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Thousands of Irish among the 450,000 older people who face being…


THOUSANDS of older Irish people are facing the unpalatable prospect of spending Christmas Day alone this year. According to polling data from Age UK, 450,000 over-65s are at risk of being alone on December 25. The British charity’s Director Caroline Abrahams described the finding as “chilling”. She said it was particularly alarming that the majority of those affected are over the age of 80. One-in-10 Irish people in Britain today are in this high-risk over-80 age group, compared with one-in-20 people in the

general population. The warning comes as one community leader dubbed isolation one of the “most important” challenges facing the ageing Irish community in Britain. Tom McLoughlin, manager of the Leeds Irish Centre, called for the creation of Irish-only care homes to tackle the problem from a culturally-sensitive perspective. He said he sees the effect of loneliness every week at his Tuesday lunch club. He also warned that isolation during the holiday season will be a problem for Irish men in particular. “A lot of them came over here to work on the buildings but now find themselves on their own because they have no immediate family and did not marry,” Mr

McLoughlin said. “The problem is that they are very proud people and will not go cap-in-hand to others.” The Leeds Irish Centre will try to tackle the problem this winter by opening on Christmas Day and sending out hampers to isolated people they are aware of. But Mr McLoughlin warned that the problem has become so endemic that radical action is needed. “I think the Irish community, because it is getting older, should look to having our own care homes,” he said. “I am not just saying Leeds, I think one is needed in every city because loneliness is one of the most important challenges we face as a community.”

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Sectarian comments condemned in Glasgow BY NIALL O’SULLIVAN

FORLORN: James Gray, 85, has spent the last 10 Christmases alone. Full story on page 4.

UGLY divisions within Scottish society have been exposed by a spate of sectarian and racist remarks following the Clutha Bar helicopter crash. Anti-Irish and anti-Catholic comments were among those to appear online as thousands came together to mourn the nine people who lost their lives in the tragedy. Scotland’s senior prosecutor called for a “hard line” to be taken against those behind such statements and promised to issue guidance this week. Meanwhile, local Dublin-born councillor Feargal Dalton said the people who posted vile comments were “half-wits” who belong to “an extremely small minority”. “They make their comments from the secrecy of their homes and it’s easily done,” he added. “They don’t represent anyone except themselves and they do not represent Glaswegians.”

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Nelson Mandela in Dublin in 1990

As the world prepares for his funeral, Irish figures pay tribute to the Mandela legacy

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BY NEMESHA BALASUNDARAM MICHAEL D Higgins, Enda Kenny and Bono have been among the Irish figures to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela as South Africa prepares for its former President’s funeral in Qunu this Sunday. Irish President Michael D Higgins described Mandela as one of “history’s greatest leaders”, adding that he was “a man whose unprecedented courage and dedication


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broke down the cruel barriers of apartheid in South Africa and led the nation into a new and democratic age.” Taoiseach Enda Kenny also paid tribute, saying: “A great light has been extinguished.” U2 frontman Bono said that “Mandela would be remembered as a remarkable man just for what happened - and didn’t happen – in South Africa’s transition.” Mr Mandela – South


Joe Horgan: Tribunal suggests story of the North is far from over Page 13 Sharon Ní Chonchúir: Who are the heroes of our time? Page 13


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PROPERTY 41 CLASSIFIEDS 42 RECRUITMENT 42 SPORT 44-56 Exiles return to form with Stade victory Pages 47 Do Rangers lack the financial muscle to ever challenge Celtic again? Page 49 Irish soccer right to shun bookies and back players Page 51 Kingdom primed for power of Ballinderry Page 54-55 For a new subscription, subscription queries, or to order a recent issue, call 020 7001 9390.

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Police probe child sex abuse allegations against retired priest BY NIALL O’SULLIVAN AN IRISH priest is being investigated by British police over allegations of child sexual abuse during a 20-year period. Canon Mortimer Stanley, 82, who retired home to Ireland from his Manchester parish in 2002, has been quizzed by detectives under caution. The move by Greater Manchester Police comes after three women claimed they were indecently assaulted by Canon Stanley when he was a parish priest at St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Norden, Rochdale. Hundreds of parishioners packed into the church this weekend as the Salford Diocese sought to support people with concerns. The women, now aged 41, 35 and 21, were between the ages of 8 and 10 when the alleged offences happened between 1980 and 2000. They were pupils at nearby St Vincent’s Primary School at the time. It is claimed the abuse was committed in a presbytery next to the school. Canon Stanley joined the church as parish priest in 1972 and retired to Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, in 2002. Police are now appealing for former pupils of St Vincent’s to come forward with information. Detective Constable Christian Chivers said he wanted to ensure parents of children currently at St Vincent’s that the allegations related to historical incidents. “While we do not believe there is any reason for current pupils or their families to be unduly concerned, this is extremely serious and upsetting for the victims in this case, who we are continuing to provide specialist support to,” he added. In a statement, the Salford Diocese said it was aware of the police investigation and is co-operating fully. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

SOLIDARITY: Dunnes strikers including Mary Manning (centre) sign the book of condolence. In 1984 Ms Manning refused to handle goods from South Africa because of apartheid, she was subsequently fired and 10 of her co-workers went on strike with her in solidarity

‘Slaves’ freed from Traveller sites Investigations into forced labour and human trafficking uncover ‘slaves’ during Bristol raids BY NIALL O’SULLIVAN THREE men thought to have been kept as ‘slaves’ have been freed following police raids on Traveller sites at the weekend. Detectives investigating forced labour and human trafficking stormed three sites, a business unit and a house in South Gloucestershire, as well as a residential property in Bristol. Three alleged victims, one in his 30s, one in his 40s and one in his 50s, were taken to safety and two people were arrested for slavery offences. Officers detained a further five on suspicion of offences including failing to appear, cannabis production, money laundering and handling stolen goods. All seven have been bailed pending further enquiries. Police said a “significant quantity” of cash was also found at one of the addresses.

The Irish Travellers Movement in Britain said these most recent allegations would lead to an increase of racist abuse directed at Travellers. “When these types of stories break, there is a fear in the community that they are going to feel the effects of this,” said ITMB’s Mike Doherty. “We know, for example, that there is increased bullying because we have links with teachers who teach Traveller children.” He added that most Travellers would be as shocked by the weekend’s arrests as anyone else. Mr Moss said: “It’s important to recognise that the actions of a small minority of people are not reflective of the wider travelling community.” Chief Superintendent Julian Moss from Avon and Somerset Constabulary said the force’s primary aim was to protect the vulnerable victims.

“Victims in such cases are often forced to live and work in poor and unsanitary conditions, sometimes with little or no pay,” he explained. “Some will not view themselves as victims and, even if they do, may have been unable to speak to the police or any other authorities for a variety of reasons.” Mr Moss added: “To the outside world, the fear and intimidation faced by victims of forced labour on a daily basis are difficult to comprehend.” This weekend’s arrests come 12 months after five Travellers were jailed for keeping their own private workforce in Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire and paying them as little as £5 a day for their work. Special arrangements have been made to help the alleged victims with medical treatment, accommodation and employment.

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Follow us on Twitter Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon – died at the age of 95 on December 5. He had been receiving intensive medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital. Over 60 world leaders will attend Mr Mandela’s funeral this week on December 15. As will a group of Irish supermarket workers who went on strike to force a ban on produce from apartheidera South Africa. In 1984, 11 workers at a Dunnes Stores in Dublin began one of the longest strikes in trade union history after a cashier was suspended for refusing to handle goods brought from South Africa. Their three-year action ended in an Irish Government ban on imports. Mr Mandela visited Ireland on several occasions, most notably in 1990 shortly after his release from prison when he travelled to Dublin with wife Winnie Mandela. Ten years later he returned to the city to receive an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, and visited Ireland again in 2003 when Ireland hosted the Special Olympics. Taoiseach Enda Kenny went on to offer his deepest sympathies to Mr Mandela’s “family, to his friends and supporters, and to the Government and the people of South Africa,” on behalf of the Government and Irish public.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said Mr Mandela had “a truly global presence”. “We all feel part of his extended worldwide family, sharing in the sadness at his death and the celebration of his life,” he said. “No few words can express the debt of gratitude that is due to Mr Mandela for all that he achieved and stood for. Quite simply, he transformed South Africa, and he changed the world.” Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson claimed the South African leader was “inspirational”, while Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described him as “one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime” and “a true friend to Ireland”. Mr Mandela led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison for his political activities. In an essay for Time magazine, Bono – who worked with Mandela as he battled to end extreme poverty and social injustice in Africa – added: “More than anyone, it was he who rebooted the idea of Africa from a continent in chaos to a much more romantic view, one in keeping with the majesty of the landscape and the nobility of even its poorer inhabitants.”


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‘I’m a celebrity...’ now get me out of here – Kian is crowned a winner I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here winner Kian Egan has admitted his stint on the ITV show has confirmed his undying love for his wife. The Westlife star took the crown in the final of the reality show on Sunday ahead of fashion designer David Emanuel. Speaking about his emotional reunion with wife Jodi Albert, he said: “It was just so special to see her in such a weird circumstance and it just made me realise how much I loved her and how much I missed her, being away from her for so long.” He added: “We had zero communication a week before I actually went in... And it’s not just not seeing

her, it’s the no communication, not being able to know how our little boy was doing.” The Irishman, who could now make millions off the back of his triumph, said he never expected to win. “It’s way beyond my expectations. I never expected to be here in the final. I’m absolutely gobsmacked,” he added. He also admitted that the final Bushtucker Trial was the most difficult. “Eating that eyeball and the cockroach and the cow’s nipple or whatever it was, I mean, really that was probably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever experienced in my life,” he joked.

The loneliness of Christmas Continued from page 1 Research by The Irish Post shows the Irish are likely to suffer far more from isolation than other ethnic groups. A staggering 175,000 (43 per cent) of Irish-born people living in Britain are aged over 65. That figure outstrips the proportion of older people in other major ethnic groups by at least 10 per cent. It also compares starkly with the 16 per cent of the general population who are aged over 65. Age Concern believes that the damage done to older people’s social networks by retirement and bereavements, coupled with on-going cuts to local authority

budgets, means even more older people will feel lonely this winter. Shedding light on the pain felt by vast numbers, one man shared his plight with The Irish Post. “This time of year is so hard if you are old are alone because it feels like everybody else around you is enjoying themselves,” said Cork-native James Gray. The 85-year-old, who cannot remember the last time someone spent Christmas with him in his London flat, added: “That is just the way I feel, like I am the only one sitting here on my own.” Turn to page 4

Crash spurs racist backlash Continued from page 1 News of the investigations came the day after the first of the Clutha Bar victims was buried on Saturday. A total of nine people died when a police helicopter crashed into the roof of the busy Glasgow pub on November 29. Included among the thousands of mourners who laid flowers at the scene was Billy Connolly, who praised the vast majority of Glaswegians for coming together in grief. “Everybody’s talking about how well Glasgow coped,” he said. “I was very, very proud to be a Glaswegian.” A spokesperson for Police Scotland confirmed that police are investigating “a number” of online comments reported as being offen-

sive, racist or sectarian following the Clutha Bar tragedy. The BBC reported that around a dozen cases are being examined. Public prosecutors will be told that where offences have been motivated by a reaction to the Clutha Bar crash, there will be a presumption in favour of criminal proceedings. “During the grieving process, the mourning process, I think it is absolutely critical that families do not have to put up with these grossly offensive comments,” said Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland. He added that the courts should demonstrate a “robust prosecution policy” towards such hate crimes “in recognition of the fact that people died and the impact such crimes will have on their families and friends”.

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All I want for Christmas is... company 450,000 over 65s will spend Christmas Day alone. After 10 years on his own, pensioner James Gray hopes he won’t be one of them, again, this year BY NIALL O’SULLIVAN IT’S hard for James Gray to get in the festive spirit. While families around the country get busy buying presents and making plans to celebrate the season, the Cork-native fears spending yet another Christmas alone. “This time of year is so hard if you are old and alone because it feels like everybody else around you is enjoying themselves,” he told The Irish Post. “That is just the way I feel, like I am the only one sitting here on my own.” The 85-year-old cannot even remember

the last time someone spent Christmas Day with him at his London flat. And with no immediate family to call on – and every pub and hotel in his area fully-booked on December 25 – the retired butler worries he will have to suffer that experience again this year. The Irishman is just one of almost half a million over-65s who face spending Christmas alone, according to the Age UK charity. To avoid becoming another lonely statistic in 2013, Mr Gray decided to take out newspaper adverts to find someone else who is alone who might spend Christmas day with him.

Calling all Good Samaritans VOLUNTEERS supporting lonely people in Brent have called for donations ahead of their annual Christmas lunch. Kerry woman Catherine O’Donoghue, who helps run the event, said the meal was the only way some people “know that the outside world cares about them” on Christmas Day. “A lot of the people we help are elderly and depend on community services during the week, but all those services will not be running on Christmas,” she added.

“They really need somewhere they can go to get out of the house and spend time in a jolly and festive setting.” Around a quarter of the 70 people who came to the event last year were Irish. The lunch takes place between 10am and 4pm on Christmas Day and will be held at the Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre. ■ To donate to the Sudbury and Kenton Christmas Lunch, email

BY SIOBHÁN BREATNACH OSCAR winning actress Brenda Fricker has spoken of the hardship she witnessed as a teenager when she was one of Britain’s forgotten Irish. The actress spoke candidly about the struggles of her younger years as she was honoured with an award for her contribution to Irish Cultural Life in London. Speaking at the Ireland Fund of Great Britain’s 25th anniversary Winter Ball, Brenda spoke about her own experiences as one of the forgotten Irish – a campaign also run by the IFGB charity to help isolated and vulnerable Irish people in Britain.

LONELY: Pensioner James Gray hopes this Christmas will be different Picture Malcolm McNally

“I think there must be quite a few lonely people around and I am on my own, so it would make sense I think if someone came here for Christmas lunch,” he said. “I just had smoked salmon and prawns on my own last year and I had to put up with it. I think the last time I saw someone on Christmas Day was when I saw my accountant about 10 years ago.” Mr Gray had high hopes that his festive plan would work, but was left disappointed last week when only one person responded to his advert. His hopes suffered a further setback when the respondent later told him she would be spending Christmas Day with someone else. “I just want to find someone in time,” he said. “I am used to the loneliness, but I do not want it to be the same this year.” According to British charity Age UK,

450,000 over-65s are at risk of having nobody to spend Christmas with them. Meanwhile, one-in-six said they are not looking forward to the holiday season because it brings back too many memories of those who had passed away. Irish people in Britain are particularly at risk of having an unhappy Christmas, as they are hugely over-represented among over-65s. Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Director, said the number of older people suffering from loneliness was likely to be increased by cuts to social service budgets. “As we head towards Christmas this is a chilling outlook for too many older people,” she added. “What’s even more concerning is that the majority of older people facing Christmas alone are aged 80 or over, making them the most vulnerable and at risk at this time of year.”

Bar 32 bikers rise to 32 counties fundraising challenge BY FIONA AUDLEY

FAST TRACK TO FUNDRAISING: Marie Forde and Adrian Robb. INSET: Zoe Davies and Lilly McGlashan

Celebrated actress’ ‘forgotten’ early years

A LANDLORD with a passion for motorcycling has spearheaded a charitable campaign which raised more than £8,000 for good causes while tackling Ireland’s 32 counties in 32 hours. The impressive amount has been collected through the fundraising antics of Co. Antrim-native Adrian Robb, the owner of Bar 32 in Luton, and a number of his staff. The Dunloy man, who has lived in the Bedfordshire town for more than 20 years, led his team by taking on a ‘32 County Challenge’, where he embarked on a motorbike ride through Ireland’s 32 counties in 32 hours last month. Bar 32 staff member Marie Forde joined him for the ride and the pair managed to raise £6,000 in sponsorship for their chosen good causes along the way. These funds will be split evenly between two local girls who suffer life-limiting diseases.

Three-year-old Zoe Davies has a severe form of Microcephaly and needs 24 hour care, as she can’t feed orally or sit-up by herself. Adrian was spurred on to raise money to help Zoe and her family to maintain the specialist care she needs on a daily basis. For Marie Lilly McGlashan, also aged three, offered a similarly inspiring story. The youngster was just six weeks old when she was diagnosed with a rare form of neuroblastoma cancer and Lily, who has a twin sister, has been undergoing pioneering treatment in America ever since. She has responded well, but it has cost the family £850,000 to date and those fees are set to continue, so Marie was keen to raise as much cash as she could to help the family. Both families were among the guests who turned out for a special cheque presentation evening held at Bar 32 in Luton’s town Centre on Friday, November 29. There more than £8,000 in charity cash, raised by members of the Bar 32 team, was handed over to

local good causes. “I always wanted do give something back to our local community here in Luton, so raising some charity cash seemed like the way to do it.” Adrian told The Irish Post this week. “I asked the staff to get involved and everyone picked their charity and their challenge and just got on with it,” he added. “I am a motorcycling fan and an Irishman so the 32 county challenge was perfect for me, although I think people thought I was crazy to attempt it. But everyone did a great job and I’m delighted we managed to raise more than £8,000 in the short space of time we had.” And the former builder, who became a publican in 2007 and took on Bar 32 nearly two years ago, is already planning his next challenge. “Next year’s event will be Par 32 Ireland,” he told us. “I’ll attempt to par a hole at a golf course in every county in Ireland within 2 weeks.” ■ For further information visit

RECOGNITION: Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall presenting Brenda Fricker with the IFGB ‘Contribution to Irish Cultural Life in the UK’ award Picture by Malcolm McNally “My heart missed a beat and it brought back a flood of memories...I was one of the forgotten Irish for a short time a long time ago,” she said. Brenda, who battled illness as a teenager, explained how her medical conditions left her family’s finances hanging by a thread. This was what spurred the My Left Foot actress into coming to London with her sister where she found herself, aged 17, washing floors in a London hospital. There she recalled being surrounded by a community of Irish staff, all of whom were doing menial jobs and sending money home. Brenda herself was well known for her depiction of Irish nurse Megan Roche in the BBC series Casualty for many years – a part that highlighted the role that thousands of Irish nurses played in building the NHS in Britain. “Many had become an exile rather than an emigrant,” she said. “It was like being part of a tribe.” It was only when the actress returned to Ireland that her life turned a corner and her luck changed. “It’s about putting out your hand and helping someone,” she said, adding that the Ireland Fund was the “luck” for the forgotten Irish. Also showing their support at the Landmark Hotel event were IFGB Patrons Sir Peter Sutherland and Basil Geoghegan as well as entrepreneur Sarah Newman from RTÉ’s Dragons’ Den, actor Adrian Dunbar and designer Paul Costelloe. Among the charities supported on the night were Console and the Southwark Irish Pensioners Project.

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Thatcher’s intransigence gave Sinn FĂŠin valuable time, says ex-diplomat BY FIONA AUDLEY THE MOST ‘serious consequence’ of Britain’s handling of the hunger strikes in the North of Ireland was the rise of Sinn FĂŠin as a political party. Former diplomat DĂĄithĂ­ O’Ceallaigh, who was positioned in London from 197782, believes Margaret Thatcher’s ‘inability’ to deal with the protestors in 1981 allowed Sinn FĂŠin to organise itself politically. “The greatest threat to my state in my DĂĄithĂ­ O’Ceallaigh time was the provisional IRA,â€? O’Ceallaigh told an audience gathered at the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool. After giving the sixth annual John Kennedy Lecture in Irish Studies, the former Irish Ambassador to Britain, who was in Ireland’s civil service for 37 years, took questions from the floor. His frank answers laid bare the reality of the Troubles at its height, from the perspective of an Irish diplomat on the ground in Britain. “Sinn FĂŠin were a deep and real threat,â€? he added. “One of the things behind the attempts by the Irish Government to deal with legitimate nationalist grievance in Northern Ireland at the time was because of their fear of the rise of Sinn FĂŠin as a political party,â€? he said. “But they rose and became a very serious party as a result of British policy during the hunger strikes.â€? He added: “I can understand the policy and the British view, but the most serious consequence of the handling of the hunger strikes was the emergence of Sinn FĂŠin as a political party, and at

that stage they were a real threat to my state.â€? The former civil servant, who was the Ambassador to Britain for six years from 2001, went on to reflect on the ‘transformation’ of the party in more recent years. “Since Sinn FĂŠin decided to take up politics and not be involved in violence they have showed absolute commitment to it,â€? he said.

“They are democratically elected, they are very different, they are most certainly not involved in violence and are committed to the Police Service in the North of Ireland. “It’s an extraordinary transformation,� he added, “from what was the most successful terrorist organisation in Europe to an organisation which is now democratic.�

Mersey Loyalist terror trial club is robbed BY TONY BIRTILL A LIVERPOOL social club that was at the centre of three Loyalist terrorist trials has been robbed by a gang of knife-wielding raiders. Four armed robbers, led by a man wearing a gorilla mask and carrying a knife, burst through the door of the Derry Club in Everton at around 3am on Sunday, December 1 and forced the manager to hand over the day’s takings – around £2,500. A 65th birthday party had been taking place in the club and there were about 20 people present when the raid, which was captured on CCTV, occurred. The raiders fled the scene by car. The Derry Club was named at a UVF terrorist trial in Liverpool in 1987 as being the place were arms shipments from Canada to Belfast, via Liverpool, were arranged.

Money for the UVF was collected in the club, Liverpool Crown Court was told. In 1995 the Derry Club featured in a Channel 4 documentary entitled Billy Boys. It focussed on a group called The Liverpool UVF Flute Band. In 2006 a photograph of masked UVF gunmen on the stage of the Derry Club was produced in evidence at Manchester Crown Court in the trial of two Orangemen. Roy Barwise (48) from Liverpool was sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment for UVF member ship and possession of weapons. John Irwin (43) also from Liverpool was jailed for two and a half years for UVF membership. In December 2004 Alan Clair, also from Liverpool and a Derry Club member, was jailed for eight years after police found an arsenal of guns in his home.

Cancer victim’s family thank the community THE DESPERATE family of a terminally ill man has thanked the London Irish community for helping to pay his ÂŁ45,000 medical bills. Mick O’Donoghue said his cancer-stricken son Tim was “incredibly gratefulâ€? to the people who helped raise the final funds needed to pay off his debt. Around ÂŁ12,000 was collected from the 300 attendees of a benefit night, which has now been added to the ÂŁ22,800 donated online and more than ÂŁ8,000 raised by a north London parish. Mick said the fundraising been an “overwhelmingâ€? experience for his son. “Tim is incredibly grateful to everyone, but what he really wants is to have his life back the way it was,â€? he added.


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Irish in Britain help fund twins’ surgery Munster rugby stars also lend support after Ireland’s health service refuses to fund treatment for life-threatening disease BY NIALL O’SULLIVAN A MUM who was refused funding by Ireland’s health service has thanked the Irish in Britain for helping to foot the bill for life-changing surgery for her twin girls. Just a week ago Audrey Murnane felt like she had nowhere to turn. Her 18-month-old girls Maya and Zoe, who suffer from a rare life-threatening disease, needed to come to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for urgent medical care. But the Irish health service refused to fund the treatment. That left the Cork woman with an eyewatering £28,500 bill for an operation that could save her girls from going under the knife again. In desperation she resorted to the internet and launched a fundraising campaign. Now, thanks to the generosity of people around the world, including Irish people in Britain, enough money has been raised to fund the procedure for her daughters.

“The response has been enormous,” Ms Murnane told The Irish Post. “Within two hours there were over

WINNING TEAM: Munster Rugby Club have backed the girls’ cause

1,000 likes on our Facebook page and so many people have donated money since then.” The 36-year-old said she was particularly touched by offers of extra support from the London Irish community. “People are offering to organise help with hotels and airport transfers and everything,” she said. “That has been lovely. They reached out to me over Facebook and said they would help however they could.” The Murnane family has also benefitted from a chance meeting with Irish rugby star Donncha O’Callaghan, which paved the way for a photoshoot with Munster Rugby Club, thrusting the family’s struggle into the media spotlight. Maya and Zoe both suffer from a rare condition that narrows the windpipe and severely affects their breathing. The twins’ disorder only became apparent six weeks after they were born, when Maya suddenly began to turn blue. The newborn was saved, however the

RARE CONDITION: Maya and Zoe’s illness narrows the windpipe and affects breathing incident led to both girls having an operation to fix their airways. At Great Ormond Street doctors will do tests to ensure that surgery has taken effect. They will also inflate a balloon to stretch their rebuilt airways and prevent a repeat of the horror that saw the girls rushed to hospital shortly after their birth. Ms Murnane said the response of the Irish health service, providing inade-

quate aftercare and denying funding for the treatment in Britain, has left her “very upset”. Their approach contrasts starkly with that of Great Ormond Street, she claimed. “They have been supporting me for 18 months with any question I have, telling me what they do for the kids with this condition in the UK, where there is a very good care plan,” Ms Murnane added.

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Former garda mystified by Tribunal findings that ‘taint’ the force BY ROBERT MULHERN A SENIOR high ranking ex garda said he is “mystified” by the findings of the Smithwick Tribunal, which he believes has tainted the force. Among its conclusions the Tribunal stated that it was satisfied there had been collusion by one or more gardaí in the murders of the RUC’s Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan in 1989. But significantly, according to the source, the enquiry failed to identify a “smoking gun.” Speaking anonymously to The Irish Post regarding the Tribunal, the former garda

said: “It is being presented as the final chapter but it couldn’t stand up in a court of law. I’m mystified as to his factual findings.” He added: “The reality is it’s not based on criminal evidence. It is based on the balance of probability, which is suited to civil cases. Although he [Peter Smithwick] questioned the three ex-garda sergeants, he found no evidence to support they had been involved, and although he came to the conclusion, he cannot name and he cannot say who was involved.” The Irish Government has apologised after the public enquiry found that Irish police had colluded in the IRA murders of the two RUC officers. Breen and Buchanan were the most senior

Royal Ulster Constabulary officers to be murdered during the Troubles. They were shot dead in an IRA ambush in south Armagh in March 1989. “Through the period maybe 25,000 men served in the’s a tremendous slur on the gardaí,” our source said. The Tribunal was set up in 2005 to examine allegations that gardaí had helped the IRA gang to target the RUC officers. “There is always a weak link. If you have 25,000 men who have served during that period you are liable to come across people who are disloyal and develop weaknesses and can be compromised.” The former high ranking officer added:

“The truth didn’t always come out of North and the Government here didn’t always encourage liaison between the gardaí and the PSNI because of things like Bloody Sunday. “What this enquiry has possibly done has left a lot of unanswered questions without coming up with any factual material to support that conclusion. That’s the reality of life — facts and figures. “One wonders why these men travelled the most dangerous road. With regards to security in daylight, it is amazing. The British Army only touched down here in a helicopter and so why these men travelled the most dangerous road in Ireland, maybe Europe, at the time, remains a mystery.”

Ex London Met commander pounding the beat in Ireland Simon O’Brien spent over 30 years in The Met before he landed a job... investigating the gardaí. Robert Mulhern reports in the wake of the Smithwick Tribunal

■ Simon O’Brien was appointed as Deputy Chief Inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate in March 2010, where he served until his appointment to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. Mr O’Brien was formerly a Chief Superintendent for five years in charge of policing in Enfield, North London and later in the Southern borough of Haringey. Later he was appointed as a Commander in London taking charge of the 11 boroughs of North and East London and, after a year, taking charge of all uniform patrol activity in the entire Metropolitan area.

DO the Irish public have confidence in the gardaí? Ask Londoner Simon O’Brien. The Lewisham native has been investigating complaints against the force in Ireland since 2010. Already, there have been battles, O’Brien has publicly condemned the gardaí for what he has described as “intolerable” delays when seeking sensitive information. And only last July, O’Brien’s Office of the Ombudsman Commission accused the gardaí of concealing vital evidence in relation to students being hit with batons at a protest over college fees. Lately, the Londoner has again articulated the need for “healthy tension” between the force and his office. The temperature dial turned a shade this week when the force was brought into focus by the Smithwick Tribunal, which stated, amongst other things, that a “prioritisation of the protection of the good name of the force over the protection of those who seek to tell the truth” existed within the gardaí. With truth and transparency in mind, it is O’Brien’s will to forge the kind of rigorous relationship with the force that will build “public confidence” in Ireland’s police force and he quotes satisfaction ratings of 80 per cent; describing the figure as a very positive finding for Irish people. “I did a lot of time on the streets with the gardaí,” he says. “I did some patrols with them and I was always very impressed with what I saw. They’d be as good as any I’ve worked with in

Tottenham or Brixton,” he adds. So no problems then? “I think the Criminal Justice System could so with speeding up,” he admits. “It’s not just a policing issue. If you look at some of the significant progress the UK has made in bringing swift, speedy, safe justice to victims and witnesses, there is a disparity, and Ireland could look at Criminal Justice reform in the years going forward.” In relation to the delays for ‘low level’ information, he says: “In the past I’ve been waiting far too long for information from the Garda Síochána to be delivered to me and my organisation. “We would say the guards have around 30 days to deliver evidence for low level things, statements from something that has happened, copies of notebooks. “Thirty days is a long time, the police in Scotland get it in five. Often we would wait 60 days and 120 days. I don’t think that serves any member of the public who is complaining about the gardaí well. Nor does it serve the members complained about when

“Loyalty is prized above honesty. My life experience tells me that such a culture is not unique to An Garda Síochána; all large organisations struggle with this issue.” Peter Smithwick, December 3 anything like this hangs over people’s heads.” So what’s the big difference between the Met and the gardaí? “Size,” O’Brien says. “The Met is 33,000 and it’s actually 50,000 staff and colleagues. The Met only has one city to police. In Ireland there are about 14,000 guards with a small back-up of civilians. The figures vary and it’s a national force that also covers state security and border control.” When asked if he believes they are under-resourced, he replies diplomatically, “I’d certainly say if I was the Garda Commissioner, you can never have enough police officers.” O’Brien explains that he ended up joining the Garda Inspectorate after he was approached when studying a masters degree in Cambridge. “The then Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate came to

speak to us at a dinner one night, we had a little chat and she said ‘I’m looking for an experienced police officer from another jurisdiction to go to Ireland to help inspect the guards’.” His wont, he says, was to bring to bear best international free practice, not just from Britain, but from all over the world. “There can be no dispute between the organisations where they thought they provided something and we didn’t get it.” But in light of some of the comments made by Peter Smithwick last week, does he believe there’s a real will within the force to be more accountable? “We want to improve policing in Ireland. The one thing I learned in the 32 years – and the UK police have had some pretty dark times in terms of public confidence – is that the only thing that improves confidence is

if the public knows something goes wrong. That they can complain about the force and when they do they get some form of redress. If we supply a vital service to the people then we supply a vital service to the gardaí”. He adds: “A police service is a very powerful body in a democracy and at the end of five years I hope to have moved many matters forward in Ireland. I hope in 2015 to be able to say we’ve done something to improve the lot of Irish police and Irish people.” And of course, if he is doing his job right there will be more healthy tension. “We will always be on disputed territory,” he admits. “That’s the nature of the beast. At the end of day I am not paid to be popular. I am paid to do a fair job and I will do that without fear or favour and hopefully that will increase public confidence.”

8 | December 14, 2013

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COMMENT/NEWS The voice of the Irish in Britain since 1970

EGMs have air of foreboding N

EWS of another Extraordinary General Meeting being called among the Irish community in Britain is unwelcome, yet unsurprising given the changing face of the community and pressures on clubs to be selfsufficient amidst an unforgiving economic climate. Unfortunately the EGM acronym is making increasingly regular appearances in these pages. More often than not it tells us that another of our long-standing Irish clubs and centres, which have served the community for decades, is about to be closed. Reports which follow will usually confirm that, while setting out the parameters the committee has had to agree upon in order to dissolve the institution. As a result another section of Britain will find itself without the hub that will have long been the traditional and tangible heart of its Irish community. That Bradford and Botwell face such processes, yet hope they can struggle through to keep afloat, is sad news indeed. But it follows a number of similar reports in this paper over the past five years. Many closures were prompted when the recession kicked in, others were exacerbated by cuts in government funding from both Britain and Ireland, and some came where the movement of Irish people towards London, rather than the British towns and cities which were usually Irish strongholds, left their clubs with very few Irish people to cater for. Though the news of a club closing is always poignant – with legacies lost and memories ripped from their anchors – there is an uncomfortable picture forming. For some areas there is just not enough money, skills or support to keep these centres, most small and simply-run by volunteers, afloat. In others the decline in size of the Irish community itself bears the final nail. Realistically, many will be quietly seeing out their final days over the months and years to come. That said; in some regions across the country Irish clubs and centres continue to thrive. Why some survive where others fail may simply be down to local need, community size and support on offer. Either way the Extraordinary General Meeting is not so extraordinary anymore, and 2014 – with even less third sector funding up for grabs – looks set to continue to squeeze our smaller establishments further still. Where the Irish will come together to meet and share their cultural heritage around Britain in the decades to come is far less certain than the outlook for the traditional Irish club. Published weekly by: Loot Limited, Suite A, 1 Lindsey Street, Smithfield, London EC1A 9HP Telephone: 020 8900 4193 Fax: 020 8900 4288 e-mail: internet:

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‘People just don’t go out Irish Club anymore’ They were once the beating hearts of their communities, but two Irish clubs have closed in the past 12 months and two more could be lost by the end of the year. Last week we revealed that centres in Bradford and Botwell are the latest to face closure. This week Niall O’Sullivan and Robert Mulhern hear some of the memories from those clubs and others in Watford and Ashton-underLyne, which have already been lost BRADFORD

“I CHANGES AHEAD: The Irish Post, September 7, 1991

Pictures by Peter Fawcett

’ll never forget the nights we had in the Bradford Irish Club. “My wife and I joined its Comhaltas branch when it opened in 1988 and it felt like the most Irish place in Britain. “Well over 100 people would come down. You would have set dancing

in the middle of the room, Irish language courses in the corner and then scattered around the club you would have people teaching instruments. “Laughter and Irish sounds would echo through the building for hours as people literally danced the night away. “Some of my best memories are from the local compe-

titions we would go to. I especially remember one of the first ones, which was held in Wythenshawe by Sean Dempsey. “We were going there as novices. But we had our tongues in our cheeks. So we decided that the eight members of the set who went up would wear Lplates on their backs. Those are the kinds of things you remember. “The club was not just a place to

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Joe Sheeran (holding sign) with fellow members of Bradford’s Comhaltas branch in more vibrant times

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to places like the Bradford viewed as a problem. “Just by having the centre we had a community. We could get together to organise workshops, like the time we had someone in to show everyone how to make soda bread. “When we had to disband the Comhaltas branch last year I was very upset. We were just about to reach our 25th year. “We actually had a strong core group of people until very recently, but the membership quickly dwindled and got to the point where it was just not viable. It just ran out of members. “Really, things have been declining since 2000. Many members have passed away or moved. And there has been a cultural shift in Bradford. People do not go out to places like the Bradford Irish Club or working men’s clubs anymore.

“ PASSING THE TIME: The changing faces of Bradford Irish Club

These days the Irish community in Bradford has a very low profile. The people are still here and you can see the Irish names in the telephone directory, but the club is not what it used to be

“These days the Irish community in Bradford has a very low profile. The people are still here and you can see the Irish names in the telephone directory, but the club is not what it used to be.” Joe Sheeran, 80, is a retired teacher originally from Birr, Co. Offaly. He has been active in the Bradford Irish Club for three decades and was heavily involved in its Comhaltas branch from its creation in 1988 to its disbanding last year.

ST CLARET’S, BOTWELL “WE used to hire buses to go on day trips from the club to Barry Island or Bognor Regis; other days we’d all load up and go to the races in Goodwood. The coach would be waiting outside to collect us at 7.30 but it would be 8.30 before we’d get out. Once about six policemen came over, took off their hats and joined us for a drink. We wouldn’t get back until 11pm at night. There were about 800 members then. We’d underage GAA teams and senior teams in soccer and football. Denis McCarthy was the man who looked after the GAA and we’d swap players across from the soccer – he’d be asking ‘who have you got that’s tenacious?’ “There was a cabinet inside the club and it was bursting with trophies; Tug of War trophies. We’d a great team and we often took to the road. Not just in Britain but to Germany and Holland and Jersey. “I always enjoyed that we were a members club; we didn’t rely on big names to fill the place, but there were memorable nights when say a Brendan Shine or Philomena Begley came and played. “But most weeks you’d be struggling to get into the bar on a Sunday night. The crowd were so many that when people went dancing, drink would inevitably be knocked over. “There’s a great dance floor, it’s a floating dance floor so it’s not hard on the legs. People loved that dance floor and

there were marriages born on it too. My own niece met her husband in the St Clarets Club. It was one of many weddings. “And so many friendships were formed there down the years. Last week, my phone rang and it was a friend of mine from Donegal. He said he was over for a few days and would I meet him for a pint in the club? He was a member before he returned to live in Ireland. We used to play together on the football team. When I walked in he was on a stick – the years have passed but then I am 80 now. “It doesn’t feel that long ago now but the time has gone quick. I became a member when the club first opened back in 1966 and have been involved since. “The place has been a constant in my life. A lot of past members returned home to Ireland and a lot have passed away. “The club had its origins in a music session that used to take place in a youth club down the road. There are still a lot of pictures from those times; many of them are on the walls of the club. I recognise nearly all of them. “There are debt issues with the club and a fall-off in membership but we’ve been trying to work a resolution and I’m continuing to try and defend the club.” Michael Burke, 80, originally from Dublin

Picture by Danny Claffey

It also gave us the somewhere to educate local children about Ireland because whenever you learned about Ireland in British schools, Ireland was viewed as a problem

drink, but it was the focus of community. It was somewhere people gathered to share their enjoyment, whether it was over billiards, cards, dominoes or whatever. “Most of the people involved were middle-aged in those early days. The members were extremely friendly, very collaborative and actually cared for each other. And unlike many working men’s clubs in the area, the Bradford Irish Club was a place where women played a prevalent role. “It also gave us somewhere to educate local children about Ireland because whenever you learned about Ireland in British schools, Ireland was

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Former president Mary Robinson on a visit to Ashton-under-Lyne

WATFORD “THE memory that always sticks out in my head is the day we opened the club. The ambassador came down, the place was packed and the atmosphere was electric. It was like we’d never left home! “I also remember when the Fureys and the Dubliners played there. They were favourites of mine and it was a full house for both nights, which meant there were around 300 people bursting out of the doors. Today I keep the photographs of those nights as if they were heirlooms. “You just needed

somewhere you could feel like you were among your own, even though you were in England. The club was a place that brought people together who had never spoken before and gave them the chance to form friendships that have stood the test of time. “In Watford it was the only place you could get that atmosphere really. “But it was also somewhere we could come together for support. “One friend of mine – John O’Riordan – died of an aneurism when he got home from the club one evening. Having the club meant we could have a wake for him and host the reception after the funeral. “We used to have benefit dances for members who were down on their luck and we gave money to various families without making it public. “Now there is no club, it disenfranchises people. They do not see each other and most of the Irish community, at least the first generation Irish, are getting on a bit. “They are coming towards the end of their lives and in another 20-odd years they will be gone, so a club is more needed than ever. “We are going to have a dance on St Patrick’s Day at a local cricket club. But it is only going to be three hours of entertainment, not like when we had the club. Hopefully we will get a crowd and it will be the embryo of a new Irish association.” Michael Canning, 71, is a retired engineer originally from Carrick-onShannon, Co. Limerick. He helped found the Watford Irish Club in 1991 and was its chair until 2010.

HOW WE SAW IT: The Irish Post, December 7, 2013 “IT was a surprise when former President Mary Robinson turned up in Ashton under Lyne Irish Club in 1997. The place was buzzing, people were delighted that someone of that standing would come and visit a small Irish club. The place is somewhere that you would pass by easily, not on a main route way, so to get the recognition was a big thing. I remember all the kids outside dressed in green, white and gold and Mary Robinson shaking hands with them all. There was a sense of recognition that this small Irish community was important enough to be paid a visit by the President of Ireland. It’s hard to reason now that an Irish club honoured by such a visit has closed its doors for good, less than 20 years later, but more and more in recent years, the Irish influence in the area has become less and less.” Danny Claffey, originally from Donegal, Irish Post photographer


10 | December 14, 2013

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Stories from Ireland’s papers


Rubbish ruins beauty spots

A FARMER “took to the air” in a microlight aircraft when gardaí and security men arrived at his repossessed property to remove livestock over a debt, the High Court has heard. Patrick Canty, from Croom in Limerick, also drove a tractor around in circles on the land at Tooreen, Limerick, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne heard.

ONE of the finest views from Tralee was ruined by an act of illegal dumping whilst a forested area in Ballymacelligott was similarly blighted.


Limerick The Irish Independent reports that in June 2008 the judge ordered the lands to be repossessed on foot of an application brought by Carlisle Mortgages Ltd in relation to a debt owed by Mr Canty. Mr Canty obtained a fivemonth stay on the order and its execution was again postponed when he made a €15,000 payment to Carlisle. No further payment was made and in February 2012 Carlisle’s solicitors notified Mr Canty the repossession order would be executed, and he was asked to remove livestock from the land. Despite being told he would be in contempt of court if he failed to do so, he failed to comply. On June 19, 2012, the court messenger, three gardaí and two security men went to the lands at 7.30am. Mr Canty’s actions that day meant it was not possible to execute the court order. Despite it being renewed the order expired in July 2012.

New home for ancient cross A 1,100-YEAR-OLD cross is being moved from its location at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick to a new location at a local museum.

Down UTV reports that the cross will be moved to a museum and a replica will be installed. The Downpatrick High Cross will become the centrepiece of an important new extension at Down County Museum, which is to be built soon. The intricately patterned Mourne granite cross is of huge historical, cultural and religious significance. Its first location is believed to have been the early medieval monastery on the Hill of Down. Following the Reformation, the High Cross was taken down and was used as Downpatrick’s market cross, suffering damage in a busy town centre location before being dismantled and its parts dispersed. In the 1890s the parts were gathered by Francis Joseph Bigger and reconstructed outside Down Cathedral, with the help of subscriptions from generous donors. The recent move has been made possible by the Church of Ireland agreeing to a longterm loan and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency agreeing to the move and funding its removal, conservation, and the funding of a detailed replica.

A BALLYMENA couple, working as missionaries in the Philippines, are now helping to distribute aid to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Philip and Tracey Johnston and their three children, who were featured in the Guardian two weeks ago, are living on the island of Bohol which was struck by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake just weeks before the storm hit. The Ballymena Guardian reports

Antrim that the couple are serving with ‘Reaching and Teaching Ministries’ whose headquarters are based at Paradise Avenue in Ballymena. They have been based in the Philippines since 2004 and their children, twins Hannah and Daisy, 7 and Lucy, 4 were born in Bohol. It has been a month since the

storm which saw the family’s home in Tagbilaran City hit by heavy rain and 80mph gusts of wind. The typhoon devastated the neighbouring island of Leyte and for days the area was without electricity and running water. Now the family, along with other volunteers, have been busy handing out mosquito nets and blankets to homeless families currently living in tents.

Rapist’s arm ‘was cut off after death’ THE state pathologist has confirmed that the severed arm of a convicted rapist washed up on Dollymount Strand was cut from the body following death. The Irish Examiner reports that at the opening of the inquest into the death of James Nolan, 46, from Fairlawn Road, Finglas, Dublin, the coroner told the family that Professor Marie Cassidy has established that the arm was severed following death. Detective Inspector Paul Scott told the court the identity of the limb’s owner was confirmed after gardaí issued samples through Interpol and the London Metropolitan Police

Dublin found a DNA profile that matched the tissue. The arm belonged to Nolan, who had convictions for rape and burglary and who had been missing since his release from prison the previous November. Det Insp Scott said gardaí have established Nolan’s movements prior to his disappearance up to a “certain point”, and that is now the subject of investigation. The rest of Nolan’s body has yet to be found. The coroner told the family that in her post-mortem report,

Professor Cassidy has been unable to establish a cause of death. However, she is satisfied the dismemberment of the arm was carried out after death. Nolan is believed to have been tortured and killed before his body was dumped in the Irish Sea. Nolan was jailed for 14 years in 1986 for his role in a gang rape of a woman in Ashtown, Dublin, two years earlier, when he was 20. He was also convicted of falsely imprisoning his victim’s boyfriend. Nolan absconded to Britain after the crime. However, he was arrested after he returned home to visit his mother for Christmas.

The Kerryman reports that a mattress, gas cylinder, prams and other children’s items were dumped at the Lock Gates area near Blennerville, just outside Tralee, completely detracting from the views of the bay. And in Ballymacelligott a bed and two large mattresses along with other domestic waste items were dumped on the side of the main road in a forested area, to the frustration of locals. Both incidents were among the most brazen instances of illegal dumping in the greater Tralee area in recent months and have led to mounting local concern over the issue. Despite ongoing efforts by Kerry County Council to strongly discourage illegal dumping, the problem still persists with beauty spots being hit all too frequently. The authority continues to roll out covert CCTV surveillance of known dumping black spots.

Boy ‘lucky to be alive’ after attack by dog A YOUNG boy attacked by a dog on his way to school was lucky to be alive, Judge Kevin Kilrane said at Sligo District Court.

Sligo The Sligo Champion reports that Levi Lynnott was on his way to St Edward’s NS when set upon by a Japanese Akita. The dog, listed as a dangerous breed, had also attacked a student on the morning of January 19 last. Judge Kilrane said the dog was an absolute danger. He couldn’t understand why people had such “massive, dangerous dogs” in the front

gardens of town houses. As a result of the attacks on the boy and student, motherof-four Philomena Ward was charged with not having a muzzle on the dog, and not having it under effectual control at Clarion Road and at St Edward’s NS. Garda Martin Kelly said he had received reports of a dog attack. As he was proceeding to investigate, a second call came through that another person had been attacked by a dog. The garda located the dog, a Japanese Akita. The dog was restrained with the help of the dog warden and was placed in the rear of the latter’s van. It was subsequently put down.

Fatalities lead way to Damages for family of first-time mum traffic island change who died from multi-organ failure THE family of an Indian woman who died in Belfast a week after giving birth to her first child in the Republic has been awarded almost €1m (£850,000) in damages. The Belfast Telegraph reports Dhara Kivlehan (28) died from multi-organ failure in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital on September 28, 2010 after being airlifted from Sligo General Hospital. In the High Court in Dublin, the Republic’s Health Service Executive apologised to widower Michael Kivlehan and the extended family for shortcomings in his late wife’s treatment at Sligo, where the

Belfast couple’s son Dior was delivered. The inquest into Mrs Kivlehan’s death, to be held in Enniskillen, has been delayed. Family solicitor Damien Tansey revealed several medics involved in Mrs Kivlehan’s care as her condition deteriorated have refused to attend a hearing in Belfast, and cannot be compelled to attend a hearing in the North of Ireland. Now the family’s legal team has threatened to go to the High Court in Dublin in a bid

to have the inquest into her death held in Sligo. Dhara Kivlehan was two weeks over her due date when she arrived at Sligo General on September 20 2010 in labour. Blood tests that afternoon showed “grossly abnormal liver function and grossly abnormal kidney function” were not followed up for 12 hours. Her son was delivered by Caesarean section shortly before 6am the next morning. Mrs Kivlehan was then taken to intensive care before being airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital ICU on September 24 where she died four days later.

THE design of traffic islands on roads in Co. Kerry may be changed following the deaths of a motorist and a motorcyclist in separate accidents.

Kerry The Irish Examiner reports that the National Roads Authority has confirmed discussions are underway with Kerry County Council over changes to islands outside speed limit zones. The issue was raised by south Kerry coroner Terence Casey at an inquest into the death of a woman after her Harley Davidson motorcycle collided with a traffic island at Lissivigeen, Killarney. The late Rosemary Livesley,

aged 55, of Kilronan West, Dunmanway, Co. Cork, was travelling in a line of traffic when the right foot pedal of her motorbike collided with a low concrete section of a traffic island causing the motorbike to go out of control, the inquest heard. Her partner, Duncan Hopkinson, was travelling behind on his motorbike and saw her hit the object and be thrown into the air with the bike which somersaulted a number of times before landing on the ground. Garda James O’Brien replied the issue had been addressed in discussions involving gardaí, the council and the NRA and the design may be changed. “The idea is to design these islands in a more user-friendly way,’’ he said.

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Police ‘completely wrong’ says mum who lost entire family in suicide crash BY NIALL O’SULLIVAN A MOTHER who lost her “everybody” when a suicidal taxi driver crashed into her car, killing her husband, baby son and unborn daughter, has criticised British police over the tragedy. Cork woman Elber Twomey told how her family’s “wonderful life” ended when Marek Wojiechowski deliberately hit her car on July 6 last year while being pursued by police. She broke down while explaining how the incident, which took place while the Irish family were holidaying in Devon, “cost me my entire family”. “As you are aware our tragic crash with Marek RIP claimed the lives of our beautiful little Baba Oisin and his beautiful unborn sister,” Mrs Twomey said after an inquest into the incident concluded this week. “If that wasn’t tragic enough it also claimed the life of my darling Con on May 3 this year. I lost my everybody.” The inquest ruled that Mr Wojiechowski deliberately crossed the road to hit the Irish family’s vehicle. But Mrs Twomey lays some of the blame for her heartbreak at the door of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. “I will always be of the opinion that the manner in which the police dealt with Marek that horrific day was completely wrong,” the widow said outside the coroner’s court in Torquay. Hours before the crash, Mr Wojiechowski’s wife returned home to find a suicide note from the 26-year-old. She alerted emergency services. Police response driver PC Ben Bickford then spotted the Polish man driving. After taking advice from more senior officers, he gave chase on a dual carriageway and tried to bring the car to a halt by using police lights, sirens and hand signals. But the taxi driver then crossed the road and smashed into the Twomeys’ car, killing himself and 16-month-old Oisin instantly. Mrs Twomey, who was 24

weeks pregnant, received serious head injuries and was hospitalised for months. The daughter she was carrying was still-born as a result of the crash. Her husband Con died 10 months later from serious brain injuries. Issuing a stark assessment of the police force’s actions, Mrs Twomey said: “I believe the following at speed, with lights flashing, the siren blaring and the hand gestures panicked Marek and caused him to do what he did.” While she does not blame PC Bickford, Mrs Twomey said she does blame the police service for what happened. Rejecting a police watchdog’s finding that nothing could be learned from the tragedy, she called on British forces to review how they deal with someone who is known to have left a suicide note. Using a stinger to burst a car’s tyres would be a safer way to deal with suicidal drivers than chasing their car, Mrs Twomey argued. She believes Mr Wojiechowski was “panicked” when he saw the police lights and hand signals. “Marek had driven 11 circuits along Hamelin Way from Kerswell Gardens that day without doing anything wrong,” she added. “Who knows? Had the police not intervened Marek could have just got tired of driving and gone home or gone to a friend or run out of fuel.” The inquest’s coroner said PC Bickford carried out his duty “in an exemplary fashion” and followed existing guidelines. But he called for all English and Welsh police forces to review how they deal with suicidal people. Chief Superintendent James Nye, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said after the inquest that the force operated “entirely with nationally agreed procedures and training”. “We continually review responses to serious incidents in order to update our training where appropriate,” he added. “This was a tragic incident that had a devastating impact on the policing community.”

FAMILY DESTROYED: Elber Twomey with her late husband Con and son Oisin, also pictured below left. Bottom right, driver Marek Wojiechowski


Irish studies disrupted by protesting students BY FIONA AUDLEY STUDENTS occupied the Institute of Irish Studies for three days in a ‘show of solidarity’ with striking lecturers and academic support staff who undertook nationwide protests this month. Members of the Occupy Liverpool University group took over the Institute, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. But the ‘large group’, who were not students of the Irish studies centre based at the University of Liverpool, extended the planned one-day protest, led by the UCU lecturers union, with Unison and Unite members, against ‘unfair’ wage cuts, by keeping staff and students out of the Institute for three days. “The UCU called a one-day strike for December 3 and at lunchtime that day a large group took over the Institute and expelled staff and students,” Institute Director Professor Marianne Elliot told The Irish Post. “It was three days before we could get back in,” she added. “We do not know yet who the group were or why they occupied the Institute rather than an administrative building.” A spokesperson for the OCL group, who posted notice of their ‘occupation’ on Twitter, claims they chose the Institute “purely on merit of location and the space alone”. Regarding the incident, they added: “We peacefully occupied this building in order to show solidarity with workers striking against unfair pay and forced changes to contracts. “We see this as part of a wider attack on the provision of free education which has included the introduction of tuition fees, outsourcing of university staff and the on-going reduction of staff and working conditions.” No Institute students or staff were involved in the ‘occupation’, but lectures were disrupted over its course. “It’s been suggested this group were students coming out in support of the UCU strike, though why they then remained in the Institute beyond the end of the strike is unclear,” Professor Elliott said. “Teaching, research and the Institute’s Outreach programme was disrupted during these days, but no IIS staff or students were involved in the ‘occupation’ and the building was not damaged,” she added. After leaving the building, the OCL tweeted: “It is the end of the physical occupation but not the end of the actions born from the community spirit it generated.”

Outrage as Irish Government axes “lifeline” service for abuse survivors BY NIALL O’SULLIVAN SURVIVORS have hit out at the Irish Government for claiming a service they regard as a “lifeline” is no longer needed. The Irish Post revealed last week that the London Irish Centre will cut its specialised survivors counselling service in January because Dublin has refused to continue funding it.

Outraged survivors said the move will rob them of the “only place” they feel safe talking about their problems. The Irish Government sought to justify its move this week by saying the service’s work is “coming to an end” now that a new redress fund is due to open in the New Year. But several survivors told The Irish Post they will not be

able to cope with claiming from the online Residential Institutions Statutory Fund without support from the soon-to-be-cut service. “We have no idea how to use computers and don’t trust anyone to help us except the woman we work with at the London Irish Centre,” said Catherine McGivern, 63. A spokesperson for the Department of Education

and Skills said the funding being cut was initially given to the centre to provide an “information and referral service” that would help survivors access various redress schemes set up by the Irish Government. “As the work of these bodies was coming to an end and as the RISF would be responsible for advising former residents on the services it will provide,

the survivor groups and the Outreach Services have been notified that funding provided by this Department would be withdrawn,” she added. The spokesperson explained that the withdrawal of funding had been known about since July 2011. She added that the centre will continue to provide advice and other services for survivors.

LOCKED OUT: Institute Director Professor Marianne Elliot says staff and students were expelled by the protesters for three days

12 | December 14, 2013


The Irish Post

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Gourmet meal service that’s back to basics BY FIONA AUDLEY


HEN it comes to eating healthily we should apparently be looking to our caveman ancestors for menu inspiration. When you want someone else to do it for you, you go to Evolve. The newly-established gourmet meal delivery service is currently sending out 2,000 meals per month to men, women and children - as this is a family offering - across London. What is unique about that is that each vacuum-packed morsel sent out is non-processed, is gluten, wheat, sugar and dairy free, and is cooked by Michelin-trained chefs who ensure nothing is lost in the taste stakes. Instead the weekly menu is inspired by the Paleo regime - the latest diet to be lapped up by celebrities and fitness gurus alike, which insists the cavemen had it right by sticking to nature’s produce, consuming just meat, vegetables and fruit.

For Evolve co-founders Niall Crowley and Marcus Price, it is a regime that is more of a ‘lifestyle choice’ than a diet. But after two years living ‘the Paleo way’ in London - where they moved from Ireland in 2008 to pursue careers in the city - they realised it wasn’t the easiest lifestyle to lead while working long hours in the capital. “Myself and Marcus have been friends since school,” Niall explains. “We grew up together and we would have been from an outdoor background, surfing and swimming regularly. Of course in Ireland eating quality ingredients wasn’t really an issue; growing up around farms, generally the quality of produce you were eating was always good and it was all natural ingredients.” He added: “But when we both moved to London we continued to keep fit and began following the Paleo ethos, but not being chefs - cooking yourself

chicken and veg every night can get quite boring. “So we were both training and living a busy city lifestyle, like many others our age, and we thought there must be a solution to this, a healthy convenience brand we can trust.” From that point the city workers Niall was working in finance and Marcus in property - began creating a brand and business to fill that ‘gap’ in the market. After enlisting the skills of a Michelin-trained chef and a food partner, menus devised along the Paleo regime were created and tested on members at a small group of gyms in London. “The Paleo diet is about cutting out processed food groups, dairy, grains, sugar, basically,” Niall explained. “But it’s more of a lifestyle choice than a diet and it has great results. It reinforces our business beliefs in terms of quality of ingredients and a natural way of life. However you don’t have to be a Paleo follower to enjoy our food service, it’s basically all about taste,” he added. “We are obsessed with taste, that’s why we have Michelin-trained chefs working with us.” For the business partners, who hail from Bray in Co. Wicklow, their ethos and food parcels were lapped up by the gym bunnies who took part in their early market testing period. A year later they were ready to launch the business, albeit ‘softly’, in September 2013. Since then the brand has enjoyed considerable success, with customers ranging from ‘time-poor’ professionals, to families and

Evolve poached chicken with hazelnut, smoked bacon and summer peas

Evolve co-founders Niall Crowley and Marcus Price post-pregnancy mothers all signing up to for their weekly food drops and enjoying the likes of Red Thai Chicken Curry, Lamb Tagine and a tasty Paleo Sausage Casserole among dishes delivered to their doors each week. And with weekly packs starting at £40 for women and £55 for men, it seems the pair have also found the right price point for the determined healthy eater. “Since we launched the new brand in September the uptake has been huge,” Niall admits.

“We increased sales by 400 percent in the first week and suddenly we went from being with a brand associated with gyms to one that appealed to all ages and all sizes.” He added: “It’s hard to define our target market now, it ranges from the time-poor, young professionals that you would expect, to families feeding their kids and post-pregnancy women trying to shift the baby weight. We basically have all sorts now and we are sending out about 2,000 meals per month.” Regarding that all-important price point, he added: “We only use the best ingredients as we want people to trust our brand, so we are very transparent to our customers

Evolve grilled Thai Chicken thighs

Evolve barbecued lamb with vegetables

about where we source our meat and ingredients, but there is a price point to that. “You add in a Michelin-trained chef cooking the meals and the convenience of it coming straight to your door and it works out at about £10 a meal.” He explained: “If you did the walk for a person finding time to go to the supermarket, buying the ingredients, finding time to cook them and add in the wastage and having the skills to make it taste as good as it does, suddenly £10 does not seem like much at all.” For 2014 the young entrepreneurs Niall is 30 and Marcus is 32 - plan to scale their increasingly popular service up to offer deliveries to homes and businesses across Britain. “We are a lifestyle brand,” Niall adds, “one that should appeal to all. “We offer a sustainable solution for health convenience, not a fad diet, and we take a lot of pride in the fact that people keep coming back. We are the only food delivery service company that offers weekly packs where you are not tied in for months. We also have a retention rate of about 92 per cent with our customers, with 30 per cent of them using our service long-term.” He explains: “We have always been clear about making this a scalable business. So with that in mind 2014 is all about increasing our exposure and our market share and becoming a UKwide delivery service while retaining our personal touch.”

Diets the celebrities swear by: Paleo Diet

Weight Watchers

5:2 Diet

Best for: Couples

Best for: Those who can't go without pudding

Best for: Those who can't cut back every day

Celebrity Fans: Gary Barlow, Megan Fox

Celebrity fan: Patsy Kensit

Celebrity fans: Beyoncé, Philip Schofield

How it works: The diet is based on the idea that we should all eat the way we did in the Paleolithic era - so if a caveman wouldn't have eaten it, neither should you.

How it works: You sign up to follow the Weight Watchers points plan and clock up 'points' with everything you eat. You simply have to stay within your weekly 'points' limit to lose weight as you go. Say no to: Nothing is off limits with this diet, providing you have the 'points'

How it works: Eat normally for 5 days and fast for 2 days, cutting down your calorie intake to just a quarter of the usual daily amount.

Say no to: All cereal grains, dairy and processed foods are banned, along with beans and potatoes Say yes to: You can eat your fill of meat, eggs and fish, accompanied by unlimited fresh fruit and veg.

Say yes to: Everything you like, in moderation, and the added support of a group to meet and exchange tips and recipes along the way.

Say no to: Denying yourself - if you are craving a treat on a 'fast' day, have it the following day Say yes to: Dinner out, takeaways and treats - as long as they are on your 'normal' days.

The Irish Post

December 14, 2013 | 13


HE findings of the Smithwick Tribunal, suggesting that members of the gardaí assisted the IRA in the murder of two senior RUC officers, Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan in 1989, following hard on the heels of a confession by British Army soldiers that they indiscriminately shot civilians on the streets of west Belfast, shows that the North is not a done and dusted place. Even in recent weeks parts of Belfast have once again been on high alert as dissident Republicans and Union Jack waving Loyalists have brought disruption to everyday life. The Troubles are over, but they haven’t gone away, you know. Most of where the North of Ireland is now relates back to the fudge that was the Good Friday Agreement. By calling it a fudge I am not in any way denigrating it, I am merely describing what it was. You have only to listen to Alastair Campbell, one of Tony Blair’s chief advisers, describe how it consisted of giving both sides opposing impressions about the same thing to see how much of a fudge the Agreement was. Then, of course, there was

Tribunal suggests story of the North is far from over

Bertie Ahern. Bertie built an entire political career on the ability to come to terms with anyone about anything. No principle ever got in the way of Bertie Ahern agreeing something. In terms of the North, though, that was just

The very strength of the Good Friday Agreement, an Agreement that said to Unionists the Union is safe and said to Republicans a United Ireland is achievable, is also its weakness what was needed. No one can ever gainsay or deride the Good Friday Agreement and that is simply because of what it achieved. Because what it achieved was peace. Perhaps, an

uneven peace, a fragile peace, a tattered peace but a peace nonetheless. How many people on the island of Ireland are alive today who would not have been if the Agreement had never been signed? The only problem is that the very strength of the Agreement, an Agreement that said to Unionists the Union is safe and said to Republicans a United Ireland is achievable, is also its weakness. It achieved peace but there was no real settlement of the conflict. No coming to terms. That is why these things, garda collusion or British Army hit squads, keep surfacing with regularity and will continue to do so. Which always leaves a big question mark hanging over the future of the North. The Agreement has taken the North this far but how much farther can it take it? The past, the terrible, terrible past, is going to keep rearing its ugly head. So what can be done about it? There has been much talk of a peace and reconciliation process whereby all of the tragedies and injustices of the past could be faced up to. The full extent of

AFFABLE AHERN: Sinn Féin experience the Bertie Ahern negotiating style. IRA activities would be revealed. The full extent of Loyalist activities revealed. The behaviour of the British Army revealed. All of those people who lost loved ones in the long roll call of atrocities would get full explanations. As an ideal it would be hard to match that. How much that is achievable though is open to question. How

truthful would the IRA ever be? How much of British Army behaviour would suddenly be classified as Secret? How far would Unionists go in admitting the faults of the northern state? How much could Loyalists ever admit about activities that may have been as murderous as the IRA’s but lacked any context beyond that of a sectarian one?

How much will ever really be known? Will the Birmingham Pub bombers, for instance, come forward? There is, of course, an alternative and whilst it is an ugly one and a dishonest one well, if it worked, the way the Good Friday Agreement worked, would we really object? That alternative is to forget. That sounds callous and it is but it might be the only way out. I don’t know whether I agree with it but I can see the appeal of it. Future generations would be free of the old hatreds and the old violence because it would have been quietly shelved. We have an age that lends itself to that anyway. We have an age that is increasingly lacking in identity and history. This is the age of the brand and the internet. It has nothing to do with those older notions of tribal belonging, of Catholic and Protestant. Of course that might fail too, the truth might keep leaking out and the history of an island that seemed for so long mired in the past might come round again. Who knows? Truth and reconciliation or forgetfulness? Anything, surely, but guns.


As Gaeilge

As Béarla

Cé h-iad laochra na linne seo?

Who are the heroes of our time?



ad is brí le bheith cróga in Éirinn an lae inniu? Cé h-iad laochra na linne seo? Seo h-iad na ceisteanna a chuireas orm fhéin tar éis dom scéal an Choimisinéir Teanga Seán Ó Cuirreáin a chlos. Cruthaíodh post an Choimisinéir i 2004 mar thoradh ar mholadh a rinneadh in Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla. Tá Seán Ó Cuirreáin sa phost ó shin, ag cinntiú go bhfuil eagraíochtaí stáit ag cur seribhís ar fáil as Gaeilge dóibh siúd go bhfuil an seirbhís sin uatha, go mórmhór sa Ghaeltacht. Bhí go leor fadhbanna aige sa phost agus tá sé tar éis éirí as, ag rá nach bhféadfadh sé glacadh leis an tslí ina raibh an rialtas ag caitheamh leis an nGaeilge agus le lucht labhartha na teanga. Ní bheidh an dara rogha ag daoine ag díleáil le eagraíochtaí stáit amach anseo ach amhlaidh a dhéanamh as Béarla, dar leis, mar nach bhfuil tacaíocht dáiríre ann don Ghaeilge. Is fíor seo maidir leis an nGaeltacht fiú, rud nach dtéann leis an bpolasaí atá ag an rialtas todhchaí na Gaeltachta a chinntiú dos na glúinte atá le teacht. Níl Seán Ó Cuirreáin sásta glacadh leis seo. Ní dóigh leis go bhfuil sé ceart. Níor éirigh leis mórán a athrú ón dtaobh istig don gcóras mar sin, tá sé ag éirí as a phost agus ag labhairt amach go poiblí. Tá súil agam go n-éisteofar leis. Ach nílim ró dhóchasach faoi seo. Is é is cúis le mo easpa dóchais ná scéal Tom Gilmartin a fuair bás coicís ó shin. Bhí gnáth shochraid Gaelach aige – inar tháinig a chlann, a cháirde agus a phobal le chéile chun slán a fhágaint leis. Ní raibh sé cosúil leis na sochraidí a bhíonn ag daoine móra le rá, polaiteoirí go dtugtar óráidí fada fútha agus an méid a rinneadar ar mhaithe le daoine eile. Táim ag cuimhneamh ar shochraid Charlie Haughey ach go h-áirithe, sochraid inar dúirt Bertie Aherne gur seirbhíseach dílis d’Éireann ab ea iar cheannaire a pháirtí. Níor dúradh a leithéid ag shochraid Tom Gilmartin ach bhí a leithéid tuillte aige. Bhí grá

dáiríre aige dá dtír dúchais. Rugadh agus tógadh é i gContae Shligigh ach d’fhág sé ins na caogadaí mar nach raibh aon obair ar fáil ann dó. Chuaigh sé go Sasana agus d’éirigh go maith leis ann, chomh maith san gur thóg sé cinneadh filleadh abhaile ins na ochtódaí chun gnó a bhunú in Éirinn. Ach bhí constaicí ina choinne, constaicí nach raibh sé ag súil leo. Truailliú agus corbadh, breabaireacht agus polaiteoirí ag lorg airgid mar mhalairt ar chead pleanála – chur a leithéid iontas agus fearg ar Tom Gilmartin. Rinne sé iarracht dul i ngleic leis an gcóras ar dtúis ach ní raibh sé ábalta glacadh leis an tslí ina raibh na daoine cumhachtacha seo ag stiúirú na tíre agus an bhéim go rabhadar ag cur ar airgead agus ar shaint in ionad ar mhaithe na h-Éireann. Labhair sé amach i gcoinne na daoine seo agus tá tionchar an méid a dúirt sé fós le braith in Éirinn inniu. Mar thoradh ar an méid a dúirt Tom Gilmartin ag Bínse Mahon, tá a fhios againn cé chomh cam is a bhí Pádraig Flynn, Bertie Aherne, Liam Lawlor agus go leor eile. Tá a fhios againn go bhfuil fadhbanna móra i gcóras polaitíochta na hÉireann. Ní raibh sé seo fuirist do Tom Gilmartin. Rinne na fir cumhachtacha seo ionsaí air sa chuairt, ag iarraidh a chruthú go raibh sé ag insint éithigh. Ach ní raibh agus sheas an breitheamh taobh leis sa deireadh. Ach ar sheas an pobal leis? Fear ionraic ab ea Tom Gilmartin. Fear a chreid in Éirinn agus i gcumas a ndaoine a bheith ionraic freisin. Léirigh a fhianaise go raibh rud éigin lofa i saol polaitíochta na h-Éirinn ach n’fheadar an rabhamar ullamh éisteacht leis agus rud éigin cinntitheach a dhéanamh faoi. N’fheadar an bhfuilimíd ullamh éisteacht le focail an Choimisinéir Teanga ach oiread. Ach táim cinnte faoi rud amháin: fir cróga is ea an bheirt acu as ucht labhairt go poiblí mar gheall ar rudaí gur b’fhearr le go leor daoine a choimeád faoi cheilt.

hat does it mean to be brave in Ireland today? Who are the heroes of our time? These are questions I’ve been asking myself since I heard the story of the Language Commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin. The position of Language Commissioner was created in 2004 as a recommendation of the Official Languages Act. Seán Ó Cuirreáin has occupied the position since then, essentially ensuring that government bodies provide a service through Irish to those that want such a service, particularly to those who live in Gaeltacht areas. He has had lots of problems and how now resigned; stating that he could no longer accept the way the government was treating the Irish language and the people who speak it. He believes it will soon be necessary for anyone dealing with a government body to do so only through English because the commitment to Irish is simply not there. This is even true of Gaeltacht areas, which flies in the face of the government’s stated policy of ensuring their survival for future generations. Seán Ó Cuirreáin isn’t willing to accept this. He doesn’t think it is right. He didn’t succeed in changing much from within the system so he is now resigning from his position and speaking out publicly about it. I hope we listen to him. But I’m not sure that we will. The reason for my lack of optimism has to do with Tom Gilmartin, who died a fortnight ago. He had an ordinary Irish funeral – one that saw his family, friends and local community come out to bid him farewell. It wasn’t like the funerals of better known people such as politicians who receive graveside orations about the good they did for other people. I’m specifically thinking about Charlie Haughey’s funeral, where Bertie Ahern called his former leader a loyal servant of Ireland, a man who had

done the state some service. Such words weren’t heard at Tom Gilmartin’s funeral but they should have been. This was a man who truly loved his country. He was born and raised in Sligo but left in the 1950s in search of work. He went to England and did well, well enough to decide to return home in the 1980s to set up businesses here. But there were obstacles in his way, obstacles he had never anticipated. A culture of corruption and bribery where politicians expected to be paid for planning permission – something that shocked and angered Tom Gilmartin. He tried to operate within the system for a time but was eventually unable to accept the direction in which these powerful people were steering Ireland and the value they placed on money and on greed instead of the good of the country. He spoke out against these people and the impact of what he had to say can still be felt in Ireland today. As a result of what Tom Gilmartin revealed to the Mahon Tribunal, we now know just how crooked and corrupt Pádraig Flynn, Bertie Ahern, Liam Lawlor and lots of others were. We know that there are huge problems in the Irish political system. None of this was easy for Tom Gilmartin. These powerful men attacked him in court, insinuating that he was the one telling lies. But he wasn’t and the judge sided with him in the end. But did the public? Tom Gilmartin was an honest man; a man who believed in Ireland and in the capacity of its people to be honest too. His testimony proved that there was something rotten at the heart of Irish politics but I don’t know if we were ready to hear that and do something decisive about it. I don’t know if we are ready to hear the words of the Language Commissioner either. But I do know one thing: these two men are brave for having spoken out about things that many others would prefer to have kept hidden.

14 | December 14, 2013

The Irish Post


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Cameron has yet to reach his prime

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OEL GALLAGHER’S music hasn’t been up to all that much since around 1995 but when he speaks he’s usually not far off the mark. A while back he was slagging off a variety of politicians. His view on the British Prime Minister was most interesting. “I don’t mind him, to be honest. No one actually takes him seriously, do they?” he told the New Statesman. What’s most damning about this comment is that Cameron, holder of the highest office in the land, is portrayed as an inconsequential figure — so much so that to have any strong conviction about him is to be almost foolish. The fantastic thing about Gallagher’s observation is that it’s absolutely true. When I look at politicians I ask myself a question. Would I respect this person if they were my boss? In Cameron’s case the answer is certainly not. Whether or not you agree with an individual’s policies and convictions is moot (though I’m not sure what Cameron’s are. I wonder if he knows either). The “boss test” is based on gravitas. If I were cast into a role tomorrow where my manager was, in fact, “Dave” then I wouldn’t be dismayed. He seems like a pleasant enough chap. He’d be reasonable to deal with I imagine. You’d get on with your work as usual, doing your best possible job, but the boss would be somebody whose opinion and direction were to be politely acknowledged — while all the time you’re forgetting what they’re saying said before their sentence is complete. The trouble with Cameron is that he is just so negligible; a ruddy-cheeked, soft-skinned young gent who looks like he’s never done a proper day’s work in his life. He comes across as somebody who has no experience of what the world is really like and has no real understanding of life, and what it involves for most of us. It’s not just his Toryness that imbues him with this detachment. Nick Clegg and Ed

Miliband both fail the boss test for similar reasons. I actually quite like Miliband. He seems to have a kernel of principle. He lives a few streets from me (albeit in vastly different circumstances, that’s London for you). I’ve seen him around and he looks like a decent man — you can tell these things. But there’s no way he should be running this or any other nation. Aside from being career politicians cloistered in the Westminster village, they are all far too young for high office.

David Cameron comes across as somebody who has no experience of what the world is really like and has no real understanding of life, and what it involves for most of us There are few shortcuts to wisdom. It is hard-earned through the passing of the years and decades. A 60-year old has seen more, heard more, experienced more joy and pain and thought about how everything in the world fits together than a 44-year-old has. And, crucially, they never use the phrase “going forward”. Yet in this country the move is towards fresh faces and away from deep lines. This is a pity. Enda Kenny, for me, passes the boss test. He’s no intellectual giant and is not by any means an inspirational figure. But he has a certain presence thanks largely to the weight of years behind him. He’s been knocking around that Dáil since Haughey was a pup so, you’d think, he must have learnt something. When that bunch of FG rebels — led by the likes of Leo Varadkar — tried to oust him while in opposition, and elevate Richard Bruton, well, he made fairly

YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE: With 15 years on the unremarkable David Cameron, Enda Kenny’s experience affords him a presence and helped him see off an attempt to oust him from office short work of them. I remember Varadkar on telly before the vote, shaking his head as if out of regret and sympathy for the deluded old man, telling presenter Pat Kenny that he knew his side had the numbers to win. But what did he really know? Not as much as he does now, that’s for sure. By all means, youth should be given its chance to shine — but not at the expense of superior, more experienced options.

People of advancing age are almost routinely assumed to be stuck in their ways and resistant to change. That’s unfair. Most of today’s 60 and 70-somethings seem to me interested and engaged in the world. They also have the capacity to put things in proper context, having lived through far more than we younger folk have. And seeing as we’re all going to have to work until we’re about 86, it would be good to think that

we’re not going to peak at 42. If they undertook a few tours of duty in the world, the Camerons, Cleggs, Milibands and Varadkars might have something of substance to say — in about 15 years. Trouble is, in the climate they are helping to create, nobody will get the chance to listen to them by then — instead a 23-year-old intern with a clean shirt and an unblemished CV will have their hand on the tiller, going forward.

The Irish Post

December 14, 2013 | 15

The forum of the Irish in Britain TWEETS OF THE WEEK Popular quote account Great Minds Quotes, which has over two million followers, tweeted this the morning after the passing of Nelson Mandela. @GreatestQuotes “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” - Nelson Mandela

In a relatively downbeat Macro Financial Review, the Central Bank of Ireland warned that the lack of pace and effectiveness in dealing with the bad loans in the banks could stunt the ability of the economy to recover. It said the level of distress among small and medium borrowers was “particularly acute”. @YvonnecWhelan A realistic appraisal of Ireland’s economic conditions coming from central bank today @barrycallaghan2 Central Bank worried about mortgage arrears… THEIR [sic] WORRIED !!! ??????

The National University of Ireland, Galway, suspended the Legion of Mary — a religious student-based society — following allegations that they distributed homophobic leaflets on the college’s campus. Many responses on Twitter were negative about the Legion. Meanwhile, some users thought the university had impinged on freedom of speech by banning the group. @thought4day2 I despise the ideas of the “Legion of Mary Society” but they shouldn’t be banned. UNIs should defend #FreedomOfSpeech

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher described Adele’s and Emeli Sandé’s music as being for ‘grannies’ and claimed Miley Cyrus deliberately tries to be provocative because her songs aren’t any good. His responses drew a big reaction on Twitter. @alansmith90 Noel Gallagher in Rolling Stone. Even if you don’t like his music, this is the funniest interview I’ve read in ages @Popjustice I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Noel Gallagher should charge for interviews and give his music away for free.

Meanwhile one Twitter user posted this lookalike picture of the High Flying Birds singer with the following message… @rubberrrsoul why does this Ken doll look like Noel Gallagher?

Write to: Letters page, The Irish Post, c/o Loot Limited, Suite A, 1 Lindsey Street, Smithfield, London EC1A 9HP, or fax us on 020 8900 4288. E-mail us on: The Editor reserves the right to edit all letters as applicable. Please keep your letters as brief as possible. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The Irish Post.

British Government’s ‘disgusting’ denial over construction injuries HAVING worked in the industry from 1960 to 2008, I found your feature on the denial of benefits to construction workers with industrial injuries very interesting (Irish Post, November 30). In the latter years of my working life, Ireland’s HSE became alarmed by the number of muscular skeletal injuries exhibiting in construction workers, and introduced strict legislation regarding manual handling. It is disgusting that this Government now seeks to deny these conditions exist. What is also disgraceful is that men have to try to explain how they have been crippled by their work, to someone who has never picked up anything heavier than a pencil in their lives. Tony Hubbert Caerphilly, South Wales

Raised in Ireland but England still feels like home REGARDING the second generation question Am I Irish or English? I think it’s the human condition to want to identify and belong. My story is slightly different in as much as I was born in London, Hammersmith. I lived in Ealing, with mum’s side of the family all Irish from Cork and dad’s all English originating from Devon and Bristol. I had a very happy time in England but when I was eight we moved to Cork minus my dad. I was just me — I was English and never had any hassle. It probably went over my head but I also had a large Cork family so just got on with it. But I always felt different, not because I wanted to fit in and be Irish but because I felt English and missed home. I am 53 now and in a way the debate rages on. I have lived here since 1969, married, have three sons and yet part of me will always feel incomplete. Don’t get me wrong I love Ireland, I probably couldn’t live anywhere else no matter what I think, but when I go to England something clicks and it just feels right. It does feel like home, which brings me back to my first point — we need to belong — we need to nail our colours to the mast. I have come to the conclusion now if I’m asked whether I consider myself Irish or English, the answer truthfully is neither and both because at the end if the day we are the sum of all our parts. Caron Brady via email

As mass demolition looms, is one house too much to ask? FRANCIS KEEGAN writes in The Irish Post (Letters, November 30) that the so-called ghost estates are not habitable nor are they in areas where there are services, transport links etc and Francis asks us therefore to trust the Government in their actions. I was wrongly quoted saying the situation was a kick in the teeth to charities like ours which may have given the impression that the Aisling Project believed that an alternative usage for these properties could have been as resettlement homes for returned emigrants. We do not feel that the houses in question would necessarily be suitable for resettlement purposes, yet we do feel that the situation is deeply ironic when Aisling and groups like ours have been lobbying for years for supported housing to be made available to long-term emigrants who find it difficult to return home unaided. We have argued this case at every level of government for many years and have had a pretty stony response so far and are no further forward coming up to our 20th anniversary next year. We are not looking to occupy hundreds of abandoned concrete shells on the windblown edges of small towns but we are asking for assistance to fund a six-unit house in a large town where Irish men and women long in exile in Britain can be helped to return home in a safe and secure environment before

NO SUPPORT: How The Irish Post reported the story of those sufering work-related illnesses

moving on to independent living. Does it seem like too much to ask? Alex McDonnell Co-ordinator The Aisling Project

Intestate figures hint at lonely life of Irish emigrants WHILE recently perusing the British Government’s open data site (, I came across the data set on those people who had died in Britain without leaving a will and with no obvious next-of-kin. Of particular interest to me were the Irish amongst that set. Of approximately 10,000 cases since 1998 around 500 were Irish — that’s around 5 per cent. Wikipedia states that around 1 per cent of the British population is Irish born according to the 2001 Census so, if you are Irish in Britain you are 500 per cent more likely to die intestate and without a next-of-kin than average. I suspect that this statistic hides many sad personal stories which will never see the light of day. One can only wonder at the stories these people took with them to the grave. Did they run away from home, did they suffer abuse as children and in later life find it impossible to share their lives with others? We will never know. Over 75 per cent were classified as bachelor, spinster or single compared to average British rates for this age group of only 20 per cent. For those emigrating to Britain back in the 1950s, it was not as easy to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Travel was more expensive, relatively speaking, and the telecommunications infrastructure was poorer. When people left Ireland the links (for many) with their homeland gradually eroded with time. I think it would be great if the Irish Government and our public bodies made a concerted and organised effort to make their data available to the public so that we can analyse and understand it and, ultimately, contribute to a more efficient and informed governance of this country. The data does give one food for thought. Aidan Connolly via email

Celts don’t fear independence REGARDING your story ‘Independent thinking: Why Celtic fans are wary of Scottish nationalism’ (, the referendum should not be dragged down to what football team you support. Celtic fans on the whole are not at all wary about independence. I’m a Celtic fan and have hung pro independence banners at Celtic Park. The bill that criminalises people for singing IRA songs at Celtic Park is a farce and hasn’t

been helped by over-the-top policing but it won’t stop myself or any other Celtic fan I know from voting for independence. There’s plenty of disgust at the SNP for introducing this bill and including political songs merely as a counterbalance to the sectarian songs sung by Rangers but the SNP are not the only political show in town. The Referendum is not about the SNP, it’s about taking control of our own affairs. Neil Young via email

Fans’ display an affront YOUR article completely misses the whole purpose of the SNP and the forthcoming referendum, i.e. giving the people of Scotland an opportunity to be masters of their own destiny. The fact that a group of Celtic fans have a grievance and have decided to air it at football grounds around Scotland demonstrates a total lack of respect for the vast majority of Scottish nationals. To compare Bobby Sands to William Wallace was an act of intentional offence to the Scottish nation and an apology is overdue by Celtic FC. A large number of Irish Diaspora Celtic fans/political activists are getting media exposure disproportionate to their numbers. This saddens me and it would definitely cause divisions across Scotland as they will be seen as supporters of the establishment out to spike Scottish independence along with all the other Unionists. RF Davidson via email

‘Ghost’ club still going strong I READ with great interest John Collins’ superb article on ‘ghost’ clubs that have disappeared from the London GAA scene (Irish Post, November 23). On behalf of one of those clubs mentioned, the Jersey Irish GAA Club, I would like to say that we are very much alive and well. We celebrated our 20th anniversary this year over a glorious weekend in the summer. The highlight was a gala dinner for past and present players and supporters, with the legendary Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh as guest of honour. Now affiliated to the European County Board, we were semi-finalists in the 2013 European County Championship in Athlone, losing to eventual winners Guernsey. 2012 saw Jersey Irish crowned both French and Channel Islands champions. We also have a strong and growing underage set-up with over 40 members. If anyone reading this with an interest in GAA find themselves in Jersey for any reason be sure to look us up. John Kiely Secretary Jersey Irish GAA


“More than anyone, it was he who rebooted the idea of Africa from a continent in chaos to a much more romantic view, one in keeping with the majesty of the landscape and the nobility of even its poorer inhabitants.” Bono, who worked for long periods with Nelson Mandela, led the Irish tributes to the former President of South Africa who passed away last week. The U2 frontman wrote this in an essay on the late anti-apartheid revolutionary titled The Man Who Could Not Cry

“I won’t be involved in cooking Christmas dinner — I wouldn’t do that to my family. I love them too much.” Brian O’Driscoll joked when asked about his and Amy Huberman’s first Christmas as parents with their baby daughter Sadie. The Ireland rugby star made the news earlier in the week over more serious matters after his father Frank O’Driscoll revealed fears for his son’s long-term health following a career plagued by concussions and blows to the head

“I gave him a brief run-down on where Ireland is situated now.” Enda Kenny speaking after an off-the-cuff meeting with American Vice President Joe Biden in Tokyo. The Taoiseach reminded Biden about their long-standing “date” to play a round of golf in the West of Ireland. During Kenny’s cordial trip, it was announced that Japan had agreed to lift its ban on Irish beef imports – first imposed in 2000 due to the outbreak of BSE – with immediate effect. The move could be worth €15million a year to the Irish economy

“At this stage ratings don’t matter. The fact that it’s being shown on BBC on Christmas [Day] is amazing. It’s the BBC letting everyone know it’s their biggest comedy offering at Christmas.” Sitcom star Rory Cowan, who performs alongside Brendan O’Carroll in Mrs Brown’s Boys, said the team weren’t concerned with ratings for this year’s festive episode. The show will go up against ITV’s Downton Abbey on December 25. Both programmes were major hits last year, with O’Carroll’s show drawing 11.2m viewers, ahead of Downton’s 10.3m

16 | December 14, 2013

The Irish Post


BARACK Obama has said that the USA can’t continue being the world’s policeman. Then after a moment’s thought, added, “But we can still keep being the world’s Peeping Tom. I’ve no problem with that.” IS just me, or is Obama sounding more and more like a country song? He was a poor black kid from a modest background. Then he got a good job, and started trying to help poor folks, but the boss men kept on telling him it couldn’t be done. Next thing, his wife will leave him, then his truck will break down . . . AT the time of going to press, the protests and demonstrations in Kiev continue. Not sure what that’s all about – presumably complaining about not enough garlic and butter in their chicken. WITH the vote for independence in Scotland just over a year away, Scottish demands are beginning to become clear. They want to have their own defence forces, their own head of state, and their own tax-raising powers – although they’re keen to keep the pound and not join the euro. But the big question is, will they keep their own cuisine? Here’s hoping. SEAN Connery has always said he would leave The Bahamas and return to his homeland of Scotland, if it ever gained independence. I don’t know, but I’d say he might just be beginning to get a bit worried. A NEW annual report called the Youthful Cities Index has just announced that Toronto as the world’s most youthful city. Berlin, New York and Dallas are the runners-up. They judge on diversity, entertainment options, public spaces – and presumably whether your mayor smokes crack or not. No Irish cities have made it onto the list, which seems unfair. Surely the likes of Lisburn and Cork can compete any day of the week with Toronto – except for the crack.

Drone on AMAZON have announced that they’re hoping to have drones deliver goods to your front door within half an hour of ordering them. Blimey. In some parts of the world hearing a drone means that your village is about to be destroyed. Over here it just means that your box set of Breaking Bad is just about to be delivered. P.S. I wonder if they’ll be able to pick up a pizza on the way?

Hard news the easy way

Championing Catholicism T

HERE have been 19 World Cup soccer championships in all, providing, you would think, enough data to help point Ireland the right direction. As 2013 draws to a close, Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane are at the helm of our national side, although obviously too late to get us to next year’s championships. So, what can we glean from the nations who have won the World Cup, and help Roy and Martin get us to the World Cup after next? First of all we need to look at the governance of the country. Firstly, fascist and totalitarian states do better than communist ones. Communism, overall, did quite well. The Hungarian squad of the 1950s, the Magic Magyars, were probably the best team never to win a championship, while in 1982, the Poles finished third in the tournament. However, a communist country has never won the World Cup. The fascists, on the other hand, did very well. During the 1930s, Mussolini’s Italy claimed two trophies, while Germany took third in 1934. Fascism’s offshoot, the military junta, did even better. In the 1970s and 1980s the Brazilian and Argentine ruling generals presided over the most glorious victories in the tournament’s history. While military juntas have a tremendous record – three trophies in all – the most successful type of government is easily social democracy. Most of the recent winners fall into this class. But, of course, Ireland is a

Pope makes the hit list THE US broadcast journalist Barbara Walters has revealed her list of the most fascinating people of the year, the people she’d like to have at her Christmas dinner. Top of the list is the cast of Duck Dynasty – the folk from the American reality television show. The series shows the lives of the Robertson family, who became wealthy from their family-operated business, Duck Commander, operated in West Monroe, Louisiana. The company makes products for duck hunters. Ms Walters’ list also includes Miley Cyrus (actress and recording artist noted for outré performances), Kim Kardashian (fashion model, general celebrity) and Kanye West, a hip hop artist. Barbara Walters has also included Pope Frances on her list. How proud he must be.

Birthday ‘Boy’

HELMSMEN: Can O’Neill and Keane steer Ireland back to World Cup glory? social democracy. So why aren’t we winning World Cups? Well the other overwhelming characteristic of World Cup winners is that the huge majority of them are Catholic countries, and for that matter Latin countries. Out of the eight nations that have won the World

Cup, Germany and England are the only nations that are not predominantly Catholic, and the only ones that speak Germanic languages. So the remedy seems to be clear. Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane must begin to steer Ireland back to being a good

Catholic nation again. Build bridges with the Vatican, revitalise the church locally. And if they could help us adopt a Latin language such as Spanish, Italian or Portuguese that might help. Practising a bit of football might be useful, too.

The vexing question of national identity THE study of flags is known as Loyalists in particular, and unionists in vexillology. I’m not sure if the person general, are determined to keep the who thought up that word has a wry union jack. However, there are those who sense of humour, but certainly as far as have embraced the idea, and local the North of Ireland is concerned, he or newspapers and social media have been she was right on the money. The publishing what a new Northern flag benighted history of the North has long might look like. Some been punctuated by squabbles over the union jack, the tricolour and numerous other flags. Now the US envoy Dr Richard Haass, who is chairing talks in an attempt to find a consensus on parades, flags and dealing with the past, has suggested that Northern Ireland might get itself a new flag. “What might a process to design and validate a new Northern Ireland flag look like?” he has been quoted as saying. Needless to say, his suggestion hasn’t had, er, unflagging support. COMPROMISE: A new national flag for the North of Ireland?

include the traditional icons such as the harp or the red hand, while others have favoured more offbeat suggestions such as featuring the Tayto man or soda bread. Going down the food route is probably very sensible. One of the great unifying forces in the Ñorth between the two communities is a love of bad food. So why not go the whole hog and opt for that defining foodstuff of the place – the hoagie. I’ve mentioned this import from Scotland before: it’s a doner kebab with extra cheddar cheese, wrapped in batter and deep-fried. At about 3,000 calories it’s one of the unhealthiest takeaways in Europe – so neither community could quibble with it. And just to water down the Scottish element, perhaps it could be pictured with a rake of Guinnesses. But just one final plea: no matter what direction the flag people decide to go down, please don’t get Phil Coulter to design it. Or we’ll end up with a flag that’s the artistic counterpart of Ireland’s Call.

DANNY Boy was 100 this year. Or at least the words part of it at any rate. The bewitching song was written by an Englishman called Fred Weatherly, who, it’s believed, learned the melody from his Irish American sisterin-law Margaret Weatherly – Fred, apparently, never visited Ireland. There has been much research and debate about the melody – it’s from the Derry region, and was collected by a local schoolteacher who may have added parts to the traditional air. But the marriage of the ancient Derry melody and the words by Fred Weatherly became the definitive version of the song, one that spread round the globe. It soon became described as probably the greatest ballad ever written. But why does Danny Boy evoke such an emotional response in people? Why do people think that it was written by angels, and not a man called Fred? The musician Joe Jackson said, “There is something about the way that music works on our emotions that is more visceral and powerful than words,” while former world boxing champion Barry McGuigan, speaking on the BBC, said, “I think sport has a unique ability to bring people together. I’m proof of it, and Danny Boy had a lot to do with that. Whether you were Catholic or Protestant people all felt that Danny Boy belonged to them and they owned it.” Musicologist Katie Overy is also a fan. “Danny Boy has several features that combine to make it an emotional experience for many listeners.” Er, not so fast Katie, Joe, Barry. Not everyone would agree. A country singer called Ray Price was accused of ‘deserting country music’ when he included Danny Boy in his act. In 1967 they rioted at a concert hall in Tennessee when he performed the song. They trashed the hall and 37 of them were arrested.


The Irish Post

December 14, 2013 | 17


We look back at the highlights to say thanks for a great year LEOPARDSTOWN


Four exhilarating days out for racing fans, sporting fans and socialites alike.



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18 | December 14, 2013

The Irish Post


Thanks for a great y Mal Rogers looks back at 12 months of festivities in Ireland


HETHER it was a Fleadh Cheoil in Limerick, a triathlon in Dún Laoghaire, The Town of 1000 Beards Festival or the Gorman Family Reunion in Donegal, The Gathering 2013 is being hailed as a huge success. The year of events — whether college reunions, clan gatherings, music festivals, literary meetings or sports fixtures — has captured the imagination of millions of people worldwide, with wholesale positive benefits for Ireland. Tourist figures are up for the year, and even more importantly the event has laid the groundwork for an increase in the sector for years to come. And while the Gathering attracted thousands of visitors from mainland Europe, it was particularly well-received in America as well as in Britain — the Diaspora was seen as a very important element in the events making up the Gathering, and ‘welcoming home’ those with family roots in Ireland was a theme in many events. Many centres throughout the country held special events throughout the year, and helped the thousands trying to trace their Irish roots and reconnect with Ireland.

Some of the successful Gatherings held this year.... THE GATHERING IN NORTH MAYO THE Mayo North Welcome Home Gathering was a fine example of what The Gathering

has been about. For 10 days, communities around north Co. Mayo organised events to welcome visitors from abroad. Fittingly, former President of Ireland and Mayo native, Mary Robinson, was guest of honour and speaker at the opening Gathering Gala Dinner in Ballina. Mrs Robinson, while president, was the first politician to speak passionately about the Irish Diaspora, and it remains a

time, this was hailed as a tremendous success, with golf tournaments, a gala concert, reunion luncheon and various networking meetings helping to cement relations between farflung communities. The idea of this unique tie-up between two communities separated by the Irish Sea came from Tony Hennigan and his brother Lawrence. As Tony put it: “The unique partnership between Mayo North Tourism

two communities worked at almost every level, and even though many people had never been involved in event promotion before, rose to the occasion like seasoned campaigners. “Our main aim was to reconnect with people in the UK, those connected to the Mayo Diaspora as well as those people with no Mayo or Irish roots,” Tony added. “One of the festival hubs was the small rural parish

There were 5,600 overseas participants in the St Patrick’s Day People’s Parade this year. subject dear to her heart. There could scarcely have been a better person available to articulate the aims of The Gathering. The North Mayo gathering had a particular resonance in Britain with hundreds of people taking part from Britain, incorporating as it did the Manchester-Mayo Gathering. As outlined by The Irish Post at the

board and the Manchester Mayo group created one of the biggest and longest Gatherings in Ireland. The mammoth celebration of agriculture, business, culture, community, dance, faith, heritage, music and sport staged over 100 events, which attracted more than 100,000 visitors to the region.” The partnership between the

of Attymass that had never staged a nine-day festival in its entire history. We managed to triple the population of the parish during the festival, not just with visitors from Manchester but from around the world.” The North Mayo event also serves as a template for tourism, business cooperation and social interaction well into the future. As the project’s marketing manager Lorna Murphy pointed out, many people in Co. Mayo are already looking forward to 2014. “They’re fired up about going ahead with this again. They feel maybe next year they would break it up through the year to give a sense of occasion at different times and so people don’t feel they have to come back at that one time. There’s definitely a sense of going forward and doing more again next year.” The event has left a precious legacy.


TERRIFIC TRAD: Musicians enjoy the craic with music and a pint.

THROUGHOUT Ireland communities came together to welcome visitors from all over the world — some who were revisiting their childhood homes, others who were experiencing their first visit to Ireland’s shores. They were treated to entertainment ranging


N July the banks of Dublin’s River Liffey swayed to the unmistakeable rhythm of Riverdance as 1,693 Irish dancers joined hands to break the World Record for the Longest Riverdance Line. Jean Butler, original star of Riverdance joined other cast members along the banks of the Liffey for what turned out to be a magnificent day. The story of Riverdance is the story of the emigrant’s departure from Ireland, striking-out into a new world overseas all the while keeping their Irish heritage and traditions alive particularly through the medium of music and dance. This is a theme that had huge resonance with The Gathering Ireland 2013, which saw Ireland open its arms to its friends and family from all over the world, inviting them to Ireland to locally organised gatherings in villages, towns and cities throughout the country and throughout the entire year.

RECORD-BREAKERS: 1,693 Riverdancers from 43 countries had a great time. from festivals dedicated to the country’s incomparable literary tradition such as the Swift Satire Festival or Bloomsday, to more niche events including the likes of the Ukulele Hooley by the Sea in Dún Laoghaire. Ireland’s big set pieces naturally rose to the occasion. The Rose of Tralee has always cherished Ireland’s population overseas — the ethos of the festival is to inter-connect the global Irish community and foster ties between the communities. In that aim it has manifestly succeeded. The festival is a huge attraction for Irish communities in all corners of the globe, and provides a focal point for communities to rally round. Ten years ago there were 30 Rose centres; at present there are over 70 worldwide. This year’s event was a triumph for everyone — the organisers, the participants and of course the audience, which was drawn from Irish communities from every corner of the world. This year to mark the Gathering celebrations, the festival invited past roses, escorts, rose centres and family and friends from all over the world to come back to Tralee in August for a once off “Rose Gathering Celebration” . All of Ireland’s famous festivals rose to the occasion — the Puck Fair, the Wexford Opera Festival, the Galway Races. And one of Ireland’s great success stories in recent years,

Riverdance, brought its glitter and magic home to Ireland. During the summer they not only went through their steps on stage, but they set up a new Guinness World Record for the longest line dance. But there were also events which celebrated an Ireland which has moved on from the past. Queen Elizabeth’s visit to

BAGS OF FUN: Entertainers in Dublin.


The Irish Post

December 14, 2013 | 19



Ireland in 2011 pointed to a new understanding between Britain and Ireland, and it’s fair to say that relationships between the two countries have never been warmer. The Gathering also exemplified this, with events that would have been unthinkable just a few short decades ago. The

Ring in the New Year in Dublin this December 31

Royal Navy’s HMS Illustrious was welcomed into Dublin’s Alexander Docks for a very rare visit with 700 sailors on board. The ship was lit up in green especially for the visit — by lights and projectors provided by Britain’s Worshipful Company of Lightmongers. Another highlight of the visit was a performance by Irish group, Ragus, who transformed the ship’s hangar into a stage which they filled

with traditional Irish music and dance. Irishmen, of course, have long served in the Royal Navy, but this was one of the few times a warship had made an honorary visit to Irish waters. Fittingly then, during the ship’s visit, two members of the her crew Able Seaman Andrew Liston, 25, from Chesterfield and Able Seaman Aaron Canwell, 31, from Wembley, were both awarded certificates of Irish Heritage to celebrate their family ties to the country. Niall Gibbons, CEO Tourism Ireland, said of the event: “We were delighted to welcome HMS Illustrious to Ireland and are sure that the sailors on board received a wonderful Irish welcome during their stay.”

DUBLIN’S FAIR CITY DUBLIN of course was at the centre of proceedings, with film, literature, music and drama all represented, not to mention its mammoth People’s Parade in honour of St Patrick’s Day. And it will be to Dublin that the final honour of bringing The Gathering 2013 to a close with its New Year’s Eve extravaganza. But in truth, every Irish city put on a show for The Gathering. Galway had its oyster festivals and arts spectacular, and Cork had its Rebel Week, as well as music of every conceivable description.

THIS year’s third NYE Festival firmly cements Dublin’s position as a world class destination to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The city, named by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s top places to ring in the New Year, will put on a festival that once again brings together the best of the capital’s holiday traditions with brand new and quirky events that are expected to welcome thousands of locals and visitors to Dublin. NYE Dublin guarantees this year’s festival will be the biggest and most spectacular NYE event inIreland. MKS (Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan — the founding members of Sugababes), hot new act The Strypes and YouTube darlings Seo Linn will join seminal ska band Madness and Ryan Sheridan on stage at the Countdown Concert, in the heart of Dublin city centre on December 31. Last year’s Countdown Concert on College Green saw crowds of over 10,000 on the streets of Dublin, with over 1.3million people tuning in to the live RTÉ TV broadcast. This year’s festival atmosphere will be amplified by the eclectic musical line up and stunning projections on Trinity College to see out the final few hours of 2013. Almost 5,000 gatherings have been celebrated since the 2013 NYE festival kicked off the Gathering initiative so it is particularly fitting that this year’s festival brings the Gathering to a close by offering overseas visitors plenty of reasons to come to Ireland for the New Year. Tickets priced €25.00 for

the Three NYE Dublin Countdown Concert are on sale now from (+€2.50 booking fee) and from Three stores (no booking fee).

December 29: The Gathering at Leopardstown

■ See for more details.

December 31: The Procession of Light & The Countdown Concert

NYE Dublin 2013- The Ultimate Gathering consists of four days of festivities

December 30: #LoveDublin Day

January 1: The Big Brunch

Redhead joke turns into a convention ONE of the most unique gatherings this year brought together people with one common trait: red hair. The annual Redhead Convention in Crosshaven, Co. Cork, began in 2010 as a family joke. Joleen Cronin was sitting in her family’s pub with her brother, Dennis, talking about his upcoming birthday. “We were just thinking up different ideas we could do for his birthday,” she recalls. “Obviously there was going to be a party no matter what happened, but we said for the craic that we’d only invite people with red hair. But then we were looking at each other saying, ‘Well, then I don’t think there’ll be anyone at the party. There aren’t that many people with red hair!’” With positive feedback from friends and family, they decided to turn their joke into a reality, and Dennis’s 2010 birthday celebration marked the first-ever

Redhead Convention in Crosshaven. People travelled from across the country, not only to attend but also to support the

Irish Cancer Society, which receives the proceeds from the event. Since then, Joleen and Dennis have worked to keep the Redhead Convention going and to improve on it each year. “This

can’t die because it’s just such a good event and people are really inspired,” Joleen says. “You see kids there, and I suppose every kid is kind of poked fun at, but suddenly they’re the coolest kids in town because they’ve got red hair. Everyone is your friend.” To continue building on their success, Joleen and Dennis made this year's Redhead Convention bigger and better than ever before, stretching it over an entire weekend and adding a few extra special events. Irish actress Susan Boyle presented her popular one-woman play ‘A Wine Goose Chase’ and singersongwriter Kellie Marie entertained crowds at Camden Fort Meagher. Families, meanwhile, enjoyed a red-themed day out at Fota Wildlife Park, including a live performance by Ireland's favourite redhead, Bosco.

20 | December 14, 2013


The Irish Post

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WALKING TOURS Tour One Seeking the Source at Shannon Pot This one hour tour includes storytelling and music with Tony Cuckson Tour Two Crossover with Crom Cruich This one hour tour at Holy Well near Belcoo includes a talk on the Celtic Spiritual Life as it transitioned from pagan to Christian. Tour Three The Ancestors at our Back This walking tour of the Cavan Burren is a minimum two hours and includes the guide’s own poetry inspired by the landscape and the folklore associated with it. Irish Blessings Tours also can tailor half day or day long walking tours in counties Leitrim, Sligo and other Fermanagh and Cavan destinations. Please contact Bee to discuss your requirements.

HE Gathering Ireland has been a global celebration of being Irish. No matter what part of the planet you hail from or however remote your link, the clarion call is simple — get yourself here and celebrate your ancestry. It may come as some surprise, jaw-dropping in fact, to anyone that knows me to discover that I have Irish blood. And you don’t have to go too far back to find my roots. As kids, my mum used to make some reference to having relatives over in Ireland — but the claim was never really fleshed out with any detail. My mother was born the youngest of seven in Liverpool during the impoverished 1920s. So we kind of figured that our ancestors, the Flanagans, would have made the crossing on the boat for new pastures in England. A few years back my sister found an insatiable appetite for all matters relating to genealogy with a rich vein of detail on my mother’s side. One of the interesting aspects of living in Ireland today is the hints of the ancient tribes. Mention an Irish surname and the sage in front of you will probably utter: “Ah that is a fine old name from...” My sister had discovered that our maternal great grandfather was one James Flanagan. Seven years ago — still then unsure about the strength of my family links — I moved to Ireland with my job as production editor of The Sun’s Irish edition. I raised my family name with a colleague in work one day. He informed me that there were a lot of Flanagans in his home

Andrew Waller, aka the Honest Travel Guy, is a writer based in Malahide, Co Dublin. The father-of-four was born and grew up in London but moved to Ireland seven years ago. The 49-year-old has only recently become aware of the full extent of his Irish roots and travelled to a remote village in Co. Clare to discover the home of his maternal great grandfather. Here, he shares the experience of that journey back in time. county of Clare. Then, pottering around the web one day, I discovered the parish records of Kilmihil in Clare. And there in 1856 were the birth details of James Flanagan. It had to be him, I thought. I told my sister who was delighted but reluctant to add him to the jigsaw without incontrovertible evidence that he was our great grandfather. A few years passed until finally, after much digging and work with fellow ‘family’ enthusiasts she discovered that James was one of us — or to be more deferential — we were his. I wanted to go there. We booked a hotel in the nearby town of Ennis and set upon the pilgrimage from Dublin. On our way there, we saw a signpost to Moneygall. A certain US President had visited there to discover his Irish heritage. I

Tracing your ancestors ONE of Ireland’s leading accredited genealogists comes to Britain in the New Year to help those who fancy finding out more about their family heritage. Helen Kelly lectures frequently on Irish ancestry in Ireland, England and North and South America. And this February, as in previous years, she will be consultant genealogist for Tourism Ireland at the Who do you Think You Are show at Olympia, London, which take places from February 20-22. A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists in

Ireland (APGI) since 1995, Helen was appointed consultant genealogist to Dublin’s historical 5 star Shelbourne Hotel in 2007, where she holds the unique title of Genealogy Butler. Helen also carries out allIreland research. She is particularly interested in Westmeath and Longford, and the descendants of emigrants from those counties who settled in Argentina. In July she welcomed many of her compatriots from the South American country to a number of Gathering events in her native Westmeath.

could not resist the slight detour — so I enjoyed a pint of Guinness on the same spot in the Ollie Hayes pub where Barack Obama had supped. By comparison the Co. Offaly village was like a big town to my own ancestral home of Kilmihil. We drove for about 45 minutes from Ennis. Looking out of the car window, there appeared to be nothing but fields on the landscape. Eventually a small roadside pointed to the approaching junction. I felt butterflies in my stomach as we continued along the winding roads and, suddenly, we were there. This is a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Small, but it had its own school, shops, church and pubs — yes, plural. The schoolchildren passed us on their way home. I was expecting to see some of the Celt features of my daughter, sister and nieces — dark brown hair, with big blue eyes. I had a giggle as I thought of that episode of Only Fools and Horses where the lads visited the French village where Uncle Albert had stayed in the war. There was the hilarious moment when Del and Rodney were stunned to see so many menfolk — with trademark beards — looking almost certain offspring of their old sea dog relative. As I looked at the views from Kilmihil I couldn’t help reflect that James Flanagan would have been surveying the same scenery more than 150 years earlier when he set off for a new life in England. There was an awesome sense of peace and belonging that I don’t think would have been the same if I were visiting a larger village, town or city where my relatives had resided. My two young children did not

See Ireland in a spiritual way in 2014 IRISH Blessing Tours is for visitors wanting to experience the Celtic spiritual tradition of Ireland. Expert guide Bee Smith offers personal guided day trips with that tingle factor, a walk between modern and mythic Ireland in the magical northwest of Ireland. A trained guide through the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, Bee weaves modern observations with myths, poetry, knowledge of both the built and natural history of

this less tourist trekked part of Ireland. “It’s a betwixt and between place where Leitrim meets Cavan meets Fermanagh meets Sligo,” she says. “There are remnants of the Black Pig’s Dyke marking the boundary between the ancient kingdoms of Ulster and Connaught. The Tuatha dé Danaan, Ireland’s fairy race, chose this as their homeplace. Eons of story, song, myth and legend sprang from this sacred landscape.”

In conjunction with Brigit’s Garden in Galway over the weekend of February 1, Bee will be celebrating Ireland’s matron goddess and saint, Brigit’s feast day. Visitors can hire Bee to guide them for the day or week to take them to places of special interest. Scheduled walks on the Celtic feasts during the year are also available. For 2014 walks go to or see Facebook.


Back on the Lash The Pogues hit the Rum for Christmas

Brendan Grace • Philomena Begley on a career in country music • Wolfe Tones live in Birmingham


December 14, 2013


We pick the best events of the week


Learning From KIlburn A series of talks and events around London’s NW6, have been billed as “a tiny experimental university with its curriculum rooted in Kilburn”. Ireland should feature heavily given the country’s long-lasting links in the area. This weekend, visitors can catch ‘The study of everyday life in Kilburn’, a contemporary study around Kilburn High Road (venue TBC) which draws upon Mass Observation archive material relating to Kilburn in the 1940s. Other events in the series include ‘Happiness in Kilburn: Part 2’ (January 16), ‘What is Kilburn worth?’ (January 18) and ‘What does it feel like to be regenerated?’ (January 20). Check for details.

London December 14

Toss the Feathers Irish trad heroes Toss The Feathers return to St Kentigerns Irish Club in Fallowfield, Manchester, for their annual Christmas kneesup. The band may have split up 15 years ago, but they temporarily reform each year to entertain their loyal supporters. Vocalist and guitar player Eddie Sheehan is joined by flautist and piper Michael McGoldrick – who had recently returned from a European tour with Bob Dylan – and masterful fiddler Dezi Donnelly, who has been performing with Sharon Shannon, for the special pair of gigs. Manchester trad group Shake The Barley provide support at both concerts.

Manchester December 16, 17

Céilí and Oldtime Dancing Holy Rood Hall, Tolpits Lane, Watford, Sat 14th December.

Live music, dancing from 9 ’til 12. Admission £5. All proceeds to Peace Hospice in memory of Fred Maguire. Rita Maguire 01923 247074.’

On Friday December 13th the

Johnny Jameson Toy Appeal will take place in the

St. Claret Social Club on Botwell Lane in Hayes Middlesex.

Music will be provided by Johnny Jameson Roadshow from 9pm until 12.

The idea is that anyone attending on the night is asked to bring a toy instead of paying an entrance fee.

There is a great need to help make a child smile at Christmas, and no child deserves to miss out on the magic of Santa. With the current economic climate, some parents are under pressure, and hopefully we can help with some toys. Please come on the night and support a worthy cause and put a smile on a little face on Christmas morning. Toys go to Wish Em Well Charity

For more information contact Johnny Jameson on 07944033291

RIPPED OFF: The BBC last week cancelled its Victorian crime drama Ripper Street – which was filmed in Clancy Barracks and other Dublin locations – after two seasons owing to a decline in ratings. A number of Irish production staff and crew were involved in the making of the show. Following the news, an online petition was started by Ripper Street fans appealing to the BBC to reverse its decision.

U2’s Joshua Tree Ronan Keating set for Grammy joins the cast of Hall of Fame Postman Pat

Irish director signs on to BBC’s In the Club

ROCK band U2’s iconic album The Joshua Tree is to be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame next year. The Dublin band’s 1987 album is the most recent work of 27 new inductees which span from the 1930s to the 1980s. The Joshua Tree produced three hit singles (With Or Without You, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Where The Streets Have No Name) on its release and sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. It’s the first U2 recording to be added to the Hall of Fame, which has recognised singles and LPs that are at least 25-years old each year since 1973. U2 will be acknowledged during the 56th annual Grammy Awards on January 26 next year.

AWARD-winning Irish director and writer Neasa Hardiman is set to direct a new BBC drama. In the Club is a new TV series adapted from the book by Kay Mellor (The Syndicate) about six couples who attend a parenting class during pregnancy. The story was based partially on Ms Mellor’s own experiences of becoming pregnant as a teenager, and inspired the character of 15-year-old schoolgirl Rosie who keeps her pregnancy a secret. Last year, Hardiman won Best First Feature Screenplay prize at the London Film Awards for her horror spec Sea Fever, while in 2010 she won a BAFTA for directing BBC’s children’s drama Tracy Beaker. In The Club will contain six 60-minute episodes, produced by Rollem Productions for BBC One and will air in 2014.

RONAN Keating has been cast as the singing voice of Postman Pat in the upcoming Postman Pat: The Movie. In the film, the Boyzone star will also appear in a cameo role as a contestant who competes against Pat for a coveted prize. The Dublin-born singer said: “It’s been a true honour to help bring Postman Pat’s singing voice to life. “I grew up watching Pat and all the great characters in Greendale, so I can’t wait to take my kids along to see them all on the big screen.” Postman Pat: The Movie is currently in production and will hit cinemas across Britain from May 23, 2014.

Hardy Bucks The Movie on DVD Ireland’s No.1 box office smash-hit comedy movie – and the first studio-backed film to evolve from YouTube – has been released in Britain on Blu-ray and DVD. The Hardy Bucks’ are a group of bored slackers from the sleepy Irish hamlet of Castletown with not much going on and dreams of making it big. To fill their time, for ‘a bit of craic’, they hit the trail to Euro 2012. Thanks to Universal Film, Rí-Rá has a number of copies of the film to giveaway to our lucky readers. To be in with a chance of winning a DVD simply email with ‘Hardy Bucks Comp’ in the subject line or send a letter to: Hardy Bucks Comp, Steve Cummins, The Irish Post, Suite A, 1 Lindsey Street, Smithfield, London, EC1A 9HP Please include your full name and postal address. Deadline for entries is Thursday December 19 at 3pm. Terms and conditions: non exchangeable, non-refundable. Competition closes on Thursday, December 19. Subject to availability.

December 14, 2013



Ten minutes with… Adrian Duffy and The Mayo Brothers LONDON-based Mayo brothers Adrian, Melvin and Chris Duffy got a priceless musical education when they joined their uncles Ray and Leo Duffy on tour in the early 80s, mixing with the likes of Tammy Wynette and Charlie Pride. Now forging their own musical path - as Adrian Duffy & The Mayo Brothers - the alt-siblings count world-class Mayo musicians among their troupe and have just released a new EP, Someone Like You. We caught up with frontman Adrian Duffy.... What are you up to right now? Chasing up radio and press for the new EP release!

What gives your life meaning? Friends, family and curiosity. Can you tell me a joke? I only know rude ones.

Who are your heroes? Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Nelson Mandela.

Can you recommend an interesting website? Err...

What song would you like played at your funeral? Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Never give up or your dreams, but don’t let that cause you to miss out on love and life passing

What record sends a shiver down your spine? Anything from X-Factor.

you by.

What is your favourite place in Ireland? The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare.

When did you last cry? Watching the news last night about Syria.

What is your most treasured possession? My 20-year-old battered acoustic guitar.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? A mirror!

What makes you angry? My bank balance.

What is your favourite film and why? Withnail & I... where do you start?

What book influenced you most? Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be? Can I start again please?

What is your passion? Music and people. What do you have hanging on your walls at home that you like looking at most? Pots and pans.

What was your most formative experience? Playing football on a cold, wet, winter’s afternoon. What do you believe in? Be nice, work hard and play harder. What trait do others criticise you for? That I’m stubborn and work too hard. What is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen or heard? The film Bruno with Sacha Baron Cohen. What is your favourite word one-liner or retort? ‘Hello’... as Bruno-like as possible.

What would your motto be? Be nice, work hard and play harder! As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An Astronaut. Maybe not for this life now. Where do you live and what are the best and worst things about that place? Living out in the countryside now. Great night skies; very poor mobile signal. Which Irish work of art would you recommend most highly? A pint of Guinness. The best thing about the past 12 months was... Crackin’ on with life.

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December 14, 2013


‘Not in a million years did I think singing would be my career’

Philomena Begley may be Ireland’s Queen of Country music, but that doesn’t mean she escapes the housework. Joe Giltrap meets the Co. Tyrone lady


UCK Owens, Bobby Bare, Marty Robbins, Charlie Pride, Emmylou Harris, Don Williams, Porter Wagner, Glen Campbell, and Ernest Tubb. The names read like a history of country music through the years. They are also the names of just some of the greats that have worked with Co Tyrone’s Philomena Begley over the years. That’s not to mention her late friend Billie Jo Spears. On her new DVD, 50 Years Of Music And Memories, Philomena duets with Daniel O’Donnell, Ray Lynam and her son Aidan Quinn – now making a name for himself in his own right. There is also a special appearance by her niece, Andrea Begley, winner of The Voice 2013 who sings in the Irish language. A very proud Philomena told me that Andrea is just off to appear as a guest on China’s version of The Voice. Evidently, with Philomena Begley what you see is what you get – a glittering star on stage with a great voice and personality to match, a woman who loves what she does. But when the lights go down she happily returns to her life as a wife, mother and grandmother with all the usual ups and downs that go with it. She is

brilliant Ireland’s Queen of Country for guitarist Albert sure, but a totally grounded Queen Lee and Charlie – long may she reign. Landsborough. When I caught up with her, she had just returned home to her native Co. Tyrone after a flying visit to Britain where she performed in Liverpool and picked up (yet another) prestigious award in London. Philomena is the 29th inductee into the British Country Music Hall of Fame. How did it feel to win this award? “It was a great honour. I always say when you get to my stage it’s great to get anything (laughs). To be inducted into the British Country Music Hall of Fame in England is a big thing for me – and especially being the first Irish artist to receive the award”. Previous winners of the award have included the late Kelvin Henderson, AWARD: Philomena Begley. Raymond Froggatt, the

“I would have known all those boys back in the early days when I was doing the festivals. I would have done a lot of work with Raymond Froggatt

To be inducted into the British Country Music Hall of Fame in England is a big thing for me years ago, too. The couple of years that I won [Best] Female Country singer Raymond won [Best] Male Singer. In fact, he was over here in the summer and everywhere he played was packed. There were over a thousand people in the Armagh City Hotel”. When you started out, did you ever dream you would have such a career spanning 50 years? “Not in a million years did I think singing would be my career. It was the last thing on my mind. I left school at 15 and went to work in a hat factory, but I always loved singing and a lot of singing went on in our house. I was at a local ceili with some friends where

the Old Cross Ceili Band was playing and they usually asked for a singer from the audience. I went up for a dare and that was it – I ended up in the band”. Given that was a ceili band, how did you end up in country music? “I sang a few traditional songs during the night because it was mostly ceili dancing, but then Mickey McNally, a member of the band, introduced me to country music. As the months went on we started to play at barn dances and eventually changed the name to Country Flavour and started doing the halls - the dry halls as they were called. We could have played in Tyrone seven nights a week back then. I was with Country Flavour for 12 years. The rest after that was between the Ramblin’ Men and now”. Did you enjoy the travelling and the lifestyle? “I did. I’m not saying it was all sunshine, but I didn’t really get into keeping up with the Joneses - if you know what I mean. I just did my own thing. I went out, did what I had to do and came home and got stuck into the usual housework and whatever else I had to do – and I’m still doing it.

December 14, 2013



I’m here now at the minute with a pair of rubber gloves on trying to clean a greasy pan. That’s the way I always was, doing my own thing. “I brought up my children no problem, my husband was in the band at the time but I was here nearly all the time anyway. We always made a point of coming home. My life hasn’t changed an awful lot since I started 50 years ago. “After I got back from the weekend and the award I just changed my clothes and got stuck into making the dinner. That’s the way it is. I always said if I didn’t enjoy it I would get out, and to date I still enjoy it, probably more so now with the family reared. I can do what I like and my health is good, thank God”.

NIECE: Andrea Begley has inherited her aunt’s vocal talents.

wasn’t right for me because of the children – not that they would have stopped me; quite the opposite in fact. They would have encouraged me if anything because they reckoned I wasn’t good when I wasn’t playing”. On the music front – is there anything that you would like to have done or would still like to do? “I would love to have done a TV show in a nice homely setting, chatting with guests and then singing with them – that would be great. There is nothing really happening like that here”. ■ 50 Years Of Music And Memories is available on DVD now.

My life hasn’t changed an awful lot since I started 50 years ago I suppose there is less pressure now at this stage because you have done it and can actually enjoy it? “That’s the thing. I am my own boss. There is nobody in my ear telling me what to do. I never really followed up a lot of things that I should have over the years and I probably would have done even better than I did. I got plenty of offers and turned things down. “I turned down an award trip to Australia years ago because I felt it

This one’s for Christie MANCHESTER

THE SMITHS: Emily, Lucy, Carolyn and Andy Smith

ST KENTIGERNS Club hosted a successful charity fundraising evening – A night for the Christie – recently which raised over £11,000 for good causes. Sisters Lucy and Emily Smith, whose roots are in Kildare, organised the night to raise funds for the Christie Hospital in Withington where the girls’ mother Carolyn is receiving on-going treatment for breast cancer. Hundreds flocked to support the cause on the night, which featured auctions, raffles and live entertainment from top Irish band The Last Drop (with ALLFM’s Joe Casserley),

The Ranchers Showband and DJ Adam Carr. With all tickets for the night sold, the popular Irish social club was full to capacity and a tremendous night was had by all in attendance whilst money for vital causes was raised at the same time.

Pictures by Danny Claffey

FAB FOURSOME: Alisha Cowman, left, Katie Gibbons, Kelly-Ann Cawley and Grace Kennedy

(Below) CHARITY EFFORT: Carolyn Smith with family friend and supporter Trevor Hill BAR TIME: Brendan Costello, Trish O’Shea, Louis Maloney, Brendan O’Shea, Anne Marie Daly, Roisín and Des O’Shea and Darragh Costello

DOUBLE THE FUN: Bernard and Liz Quinn, left, Sandra and Tim Taylor

DRINKS ALL AROUND: Darren McCloskey, Kimberley Burke, Orla Byrne, Michelle Kerrigan, Tina and Louise Byrne

LUCKY SEVEN: Representatives from St Ambrose School in Chorlton


December 14, 2013


Re-igniting the Oswald conspiracy Shane O’Sullivan’s film does what historical documentary should, which is to ask awkward questions about the past, writes Steve Martin


Y son was a patsy and I think history will prove this,” declares Marguerite Oswald, mother of the infamous Lee Harvey, whose eccentric life and death is the subject of Shane O’Sullivan’s documentary Killing Oswald, an imaginative take on the sniper’s part in that phenomenon known as the JFK assassination. Oswald’s mother made her prediction in 1964 and despite the libraries full of theories produced since then and the avalanche of evidence brought forth, no-one can yet say whether she’s right or wrong. What is clear is that Oswald pulled the trigger that killed Kennedy, though it’s unclear why, and was himself murdered by Jack Ruby within two days, though this also remains unexplained. O’Sullivan’s movie sets out for the answers, toting the strapline: Why Oswald died and why it still matters. The 50th anniversary of JFK’s death has seen a slew of films recalling the events, the best being Peter Landesman’s Parkland. But Killing Oswald reflects upon the other major character in the drama, telling the tale of an angry outsider, about whom much is known but little understood. To illuminate, O’Sullivan summons a wealth of archive footage and material documentation, much of it gathered by dogged historians who dig around in the dirtier, less glamorous, corners of this matter. On the vexed issue of conspiracy, writer David Kaiser summarises current thinking by describing two schools of thought. The ‘church of the lone assassin’ reckons both Oswald and Ruby acted alone for personal

FILM REVIEW Killing Oswald (E2 Films) ★★★★★ ★ reasons, while the ‘church of the grand conspiracy’ makes a “high priest” of Oliver Stone, who popularised the thinking that Kennedy was murdered in a Byzantine coup d’etat. However, O’Sullivan’s expert analysts say the truth is somewhere in between. They reckon Oswald was almost certainly “handled” in some way by security agencies but the people involved were much less illustrious than popularly believed.

Kennedy accelerated US involvement in Vietnam and stirred hostilities with Cuba

Also, his handlers’ original target might have been Cuban leader Fidel Castro and not Kennedy, but it’s uncertain what caused the later switch. At times the plot reads like an episode of the spy-drama Homeland, with twist and double twist, as Oswald joins the US marines, defects to the USSR, returns disillusioned from the so-called Marxist Utopia and then gets involved with disgruntled Cuban expats, from both right-wing and leftwing quarters. “It’s hard to imagine anyone more suspicious than

Oswald,” Kaiser perspicaciously observes. O’Sullivan doesn’t completely find the answers sought at the outset to the movie, but his narrative never ceases to be arresting and the opinions of his contributors enthralling. Still, there is a flaw in O’Sullivan’s evaluation of Kennedy that needs clarifying. The movie clings to the now obsolete image of JFK as ideological hero, something that historical fact disputes. Far from the preferred view of Kennedy, as a peace-seeking liberal and wholesome family man, he actually accelerated US involvement in Vietnam, stirred hostilities with Cuba, hesitated over embracing Civil Rights and was a serial adulterer addicted to medication for chronic back pain, among other ailments. If we want the fuller picture of Oswald, we should demand the same of Kennedy. When Oliver Stone directed his filmically persuasive but factually inaccurate JFK (1991), he unequivocally made Lyndon Johnson the bad guy, implying Johnson contrived the Vietnam War, influenced by America’s military-industrial

Law rules the West End JESSIE Buckley could well be the luckiest lady in London’s theatreland. Not only is she starring in Michael Grandage’s enthrallingly energetic production of Henry V, but she does so alongside heartthrob Jude Law. But it gets better. Buckley — who is impeccable as Princess Katharine in Shakespeare’s historic tale of England’s capture of France — gets the only romantic scene in the whole bloody affair, with none

other than Law himself. Law, who is unquestionably the meat, veg and gravy of this production, is unstoppable in his efforts as Henry V, hell-bent on taking France, in the name of God, and supported by a motley crew of soldiers and errant civilians bolted on to the cause. So Buckley, whose innocuous French musings on the English language are a welcome interval to all the war talk of the first half, is basically heading into

Christmas kissing Jude Law. Luckily the plucky young star is more than a match for the on-stage attention of England’s charming young monarch. Throughout the production the battle scene is well set by solid performances from a largely male cast. But it is the second half where each falls into his or her own — as the tempo rises, the battle draws to a close and Law gets the opportunity to take some poetic license with

complex. Yet history shows Johnson felt compelled to continue what Kennedy began in Vietnam and that he didn’t shrink from eyeballing segregationist bigots like George Wallace over Civil Rights, effectively doing more for the cause than Kennedy’s timid agenda. In Stone’s next presidential biopic, Nixon (1995), there’s a quiet moment when the disgraced ‘Tricky Dickie’ (Anthony Hopkins) talks in hushed tones to Kennedy’s portrait: “When they see you they see what they want to be,” Nixon laments, “when they see me they see what they are.” Perhaps it’s our collective social need to believe in unattainable virtue that sustains the idealistic JFK myth, despite the contrary evidence. But it’s welcome that Killing Oswald (similarly to Parkland) sees these events tragically affecting troubled humans and not mythic icons. In those unsettled times people responsible for security were unsure how to act on their information, much like today’s scene. What is startling in O’Sullivan’s movie is that the combined forces of the CIA, FBI, KGB and the Dallas Police Department

LUCKY GIRL: Jude Law and Jessie Buckley in Henry V picture: Johan Persson

the original text. In an unexpected final routine with Buckley he once more demonstrates his handle on his craft with a comical crescendo that proves a well-placed lesson in slapstick Shakespeare. If you’ve any cash left this Christmas, catch it. ■ Henry V runs until February 15 at the Noel Coward Theatre

By Fiona Audley

were carrying out surveillance on Oswald, when he somehow gave them all the slip long enough to blow the president’s head off. Whatever might be speculated on about conspiracy, this surely looks like criminal incompetence. Shortly before November 22, Oswald sent a note to the Dallas FBI office, threatening to blow up the building, “if you don’t stop bothering my wife,” as it read. The FBI ignored Oswald’s paranoia, which was potentially embarrassing after the assassination. O’Sullivan shows film of former agent James Hosty admitting that he destroyed Oswald’s threatening letter, flushing it down the toilet. It makes one wonder what else went down the drain. O’Sullivan’s film is replete with such intriguing detail. It’s a subtle, composed polemic and it does what historical documentary should, which is to ask awkward questions about the past and make us rethink it again. ■ Killing Oswald is currently available to stream on-line and is released on DVD on Monday (December 16)

December 14, 2013



Comedy’s saving Grace Bottler is back and his creator Brendan Grace is as funny as ever before


THINK we were oppressed for so long that we just had to see the funny side of things! If we had been dour we would have been a very depressed nation. We’ve a great sense of humour for that reason and also, Irish people are naturally funny. That’s why we have produced so many great playwrights over the decades.” He is the grandfather of Irish comedy these days and from his base in the United States Brendan Grace is gearing up for his new tour of Ireland and Britain and he can’t wait to start it. The proud Dubliner still loves his comedy and the buzz he gets from putting a smile on people’s faces. From legendary characters like ‘Bottler’ to his portrayal of a jungle music-loving priest in Father Ted in the 1990s, Grace has been making us all laugh for a very long time. And he has no intention of stopping any time soon. “I’ve been in showbusiness for 44 years now, can you believe that?” he told me from his Florida home this week. “I can’t believe it is 44 years and I’ve been married to Eileen for 40 years. It’s a life’s ambition and a dream come true. Forty years ago I invented a schoolboy character called ‘Bottler’. Irish people living in the UK would have been brought up on that kind of humour. “I got the idea about 10 years ago that ‘Bottler’ should be a cartoon character. I eventually got someone to listen to me and he is going to be, so this is the culmination of many years of hard work. Now ‘Bottler’ will never look his real age in the cartoon and he will probably go on for a long time after I’m gone. It’s nice to know that there is something to go on with, when I go to the man above. It makes me feel great.” Grace, 62, has a new DVD out for Christmas featuring all of his best-loved characters and it is sure to find its way into many a stocking this festive season. “I got the inspiration for the characters from real life people I knew, but ‘Bottler’ was based on myself and the stories were based on yarns I had heard over the years. “Fr Fintan Stack, now he was based on a teacher I had at school. The father of the bride? He was based on my own father. I just observed life around me and when you do that you see humour everywhere. Irish people are very funny people. And I absolutely love that about the way we are.” Right now Grace is counting down the days until he hops on-board a flight to Dublin and gets his new tour under way. All the preparation has been done and he’s relishing the opportunity to get on stage and make people laugh, on both sides of the Irish Sea. He added: “The Christmas plan is to spend it in America and then travel home to Ireland on December 26 and start my Irish tour. I’m also doing a small number of dates in the UK. I’ll be performing in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow and I can’t wait. “I’m absolutely delighted to be coming to the UK because people are always asking me ‘when are you going to come over and tour?’ I wasn’t that sure if I was that well known in England, but the Irish community is certainly tuned into the comedy scene, that much I know.

“I will also have a lovely band with me in the UK, they’re all former showband stars. Frankie McDonald was with the late great Joe Dolan for 39 years. I’m delighted to have him tour with us, everybody is really going to enjoy this show, I’m sure of it.” By his side, as ever, will be his wife Eileen. Just think of the laugh-a-minute car journeys the two of them will share as they make their way across Ireland and Britain! Grace continued: “Well I’m all set for the year ahead, I know that much too. Eileen is ready to drive me around Ireland. She has been my wife for 40 years and she has finally got herself a job! I first met Eileen in Co. Wexford, I love it down there. My mother’s family were from Wexford too, they were Meylers. It’s a great county, I particularly love Rosslare Strand.” Home for two decades, however, has been the USA and the Grace family are very much settled now across the Atlantic. “Life over here is wonderful. I have been here for 20 years, even though I spend a lot of my time commuting back and forwards to Ireland. America has been very good to me. “I now have three of my four children over here with me and all two of my grandchildren are here in the States. I’m pretty well at home here. I’m based in Florida, but I move around a lot, between New York and Boston and Ireland. I do a fair bit of charity work as well, which keeps me busy and I love that.” Fellow Irish comedian Brendan O’Connor is often to be found on the fairways of Florida, but Grace is adamant that 18 holes of golf is not top of his list of things to do. “I don’t play golf, I’m absolutely ashamed to say it. I’m surrounded by golf clubs but I don’t play. I swim a great deal, but golf? Nah! Honestly, could you imagine me on a golf course? Something would surely go wrong somewhere!”

I just observed life around me and when you do that you see humour everywhere. Irish people are very funny people.

■ Brendan Grace tours Britain in March 2014. For full list of dates see

I wasn't that sure if I was that well known in England, but the Irish community is certainly tuned into the comedy scene.


December 14, 2013


As the band prepare to perform Rum, Sodomy & the Lash in full, James Fearnley of The Pogues tells Richard Purden about the classic album and opens up about the loss of the band’s guitarist, Phil Chevron


HEN the Pogues perform their classic 1985 album, Rum, Sodomy & the Lash, in its entirety next week over four gigs, it will be significant in that they will mark the group’s first performances since the sad death of guitarist Philip Chevron last October. It’s fitting in a way that, in marking Chevron’s death, the band has retreated into their past and back to the period of that seminal 1985 album. Rum, Sodomy and the Lash featured a mix of originals and standards such as Ewan MacColl’s Dirty Old Town, which the Pogues popularised for a new generation. Their vital original songs also would become standards in their own right. When accordion player James Fearnley first heard A Pair Of Brown Eyes he realised Shane MacGowan’s songwriting had shifted gear. “Musically that song had a timeless eternal vibe,” Fearnley tells me down the line from his home in LA. “I really enjoyed the chords; it felt like there was a circular motion about the chord progression. The vocal

melody was sublime and there was this instrumental section which had a real purity about it. I found that very appealing. “Against that music you have lyrics which I found difficult to track, they were almost counter to the music and that was very exciting. He (MacGowan) would smash up an image in shards and rearrange it as a way to find the story. I love the way you have Shane as narrator and how he gets through the story of the song. There’s a jaded irony about it where he’s making light out of dismemberment and the horrors of war; I always

Rum, Sodom

TRAGIC: Phil Chevron passed away in October.

like that about Shane’s songsthey pack an extra punch because he holds back the punch.” The video for A Pair of Brown Eyes, directed by Alex Cox (Sid & Nancy), was said to be comment on a totalitarian government and the politics of Thatcher. While the band were political, they stayed away from writing about the Troubles in the North of Ireland directly, which were rife during the period. At the same time they were unashamedly Irish when there was open racism and a sense of “keeping your head down” because of IRA activity. “For us in the beginning, I don’t think we were overly careful but what we were doing was just telling stories about people, most of the songs on that album were to do with individuals and how they cope with how difficult or exciting life can be... or how much you can drink,” says Fearnley. “As far as I could see we weren’t espousing anything up

until Streets of Sorrow/ Birmingham Six (from If I should Fall From Grace With God). At that point it became

Sally MacLennane had come from Shane being a barman himself at the Great Ormond Street hospital bar. He knew about watering whiskey down from that I’m sure important to espouse something and even then it was about individuals rather than a political statement. But that was one of the most political songs we ever did and I think it helped their situation and brought their ordeal into the

public mind in a different way. It was also a gesture of support for people who had been banged up in prison wrongly.” Rum, Sodomy and the Lash was produced by Elvis Costello. Fearnley’s memoir, Here Comes Everybody, is awash with absorbing anecdotes of his impact as a producer and, in particular, Shane MacGowan’s fascination with Costello’s guitar which he both coveted and loathed. “It became a sort of vocal point for Shane,” remembers Fearnley. “It came across to me that when Elvis gave him the guitar he had Elvis where he wanted him. He (MacGowan) was conflicted about being given it – he didn’t want it to be: ‘my songwriting I bequeath to you in the form of this guitar’; it wasn’t even a great guitar, it was a crap (laughing). They were horrible looking things with plastic backs but there seemed to be some added significance to Shane being given this guitar, there was

December 14, 2013

RÍ-RÁ — THE IRISH POST ENTERTAINMENT SECTION get a little bit scared by them. I never invested in football or the divide, I’ve always thought myself immune or maybe ignorant, it was not something I spent much time thinking about although there was a demand to think about it playing with The Pogues and getting to know Shane. I got to understanding the history as much as I could.” A number of negative elements affected the band on tour. In West Berlin fascist skinheads marked Hitler’s birthday by giving Nazi salutes during a small club gig. Former bass player Cait O’ Riordan confronted them but inflamed the situation. It was left for Philip Chevron to stop a riot breaking out.

I’m so eager to be able to send Philip off by playing Thousands Are Sailing, that’s what I want to do above anything else because The Pogues has been a family to me for many years.

my and a loss obviously some inner conflict for him in wanting to break it. “It was a big thrill to work with Elvis,” adds Fearnley. “I had been a fan since 1977, I went to see him live around the time of My Aim Is True. I loved his stuff around that period so to have one of your heroes in the studio wanting to work with you was fantastic.” In the early 1980s, MacGowan would gather his friends around the bars at Euston railway station before boarding the boat train to Holyhead for the ferry to Dun Laoghaire. The legendary drinking sessions served as inspiration for the album’s second single, Sally MacLennane, said Fearnley. “I was always a little envious of Shane, it was almost this ritualistic thing where he’d get stocious and his friends would put him on the train to Ireland,” says Fearnley. “A lot from that song had also come from being a barman himself at the Great

Ormond Street Hospital bar. He knew about watering whiskey down from that I’m sure.” It was on the Rum, Sodomy...

tour that Glasgow became a stronghold for the band, recalls Fearnley.

“It’s hard to distinguish many of those nights up at Barrowlands,” he says. “The first time we played, it was palpable, the emotion in that place, it was the first really big gig that we did by ourselves playing in front of 2,000 people. I’d certainly never played in front of that many before so it felt big right from the start. “Because of the makeup of Glasgow and the sectarian division reflected in the football teams, there was an intensity about it in any case, but for Jock Stein to have died the day before we played, it was even more so. There was often a convergence of elements and vectors in Glasgow. “There was another time where Celtic had beaten Rangers, it was also St Patrick’s Day, you can’t ignore those convergences. I used to

“Fair play to Cait,” says Fearnley. “On a visceral level she was outraged as one should justifiably be at Nazi salutes on Hitler’s birthday at any gig, never mind ours. But she didn’t have skills that you need to pull on in those situations. Philip was a consummate performer and a people person, he was able to figure the best way of turning attention away from what those guys were up to and brought it back to what we were doing. Both desires came from the same place. I’m not going to knock Cait for what she did but Philip had the right idea to reframe things and say what was important and it worked.” The forthcoming gigs will significantly be the first since the guitarist’s passing. For the band it’s a chance to grieve and say a final farewell. “There is going to be a huge void on stage to not have Philip, there’s been void since he died. Thousands Are Sailing is an indispensable song for us. To play that would be my way of saying goodbye to Philip. I couldn’t come over for the funeral and I wasn’t able to go to the testimonial gig in August so I’m due some grieving basically. That song was always a way maker for some transitions in my life. I’m so eager to be able to send Philip off by playing his song, that’s what I want to do above anything else because The Pogues has been a family to me for many years. “Philip had a great talent, he could write from such an intimate place within him. He made you feel he was writing about you. Just recently I was remixing Peace and Love with Steve Lillywhite and when we got to Lorelei we got to hear Philip’s vocal at the same time as Kirsty’s (MacColl) voice solo,

9 it was tear inducing for both me and Steve to hear those two voices saying we’ll never hear those again, it was a very powerful experience.” Speaking of Kirsty MacColl, Fairytale of New York has taken on a life of its own and again will mark an emotional moment at this time when the band play it next week. “I’m not sure that all that many people are aware of the song in the States (where Fearnley now lives),” he says. “In the UK it’s become a national institution but it operates outside the stratagem of regular Christmas songs. We hold our own beloved and contentious place elsewhere, it’s not part of the Wham and Slade type of thing; it’s elbowed its way into its own little compartment as far as Christmas songs go. “Fairytale... is one of those indestructible type of songs; it’s weird hearing it in a shopping centre in England because the words get lost a bit and it tends to sound jollier than it is.” There can’t be many drinking institutions around the U.K where Shane MacGowan hasn’t enjoyed a beverage while on tour, he’ll visit one of the most famous this Christmas propping up the Rovers Return while performing a restyled version of the song; Fairytale of Weatherfield when appearing in Coronation Street on December 20. “It will be interesting to see what he does in it, I heard he’s going to appear and I’m looking forward to it. It’s weird for me because my dad used to be friends with Doris Speed who played Annie Walker the landlady at the Rovers it feels odd that Shane is in my territory of Manchester; I’m eager to see it.” Here Comes Everybody, Fearnley’s book, doesn’t hold back from The Pogues darker times which could sometimes escalate into violence. Today the Mancunian Pogue is philosophical about run-ins with his mercurial front-man. “I think this sounds trite but there’s truth in it that if you know people who you have went through some intense experiences with, it’s like sharing the same territory as members of a family. There are enduring relationships that I couldn’t escape even if I wanted to with some of them. I’ve had a more problematic relationship with Shane than I have with many people, it might not have been the same for Shane but I can’t speak for him (laughing). “It’s like the bonkers, f**ked up brother that you have to try and deal with but you can’t let him go. We did in 1991 of course but they (The Pogues) are in my life whether I like it or not. The stuff we have made and invented, the success we’ve had and the things we’ve managed to get done and everything like that, it’s very bonding for better or for worse.” ■ The Pogues will play O2 Apollo, Manchester this Sunday (December 15); O2 Academy, Glasgow (17) and O2 Academy Brixton, London (19 & 20). The Pogues – 30 Years box set is out on Monday (16).


December 14, 2013


All bets see great return for Aisling LONDON

PLACE YOUR BETS: Alex McDonnell from the Aisling Return to Ireland Project with Donegal’s Pat Logue, landlord of the Sheephaven Bay

GIRLS NIGHT: Sharon Wilson, left, Ciara Lillis and Deirdre Nugent

CAMDEN was the setting for a top race night last month as punters flocked to the Sheephaven Bay to support the Aisling Return to Ireland project. The fundraising night drew a big audience to support a great cause. The Aisling Project is a wideranging charity that provides support for disadvantaged Irish people’s lives. The organisation specialises in helping long-term emigrants make their dream of returning to Ireland come true by providing financial and social support in equal measure. All proceeds from the night went to support the charity’s ongoing work for Irish emigrants in Britain. While there were plenty of winners on the night, no one lost out in a packed evening’s entertainment.

TOP FOUR: Ann Ryan, Yvonne McIntosh, Sue Perry and Brian McIntosh

ON FORM: Aisling Return to Ireland Volunteer Coordinator Mary Leyne

Pictures by Malcolm McNally

BHOYS NIGHT OUT: Pat Logue with his 15-month-old daughter Keira

A RIGHT LAUGH: Catherine McNerney, Ann Woulfe, Kate McGurk, Mary Leyne and Dave Keane

CASH IN HAND: Amy Curtis, Doug Johnstone and Aonghus Fitzbibbon were bookmakers for the evening

NUMBERS UP: Carolina Sanchez with Kay, Darren, John and John (jr.) Glynn

Light lunch with Terry and Dara LONDON THE WOMEN’S Irish Network came out in force last month for a special lunch which took place at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall. Two leading Irish figures from the world of entertainment, Dara Ó’Briain and Sir Terry Wogan, were present for the lunch and featured in conversation during the event. That added to the run of the evening with other noted guests at the event including Greta Mulhall, wife of Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall, and actress Deirdre O’Kane. A JOKE SHARED: Dara Ó’Briain in conversation with Sir Terry Wogan

GOOD TIMES: Maeve O’Rourke and Liz Shanahan

TOP BILLING: WIN founder member Avril MacRory and actress Deirdre O’Kane with Dara Ó’Briain

Pictures: Malcolm McNally

NETWORKING: Allison McGrath, WIN founder member Mary Clancy, Norma Smurfit and Greta Mulhall, wife of Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall

GRAND OCCASION: Helen and Terry Wogan with good friend Mary Clancy

SMARTLY DOES IT: Rachel Supple and Lisa Fitzpatrick

December 14, 2013



Lean on me brother When Paul O’Brien left Birmingham for Canada a family of musicians was the last thing on his mind JOE GILTRAP Trad, folk and roots e-mail: Web:


OU may well have heard of Paul O’Brien… certainly if you’re aware of the Birmingham and London Irish music scene. O’Brien left the second city for Canada nearly a decade ago and before that was a constant in sessions at the Swan in Stockwell and the Mean Fiddler. A school teacher and local musician in Birmingham, born and bred, he moved his family to Victoria BC for an adventure… and he got one! After forming a band with his three children, the O’Brien family are returning to Brum for the first time in 10 years for a five-show tour of Britain and Germany. It is a tour he probably never imagined playing back in 2004. What prompted the move to Canada a decade ago? Well I’d seen my folks return to Ireland some years before — my mother’s from Rathdowney, Co. Laois and my dad’s from Dublin — and emigration for me seemed on the cards. My wife and I visited Canada and fell in love with the place, so the move seemed an easy one. I guess what compounded it for me was the fact that I hadn’t made it in the business. I’d made a living as a folk musician and was playing in a wedding band. I was bitterly disappointed about my own career, which I had never really pursued properly. The move seemed like a good way to sever ties completely. I love Birmingham, but I always felt I was going to emigrate. So off we went. I was lucky enough to get a teaching job in Victoria. I had no intention of ever picking up a guitar again and was actually going to sell my guitars. You were disillusioned with the music business? For the first year I didn’t play a note in Canada. I needed to take some time off. It was really cool going to Canada because I didn’t tell anyone I played. I’d been doing 200 shows a year for about 25 years. So what got you back into music? My daughter was doing Irish dancing and I got chatting to one of the dads there. He said he played the fiddle and I told

him I played a little bit of guitar. We ended up sitting on his veranda playing. It was the first time in 20 or 25 years I’d played without asking how much money I was going to get. It was a huge epiphany on why I played music in the beginning. I started writing songs from a new perspective, looking at this new country through an immigrant’s eyes and got back into it. I met a producer, a guy from England. When I saw his studio I realised I could make a record. I put every penny I had of savings into an album; I had no idea what would happen with it. I threw myself into the recording. It took nine months. I was still teaching at the time, but took a break to see how I would feel about it — I never went back. That was seven years ago. I started gigging and did another album. I sent songs off to some agents and got an email back from one who sent my album to Stockfisch Records in Germany. Within two months they’d flown me to Germany to make a new album. How did the O’Brien family band evolve? It’s one of those beautiful little side projects that was unbelievable to watch. I never taught the three kids formally because it’s hard to teach your own kids, but I knew from a very early age that my youngest lad Fintan would be a musician. Then Cormac got into it. Back in Birmingham I used to go busking, so I suggested we should go. It was about five years ago, they made $80 for an hour and couldn’t believe it, they were nine and 10. I could see why though, because Fintan had this power at that age to sing on a street corner and if you’re that small and singing then people will listen. What about your daughter Millie? The boys got into it, but Millie wouldn’t sing on the street. She would actually sing with me at the gigs. Me and the boys had this trio busking thing and Millie and I had this duo going. Then about three years ago, the four of us started to play and it was just one of those magical things.

FAMILY AFFAIR: The O’Brien family perform in Birmingham next week The harmonies found themselves, everyone had the right instrument and it was like switching a light on. You performed at this year’s Vancouver Island Music Festival. What was that like? Ten thousand people — it was an incredible vibe. The kids were pros. We just decided we would do a studio album this year — we had already done a live album two years ago — and we managed to get some time with the producer. For me, it was great just to hang in there with them because with teenagers it can be difficult when they don’t want much to do with you. Listening to tracks from the album, it’s not really a folk album. How would you describe it? Everybody chose their own songs. Fintan only wanted to sing his own songs. Millie doesn’t write songs, so she chose the angel song and others. We had no marketing plan for the album. It was a great project to do. I suspect next year will be the last time we will do the busking concerts because Millie will be in her third year at university and Fintan has his own band. Fintan made the top 10 in the world last year in the International song writing contest for teens. He still sits in his basement with his guitar and puts in the time. ■ The O’Briens play the Red Lion Folk Club, Birmingham next Wednesday (December 18).


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Irish radio in your area BEDFORDSHIRE ■ Jim Carway presents Luton Irish Live on Diverse 102.8FM and online every Tuesday evening 6-8pm. Contact Jim on 07977 063233 BRADFORD ■ Joe Sheeran presents Echoes of Ireland on Bradford Community Broadcasting 106.6FM every Sunday at noon. The programme is repeated on Mondays at 9am and Wednesdays at noon and can be accessed online at COVENTRY ■ Hands Across The Waters on Hillz FM, Mondays from 12-2pm and online at GLASGOW ■ Celtic Music Radio on 1530AM (Medium Wave) and online at featuring Paddy Callaghan’s Trad with Pad every Tuesday from 7-8pm HERTFORDSHIRE ■ Radio Verulam 92.6FM and online at featuring The Emerald Hour with Kathy Weston, Lydia El-Khouri and Shane every Thursday from 7-8pm, and John Devine’s Traditional Irish Music Show, featuring The Irish Post’s Joe Giltrap, every Monday from 7-9pm (available on the website for seven days after broadcast) LONDON/SOUTH-EAST ■ Gerry Byrne hosts Irish Spectrum on Spectrum Radio on Saturday from 1-2pm and from midnight to 1am on Sunday night/Monday morning on 558AM ■ Johnny Jameson hosts Ireland’s Eye on Resonance 104.4FM every Sunday, 6.30-7.30pm ■ Emily Horgan, Pippa T and Róisín O Rourke broadcasting What’s the Craic? every Tuesday from 7-8pm on West London’s ONFM 101.4 ■ Johno’s Irish Hour, ONFM 101.4, every Saturday morning from 1011am with presenter John O’Sullivan. Anything and everything Irish including traditional Irish music, news and sport MANCHESTER ■ The Full Irish Radio Show with Martin Logan and Joe Casserley on 96.9FM, Wednesdays 7-9pm and Sundays 3-5pm ■ The Irish Connection Show with John Lowry on Wythenshawe 97.2FM, Saturday from 10am to noon MIDLANDS ■ Bob Brolly’s Irish Show, Sundays 4-7pm on BBC Radio WM 95.6FM and DAB Radio NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE ■ Jim Bennett, Fiona Clelland and Tommy McClements present NE1 Irish from 5-7pm every Wednesday on 102.5FM or Text NE1 + message to 60300. Contact 0191 261 0384 OXFORD/BERKSHIRE ■ BBC Radio Oxford/BBC Radio Berkshire hosts Henry Wymbs’ Irish Eye, Sundays from 2pm on 95.4FM | 104.1FM ■ A Little Bit of Blarney with Anne Morris, Thursdays from 11am until noon. Listen live at or listen anytime at TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC ON THE RADIO ■ John Devine, Monday evenings from 7-9pm on Radio Verulam in West Hertfordshire 92.6FM or through the internet at Facebook ■ Paddy Callaghan’s Trad with Pad, Tuesday evenings from 6-7pm on Celtic Music Radio, 1530AM, and more widely available through the internet at ■ Joe Sheeran’s Echoes of Ireland is on the air for 60 minutes every Sunday from noon, Monday from 9am and Wednesday from noon. The show is also available on the internet at ONLINE ■ Mid West Radio, the home of Irish music, chat, news, culture and gossip 24 hours a day! ■ RTÉ Radio operates four primary national stations — RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2fm, RTÉ lyric fm and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and seven exclusively digital stations (RTÉ Radio 1 Xtra, RTÉ Choice, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Chill, RTÉ Gold, RTÉ 2XM and RTÉ Junior. Primary and digital stations are available online. ■ Alan O’Leary of Copperplate presents two hours of Irish traditional and folk music every Wednesday at 4pm (repeated Friday at 5pm and Sunday at 8pm) on — 24/7 live Irish trad and folk

Catch MARTIN LOGAN on Wednesdays 7-9pm with all the GAA news, Irish language class lots of great music, plus highlights from THE IRISH POST Join JOE CASSERLEY every Sunday 3-5pm playing you the best in Irish and country music along with your requests and the What’s On guide. Tune in to 96.9FM Manchester or listen online at


JOHNNY JAMESON Every Sunday 6.30pm-7.30pm The best music with less chat

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December 14, 2013

Wolfes blow the FRONT ROW: Mark Runiewicz, Mary McRlain, Anne Losinski and Peggy O’Connor from Co. Clare

RAISING A GLASS: Patrick McLoughlin, Den Dwyer, Kevin Johnson and Conor McLoughiln

CHEERS: Mags and Tess Fox with June O'Connell and Jan Poulton from Birmingham

PICTURE PERFECT: Faye, Ria, Erin and Pat Kinsella

FAMILY FUN: Andy, Sean and Anne-Marie Webb and Darren Joyce

MAKING THEIR PINT: Brendan Carolan with Mary, Ciara and Conor from Cavan and Kerry

READY TO GO: Denise and Neil Kelly with Marie Dunes and Scanlon’s manager Joleen Togher

EVERGREEN: Coventry Irish Society’s Maimie Braken, left, John Matthews, Carmel Jones and Bobby Anderson

December 14, 2013



house down SISTER SISTER: The Fullerton sisters, Anna-marie, Deirdre and Catherine from Derry

BIRMINGHAM IT was a night of celebrations and great Irish music as The Wolfe Tones stopped at Scanlon’s Social Club in Birmingham last month as part of their 50th anniversary tour. The Irish balladeers’ career has come a long way since the band busked at fleadhs around Ireland. And with Scanlon's being a regular tour stop for the Wolfe Tones, there were plenty of familiar faces which created a welcome and home-coming atmosphere like no other. With half a century of experience and a back catalogue of hits, including Irish Eyes and The Streets of New York, the Tones certainly know how to raise the roof and in Birmingham they did just that with the audience singing along from the moment they took to the stage.

Pictures by Chris Egan

FANS FOR LIFE: Rena and Liam Fahy from Clonmel in Tipperary ON SONG: The Wolfe Tones’ Tommy Byrne

FOUR STARS: Sean Carroll, left, Padriac Goodwin, Lisa Callaghan and Jean Carroll

SKILLED OPERATOR: Banjo player Brain Warfield

GOLDEN GIRLS: Rebecca Nixon and Siobhan McKeown

BIRTHDAY TREAT: Peter Franks with birthday girl Margaret Burns and James Farrell and Hannah Lodge

IN THE FAMILY: Sue Small with Des, Brendan and Kevin Read

GREAT NIGHT: Left to right are Anthony, Greg, Emelda Nesbitt, Ryan, Michelle Banfield and Laura Carter

From West Cork to West London LONDON Now in its 16th year, the Kealkil / Bantry dance welcomed people from all over West Cork and beyond to St Joseph’s parish centre in

Hanwell, west London recently. As ever, the venue was packed and a great night was enjoyed by all as they caught up on each other’s stories over the past 12 months and, of course, had a dance.

ALL SMILES: Sheila and Nicholas Walsh

THE PEOPLE TO THANK: The organising committee of the Kealkil / Bantry dance are, left to right, Sean Gleeson, Seamus O'Sullivan, Ted Crowley, Rose Crowley and Michael Crowley

HAPPY TIMES: Joe Reddy, Zadie Reddy, Anne Gallen and Frances Kellett

CATCHING UP: Brian McLoughlin, Kathleen McLoughlin and Eta and Jimmy O'Hea


December 14, 2013



music and dancing from 9 until 12. For Peace Hospice, in memory of Fred Maguire. £5. Holy Rood Hall, Tolpits Lane. Contact Rita Maguire on 01923 247074.

House (See Wednesday) Daire Haplin lunchtime recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square. Free. 1pm.


December 31 The Father Teds play New Year’s Eve show at Birmingham Irish Centre.

Toss The Feathers play St Kentigerns Irish Club, Fallowfield.





London Landscapes from The History House (See Wednesday).


Landscapes from The History House New exhibition of paintings and prints by Lucy Brennan-Shiel. London Irish Centre, Camden. London Irish Art 2013 New exhibition featuring various contemporary Irish artists at The Gallery in Cork Street, Mayfair.

Landscapes from The History House (See Wednesday) London Irish Art 2013 New exhibition featuring various contemporary Irish artists at The Gallery in Cork Street, Mayfair. Ed Byrne Roaring Forties standup show. Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith. Two Door Cinema Club play The O2.



The Pogues play 02 Apollo



Ed Byrne Roaring Forties standup show. Newcastle City Hall.

Cage The Gods Rock ‘n’ Roll band play The Greystones.


December 20 Coventry branch of Comhaltas hold their Christmas ceili on at Christ the King Community Centre, 14 Westhill Road, Coundon. CV6 2AA. 8pm–midnight. Music is by Coventry’s Innisfail Ceili Band and admission, which includes a buffet, is £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. There is also a family ticket (two adults + two children) for £10.





Two Door Cinema Club play Empress Ballroom.

The Father Teds play Birmingham Irish Centre. 9.30pm. Free.


London Landscapes from The History House (See Wednesday). London Irish Art 2013 New exhibition featuring various contemporary Irish artists at The Gallery in Cork Street, Mayfair.

Manchester Manchester Irish Writers host an event in commemoration of the life and work of Seamus Heaney. Irish World Heritage Centre. 7.30pm. Ed Byrne Roaring Forties standup show. O2 Apollo.

London Landscapes from The History House (See Wednesday). Learning From Kilburn Series of events based around the LondonIrish area. See: http://learningfromkilburn.event

Anita Ryan’s Celtic Fever Christmas Celebration range of live music including Irish folk songs through to Irish rock songs. Chorlton Irish Centre, 17 high Lane, Manchester, M21 9DJ. Doors 7.30pm. Contact the club: 0161 8812898.


London December 19-20 The Pogues play 02 Academy Brixton.


December 19 Jean Kelly playing harp in ‘Still Silent’ - a world premiere by Julie Cooper . St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square. 7.30pm.

Manchester Toss The Feathers play St Kentigerns Irish Club, Fallowfield.


London Irish Art 2013 New exhibition featuring various contemporary Irish artists at The Gallery in Cork Street, Mayfair.

January 24 The Gloaming renowned trad group play Union Chapel, Compton Street, N1 2DX. £22.50. 7.30pm.

Declan Gaynor Plays Connaught Bar, Birmingham Irish Centre. Landscapes from The History House (See Wednesday).

Comedy Extravaganza With Aisling Bea and John Moloney. Christmas Spiegeltent, The Waterfront Square, Harbourside 7.30pm. £20.


January 16-20 Learning From Kilburn Series of events based around the London-Irish area. See: http://learningfromkilburn.event

Luton Leagrave Comhaltas branch are having their Christmas party/session evening on Friday 24th January 2014 at 7:30pm at St joseph’s Parish Centre, Gardenia Avenue.

FUTURE EVENTS Mary Black + Clannad Tour across Britain from March 12-29. Jimmy Carr Stand up tour nationwide from April 25-May 17 Kodaline tours nationwide from March 15-21.

Liverpool January 19 Irish Women, Religion and The Diaspora by the Women on Ireland Research Network. The Institute of Irish Studies, 1, Abercromby Square, University of Liverpool. 8.45am.

Heidi Talbot Traditional and roots musician tours nationwide from April 11-26.

Until December 31 Landscapes from The History House New exhibition of paintings and prints by Lucy Brennan-Shiel. London Irish Centre, Camden.


LAUGH A MINUTE: Ed Byrne brings his Roaring Forties tour to Newcastle on Wednesday, December 11, Manchester on Thursday 12 and London on Friday 13

December 19 Carol Service and Festive celebration. Family-friendly event at Irish World Heritage Centre. 6.30pm.

Cage The Gods Rock ‘n’ Roll band play The Deaf Institute.


Nottingham Cage The Gods Rock ‘n’ Roll band play Rock City.




Céilí and Oldtime Dancing Live

Landscapes from The History

December 29 Declan Gaynor

The Pogues play 02 Academy.

play Leinster Suite, Birmingham Irish Centre.


All the threes as Irish society hits 33 MILTON KEYNES MILTON KEYNES’ Irish Society held its 33rd annual dinner dance last month at the Buckinghamshire town’s Irish Centre. Special guests gathered to join in the celebrations, with names including the Deputy Mayor of Milton Keynes Cllr Subhan Shafiq and John Nolan from the Celtic and Irish Cultural Society, Crawley — who is also a Trustee of Irish in Britain. Supporters at the well-attended event had a memorable time, aided by Eamon’s Country Sounds, who were on hand to provide a feast of live music on the evening.

COUPLE OF CRACKERS: (l-r) John and Joan Mahoney with Gerry and Felicity O’Donnell

PICTURE PERFECT: Angela Smith and Kim Lane

DASHING: Annette Irwin, left, with guests John and Noreen Nolan. John is Chairman of the Celtic and Irish Cultural Society, Crawley and is a Trustee of Irish in Britain

DINNER DATES: Brian and Wendy Egan, left, with Brian and Joan Sidebottom

Pictures by Malcolm McNally

WELL SUITED: Ralph, Jane and Ashley Irwin

MK DONS: (l-r) James O’Brien, Cllr Subhan Shafiq, Deputy Mayor of Milton Keynes, Annette Irwin, President of the Milton Keynes Irish Society, and Jimmy Irwin

PURPLE PATCH: Joan Kelly, Elizabeth Bradley and Josephine Long

LUCKY SEVEN: Mike Tighe, Mal Nally and Richard Golden. Seated (l to r): Jackie Nally, Iris and Mary Golden and Margaret Tighe


The best music in the best bars in town St. Kentigern’s Irish Social Club, Fallowfield, Manchester M14 7DW 0161 224 2033, 07702371966

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Don’t keep your venue a secret…

Dragged over the Coal The Coal Hole 91-92 Strand, London WC2R 0DW IT was cold on The Strand, bloody cold. Stout was looking for an evening bolt hole…walking from Fleet Street towards Embankment, passing Simpsons — too expensive… the Savoy, pfffffffffff, the Coal Hole, more like it! There was a bustle inside and Stout pushed through the noise escaping out the door into the cold of the night. Inside, there were plenty of office types, men outnumbering women by 10:1 Stout reckoned depressingly, but the high ceilings and big windows lifted his spirits. Up high where cornices often lie were sculptures of the human form — womanly shapes — balancing out the crowd. Stout sidled up the counter and ordered a pint of the black stuff. The bartender was polite and over his shoulder stood a display of Single Malt’s with one labelled ‘Malt of the Week’. Stout briefly wondered if he had a peer going around town doing a Malt of the Earth column. While he dwelled on that thought his pint arrived topped up, but lipping slightly under the rim of the glass. It was a point lost but the pour was a patient one and the finish smooth with no bubbles. A punter arrived at Stout’s right shoulder and ordered a pint of cider. It would not be fair to the producer to name and shame but when the glass stood atop the counter it look like the kind of liquid that couldn’t be named here


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for reasons of liable. An inspection ensued with heads craning and necks stretching to access the contents, faces pulled frowns as long as the bar and furrowing brows swayed on shaking heads. Even Stout chipped in, pulling a ‘doesn’t look right’ face when the group turned seeking some kind of external affirmation.

looks recoiled. “I’ll get the CORRECT glass,” he declared and disappeared from behind the bar. The process of inspection continued on the pint of cider, but really it was more like a post-mortem, the pint was dead, not of this world. The barman returned, new glass in hand and it must have been some kind of magic beaker because the liquid bubbled into life when poured from the old glass into the new. It was held high for all to see, then fell flat again with what little fizz left escaping into the roof space where the statues hang out. Stout had seen enough, he headed for the toilet, past the slot machine that cut an ugly eyesore against the old architecture. Down the back he saw the pub centrepiece – a fireplace – with less sparks than the pint of cider had bubbles. Coal but no fire, pints but no fizz — Stout was in a halfway house caught between a rock and a cold fireplace.

All heads then turned to the barman. He stood bolt up-right, trancelike, his face vacant and impassive while the cogs of his brain processed, vetted and then rubber stamped an explanation. “It’s the glass,” he announced confidently after a pause. Faces wearing surprised





@ G A L L E R Y V E N U E







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Our resident astrologer and Celtic mystic Cara Lorcan casts the runes by consulting the ancient Celtic lunar tree months and the signs of the Zodiac.


We’re currently under the Zodiac sign of Sagittarius, with the moon full on December 17. Those whose birthdays fall in this astrological phase include Irish international footballer Chris Hughton who will be 55 on December 11. Comedian and actor Pat Shortt is 47 on December 12, and Peter Stringer, Irish international rugby player is 36 on December 13. Irish author Edna O’Brien (pictured) is 83 on December 15, golfer Paul McGinley is 47 on December 16, and television presenter Craig Doyle is 43 on December 17.

9 2






1 5

December 14, 2013


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Sagittarius November 22 – December 21 Take a few moments for yourself to really evaluate which way you’re headed this week in an important project. Opportunities at work or in business could surprise you with their scope — you’ll be well placed to take advantage. Developments in your social life could have long-term implications. Some good news may not have matured yet, but be on the look-out!




Sudoku requires no calculation or arithmetic skills. It is essentially a game of placing numbers in squares using very simple rules of logic and deduction. It can be played by children and adults and the rules are simple. Simply fill in the grid so that every row, every column and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9. However each number can appear only once on each row, column and area. Answer next week.


Last week’s solution: 9
















7 5
































































Scribble pad

1. Last month Manchester United crushed Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 in the Champion’s League — the club’s biggest win in the competition since a 6-0 victory in 1957. Who were the opponents on that occasion? 2. What words appeared on the Irish national flag before the adoption of the Tricolour? 3. What was the name given by Turlough O’Carolan (and other harp players) to any melody written in honour of a patron? 4. A salamander and Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts gave rise to which word describing political malfeasance, widespread at one time in the Six Counties — and often cited as a contributing

factor to the Troubles? 5. Roddy Doyle’s books The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van are collectively known by what title? 6. Which three Irish presidents did not serve out their full terms? 7. What was the name of the first international motor races to be held in Ireland, in 1903? 8. In which Thackeray Book does Roaring Harry Barry make an appearance? 9. What is a slane used to cut? 10. He’s from Dublin, and his roles include Miles O’Brien in Star Trek. Pictured above, who is he?

Capricorn December 22 – January 19 Recent offers require decisions. Consider carefully and make the decision. Progress will be easy and steady after that step is taken. A recently revived friendship or new acquaintance could make a big impact on your life. Travel could soon be on the agenda. The full Sagittarius moon on December 17 will provide light for a very likely adventure.

Aquarius January 20 – February 18 The downside of promising developments in your business or working life is that they may be as timeconsuming as they are stimulating. Should you decide to embark on this particular enterprise you should be aware from the outset that normal routines will need to be re-organised and time set aside. In family matters, a surprising development could bring very good news.

Answers: 1. Shamrock Rovers; 2. Erin go Bragh 3. A planxty; 4. Gerrymandering; 5. The Barrytown Trilogy; 6. Mary Robinson (resigned after six years); Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh (resigned after just 22 months); Erskine Childers (died in office); 7. The Gordon Bennett Trophy; 8. The Memoirs Of Barry Lyndon, Esq. 9. Turf; 10. Colm Meaney


CROSSWORD Clues Across

Clues Down

1. Male swan. (3) 3. Fuse with wood or iron? You’re not alone! (4,3,4) 8. Curved structures make a Greek god embrace Swiss characters. (6) 9. County which wants to murder Enda, by the sound of it. (8) 10. Diagnostic examinations. (5) 11. Riverside plants. (5) 13. Legally sound. (5) 15. Zilch. (7) 16. Earthenware that is a bit like wizard Harry? (7) 20. Loses one’s footing in lingerie. (5) 21. Throw out what’s endlessly dejected. (5) 23. Sign up. (5) 24. Pavement. (8) 25. Is unable to find a girl in the baby’s bed. (6) 26. Charades get strange when one has joined a party uninvited. (11) 27. Military term of address to a superior. (3)

1. How the RAF might identify a facility for artisans! (5,6) 2. Ammunition means a dollar’s stolen property! (8) 3. Taunts. (5) 4. There’s nothing hidden in this way Ken Daly gets around. (7) 5. Glacial feature which might destroy reeks. (5) 6. Songbird — a kind of finch. (6) 7. Young chap. (3) 12. CUL8R. (3,3,5) 13. Goddess with a heavenly body. (5) 14. Portals. (5) 17. Jewellery usually bought in pairs. (8) 18. Thumbs a lift, creating minor setbacks. (7) 19. Professional account of the sound of a gun. (6) 22. As discussed by the best ninety-nine? (5) 23. Creature from an oriental country. (5) 24. Type of fruit. (3)

Last week’s answers: Clues Across: 1. Bar 3. Puritanical 8. Assert 9. Combined 10. Diary 11. Errol 13. Veers 15. Lahinch 16. Truffle 20. Rally 21. Shell 23. Ethos 24. Motoring 25. Flying 26. Once or twice 27. Get Clues Down: 1. Brandy glass 2. Research centre 3. Perry 4. Incited 5. Noble 7. Lid 12. Line of sight 13. Vicar 14. Stray 17. Fighting 18. Glasgow Celtic 22. Largo 23. Ellie 24. Moo

February 19 – March 20 At work or business matters are moving steadily, but you should still leave room for feelings and instincts. You’ll have to be careful which direction to take in a relationship issue. Travel is indicated by the passage of the full Sagittarius moon through Mercury. In a matter involving relationships, remember — concrete plans are as important as dreams.

Aries March 21 – April 19 You’re unlikely to regret taking a chance in a shared enterprise, but keep your eyes wide open. With friends, a period of excitement should produce long-lasting positive feelings, while in family matters a new co-operative spirit will be needed in a new venture. Relationship issues may pose a few questions this week, but you’ll find you can spot the way forward.

Taurus April 20 – May 20 The full Sagittarius moon on the December 17 gives extra energy and insight for the tasks in hand in business or career-related matters. Sound decisions should see you nicely through the week. Changes in the status of a relationship will give you reason to celebrate, while in a friendship a further examination of a matter will leave you well satisfied.

Gemini May 21 – June 20 At work — or in an enterprise in which you’re closely involved — don’t lose sight of the goal. In negotiations don’t confuse pride with progress. The full Sagittarius moon promises a spot of tranquillity. Don’t relax too much however, surprises could be heading your way. With work and acumen, these could have a very beneficial effect on your circumstances.

Cancer June 21 – July 22 A romantic overture may take you by surprise. A continuing search is still yielding results; a busy social life this week may cloud out other developments. In family matters you may have to take the initiative in solving some minor issues. Keep working on a cherished project — footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.

Leo July 23 – August 22 The full Sagittarius moon on December 17 will provide energy for a number of activities in this busy week. Finances are holding steady — effort invested is paying dividends. Relationship matters are set to enter an exciting phase with an unexpected invitation. This could lead to some unexpected developments! In family matters, you should try to keep a balance between what’s possible and what’s desirable.

Virgo August 23 – September 22 Decisions must be made in an area which has probably been on the back burner for a while. With a full Sagittarius moon on December 17, this could be the optimum time. In relationships don’t risk getting bogged down asking advice from too many others — it will only cloud the issue, which looks, at this stage, like having a positive outcome.

Libra September 23 – October 22 Going with the flow is the easy option — this time, in a shared enterprise, it could also be the best one. In domestic matters you should allow space for others to reach their own conclusions. With the full Sagittarius moon on the December 17 entering Venus, a surprising meeting of minds may occur. This should have very positive developments for your social life.

Scorpio October 23 – November 21 A sparkle will return to a long-standing relationship, bringing with it, however, other considerations. At work a seachange will help matters greatly, giving rise to constructive discussion. A social life, which of late has been fairly low key, looks like suddenly producing some interesting and diverting challenges. The financial outlook appears promising — although you may have to be patient.

The Irish Post


December 14, 2013 | 37


global get-together


CHEERS: President Barack Obama arrives in the Co. Offaly village of Moneygall, the ancestral home of his greatgreat-great-grandfather, Falmouth Kearney. appreciate my fascination with this remote place and I was soon being urged to return to our hotel swimming pool. By coincidence, before we even knew ancestral first names, my

son had taken the same name as his great, great grandfather. Ireland being Ireland, I just know that after a pint or two in any one of Kilmihil’s five pubs I’ll find someone who will say:

“Ah yes, the Flanagans”. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover we’re related. ■ Read more from Andrew Waller at

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Luxury tours with a personal guide WITH its unique scenery, lively cities and magnificent tourist attractions, Ireland has plenty to offer those eager to experience the country at its best. But with an abundance to see and do it can be hard to know where to start. That’s where Irish Luxury Tours can help, as they provide day and extended tours of Ireland. The company gives visitors to Ireland the chance to take a seat in their luxurious Mercedes cars and coaches and relax knowing a personal driver and guide will take them on an unforgettable tour across the four corners of the Emerald Isle. With years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, Irish

Luxury Tours offers a variety of tours and packages. So whether it’s Viking Limerick, rebellious New Ross or calming Connemara that takes your fancy, there’s something for you. North and south of Ireland can be enjoyed from the comfort of an Irish Luxury Tours car. Setting out from Dublin, take in the sights from Belfast, drive past the birth place of the Titanic and then head North along the famous Antrim Coast Road towards the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge where you can glimpse the Scottish coast on a clear day. History fans may prefer to venture further south towards the Rock of Cashel, a spectacular group of Medieval buildings in

Co. Tipperary. Or why not get into the spirit of things and sample some complimentary Kilbeggan Irish whiskey at Co. Westmeath’s Lockes Distillery — believed to be the oldest licensed pot still distillery in the world. Irish Luxury Tours owner Ciaran McBride said: “With the advent of our new road system, we are now able to offer a series of day tours offering better time management than the conventional tours. Our focus is on what matters, you! Our emphasis is on elegance, comfort and safety.” ■ For further details see You can also call +353 (0)8612 09848 or

Technology to take you back in time AN Irish company is bringing the past to life with a little help from today’s technology. was formed in 2006 by John Kearns and Mark McArdle. The idea was to use evolving technology to bring to life a large collection of postcards owned by John’s father. “These had been collected over many years, reflecting old images of virtually every town and village in Ireland, the majority from 1900 to 1920,” John says. “Many of the images display incredible detail, a testament to the quality of that early age photography.” The idea behind the site is to offer these images to a worldwide Irish audience, many nostalgic for their roots or those of their ancestors. “How better a way to recognise that than through an image of a memory of the past — often from their own hometown,” John adds. Recent scanning, editing and printing technology has helped facilitate the enhancement and reproduction of prints up to 20x30 inches in size, which can then be mounted or framed. “We have received tremendous feedback on ONLINE PHOTO STORE

Old Irish Photographs and Images Welcome to an Ireland of the past. We have acquired, and now offer for sale, amazing old images or photographs of Ireland, many from the Seamus Kearns collection. Check out the Irish town or village where you were born, grew up, or where your ancestors lived. You can purchase these Irish images as prints, or mounted prints, or framed and mounted prints.

BACK IN TIME: Old pictures on how these images have evoked wonderful memories of times past, of a childhood or a particular vigenette from the past,” John says. “Many of the image subjects no longer exist, yet live on today, albeit modernised or evolved.” A selection of images are also offered with a ‘Then and Now’ perspective, showing the change that has occurred in the last 100 years. ■ See for more details.



38 | December 14, 2013

The Irish Post


A sporting nation with everyone catered for SPORT, being a mainstay of Irish community life, loomed large in the Gathering. Every conceivable activity was represented — from the Mountain Biking Blitz in Co. Wicklow to the Dingle Walking Festival, and from yacht racing to dog-sled racing. GAA sports were naturally enough to the fore — from the All-Ireland championships in Croke Park to the Poc Fada in Co. Louth, where Ireland’s hurlers attempted to get their sliotars across the Cooley Mountains in as few strokes as possible — not as easy as it sounds. The Aer Lingus International Hurling Festival in Galway attracted teams from all over the world, including a fine representation of teams from Britain, while the Eurospar Cuisine de France Comórtas Peile Páidi Ó Sé 2013 football tournament in association with Irish Life and The Gathering Ireland 2013 attracted 48 Gaelic football teams from seven countries. The Irish Badminton Open attracted 500 of the top badminton players in the world, while in cricket a historical first took place — in September Ireland took on England at cricket. It was the Barmy Army — England’s legendary band of

supporters — against the Blarney Army. The long established sporting events in Ireland similarly rolled out the red carpet — the Royal Dublin Horse Show saw record crowds, as did Europe’s only first class race meeting, Laytown in Co. Meath. In August Dublin the Fighting Irish touched down at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium to for an epic clash against rival American college football team Navy. An electric atmosphere for the sold-out game marked the second time the historic match-up had come to Dublin. The battle between the two teams goes way back to 1927, making it one of the longest-running, uninterrupted traditions in American sports. But not to be outdone, 2014 also promises to be a stellar year for American football in Ireland. The Croke Park Classic will see the University of Central Florida host Penn State in their 2014 Season Opener in the GAA HQ on August 30. This big season opener will be the first time that UCF and Penn State have played outside the United States. The Croke Park Classic brings together Veteran Florida Knights Coach George

The facts and figures CULTURALLY and socially speaking, The Gathering 2013 has been a wonderful success with over 5,000 local gatherings. Communities have pulled together, returning emigrants have renewed family roots, and people from around the world have enjoyed a welcome of gargantuan proportions, whether they found Irish roots or not. Irish culture, from traditional music to creative writing has felt the benefit of incoming influences, visitors and artists. Ireland’s burgeoning culinary trade has benefited hugely from The Gathering, both in being able to display its traditional foodstuffs such as Clonakilty pudding to Carlingford Lough oysters. But of course, The Gathering had a very prosaic purpose — to get visitor numbers to Ireland up, and to

revitalise the local tourist and conference industry, a vital sector of Ireland’s economy. In this, The Gathering can be adjudged to have been a success. Tourist figures were up substantially. Up until the end of September figures showed that 326,000 extra visitors came to Ireland. In the conference sector many thousands of delegates attended international conferences organised by multi-nationals Alltech, Spar International. Fujitsu, Ernst & Young, Deloitte. As Declan Kearney head of communications for Aer Lingus put it to Forbes magazine, a US publication: “The Gathering as an initiative for driving inbound tourism has been major success. It’s already clear at this stage that it has worked and tourism numbers across the board are up six per cent.”

For info about visiting Ireland in 2014 go to…

O’Leary who was a mentor of Penn State Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien at Georgia Tech from 1995-2001.

THUMBS UP: Bunclody hurlers celebrating — 16 international teams took part in the Aer Lingus Hurling Gathering


The Irish Post

December 14, 2013 | 39

IRELAND A unique gift – The Certificate of Irish Heritage THE year of the Gathering gave many people the opportunity to come back to Ireland to discover more about their heritage. So why not surprise an Irish person you know with a special recognition of their cultural identity? The Certificate of Irish Heritage is a very unique product that recognises the many people worldwide who are of Irish descent. It is a permanent reminder of the deep emotional ties that link Irish families and their communities together, providing a great opportunity for people to reengage with Ireland and discover more about their family history and heritage. Anyone who was born outside the island of Ireland and who is of Irish descent can get a certificate. It shows the name of the person and details of up to two of their ancestors, their names, townland/village and county they came from. The Irish World Heritage Centre in Manchester presented

Tracing your Timeline

Maureen Fitzgibbon with a certificate in recognition of the work she has performed with the North West Group of Catholic Family History Societies. “This Certificate makes 20 years of work looking for my family roots worthwhile,” she said. Also among those who have received certificates is actor Daniel Day Lewis, US president Obama’s girls Malia and Sasha and former BBC Chief News Correspondent Kate Adie.

Get a discount THE Certificate of Irish Heritage are giving Irish Post readers a 20 per cent discount when you purchase a Certificate of Irish Heritage before December 31. Just quote Promo Code ABM6X. see www.heritage for more.

FAMILY ROOTS: Daniel Day Lewis receives his Certificate of Irish Heritage.

TRACING your Irish family roots is now more popular than ever thanks to the Gathering. That’s according to an Irish genealogy firm who are also the main researchers for British TV series Who Do You Think You Are? This year Timeline Research says it helped families from all over the world track down their ancestors for family gatherings being held in Ireland. Many families used this year as an opportunity to host family reunions, which prompted an expedition into their ancestral past to see what skeletons might have been lurking in the family closet,” said Timeline Director Nicola Morris. “What better way to break the ice with a long lost cousin than a discussion about great, great aunt Mary’s committal to the lunatic asylum in the 1860s!” She added: “We also met descendants of Irish emigrants who used this year to make the long awaited trip home to visit the home place of their ancestors. We were able to use land records and maps to identify the exact location of their ancestral home place and our visitors had the opportunity to walk the roads and boundaries of land their own family had once worked.” ■ See for more details.

Social and sporting: Leopardstown Christmas Festival WHEN it comes to Christmas, the annual Leopardstown Christmas Festival offers an exhilarating day out for racing fans, sporting fans and socialites alike. Held over four days, December 26-29, Leopardstown’s extensive facilities have become traditional hotspots for Christmas get-togethers and the most stylish gatherings around. Pick any day of this great racing festival and you will discover just what has made it into the ‘must-do’ tradition for generations of Irish people, decade after decade since 1888. Day 4 of the festival this year is the NYE Gathering Day which is also Day 1 of the NYE Festival in Dublin.

The day invites people from near and far, those who have moved away, their relatives and friends and invite them to relish a day of entertainment, with prestigious national hunt racing featuring the Ryanair Hurdle and a live concert from the renowned Irish artists Mary Black and Finbar Furey. For more information and on the full range of ticket options visit Special Offer: 2 tickets for A €20 when you enter the percen promo code “IRISHPOST” each adm tage of when purchasing your sold on th ission ticket e tickets online at donated to day will be the Lo Irish Centr ndon before December 20 HAVING FUN: Jockey Paddy Flood and Athlete Eamon e charity. (Saving of €30). Coughlan at Leopardstown Racecourse.

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Helenn Kellyy Genealogy can help you in your quest! Why not email today and ask for an estimate of the cost of possible research? As an accredited genealogist, Helen carries out all-Ireland family history research on behalf of clients and also lectures frequently on the subject in Ireland, ENGLAND, North and South America Helen also provides a range of unique services to individuals and groups who wish to carry out their own family history research during their stay in Dublin, such as: • Visitors who wish to avail of Helen’s one-hour consultancy service which empowers them to make the most of their precious time in Dublin • Visitors who opt for a fun-filled day as Helen guides and directs them in their research at Dublin’s various genealogical repositories

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40 | December 14, 2013

The Irish Post




In the garden this week… ■ PATHS: From now, up to and including late February, would be a particularly good time to inspect garden features such as paths, walkways and steps. Old gravel paths will be greatly improved by the addition of a little fresh, quality gravel. I stress the word ‘quality’. It doesn’t cost the world (delivery is the most expensive factor so if you can arrange this, then it will turn out to be much cheaper), it needs no maintenance apart from

occasional raking, and it can act as a kind of crunchy advance warning system of welcome and unwelcome visitors. Keep all hard landscaped areas free from discolouration, moss and algae. Jeyes Fluid will work wonders if mixed at the rate of an eggcup to one gallon of water. Apply via a watering can or sprayer. ■ MAPLES seem to be so intent on self-mutilation that all who

grow them should be concerned. I refer now to the Japanese forms which can develop unpredictable dieback of twigs (large and small) in their crowns. These appear as pale dead wood which could easily invite the onslaught of the dreaded and often mortal coral spot fungus. Good growing conditions help up to a point, but even the healthiest trees need watching. Free circulation of air around them has appeared helpful, although they

also like shelter from cold winds and draughts. By free circulation of air I mean removing any frosted foliage still adhering to the branch network and the removal of all material that has died back. The only answer I have found is constant watchfulness; a regular maple patrol to snap or snip off the dead extremities. By now (and it’s only December) I have come to know ever living bud and delicate branch on my maples-with immense pleasure.

DIEBACK: These areas on Japanese maple can attract coral spot fungus

Inspiring writers

QUESTIONS &ANSWERS Are garden shops selling less bulbs these days? I notice a huge decline in stocks locally. You are correct in your assumption. In my locality, once blessed with nine different garden shops, not a single outlet selling bulbs remains, and of the suburban garden centres, few hold any real selection or choice. Many outlets have had their fingers burned with unsold stock in recent times. Those who want choice bulbs nowadays are buying mail order from specialist suppliers.


Y ENTHUSIASM for enthused me in the finer points of gardening curls even this most wonderful hobby. I may faster as we never have been trained in approach the horticulture but I have been Christmas season. This time of willing to listen to my peers and to year, particularly, brings on a learn by questioning, reading, and kind of anxiety that threatens experimentation. It proves yet to fill me with trepidation. again, that it is not in college that So what do you think I do? Well, one makes the observation that when I was a younger man and Daphne’s are more scented by sometimes lost my way, reading night, not day, that the best shrub would always shepherd me. It still of all for attracting butterflies is does, so during the festivities, I Escallonia ‘bifida’ which flowers shall occasionally delve into the in August when all else is getting a world of writers whose vitality for little blown, and that spring bulbs plants will comfort and educate should never be larger than golf me. I shall read, again, some of the ball size and be equally as hard. writings by Christopher Lloyd, Other tips gleaned came through Robin Lane Fox and Vita Sackville sheer tenacity, not schooling, and West. these include removing the leaves Vita Sackville West (1892-1962) of nerines in late June rather than spent 16 years writing and bemoaning their persistence up to enchanting August. It does garden readers not interfere of the Observer with their newspaper. Her blooming. name became Watching legendary camellias has among the taught me that English bud-drop has gardening more to do with public, for she watering and wrote with a feeding in poet’s eye, a September than friendly cold or drought personal tone, at flowering and a literary time, and that prowess that branches of few before, or flowering since, seem able currant (Ribes) if to match. Her cut and put in a style was vase indoors, INSPIRING: Vita Sackville West warmly will always personal, and for this reason, bloom in a magnificent shade of people from all over Britain, sent white and not raspberry as is her cuttings, seeds, ideas, bulbs, normal when grown outdoors. books, tips on how to make good These practical tips may have compost, herbal remedies, even brought me a degree of popularity ways to prolong one’s lifespan. and success in recognised Thousands of non-gardeners read gardening circles but I am still the her articles too, because they liked last person to claim authority in writing which gave an elegant botanical nomenclature and performance amid the depressing identification or knowledge of headlines of the day — some whole families. For all that, I lust things never change. after yet more knowledge and the Over the years I have learned kind of friends that are better at from many of these authors and in this writing and gardening lark particular from many wonderful, than I can ever be. I still like what gracious, Irish gardening women I do and hopefully I can continue who have inspired, educated, and for many years to come.

BLUEBELLS: English and Spanish What is the difference between English bluebells and Spanish? English bluebells hold their blooms up along the side of their stems, the Spanish are produced all around the stem. Spanish bluebells are taking over in areas where English bluebells have been long established.

WHITE GARDEN: Vita Sackville West gardened with her husband Sir Harold Nicolson at Sissinghurst in Kent, pictured. It is one of the world’s most celebrated gardens attracting thousands of visitors each year. Robin Lane Fox wrote a new anthology on her a few years ago and this is worth sourcing


Keeping fit TO MAINTAIN your fitness over the long festive period, get out and about in the garden as much as possible, weather permitting of course. If you notice that the likes of candleabra primula roots have been exposed by the weather then cover them with some topsoil or old compost. Watch out for spring bedding also and firm as for the wallflowers. Left exposed to the elements they could easily come to harm, and in the process, and

Some of my best potted plants come from Mediterranean areas and many are hard to bring in under glass due to size. Do you think these would be safe to leave out during winter? Seeing as you live along the southern seaboard, I have no doubt they’ll be fine provided you wrap each in a bulky protective covering especially Agaves and abutilons. The Crinodendron should be fine.

rob you of a really good display in early spring. Take care not to damage any bulbs which are just about to push their snouts above ground. Inspect all sacking, bracken, straw or other material being used as protective cover on semi-tender plants. Gales over the festive season could easily destroy or blow them away. Who could forget the huge storm which swept the country during Christmas Eve 1997?

WALLFLOWERS, which by now should be growing strongly, can be given a light dressing of garden lime to promote further growth… and to give them the thrill of a lifetime. A second application of a fist-full per yard run of plants will do wonders in early March, for much of what’s applied now could be leached away by then. Following the recent very severe frosts, firm the plants, for like all members of the Brassica family, wallflowers like to grow in really compacted ground.

Wallflowers should be well firmed in.

The Irish Post


December 14, 2013 | 41



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SITUATIONS VACANT Mental Health Support & Liaison Worker £31,000 Pro Rata, Fixed Term Part-Time: (18.75 hours) This is a great opportunity for an experienced and dynamic person to work with the Centre’s Clinical Staff and the Chief Executive Officer to support young Irish people who require mental health and practical help in Brent. Experience of providing support to young people on an individual basis and giving advice/guidance is essential. The candidate must have knowledge and understanding of the issues that face young people and experience of working with a network of voluntary, statutory and community agencies. The applicant should have an interest in working with Irish young people and understanding issues around mental health in the Irish population. This post has been funded by the Irish Youth Foundation. Closing date for applications: 10th January 2014 Interviews on: 17th January 2014 For further information please contact Jameel Ukaye on or 0207 328 0918

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The Irish Post

December 14, 2013 | 43


JOHN DALTON Ardee, Co. Louth and Brixton-Hill, London. Died 15th December 2001. Remembering you is easy, We do it every day, Missing you is the heartache, That never goes away. From your loving wife Breda, son John, daughter Elaine, and grandson Michael.

Tom McManamon Who died on 15th December 2006

It’s been seven long years since you went away, We fought so hard to keep you, but you just couldn’t stay. We like to think of you, somewhere over the rainbow, Smiling still, as you shake your head and play that banjo.

We miss you Tom All our love forever Maria, Cathy, Tony, Steven, Jack and Sue X

Birthday Remembrance 3RD ANNIVERSARY In loving memory of

EAMONN MAGEE late of Bermondsey, S. E. London and formerly of Kildare Town Who died on the 16th of December 2010


JOSIE DUFFY (nee Magee) Who died 3rd February 2013 in Haverhill, Suffolk.

ROSE MULHAIR (nee Magee) Who died 7th November 2010 in Kildare town. Much in life will change, much in life is new. One thing never alters, our love and thoughts of you. Sadly missed by all the family. Rest in Peace

2ND ANNIVERSARY In Loving memory of

NORA DUFFICY (nee Cunningham) of Great Barr, Birmingham and formerly of Analong, Newry, County Down. Who passed away on 15th December 2011. May the roads rise up to meet you May the wind be always at your back. May the rain fall soft upon your fields And the sun shine warm upon your face Until we meet again. Nora is deeply missed by her husband Maurice, her children Richard, Celine and Annamarie, son-in-law Paul, grandchildren Laura and Matthew, her six brothers and sisters and large extended family and friends. Anniversary mass to be confirmed.

PATRICK FLAVIN Late of Hatfield, England, born Trien, Kilmorna, Listowel 5th Anniversary, 15 December 2013 Your memory is a keepsake With which we will never part God has you in His keeping We have you in our hearts Sadly missed by your children Patrick, Margaret, Denis & all your family

In loving memory of

DAN GALLAGHER Late of Rathmullan, Co. Donegal and London who died suddenly on the 11th November 2013 and whose funeral took place in Rathmullan, Co. Donegal on 14th November 2013 Mass will be offered at St. Gabriel’s Church St. John’s Villas, Archway N19 3EE at 6.30pm on Saturday 14th December 2013 for the repose of his soul. Sadly missed by his brothers, sisters, relatives and friends – There was only one Dan Joe R.I.P

In ever loving memory of

Elizabeth “Betty” Hession of Croydon, Surrey formerly of Midleton, Co. Cork Who died on the 31st August 2010 aged 62 years. Sadly missed by her Husband, Children, Grandchildren, friends and Family. Death hides but it cannot divide, Thou art on Christ’s other side. Thou with Christ and Christ with me, And so together still are we. You are still an inspiration who touched many lives, especially those in need. Your life was not forever but the love for you goes on.



It is with much regret that we announce the death of well known Publican Thomas Mangan (Tom), who passed away peacefully at his residence in London on Thursday, 5th December. Formerly of Dooyork, Geesala, County Mayo, deeply regretted by his loving wife Peggy and family and a wide circle of friends. His funeral Mass will take place at St Erconwalds RC Church, 112 Carlton Ave, Wembley HA9 8NB, on Friday 13th December at 10am, followed by burial at Carpenders Park Cemetery, Oxhey Lane, WD19 5RL. May he rest in peace

5th Anniversary

Tony Hickey

Who passed away 13th December 2008 Every moment of everyday, you are never far away. Always in our thoughts, forever in our hearts So dearly loved, so sadly missed by Mary McGlynn and family.

Ninth Anniversary In loving memory of JULIA McNEILL nee Berkery of Killoscully, Tipperary and Colindale, London who left us on 12th December 2004. No farewells were spoken, we did not say goodbye, You were gone before we knew it, and only God knows why. Sadly missed by your husband Gabriel, your daughter Deirdra and all the family. Mass to be held at 12noon on Sunday the 15th December at The Annunciation Church, Burnt Oak HA8 0HQ

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FUNERALS PATRICK RYAN & DAUGHTER Catholic Funeral Directors, 6 South Ealing Road, Ealing, W5. Tel 020 8567 1664. Also at 49 Oldfield Lane South, Greenford. Tel 020 8813 1449. Funerals arranged in the UK and to all parts of Ireland. Irish-made coffins and caskets with religious figures. Pre-paid plan available. Members of SAIF.

HOLIDAY WEST & MID-WEST FANORE, BALLYVAUGHAN, CO. CLARE. West Burren, luxury houses sleeping 27. Overlooking Galway Bay, Aran Isles. 00353 872410959. MAYO, KNOCK, BESIDE SHRINE. Selfcatering apartments daily/weekly, also Railway Lodge apartments in Claremorris. Linen supplied, all modcons, car park, central location. Tel 00353 9493 88 591; mobile 00353 86 607 2379.

ADVERTISING DISCLAIMER While every care is taken to check advertisements, we would advise readers to try as far as possible to assure themselves that offers are of a bona fide nature before parting with money. Neither The Irish Post or its employees can be held responsible for the failure of advertisers to meet any of their responsibilities.

LAND FOR SALE CHARLESTOWN, CO. MAYO, IRELAND 1/2 acre site for sale. Full planning permission, until 2019. 5 mins drive from Ireland West Airport. Site 2 min walk from town centre. £26k ONO. Email-

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PRAYER DEAR SACRED HEART In the past I have asked for many favours, I ask now for this special one. Take it Dear Sacred Heart and place it in your own broken heart. When your Father sees it, then in his merciful eyes, it would be your favour, not mine. MD. GRATEFUL THANKS to The Sacred Heart, Our Lady and St Martin for favours received. AD. GRATEFUL THANKS to The Sacred Heart and The Blessed Virgin Mary for prayers answered. CC.

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The Irish Post



St Brendan’s celebrates PICTURES BY CHRIS EGAN ST BRENDAN’S GAA Birmingham swapped Pairc na hÉireann for the Birmingham Irish Centre ballroom for this year’s annual dinner dance and presentations. Senior coach Sean Dundas took the opportunity to re-cap on a successful year commentating on the success of the senior and intermediate teams. A special mention was given to the influx of Irish-born players this year and the valuable contribution they were making to the club both on and off the pitch. The juvenile teams’ successful year was also highlighted with a standing ovation was given to the Under 16 team, who earlier that day had won the Warwickshire U16 final. Following the presentations the Full Sha Bang provided the entertainment and took the celebrations into the early hours.

FULL HOUSE: A capacity crowd at the Irish Centre in Birmingham for the St Brendan’s GAA dinner dance.

RIGHT HAND MAN: David Baxter was given special recognition on the night.

THUMBS UP: Up the Dubs for the Doyle and Fitzimmons families. The Fitzsimmons came over from Dublin for the presentations.

BLACK DRESSES: Ruth Connolly, Beth Donaghy and Kate Lynch.

SENIOR HIGH: It’s been a year to celebrate for the St Brendan’s Senior Team. ALL SMILES: Dean Spencer, Adam Daniels and Raj Shroff.

WINNING DUO: Joint Players of the Year Jack Doyle and Fergal Hartnett. Fegal also received the Young Player of the Year award.

GOLDEN BOY: The Golden Boot goes to Jack Jeffcote.

FAMILY TIES: Three generations, one name: Mossy, Mossy and Mossy Hartnett.

GIRL POWER: Tara, Emma, Anna and Caroline received special thanks from the club for their support throughout the year.

The Irish Post

December 14, 2013 | 45



a cracking good year LADY IN RED: Holly Redmand, Marlyn Graham, Rose Hartnett, Mille Finn and Kathy Byrne.

CUP TIE: Reasons to be cheerful, Under 16 manager Martin Lantern.

TEAM SPIRT: Fresh from their Warwickshire under 16 win, St Brendan’s Under 16’s.

LADIES NIGHT: Karen Cunningham, Maria McDaid and Helen Keane. ALL SMILES: Fiona Cunningham, Siobhán and Nuala Conway, Laura Brady and Sarah Conlon.

FAMILY SUPPORT: Young player of the year and joint player of the year Fergal Hartnett (centre in white shirt) with family.

TOP MAN: Clubman of the year Mossy Hartnett.

VIPS: Special guests Annie and Michael Collins, Warwickshire GAA Chairman.

EXTRA SPECIAL: Micky McGowan received special recognition on the night.

DSC2196 Ann Doherty and friends.

SILVER SPREAFD: St Brendan’s Committee pictured with its silverware.

PARENT’S PRIDE: Gary Haden and guests - some of the proud Under 16 team parents.

46 | December 14, 2013

The Irish Post


There is a £30million difference between the annual budgets of Connacht and Toulouse VICTORIOUS: Connacht’s Michael Swift and John Muldoon celebrate after the match

RUGBY The Wild Geese come up short at Hartpury Hartpury College London Irish Wild Geese

31 26

National Division 2 South BY JOHN S HUNTER

Connacht shock mighty Toulouse CONNACHT recorded one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Heineken Cup with a 16-14 win away to Toulouse. On a weekend when Irish teams completed a clean sweep of victories, The Westerners claimed a huge scalp over the four-time champions. “We had a lot of belief coming to this game. Although we are at the bottom of the table this year, every single game we played we could have won,” said delighted coach Pat Lam. “We have a team with no superstars. We missed so many opportunities throughout

the season but we still came here confident. We just had to make sure that everyone did their job. “There was a lot of trust out there. I’m very proud of that. Last week against Edinburgh we should have won comfortably but they scored three tries in the last five minutes. “At the time it hurt, but it might be the best thing that could have happened to us. We had a look at our shape and it was badly wrong. We spent a lot of time at the start of the week getting back to our defensive shape. “When we had that we were able to put

pressure on Toulouse. We’re very happy that the boys were able to do that because then we could play as a team.” Following the 16-14 over triumph at Stade Ernest Wallon Connacht are back in the hunt for a Heineken Cup quarterfinal place. Lam continued: “At half-time we mainly talked about ourselves, about playing our game. I said: ‘they’re giving us opportunities; we just need to recognise them’. The homework we did on them paid off. Every time we attacked, we had opportunities. “The try they scored before half-time

happened because someone left the gate open; it was just a bad call, a system error. We’re alive, and now we have to go and do the same in our own backyard.” Kieran Marmion scored Connacht’s try with Dan Parks kicking two penalties, a conversion and a drop goal. Toulouse scored tries in either half through Jean-Pascal Barraque and Thierry Dusautoir but they could not find a way to break down the Connacht defence. The French heavyweights had not been beaten at Stade Ernest Wallon for five years in the tournament.

Bonus-point wins for Munster, Ulster and Leinster Heineken Cup round-up MUNSTER moved to the top of Heineken Cup Pool 6 as they demolished Perpignan 36-8 at Thomond Park. The injury-hit French side are known for their poor away form, only scoring one win on the road since March, and Munster built a 22-0 half-time lead without hitting top gear. A breakaway score from manof-the-match Keith Earls supplemented tries from forwards Sean Dougall and David Kilcoyne as Rob Penney’s men coasted clear. Perpignan captain James Hook responded with a penalty and Munster had to be patient for their bonus point reward which arrived when a 66thminute penalty try sealed their five-point return before James Couglan and Joffrey Michel exchanged late efforts.

Significantly however, the Irish province look set to be without scrum-half Conor Murray for next week’s trip to the Stade Aime Giral after he injured his right knee in the first half. At Franklin’s Gardens, Brian O’Driscoll orchestrated a masterful 40-7 victory for Leinster. Finishing with the man of the match award, O’Driscoll created the opening two touch downs for Luke Fitzgerald on a humiliating evening for Northampton Saints that saw them concede the bonus point as early as the 37th minute. Jamie Heaslip and Eoin Reddan also crossed in the first half as Leinster issued a statement of intent in their quest to claim a fourth Heineken Cup crown. The visitors led 26-0 at the interval in the first meeting between the teams since the 2011

final and the rout continued after the break with O’Driscoll, playing his first Heineken Cup match of the season, and Fitzgerald adding further tries. Ulster further tightened their grip at the top of Pool Five with a seven-try 48-0 victory over bottom side Treviso in the first leg of their back-to-back clashes. First-half tries from Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall and John Afoa gave unbeaten Ulster a commanding 22-0 lead, which was added to by further touch downs from Dan Tuohy, Sean Doyle, Andrew Trimble and then a second from Marshall — who had been sin-binned early in the second half. Jackson also ended the evening with 13 points to his name from a try, five conversions and a penalty while Darren Cave posted an outstanding game and was the provider for two of the scores.

TOUCH DOWN: Munster’s Sean Dougall scores a try

AFTER seriously underperforming the previous Saturday, London Irish came back to something like their best form when they were slightly unfortunate to lose narrowly at Hartpury. It still represented a missed opportunity for a win, with far too many penalties conceded in the second half particularly when the Wild Geese were the dominant side. Hartpury opened the scoring with a converted try after 10 minutes but full-back Oscar Thomas responded for London Irish five minutes later with a penalty to make the score 3-7. Hartpury extended their lead with a penalty after 21 minutes and a try after 33 minutes. Thomas cut the deficit twice before half-time with penalty goals, interspersed by one penalty to Hartpury, to leave the interval score at 18-9 to the home team. Hartpury seemed to have put the game beyond the reach of the Wild Geese within a minute of the restart with a converted try. After this, London Irish gradually put pressure on their hosts and showed their character. A try by replacement scrum-half Tom Eastham, converted by Thomas, after 17 minutes, laid down a marker, and the Wild Geese were definitely back in the game when they scored again after 24 minutes through lock Andy Evans, again converted by Thomas, to narrow the deficit to two points. Unfortunately, the spate of penalties against London Irish told on them, and Hartpury profited twice from kicks at goal in the last 15 minutes. A penalty goal from Thomas in injury time was all that the Wild Geese could muster to leave the final score at 26-31. Hartpury are the leagueleaders but, it has to be asked, did London Irish give them too much respect in the first half particularly? On the day, Hartpury were well drilled, always dangerous with the ball in hand, and had most of the possession. The Wild Geese scrum was again dominant (though they lost one head) and — if only that spell of forward pressure in the second half could have been maintained. However, on the positive front, London Irish are accumulating more league bonus points than the teams around them, which may count for a lot in the final reckoning. London Irish Wild Geese: T Smallbone, S Tolmie, J Cronin; A Evans, A Dewdney; S Moore, S McKinney, R Crossland; E Hoadley, E Keohane; G Owen, S Cunningham (Capt.), B Kitching, S Catterall; O Thomas. Replacements: C Connor, E Fraher, J Hoare, T Eastham, I Cross.

The Irish Post

December 14, 2013 | 47


London Irish’s win over Stade Francais ends a run of six consecutive defeats for the Exiles


Exiles return to form with Stade victory London Irish Stade Francais

24 13

Amlin Cup


ONDON IRISH ended their recent losing run with a 24-13 Amlin Cup win over Stade Francais. Man-of-the-match Shane Geraghty created an excellent try for Tom Fowlie to set Irish on the way with Alex Lewington crossing after a fine pass by Darren Allinson. Irish are now five points clear at the top of Pool 5 and favourites to go through to the knockout stage. Forwards coach Glenn Delaney said: “Up front Stade Francais have been outstanding and our guys have taken a bit of a battering. “Our front row was under pressure to perform and it was an outstanding response. “Stade are big human beings and a very talented team. We had a plan and for the first time we executed it for the full 80 minutes. “I know we finished the game with uncontested scrums, but you have to get it right up front. Then you can move on. “The belief of the guys was incredible. “We are under no illusions about what follows this week. It will be a pretty spicy encounter.

“This performance puts us in the ascendancy in the pool, but we are not counting any chickens. “We want to get better each week and we took a small step towards that today.” No-one epitomised Irish’s determination more than their outstanding back-row forward Chris Hala’ufia. Delaney said: “I don’t know what he had for breakfast, but he was hitting everything in sight. “His individual physicality just inspired the players around him. “If you are going into battle, you want him with you — not on the other side. “His tackling today was ferocious. He carries, he gives us go forward. “When you are playing against big teams, you have to have a talisman who gets you over the gain line and he does that time and again. “The centres Guy Armitage and Fergus Mulchrone did that well for us too. “Chris had a carry and then they would get us over the gain line and that kept us moving up the park. “Having them play like that allowed Darren Allinson and Shane Geraghty to boss the game.” Irish play Stade on Saturday in the return fixture in Paris.

CROSSING THE LINE: Alex Lewington of London Irish dives over to score a try as Shane Geraghty celebrates during the Amlin Cup match against Stade Francais

48 | December 14, 2013

The Irish Post


Hurricane Fly has been crowned Racehorse of the Year for the second time

Prospect of fatherhood makes racing worries seem less important M

Y WIFE Aimee is pregnant. I wasn’t sure whether to start the column with that piece of information but then it already is, and will be, a life changing event for me. The baby is due in March and coming in most evenings now, Aimee is telling me to put my hand on her belly. There are plenty of times I get home and bring my work with me; I’d be giving out about not getting a “jump” on this horse or getting “jockedoff” that one. But all that doesn’t feel quite as important or frustrating at the moment. I’ve spoken to lots of lads in the Weigh Room who told me that when the baby is born, I’ll come home in the evening and close the door on racing until the next morning. I’m looking forward to that because I do find it hard to switch off at times and am enjoying a taste of it already. Now, if I write any more about babies I’ll be accused of going soft.

I’ve spoken to lots of lads in the Weigh Room who told me that when the baby is born, I’ll come home in the evening and close the door on racing until the next morning. I’m looking forward to that because I do find it hard to switch off at times No better time to move on to the hard call Dickie Johnson made on Saturday when he was given the chance to ride Chance Du Roy in the Becher Chase at Aintree. Dickie’s ride was withdrawn for the race and Philip Hobbs and the owners were happy for him to switch across at the expense of Tom O’Brien who was down to ride the horse. Big respect for Dickie, he told them that Tom had put in the work and he deserved to be left on Chance Du Roy — who went on to win the race. I can honestly say I would not have been so generous. I reckon most jockeys in the Weigh Room would have the same viewpoint. But fair play to Richard Johnson, he left behind a big winner at a big

The Jockey’s Journal With Dougie Costello

Saturday meeting not to mention the pot of cash that went with it. Tom O’Brien was left with the spoils but on the way home I was left thinking more about Dickie Johnson’s generous gesture. That was Aintree; I was at Sandown, riding Liberty Court for Tim Vaughan and Calculated Risk for John Quinn. Both finished down the field but Calculated Risk had a decent outing on dead ground. The pace was slow, he would have preferred it faster and there’s a big race in this fella when the beat of better ground arrives. Calculated Risk might even be a County Hurdle horse come Cheltenham. Earlier in the week I rode a winner for Tony Coyle in Southwell. Billy Cuckoo was his name and it was nice to pop one in for the trainer. Tony’s yard is not far from John Quinn’s in Malton, North Yorkshire and I know him from my time back in Ireland when I used to do work for Tom Taaffe. He is sharp, and is in the habit of having his horses right come race day. The aftertaste of riding Lord Windermere lingered on over the week too. I was surprised at the amount of people who brought it up in respect of me picking Lord Windermere up as a spare for the Hennessy Gold Cup. It was a nice bit of publicity but there is more to focus the mind this week. Before the new baby, there’s a new house and lots of buckets of paint that need opening. I’ll be pitching in as much as I can, between touring the tracks. There probably won’t even be time for some belly patting. This week’s selections: ■ £10 each way Unioniste, 2.25 Cheltenham Saturday, at 10-1 with BetVictor Last issue’s results: ■ £5 each way Join Together, Betfred Becher Handicap Chase, 2.05 Aintree, Saturday at 16-1 with Racebets. Result 14th. Return -£10 Net return: -£10 Current kitty: £2,571.94 Profit to date (since June 2009): £2,471.94

RACING GOOD FORM: Dickie Johnson, winning here on Killa Quay, showed his class at the weekend by allowing Tom O’Brien to ride and win on Chance Du Roy

The Irish Post


December 14, 2013 | 49

Anthony Stokes’ goal in Friday night’s 5-0 win over Motherwell was the first from a Celtic striker since Amido Balde’s in the 2-1 win over Partick Thistle on October 27

Do Rangers lack the financial muscle to ever challenge Celtic again? ONEFORTHEBHOYS

By Richard Purden


RGUABLY Celtic v Rangers is the greatest club rivalry in the world, but what does the future hold for the fixture and will it ever be the same again? Debates continue about both clubs going to play in England or a North Atlantic league, a proposition that polarises supporters. Expressing that you miss the Celtic v Rangers fixture is something that stirs up varied and emotional opinion. After Celtic comfortably beat Hearts 7-0 to gift them a joint worst home defeat in their history, Chris Commons stoked controversy simply by saying he fancies Rangers in the cup: “I would fancy playing Rangers any time. They’re fantastic games, awesome, not just for fans and players but the media as well.” The Daily Record said he was caned for the suggestion. But why? Charlie Mulgrew equally found himself having to explain similar previous comments on Twitter: “In my opinion the league is more exciting with Old Firm games, any player in Scotland would agree. I didn’t say they should be let back in.” Perhaps it’s important to establish that no Celtic player or

DIVIDE: Celtic fans are split on whether or not they miss games against Rangers fan is likely to suggest that Rangers should skip any part of their punishment but in the likelihood that they will return to the Scottish Premiership, there’s no shame in admitting how much we miss that encounter. We don’t miss the violence and the people hating — but there’s nothing wrong in wanting to

beat your greatest rivals in a competitive sports match. We all miss the sense of occasion that these games bring but you have to ask the question though, will it ever be the same again? Last Thursday Celtic amplified the chasm between their finances and those of Rangers when they revealed a

Clutha tragedy makes light of Scotland’s divided society LIKE everyone in Scotland I watched in disbelief as news broke about the Clutha Vaults bar tragedy. Quite often the country is portrayed as being divided; Highlander or Lowlander, East Coast or West Coast, Catholic or Protestant, Celtic or Rangers ... the list goes on. But in the face of such sorrow and adversity the feeling was one of solidarity. The Clutha is a bar most Celtic fans will have enjoyed a pint in over the years, a Glasgow institution and bastion of music and community. It’s fair to say Neil Lennon is not just the Celtic manager, he is the public face of Celtic. Lennon paid his respects laying a wreath before taking a look at tributes lining the street in front of the bar. He said: “It’s an unforeseen tragedy that’s affected the whole city, and the city is united in grief at the minute. “There’s an eerie atmosphere around the place at the minute, which you can understand.

“I was out myself on Friday night with some friends when I heard, so it puts a lot of things in perspective.” One of the nine victims, Gary Arthur, 48, was the father of student Chloe Arthur, a Celtic and Scotland women’s football player. Lennon paid tribute to Miss Arthur along with the other eight victims: “Our own club has been affected indirectly with a young girl who plays with the ladies’ team losing her father, so I just wanted to come down on behalf of the club and pay respects to all the people involved. “It’s very difficult for me to find the right words at this time for [victims and families] but, on behalf of myself and the club and the Celtic support, we’re all thinking of you and you’re very much in our thoughts and prayers at this time. “This has been a terrible accident that will affect so many people, not just those in Glasgow.”

market worth of £95.7 million. At present their significant £70 million lead on Rangers looks set to grow. Shares for the Hoops rose to 76.5p on the stock exchange as Rangers’ share price nose-dived to the low of 39.5p. They have a current value £26.3 million. If majority shareholder Dermot

Desmond were to sell, he would secure a profit of £2million for the first time since buying out Fergus McCann back in 1999. At present we know the outcome of the domestic league before the first ball is even kicked, when Rangers do come back, who is to say things will be any different?

SPORT Bhoys-Barca the special relationship TODAY we face Barcelona in our final Champion’s League match of the term, it’s a relationship that has been further strengthened over the last two campaigns. Last season when Celtic celebrated its 125th anniversary with a mass served at St Mary’s in the Calton, it was attended by representatives from Barcelona prior to the clubs’ memorable encounter the following evening. Speaking in September Lionel Messi had this to say about Celtic: “I’ve been fortunate to play in some great stadiums in Europe with Barcelona but none compare to Celtic.” Iniesta speaking last year said: “The Celtic fans are very special and the club and players can be very proud of them. “They are the best I have ever heard and I am sure playing in front of a crowd like that can make a big difference for the players.” Over many years, the feeling of warmth between fans of both clubs and the many Barca players who have paid homage to Celtic speaks for itself. None of us will forget the magical nights of late against the likes of Barcelona, Spartak Moscow, Benfica and Milan — all cherished glamour ties. We also learnt that the hand of friendship is not extended from every club we play against in Europe. Our recent encounter with Ajax proved that. The atmosphere throughout Glasgow was palpable and I’ve not felt that air of menace in the city perhaps since the aftermath of when we played Rangers in the Scottish Cup replay of March 2011.

PRAISE: Barca’s Lionel Messi

PAYING RESPECTS: Celtic manager Neil Lennon at the Clutha Vaults bar

50 | December 14, 2013


The Irish Post

1998 was the first time a manager from outide these islands won the Premier League



NEXT GENERATION: Robbie Keane and Damian Duff in 1998

Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne and Damian Duff broke through at once and backboned the Irish team for more than a decade. But where is the next generation of talent? By Garry Doyle

IT IS 15 years since Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne and Damien Duff matured from child stars into men. In the blink of an eye, they went from blowing out the candles on their 18th birthday cakes to walking out with the first-team at Wolves, Everton and Blackburn. And given how Ireland’s national team had grown old, the timing of their arrival couldn’t have been more appropriate. A year or so earlier, Andy Townsend, Ray Houghton, Paul McGrath and John Aldridge had left the stage. But these guys were ready to grab hold of the baton and run with it, which they did, forming the bedrock of the Irish side, along with Shay Given and Kevin Kilbane, for more than a decade. But time moves on and so do players. Given, Kilbane and Duff are the 2013 version of Townsend, Houghton and McGrath, solid citizens who served their country well but whose career belongs to the past. It’s the future that concerns us now, though, because unlike 1998, there aren’t ready-made replacements emerging from Irish youth sides into Premier League firstteams. Robbie Brady, the best talent Ireland has produced in recent years, had to leave Old Trafford for first-team football. That’s the new reality. That 1998 should act as our starting point is appropriate, because that was the year English football really changed, much more so than 1992, when the Premier League was formed, much more so than 1994 when the World Cup ended and its stars arrived in England. In 1998, for the first year in the history of English football, a manager from outside the British Isles won the League. On the back of Arsene Wenger’s success, owners became obsessed with

shopping abroad for clones of the Frenchman. Some — like Chelsea when they discovered a young Jose Mourinho — struck oil in their search. Others — Christian Gross, Jacques Santini, Felipe Scolari — have been an imperfect fit. Yet they’re here now — nine of the Premier League clubs employing foreign managers, with Chris Hughton the solitary Republic of Ireland man among the fraternity. Never too numerous at the best of times, the dearth of Irish managers at the highest level in English football has had a clearly negative impact on the number of Irish players breaking through. David O’Leary, after all, championed Stephen McPhail’s cause when he was a teenager before losing faith in him when injuries took their toll. He also persisted with Ian Harte and Gary Kelly when he had an open chequebook available to purchase outsiders — £13 million of which he spent on Robbie Keane. And by the time Roy Keane held the reins at Sunderland, kids were being signed from Cork City — Roy O’Donovan and David Meyler — and playing Premier League football. Who else would have given them that chance? More to the point, who now will offer the 2013 equivalents an opening? Whereas once, Ireland formed part of the

Richard Dunne English club culture, at Old Trafford, Highbury and Anfield in particular, in today’s world it is a quaint concept. And it went that way from the moment Roman Abramovich walked into Stamford Bridge and bought Chelsea. He wasn’t the first foreign owner of an English football club but he was by far the most significant. Money talks and players walk. They arrived in south-west London from the Ivory Coast, Romania, Italy, Russia — from wherever they were needed. As a result, England’s big two became a big three and

English clubs used to stick to Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Now, they go right across the globe. I was at Chelsea as part of my pro-licence course a few years ago and we saw young lads getting out of big fancy cars with their families to have trials or sign — Brian Kerr for a while a few Irishmen — Duff, Roy Keane, John O’Shea — clung on for the ride but when O’Shea left Old Trafford in 2011, so too did an assured Irish presence in the Champions League. Worse again, from an Irish perspective, was the trend of foreign owners — there are 11 of them now — acquiring English clubs. Without Irish representation at board or managerial level, scouting networks tend to stay with what they trust. Plus, the world is a smaller place than it was in 1998. Shopping abroad is as easy, and as cheap, as going to Ireland. “There is no doubt the football world has changed,” says Brian Kerr, the former Ireland manager. “English clubs used to stick to Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Now, they go right across the globe. I was at Chelsea as part

of my pro-licence course a few years ago and we saw young lads getting out of big fancy cars with their families to have trials or sign. “We met Steve Clarke and he explained the club’s world-wide coaching network. Conor Clifford (an Irish Under 21 international) was there at the time, playing for their under 17 team. “I remember thinking ‘they are giving him a bit of an education but it’s unrealistic for this club for these kids to think that they have a chance of getting into the first team’. “And that has proved to be true. At the time I was a bit suspicious of the head of the academy, Frank Arnesen, about the whole thing and the motivation and

Great green hopes ■ Ian Lawlor, the 19-year-old, 6ft 4in Manchester City keeper is a graduate of Dublin’s famous Home Farm club. Has played for the City first team in pre-season games. ■ Sean Murray, English-born Watford midfielder qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents. The 20-year-old has made 48 first-team for the Hornets since 2010, scoring 10 goals. ■ Michael Drennan, 19 and from Co Kilkenny an Aston Villa striker who “scores goals for fun” according to the club’s academy manager Bryan Jones. Starred in the NextGen European series last season, finishing as top scorer in the competition with six goals.

the honesty of it. “They told me that the ambition was to have one player to come through for the first team and one in the squad from the youth team every year in the next five to six years. But that has not happened. And that story is symptomatic of the whole thing in England now. That is what Irish kids are up against.” It isn’t all worrying, though. The talent is still out there. Yet it trickles into our conscience now through backwaters rather than down the mainstream. Brady and Meyler went to Hull and the Championship and have come back to the Premier League as better players. James McCarthy came to Everton, currently in the top four, via Hamilton and Wigan. Seamus Coleman’s initial breakthrough was at Sligo not at the Goodison Academy. Kerr says: “I don’t think that the way those guys made it to Everton or Hull is a demonstration of a lack of ability, just more of a reflection of the way it is. “It’s different now.” Yet Kerr, and others, firmly believe the cream will always rise to the top, that if a kid has patience and determination, then their talent will be spotted. That’s certainly the hope with Ian Lawlor, a goalkeeper at Man City, Sean Murray, an attacking midfielder at Watford and Michael Drennan, an Aston Villa forward. “There still seems to be plenty of players bubbling up who might not be at the top but seem to be not too far away,” says Kerr. The numbers are certainly out there. But is the quality? Time will tell. But it will be an anxious wait to see if they make it.

The Irish Post


December 14, 2013 | 51

Before scoring twice in his last three Premier League games, Stephen Ireland’s last top flight goal was in December 2011


Irish soccer right to shun bookies and back players COMMENT BY GARRY DOYLE


T MAY be hard to believe but the game in Ireland is one person — one rogue — away from the type of crisis not seen since Saipan. Certainly that is the concern of the Irish Players Union Secretary, Stephen McGuinness, who, as a former player, is well prepped on dressing room culture. Gambling is a big part of that culture yet while it seemed a harmless vice during McGuinness’ playing career at St Pat’s, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk, these days there is a more sinister background attached to it. Fearing that eastern European and Asian gangs are targeting hard-up, vulnerable League of Ireland players to engage in their match-fixing scams, McGuinness is planning seminars right across Ireland to educate his members to the inherent dangers attached. “What concerns me,” says McGuinness, “is that once you get involved with these gangs, I don’t know whether there is a way out. FIFPro [the world players union] have shown examples to us of how people get beaten, how families get held to ransom. “We have to get it into our players’ heads, and let them know the practices these gangs use to get to them. It’s just incredible the level of detail they will go to — checking a player’s Facebook page or twitter account and then trawling after them. If they see a chink in their armour, they pounce. A year’s salary is what is on offer for men to influence a fixture. “The fact is that our league is in the target range of gangs because players get paid a small amount of money in a league where there is no live TV and is played during the

summer, at a time when no games go on anywhere else in Europe. It is worrying.” That McGuinness’ anxiety is justified is understandable after a year when the Longford player, Colm James, was banned by the FAI for 18 months after being found guilty of corruption and bringing the game into disrepute.

DARK SIDE OF THE BEAUTIFUL GAME: Danny Du Nan, Ministry of Public Security in China and speaker for match-fixing investigation during an Interpol conference earlier in the year

The fact is that our league is in the target range of gangs because players get paid a small amount of money in a league where there is no live TV and is played during the summer But while McGuinness is wise to gambling’s dangers — he also reckons the FAI should profit from the industry, not through a sponsorship deal with a Ladbrokes, Boylesports or Paddy Powers — rather from a different route. Aware that Horseracing Ireland receives one per cent of all betting tax — McGuinness wants the FAI to get a similar intake from football-related bets. “There was one Setanta Cup game on a Monday night last year when up to €1.4million was backed on it,” he says. “That’s off the scales for a league that generates crowds of just a few thousand. “It was not a case of irregular betting because the money was coming from all over the world, from Malaysia, everywhere — simply because The Setanta Cup games were the only ones on anywhere in the world that

night. That suggests a danger on one hand about how our players could be targeted, but also an opportunity on the other, about how that money gambled could be taxed in Irish football’s favour. “I spoke to John Delaney about this — saying the FAI should be getting money from the betting tax for supplying our fixtures.” Delaney has been lobbying government officials for nearly two years on this very concept, justifiably arguing that Horseracing’s betting income should be confined to its sport and that the tax on soccer bets

should be redistributed to the FAI. It’s a reasonable stance to make. Yet so too was the one the PFAI took last year when approached by two separate betting firms who offered €40,000 each to sponsor their annual dinner. For an organisation with modest resources, that was an astronomical sum to turn down. Yet they did so. And yet they are right to pursue the tax intake from soccer betting which, for no good reason, is horseracing’s preserve. That money from soccer is redistributed into another sport is a sore point, especially in this

long economic winter. Gambling money exists — in huge quantities — and the soccer authorities are justified in wishing to seek their slice of the pie. The FAI and the PFAI are spending their time and money educating players to the dangers of betting and betting syndicates. With the influx of cash this tax would bring, this project could be enhanced. Indeed, a host of projects could be enhanced. You could argue that there is a sense of moral ambiguity to taking gambling money from tax

and not from corporate sponsorship. With the tax though, crucially, you are not obliged to put the bookmaker’s name up in lights. There is purity in the desire to alert League of Ireland players — especially those in the First Division who earn a pittance, sometimes less than €10,000 a year — to the impact of accepting bribes from faceless gangs who target players. Accepting the lure of a quick buck from a gang must be tempting, yet it must be avoided. This is one of those games that is simply too dangerous to play.

Ireland to the fore as Stoke shock title contenders Chelsea Round-up, Irish footballers in Britain

Bolton Wanderers on loan last month, helping them to a 3-0 win over Doncaster Rovers.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Stephen Ireland scored one goal and made another as Stoke City beat Chelsea 3-2 at home. John O’Shea had a less auspicious weekend, deflecting a Moussa Dembele cross into his own net and give Tottenham a 2-1 away win over his Sunderland.

LEAGUE ONE: On-loan Aston Villa winger Jack Grealish scored his first senior goal in Notts County’s 3-1 win against Gillingham. He took the ball past three defenders before striking from the edge of the area.

CHAMPIONSHIP: Richard Keogh scored a header in Derby County’s 5-1 win over Blackpool. Jeff Hendrick came on with nine minutes to go as he continues to return to full fitness following three months on the sidelines with an ankle injury. Simon Cox scored the only goal in Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday. That makes it four goals in five games for the Ireland striker. Daryl Murphy headed the winner a minute from time in Ipswich Town’s 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town. Joe Mason scored his first goal since joining

FA CUP: James Berrett opened the scoring for Carlisle United in their 3-2 win against Brentford and set up a glamour tie against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in the third Round. Rotherham United lost 2-1 to Rochdale to slump out of the cup against lower league opponents. Lee Frecklington opened the scoring as Rochdale lost to Rotherham. SCOTLAND: Anthony Stokes was on target in Celtic’s 5-0 win away to Motherwell. The Bhoys are now seven points clear. James Collins bagged a late equaliser in Hibernian's 1-1 draw with Partick Thistle.

FINDING FORM: Stephen Ireland scored one and made another in the Potters’ win over Jose Mourinho’s side

52 | December 14, 2013

The Irish Post


Fullen Gaels have nine first team survivors from last season’s All-Ireland Club Junior final

GAA WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH: Fullen beating Bredagh en route to Croke Park last term

Fitting send off for TCG club stalwart BY STEVIE KEANE TIR CHONAILL GAELS Life President Patsy McGovern wants to officially say thanks to the London GAA community for a wonderful send off for his wife Pam, who sadly passed away recently. Pam was a dedicated Gael, working tirelessly for the TCG club and the London County Board, particularly in the 70s and 80s, giving up so much of her time. That appreciation was evident at her Requiem Mass on Monday, December 2, in the village of March in Cambridgeshire, when dozens of Gaels from many clubs were in attendance. The TCG club in particular were there in numbers, while members from various hurling and football clubs made the fourhour return journey for the funeral mass. Also there in force were members of the present London County Board and five London ex-County Chairmen, spanning over 30 years, as well as the Chairman of the Provincial Council, Brendie Brien, who personally knew Patsy and Pam for nearly 40 years. Patsy has being committed to the London GAA scene for over 40 years with him and Pam never shying away from the 200-mile round trip to Ruislip from their Cambridgeshire home. He wishes everyone within the London GAA scene the very best for the future and his full support in the ventures for the future. May Pam rest in peace.

Consistency of effort fires Fullen Gaels Preview: All Ireland JHC quarter-final, Fullen Gaels (Lancashire) v Ballinamere (Offaly), Pairc na hEireann, 12pm BY ROBERT MULHERN



Fixtures ALL-IRELAND Saturday Sunday Pairc na hEireann, Birmingham All Ireland JHC Quarter-Final, Fullen Gaels (Lancashire) v Ballinamere (Offaly), 12pm All Ireland JFC quarter-final, John Mitchels (Lancashire) v Emyvale (Monaghan), 1:45pm Ruislip, London All Ireland SFC quarter-final, Kingdom/Kerry Gaels (London) v Ballinderry (Derry), 1pm

Club notices Dulwich Harps We regret to announce the news of the passing of Con McLoone on Friday 6th December. Our thoughts and prayers are with the McLoone family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anaim dhílis. Youth GAA: Congratulations to the U15 boys team who competed

T IS difficult to pick players of note out of this current Fullen Gaels team. They remain backboned by a core of nine hurlers defeated in the final of last season’s competition, yet there appears no obvious imbalance between the established and the new. In many of their recent contests, eight or more players have finished on

successfully against the visiting Aussie Rules team in an International Rules fixture last weekend. Men’s and Ladies Football: Thank you to all our fantastic supporters again this season! Training will resume in February 2014. Handball: The one wall Handball sessions have finished for the season. Contact Niall for further info. Fr Murphys Fr Murphy’s Ladies Football & Camogie Club would like to thank all those who helped them to a very successful 2013 season, especially our main sponsor Clonakilty Black Pudding, as well as Castlefields, BCM Scaffolding,Thomas Cooke Accountants,O’Kane Irish Foods, Kennedy haulage/Kingdom Metal, The Limerick Exiles Association,ADI Supply,Addington Formwork,Premier Sport, Danny Sullivan Group, O’Donovan’s,Evans Mockler, T.Mitchell Plant Hire, Ardent Tide, Plant & Marine, M.P.Moran, Midas Productions, Juice Plus, Ground

the score-sheet so no one forward is weighed heavy heading into Sunday’s fixture with Offaly side Ballinamere. But of the score-getters, Kilkenny’s Paddy Duggan has been in eye-catching form — a skilful hurler who can score off either side and strikes the frees. The resolve of the defence has been just as collective with Antrim native Liam Knocker a totem at full-back. He has been a consistent and steadying presence while behind him Waterford’s Tom Goulding has been enjoying an excellent campaign. The goalkeeper has been in fine form, be it

Construction,O’Riordan’s,Tourism Ireland, and anyone else who has helped us throughout the year. The club are hotel a Christmas Draw on Wednesday December 18th at O’Riordan’s 3 High Street Brentford TW8 0DX, Tickets are £1.00 each, with some fantastic Prizes, A Clonakilty Hamper, donated by Clonakilty Black Pudding, A year’s supply of Barry’s Tea, donated by O Kane’s Irish Foods. A print of the All Ireland Hurling Champions Clare, plus several other prizes including bottles of Whiskey,Vodka, Wine etc. All are welcome evening gets under way at 8 pm. Plans are already made for the footballers trip to Kerry, for the Comortas Paidi O Se, from February 21 to 23 and following on from that the Camogie girls visit to Birmingham for the International Women’s Day tournament London Youth GAA Condolences London Youth Board would like to offer our sincere sympathy to Tara Club Treasurer Brenda Harte for the sad loss of her sister of Margaret O’ Connell.

shot stopping, pass selection or under the high ball. Preparations have been hampered by waterlogged pitches in recent weeks, but the Gaels have two tough contests with John Mitchels under their belts heading into this encounter. “We need 1-20 to perform to have a chance,” said manager Stan Murray Hession. “We’d three subs come on in the county final and all scored from play and we will need the full depth of our squad on Sunday. Absolutely, we need the players who were here last year to step up and perform when the going gets tough but those players alone won’t

Condolences and prayers sent to Margaret’s husband Paul and her two children Chloe and Oliver O’ Connell and to all the family and friends. Margaret’s remains will be received into St Sebastian & St Pancras Church, Hay Lane, NW9 ONG on Thursday evening the 12th of December at 7pm. Burial will take place on the 13th of December after 11am mass at St Sebastian & St Pancras Church and afterwards at Hendon Cemetery, Holders Hill Road, NW7 1NB. Afterwards back to Kingsbury Town Football Club, Townsend Lane, NW9 7NE. May she rest in peace. London Youths held their Presentation night on Friday the 29th of November at The Emerald Grounds in Ruislip. Chairman Tony Griffin opened up with a speech and thanked the London senior players and everyone for attending and showing their support for our young hurlers and footballer in London. He said that he was very pleased that all ages attended Ireland on trip whilst playing gaelic games. He thanked all the parents and coaches and

do it for us — we need everybody.” He added: “Ballinamere disposed of the Kilkenny champions so that’s the quality we are up against. I expect they will do the basics well and will be very fit. But I expect us to give a good account of ourselves. On too many occasions teams have come out of the British Provincial Championship and failed to perform at this level. Teams have done well against sides from Connacht and Ulster and less well against teams from Munster and Leinster. We have to step-up and meet the challenge on the day and I expect the conditions to be challenging also.”

managers for all their hard work throughout the year and said that these young people are our future senior London players and hope that they will get to train more than three months in the year with a bit more hard work and dedication they will be very good. Presentations were made to all ages from Under 14 Feile hurling and football teams, Under 16 and Under 18 football teams. U14 Feile Hurling Player of the year Charlie Lynn U14 Football South London Player of the year Will Ozono U14 football North London Feile Player of the year Oisín Bradley U16 London player of the year Dylan Kearney with Colm Lynott and Dave McGree U18 London player of the year Shane Buckley with Paul Caulfield and Lloyd Colfer Round Towers GAA Jackpot 2950 draw held in Feeleys , no winner. No’s drawn 04-08-10-21. £25 Tommy & Tim Lille Langtry; £15 Dave Millard Lillie Langtry; £10 Anne & Oisin Feeleys

Tir Chonaill Gaels Youth TCG Club Christmas Party (Adults only): The club’s annual christmas party takes place on Saturday 14th December at Greenford with a DJ, hot buffet, and plenty of craic. All welcome. Childrens Christmas Party: Our annual childrens christmas party takes place on Sunday15th December, 3 - 6 p.m. All our younger players and their families are most welcome to attend and meet Santa who will be taking time out from his busy schedule to make an early appearance at the club. Dont forget to play our club lotto on-line at St Brendans (London) Congratulation to Down man Joe Coulter who has accepted the post of senior team manager for 2014. Good luck for the year ahead. The AGM has been arranged for 12th January @5pm. If you are interesting in getting involved with the club in any capacity, please drop a note to

The Irish Post


December 14, 2013 | 53


John Mitchels have won three All-Britains in the last seven years

Mitchels seeking to peak again Preview: All-Ireland JFC quarter-final, John Mitchels (Lancashire) v Emyvale (Monaghan), Pairc na hEireann, Sunday 1.45pm BY RONAN EARLY


IVERPOOL’S John Mitchels are on the road to Croke Park, chasing a first All-Ireland JFC final appearance since 2009 when they lost by a point to Kerry’s Skellig Rangers. Emyvale present a formidable obstacle on that route. The AllBritain champions face the Monaghan and Ulster champions on Sunday at Pairc na hEireann. We spoke to Mitchels manager Barry Morris ahead of the game. The Enniskillen native has a long history with the club, having been on Merseyside since 1989. For now, though, he’s just focussed on the next few days; fine-tuning preparations for Emyvale and then ensuring his team reproduces the form they showed in the second half of the All-Britain final against Dunedin Connollys. “Training is going very well,” he says. “The panel have put in a huge effort all year. That hasn’t dropped since the Lancashire Championship win. Everyone’s pushing each other hard for places.” Morris admits that they will need all those options for the challenge of the visiting side

For matters regarding youth football contact Paul Hughes on 07815873202. To find out more about St Brendan’s contact Paddy Corscadden on 07974581144. St Brendans (Manchester) St Brendan’s GAA Club formed in 1959 in Manchester is well known throughout the region for its success of winning multiple Senior Championships. The club prides itself on bringing young lads through the ranks that were born here in the UK to Irish Parents or having roots from various parts of the emerald isle. The ladies club is now going through a re-launch and has started out very successfully this year. We are holding a fundraising night at our new sponsor on Friday 13th December at Mulligans of Deansgate and we are hoping to have great support on the night. We have obtained some outstanding prizes for the night and everyone is in with a great chance of winning something. The raffle tickets are being sold now and on the night for £2 per ticket

“They’ve had a great run in Ulster and won a closely-fought final with Killeeshal [1-6 – 0-6]. When you’re playing an AllIreland quarter-final it doesn’t really matter which club you’re playing, in that the team itself is going to be a huge task for any team over here. “We know they have Monaghan panellists and Monaghan minors so that level of training those guys are doing will be a bit higher than what any club side are doing so they’re going to be a formidable task. “We just concentrate on our own panel. At this stage it’s a toss of a coin on the day; what team has the hunger and the fight for it. I think you can do research on other teams at this stage but it sort of takes the focus off your own team.” Morris says that competition for places is the greatest asset his side has. He adds: “There’s great teamwork and a great effort being put in all year. That work on the training ground is transferring across to the matches. We wouldn’t be 100 per cent happy with all of our performances but certainly in the second half of the All-Britain final we showed what we’re capable of and we’ll need to bring that for the full game if we’re to have any chance on Sunday.” University football is strong in Liverpool, the likes John Moores and Hope shining in recent years.

However, the Mitchels team is not backboned by students. “University football is strong but we’ve always found that university players are either going to America for the summer or they’re going home to play with their clubs in Ireland so we tend to focus on lads that are staying on and working here,” says Morris. “Now we do have a couple of university lads that we’re grateful for but in general terms we find that most of them have plans elsewhere for the summer, which can distract from what you’re trying to achieve. “[Our players are] Mainly people who have been living in the city for the last number of years and also people who have finished at University and have stayed on working so that’s who we focus on. And obviously we’re doing a lot of work at underage level. Morris describes the catchment area as “just the city itself. Anybody outside it the Manchester clubs seem to snap up.” He added: “We’ve got a core base that’s been there the last number of years and we add a few fresh faces every year which keeps the whole thing going. “The link back to 2008, there’s probably about eight or nine lads from that era still about. The likes of Paddy Mulligan, John McDermott, Sean Rice, Philip Duddy.”

or 3 tickets for £5. Prizes include 5 star weekend breaks at top Irish hotels In Dublin, Kerry and the West. We have also obtained tickets to a Manchester United home fixture, fine dining meals at well known venues in Manchester including Rosso and San Carlos. We have had prizes also from the Palace Hotel Manchester for a weekend for two to stay in this excellent city centre hotel. We have also had an excellent dinner voucher from The Bowling Green and a fitness voucher from Habitual Fitness Chorlton. One of the aims of the club is to accommodate players at all levels of experience including beginners, intermediate and advanced. We welcome all to our club and it is important we get this message out. I am from a family of emigrants myself and understand the history of the Irish in Britain the tough times to the good times and I think it is important to recognise Irish people of all connections with open arms. We welcome people moving from

Ireland to the UK and we welcome people born in the UK who want to participate in such an amazing sport and organisation. We are going to be taking to the field to train in February and we are all very excited about the expansion of the club on the whole after an excellent year. So come on down to Mulligans and support us for a final bash of the year! Our sponsors Mulligans of Deansgate have been fantastic to us since day one. They have accommodated this night with great assistance and support. Thanks to Gena, Padraig and the team for sponsoring a full O’Neill’s Kit which we will launch on Friday 13th December. The men’s team are also very grateful to their sponsors through out the year St.Kentigerns Irish Club and Waxy O’Connors to name a few. St Clarets Thank you to everyone who attended the club’s dinner dance on Saturday and helped to make the night such a success. Congratulations to the following:

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE: John Mitchels of Liverpool face Monaghan’s Emyvale this Sunday at Pairc na hEireann Pic Chris Egan

The familiar Pairc na hEireann venue will be no great advantage or disadvantage says Morris. “We don’t get too bogged down on where we’re playing. I think Provincial Council were looking for a double header at Pairc na

hEireann and we just let the authorities sort it out. A pitch is pretty much a pitch to us. “There was good support down for the All-Britain final and I suppose that will increase for the quarter-final. Certainly

Shane Buckley – Young Player of the Year; Ricky Daly – Player of the Year; and Paddy Donaghy – Clubman of the Year. During the evening Danny Collins and Mick O’Shea were joint recipients of the Denis McCarthy Shield for their services to the club, while Rose McCarthy received a well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. The funeral arrangements for Sue Myers, mother of Paul Myers, are as follows: Funeral Mass at Botwell Church, Hayes on Wednesday December 11th at 12.15pm, followed by burial at Greenford Cemetery. Happy birthday on December 12th to club stalwart Rollie, who some how or other continues to hover around the 50 mark! For information on our club’s under-10 and under-12 teams contact Denis McCarthy on 07973287256. For all matters relating to the club’s other youth teams, please contact Colm Lynott on 07761 785260. Further details about the club can also be obtained from John Kelly on 07884 473672 or via email at

Warwickshire GAA Convention 2013 was preceded by the annual blessing of the memorial garden and holy mass for deceased Gaels by Warwickshire GAA’s matron Fr. Tim Burke. Convention commenced with Aiden Flynn (President) address thanking all the Clubs volunteers and the efforts of all young & old who keep teams playing and our games so strong. The Chairman Michael Collins address paid credit to the achievement of the County Hurling Teams victory in the Lory Meagher Cup in Croke Paric. He commented on the additional work required to the County Football Team even though the standard of Club Football is high. Pat Hoey’s report was printed in the Clar and detailed the activities through the year. Martin Grogan (Treasurer) Report was discussed and approved by the convention. Election of Officers for 2014. President: Aiden Flynn (Unopposed). Vice Presidents: Michael O’Reilly (Life) Paddy Reilly, Patsy Forde,

they play their part. It’s good to see it. “This is the third year we’ve won an All-Britain in the last seven. It’s some the club is proud of, hopefully we can get over the next hurdle and move on.”

Tony Donoghue, Gerry Carr (Unopposed). Chairman: Michael Collins (Unopposed). Vice Chair: John McCaul (Unopposed). Secretary: Paddy Hoey elected 21 vote to 17 Karl McGuigan. Assistant Secretary: James McVeigh (Unopposed). Brendan Harkin stood down. Treasurer: Martin Grogan (Unopposed). Assistant Treasurer: Margart Keane (Unopposed). Welfare Officer: Julie Duffy. Official Press Officer: Karl McGuigan (Unopposed). Delegates to Provincial Council: Karl McGuigan, Larry McAuliffe. Elected Delegates to Congress: Micheal Collins, Paddy Hoey, Martin Grogan.

Please send notices to ronanearly@ by 10am on Mondays. Word limit: 150.

54 | December 14, 2013

The Irish Post


KKG’s last appearance in the All-Ireland quarter-final was a 2-10 to 1-9 defeat to Crossmaglen in 2004


Kingdom primed for They’re positive enough. We’re not going to make any rash predictions about a result or anything else but certainly we’ll go out and give a good account of ourselves.

Preview: All-Ireland quarter-final, Kingdom/Kerry Gaels v Ballinderry Shamrocks, Sunday, Ruislip, 1pm


ONDON Champions Kingdom/Kerry Gaels face the formidable Ballinderry Shamrocks on Sunday, aiming to be the first team from this side of the water to make it to an All-Ireland semi-final. The Finchley-based club are back at the top of the capital’s heap of teams after a campaign where the likes of Lloyd Colfer and Ciaran Deely, Kyrle Holland and Ciaran Deely led the line. Anto Daly and Stephen Browne have impressed at midfield but it is their defence that has really shone. They limited Tir Chonaill Gaels’ impressive forwards to 0-9 in the county final and held Fulham Irish to 0-4 in the semi-final. Their defence — in the county final it was Shaun Howard; Philip Kelly, Peadar Stack, Conor O'Neill; Caoimhin Carty, Paul Horkan, Dave McGreevy — will need to be on their game against the excellent Derry men. We checked in with manager Noel Dunning ahead of the big game. He reports that Kingdom are more match-sharp than other London sides at this stage of competition in recent years. But the extra games have not come without a cost … How are preparations going? We’re happy as you can be in London with all the constraints that are on you but, yeah, happy enough. We’re working hard. London clubs have come into this fixture rusty due to lack of games in recent years, that must be a concern to you? Tir Chonaill Gaels last year went an awful long time without a competitive game. We didn’t help that situation for not turning up for one final, but that’s just the situation we found ourselves in at the time. This year we’ve been very fortunate, because we’ve had the league final against Tir Chonaill Gaels, we’ve had a delayed county final against Tir Chonaill Gaels, and we’ve had the Conway Cup final last week against Tir Chonaill Gaels. We’re very lucky to have been playing a team of the Gaels’ calibre in all those three finals. Have those games brought you on? They have certainly given us football that other clubs in previous years wouldn’t have had at this time of year. Whether they’ve brought us on or not, we won’t know exactly until we play Ballinderry. How have numbers been at training these past few weeks? Same as all year. We have a good hard core of lads training away. We never really dip below the 20 mark. Everything that’s been

Is it one of those games where you’re thinking about the performance ahead of the result? Listen, if the performance is right the result will take care of itself. If we produce the goods on the day we’ll see where that takes us. Do you think you will produce that performance? Obviously I’d be hopeful. You don’t really know until the ball is thrown in. Will Ruislip be an advantage? It would have been possibly with a team that hadn’t been over here before but Ballinderry know all the pitfalls of Ruislip and all that goes with it. And they have Darren McGeehan who was over here with Parnells so they’ll be well informed about Ruislip. Pic Malcolm McNally

asked of them they’ve done and more besides. It’s not been easy to keep it going all the time because we’re going since February. It’s been a hard slog, but we’re reaping the rewards for it. How do you rate Ballinderry? Have you followed their progress? From a distance. Until the final you’re taking a passing interest in all the teams that were in the Ulster Championship because obviously you didn’t know which one you were going to get. They’re an impressive side, battle hardened, plenty of experience. When you see the likes of Enda Muldoon and Aaron Devlin and that sprung from the bench you know they are a serious outfit. They’ve been knocking on the door in Ulster the last few years. Their strength in depth is second to none. I know you won’t want to answer this with specifics, but do you see any areas you can target or exploit? They don’t have too many weak points, going on the evidence of the Ulster final, but there’s a couple of things that we’ve been working on ourselves alright. What do you see as their main strengths? Ryan Bell is a well-established name and he’s only 19 years of age. In the two corners you have Conleth Gilligan and Collie Devlin, two proven inter-county footballers. James Conway at midfield, Kevin McGuckin, there’s a lot of household names there. There’s strength all over the field. How are the Kingdom players looking forward to taking on such a strong side? Ah they’re looking forward to it.

What has to go right then for Kingdom to get a positive result on Sunday? We have to hope that Ballinderry don’t perform to the level they did in the Ulster final. It’s up to us to ensure they don’t. If we can manage to do that then we’ll see what happens. Mind you, it’s a tough ask. It’s the Ulster champions we’re playing. They’ve had a hard campaign in Derry and Ulster. You can’t argue with their credentials. Perhaps it’s unfair to ask this question now and it’s more for afterwards, but do you think London clubs should be in a province instead of coming into this game against battlehardened sides? Those are all knee-jerk kind of reaction things. There’s been not a word about it since [talk of this subject after TCG v Dr Crokes last year]. The London champions deserve to be there. Whether that’s Kingdom Kerry Gaels or Tir Chonaill Gaels or Neasden Gaels or anyone else you want to mention they’re there on merit and because they fought hard to be there. It’s not for us to decide whether London should be in the Connacht championship for example, I don’t know, that’s an argument for another day. Let’s hope people aren’t making rash decisions and knee-jerk reactions based on a couple of results because traditionally games have been quite close. If you took last year’s game in isolation, you’re looking at a Dr Crokes side that’s at the cutting edge of club football over the past number of years and are again this year. It’s easy to isolate one particular result and say maybe we should examine it, but you have to look at it over the course of a long number of years.

There have been many close games over the years, but have a London team ever won at this stage of the competition? No, not to my knowledge. A few have come very close including ourselves and Tir Chonaill Gaels but no one’s made the breakthrough yet. What’s the key to a London team finally getting over the line and going on to the semi-final? It’s hard to put your finger on it. The London championship is a tough championship to win. It’s just narrowing the gap between that and the AllIreland quarter-final. If you compare it to any of the provincial champions that come over here, they all come off the back of a tough provincial campaign. It’s an uneven playing field in that regard. It’s an argument to be had, perhaps on another day. What do you do about it? Do you drop into a provincial championship or do you stay at the All-Ireland quarterfinal stage? I don’t know, that’s not my decision to make. We’re happy enough with where we are at the moment. How is the health of the panel, any niggles? We’ve picked up a few niggles in the past few weeks. Coleman Hands is a big doubt now. Stephen Browne at midfield [ankle injury], Ciaran Deely we only used as a sub last weekend has a thigh injury that he aggravated last weekend. Lloyd Colfer is carrying a bit of a back injury. You’re in the wars then? We are yeah. Other years you be complaining you haven’t got games and now that we have games we’re picking up injuries, you’d never be kept happy, 100%. Ciaran Deely [a sports scientist who works with Queens Park Rangers] helps to train the team doesn’t he? Yeah he does, and Gareth O’Neill [part of a hugely successful Crossmaglen Rangers management team with Tony McEntee]. When did Gareth join up with the Kingdom? He joined in the championship, just before we played Tir Chonaill Gaels in the first round. What has he added? A lot of experience. Obviously coming out of a club like Crossmaglen he knows how things should be done and how to get the best out of his players. You can only be happy with having him on board. He has a track record that’s not to be argued with. Three years in charge of Crossmaglen: three Armagh championships, three Ulster championships and two All-Irelands. Not a bad record. Interview, Ronan Early

The Irish Post


December 14, 2013 | 55


No London team has finished within four points of a side from Ireland in the last 17 years

power of Ballinderry VERSATILE: Half-back Michael McIver grabbed Ballinderry’s goal in the 1-13 to 2-6 Ulster final win over Glenswilly

KKG know the score A LACK of scoring acumen is the most common reason London sides have failed to account for Irish provincial champions in recent years. In the past 17 seasons the average for the home team has been just over 0-6. Tir Chonaill Gaels posted that total last season and were on the receiving end of 3-12 from an excellent Dr Crokes outfit. It wasn’t the first time Crokes went to town on the British-based challengers. St Brendans lost 2-12 to 0-5 in the 2005/06 season. Those two games apart, teams from here have not been easily dismissed by the visitors. That said, no London team has finished within four points of a side from Ireland in the last 17 years. Kingdom Kerry Gaels themselves pushed the great Crossmaglen Rangers to that deficit in December 2004, losing 1-9 to 2-10. Tir Chonaill Gaels had a number of narrow misses during the ’90s, suffering twopoint defeats on three different occasions against Lavey (Derry) in 1990 and again in 1992, and Knockmore (Mayo) in 1996. Since that defeat to Knockmore, however, the four-point margin hasn’t been broken. St Brendans were level with Mayo champions Crossmolina at half-time in their meeting

BRIDGING THE GAP: KKG must buck the low-scoring trend set by London teams at this stage if they are to reach the semi-finals Pic Malcolm McNally at Ruislip in 2002 but eventually went on to lose by 1-11 to 1-7. Salthill-Knocknacarra of Galway were reduced to 13 men during their 2005 clash with Tir Chonaill Gaels but still managed to secure a 0-9 to 0-5 victory. Tir Chonaill Gaels were back two years later but it was a similar outcome against Crossmaglen. They were on level terms at the break but the Ulster kingpins, led by Oisín McConville, pulled away in the second-half to win by 0-10 to 0-6. It was a case of 13th time unlucky for Tir Chonaill Gaels in a quarter-final fours

years ago, as the Greenford outfit suffered a dour 1-4 to 0-3 loss to Clare champions Kilmurry-Ibrickane. Neasden Gaels flew the flag a year later and gave Crossmaglen Rangers a difficult afternoon at Ruislip, before eventually losing by 1-8 to 0-5. In 2011 Fulham Irish fought hard but went down to St Brigids, 1-12 to 0-7. Conditions at this time of year have seldom been conducive to high-scoring games but the average tally of 0-6 on Sunday is unlikely to be enough to get Kingdom over the line, so every score will be crucial.

At a glance: Ballinderry Shamrocks All-Ireland Senior Champions 2002 Ulster Senior Champions 1981, 2001, 2013 Derry Senior County Champions 13 times, including 2008, ‘11, ‘12, ‘13 report on Glenswilly Ulster final: “Throughout the Derry and Ulster championships, the one thing which has elevated this Ballinderry team above all others is their ability to blitz teams with rapid scoring bursts. Trailing 1-1 to 0-2 with 20 minutes played, this final was turned on its head within the space of six minutes as the Derry champions registered 1-3, the goal coming courtesy of a Michael McIver flick to the net following a long accurate pass from James Conway and a Ryan Bell blocked effort.” Belfast Telegraph interview with wing-forward Daniel McKinless: “Football in Ballinderry is like religion. It really is, everybody eats, sleeps and breathes it. You wouldn’t believe how important to the community it is, unless you are part of it. Everybody is looking to get involved especially when we are doing so well.” Joe Brolly, in 2007: “They invariably give you a good hiding and afterwards they put on a good spread in the clubhouse … As I said once at a Ballinderry dinner dance, they might beat the shite out of you, but at least they have the decency to give you tea and buns afterwards!” Route to the All-Ireland quarter-final: Ulster SFC preliminary round, October 20 Ballinderry Shamrocks 0-15 Clonoe 0-10

Ulster q/f, November 3 Ballinderry Shamrocks Scotstown

1-8 0-10

Ulster s/f, November 17 Ballinderry Shamrocks Kilcoo

1-10 0-9

Ulster final, December 1 Ballinderry Shamrocks Glenswilly

1-13 2-6

Compiled by John Sheil ULSTER CHAMPS: Ballinderry’s Colin and Aaron Devlin

Murray Hession to discuss London job BY ROBERT MULHERN THE SEARCH for a London hurling boss continues but it is understood that Fullen Gaels manager Stan Murray Hession has been approached to discuss the appointment. A native of Malahide, Co. Dublin, Murray Hession was on the management team of the Warwickshire side that won the Lory Meagher Cup in Croke Park last season. Months earlier, he managed Fullen Gaels to the AllIreland Junior Club final. It is less than two months before the Exiles begin their National League campaign and county IN THE FRAME: chairman Murray Hession Noel O’Sullivan has said the appointment is a matter of urgency. Meanwhile the London County Convention takes place on Monday, December 16. At time of writing it is understood that the positions will remain largely unchanged. However, Cú Chulainns club have put forward Larry O’Leary for the chairmanship which is currently held by Noel O’Sullivan. When contacted by The Irish Post, O’Leary, who has served as chairman previously, said he will leave his name in contention in an effort to highlight player safety issues. “There are serious issues in relation to player safety in London,” he said. “Only a couple of weeks ago there was a situation where a players was left injured on a table for nearly 90 minutes. This isn’t good enough, safety standards need to improve, similarly levels of integration in terms of the ladies’ game. I’ll leave my name on the ticket for now.”

Pages 52-55

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56 | December 14, 2013

‘Nothing surprises me with that man’

Straight-talking Keane blasts Ferguson in television documentary BY ROBERT MULHERN


HE FEUD between Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane and Alex Ferguson has been reopened by a new documentary. Keane versus Vieira — Best of Enemies, broadcast on ITV4 last night, documented the uncompromising duel between the one-time Manchester United and Arsenal midfielders. But a candid Keane did not spare his former manager, who heaped criticism on him in his recently published autobiography. Asked who he felt was the best boss during his 17-year career, Keane said: “Brian Clough, without a doubt.”

When pushed on why it wasn’t Ferguson Keane replied: “You asked me the question. I answered you.” The former Ireland and Manchester United midfielder described his current relationship with Ferguson as “nonexistent” and said he has only started going to watch Manchester United now Alex Ferguson has retired. Keane also revealed when he lost respect for his former boss. “The manager accused me of trying to manage Manchester United behind his back, but managing the dressing room, and pulling up players who stepped out of line, was part of my job. Nothing surprises me these days with that man,” he said.

The manner in which the Ireland assistant manager left the champions in 2005 remains a sore point but it is the public perception of him that Ferguson has driven since that has annoyed Keane. “I never thought for a second that I was more important than the manager. Absolute nonsense,” he said. Keane admitted he felt “raw” when he left United and insisted Ferguson’s battle with Irish racing tycoon John Magnier over Rock of Gibraltar was a destabilising influence on the club. While he claimed Ferguson was still “striving” to exert “control and power” at Old Trafford where new boss David Moyes is struggling.

“Control and power, that’s how he works, He is still striving for it now even though he isn’t the manager. There is a massive ego involved.” Asked who they thought got the better of the other during their battles, both Keane and Vieira stated: “I did,” with Keane adding: “I’m convinced I dominated eight out of 10 games.” Meanwhile, at the time of going to press, the FAI had received no official approach from Sheffield Wednesday, who have expressed an interest in Keane becoming their manager. It is thought likely that Keane would remain loyal to Ireland and to Martin O’Neill even if an approach was made.

The Irish Post December 14 2013  
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