Category: Archive

Around Ireland In Belfast, lessons in pain

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Three decades ago, her image shocked the world, and helped turn the tide of American opinion against the Vietnam war.

Last week, in Belfast, the woman whose napalm-scorched body sent shock waves around the world called on victims in Northern Ireland to fight through their pain.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, Kim Phuc recently spoke to children at Derry’s Model Primary School just a few hours after meeting Clare Gallagher, a victim of another generation’s atrocities, this one in Omagh.

A survivor of one of Vietnam’s most terrible incidents, Phuc said her pain was no different than the physical and emotional injuries inflicted by the Real IRA in Omagh last August.

The harrowing picture of Kim Phuc as a 9-year-old girl screaming in agony was credited with helping to bring to an end America’s involvement in Vietnam.

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Phuc met a modern-day victim when she was introduced to the 15-year-old Gallagher, who was blinded in the Omagh atrocity last August. Phuc talked of the terrible psychological impact the napalm bombing had on her, making her believe her scars would prevent her from ever getting married or having children of her own.

"But now I have a wonderful husband and two lovely sons," she said.

Phuc was due to meet with Derry schoolchildren and to lead the annual Famine Walk in County Mayo.

Angling for love

Who says romance is dead.

One romantic Englishman landed himself his catch of a lifetime when he baited his Irish girlfriend’s fishing line with a £2,700 diamond engagement ring.

Londoner Quinten McCauley staged his elaborate proposal on an Oxfordshire lakeside and his bride to be, Dubliner Ann Hayden, fell for it, well, hook, line and sinker.

The fishing mad couple now plan to be married in Ireland by one of Ann’s brothers, who is a priest.

To ensure that his fiancé got the message, McCauley also paid £425 for a plane to fly 100 miles from Brighton and tow a banner over the lakeside that read: "Annie, will you marry me? Love, Quin."

"I was so surprised and so shocked I just couldn’t believe it. I was so overwhelmed," she said.

Without Ann knowing, Quinten had attached the ring to a metal trace on her fishing line and cast it out into the lake.

"The whole scenario took a while to sink in. The ring was obviously for me but it was just such a big surprise that my mind went blank," she said. Ironically she had recently accused McCauley of not being romantic enough.

— Andrew Bushe

Galway’s gangsteress

Move over, Galway gangsters, there’s a new moll in town.

Galway gardai have confirmed that a British "crime queen" has moved over to Ireland and they have tracked her to Western Ireland.

Gardai at Mill street station also say they have been in contact with the British police about the woman, who is said to have moved from London to Galway recently, reports the Tuam Herald.

Although gardai have contacted other city officials about the woman’s whereabouts, they are not aware of her having been involved in any criminal activity.

According to the newspaper, the woman, who is not named, is alleged to have operated an underground network of criminals involved in multibenefit fraud, as well as theft and false document circulation. Two people associated with her fraud racket in London have already been jailed.

The mystery criminal mastermind escaped the police net in London by flying to America and earlier this year she returned to Ireland on a flight from New York to Dublin. She has since taken up residence in Galway city where some of her old London gang have joined her.

British authorities are still interested in talking to the woman. Galway Gardai say their investigations into a number of alleged dole fraud swindles are ongoing, but the London has not been linked to any of them.

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