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3 April 2008 Edition

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Fifth Column

Willie O’Dea’s war

WILLIE O’DEA has gone all Rambo on us again, demanding in the Sunday Tribune that the Sinn Féin Bookshop (www.sinnfeinbookshop.com) stops selling its very popular line of quality badges, rings and pendants bearing the name Óglaigh na hÉireann.
Defence Minister O’Dea argues that the 26 County Defence Forces is the only body entitled to use that name and he’s accused republicans of “abusing” the name.
Willie bristled:
“The Irish Defence Forces: Óglaigh na hÉireann are the sole descendants of the Irish Volunteers and the men and women of 1916, and their misuse by Sinn Féin must stop.”
Now, to be charitable to Willie, that is arguable, at the very least.
Óglaigh na hÉireann was first adopted by the Irish Volunteers and subsequently by its successors, the Irish Republican Army. And the IRA has used the title ever since, even when that Fianna Fáil icon, Eamon de Valera, stood with the anti-Treaty forces against the Free State which also took the name for its military in 1922.
And if the name Óglaigh na Éireann truly belongs to the Defence Forces as the descendants of the Irish Volunteers and the IRA, Willie, why aren’t they called the Irish Republican Army?

The Fiona O’Malley flyer

INTERESTING to hear Progressive Democrats leadership contender Senator Fiona O’Malley’s à la carte attitude to the law and order that her party insists others adhere to.
‘The Patton Flyer’ is a private bus service operating between Dalkey and Dublin Airport. Senator O’Malley uses the service. She thinks it’s a great idea. The trouble is that it is illegal – and the PD senator knows this but she just doesn’t care that it is breaking the law.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s This Week on Sunday, the flighty Fiona said that government should keep its nose out of private enterprise and only get involved “when things go wrong” (i.e. bailing out the banks when they get in trouble).

Slim chance

POLITICAL HEAVYWEIGHTS in the Republican Movement will be a good few pounds lighter as the result of a new Dublin Sinn Féin fund-raiser to gain cash as republicans lose weight.
‘Slim Féin’ aims to raise a few pounds (yes, sterling is accepted) and An Phoblacht’s all-round manager, Michael ‘Dixie’ Dixon,  is stepping up to the plate (or should that be away from the plate?).
Dixie (“My body’s too small for my weight”) is urgently seeking sponsors in a bid to outslim his bitter rivals. A pound per pound or a euro a pound would be welcome. Pledges via [email protected]
Councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh is weighing up the contenders till 29 June when she will tell us who is the fittest Slim Féiner.

Getting Red Cross over Lisbon

IRISH Red Cross supremo David Andrews was on Marian Finucane’s weekend RTÉ Radio show on Saturday about some humanitarian issue which I missed by tuning in late.
All very sound except that the Red Cross chief (a former Fianna Fáil Foreign Affairs Minister) then saw fit to pronounce in favour of the Lisbon Treaty and claim that the Government has “put to bed” any fears over Irish neutrality being threatened.
Hardly an impartial, apolitical view from the avowedly neutral Red Cross.

Mystery shopper

ITALIAN police are hunting a man who is suspected of hypnotising supermarket and bank cashiers into giving him money out of the till.
In every case, the last thing staff reportedly remember is the man leaning over and saying, “Look into my eyes,” before finding the till empty.
Now why haven’t Fianna Fáil treasurers thought of that excuse for the tribunals?

Rockett for Apprentice Boys

THE ‘loyal orders’ claim they are driving out sectarian elements and disavow any links with unionist death squads.
So what are they going to do about the Easter Monday Apprentice Boys parade past Ardoyne during which marchers hurled sectarian abuse and carried a banner honouring UVF members Sam Rockett and William Hanna?

Thatcher: Most wanted

THE ‘War on Terror’ took an unexpected turn for George W Bush and in the past few days with the issuing of an international arrest warrant for the wayward son of Margaret Thatcher.
Equatorial Guinea has charged Sir Mark Thatcher over his part in the failed 2005 coup plot to seize the oil-rich African state. ‘Scratcher’ (as his co-plotters nicknamed him) admitted bank-rolling the mercenary operation - led by Ireland SAS veteran Simon Mann - but claimed he thought he was financing an air ambulance venture.
Now living in the United States, Scratcher will have to watch where he goes. Will George Bush uphold international law against terrorism?

Privileged information

BERTIE AHERN’S lawyers were asking the Dublin High Court this week to stop an Oireachtas-appointed tribunal questioning him about public statements he made on his finances in the Oireachtas.
It happened on Tuesday – April Fool’s Day.
It wasn’t a joke. (Or maybe it was.)

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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