Sunday, 31 May 2009

D-Day 6 June 1944 - The SS Jeremiah O'Brien Story

The SS Jeremiah O'Brien berthed at Fort Mason, San Francisco Bay, the demarcation point for tens of thousands of service men and women to the Pacific Theatre during WW II.

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
I first published this article in the San Francisco Irish Herald, in October 1996. With the recent press coverage of the visit of General Dwight Eisenhower to Enniskillen, (See Archive, 'Memorial Day') in preperation for the D-Day landings, I thought it would make a good companion article in view of the Belfast connection of the SS Jeremiah O'Brien on this week of 6 June.

Fleet Week in San Francisco, which takes place every October, will find the Jeremiah O’Brien proudly joining battleships, carriers, destroyers, submarines, and other ships of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, as they pass under the Golden Gate Bridge to be hosted by the citizens of San Francisco.

In 1960, the idea of preserving a Liberty ship for posterity was broached but it was not until 1978, that the National Liberty Ship Memorial, Inc., a California non -profit corporation was formed to restore, preserve, maintain and present to the public, an original unaltered Liberty ship, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien.

The SS Jeremiah O’Brien, built by the New England Shipbuilding Corporation, of South Portland Maine, had her keel laid on May 6, 1943, and 45 days later, on June 19, Mrs. Ida Starling, wife of the head of the White House Secret Service, broke the champagne on the prow of the SS Jeremiah O’Brien. She was delivered for service on June 30, 1943.

Over the period July 1943, until October 1944, the Jerimiah O’Brien made four voyages between the United States and Britain. During her fourth voyage and only four days after D-Day, she began shuttling supplies between Britain and the Omaha and Utah beachheads, established by the Allied forces in Normandy. During her shuttles between the beachheads on Normandy and Britain she also sailed to Belfast, in Ireland, to pick up supplies for General Patton’s forces.

The ship earned six decorations for service during the war: the Merchant Marine Combat Bar, the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Mediterranean / Middle East War Zone Bars, the Philippine Liberation Medal and the Victory Medal. The veterans of the United States Merchant Marine, which had a greater percentage of killed - in - action than the Army or the Navy, hold the SS Jeremiah O’Brien in the highest regard. Hundreds of veteran merchant seamen and women have already donated over 500,000 hours of volunteer labour in the task of restoring her.

The SS Jeremiah O’Brien is named after a hero of the Revolutionary War between United States and Britain. Jeremiah was one of five sons of Maurice O’Brien from Co. Cork who settled in Machias in Maine around 1765.

On May 11, 1775, a force of local patriots under the leadership of O’Brien and his brothers commandeered a sloop, the Unity, in Machias harbour and made to board the Margaretta, a British naval ship berthed in the bay. The Margaretta hoisted sail in an attempt to escape but was overhauled and boarded by the Unity. In the fierce battle that followed over twenty men on each side were killed but the American forces prevailed. O’Brien entered the annals of American naval history as the leader of the first naval fight of the Revolution in what became known as “The Lexington of the Seas”. Two other British naval vessels the Diligence and the Tapnaguish, were dispatched to destroy Machias but were also captured by O’Brien.

The ships and prisoners from these engagements were taken by O’Brien to Watertown Massachusetts where the Provincial Congress was in session. The session voted a resolution of thanks to the young hero and a captain’s commission.

Three of the O’Brien brothers served in the naval service of the United States during the war Jeremiah, John and William. Jeremiah was appointed to serve on the The Liberty on which his brother William also served as lieutenant. John O’Brien was also commissioned as a Captain and served his country with honour in many naval engagements aboard the schooner Hibernia.

While serving as Captain on the Hannibal, O’Brien and his brother William were captured by two British frigates. Jeremiah was confined to the Jersey prison - ship which was known as the “Hell,” at the Wallabout, where the Brooklyn Navy Yard now stands. Six months later O’Brien was transferred to Mill Prison, in England, and a year after his transfer he escaped from custody. After the capture of the Hannibal no trace was ever found of William O’Brien and it is believed that he was amongst the estimated 11,000 victims who died during imprisonment at the Wallabout.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Confidential Sources Hearing Postponed

The confidential sources case scheduled against Sunday Tribune Northern Editor Suzanne Breen for tomorrow 28 May has been postponed until mid-June.

The Support Group have forwarded the following information.

International support over protection of sources

Journalists and supporters from across the world are backing NUJ member Suzanne Breen – who faces jail for refusing to hand her notes to the police.

The Northern Ireland editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune is resisting an order to surrender confidential sources of information relating to articles about the Real IRA.

She had been due to appear in court tomorrow (Friday) but the case will be adjourned for a full hearing.

More than 1,500 people from as far afield as Canada, Norway and Ukraine have signed a petition in support of Suzanne over 600 on facebook. Sign the petition:

Support Suzanne Breen on Facebook:

Yesterday Aidan White, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists raised the case at a conference on freedom expression organised by the Council of Europe in Iceland.

Founded in the 1949 to promote democracy the Council of Europe is bigger than the European Union – with 47 members states.

Aidan said: “Legal intimidation of reporters to reveal their sources threatens the lives of investigative journalists as well as encouraging a culture of secrecy. The case of Suzanne Breen in Ireland, a distinguished journalist supported by colleagues either side of a troubled border, is just the latest example of a reporter under fire in the courts because of her revealing journalism about paramilitary groups.

“If she is forced to comply, journalistic scrutiny will be sacrificed, democracy will suffer and she will be put in harm's way. The Council of Europe as a guardian of liberties and rights has a duty to speak out against member states when they compromise media freedom in this way."

At lunchtime today at the Buswells Hotel, Dublin, the NUJ launched a public campaign in the Republic of Ireland in association with the Sunday Tribune in defence of Suzanne Breen’s right to protect her confidential sources of information.

NUJ Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley told the meeting that the Breen case is of fundamental importance because the right to protect confidential sources is a key tenet of journalism.
He said: “A professional journalist who compromises that principle loses the right to call himself or herself a journalist and alters forever the relationship of trust with sources and with the reader, viewer or listener.”

Sunday Tribune editor Noirin Hegarty said: “If you think that press freedom is important and that it matters that journalists can do their jobs without fear or persecution, you need to stand with us. We are the observers and the outsiders and we will be vigorous in our defence of our right to keep our sources confidential.

“We will be vigorous in our protection of this journalist’s life. To do anything else would not just be a betrayal of Suzanne Breen’s journalistic bravery, but a betrayal of journalism itself.”

Séamus Dooley said the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s actions towards Suzanne Breen were heavy handed and clearly designed to intimidate journalists.

Séamus said: “The decision by the PSNI to seek a sweeping order of this magnitude; the fact that evidence was given by the PSNI in private; the grim determination of the PSNI to pursue the case against Suzanne Breen and the Sunday Tribune must alarm not just every journalist in Ireland, North and South but everyone who cares about preserving a free, unfettered media.”

Martin Fitzpatrick, of the NUJ Dublin branch, welcomed the cross-community and cross-political support for the campaign, especially in Northern Ireland.

Martin, a member of the Press Council of Ireland, said the fact that adversaries in Northern Ireland from across the sectarian divide had joined with politicians, trade unionists, community groups and those representing victims of violence was important recognition that the issue was not merely of interest to journalists but of fundamental importance to all.

Suzanne Breen spoke at a meeting in London on Tuesday – attended by human rights lawyers and other journalists who had fought against legal intimidation to reveal their sources.

On the day of Suzanne Breen's court case the NUJ will organise protests outside the Northern Ireland Office in Westminster and the Belfast Recorder's Court. The date for the hearing was recetly postponed, so please email to register an interest and we'll let you know when the protests will take place.
28 May 2009

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Conservative Party Now Hiring

Situations Vacant
“If you believe in public service, if you want to help us clean up politics, if you share our values come and be a Conservative candidate.”

Conservative Party leader David Cameron, speaking on the BBC Sunday morning talk show, The Andrew Marr Show, called for American style primary elections as a reform measure in reaction to the public outcry over the abuse of expense allowances by MPs that rocked public support for elected representatives.

Mr. Cameron told Marr "We have had open primaries for many of our candidates for the forthcoming elections and they have been really successful. Opening up the hall and saying to anyone in the constituency – whichever party they belong to – come along and vote for the next Conservative candidate has worked fantastically well.” He said that he wanted to “open up the talent that is available to Parliament”.

“The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away”

While this part of the interview was widely covered, another of Mr. Cameron's proposals got little attention. One other reforms advocated by Mr. Cameron was to reduce the number of MPs by 10%. This he said was in the party manifesto and if the Conservatives were elected, it would happen. This will be a case of turkeys voting for Christmas. It will be no small measure of David Cameron's leadership if he is able to achieve this reform.

At present Northern Ireland has 18 Members of the British Parliament. There has been no suggestion to date that Northern Ireland would be exempt from any such legislation. Any changes in representation would be determined by a boundary commission that would draw up new electoral boundaries.

They say that 24 hours is a long time in politics. In the current political climate who knows what a general election will bring. If elected by a small majority David Cameron could be left beholden to the 9 Democratic Unionist Party MPs, given that the 5 Sinn Fein members do not take their seats, the 3 SDLP seldom if ever vote with the Tories, and the single Ulster Unionist seat remains probable, with the party preference of the sitting member, Lady Hermon, likely to change.

There are lots of permutations to be considered; will the DUP throw in their lot with the Tories; will the SDLP align with the opposition; will Sinn Fein sacrifice one of their last 'sacred cows' and take their seats; will Sir Reg Empey get a seat in the Cabinet? Lots of grist for the mill in the months to come.

Here is the text of a notice on the Conservative Party website.

If you are interested in becoming a Conservative candidate and believe you would make a good Member of Parliament, please write to Gareth Fox at Conservative Campaign Headquarters (30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP) setting out why you would like to be a candidate, and enclose a copy of your CV. Please set out any work you have done in your local community, and achievements in your work or your personal life which you think would make you an effective MP.

Don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Westminster Parliament Speaker Resigns

Lord Scapegoat

Scapegoat, was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the news of the resignation of Michael Martin MP as Speaker of the House of Commons. Mr. Martin will resign on Sunday 21 June, and the process to elect a new Speaker will take place in the Commons the following day. It is traditional for a retiring Speaker to be immediately elevated to the House of Lords. While Mr. Martin himself was not without culpability in the current scandal involving MPs’ expenses, the attempt by many elected representatives and others, to portray his removal as a necessary first step in the process to clean-up the mess is nothing but disingenuous.

From some of the utterances of MP's and reporting in British newspapers, "A very British revolution,", "almost a sort of spring revolution over the last few weeks.", the normal person could be excused for thinking that M.P.'s were rushing from street barricades to the floor of the House to the background music of the Marseilles amid cries of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, in a frenzy of revolutionary fervour.

In reality, all that MP's have agreed, apart from the removal of the Speaker, is, now that they have been caught out, they will stop robbing the taxpayer by submitting allowance claims for goods and services that have nothing whatsoever to do with their legitimate expense claims while serving their constituents.

Today, much has been proposed by the major parties in Westminster. It remains to be seen in the days, weeks, and months ahead, how these proposals finally get written into law. Trust in those who have exploited and profited from the system, to reform it, is at an all time low. The devil as they say is in the details.

Nothing, short of a general election, will satisfy a large percentage of the British public, with one leading British newspaper, the Sun, calling on voters to support such a campaign. While a knee-jerk reaction of demanding a general election might satisfy some, unless mechanisms are set in place to allow citizens rights to recall elected officials guilty of corruption and some form of written constitution enacted, anything else is just leaving the foxes to guard the hen house.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Irish Journalist in confidential sources court case.

Irish Journalist asks for petition support

© Joe ONeill 2009
I Want You...
The Dublin-based Sunday Tribune Northern Editor, Suzanne Breen, who is defending an action against the Police Service of Northern Ireland demanding that she hand over her newspaper internal memoranda, mobile phone and computer records and journalistic records relating to the Real IRA, has launched a petition drive to support her stand.

See bog archive for previous article.

Below is a copy of an email correspondence from Ms Breen calling for support. Please copy and distribute. Messages of support can also be sent to:


A belated thank you. I've been up to my eyes in legal meetings and trying to get petitions organised. If you could get your contacts to either sign the online NUJ petition or join the support Suzanne Breen facebook campaign if they're facebook members.

If your friends/associates are journalists, academics etc they could sign the attached petition stating employer and position (ie editor, health correspondent, political reporter etc) and email it back to me. Anyway, a sincere thanks for your interest in this case which will have severe repercussions for journalism in the North if it goes the wrong way.

Best wishes,

Suzanne Breen.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Memorial Day

© Joe ONeill 2009

Sixty five years ago today, the Supreme Commander of the Normandy Invasion Force, General Dwight Eisenhower, reviewed some 2,000 American troops billeted in the North of Ireland. The visit of the future American President took place on the grounds of Portora Royal School Enniskillen, just weeks before the Normandy invasion on D-Day 6th of June, 1944. At the time, the visit was kept secret for security reasons.

The event was commemorated today by WW II re-enactment enthusiasts with period uniforms and weapons. The American Consul for Northern Ireland, Susan Elliott, was in also in attendance.

The last Monday of May, (25 May 2009) is observed as Memorial Day in the United States of America. General John Alexander Logan, the son of an Irish immigrant, is generally credited with being the driving force behind the first campaign to have a national public holiday (Which morphed into Memorial Day) to honour Union soldiers killed in the American Civil War. Today, memorial services are held to include all U.S. men and women who have died in military service.

Logan’s father, Dr. John Logan, was born in Co. Monaghan to John and Elizabeth Logan and in 1793, at five years old, came to the U. S., where the family settled in the state of Illinois.

Dr. Logan‘s son, John Jnr. born in 1826, served in the 1st Illinois infantry during the Mexican-American war of 1847 and later graduated from the University of Louisville with a law degree. He entered politics and during his second term as a serving Congressman, he fought in the famous battle of Bull Run as a volunteer. After the battle he returned to Washington, resigned his seat and was commissioned into the 31st Illinois volunteers as a Colonel.

He served in the Western Theatre with future Commander of the Union Army and future President General U. S. Grant, also from Illinois. He served with distinction and fought in numerous engagements and was severely wounded in a battle at Fort Donelson. At the end of the war he held the rank of Major General.

James G. Blaine chose Logan as his vice-presidential running mate in the 1884 presidential election, but they failed to get elected.

General Logan died in 1886 and his body lay in state in the United States Capitol building. He is buried in the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery, beside Arlington National Cemetery.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Throw the Bums Out

Christ on the Cross
General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown
Napoleon at Waterloo
General Lee at Appomattox Courthouse
President Nixon at Watergate
President Clinton at Monica Lewinsky
Captain Terence O’Neill at the Crossroads

Gordon Brown at …

Only one of these guys made a significant comeback and to coin an old political cliché, Prime Minister, I know Jesus Christ and Prime Minister, you’re no Jesus Christ.

As any student of politics knows, political events and movements have a way of developing a life of their own. The fact is, that the revelations of sleaze and corruption published by the Daily Telegraph will change the face of the British political landscape for years to come. What those changes will be, remains to be seen.

The political class of Britain are falling over each other in attempts to sooth the anger that has gripped the British public. A few sacrificial lambs have been thrown to the slaughter and the hyenas are circling the Speaker of the House, in an attempt to divert attention from the stench of corruption that emanates from the body politic of the House of Commons.

I have been watching with a little bemusement, the talking heads shows, as the political class wring their hands in anguish and depict themselves as agents of reform.

Here’s a novel idea, how about a written constitution with powers to impeach elected representatives and allow for recall elections of those guilty of wrongdoing. Or as President Lincoln stated it in the Gettysburg Address, “ and that government : of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

If my memory serves, a former British government lost a referendum on the battlefield on these issues to the backwoods men of the 13 North American colonies. The American system has been working fine now for over 200 years. Richard Nixon could have testified to that.

Friday, 15 May 2009

MPs' Allowance Scandal

In Defence of Pigs.
With so many variations of ‘pigs at the trough’ metaphors being bandied about over the Members of Parliament allowances scandal, I am reminded of a quote from no other than Winston Churchill, who knew a thing or two about human and animal nature.
Churchill said, “I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
George Orwell too, I think, had a sneaking regard for the ability of the common farmyard swine.
I also like pigs. For my money, a pig is a very useful animal, while he himself is not a fussy eater, he provides us humans with a wonderful complement to eggs at breakfast, he devours tons of unwanted waste vegetable matter, and he tastes very well with cabbage and potatoes. If the common domestic pig has a shortcoming, it is his reputation for wallowing in a certain substance which begins in s and ends in t.
Do you see where I am going here?
If only a certain breed of political animal, currently penned in the Houses of Parliament, were as useful as our chubby farmyard friend, we might all be living off the hog a little better. Instead, these political animals have developed an appetite for high living at the expense of others which pales in comparison to the reputation for gluttony of our useful farmyard friends. They have consumed tens of thousands of pounds that could have gone to deserving citizens more in need of taxpayer support.
If one was to conduct a straw poll, no pun intended, to determine between a pig and one of our current breed of political animals, as to which one makes the more useful contribution to the regular Joe’s needs and requirements every morning, in the current climate, my money is on the pig.
Unfortunately, the British voter has no recourse to the tactic of a recall election. In the United States, outraged voters have on many occasions taken recourse against corrupt elected officials, at federal, state, and municipal level, by organising petitions and fresh elections to have such officials thrown out of office. In recent times, Governor Schwartzenegger of California is perhaps the best know of those who have been elected as a result of a recall election. Citizens of California, suffering power outages and outraged by the rape of their power resources by the gangsters of Enron, recalled Democratic Governor Gray Davis, who was perceived to be unable, or reluctant, to take Enron on and elected Republican Schwartzenegger.
Citizens groups in Britain and Ireland would do well to examine the concept of recall elections. In the current political climate, there is no doubt that should such legislation exist, many of those Members of Parliament who have been less than forthright or honest with claims for legitimate operating expenses, would be going like ‘pigs to the slaughter’, (Sorry my farmyard friends) in a frenzy of recall elections.
The confidence of citizens in their elected representatives is at the heart of any democracy, whether it be a constitutional monarchy, or a republican form of government. In both parts of these Islands, under both forms of government, confidence has been badly eroded.
"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve."
George Bernard Shaw.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Irish Journalist in court for defending confidential sources

Sunday Tribune Northern Editor in Court Appearance
The Northern Editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune Newspaper, Suzanne Breen, appeared at Belfast’s Laganside Courts today to defend against an action by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, demanding that she hand over her newspaper internal memoranda, mobile phone and computer records and journalistic records relating to the Real IRA.
A request yesterday by the PSNI, to have the proceedings held in camera, was rejected by the judge in the case, Thomas Burgess.
Members of the National Union of Journalists protested outside the court in support of their colleague. The Irish Secretary of the NUJ, Seamus Dooley, attended the proceedings, as did Christopher Stanley, of British-Irish Rights Watch.
The National Executive of the NUJ have issued a statement in support of Breen. “This NEC applauds the stand taken by Suzanne Breen in resisting legal attempts to reveal journalist sources. NEC notes support from the Sunday Tribune and fully expects management to continue their fight to defend both her and press freedom. NEC reaffirms its belief that journalists and journalism should not be used as extensions of the state.” It concluded, that it pledged to give “all practicable support” to Suzanne in her case.
Irish secretary Dooley said yesterday, “This case is deeply worrying both because of the sweeping nature of the order being sought and way in which the case is being approached by the police. We are particularly concerned that the Police Service of Northern Ireland has sought for the entire case to be held behind closed doors and that they have made an application for a preliminary in camera hearing in the absence of Suzanne Breen’s legal team.”
At today’s hearing, Judge Burgess delayed the proceeding to allow the defence team time to prepare arguments in support of their client. The evidence from the PSNI to the court, to justify their need for the material, has been seen by the judge, but has been denied to defence lawyers on security grounds. The defence argue that if they cannot see the submissions by the PSNI, they will be unable to adequately argue in defence of their client.
The judge has ruled on proceedings to date, but has sealed his judgement until it is clear where the judicial proceedings lead as further hearings are held.
The defence will not have a week to submit their arguments to the court and the PSNI several days to respond.
The court will reconvene on May 29.
Below, is part of a statement of that appeared on the NUJ website in support of Suzanne Breen.
The NUJ is seeking the support of the International Federation of Journalists, Amnesty International, trade unions and other civic society organisations as well as media organisations for a major campaign in support of Suzanne Breen and the Sunday Tribune.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ Deputy General Secretary, said: "The NUJ has a long history of standing up for journalists who are being threatened by an arm of the state over protection of their sources.
"We express our total solidarity with Suzanne and urge all members to support the campaign in her defence."
Other protection of sources cases
Messages of support for Suzanne Breen may be sent to

© Joe ONeill 2009
Suzanne Breen after today's court appearance, talks to journalists outside Laganside Courts, flanked on the left by Seamus Dooley, Irish Secretary, National Union of Journalists and right, her solicitor Joe Rice.

Monday, 11 May 2009

European Election Campaign

GAA Celebrates 125 Years
Politicians Work the Crowds
As the Gaelic Athletic Association held La na gClub (club day) yesterday, thousands of members and supporters attended functions to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of the organization in Thurles, Co Tipperary, in 1884.

At St. Mary's GAC Aghagallon Co Armagh, after a mass celebrated by local Parish Priest Fr Laurence McElhill, the club's grounds were blessed by the Most Reverend Anthony Farquhar, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor.

Taking advantage of a fine sunny day and large crowds, politicians were out and about canvassing for the upcoming European elections due to take place in Northern Ireland on June 4.

No, there is nothing wrong with you eyesight.
Translated it reads,

In an inovovative approach to electioneering in Northern Ireland, SDLP EU candidate, Alban Maginness, canvassed for votes with election literature in Polish, from massgoers attending a Polish language mass at St Anthony's Catholic Church Craigavon.

© Joe ONeill 2009

Photo 1
SDLP elected representatives; MLA Dolores Kelly, MLA Tom Burns and MLA Alban Maginness, at St. Mary’s GAC.

Photo 2
MLA and SDLP European Union candidate, Alban Maginness, and MLA Tom Burns, at St. Joseph’s GAC.

Photo 3
MLA and SDLP European Union candidate, Alban Maginness, chats with Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Farquhar. (Far Right)

Saturday, 9 May 2009

St. Malachy's Church

St Malachy's Church
On Sundays, my thoughts usually turn to sport rather than religion. Being a county Antrim man my expectations of county success is restrained by a lengthy memory. However, being an O’Neill, I think I can always legitimately root for Tyrone. As for soccer, I would just as soon watch paint dry.
For those of you who are more inclined to consider more celestial Sunday activities, I would highly recommend a visit to the recently opened, St. Malachy’s church in Belfast’s markets neighbourhood.
Built in 1844, three years before the terrible starvation that stalked this island, it has been refurbished and was re-opened and the altar dedicated, in a ceremony led by The Most Reverend Dr. Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, in March this year.
If you do visit, one thing you are unlikely to see is the crypt, pictured in the last photo in the selection. Located under the altar it lay unused for many years. Plans are now in place to use it for storing cremated remains.
They say a picture paints a thousand words. I can honestly say, that the pictures here, do not do justice to the magnificent work of the craftsmen who laboured so diligently to create a truly wonderful magnum opus.

© Joe Ó Néill 2009

© Joe Ó Néill 2009

© Joe ONeill 2009

Friday, 8 May 2009

Torture (Damages) (No. 2) Bill 2008-09
Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill) introduced by Mr Andrew Dismore

This bill, a Private Members Bill , was introduced on January 26 2009, and is expected to have a second reading on June 19.

A summary of the bill states that it is intended, "to make provisions for actions for damages for torture; and for connected purposes."

Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon, is a former Chairman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. In 2001, he served as Vice-chair: Friends of Israel.

A snowballs chance in hell...seems to come to mind.

For card carrying members of the Eternal Optimists Club;
Here are the contact details;
Andrew Dismore MP
House of Commons London SW1A 0AA
Tel:020 7219 4408
Fax:020 7219 1279

Thursday, 7 May 2009

May Day Parade
Browsing photos of the Belfast May Day Parade which wound its way round downtown Belfast last Saturday afternoon, a few thoughts came to mind.
Bob Doyle RIP
Bob Doyle, the last surviving Irishman who fought in the International Brigades, at a ceremony to unveil Belfast's tribute to members of the brigade, in Writer's Square Belfast, October 2008. Bob passed on in January this year.
© Joe Ó Néill 2009

© Joe Ó Néill 2009

Relatives of Brigade Members at the ceremony.

Link to obituary of Bob Doyle.

If there was an Olympic event for self-delusion the Workers Party would be a candidate for the gold medal. Although I did hear a former member of the Provos remark the other day, "We're all Stickies now".

The 'Socialist Worker' in the center (background) is certainly silver medal material.

Staying with the left side of my brain, where the give credit where credit is due department is, Kudos to Social Democratic and Labour Party candidate in the European elections, Alban Maginness, for remembering what the L in SDLP stands for. He's not the one in the kilt.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Talk Show host Michael Savage and Mo Mowlan

© Joe Ó Néill 2009
Did Mo Know?

This photo featured in the exhibition,
The Irish at the Golden Gate
by Joe O'Neill.

The late Mo Mowlan, as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has a friendly chat with contraversial talk-show host Michael Savage, in O'Reilly's Bar and Restaurant in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. At the time Mowlan was on a visit to the United States to promote the 'Peace Process'.

Savage, was one of 16 people named on May 5, by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who have been banned from entering Britain. "This is someone who has fallen into the category of fomenting hatred, of such extreme views and expressing them in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence if that person were allowed into the country," Ms Smith told BBC Breakfast.

Today, May 6, Savage has called for a boycott of British goods and announced his intention to sue.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
The Irish at the Golden Gate
An exhibition of photographs and essays, by Joe O'Neill, featured in the program of Feile an Phobail West Belfast Spring Festival and ran from February 5 thru 23 of 2009, in Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich in Belfast. A selection of photographs from the exhibition are included.
For further information on:
The Irish at the Golden Gate Exhibition
The Irish at the Golden Exhibition on Sonar will be updated as photos and essays are edited for display.

California The Early Days

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
Yosemite Falls Yosemite National Park

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
Site where James Marshall discovered gold

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
Old Catholic Church in the Gold Country Foothills
© Joe ÓNéill 2009
Mission San Juan Capistrano