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President decries deaths of Quinn brothers

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Archive

By Susan Falvella-Garraty

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Clinton was shocked and personally concerned over the deaths of the three young boys in Ballymoney in Northern Ireland over the weekend.

“On behalf of all Americans, we extend our condolences to the family of the three boys, to the community where they lived and to all those affected by this tragedy,” he said from the White House on Sunday.

White House officials said Clinton had been kept informed of the clashes in Northern Ireland by his national security team and that he was saddened by the deaths of the Quinn boys, who were killed when a firebomb was thrown through the window of their bedroom early Sunday morning.

It is the wish of the president, who has invested considerable time and political capital in the Northern Ireland peace process, to turn calamity into triumph. “We hope their unnecessary deaths remind people of the costs of confrontation,” he said.

White House officials would not comment on whether the level of violence in recent weeks would preclude a visit tentatively scheduled for this coming September that would include visits to Dublin and the North by the president and Mrs. Clinton. “If you ask whether these events figure into a decision on the trip, the answer is yes,” a Clinton official said.

With potential bombings thwarted, including one last Friday in London and another in Armagh on Sunday, observers in Washington have heaved a collective sigh of relief that serious retaliatory action has not been realized. Officials said the president, and in particular his deputy national security advisor, Jim Steinberg, have had dialogue with the parties in efforts to find an amicable outcome to the Orange Order marches.

“The difficulty about the marches is that it is basically a parochial problem, and it is very difficult to offer help in such a situation,” a White House official said.

The U.S. was represented at the funeral for the boys on Tuesday by U.S. consul general in Belfast, Cathy Stephens.

Political leaders condemn violence

Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy added his thoughts on the killing of Richard, Mark, and Jason Quinn asleep in their beds when an incendiary device was lobbed through their living room window by loyalist terrorists.

“The Orange Order must recognize that its refusal to abide by the decision of the Parades Commission led to the murder of the Quinn boys,” Kennedy said Monday in the Congressional Record.

“Everyone outraged by the murder of these three young boys must redouble their efforts to support the peace process and to assure that extremists bent on sabotaging that process do not prevail.”

Other leaders added their voices to the call for peace.

Sean Chris Dodd of Connecticut called the killings of the three brothers such a “cowardly act that it is incomprehensible.”

“the most recent tragedy has tested the resolve of Northern Ireland’s political leaders to stay the course of peace,” Dodd said. “I hope they will remain resolute in support of peace.”

Outgoing Rep. Joe Kennedy called for an end to the Orange Order parades that have sparked the recent round of violence. Speaking in Boston, Kennedy said it’s time to “stop kowtowing to the beat of a bygone era and stop reliving the 300-year-old Battle of the Boyne. . . . The British government must not only continue to stand up against the Orangemen who seek to march in Portadown, but they must also ban all marches that intimidate the innocent.”

New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said the all New Yorkers extended their sympathy to the family of the three brothers. “In a year when the people of Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly for peace, it is tragic that there remain some who still believe that violence is the answer,” Giuliani said. “We hope this tragedy reaffirms the commitment to peace in Northern Ireland and unites every community there against those who preach and practice violence.”

Peter Vallone, the New York City Council speaker and candidate for governor, on Tuesday introduced a resolution condemning the violence.

“I was horrified to learn of this despicable and unconscionable act that claimed the lives of three innocent children,” Vallone said.

Macallai An Buachaill B_ire

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Archive

Le Barra + Donnabh_in

C_pla mf = shoin chuir Tom Connolly glaoch orm = Florida, _it a bhfuil sT ina ch=naf le blianta. Pfosa a bhf agam anso, ag cur sfos ar bhun_ CC+ sa tfr seo agus an bhaint a bhf ag Tom leis, ba ch_is leis an ghlaoch. Is cainteoir d_chais as Connamara Tom agus t_ l_n +ireann de sheanchas ina cheann aige. Is iomaf rud seachas CC+ a chuireamar trf chTile mar t_ suim againn sna rudaf cTanna. “An raibh fhios agat,” ar sT, “gur bhunaigh Synge an dr_ma – The Playboy of The Western World – ar scTal ffor a chuala sT =sna daoine ar Arainn?” D_ras n_ch raibh an t-eolas san agam agus d’fhiafrufos de, c_ bhfaighfinn cur sfos air. D_irt Tom go raibh leagan den scTal le f_il i leabhar de chuid Thom_is Uf Mh_ille – An Ghaoth Aniar, fTn dteideal “Buachaill Imeartha Iarthair Dhomhain.”

Seachtain = shoin bhuaileas isteach i siopa leabhar in +irinn agus th_ngas ar ch=ip den leabhar. Fuaireas ar _1.50 T. Bhf sT gan faic agus bhf sceitimfnf orm d_ bharr. Murach Tom nf chuirfinn aon suim ann. Go maire t_ cTad a Thom_is.

Rugadh an “Buachaill B_ire” gar do Chloch na R=n, Co. na Gaillimhe, timpeall na bliana 1840. De Mh_illigh an Chaltha ab ea T. Nf thugann Tom_s + M_ille a ainm baiste d_inn. Feirmeoir go raibh paiste beag tal_n aige ab ea a athair. Bhf sT tugtha don =l agus d’fhTadfadh sT bheith ina dhiabhal ceart nuair a bhfodh braon fTn bhfiacail aige. Scafaire bre_ l_idir a bhf sa mhac agus meas ag fia agus fiolar air. D’imigh sT leis =n athair agus T ina st=cach agus chuaigh ag obair ar bord loinge. “Chruthaigh an fharraige go maith dh=.” Gach pingin a shaoradh sT chuireadh sT abhaile ag a athair f. TarTis tamaill cheannaigh seisean gabhaltas bre_ tal_n leis an airgead.

I gcionn aimsire ph=s an fear =g agus th_inig sT abhaile. M_ th_inigh nforbh _il leis an sean fhear neamhsple_chas ar bith a thabhairt d=. Go gairid ina dhiaidh sin fuair a mh_thair b_s agus ph=s an sean leaid arfs. Thug an mac ina cheann l_, garraf beag fataf a chur d= fTin agus amach leis agus l_f n= r_mhan ina l_imh leis. Bhf an t-athair roimhe sa chas_n agus thug sT faoi an l_f a bhaint de. San imreas fuair an sean fhear buille a d’fh_g sfnte ar fhleasc a dhroma T. Thug an bheirt bhan isteach chun na tf T agus bhf gach dealramh air go raibh sT ar tf bh_is. “+ bhf an bheirt f_bhrach dh= in aghaidh an athar mholadar d= dul ar a theitheadh =n dlf.” Chomh maith do dhein.

Dhealr=dh sT go bhfuair an t-athair b_s go luath i ndhiaidh na troda, ach sul ar Tag sT gur labhair sT leis na p=ilfnf. Chaith an mac c_pla mf i gConamara agus na pTas sa t=ir air. Is iomaf eachtra a bhain d= sa trTimhse seo agus ba thoil DT T gur thug sT a chraiceann sl_n leis. B’Tigin d= Conamara a fh_gaint agus a aghaidh a thabhairt ar oile_n Garumna. Fuair sT b_d ansin a thug go hArainn T. “Bhf bean mhuintreach d= i gCill R=n_in, bean de Mh_illeach a bhf p=sta ag fear de Mhuintir Iarn_in in Arainn.” D’fhan sT aici ar fead tamaill.

Bhf trua ag muintir an oile_in d= mar thuigeadar an scTal. Ghoill an rud a bhf dTanta aige go m=r ar a intinn agus cheap na hoile_naigh go raibh sT ag dul as a mheabhair – T ag gabh_il timpeall ina aonar gan labhairt le hTinne. Chuiridfs c=isirf beaga ar si_l d=. Chuiridfs cluichf c_rtaf agus damhsa ar bun d= mar an gcTanna. Bhf comhairle mh=r ag a bhean ghaoil san oile_n agus nuair a chuala sf go raibh na pTas ag bol_ timpeall chuir sf b_d leis go hInis Me_n – beirt fhear de Chlainn ‘ac ConFhaola a bhf ag l_imhse_il an bh_id. Chaith sT tamall fada ansin go bhfuair na p=ilfnf gaoth an fhocail arfs. Th_ngadar timpeall ar an dtig ina raibh sT ofche, ach lig fear a tf air gurbh eisean an Buachaill B_ire d_irfre agus gabhadh T in ionad an Mh_illigh. D’Taluigh sT si_d amach sa dorchadas agus chuaigh i bhfolach i scailp cois tr_.

Ag an am sin bhfodh b_id ag dul as -rainn go Ciarraf le pr_taf. Nuair a bhf ceann acu ag imeacht ofche, tugadh scTala dh= agus chuaigh sT ar bord. Th_inig sT i dtfr i dTr_ Lf agus shi_l sT as san go Corcaigh. Fuair sT obair mar mhairnTalach ar shoitheach a bhf ag dul go Meiricea. D’fhan sT ar na b_id agus fuair sT ard_ cTime i ndiaidh ard= cTime go raibh sT ina chapt’n. Tamall ina dhiaidh sin sheol sT b_d Meirice_nach isteach i gCuan na Gaillimhe agus “thug sT na reigi_in d= fTin arfs.” Nf raibh aithne ag Tinne air “ach an tT ar thogair sT a aithne a chur in i_l d=.” D’imigh sT as radharc agus “nfor frftheadh scTal n_ scuan ar an dtaobh seo uaidh mura bhfuair a dhaoine muintfre n= a lucht aitheanntais fTin T.” D’alp slTibhte na Gaillimhe T.

Deir Tom_s + M_ille ag deireadh an scTil, ag tr_cht ar an “Playboy” – “bheadh sT anois (1918) tuairim is ceithre fichid d_ maireadh sT.” Ag lTamh idir na lfnte, creidim go raibh aithne ag Tom_s ar an bhfear agus ana sheans go raibh sT marbh. Nf bheadh Tom_s ag tarraingt aird air mura mbeadh. Is minic a bhfonn an fhfrinne nfos iontaf n_ an chumad=ireacht.

Moore works featured in internet auction

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Archive

Sotheby’s, which opened its auction doors in 1744 with the book collection of Sir John Stanley, now, 250 years later, holds its inaugural internet auction of books and manuscripts, which will include items of interest to Irish readers.

The auction will be open to bidders until Tuesday, July 21, at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. This Internet-only auction comprises 122 lots of American, English and juvenile literature; books on theater, opera and ballet as well as property from the Estate of Donald and Jean Stralem and the Estate of James H. Heineman. Also featured is a first edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter” and Edgar Rice Burrough’s “Tarzan of the Apes,” as well as approximately 300 autographed Time Magazine covers.

“This is Sotheby’s first online auction and we are extremely excited about the enormous potential of the Internet,” said David Redden, executive vice president of Sotheby’s. “It is absolutely appropriate that Sotheby’s, which started as a book auction house, will now hold its first auction on the Internet in the books and manuscripts arena.”

Featured from the estate of Donald and Jean Stralem are fine first editions from the American literary canon in original bindings by such classic authors as James Fennimore Cooper, Hawthorne and Edgar Allen Poe. The Stralems also collected the very best of nineteenth century boys’ literature, including first editions of Howard Pyle’s lavishly illustrated “Otto of the Silver Hand” and “Men of Iron,” James Otis’s “Toby Tyler,” and Albert Payson’s “Terhune’s Lad: A Dog.” Their collection of English literature includes many first and limited editions by Joseph Conrad and D.H. Lawrence.

Of Irish interest are several important lots relating to the author George Moore. The most important lot relating to Moore is the autograph manuscript of the first 14 chapters of his “Esther Waters” (lot 46; est. $15,000-$20,000), which is one of the highlights of late 19th century realism. This heavily revised and corrected manuscript was formerly in the collection of John Quinn and Jerome Kern. Three additional autograph manuscript portions of the novel are available in the present sale (lot 47-49) as well as a good selection of George Moore titles, including a presentation copy of “Pagan Poems,” published in London in 1881.

From the Estate of James Heineman comes a large (approximately 58 volumes) collection of books and broadsides by or about Benjamin Franklin. Almost all of the books are from the 18th and early 19th centuries. Among the highlights of this lot are several Franklin imprints, a copy of Poor Richard’s Almanac for 1783, and a rare anthology of Gaelic proverbs, which includes “Franklin’s Way to Wealth” in Gaelic, printed in Edinburgh in 1785. There are many editions of Franklin’s works and his famous autobiography, including a rare Danbury, Conn., imprint of the latter, printed in 1795, in an early calf binding. Three copies of the early Swedish translation of the autobiography, printed in 1792, are also in the lot. Of the more recent books about Franklin is the Grolier Club publication of “Franklin and his Press at Passy,” by Luther Livingston, designed by Bruce Rogers and printed in a limited edition in 1914.

Interested bidders can bid online through our web-based bidsheet at www.sothebys.com, via e-mail at book.auction@sothebys.com,

by fax at (212) 774-5385 or by phone at (212) 774-5301.

For details, call the Sotheby’s Press Office at (212) 606-7176.

Ambassador post likely to be vacant

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Archive

By Susan Falvella-Garraty

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As for the selection of a replacement for outgoing U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy-Smith, chances for Senate confirmation during this session are dimming. Michael Sullivan, former Democratic governor of Wyoming, is waiting in the wings as the Clinton administration’s choice.

Because of appropriation bills taking priority on Capitol Hill, the Senate majority leader, Sen. Trent Lott, the Mississippi Republican, said ambassadorial nominations would have to take a back seat while congress sorts out funding issues.

Democrats said the senate Republican leadership is also attempting to stymie several Clinton nominations because of political considerations. It seems the United States’ top post in Phoenix Park will not be filled soon because of Sen. Jesse Helms will not allow James Hormel’s nomination to be ambassador to Luxembourg for consideration by the committee he chairs. Hormel is openly gay.

“It’s a shame that Ireland won’t have an ambassador from here at a very critical time because of a moral litmus test,” said one staff member from Capitol Hill.

The congressional session will end in October to allow for congressional races and will not come back into session until the beginning of next year.

Boston scammer rips off Irish students

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Archive

By Jim Smith

BOSTON – A brazen scam artist took exploitation of Irish students to a new level last week when he entered an apartment building in Brookline, found a set of keys to a vacant apartment, and ended up renting the apartment to three unsuspecting Irish students.

The bizarre chain of events began last Monday when George Moses, 25, of Cambridge allegedly told Jane Woodlock, Elizabeth Prior and Aoife O’Mahoney that he was an independent realtor and would sublease the vacant apartment to the students for the summer. The young women, here on a summer work visa, gave Moses $3,450 for the apartment later that day .

On Tuesday, the women returned from work to the apartment and discovered that their belongings had been removed by the building manager. When they learned that they were the victims of a cruel and costly hoax, the students contacted the Boston police.

Detectives Arthur O’Connell and Kevin Mullen of the Brighton station then devised a sting operation in which the women, all in their early 20s, contacted Moses on his cellular phone, asking him if he could find them a more suitable apartment. They agreed to give him an additional $750 for more desirable accommodations.

On Thursday, Moses was arrested at a street corner in Brighton while attempting to make the transaction with the students. On Friday, he was arraigned in Brighton District Court on charges of larceny over $250 and attempting to commit larceny. He is being held in jail on $30,000 cash bail set by Judge Albert Burns.

According to David Falcone of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Moses had 10 outstanding warrants at the time of his arrest last week. Those charges include forgery, writing bad checks, trespassing, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer. He is due back in court at the end of July.

The students, who are reportedly reluctant to discuss their plight publicly, have been assisted by their friends and employers in obtaining housing and other forms of support.

In addition, the offices of the Irish Consulate in Boston and the Union of Students International Travel, which handles the J-1 visa program, are maintaining an active involvement in the case.

Feds to probe immigrant-exploitation claims

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Archive

By Patrick Markey

Federal officials have opened a preliminary investigation into the allegations of exploitation surrounding the death of an Irish immigrant, Liam Mason, who was found hanged in a Bronx park last month.

Investigators from the US Department of Labor are looking into allegations that Mason was forced to work long hours for very little pay, and into the concerns about how employment practices may have contributed to the young man’s death, officials said.

Department of Labor officials are looking into the matter and communicating with other federal, state and local agencies and with worker organizations, David Saltz, a Department of Labor spokesman, said.

“There is a preliminary investigation to ascertain whether any labor violations have taken place because of allegations that these employees were not paid or not paid regularly,” said Dominick Denato, a wage and hour representative at the Department of Labor New Jersey office.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorneys Office for the District of New Jersey said the office would not confirm that any investigation was under way by their investigators.

Mason, 23, an immigrant from County Monaghan, hanged himself in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx four months after arriving in the United States. Friends of the dead man said he had been promised $600 to $1,000 a week to work on a New Jersey paving and cementing project by a man who recruited him in Ireland four months earlier.

After he and several other men were allegedly left without cash in their New Jersey motel, Mason stayed with friends from Monaghan in Yonkers. After a final failed attempt to get a flight home to Ireland, he returned from the airport to the Bronx, where he was found hanged from a tree branch two days later. Friends of Mason claim the subcontractor was Irish and was now back in Ireland.

Brian O’Dwyer, chairman of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, and Joe Jamison, director of the Irish American Labor Coalition, last week sent duplicate letters to federal officials urging them to investigate the allegations of exploitation. Last Friday in Washington, D.C., O’Dwyer and Jamison, along with other Irish American labor representatives, met with Marvin Krislov, solicitor for the Department of Labor, and John Frasier, acting administrator for the department’s wage and hour division.

Walter Kane, a representative of the Irish American Labor Coalition who also attended the meeting in Washington, said officials were also considering looking into how pervasive the problem of exploitation is in the Irish community. Department of Labor investigators were not concerned with the immigration status of victims, but rather in the labor regulations broken, he said.

Anyone with information on the Mason case or exploitation should contact Brian O’Dwyer at (212) 571-7100, Dominick Denato at the Department of Labor, District of New Jersey at (609) 989-2247 or the Irish American Labor Coalition at (212) 254-9271.

Bombing try by dissidents is foiled in London

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Archive

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN – A joint Irish-British police operation foiled an attempted incendiary bomb attack Thursday on leading stores in London by dissident republicans, the first time the British capital had been targeted by them.

Four people were arrested in Ireland and six in London, three of them carrying primed incendiary devices, according to Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist squad. Three men, ages 25, 21 and 19, and one woman, 21, were charged Tuesday with conspiracy to cause explosions. All but the oldest man were also charged with possession of explosive substances. They are to appear in Woolwich court today.

Gardai arrested a man and a woman in Dublin and two other men in Dundalk and Wexford.

The arrests were preceded by a search of a house in Dundalk that resulted in the seizure of documents, two shotguns, ammunition and a quantity of bomb-making components.

All those arrested in Ireland were released after being detained for questioning under the Offenses Against the State Act for two days.

Files in respect of three of them are being prepared for the director of public prosecutions.

A woman arrested in London was also released. Police in Britain can hold suspects for seven days without charge under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Security forces on both sides of the Irish Sea are concerned about cooperation between dissident groups since the Northern Ireland peace agreement in April.

The London bombing operation would have been their most ambitious move so far.

It is understood that some of those detained in London are students from universities in Dublin and Belfast who had traveled to London for summer jobs and had not been previously known to the security forces.

On April 2, a substantial car bomb was intercepted as it was about the board a ferry to Britain from Dun Laoghaire. It was believed to have been destined for the British Grand National race meeting at Aintree.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair praised the work of the British and Irish security forces in foiling the bomb attack.

“This has clearly been a very important and successful operation and further reflects the close cooperation that exists between the security forces in the United Kingdom and Ireland as together we defeat terrorism wherever it may exist,” he said in a statement.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern also congratulated the police and said the actions “provide further evidence of the extremely effective cooperation which is maintained between the security forces on both sides.”

A week of loyalist violence

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Archive

The following are RUC statistics of Northern Ireland violence since the beginning of the Drumcree standoff on July 5 through Sunday:

Attacks on RUC/British Army: 598

Shooting incidents: 19

Bombing incidents: 44

Arrests: 254

Firebombs recovered by RUC: 2,237

Incidents of firebomb attacks: 621

Damage to homes: 137

Damage to other buildings: 155

Damage to vehicles: 453

RUC officers injured: 70

Number of plastic bullets fired: 751

Number of Catholic churches burned: 10

90 Catholic families forced from homes

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Archive

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST – Ninety Catholic families were intimidated or burned out of their homes during the week, hundreds of RUC men were injured, and millions of pounds damage caused to tourism and the economy as Northern Ireland continues to reel from the Drumcree crisis.

Hundreds of Orangemen, meanwhile, remain encamped near Drumcree church in Portadown, protesting the Parades Commission decision to ban their annual march, which was to have been held almost two weeks ago.

As the Orangemen protest is joined nightly by thousands of their brethren, a low level of ethnic cleansing has been going on against vulnerable Catholic families, particularly in the eastern parts of Counties Antrim and Down, including Carrickfergus, Antrim town, Larne, Coleraine in County Derry and parts of Belfast.

One Catholic woman was forced to leave her home of 27 years after it was attacked by firebombs twice within a week. Protestant families who sheltered the Catholic neighbors were also intimidated and forced from home.

The village of Dunloy in County Antrim was besieged for a night by two thousand Orangemen who subsequently issued a military-style statement that they had “taken up positions” and “held” the village to show what they were capable of.

Local people armed with only hurley sticks were prepared to defend the area, but the Orangemen backed off when it became obvious villagers had been forewarned about their arrival.

Loyalists in both the UDA and UVF, the two main extreme Protestant paramilitary groups, were believed involved in widespread violence and intimidation during the week-long Drumcree siege. But they thrown themselves wholeheartedly behind the Orange protest, they would have brought Northern Ireland to a standstill, as they did in 1996, leading to a British government U-turn and forcing an Orange march down the Garvaghy Road.

It seems that although individuals were involved, the two main groups held back from outright participation in violence, for fear of losing their early prison release schemes.

The UDA is being blamed for gun attacks on members of the RUC in north and west Belfast, while the UVF was held responsible for a spate of blast bomb attacks at Drumcree and in Carrickfergus.

Every day of the week-long protest, hundreds of roads were blocked, with motorists advised to stay at home, cross-border trains canceled and no form of public transport in many areas after dark.

Mowlam threat

Neither group admitted breaking its cease-fire, with the Northern Ireland secretary, Mo Mowlam, threatening to postpone the prisoner-release schemes if they were proved to be involved.

The UDA, prompted by her warning, said any person found rioting would not be accepted onto its wings in the Maze jail, widely seen as an attempt to prevent its members being penalized for the violence.

The RUC-released film showing a gunman equipped with a long-barreled rifle firing at their lines under cover of darkness at Drumcree. The police also put on show catapults, lead weights, ball bearings and other missiles used against its members during the siege.

The UVF is the only group known to have pipe-bomb-making skills, and over 40 of these devices were hurled at the police and soldiers, night after night, in full view of international journalists and camera crews.

At no time, either day or night, was there any overt RUC or British Army presence at the Orange encampment. On Thursday, 20,000 Orangemen and supporters massed there from around County Antrim, the largest attendance of the week.

They crowded down at the 20-ft wide flooded trench, dug out by the British Army, yelling abuse and threats at police and soldiers. Shouts of “traitors,” “sell out to the IRA,” “cowards” and “you are no Ulstermen” are only the more repeatable.

On Thursday night, the sky was riven by huge blasts and at least four policemen were injured, one seriously. The following day more than 100 plastic bullets were fired to keep the Orangemen at bay.

Twenty people were taken to hospital with injuries, including a 21-year-old woman student who lost an eye. When hand-to-hand fighting broke out on the barricade blocking their path to Garvaghy Road, two arrests were made.

The Garvaghy Road resembled an armed camp, with long lines of massive British Army vehicles patrolling day and night and checkpoints at each end. Loyalists would sporadically mount roadblocks, preventing people getting to work or to shops.

U.S. observers

More than 50 U.S. and other international observers worked around the clock, equipped with two-way radio contacts, monitoring loyalist and police/army activity. The accents of Boston, New York and New Jersey, in particular, could be heard throughout the week.

The observers were lodged with local families and proved invaluable to the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Committee in providing a buffer zone of neutral witness – and calling for assistance at time of high tension.

David McNarry, a leading Orangeman and member of its Grand Lodge “strategy committee,” caused uproar when he claimed on British radio that the Order “if it had a mind to” could “paralyze” Northern Ireland within hours.

A convoy of 100 cars bringing food, diapers and provisions to Garvaghy Road was ambushed by loyalists close to Portadown and two women and a man injured when a cudgel was thrown through a car window.

RUC men and women who were recognized at the main battlefield in Drumcree were also targeted. A policewoman whose car was set on fire was forced to leave the home she’d lived in for 30 years in Carrickfergus.

New loyalist paramilitary groups, hitherto unknown, sprung up. they are mostly believed to be flags of convenience for loyalists who didn’t want to risk the prisoner release scheme.

There were claims by the “Ulster Loyalist Action Force,” the “Ulster Protestant Association” and the “Protestant Freedom Fighters” who are believed to exist in name only. The “Orange Volunteer Force” was also resurrected and is believed to be behind arson attacks on Catholic churches.

Lower Ormeau Orange march peaceful

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Archive

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST – Black flags of mourning, black balloons and a somber, resentful silence awaited Orangemen as they crossed the River Lagan into the Nationalist Lower Ormeau Road district on Sunday, July 12.

Catholic residents had voted to stage a “peaceful dignified protest” on one side of the road only, without any attempt to block the parade’s path, as a gesture of respect to the three Quinn brothers, who were killed earlier in the day after a loyalist firebomb attack of their home in Ballymoney.

Heavy rain began pelting down as the Orangemen crossed the Lagan bridge into the area and continued as they marched down to Havelock Bridge, toward the Protestant Donegall Pass area.

Placards reading “March of Shame” were held up, and banners showing the Red Hand of Ulster symbol were pinned to buildings, bearing the caption: “The red hand of Ulster is dripping with innocent blood.”

Orange tunes were forbidden by the Parades Commission between the two bridges, but it did not escape the residents’ attention that at the very moment the first band reached the edge of the area, it struck up “The Sash” at full volume. The second band played “No Surrender,” also at full tilt.

The RUC had swamped the area 28 hours before the march was due to take place, only allowing residents through. There was great anger that, once again, residents were being hemmed in to facilitate an unwanted Orange parade.

After a meeting with local people, however, when assurances were given that no attempt to prevent the parade taking place were given, the blockade was lifted.

John Gormley, a spokesman for the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community, said that their gesture was a “one off” in respect to the grief of the Quinn family, and was not a precedent for allowing the parade to proceed.

He said in the future, the LOCC would oppose parades that did not have the residents’ consent and once again called for dialogue between his group and the Orange Order, who refuse to meet them.

Gormley said he was proud of the people of the area for their forbearance and dignity in the face of Orange provocation and pledged to continue campaigning for dialogue during the year ahead.

A spokesman for the Orange Order in Ballynafeigh, which had been represented at the Drumcree standoff, said the Order fully intended to press for the right to march down the Lower Ormeau in future years.

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