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Topics - red hander

General discussion / Thatcher
April 29, 2011, 09:47:12 PM
Heard a rumour she's just died ... anybody hear anything?
Nice to hear some good news for a change

U2 WERE forced to postpone the next leg of their world tour after singer Bono injured his back, the band said last night.
The singer underwent emergency surgery in Germany after suffering an injury while preparing for the upcoming shows in the US.
Bono, who celebrated his 50th birthday in New York earlier this month, was treated in a Munich hospital.
"Bono will spend the next few days there, before returning home to recuperate," the band said on their website.
Promoters Live Nation said the singer's sudden injury forced the band to pull the plug on the latest U2 360 degree tour launch on June 3, Salt Lake City. The event will be rearranged.
"Once his condition has been assessed further, a statement will be made regarding the impact on forthcoming tour dates," the band added.
U2's manager Paul McGuinness also posted a message to inconvenienced fans on the U2 website insisting the tour dates will be rescheduled.
"The bank were really looking forward to getting back out on the road until the emergency on Bono's back which took place in Munich today," he said.
"We were due to start rehearsals on Tuesday and get the show ready for the next leg. We will make plans to reinstate the dates as soon as possible."

General discussion / Kay Burley at it again
February 17, 2010, 10:34:36 PM
Sky News presenter Kay Burley was forced to make an on-air apology today after mistaking a tribute to Ash Wednesday on American vice president Joe Biden's forehead for a 'large bruise'.
The controversial Miss Burley, 49, made the comments during a conversation with the news channel's U.S. correspondent, Greg Milam.
When made aware of her ignorance during a commercial break, Miss Burley then compounded her insulting words by saying: 'I've said three Hail Marys, everything is going to be fine.'
Mr Biden is a devout Catholic who was marking the first day of Lent with a cross of ashes symbol.
The profoundly holy day in the calendar of the Church of Rome derives its name from the practice of smearing ash on the forehead as a sign of repentance.

The ashes used are typically gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned.

They are then mixed with oil and applied first by the minister who presides at the service to their own forehead in the sign of the cross, and then to the heads of his congregants.

But Mr Burley, who suggested by her comments that she was a lapsed Catholic, appeared to have forgotten this well known fact.
While her colleague Mr Milam concentrated on talking about a fiscal stimulus package being unveiled by Mr Biden in Washington, Miss Burley was more interested in the 'nasty' brown mark.

The presenter recently left Peter Andre in tears after he was questioned about his ex-wife's new marriage and his children
Suggesting that the 'large bruise' might be caused by an accident at the Winter Olympics in Canada, she encouraged Mr Milam to find out.
Later Miss Burley admitted: 'I know I'm a very bad Catholic. I know I should know that today is Ash Wednesday and that's why he'd got ash across his forehead. I've said three Hail Marys, everything is going to be fine.'

There are more than 1.1billion Roman Catholics in the world, with more than 4million of them living in Britain.

Because of its huge global influence, the religion's practices and traditions are known and respected throughout the world.
This is particularly so in Britain and the U.S.A, where 67-year-old Mr Biden is just one of many American Catholics who have reached high office. The most famous was John F. Kennedy – president from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.
Miss Burley has been responsible for a number of inappropriate on-air comments in the past, including ones about the U.S..

During the suicide attacks on three buildings in New York and Washington on September 11th 2001, she announced: 'If you're just joining us, the entire eastern seaboard of the United States has been decimated by a terrorist attack.'
Her on-the-road behaviour has also raised eyebrows. In 2008 she was filmed placing her hands around the neck of a female photographer who had allegedly barged into her outside a London court.

General discussion / An Post ashamed of our history?
February 05, 2010, 05:34:35 PM
From the Indo

PAINTINGS depicting the 1916 Easter Rising, which were removed from the General Post Office (GPO) in Dublin five years ago, will not be reinstalled in a decision that has dismayed historians.

The 10 paintings, which show important scenes from the Rising, were removed in 2005 when An Post carried out renovations on the building for the Rising's 90th anniversary in 2006.
But An Post has now decided the GPO is "not suitable" for the paintings and is now looking for "a new home" for them.

Historian Pat Liddy, who gives walking tours in Dublin, said he believes the paintings, which give a good account of the Rising to tourists,  should be reinstalled in the historic building where it took place.

"They were very revolutionary and romantic, and they got the message across," he said.

"They were widely spread around the walls of the GPO, but now there's very little, except photos and a copy of the Proclamation, to say this is the place where it happened. 
"I think it makes sense if An Post were even to only put some of them up. The pictures give a sense of what went on in the office."

The paintings, by Norman Teeling depict scenes such as the signing of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in Liberty Hall, Padraig Pearse reading the proclamation and James Connolly when he was wounded.

"One of them shows Connolly on a stretcher while the building is coming down in flames," Mr Liddy said.

But even though An Post bought the paintings, it is now looking for somewhere else to install them. A spokesperson for An Post said: "While the possibility of improving the lighting and captioning of the paintings was investigated, this wasn't pursued as the space was not at all suitable for the purpose of displaying art pieces.

"The paintings remain in secure storage pending their display in a more suitable space."

Councillor Larry O'Toole will table a motion in next month's city council meeting calling for a letter to be written to An Post requesting the paintings be returned to display. "I'm calling on An Post to have them put back in the main lobby -- they owe it to the people of Dublin," he said.
General discussion / Encyclopaedia Britannica my arse!
February 03, 2010, 08:10:31 PM
From Indo:

One of the world's most trusted references was busy double-checking its facts on Ireland last night after giving a grossly inaccurate account of the country's civil war.
A concise version of Encyclopaedia Britannica, first published seven years ago wrongly described the 1922 conflict over partition as a war between Catholics in the south and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

Editors worked through the night to ensure the extraordinary mistake has not been repeated in online versions used by 4,000 schools in Ireland in a special e-learning programme.

Ian Grant, Encyclopaedia Britannica managing director, said the offending article may have been wrongly compiled by an editor attempting to condense complex history.
"This is very rare," he said.

The error was carried on a hand-held device first sold six or seven years ago by Japanese firm Seiko but only spotted this week.
Mr Grant said his editorial teams in London and Chicago were confident online databases, which are updated regularly, do not carry mistakes on Irish history. He could not explain for definite how the error had been made.

The bitter conflict saw pro- and anti-Treaty forces fight over the partition of Ireland which divided the island into six counties in the north becoming Northern Ireland and the 26 counties then known as the Free State.

"We do respond very quickly and our editors have been up all night looking at this," he insisted.
As a counter-balance to The Worker's thread ... might be interesting.

Me? Easy ... Myles Na G.  ... probably end up battering him with a massive coconut
General discussion / Iris Robinson to quit politics
December 28, 2009, 06:45:35 PM
Watch this space
Ulster-Scots clown supreme Lord Laird is the most expensive peer at Westminster, claiming almost £74,000 in expenses in 2008-09, 10 per cent more than the next highest claimer.

He also holds the record as the most prolific asker of parliamentary questions - answering his written questions cost the taxpayer more than £100,000 in the same year.

The official record of Lords expenses just published shows that Laird claimed his daily attendance allowance 145 times, at a cost of £12,319. He also claimed £30,734 for staying overnight in London and £14,564 for flights between London and the occupied six. With office costs of nearly £14,000, including £598 for postage and other travel costs, the total came to £73,206.

According to Hansard, Laird spoke on seven occasions during the year, usually only briefly, but he bombarded ministers with more than 700 written questions , an  average of five or six each day, and probably more than twice as many as any other peer.  On one occasion, a minister was so deluged with written questions from Lord Laird that he bundled 34 of them together and answered them all in a single written statement.

Civil servants have calculated that the average cost of answering a written question, at December 2008, was £149, implying that questions from Lord Laird comfortably exceeded £100,000. In the previous year he asked 715 written questions.

The 65-year-old peer ran into criticism when it was discovered that he had spent more than £1,000 in three months on meals in the House of Lords, for which he billed the publicly funded Ulster-Scots Agency, of which he was chairman.

Government auditors also criticised his taxi bills, including £260 for a return trip from Belfast to Dublin. Lord Laird said that there was a security reason that he needed to use taxis, because he often travelled in a kilt, which made him conspicuous.
General discussion / RUC... lest we forget
December 10, 2009, 07:19:46 PM
By Press Association

A POLICE cover-up surrounding the plastic bullet killing of an innocent woman led to a breakdown in the rule of law, the High Court has heard.
Lawyers for the husband of Nora McCabe claimed officers closed ranks and lied under oath to shield two colleagues from facing murder charges.
It was also contended that video footage from the scene in Belfast 28 years ago "comprehensively destroyed" police accounts of what happened.
Jim McCabe is seeking a court order to quash the decision not to charge the sergeant who fired the fatal round or his commanding chief superintendent with either murder or manslaughter. Both men have since died.
They are also challenging a decision not to prosecute any officers for perjury or attempting to pervert the course of justice at the inquest into Mrs McCabe's death.
The 33-year-old mother of three was killed in July 1981 by a baton round fired as she returned from the shops to her home in Linden Street, west Belfast.
Opening the application for judicial review in front of a three-judge panel, Barry Macdonald QC claimed decision makers must have "taken leave of their senses" to find the case did not meet the standard for prosecuting.
The barrister said the baton round was fired "for no good reason" by a police sergeant from a Land Rover. It fractured Mrs McCabe's skull and she died the next day.
"The shot was fired not just in the presence but also under the direction of the officer commanding the entire police division of west Belfast," Mr Macdonald said.
"The police left the scene, claiming not to have been aware of what had happened, and they subsequently made statements categorically denying any involvement in the incident at Linden Street."
A direction for no prosecution was given largely because it was not clear who fired the baton round.
Mr Macdonald said police gave evidence under oath at the subsequent inquest before the family disclosed that they had a video tape which, he claimed, demolished the officers credibility.
This footage, from a Canadian News crew, was played in court.
Mr Macdonald said despite its emergence, the Director of Public Prosecutions still declined to bring any charges against officers for murder, manslaughter, perjury or attempting to pervert the course of justice. "What these facts reflect, in our submission, apart from obviously the deep personal tragedy for the family, was a breakdown in the rule of law in the legal sense," he claimed.
"The police could shoot an innocent citizen with impunity. They could then engage in a systematic cover-up with impunity, safe in the knowledge that by closing ranks and denying everything they could evade prosecution, essentially because they anticipated their evidence would be accepted in preference to any civilian evidence."
Paul Maguire QC, responding for the DPP, stressed that the coroner who heard witness accounts and viewed the film during the inquest could have reported a view to prosecutors that a criminal offence had been committed.
"That did not occur in this case," Mr Maguire said.

From Belfast Telegraph

ALLEGATIONS of collusion within a "hopelessly incompetent police force" or one which was full of officers who "had no desire to find out the truth" may not be published by the Robert Hamill Inquiry following complaints from lawyers representing individual police officers and the PSNI.
Discussions over joint claims made by British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW) and the Committee of the Administration of Justice (CAJ) are to take place between the inquiry and the various legal teams after objections were raised during yesterday's proceedings.
Charles Adair QC, who represents a number of individual police officers, told the panel that he thought it seemed "unfair" that allegations made in the written closing submission from the human rights bodies would be published in full on the inquiry's website.
He said he had concerns some of these allegations — which have never been made in the course of the inquiry — would "gain prominence" and therefore "taint" the reputation of some of his clients.
On Tuesday the human rights bodies delivered a joint closing submission to the inquiry in which they claimed Mr Hamill's death was either the  result of  a "hopelessly incompetent police force, incapable of the detection of serious crime" or a police force full of officers who "simply did not care what happened to Robert Hamill and had no desire to find out the truth".
Mr Hamill, a Catholic father-of- three, died in hospital 11 days after he was beaten by a sectarian mob in Portadown in April 1997.
The BIRW and CAJ claimed there was institutionalised sectarianism within the RUC and accused police of collusion in its handling of the murder probe.
Yesterday, Mr Adair said these allegations — some of which were not read out during Tuesday's proceedings — were "outrageous".
Lawyers for the PSNI, and Robert Atkinson — the former reserve constable accused of tipping off Alistair Hanvey, a suspect in the murder of Mr Hamill — also supported Mr Adair's complaint.
Last night a spokeswoman from the Robert Hamill Inquiry said: "The inquiry is committed in principle to placing the contents of all written closing submissions on its website. In specifics to the BIRW submission, the inquiry is consulting with the interested parties' legal representatives and BIRW as to the best way to proceed."
Hurling Discussion / Irish News article on Tyrone hurling
November 23, 2009, 05:54:05 PM
Stick at it Tyrone

By Kenny Archer

In recent times, several Tyrone stars have stated a desire to become 'the Kilkenny of football'. An outsider might draw at least one parallel, that hurling 'among the bushes' apparently attracts the same (minimal) amount of attention as the big ball code does for the Cats.

Certainly, Tyrone is one of only two Ulster counties never to reach the Ulster SHC final (the other being Fermanagh). And arguably the most famous hurler from the O'Neill county was Peter Canavan, who was once registered with Killyclogher hurlers in order to enable him to represent his county until a row dividing football in Ballygawley was resolved.

Yet it has also been contended that a Tyrone man helped save hurling, before the Gaelic Athletic Association was formed.

On December 30, 1882, a meeting was held in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin, at the lecture room of Dr Hugh Alexander Auchinleck "for the purpose of taking steps to re-establish the national game of hurling".

A few days later a set of rules was adopted and the Dublin Hurling Club formally established with Auchinleck, a native of Liscreevaghan, Strabane, chosen as president. A certain Michael Cusack was elected vice-President.

Dublin Hurling Club lasted only a few months but it is credited with saving hurling from extinction.

That may be over-stating the case, but hurling has had a tenuous hold in Tyrone before then, and since. Around the same time, in the 1880s, there are documented recollections of games of 'caman' between a team from Washingbay and another consisting of players from Clonoe and Coalisland.

Coming right up to date, and this year's winners of the Ulster Club Junior Hurling Championship are Tyrone's representatives Naomh Colmcille – an amalgamated club for players from Clonoe and Coalisland.

Red Hands also lifted the inaugural Lory Meagher Cup this summer, defeating Donegal in a surprise triumph in the final at Croke Park, a first ever appearance by hurlers from the county at GAA headquarters.

Admittedly that was only the newly-introduced fourth tier of the hurling championship but that brief moment in the spotlight was some reward for the few Red Hands who have held the hurls aloft over the years.

Indeed, a wider audience might view Tyrone hurling as having largely been about two places, Carrickmore and Dungannon, and their two hurling clubs, Eire Og and Eoghan Ruadh.

The names tell their own tale, separate entities from the footballing Naomh Colmcille in Carmen and the Clarke's of Dungannon.

The hurling element has almost always been distinct from football in Tyrone, even in the early days. However, Brendan Harkin, who managed the Red Hand hurlers to two Ulster Junior Championships and an All-Ireland JHC in the mid-'90s, insists that degree of separation is not the cause of hurling's weakness in Tyrone: "It doesn't prevent hurling being played, we can't use that as an excuse."

It's hard to explain why hurling fell so far behind football in Tyrone. At first, the caman code made as many inroads as football. Appropriately enough, though, given Auchinleck's involvement at national level, hurling was relatively strong in Strabane, with the Lamh Dhearg club from there winning the first ever Tyrone SHC in 1905.

The GAA was slow to become widely established in Tyrone, though, and suffered periods of drastic, almost terminal, decline in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Yet while football revived, hurling barely recovered. From 1907 until 1946, a 40-year period, only one Tyrone SHC final was contested, Strabane Lamh Dhearg again the winners in 1926.

Killyclogher St Patrick's had collected the second Tyrone SHC in 1906 and Cappagh (Killyclogher) repeated the feat of taking the trophy off Strabane (albeit after a 21-year gap this time) when they won the revived SHC in 1947. Dungannon won the next year, then Dromore and Cappagh (Killyclogher) won a couple more titles in the early 1950s – after that, though, Dungannon became the dominant force in Tyrone club hurling, although there wasn't much competition.

As Harkin, a Killyclogher man himself, points out: "Over the years there have been quite a lot of clubs in Tyrone – the problem is that they're not all operating at the same time. There's been a couple of strong clubs and that's about it."

The situation now is much better than it was half-a-century ago, though. Records state that the only hurling club in existence in Tyrone in 1960 was Dungannon. There was only one SHC contested from 1958 to 1965.

As in other parts of the country, the spark came from a Central Council initiative of 1964, and subsequent funding, with Tyrone Coiste Iomana set up in February 1965. Juvenile teams were established in Dungannon, Moortown, Omagh, and Coagh, then in Benburb, who won the SHC in 1966 and were succeeded as champions by Omagh.

Tyrone minors even beat Donegal and Armagh to reach the 1966 Ulster MHC final, and did so again in 1967, but the upsurge in interest and involvement did not last.

There was no SHC in 1968 or 1970. Sure, the SHC final has been contested every since from 1971 onwards, but those 38 seasons have largely been about the big two, Carrickmore and Dungannon.

Only three other clubs have picked up the Benburb Cup over the past four decades, namely Omagh St Enda's (1971 and '73), Dunamanagh Aodh Ruadh (1981), and Killyclogher St Mary's (1991, '94, and '95). Since those back-to-back titles for Harkin's club, though, it's been all about the Carmen-Dungannon duopoly, with Strabane Shamrocks the only other senior finalists in the past decade, five years ago.

At least there has been that rivalry – for which we can thank a man from that bastion of football, Kerry. Gerry Ryle came to teach at Dean Brian Maguirc School in Carrickmore and dusted off some hurls to excellent effect. School lessons led to a club being formed in 1970, initially under the Naomh Colmcille banner, with the first SHC won in 1972, before branching off to become Eire Og in 1974.

In their 40 seasons, Carrickmore have collected 20 Tyrone SHCs, including an eight-in-a-row in the '80s, and moved ahead of Dungannon in the titles tally, even though the east Tyrone club collected this year's crown.

However, Harkin sees signs that those two might have serious rivals again in years to come: "Another positive was that Naomh Colmcille got to the League final and only lost it by a point to Carrickmore."

Despite their disappointment in the senior championship final this season, though, Eire Og won their 12th consecutive Tyrone MHC, so the future looks bright for Carmen, with underage teams making an impact in Ulster and also at schools level.

Yet Harkin points to the work being done at underage level in other areas too: "We're going into 37 primary schools to coach hurling and some of the hurling clubs are continuing on with winter indoor hurling. Coaching in schools is on a par with football, although the concentration is on schools in the catchment areas of hurling clubs."

Over the years, Tyrone clubs have looked outside the county in order to improve, playing in Armagh, Derry, and Donegal leagues. Both Carrickmore and Dungannon have won Ulster Shields, while the Carmen minors won the 2003 Ulster title.

Yet Harkin also feels they must look within to better themselves. A county board man, having twice been chairman and also secretary, and more recently PRO, he is also an advocate of hurling, so his view is a balanced one.

"There's great respect for hurling in Tyrone," he insists, before immediately adding: "although there's not that much being played. People do regard it as a good game."

His advice is simple: 'Hurlers, help yourselves': "The county board is not obstructive. I used to say to the hurlers: 'If we want to be great, there's nothing to stop us. Don't look around blaming football clubs or the county board'.

"The destiny of hurling is really in the hands of the hurling people of Tyrone. They will get financial and other support from the county board but nobody really can go out and play the game and organise the game except those who belong to the hurling."

Just two years ago, the man who succeeded Harkin as county secretary, the long-serving Dominic McCaughey, strongly criticised the commitment of certain Tyrone hurlers in his annual report after poor attendances at training and even for matches. The hurlers themselves involved the Gaelic Players' Association in complaints about their treatment.

Since then there has been a more concerted effort all round, but it still hasn't been a steady upward graph of progress, as Harkin acknowledges: "It all comes down to the personnel involved. If the hurlers want to train twice a week and take the county seriously they will reap rewards.

"They won the Lory Meagher after a bad start because obviously they got involved and decided the way forward was to behave like county men.

"When I had the county hurling team we tried to reach certain standards. I said: 'If we believe, then we can. If we believe hurling's the best then we'll do our best. If we believe we're good enough then we get out of the lowest division and move up a grade. Don't sit around complaining, be positive, be active'."

Again, he stresses that Tyrone being a football-mad county should not and does not hinder hurling: "Children will look to the footballers, surely, but Tyrone footballers have made efforts at summer camps and different times to promote hurling, and so has Mickey Harte. There's definitely no obstruction; it's maybe just an easy thing to sit and complain. The thing to do is get up and do it."

The chief failing of Tyrone hurling has been their failure to build on their sporadic successes at inter-county level. After that upsurge in the second half of the '60s, they next reached the 1976 Ulster Minor final. Then it was not until 1988 that the Minors won the Special All-Ireland Championship, in their third final in-a-row, then retained it.

At senior level, a first ever national success came with winning NHL Division Four in 1987, then that Junior All-Ireland win against Hertfordshire in 1996. The next year Tyrone again went up from Division Four and in 1999 won their third Ulster JHC in five seasons, but progress was not sustained.

This year has brought a national title at inter-county level and an Ulster success on the club scene. There's no good reason why Tyrone can't compete consistently and improve; after all, there aren't many hurling clubs in Down or Derry either.

Harkin concludes with a positive, yet realistic message for hurling in his county: "Nothing is impossible. It's only 15 men on the field and if you put the effort in it's remarkable what you can do.

"I'm not painting a rosy picture, there's a lot of work to be done. But as in any other sport where you don't have great numbers, the few have got to do. If you don't have those few people, the outsiders can't do anything.

"The county board can organise courses and can do this, that, and the other thing, but you need a few people who want to promote hurling; if you have that, you might have success."

Hurling doesn't need help from a Tyrone man now – but Tyrone hurling requires Red Hands to commit to the code. Otherwise, an historic year when O'Neill county hurlers won more on the national stage than its footballers will go to waste – again.

From today's Irish News

By Seamus McKinney

An inter-county GAA referee fears he will have to leave his Co Derry home of 17 years because of inter-club rivalry.

Ballinderry native Martin McErlean claims a long campaign of intimidation by supporters of Loup GAA club against his home and family has made his life unbearable.

He said matters reached crisis point this week after Loup won the Derry county senior championship defeating Dungiven in the final.

Following Sunday's final, graffiti was daubed on his home, branding family members "slut" and "tr**p".

Mr McErlean – who lives in the Loup parish which adjoins his home Ballinderry parish – said his home has been attacked on a number of occasions. He said family members have also been singled out for intimidation.

Mr McErlean said his 17-year-old son has been severely traumatised by this week's attack.

"He takes it very personally; he thinks it's him they're getting at," Mr McErlean said.

He believes that rogue supporters of the Loup are responsible.

"If it's not Loup supporters, who is it? It's too much of a coincidence that it should happen only after major Loup games," he said.

Mr McErlean said: "In 2006 when Ballinderry beat Loup, my car was wrecked in the street."

Chairman of Loup GAA club Sean Corey said he had no doubt "genuine Loup supporters" were not involved.

"I would be very, very disappointed if it was Loup supporters," he said.

Mr Corey, who visited Mr McErlean on Monday evening, accused "hooligans" and "anti-social elements" of being behind the attacks.

"I would sympathise with him. I didn't realise until I visited he has a young daughter and no-one could put up with that," he said.

The Loup chairman said the club would not recognise anyone involved in such attacks as genuine supporters.

Mr Corey said it would be wrong to comment further as it understood the incident was being investigated by police.

A self-employed builder who injured a linesman by throwing a coin during a World Cup football qualifier in Belfast has been given a suspended jail sentence.
Peter Savage (41) also faces a lifetime ban from Windsor Park for launching the missile from the stands as Northern Ireland took on Poland in March.

Savage, of De Wind Drive, Comber, Co Down, pleaded guilty to assaulting Swedish assistant referee Stefan Wittberg during a match further marred by crowd trouble before and afterwards.
Belfast Magistrates Court heard the coin was thrown in the first half, striking Mr Wittberg on the back of the head.

The incident led to the game being halted for seven minutes while the linesman was examined by a doctor, prosecutors said.
Savage was identified by others around him and picked out from Sky Sports television footage of the match.

His solicitor Pat Kelly yesterday said he had been left "deeply upset and distressed" by the court proceedings against him.
Mr Kelly said: "He's been a Northern Ireland supporter for over 30 years. He's attended every match, it's his only social outlet in life.

"But he realises that whatever this court does to him he will be forbidden by the IFA (Irish Football Association) from attending any other matches."
Savage has written a letter of apology to the governing authorities and also expressed regret towards Mr Wittberg, the lawyer stressed.

He had taken drink before the game which he attended with a young son he looks after, the court heard.
Mr Kelly stressed: "It was purely a stupid act of emotion when he threw the coin. He understands the shame this matter has brought upon himself and the team."
Savage's act was not the only violent incident surrounding the match, which Northern Ireland won 3-2.

Four Polish supporters have pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour linked to trouble which flared at a city centre pub ahead of the game.
Imposing a two-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, District Judge Fiona Bagnall gave Savage credit for how he had met the charge against him.

THE controversial Famine Song sung by some Rangers fans is racist, appeal court judges in Scotland have ruled.
The Justiciary Appeal Court upheld a conviction against William Walls over his conduct at a Rangers away match against Kilmarnock last year.
The 20-year-old's defence counsel, Donald Findlay QC, had argued the song was free speech.
But Lord Carloway said the lyrics called on people to leave Scotland because of their racial origins.
Walls was found guilty of breach of the peace, aggravated by religious and racial prejudice, at Kilmarnock District Court in December.
The offence related to his behaviour at Rangers' away match at Kilmarnock on 9 November, where he sang the Famine Song.
Rangers has asked fans to not to sing the song, which refers to the famine that killed an estimated one million people in Ireland in the 1840s.
Last month, Walls launched a appeal against his conviction.
He was represented by Rangers' former vice-chairman, Donald Findlay, who resigned from the Ibrox club in 1999 after he was filmed singing sectarian songs.
During the appeal, Mr Findlay argued that a football match was "an organised breach of the peace" and for many supporters "an exchange of pleasantries in the form of abuse is part and parcel of going to the game".
He also argued that the Famine Song - which contains the chorus "the famine is over, why don't you go home" - was not racist, but an expression of political opinion permitted under the European Convention on Human Rights.
But Lord Carloway, who heard the appeal with temporary judges Alastair Dunlop QC and Brian Lockhart QC, said: "Presence inside a football stadium does not give a spectator a free hand to behave as he pleases. There are limits and the appellant's conduct went well beyond those limits."
Referring to the Famine Song, the senior judge said: "The court does not consider that the lyrics of this refrain bear any reasonable comparison to those of 'Flower of Scotland' or indeed 'God Save the Queen'.
"Rather they are racist in calling upon people native to Scotland to leave the country because of their racial origins. This is a sentiment which... many persons will find offensive."
Lord Carloway added that the appeal judges had no difficulty in accepting the sheriff's conclusion that singing the song's chorus "displays malice and ill-will towards people of Irish descent living in Scotland".
From Press Association

A number of bravery medals awarded to troops attached to the Royal Irish Regiment who fought in Afghanistan may be reviewed after a decorated army officer was arrested as part of a probe into false battle write ups, it was revealed.

Major Robert Armstrong, from the Royal Artillery, was detained by Royal Military Police on Friday so he could be interviewed under caution.
The 35-year-old was awarded a Military Cross in March this year for "consistent bravery and inspirational leadership" in Afghanistan.

It is thought to be the first time in more than 300 years of British military history that an inquiry has been launched into how gallantry medals have been awarded.
Maj Armstrong's arrest follows claims from another soldier about "overblown" narrative in a medal citation.

Maj Armstrong was attached with the 1st battalion The Royal Irish Regiment in Helmand last year.
The officer's own citation said: "While mentoring the Afghan National Army vehicle patrol Armstrong showed consistent bravery and inspirational leadership.
"As a result of his calm leadership under fire, losses were prevented and the lives of those injured were saved."

Military police officers are also investigating other medals awarded to the regiment as part of the probe.
According to military sources it is believed that 17 honours and awards bestowed on members of the battle group may be reviewed if the allegations against Maj Armstrong prove substantial.
The Sunday Times reported that all medals awarded as a result of citations written by Lieutenant Colonel Edward Freely, who commanded the battalion in Afghanistan, could be scrutinised. Freely did not himself receive an award.
Three Royal Irish soldiers serving under Freely were awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, second only to the Victoria Cross. The award was deemed at the time to be remarkable.

The investigation was described as being "in its very early stages".
An Army spokesman said: "The integrity of the operational honours system is a matter of utmost importance to us. Any suggestion that it has fallen short of the very high standards that we set ourselves are taken extremely seriously and are investigated thoroughly.

"We are aware of an allegation that a citation on which a gallantry award was made on the March 2009 Operational Honours list was factually incorrect.
"The Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch are investigating the matter and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further whilst this is ongoing."
A total of 177 honours covering operations in Afghanistan and Iraq were announced by the Army in March.
From today's Irish News

A brawl between hundreds of Armagh and Tyrone GAA fans has been described as "unsporting" and "unnecessary".

Four people were arrested for disorderly behaviour and resisting police after the rival fans, numbering up to 250 at one point, were involved in a skirmish in the Scotch Street area of the town around 1am on Sunday.

Police said it followed a disagreement between Armagh and Tyrone GAA supporters.

It is understood the fans had arrived by bus for a night out in the Co Tyrone town.

Inspector Stephen Moneypenny from Dungannon station said the atmosphere had become "quite hostile and aggressive" between the groups.

Sinn Fein councillor Larry McLarnon condemned the brawl describing it as "unsporting" and "unnecessary".

"This sort of behaviour reflects very badly on the sport.  It's the sort of thing that brings the GAA into disrepute," he said.

There was no match on the Saturday night before and a spokesman for Tyrone GAA said they could not account for everyone who follows the team on a night out not associated with a match.
Shocked to hear this about my old club ... hope to f**k it was accidental and not arson ... anybody got any details?
Amusing yarn from today's Times

A tropical shrew with a taste for alcoholic nectar has been identified as the hardest-drinking creature in the world.

Pentailed tree shrews have such an appetite for alcohol that each night they imbibe, weight for weight, the equivalent of a human downing up to nine glasses of wine.

Their capacity to hold their drink and keep a clear head, however, puts human boozers to shame. After a night supping at the jungle bar the shrews are not even unsteady on their feet, let alone being copiously sick or starting drunken fights.

They get their drinks from bertam palms, which grow in the jungles of West Malaysia and produce nectar boasting an alcohol content that can match beer.

The strength of the nectar varies but it is sufficiently loaded for the shrews to be drunk every three nights if they got inebriated as easily as people.

Pentailed tree shrews, Ptilocercus lowii, were described by scientists studying them as chronic drinkers with such a high alcoholic consumption that their habit would be likely to kill other mammals, including humans.

Other jungle animals were also found to sup drink levels of alcohol from bertam palms, Eugeissona tristis, without any apparent ill-effects but the pentailed tree shrew was by far the heaviest drinker. Among the others were the slow loris, Nycticebus coucang, the common tree shrew, Tupaia glis, and the plantain squirrel, Callosciurus notatus.

"Pentailed tree shrews frequently consume alcohol doses. . . that would intoxicate humans," the research team reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "We detected chronic alcohol intake by pentailed tree shrews and some other mammals through alcoholic nectar of the bertam palm.

"Alcohol intake by the pentailed tree shrew reaches levels that are dangerous to other mammals. This finding suggests adaptive benefits inherent to a diet high in alcohol."

The German-led research team said it was likely the shrews avoided drunkenness and hangovers because their bodies had enhanced biological mechanisms to break down and dispose of alcohol, though what they are has yet to be pinpointed.

By studying the animals, which each weighs 47g on average, the scientists hope for new insights into why humans, who learnt the art of brewing only 9,000 years ago, have a taste for alcohol.

Pentailed tree shrews are regarded as the closest living match to a common ancestor of primates that lived 55 million years ago. Because they are so similar to a common ancestor with man it is hoped that they can cast light on human alcoholic "use and abuse".

Animal instincts

— Baboons are known to be fond of fruit from the African Marula tree which, once picked and eaten, rapidly ferments causing the creatures to become intoxicated

— Cattle and horses in the Midwestern United States that eat astragalus, a legume, display impaired vision, stumbling, imbalance and abnormal movement such as making huge leaps over tiny obstacles. The plant is nicknamed "locoweed" for its drug-like effect on livestock

— Researchers have observed water buffalo herds in Asia seeking out opium poppies. The animals appear to carefully regulate their dose, consuming just enough to numb pain and relieve tiredness

— Robins have been recorded dropping off their perch while eating grapes that have fermented on the vine. Other birds have been found dead from cirrhosis of the liver beneath the plants
General discussion / Irish News sells its soul
March 06, 2008, 02:01:36 PM
Not only has today's IN got a big British Army recruitment advert on page 19, but on Page 4 of its weekly 'Jobs On Thursday' insert is a 'platform' piece extolling the virtues of dying for the queen by some chinless wonder called Lieutenant Colonel Dick Rafferty, beautifully illustrated by three SAS heroes abseiling from a Puma helicopter...

Eight British Commandos have been flown home in disgrace for stripping naked and engaging in appalling behaviour in a Norwegian bar during an Arctic training exercise.

The men disgusted onlookers in the town of Harstad with a drunken game of "naked bar".

After whipping off their clothes, they urinated on each other - splashing other customers and furniture - before slurring insults and abuse.

Furious senior officers ordered the soldiers, from the Army's 59 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers, back home to face disciplinary action.

The soldiers stripped off in a Norwegian bar and reportedly urinated on locals, each other and all over the furniture

"This is taken extremely seriously," a Ministry of Defence official said.

The shameful case has been widely covered by the Norwegian media.

They highlighted local people complaining that they were fed up with yobbish behaviour by British troops, whom they accused of displaying a "nasty edge" compared with soldiers from other countries.

The incident happened on Wednesday night, after the eight soldiers had been honing their Arctic warfare skills alongside Royal Marines.

They were part of Exercise Octans, an annual exercise involving thousands of personnel from more than a dozen Nato countries.

The soldiers are among an international brigade in northern Norway training for another expected tour of duty in Afghanistan

The engineers, based at Barnstaple, north Devon, have passed the gruelling all-arms commando course, enabling them to wear the commando green beret and serve with the Marines on operations.

Local media reports said the men had been drinking before they arrived at the Sfinx Bar in Harstad, the nearest town to the exercise area.

They began "bothering" female customers, before shouting "naked bar!" and stripping off.

"Naked Bar" is a popular drinking game in many units across the British armed forces.

The rules are simple - participants immediately remove all clothing - and the game is usually tolerated among high-spirited troops when it is played well away from the public gaze.

In this case, however, the soldiers began urinating on one of their party who had slumped drunkenly to the floor, splashing urine over the bar's furniture and other customers.

Local police were called, and handed spot fines of £500 to each of the men before handing them over to the Royal Military Police.

Harstad police spokesman Gair Pedersen said: "They were drunk and there was a problem in the bar but we are quite used to dealing with British soldiers like this."

Norway's biggest newspaper, Aftenposten, quoted locals as saying the soldiers had been "bothering" female customers.

One, Cecilie Kleppe, 29, said: "Some of them even started waving their private parts at the other guests. Two of the Englishmen urinated on a fellow soldier who was lying on the floor. It was disgusting."

Bar manager Petter Holmbakken said he had never seen anything like it.

He added: "I can understand that the women were offended. It's no fun to be plagued by lots of nasty comments.

"To be perfectly honest, I and a lot of other Harstad residents are fed up with the Englishmen."

Lars Torsten, another resident, said: "The Dutch like a drink and get a bit boisterous but they do not have that nasty edge that so many of the British troops display - once they have got some schnapps inside them."

Ms Kleppe took the photographs and gave them to Aftenposten which commented: "The British participation won't be quickly forgotten.

"Even though the presence of so many soldiers provides a boost to the local economy, it also has its disadvantages.

"Some residents say the rowdiness that can accompany the soldiers makes them feel insecure."

But a spokesman for the town council said: "We would not like to see all British troops banned from here because of the actions of a few."

The Ministry of Defence said all UK personnel taking part in Exercise Octans had now been banned from going to Harstad.

A spokesman said the eight men were all privates or junior non-commissioned officers.

They will face disciplinary action from their commanding officer but insiders say they are likely to escape with a hefty fine as there was no dishonesty or violence involved.

One source said: "It's the sort of thing you might get away with at a particularly lively party on base. But if you do it in public and end up splashed all over the Norwegian papers, then God help you."

General discussion / Biggest libel award in Irish history
February 28, 2008, 09:03:00 PM

'Sunday World' ordered to pay €900,000 libel damages
Mary Carolan

A High Court jury today awarded €900,000 to a man the Sunday World   described as a "Traveller drug king". It was the largest award in Irish legal history.

The jury found Martin McDonagh, a father of eight from Cranmore Drive, Sligo, was libelled by the newspaper on September 5th, 1999, midway through his seven-day detention in connection with a major drugs seizure at Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.

Mr McDonagh denied involvement and was released without charge.

In addition to alleging he was a "drug king", the Sunday World report referred to Mr McDonagh as "The Shark" saying he was involved in money-lending and had masterminded the importation of cannabis and ecstasy to the west of Ireland in 1999. The newspaper said it was the largest amount ever brought to the region.

The newspaper denied libel claiming the words complained of were true in substance and fact.

Following a five-day trial, the jury of seven women and five men was asked to decide whether the newspaper had proved, among other matters, that he was a drug dealer and a loan shark.

They had replied "No" in both cases. In response to two other questions, the jury found the newspaper had proven Mr McDonagh was a tax evader and a criminal.

On the basis of those answers, reached after two and a quarter hours deliberation, the jury awarded Mr McDonagh damages of €900,000 plus costs.

It was the biggest libel award in the State award - greater than the €750,000 awarded to businessman Denis O'Brien in November 2006 over an article in the Irish Mirror .

After the jury delivered their verdict today, Mr McDonagh hugged members of his family.

Hugh Mohan SC, for the Sunday World, said he would be making an application for a stay on the award pending an appeal.

Mr Justice Eamon De Valera said he would hear that application in a week's time.