5 Dec 2013Northern Ireland police are investigating claims soldiers attached to an undercover unit in Belfast in the 1970s killed unarmed civilians.
Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris revealed the news to the Policing Board.
He said a previous investigation into the Military Reaction Force (MRF) had spoken to 350 witnesses and saw several soldiers questioned under caution.
Files had been sent to the then Director of Public Prosecutions.
He said following a Panorama programme last month, detectives were looking at the broadcast and reviewing the "very extensive" case papers.
The outcome would then be sent to the Public Prosecution Service for advice on any further steps.
"This is the start of the reinvestigation of this case," Mr Harris said.
Panorama was told the MRF was tasked with "hunting down" IRA members in Belfast.
Three former MRF soldiers, who were speaking publicly for the first time, said that on some occasions they opened fire on targets in the streets of Belfast without actually seeing the person they shot holding a weapon.
Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr told the Policing Board the unnamed organiser of last Saturday's flags parade in Belfast city centre has been spoken to by police and will be prosecuted for breaches of the parades commission determination
Policeman appeared on TV displaying captured IRA weapons after SAS operation Irish Times
4 Dec 2013Judge Peter Smithwick said: “Either the IRA did have an extraordinary piece of good fortune, or Harry Breen [above] was the target of this operation. I believe that the evidence points to the latter conclusion.”The fate of Chief Supt Harry Breen, the most senior RUC officer to be killed in the Troubles, was sealed the day he appeared on television displaying the IRA weapons recovered after the SAS ambush at Loughgall that killed eight IRA members and an innocent civilian.
That was the implicit finding of Judge Peter Smithwick in his monumental 1,652-page report into the murders of Chief Supt Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan in an ambush just north of the Border near Jonesborough in south Armagh on the afternoon of March 20th, 1989. ‘Classic IRA operation’
Three IRA members previously and privately in a statement and without the benefit of cross-examination informed Judge Smithwick’s tribunal that the killings were a “classic IRA operation” that involved “no help from anyone at all”.
Judge Smithwick made clear yesterday he did not believe them. His inquiry did not uncover “direct evidence of collusion” but found that one or more unidentified members of the gardaí operating in Dundalk did collude with the IRA, providing information that helped lead to the deaths of the two policemen.
But Chief Supt Breen was the chief target, Judge Smithwick appeared certain. Between August 1988 and the time of the ambush in March the following year Supt Buchanan had travelled on business to Dundalk station 20 or 21 times and was not targeted by the IRA. The judge could only identify one of those occasions – in February 1989 – in which Chief Supt Breen was with him.
Based on his “pattern of travel” IRA members could have tried to kill Supt Buchanan several times but it was Chief Supt Breen they wanted.‘Target of this operation’
Referring to March 20th, Judge Smithwick reported: “Either the IRA did have an extraordinary piece of good fortune, or Harry Breen was the target of this operation. I believe that the evidence points to the latter conclusion.”
His central findings kept coming back to Loughgall. He believed “that the vast majority of the evidence suggests that the intention was to abduct and interrogate these officers”.
“In the latter respect, the evidence keeps pointing back to the desire of the IRA to acquire information as to how the British security services had gotten advance warning of the IRA ambush on Loughgall police station in May 1987,” he reported.
An IRA informant is almost certain to have tipped off the RUC or MI5 or British army intelligence about the planned Loughgall attack. That led to the IRA’s single worst loss of life when eight men were killed by the waiting SAS, with an innocent man also killed in the relentless gunfire. Judge Smithwick was of the view that the IRA wanted to interrogate Chief Supt Breen to establish the identity of that informant or possibly informants.
The evidence to the tribunal indicates that the IRA may also have had revenge on its mind. In a written statement to the tribunal in February three anonymous IRA members said the “instructions to the ASU [active service unit] were to intercept the car and arrest the occupants, but if that was not possible then they were to ensure that neither occupant escaped”.
The IRA said the two unarmed officers “died instantly in gunfire”. That account did not quite tally with eyewitness evidence given to the tribunal last year. A scrapyard worker who saw the incident described the gunmen letting out “a big roar like a hurrah” as they left the scene, while a schoolteacher said Chief Supt Breen tried to surrender but he was gunned down. She said he “put his hands up and they shot him”.
Chief Supt Breen went on television after Loughgall displaying the IRA weapons recovered from the scene. The IRA said he was so “very well known that this image was etched on every republican’s mind”. June Breen, the officer’s widow, in a statement told the tribunal she felt it was wrong that he had been asked by his superiors to display the weapons as it exposed him to additional danger.
She recalled how on the morning of his death she was ill in bed and that her husband told her were it not for the fact his deputy was off he would stay at home to mind her.Two officers came to her door
That evening she remembered preparing chops for their dinner and later how two officers came to her door to say he was dead.
“It was very hard to take at the time and sometimes remains so,” she said. Ms Breen also told how her husband had instructed that were he to be killed, the then RUC chief superintendent Sir John Hermon should not attend his funeral. She did not say why. That was the sad human dimension to the killings.
In terms of fallout it seems unlikely that there will be a major negative political dimension to the Smithwick report.
The judge found there was Garda collusion but that it was localised and, it seems, at a low-ranking level. Such corruption is hard to come to terms with, but will hardly damage British-Irish or North-South relations.
3 Dec 2013**Video onsiteCh Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were murdered in 1989The IRA were tipped off by gardaí with information which proved vital in the plot to murder the two most senior policemen to die during the Troubles, the Smithwick tribunal into allegations of collusion has found.
RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were gunned down on their way home from a high-level meeting at Dundalk Garda Station in 1989.
Questions have long been posed over how the IRA knew enough about their movements to carry out such a detailed plan with deadly accuracy.
Decades later, and after an intensive eight-year investigation led by Judge Peter Smithwick, a damning conclusion has been reached - that there was collusion in the case.
Robert Buchanan's son William expressed appreciation on behalf of his family for the "diligence and integrity" of the investigation.
"The findings are both incredible and shocking and confirm the existence of a mole in Dundalk station. This led to my father's death," he said.
Judge Smithwick was tasked with finding answers, however unpalatable, and was scathing of the state for what he feels was putting itself and political expediency over the pursuit of the truth. "This tribunal has sought to establish the truth and, in so doing, I hope that it has contributed one small part in changing the culture."
--Judge Peter Smithwick
Harry Breen and Robert Buchanan were ambushed by IRA men posing as an Army patrol on the Edenappa Road, in what was known as the 'bandit country' of south Armagh, on 20 March 1989.
Having travelled to meet with gardaí in Dundalk, they were unarmed as they were not allowed to carry their weapons over the Irish border.
The attack on the two men was planned to such a degree that their vehicle was directed to a specific spot, out of sight of a watchtower, before they were gunned down.
Robert Buchanan, a father of two, was already dead when he was shot again in the head.
Harry Breen, also a father of two, was badly wounded and waved a white hankie as he pleaded for mercy from the gunmen. None was shown.
They shot him dead at close range.
The two officers would have been targets for the IRA, as they had been assigned to a joint RUC and An Garda effort to cut off their funding by smashing the huge smuggling operation in south Armagh.
An Garda Siochána had refuted allegations that there was a mole within the force, while the IRA denied having been privy to insider information.
The intelligence picture seemed to tell a different story though, with conversations recorded by the PSNI during an investigation into dissident republican activity containing claims by former IRA members that gardaí had passed information to the Provisionals. "On behalf of the Government and the people of Ireland, I apologise without reservation to the Breen and Buchanan families for any failings identified in the report on the part of the State or any of its agencies."
--Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore
The Smithwick report was handed to the clerk of the Dáil last Friday and then copies were given to the victims' families on Monday night, with the findings finally made public on Tuesday evening.
Irish Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said he was "appalled and saddened" by the findings and apologised without reservation to the Breen and Buchanan families.
"Their murder deprived June Breen and Catherine Buchanan of their husbands, and Gillian and George Breen and Heather and William Buchanan of devoted fathers," he said.
I know that members of An Garda Síochána will be shocked by these findings today.
"The actions documented in this report are a betrayal of the values and the very ethos of an Garda Síochána, as the guardians of peace."
Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter also apologised.
"Even with the passage of 24 years and the positive developments which have taken place on the island since, our condemnation of their murder should be as strong today as it was then," he said.
His counterpart in Northern Ireland, David Ford, told UTV: "I don't think you can say because of the possibility that one or two officers sometime in the past were corrupt, that it's a tarnished force.
"I think what we can say is that it contains human beings, and things sometimes go wrong with individuals.
"But with what I see when I meet members of the gardai, I believe that they are providing a good service for the people of the Republic of Ireland - and also across the border, in terms of cooperation with the PSNI."
A statement from the Garda Commissioner welcomed the Smithwick report.
It said: "Given the serious matters under examination by the Tribunal, the report, conclusions and recommendations will now need to be carefully examined by the Garda Commissioner and his senior officers and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."
Meanwhile the PSNI said it will "take time to study the content of the report in detail".
A spokesman continued: "The murders of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Robert Buchanan are still open. "PSNI has fully engaged with and supported the Smithwick Tribunal and any new evidence that comes to light as a result will be fully considered and assessed."
"We would once again express our sympathy to the families of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Robert Buchanan and appeal to anyone with information to contact police."
The Superintendents' Association of Northern Ireland added: "Without doubt, the conclusions of this report will make stark and challenging reading for many people and whilst we recognise this step towards bringing out the truth in relation to these tragic and horrendous murders, what is now important for us is to see how these findings are acted upon."
Politicians have also given their reactions to the findings.
Speaking to UTV, Gregory Campbell of the DUP said: "The initial reading of this report does appear to be explosive. But many people will say this only confirms what many of us knew."
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said: "People will make up their own minds on this when they read the report. Sinn Féin supported these inquires on the basis that families had the right to full disclosure of all relevant information.
"What Justice Smithwick describes as collusion is very different in form and scale from the collusion that occurred in the north. Sinn Féin believes that there needs to be an effective truth process for dealing with all legacy issues."
Dolores Kelly of the SDLP said: "The Smithwick Tribunal took an independent and fearless approach and this should be a measure of how to deal with the past. Judge Smithwick, through a trying process and painstaking work has gotten to the bottom of this tragedy."
Tom Elliott of the UUP said: "The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs said in a recent speech in Cambridge that the Irish Government had to address the perception among unionists that successive Irish governments did not do enough to stop the IRA.
"Judge Smithwick's confirmation that it is more than a perception will require the Taoiseach to take the next step to address unionist concerns."
Naomi Long of Alliance said: "I welcome the unequivocal apology from Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter TD, as an important step in acknowledging the Irish State's role in these events. Clearly, all concerned will need to take time to reflect on the full findings of the report."
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said: "The report raises some serious concerns which I will need to consider in detail and discuss with the Irish Government.
"An important point to remember is that levels of cooperation between An Garda Siochana and the PSNI are now at unprecedented levels and are playing a crucial part in combating terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland.
--of providing phone used to claim the murders at Massereene Army Barracks
By Rebecca Black Belfast Telegraph
22 November 2013Marian 'Price' McGlinchey has pleaded guilty to buying the mobile phone used by the Real IRA to claim responsibility for the murders of two British soldiers outside Massereene Army BarracksOld Bailey bomber Marian Price has pleaded guilty to providing a mobile phone linked to a Real IRA attack in which two soldiers were murdered.
Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar were killed in the attack at Massereene Army barracks in Antrim in 2009 as they collected pizzas, just hours before they were due to be deployed to Afghanistan.
The 59-year old veteran republican also entered a guilty plea to the charge of aiding and abetting the addressing of a meeting to encourage support for terrorism.
The charge related to a separate incident at a republican Easter commemoration in Londonderry in April 2011 where Price was photographed holding up a statement for a masked man. Price, from Stockman's Avenue in west Belfast, was released on continuing bail, to be sentenced next month. Belfast Crown Court Judge Gordon Kerr QC told Price that the fact she was being released was no indication of how she would eventually be dealt with.
Price's trial, which began on Monday, heard that she had links to "dissident republican activity" and must have known that the mobile she bought was to be used to make the call claiming the attack on the Co Antrim base.
Prosecutor Tessa Kitson told the court that the day after the Massereene attack, a man contacted media outlets claiming responsibility for it on behalf of the Real IRA.
Ms Kitson said that on March 8, 2009, a woman was caught on CCTV purchasing the pay-as-you-go mobile from the Tesco store in Newtownabbey. She said it was the Crown's case that the woman was Price.
Price was questioned about the purchase of the phone but "declined to make any comment in relation to these circumstances and she didn't identify the person or persons to whom she must have passed this telephone to".
Price had been released early from prison on licence in 1980, but it was revoked in May 2011 on the direction of the then Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, shortly after the Derry rally.
The SDLP had campaigned for her release, arguing that her licence had been revoked on the basis of intelligence rather than evidence that would be admissible in court.
Yesterday, unionists called on those who worked towards the release of Price to apologise and "admit they were wrong".
DUP South Antrim MLA William McCrea said the SDLP needed "to find its moral compass".
"This plea leaves the SDLP and other organisations that campaigned for her release hanging out to dry," he said.
"Now the SDLP and others owe an apology to those they criticised and attacked, who acted rightly in the interests of public safety. It is time for the SDLP to find its moral compass again."
Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan added: "I trust now that those who were crying the loudest about the 'injustice' of her having her licence revoked will have the good grace to apologise and admit they were wrong."
However, SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness insisted his party position was "right at the time", adding it would repeat it in similar circumstances.
Fr Alec Reid ferried messages between republicans and UK and Irish governments, and was witness to arms decommissioningFr Alec Reid was threatened with death in 1988 as he tried to stop out of uniform corporals David Howes and Derek Wood being beaten and shot in Belfast. (Photograph: Ballesteros/EPA)
Press AssociationThe Guardian
22 November 2013An Irish priest who played a key role in brokering peace in Northern Ireland has died.
Fr Alec Reid, 82, acted as a clandestine go-between ferrying messages to and from republicans and the British and Irish governments in the earliest stages of the peace process in the 1980s.
Years later, with paramilitary ceasefires delivered and the 1998 Good Friday peace accord signed, he acted as an independent witness to the decommissioning of the IRA's arsenal of weapons.
During the Troubles his image was seared into the public conscious when he was pictured kneeling over the bloodied corpse of one of two British soldiers he performed the last rites on after they were beaten and murdered by a republican mob in west Belfast.
The Redemptorist order of Catholic priests, of which the Co Tipperary born cleric was a member, announced that he died peacefully in hospital in Dublin.
The Irish president, Michael Higgins, led tributes to the late cleric, who in his later years made Dublin home. "Fr Reid will perhaps best be remembered for the courageous part he played in identifying and nurturing the early seeds of an inclusive peace process," he said.
"Fr Reid's role as a channel for peace laid the ground for the achievement of the IRA ceasefire and created the political space for the multiparty talks that ultimately led to the Good Friday agreement. While he spent the last few years of his life in Dublin, Fr Reid would have been gratified by the positive transformation that is under way throughout Northern Ireland, and especially in the Belfast that he loved so well."
The cleric had a long association with Clonard church in west Belfast and his funeral will be held there on Wednesday.
"He will be especially remembered for his work in the Northern Ireland peace process," the Redemptorist order said.
Reid was a key confidante of Sinn Féin's president, Gerry Adams, and the republican leader trusted him to ferry messages to and from the then Social Democratic and Labour party leader, John Hume, and contacts in the British and Irish governments.
Adams on Friday described the cleric's former base in Clonard as "the cradle of the peace process".
He said he was tenacious in his efforts to end the conflict. "There would not be a peace process at this time without his diligent doggedness and his refusal to give up," said the Sinn Féin leader.
Adams, who recently visited Reid at his hospital bed, said he and the cleric had many discussions during the Troubles about how the violence might be ended.
"Out of those conversations emerged a commitment to dialogue as the first necessary step along that process and a commencement of a process in the early 1980s to commence a process of dialogue with the Catholic hierarchy, SDLP leader John Hume and the Irish and British governments," he added.
Seven years after the signing of the Good Friday agreement, Reid was again called upon to help the peace process move on. The presence of the cleric and Methodist minister the Rev Harold Good, as the IRA put their weapons beyond use, was vital in convincing those sceptical of republicans' intentions.
The priest once famously recalled that an armed IRA member present for the decommissioning act handed over his assault rifle, which Reid said became the last weapon to be "put beyond use".
"The man handed it over and got quite emotional," said Reid. "He was aware that this was the last gun."
Seventeen years earlier, the cleric witnessed the brutality of IRA violence when he tried desperately to save the lives of the two soldiers who had inadvertently driven into the funeral procession of an IRA member.
He was unable to stop corporals David Howes and Derek Wood being beaten and shot, having been threatened with death if he did not get out of the way.
The killings was one of the most shocking incidents of the entire Troubles.
While the dramatic picture of the cleric knelt beside Howes was beamed around the world, no one would know until years later that beneath his coat that day Reid was carrying an envelope containing one of the numerous top secret messages he ferried between Sinn Féin and Hume.
The churchman's career was not without controversy. In 2005 he prompted outrage in some quarters when he likened the unionist treatment of Catholics in Northern Ireland in the past to the Nazis' treatment of the Jews.
By Philip Bradfieldp.email@example.comNews Letter
11 November 2013The man who allegedly shot Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville was yesterday named as former Sinn Fein councillor and Belfast IRA commander Pat McGeown.
It was claimed yesterday that he also shot dead ‘Good Samaritan’ Protestant workman Sammy Llewellyn when he went to help Catholics on the Falls Road board up windows after an IRA bomb in 1975.
“I was recently approached by grassroots republicans who were sympathetic to the McConville family,” Jean McConville’s son Jim said yesterday in a Sunday paper.
“I was given some details of what happened and only two weeks ago I gave Pat McGeown’s name to my solicitor.”
The paper claimed that McGeown was only 17 when he shot Mrs McConville in the back of the head, and that he later rose to become a close political confidant of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.
The News Letter
understands McGeown’s name had been widely linked to Mrs McConville’s murder before he died in 1996.
Gerry Kelly MLA said at McGeown’s funeral that he had been a prisoner in “Cage 11” of the Maze with Gerry Adams. Adams officially launched the Pat McGeown Community Endeavour Award at Belfast’s Upper Springfield Development Trust in 1998.
He described McGeown as “a modest man with a quiet, but total dedication to equality and raising the standard of life for all the people of the city”, adding that McGeown “would have been one of the last people to expect an award to be given in his name, and yet few others could have deserved the honour more”.
Mr Kelly said McGeown started “barricade duty” at 13 and then joined the local unit of the IRA in the Beechmount area. He added that “at one point he held the most senior rank in the Belfast brigade of the IRA”.
The book Lost Lives
, which lists all those who died during the Troubles, said McGeown’s health never recovered after 47 days on hunger strike.
He was jailed in the Republic for explosives offences aged 14 and at 16 was interned before being imprisoned for a bombing attack.
He served 15 years for bombing the Europa Hotel and was the Officer Commanding of the IRA in the Maze. After being released in 1986, he went on to become group leader of Sinn Fein on Belfast City Council.
Sinn Fein yesterday declined to offer any comment.
Another Sunday paper yesterday reported that the IRA member, then aged 16, who drove Mrs McConville away from her children has phoned her daughter Helen McKendry to apologise.
8 Nov 2013Michael McIlveen died in May 2006A man has pleaded guilty to the sectarian murder of a Catholic teenager in Ballymena seven years ago.
Michael McIlveen, who was known as Mickey Bo, died after being beaten and kicked in an alleyway.
Jeff Colin Lewis, 24, from Rossdale in Ballymena was convicted of the murder in 2009.
The conviction was later quashed and a retrial ordered. On Friday, he admitted his guilt and will be re-sentenced. Two other men are already serving life.
Christopher Francis Kerr, 26, from Carnduff Drive, will have to serve at least nine years before he can be considered for parole.
Aaron Cavana Wallace, 24, from Moat Road, will serve eight years. Both men pleaded guilty.
Fifteen-year-old Michael McIlveen died from brain injuries the day after he and two friends were attacked in 2006.
04 November 2013Liam Gonzalez BennettAn SDLP councillor has welcomed the launch of a Police Ombudsman probe in to how the PSNI conducted an investigation, after no one was prosecuted for the death of a Co Antrim toddler.
Declan O'Loan – whose wife Nuala formerly occupied the Ombudsman's post – sent a letter of complaint to Dr Michael Maguire's office, as he was troubled by details that emerged during the inquest earlier this month into the death of Liam Gonzalez Bennett.
Mr O'Loan said: "Someone needs to break in to this case to see if there can have been justification for no charges having been taken and to establish if there was failure in some part of the legal chain.
"The Police Ombudsman is well placed to begin the necessary inquiries, and I welcome the fact that he has done so."
The 20-month-old died on February 8, 2009, the day after he was rushed to hospital from his home at Sunningdale Park in Ballymena, having suffered 31 head injuries, leading to blindness and brain death.
His mother Samantha Bennett and stepfather Paul Noel McKeown were arrested and were questioned several times. But no prosecution was ever brought, and police are not seeking anyone else in connection with the little boy's death.
In court, Dr Alistair Bentley, Deputy State Pathologist for Northern Ireland, concluded the bruises on Liam's head may have been caused by the "knuckles of a clenched fist".
At Liam's inquest, Coroner Suzanne Anderson requested that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) look at the matter again.
Mr O'Loan said Mr Maguire had written to the coroner, Ms Anderson, seeking the reasons for her referral of the case back to the PPS and asking whether she had concerns about the quality of the police investigation.
He said the Ombudsman has also written to the DPP expressing an interest in the review that will take place and requesting that should the PPS identify any concerns about the adequacy of the police investigation, they refer the matter to him.
Recording of deceased Belfast IRA commander Brendan Hughes names Sinn Féin president as giving execution order
Henry McDonaldThe Guardian
2 November 2013Jean McConville, who disappeared from west Belfast in 1972, with three of her 10 children. (Photograph: PA)A tape recording of a deceased Belfast IRA commander in which Gerry Adams is accused of ordering the murder and secret burial of a widowed mother of 10 in 1972 will be broadcast for the first time this week.
A former IRA hunger striker, Brendan Hughes, alleges the Sinn Féin president was one of the heads of a unit that kidnapped, killed and buried west Belfast woman Jean McConville. Hughes, who died in 2008, is recorded as saying: "There was only one man who gave that order for that woman to be executed – and that man is now the head of Sinn Féin." Hughes also says that Adams went to the McConville children after their mother was abducted and promised an internal IRA investigation. "That man is the man who gave the order for that woman to be executed. I did not give the order to execute that woman. He did."
Adams is challenged on the BBC's Storyville
programme over whether he was a senior Provisionals commander in Belfast at the time McConville was abducted, just before Christmas 1972. "That's not true," Adams replies, adding that he has not "shirked" his own responsibilities in the conflict. The Sinn Féin leader has always insisted that he was never in the IRA.
In response to the tape, Adams, who is the Sinn Féin member for Louth in the Irish parliament, accuses his former friend of lying. "Brendan is telling lies," Adams tells the programme. He adds: "I had no act or part to play in the abduction, killing or burial of Jean McConville or any of the others."
An expert forensic detective tells the joint BBC Northern Ireland-RTE production that the IRA sometimes weighed bodies down with heavy stones to ensure that the corpses would not surface if the bogs they were buried in ever dried up.Storyville
reveals that the first of the "disappeared" to be found back in 1999, north Belfast man Eamon Molloy, had received the last rites from a Catholic priest. The priest saw Molloy tied naked to a bed and asked his captors if any of them had rosary beads that their prisoner could hold when he was to be shot.
Security sources in the Republic told the Observer
last week that up to four additional men who were "disappeared" by the IRA have not yet been identified by the organisation set up to find the Troubles' missing victims. The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) has so far found eight of the "disappeared", including McConville, but seven on their official list are still unaccounted for.
A spokesman for the ICLVR, Geoff Knupfer, said: "At this moment there is no information to suggest there is any addition to the list." However, security sources insist that at least four IRA victims were buried in secret. The film is to be broadcast on BBC4, BBC Northern Ireland and RTE on Tuesday.
It includes a reading of the late Seamus Heaney's poem 'The Bog Queen'
, which the Nobel laureate agreed could be used in the programme to remember the plight of the "disappeared".
**If this interests you, please head on over after reading Ms Breen to 'The Broken Elbow', Ed Moloney's blog where he has Eilis McDermott’s Cross-examination Of Gerry Adams – The Full Text
6 Oct 2013Via Nuzhound - 14 Oct 2013Gerry Adams is a stranger to truth, decency and the milk of human kindness. On every single count he has failed from the moment Aine told him 26 years ago her father had raped her.
As his lies and disturbingly inadequate response to child sex abuse are exposed, he now plays the victim saying he's subject to a witch-hunt about a private family matter.
What utter nonsense. How is a very senior public representative withholding information from police for nine years in a sex abuse case a private matter?
How is lying about your paedophile brother's extensive involvement in the political party you lead not of public concern?
How is taking not one concrete step to stop your brother working with children for five years in the heart of your own political constituency not worthy of discussion?
Let's remember that for the first six weeks Liam Adams was employed in Clonard Youth Centre he stayed in his MP brother's home because he hadn't found his own place to live.
How with any justification can Gerry Adams say he's being unfairly quizzed by the media when last month Conall McDevitt was forced to resign over what was in comparison a minor matter?
How can he expect to escape censure for sipping champagne at the wedding of his child rapist brother when on his beat as an IRA leader women were tarred and feathered for simply dating British soldiers?
Where on earth is Gerry Adams' moral compass? How can he defend reporting Aine's mother to social services for having an "unhygienic home and children" – the kids had nits – but not report his brother's confession to rape?
Nobody blames the Sinn Féin president for his brother's paedophilia. His response to it is the issue.
"There's a lot of disinformation being flung about," Gerry Adams complained to reporters this week. He's right – and all by him. Lie after lie. From his phony "estrangement" from his brother to his claims to have done everything possible to help Aine who herself says he manipulated and abandoned her.
His arrogance, egoism and emotional autism are exposed in one vignette. After dropping 14-year-old Aine home from confronting Liam in Buncrana about his abuse, she didn't hear from her Uncle Gerry for years.
Not even a birthday or Christmas card for a child in a single-parent household struggling to cope with this huge trauma.
And then, years on, came a present. Gerry Adams sent his niece his autobiography, 'Before the Dawn', in which he thanked "our Liam", her rapist father, and referred to him positively 11 times.
Care and compassion, just like truth and transparency, are damningly absent in both the past and present of Gerry Adams.
**I'm sure someone in the British government will whisper something to someone, or some money will change hands, and nothing will be done about this the same as nothing is ever done about a lot of things.Northern Ireland officials will review conduct of Sinn Féin president, who admits he held back information on Liam Adams Gerry Adams speaks to the media after his brother Liam was convicted of raping and sexually abusing his daughter. (Photograph: Art Widak/Demotix/Corbis)
7 October 2013The attorney general in Northern Ireland is to review the conduct of the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, in withholding information about his convicted paedophile brother, Liam.
The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) confirmed on Monday that the province's most senior law officer would "be given full access to all materials that he considers necessary" in relation to the behaviour of the former West Belfast MP in the Liam Adams scandal.
The PPS also defended Barra McGrory QC, the director of public prosecutions in Northern Ireland, for deciding not to prosecute the Sinn Féin leader over his admission that he had held back information about Liam Adams' sexual abuse of his daughter Áine.
A PPS spokesperson said: "While the director has confidence in the evidential decision taken by the PPS prior to his appointment, he has asked the attorney general to independently review the matter."
Ever since his brother was convicted in last week of raping and sexually abusing his daughter, Gerry Adams has faced criticism of his role in the scandal that has engulfed the most famous republican family in Ireland.
The Sinn Féin leader has come under sustained criticism from political opponents, and even one former IRA hunger striker, for failing to tell the authorities about Áine Adams' claims of abuse for several years.
Gerry Adams has known about her claims – now verified in court – for 26 years. Since hearing his niece's testimony about years of rape and abuse, the Sinn Féin chief has been to his brother's second wedding, was photographed with him canvassing in an Irish general election in Co Louth in 1997, and even secured a job for his brother at a youth centre in his old west Belfast constituency.
The former MP turned TD for Louth in the Irish Republic spoke publicly about Áine Adams' ordeal only after an Ulster Television programme in 2009 broadcast her story. On the programme Gerry Adams said that when she first told him about the abuse in 1987 he believed her.
Following the programme he went on local television to reveal that his father, Gerry Adams Sr – a one-time IRA icon in Belfast – had sexually abused members of his family. The Sinn Féin president's revelation about his father came after the latter was given a full republican funeral, during which his most famous son placed an Irish tricolour on his coffin.
Gerry Adams has stated that he did not tell anyone else in Sinn Féin that there were allegations against his brother Liam.
This appears to contradict his party's constitution, which states: "Where allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are made, they should be referred directly to an ard chomhairle [a national executive official]."
The former IRA hunger striker Gerry Hodgins has compared the cover-up of Liam Adams's crimes with the Catholic church sending paedophile priests into other dioceses both in Ireland and abroad rather than allow them to be prosecuted for their crimes.
Suzanne Breen Independent.ie
07 October 2013A FORMER IRA hunger-striker has called on Gerry Adams to resign from the Bobby Sands Trust for failing to take adequate action to protect children when he discovered his brother was a paedophile.
Gerard Hodgins from west Belfast, who was on the IRA's 1980 hunger strike in the Maze, said the Liam Adams trial had brought to light "very disturbing information" about the Sinn Fein president's actions relating to "this sordid episode".
The Bobby Sands Trust holds the copyright on all Sands's writings and promotes his memory across the world.
Mr Hodgins, a former Sinn Fein press officer, said Mr Adams's handling of his brother's abuse of his own daughter Aine raised serious questions.
"Gerry Adams must resign from the Bobby Sands Trust due to his role in not doing enough for Aine and because he allowed his paedophile brother to continue as both an active member of Sinn Fein and a youth worker."
Mr Hodgins accused Mr Adams of showing "neither care nor compassion" towards his niece when she told him her father had raped her.
In the harshest criticism the Sinn Fein president has faced from within the republican community over his actions regarding his brother, Mr Hodgins accused him of criminalising the republican movement in both his alleged role in 'disappearing' people – which Mr Adams strongly denies – and in his response to child abuse.ABUSERS
Mr Hodgins said: "Gerry Adams began his career emulating South American military dictators who had a habit of disappearing people and ended his career emulating a cardinal of the Catholic Church protecting child abusers."
Meanwhile, Mr Adams has shown a bizarre lack of sensitivity to his niece Aine by tweeting about his birthday celebrations and printing a poem about triumphantly surviving criticism from opponents.
The Sinn Fein president, whose 65th birthday occurred yesterday, posted on Twitter: "I am delighted 2 become a pensioner. Yeeehaaa! All things considered not bad! x"
The tweet came just four days after his brother Liam was convicted on 10 counts of raping and sexually abusing his daughter.
Mr Adams's playful sentiments on Twitter are at odds with the grave tone he expressed after his brother's conviction last week.
The Sinn Fein president tweeted a poem 'And Still I Rise' against a backdrop of an Easter lily, the traditional symbol of Irish republicanism.
"You may shoot me with your words/You may cut me with your eyes/You may kill me with your hatefulness/But still, like air, I'll rise," states one verse.
Mr Adams posted the poem amid the growing belief on both sides of the Border that he is unfit to hold public office.
He faces criticism over withholding Liam's confession of abuse from police for nine years, taking inadequate steps to protect children in youth centres where his brother worked, and making untrue statements about Liam's role in Sinn Fein.
Aine Dahlstrom has accused the Sinn Fein president of not supporting her.
03 October 2013Controversial welfare reforms will hit Northern Ireland harder than anywhere else in the UK, new research has found.
Around £750 million would be removed from the local economy every year - the equivalent of £650 for every adult of working age - significantly widening the gap between rich and poor.
Belfast, Derry and Strabane, where large swathes of the population are in receipt of benefits, are expected to fare worst, with Belfast in particular losing more money than any other major UK city.
Seamus McAleavey, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, said: “The twin challenges of a low wage economy and high levels of people with disabilities mean that for Northern Ireland the economic impact of welfare reform will be severe.”
Unsurprisingly, researchers said that the most deprived areas would face the largest losses.
Moyle, Omagh, Newry and Mourne, Cookstown, Craigavon, Coleraine and Down have also been included in the top 50 districts expected to be most adversely impacted.
The Westminster government claims the reforms - the biggest shake-up of social security benefits in decades - will streamline payments and stop fraud.
Under the changes six benefits will be brought together in a single, monthly Universal Credit payment.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is also being replaced with a personal independence payment, which means claimants being independently assessed every three years instead of assessing themselves.
The biggest financial losses arise from reforms to incapacity benefits (£230 million a year), changes to Tax Credits (£135 million-a-year) and reforms to Disability Living Allowance (£105 million-a-year).
The Housing Benefit reforms result in more modest reductions - an estimated £20 million-a-year from the so-called bedroom tax - but for the households affected the sums are still large.
The findings are contained in a new report by academics at Sheffield Hallam University commissioned by NICVA.
Mr McAleavey added: “Full time wages in Northern Ireland are around 10% lower than the rest of the UK, therefore many working families rely on tax credits to make work pay.
“In Northern Ireland, as in other weaker regional economies across the UK, the high numbers of people out of work and on incapacity benefits probably reflects the extent to which people with health problems or disabilities find it hard to find work.
“But in Northern Ireland the Troubles too may be casting a long shadow, resulting in mental health problems that have raised claimant rates.”
Last year Stormont Assembly members backed welfare legislation after a marathon debate on the issue. Sinn Fein expressed serious misgivings about the impact of planned changes in back to work measures and other clauses while the DUP warned about the potential cost of delay on the block grant provided by Westminster.
Professor Steve Fothergill, co-author of the report, said: “Northern Ireland has not been singled out as the target for welfare reform. But the local statistics are alarming.
“The large loss of income arising from the reforms will have knock-on consequences for local consumer spending and thus for local employment, adding a further twist to a downward spiral in low-income communities.
“A key effect of welfare reform will also be to widen the gap in prosperity between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.”
1 October 2013Liam Adams, Gerry Adams' paedophile brother and former Sinn Fein community and child workerLiam Adams - the younger brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams - has been found guilty of a string of child sex abuse charges.
Liam Dominic Adams, 58, from Bernagh Drive in west Belfast, was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter, Aine, over a six-year period between 1977 and 1983 when she was aged between four and nine.
Bespectacled Adams, who was wearing a grey suit, cream shirt and blue tie, showed no emotion as the guilty verdicts were returned.
Remanding him in custody Judge Corinne Philpott said: "Take him down."
The jury of nine men and three women had heard more than two weeks of evidence at Belfast Crown Court.
They began deliberating at 11.05am this morning and took almost four hours to reach guilty verdicts with a majority of 11 to one.
Aine Adams has waived her right to anonymity.
There was complete silence as the jury foreman read out guilty verdicts on all of the 10 charges to the packed court.
Adams, who walks with the aid of a stick and used a court hearing aid to follow proceedings, stood between two prison officers in the dock with his hands clasped tightly.
Aine Adams, who was surrounded by family members, wept and clutched her younger sister Sinead for support.
On the other side of the public gallery, Adams's second wife Bronagh and their daughter Claire, who gave evidence in his defence, also cried.
Adams nodded to them as he was led to the cells.
During the trial Aine Adams gave graphic details of the abuse, which started when she was aged four.Raped
The first time she recalled being raped was while her mother was in hospital giving birth to her younger brother Conor in 1977.
In another incident she was raped by her father at a flat on Belfast's Antrim Road while her brother was asleep in the bed beside her.
Adams, who was a heavy drinker, also forced his daughter to perform sex acts.
In a statement read out by a police officer outside the court, Ms Adams said she could finally begin to move on after a long and hard road to achieve justice.
"I do not see this verdict as a victory or a celebration as it has taken its toll and has caused hurt, heartache and anguish for all those involved.
"I can now begin my life at 40 and lay to rest the memory of the five-year-old girl who was abused," she said.
The allegations were first made public when Ms Adams took part in a television documentary in 2009.
A short time later, Gerry Adams revealed his father Gerry Snr, a veteran IRA man, had physically and sexually abused members of his family.Fled
Within days of the sex abuse scandal hitting the headlines, Liam Adams fled to the Republic claiming he could not receive a fair trial in Northern Ireland. He handed himself in to police in Co Sligo but could not be detained because the Garda officers did not have the correct documentation.
He was eventually handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) at the border in November 2011 after losing a lengthy and expensive extradition battle.
The trial opened in April this year but collapsed due to legal reasons and the jury was discharged.
At that time, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was called as a prosecution witness. He told the court he confronted his brother about the allegations during a meeting in Buncrana, Co Donegal, in 1987 and Liam Adams had denied the abuse.
He then revealed his brother later confessed while they were out walking together in the rain in Dundalk, Co Louth, in 2000.
Gerry Adams was not called as a prosecution witness for the latest trial, which re-opened before a new jury panel last month.
In her statement given outside Laganside court complex, Ms Adams thanked the media for helping her to tell her story.
She said: "I would like to give all my family a special thanks. Without their love, support and understanding I would not be here today."
She also expressed gratitude to the PSNI's public protection unit and the Public Prosecution Service.
"I would now ask for some privacy for my family to reflect on recent trying times," she said.
Adams is due to be sentenced next month. Vile paedophile behind caring mask
For almost four decades he led a double life.
Liam Adams - a younger brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams - portrayed himself as a caring father, concerned community worker and ardent republican.
But the 58-year-old, who desperately tried to evade justice by going on the run, has now finally been unmasked as a vile predatory paedophile who exploited every opportunity to sneak into his four-year-old daughter's bedroom and rape her.
Born into a staunchly republican family revered in their west Belfast community as aristocrats of the movement, Liam Adams was one of 10 children.
His father, Gerry snr, had been an IRA stalwart from the 1930s and also subjected members of his family to a torrent of physical, mental and sexual abuse over many years.
He met Sarah (also known as Sally) Corrigan when they were both 16. A short time later, she fell pregnant with their daughter Aine and the couple wed - not out of love but, because they had to.
It was an unhappy union frequently filled with rows and violence. Sometimes the domestic abuse became so bad Sarah had to flee the family home, leaving evil Adams alone to molest their vulnerable young daughter.
The couple shared three different houses across west Belfast - at Westrock Drive; Dunglow Gardens in the Lenadoon estate and New Barnsley area of Ballymurphy but, it was an on-off relationship and they were often apart.Prison
It was the height of the Troubles and Liam Adams, who according to friends was on the fringes of the IRA, would be absent for days at a time. Indeed he was in prison around the time Aine was born.
By the end of 1981 and after four children - Aine, Liam, Conor and Sinead - Liam Adams split from his wife permanently. He was kicked out of the house and moved into a bedsit flat on the Antrim Road in north Belfast.
He took little interest in his children save for a few access visits during which he sexually abused Aine including on one occasion while her younger brother Liam slept in the bed beside them.
Adams was also a heavy drinker. Aine recalled she would always smell alcohol on her father's breath when he forced himself on her.
He found it difficult to put down roots and his transient lifestyle led him to America, Canada, Donegal, Dublin and Dundalk.
During the early 1980s he struck up a new relationship with his second wife Bronagh - with whom he has two daughters - and who stood by him as harrowing details of child rape were revealed during his two-and-a-half week trial at Belfast Crown Court.
He spent up to four months at Lazarus House, a hostel in New York run by Fr Pat Moloney - a radical priest who is open about his support for the IRA.
Speaking from New York Fr Moloney said: "To me he wasn't hiding anything. He didn't conceal who he was. He had Bronagh with him and they were a lovely couple.
"But, he was not in the best of health. I don't know whether he left Ireland because he was an embarrassment to the ambitions of anybody else in the family but, it did seem that they did want him to take a vacation for what reasons, I never knew."Celebrity
While in New York, Adams, who did not work, played on his famous family name and enjoyed minor celebrity status. He would be given free drinks in bars in Brooklyn and be invited to speak at republican fundraising events across the State.
And, when he returned to Ireland he continued to lie to friends and family.
Indeed, such was the level of his deception that he was trusted to work with children for almost 20 years after his daughter first went to police in 1987.
First, he was appointed youth worker at Clonard Monastery in the heart of his brother's West Belfast constituency, where the former MP attended Mass and was good friends with many of the priests - including Fr Alex Reid, who was a mediator between the IRA and British government during the fledgling peace process.
One former community worker, who met Liam Adams during his time at Clonard, said: "He was pleasant enough. He had a lot of ideas about what to do with the young people. People were impressed by him, I suppose.
"When the allegations emerged it shook the community and the fact that a lot of people had known about it but did nothing was also shocking. People are asking questions that if people knew about it, why did they do nothing."
Adams stayed at Clonard for about five years but in 2003 moved to Muirhevnamor Community Youth Project in Dundalk - the border town his brother now represents in the Irish parliament - where he worked with young people in their mid-teens.
A year later he returned north having secured a job the Beechmount Community Project, again in the heart of his brother's former power-base. Adams moved his new family to Andersonstown.Scandal
When Aine went public with the allegations in a television documentary aired in 2009, the sex abuse scandal hit the headlines. Adams immediately fled to the Republic and ignored repeated appeals, including from his older brother, to take responsibility for his sickening crimes and hand himself in.
His cowardly attempts to avoid prosecution were only thwarted after a lengthy and expensive extradition battle in Dublin's Four Courts. Adams was eventually handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland at the border in November 2011.
Securing the conviction was a long and complex journey. The protracted legal process was dogged by delays and difficulties which collapsed his first trial in April this year and loomed over the second case like a guillotine ready to drop.
Exposing Adams' sordid secrets has also had implications far beyond his family circle.
The revelations sent shock waves throughout the republican movement and sparked widespread anger among the Sinn Fein party faithful, particularly in west Belfast and Dundalk.Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams faced tough questions about why he did not tell police about his paedophile brother and explain how he was able to work with children for so long.
When he appeared as a prosecution witness during the first trial in April, the Sinn Fein leader shifted uncomfortably in his seat when asked if had tried to "save his own political skin" by not revealing the truth until nine years after he learned his brother was a paedophile.
Gerry Adams told the court he warned a priest, who is now dead, about his brother's sinister past and the pair became estranged after the allegations emerged.
He also said he moved to expel Liam Adams from Sinn Fein in 1997 after becoming aware he was a potential election candidate in Co Louth.
However, Liam Adams continued to mix with the republican movement and in 2000 involved himself in local party work in Belfast.
Pictures of the Adams brothers smiling together at Liam's second wedding in 1987 and during an election canvass in Dundalk 10 years later, which were shown during the April case, contradicted claims the pair were not in touch.
Gerry Adams said the 1997 photograph was taken around the same time he found out that his father was an abuser and should be seen in the context of attempting to deal with that revelation as well as trying to make his brother face his responsibilities.Timeline: Events leading to Liam Adams' conviction
1977 - Aine Adams, aged four, is indecently assaulted by her father Liam Adams at her home in Westrock Drive, west Belfast.
May 1978 - Aine Adams recalls being raped for the first time while her mother is in hospital giving birth to her younger brother, Conor.
December 1981 - Liam Adams splits from first wife Sarah.
June 1983 - Gerry Adams elected as West Belfast MP and becomes president of Sinn Fein.
December 1985 - Aine Adams discovers Liam Adams has another young daughter with whom he is living in Donegal.
December 1986 - Aine Adams, aged 13, reveals in a letter to her mother that she was repeatedly raped by her father Liam Adams from the age of four.
January 1987 - Aine Adams and her mother report catalogue of child sex abuse to detectives at Grosvenor Road RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) station.
February 1987 - Aine Adams and her mother retract statements about abuse over attempts to exploit them for intelligence gathering. A detective tells Aine Adams the file will be retained on record.
March 1987 - Gerry Adams confronts his brother Liam at a house in Buncrana, Co Donegal, and threatens to hit him with a hammer. Gerry Adams is driven to Donegal by his cousin, Kevin Hannaway. Aine Adams and her mother are also present.
1990 - Sarah Campbell moves her family to Scotland.
1991 - Aine Adams moves to Scotland.
1997 - Gerry Adams is pictured smiling with his brother during an election canvass in Dundalk, Co Louth.
1997 - Liam Adams is expelled from Sinn Fein after his brother Gerry learns of his intention to stand as an election candidate for Co Louth. He continues to carry out work for the party.
December 1999 - While Christmas shopping, Aine Adams tells her younger sister Sinead she was sexually abused as a child.
December 2002 - Liam Adams confesses abuse against Aine when confronted by Sinead, during a meeting in Twinbrook.
January 2006 - Aine Adams returns to Belfast and goes to PSNI to have case re-opened against her father.
November 2007 - Liam Adams is arrested by the PSNI and questioned about child sex abuse allegations. He denies all allegations.
March 2008 - Aine Adams makes complaint to the Police Ombudsman.
November 2008 - Liam Adams fails to turn up at court in Northern Ireland to face child abuse charges. He fled to the Republic over fears he would not receive a fair trial.
December 2009 - Aine Adams waives her right to anonymity and goes public about the abuse in a television documentary. Gerry Adams urges Liam to hand himself in.
December 2009 - Liam Adams presents himself to Gardai in Sligo but cannot be legally detained because the necessary European arrest warrant has not been issued by the PSNI.
December 2009 - Gerry Adams reveals in a television interview that his father had been abusive.
March 2010 - Liam Adams is arrested at a Dublin police station, under a European arrest warrant which was issued by the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
March 2010 - Liam Adams released on bail of 15,000 euros - half of which was put forward by his daughter Claire Smith after a hearing at Dublin High Court.
February 2011 - Gerry Adams wins seat as Co Louth TD.
July 2011 - Liam Adams launches a legal challenge against his extradition from the Irish Republic. His lawyers argue that he will not receive a fair trial in Northern Ireland because of publicity.
October 2011 - Liam Adams loses fight against extradition. Dublin High Court rules that he should be transferred to Northern Ireland to face child abuse charges.
October 2011 - Liam Adams instructs legal representatives to appeal against the extradition order.
October 2011 - Liam Adams loses bid to appeal against extradition at the Supreme Court in Dublin. He is taken to a jail in Dublin to await transfer to Northern Ireland.
November 2011 - Gardai hand Liam Adams over to PSNI officers at the Irish border.
November 2011 - Liam Adams is to stand trial accused of child sex abuse. A district judge grants a prosecution application for the case to progress to the next stage. Adams is remanded in custody.
December 2011 - Liam Adams is refused bail after appearing at Belfast Crown Court accused of child sex abuse. Belfast Recorder Judge Tom Burgess said he was concerned about a potential flight risk if bail was granted. He is later granted bail.
April 2013 - First trial against Liam Adams opens at Belfast Crown Court. Jury of six men and six women is sworn in.
April 22, 2013 - Gerry Adams takes the stand as a prosecution witness and denies claims he did not tell the authorities about his brother sooner because he was trying to save his political skin.
April 25, 2013 - Trial collapses because of legal issues and jury is discharged. Judge Corrine Philpott orders that a new trial be held in the autumn.
September 9, 2013 - New sex abuse trial against Liam Adams is due to open. Prosecution announced that Gerry Adams will not be called to give evidence in the new case. Proceedings are delayed because of further legal argument.
September 16, 2013 - Sex abuse trial for Liam Adams opens at Belfast Crown Court before Judge Corrine Philpott.
September 26, 2013 - Liam Adams takes the stand to defend himself and strongly denies abusing his daughter.
September 27, 2013 - Defence and prosecution legal teams complete their cases.
October 1, 2013 - Jury of nine men and three women take about four hours to return guilty verdicts in all 10 charges with a majority of 11 to one. Liam Adams is remanded in custody.
Enda Dowling Independent.ie
12 July 2013Buttons found on Michael Collins on the day he died.BRASS buttons found in Michael Collins's pocket on the day he died are to be sold at auction among a collection of Irish-themed curiosities.
The buttons, which are expected to fetch between €1,500 and €2,000, come with a signed note to General Eoin O'Duffy from Michael Collins's sister, Margaret Collins Powell.
The note reads: "Please send me a receipt for the enclosed, found in Michael's tunic pocket, August 22, 1922."
This was the day of the assassination of Collins in Beal na Blath, Co Cork.
It comes as part of a large collection of items which belonged to the former IRA Chief of Staff O'Duffy, including the last truce that O'Duffy negotiated with the Anti-Treaty side in 1922 and other personal items. However, all of O'Duffy's belongings in the collection nearly found their way to the dump, as the current owner of his estate lives in Norway and didn't originally realise their significance.
The auction, entitled 'A Gathering of Things Irish Sale' is on July 23 at the Clyde Court Hotel, Ballsbridge at 10.30am.
Ridgeway: An Historical Romance of the Fenian Invasion of Canada by Scian Dubh - Free Ebook from Gutenberg.org
"In the dark, English crucible of seven hundred years of famine, fire and sword, the children of Ireland have been tested to an intensity unknown to the annals of any other people. From the days of the second Henry down to those of the last of the Georges, every device that human ingenuity could encompass or the most diabolical spirit entertain, was brought to bear upon them, not only with a view to insuring their speedy degradation, but with the further design of accomplishing ultimately the utter extinction of their race. Yet notwithstanding that confiscation, exile and death, have been their bitter portion for ages—notwithstanding that their altars, their literature and their flag have been trampled in the dust, beneath the iron heel of the invader, the pure, crimson ore of their nationality and patriotism still flashes and scintillates before the world; while the fierce heart of "Brien of the Cow Tax," bounding in each and every of them as of yore, yearns for yet another Clontarf, when hoarse with the pent-up vengeance of centuries, they shall burst like unlaired tigers upon their ancient, and implacable enemy, and, with one, long, wild cry, hurl her bloody and broken from their shores forever..."
Associated PressWashington Post
16 June 2013More pictures onsiteBELFAST, Northern Ireland — When President Obama comes to Belfast, he’s expected to praise a country at peace and call for walls that separate Irish Catholics and British Protestants to come tumbling down.
Barely a 10-minute walk from where the U.S. leader is speaking Monday, those walls have kept growing in size and number throughout two decades of slow-blooming peace. Residents today on both sides of so-called “peace lines” — barricades of brick, steel and barbed wire that divide neighborhoods, roads and even one Belfast playground — insist the physical divisions must stay to keep violence at bay.
Belfast’s first peace lines took shape in the opening salvos of Northern Ireland’s conflict in 1969, when impoverished parts of the city suffered an explosion of sectarian mayhem and most Catholics living in chiefly Protestant areas were forced to flee. The British Army, deployed as peacekeepers, erected the first makeshift barricades and naively predicted the barriers would be taken down in months.
Instead, the soldiers’ role supporting the mostly Protestant police soon inspired the rise of a ruthless new outlawed group, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, committed to forcing Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and into the Republic of Ireland.
For all the unlikely triumphs of Northern Ireland diplomacy since the U.S.-brokered 1998 Good Friday peace deal — a Catholic-Protestant government, troop withdrawals, police reform, and disarmament of the IRA and outlawed Protestant groups responsible for most of the 3,700 death toll — tearing down Belfast’s nearly 100 “peace lines” still seems too dangerous a step to take.
“I’d love to see that wall taken down and I could say hi to my neighbors, but it isn’t going to happen. There’d be cold-blooded murder and I’d have to move out,” said Donna Turley, 48, smoking a cigarette at her patio table in the Short Strand, the sole Irish Catholic enclave in otherwise Protestant east Belfast.
Right behind Turley’s backyard refuge towers a 50-foot (15-meter) wall. It starts as brick, transitions into fences of corrugated iron, and is topped by more steel mesh fence. Each layer marks the history of communal riots like the growth rings of a tree. Higher still, two batteries of rotating police surveillance cameras monitor Turley and her Catholic neighbors, as well as the Protestant strangers living, audibly but invisibly, on the far side.
“It’s terrible looking. But I wouldn’t feel safe if it wasn’t there. I couldn’t imagine that wall being torn down. Nobody here can,” said Tammy Currie, 21, who is Turley’s nearest Protestant neighbor, standing in her own small cement patio backed by the wall. Her 3-year-old son jumps on a trampoline that a few months ago had to be cleared of shattered beer bottles thrown from the other side.
Both families rent state-subsidized homes provided by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which is responsible for making their homes as safe as possible from the risk of further rioting. That means both have triple-layered Perspex windows that are foggy-looking and unbreakable, and metal-tiled roofs that can’t be set on fire.
It was a lesson hard learned. The Protestants of Cluan Place and the Catholics of Clandeboye Drive used to be able to look, from upper floors, into each other’s back yards until 2002, when militants on both sides sought to drive each other out with homemade grenades, Molotov cocktails and even acid-filled bottles. An IRA gunman shot five Protestants, none fatally, while standing atop what was then only a brick wall. Most homes in the area were burned, abandoned and rebuilt, and British Army engineers doubled the height of the wall in 2003. Nobody’s been shot there since, even though both sides continue to host illegal paramilitary groups billing themselves as community defenders.
This stretch of wall connects with other security lines that date back to the early days of the modern Northern Ireland conflict in 1970, when IRA men in Short Strand shot to death three Protestants allegedly involved in attacking the district’s lone Catholic church. To make it less of an eyesore, Belfast City Council has funded imaginative art works all along that stretch, but it still leaves Short Strand looking a bit like Fort Apache.
Last month, the Catholic and Protestant leaders of Northern Ireland’s unity government announced a bold but detail-free plan to dismantle all peace lines by 2023. British Prime Minister David Cameron formally backed the goal Friday. Obama is expected to do the same Monday.
The politician working closest to the Cluan-Clandeboye wall, Michael Copeland, says both G-8 leaders are out of touch.
“Removing the walls would be a catastrophic decision,” said Copeland, a former British soldier and a Protestant member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, who keeps his office just around the corner from Cluan Place.
“The biggest walls to be addressed are in the minds of the people. And what people in here remember is being shot at, being bombed, having their street burned,” Copeland said while sitting on a Cluan Place bench outside one resident’s home. He knows everyone living in all 23 homes on the Protestant side and, in fact, helped get many of them get their housing assignment.
“The walls will come down when the people who live in the shadow of these walls, and look to those walls for a sense of security, can feel secure without them. Memories will have to fade. It will take another generation at least,” he said.
The two sides mark their cultural divide in ways petty and profound. Each morning, two sets of children depart in different directions, wearing different uniforms, as Catholics head for their own church-run schools, the Protestants for state-run ones. At night, the two sides usually order fast-food deliveries from their own areas, fearful that someone from “the other side” might spit in their food. They use separate taxi companies and favor different newspapers.
Short Strand’s community association has erected house numbers bearing each family’s name in Gaelic, the little-used native tongue of Ireland that is loathed by most Protestants.
Reflecting their anxiety that the faster-growing Catholic community wants to push them out, the Protestants of Cluan Place have painted the gable end of one house with a mural featuring a massive Union Jack and a list of attacks on their street since 2002. “Still loyalist, always British, no surrender,” it says.
The house opposite Currie’s, belonging to an aunt, has a dog strutting about sporting a Union Jack collar, and Ulster loyalist music blaring loudly enough from a stereo to carry to Catholic ears beyond the wall.
Across the divide, 56-year-old Maggie McDowell cocks an ear at the sectarian tune. “Och, him again,” she said, identifying her Protestant neighbor not by a name or face she’s never known, but by his musical taste. Unlike most living on both sides of this wall, she was here for the 2002 rioting — and credits the wall’s extension with ensuring no repeat.
She and her husband, James, keep a collection of the most interesting objects that have crashed into their house or back garden, including one smooth stone used as a doorstop. He points out holes in their home’s brick wall marking strikes from past violence. Golf balls, a favored weapon for both sides, she collects by the bucket to give every so often to her golf-enthusiast brother.
When asked if she’d like the wall to come down, Maggie McDowell said, “It’s a terrible thing to say, but I wish they could make it higher.”
Grandson and other clan members to travel to Wexford to commemorate event
Noel WhelanIrish Times
15 June 2013
**Video and text of speech belowJohn F Kennedy poses with relatives in Dunganstown, Co Wexford, on his visit to Ireland in 1963.Mary Robinson once said that the smell of fresh paint would be one of the abiding memories of her presidency. Local communities always seemed to have redecorated whatever centre or school she was visiting just before the presidential party arrived.
The smell of fresh paint, the dust of freshly laid pavements and the colours of newly planted flower beds were prominent in New Ross this week as the local authorities and shop owners busily readied the quayside for the arrival of American political royalty next weekend. The Kennedy clan are coming to town.
Four miles out the road at Dunganstown the scene was also one of dust and fresh paint as the Office of Public Works put the finishing touches to the new visitor centre at the Kennedy Homestead. Curator and Kennedy cousin Patrick Grennan and heritage interpretive designer Jack Harrison have assembled a fascinating exhibition of photographs, observations and memorabilia capturing the extraordinary journey that is the Kennedy story.
The visitor centre will be officially opened by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Caroline Kennedy next Saturday afternoon. Later that evening they will also light an eternal flame to emigrants beside the Dunbrody famine ship at New Ross. It’s all part of a series of Kennedy homecoming events as three dozen American-based Kennedys join with their local cousins, the townspeople and thousands of expected visitors to mark the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy’s visit as president in 1963.Dramatic works
Among the dramatic works which the town council has undertaken at the quayside in New Ross has been the erection of a statute in bronze by Ann Meldon Hugh replicating a US presidential podium at the spot where John F Kennedy spoke. Having checked the online footage of the speech and even the minutes of the relevant town council meeting from 1963 the town manager, Eamonn Hore, was able to pinpoint to within a metre the precise spot as appropriate location for the podium statute. The bronze podium has already become an attraction in its own right. On recent bright summer evenings one could see people standing behind it and having their presidential speech-making pose captured on smartphone cameras.
The full text of John F Kennedy’s speech in 1963 has been engraved on the podium top. The most striking thing about the speech is how short it was: it runs to just over 300 words. It lasted just three minutes. A press copy of the New Ross remarks preserved in the Kennedy Library in Boston shows four closely typed paragraphs which take up about two-thirds of a single A4 page. Footage of the speech in the library, and widely available online, suggests that the president’s jokes on the day were ad-libbed, but of course they were included in the advance text published to the press.
_________________Video: John F. Kennedy in New Ross and Wexford, Ireland, June 27th 1963.
In these 300 words Kennedy managed to acknowledge and introduce the significant members of his travelling party, including his sisters Eunice and Jean. He joked about how if his great-grandfather had not left he might have been working in the local Albatros factory across the river or in John V Kelly’s local pub across the road.Return journey
He also however made, in a subtle way, some significant points about the consequences and opportunity flowing from the Irish history of emigration. Speaking at the spot where his great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy had boarded the famine ship, the Dunbrody, in 1848 to begin his journey to America, Kennedy spoke of how it had taken 115 years and 6,000 miles for him to make the return journey. The point obvious to his audience of course was that while Patrick Kennedy in 1948 left as a peasant farmer John F Kennedy had come back in 1963 as president.
Notwithstanding the fact that the speech was short, Kennedy’s carefully chosen words and the manner of the delivery meant none of those who waited for hours to hear him felt they had been short-changed. On the contrary, several in New Ross this week described the moment as the highlight of their childhood. It is an eloquent illustration of how something memorable yet effective can be better said in a short rather than a long speech. That which is concise is more likely to be profound.
Over the course of next Thursday in Dublin and next Friday and Saturday in New Ross and in Dunganstown there will be many words spoken as national and local personalities and politicians seek to capture the relevance of John F Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in 1963. Those of us involved in putting some of the events together will be hoping to impose something approaching a 300-word limit on the speakers, at least as a general rule.
We will of course be happy to grant some leeway to members of the Kennedy family, who all seem to have inherited the gift of memorable speech-making.
On New Ross quayside next Saturday JFK’s grandson will speak from almost the same spot as Kennedy spoke from in 1963 to honour his great-grandfather. In many ways these are likely to be among the most poignant remarks of the weekend. In terms of memorable Kennedy speeches, in New Ross at least, the torch will pass on once more to another generation.
From: THE HOMECOMING
1963 Press Release
For immediate release
Office of The White House Press Secretary
June 27, 1963The White HouseRemarks of The PresidentAt New Ross QuayNew Ross, Ireland
Mr. Mayor, I first of all would like to introduce two members of my family who came here with us: My sister Eunice Shriver, and to introduce another of my sisters, Jean Smith. I would like to have you meet American Ambassador McClosky, who is with us, and I would like to have you meet the head of the American labor movement, whose mother and father were born in Ireland, George Meany, who is travelling with us. And then I would like to have you meet the only man with us who doesn’t have a drop of Irish blood, but who is dying to, the head of the protocol of the United States, Angier Biddle Duke.
See, Angie, how nice it is, just to be Irish?
I am glad to be here. It took 115 years to make this trip and 6,000 miles, and three generations. But I am proud to be here and I appreciate the warm welcome you have given to all of us. When my great grandfather left here to become a cooper in East Boston, he carried nothing with him except two things: a strong religious faith and a strong desire for liberty. I am glad to say that all of his great granchildren have valued that inheritance.
If he hadn’t left, I would be working over at the Albatross Company, or perhaps for John V. Kelly. In any case, we are happy to be back here.
About 50 years ago, an Irishman from New Ross traveled down to Washington with his family, and in order to tell his neighbors how well he was doing, he had his picture taken in front of the White House and said, “This is our summer home. Come and see us.” Well, it is our home also in the Winter, and I hope you will come and see us.