Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Merry Christmas – Nollaig Shona Duit

The World of Odd Bodkins.
AKA Dan ÓNéill. 

ODD BODKINS ON Soñar. Vol. 3 No.4

© Dan ÓNéill

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Northern Ireland Peace Call Amid Violent Demonstrations

© Joe ÓNéill
Citizens demonstrate for Peace in Belfast amid Northern Ireland Flag Protests

Hundreds of people of all ages turned out this morning at Belfast City Hall to demonstrate for Peace, amid the ongoing street demonstrations, which have sometimes turned to violence, by those opposed to the policy of having the Union Flag at Belfast City Hall, flown on designated days, as opposed to the previous policy of it flying 365/24/7.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Irish National Caucus Launch Holy Land Principles

© Joe ÓNéill
Two old Mac Bride Campaigners Fr. Sean McManus and Joe ÓNéill.

The Washington DC based priest, Fr. Seán McManus, who launched the Mac Bride Principles Campaign has announced that he will launch The Holy Land Principles – a corporate code of conduct for U.S. companies doing business in the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine, The West Band, The Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).

'Isn’t it very striking? The elected officials who led the campaign to end anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland were not Irish- Americans, but Jewish-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Hispanic Americans and others! To me, that is the great moral lesson of the Mac Bride Campaign.'(Fr. Seán McManus)

The full text of the press release by the Irish National Caucus reads:
Holy Land Principles Launched
First MacBride … Now Holy Land
Capitol Hill. Monday, December 10, 2012 – The same man who launched the MacBride Principles on November 5, 1984 has now launched the Holy Land Principles – a corporate code of conduct for U.S. companies doing business in the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine, The West Bank, The Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).
Fr. Sean McManus – president of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus, and of the recently formed Holy Land Principles, Inc. – said: “The MacBride Principles campaign is considered the most effective campaign ever against anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland. And similarly, I am hoping that the Holy Land Principles will persuade American companies to adhere to fair employment in the Holy Land. If Catholics in Northern Ireland deserve these Principles, who is going to claim Palestinian Muslims and Christians do not?”
Fr. McManus, who has recently returned from the Holy Land, said: “American principles must follow American investment – everywhere. No exceptions! Irrespective of how Americans view the problem there, one thing is surely right: American investment dollars should not subsidize anti-Palestinian discrimination in The Holy Land. And, therefore, I am confident that Americans will want all the 573 companies doing business there to sign the Holy Land Principles.” [ SEE PRINCIPLES BELOW].
 Like the MacBride Principles, the Holy Land Principles do not call for disinvestment, divestment or reverse discrimination.
Holy Land Principles, Inc., has been established as a non-profit organization to promote the Principles.
It will be of interest to see if potential opponents of the Holy Land Principles will make the same misjudgement as the British Government admitted to making in 1999. A senior official in the Department of Economic Development (DED) said: “We did not take him [Fr. McManus] very seriously at first but the MacBride Principles have caused serious problems and cost millions to try and counteract.”
To further promote the new Principles, Fr. McManus has brought out a new edition of his Memoirs: My American Struggle for Justice in Northern Ireland ... And The Holy Land. In the book, which now has 424 pages, he draws a close parallel between how the British Government partitioned both Ireland and Palestine.
 Fr. McManus mapped out the plan of campaign: 
“The basic strategy of the campaign is to persuade all the 573 U.S. companies in The Holy Land to sign the Principles. They sign by agreeing in writing ‘to make all lawful efforts to implement the Fair Employment Practices embodied in the Holy Land Principles in their operations in The Holy Land’ – the very same language used by companies signing the MacBride Principles.
1. The campaign will be conducted through Shareholders’ Resolutions and through public education.
2. This book with a personalized letter will be sent to the CEOs of all 573 companies, plus their Investor Relations Contact.
3. This book with a personalized letter will be sent to all Members of Congress, House and Senate, and all key media personnel.
 4. An extensive Direct Mail campaign will be conducted to prospective supporters – Irish-Americans, Arab-Americans and the faith and social-justice communities.” 
Holy Land Principles
American principles following American investment 
A Corporate Code of Conduct for U.S. Companies in The Holy Land

American companies have a responsibility to maximize the profits of their shareholders.  And shareholders have the right and responsibility to insist that their profits are earned through ethical corporate practices – that they avoid discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious identity.
 Moreover, ethical investment not only benefits society but also creates stronger and more sustainable profits for their shareholders.
In the tradition of the Sullivan Principles (South Africa) and the MacBride Principles (Northern Ireland), the Holy Land Principles seek to ensure that American dollars do not support discrimination, human rights abuses, or violations of international law in The Holy Land (Israel/Palestine, The West Bank, The Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).
The Principles do not call for disinvestment, divestment or reverse discrimination.
Responsible corporate conduct is especially urgent today because of the deprivations and sufferings caused by the conflict.
 By endorsing the Holy Land Principles, corporations will enhance America’s security as people in the Middle East see that American companies support equality and fairness for all.
The Holy Land Principles call on American companies conducting business in The Holy Land to:
 1. Adhere to equal and fair employment practices in hiring, compensation, training, professional education, advancement and governance without discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious identity.
2. Identify underrepresented employee groups and initiate active recruitment efforts to increase the number of underrepresented employees to a level proportional to their representation in society.
 3. Make every reasonable effort to ensure that all employees have the ability to easily, openly and equally travel to and access corporate facilities.
4. Maintain a work environment that is respectful of all racial, ethnic and religious groups.
 5. Work with governmental and community authorities, and support local initiatives to eliminate disparities among racial, ethnic and religious groups in government spending on education, training, access to health care and housing.
6. Not make military service a precondition or qualification for employment for any position, other than those positions that specifically require such experience, for the fulfilment of an employee’s particular responsibilities.
 7. Not accept subsidies, tax incentives or other benefits that lead to the direct advantage of one racial, ethnic or religious group over another.
8. Appoint staff to monitor, oversee, set timetables, and publicly report on their progress in implementing the Holy Land Principles.

Holy Land Principles, Inc.
Capitol Hill • P.O. Box 15128  •  Washington, DC 20003-0849 
Phone: 202-488-0107  •  Fax: 202-488-7537

Irish National Caucus 
P.O. BOX 15128 
Capitol Hill 
Washington, DC 20003-0849 
Tel. 202-544-0568 
Fax. 202-488-7537

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

"There was nothing to suggest before last night that there was going to be any significant violence."

Just read the BBC report on last night’s disturbances at Belfast City Hall.

Part of it states: 
"There was nothing to suggest before last night that there was going to be any significant violence." 
(What Planet does this guy live on?) 
“However, Chief Superintendent Alan McCrum said: "We put in place last night a considered police operation, a substantial police operation - there were dozens, in fact scores of police officers deployed there.”

Here is the police presence I saw at the rear of City Hall sometime after 6:00pm.

© Joe ÓNeill Policing the demonstration.Rear of Belfast City Hall.


Monday, 3 December 2012

Fairytale of Belfast – Merry Christmas Northern Ireland Style

Fairytale of Belfast - Ireland's Second City

Citizens of Belfast enjoy the Christmas festivities in Belfast City Hall Grounds. Meanwhile at the rear of City Hall, loyalists protest the City Council debate to changing the policy of flying the Union flag 365, 24/7. Belfast City Council tonight voted to fly the flag only on designated days, on a similar schedule to government buildings at the Northern Ireland Assembly, at Stormont Castle.

© Joe ÓNéill
Loyalists protest Belfast City Hall

© Joe ÓNéill
Continental Market Belfast City Hall

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Northern Ireland Abortion Laws – Reform Calls

Protest at Belfast City Hall last night, calling for legislation to provide for safe and legal Abortion laws in Northern Ireland. 

In 2012, the Universal Periodic Review of UK’s human rights record, requested that it “ensure by legislative and other measures that women in Northern Ireland are entitled to safe and legal abortion on equal basis with women living in other parts of the United Kingdom.” (Para 110.77)
© Joe ÓNéill
Anna Lo MLA, Northern Ireland Assembly
@ Pro- choice rally at Belfast City Hall.

© Joe ÓNéill
Regional secretary of the trade union UNISON, Patricia McKeown
@ Pro- choice rally at Belfast City Hall.

Monday, 29 October 2012

“Big Ship” visitor to Belfast, the “Bounty” sinks in Hurricane Sandy

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill
The Bounty, in Belfast Harbour with the Titanic launch site and the Harland and Wolff crane Goliath, in the background. 

HMS Bounty, the replica ship built in 1962 for the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty", staring Marlon Brando, has sunk off the North Carolina Coast this morning. It also featured in the movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean” staring Johnny Depp. The ship, on route from Canada to Florida got into difficulties while trying to skirt around Hurricane Sandy which has caused major disruption on the East Coast of the United States. It is reported that two crew members are missing.

The Bounty was part of the flotilla of “Big Ships” which visited Belfast in 2009.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Ask Not What ...

The World of Odd Bodkins.

AKA Dan ÓNéill. 

ODD BODKINS ON Soñar. Vol. 3 No.4 

Ask Not What ...

Select image for larger viewing.



© Copyright Dan ÓNéill 

Hugh Daniel O'Neill

Thirty years ago Hugh Daniel O’Neill was described as, “an innovator, a creator and a professional troublemaker” in a Forward 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.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Ireland’s Banking Collapse – A Watergate Moment?

After requests by the Journal, and other interested parties, through the Freedom of Information Act, for the release of correspondence by former Irish Minister for Finance, the late Brian Lenihan, leading up to Ireland's request for assistance from the EU and the IMF.

The first letter is to:

Olli Rehn
Commissioner on Economic and Monetary Affairs
European Commission

Domonic Strauss-Kahn
Managing Director

Jean-Claude Trichet
European Central Bank

the first letter begins:

"On behalf of the Irish authorities, I am writing to formally apply for financial assistance in the context of a joint EU-IMF programme." ...

Also, a letter to Jean-Claude Trichet, by the Minister, outlining some of the reasons why Ireland would require that assistance.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Abortion debate Intensifies in Ireland.

A major British charity, Marie Stopes International, which offers advice and counselling on sexual and reproductive health, including abortion, opened a centre in Belfast today. The charity, based in over 40 countries with some 400 clinics worldwide is the only organisation in Ireland north or south which offers abortion services.

As part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland is not covered by the 1967 Abortion Act of the Westminster Parliament. Abortion in Northern Ireland is permitted, if the health of the mother is endangered, or if her mental health would suffer by continuing the pregnancy to full term.

Abortion in the south of Ireland remains illegal. Thousands of women from Ireland, north and south, travel to England every year to avail of abortion services.

Several hundred people gathered outside the Marie Stopes Clinic in downtown Belfast today to protest the opening of the centre.

The Marie Stopes organisation has requested pro choice supporters not to hold any counter demonstrations at the centre.

 © Copyright Joe ÓNéill
Marie Stopes Protest

I thought I would add this for balance.
This was not taken at this morning's protest.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Ministerial Code for Dummies

The Ministerial Code for Dummies 

The Business Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly yesterday debated a motion to exclude the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, from holding office for a period of three months.

The motion was proposed by the Social Democratic and Labour Party and supported by Sinn Féin.

The short motion stated: 

That this Assembly, in accordance with section 30 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, resolves that the Minister for Social Development no longer enjoys the confidence of the Assembly and that he be excluded from holding office as a Minister or junior Minister for a period of three months because he failed to observe the terms of paragraphs (cd) and (g) of the Pledge of Office and the sixth paragraph of the ministerial code of conduct, in that he failed to promote good community relations and did not condemn actions which were contrary to the rule of law in his public response on 25 August 2012 to the sectarian behaviour of the Young Conway Volunteers flute band on 12 July 2012 and their illegal violations of a Parades Commission determination. 

The fundamental weakness in this resolution is; that the Ministerial Code which is provided for under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 ; has no accompanying clauses attached; which provide for sanctions against violations of the code.

It is not very often that I find myself in agreement with Jim Allister about anything, but his contribution to the debate is worth noting.

 Mr Allister:” Even if there were merit in the motion and it were carried by a majority in this House, the reality is that it has no effect.  That, therefore, points up a greater issue than the subject of the debate.  It points up the fact that this House effectively has no control over some Ministers, whatever they do.  That is because, although there is a ministerial code and mechanisms for dealing with complaints of alleged breaches under that code, no mechanism exists that is foolproof and effective to deliver penalty for any breach of the ministerial code by a Minister from either of the two largest parties.  Under the arrangements of the 1998 Act, the two largest parties have a veto on any motion of censure even if it carries majority support in the House.  That is why this is a pointless exercise and why it points up a greater problem that needs to be addressed.

If anything positive and worthwhile comes out of this debate, it should be that that difficulty in the 1998 legislation is addressed.  Of course, the SDLP was the craftsman of that legislation, and it honed, drafted and helped to prepare it and very much has ownership of it.  However, in today's terms, a veto was written in for the DUP and Sinn Féin where any censure of their Ministers was concerned.  Yes, an SDLP Minister could be censured.  Yes, an Ulster Unionist Minister could be censured and removed from office by the House, because they do not have a political voting payroll that is sufficient to block such a motion or a veto in a cross-community vote.  However, the reality is that a Sinn Féin or DUP Minister is secure from that.  That is wrong, just as the motion, in its focus, is wrong.” 

Question put.

The Assembly divided:

Ayes 47; Noes 49.


Mr Attwood, Mr Boylan, Mr D Bradley, Mr Brady, Mr Byrne, Mr Dallat, Mr Durkan, Mr Eastwood, Ms Fearon, Mr Flanagan, Mr Hazzard, Mrs D Kelly, Mr G Kelly, Mr Lynch, Mr McAleer, Mr F McCann, Mr McCartney, Ms McCorley, Mr McDevitt, Dr McDonnell, Mr McElduff, Ms McGahan, Mr McGlone, Mr McKay, Mrs McKevitt, Ms Maeve McLaughlin, Mr Mitchel McLaughlin, Mr McMullan, Mr A Maginness, Mr Maskey, Mr Molloy, Mr Ó hOisín, Mr P Ramsey, Ms S Ramsey, Mr Rogers, Ms Ruane, Mr Sheehan.

Mr McClarty.

Mr Agnew, Mrs Cochrane, Mr Dickson, Dr Farry, Mr Ford, Ms Lo, Mr Lunn, Mr Lyttle, Mr McCarthy.

Tellers for the Ayes: Mr Lynch and Mrs McKevitt.


Mr Allister, Mr Anderson, Mr Beggs, Mr Bell, Ms P Bradley, Ms Brown, Mr Buchanan, Mr Campbell, Mr Clarke, Mr Copeland, Mr Craig, Mr Cree, Mrs Dobson, Mr Douglas, Mr Dunne, Mr Easton, Mr Elliott, Mr Frew, Mr Gardiner, Mr Girvan, Mr Givan, Mrs Hale, Mr Hamilton, Mr Hilditch, Mr Humphrey, Mr Hussey, Mr Irwin, Mr Kennedy, Mr Kinahan, Mr McCausland, Mr I McCrea, Mr McGimpsey, Mr D McIlveen, Miss M McIlveen, Mr McNarry, Mr McQuillan, Lord Morrow, Mr Moutray, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Newton, Mrs Overend, Mr Poots, Mr G Robinson, Mr P Robinson, Mr Storey, Mr Swann, Mr Weir, Mr Wells, Mr Wilson.

Tellers for the Noes: Ms P Bradley and Mr Humphrey.

Total Votes         96     Total Ayes          47     [49.0%]
Nationalist Votes         37     Nationalist Ayes 37     [100.0%]
Unionist Votes   50     Unionist Ayes     1       [2.0%]
Other Votes        9       Other Ayes         9       [100.0%]

Question accordingly negatived (cross-community vote).

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the BBC Northern Ireland reports today that … “research, conducted by commercial property agency Lisney, said 23% - or almost one in four shops in Belfast - are now lying vacant.”  

Monday, 16 April 2012

Titanic Memorial Garden - Belfast City Hall

Today, the day after the official Belfast City Council commemoration and services, locals and tourists continue to visit and reflect, in the Titanic Memorial Garden in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.

The Memorial Plinth contains the names of the 1,512 passengers and crew who lost their lives in the disaster.

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill
Titanic Memorial Garden Belfast City Hall

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill
Titanic Memorial Garden Belfast City Hall

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill
Titanic Memorial Garden Belfast City Hall

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill
Titanic Memorial Garden Belfast City Hall

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh - Happy St. Patrick's Day From Belfast

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

International Women's Day - The Countess Markievicz

The Countess Markievicz

Tomorrow March 8, is International Women’s Day. First celebrated in 1911, last year was the Global Centenary Year of the event which celebrates the achievements made by women past, and present.

Queue the BBC, which will no doubt cover the event with the usual plethora of world wide snapshots of celebrations. More than likely they will finish with the customary review of the struggle of British women to secure adult suffrage and the election of Viscountess Nancy Astor as the first woman to sit in the British House of Commons. More than once I have heard it reported that she was the first woman elected to the said institution.

Students of Irish history will of course know that the first woman elected to the British House of Commons in 1918, was Constance Gore Booth, better know as Countess Markievicz, a year before Nancy Astor. Nancy Astor replaced her husband as MP for Plymouth Sutton. Waldorf Astor was elevated to the House of Lords in 1919, and thereby became ineligible to hold a seat in the Commons thus necessitating a by-election.

Though both women came from a privileged background their paths to elected office was radically different. Markievicz, an officer in the Irish Citizen Army, was second in command of the garrison in St. Stephen’s Green during the 1916 rising and was sentenced to death after the surrender of the Republican forces. Her sentence was commuted to life in prison on account of her sex. Released in the amnesty of 1917, she was returned to prison in 1918 for anti-conscription activities.

In the General Election of 1918, as a member of Sinn Féin, she was elected for the Dublin St. Patrick’s constituency to the Westminster Parliament. Elected members of Sinn Féin refused to take their seats in Westminster. Markievicz was incarcerated in Holloway Prison in January 1919, when the first meeting of Dáil Éireann was convened. Serving as Minister of Labour she was the first woman to hold Cabinet office, and sadly, was the only woman to hold a Cabinet position in Irish political life until 1979.

In 1926, in the aftermath of the Irish Civil War, along with De Valera, Seán Lemass, Frank Aiken, Gerry Boland, and others, she was a founding member of the Fianna Fáil party.
In July 1927, ‘’Madame Markievicz’’ as she was respectfully known by working class Dubliners, died at the age of 59. It is estimated that over three hundred thousand people attended her funeral and Eamon de Valera in his funeral oration described her as, ‘’the friend of the toiler, the lover of the poor’’.

Nancy Astor, the Honourable member for Plymouth Sutton, was to go on to earn a reputation as an anti-catholic bigot and anti-Semitic, with fellow members referring to her as ‘’The Member for Berlin’’.

Leading members of Fianna Fáil 1927.
Constance Markievicz is bottom row centre, beside Éamon de Valera.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Spring's Immortal Hour, Béal Feirste

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill

Crocus In Bloom, Belfast Waterworks

Harriet Beecher Stowe

.. Around the soft, green swelling mound
We scooped the earth away,

And buried deep the crocus-bulbs
Against a coming day.
"These roots are dry, and brown, and sere;
Why plant them here?" he said,
"To leave them, all the winter long,
So desolate and dead."

"Dear child, within each sere dead form
There sleeps a living flower,
And angel-like it shall arise
In spring's returning hour."
Ah, deeper down cold, dark, and chill
We buried our heart's flower,
But angel-like shall he arise
In spring's immortal hour. ...

Monday, 16 January 2012

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Public Holiday

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill
Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Public Holiday
Annual San Francisco Parade and Celebration

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bernadette: Notes On A Political Journey

© Copyright Joe ÓNéill
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey

The Queen’s Film Festival Belfast, will screen Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey on Friday, January 27, at 6:40 pm. The 88 minute documentary will be introduced by Dr. Liz Greene, lecturer in film studies at Queen’s University Belfast. A Q&A session with the director, Lelia Doolan, will follow the screening.

Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, was elected to the British Parliament for the Mid-Ulster constituency in 1969, aged 21.

Doolan, born in Cork in 1934, has an impressive background; former head of light entertainment at RTÉ television; artistic director of the Abbey Theatre; chairperson of the Irish Film Board; and a founder and director of the Galway Film Fleadh.

Friday, 6 January 2012

New Year’s Resolution

The World of Odd Bodkins.

AKA Dan ÓNéill

ODD BODKINS ON Soñar. Vol. 3 No. 1

Well, it’s a safe bet that many of you made a New Year’s Resolution to spend less time in front of the Television.

As Dan ÓNéill discovered, this may take more resolve than one might think.

© Copyright Dan ÓNéill

Select image for larger veiwing.

© Copyright Dan ÓNéill

Hugh Daniel O'Neill

Thirty years ago Hugh Daniel O’Neill was described as, “an innovator, a creator and a professional troublemaker” in a Forward 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.