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29 June 2006 Edition

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Fifth Column

Storm in a T-shirt

The hottest T-shirt to emulate the success of the award-winning IRA Tan War film, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, has shaken the usual shower of West Brit whiners and put the wind up Fine Gael TD Jimmy Deenihan.

Bearing the legend, "Irish Republican Army: The Wind That Shook the Barley," the T-shirt has caused a low, moaning wind to sweep through the editorial suites of the Irish Independent HQ at Bean Baron Towers in Dublin and the Belfast Telegraph as well as the Blueshirt wing of Fine Gael/Labour.

Eagle-eyed Jimmy D groaned that republicans are "capitalising" on the film's success. "Sinn Féin will cash in on any opportunity they can get. This is not an accurate representation of history." Oh, no?

And Jimmy insists that today's Sinn Féin bears no resemblance to the Sinn Féin of the early 20th Century Civil War (Fine Gael obviously does, in Jimmy's eyes).

Let's hope we've all moved on a bit from the 1920s. We've inside toilets, velvet soft toilet paper, mobile phones, computers, digital cameras, MTV, Michael Collins DVDs and (unlike Fine Gael's pro-Treaty godfathers) we are going to win the Republic.

If you want to put the wind up your local Fine Gaelers, you can buy an 'IRA: The Wind That Shook the Barley' T-shirt from the Sinn Féin Bookshop at http://www.sinnfeinbookshop.com, price €15, plus postage and packing. But hurry while stocks last.

Walking out

Within hours of An Phoblacht hitting the streets last week with our item flagging our upset at the dual membership of the Parades Commission and the Orange Order of David Burrows, the Drumcree stand-off mastermind let it be known to the BBC that he had resigned from the Orange Order.

Commission chief Roger Poole said the previously unreported move was "designed to remove any element of doubt" about Brother Burrows' credentials.

He added that the Parades Commission was conscious that Burrows' association with the hardline Portadown Orange Order (Davy was the district master) meant he could not "participate fully in all of the commission's deliberations, activities and decision making processes".

So which ones can the former Orange Order leader take part in that aren't affected by his long and colourful history with his chums in all the loyal orders?

Non-members only

A fortnight ago, Belfast Crown Court freed Ihab Shoukri, brother of North Belfast UDA boss André Shoukri, on a charge of membership of the UDA. The judge ruled there was "not enough evidence" on which to convict Ihab Shoukri.

Last Tuesday week (20 June), the UDA's ruling Inner Council expelled Ihab and André Shoukri from membership of the UDA.

Punch line

In its follow-up to the Shoukris' expulsion, this weekend's Sunday Life front-page, banner headline declared: "UDA at war."

One "veteran loyalist" reportedly told the Sunday Life: "It wouldn't take too much to spark a fist-fight."

Marquis of Queensberry rules, then?

Billy the Kid

The British queen's birthday parade at a military base in Cyprus was thrown into chaos when one of the key participants marched out of line, and now the generals in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers have demoted the disgraced culprit - a six-year-old mascot goat called Billy.

His handler couldn't control him when he started dashing from side to side during the parade on 16 March, throwing ranks of soldiers off their stride. To liven things up even further, Billy started butting drummers in the butt.

Now Billy the Kid has been demoted from the rank of lance-corporal to the equivalent of an ordinary foot soldier and squaddies who pass as humans no longer have to salute him.

As if a billy goat could give a flying fusilier what the Brits think.

Princess Anne's prize to Sinn Féin

To lift the gloom cast by England's dreary progress through the World Cup, we are glad to report some good news for republicans on the international sports front in the exotic West Indies.

Sinn Féin has just sailed to victory in the prestigious Centennial Bermuda Race (well, the yacht named Sinn Féin has), picking up an award at Government House in Bermuda from no less an exalted figure than the toffee-nosed Princess Anne, colonel-in-chief of a clutch of British Army regiments.

Funnily enough, there are no photos to hand of the 'Princess Royal' with the Sinn Féin crew

The victorious Sinn Féin skipper was one Peter S. Rebovich; Sinn Féin's ancient mariner, Arthur Morgan TD, was otherwise engaged in Carlingford Lough.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

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