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2 March 2006 Edition

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Fifth Column

Sunday Independent hack Brendan O'Connor

Sunday Independent hack Brendan O'Connor

Benny Hill at the Sindo

The ghost of Benny Hill looms large in the figure of failed comedian-cum-Sunday Independent hack Brendan O'Connor.

O'Connor has carved out a niche for himself on RTÉ TV's You're a Star as a cheap imitation of Simon Cowell, with the main difference being that at least Simon Cowell is a music professional with a lot more style who knows what he's talking about. And Cowell doesn't dribble down his shirt and gets the knee trembles every time he sees a young blonde in a mini-skirt.

Given O'Connor's leering reviews of budding young female starlets to date, it might have been a bit surprising to see him in his post-riot column giving out about "young chicks in mini-skirts".

In a piece headlined: "In case anyone had forgotten, violence is what republicans do," (not like the Brits or the unionists), Benny writes:

"Lest you had been lulled into thinking republicans were all about chicks in mini-skirts and equality, we all got a good reminder yesterday what they're all about. Every schoolchild in the country and every Provo-suckered yuppie radical should have been brought into O'Connell Street to witness the aftermath of the battle of Dublin yesterday and been told: 'Always remember, this is what they do and this is what they do best'."

But it wasn't "the Provos", Benny. Sinn Féin supported the right of the unionists to march. Sinn Féin called on republicans to stay away.

Still, with the immenseness of his own importance weighing him down, Benny O'Connor couldn't stand the strain of a basic fact getting in his way.

Carnival of reaction

The rejectionist unionists of Love Ulster, the DUP, and the organisers of Saturday's event are opposed to the peace process.

The rejectionist nationalists who reacted to Saturday's event are opposed to the peace process.

The drunks, looters and muggers who joined the carnival of reaction on Saturday don't give two rocks for the peace process.

So why are republicans risking their lives for the peace process being blamed by cheap journalism and sloppy reporting?

Answers to the National Union of Journalists, Committee for the Code of Ethics and Standards.

No go, Joe

26-County Labour Party justice spokesperson Joe Costello was left reeling after Saturday, but not by the O'Connell Street rioters.

Joe lashed out at Garda bosses' handling of the debacle and called for Justice Minister Michael McDowell to resign... only for Labour leader Pat Rabbitte to immediately tell RTÉ's The Week in Politics that he didn't support his man's call.

Lord John does go

The not-so-independent Indepen-dent Monitoring Commissioner Lord John Alderdice has finally left the Alliance Party after being exposed by Daily Ireland as still being a partisan, card-carrying member of the avowedly anti-republican, political rivals of Sinn Féin for years.

Alderdice was forced to step down after Daily Ireland's Jarlath Kearney squeezed out of him that the former Alliance Party leader was still a member.

After Alderdice's public confession, Sinn Féin's lawyers immediately fired off a letter to the IMC. The IMC replied that Auld Aldy had "forthwith" resigned from Alliance to prevent any "perceived risk of bias."

IMC reports have been based on more risky perceptions and far less evidence than Alderdice's allegiances.

The IMC is keeping Alderdice on board despite his exposure.

Community service

A Fine Gael former TD and senator, the grandson of former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, appeared in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this week for submitting false returns to the Public Offices Commissioner about a political donation.

Liam Cosgrave Junior was handed €2,500 by planning lobbyist Frank Dunlop but forgot to declare it. Now he's likely to escape a jail term after the judge asked the Probation Service to look at a Community Service Order.

So that's what Enda Kenny means by Fine Gael "serving the community."

Dissident royalist

The self-styled Prince of Wales, Charles Windsor, is engaged in a court battle with The Mail on Sunday over the rag's publication of one of his private journals (e-mailed to 100 chums!) in which the clown prince undiplomatically comments on domestic and foreign political affairs.

According to a statement by his former deputy private secretary, the royal Charlie identifies himself as a 'dissident' who goes 'against the prevailing political consensus'. He even sees himself in the style of the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama, however, is not the proud Colonel in Chief of the Parachute Regiment. And if he ever was, by some unfortunate fault of birth or inheritance, we can guess that the Dalai Lama wouldn't be too long in leaving the Paras after they gunned down 13 unarmed civil rights marchers in Derry on Bloody Sunday in 1972.

Maybe the next time that Barmy Prince Charlie arrives in Ireland, some intrepid journalist from the BBC, UTV, RTÉ or TV3 will ask him to show how much he dissents from the British establishment's "prevailing political consensus" about Bloody Sunday.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
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