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8 February 2007 Edition

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Fifth Column

Official Questions & Answers

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny submitted written Dáil Question 345 to Justice Minister Michael McDowell last week, asking about the status of the IRA “if the organisation known as the Provisional IRA still exists; and if he will make a statement on the matter?”

Then Enda submitted Question 346 asking the same about the so-called ‘Real IRA’.

And then he submitted Question 347 asking about... the ‘Continuity IRA’?

No, the Blueshirt boss wanted to know “if the organisation known as the Official IRA still exists”.

Why didn’t he just ask his new best buddies Pat Rabbitte, Liz McManus or Labour Party President Proinsias de Rossa. They should know a thing or two about the ‘Official IRA’.


Labour Young Turk’s UVF

A Labour Party Young Turk on Dublin City Council has boasted of his admiration for a paramilitary leader - and it’s not the OIRA’s Seán Garland or Cathal Goulding.

Aodhán Ó Riordán, one of the bright young things on the Labour circuit, told the multicultural newspaper, Metro Éireann, that loyalist leader David Ervine is “a hero of mine”.

Now, granted, even Sinn Féin had good words to say about the late Mr Ervine but for a Labour Party figure to describe him as “a hero of mine” is going a bit far, isn’t it?

Would a Labour elected rep dare say the same thing about any IRA Volunteer who had been arrested in 1974 in a car with five pounds of commercial explosives, a detonator and fuse wire on a bombing mission? I think not.


DUP dissident trusts IRA files

DUP Euro MP Jim Allister has called on republicans to hand over to the PSNI the IRA files on its own investigation into the killing of Belfast man Robert McCartney to prove that Sinn Féin is truly committed to supporting policing.

“Those files would be very helpful to PSNI detectives,” just Jim said.

Hold on. Does that mean the DUP rejectionist wants the police to act on information compiled by an ‘illegal organisation’; nay, what Jim would otherwise be denouncing as a ‘criminal conspiracy’?


Here is not the news

“Duke highlights trade links during visit,” was the headline on the RTÉ News website on Monday heralding the arrival in Dublin of the self-styled Prince Andrew to meet President McAleese and Bertie Ahern.

One of the richest men in Britain, whose family wealth has been derived from more than a little plunder and pillage, also popped in to see how us mere mortals who don’t claim “the Divine Right of Kings” shop in Tesco.

What would have been news was if the headline read: “RTÉ hard news reporters highlight Duke’s military links as colonel in chief of the RIR/UDR.”


Psychotic soldier killed family

Unlike the very grand Duke of York, one of his mammy’s soldiers who did some actual fighting in the Six Counties has been remanded in custody for psychiatric reports for his trial on charges of killing four members of his family.

Former Royal Artillery Gunner David Bradley (41) saw service in Ireland, which led to him being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite this, Bradley subsequently served in the Gulf War and claims that this caused him to totally “flip” and shoot dead his 70-year-old uncle and aunt - who had given him a home since he was 16 - and their two sons, his cousins, aged 44 and 41.

Bradley shot all four dead in Newcastle last July with a silenced 7.65mm handgun he had smuggled back to England after serving in Bosnia.

As his murder trial was about to begin, the Six Counties veteran pleaded guilty to four counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The crown prosecution, Bradley’s defence counsel and medical experts all agreed that he had suffered from “life-long behavioural and emotional difficulties”. He was still given a gun and considered fit enough for the British Army in Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq.


If you’re not Irish...

The governor of the US state of Illinois is backing a bill to stop candidates for the judiciary adopting fake Irish names to win the state’s massive Irish vote.

The move is being made after the Chicago 2006 judicial poll when one Fred S Rhine changed his name to Patrick Michael O’Brien.


Jake Stevens grabbed by the bogies

Three bogus security guards trying to mug wide-eyed tourists landing at Venezuela’s Caracas Airport met their match when they picked on Dublin wide boy Jake Stevens, the loopy, whistling, newspaper-waving TV persona of Naked Camera comedian PJ Gallagher.

PJ and his girlfriend were touring South America when they were met in the departures lounge of Caracas Airport by three bods in security uniforms. After somehow getting the Irish couple ahead of the queue and fixing an earlier flight for them, Los Trios Robberos shepherded Jake and his better half to a quiet part of the airport, whereupon they demanded money with menaces.

“It made me so angry that I screamed in the loudest Dublin accent: ‘F*** off and leave us alone! Would you f*** off?’ Jake Stevens recalled. “I don’t know what it was but these guys just ran.”

The would-be robbers were lucky that Jake wasn’t carrying his customary rolled-up newspaper or they would have needed an air ambulance to get away.


Pin-up boy

PJ’s Caracas experience hasn’t dimmed his enthusiasm for the South American socialist state.

“Chavez seems to be really popular with everybody over there. You see kids in the street hugging Chavez dolls. Can you imagine kids in Ireland with Bertie dolls?”

Not unless they were sticking pins in them.




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