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General discussion / Re: best mattress?
« on: November 06, 2017, 09:18:57 PM »
I have a friend based in Dungannon who sells top quality mattresses at a good price and can deliver within 50 miles or so from there.

Give him a call and he will answer any questions you have.

GAA Discussion / Re: Joe Brolly
« on: November 06, 2017, 09:23:43 AM »
Officers ‘should be disciplined’ over Heffron attack failings

Police Ombudsman says there was a failure to help detectives investigating the blast

Fri, Dec 18, 2015,
Four Police Service of Northern Ireland police intelligence officers should be disciplined for their failure to pass on information about a bomb attack on a colleague, a watchdog has recommended.

Constable Peadar Heffron suffered serious injuries when the undercar booby trap device was detonated near Randalstown in Co Antrim five years ago.

Even though there was insufficient evidence to support an allegation that the attack could have been prevented, Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire said there was a failure to help detectives investigating the blast.

Four officers, two detective superintendents and two detective sergeants, from the PSNI’s C3 unit should be disciplined, the Ombudsman said.

“I acknowledge that the information the detectives sought did not lead to significant new evidence,” Dr Maguire said.

“Despite this, the delay in waiting to asses this information lost momentum for the investigation.

“Police policy requires that investigators are provided with intelligence at the earliest opportunity.

“They are the people best placed to develop lines of enquiry that may translate into evidence, which could otherwise be lost by delay.

“This case demonstrates clear shortcoming in this regard.”

Constable Heffron, a catholic and fluent Irish speaker, lost a leg as a result of the dissident republican explosion and now uses a wheelchair.

He had been on his way to work at Woodbourne police station in west Belfast when the bomb exploded about a mile from his home on Milltown Road in Randalstown on January 8th, 2010.

The ombudsman’s investigation was launched after a complaint from a man who claimed police had been warned of the likelihood of an attack at “Milltown” several weeks earlier.

Investigators spoke with the informant, who said he had receive a text message about the impending attack and passed it to police.

He did not save the texts and did not have any other notes or records from the time, it was noted.

But, to the best of his memory, the informant claimed his message read: “Attack on police officers- Milltown — urgent,” the Ombudsman’s office revealed.

Although he believed the “Milltown” mentioned in the original text was in west Belfast, he did not specify this to police.

The informant alleged that following the attack on Constable Heffron, police revealed to him they had “missed out on Randalstown” when checking areas known as Milltown.

But the Police Ombudsman investigators also spoke to the police officer responsible for handling the intelligence.
He said he had recorded the content of the text verbatim before deleting it.

The officer said the text specified Milltown in Andersonstown, west Belfast, and that he had issued a warning to all police in the area.
He rejected claims police had said they “missed out on Randalstown”.

Instead, the officer claimed it was the informant who had made contact to apologise for incorrectly interpreting “Milltown” as the area in west Belfast.

Having considered other documentation the ombudsman concluded that on the balance of probabilities, police were told the impending attack was to be in Belfast, not Randalstown.

But during the course of their investigation, ombudsman staff became concerned that detectives were not getting the help they needed from PSNI’s C3 branch which has primary responsibility for receiving and managing intelligence.

A number of senior police officers within the unit, including several superintendents were interviewed.

Two officers said they had supplied information to the detectives within weeks of the attack while another said he believed information had been provided.

Dr Maguire said C3 has been unable to provide any documentation or other evidence to confirm that detectives received the information they had been requesting.

He concluded that a delay of more than two years in providing detectives with information, and to then make it available a matter of weeks after hearing of his involvement, was not acceptable.

Anne Connolly, chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, which oversees the PSNI, described the report as “disturbing reading”.
She said: “There are serious questions arising from the conclusions, and specifically in relation to the arrangements for the sharing of intelligence, which the board will want to discuss with the chief constable.

“The wider public will find it hard to understand the failings in this case and the board will be seeking assurance from the chief constable that actions have been taken to address all the shortcomings identified.”

Chief constable George Hamilton and his deputy Drew Harris are expected to be questioned about the ombudsman’s findings at a specially convened Policing Board meeting next week.

PSNI deputy chief Constable Drew Harris said the report had been given careful and serious consideration.

He said: “I have consulted with colleagues in Crime Operations Department which is responsible for the management of intelligence and conducting investigations into serious crime.

“I welcome the ombudsman’s conclusion that a complaint which alleged police had been provided with information which, if acted upon, could have prevented the attack on constable Heffron, is not substantiated.

“In relation to an additional conclusion that officers in Intelligence Branch did not supply investigating detectives from Serious Crime Branch with the information they sought, the Police Service view is that this line of enquiry was pursued and belatedly closed down but that it was not directly related to the attempted murder of constable Heffron.

“However, the Police Service is receptive to any learning which can be gleaned from such reports. There was an administrative failing in this case in which the line of enquiry was not processed as quickly as it should have been.

“This issue has been addressed and resolved by a number of measures including the establishment of secure means of passing material from Intelligence Branch to Serious Crime Branch.

“It is our view that all credible lines of enquiry in this investigation, which is still open, have been pursued. I would continue to appeal for anyone with information about the bomb attack in Randalstown on January 8 2010 to come forward.”

He added: “The ombudsman recommended disciplinary sanctions against four officers. I have agreed there is a requirement for disciplinary sanctions in this case. Having reviewed the full circumstances of this investigation, I decided on an appropriate sanction for each of the detective superintendents. Disciplinary sanctions in respect of the Detective Sergeants are currently being considered.”

Constable Heffron is continuing to re-build his life after the terror attack and has requested privacy, he said

General discussion / Re: Ibrahim Halawa
« on: November 04, 2017, 07:33:16 PM »
I read somewhere that hes setting up a travel company specializing in vacations for adventerous folks who want to travel to exotic locations

Doubt if he will be in a hurry to go to the moon.................

General discussion / Re: The Many Faces of US Politics...
« on: October 28, 2017, 09:36:51 AM »
Texas city refuses to give people hurricane aid unless they pledge not to boycott Israel

Private citizens who apply for Hurricane Harvey rebuilding funds in Dickinson, Texas no longer have to certify that they will not boycott Israel.

The Dickinson City Council on Tuesday voted to remove a clause from a relief application that had drawn the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union and pro-boycott activists, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The city, located near Houston, put the requirement in the application in order to comply with a new state law, signed in May, that requires all state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel.

During the meeting on Tuesday, the council created two different applications for contracting with the city: one for businesses and one for private citizens. Businesses will still have to certify that they do not participate in the anti-Israel boycott.

Dickinson, a city of about 19,000, was hit especially hard by Harvey. More than three-quarters of its homes were damaged by the hurricane, and 830 were destroyed.

State Rep. Phil King, the author of the state legislation, said last week that the law, which went into effect on Sept. 1, “in no way applies to the type of situation that happened in Dickinson.”

The ACLU complained that linking aid to an individual’s support of the Israel boycott is a violation of free speech rights.

General discussion / Re: Catalan Independence Movement
« on: October 28, 2017, 01:20:47 AM »
Rebels in Solidarity: An Irish Hunger Striker and Catalonia, 1920

While watching the brutal way Spain suppressed the will of the Catalan people on the first day of October 2017 a quote came to my mind:

‘It is not those who inflict the most but those that endure the most that shall prevail.’

That apt observation came from the pen of Terence MacSwiney, an Irish revolutionary who died after 74 days on hunger strike in Brixton Prison in 1920. His death gave rise to widespread outrage, including in Catalonia.

MacSwiney had been serving as the Lord Mayor of Cork when in the Autumn of 1920 he was arrested by British authorities and started a hunger strike. MacSwiney continued his hunger strike when he was sent across the Irish sea to languish in a British prison and garnered support from many across the globe including in the northeastern part of Spain where a nation of people were longing for their own independence.

MacSwiney died on October 25th 1920 and his death was mourned by those in Catalonia who had been closely following the hunger strike of the rebel Lord Mayor. During MacSwiney’s hunger strike daily updates filled Catalan newspapers while masses were said for the Irishman and public demonstrations filled the streets. When news of MacSwiney’s death reached Catalonia a state of mourning kicked in. Women wore black, flags were flown at half mast and on October 27th grief turned into protest when up to 500 Catalans marched on the British Consulate in Barcelona.

Waving a tri-colour Irish flag, the crowd marched to the British consulate while chanting ‘Viva Irlanda, muera Inglaterra!’ ( long live Ireland, death to England!) The consulate had closed its doors as the consul general was not in and when the marchers reached the closed building they flung stones and broke all the windows. The angry protesters dispersed when the heavy handed guardia civil arrived on the scene. Days later the consul general wrote to London to divulge his utter disgust at how Catalans sided with the cause of Irish freedom. He informed London how the consulate in Barcelona was “now guarded by a strong force of police and guardia civil who shall remain until the local excitement over the so called martyrdom of MacSwiney has subsided.” But the ‘local excitement’ did not subside because just days later a mass rally in support of the martyred MacSwiney was held in Catalan capital.

On November 1st 1920, thousands attended a rally in Barcelona to show their support for Irish independence and their grief for MacSwiney.  It was organised by the trade union CADCI (Central Autonomista de Dependents del Comerc i la Industrial) and the guest of honour was Sinn Fein’s representative in Spain Maire ni Bhriain but, it was the recital of a poem that became the highlight of the day.

The Catalan playwright, poet and politician Ventura Gassol had been asked by the CADCI to compose a poem in honour of MacSwiney and he delivered ‘Germd Nostre’ (our brother) from a balcony draped in an Irish tri-colour flag in the main square in Barcelona. Gassol’s poem was based on an old Catalan folksong ‘La Preso de Lleida’ (Lleida Prison) and as he delivered it to the thousands assembled, a sustained applause broke out after each verse, such as the intense emotion. A report in the Catalan journal L’Accio described how “the poet Ventura Gassol gave a magnificent reading of a most beautiful original poem exalting the towering deed of the Lord Mayor of Cork, producing among those present a deep emotion.”

Before MacSwiney succumbed to his hunger strike, the CADCI had sent a letter to the British prime minister Loyld George  to vent their frustration with Britains brutal response to Irelands fight for freedom. Dated September 1st 1920 the letter from the CADCI informed the British PM  ‘our organisation, consisting of 8,000 members……….wishes to make its voice heard by you, in order, to express the concern of all Catalonia for the heroic, sublime and now tragic gesture of the Lord Mayor of Cork…..and his unbending will to sacrifice his life on behalf of his ideal of nationhood.’

In the aftermath of MacSwiney’s death, town council’s across Catalonia passed motions of condolence to MacSwiney’s family and expressions of support for the Irish Republican movement. The town council in Figueres passed a motion of ‘admiration of the glorious death of the Lord Mayor of Cork and other patriotic Irishmen who have died in English prison, that our adhesion to the liberty of people and the inviolable rules of justice may be proclaimed.’ The mayor of Villafranca del Panades sent a letter to 10 Downing Street condemning those there for the death of MacSwiney.  The British replied by requesting the Spanish government to punish local authorities across Catalonia who publicly support Irish Republicans.

Apart from letters to the British PM and public displays of support, Catalonia also sent condolences directly to the MacSwiney family in Cork. A letter of condolence was sent to MacSwiney’s widow from the Directive Council of Nostra Parla in Barcelona. The message of condolence dated December 1st 1920 to Mrs MacSwiney informed her that her husband’s ‘martyrdom will be an example for all people that, so as ours, feel a foreign domination.’ MacSwiney’s two year old daughter was also in the thoughts of Catalans and they sent her a doll which is now displayed at the public museum in Cork City.

The poem that Ventura Gassol wrote and recited with great emotion in Barcelona on All Saints day in 1920 highlighted the similarities between Ireland and Catalonia in their quest for self determination, a quest still not completed for many Catalans to this day. The following lines from Gassol’s poem describe how through death MacSwiney forced an opening through the prison walls and how his fight for freedom is inspiring to Catalans who are yet to find an escape from their imprisonment…..

Al cor ombros d’Irlanda
N’hi ha una gran preso:
que ja no hi queden presos,
que no n’hi queden, no.
MacSwiney, blanc de cara,
gelet encar de la suor de mort,
Ha obert un esvoranc a les muralles,
i cel amunt se’ls va enduent a tots….
Espirit de MacSwiney, germa nostre,
Oh, si tambe ens obrissiu la preso!

General discussion / Re: Ibrahim Halawa
« on: October 28, 2017, 12:51:23 AM »
Reading comment on here and on other sites from Irish and Irish Americans, i'm reminded of what Bernadette Devlin had to say when she visited the USA in her early years. 

"My people’—the people who knew about oppression, discrimination, prejudice, poverty and the frustration and despair that they produce– were not Irish Americans. They were black, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos. And those who were supposed to be ‘my people’, the Irish Americans who knew about English misrule and the Famine and supported the civil rights movement at home, and knew that Partition and England were the cause of the problem, looked and sounded to me like Orangemen. They said exactly the same things about blacks that the loyalists said about us at home. In New York I was given the key to the city by the mayor, an honor not to be sneezed at. I gave it to the Black Panthers." –Bernadette Devlin.

I take it she advocated for the IRA returning all guns and cash they received from such despicable bigots during the Troubles

‘Fidel Castro in a miniskirt’: Bernadette Devlin’s first US tour

The tour was organised by the unlikely team of physical-force Irish-American republicans and Brian Heron, leader of the newly formed National Association for Irish Justice. An experienced left-wing political organiser, Heron was tolerated by the politically conservative republicans because he happened to be the grandson of James Connolly. Heron tolerated the republicans because their goal of establishing a fighting fund overlapped with his own. On the surface, Devlin and Heron should have gotten on famously, but Devlin was collecting donations for relief, not arms. For Heron the days of stones and petrol bombs were over.

Devlin swept through New York escorted by a police force wilfully ignorant of her revolutionary rhetoric. She took part in Meet the Press and the Johnny Carson Show. Mayor Lindsay gave her the key to the city of New York, she met with U Thant of the United Nations, and she was showered with cash the entire time.

As the tour progressed, Devlin began to pick up distinctly orange tones in the green rhetoric of the organisers. She marvelled at how the Irish in America failed to draw the obvious parallel between themselves and American blacks. In Philadelphia she danced with a black tenor on stage, asked him to sing the American civil rights anthem, ‘We shall overcome’, and shamed the audience into standing for him. The dignitaries, clergy and Hibernians, however, remained stuck to their seats. Then the unthinkable happened. She visited Operation Bootstrap, a manufacturing venture run by members of the Black Power movement. Despite warnings, Devlin continued her assault on Irish America’s racism, and reports of it tore through the newswires.

On her way back to the East Coast she stopped in Detroit and refused to speak until the black people waiting outside were admitted. While there, Chicago activists warned the tour organisers that if she visited Jesse Jackson’s Operation Breadbasket she would face consequences. Though the message had the desired effect, Devlin acquired a new target. She hurled the words ‘corrupt’ and ‘RUC’ across the pages of the local papers at a hugely popular Mayor Daley and his police. He cancelled her appearance. The two Unionist Party representatives sent to neutralise her tour could not have been more delighted. Almost the instant their toes hit the tarmac they happily clucked that Devlin was nothing less than ‘Fidel Castro in a miniskirt’ and sang a gleeful chorus of ‘We told you so’.

Devlin’s relationship with much of Irish America was in tatters by the end of the tour, as was her rapport with Heron and the republicans. At one of the last events she overheard an organiser tell Heron, ‘Never mind, play her along. We’ve got the money and that’s all that matters’. Immediately she rang Frank Gogarty, chair of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, and demanded that he fly to America. Upon arriving, Gogarty announced that while he endorsed Devlin’s tour, he had come to raise money for arms. Devlin wasted no time in booking the next flight home.

Back in Ireland, Eamonn McCann admonished her for accepting the key to New York from Mayor John Lindsay, an American Republican famed for his mismanagement of the city. She responded by sending the key to New York with McCann, who was on his way to America to do his own speaking tour. McCann presented it to Robert Bay of the Black Panthers ‘as a gesture of solidarity with the black liberation and revolutionary socialist movements in America’. He read out her message: ‘I return what is rightfully theirs, this symbol of the freedom of New York’. But contrary to what she may have hoped, it did very little to shore up her credibility among her colleagues in Northern Ireland. Charles Whelan, Irish consul general in New York, sent a memorandum to the Department of External Affairs: ‘the fact that Bernadette Devlin is personally associated with this gesture . . . will make it far more difficult for any civil rights supporter from the Six Counties to obtain assistance, financial or otherwise’. This was an understatement.

A few days later, when Devlin wrote to New York’s St Patrick’s Day parade committee with the ludicrous offer to march under certain conditions, the Daily News reported that Devlin would not be welcome under any circumstances. At meetings of the Ancient Order of Hibernians attacks on Devlin were greeted with cheers. Later, when questioned by Ivan Cooper, a moderate civil rights advocate from Northern Ireland, she exclaimed, ‘Och, sure that was a joke!’ But Irish America was not laughing. Predictably, the financial support for the Civil Rights movement dried up.

Bernadette Devlin’s 1969 tour of America peeled back the layers of the radical rhetoric of Irish America to expose a conservative hegemony that was willing to embrace racist attitudes for its own advancement. While leaders in the community repeated charges of institutionalised discrimination against Northern Irish Catholics, their myopia eliminated the obvious analogy. Her tour also brought into sharper relief two competing wings of support for Northern Ireland. While they had forged a fragile coalition based on their support for militancy, they could not sustain it.

This tour had a profound impact on Bernadette Devlin’s political development as well. She returned home to face jail time for her role in the ‘Battle of the Bogside’ and to discover that many of her colleagues had moved on and left her reputation in their wake. Their public attacks mischaracterised her motives in Derry and the US as self-glorifying bids for stardom rather than the ill-fated attempts at political leadership that they were. The key incident, though extraordinarily imaginative, signalled the final gasp of breath for Irish America’s support for much of the Northern Irish Civil Rights leadership.

Was she just a puppet? If we indict her for not asking enough questions, we must also hold the tour organisers accountable for manipulating both Devlin and her audience. Was she wrong to scorn Irish America’s help in the end? Though she could have done little else but flee the tour, the key incident reveals just how much she still had to learn. Bernadette Devlin’s political growth paralleled the increasing complexity of the unfolding crisis in Northern Ireland. This tour, though ill-fated, taught all involved valuable lessons in the politics of politics. Her speeches held a mirror up to America and dared it to make sense of its own reflection. The aftermath of the tour heralded a new era of Irish-American support for Catholics in Northern Ireland, one that reinforced physical-force republicanism as the central ideology. A year later Bernadette Devlin would return to the US, the same tenacious young politician she had been, but this time she would make the rules

General discussion / Re: Ibrahim Halawa
« on: October 28, 2017, 12:36:48 AM »
Reading comment on here and on other sites from Irish and Irish Americans, i'm reminded of what Bernadette Devlin had to say when she visited the USA in her early years. 

"My people’—the people who knew about oppression, discrimination, prejudice, poverty and the frustration and despair that they produce– were not Irish Americans. They were black, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos. And those who were supposed to be ‘my people’, the Irish Americans who knew about English misrule and the Famine and supported the civil rights movement at home, and knew that Partition and England were the cause of the problem, looked and sounded to me like Orangemen. They said exactly the same things about blacks that the loyalists said about us at home. In New York I was given the key to the city by the mayor, an honor not to be sneezed at. I gave it to the Black Panthers." –Bernadette Devlin.

General discussion / Re: Ibrahim Halawa
« on: October 25, 2017, 08:57:38 PM »
The day before Ibrahim was arrested I posted this video in the "Middle East landscape rapidly changing" thread.

It showed in graphic and bloody detail the brutality been handed down by the military who had taken power in a coup.

The following day I was watching the news and details started to emerge about a group of people who were taking refuge
in a Mosque and were under attack from the military and their thugs.  Live coverage started to come from the Mosque,
and it was Ibrahims sister giving a running commentary.

I posted about it at the time as it was unfolding here:

Over the following days, weeks months and then years, I followed his case. It was a horrible case, and at one stage he went
on hunger strike to protest his innocence. Then thankfully yesterday he finally arrived home to a fantastic reception.

He was a 17 year old lad when arrested, and is now a 21 year old man with 4 brutal years in a hell hole to deal with.
He never should have been arrested and held as long as he was, but thanks to a lot of hard work by many, he is now free,
and as innocent as the day he was arrested.

The comments on here and in many social media posts over the past couple of weeks since it was announced he was to be freed
are disgusting. Ibrahim was born in Ireland and he is as Irish as anyone else born here. Yet, due to his colour and faith,
people fail to see him as Irish. Have people forgotten how many innocent Irish people were imprisoned because of their nationality or religion?  Has the cow forgotten it was a calf?
One thing is for sure, Racism is alive, well, and thriving here in many guises. The remarks about Ibrahim confirm this.

Those who say he never should have been there and he never should have been protesting, are the same people who do nothing when they see injustice. They sit in the comfort of their homes and all they can do is criticise those who take a stand. Ibrahim and his sisters have more courage in their little fingers than those who have been criticising them.
I followed closely what was going on in Egypt at that time, and I for one am very proud of my Irish brother and sisters who
took a peaceful stand against not only a brutal dictator, but against all the other state actors who backed Sisi and his bloody coup.

Welcome home Ibrahim, and may you recover in time from your horrific ordeal.

General discussion / Re: Removal of Gaza flag in Croke Park!
« on: August 15, 2017, 12:28:36 PM »
It's a pity that Croke Park officials didn't remove this rag in the same manner in which they removed the Armagh/Palestine flag 3 years ago.........

Would Cork fans please stop flying those bloody redneck confederate flags?


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General discussion / Re: Death Notices
« on: January 28, 2017, 02:45:06 AM »
John hurt.. true legendary actor.. rip

Incredible actor, and just at a time when George Orwells 1984 is back in the best sellers list due to alternative truths....

General discussion / Re: The Many Faces of US Politics...
« on: January 20, 2017, 06:09:41 PM »
A couple of toons from my friend Carlos   

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General discussion / Re: The Many Faces of US Politics...
« on: January 20, 2017, 05:29:16 PM »
This is a hard watch. He's not a very impressive speaker. He keeps saying the same thing over and over again, in different ways.

What's worse is that a presumably professional speechwriter was paid to come up with that muck  :( :( :(

General discussion / Re: The Many Faces of US Politics...
« on: January 20, 2017, 05:23:21 PM »
Always amazes me how there can be so much God bothering at a presidential inauguration.

Religious fundamentalists ........

General discussion / Re: The Many Faces of US Politics...
« on: January 20, 2017, 04:39:50 PM »
Trump is a turd. I wonder how long before his voters realise it was a scam.

Obama was a scam, Clinton would have been a scam, people who did not like him because your candidate was a turd, neither candidate was worth a shit, I hope he proves me long, best of luck President Trump.

Is that you Stew in the 3rd row?

General discussion / Re: Stormont Assembly Elections 2017
« on: January 16, 2017, 02:16:12 PM »
Interesting one reported by Sam McBride on Twitter that Catherine Seeley (SF) has announced she won't be standing in this election.  She was only elected in May 2016 following a close call/brilliant vote management in Upper Bann as SF took two seats and ousted Dolores Kelly.

Caitríona Ruane has also said she wont be standing in the upcoming election

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