Sunday, July 31, 2005


Sunday Scrutiny-Kilkenny

Continuing my scrutiny of Leinster counties, this week I will focus on Kilkenny.

County Kilkenny is located in the south east of Ireland in the province of Leinster. It's named after Kilkenny, the main city in the region.

Inhabitants of Kilkenny are often referred to as "Kilkenny Cats"; the phrase is also used to describe the Kilkenny Hurling team, one of the strongest in the country.

Kilkenny city is also the only city of the Republic which has neither an institute of technology nor a university although National University of Ireland, Maynooth maintains an outreach center in the city. The city is famed for its history and night life.

Historically, the Statute of Kilkenny (1336) got its name from the then Irish Parliament in Kilkenny, the statute contained nineteen clauses, their general provision was to reduce the influence of the Irish on the Normans by forbidding intermarriage as well the customs and language of the Irish which were considered to have has an adverse effect on the Norman settlers, the statute also attempted to outlaw Brehon Laws. Kilkenny was the capital of Confederate Ireland between 1642 and 1649, until it surrendered during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.

One of the most notable sights to see in Kilkenny is Kilkenny Castle which was the seat of the Butler family. It is open to the public.

According to the most recent census, the county's population is 80,339.

So there's some information on Kilkenny. I've been to Kilkenny a few times and I have seen Kilkenny Castle which is impressive enough. I can't say I've spent too much time there though. On another note, Kilkenny has one of the ugliest crests I've ever seen! I'm not too crazy about their GAA jerseys either!


Third victim in Loyalist feud

The bloody Loyalist feud between the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Loyalist Volunteer Force continues apace in Ireland's north as a third person, Stephen Paul, was killed in north Belfast last night.

Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey said the UVF, which has carried out all the murders, was not responding to requests to negotiate an end to the violence.

Yet more Loyalist violence. When is it ever going to end? Unionist leaders should be doing more to reach out to the communities which are clearly under the thumb of Loyalist paramilitaries. Clearly some people out there know who is carrying out these murders yet they are too afraid to speak out.

Loyalist violence needs to end. How many more people have to die?


Shame on the Ulster Unionists!

I'm disgusted to hear Reg "I'm not David Trimble" Empey say the Ulster Unionists will introduce sanctions if the Irish Government tries to give politicians from Ireland's north speaking rights in the Republic's Parliament.

As speculation mounted that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will move in the autumn to grant 18 MPs and three MEPs a role in Dail debates, Sir Reg Empey confirmed his party had told the British and Irish Governments it would retaliate by refusing to operate cross-border bodies under devolution.

"I believe this move is very dangerous because it would effectively be setting up an embryonic all-Ireland Parliament," said Empey.

This is disgraceful. Who are the Ulster Unionists to hold the Irish government and the Good Friday Agreement to ransom? What the Irish government does is its business.

Empey's idea of throwing the toys out of the pram is unacceptable and should not stand in the way of a move that should have been introduced long ago. This is a great example of the shocking inability of Unionism to grasp, or indeed respect, what nationalism is all about.

Citizens of the Irish nation should be able to participate in debates which affect the Irish nation. Empey's attitude is deplorable and if Unionists refuse to operate cross-border bodies, the British government must get involved and introduce sanctions on them.


Irish sceptical on IRA statement

A nationwide poll has found that the majority of Irish people are sceptical of last week's IRA announcment. (hat-tip A Tangled Web)

The telephone poll, carried out for the Sunday Independent, shows that 87 per cent of people do not believe the IRA has ended its criminal activities.

I must say I'm surprised at the amount of people who are sceptical but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It shows that the IRA must prove to the people of Ireland that they are sincere through their actions as well as their words.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Saturday Survey

Heroes of the Week: Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers : These US scientists from Boston this week confirmed they have developed an anticancer "smart bomb" which delivers a lethal dose of drugs directly to tumours. Hopefully further progress will be made in this field.

Villains of the Week: Loyalists: Not only did they continue their violent bloody feud this week, they also dismissed the suggestion that they follow the IRA's lead by decommissioning and ending their armed campaign. That is unacceptable.

Funniest Moment of the Week: Google and Paris: Well I quite liked this to be honest.

Dunce of the Week: Osama Bin Laden: It was revealed this week that he planned to buy large amounts of cocaine, spike it with poison and sell it to the United States. Wow Osama, kill off all their junkies. That'll really show 'em! Moron.

Celebrity of the Week: Damon Albarn: This week he slammed Pete Doherty. "People talk about this great talent, but there's nothing to him. He's a mess. I'm starting a campaign to 'Make Doherty History'. He's well over-rated." Well said, Mr Albarn. Though I always preferred Oasis to Blur...

Luckiest person of the Week: Dolores McNamara: This Limerick woman has only gone and won over €115m!

My favourite moment of the week: Hearing the IRA's announcement: I welcome their statement and I remain cautiously optimistic for the future. I also hope this reignites the issue of Irish unity in this country.

Quotes of the Week: "The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign" as well as "All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All Volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means. Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever." - Provisional IRA statement

Hopefully this will signal the beginning of a brighter future for all of us.

United Irelander's Busiest Day of the Week: Thursday - 183 visits (+40)


ETA send a message

Two bombs exploded on highways in central Spain on Friday evening after a warning call from the armed Basque group Eta, police said.

The bombs came a day after Spanish politicians expressed hope that the Irish Republican Army’s announcement that it was laying down arms might encourage ETA to do likewise.

A police spokesman in the Castilla La Mancha regional capital of Toledo had no details but said he did not believe there were any injuries. The warning call was phoned to the daily newspaper Gara.

The real warning call to focus on here is not the one sent to the daily newspaper Gara, it is the one that has been sent to democrats throughout Spain. Coming a day after the IRA's statement it's clear ETA are sending a message of intent that they aren't interested in going down the route the IRA have taken.

That is a terrible shame. Hopefully they will change their minds.


Luck of the Irish is right!

I've just heard that there has been a winner in the National Lottery Euromillions and the winner hails from Ireland! And how much has this person won? Only €115,436,121!

In case you're wondering, no I did not scoop the jackpot.*

*But I should have!


UI's Celtic Mythology - Culhwch

Culhwch, in Welsh mythology, was the son of Cildydd, one of King Arthur's knights. His stepmother hated Cuhlwch so much that she placed a curse on him that he could marry only Olwen, the daughter of the giant Yspaddaden. This fate, however, seemed less dreadful once Cuhlwch found Olwen, a task which took over a year, for they fell deeply in love. Cuhlwch's next problem was how to persuade her giant father to agree to the match. Like the Irish Cyclops Balor, Yspaddaden's eyelids needed to be levered up with supports in order for him to see Cuhlwch. Also like Balor, the Welsh giant did not favour the idea of his daughter marrying a man. At interviews held on successive days Yspaddaden threw a posioned spear at Cuhlwch and his companions, but they managed on each occasion to catch it and throw it back. When Cuhlwch finally put out one of the giant's eyes with a return throw, Yspaddaden agred to the marriage on condition that Cuhlwch perform a whole series of tasks. With the assistance of King Arthur's men and a couple of divine allies, Cuhlwch successfully completed these trials, then killed Yspaddaden and married Olwen.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Google's not crazy about Paris Hilton

Earlier in the week I had some fun with Google concerning Munster fans. Today I found something else but this time Paris Hilton gets some abuse from Google. Check this out.

Very harsh Google...though I can't say I disagree!


Friday Fun-News in Brief

This week Jennifer Lopez lamented the sacrifices she had to make for fame.

She said: "You sacrifice relationships, you sacrifice seeing your family, you sacrifice your weekends and pleasures - things everyone else takes for granted."

The poor thing forgot to mention some of the other things she had to sacrifice on her road to fame - class, manners, talent...

Also we heard this week the news that Osama Bin Laden had
attempted to buy large amounts of cocaine, spike it with poison and sell it to the United States.

Wow can you imagine if he had succeeded? The whole population of California would have been wiped out.

More J-Lo news. During an interview this week she was asked what she thought about her former fiance Ben Affleck expecting a baby with Jennifer Garner. She answered by saying: "I hope that they're happy…'s a beautiful thing. There are no hard feelings."

The interviewer later apologised for raising the subject and J-Lo admitted: "Yeah, you depressed me."

Yeah asking J-Lo to give her thoughts on something is obviously going to depress her. Hey J-Lo, you depress me. Can I have an apology?

And finally, this week Nicole Kidman revealed she was taking some time away from Hollywood.

Kidman said: "You won't see me for a long time. It could be a year, it could be two."

Yeah rumour has it she's about to replace Gordon Strachan as the new manager of Celtic...


Ah bless

I see Sinn Fein have opened up a peace process special site (hat-tip Slugger). It offers statements relating to the peace process.

What I'm most interested though is the picture that greets you when you enter the site. Click on the link above and you'll see what I mean.

Why do they all look like they're about to make their Holy Communion?


Some things to ponder over...

As the title says, some things to ponder over:

Why would superman want to leap over the tallest building in a single bound if he can fly?

If you're caught "between a rock and a hard place", is the rock not hard?

How did the headless horseman know where he was going?

Why do they call it an escalator if it takes you down?

Why are things typed up but written down?

What do you say when someone says you're in denial, but you're not?

Really makes you think...


Fun Irelander Feature-Female Bloggers

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the distinct lack of female bloggers? In Ireland, female blogs, or ladyblogs as I like to call them, are few and far between and there seems to be a real lack of female posters on blogs I happpen to visit.

On United Irelander over the last week I'm pretty sure I had only one female visitor and that was Emma from Canada. As I look back further, the only other female visitor I can recall visitng this blog is the only female Irish blogger I know of - Caoimhe from
The Blog and I.

So why is this? Where are all the women? Surely they can't all be off making the tea? I really don't understand it. Why has blogging become a guy thing? I would love for some survey to be done but I'm going to guess that 70 to 80 per cent of Irish blogs are run by men. I wouldn't be surprised if it's slightly more. What's the cause of this?

Of course there are some things women can't do, for example, participate in ground combat, become priests, play sports well, but surely blogging is something that they could and should be doing along with men?

Anybody got any ideas as to why there is such a lack of female bloggers? It has me perplexed. On a final note, I would say to any female visitors that I am not actually misogynist and any seemingly sexist comments made above should be taken with good humour, but who am I kidding? What female visitors?!


Fun Referrers

One of the things I enjoy most about Sitemeter is observing the way people happen to come across my site. Over the past week I have recorded some of the funniest things people have typed into search engines which led them to my humble site. So without further ado:

"d4 girl Dublin 4"

I really hope the person who typed this had ridiculing them in mind.

"who is agaisnt (sic) eu constitution"

Yes, type 'against' wrong and you're directed towards my site. Damn my lousy spelling.

"asses in antrim"

Best not to comment on that.

"andrew mccann Slugger O'Toole"

Well, someone has a fan...

"Ray Darcy"

That's just sad.

"How to evade TV license"

Ah now people come on!

"female escort in Europe posted July 2005"

Ah now here! This is getting out of hand!

"IRA terrorist Bowie Space Oddity"

What in the blue hell?

Ah well. It's a funny oul' world!


Friday Fun's Fab Vocab

And now for this week's edition of Fab Vocab teaching readers some valuable Irish words:

Irish to English:

teach = house

fuinneog = window

spéir = sky

solas = light

Go mbeadh cosa gloine fút agus go mbrise an ghloine = May you have glass legs and may the glass break

Again, I hope you found this week's edition of Fab Vocab informative as well as stimulating.


Some things you don't want to hear...

Some things you don't want to hear Gerry Adams say:

"I left out a final line from the IRA statement - 'This was all a piss take. Regards, P O'Neill.' Oops."

"It seems the IRA can't remember where its guns are. Do you accept IOUs?"

"I only sent McGuinness to America 'cos I didn't want him hogging my spotlight."

"This whole thing was just a ploy to boost DVD sales."

"We won't join the Policing Board unless Celtic jerseys are made part of the new uniform."

"The only priest the IRA will trust is Father Neil Horan."

"After all this maybe I should write another book?"

"The IRA would've done this years ago, they just wanted to piss Trimble off."

"Let's hear what Mitchel has to say."

Feel free to come up with some of your own...


Separated at birth?

On the left is actor James Nesbitt, on the right is a young Peter Hain.

Don't you see the resemblance? I sure do!


Friday Fun's Fascinating Fact

Alot of lovemaking can unblock a stuffy nose. Sex is a natural antihistamine. It can help combat asthma and hay fever.

Now here's a fact you need to tell your significant other about!


UI's Celtic Mythology - Cuchulainn

Yesterday I wrote about the death of Cuchulainn's lifelong friend Ferdia and for today, I will detail the events which led to Cuchulainn's death in the war of the brown bulll of Cuailgne.

One prophecy told Queen Medb that there would be "crimson and red" upon her forces because of Cuchulainn's prowess, but she was determined to invade and also she had three advantages. First, the great hero had made bitter enemies of the Calatin family, whose daughters were witches. Just prior to his last stand along with his faithful charioteer Laeg, they cast a spell on Cuchulainn which withered a shoulder and a hand. Second, Medb attacked when Ulster's heroes were laid low by Macha's curse, and were unable to fight for five days and five nights. Finally, Cuchulainn had lost the support of the goddess Morrigan, because he had rejected her passionate advances. Yet he still managed to conduct a successful single-handed defence and was able to slow the advance of Queen Medb's forces by the use of clever tactics and lightning attacks, until the effects of Macha's curse had almost worn off, and the dazed warriors were able to respond to Sualtam Mac Roth's call to arms. But their help came too late for Cuchulainn. Pressed on all sides by his enemies, the Ulster champion was overcome in spite of aid from his divine father, the sun god Lugh. His only companion, Laeg, was laid low with a spear, then Cuchulainn himself suffered a terrible stomach wound that even Lugh could not heal. Finally, Cuchulainn tied himself to an upright stone in order to fight till his last breath. As soon as he died Morrigan, in the form of a crow, settled on his shoulder and his enemies cut off his head and right hand, leaving his body for the carrion birds. Conall, his foster-brother, managed to recover the missing parts, but Ulster wept for the loss of their champion. Indeed, so widespread was Cuchulainn's fame that his exploits influenced the development of the Arthurian myths in Britain and France.

So that is the story of Cuchulainn. Even the way he dies is heroic. In my eyes he is definitely the greatest figure in Irish mythology.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Thursday Thoughts: IRA statement

Well it's the big issue of the day obviously and I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't have a look at what the ramifications of the statement will be. Since this statement affects numerous groups in the peace process I thought I'd give my analysis on exactly how it will affect each group. So without further ado:

Republicans - I imagine those within Republicanism are split right now. I would hope that most are in support of the route the IRA appear to be taking but there is likely to be some within Republicanism who are in total dismay. I think that some IRA volunteers will jump ship to the Continuity IRA or the Real IRA. These dissident groups must be rubbing their hands together with glee at today's news. It remains to be seen what effect, if any, this will have on the prospect of peace in Ireland's north.

Loyalists - The Loyalists have now seen the IRA take a big step. It's their turn now. Loyalists are a huge threat to stability in Ireland's north and I feel this statement will turn alot of attention onto them and their criminal ways. I remain sceptical though as to whether we will see them engage in acts of decommissioning and to ultimately embrace peace.

Nationalists - I think for nationalists, today is a great day. Physical force Republicanism has been shown to be the wrong way forward. It's time now to pursue Irish unity through peaceful means only and to abide by the Good Friday Agreement which urges unity by consent. I think Irish nationalism will be strengthened by today's announcement.

Unionists - Unionists are clearly sceptical about today's statement and no one can blame them for this stance. The IRA declared a ceasefire in 1994 but ended up going back to war. Ultimately, the IRA must be judged on its actions and not its words. However, if, and it's a big if, the IRA back up this statement with the necessary actions then it is time for Unionists to abide by the Good Friday Agreement and to participate fully with Sinn Fein in devolved government.

Irish government - On the surface it's all smiles from Dublin and while I don't doubt that they are happy at the current progress, the fact is they will soon realise that this paves the way for the possibility of Sinn Fein in government and this will be a worrying development for alot of parties in the South. It will be interesting to see what today's statement does for Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams' popularity in the Republic. I imagine both will be very high when the next poll is carried out.

British government - The British government I'm sure are very happy with today's events. They have a far bigger foe to focus on now in the shape of Islamic terrorism. Still, the British cannot run from their obligations and Tony Blair must cooperate with the inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and release the required information which I expect will detail involvement from MI5 with the UVF in the murder of Irish civilians.

Myself - For me, today is a very welcome day. As someone who is a supporter of Irish reunification through peaceful methods, I'm heartened by the days events. I honestly hope that the events of today will kickstart a renewed interest in the issue of Irish unity, particularly in the Republic. A United Ireland that caters for all traditions is indeed a possibility now. I have said numerous times that the IRA were the biggest stumbling bloc to unity and that by Sinn Fein being associated with them, they were a partitionist party. I hope this is now no longer the case.

Today's events are indeed historic and much will be spoken of and written about the 28th of July over the next few days and weeks. There is alot of optimism right now, albeit cautious optimism, but hopefully this optimism will be rewarded with results. It's the least we all deserve.

Ni neart go chur le cheile.


Loyalists react to IRA statement

The Loyalists have given their response to the IRA's statement and to label it disappointing would be an understatement. A UDA source had this to say:

"If people think loyalism is just going to follow suit, it's a non-event. There's an awful lot of dialogue to get through before anything like that would happen."

But the usual garbage we were told was that the IRA had to move first and then Loyalists would follow suit. The source added:

"There would have to be dramatic changes in relation to our culture and on the interfaces before anything like decommissioning would ever happen."

More nonsense. The problems in the North right now are to do with Loyalists and their bloody feud. It's time for us to see change from the Loyalist end.

David Ervine, leader of the PUP who are the political wing of the UVF, said:

"It's good news and would be even better news if people began to witness this on the ground."

The words 'pot', 'kettle' and 'black' spring to mind.

While Tommy Kirkham, a member of the Ulster Political Research Group, had this to say:

"It doesn't make a bit of difference to Protestants being attacked on interfaces on a nightly basis. For these people there's no change."

Are you sure these Protestants aren't being attacked by Loyalists? Recent news would appear to indicate that this is the case.

It's time for Loyalists to face up to their responsibilities and their end of the bargain. A war simply cannot end by only one side laying down their guns.


Ahern and the McCabe killers

I have just listened to the Taoiseach's response to today's announcement by the IRA. It was what you would expect. Ahern welcomed the statement, he stated he agreed with Paisley's position and that he would judge the IRA by their actions, he spoke of how he was proud to be the Taoiseach on this day and that he feels the peace process is the most important part of being Taoiseach. He also stated today was a great day for constitutional Republicanism and he reiterated his desire for a United Ireland by consent.

What I found most interesting though was Ahern's statement that today's developments would not change the situation in relation to the men who murdered Garda Jerry McCabe. According to Ahern, the issue of OTRs (On The Runs) is a separate issue entirely to the imprisonment of the men who gunned down the Irish detective.

I'm glad to hear it. While I welcome this statement today, as I'm sure most Irish people do, I and the overwhelming majority of Irish people will not stomach the release of the men who gunned down a protector and servant of the Irish people. Those men must remain in prison for their heinous crime.


Adams responds

Gerry Adams has responded to the IRA's statement. He said:

"There is an enormous responsibility on us to seize this moment and to make Irish freedom a reality.

"I would urge all Irish nationalists and republicans, including those who have shown such commitment as volunteers of the IRA, to put their undoubted talents and energy into building a new Ireland."

He went on to say that:

"National liberation struggles can have different phases. There is a time to resist, to stand up and to confront the enemy by arms if necessary.

"In other words, there is a time for war. There is also a time to engage, to reach out, to put the war behind us all.

"There is a time for peace. There is a time for justice. There is a time for rebuilding. This is that time. This is the era of the nation builders."

Overall, I didn't think he said anything unexpected but I agree with the comments he made urging people throughout Ireland to use today's development to pursue a United Ireland.

I hope today's announcement reinvigorates the issue of a United Ireland and that people throughout the island, especially young people, will be encouraged by today's announcement to look once more at the issue of Irish reunification.


America's reaction to IRA statement

Well, in fairness, the following statements are from FoxNews' reaction to today's IRA statement and I've no idea how credible this news station is in the eyes of Americans, but I'm not terribly impressed with their knowledge of the political situation in Ireland! The following are excerpts from an article by FoxNews on today's announcement:

"The Irish Republican Army announced Thursday it will abandon its "armed campaign" and resume disarmament in an extraordinary declaration designed to revive Northern Ireland's peace process."

Extraordinary? Not really. I mean, we have been expecting this for some time...

"The IRA, which has observed a cease-fire since 1997..."

Well that would be a matter of opinion!

"In a lengthy statement, the outlawed group appealed to Britain and Northern Ireland's Protestant majority to accept its new position as sufficient to renew negotiations on power-sharing"

I wouldn't say their statement was an appeal to Britain and the North's "Protestant majority" at all.

"Protestant leaders, deeply suspicious of IRA motives, warned in advance they would wait several months to test whether the IRA's words proved true."

What's with the religious references? This makes out the issues are more about religion than politics. Why not say 'Unionist leaders'?

"All sides say they remain committed to resurrecting a joint Catholic-Protestant administration that would replace Britain as the primary government authority in this long-unstable corner of the United Kingdom."

This is just ridiculous. A 'joint Catholic-Protestant administration'?

"A four-party coalition led by Protestant and Catholic moderates gained power in 1999, but it fell apart in 2002 amid chronic arguments about IRA activities and arms."

More religious references!

"Resurrecting power-sharing became more difficult in 2003 once voters — polarized by the diplomatic deadlock — shifted support to the opposite extremes of opinion: Gerry Adams' Sinn Fein on the Irish Catholic side, and Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists on the British Protestant side."

Adams a figure representing Catholicism and Paisley a figure representing 'British Protestantism'? A thought that would strike fear into Catholics and Protestants everywhere!

Overall, I am left decidedly unimpressed with FoxNews and would urge any American visitors to United Irelander to ignore the garbage spewed by this organisation and instead look to Irish news sites for news relating to the island of Ireland. Despite what FoxNews may think, religion is not the problem in Ireland's north. It's politics.

Must do better FoxNews!


IRA statement on DVD too!

In a departure from tradition, today's IRA statement on ending all armed activity came in the form of a DVD which featured ex-prisoner Seana Walsh reading it.

Now there's a DVD all the kiddies will want under their Christmas tree! When it's out?!

Extras for the DVD will include:

- The statement read in Irish as well as English!

- 3 great songs by the Wolfe Tones!

- A map of Ireland for the Irish-American Republicans!

And much, much more! Coming to stores soon! You ain't Irish unless you've got this DVD!


IRA issue statement

Well the IRA has issued its statement and I must say I was surprised at the wording of it. It can be read in full here. They went further than I expected they would but whether they will stick to the promises they have made, only time will tell.

Some of the more important statements:

"The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign. This will take effect from 4pm this afternoon."

Welcome news.

"All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All Volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means. Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever."

Welcome news.

"The IRA leadership has also authorised our representative to engage with the IICD to complete the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use in a way which will further enhance public confidence and to conclude this as quickly as possible."

Again, welcome news.

Overall, I welcome this statement and will agree with those who say it is a historic moment, but the people of Ireland have been in similar situations like this with the Provisional IRA before and it remains to be seen whether it will go down in history as a momentous day or yet another broken promise in the long line of broken promises to the people of Ireland.

Let's hope it goes down in history for all the right reasons.


Innocent Liverpool fan jailed in Bulgaria

I don't know if any other blogs have written about this but I was shocked to read that a Liverpool football fan has been jailed for 15 years for the attempted murder of a Bulgarian barman - despite another man admitting responsibility.

Michael Shields, 18, from Wavertree, was accused of attacking barman Michael Georgiev, 25, by throwing a brick at his head. Georgiev suffered a fractured skull and may now have brain damage.

On Saturday Graham Sankey, 20, an electrician from Anfield, Liverpool, said he carried out the attack in a statement made in the UK through his solicitor David Kirwan.

Mr Kirwan said: "Graham believed the case against Michael would either be thrown or adjourned after he came forward to make his confession.

"But, to his total despair, the judge decided to continue trying Michael."

Michael Shield's family are in shock at the news and Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman, who has backed the Shields' family campaign, labelled it a travesty of justice. She said she would be talking to the UK Government and Foreign Office.

This is absolutely disgraceful and hopefully the British government will get in touch with the Bulgarian authorities. How on earth can a man be convicted and sentenced for a crime that he blatantly did not commit? Disgusting.

The British need to do everything in their power to have Michael Shields freed.


UI's Celtic Mythology - Cuchulainn

Yesterday I wrote about Cuchulainn's efforts to attain Emer's hand in marriage so today I will detail his last campaign which involved the death of his lifelong friend Ferdia.

Acclaimed as the champion of Ireland in a beheading contest, Cuchulainn was soon unbeatable in combat, a skill he was to need dearly in his last campaign, which was a single handed defence of Ulster against the invading army of Queen Medb of Connacht. The main reason for this raid was a famous brown bull which was kept in Cuailgne. But the tyrannical king of Ulster, King Conchobar Mac Nessa, also played a big part in gathering rebellious Ulstermen and others from many parts of Ireland to Queen Medb's side.

One man who fought on Queen Medb's side was Ferdia. Ferdia was son of Daman the Firbolg, and was a lifelong friend and comrade of Cuchulainn. As young men, they were both taught to fight by Scathach. During the war of the brown bull of Cuailgne, Ferdia did his best to avoid coming up against his friend, but eventually Medb taunted him into fighting the great hero in single combat and the two fought grimly to the death with Ferdia being killed by Cuchulainn.
At Ferdia's death, Cuchulainn fell exhausted, lamenting, "Why should I rise again now he that lies here has fallen by my hand?"

This story is another I remember reading about in school and is another one of my favourites with Cuchulainn forced to square off against his friend. It further cements Cuchulainn as a great but tragic figure.

Tomorrow I will detail the events which lead to Cuchulainn's death in the war of the brown bull of Cuailgne.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Sean Kelly Freed

It has been announced that Seán Kelly, the IRA Shankill bomber who was returned to jail in controversial circumstances, has been freed.

Mr Kelly had been serving life sentences for his part in the bomb attack that killed nine civilians and his accomplice, but was freed early under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

The move comes amid speculation of an imminent IRA statement.

Mr Kelly was given a temporary release pending application to the Sentence Review Commission.

This is a surprising development and surely confirms that an IRA statement is indeed imminent.


A bomb we can be proud of

I'm delighted to hear that researchers in the US have developed an anticancer "smart bomb" which delivers a lethal dose of drugs directly to tumors.

This tiny agent, called a "nanocell," enables precision targeting of the tumor while leaving adjacent healthy tissue unharmed, according to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

Mice treated with the nanocell therapy survived beyond 65 days while mice treated with the best current therapy survived 30 days. Untreated mice survived for about 20 days, the researchers report.

This is very welcome news and it's great to see scientists leading the fight against cancer. I'm sure all of us have had family members or friends affected by cancer and it would be a marvellous triumph for mankind if we could consign cancer to the history books. Obviously that is a long way off but moves like this bring us ever closer to that day. Congratulations to the researchers involved.


More Loyalist violence...

I see Loyalists are up to their old tricks today.

Is it too much to ask that Unionist politicians take some time out of their day to focus on Loyalist violence?

They are clearly the biggest threat to peace at this point in time.


McGuinness heads to America

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness is in America today for a meeting with US special envoy to the North, Mitchel Reiss.

Martin McGuinness refused to be drawn on what would happen next as he boarded a plane at Dublin airport.

Mr McGuinness said: "Gerry Adams and I have resisted getting into speculation about any of these matters.

"We should all be patient - the IRA have clearly indicated that they are involved in work, and we need to give them space to complete that work."

But you are the IRA Martin. What is the point of this trip to America? Just release the statement and be done with it for crying out loud.


Land of the Free, Home of the Brave!

Through Sitemeter, I've discovered that one of the visitors to United Irelander is listed as being from the 'United States Government'.

So with that said, I thought to myself what better time than now to confirm my support and admiration for our American friends across the pond! In fairness, you wouldn't be anywhere without us Irish but even so, I think America is brilliant.

God Bless America!

Oh and don't worry lads, I don't personally think you guys have aliens down in Area 51. Frankly I refuse to believe there are stranger creatures in this universe than Kerrymen...


'What If'? Wednesday - Bloggers libellous?

What if a blogger was sued for libellous comments? No, I'm not trying to scare you but it is indeed a possibility apparently!

There's been some talk lately about what blogs can and can't get up to with regards to its power of expression and about the possibility of some comments being made on blogs which are libellous.
Slugger O'Toole has found itself in a spot of bother over this of late and Colm Bracken has made a great post on the matter but I still remain a bit confused about the whole thing. I have been reading through the Irish constitution and it's not exactly crystal clear in relation to this matter.

Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Irish constitution under Article 40.6.1. The full article reads as follows:

1. The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:
i. The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.
The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.
The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.

I have a few questions on this:

- A reference is made to the "education of public opinion", could a defense be made on the grounds that you were not trying to educate public opinion with your comments? That they were designed to be humourous or mocking rather than "indecent"?

- Blogs are obviously not listed in the constitution being a new phenomenon, could blogs not therefore be allowed to get away with "blasphemous, seditious or indecent matter" on the grounds that it's not an organ of public opinion? How does one determine what an organ of public opinion is? Could it be argued it's not an organ of public opinion? Limited audience for example...

- Shouldn't the fact that the constitution guarantees "The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions" take precedence over everything else?

- Why should the owner of a blog accept responsibility for comments others make? I note this has been an issue over at Slugger O'Toole. Surely the onus is on the person who pushes 'publish' in the comments box, no?

- On another note, is there not some loophole in American law which states that people can't be sued over something which is a parody of something or am I completely wrong about this?

If someone knows the answers to these questions I'd be interested in hearing them. The whole thing seems very confusing to me. Who knows, we might end up seeing a blogger in the Supreme Court asking them to interpret this puzzler of an Article!


A fistful...into a Dubliner's goolies

Head on over to A Fistful of Euros and you'll see they are running a poll entitled 'The most beautiful capital in Europe'? Have a look at the contenders. They are as follows:

Wienna (I prefer when it's spelt with a 'V' personally), Prague, Helsinki, Paris, Berlin, Athens, Budapest, Rome, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Moscow, Madrid, Stockholm, Bern, London and 'Other'.

Did you happen to catch one of the cities they managed to leave out? That's right - DUBLIN! They go and leave out the greatest city, not just in Europe, but in the world! Have they lost their mind?

Now unless this site is run by a Corkman, and I'm pretty sure it isn't, this must be regarded as a slap in the face and a kick in the balls for not just Dubliners but Irish people throughout Ireland!

How could they leave Dublin out in favour of Bern? As they would say in 'That 70's Show', burn! No disrespect to any Swiss people from Bern, but I'm pretty sure your city would pale in comparison to our city's architecture. I'm also pretty sure you don't have a great big pole sticking out of your city centre's main street. But we do!

So here is a message to A Fistful of Euros from this Irishman from Dublin, the most beautiful capital in Europe ain't Paris, it ain't Berlin, it ain't 'Wienna' and it damn sure ain't 'Other''s Dublin baby! And don't you forget it.

See, this is why I'm not pro-Europe!


Blogroll updated

I decided to update my blogroll with a few new blogs that have caught my eye of late. I think they're worth having a look at.

One blog which has caught my eye is Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy Day. I came across it by virtue of him being mentioned in the recent blogging article in the Sunday Tribune. I'm surprised I didn't come across his site sooner as he appears to be one of the blogging veterans here in Ireland. Some really well-written and interesting posts can be found there.

Another blog which caught my eye last week was In Fact, Ah by Colm Bracken. It's a fairly new site but he's producing some great content and you should check out this post on libel laws which I found very interesting. Definitely a blog to keep an eye on.

Lastly, I came across a British blog, Pub Philosopher, which I think is very entertaining. Some great political posts with alot of humour mixed in as well. Just the way I like it! It's well worth a look.

So that's that then. If any of these bloggers wish to link back to me they can feel free! Now that I got that shameless self-plug out of the way, anyone know what the story is with the 'broom of anger' site? It's been down for a while now. A shame, as there's good content to be found there.


UI's Celtic Mythology - Cuchulainn

Yesterday I wrote about Cuchulainn's exploits in battle so today I will detail Cuchulainn's efforts to attain Emer's hand in marriage.

In his calm, everyday state of mind Cuchulainn was a favourite of womenfolk. But he fell in love with Emer, the daughter of Fogall, a wily chieftain whose castle was close to Dublin. Cuchulainn asked for Emer's hand but Fogall, who was against the match, pointed out that Cuchulainn had yet to establish his reputation as a warrior and suggested that he should go and learn from the Scottish champion Domhnall. Domhnall told Cuchulainn that his best trainer in arms would be Scathach, a warrior-princess in the Land of Shadows. So he travelled to this mysterious land and served Scathach. She taught the hero his famous battle leap.
For a year and a day Cuchulainn was taught by Scathach, and became the lover of her daughter Uathach. Scathach seems to have feared for the safety of Cuchulainn, and she warned him without success not to challenge her sister Aoifa. But Cuchulainn beat Aoifa by cunning, and afterwards she became his mistress, conceiving the unfortuante Conlai. Cuchulainn finally returned to Fogall's stronghold and claimed Emer, but only after a heated battle with Fogall and his warriors, during which Fogall leapt to his death escaping the hero.

Tomorrow I will detail Cuchulainn's last campaign and his subsequent death.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Michael Collins and the Muslims

The following is a letter taken from the Irish Examiner:

Whatever one’s view of the British state’s attitude to other cultures, few can fail to feel for mature and moderate British Muslims faced with the news that some of their sons have been lured by the machismo of terrorism.

How confusing it must have seemed to Muslims in Ireland to hear last Tuesday morning’s Irish Examiner radio advertisements glamourising Michael Collins and his squad.

It may support circulation during the silly season, but isn’t it all a bit childish?

Come on, lads - deal with it. Let’s all do a Forrest Gump, and put the past behind us.

Francis Neary

I'm surprised that an Irishman would say such things. How can anybody seriously equate Michael Collins' actions during the War of Independence, with the current actions undertaken by Islamic terrorists?

Does anybody agree with this man's views?


Google doesn't like Munster supporters!

If you're a Munster supporter, you won't like this.

That's a bit harsh Google...though probably true!


Adams and McGuinness 'leave IRA'

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have quit as members of the IRA leadership, according to Justice Minister Michael McDowell.

He said it was also his understanding that Martin Ferris, a Sinn Fein member of the Dail, has left the Provisional's ruling army council as well.

Mr McDowell's claim in Belfast came ahead of an expected IRA statement in which the paramilitary organisation will outline its future.

Asked if Mr Adams, the Sinn Fein president, Mr McGuinness, the party's chief negotiator and Mr Ferris had all relinquished their alleged membership of the seven-man body which runs the Provos, he said: "That's my understanding."

But Mr McDowell stressed: "I don't think that by itself amounts to a severance between the two organisations.

"It's an acknowledgement, in my view, that there was a very structured link between them in the past."

Well if they have left the Army Council then it is a welcome development. Of course, the Sinn Fein apparatchiks have always denied Mr McDowell's claims that Adams, McGuinness and Ferris were on the Council. Indeed, Adams call to the IRA to "fully embrace and accept" democratic means was, in effect, a case of Adams talking to himself.

Regardless, the important thing is that the IRA deliever with this statement. It's time for the people of Ireland to have an Ireland without the Provisional IRA.


Top Ten Tuesday - The usual drinks

I seem to be making a habit of talking about alcohol on United Irelander. I'm not an alcoholic I swear! I have been thinking though about the drinks I usually have when I'm out drinking and I thought I'd make a list. So without further ado:

1. Guinness - I usually have the sterotypical Irish drink when I'm out for a quiet pint with my friends. I like Guinness but I hate the aftertaste the next morning.
2. Miller - I'm not fond of Miller but I find myself drinking it quite often. Alot of people I know love this drink. I can't say I share their love but I like the fact there is little aftertaste from it.
3. Carlsberg - I don't really like this drink. Despite that though I end up drinking it regularly!
4. Budweiser - Like Carlsberg, this is another drink I have alot but don't really like.
5. Smithwicks - I do enjoy a pint of Smithwicks but my friends do not which makes it difficult for me to have it when I'm out. I think it's nice but it's not a patch on Guinness.
6. Bulmers - I like Bulmers but, as with Smithwicks, I don't get it as often as I'd like.
7. Jack Daniels and Coke - This is my drink of choice when I'm at a club, function or party.
8. Vodka and dash (with lime) - Gorgeous. Again, similar to my number 7 choice.

9. Heineken - I don't tend to drink Heineken any more on account of me realising it tastes like piss.
10. Water - I should drink water when I'm out but I don't have that much sense.

So there you have it. Feel free to comment on my choices or to offer your own. Also, feel free to advise me on some drinks which you think I should make part of my drinking habits. (OK that does make me sound like an alcoholic)



If you're like me, you'll love this.

If you're a Dub you'll understand!


Caption Time

Feel free to add a caption to the picture to your left. I'll have a go:

"As United's players return for training at Carrington, they can't help but feel Fergie's security precautions are unnecessary."


Roy on his way out?

I was disappointed to hear about the row which is said to have occured between Alex Ferguson and everyone's favourite angry Corkman, Roy Keane.

Reports suggest the row happened as a result of the United manager's decision to let wives and children accompany the squad for the duration of the week-long stay. It seems Keane took issue with this decision.

Ferguson has played down rumours of a rift stating "Roy Keane is injured, it is as simple as that" but is it as simple as that?

History shows that if Fergie has a problem with you, you will be heading for the exit regardless of how big your name is. However, as names go, Keane's one is pretty damn big and he is idolised at Old Trafford. Most United fans are loyal to Fergie but would they back him if he sent Keane on his way? I'm not sure.

United are in a vulnerable state as it is having gone two seasons without winning the Premiership, suffering Glazers' takeover, Rio Ferdinand still stalling on a new contract and now rumours of a rift between manager and captain! What are the odds on United winning the title now, I wonder?

Dark clouds are clearly hanging over Old Trafford at the minute. The last thing needed there is the addition of the red mist. Ferguson will be well aware of that...


Do they do refunds?

Kudos to Res Publica and EC1 Cruise Control for picking up on this story by the BBC about our devilishly handsome Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the money he spends on his appearance.

Tony Blair has taken some flak for the money he has spent on his appearance which tops £1,800 but that's nothing compared to our very own Taoiseach who has spent a whopping €28,000 on his, or to put it into perspective, £19,000!

If you think that's bad, the office of the Taoiseach has also confirmed that since 1997, Bertie's appearance has cost the Irish taxpayer €167,000 (£115,895)!

I think to call it a waste of money would be an understatement!


UI's Celtic Mythology - Cuchulainn

Yesterday I wrote about Cuchulainn's early years so today I will go into some detail on his exploits in battle.

Even though the druid Cathbad, Cuchulainn's grandfather, warned that anyone going to battle for the first time on a certain day was destined for a short life, Cuchulainn could not wait to deal with Ulster's enemies and he soon took up arms against three semi-divine warriors named Foill, Fannell and Tuachell, as well as their numerous followers, all of whom he killed. In this combat Cuchulainn displayed for the first time the dreadful shape of his battle-frenzy. His body trembled violently; his heels and calves appeared in front; one eye receded into his head, the other stood out huge and red on his cheek; a man's head could fit into his jaw; his hair bristled like hawthorn, with a drop of blood at the end of each single hair; and from the top of his head arose a thick column of dark blood like the mast of a ship. Returning to Emain Macha in his chariot, "graced with the bleeding heads of his enemies", and with the battle-frenzy still upon him, Cuchulainn was only stopped from circling the defences and screaming for a fight through a ploy of the Ulster queen Mughain. She led out of Emain Macha some hundred and fifty naked women carrying vats of cold water. An embarassed or amazed Cuchulainn was swiftly womanhandled into the vats. The first one burst its sides. The second boiled furiously, but the last vat became only very hot. Thus was the young hero tamed after his first taste of blood.

Tomorrow I will detail Cuchulainn's efforts to attain Emer's hand in marriage.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Monday Madness-PSNI incompetence

I'm both amazed and appalled at the extraordinary idiocy and incompetence shown by the PSNI today in relation to the situation in east Belfast where a large number of loyalist paramilitaries have occupied a housing estate.

It is believed the UVF associates are at the estate in Garnerville to ensure families associated with the LVF who were put out of the area do not return.

A number of families left Glenlea Park at the weekend and it is believed to be connected to the ongoing loyalist feud.

Police and Army have remained at the scene all day.

What the hell are they waiting for? Move into the area, remove the scumbags and end this madness. This is absolutely ridiculous! Listen to these pathetic comments from Chief Superintendent Wesley Wilson:

"We can only do something if there is a complaint or if there is an offence detected.

"We haven't seen any offences today, otherwise we would have made arrests and we haven't received complaints from members of the public as yet" he said.

Contrast this situation with the situation in Britain where a man can be shot dead by police for possibly being a terrorist, as opposed to Ireland's north where people who are quite clearly terrorists are able to ride roughshod over the local people and inflict terror and misery while the police and army stand around and do absolutely nothing.

Let's not forget that a statement is expected soon from the IRA which many people hope will involve the ultimate disbandment of the IRA. This kind of nonsense with the Loyalist paramilitaries plays into the hands of those who claim that the IRA are necessary to be the police for republican areas. When one observes this kind of farcical rubbish that the PSNI are currently engaged in, it's quite hard to argue against such claims.

The PSNI are supposed to be the police. How about they actually do their damn job and police the area? They're a shambles.


A tiny bit of recognition

Thanks to Gerry O'Sullivan, I read that I got a mention in the Sunday Tribune paper under their 'Blogosphere' column. Here's what 'Joe Bloggs' had to say:

Our new favourite blog tagline: "United Irelander -- Uniting Ireland in opposition against me."

Hey it ain't much, but it's a start! It's the first time that my blog has received a mention so I'm pleased.

So thank you 'Joe Bloggs' for giving yours truly a mention!


UI's Celtic Mythology - Cuchulainn

Since there is alot of information about Cuchulainn, for today I will only go into some detail on his early years:

Cuchulainn, in Irish mythology, was the champion warrior of Ulster. His name means the "Hound of Culann", although he was usually called the Hound of Ulster. Cuchulainn was the Irish Achilles, a larger-than-life fighter whose bouts of temper often caused grief to himself and others. Cuchulainn's mother was Dechtire, the daughter of the druid Cathbad, an advisor to the King Conchobar Mac Nessa. It was Cathbad who foretold that Cuchulainn would become a great warrior but die young. Shortly after her marriage to Sualtam Mac Roth, who was the brother of the deposed Ulster ruler Fergus Mac Roth, Dechtire along with fifty of her kinswomen flew to the otherworld in the form of a flock of birds. During the wedding feast she had swallowed a fly and dreamed as a resut of the sun god Lugh, who told her to make this journey. Cathbad reassured his son-in-law by saying that Dechtire had merely gone to visit her otherworld relations, for her mother was the daughter of the god Aonghus. In fact, Lugh kept Dechtire there for his own pleasure for three years.

When Dechtire and her women returned to Emain Macha, the stronghold of the Ulster kings, in the form of brightly coloured birds, Dechtire was expecting Lugh's son, Setanta. Sualtam Mac Roth was so pleased to have his wife home again that when the boy was born he accepted him as his own child.

As a youth, Setanta quickly learned the ways of the warrior, but it was not obvious to everyone just how strong and brave he was until he killed an enormous hound with his bare hands. One day, arriving late at the gate of a house where King Conchobar Mac Nessa was being entertained by the Ulster smith Culann, the young hero was attacked by the ferocious guard dog and only saved himself by dashing out its brains on one of the gate's pillars. Their host had now lost a faithful guardian, so Setanta offered to take the hound's place while a replacement was found. When Culann thanked the young warrior but declined his offer, it was decided that henceforth Setanta would be known as Cuchulainn ("the hound of Culann").

Tomorrow I will go into Cuchulainn's exploits on the battlefield. Incidentally, the above version of how Setanta killed Culann's hound was not the one told to myself and my fellow classmates in school. I read that Setanta took his hurl and drove his sliotar (the ball) into the Hound's mouth thus killing it. In fairness, I think it was a better story to tell children as opposed to this one with the dog's brains being dashed on one of the gate's pillars!


A hero

I was delighted for Lance Armstrong on Sunday after the American cyclist won his seventh consecutive Tour de France.

When you consider that this man had to beat cancer on his way to success, it really makes for a remarkable and inspirational story.

Lance Armstrong - a real hero.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Creidhne

Creidhne was the goldsmith of the Tuatha De Danann and the brother of Goibhniu, the smith god, and Luchtar, the carpenter. During the second battle of Magh Tuireadh when the De Danann finally defeated the Fomorii, the three brothers could be seen on the battlefield making and repairing spears with magical speed. As Goibhniu fashioned a blade with three blows of his hammer, Luchtar carved a handle in a flash, and Creidhne crafted rivets that flew into place and bonded at once.

That was some information on Creidhne. Tomorrow I will begin writing on arguably the most famous figure in Irish mythology - Cuchulainn. Needless to say, there is alot of information about him so I will cover Cuchulainn's stories over the week but I shall enjoy it as he is certainly my favourite figure.


Sunday Scrutiny-Kildare

Continuing my scrutiny of the 32 counties, I thought this week I would stick with a county in Leinster seeing as last week I wrote about Laois. Therefore, this week I will write about Kildare.

Kildare is an Irish county located to the southwest of Dublin in the province of Leinster. The name comes from the Irish, meaning church (Cill) of the oaks (Dara) .

Maynooth is the historic educational centre of the county. It contains National University of Ireland, Maynooth and St Patrick's College, Maynooth.

In the 6th century St Evin founded Moore Abbey in the Kildare town of Monasterevin.

The town of Kildare is the oldest in the county and the most historic while Naas (Nás na Rí in Irish- meaning meeting place of kings) is the county town.

The Curragh horse-racing course is located in County Kildare. The county is known for the quality of horses bred in the many horse stud farms to which it is home. It is also home to the huge yearly Punchestown race festival. Kildare is home to the National Stud.

The nickname for the Kildare GAA team is the Lilywhites, a reference to the all-white Kildare flag. County Kildare is also known as the Shortgrass County.

According to the most recent census, Kildare has a population of 163,944.

So now you know a bit more about the county of Kildare. Also, if I'm not mistaken, Ray Darcy hails from Kildare though I'm not sure how proud the people of Kildare are about that fact!


A "tragedy"

I was saddened to hear of the death of Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes, shot dead by police on Friday who suspected him of being a suicide bomber.

I have been reading about this over on
A Tangled Web and I think Hugh Green made a fair point:

"If you were in Sao Paolo and you were suddenly pursued by normally dressed men pointing guns at you and shouting at you in Portuguese to stop, how would you have behaved?"

A similar point was made by someone called 'Nationalist':

"mmm If I was told to stop running by plain clothes people with guns I think I might run as well. How to hell would I know if they were who they said they were."

However on the BBC's website they outline the unfortunate chain of events:

1: Jean Charles de Menezes leaves a house under surveillance and arrives at Stockwell station
2: Witnesses say he vaults the automatic ticket barriers and heads for the platforms
3: He then ran down an escalator after being approached by up to 20 plain-clothed police officers and tried to board a train
4: He apparently refuses to obey police instructions and after running onto a northbound Northern line train, he is shot dead

Bearing in mind the current political climate, why did the man vault the ticket barriers and try to run onto the train?

I still think serious questions need to be asked though about how police handled this situation. If a "shoot to kill" policy is to be enforced, the intelligence on individuals must be exceptionally accurate. Guns can't simply be pointed at people who have a different skin colour to white.

Information on this right now appears to be sketchy. I'm sure more information on this will follow. I do however feel sorry for the man's family who must be heartbroken right now.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Saturday Survey

Hero of the Week: John Dallat: I admire the SDLP's MLA John Dallat for bringing up the issue of Loyalist and Republican terrorist items with the PSNI which are available on the internet and in shops around Ireland's north.

Villains of the Week: UVF: The Ulster Volunteer Force is right now engaged in a deadly feud with the Loyalist Volunteer Force and it seems to me that PUP leader David Ervine, leader of the UVF's political wing, is not doing enough to put an end to the bloodshed.

Funniest Moment of the Week: Extras: Dunno if anyone else watched Ricky Gervais' new show on BBC but personally I found it to be very funny. Great guests too including Ben Stiller. I loved the confrontation between Stiller and Gervais at the end.

Dunce of the Week: Sammy Wilson: The DUP's Sammy Wilson this week slammed the decision by the British government to approve three new Irish-language schools in the North labelling it "nothing short of a disgraceful use of public money". What a moron!

Celebrity of the Week: Angelina Jolie: This week Angelina Jolie was praised for saving her adopted daughter Zahara Marley from almost certain death in an Ethiopian orphanage. What a gal!

Quote of the Week: "The man should not be in prison and we made that very, very clear." - Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams referring to Sean Kelly, a man who murdered 10 people in the Shankill bombing.

It is quite clear that Mr Kelly should be in prison. For a very long time.

United Irelander's Busiest Day of the Week: Friday - 143 visits (+17)


Ireland's shame

Concern says money from foreign governments, including Ireland, can tackle the crisis in the African nation of Niger.

The world's second poorest country is being devastated by drought and a plague of locusts which is destroying crops and tens of thousands of children are at risk of starving to death.

"This can’t be allowed to persist and it shouldn’t persist and it is avoidable," said Nigel Tricks with the Concern team in Niger.

"If people give the aid that they’ve promised, if we live up to our commitments then there is no reason why this kind of crisis would happen again.

"But we have to live up to our commitments, we have to fulfil our promises."

What I'd like to know is, how can our Government Ministers justify awarding themselves a 7.5% pay rise, yet at the same time sit idly by while people in Niger are dying due to a lack of adequate aid?



UI's Celtic Mythology - Cormac Mac Art

Cormac Mac Art was the High King of Ireland during the period that Finn Mac Cool led the Fenian warrior band. He was the most famous of the early rulers of Ireland, his reign being tentatively dated from 227 to 266. Cormac Mac Art was the Irish Solomon, a wise and powerful king, who was served by the brave exploits of Finn Mac Cool. His wisdom seems to have impressed the Tuatha de Danann. These gods and goddesses invited Cormac Mac Art to their home in the otherworld, where they gave him wonderful presents. One of these was a silver branch that bore golden apples, and when shaken produced music that could cure the sick and wounded. On his own death Cormac Mac Art had to hand back this incredible talisman.
One of Cormac's sons, Cellach, raped the niece of Aonghus of the Terrible Spear. In the ensuing fight, Cellach was slain and Cormac lost an eye. As a High King could have no imperfection Cormac had to step down and his son Cairbe took his place. The reputation of the High King remained so strong that later the Irish Christians also adopted him. It was claimed that Cormac Mac Art learned of the Christian faith before it was actually preached in Ireland by St Patrick, with the result that he ordered that he should not be buried at the royal cemetery because of its pagan associations.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Friday Fun-News in Brief

Fine Gael Senator Brian Hayes this afternoon accused the Government of punishing Kildare for not electing a Fianna Fáil TD in the North Kildare by-election. The county received the fifth greatest per-capita sports funding in 2004. For 2005, however, it comes out worst of all 26 counties.

Are you sure it's not just a case of the Government realising that backing Kildare is just a big waste of money? I mean come on, it's Kildare!

A new television station for the greater Dublin area due to start in September, City Channel, will broadcast the country’s first and only programme aimed at the gay community.

Hold on, the first and only programme aimed at the gay community? Aren't we forgetting Tubridy Tonight?

And finally, this week it was revealed that Michael Jackson wants to become a Berliner. The singer’s father Joe Jackson has revealed that his son is in love with the city.

Yes, apparently Michael is a big fan of the city's delicacies. He especially likes the little wieners...


Fun Irelander Feature-If you won it...

Well I'm hearing alot of excitement about this EuroMillions draw on Friday which if I'm not mistaken has a prize of €96 million! It's an extraordinary amount of money and will certainly alter forever the life of the lucky person who scoops it (if it is scooped that is).

What I'd like to know is, what would you do if you won that amount of money? Some of the things I would do would be:

- Buy a red Ferrari which I've imagined having since I was young.

- Buy a holiday home in France as well a home in Ireland somewhere down the country. In Kerry or Waterford with great big space all to myself.

-Donate a few million to charity.

- Quit work forever and live off my wealth.

- Give some money to my family and make sure they're comfortable though I would be less giving when it would concern distant family. You just know you would end up running into second cousins you never even knew you had!

Can't really think of anything else at the minute. What about you? What would you do if you became a millionaire overnight?


Caption Time

Feel free to add a caption to the picture to your left. I'll have a go:

"As pressure on the Government continues, Michael McDowell and his PD colleagues stand together in a show of solidarity."


Friday Fun's Fab Vocab

Continuing my aim to add a more Irish feel to United Irelander, I thought I would add a vocabulary section to the blog promoting the language in the best way that I can. So with that in mind, here are some useful Irish words:

Irish to English:

eitleán = aeroplane

scamall = cloud

uisce = water

sneachta = snow

Tá mo bhríste trí thine = My trousers are on fire

I hope you found this week's edition of Fab Vocab both informative and stimulating.


Reading between the lines

If there's one thing you need to have in this country, it's an ability to read between the lines. Below I give you some statements made during the past week and the real meaning behind them:

"Not only myself but the whole of the Progressive Unionist Party has no influence on what's happening on our streets at all. " - David Ervine commenting on the Loyalist violence

Translation: "I'm staying the hell out of this"!

"This will turn into a pro-IRA march which cause only resentment. That's just being stupid and it will cause problems and turmoil." - Ian Paisley Jr commenting on plans by republicans to stage a march to commemorate the 34th anniversary of internment in Ballymena.

Translation: "If you're not wearing orange and a sash, no marches"!

“The decision by Education Minister Angela Smith to fund three new Irish medium primary schools is nothing short of a disgraceful use of public money." - DUP's Sammy Wilson

Translation: "This is focal nonsense! Boo Ireland!"

"The three main loyalist paramilitary groups remain committed to working for the betterment of their communities, but they need help doing this." - Spokesman for Loyalist commission

Translation: Hey Britain, spare change?

Like I said, you gotta read between the lines in this country!


UI's Celtic Mythology - Cormac

Cormac was the son of the Ulster king Conchobar Mac Nessa. An Irish myth tells of his distaste at his father's treachery in killing Naoise, the husband of Deirdre, and of his going into voluntary exile with the deposed Ulster ruler Fergus Mac Roth. Not until he received an invitation from his father Conchobar, when the dying king had nominated Cormac as his successor, did he consider returning home. However, a druidess had warned Cormac that if he went back to Ulster he would be killed, but he set out to anyway and on the journey he stopped by a roadside hotel where he was lulled to sleep by the soft notes of a harp. Defenceless in his enchanted sleep, he was slain by assassins, sent by the harpist, Craiftine, in revenge for Cormac's affair with his wife.


Friday Fun's Fascinating Fact

Half of all identity thieves are either relatives, friends, or neighbours of their victims.

I'm glad I don't give any of them gifts for the holidays so!

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Thursday Thoughts: IRA won't go away

On Monday I touched on the issue of the proposed IRA statement on the future of the organisation in the wake of Gerry Adams' call for the group to "fully embrace and accept" democratic means. I think it's important though to address how the recent bombings in London will impact on this proposed statement. In my view, they will have quite a significant impact.

I had my doubts prior to the recent London bombings that the IRA would listen to Adams' call. In light of the bombings I am convinced that the organisation will certainly now remain in place and that the proposed statement, rather than deliver disbandment or decommissioning, will actually sidestep these issues and instead contain criticism of the British government as well as the Orange Order for the violence weeks ago during marches in Belfast, and that Loyalist violence will be used as an excuse for the organisation's existence to remain. The real reason they will remain in the background though will be due to the renewed terrorist threat that faces Britain from Islamic terrorism.

While it may sound cynical to say, the fact is, when bombs went off in the North, for the British government it was a concern. When they went off on the British mainland, it was a tragedy. It appears that Tony Blair and the British government consider there to be a distinct possibility that the IRA would take its war back to the mainland of Britain even though I personally don't ever see this happening. That fear though, a fear which will be heightened significantly in light of the London bombings recently, makes the Provos a potent threat (in the British government's eyes anyway) and thus gives Sinn Fein a useful advantage over everyone else - a private army whilst the British government is focused on its War on Terror.

Say what you want about the IRA but there's one thing that they clearly do not ignore - tradition. And the fact of the matter is, it has long been an old Republican tradition that 'England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity' and in the Provo's eyes, that saying will hold true.

The IRA are going nowhere.


A great idea!

Fianna Fáil TD John Ellis has called for so-called "alcolocks" to be made mandatory in all cars in Ireland.

The device is a breathalyser fitted to the ignition which motorists must blow into if they want to start their car.

If the driver is above the alcohol limit, the "alcolock" will not allow the vehicle to start.

Mr Ellis, chairman of the Oireachtas Transport Committee, said today that the technology was already being used successfully in some Scandinavian countries.

He said he believed the public would support moves to make such devices obligatory due to growing intolerance of drink-driving in Ireland.

I think this is a great idea. Let's see it introduced over here. It's got my support.


London on alert again

I see London is on alert again after more blasts in Britain's capital. Thankfully no one has been killed though it's reported one person has been injured.

As I type this I hear a man has been arrested at Whitehall by police.

Let's hope the disgraceful individuals responsible for the panic felt today will be found and made to pay for these acts.


How many do you have?

Apologies for the lack of posts on Wednesday but I went out to the pub for a few pints to watch Shelbourne's match against Glentoran. Glad to see Shels win. At least they can say they made it through one round anyway!

While I was out I was again sucked into the sad drinking culture of this country. Myself and some friends ended up getting into a discussion with two chaps about how many drinks they have on a night out to which they said 5 to 6 at the very most whereas myself and my friends informed him we would have 7 to 8 pints at the very least. We all thought this was the norm in this country and were surprised at the answer of the two men. Thinking of this, I realised just how stupid and pointless the drinking culture is in this country. At least with around 5 pints you have enough to enjoy yourself whereas around 8 or so leaves you in bits. Of course my friends told me I was being foolish but I think I will be scaling down my intake on nights out from now on.

So how many pints would you have on a typical night out? Be honest!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Conlai

Conlai, sometimes known as Connla, was the doomed son of the great Ulster hero Cuchulainn. According to one tradition, Cuchulainn had visited the Land of Shadows in order to challenge the warrior woman Aoifa to single combat. After the fight, which the hero just managed to win by the use of his cunning, they became lovers and Conlai was conceived. When he left, Cuchulainn gave Aoife a gold ring. Years later Conlai wore this ring on a visit to Ulster, where he challenged the local heroes to combat. Just like his father, Conlai was quick to anger and soon overcame Conall, Cuchulainn's foster-brother.
Despite the misgivings of his wife Emer, Cuchulainn could not resist fighting the young stranger himself. Too proud to announce his own identity when challenged by Cuchulainn, Conlai accepted the possibility of death and drew his sword. Although Cuchulainn was impressed by sword-play which matched his own, he lost temper the moment Conlai cut off one of his locks of hair. The terrible combat only ended when Cuchulainn drove his spear through Conlai's stomach. Only then did Cuchulainn notice on his young opponent's finger the gold ring he had given to Aoifa. Cuchulainn, overwhelmed with remorse and grief, carried the dying Conlai to his house and afterwards buried his forgotten son.

I have to say of all the Celtic myths, this one is one of my favourites. I think it's beautifully tragic like a truly great story should be.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Some ceasefire!

The Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitary grouping has been linked by loyalist sources to an attack in east Belfast.

Shots were fired at a house in Sydenham and, according to one source, security measures at the house prevented the gunmen from getting inside.

The incident comes during a continuing feud between the UVF and the LVF.

It's extraordinary that the British government recognises this organisation as being on ceasefire. It's abundantly clear that it is not.


Ban sale of paramilitary flags - Dallat

I read with interest on the SDLP's website that SDLP MLA John Dallat has written to the PSNI and the Northern Ireland Office to complain about the sale of loyalist paramilitary flags and other items on the internet and in shops in the North.

I found these comments particularly interesting in relation to Sinn Fein:

"And while IRA flags are not on sale on Sinn Fein’s online store, IRA t-shirts and depictions of IRA men with machine guns are. It is disturbing that any political party in the 21st century would trade in these items" Mr Dallat said.

I agree wholeheartedly and a host of Loyalist items are mentioned which can be purchased but just as worrying are the items which can be bought on Indeed if one goes to the section highlighting the various shirts available they will see 'IRA Undefeated Army" T shirts, "Tiochfaidh ár lá" (sic) badges in the shape of machine guns and so forth.

I would like to ask any Sinn Fein supporter here on United Irelander two questions:

1. How can Sinn Fein justify selling such items on their book shop site?

2. Doesn't the fact they sell these items destroy their claims that they are inclusive towards all traditions? I mean, on the site you can even buy a Celtic hoodie! Farcical stuff.

Anyone care to comment?

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