Monday, 31 August 2009

10 Downing Street and petition to retract Senator Kennedy’s Knighthood

When people of great stature, such as Senator Edward Kennedy, pass on, the opinions and reminisces of politicians, statesmen, diplomats, and celebrities of all hues and colours are solicited in the media frenzy, which follows such a passing.

One of my first thoughts on hearing of the death of Senator Kennedy was, well other than a need to satisfy my own ego, there was no reason for myself on the lowly Soñar Blog to pass any comment. Everything that could possibly be said or written about Senator Kennedy will have been done by others.

The Office of the First Minister, and Deputy First Minister both issued statements praising the legacy of the Senator and their condolences to the Kennedy family. First Minister, Peter Robinson, said, "Edward Kennedy was a politician of world renowned whose influence was felt across the world including Northern Ireland. I may not have always agreed with his politics but his commitment to non-violence and to the success of devolved government was unquestionable in recent years. My thoughts and prayers are with the Kennedy family.”

“The passing of Edward Kennedy,” said Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, “will be felt by many across the world, and in particular the Irish Diaspora in America. Senator Kennedy played a central role in American domestic political life and contributed significantly to the development of the peace process here. It was an honour to have him with us in Parliament Buildings in May 2007 to witness the re-establishment of the Institutions. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his dedication to the creation of a better society for everyone here. I would like to pass my deepest condolences to the Kennedy family.”

Tributes from many other Irish political figures featured prominently in the press, including: Irish President Mary Robinson, Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Alliance Party leader David Ford, Democratic Unionist Party MLA Peter Weir, SDLP leader Mark Durkin, former SDLP leader John Hume, and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, and Ulster Unionist Party Deputy Leader, Danny Kennedy. Taoiseach Cowen, Mark Durkin, John Hume, and Martin McGuinness, would travel to Boston for the Funeral Mass.

The DUP MLA Peter Weir had this to say, “Latterly he came to recognise the validity of the Unionist argument and the reality of partition: he went as far as snubbing Republican political representatives over their failure to come up to the democratic standards set by the DUP and accepted an honorary knighthood from Her Majesty The Queen.”

With all these laudatory statements to the late Senator from Unionist politicians, something was troubling me, which I could not quite put my finger on. It took some time for the penny to drop. There would be no Unionist politician at the Funeral Mass for the late Senator. The secret society to which the majority of Unionist politicians belong have strict edicts on members crossing the threshold of a Catholic Church for any reason whatsoever, much less a Funeral Mass. Members who ignore these dictates, especially politicians, do so at their peril.

As often happens in politics, sometimes the left hand does not know what the right hand, and in this case right with a capital R, is doing. As the DUP First Minister was professing condolences to the family of Senator Kennedy, one of his own Councillors, John Montgomery from North Down, is calling for support for the petition to retract the Knighthood of “Tiresome Ted Kennedy”.

Councillor Montgomery has this to say, “Sometimes the affection shown to terrorists and their friends becomes a little tiresome. We hear about the former terrorists, reformed terrorists or those who have found the lord. If someone commits murder they are forever a murderer, or if child molestation they are forever a child molester. Why should it be any different for a terrorist, no nice words or membership of a religious sect will erase their evil.”

“Which brings me to a petition on the number10 website:- 'We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Retract the Knighthood offered to Teddy Kennedy'.

Finally, in this sad tale of intolerance Northern Ireland style, on the theme of, “You couldn’t make this up.”

British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, penned an article on the passing of Senator Kennedy for the Boston Globe, on August 28, where he stated,

“He asked in detail what Britain was doing on health care, welfare, and education, about our international engagement on disarmament and later, terror. His abiding interest in an Irish settlement helped the United Kingdom enormously. He was a massive force in bringing the factions together to make peace in Northern Ireland possible. This was one of the many reasons why this year Her Majesty The Queen awarded Senator Kennedy an honorary British knighthood.”

The petition is hosted on the Official Website of No. 10 Downing Street.

The petition is Submitted by one Stephen Clements – Deadline to sign up by 06 March 2010 – Signatures: 5,391

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

CR Gas and Deaths of Republican Ex-Prisoners

Republican Ex-Prisoners Campaign Meeting

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
Joe Doherty (seated) former Republican Prisoner
who was extradited from the US chairs meeting
© Joe ÓNéill 2009
Craft work by Republican prisoners and photo exhibition
As part of the New Lodge Road Festival, Coiste, the Republican ex-prisoners organisation held a meeting in the Duncairn Complex, at the top of the New Lodge this evening.
The Press Release for the meeting stated.
“Coiste na n-Iarchimi is the umbrella organisation encompassing groups and individuals working for the social, economic and emotional well-being of Republican ex-prisoners, displaced persons and their families.
In 1974, the British army dropped CR Gas in Long Kesh prison camp. There is mounting evidence that this gas is responsible for the early deaths and illness of many former political prisoners who inhaled the gas.
Coiste has embarked on a campaign to find the truth behind the gas and its health effects on Republican ex-prisoners.”
For more information contact:
Joe Doherty 028 9020 0770;


Dan has granted Soñar permission

to publish his ODD BODKINS cartoon strip.


Hugh Daniel ÓNéill

Thirty years ago Hugh Daniel ÓNéill was described as, “an innovator, a creator and a professional troublemaker” in a foreword to a collection of Odd Bodkins.

For seven years his Odd Bodkins cartoons ran daily in The San Francisco Chronicle and in 350 other newspapers throughout the world. At its peak, the strip had a readership of fifty million.

When he was hired at age 21 —the youngest cartoonist ever hired by a national syndicate— he was given three simple rules: no religion, no politics and no sex in the strip. He did his best to comply — he kept sex out of Odd Bodkins.

His characters began to discuss metaphysics and deliberately offend the powers that be. The strip was dropped by the papers in 1966; editors thought he was going too far out, and assumed that no one could possibly make any sense out of these mad scribblings.

No sooner had the deed been done, when thousands of readers demanded Odd Bodkins’ return to the comic pages. Fans jammed the switchboard and sent letters demanding the reinstatement of Fred Bird, Hugh, Were-Chicken, Norton Motorcycle, and the rest of the Bodkins world.

In 2002, Dan was elected to the Board of Directors of the Sixteen to One mine, one of the last working gold mines in California.

For further information on ÓNéill.

Select Image for Larger Viewing.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Letter to Facebook

Dear Sir/Madame,
I have been trying to edit the Facebook information section in my profile on Facebook. My hometown is Belfast, Ireland. Your code will highlight this as Belfast, United Kingdom. As you may be aware, Belfast is on the island of Ireland. As an Irish citizen, I would identify myself as living in Belfast Ireland. I am unable to file this on the Facebook page as your code continues to change my edit to Belfast, United Kingdom.

As an Irish citizen, I find this totally unacceptable and request that you change your code to enable me to register my hometown and country in accordance with my national identity.

I would refer you to Article 15 (1) and (2) of 'The Universal Declaration of Human Rights' proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948.
Article 15
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

I look forward to consideration of my concerns, and to a speedy resolution to the problem.


Seosamh ONeill.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Irish-American Voters

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
Teamsters Union members at St. Patrick's Day Parade, San Francisco, 1987
(MacBride Campaign Parade Float in Background)

On July 21, I posted an article 'California dreamin'.

The article dealt with the involvement of Irish-Americans in the MacBride campaign and the current campaign of California democrats in support of Irish unification.

Below is an article by Stella OLeary, Founder and Chair of Irish-American Democrats.

Well worth the read.

Irish Times columnist Niall Stanage is dead wrong
By STELLA O'LEARY, Founder and Chair / Irish American Democrats Published Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 9:53 AM
Updated Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 1:20 PM

Recently in The Irish Times writer Niall Stanage declared the demise of the Irish vote in America.

Stanage, from a Unionist background, may be working with an image of an earlier time, when all Irish American political needs were met by political dynasties, the Kennedys, the O'Neills, the Dodds, and in Chicago, the Daleys.

If that is what he is talking about then he is correct. That era has long since passed and the nature of American politics has changed.The Irish vote is now part of what politicians and American political parties refer to as the "Catholic vote." This vote is primarily Irish American, with the Italians a close second.

This "Catholic vote" is the single most important vote in deciding American presidential elections. It is the famous swing vote which President Bill Clinton commanded in two elections and was the reason Gore lost Ohio and the presidency.

It is carefully monitored and polled by both political parties, and there are several consultancy agencies in Washington whose sole function is to chart this group of voters.

Why are the Irish crucial in these swing states? What we know is that they have inherited an Irish cultural tradition from the days of the Irish political machine. They vote.

Stanage's claim that the Irish vote "does not matter very much" would come as a surprise to Congressman Joseph Crowley of Queens, New York. He has less than 20% Irish in his district and yet they account for 45% of his vote. The other ethnic groups in his district are reluctant to vote.With the margins of victory getting narrower, particularly in local elections, the constituent who can be relied on to vote is the one most wooed.Governor Martin O'Malley was elected mayor of Baltimore which has a 70% black population. These are just two of many congressional members who rely on the Irish vote to provide the winning margin.

Of course, Crowley, O'Malley and Congressman Richard Neal, chairman of the Congressional Friends of Ireland, and the other congressional members who recently returned from a congressional delegation visit to Ireland, would be very surprised to hear that they do not "consciously think of themselves as Irish." They, along with their constituents are involved in more areas of Irish life and culture than can be listed here.The other inherited characteristic of the Irish American voter is they relish participatory politics. In the 2006 congressional elections, the Democrats gained 31 new seats. Of these, 15 were Irish Americans.

In 2008, the Democrats added another 20 new seats. Of these, nine were Irish Americans.Irish American Democrats, the group that I founded, gave money and/or organized fundraisers, for each of these newly elected congressional members. We are currently "grooming" 10 aspiring politicians in their twenties to run for congressional seats.

To what extent do crucial Irish American voters "consciously think of themselves as Irish?" Obviously the thousands of Irish Americans in 50 states who have contributed millions of dollars through Irish American Democrats' Political Action Committee over the past 13 years consciously think of themselves as Irish.

No politicians have received more from Irish America than the Clintons. At one St. Patrick's Day breakfast Irish American Democrats raised $200,000 for the election of Hillary Clinton to the Senate.

As was commonly reported, Irish Americans raised millions for the election bid of Senator Clinton for the Presidency. One of our own, Declan Kelly, was at the very top of Senator Clinton's list of fundraisers.

Irish American Democrats unabashedly support candidates for office who promote peace, justice and prosperity in Ireland. We engage our candidates in discussions on how they can most use their influence to further Irish culture in the U.S.

And yes, we make no apology for our great concern that 50,000 Irish are working without documentation in America. We plan to use all of our influence, in cooperation with Hispanics and other ethnic groups, to promote the immigration bill that President Obama expects to introduce in January.

Twenty-seven European, Arab and Asian American political groups are represented in the Ethnic Coordinating Committee of the national Democratic Party. Of these 27 ethnic groups, Irish America has far and away the greatest number of representatives on Capitol Hill.To illustrate the importance of the vote in American elections, blacks account for 13% of the American population and they have just one Senate member; Jews are 9% of the population and they have 11 senators.

Of the 100 member Senate body, Irish Americans represent one-fifth or 21 senators. At meetings of the Ethnic Coordinating Committee, the other ethnic groups regularly express their envy of Irish America and our ability to elect Irish to political office.

The unions are the financial backbone of the Democratic Party. The majority by far of these unions are headed by Irish Americans, including the president of the AFL/CIO, John Sweeney.
Along with their donations to the Democratic Party every one of these union heads contributes generously to Irish American organizations, including Irish American Democrats and the American Ireland Fund.The campaign for the governorship of New Jersey is one of the two important political contests in 2009. As I write I am taking time away from the Irish Americans for Corzine campaign.

If Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey retains his seat in November it will be because he got the Irish vote. If Stanage has any remaining doubt about the importance of the Irish vote he should contact the Corzine campaign and ask them their opinion on it.

On the question of the Irish American media, they are our partners in the mission to promote Ireland in America. Irish America magazine's and Irish Voice awards to the Top 100 Irish Americans, the top Irish American lawyers, women, academics and business leaders give unprecedented profile to the achievement of the Irish in America. I remember one award ceremony, in which an Olympic medal winner said she was more proud to receive the Irish American of the Year award than to receive the Olympic Medal.

Stanage is now, thankfully, in a minority of critics of Irish America who insist on rehashing the ubiquitous image of the Irish as St. Patrick's Day drunks. Witness the line in his Irish Times piece in which he quotes Doug Muzzio, a political science professor at Baruch College in New York, as saying, "I would imagine that the only time a lot of those (43 million) people consciously think of themselves as Irish is when they drink to excess" on St. Patrick's Day."

For those who are more in tune with modern Irish America, that image is $1,000 a plate dinners for 1,000 people at the American Ireland Fund. These dinners honor Irish American politicians and celebrities.The millions raised at these events fund university programs, community programs and other social programs in Ireland. This level of financial giving and celebration of Ireland hardly qualifies for Stanage's description of Irish America as "nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

"The huge interest in Ireland described here provides a boost to Irish businesses seeking to enter the American market. Many of those honored by Irish America magazine, like Tom Moran of Mutual of America, not only look to encourage Irish business in America, but also reach out a helping hand to young native Irish entering the business world in America.The suggestion by Stanage that those of us who work with Irish American politicians, business leaders and academics are an obstacle to Irish American relations is so ludicrous as to be unworthy of comment.Maybe it is time for the Irish at home to start giving back. How about a Top 100 Irish Americans awarded in Dublin? We here would much appreciate such a gesture.

Instead of criticism and scorn, is it time to say thank you to the Irish American politicians, the Clintons, the union leaders and the many, many people who are working here in projects to promote Ireland.If more honors were handed out in Dublin, rather than New York, then maybe the Irish would be better acquainted with the goodwill, generosity and constructive role that Irish America plays.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The History and Poetry Corner Vol I No. I

'Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history,is man’s original virtue.
It is through disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made.'

Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

The Soul of Man Under Socialism

Samuel Ferguson was born in High Street Belfast, in 1810, of Scottish parents who moved to Ireland during the 17th century. He studied at the Belfast Academy, before going to Trinity College Dublin to study law, where he graduated with a BA in 1826, and an MA in 1832, and was called to the bar in 1838.

Ferguson was a friend of Thomas Davis, and many other leaders of the ‘Young Ireland’ movement. His poem on the death of Davis, ‘Lament for Thomas Davis’ was described by Gavan Duffy, who with Davis and John Dillon had founded the Nation newspaper, as ‘the most Celtic in structure and spirit of all the elegies laid on the tomb of Davis.’

Although Ferguson was not a member of the Young Ireland party, he supported repeal of the Union, and was prominent in the Protestant Repeal Association. In the persecutions and prosecutions, that took place before and after the failed rising of ’48, he successfully defended Richard Dalton Williams, who was charged with treason-felony.

Ferguson published many volumes of verse, but he only contributed one poem to the Nation, 'Sonnet to the Gentlemen of ‘The Nation’ newspaper, censured for their defect of sectarian zeal.'
He died at Howth, Co. Dublin, in August 1886, aged 76.
Sir Samuel Ferguson, is buried at Donegore, Co. Antrim.
Brave youths, although I prize the Union Act
And warm resent some marchings for Repeal
Which I deemed menaces, no less I feel
How loving - brave, with manly minds erect,
Ye toil to give the people self - respect;
And therefore, now, when in fanatic zeal,
Bigots assail you, that the stake and wheel
Ye love not, I would cheer you, so attacked.
Discussion follows Freedom; difference
Of thought is Thought’s prerogative; let none,
Even hating Faction, wish Opinions hence;
But let him who would see all hates undone,
And Ireland’s days of happier note begun,
With you teach National self - confidence.
I walked through Ballinderry in the spring-time,
When the bud was on the tree;
And I said, in every fresh-ploughed field beholding
The sowers striding free,
Scattering broadside forth the corn in golden plenty
On the quick seed-clasping soil,
“Even such this day, among the fresh-stirred hearts of Erin.
Thomas Davis, is thy toil.”
I Sat by Ballyshannon in the summer,
And saw the salmon leap;
And I said, as I beheld the gallant creatures
Spring glittering from the deep,
Through the spray, and through the prone heaps striving onward
To the calm, clear streams above,
“So seekest thou thy native founts of freedom, Thomas Davis
In thy brightness of strength and love.”
I stood in Derrybawn in the autumn,
And I heard the eagle call,
With a clangorous cry of wrath and lamentation
That filled the wide mountain hall,
O’er the bare, deserted place of his plundered eyrie;
And I said, as he screamed and soared,
“So callest thou, thou wrathful, soaring Thomas Davis,
For a nation’s rights restored!”
And, alas! to think but now, and thou art lying,
Dear Davis, dead at thy mother’s knee;
And I, no mother near, on my own sick-bed,
That face on earth shall never see;
I may lie and try to feel that I am dreaming,
I may lie and try to say, “Thy will be done,”
But a hundred such as I will never comfort Erin
For the loss of the noble son!
Young husbandman of Erin’s fruitful seed-time,
In the fresh track of danger’s plough!
Who will walk the heavy, toilsome, perilous furrow
Girt with freedom’s seed-sheets, now?
Who will banish with the wholesome crop of knowledge
The daunting weed and the bitter thorn,
Now that thou thyself art but a seed for hopeful planting
Against the Resurrection morn?
Young salmon of the flood-tide of freedom
That swells round Erin’s shore!
Thou wilt leap against their loud oppressive torrent
Of bigotry and hate no more;
Drawn downward by their prone material instinct,
Let them thunder on their rocks and foam—
Thou hast leapt, aspiring soul, to founts beyond their raging,
Where troubled waters never come!
But I grieve not, Eagle of the empty eyrie,
That thy wrathful cry is still;
And that the songs alone of peaceful mourners
Are heard to-day on Earth’s hill;
Better far, if brothers’ war be destined for us
(God avert that horrid day I pray),
That ere our hands be stained with slaughter fratricidal,
Thy warm heart should be cold in clay.
But my trust is strong in God, Who made us brothers,
That He will not suffer their right hands,
Which thou hast joined in holier rites than wedlock
To draw opposing brands.
Oh, many a tuneful tongue that thou madest vocal
Would lie cold and silent then;
And songless longwidowed Erin once more, should often-
Mourn the loss of her brave young men.
Oh, brave young men, my love, my pride, my promise,
’Tis on you my hopes are set,
In manliness, in kindliness, in justice,
To make Erin a nation yet;
Self-respecting, self-relying, self-advancing—
In union or in severance, free and strong—
And if God grant this, then, under God, to Thomas Davis
Let the greater praise belong.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Pól Brennan Deportation case in US Support group statement

RE: POL BRENNAN #A88 785 324

A Cairde,

We are just off the phone with Pol's attorneys office they have been notifiedthat Pol is to be deported next week and that the authorities are assembling his travel documents. This is terrible news and we only have a few days in which to contact Janet Napolitano's office and strongly ask that she stop this deportation and act in keeping with the Good Friday Agreement in not punishing Pol for his political past. We urge everyone to pass this email on and to phone Janet Napolitano's office at 202-282-8000 also to contact elected representatives and ask them to contact Janet Napolitano's office and intervene to stop this deportation.

Here are some facts to use:

Pol has lived in the US for over 25 years,

He has been married to a US citizen for more than 20 years,

He is being punished for his political past,

He is no threat to anyone in the US !

Please this is VERY URGENT - be polite but firm in noting that some of those that had similar political pasts as Pol hold positions in government in Stormont and have been invited to the White House while Pol and his family are being punished for the same past! This is very time sensitive and we need to act immediately and ask that they ask Janet Napolitano to show the compassion this great country is capable of and Stop the deportation of Pol Brennan.

If you have any questions in this regard, please send them to or or phone Mike at 949-370-2970 or TOLL-FREE at (888) 811-2184 or Sean on 414-378- 2384.


Pól Brennan Support Group

information@ polbrennan. com,

Thursday, 13 August 2009

The Tall Ships

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
The Bounty Featured in the movies Mutiny on the Bounty and Pirates of the Caribbean

The Bow of the Bounty with the Giant Harland & Wolfe Crane in Background
© Joe ÓNéill 2009

Sightseers viewing the Tall Ship in Belfast harbour
© Joe ÓNéill 2009

The Atlantis from Amsterdam
© Joe ÓNéill 2009

The Belfast Maritime Festival opened today to host the ‘Tall Ships’, which have just completed the Trans Atlantic Challenge sailing race from Halifax to Belfast. The fleet of over 40 sailing ships from around the world, opened for public viewing today in Belfast docklands. The fleet have just completed a voyage of over 2,350 nautical miles, which began on July 20. They last visited the port of Belfast in 1991.

The Festival, which will be from 13-16 August, will conclude with the ships leaving Belfast harbour on Sunday afternoon under full sail to the open ocean.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009


© Joe ÓNéill 2009
Sawers Proprietor Kieran Sloan at work

During a recession, many businesses decide to cut costs, lay off staff, and generally hunker down and hope they can ride it out until economic conditions improve. Others, in a different survival mode, adopt a more aggressive business approach and try to expand their business base by innovation of new product lines and greater outreach to customers.

The latter approach is the one that Keiran Sloan, proprietor of Sawers Ltd., has adopted. The
delicatessen store, a landmark business in downtown Belfast, has been trading since the 1890’s. Originally located in High Street, the store was located for many years at the corner of Castle Street and Fountain Lane before moving to its present location at the nearby Fountain Centre in College Street.

Sloan, bought the former family owned business seven years ago, and has continued to expand the range of specialist delicatessen foods ever since. The business now employs 14 people on a full and part-time basis.

A year ago, the innovative Sloan, in conjunction with a London-based company, began to develop a line of South African farm-bred meats and delicacies. If you stroll College Street Friday and Saturdays, you will encounter Sloan outside the store cooking up sample treats and promoting his unusual range of meat products. The fare includes; Zebra, Camel, Wildebeest, Springbok, steaks; Kangaroo, Crocodile, Ostrich, Rattlesnake, Python, steaks and burgers; and if you just want a little finger food, chocolate covered ants, green curry crickets, and my very own favourite, BBQ flavoured worms.

You might well ask. Who buys this? Well, say Sloan, “A large part of the business is from people throwing parties, birthday, anniversaries, that kind of thing. For these kinds of events a lot of people, want a little something different. When I set up the outside stall at the weekend people are attracted by the smell of cooking. Last weekend I did over 180 orders over the lunchtime to shoppers and local shop workers.”

For Sloan, marching to the beat of a different drum has paid off. He is currently looking for warehouse space for the expanding business, and is upgrading his web site with a view to mail order business. Not a bad result, on the back of Camel steaks, et al.

Monday, 10 August 2009

American Ambassador Pays Courtesy Call


© Sean ÓNéill 2009
Left to Right
The Bride’s father, Eamon Walsh, Mrs. Patricia Rooney, Ambassador Dan Rooney, Amelia and Sean O’Neill, and Mrs. Mary Walsh.

New appointed United States Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney, while on official duties at Shannon Airport in Co. Clare, paid a courtesy call last week to two Irish families who made international news when they invited US troops in a Co. Clare hotel to join their wedding celebrations.

The soldiers en route to Iraq were delayed at Shannon airport and billeted in the hotel awaiting repairs to their aircraft. (See story in Blog below, ‘Some Mother’s Son’)

Ambassador Rooney, who was sworn in on July 1, is well-know in Irish-American circles, not least, as owner of the American football team the Pittsburgh Steelers, but also as a prominent supporter and fundraiser of the American Ireland Fund.

The Ambassador was visiting Shannon Airport to officiate at the opening of the US custom and border protection services at the airport. The facility, the first of its kind in Europe, will allow passengers pre-checked at the airport to arrive at their destination in the US without further time-delaying security checks.

The Ambassador met the families at the home of Sean and Amelia O’Neill (The writer’s nephew), and stayed for the customary Irish cup of tea. Sean said, “It was a very low key event, we just sat around and had a little chit-chat.

I strongly intimated to my nephew that if there was any mention of prid pro quo that his dear old Uncle would greatly appreciate a couple of the Ambassador’s Super Bowl tickets. Alas, the young people of today, he never even mentioned it, they just don‘t listen to their elders.

However, Mr. Ambassador, if you happen to read this …

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Oifig Na Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha

As can be gathered from my Blog on 'Some Mother’s Son', (Below), I have been on vacation for the past several weeks and had taken time off from Blogging.

I promised in that article I would publish any reply from the Irish government on the issue of uniformed US troops on Irish soil. Here is the statement I received from the Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Unfortunately, the issues that I wished to highlight in the article, Ireland’s neutrality, and public safety, was sidetracked by the coverage given to the event by the British gutter press, when the story on my Blog was picked up by the local Clare Herald, and subsequently hit the wire services.

Headlines included; 'Party Troopers, Clare & present anger over US invasion of the wedding crashers'; (The Sun) Fury Over U.S. Troops 'Invading’ Wedding; (The Star) 'Troops who crashed wedding criticised'. (The Irish Times)

© Joe ONeill 2009
A wedding Party to Remember

A day later, the Irish freelance journalist responsible for the phoney controversy and sensationalism in British newspapers was to retract his earlier versions of the story in the Irish Independent newspaper with the headline, 'US soldiers did not gatecrash wedding'.

The question of US soldiers in uniform in Ireland and the safety of Irish civilians who happen to be in proximity to them should be of concern, and the government have a duty to ensure that all necessary precautions to protect the public are in place as we fufil our obligations under neutrality laws. Those opposed to the government’s interpetation of the law are also entitled to their opinions. These differences of opinion can best be dealt with by legimitate public protests, in the courts, or at the ballot box.