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Players Sacked After Public Outcry Over Rape Acquittal

Taoiseach Urges ‘Yes’ Vote As Referendum Day Nears

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DRUG LINK EXPOSED YOUNG Irish people in Australia are being targetted by Dublin-based criminal gangs as part of an international drug ring, police say. Gardai in Dublin are working with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in an effort to break up a cocaine smuggling racket. Six people, some of whom have just returned from Australia, were arrested in Dublin in recent weeks. At least four Irish nationals have been arrested in Australia and New Zealand, it is reported. The investigation is being carried out by the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, which is working closely with the AFP, RTÉ reports.

It is understood arrests have also been made in Australia and sums of money have been frozen. At least six premises were searched in Drumcondra, Artane, Finglas and Swords and about €250,000 was seized, gardaí said. Those arrested in Ireland – five men and one woman – are aged between 24 and 31. Gardaí believe cocaine is being sold in Australia and the money funnelled back to Ireland to be laundered. They say the operation is indicative of the scale of the notorious Kinahan crime gang’s international drug dealing operation. Assistant Commissioner John

O'Driscoll, who is in charge of Special Crime Operations, said gardaí are continuing to liaise with Australian police, who have frozen significant sums of money. He also said that the operation is focusing on the money trail. Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One News, Mr O’Driscoll said young Irish professional people in Australia were the gang’s target market. The syndicate was testing the route as early as September 2014, when a 28-year-old Irishman arrived, ver y unwell, at Perth International Airport, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Ian Padraig O’Heaire, from Dublin, landed in Perth after an almost 17-hour

journey from Dublin, via Dubai. He had suffered a number of seizures on the flight and emergency X-rays at Royal Perth Hospital revealed why. O’Heaire had swallowed 27 balloons of cocaine, or almost 200 grams, with a purity of more than 69 per cent. In 2014 the District Court of Western Australia heard O’Heaire was the classic mule, accepting the trafficking job to clear a gambling debt worth about $30,000. He was meant to deliver the haul to another man from “the criminal community” at an Irish pub in Perth. Instead, he was arrested and later handed a backdated sentence of four years and six months for the trafficking

offence. He was released in March 2017. The recently dismantled network between Ireland and Australia involved male and female drug mules who were recruited to traffic cocaine to Australia, either by swallowing dr ug-filled packages or, in the case of women, inserting it into their body cavity, the Sydney Morning Herald’s investigation revealed.

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‘Sydney was everything Dublin and Longford were not’ John Connell IT’S a cool April morning after what has been one of the worst winters in Ireland in living memory. I am sitting down to my computer after morning jobs on the farm and reflecting back on my years as an emigrant. Outside my window the gentle waters of Lough Gowna lap and for a brief moment I am transfixed, transported back to Sydney Harbour and gentle days spent there. I am a farmer and writer now where once I was a journalist and producer in Sydney. I have left that old life behind me but there is a part of me that will forever be Australian. I came to Australia as a journalism student aged 20 on an exchange program. That move was to define the rest of my life, for six months soon turned into five years and I found myself an accidental Aussie. I was not alone in that move. Many Irish – indeed, many friends and neighbours – made that same voyage in the years after the recession and worked in the mines and building sites around and throughout the great southern nation. Sydney was everything Dublin and Longford were not. It was beautiful, and sunny, multicultural and full of opportunities and employment. It was in Sydney that I became a writer and a journalist. Putting pen to paper for the first time as a homesick 20-year-old, I wrote my first short story, The Little Black, about a downer cow. The story was to go on to give me my first book deal at the tender age of 23. It was here too that I met my mentor, the writer David Malouf, who has had a lasting impact on me and helped me become the writer and man I am. The Australian mentality of the fair go was something new and different to me. Here people judged you not on who you knew, but what you knew and merit was rewarded in a way that Ireland never has quite managed. I worked for SBS and the ABC before starting my own production company. These were golden years for me; I made friends in both the Australian and the Irish community, including the wonderful and now departed

AN EMIGRANT’S RETURN: John Connell, who now lives and works in rural Longford, is a Walkley-winning journalist, farmer and writer. His memoir, The Cow Book, is published this month in Australia by Allen & Unwin. journalist Seumas Phelan. Employment and opportunities, aside Australia was where I met my wife Vivian and so it is forever a joy-filled place for me, a place of grá. My time in the southern land came to an end a few years ago after a number of health problems forced me home. Those first months in Ireland were not easy ones but they have laid the foundation for my new life here. Returning to Ireland has been a huge

shift. I have lived here now for the last three years and in that time have begun to understand my nation anew. There is a beauty and wonder to this place that I see now in ways that I had missed as a child. I had to leave this land in order to appreciate it. I began farming once again after years as a journalist and the work, while at first hard, proved rewarding. I swapped an office and computer for fields and a tractor.

I took a great joy in working with my body again and a whole hidden Ireland began to open up to me once more, a world of neighbours and ceilís, of marts and bachelors, local football matches and village fairs. There were times I missed a nice flat white and a walk by Rushcutters Bay but there is something about bringing a new calf into this world in the middle of a cold Irish winter’s night that no city can ever replicate.

One has to be active in rural Ireland to feel a part of the community but I have found the rural people of my youth so welcoming and open, for they too have been emigrants and they too know what it is to return. Australia is where I spent my formative years but Ireland was always calling me home – and it did, eventually. I’ll forever be an Aussie Irish man, and I’m the better for it.


Canberra Irish Club facing crisis Fiona Brady

A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB: Canberra Irish Club is crowd-funding to try to secure the organisation’s future.

THE much-loved Canberra Irish Club has become the latest Irish organisation to face a battle for survival. The club, which was formed in 1975 and moved to its current home in Weston in 1982, has launched a crowd-funding campaign in an effort to raise $320,000 to try to cover immediate debt. Club president Mary Collier said changing nature of the club industry and falling patron numbers had led to the financial problems. In the past, the club had borrowed money to keep operating, but had still not been profitable. “We have … accumulated debt over many years,” she said. “In the environment today, people just don’t go to clubs like they used to. I think a lot of ethnically based clubs have found that.” The club management is working on the two-fold challenge of paying off the debt to avoid insolvency and coming up with a new business plan to make the club profitable again. A Gofundme campaign was launched last month and so far more than $1400 has been donated. They are also forming a committee of volunteers to organise other fundraising activities throughout this year.

The most recent financial report for the 2016/17 financial year shows the need for urgent action. The club made a loss of more than $107,000 – the sixth year in a row it had recorded a loss. In their report, the independent auditors noted that the “company’s liabilities exceeded its current assets by $336,091”. The club also received a tax bill for more than $169,000 in January 2018. Debts are now understood to stand at more than $660,000. One of the rescue options is amalgamating with another, larger club. While it is being considered, Mrs Collier said it would have to meet certain criteria, such as retaining the Canberra Irish Club name, and continuing their support of local community groups. She said the club was a meeting place for more than 30 groups, both Irish and otherwise. It also runs Irish language, dance and music classes. As for the future – if the debt gets paid off – the plan is to reinvent the Canberra Irish Club as an entertainment venue. “We think the way to go is to try and make the club an entertainment venue rather than a traditional pub environment that has just has a bar and bistro and poker machines,”

she said. “We have a great little entertainment area which holds around 100 to 130 people … We need to hold more regular Irish based and other entertainment. We are keen to become established as a great venue for live bands as well as functions.” Mrs Collier, who took over as president last November, said the Canberra Irish Club had a “big hear t” and around 5000 members. “We’re not the flashiest or the most modern venue in town, but we’ve always had that special something money just can’t buy,” she said. She hopes they can “find our way out by the end of the year”. “I do believe we can save it … but we know we have a bit of a mountain to climb,” she told the Irish Echo. A number of Irish clubs across Australia have struggled to trade profitably in recent years. The Irish Club of Western Australia has been hit by the downgrading of nearby Subiaco Oval. Melbourne’s Celtic Club decided to sell its premises after facing trading headwinds while the Queensland Irish Club was forced to close. To make a donation go to www.


May, 2018 I



Historic hurling clash for Sydney Fiona Brady

SYDNEY’S Olympic Park has hosted many memorable sporting battles but this November it will stage a truly unique event – a hurling game between National League champions Kilkenny and All-Ireland winners Galway. The game is part of the huge 2018 Magners Sydney Irish Festival and the hurlers will be joined by some stellar musicians including Mar y Black, Lúnasa and Damien Dempsey who are performing at a sunset concert. Events boss Paul Sergeant said the festival wiill be an action-packed twoday celebration of all things Irish at the Sydney Showground. “There was so much to build a festival around,” said Mr Sergeant who is organising the event with the GAA. “There’ve been lots of great things that have taken place around St Patrick’s Day and other Irish festivals. What is unique about this is it is bringing the sporting component at a top level,” he said. The festival opens on Saturday, November 10 with children’s activities, hurling clinics, Irish dance and music per formances, food and drink and carnival rides. One of the quirkier events is a Guinness World Record attempt for the biggest Irish stew. They’re aiming to make a whopping 20,000 portions. “The key part of that is when the stew is cooked it would be donated to the homeless,” Mr Sergeant said. At sunset, there’ll be the huge concert with hugely popular homegrown stars Mary Black, Damien Dempsey, Lunasa and Saint Sister. The second day of the festival will kick off with a Big Irish Brunch before the big hurling game, which has been two years in the planning. It all came about when Mr Sergeant, who had just set up his own events company, bumped into his friend, GAA commercial director Peter McKenna, at a conference. The GAA had just successfully staged a shortened ‘Super-11’ style hurling game between Dublin and Galway in Boston and Mr McKenna suggested it could work in Australia.

Action form the 2015 All Ireland Senior Hurling Final between Kilkenny and Galway. The sides will meet at Spotless Stadium in Homebush as part of the Sydney irish Festival which will also feature Damien Dempsey (right).

During the search for suitable venues they realised that Spotless Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park would allow for a full-size, competitive game rather than just an exhibition match. Mr Sergeant reckons even Aussie spectators will become hurling fans after seeing Galway and Kilkenny compete for the first Wild Swans trophy. “I think they’ll really take to it,” he said.“Cer tainly the combative and physical nature of the sport really fits into the Australian psyche.”

VISA-BILITY Your visa questions answered

Co Antrim native and registered migration agent John McQuaid provides a uniquely Irish perspective on immigration issues. Dear John, I’m in Australia on a 457 visa expiring at the end of the year. My partner and I are planning to lodge a partner visa application as soon as we have saved the fees. I have heard that the partner is changing to a twostage process – one application for my partner and one for me? Is this correct and will it cost us more? Why would an Australian need to make a visa application? Brendon

Dear Brendon, The Australian Government has been trying to get proposed changes to the partner visa laws and application system for some time. Under current rules, when you apply for a partner visa, your sponsoring Australian partner has to put in a sponsorship form with the visa application. It is one application that includes the sponsor’s form. There is a proposal to make the sponsorship – a separate application – a little bit like how the employer

The GAA will be picking up the tab for the players’ flights to Australia and the game will be broadcast live on RTÉ. Former Sydney Swan player and current development coach Tadhg Kennelly is one of the festival ambassadors and is, of course, excited about the hurling. “To have the game I grew up with showcased in Australia at an elite and competitive level is really exciting,” the 2005 Premiership winner said. He’s planning on bringing his three

kids – Maggie, 4, James, 2 and fivemonth-old Hugh – to the festival to enjoy a taste of Irish culture. “I’ve already got my four-year-old doing Irish dancing. She loves it,” he told the Irish Echo. Organisers hope to attract about 40,000 people over the course of the weekend.

sponsorship system currently works. Since November 2016, the department has been asking the sponsoring partner to provide a police check report as part of the process. Immigration then makes checks on the sponsor, essentially to ensure that they don’t have convictions of family violence. This first-stage check is done before they look at the visa paperwork but is all part of the same application. So, if the government introduces a new system to make the sponsor apply first and be approved before the visa application can be lodged, Immigration are saying it may take six months or more to assess the sponsor. Only then can the visa stage be lodged. This could have serious consequences for anyone here on a short-term visa or a visa expiring soon and hoping to apply for a partner visa onshore. Immigration has about 90,000 partner visas on on hand with processing taking between 15 and 23 months. They say 35,000 of the applications are from people who lodged while in Australia, getting bridging visas to stay here while waiting for an answer. The increasing number of applications from people on visitor visas would seem to be one

reason for the changes. Under the proposed two-stage – sponsor and visa – application system, if you are here on a visitor or other temporary visa expiring soon, it is likely your visa will expire before your sponsor’s application is approved. Applying for another temporary visa could be problematic because Immigration will see you have been named in the sponsor application – therefore not a genuine temporary visa applicant. It is not clear if and when the new rules will come into effect; the legislation has been held up in the Senate for some time. So, for anyone planning a partner visa application it might be best to consider lodging as soon as possible. The current application fee for a partner visa is $7,000. Expect this to rise on July 1. Partner Visas can be lodged inside or outside Australia. Currently processing time for applications lodged outside Australia is faster than those lodged in Australia. But remember there are no bridging visas if lodged outside Australia. For more see www.homeaffairs. If the new process comes in there will likely be extra application fees and even longer processing times.

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Telephone: +61 2 9555 9199 Facsimile: +61 2 9555 9186 Postal Address: PO Box 256, Balmain, NSW 2041, Australia E-mail (Admin): E-mail (Editorial): Web: The Irish Echo is a national publication published monthly by The Irish Exile P/L Printed by Spot Press Distributed by Wrapaway


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Kayla Burden Kayla Burden, 18, originally hails from Co Down in Northern Ireland. She is now living in Melbourne where she is in her second year studying primary education at Deakin University. Kayla works part-time at a cafe, with the CBD practically at her door step.

Ruth Grannell Ruth Grannell, 25, was born and raised in Dublin. She has fallen in love with Melbourne and Australia. Ruth has a passion for nursing, travelling, running, and all things to do with beauty and fashion. She is thrilled to be a part of the Melbourne Rose of Tralee.

Ceire McCarthy Ceire McCarthy, 26, is a nurse who works in St Vincent’s Hospital. She plays AFL in Melbourne, where she has been living for almost two years. Ceire believes her passion for her Irish roots and enthusiasm for representing Melbourne will inspire her along the journey.



Anna Fennell Anna Fennell, 24, hails from the Deise county – Waterford. Anna moved to Melbourne almost two years ago, where she works full-time as a commercial insurance broker. She enjoys playing camogie at the weekend with her club, Sinn Féin.

Suzie Jackson Suzie Jackson was born in Boston and grew up in the US, and in Dublin and Cork. She has lived in Melbourne since 2015. Suzie loves sport and travelling, and has explored Thailand, the Philippines and New Zealand. She is a nurse at the Alfred Hospital.

Monique O’ Keeffe Monique O’Keeffe is of Irish-Australian and Samoan decent, born and raised in country Queensland. Monique migrated to Melbourne in 2014 to complete her Masters in International Development at RMIT. She works in community funding and development in local government.

Julia Freyne Julia Freyne, 20, is a student at the University of Melbourne, studying an arts degree after completing VCE at Marist Sion College, Warragul. She says participating in the Melbourne Rose is a great opportunity for her to celebrate her Irish heritage and give back to her community.

Ciara McAdam Ciara McAdam, a native of Melbourne, is an osteopath who is passionate about helping people achieve health and well-being goals. Her parents Brian and Gina grew up in Drogheda and Dundalk respectively before settling in Melbourne.

Aisling Pierce Aisling Pierce, 24, is a marketing, management and human resources graduate from Monash University. Aisling’s parents were born and raised in Ireland – her mother from Co Wicklow and her father from Co Wexford. They came to Melbourne in 1989.


May, 2018 I



Celebrating Irish women who make a difference Judith Crosbie FIVE Irish-Australian women have been honoured at a ceremony in Sydney, including a Cork nun who is chaplain at Port Botany, and the former president of the trade union umbrella group. The annual Brigid Awards, named after St Brigid, recognise the contributions of women with Irish heritage to Australian society. Senator Deborah O’Neill, patron of the Irish Friends of Labor, which organises the awards, said the occasion was “an important way of recognising the work and commitment that Irish and Irish-Australian women do in many parts of our community”. Sister Mary Leahy, who received a community hero award, has for more than 25 years provided care and support to seafarers at Sydney’s Port Botany, who are often away from their homes and families for months. Born in Fermoy and living in Australia since 1979, she met Pope Francis in December to receive a Papal honour, the Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, for the dedication she has shown in ministering to seafarers. Sister Mary presented the Pope with a high-visibility vest in case, as she remarked afterwards, “he wants to visit a ship”. Gerardine “Ged” Kearney, recently elected to the Australian federal House of Representatives and a former president of the Australia Council of Trade Unions, received the Bridget Whelan award. A former nurse, Ms

Kearney spearheaded the push among the trade union movement to make paid domestic violence leave an entitlement in all workplace agreements. She has been an outspoken critic of Australia’s policy on refugees and attempts to strip away protections and conditions for workers. Ms Kearney has strong links to Ireland through her parents, whose ancestors emigrated to Australia in the 19th century. The Bridget Whelan award is named after the late government adviser who became an advocate for charities and cancer awareness organisations. Other award recipients include Tina King Garde, from Dún Laoghaire, who has supported the Irish in Sydney through her work in community radio, the Gaelic Club and the Irish Echo. She raised one of the highest amounts of funding for the Dry July campaign in 2014, which helped support work carried out by the Royal North Shore Hospital Cancer Unit, where her late husband Phil was receiving treatment at the time. Another well-known Dubliner, Georgina Finn, received a contribution to small business award for her role in setting up Celtic Travel and for her support to the Irish community. Niamh Fitzsimons, also from Dublin, received an award for her contribution towards the trade union movement. She has worked on highprofile campaigns to eliminate lower rates of pay for young people in the retail and fast-food sectors.

BRIGID AWARDS: Receiving their Bridig Awards from Senator Deborah O’Neill are (clockwise from above) Georgina Finn of Celtic Travel; Ged Kearney MP, Tina King-Garde and Sister Mary Leahy.


Excluded voters keen to be heard

Supporting a ‘yes’ vote: Christine Howell, Shauna Stanley, Gary Hansell, Pam Lowe, Jimmy Yan and Grace Carroll at Melbourne’s Drunken Poet.

IRISH citizens living in Australia are not allowed to vote in the referendum on abortion. The vote will ask people to consider repealling the 8th amendment, which prohibits abor tion in almost all circumstances. A series of events have been held in Sydney and Melbourne advocating for a ‘yes’ vote. Diaspora Downunder Dollars for Choice (#ddd4c) is a campaign aiming for 30 events around Australia to fundraise for Together for Yes. Convenor of the Irish Pro Choice group Shauna Stanley said it was frustrating that expats “cannot get our voices heard at the ballot box” but “we

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can contribute some of our hardearned Australian dollars to give the Together for Yes campaign ever y chance for success”. DDD4C has received pledges from all around Australia, including themed par ties, events and a pub quiz at Melbourne’s Drunken Poet pub. “We have had an amazing response, with lots of creative ideas from supporters all over the country. “It’s been hugely inspiring to see this kind of grassroots organising. “Irish people always love good craic, but have shown themselves to be extra keen to get on board for this cause,” Stanley said. “This has a movement led by women

organising to demand their rights, against a well-funded anti-choice lobby. We may be 20,000 kilometres away, but we can feel the international reach of the sisterhood,” said Stanley. Fellow campaigner Elaine Arnold said “We wanted to [find] a way of collectively contributing towards positive progression in Ireland.” Suppor ters of a ‘yes’ vote also gathered at the Irish-owned 34 Bia restaurant last weekend for a fundraiser. Organised by Louise Nealon and Ann Marie Crotty, tickets included a full Irish breakfast and a donation to the Together for Yes campaign in Ireland. Ticket sales and raffle raised more than $2000.

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Moore success caps family triumph

David Hennessy

JONTY Moore upheld a proud family tradition when he emerged victorious a t t h e I r i s h D a n c i n g Wo r l d Championships in Glasgow last month. Jonty’s family has a unique calibre in this competition with his mother and sister both achieving similar triumphs before Jonty’s first place in the men’s 19-20 category. Jonty represents New South Wales’ Fiona Gaye-Moore Academy of Irish Dance, established by his mother, Fiona, who holds the distinction of being the first female to win a world title from outside Ireland/UK when she won her world crown in 1980 in Dublin. Jonty’s sister Ceili emulated her mother’s success in London in 2014. Now Jonty has made the family the first mother/daughter/son to have all been winners on the world stage. “To win was a great experience. It was probably something that was unexpected and a bit hard to believe so to have my closest friends and mum with me made it that but more special,” Jonty told the Irish Echo. “Obviously it’s very difficult to win the worlds so to have my mum, sister and myself all win the worlds is a great experience and it’s terrific not just for our family but for Australian Irish dancing as well.” Proud mum Fiona said of Jonty’s win: “It was an incredible moment. “Jonty has sacrificed a lot to acheive this dream. His work ethic is amazing and on the day Jonty left it all on the stage. He gave 500 per cent to his three rounds, both in preparation leading into the worlds and his performance on the day. “I couldn’t have been prouder of how Jonty handled his nerves and the whole occasion. To achieve this result was not something we had thought hugely about leading into the worlds.

“Our focus was Jonty nailing his own dancing: being the best Jonty could be and walking off the stage in Glasgow going, ‘I couldn’t have danced any better’. He did that and we were lucky the judges agreed.” On her famiy’s unique achievement, Fiona added: “We have all worked very hard. Our passion and love of Irish dance is in our blood and something

each of us have found within us. You don’t achieve these remarkable moments in your life without huge family suppor t and we are no different. “We have all loved supporting and watching each other grow from little kids having fun with a hobby to young adults with a determination and a dream,” she added.

IN THE GENES: (Above) Jonty Moore on the dais with his mum Fiona after winning the World Irish Dancing Championship title in Glasgow. (Left) Jonty’s sister Ceile with her trophy in 2014 and (inset) mum Fiona when she won the world title in 1980 in Dublin.

‘Amazing’ championships for Australian dancers David Hennessy

World champion Liam Costello

AUSTRALIAN dancers shone at this y e a r ’ s Wo r l d I r i s h D a n c i n g Championships. Liam Costello of the McGahan Lees Creer School secured a world crown for New South Wales, coming out on top in the under 16 boys competition. “It felt amazing to win the worlds. I was over the moon when they announced me in first place,” Liam told the Irish Echo. “All of my hard work over the years had finally paid off. All of my teachers helped me throughout this journey and I am so grateful for everything they have done for me. “I would definitely not be where I am today without my family who have contributed to my success.” Australia’s third world title in the championships came in the mixed figure over 13 category and went to the Christina Ayres School of Irish Dance in Victoria. This is their second time to take this prize, having won it back in 2012. There was a special visit to the school in the lead up to the competition with Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne showing her support at their last training session. It was a successful trip for the school that set the record for the most world medals won at the World Irish Dancing Championships by an Australian school. They also achieved third place in the over 16 ladies figure dance, placed fourth in the senior mixed 8 hand and finished fifth and eleventh in

Dancers from the Christina Ayres School of Irish Dance celebrate their world championship success.

the senior ladies 8 hand championship. Christine Ayres, principal of the school, was delighted with the result. “Our dancers worked so hard in the hot Australian summer. “They sacrificed a lot to be able to compete against the world’s best. And to come home with not one but two globes is a dream come true. “We went over knowing we had trained hard so to emulate what we did in 2012 is wonderful. “I am so proud of the dancers who remained positive and dedicated

thr oughout the tough training schedule,” she added. There were many other Australian medals. Conor Simpson (Simpson Academy ACT) placed third in senior men. Carrie Vaughey from Brisbane was third in ladies 20-23. Adele McAleavy was fourth in ladies 20-23. Dakota Courtney (O’Brien Academy of Irish Dancing, WA) placed sixth in ladies 19-20. Erin Gaffney (Cosgriff Irish Dancing School, VIC) placed seventh in under-12 girls. Sarah Robinson (McBrearty School

of Irish Dance, NSW), placed eighth in ladies 20-21. Will Limbrey (Carroll School of Irish Dance, NSW) placed ninth in under-17 boys. Hannah Eve (Walton, NSW) placed 11th in ladies over 23. Shauna Olson and Erin McArthur (both Scoil Rince Kilmurray, Vic) placed 13th and 15th in ladies over 23. Sinead Daly (Keady Upton School of Irish Dance, WA) placed fourteenth in u14 girls. Allie Russell (McBrearty School of Irish Dance, NSW) placed 21st in under-15 girls.


May, 2018 I



Prisoners get rare visit from social worker Fiona Brady

A SOCIAL worker who has been visiting Irish prisoners in Australian jails has warned young people of the severe consequences of getting involved in drugs here. Eilis Peoples said the majority of Irish prisoners in Australia were young men in their 20s who are serving time on drug offences. “I think some young people don’t realise, in coming to Australia, the penalties involved in their drug engagement,” said Ms Peoples, who is a caseworker for the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO). “They may not be aware of the effects of their decisions on themselves and their families and their victims.” She said being away from home was often a factor. “Sometimes people don’t have the boundaries created by families and things can escalate more quickly.” Ms Peoples spent nearly two weeks in Australia visiting 14 prisoners in jails in NSW and Western Australia to give them information and support. She said their main issue was isolation. Some hadn’t had a visit since the ICPO’s last trip here in 2016. “What tends to happen they are here with friends and then the friends move

back home and so their visits tend to reduce as time goes on,” she said. The visits from the caseworker are eagerly awaited. “It is that connection of having somebody come in,” Ms Peoples said. “Some of them want emotional support, some might want information. For example, what might happen with their cases, with immigration, what has happened to other people previously.” In total, the ICPO works with 24 Irish men and women prisoners in Australia, but knows there are more who have not requested their help. Sentences vary from life to just a few months. Another big part of the organisation’s work is helping distressed families in Ireland maintain contact with the prisoners. Few families can afford to come to Australia but some go to huge lengths – such as re-mor tgaging houses and selling cars – to help their family member. After meeting the prisoners, Ms Peoples contacts their families to let them know how their realtive is doing. Most prisoners will be deported at the end of their sentences. “We are hoping that when the prisoners go back to Ireland they will still have that strong family connection and we hope that can reduce the risk of reoffending as well,” she said.


TWO STRIKES: Darron Gibson outside South Tyneside court. Picture: PA

Football star Darron Gibson facing jail Tom Wilkinson REPUBLIC of Ireland footballer Darron Gibson has been told he faces jail after admitting a second drink-drive charge in less than three years. The 30-year-old was three times over the limit when he smashed his Mercedes 4x4 into parked cars on St Patrick’s Day, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told. The incident in Sunderland followed a serious collision in 2015 when his car hit three cyclists who were fixing a wheel on the pavement. Gibson, who played for Manchester

United, Everton and Sunderland, knocked a taxi’s wing mirror off in West Boldon in the latest incident, but carried on and smashed into parked cars in Dovedale Road, Fulwell, Sunderland, as he drove to the club’s training ground. His grey 4x4 ended up on the pavement and the road was strewn with debris. The taxi driver had followed him, thinking Gibson would stop to swap details, but the footballer carried on for some distance until the final series of collisions. Gibson will be sentenced on May 25 after medical reports are provided. Sunderland terminated his contract

after he was charged following the March 17 crash. Henry Blackshaw, defending, said Gibson was undergoing treatment for “underlying medical causes” at the time of this collision and the 2015 smash. Gibson, from Hale, Cheshire, was handed an interim disqualification and granted unconditional bail ahead of sentence. He was driven away with his wife and parents in a black people carrier and did not speak to reporters as he left court. Gibson appeared drunk when he was caught in a video filmed by fans in July, in which he criticised fellow players.


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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

St Patrick’s Day will be a holiday under PM Corbyn Alan Jones

ST Patrick’s Day will be a public holiday in Britain if Labour wins the next election. Labour will press ahead with plans to introduce new national holidays to mark the patron saints of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, if it wins the next general election. After eight years of “damaging Tory austerity”, Britain’s workers deserve a day off, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said last week. Labour will ask for the support of the governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so that the same four holidays can be enjoyed in all regions. Under Labour’s proposals, public holidays will be held on St David’s Day (March 1), St Patrick’s Day (March 17), St George’s Day (April 23) and St

Andrew’s Day (November 30).With eight public holidays, Britain has the fewest of any G20 or EU country. “If we win the next election, St George’s Day will become a national holiday for Britain’s workers. It will be a day where we can all show our pride and celebrate our country’s tradition of fairness, inclusivity and social justice” Mr Corbyn said. “Eight years of Tory austerity, which Labour will bring to an end, have had a disastrous effect on our vital public services and workers have paid a heavy price in the cost of living and their working lives. “We will give our workers four extra days paid holiday. “The four nations that make up our country are more divided as a result of the damaging and divisive policies of this Conservative government.”


May, 2018 I



Mum’s tale of heartbreak Michael McHugh A MOTHER has said the Eighth Amendment robbed her of the right to grieve for her daughter with her family. Rose Sophia was stillborn in a hospital in Liverpool in 2015 and had to be cremated there. Pro-repeal campaigner Amy Walsh had wanted to bring her baby home to Ireland for a funeral with family. “The Eight Amendment robbed us of the right to grieve for our daughter with our family. None of our family got to meet her and this made the whole experience and her loss so much worse,” she said. Ms Walsh’s infant had a fatal foetal abnormality. “Rose Sophia was stillborn in Liverpool,” she said. “I had wanted to bring her body home, so we could have a funeral service with family and friends and I had wanted my family to meet her. But she was so tiny and fragile, we were told that she would probably not survive the journey home intact in the car and ferry. It was put to us that it would be more respectful to her to have her cremated in Liverpool.” She addressed an Amnesty International event in Dublin as part

of a campaign for a yes vote in next month’s abortion referendum. Five weeks remain. Save the Eighth, a group which is lobbying against change, said the more people realised the consequences of a yes vote the less likely they are to vote in favour of change. “The Irish people do not want abortion on demand. They never have. They never will,” a sppokeswoman for the group, and pro-life activist, Niamh Ui Bhriain, said. “That is what they are being offered in this referendum, and that is why we are increasingly confident that the 8th amendment will be retained.” An Irish Times poll has shown the ‘yes’ vote at 47 per cent. Once the undecided and the likely non-voters are excluded, the repealers’ lead is calculated at 63 per cent to 37 per cent. “[The] poll is essentially the starting point for the campaign,” Ms Ui Bhriain said. “With weeks to go, most voters are only beginning to turn their attention to the referendum, and as they do so, the ‘yes’ vote continues to slide, and is now, significantly, below 50 per cent. “On a historical basis, this is an extremely strong position for any ‘no’ campaign to be in.”

A mural in Dublin advocating for a ‘yes’ vote in the May 25 referendum. Picture: Brian Lawless


Even legal abortions are immoral: bishop Michael McHugh

NO referendum can change the moral truth that abortion is wrong, a Catholic bishop has said. The direct and intentional killing of an unborn human would be just as immoral the day after it was legalised as it had been the day before, Bishop Denis Brennan added. Draft legislation to be introduced if the referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment is passed proposes unrestricted terminations be made available to women who are up to 12 weeks pregnant. “What repeal would mean is very clear, namely that the unborn boy or girl whose heart beats at 21 days, and

the older unborn baby who has all of her/his vital organs at 12 weeks, will have no rights at all in Irish law, should people vote yes to repeal,” the bishop said. “This 12-week-old unborn baby, who is now enjoying for the first time the ability to kick, to move and to yawn, would, in the first stretches of young life, be without the basic protection of the right to life itself. “A face without rights is not compatible with either reason or faith.” The poll is being held on May 25. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar launched Fine Gael’s campaign for a ‘yes’ vote on Saturday by characterising it as the compassionate answer for women with crisis pregnancies forced to travel abroad for abortions.

“No referendum can change moral truth. The direct and intentional killing, of an unborn human being, would be just as immoral the day after it was legalised, as it had been, the day before,” the bishop said. “That any person, at any age, would have no rights at all is not, I believe, what a majority of Irish people want. “This is what repeal proposes and will come to mean were it to pass. “As voters, we are the unborn baby’s last line of defence. I ask that you weigh carefully this responsibility and act in the best interest of the unborn child.” Abortion is currently only available when a mother’s life is at risk, but not in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, rape or incest.


Debate too sanitised, says ‘no’ campaign Catherine Wylie

IRELAND needs to have an honest discussion about the “barbaric” reality of abor tion ahead of next month’s referendum, anti-abortion campaigners have said. Activists from LoveBoth urged people to vote against changing the country’s strict abortion laws as the group launched its campaign for a No vote. Citizens will be asked on May 25 whether or not they want to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, a provision that makes abortion illegal in all but exceptional circumstances. LoveBoth spokeswoman Cora Sherlock said the debate in Ireland has become so sanitised that it is regarded by some as extreme to describe what is being proposed – limited abortion – “even in the mildest way”. Addressing a crowd of about 60

people in Dublin, she added: “But voters are entitled to know what a vote to repeal would mean. “It’s certainly not restrictive abortion that they would be voting for. A vote for repeal is a vote for one of the deadliest abortion laws ever proposed. “It’s a proposal that obliterates the right to life of unborn babies and makes little attempt to hide that fact.” Ms Sherlock went on to describe the stages of an abortion procedure, which she said was according to a doctor’s

testimony. “The proposal opens the door to these barbaric procedures,” she said. Asked about accusations that the anti-abortion movement uses language intended to shock, Ms Sherlock replied: “The idea that we are even thinking about introducing abortion on demand and those type of procedures into our country is shocking. “I think it would be foolhardy to think that a mature society like Ireland could have the debate that we are having, and have a vote on abortion on demand ... without actually looking at what abortion involves. “Abortion is shocking,” Ms Sherlock said. “It ends the life of a baby. “I think if we’re going to be honest about what is meant here we’re going to have to address that and actually discuss it so that people can make an informed decision.”


Chance to put ‘compassion at the centre of our laws’ Michael McHugh

THE Taoiseach has urged his country to show some compassion as he launched a bid to overturn some of the strictest abortion rules in Europe. Leo Varadkar said this month’s repeal referendum could represent a coming of age moment when the nation stops cold-shouldering those in crisis. Ireland has a near-ban on terminations and nine women travel abroad every day for the procedure. While giving a speech in Dublin, the Taoiseach drew on the experience of rape and child incest victims. “I am calling for a ‘yes’ vote because I trust women and I trust doctors and instead of fearing the worst I choose to believe the best about us as a nation,” he said. I believe a ‘yes’ vote will allow us to look our sisters, our friends and our families in the eye when for far too long we have looked away. “Now is the time to change and to put compassion at the centre of our laws,” he added. ‘Yes’ to the May 25 referendum would be the latest in a series of social liberalisation measures legalised in the Republic – including divorce and same-sex marriage – and Mr Varadkar used past victories for modernisers to characterise those opposed to change as outdated. “In Ireland in 2018 we still export our problems and import our solutions, and in the Ireland of 2018 we still turn a blind eye and a cold shoulder to our sisters, nieces, daughters, colleagues and friends when in need or when in crisis,” Mr Varadkar said. The ballot will be on whether to retain or repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which means the life of the woman and her unborn child are seen as equal. Draft legislation to be introduced if the referendum is passed proposes unrestricted abortion access be made available to women who are up to 12 weeks pregnant. The Taoiseach said the referendum was a once in a generation opportunity. “In Ireland we spent much of the last

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “I am calling for a ‘yes’ vote because I trust women and I trust doctors”.

few years atoning for historic wrongs that were done to women, but truth be told, we still wrong women today. “The Eighth Amendment does not prevent abortion. Nine women every day travel to other countries to end their pregnancies, often making that journey alone and in secret. And three women every day, and the number is growing, order abortion pills over the internet and end their pregnancies at home without medical super vision, counselling, support or advice. “All the Eighth Amendment does is allow us to sweep it under the carpet, as we did so often on so many issues in the dark days of the past.” Parts of Ireland are becoming increasingly secular, but the Catholic church is among those campaigning for a ‘no’ vote, those who argue that a baby’s life is sacrosanct. Mr Varadkar rubbished suggestions that reform would increase the number of abortions, and claimed those on that side of the argument thought very little of women. “So, May 25 is a chance for Ireland to come of age as a nation,” he said. “We should be a country in which we tr ust women and tr ust doctors to decide what is right. And if this referendum is approved, the Government will introduce a safe, regulated, doctor-led system for the termination of pregnancies in Ireland.”


May, 2018 I



Ireland reluctant to take Apple’s €13bn Michael McHugh

APPLE’S €13 billion Irish tax bill will be paid this year, Ireland’s finance minister said. Paschal Donohoe said he expected the recovery of funds to be completed in the coming months after signing a detailed legal agreement on the refund of what the EU alleges is state aid from the technology giant. The European Commission said in 2016 that the multinational had received unfair tax incentives from the Republic and ordered it to pay back taxes to the state. “This is a significant milestone with regard to the commencement of the recovery of the alleged state aid, as the Escrow Framework Deed is the overarching agreement which will govern the collection and eventual payment of funds,” Mr Donohoe said. The Commission found that Ireland had given Apple illegal state aid by allowing it to pay an effective one per cent corporation tax. Apple and the Government are appealing the Commission’s ruling on the grounds that the tax treatment did not break Irish or EU law. The money will be held in an escrow account meaning the proceeds cannot be released until there has been a final determination in the European courts on the validity of the Commission’s

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe says the government does not want Apple to pay up.

decision. The Bank of New York Mellon, London branch; Amundi; BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited and Goldman Sachs Asset Management International have been selected as preferred tenderers for the provision of services related to the money. “It is anticipated that the funds will flow into the escrow fund in significant tranches,” the Department of Finance said. “It is expected that the full

recovery will be effected by the end of quarter three, 2018.” Ireland’s open economy is based on using low corporate taxation among other incentives to attract multinationals. In Apple’s case it was significantly below the standard 12.5 per cent imposed on income. The Government opposes any effort to force it to change its taxation practices, which have encouraged the world’s top financial and technology firms to set up base in Dublin. Mr Donohoe reiterated the Government’s fundamental disagreement with the Commission’s decision on Apple’s taxes. “However, as committed members of the European Union, Ireland is intent on complying with our binding legal obligations in this regard,” he said. “This is the largest recovery fund of its kind ever to be established and due to the complexity of such, together with our duty to comply with EU procurement rules, it has taken some time to get to this point. “I am happy that I can sign the deed with Apple today, which has been the subject of difficult and intensive work. “Once the infrastructure associated with the escrow is put in place, following the execution of the deed, I expect that recovery of the funds will be completed by end quarter three, 2018.”


Singing cleric a TV hit Michael McHugh

A SINGING priest from Meath (above) who impressed judges on Britain’s Got Talent received a round of applause at Sunday Mass. Ray Kelly, 64, sang REM’s Everybody Hurts in the programme broadcast on British TV. It received the plaudits of judges Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden. He is parish priest in Oldcastle in Co Meath, where Massgoers gave him an enthusiastic reception. “I knew I could put in a fairly good performance but I was amazed at their [judges] comments,” he said. “I was really blown away by Simon’s comments and David, Alesha and Amanda.” The clergyman said he was thrilled. “I am in awe and humbled by it, I really was not expecting it.” Fr Kelly’s parents were musical. “It was all there growing up as kids. We were held up like trophies.”

The gifted priest has always watched Britain’s Got Talent, saying “it is a great variety show”, but thought carefully before giving it a go. “I put myself forward but you never know. I did not know what to expect.” Fr Kelly’s vocal talents previously went viral after a recording of him singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah at a wedding in 2014 received more than 60 million views on YouTube. After he finished his Britain’s Got Talent performance there was a silence and he wondered if they wanted him to walk off the stage. Then Cowell stood up and started applauding and that was followed by warm comments by the judges who said his rendition of the REM hit was beautiful and said they loved it. Fr Kelly has made the next stage of the contest, leading to speculation that he could follow in the footsteps of another unlikely singing star, Susan Boyle, who became famous through the show .

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May, 2018 I



Tributes flow for ‘king of country’ Catherine Wylie

STARS of the Irish countr y music scene were among mourners at the funeral of Big Tom McBride, with Daniel O’Donnell declaring: “The king will live on.” Hundreds of people descended on the r ural townland of Oram, Co Monaghan, to pay their last respects to the star who died on April 17, aged 81. Big Tom and The Mainliners were formed in the 1960s and achieved widespread success, with Big Tom’s hits including Gentle Mother and Four Country Roads. Singer Daniel O’Donnell was among the mourners. “You think people like Tom are going to go on forever,”he said. “And in the country music circle, there’s no question that he was the king, and he will be the king. He may be gone, but the king will live on, in everybody’s hearts and certainly in his music.” “It’s a huge loss here for the people.

The funerl of ‘Big’ Tom McBride in his home village of Oram, Co Monaghan. (Inset) The man described as ‘the king’ of country music in Ireland.

The main factor is that he was one of the people, no matter where he went. He didn’t carr y the title of king or stardom very well,” he said. “He was a real down-to-earth man. And he just had a connection with people that you can’t explain, other

than you’ve seen it and understood it and were present to experience it. “We’ll remember him for his music. Everybody has a song, and numerous Big Tom songs are special. “But we’ll remember him for the man as well – the humble man who I

suppose went to the top of his world but yet was as grounded as anybody could ever be.” President Michael D Higgins described him as one of the most charismatic and influential artists in Irish countr y music, who was widely respected. “His name will be recalled with fond memory by those who listened and danced to his and his band members’ generous nights of entertainment all over the island of Ireland,” the president said. “A big personality and one of the country’s greatest country stars, his love of music and his passion and skill have enriched Ireland’s music scene.” Singer Susan McCann said: “I knew Tom from when I was a fan. I was a fan from I was 16. I recorded a song about him called Big Tom Is Still The King. It was the song that launched me, actually. It made number one. And through that I did a lot of work with him and we became good friends.”

Singers per for med hits at his graveside including Pretty Little Girl From Omagh and Gentle Mother. Big Tom’s coffin was draped with an Oram Sarsfields GAA flag. Fr Leo Creelman said it was a sad day for “the world of country music and for many, many people throughout our country and beyond”. He said it was “a hear tbreaking replay of events” for the family, as they buried their mother – Tom’s wife Rose -– earlier this year. “When Rose died a massive part of Tom went with her. “He was lost, dazed and brokenhearted,” Fr Creelman said. “He had an amazing presence when he walked into a room or on to a stage. He was a man big in stature, matched up with an even bigger heart.” McBride’s career spanned more than five decades and he is survived by sons Thomas and Dermot, daughters Aisling and Siobhan, and sister Madge.


Fighter gets bail after bus attack

UFC champion Conor McGregor was released on bail by a New York judge after footage emerged of him apparently throwing a hand cart at a coach carrying some of his UFC rivals. McGregor, 29, a titan of the sport and the UFC’s first two-weight champion, was charged following the incident at the company’s media day in Brooklyn. At least two people were injured when the bus window shattered, forcing them to withdraw from fights at the UFC 223 event. McGregor handed himself in to police after footage emerged of the chaotic scenes in the Barclays Centre. It appeared to show him, flanked by an entourage, making several attempts to rush the vehicle and being stopped from throwing a metal crowd barrier at it. The fighter was later charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief, while fellow fighter Cian Cowley, 25, was charged with assault. McGregor was seen being led from a police station in handcuffs before appearing at Brooklyn Criminal Court. The two men were released on bail, with McGregor’s being set at $50,000 and Cowley’s at $25,000. The pair are due to next appear at a New York court on June 14. Two UFC fighters were pulled from bouts due to injuries they sustained in the fracas. Michael Chiesa, who received several facial cuts, Tweeted to say the New York State Athletic Commission had decided to pull him from his bout against Anthony Pettis. UFC later confirmed Chiesa’s injuries and also said flyweight Ray Borg would not be taking part in his fight against Brandon Moreno because of cornea abrasions. A third fighter, Artem Lobov -– a close friend and training partner of McGregor – was also removed from the card due to his involvement in the incident, UFC said. The ugly scenes were condemned by UFC president Dana White, who labelled them “one of the most disgusting things that’s happened in the history of the company”.

TROUBLE’S NEVER FAR AWAY: Conor McGregor was caught on video throwing a hand cart at a bus in New York.

Dublin cage fighter’s pattern of Notorious behaviour CONOR McGregor is one of the most bankable stars in UFC. His rags to riches story has inspired millions around the world but his loud mouth and quick temper has a habit of landing him in hot water. Born in the Dublin suburb of Crumlin in 1988, McGregor took up boxing at the age of 12 but was unemployed and surviving on benefits by the time he began training in mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2006. He signed a contract with UFC in 2013, and as well as his success in the ring – which earned him the nickname “The Notorious” – he draws big crowds for trash-talking his opponents. In 2016, he became the first UFC fighter to hold two belts after taking the lightweight title while he was still reigning featherweight champion.

Last summer he made history and dominated headlines for months after tempting US boxer Floyd Mayweather out of retirement for a crossover fight in Las Vegas that netted him a reported US$100 million. Although the fight was stopped in round 10 and Mayweather declared the victor, some of the biggest names in boxing praised his attempt, with Lennox Lewis saying he had “nothing to be ashamed of”. He sparked anger on the promotional tour when he told the Afro-American boxer “dance for me, boy” – a phrase that has racial overtones Mayweather later accused him of racism, saying: “He totally disrespected black women. He called black people monkeys.” McGregor responded by claiming:”[Mayweather] is trying to

sway people in his favour and it’s a cheap move.” After the defeat, McGregor did not stay out of trouble for long. In November he started an altercation with a referee at the Bellator MMA 187 event in Dublin when he leapt into the cage to celebrate his friend Charlie Ward’s apparent victory. Referee Mark Goddard took exception to McGregor’s actions, ordering him out of the octagon and sparking a melee by pushing him away. McGregor retaliated by running after Goddard and shouting and pointing at him before he was escorted out. Having earned his cash, McGregor has never been ashamed of splashing it and frequently posts Instagram pictures of himself and his family on private jets, yachts and exclusive resorts and his

fleet of luxury cars, including a Rolls Royce Ghost sprayed with the word Notorious. He was threatened with legal action by a British businessman behind a luxury car rental firm who claimed the fighter had damaged a Rolls Royce by posing standing on the bonnet. Cars seem to be McGregor’s weakness. Last year he was fined €400 for being clocked driving at 158kph (98mph) on a road near Dublin on March 31. He was eventually ordered to attend Blanchardstown District Court after he tried sending business associates in his place on two previous occasions. McGregor has been with his partner Dee Devlin since 2008 and the couple have an 11-month-old son, Conor McGregor Jr.


May, 2018 I


fallout continues from rugby rape trial :: ireland RAPE TRIAL RUGBY STARS SACKED AFTER BEHAVIOUR PROBE

Acquitted pair lose jobs after ‘behaviour’ probe David Young TWO Ireland and Ulster rugby stars who were acquitted of rape have been sacked. Employers Ulster Rugby and the Irish Rugby Football Union revoked Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s contracts with immediate effect. The announcement follows an internal review into their conduct. While Jackson, 26, and Olding, 25, were found not guilty last month after a high-profile trial, other aspects of their behaviour have been heavily criticised, with major sponsors of Ulster Rugby having voiced concern. The IRFU and Ulster Rugby review had focused on a series of sexually explicit WhatsApp conversations involving the players and their friends about the sexual encounter at the centre of the rape trial. The messages, which referred to women in derogatory terms, were presented as evidence during the marathon nine-week trial at Belfast Crown Court. “Following a review, conducted in the aftermath of recent court proceedings, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have revoked the contracts

of Patrick Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect,” a statement by Ulster Rugby and the IRFU said. “In arriving at this decision, the IRFU and Ulster Rugby acknowledge our responsibility and commitment to the core values of the game – respect, inclusivity and integrity. “It has been agreed, as part of this commitment, to conduct an in-depth review of existing structures and educational programmes, within the game in Ireland, to ensure the importance of these core values is clearly understood, supported and practised at every level of the game,” the two organisations said in their statement. Outhalf Jackson said he was deeply disappointed with the outcome of the review. “However, I recognise that my behaviour has fallen far short of the values expected of me as an international player, a role model for the game of rugby and as a son and a brother,” he added. “I am truly sorry. “My focus in the months and years ahead will be on rebuilding the trust placed in me by people throughout Ulster and Ireland.”

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been sacked by the IRFU and Ulster Rugby.

Jackson bid to recover costs


BEFORE his dramatic sacking, Paddy Jackson launched an attempt to recover legal costs from his trial. The 26-year-old was unanimously acquitted of rape and sexual assault last month. He is now seeking to retrieve all or some of the money spent on representation during the nine-week trial at Belfast Crown Court. A hearing on the matter is expected to take place before trial judge Patricia Smyth next month.

Lesley-Anne McKeown

Ulster cop flak for news reporter ban ULSTER Rugby’s ban on news reporters attending pre-match press conferences following the sacking of two rape-acquitted stars has been criticised as an “unacceptable attempt to control media coverage”. The ban has been deemed unacceptable by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), with Irish secretary Seamus Dooley saying current issues facing the club go beyond sport. The ban on news media came after an apparent concern that too many questions about the trial were asked at the first press conference after their acquittal last month. Mr Dooley said the NUJ was deeply concerned by Ulster Rugby’s actions. “This is an unacceptable attempt to control media coverage and reflects a wider failure to understand the level of interest in the story.”

Disgraced players look overseas PADDY Jackson looks set to relocate to France to rebuild his rugby career as speculation grows that he may sign with one of the country’s most successful clubs. It has been reported that Jackson, 26, is in talks with Clermont Auvergne, the reigning French champions, in his attempt to put the drama of the last 20 months behind him. Meanwhile, it has been reported that Stuart Olding, 25, is looking further afield, with his representatives in talks with teams in Australia.

Rugby chief defends sackings MONEY did not drive the decision to sack rugby stars Paddy Jackson and Stuar t Olding, the head of Ulster Rugby has said. Shane Logan also rejected criticism that the two players, whose contracts were revoked, had been effectively hung out to dry by their club and country. Mr Logan, who has refused to quit his position as chief executive, said he believed both men had made a “serious mistake” but he hoped they would have success elsewhere. “They have done a lot for Ulster and Irish rugby. They have made a very serious mistake,” he said. “I hope that they will learn from that and I hope they fulfil their potential.” Jackson, 26, and his 25-year-old team mate Olding were found not guilty of raping the same woman in June 2016. Jackson was also unanimously acquitted of sexual assault. Mr Logan said he did not believe they would ever play for Ireland or Ulster again. The high-profile trial which ran for nine weeks at Belfast Crown Court

brought to light a number of sexually explicit and offensive text exchanges that set off a wave of protests on social media and on the streets. However Mr Logan batted away claims that the IRFU had caved in to a baying Twitter mob, or that the decision was motivated by money. “No sponsor – including Bank of Ireland – drove the decision,” he added. “We have taken on board everybody’s views right across society, right across our suppor ter group, our sponsor group, our players, clubs, volunteers, we are part of society. “But at the end of the day, having looked at all those things, the decision was based on alignment with what it is we stand for in particular the value of respect. The players themselves admitted in their own statements that they were way shor t of what was expected of them.” Mr Logan said he had been shocked by the arrests, the trial and the content of the lewd messages that were discussed at length during the court case.

Ulster Rugby CEO Shane Logan

“I think we were all shocked because I don’t think what subsequently emerged was in line with what we knew of them or, indeed, how we expect any of us to behave,” he said “We waited ... with the IRFU before trying to adjudicate or weigh the facts and what had happened post trial. The IRFU’s management committee unanimously made a recommendation to revoke the players contracts.

“I think I would concur with the statements of the two players, on a couple of occasions, that they were way below the standards expected of role models. That sums up how we all feel about it. It was way short of acceptable.” Both Olding and Jackson have expressed regret that their future no longer lies with Ulster. Mr Logan said the morale in the team, which has been struggling this season, had also taken a battering. “We are going to put the decision behind us and move on. There is no question that all of us have been significantly affected by the charges and the staff. “I think the players and the staff and wider rugby have done well to do as well as they have done in very difficult circumstances,” Mr Logan said. “The over whelming sentiment is one of sadness. It has been extremely difficult and traumatic for everybody involved in the case. There are absolutely no winners but our role is to try and set the right course for the future. The decision is made and we have got to manage the future now.”


Willie John McBride criticised for supporting players

THE Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has criticised for mer Ireland r ugby international Willie John McBride for calling for the reinstatement of Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson after they were found not guilty of rape. McBride made the call before the two players were sacked by the Irish Rugby Football Union. The Centre said the calls by Mr McBride for the players’ reinstatement “entirely missed the legitimate reason for concern by so many people.” “They don’t seem to recognise that the behaviour of some of the most prominent rugby players in the country was extraordinarily disrespectful and

failed to take any account of the humanity or dignity of the young woman involved,” Noeline Blackwell, chief executive of the Centre told the Irish Times. “This is a matter which the IRFU and Ulster Rugby must address as they have said they will do, not only in relation to those players but in relation to any culture within rugby that might in any way condone or encourage that behaviour.” McBride, who captained Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, said the case had been a very sad affair and that “for this bunch of young people when alcohol came in common sense went out”.

“Ultimately alcohol was at the base of all this. That needs to be looked at.” “They have come through a very difficult few months,” Mr McBride told RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke. “They were tried on TV, they were tried in the press. They were found not guilty, now people are saying get out [of rugby]. That’s totally unfair.” Mr McBride said he also felt sorry for the complainant, but that she had not endured the same exposure in the press as those accused. “These young people are going to regret this for the rest of their lives. I think they’ve learned their lesson. They issued an apology. It’s time to get

back to doing what they do best, which is play rugby.” As speculation swirled around the withdrawl of sponsors if Jackson and Olding were reinstated, McBride said he hoped that sponsors would see that the players had made restitution and will not behave like that again. “They are not bad young men,” McBride remarked. Meanwhile, an advertisement calling for Jackson and Olding to resume their roles “for both club and countr y” appeared in the Belfast Telegraph before their sacking. The ad urged rugby investigators not to bow to “the court of social media”.


May, 2018 I



Clinton hails ‘genius’ of agreement Lesley-Anne McKeown

THE Good Friday Agreement was the work of genius and a precious gift, former US President Bill Clinton has declared in Belfast. Speaking at a major conference to mark the 20th anniversar y of the historic 1998 peace accord, he urged the people of Nor thern Ireland to inspire the world again. “The Good Friday Agreement is the work of genius – that’s applicable if you care at all about preserving democracy – because it called for: a real democracy; majority rule; minority rights; individual rights; the rule of law; the end of violence; shared political decision-making; shared econpmic benefits; shared special relations; maintained the relationship with the United Kingdom; expanded the relationship with the Irish Republic and then let the future take its course.” Mr Clinton, who was later given the Freedom of Belfast, shared an hour-

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Nuala McAllister takes a selfie with former US President Bill Clinton and Senator George Mitchell. Picture: Kevin Boyes

long panel discussion with former British prime minister Tony Blair, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and other architects of the agreement at Queen’s University Belfast. He told an audience that included serving political leaders, dignitaries

and schoolchildren not to underestimate the work done by people of different persuasions. “These people gave you a gift: people who lost loved ones and bore scars; the women’s groups. “Everybody – they gave you a gift.

Make the most of it. It is a precious gift,” Mr Clinton said. “In the process, remind the world that democracy is better than dictatorship. Remember you inspired the world 20 years ago, you can do it all over again because the rest of the world continues to do foolish things. You do smart things.” Meanwhile, Mr Blair said Brexit as is a profound mistake and he warned of the challenging consequences. “Let me make it clear, we are going to overcome that challenge and we should overcome it because preserving this agreement is really, really important. “But those people who are either disdainful of the challenge or dismissive, this is going to require real focus and hard work because we cannot return to a hard border between north and south. It would be a disaster for the agreement and for the relationship between the Republic and the UK, and therefore for the people of Northern Ireland.”

The chairman of the 1998 talks, US envoy to Northern Ireland George Mitchell; former Downing Street chief of staff Jonathan Powell; former Sinn Fein president Ger r y Adams and former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble were also present. The Good Friday Agreement largely ended the 30-year conflict that claimed more than 3,000 lives. It was codified by the British and Irish governments with the agreement of most of the major Stormont parties, with the notable exception of the Democratic Unionists. The deal also covered the reestablishment of devolved powersharing at Stor mont and establishment of cross-border political bodies with the Republic. It enshrined the principle of consent – that Northern Ireland’s constitutional position would only change if a majority in the region voted for it – while offering provisions that legitimised nationalist aspirations to strive for a united Ireland.


Alleged data breach ‘very significant threat’ to press freedom, says Varadkar David Young and Michael McHugh

AN alleged data br each within Independent News and Media represents a very significant threat to freedom of the press in Ireland, the Taoiseach has warned. Leo Varadkar said the Government would be considering legislation to enshrine protection for journalistic sources in the light of the claims surrounding INM. The business watchdog, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), has launched a High Court bid to have inspectors appointed to probe gover nance arrangements at the media group, which owns titles including the Irish Independent and Belfast Telegraph. INM is opposing the application to have inspectors appointed. If the probe is sanctioned by the court one of a series of issues it will investigate is the circumstances around an alleged data breach in 2014, in which the information of a number of INM employees, including high -profile journalists, was accessed by external companies. The incident has led to concerns the journalists’ sources could have been compromised. Businessman Denis O’Brien, the primary shareholder in INM, accused the director of corporate enforcement of leaking details of his application to have inspectors appointed to the company. The High Court in Dublin has been asked to decide whether to probe governance arrangements at the media group but has delayed making a decision while further legal issues are discussed. Major INM shareholder Mr O’Brien wrote to director Ian Drennan saying the alleged leaks had damaged his reputation. His letter, read out in court, said: “I hold you fully and personally responsible for all such failures and breaches.” A lawyer for the director, Neil Steen SC, said: “We are reasonably satisfied that those allegations are unfounded.” There is a compelling public interest

in appointing inspectors to investigate Independent News and Media data use, he told the court. Mr Steen said there were significant concerns about use of the material by people outside the Republic’s largest media group. “The purpose of the investigation is to establish the full facts. There is compelling public interest in the matters in question being fully investigated by the court.” He said they sur rounded the removal of data from INM to a third company outside the jurisdiction “resulting in INM data being interrogated”. “There remains significant concerns as to the purpose of the data interrogation, accessible by a range of individuals,” Mr Steen added. He said some of those individuals were found to have links to Mr O’Brien, the successful businessman and largest shareholder at INM. “There is evidence to suggest that INM data may have been searched against several individuals, including journalists.” The decision of the director to bring the legal proceedings is due to go to judicial review next month and that will determine whether to proceed on the substantive case, judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly said. Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was pressed by Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin in the Dáil to introduce laws to protect sources. Mr Martin referenced a number of unactioned official reports that had previously called for more robust legislation to preserve press freedom. “I think, given recent revelations, yes we are going to have to give consideration to legislation in this area to protect sources,” The Taoiseach replied. “Having an independent news and media is the cor nerstone of our democracy. Journalists must be free to pursue stories that they want to pursue, their sources should be protected, free from any unjust interference external or internal. ”

Businessman Denis O’Brien is battling the government in the Supreme Court over parliamentary privilege while the corporate watchdog wants to appoint inspectors to probe governance arrangements at the O’Brien-controlled Independent News and Media following a data breach at the company in 2014.

Parliamentary privilege ‘under threat’ Michael McHugh A LEGAL challenge by Denis O’Brien risks destroying parliamentary privilege, a state lawyer has said. The action taken by telecoms billionaire Denis O’Brien after two politicians disclosed details of his banking affairs is not the business of even the Republic’s highest court, barrister Michael Collins claimed. Mr O’Brien appealed to Ireland’s Supreme Court after a failed attempt to sue the legislature following statements made by two TDs three years ago which rendered his previous court injunction almost pointless. The lawyer for the Oireachtas parliament, senior counsel Michael Collins, said the court should not scrutinise its elected members’ comments. “That is ultimately destructive of parliamentary speech because unless you can speak knowing that you are not going to be subject to some form of oversight other than the oversight provided for in the constitution, that you can be made answerable to a court -–

even if indirectly -– then [free speech] ... is effectively undermined.” Mr Collins said it was not judges’ role to scrutinise speech in the Oireachtas in Dublin based on how bad, incompetent or erroneous it was. “This appeal avowedly seeks the court to circumscribe parliamentary speech and involves the substitution of the court, and this court as the final court in this jurisdiction, as the ultimate arbiter of parliamentary speech in this jurisdiction,” he said. Parliamentary speech is privileged in Ireland under the Constitution and the separation of powers between law makers and the judiciary is closely guarded. The High Court decided it had no power to rule on issues raised by Mr O’Brien concerning how the Oireachtas Committee on Procedure and Privileges dealt with the statements about his financial matters and his complaints. However, Mr O’Brien decided to appeal that decision. Mr O’Brien had obtained an injunction in 2015 preventing RTÉ reporting on what he claimed were stolen files of his

banking records with the state-owned IBRC, formerly rogue lender Anglo Irish Bank. He said Independent TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty knew exactly what they were doing when they later read details of the file into the public record. But a High Court judge upheld parliamentary freedom of speech. Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on communications minister Denis Naughten over claims he tipped off a lobbyist connected to Mr O’Brien about a decision on a proposed media takeover. Mr Naughten has admitted that he told a public relations executive working for INM that he believed the proposed takeover of Celtic Media would most likely be referred to the industry watchdog, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). INM later dropped plans to buy the seven regional newspaper titles owned by Celtic Media. Fianna Fáil leader Micháel Martin said he believed a serious error of judgement had been made.


May, 2018 I



Stolen Dublin saint’s heart back where it belongs Aine Fox THE 800-year-old heart of Dublin’s patron saint has been recovered by police, six years after it was stolen from a cathedral in the city. The relic – the heart of St Laurence O’Toole – was taken from Christ Church Cathedral in 2012. It has no monetary value but is a priceless treasure for the church, the cathedral’s dean, the Very Reverend Dermot Dunne, said. The theft of the relic, which had been kept in a wooden heart-shaped box and placed within a small iron-barred cage, led to a six-year investigation by gardaí. The relic was presented to the Archbishop of Dublin the Most Rev Dr Michael Jackson last week by Garda Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy. A choir sang to mark the heart’s return, with churchgoers queuing up to catch a glimpse of the relic and give prayers of thanks. Archbishop Jackson thanked those who had helped recover the relic, and said the return of the heart was a joyful moment for the people of the city. “The return of the heart of Laurence O’Toole to Christ Church Cathedral

SDLP may ‘clear way’ for Fianna Fáil The SDLP has said reports the party could make way for Fianna Fáil in Northern Ireland are speculation. However, it acknowledged realignment cannot be ruled out in the future. Senior SDLP sources told the Belfast Telegraph around 80 per cent of the party supported it “leaving the stage” to clear the way for Fianna Fáil. The party lost its Westminster seats in South Down, Foyle and South Belfast following last year’s general election. Its bid for Assembly mandates faced competition from a surge in Sinn Féin support.

Fatal pony and trap accident kills two TWO tourists have died in an accident involving a pony and trap in Co Kerry. It is understood the pony bolted as the couple from the US were travelling along the scenic Gap of Dunloe mountain pass. Mayor of Killarney Niall Kelleher said the tragedy had left a dark cloud over the community. “The tragic incident has caused great shock and upset throughout the entire community,” he said.

Tick of approval for four-year Dáil terms PARLIAMENTARY terms in Ireland should be fixed at four years, the Citizens’ Assembly has recommended. In a tight vote, a majority of the Assembly (51 per cent) backed changes to the current system, where terms can last just over five years and the decision on calling an election within that time frame rests with the Taoiseach. If the system was changed, 59 per cent of Assembly members voted that a fixed term of four years should be reached. A large majority (95 per cent) agreed that the fixed term could be cut short in certain circumstances. Two out of three (66 per cent) said an early election would require the approval of cabinet.

brings great joy to the people of Dublin as Dubliners,” he said. “For those of us associated with the life of the dioceses, it brings again to the fore the close relationship between Glendalough and Dublin, a relationship of more than 800 years. “Laurence left the monastic city of Glendalough of which he was Abbot to become Archbishop of Dublin, hence cementing a vibrant relationship that continues unabated to this day.” Rev Dunne said he was “delighted” at the relic’s return. “I said at the time it was stolen that the relic has no economic value but it is a priceless treasure that links the cathedral’s present foundation with its founding father, St Laurence O’Toole,” Rev Dunne said. Assistant Commissioner Leahy commended officers who he said had “kept their radars on and their minds open in this ongoing investigation”. Gardai said no arrests have been made over the theft. There will now be a shrine to St Laurence, who died in 1180, in the cathedral, the church said, noting that they had looked at their security since the theft.

The heart of Laurence O’Toole is received by Reverend Dermot Dunne at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, after the relic that has been missing for six years was recovered undamaged. Picture: Tom Honan


Ireland must ‘play hard-ball’ Shaun Connolly

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said Dublin could have to “play hard ball” with Britain over Brexit. Mr Ahern said Ireland should insist the UK stays closely aligned with the Republic after EU withdrawal. Asked whether Ireland should take a tough stance in negotiations over cross-border trade and alignment, Mr Ahern told BBC2’s Newsnight: “I’m afraid the answer to that is we have to play hard ball.” “Let’s say customs union equals trade agreement. If that trade agreement is fairly close with what’s presently there, I think – forget about Ireland for a minute – I think that would be good for the UK’s economy,” he said. Mr Ahern, who said Brexit is a disaster for Ireland, insisted any return to a physical border would not be acceptable. “There never will be a border. There is not going to be a physical border across Ireland because if you tried to put it there you wouldn’t have to wait

for terrorism to take it down, people would just physically pull it down -– the ordinary people.” The former Taoiseach said it was not the right time for a border poll on Northern Ireland’s status. “To have a border poll, and even though I was the one who put it into the Good Friday Agreement, to have it in circumstances where there is not sustainability and ther e is not workability of the whole institution, would be the wrong time to do it. “The only time a border poll is worth having [is] when a sizeable number – whatever it is, it will never be huge – but a sizeable number of unionists and loyalists believe that they can join and share with republicans and nationalists in a new Ireland.” Meanwhile, the Government has urged Britain to give more thought to resolving outstanding Brexit issues. Dublin’s objectives have remained the same for months, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney added, and ministers are still firm. The border is one of the most vexed issues facing EU/UK negotiations in

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern believes Brexit will be a disaster for Ireland.

Brussels. Mr Coveney said protecting the 1998 Good Friday agreement, ensuring co-operation between Northern Ireland and the Republic works and preventing any physical border infrastructure were commitments already agreed between the sides.

“The Irish Government’s position has not changed, it is rock solid,” Mr Coveney told RTÉ. Little agreement has yet been reached on the detail of measures to avoid a hard frontier with checks on goods and ser vices. Unionists have opposed any solution which would create differences between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, and Prime Minister Theresa May is reliant on DUP support in Westminster. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said a backstop, meaning Northern Ireland continued to follow EU rules relating to the all-island economy, was now part of the overall agreement between Britain and the EU. Mr Coveney said transforming the commitments already given into a legal text was challenging and a work in progress. “I think there is more thought needed, particularly on the British side in terms of solving some of these issues,” he said. Mr Varadkar has said it was up to the UK to propose a solution on the border question if it rejected that put forward by European leaders.


‘Many reasons for concern’, European political chief

Michael McHugh

EUROPEAN Council President Donald Tusk says Brexit makes him furious. He has also called on Europe to unite. During a speech in Dublin, the statesman warned it would take very little time to demolish the structures of peace and unity built up on the continent. “I don’t like Brexit. Actually, I believe Brexit is one of the saddest moments in 21st-century European history. In fact, sometimes I am even furious about it.” Last month Mr Tusk said EU leaders wanted to see positive momentum in the negotiations to finalise a solution

avoiding a hard border. The leaders agreed to proceed to the next stage of Brexit talks after a transitional deal between the UK and EU. “This year will be about Brexit, mainly, unfortunately. Instead of integration, I will be dealing with disintegration, in fact, some kind of damage control process, and my main focus will be to eliminate or at least reduce negative side effects of Brexit, with the Irish question, of course, in the centre of my attention,” Mr Tusk said. European and British negotiators are seeking a solution to Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic after Brexit. Visiting Ireland on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday agree-

ment, Mr Tusk warned of the potential for conflict in Europe. “We have as many reasons for concern, as a generation that could still unfortunately make it to the gloomy and for sure spectacular show of another European disunion. “You may think I am oversensitive to this threat. But our two countries don’t need reminding about how much effort, suffering and time is needed to build peace and unity without coercion, in the conditions of freedom. And how little time and ef for t is needed to undermine and demolish this structure.” He noted potential for conflict wherever he looked.

European Council’s Donald Tusk


May, 2018 I


Mal Rogers scans Ireland’s regional media for what’s making news in your county DONEGAL

Man who defecated on police station counter caught wearing stolen hat A YOUNG man broke into a police station, defecated on the counter and then stole a number of items including officers’ hats, vests and radios. The Belfast Telegraph reports that Michael Brennan was caught on CCTV spending more than 25 minutes rummaging around Lifford Garda station in Co Donegal. He was also seen defaecating on the counter of the station before leaving the building while wearing a Garda hat. A swab was taken of the faeces in a bid to track down the culprit. Brennan, 21, appeared at Letterkenny District Court where he pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage during a burglary at the station. The court heard how CCTV footage showed Brennan walking down Bridge Street towards the nearby Co Tyrone town of Strabane wearing one of the Garda caps. Brennan, of Conewburrow, Lifford, was eventually apprehended by the PSNI in Strabane wearing items of Garda Síochána clothing. “It was a fair cop in every sense of the word,” Brennan’s solicitor, Mr Donagh Cleary, said. He said his client had suffered from drink and drug addiction but was now back in the care of his father and living in Lifford. He added that he had been punished in Northern Ireland for the crime and that there was no loss apart from the clean-up to the Garda station. Judge Paul Kelly said there was indeed a cost to the state for Brennan’s disgusting behaviour. He was told by Garda Inspector Goretti Sheridan that the cost to clean up a cell if damaged is €225 and this would probably be the same cost. “There was a repulsive message in what he did and a clear message was sent to the authorities and also by the way he paraded around,” he added. He adjourned the case to allow for the €225 to be paid to gardaí. ANTRIM

Neeson backs bandstand naming competition PRIMARY school children are to be given the opportunity to name a new meeting place in the heart of Ballymena – with the winner to be selected by Hollywood superstar and hometown hero Liam Neeson, reports the Ballymena Guardian With the regeneration project set to be completed within weeks, A-list actor Liam – star of a string of blockbuster films, including Taken, The Phantom Menace, Schindler’s

List, The A-Team and Batman Begins, has launched a competition to find a suitable name for Ballymena’s latest attraction. And the Freeman of Ballymena admitted being impressed by the cutting-edge structure, which will finally provide residents with a fit-forpurpose outdoor community space, acting as a hive of activity, with a series of outdoor events already being planned to promote culture and the arts.

THE EYES HAVE IT: A clothing rack in front of a mural of President Michael D Higgins by Subset collective in the Temple Bar area of Dublin The mural is part of the #Greyareaproject, a protest against a recent Dublin City council clampdown on street art. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire


Steering group put in place for geopark application process PLANS are beign drawn up to secure a world renowned tourism branding for an area stretching across a huge area from Strangford Lough to South Armagh. The Down Recorder reports that Newry, Mourne and Down Council is seeking prestigious UNESCO geopark status for an area taking in the Mournes, Ring of Gullion and the Strangford and Lecale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A steering committee has been established to spearhead the bid which is in its very early stages. The formal application to secure geopark status not expected to be submitted until November 2019. A decision on whether the bid has been successful will be made in April 2021. DUBLIN

Traveller woman who sustained fractured wrist loses discrimination case against fast-food outlet THE reports that a homeless member of the Traveller community who had her wrist fractured following an alleged incident with a security guard at a fast-food restaurant has had a discrimination case dismissed. The case before the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) heard that she was pushed to the floor twice and sustained a fracture of the wrist and bruising on 22 March 2017. The woman, who is also visually impaired and is accompanied by a guide dog, claims she made her way to the service counter after the alleged assault and overheard a member of staff say to another, “Don’t worry about her, she’s just an itinerant” and that she was refused service. The basis for her complaint of discrimination was over this remark and the alleged refusal to serve her in the restaurant. In response, the restaurant denies that its staff were aware of that the complainant was a member of the Traveller community.

The manager gave evidence that the security guard stopped the woman twice and told her she was not being admitted. WRC adjudication officer Pat Brady acknowledged that a dispute with the security guard took place but added that there “is no independent corroboration of the remark”. The woman has taken a separate personal injuries claim in relation to the incident with the security guard. MEATH

Meath man in critical condition after serious assault at Liverpool v Roma game THE Meath Chronicle reports that Dunboyne GFC have released a statement in relation to their former club chairman Sean Cox after the 53 year-old was brutally attacked before a Champions League semi-final between Liverpool and Roma. “The club is aware of an incident involving our club colleague, Sean Cox, at the Champions League game at Anfield last night. Sean is a long-serving and popular member of St. Peter’s GAA Club in Dunboyne. “At this point we hope that Sean is receiving all of the medical care he requires and that he makes a full and speedy recovery. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Sean and his family, and we hope that they get the privacy and space they need. We will not be making any further statement at this time.” Mr Cox is believed to have been struck in the head with a belt just minutes before the Champions League semi-final clash between Liverpool and the Italian club was due to get underway. Mr Cox was taken to the Walton Neurological Centre where he was being treated for his injuries. LOUTH

Bike scramblers cause concern to sheep farmers CONCERNS have been raised by the farming community in north Louth about teenagers using scrambler bikes on the Cooley mountains. The Dundalk Argus reports that Louth County Council introduced by-laws prohibiting the use of quad bikes and scramblers on the mountains a number of years ago

but local farmers and hill walkers have reported a number of incidents of off road vehicles being driven on the open mountains in recent weeks. “This is causing a lot of concern in the Ravensdale area, particularly among sheep farmers and there have also been reports of off-road vehicles on the mountains above Carlingford,” IFA branch chairman Matthew McGreehan said. He explained that the use of quads and scramblers on the mountains was a worry for farmers because it can disturb sheep and damage the vegetation. “Sheep can be frightened by these vehicles and it’s a problem for sheep farmers putting one-year-old hoggets out to graze as it can scare them and they can run away for miles into other townlands. “It’s also disturbing the peace for hill walkers as it can be quite intimidating for people out enjoying a walk to come across a group of teens on bikes or quads.” Staff from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) section of the Department of the Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht confirmed to The Argus that they have recently received numerous reports of scramblers and quad bikes in the vicinity of the Carlingford Mountain Special Area of Conservation. DERRY

Sinn Féin’s McDonald uses term ‘Londonderry’ and backs unionist election candidate MARY Lou McDonald has broken new ground for a Sinn Féin leader by using the name ‘Londonderry’. Ms McDonald was speaking after meeting Presbyterian minister the Rev David Latimer and members of his congregation. The Belfast Telegraph reports that she also visited the Ulster-Scots Heritage Centre in Carrigans, Co Donegal. In a second bridge-building gesture towards unionists yesterday, she said Sinn Féin would be supporting former Ulster Farmers’ Union president Ian Marshall in the upcoming Senate byelection. She said him was a “strong, anti-Brexit unionist voice”. Some republicans condemned the Sinn Féin president’s use of the term for the city, normally referred to by nationalists as Derry or the original name Doire.

“I’ve never heard any republican use ‘Londonderry’,” former internee Mickey Donnelly, said. “Indeed, no one in the nationalist community, including SDLP people, uses it. The ex-prisoners I’ve spoken to are shocked and outraged. Mary Lou’s lack of republican credentials is showing.” Former republican prisoner Padraic Mac Coitir, from west Belfast, tweeted: “During the blanket protest some men from Doire were refused letters and visits because they wouldn’t use that word. Shame on anyone claiming to be republican using it.” Replying to Facebook criticism of her reference, Ms McDonald said: “I used the term to reflect the fact that we had a dialogue – a really good one – with people who see things differently to us.” CARLOW

Abortion talk prompts walkout during Mass at Carlow Cathedral FAMILIES concerned at a pro-life talk walked out of Carlow Cathedral midway through Masses, reports the Carlow Nationalist. Parents said they were to forced to leave, as they felt it was inappropriate that a sensitive, adult topic such as abortion be discussed with young children in attendance. The walkouts occurred when a doctor advocating the pro-life side of the Eighth Amendment debate was invited to speak during Mass. It happened at two Masses on Sunday, including one which was a communion preparation Mass for local schoolchildren. Two Carlow Mass-goers contacted RTÉ’s Liveline programme complaining about the issue. Speaking to The Nationalist, one parent who walked out, Eoghan Murphy from Ballinabranna, said: “I understand and expected the Church’s stances. I just didn’t expect their handling to be that way. “There is no reason why they couldn’t have asked people to hold back after Mass for a talk from this doctor from the pro-life side. “As parents, we felt we are the people to know our son and what level of information he needs and at that age for a topic that is beyond him,” he said. A spokesperson for Carlow Cathedral was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.


May, 2018 I


Scratching society’s surface what they called an open marriage, which was not quite as liberating as the term might suggest. Doreen and Tom also split up after she has a brief affair and becomes pregnant. After the baby is born, Ralph manages to get the two of them together again. Although that seems a thin skeleton on which to hang a story, the telling is slow and without major incident, as the reader is invited on the journey with young Ralph. It is also a reminder of how much society has changed because it is doubtful if today’s young boys in their last year of primary school are quite as innocent of the ways of the world. MY first contact with Carlo Gébler was in his excellent collection of prison stories,The Wing Orderly’s Tales, and there was enough in that to have me searching for his latest offering. He is, after all, the son of the wonderful Edna O’Brien and a member of Aosdána, either of which ought to be enough to encourage someone to read his work. This book, however, is disappointing. That judgement is probably based on the fact that the story is set in 1964 and the writing is of the kind one might have expected when readers did not demand the constant action that modern book lovers require. “The conductor twisted the handle. Their tickets shot out of his machine. He tore them off. They were white oblongs with smudged blue writing. He handed them to her with the change.” The central character is 12-yearold Ralph from the eponymous Falkland Road during the era of the Mods and Rockers and the beginnings of swinging London. His mother has to go to the United States for a year to supervise the making of a garden for wealthy clients. While she is away, Ralph is cared for by an Irish couple Doreen and Tom. The story deals with the slow coming-of-age of Ralph and his slightly more worldly-wise friend Benedict. The latter’s parents are in


line in repartee – think Rake or Jack Irish, if you like the ABC. He manages to stay on the right side of the law, but only just. He is asked by an old childhood friend to defend him in a complicated kidnapping that threatens to go wrong. As it turns out the ransom payment does go wrong, even though the FBI and the police know what is supposed to be happening, with the result that Flynn has to try to tidy up the mess. The main protagonist is a psychopath with a high IQ, but our hero has also to deal with another lawyer who has made a good living from getting killers free by clever use of the letter of the law. The greatest strength of the story is the way it deals with the legal shenanigans that are used in the pursuit of justice in the courtroom; readers are not discouraged from thinking that this is a common way by which barristers maintain a healthy bank balance. Though there is no shortage of violence in the contacts between the various characters, the strength of the book and the thing that will stay in the mind is the unsettling impression that what happens in a court of law is far from what we innocents may think. If your only contact with the legal profession is uncomplicated conveyancing, you may feel like thanking your stars. This is the kind of story that will have you loudly asking for more.

THE INNOCENT OF FALKLAND ROAD Carlo Gébler New Island Press 295 pp 13.95 euro

CC THE LIAR Steve Cavanagh Orion Books 330 pp $29.99

CCCC THE YEAR THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING Cathy Kelly Hachette 394 pp $29.99

C Frank O’Shea STEVE Cavanagh is a new writer, when they are clearly guilty. though this is not his first book. The central character is Eddie Born in Belfast, he completed a Flynn, a New York lawyer, recently law degree in Dublin; significantly, separated and now living in a he now lectures in legal matters, small room something at the back of that comes his office. In across in his teenage the various twists of ... clever lawyers get criminals years he was trained by this story. off all charges, even when his Irish-born We learn a father in the great deal they are clearly guilty. arcane arts of about the pickpocketing different and three-card types of trickery and objection uses all of those skills in this story. which clever lawyers are able to use He is a likeable rogue with a clever to get criminals off all charges, even

The husband of Callie has to flee Ireland for Spain, pursued by the police for his shady business dealings; his wife and daughter have to survive on their own without any money or access to a bank account. Sam has given birth to her first baby and is suffering from post-natal depression. Ginger is overweight and is the subject of amusement among those she considers her friends, mainly because she has not yet lost her virginity. The book switches from one of these scenarios to another, each slowly and for the reader, painfully, recorded in the most minute detail. The coming-together of the three strands at the end of the book is rushed and far from convincing. The book is, one imagines, a typical example of what is called chick lit, which doesn’t say much for chicks. It has been near the top of the Irish bestseller lists on this page for some months. The best that can be said for it is that if you could manage to force yourself to read 60 pages a day, you could finish it in a week.

... a typical example of what is called chick lit.

THIS, we learn in the acknowledgements, is Cathy Kelly’s 19th book. That figure implies a level of success and wide acceptance that would make most writers envious, because there must be a body of readers out there who buy and read her work. This reviewer cannot claim to be a member of such a group. The book has three separate stories, set in today’s Ireland, all of them coming together in the final 40 or so pages. The three principal characters happen to share a birthday and the story starts on a day when Callie turns 50, Sam reaches 40 and Ginger is 30.


Skin Deep


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine


The Woman in the Window


Karl Henry’s Healthy Living Handbook


The Tattooist of Auschwitz


Letters to My Daughters


From a Low and Quiet Sea


The Woman in the Woods


The Cow Book: Life on an Irish Family Farm

10 The Year That Changed Everything



Skin Deep

Gail Honeyman


The Woman in the Window

A. J. Finn


The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine


The Midnight Line


What Happened That Night

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

A. J. Finn


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Elena Favilli/Francesca Cavallo


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 Elena Favilli/Francesca Cavall


Letters to My Daughters

Emma Hannigan


The Secret


From a Low and Quiet Sea

Donal Ryan


The Little Book of Mindfulness

Emma Hannigan


The Woman in the Woods

John Connolly


A Pocket History of Ireland

Donal Ryan


The Year That Changed Everything

Cathy Kelly


5 Ingredients – Quick & Easy Food

John Connolly


Amost Love

Louise O’Neill



John Connell


The Fallen

David Baldacci


The Happy Pear

Cathy Kelly

10 Macbeth

Jordan B. Peterson

Heather Morris

Karl Henry

Jo Nesbo


Rhonda Byrne Tiddy Rowan Joseph McCullough Jamie Oliver Hans Rosling Stephen Flynn/David Flynn

10 Lose Weight for Good

Tom Kerridge


Gail Honeyman


Karl Henry’s Healthy Living Handbook

Lee Child


The Cow Book. Life on an Irish Family Farm

Karl Henry


Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Becky Albertalli

John Connell


The Bear Who Would Not Share

Oakley Graham

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Sheila O’Flanagan


Repeal the 8th

Una Mullally


Claire Keegan


Win: Proven Strategies for Success... Jason Brennan/Brent Pope


Bad Dad

David Walliams

Dan Jones


The Midnight gang

David Walliams

J. M. Synge


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway

Yuval Noah Harari


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Tony O’Reilly/Declan Lynch


Fidget: The Naughty Puppy Dog

Tara Westover


No More Monkeys!




Orange Blossom Days

Patricia Scanlan


The Templars


The Couple Next Door

Shari Lapena


The Playboy of the Western World


Little Fires Everywhere

Celeste Ng


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind


Ready Player One

Ernest Cline


Tony 10


Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye

10 The Great Gatsby


Heather Morris



David Lagercrantz


Scott F. Fitzgerald

10 A Brief History of Time


Steven Hawking

10 The Velveteen Rabbit

J. K. Rowling

Jeff Kinney J. K. Rowling Susie Linn Joshua George Margery Williams


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May, 2018 I

all-expenses paid trip to Barcelona. Tickets for the draw, which will be held in the Westcourt Hotel in Drogheda on 30th December 2018, cost €100 and can we purchased on

Brexit buffoon

Angela Bermingham with her hybrid sheep/goats.

Geep or Shoats? AN extremely rare set of healthy twin – sheep/goat hybrids – is proving more than a handful for their shocked owner. Angela Bermingham, who lives in Claremorris, Co Mayo, is getting to grips with the pair who arrived unexpectedly five months after her pet nanny goat Daisy had a weeklong tryst with a Cheviot ram in an adjoining field. But I know what you’re thinking. What about the kids? Well, we don’t want to milk this story for too many lame gags but perhaps the nannygoat was just horny. Then again, ewe can’t be too careful with these things. (OK enough, Ed). Ms Bermingham has christened her new pets This and That, refelecting their unusual genetic make-up. But the main question remains, are they geep or shoats? Romantic liaisons between sheep and goats only rarely produce viable offspring. But Ms Bermingham insists there is no other explanation for the six-week-old twins, as they share characteristics of both types of animal. She said she had her suspicions Daisy and the ram were something more than friends when she relocated to his field last autumn. The ram had already done some ground work with a few incursions into her garden to visit

Daisy. “They were together for a week,” she said. Five months later came the shock arrivals. “I came in one night and she comes over to the car when I pull up and this little one just popped out from behind her, just one,” said Ms Bermingham. “Anyway I put them to bed and locked them in, went to bed, got up the next day and there’s two of them. This and That.”

OK, I’m really worried about Brexit now. The Brits have put this numpty in charge of the negotiations and he seems a little vague on detail. Brexit secretary David Davis (pictured) said last month that there was a new government in Ireland and that they had changed their approach in negotiations “due to pressure from Sinn Féin”. Mr Davis said that he had not expected such a tough stance on Brexit from the Fine Gael leader, who took over from Enda Kenny as party leader and Taoiseach last June. “We had a change of government, south of the border, and with quite a

strong influence from Sinn Féin, and that had an impact in terms of the approach,” he said. When challenged by members of the audience that there had been no change of government and urged to “check his facts”, Mr Davis replied: “Well you had a change of leader or a change in Taoiseach. They’ve [Sinn Féin] been playing a strong political role which they haven’t done historically. That I hadn’t foreseen.” Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the comments were nonsense, but Davis has form. In a 2016 TV interview, Davis told viewers that “one of our really challenging issues … will be the internal border we have with southern Ireland”. Sorry? Internal border?

1. Ballylongford, Mayobridge, Omeath, Claregalway — what do they have in common?

1. Irish port’s bottle seal (4)

4. Which English Victorian novelist wrote The Macdermots of Ballcloran? 5. From which county does the original Irish yew come from? 6. Which instrument used widely in Irish traditional music, has an embouchure plate? 7. What is the Scottish version of hurling called? 8. Archbishop Paul Cullen became Ireland’s first what? 9. The film The Wind That Shakes The Barley was directed by whom? 10. A hearing aid shop Bonavox, gave which Irish rock musician his name?

“While it is not a formal state visit, it will be a major event for Ireland, with a high degree of public participation and a high international profile.” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar commenting on the proposed visit of Pope Francis to Ireland. “I agreed to meet to talk about the Good Friday Agreement. We did that, so I’m finished.” Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to interviewer Tim Sebastian from German Television’s DW Conflict Zone. Sebastian began asking questions about the Mahon Tribunal, at which point Mr Ahern terminated the interview. “He was a real down-to-earth man. And he just had a connection with people that you can’t explain, other than you’ve seen it and understood it and were present to experience it.”

Arlene Foster on what she’d do if there was a united Ireland.


3. In width it’s 5 ft 3 ins (1,600 mm), an unusual dimension that is found only in the states of Victoria, southern New South Wales, South Australia, Brazil and Ireland. What is it?

Mary Lou McDonald, responding to newspaper comments that sex appeal had something to do with why she is the leader of her party.

“If it were to happen, I’m not sure that I would be able to continue to live here, I would feel so strongly about it. I would probably have to move.”

Quiz 2. The O’Sullivan twins, who attend St Clare’s school, feature in a series of books by which author?

“I’m leader of Sinn Féin based on my effort, merit, and ability.”

Daniel O’Donnell, commenting on the death of Tom McBride, usually known as Big Tom.

Great feckin’ idea ST FECHIN’S GAA Football Club, one of Co Louth’s best-known clubs from the village of Termonfeckin just outside Drogheda, has officially launched its new campaign – Win A Feckin House. As part of the initiative, the GAA club has put up a mighty €280,000, four-bedroom home as the top prize in its fundraising raffle. Working with a local developer, the club secured a house in Termonfeckin’s Castle Park development, which is in close proximity to the stunning Termonfeckin beach, two schools and two world-class golf courses – Baltray and Seapoint. Speaking at the launch, which was held at the club’s ground, Club Chairman John Mc Evoy said: “We think ‘Win A Feckin House’ is a feckin great idea!” As well as the house, there are a range of other prizes up for grabs, including a Mediterranean cruise, a four-ball plus dinner at former Irish Open host course Baltray and an

They said it...

Clues across:

3. Remote inns rehashed soup (10)

33. Ben’s concert allowed me to settle myself (8)

13. Sir, a tire could be among your scarce, valuable things (8) 14. Verse from Roderic (3)

2 & 23 down: Don’t be nervy or I might spot a move between banks in Leinster (5,5)

4. To make a mistake in Derryfalone (3)

15. Blimey! It’s said, a musical family 5. Cave-dweller in front of threefrom Dundalk (4) quarters open creator of of Thady 16. Go on the wagon, traditionally Macdermot (8) (4) 6. see 30 across 18. Irishman on a shark, we hear (4) 7. Feel bad if taken in by French 19. Short king with short spotted engineer (6) item about rock cavities with 8. Ornamental stone posing as an lined with crystals (6) opening (5) 22. Short man from Irish town 10. Mythological poet found in hoisin has debts from award of sauce (5) questionable recognition (7) 25. Also known as a marine form of propulsion in review (5)

The former leader of the UUP Mike Nesbitt. “This was an administrative oversight for which we are happy to apologise.” A spokeswoman for the Government’s Department for Exiting the European Union explaining the lack of notification that the British government’s minister for Brexit David Davis had visited the border counties of the North of Ireland. “Why are you trying to criminalise hard working people who just want to be left alone? Everything that is being done is hurting rural Ireland, how have Fine Gael let you do it … a pint and a half of beer never made anyone drunk.” Kerry TD Danny Healy Rae, responding in the Dáil to a proposal in the new Road Traffic Bill to reduce the minimum alcohol limits permitted for drivers.




34. Hello Ms McDonald (4,3)

9. Brendan, good course director (9) Clues down: 1. Hard and fast materal Irishman 11. In Alloa fathead is hidden (3) leads Mediterranean island (8) 12. Quiche cooked by Mr O’Brien, it’s said (4)

“The unionist majority will not be around for very much longer … nationalism is now energised … it’s an issue of the population figures; the demographics are there for everyone to see.”

17, 20 & 21 down: Clue: ode gone putting you off the scent (3,2,7)

27. Resentful longing, so Ali leaves naively (4)

18. If on a confused search for Celtic woman, it’s here (5)

28. Everybody appears in final lap (3)

20. see 17 down




8 9


11 12


14 15



18 19




24 25



26 29

30 31

32 33


19. Old coin worth 21 shillings (7)

29. The part of the chorus that repeats itself? (4)

21. see 17 down

31. Awkwardly sneered a lot at song (8)

23. see 2 down

30 across, 6 & 22 down: A High King dodged one hot cordon (3,6,3)

26. Church official turning out for Ireland (6)

22. see 30 across 24. Tasty island, we hear (6)

27. Derby town (5)


LAST EDITION’S ANSWERS: Clues across: 1. Curate. 4. Airports. 9. Demesne. 10. Ben. 11. Angora. 12. Tankard. 13. Craic. 14. Flavin. 15. Teak. 19. Echo. 20. Pentathlon. 22. Uilleann pipes. 27. Emu. 28. Lir. 29 & 30 across: Cash and Company. Clues down: 1. Cadet. 2. Roman Catholics. 3. Tasmania. 5. Imogene. 6. Patrick. 7. Treskilion. 8. Keady. 14. Frequency. 16. Amati. 17. Reynolds. 18. Shee. 21. Declan. 23. Percy. 24. Poems. 25. Sedan. 26. Quays.


Answers: 1. All are towns that include the names of counties not their own; 2. Enid Blyton; 3. The standard rail gauge in those areas; 4. Anthony Trollope; 5. Fermanagh; 6. The flute; 7. Shinty; 8. Cardinal; 9. Ken Loach; 10. Bono

May, 2018 I

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Tuesday, April 24 – Saturday, May 26 SYDNEY, NSW The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the New Theatre, Newtown A black comedy by written by Martin McDonagh. This brazen and unapologetically blood-curdling farce combines comedy and violence in a darkly funny portrait of rivalries among terrorists for whom killing, torturing and bombing are just day-jobs. Thursday – Friday 7:30pm, Saturday 26 May 2pm only Details and bookings:

Wednesday, May 2 CANBERRA, ACT Eirborne – The Rebirth of Irish Dance

Performing at the Canberra Theatre Centre. More than an Irish dance show, Eireborne is a theatrical experience like nothing you’ve seen before. Dancers from hit Irish shows Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance kick up their heels performing traditional and modern Irish dance as well as ballroom and tap dance.

Thursday, May 3 BRISBANE, QLD “Brisbane Connections” – Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce

Part of a series of informal networking events for members of the IACC. The connections series offers a forum for members to make new contacts and broaden their professional networks in an informal setting. We encourage members to make new contacts and to introduce their existing networks to Chamber members. Venue: Story Bridge Hotel Contact Lisa – lisa@irishchamber.

Thursday, May 3 GRIFFITH, NSW Eirborne – The Rebirth of Irish Dance

Performing at the Griffith Regional Theatre. More than an Irish dance show, Eireborne is a theatrical experience like nothing you’ve seen before. Dancers from hit Irish shows Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance kick up their heels performing traditional and modern Irish dance as well as ballroom and tap dance. Details and bookings:

Friday, May 4 – Saturday, May 5 PERTH, WA Des Bishop – Egorithm at the Perth Comedy Festival

Performing at the Regal Theatre, Des Bishop returns with a brandnew show, Egorithm. In yet another open and honest, fast paced hour of stand-up. Des will delve into his thoughts on a myriad of matters: Male defensiveness around feminism; Islamophobia; his time in China; men; sexual harassment… and as always, a few dirty bits. Details and bookings:

May, 2018 I

Saturday, May 5 ALBURY, NSW Eirborne – The Rebirth of Irish Dance

Performing at the Albury Entertainment Centre. More than an Irish dance show, Eireborne is a theatrical experience like nothing you’ve seen before. Dancers from hit shows Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance kick up their heels performing traditional and modern Irish dance, ballroom and tap dance.

Saturday, May 5 SYDNEY, NSW Sydney Rose of Tralee Selection Ball

The Sydney Rose of Tralee Selection Ball will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Tickets are $190 pp all inclusive of drinks package, canapes and a four-course meal. Musical guests – “Bacon & Cabbage” and raffles prizes include 2 return flights to Ireland. Formal dress from 6pm – late. To book call or text Tom O’Keeffe on 0411 695 248.

Sunday, May 6 SHOALHAVEN, NSW Eirborne – The Rebirth of Irish Dance

Performing at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre. More than an Irish dance show, Eireborne is a theatrical experience like nothing you’ve seen before. Dancers from hit Irish shows Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance kick up their heels performing traditional and modern Irish dance as well as ballroom and tap dance.


Darkness Into Light (DIL) is Pieta House’s flagship annual fundraising and awareness event. It started with approximately 400 people in the now iconic yellow DIL T-shirts walking the 5km course in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in 2009. This year, we will have roughly 180 DIL venues across Ireland and worldwide. Last year 180,000 people shared the light and helped us to promote suicide prevention. Please join us on Saturday 12th May this year! Check the website for start times and details. venues

Saturday, May 12 MELBOURNE, VIC Melbourne Rose of Tralee Selection Ball

Tickets on sale now for an amazing night in an amazing venue. Doors open at 7pm at the Plaza Ballroom of the Regent Theatre. Tickets $170 per person includes canapés, three course meal, beer, wine and soft drink, live band – The Fitzgerald Brothers, raffle and auction. Bookings: tickets@melbournerose.

The Kings X Theatre hosts a run of Enda Walsh’s acclaimed The Walworth Farce from May 18 and starring (left to right) Robin Goldsworthy, Laurence Coy and Troy Harrison.

Saturday, May 12 – Sunday, May 20 MELBOURNE, VIC Good Beer Week 2018

Pint of Origin – Ireland is at the Fifth Province for GBW18! After bringing new & exciting Irish craft beer to the masses over the last few Good Beer Weeks, it is time to take it to the next level. Over 8 draught beers from two of Ireland’s leading craft breweries; O’Hara’s & 8 Degrees. Expect Irish boilermakers, beery food & live music all week long! Free Entry – 12pm – late daily.

Wednesday, May 16

Friday, May 18

Sunday, May 20

BATHURST, NSW Mary Coughlan at Jack Duggan’s Irish Pub

MELBOURNE, VIC Ireland Funds Melbourne Fundraising Lunch

CANBERRA, ACT Mary Coughlan at The Canberra Irish Club

Mary Coughlan is arguably one of Ireland’s greatest female jazz and blues singers, a true artist who has carved out a timeless and highly regarded career and a legion of devoted fans worldwide. Described as “Ireland’s Billie Holiday” Mary has overcome childhood trauma, alcoholism and drug addiction to become a musical force like no other. Details and Bookings:

Saturday, May 12

Thursday, May 17

PADDINGTON, NSW Mary Coughlan at Paddington RSL

SYDNEY, NSW Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce, Sydney Networking Breakfast

Mary Coughlan is arguably one of Ireland’s greatest female jazz and blues singers, a true artist who has carved out a timeless and highly regarded career and a legion of devoted fans worldwide. Described as “Ireland’s Billie Holiday” Mary has overcome childhood trauma, alcoholism and drug addiction to become a musical force like no other. Details and Bookings:

Saturday, May 12 – Monday, May 14 CANBERRA, ACT Canberra Irish Club YOUR MAN an original play by Ian Phillips.

The product of the imagination of omnipotent writer, Your Man, inhabit The Flann O’Brien Memorial Bar, a rundown ladies lounge. They await new roles however Your Man seems to be undergoing some sort of writer’s block for his output has been somewhat deficient of late. There is a growing sense of unease. Tickets $25 adults $20 students & concessions – 12, 13 & 14 May at 7.30pm. Bookings: Phone (02) 6288 5088 or

what’s on

The next event in this very popular series will take place in the magnificent setting of the Poolside Cafe in the Domain, over a quality breakfast menu that features Irish produce, with tables of six to give guests more quality time to connect each other and build those all important networks. Details and bookings:

Friday, May 18 – Saturday, June 9 KINGS CROSS, NSW The Walworth Farce at the Kings X Theatre

Equal parts hilarious, menacing, absurd, terrifying, tender, violent and deeply moving, Enda Walsh’s The Walworth Farce is a wild exploration into what can happen when we get stuck inside the stories we tell. Because in the end … what are we if we’re not our stories? 7.30pm (Tuesday – Saturday) 5pm (Sundays) Cost: $37 Adult, $32 Concession, $25 Previews Details and Bookings:

Chairman Yvonne Le Bas, the Board of the Ireland Funds Australia and the Young Leader Committee are delighted to invite you to attend the annual Ireland Funds Luncheon at Zinc. Details and bookings: Contact Jennifer – 02 9357 230

Friday, May 18 – Sunday, May 27 MITTAGONG, NSW Belfast Girls at the Mittagong Playhouse

The Highlands Theatre Group is producing an exciting new play by Irish author Jaki McCarrick, Belfast Girls. Escaping the Irish famine in 1850 five young women seek passage on a ship to Australia. Fridays and Saturdays – 8pm & Sundays – 2pm Bookings:

Saturday, May 19 BRISBANE, QLD Queensland Rose of Tralee Selection Ball

In 2018 we will celebrate our 30th birthday. This is a special celebration for all involved. We would love to see you all there to help the Queensland Rose raise a glass to a wonderful festival and celebration of Irish women all around the world. Bookings: qldroseoftralee

Saturday, May 19 PETERSHAM, NSW Mary Coughlan at Petersham Bowling Club Mary Coughlan is arguably one of Ireland’s greatest female jazz and blues singers, a true artist who has carved out a timeless and highly regarded career and a legion of devoted fans worldwide. Details and Bookings:

Mary Coughlan is arguably one of Ireland’s greatest female jazz and blues singers, a true artist who has carved out a timeless and highly regarded career and a legion of devoted fans worldwide.

Saturday, May 29 BRUNSWICK, VIC Mary Coughlan at The JazzLab

Mary Coughlan is arguably one of Ireland’s greatest female jazz and blues singers, a true artist who has carved out a timeless and highly regarded career and a legion of devoted fans worldwide.

Saturday, June 2 ADELAIDE, SA South Australian Rose of Tralee Grand Selection Ball

The 2018 Rose Selection Ball will be held at the Sebel Playford Hotel on North Terrace Adelaide and hosted by channel 7’s Tim Noonan. Ticket price $150 includes canapés, three course meal, drinks package and live entertainment. Bookings essential. Contact

Saturday, June 2 PERTH, WA Perth Rose of Tralee Selection Ball

Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Perth Rose of Tralee Selection Ball being held at the Pan Pacific Hotel. Book now to avoid disappointment. Tickets $175 per person include: welcome reception, three course meal, drinks package, music by Grand Remedy, Irish dancing by Keady Upton School and spot prizes and raffle draw. Bookings:

stay up to date with what’s on at :: (02) 9555 9199

May, 2018 I

11TH - 20TH MAY 2018



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22 sport

May, 2018 I



Leinster favoured to take out Euro crown LEINSTER advanced to their first Champions Cup final since 2012 after swatting Scarlets aside in an utterly dominant win at the Aviva Stadium. Leo Cullen’s men were relentless as they put the Welsh region to the sword, notching first-half tries through James Ryan, Cian Healy and Fergus McFadden, and adding two more after the break from Australian man-of-the-match Scott Fardy and Johnny Sexton. Head coach Leo Cullen pinpointed a clinical attacking edge as the difference between the sides on the day. First-half tries from James Ryan, Cian Healy and Fergus McFadden were complemented by further converted scores from man-of-the-match Scott Fardy and Johnny Sexton, as the Irish province – unbeaten in eight European fixtures this season – beat Scarlets 38-16 at the Aviva Stadium. They advance to the May 12 decider in Bilbao where they will play French club Racing 92, who defeated an out-ofsorts Munster in Paris. “I thought the players were pretty clinical in terms of taking opportunities when we got into the 22, coming away with points more often than not,” Cullen

said. “Clearly when you score early and have a lead, it allows you to be able to manage the game and try to squeeze the opposition that little bit more. “We’ve a lot of respect for Scarlets in terms of what they’ve done in recent times. It’s important that we just dust ourselves off and get ourselves ready for Bilbao, which is going to be a little bit different for us but a great challenge nonetheless.” While Leigh Halfpenny’s unerring boot ensured the Scarlets remained in touch approaching the interval, winger McFadden’s try on the stroke of half-time gave Leinster a 24-9 cushion. Cullen acknowledged this was a crucial moment in the contest and was pleased with the composure shown by his players to close out the game. “Ferg’s try on half-time was a huge moment I think in the game, but how we managed the second half was important. I thought the guys controlled the game well, played in the right areas and we were just able to put the squeeze on Scarlets and frustrate them. “They couldn’t really get access to our area of the field. It was a big moment [right] on half-time.”

Leinster’s Garry Ringrose battles through the Scarlets cover defence during the European Champions Cup semi-final match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture: Lorraine O’Sullivan


Golden gymnast sets sights on Tokyo dais Mark Staniforth

WITHIN hours of eclipsing double Olympic champion Max Whitlock of Britain to claim gymnastics gold at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, 18-year-old Northern Irishman Rhys McClenaghan was making his long-term intentions abundantly clear. “I’m coming for that world title next, Max,” roared McClenaghan in a Twitter post which the Newtownards native admits appeared to rub some of his rivals up the wrong way – though not the magnanimous Whitlock. “I think most people took it in the way it was intended,” said McClenaghan, who, as Nor ther n Ireland’s only gold medallist at the Games, returned home to find himself a celebrity in Co Down. “Maybe a couple of people thought it was disrespectful but I have got the utmost respect for Max. I put it out there to let people know that I’m here and what my intentions are.” McClenaghan edged Whitlock on their favoured pommel apparatus by

Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan

virtue of a higher execution score after the pair had finished locked together on 15.100 points. It was quite a declaration of intent by the teenager who, hampered by three undiagnosed stress fractures in his wrist, had finished 14th at the World Championship in Montreal in October, where Whitlock cruised to his second straight title. Whitlock himself admitted in the aftermath of his shock defeat that he would return to the gym re-emboldened to repel the threat posed by

McClenaghan, with their rivalry set to be renewed at the European Championships in Glasgow in August. McClenaghan will also aim to become only the fourth gymnast to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games, with success at Tokyo 2020 now a tantalising possibility given his steep trajectory towards the top of the sport. “Recently we [Ireland] have had some gymnasts who have done a tremendous job to qualify and participate in the Olympics but I don’t want to go there to do just that – that time is over,” McClenaghan said. “They broke the doors down for Irish gymnastics but now I want to break down doors further down the chain, and go to the Olympics to make finals and win medals. “I always knew I could be up there with the best in the world. I was hitting my routines in training but pulling it off on the big stage is something else,” added McClenaghan. “It’s the ability to do that that defines a champion. It’s a great feeling to be the new kid on the block.”


Talented Hoolahan may be bound for A League WES Hoolahan, perhaps the most talented Irish footballer of his generation, may be destined for a stint down under after retiring from his beloved Norwich City last week. Darren Huckerby, who also became a much-loved Norwich player before moving to the MLS in the United States, said he thought the A-League would be a good fit for the 35-year-old. “He’s nearly 36 now and he’s never been the quickest or strongest, the MLS has a lot of athletes, so the A League may suit him more – but he’ll probably want to go and live in California. Wes has got good enough ability that he’ll go and fit in anywhere but he isn’t getting any younger and it does get a lot harder as you’re getting older,” he said. “I was 32, so I knew I had a couple of years left and that’s what I decided to do, I knew I could still run and move. Whatever Wes decides to do he’ll make the right choice because he’s that kind of lad, he just gets on with it.” The Irishman, who retired from international football earlier this year, signed off at Carrow Road in memorable fashion as the Canaries rounded off an indifferent home campaign with a

Wes Hoolahan may finish his playing career in Australia.

2-1 win over Leeds last weekend. Hoolahan took centre stage in his final home appearance for the club by scoring Nor wich’s first goal before setting up what proved to the winner for Josh Murphy. “If I had a paint a picture of how Wes’ career for Norwich would finish that would have been it,” said Norwich boss Daniel Farke. “He scored a goal and put in an excellent performance, and of course we won the game, which I know was his main target. “It was a very emotional moment when we took him off near the end. The players all came over to wish him well, the crowd were on their feet, and I can tell you a few tears were shed.”


Brisbane-based Kildare fighter on track for crack at world title WBO number two junior middleweight Dennis “Hurricane” Hogan has earned himself a shot at the WBO world title with a comprehensive 12-round points victory over Jimmy Kilrain Kelly at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in Brisbane. The 33-year-old Brisbane-based Irishman used his in-and-out movement to overcome Kelly’s four-inch height advantage and score with left jabs and right hands in what was a very tactical battle.

When the judges’ scores were tallied Hogan was awarded a clear victory with scores of 119-109, 117-111 and 117-113. “It was a great fight and Jimmy put up a great battle,” said Hogan after the fight. “It was a great fight for the fans. “I visualised it all. The best has yet to come. Just sit back and watch me become world champion,” he said. The 25-year-old Kelly from Manchester praised Hogan on his performance.

“Dennis is a deserved winner; he’ll go on to win a world title,” says Kelly, who was ranked WBO number three leading in to the bout. The victory puts Hogan in line to face the winner of the WBO junior middleweight world title fight between champion Sadam Ali of Brooklyn, New York and challenger Liam Smith 26-1-1 (14) from Liverpool at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York on May 12. “My eyes will be glued to that fight

between Sadam Ali and Liam Smith,” says Hogan, who retained his WBO Oriental title and claimed Kelly’s WBO Intercontinental belt with the win. “I’m focused on being world champion and when I’m world champion, my main goal is to get the title and to go and defend it in Dublin the 3 Arena,” he told the Irish Echo earlier this year. “That’s always been my goal. I have all that set in my head, I visualise it and I see it and I feel it and it’s only a matter World title shot: Dennis Hogan of time until it all happens.”


May, 2018 I



Testing times ahead: Moore Former Wallabies captain and Australia’s most-capped forward Stephen Moore talks to David Hennessy about his Irish heritage, his memories of playing at Lansdowne Road and his thoughts ahead of Ireland’s three-Test series against the Wallabies in June. HE has captained Australia to a World Cup final but Stephen Moore is also very proud of his Irish heritage. Looking ahead to next year’s three Test series between the two countries, Australia’s most-capped player says Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations champions are the best Irish team he has seen, cer tainly throughout his time in rugby, and a result down here can prove just how good they are. “They ar e looking ver y strong,” Moore told the Irish Echo. “I watched a lot of the Six Nations matches and I think they played really well. There were two Irish teams in the semi-finals of the European Cup so they have had a really good season and some of their players are in great form. “I think they have probably got a handful of players now who are close to best in the world in their position so they will be coming out here really keen to contest themselves away from home in this part of the world. “I think we’ve seen the northern hemisphere teams really use these tours as a way of really testing themselves away from their home environment and when they do get a result down here, it really proves to them that they can be the best in the world.” “I think there will be a number of players there who will be really confident they can come down here and play well. “I know the Wallabies will be really keen to have a good series in front of their home fans and it’s going to be a great tour. I

been playing, I think they’re as good an Irish team as we have seen in a long time the way they played in the Six Nations so they will be a very very stiff opponent for Australia and I know the Wallabies will be saying that exact thing. They will be well prepared.” Stephen Moore last wore the green and gold of Australia in November last year when the Wallabies were defeated by Scotland with Michael Hooper taking over his captaincy. He made his international debut in 2005 and would go on to amass an impressive 129 caps, scoring 40 points. He represented his country in three World Cups and was part of the squad when Ireland and Australia were drawn in the same pool in 2011. He wasn’t playing when Ireland pulled off a shock 15-6 win over Australia in Auckland to take over control of the pool. However, it would be Australia who recovered to finish third while Ireland exited in the last eight, falling to Wales. “I remember my first time playing against Ireland was in 2006 and it was at the old Lansdowne Road. “I think it was close to one of the last games there actually. It was absolutely bucketing down, the rain was going sideways I remember, and I remember it clearly actually because I still had hair then so my hair was getting in my eyes. And I just remember, I think it was Ronan O’Gara maybe, just had the ball on a string and he was just put-

“I think the games will be really

good, close contests and Ireland will be a very, very tough opponent for the Wallabies and that is what you want. think the games will be really good, close contests and Ireland will be a very, very tough opponent for the Wallabies and that is what you want. “That’s what you want to play in, those type of games so it should be a good spectacle. There’s always plenty of Irish floating around Australia. They will be getting out there and supporting. “I think there’s a great respect between the two countries not just on the rugby field but in general. It’s a good respect, it’s a rivalry but I think you would have to say Ireland are coming to Australia now in as good a form as we have seen Ireland in. “Certainly in the time I’ve

ting it in the corners and they played a really good game in the conditions that night. They had a good win. “That was a ver y different place to play, Lansdowne Road, compared to the Aviva Stadium. The Aviva’s like the modern stadium that we mostly play in these days but Lansdowne Road had that history, great atmosphere, the crowd were ver y close to the field and it was a great place to play. “I got some of my family tickets to the match. I always asked the lads when we played in Ireland if I could have all their tickets and I managed to get about 20 odd tickets but everyone turned up in Irish jerseys


Hopes are high that Conor Murray will be on the plane.

We want to face best Irish team, says Moore David Hennessy

Former Wallabies captain Stephen Moore has fond memories of playing at Lansdowne Road, where the rain was going sideways and the crowd was very close to the field.

and flags. I remember seeing this pocket of green in amongst the Aussie suppor ters so I would be responsible for that.” Moore played against Irish legends like Ronan O’Gara. Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell. Some may have thought Ireland would have suffered without such irreplaceable stalwarts but Joe Schmidt has led to Ireland to three Six Nations titles, including this year’s Grand Slam. “I think those guys are once in a generation players for Ireland. They were very good for a long time and there probably was a bit of a gap immediately after they retired. “When big personalities like that go out of your team, whether it’s Leinster or Munster or the Irish team, you definitely feel a bit of a gap and there’s a period there where you’re adjusting and I think they definitely will have felt that. “But you look at some of the players now who have replaced them, players like Gar r y Ringrose and the second rowers that played this year: James Ryan, Iain Henderson. They were outstanding in the Six Nations. They really stepped up and that’s what ever y team needs. “New Zealand were the same after Car ter and Lomu and those kind of players moved on, the new guys have to step up and take the positions. That’s what Michael Chieka will want to see. “This next crop of Wallabies players who have had a taste of international rugby, he’ll want them to pick themselves with their performance. “That’s what you want to see, players step up and really own

that position and demand the jersey.” Bor n in Saudi Arabia to parents from Galway and Mayo, Moore spent the first five years of his life in Tuam before the family moved to Queensland. Irish rugby was well aware of Moore as soon as he came on to the scene as a teenager, trying to secure the hooker’s ser vices to play for Ireland. Moore chose to represent Australia but he never stopped being immensely proud of his Irish heritage. Moore was reportedly very close to making a switch to Munster in 2015 which would have given him the chance to play rugby in Ireland before he hung up the boots. However, this move fell through and Moore instead moved from Brumbies back to Queensland Reds, the club where he started. Moore told The Irish Echo: “I was very proud to play for Australia and consider myself a very proud Australian but in the same breath I’m very proud of my Irish background as well. My mum and dad kept me very close to that right throughout my childhood when I was in close contact with our family back in Ireland. I was always well aware of what that meant and always very proud of that but I was immensely proud to be able to play for Australia for so long. “I’ve spent the vast majority of my life here and I think that’s one of the great things about Australia and the Wallabies, we have a really diverse mix of people in our team, that was something that was ver y special. “In a club sense, I was pretty

open that I would have loved to play in Ireland at club level. “I was very close to doing that a number of times but it just didn’t work out. It cer tainly would have been nice. I think any player that goes and plays in Europe, it’s a great experience not just on the field but off the field. I think that would have been something I would have enjoyed but it didn’t work out at the time. Here we are now. I’ve got no regrets.” After making his Super Rugby debut for Queensland Reds in 2003, Moore would have a long career that would take him to Brumbies before his Reds return. It was in 2005 that Australia would first call on Moore’s services and he would play in his first World Cup match two years later when Australia were knocked out in the quarter-finals by England. Moore has the second most Test appearances for Australia behind George Gregan and is the only Australian hooker to have played 100 Tests. He is also the most capped Australian Super Rugby player of all time, and is one of only two players in Australian Rugby history, along with Nathan Sharpe, to have achieved 100 Test and 150 Super Rugby appearances. So, how is life outside of rugby treating him? “I’m pretty good. I was pretty at peace with it all when I finished. I’ve moved on now. I’m working and enjoying it and I’ve got a young family so I’m keeping myself busy. I felt it was the right time to finish with my career. Physically and mentally the time had come to finish it. When that moment comes, you end it at the right time and I feel like I’ve done that.”

FORMER Wallabies captain Stephen Moore hopes Irish coach Joe Schmidt brings all his best players to Australia. “Yeah, we want to see Ireland’s strongest team,” he told the Irish Echo. “I think Ireland do a very good job domestically of managing the players through their provinces, they have got a very centralised system there. “I’ve got a good mate, Scott Fardy, that plays at Leinster and I spoke to him about it and he said the Irish players are really well managed through the season. They’re monitored and they take them in and out of training if they need to so they’re not overworked. “I think they will be watching that stuff closely. I would imagine Joe would bring his strongest side. “I think, given his own background, he will want to come to this part of the world and do really well. I know he’s a great competitor and I can’t imagine a three-Test series in Australia, him wanting to bring a second string side.” Rugby World Cup winner with the Wallabies and proud Irish Australian Owen Finegan agreed. “Definitely, you want the best players playing and you can understand a lot of them are still playing with European Cup and all and they’ve done a massive load already,” he told the Irish Echo. “If we beat Ireland, we don’t want it to be that we’ve come up against a team that is not as strong but they’ll be competitive no matter who they bring down. “Whenever we have Ireland in World Cup games or an Ireland tour, it’s going to be the same atmosphere. The Irish fans bring with them a lot of energy and spirit so it will be good to see.” Shane Murphy, player and coach with Brisbane Irish, said: “It’s a tricky one. All the supporters would want to see them there but I think they will be thinking long term for the World Cup. “But even if it is Joey Carberry playing ahead of Sexton or if it is McGrath ahead of Murray, I think it will be a good spectacle either way.”


May, 2018 I








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Irish Echo May 2018  

Irish Echo - Australia's Irish Newspaper Digital Edition Vol 31, No 5 - May 2018

Irish Echo May 2018  

Irish Echo - Australia's Irish Newspaper Digital Edition Vol 31, No 5 - May 2018