Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

26 March 1998 Edition

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Editor's desk

Hard luck to the makers of the excellent short film, Dance, Lexie, Dance, which lost out on Oscar night this week. The film was about a Protestant girl who wants to be a Riverdancer. She overcomes the initial reluctance of her widowed father and, with his help, she dances in the Feis in Derry's Guildhall.

Many of its ``cross-community'' subtleties would have been lost on the US movie watchers but I couldn't help thinking an Oscar would not have been universally accepted in this neck of the woods.

After all, Irish dancing was one of the issues at the heart of the UVF/LVF. At the famous Billy Wright/Willie McCrea rally in Portadown following the UVF death threat against Wright, he told the crowd how the PUP/UVF was selling out loyalism. Among his charges was ``...and they are learning Irish dancing on the Shankill Road''.

In one of the comic moments in the tragic opera that is loyalism, Billy Hutchinson went on BBC Radio the next morning to defend his party against this terrible charge. Great entertainment.


You may be interested to know that MI5 now lists its phone number. I'm not sure why, unless it's a quick way for their touts to get in touch, but maybe if you have a complaint against the British secret services it would be interesting to hear what they have to say.

The number is (00 44) 171 930 9000.


An article in Tuesday's Irish News caught my eye. It reported that senior British and Chinese officials recently held talks with the NIO during which the current peace process was discussed. The Irish News said the officials had ``negotiated the 1997 hangover (sic) of Hong Kong to China''.

An NIO official said, ``The group also visited Derry and the Giant's Causeway and Bushmills and generally partook of Northern Irish hospitality''.

That explains it, then.


A letter was recently posted in Lancashire, in England, addressed to The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ireland. It ended up with Sinn Féin in Belfast. Does someone in the Post Office have a crystal ball?


An exchange in Leinster House this week gave an interesting insight into the thinking in RTE.

Micheál MacDonncha, parliamentary aide to Caoimhghín O Caoláin, was asking RTE political correspondent Donal Kelly about the RTE news coverage of the previous day's debate on Articles Two and Three. Caoimhghín was the only TD to speak against the government line put forward by Bertie Ahern yet this wasn't covered.

Difficult to present a debate by showing only one side, you might think.

There was nothing new in what Sinn Féin said, according to Donal.

``Nor in what the government said,'' replied Micheál.

``Ah,'' revealed Donal, ``what the government says is news; what others say is views.''


I can't leave without drawing attention to a very peculiar book review from the Sunday Tribune written by our old friend Anthony McIntyre. It was of the latest book by (definitely not our friend) Malachi O'Doherty. The review was incredibly tough going, even with a big dictionary. Take this:

``By replacing nihilism with antagonism O'Doherty has evacuated the deconstructionist terrain, mythologising in the process.''

Yes, but does that mean it's good or bad? I think we should be told.

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