a campaign for a full public inquiry into the gun attack regardless of the findings of the review, being carried out by Sir Desmond de Silva.
The Catholic father-of-three was shot dead when loyalist UDA/UFF gunmen used sledgehammers to burst in through the front door of his home in north Belfast in February 1989.
Chapter six also examined the RUC's handling of the investigation into Brian Adam Lambert, a Protestant killed by loyalists who mistook him for a Catholic.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams described Mr Finucane as a remarkable, extraordinary and courageous Irishman.
He also condemned the British government's repudiation of the 2001 Weston Park agreement between the Irish and British governments which endorsed a public inquiry and their setting up of the de Silva review.
"Whatever the outcome of the de Silva review all of us have a duty to fully support the Finucane family's response to it. The family's demand for a full, transparent and accountable public inquiry is reasonable,' Mr Adams said at the unveiling of the mural.
The politician recently revealed the de Silva review has also uncovered a loyalist plot to kill him.