Friday, December 30, 2005


2005 in review

Better late than never eh? Hello to you all. I know some of you have been leaving comments on other threads besides the Christmas one and when I return to the blog seat properly, I'll attempt to publish your comments.

First up, I hope you all had a great Christmas. Mine was pretty enjoyable and I found myself watching alot of films over the festive period. Well done to RTE for showing Pirates of the Caribbean. I've been wanting to see that film for a while now!

As the year of our Lord two thousand and five draws to a close, I considered doing the usual nonsense that you tend to see this time of year with the highs and lows of everything etc, but I couldn't be arsed commenting on stuff you already know about. Besides, the BBC do a far better job than I ever could here. With that being said, since this is perhaps my last post of 2005, I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't offer at least some commentary on what has been in many respects a massive year. Therefore, I will sum up my thoughts on what 2005 meant for Ireland, what it meant for the world and lastly, what it meant for this blog, United Irelander.

2005 for Ireland

For all intents and purposes, 2005 was a massive year for Ireland. It began with the fallout of the Northern Bank raid and in January the killing of Robert McCartney was a major issue. The subsequent bravery shown by the McCartney sisters was truly inspiring, seeing them even get the opportunity to meet with the US President. Never before had the 'Republican Movement' been challenged in this way on US soil and it was a group of civilian former Sinn Féin voters who spearheaded this challenge. Remarkable! They would be my choice for any 'people of 2005' award. I believe the McCartney sisters played a big part in Gerry Adams' later call for the IRA to "fully embrace" democratic means. Perhaps the biggest event in the year 2005 though from an Irish perspective was the IRA's announcement that their armed campaign was over. This was also followed by IRA decommissioning. All in all, some major events! Other notable events in Irish politics this year would be the Colombia Three debacle, the Orange Order riots, the incarceration of Padraig Nally, the McDowell/Connolly issue, the OTR legislation and, most recently, the Stormontgate scandal. Quite a year for politics! And that's only what I can remember right now...

Away from politics and in the area of sport, Ireland failed to qualify for next year's World Cup sadly and in perhaps the biggest sporting story of '05, Roy Keane left Manchester United! Dublin also flopped when it came to GAA but I guess some things never change.

In terms of entertainment, um...uh...well RTE are still showing The Panel so I guess 2005 wasn't great in that respect.

2005 for the world

2005 was a big year for the world. Two things which spring to mind straight away for me would be the deaths of Pope John Paul II and George Best. Two great men in my opinion who leave this world a poorer place. There were alot of tragedies in 2005 too. At the start of the year we still had reports of the devastating Tsunami in Asia, we also witnessed the terrible London bombings on the 7th of July, we had Hurricane Katrina hit America as well as a spate of plane crashes around the world which killed many.

For sport, 2005 wasn't that important globally. With it being one of those odd number years, no major tournament such as the Olympics or the World Cup took place. London was given the Olympics though prior to the London attacks. England got humiliated at Windsor park by a gutsy NI side. Overall though, in terms of sport, aside from Lance Armstrong notching up another win at the Tour de France, I can't remember much of note.

For entertainment purposes, I guess the Live 8 concert was the biggest thing. Also Brad and Jen broke up which is apparently important. This year saw many of the usual craptacular reality shows continue such as You're A Star and The X-Factor but as I said above, some things never change. Star Wars Episode III came out this year however and it was a film I managed to see. I thought it was alot better than the first two. Not a bad year in terms of entertainment though all in all.

2005 for United Irelander

I feel this blog really developed well in 2005. At the start of the year I was still pretty much finding my feet but over the course of the last few months, things feel like they have improved and I got welcome mentions in the Sunday Tribune, the BBC and The Guardian. There's a new colour scheme too. I've also added many new links to the blogroll over the year and alot more people have visited over the past twelve months. I've had interesting discussions with lots of people on various issues and it's truly been a pleasure to get visitors from as far off as Italy, Canada, America, Lebanon to name just a few places. Thank you to all those who visit wherever you're from.

Blogging seems to be coming along nicely here in Ireland and with talk of Irish Blog Awards for the start of 2006 as well as the likelihood of new Irish blogs appearing, next year should be even better for Bloglaigh na hEireann, the Boggersphere, whatever you want to call it!

Onwards and upwards...

As I hinted earlier, this may be my last post of 2005 so I'd again like to thank you all for popping by UI over the last year and hopefully there's more interesting discussion to be had. I hope to have normal service resume next week and I've alot of things to get off my chest as we head into another year. God willing, I hope to make United Irelander a real blog of note in 2006.

Have a great New Year ladies and gents and make sure you take it easy! Slán 2005!

Friday, December 23, 2005


Have a very Merry Christmas!

You wish I was under your tree!I think the great author Charles Dickens summed Christmas up best when he wrote...

"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveller back to his own fireside and quiet home!"

Christmas is my favourite time of year and while the magic of it is lessens as one gets older, I think it's still possible to, in the words of the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, "remember something of the gay Garden that was childhood's".

With that being said, I'm going to take some time off over the Christmas period. This isn't a time of year that should be spent arguing. It's a time to cherish the things that are important in life.

Comment moderation will be put in place for posts until I come back which will probably be in a week or so.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! God bless.


Fun Irelander Feature - Irish greats poll

What a great flag!What the hell is going on over at Slugger O'Toole? Have Mick Fealty and Pete Baker hit the bottle? Have they been infiltrated by agents who want to turn the site into a laughing stock? The reason I ask is because I've checked Slugger O'Toole's list of nominees for their 'greatest Irish man or woman' poll and I have a bone to pick with them!

Now I know what you're thinking, my problem is the fact that women are listed. How dare you persist with that dirty rumour that I view women in a bad light! Of course women deserve to be mentioned! Women are great at alot of things. Cooking, cleaning, washing to name just a few things...

No, my problem relates to the actual nominees listed. They have included such 'greats' as...wait for it...Daniel O'Donnell. Daniel O'Donnell? Are most of Slugger's visitors old ladies or what? And why is Bono there?
Twenty Major won't like that. Mary Peters is there too. For what? I know she's a good tennis player and all but still...

Slugger also have a poll up on the greatest Ulsterman or woman but they don't have polls on any of the other provinces. Talk about bigotry. Why couldn't Mr Fealty do a poll on the greatest Connacht man or woman? He could have included such greats he could have done polls on great people from Munster and Leinster at least.

Mick Fealty, you have messed up. But not to worry! United Irelander will make everything right. You see Mick, your problem was allowing people to nominate. You need to understand that when it comes to polls like these, people cannot be trusted. Have the last few years of You're A Star and it's overall general crappiness taught you nothing? How have we done in the Eurovision Mr Fealty? Answer me that! As I say, people cannot be trusted - but I can.

That is why I have taken the liberty of creating a PROPER poll which will offer a far more accurate reflection of the REAL male and female Irish greats.

I urge United Irelander's visitors to vote in MY poll, which can be found if you scroll down the sidebar, to determine the greatest Irish man or woman.

As usual please use the comments section of this post to explain how you voted and why.

We'll show those boyos over at Slugger how you do a poll!


Ahern briefed by Orde - Changing times!

I like Dublin, especially the Spire! Yesterday PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde briefed the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern about the latest developments in the so-called Stormontgate scandal.

The two men met for around an hour at Government Buildings in Dublin less than a week after leading Sinn Féin official Denis Donaldson admitted he had been a British spy since the 1980s.

Mr Orde has continued to insist that the IRA was operating a spy ring inside Stormont. He claimed this was evident as documents stolen from Stormont were found in west Belfast during the investigation.

However, Sinn Féin has pointed out that the documents were found in Mr Donaldson's house and were therefore in the possession of a British agent, not the IRA.

In a statement released after the meeting, a government spokesman said the Taoiseach viewed Mr Orde's visit as an indication of the seriousness of the matter. However, he said the substance of the talks was confidential and it would not be appropriate to go into any detail.

First of all, in relation to the alleged spyring, it seems to me that people are neglecting to point out what Sinn Féin have been left to point out - the 'IRA spy ring' documents were taken from the British agent Denis Donaldson's home! That to me means these allegations have absolutely no credibility and were, in my view, all part of MI5's plans to destablise the North.

Aside from the Stormontgate issue though, isn't it absolutely fantastic to see the PSNI's chief constable taking the time to come to Dublin and inform the Taoiseach what is happening in the north of Ireland? It goes to show how times have changed!

The role of the Irish Republic in the North is now well defined and is clearly of great importance. The British government quite rightly acknowledge that. Not only do they acknowledge it, in my view the British want to see the Republic one day take full responsibility on matters like this!

A British official has briefed the Irish Prime Minister on events in the North.

Very soon, these roles will be reversed and it will be an Irish official briefing a British Prime Minister on events in the newly reunified island of Ireland.

The times they are a-changin'!


Love Bigotry!

Dirty Fenians! I'm pretty sure this is a United Irelander exclusive. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you...

Love Bigotry

Oh how I laughed! It's run by 'The Shankill Moaner'!

Here is their mission statement:

- Lovebigotry is a campaign for the unity of Ulster bigots.

- Lovebigotry calls for the democratic rights of the Nationalist / Republican / Marxist / Socialist / Sinn Fein / I.R.A / Taig / Fenian (O.K. - I'll stop now!) community to be neglected.

- Lovebigotry calls for end to equal rights to those evil catholics. We are the supreme race.

- Lovebigotry gives people a voice and encourages them to have their say, unless you’re a taig. In that case we’ll delete your posts from our forum.

- Lovebigotry is a peaceful and democratic initiative by a range of organisations across the province including the The Shankill Butchers, KKK, and King Billy Booze Bargain Basement.

It's hilarious! Check it out!


A time for giving...

Since this is the time of year we're supposed to concentrate on giving rather than receiving (no rude jokes please), I figured I would take the time to update my blogroll as I've been meaning to for a while.

First up, go give Damien Mulley's Blog a look. It's always an interesting read although I don't like his colour scheme. Blue and white? Ugh. Did you know Damien offered me the chance to be a judge in the Irish Blog awards? Tis true. See here if you don't believe me. He's been giving you the UI visitor a bit of stick though. I refer you to this post. Quote:

"Plot getting thicker than the average comment poster on UI’s blog."

Harsh Damien!...but probably fair in some cases.

Next up, I've added City in the Trees. You might recognise the blog owner Lone Primate as he has visited United Irelander of late. He's a good writer and he has a pretty good colour scheme in fairness. Not bad for a guy from Canada.

Also added to the blogroll is Fiona's blog Mental Meanderings. We've put our disagreements behind us and I've come to accept that she was completely in the wrong (Joke). In all seriousness she has a good blog which is worth checking out as is her interview on Disillusioned Lefty.

Next up, is Red Mum. She runs an entertaining blog and her writing talent landed her her own newspaper column. I also like that floating graphic which runs across her screen. Tis witchcraft I tells ya!

I have also added Thinking Out Loud by That Girl to the blogroll. It's a good blog and the posts are well-written and easy on the eyes. She's also the blogger who hosted the recent blog gathering the other night.

Finally, I've added the wysiwyg blog by Janine Dalton. This might be the best looking blog I've ever seen and the posts are of great quality as well. I also have to respect her 'weird habit' which involves bringing a glass of water up to bed - same as myself!

So there you have it. Six new additions. By the way, if these bloggers wisht to reciprocate with some links what with it being the season of goodwill and all, feel free to do so! You know you want to really!


Christmas Caption Time!

Forget the three wise men, this country doesn't even have one! A festive edition of Caption Time depicting the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern getting into the Christmas spirit!

Can you add a caption to the image to your left?

(My effort can be viewed if you roll over the image)


Friday Fun's Fascinating Fact

Moscow weathermen can be fined for inaccurate weather forecasting!

To be honest I'm not surprised. I mean how hard could it be?

'Tomorrow it will be cold and windy'. Simple enough!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


North's parades cost PSNI over €13m

It was revealed today by the PSNI that they spent the equivalent of more than €13m this year on policing Orange Order and other parades.

The Orange march which sparked rioting in Ardoyne in north Belfast on 12 July cost almost €1 million in police costs alone.

PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said the money could be better used to fund other policing needs and priorities.

He appealed to parade organisers to consider this and engage in dialogue.

Ian Paisley Junior of the DUP said, apparently with a straight face, that the figures reflected the threat posed to Orangemen when they marched. (Nonsense!)

Alex Attwood of the SDLP said the costs should bring the Orange Order to its senses.

What is clear from today's announcement from the PSNI is that these marches, particularly the ones from the Orange Order, are a menace to society and disastrous to the North's economy.

Paisley Junior is kidding himself if he thinks that the figures are caused by those who are against the march. The facts and figures speak for themselves. Almost €1m was spent on the Orange Order riots in July where over 80 officers were injured thanks to the Orange Order. Madness!

I admire Alex Attwood for stating that these costs should bring the Orange Order to their senses, but I don't think the Orange Order have any sense. The little baby pictured above is Caleb Moore who sustained a fractured skull when rioters stoned the car the toddler was travelling in at the Orange Order's Whiterock parade. Will that deter the Orange Order from marching next year though? Hell no!

These parades are a disgrace and are just an excuse for a sectarian orgy of mayhem and destruction.

I don't think there's any chance of the Orange Order seeing sense but I think there's still a chance that the people of the North might.

Only they can stop these sectarian parades! How many toddlers must have their lives put at risk, and how much taxpayer's money must be poured down the drain, before people open their eyes to this massive problem in Ireland's north?


Thursday Thoughts: British citizenship

Nothing to fear Yesterday in this post I highlighted how 25,000 Irish people in the North are set to be issued with Irish passports.

In the comments section of the post, I felt wulfbeorn brought up a great point:

"This is good news. Now is there any reason why we can't have British citizenship rights granted to people in the Republic?"

I personally feel granting British citizenship rights to people in the Republic would be a great move but, as I pointed out in the comments section, I don't see how this could be achieved without Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth.

I' sure visitors to United Irelander are aware that I support Ireland rejoining the Comonwealth. Leaving the Commonwealth did more harm than good and led to the British bringing about the Ireland Act which led to the demise of the last official links between Ireland's north and south. Fine Gael soon realised they had made a grievous error in taking Ireland out of the association.

As someone who favours a United Ireland, I think rejoining the Commonwealth would be both a great way of rectifying the foolish decision to leave, as well as a great way of legitimising British citizenship for those Irish people in the Republic who may desire it.

If a United Ireland is to occur, it can't be based on an ethnic model. It must be a United Ireland that both respects and protects Irishness and Britishness. Unionists will not countenance a United Ireland that won't acknowledge their right to be British. And why should they?

The Republic of Ireland needs to prove to the unionists in Ireland's north that it respects their tradition and that in a new 32 county State, they will be respected just like everybody else. Allowing people in the south to claim British citizenship would be a good way of showing unionists that Britishness is respected.

If rejoining the Commonwealth can give us the benefit of British citizenship for Irish people in the Republic who desire it, then I think it's a move worth considering.

What do you think?


Women in the nip!

Avert your gaze! This is an issue that has been reported on some other blogs.

Multi-millionaire Peter Stringfellow is set to open one of his clubs in Dublin. Parnell Street, to be exact.

The move has met opposition from locals who have banded together with women's group Ruhama to campaign against the club. Stringfellow has agreed to travel to Dublin in January to hold discussions with those oppose the club.

A decision on whether or not it will be allowed to open was deferred at Dublin District Court today, and will be made in the New Year.

I decided to investigate the matter further so I entered the official website of Mr Stringfellow's strip clubs (purely for research purposes!) and I discovered that the opening night is Tuesday, 10th January. There are some very nice pictures on the website - I never knew a shamrock could be used in that way.

If you want to check out the website for yourselves, for research purposes of course, then go
here. (warning - contains material that is inappropriate for young people and feminazis)

My take on this issue is that the club would be situated in an inappropriate area in a very well known part of Dublin and I don't particularly want such a sleazy joint ruining such a vibrant and cultural part of my city. Therefore, I oppose it and hope that it's not allowed to open.

With that being said though, assuming it does get the go ahead, should I go to the opening night and blog the entire Irish stripclub experience? I'm sure that would be a first.

Purely for research purposes obviously!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


The border is failing

Border? What border? It appears the border is becoming less and less of a problem.

It emerged yesterday that up to 25,000 people in Ireland's north will be issued with Irish passports this year.

Over 40 post offices across the border will process the service.

Irish pensioners across the North already get free passports after Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern announced a waiver scheme in August for all citizens over 65.

Mr Ahern said yesterday: "This year 25,000 people in Northern Ireland will avail of our new Automated Passport System through a network of 40 post offices."

The 27.7 million euro (pounds 17m) system fully meets all international specifications and is widely regarded as one of the most secure in the world today."

Up to 650,000 Irish passports in total will be issued this year, resulting in 33 million euro (pounds 20m) in revenue.

The border is becoming more and more irrelevant. This is a key step on the way to the reunification of Ireland.

Clearly schemes like this one benefit the people of the north and the south.

I'm heartened by this development. The border was designed to try and segregate Irish from Irish.

It has failed miserably.


'What If'? Wednesday - All-Ireland team

Why didn't they think of this sooner? This is an issue that I have once again found myself debating so I felt it would be a good idea to make a thread about it and to pose the following question to all of you...

What if we had an all-Ireland football team?

In my opinion, an all-Ireland football team is the way to go. The late great George Best was the best known advocate for an all-Ireland team. While a few politicians north and south have mooted the idea, nothing concrete seems to happen on the issue.

Let's look at this objectively though...

- The island of Ireland has a population of just under 6 million people when combined. If we established an all-Ireland team, we would be able to pool our resources together and achieve far greater things than we have done separately.

- There is an all-Ireland team for lots and lots of sports. Rugby and cricket are two such examples and the Irish rugby and cricket teams have both had quite a bit of success in recent times.

- There are a horrible set of bigots which disgrace the NI fanbase. Admittedly these people are a minority but they haven't gone away you know. It is my view that the IFA could do more to weed out these bigots and make the team inclusive towards nationalists. However, even though a recent think tank recommended scrapping God Save The Queen as the anthem for the NI team, (shows you their idea of inclusiveness!) the IFA decided to REJECT this idea and RETAIN GSTQ. In other words, the message is that northern nationalists aren't welcome to support the NI team. Of course, an all-Ireland team would have the support of EVERYBODY.

- It might help relations in the North. Sport can help bring people together. If an all-Ireland football team had the chance to go to a World Cup tournnament, something I think would be quite possible, then the whole country would be delighted. North and south.

- It would potentially see the end of the inept, incompetent boobs who run the FAI. That would please me and I'm sure it would please most Irish fans.

This is too much of a good opportunity to pass up. I want some brave TDs out there to start bringing this issue up with the Sports Minister so he too can bring it up with his British counterpart.

United we stand, divided we fall. And in the current World Campaign, both Irish teams fell.

An all-Ireland team is the way to go. Let's see it happen!


Ireland a 'terror target' - Loony lefties

Down with this sort of thingThe Irish Government’s support for the war in Iraq is putting Dublin at risk of a terrorist attack, an Oireachtas Committee heard today.

The Mid West Alliance against the War today called on the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee to carry out a full investigation into the stop-over of CIA planes carrying terror suspects en route to alleged torture camps.

Spokesman and chief loony lefty, Edward Horgan said: "The decision by the Irish Government to support the war being waged by the US puts the Irish people as a whole, and the people of Dublin city in particular, at risk of retaliation by those who perceive themselves to be the victims of the US-led war.

"The transit of very dangerous military cargoes and munitions through Shannon is also putting members of the public and Shannon airport employees at grave risk."

Ireland supports the war? I thought we had a precious 'tradition of neutrality'? Is Horgan for real? Let's hear what else Edward has to say...

"The Irish Government has allowed 650,000 US armed troops in uniform to pass through Shannon Airport for the purposes of the Iraq War, and this has resulted in the unlawful killing of up to 100,000 Iraqi people."

Oh so Ireland is to blame for the people who have died! Of course!

Senator Paschal Mooney, clearly a very intelligent fellow, said he found the Alliance’s arguments were one-sided and said the removal of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was a good thing.

He pointed out the 80% voter turnout in the recent democratic elections.

He disagreed with Labour Committee member Michael D Higgins who claimed there may have been political interference in decisions by the DPP in relation to complaints about activity at Shannon.

Mr Mooney added: "The people in America, particularly Irish Americans, would not understand if a troupe of gardaí was to go onto a plane at Shannon Airport without any specific evidence."

He said he accepted assurances from the Irish and US governments that Shannon was not being used for rendition flights until there was evidence to the contrary.

Well said, Mr Mooney! Thankfully there's still a few Irish politicians who ahven't gone bananas over the War in Iraq.

Speaking of people who have gone bananas, Seanad leader Mary O’Rourke weighed in her with her two cents:

"There have been incidents of which we would not be proud as a country. The democratic process benefits from people questioning things. We’re not all cloned dolly sheep bobbing our heads up and down."

I don't think you're cloned dolly sheep. I think you're a bunch of parrots all coming out with the same old guff, all the while igoring the wishes of the Iraqi people. Most Iraqis are happy with the performance of the government, 80% turnout at the recent election. Why won't you acknowledge that?

Greens chairman (shouldn't that be yellow?), John Gormless...excuse me, Gormley, said George Bush was a puppet of a neo-conservative troupe in the White House.

He added that the opposition of Irish people to US foreign policy didn’t make them anti-American.

"The war was based on a massive lie. The war is continuing with horrendous casualties, mostly the citizens of that country," he said.

Oh for crying out loud! Why don't you mention the people responsible for the killing? The terrorist scum who you are indirectly assisting! Here's the icing on the cake from oul' Gormley:

"No US war plane should be landing in Shannon because of our tradition of neutrality. They should not be using Shannon as a military airport ... and treating the country like it is any other state of the US."

The 'tradition of neutrality'! Didn't you just know it was coming?! Tell you what Gormley, you can shove that particular tradition up your green arse.

Puppets scare me

I have nothing at all against Irish people who opposed the war in Iraq, but these clowns are embarrassing themselves with the vitriol they are coming out with.

They ignore the recent developments in Iraq and continue to spout the same old nonsense.

It's becoming tiresome, lads!

(By the way, if you roll over the images above you will get extra insight into the minds of these two chaps)


Lunch with Gerry Adams...

I came across this piece in The Guardian by James Harkin who had lunch with Gerry Adams.

It's a good read and details Adams' thoughts on the peace process and the future for Ireland...

"The history of Irish republicanism is also the history of betrayals or perceived betrayals on the part of the leadership. I wonder whether Adams ever fears being seen as another Michael Collins, as someone who compromised on the idea of a united Ireland and was subsequently viewed by many of his peers as a sell-out. "Like any thinking human being," he says, "I have doubts about many things. But a lot of what happened in Ireland was as a result of the militaristic tendency being in the ascendancy most of the time. I don't want to glamorise, but there was a lot of bravery, determination and courage. But what was the outcome? A divided Ireland. What was lacking was the political ideology, the unity of purpose, the coherency of a vision and of objectives." It is, I think, the closest Adams will get to an admission that the years of armed struggle failed."

Do Adams and his party have "the political ideology, the unity of purpose, the coherency of a vision and of objectives"?

I don't believe so.


Di Canio suspended over fascist salute

You might recongise the player pictured to your left. It is former Celtic and West Ham star Paolo di Canio, now currently at Lazio.

He has been banned for one match and fined by the Italian football federation for an allegedly fascist salute. He also misses Wednesdays' Serie A match at Lecce, and has also been ordered to pay €10,000 over the gesture which occurred during Saturday’s league game against Juventus.

Di Canio, 37, saluted his own Rome-based club’s fans after being substituted in the 1-1 draw, as he did on a separate occasion earlier in the season, to mixed views in Italy. He has made similar gestures during previous matches this year.

The player himself is adamant he has committed no offence.

"This is a political sentence and it is unjust," said Di Canio.

"My salute dates back to ancient Rome and expresses a sense of being a part of something, it has nothing to do with a racist ideology.

"I am ready to do it again."

Lazio president Claudio Lotito defended his player and said: "His gesture was not political and it has been misinterpreted."

Well di Canio was never afraid to court controversy during his time in England and it appears he hasn't changed in that regard! Personally I do not think salutes like these can be justified. It is too synonymous with the evil people of the past, more specifically Nazism.

On a similar note, as I understand it, the swastika is actually a religious symbol and is looked upon as a symbol of good luck in some cultures . Even so, nowadays it has negative connotations due to it being appropriated by the Nazis.

With that being the case, I don't think the use of the swastika can be justified and the same goes for salutes like the one di Canio made.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Sinn Féin rejects OTR legislation

I am absolutely delighted at the sensational news which broke earlier today that Sinn Féin has decided to reject the On-The-Run legislation which gave an amnesty to paramilitary terrorists as well as British State murderers.

Party vice-president Pat Doherty said the legislation was "far removed" from what had been agreed during 2001 talks with the government at Weston Park.

"We are now calling for it (the legislation) to be rejected and we are withdrawing from anything to do with it," he said.

Mr Doherty said Sinn Fein would also be advising republicans "on the run" not to seek registration under the legislation should it go through.

Urging the government to scrap the legislation and "stick to what was agreed", Mr Doherty said:

"There are no British ground forces on the run.

"It was sleight of hand and inexcusable to bring that aspect into the legislation. It was not agreed at Weston Park. And it is not acceptable and needs to be rejected."

Wow! What a glorious day! Visitors to United Irelander will be well aware that I have vociferously opposed this legislation from the start and that I have done my utmost to point out the inconsistencies of the Sinn Féin position. I took stick from some Sinn Féin supporters for my stance but today I, and everyone else who opposed this bill, have been vindicated!

This is a victory for the people! Make no mistake!

This is not about gloating though. The battle has not even begun yet. We must now all stand together as one and oppose this legislation which the people of Ireland do not want.

Now that Sinn Féin have realised that those of us who opposed the legislation were right to do so, let us all unite as Irishmen and oppose this disgraceful OTR legislation!

United we stand, divided we fall!


Top Ten Tuesday - Christmas songs

As we get closer and closer to Christmas I thought it would be fitting to make this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday a festive occasion! Right now radio stations across the country are filling the airwaves with the usual Christmas songs. Some are them are great, while some are so bad you wouldn't mind banning them altogether in the style of the Iranian President.

Today I'm going to focus on the great songs. So with that in mind, I give you the top ten Christmas songs...

1. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, Fairytale of New York - This is the best Christmas song of all time in my opinion. Shane McGowan and Kirsty MacColl complement each other very well and you have to love the famous line, "you scumbag you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot".

2. Slade, Merry Xmas Everybody- This is one of the great Christmas songs and is guaranteed to be heard around Christmas time. I don't know anyone who dislikes this song. I think it's great.

3. John Lennon, Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - This is one of my favourite John Lennon songs. I love the intro to this song with the simple guitar melody and Lennon's great vocals before entering into the rousing chorus.

4. Wizzard, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - I like this song because it's so damn catchy! Not sure about the video though!

5. Band Aid, Do They Know It's Christmas? - Last year some mediocre pop stars did their best to massacre this song but I still have fond memories of the original song.

6. Shakin' Stevens, Merry Christmas Everyone - OK some people hate his song and I agree it's cheesy but come on, it's so synonymous with Christmas!

7. Bing Crosby, White Christmas - The old classic! I can recall this song getting played alot around my house at Christmas time when I was a young boy.

8. Mariah Carey, All I Want For Christmas Is You - I'm not a big fan of Mariah by any means but like Shakin Stevens, it's an appropriate tune for Christmas.

9. Aled Jones, Walking In The Air - If you're Irish, you'll know that hearing this song on RTE each year is pretty much the signal that Christmas is here! I think it's used by An Post, the postal service, and it's a very nice song.

10. Cliff Richard, Mistletoe and Wine - Now we're in the dregs! I'm not crazy about this song but it's definitely a Christmassy tune.

So there you have it. Feel free to comment on my choices or to offer up some of your own. On another note, it seems our friends across the pond in North America wouldn't be aware of many of the songs listed above. You don't know what you're missing!


Ireland is my country

"Why should Ireland be treated as a geographical fragment of England - Ireland is not a geographical fragment, but a nation." - Charles Stewart Parnell

Sometimes on a blog an interesting topic can spring up from the most unlikeliest of places. On this thread which was to do with the idea of an all-Ireland police force, the topic of Ireland came up and the right of Irish nationalists like myself to look on the island of Ireland as a country.

Some people told me that I have no right to regard the 32 counties of Ireland as my country. According to them, the advent of partition ended that right and effectively ended centuries upon centuries of Irish nationhood.

I refute that suggestion totally!

As I have pointed out before, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a country as:

"a nation or State; the land it occupies."

So a nation can be classed as a country. Furthermore, Article 2 of the Irish constitution now states:

"It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage."

The first sentence is crucial. Personally I interpret it to mean that the idea of Ireland as a 32 county nation still exists and I justify that by the use of the words "every person born in the island of Ireland". In my opinion, it is defining the nation in a geographical sense, albeit in a subtle manner.

The online encylopedia, Wikipedia, defines a country as "a geographical territory". Let's face it, Ireland's geographical territory can't be more clear-cut as Ireland is an island! It continues:

"There are dozens of other, non sovereign territories which constitute a geographical country, but are not sovereign states."

That to me sums up my country.

As far as I am concerned, my country is the island of Ireland. I don't regard my country as being a 26 county entity and I wager the vast majority of Irish people can relate to what I am saying. The simple fact is, in the Republic we are not brought up to think that our country ends at the border. When I was in school learning geography, I had to know all 32 counties not just 26. I learned stories on Irish mythology and my favourite stories were about the great Ulster champion Cuchulainn. I learned about Irish history which naturally delves into Ulster's history. The Flight of the Earls, the Plantations, the United Irishmen, Home Rule, partition, the Rising, the War of Independence. Clearly Ulster occupies a massive part of Irish history. It can't be unwritten. It's a part of Ireland. It's a part of ME. When I was a young boy we were taught to look on Ireland as a teddy bear - not a headless one though! In my later years, I studied Irish and I had to learn the nuances involved in the different dialects. That included the Ulster dialect.

The point I'm trying to get across to my unionist visitors is that Ulster is part of my country! You cannot take that from me. You cannot tell me that my sense of nationhood is misplaced when it is clear to me that without Ulster, there IS no Ireland! It is an absolutely integral part of my nation. I shall not and I will not sit idly by and be told that my country is some second-rate 26 county State that has no link to the rich cultural traditions of the province of Ulster. I will not!

You see, I'm a Dubliner. And while I may jokingly make jibes about other Irish counties, I know that each county, yes even Cork, make up an integral part of my nation. That includes Fermanagh, Tyrone, Derry, Down, Antrim and Armagh.

I respect the views of those who disagree with me but to tell me that I cannot look upon the 32 counties of Ireland as my nation is a slap in the face to me and the people of the Irish Republic. My great-grandparents would have had no problem looking on people in the north as their compatriots yet because of decisions made by British cabinet ministers relating to partition, Irish nationhood can be destroyed? Countrymen can be turned into foreigners? I don't think so.

My roots are in Ireland and no Briton has the power to uproot them!

I am proud of my country. I am proud to call myself an Irishman. And I am proud to call the people of the 6 counties what I call the people of the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland - my countrymen!

"No man has a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation. No man has a right to say to his country: Thus far shalt thou go and no further. We have never fixed the ne plus ultra of the progress of Ireland's nationhood and we never shall." - Charles Stewart Parnell


Christmas under attack by PC loons!

Political correctness - one of the things I despise!

Sadly, each year when we approach the 25th of December, loony lefties who espouse political correctness rub their hands together with glee as they prepare for another onslaught on Christmas!

On Sunday, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that "silly bureaucrats" wanted to
wipe Christian symbols from Christmas.

"It's all because of the idea that our neighbours from other religious traditions will be offended by Christian symbols", said Williams.

"The truth is they're usually much happier with the idea of a Christian festival than with some general excuse to have a good time in midwinter."

Cliff Richard also came out and
attacked the PC brigade who villify Christmas:

"I'm saying 'hello, I've got friends who are Asian, I wish them Happy Diwali, they wish me Happy Christmas'. In fact they enjoy Christmas. And when I've been there and there's Diwali going on I've enjoyed that too to be honest with you.

"I'm not so sure why they're so upset about the sensitivity of other religions who actually don't mind that we celebrate Christmas."

Rowan Williams and Cliff Richard are right. The campaign to derail Christmas is obscene and insulting. Nowadays you have employers releasing cards saying 'Happy Holidays' because they're afraid to upset minorities by using the word 'Christmas'. What a load of nonsense! I find it hard to believe that someone can be insulted by the words 'Merry Christmas'.

This political correctness stuff is getting out of hand. You can't say 'chairman' any more, instead you have to say 'chairperson'. You can't call someone a 'foreigner' any more, instead you must call them 'foreign nationals' or 'non-nationals'. You can't use the word 'failure' any more, instead you must use the words 'deferred success'. Fat people aren't fat, they're 'obese'!

It's madness! Thank God Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969 instead of 2005. Can you imagine what would have happened if Neil Armstrong had said his famous words in this day and age? It would probably be something like this...

Armstrong: "That's one small step for Man, one giant leap for mankind."

NASA: "That was beautiful Neil but uh, some of the crew here feel your comments might be a tad insensitive. We feel it's important to point out that it's one small step for people, and one giant leap for humankind."

What a crazy age we live in, eh?

Let me just say this. I love Christmas. Always have. I feel it's a great time of year and it reminds me of the important things in life. I won't listen to those who seek to demonise it.

I will say 'Merry Christmas' as much as I want whether people like it or not! And to those who are offended by me saying Merry Christmas, I have just two words for you...

Merry Christmas!


The Portrait of a Lad...uh Lady

The image to your left is what happens when you commission Rolf Harris to do your portrait!

The portrait of the British Queen was designed to mark the monarch's 80th birthday next year, and is said to be an "impressionistic", rather than a "photographic", representation.

"I'm not making any claims that this is the greatest painting in the world," said Harris, who trained as an artist, "I've done the best I can."

The story of the painting will be shown in a BBC documentary on New Year's Day. (Apparently it's not a horror story)

One newspaper described the image as "blurred" with "unflattering heavy features".

That's putting it mildly!

Let's go to Rolf for the last word:

"I wanted to capture the lady as she is with all her humour and reality."

So that explains why she's so funny looking!

You know some people are like fine wine - they get better with age. According to Rolf though, the Queen ages more like milk than wine!

Monday, December 19, 2005


The day the music died

Other Irish bloggers have in recent days highlighted the disturbing behaviour of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, however today he has seen fit to ban Western music from the country’s radio and TV stations.

The official IRAN Persian daily reported today that Ahmadinejad, as head of Iran’s Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council, ordered the enacting of an October ruling by the council for Western songs to be banned.

"Blocking indecent and Western music from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) is required," according to a statement on the council’s official website.

Songs such as George Michael’s Careless Whisper, Eric Clapton’s Rush and Hotel California by the Eagles regularly accompany Iranian TV and programmes, as do tunes by saxophonist Kenny G.

Following eight years of reformist-led rule in Iran, Ahmadinejad won office in August on a platform of reverting to ultraconservative principals promoted by Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. He has jettisoned Iran’s moderation in foreign policy and pursued a purge in the government, replacing pragmatic veterans with former military commanders and inexperienced religious hard-liners.

Ahmadinehad has previously called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and described the Nazi Holocaust as a "myth".

He has promised to confront what he called the Western cultural invasion and promote Islamic values during his presidential campaign.

I'm very concerned about Iran with this guy in power. Banning music? In this day and age?

The world needs to keep an eye on President Ahmadinejad. Censorship like this is a step on the road to ruin...

"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people." - John F. Kennedy


Protests against 'gay weddings'

I see a group of Christian protestors from the DUP leader Ian Paisley's Free Presbyterian church have picketed Belfast City Hall during the historic first 'gay marriage' in the North today.

The protestors mounted a noisy demonstration outside as lesbian couple Grainne Close and Shannon Sickles became the first to tie the knot under new civil partnerships legislation.

The Free Presbyterians, carrying banners saying "Sodomy is Sin", described the marriage as an "abomination before the Lord".

Personally I think this is disgraceful. Obviously the issue of 'gay weddings' is a controversial issue and people are entitled to their views on the matter, personally I've no problem with them, but I think it's pretty rotten to come out and protest - at the wedding!

It's Christmas in a few days time and these people have nothing better to do than to come out and try to ruin what should be a happy day. Pathetic!

Incidentally, here are the protesters in question...

A bunch of guys, huddled around in the cold, overlooking the wishes of two ladies...

Isn't that a little gay?


Monday Madness - British rogue elements

No prizes for guessing what I'm angry about this week! It is of course the recent revelation that the Assembly in the north of Ireland was brought down on the basis of one gigantic lie! A lie which claimed that Sinn Féin were operating a spy ring in Stormont when in actual fact, the only spy ring involved the British agent Denis Donaldson who was working for his handlers in MI5!

In the last few days there has been alot of speculation on this particular subject. Frankly because, well, we don't really know for sure what the story is! Even the Irish government are confused by the issue with Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern telling us he will be
demanding answers from the British government on the matter.

Since alot of people have already put forward their theories on the issue, permit me to put forward my take on this matter:

- Firstly, I believe that there are rogue elements within British Intelligence, more specifically MI5, who have a vested interest for whatever reason in seeing events in the north of Ireland destabilised.

- I do not believe that these rogue elements, or as Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has termed them, 'dissident elements', are one bit afraid to challenge the authority of the British government. Former RTE, BBC and Channel 4 journalist, Joe Tierney, in his book, 'The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings and the Murder Triangle', highlighted the dangers of these elements and how they were prepared to challenge the authority of the then British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. Tierney wrote:

"On a visit to Dublin in 1972, as leader of the Labour Opposition, Harold Wilson had said in a speech that he could envisage a united Ireland within fifteen years. The speech outraged those right wing elements, including a group of right wing officers within MI5, who Wilson himself believed later plotted against him.

"In an interview with two British journalists, Barry Penrose and Roger Courtiour, in 1976, and shortly after his resignation, Wilson claimed that a right wing MI5 faction had been collaborating with American and South African intelligence to organise a smear campaign against him in the 1974/75 period.

"'I'm not certain,' Wilson declared, 'that for the last eight months when I was Prime Minister I knew what was happening fully in Security.'

"He complained that the security services were incapable of distinguishing between socialism and communism and that a story had been put about of a 'pro-Soviet cell in No 10'. He alleged a level of interference by the security services that bordered on professional treachery and suggested a Royal Commission be set up to examine their accountability."

This is an astonishing thing for a Prime Minster to say! Wilson is alleging that MI5 were basically carrying out their own agenda. 'He alleged it bordered on 'PROFESSIONAL TREACHERY'! As well as that, we have the Prime Minister of Britain saying that for a period of time, he did not know what was going on in Security! He even suggested a Royal Commission be established to look into their behaviour! Unbelievable stuff!

It is my belief that there are still figures in British Intelligence who maintain a considerable degree of influence, which is probably even greater nowadays in light of the current political climate, and that they have acted on their own orders when it comes to NI rather than the orders of Mr Blair and his government, similar to the way they acted under Harold Wilson.

- I believe that MI5 as well as high ranking officials in the PSNI were using Denis Donaldson to try and influence the Republican movement. Perhaps as an agent provocateur. I believe it's quite possible that there are other senior figures in Sinn Féin who are agents.

- I believe that these rogue elements orchestrated the whole Stormontgate affair to bring down the institutions and once more destabilise the North. As the
Belfast Telegraph pointed out:

"By indicating that one of the parties elected to Government in Northern Ireland was acting illegally it was inevitable that the whole edifice would collapse.

"It was also inevitable that no unionist party would work to rebuild the Assembly with Sinn Fein while the stench of criminality hung over republicans."

- I believe it's quite possible that these rogue elements were made aware, perhaps by Denis Donaldson, that the IRA were preparing to wind down their military machine. A key event for Republicans was September 11th because after that, terrorism was never going to be tolerated. I believe that this was the point where the IRA realised it was foolish to remain in the political picture and I believe that MI5 did not like this one bit. I believe that they sought to take away the Assembly in order to send a message to Republicans that they had no future in politics in the North.

- Finally, I believe that these rogue elements have seriously undermined the authority of the British government. I believe that they have seriously embarrassed Sinn Féin too. I believe that this issue therefore will be swept under the carpet as any public enquiry will only lead to further embarrassment. How unionists respond to this remains to be seen...

That is my view on this whole sorry affair. Frankly it makes me sick to my stomach to think that, in effect, there are elements in British Intelligence, clearly answerable to no one but themselves, who brought about the fall of Stormont as a way to damage the Republican movement. They ended up damaging much more than the Republican movement however. They damaged all the parties, the two governments and more specifically, the people of the North who were left without representation and forced to undergo several years of Direct Rule - ALL BECAUSE OF A LIE.

There are forces at work in the North that are a grave danger to the people. It's time for all of us to acknowledge that.


Allow priests to marry - Bishop

This has been one of the big stories here in Ireland.

The Bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh, is calling on the Catholic Church to allow priests to marry.

In an interview with the Sunday Tribune, Bishop Walsh said there was room for both married and celebate priests in the Church and said he believed this might happen in the future.

He added that there needed to be a debate on celibacy in the Church and the issue of sexuality in light of the present crisis the Catholic Church is going through.

Over the past 25 years, up to 100,000 Catholic priests have married. Bishop Walsh said he has known some of these men personally and that they were a great loss to the Church.

I agree with Bishop Walsh 100 per cent. I feel that it is part of human nature to have sexual urges and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. It's part of who we are. The Catholic Church should allow priests to experience this human trait instead of rendering it forbidden.

Furthermore, and Bishop Walsh touched on this above, celibacy needs to debated in light of the recent scandals of the Catholic Church. Are these scandals related to the celibacy rule? Seeing as they have taken place across the world, I don't think we can rule it out.

Like I said, having a need for sex is normal. Surely then to deny this need is abnormal?


'Ma mère' nightmare

Here's a story from Marseilles, France on why internet dating is wrong...

'Skirt-chasing playboy Daniel Anceneaux spent weeks talking with a sensual woman on the Internet before arranging a romantic rendezvous at a remote beach - and discovering that his on-line sweetie of six months was his own mother!

'"I walked out on that dark beach thinking I was going to hook up with the girl of my dreams," the rattled bachelor later admitted. "And there she was, wearing white shorts and a pink tank top, just like she'd said she would.

'"But when I got close, she turned around - and we both got the shock of our lives. I mean, I didn't know what to say. All I could think was, 'Oh my God! it's Mama!'"

The full story can be read here.

See people, this is why you can't trust the Internet! And uh, the French for that matter...

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Brother of Para victim blasts OTR bill

I wouldn't regard the Daily Ireland newspaper as a shining example of objective journalism seeing as their columns rarely have a bad word to say against the Republican movement. However in a report by Eamonn Heuston, the On-The-Run legislation which gives an amnesty to British State murderers, and which Sinn Féin continues to support, comes under criticism from a victim of the British.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was shot dead on Bloody Sunday by British paratroopers, has called for the scrapping of the proposed Northern Ireland Offences Bill.

Mr Kelly said that the families of those whose loved ones had been killed by state forces would never accept legislation that allowed the killers to escape court.

In his strongest attack on the legislation to date, John Kelly told Daily Ireland: "It should be scrapped – pure and simple.

"This is a diabolical piece of legislation and the security forces have been removed from it.

"There's no sense in beating about the bush on this one any longer.

"The soldiers who killed our loved ones should not only be brought before a court, but prosecuted as well."

Seeing as the On-The-Run legislation is opposed by many of the victims of British State collusion, and seeing as Sinn Féin are now of the view that British State forces are responsible for the collapse of the devolved government in the North, can we trust that Sinn Féin will very soon be coming out in opposition of this legislation?

Surely the OTR legislation cannot be justified at this stage?


God and justice...

Seeing as it's Sunday, let's talk about religion for a bit. There's a letter in the News Letter from a 'JJ Logan' who writes about the author CS Lewis turning from Atheism to Christianity...

"I haven't seen a report on the real reason why C S Lewis turned from atheism to becoming a believer in Christianity. He rejected the idea of a divine being because of all the injustice in the world. But then he asked himself where he got the idea of justice in the first place?

"He had a problem. He wrote: "Man doesn't call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing the universe with when I called it unjust?" Lewis realised that injustice in the world pointed to the One who set the standard for justice.

"He saw that his case for atheism was too simple, and it was the means of setting him on the road that led to him becoming a Christian."

JJ Logan

I've heard that argument for a belief in God before. It relates to how human beings since the beginning of time, no matter where they have lived in the world, have always had a clear sense of right and wrong. For example, if a thief becomes a victim of theft, he too will feel like he has been wronged.

I think that's a powerful argument. Personally, I believe in God. I think it's healthy to have doubts but I think that life is just too complex and quite frankly bizarre for it to be one great big accident!

What do you think though? Are you a believer or a non-believer?

Saturday, December 17, 2005


British rogue elements still a danger

As former Sinn Féin member Denis Donaldson prepares for a life outside Ireland after admitting working as a British agent for the past 20 years, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has insisted the only spy ring which operated out of Stormont was operated by British Intelligence Services.

McGuinness said he does not know why Denis Donaldson did what he did, but he says the implications are enormous.

Referring to the alleged British spy ring, he said its purpose was to collapse the institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement, a purpose decided by people who were not prepared to accept the accord, and that the ring was operated by what he calls "securocrats hostile to the peace process".

While I tend to be sceptical of anything Sinn Féin say, I don't believe they are being dishonest on this issue. As I have acknowledged on previous occasions, there is a dirty track record in the Irish peace process of rogue elements within British intelligence who seek to create unstability.

If you check United Irelander's sidebar under the 'British State Collusion' section, you'll find a post entitled 'MI5' which highlights information on these rogue elements published by former RTE, BBC and Channel 4 journalist Joe Tierney in his book, 'The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings and the Murder Triangle". In light of yesterday's developments, I think it would be worthwhile to once again highlight the following passage from the book:

(From page 265)

"As mentioned in chapter 1, the decision by loyalists, assisted by their undercover allies in the various branches of the security forces, to bomb the Republic was taken shortly after the signing of the Sunningdale Agreement in December 1973 - long before the start of the UWC strike.

"The objective of both the bombings and the strike was twofold: (a) to collapse the Agreement and undermine the British Prime Minister of the time, Harold Wilson, whom sections of the right-wing British establishment believed was a closet communist with links to the Soviet Union and who was soft on republicanism and (b) to force the Dublin government into cracking down hard on activites of the IRA.

"On a visit to Dublin in 1972, as leader of the Labour Opposition, Harold Wilson had said in a speech that he could envisage a united Ireland within fifteen years. The speech outraged those right wing elements, including a group of right wing officers within MI5, who Wilson himself believed later plotted against him.

"In an interview with two British journalists, Barry Penrose and Roger Courtiour, in 1976, and shortly after his resignation, Wilson claimed that a right wing MI5 faction had been collaborating with American and South African intelligence to organise a smear campaign against him in the 1974/75 period.

"'I'm not certain,' Wilson declared, 'that for the last eight months when I was Prime Minister I knew what was happening fully in Security.'

"He complained that the security services were incapable of distinguishing between socialism and communism and that a story had been put about of a 'pro-Soviet cell in No 10'. He alleged a level of interference by the security services that bordered on professional treachery and suggested a Royal Commission be set up to examine their accountability."

Shocking stuff I'm sure you'll agree. Mr Tierney's book is well worth a read. Yesterday meanwhile, Denis Donaldson had this to say:

"I was not involved in any republican spy ring in Stormont. The so-called Stormontgate affair was a scam and a fiction, it never existed, it was created by Special Branch."

I don't doubt this. It seems to me that there are still elements in British intelligence, unbeknownst to Tony Blair, who seek to create instability in Ireland. As was the case with Harold Wilson, these rogue elements aren't afraid to challenge the authority of the British Prime Minister.

These rogue elements have proven a threat to people right across the island of Ireland and it is clear that they continue to pose a threat. These rogue elements need to be tackled.

They are a grave danger to both islands.


Carnage on our roads

As Christmas grows near, a familiar and disturbing trend becomes ever more noticeable in this country - road accidents.

I was looking at some of the headlines making the rounds for Friday, 16th December, and they make for grim reading. The number of car accidents is simply out of hand right now here in Ireland. Let me show you some of the headlines from yesterday:

"Man in critical condition after hit-and-run" - 'A man has been seriously injured in a hit and run in west Dublin. The 34-year-old victim is being treated at Tallaght hospital after being struck on the N4 near the Lucan turn-off at 11.30pm.'

"Man killed after being hit by lorry" - 'A pedestrian was killed today after being struck by a lorry on a main road in Co Kildare. Gardaí at Lucan in Co Dublin confirmed they were investigating the death of the pedestrian, in his early 20s, in the accident which occurred around 4.10am on the N4 Celbridge Interchange.'

"Pensioner killed after being hit by car in Laois" - 'A 75-year-old man has died after being hit by a car in Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois, this morning. The accident happened at Sentry Hill shortly after 9am.'

"Woman killed in Kilkenny car crash" - 'Gardaí in Kilkenny are investigating a fatal traffic collision that occurred at approximately 3.30pm today on the main Kilkenny to Urlingford road.
A trailer became detached from a jeep at Kilrush, Freshford, and struck an oncoming car. The female driver of the car was
killed in the incident. She was removed to St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny. She was a Tipperary woman in her 20s.'

This is absolute madness ladies and gentlemen. I don't need to tell you this as I'm sure you're aware of the spate of car accidents that have been reported just in the last week. Road deaths have been occurring left, right and centre. Alot of the tragedies which have occurred have been as a result of a horrible condition which scars Irish society - Irish people drinking and driving. Sadly, more people will die in the coming days and weeks.

I've been looking into this issue further and from reading the statistics of the National Safety Council website, 28% of the fatal collisions this year up until the 8th November occurred between 12 midnight and 6am.

As far as those arrested for drink driving go, "Based on past trends it is likely that over 60% of those arrested will have twice the legal level of alcohol consumed".

I investigated the matter further and found the Gardaí's statistics for those killed this year as a result of car accidents. The summary goes up to 9am on the 16th December and the statistics show that:

- 349 collissions have taken place

- 385 people have been killed

To compare last year with this year...

359 people were dead by the 16th December, 2004. Taking into account that this year's statistics only cover up until 9am yesterday, by my calculations, the number of fatalities on our roads this year now stands at a shocking:


That's frightening.

I don't know if anyone reading this blog right now has driven, or regularly drives, whilst under the influence of alcohol. If you have or if you do, I'm not going to lay a big guilt trip on you about it. I'm simply going to say this to you - stop it. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. PLEASE.

Too many people are dying and something must be done to combat this. If you want to go out drinking over the holiday period, leave your car at home. Either that or assign a designated driver. United Irelander has coined this simple motto and he hopes the people of Ireland take it under advisement:

"If ya wanna drive, don't drink. If ya wanna drink, don't drive."

If ever I wanted my words to be adhered to, it's now. For the love of God people show some sense.

Thank you.


All-Ireland policing needed!

Smashing organised crime, drugs and defeating terrorism are the top policing priorities set out by the Government for next year.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell said gardaí should bring the gun culture under control and crack down on illegal drugs as a matter of priority.

Other areas set out in the Government Policing Priorities included developing a voluntary reserve garda force, relieving gardaí of administrative duties, preventing rural crime as well as tackling illegal immigration and trafficking of people.

"The Government’s priorities for 2006 highlight some issues of great concern in the area of crime and public safety while building on the considerable progress made by the Gardaí in recent years," Mr McDowell said.

Mr McDowell said funding of €1.3bn would ensure gardaí would be able to move towards achieving the priorities set out.

Under the Garda Siochana Act 2005, the Justice Minister can set priorities for the force and require the Garda Commission to prepare an annual policing plan taking account of the Government’s priorities.

Mr McDowell said the gardaí should primarily focus on targeting organised crime, including drug trafficking, and work to bring the gun culture under control. The priorities stressed emphasis should be placed on combating paramilitary activities, seizing the assets of unlawful organisations and cooperation with all relevant international bodies in fighting terrorism.

Not bad Minister, not bad! But I feel you left out an important priority - forging increased links with the PSNI with a view towards an all-Ireland police service.

Let's face facts. The PSNI has been a failure. Unionists have expressed anger with it and only a few short months ago, relations with the Orange Order and the PSNI reached a low ebb due to the Orange Order and loyalist paramilitaries rioting on the streets of Ireland's north. As for nationalists, many of them still do not support the police service and in light of yesterday's news that Sinn Féin have had a British agent in their ranks, as well as the whole 'Stormontgate' fiasco in general, confidence in the police service from a nationalist perspective is shaky to say the least.

So let's start anew. Let's do what the British Labour party in the 1980s advocated for Ireland - an all-Ireland police force.

It would be a chance to have a service that the people trust and it would be a chance to tackle paramilitaries as a united force.

Let's go for it.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Non-Chinese need not apply

I came across this site courtesy of Res Publica - Irish Born Chinese Blog.

In their own words:

"This is specially for IBCs (Irish Born Chinese) to post articles with regards to IBC's life in Ireland and comment on articles posted."

Only Irish-born Chinese? Isn't that a tad racist?


Give it a lash Jack!

Take a trip down memory lane...

Italia 90

What a year, eh? Ah the memories...


SF expel 'British agent' in Stormont row

This is an interesting one.

A top republican was thrown out of Sinn Féin tonight - after its leader Gerry Adams alleged he was
working as a British agent.

Denis Donaldson, 55, pictured left, is the party’s former head of administration but was expelled after an investigation by the leadership.

Eight days after he and two other men were cleared of spying charges inside Stormont, Sinn Féin announced he had been told to quit last night.

A statement from Mr Adams said: "The collapse of the power sharing government was blamed on allegations of a Sinn Féin spy ring at Stormont.

"The fact is that there was no Sinn Féin spy ring at Stormont.

"The fact is that this was a carefully constructed lie created by the Special Branch in order to cause maximum political impact.

"The fact is that the collapse of the political institutions was a direct result of the actions of some of those who run the intelligence and policing system of the British.

"The fact is that the key person at the centre of those events was a Sinn Féin member who was a British agent.

"This is entirely the responsibility of the British Government."

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman said: "Police do not confirm or deny whether an individual is or was an informant.''

In October 2002, Mr Donaldson, his son-in-law Ciaran Kearney and civil servant William Mackessy were arrested on suspicion of operating a spy ring at Stormont.

Republicans were left reeling today by the claims against Mr Donaldson, a popular figure within Sinn Féin.

In his statement today, Mr Adams criticised the use of informers and agents by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The West Belfast MP said: "What is clear is that there are those within the PSNI and the intelligence agencies who are a law unto themselves, who use informers, spies and agents and who are operating to their own agenda with no accountability.

"They are manipulating the situation for their own narrow ends. They have sought to undermine Sinn Féin and are working against the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement which is the publicly stated policy of the British and Irish Governments.

"The British Prime Minister and the Taoiseach have to wake up to this reality.

"Mr Adams said Sinn Féin had alerted the British and Irish Governments to the negative role in the peace process being played out by elements within the British system.

He continued: "If Britain’s war is over then the British Prime Minister needs to come to terms with the fact that he has to end the activities of the securocrats.

"This entire episode underlines the need for an end to political policing. That, and defending the Good Friday Agreement remains the focus of Sinn Féin."

Unionists said tonight they were astonished by the expulsion.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: "This has certainly given an added twist to the entire Stormontgate scandal, and confirms our view that the reasons the court decided not to prosecute was because to do so would have compromised an agent of the state and sensitive security documents.

"It also raises the question that the decision not to proceed was politically motivated."

Mr Mackessy, one of the three men cleared of the spying charges, once worked as a security man at the offices of Sir Reg Empey, then a minister in the powersharing executive at Stormont.
Sir Reg, now leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, said tonight he would be seeking an urgent meeting with Government officials.

Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Alasdair Fraser has declined to comment on the affair but Sir Reg said: "If this was the person who was being protected by the DPP, then there is no reason why these prosecutions cannot proceed.

"It actually debunks the claims by Sinn Féin there was no spy ring operating inside Stormont, when in fact there was."

I personally don't doubt for a minute that rogue members of British intelligence have tried to create difficulties here in the island of Ireland in the past.

Are they still up to their old tricks though? Who knows. I do however find Jeffrey Donaldson's comments above quite interesting in relation to the issue.

What are your thoughts on the whole scandal?


Fun Irelander Feature - Weird habits

I've been memed by one of these, uh...memes by Fence over at Pretty Cunning. The rules are:

"The first player of this game starts with the topic "five weird habits of yourself," and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals."

Five weird habits? This might prove difficult. I wouldn't say I have alot of weird habits although friends of mine often tell me that I can appear quite strange at times. I respond by telling them that if men in Scotland can wear dresses and get away with it, Irish people should be able to as well. (joke, honest!) Anyway let's see, five weird habits...

1. Compulsive taper - For some reason I'm always taping stuff. If there's a good programme on TV, usually it's not enough for me to watch it, I'll have to tape it as well.

2. Night beverage - I hate waking up in the middle of the night thirsty, thus having to head downstairs. So, I always try to have a glass of water by my bed to avoid such a situation. Thirst is horrible let's face it!

3. Precautionary pissing - I don't know if this is weird or not but I always try to go to the toilet before heading off somewhere. So if I'm set to go out for the night, I'll head to the toilet for a few times before I leave. That's not weird though, right fellas? Fellas?

4. Traffic-button basher - Dunno if this is a weird habit but I'm one of those people who constantly pushes the button for the traffic lights. I know it doesn't make the lights change any quicker but it makes you feel better at least! Anyway, I'm not the only one who does this!

5. Post-food beverage - I hate eating something without having a drink to wash the food down. You see then you're left with the food's taste in your mouth. I'm not sure if this is that bad though considering that conversely, when I'm out drinking, I love to have some food after the drink to soak it all up and that's considered quite normal in this country!

Now I'm supposed to choose five people to do this quiz. OK, I'll choose:

Emma from Canada
Antonio from Italy
Sinéad at Sigla
Gerry O'Sullivan
maca at Ráiméis

Feel free to comment on my weird habits or to offer up some of your own. Personally I don't think my habits are that bad though!

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