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Our Heritage,Knackers , posh litterbugs,and the infamous Wicklow County Council

Fianna Fail gunships in anti -litter offensive in the Kerry Mountains,February 2005. 

When it comes to heritage, Orwell's 1984 is here
October 2004.
Anna Mitterer, an Austrian citizen living in Ireland, is a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. This week she expresses her horror at Irish society's hostile attitude to its heritage and identity,


"HAVING been campaigning against a 'luxury' large scale mass housing development in the small heritage village of Castlelyons, Co Cork, for almost a year now, I have come to the conclusion that Ireland of the 21st century boasts the most hostile climate for those interested in her intricate history, heritage, culture and identity.
Regardless of the village's opposition, An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission on July 16, 2004, and this being a final verdict, there are not any realistic options left to repeal it.
It very much seems that ruthless capitalism (profit) has replaced an authoritarian version of Catholicism (religion) in today's Ireland.
There seems to be an almost self-sacrificing dedication and pious reverence to all things deemed as 'progress' by the people commanding this country, and 'progress' means devout commitment to all ways of accumulating worshipful amounts of money in a very unequally distributed way within Irish society.
'Progress' is ultimately achieved in their opinion in a dutiful and self-righteous manner by bulldozing down the past, laying smooth and pure motorways over it, covering the depraved rolling green hills and old towns and villages with sterile high density mass dwellings and erecting temples of materialism, where the devoted followers should find solace in spending not just their precious time, but their hallowed money.
Incinerators are created that might take the sins of us all, lure foreign companies in this sanctified empire with prospects of lax environmental restrictions and tax relief, and not asking the laymen members of this proposed anti-spiritual union what they really aspire or wish for.
Or is the cultural revolution in 21st century Ireland, trying to eliminate any trace of Irish identity, an unprecedented hatred performed for the sake of 'progress' against everything that constitutes a country, so rich in history (albeit also one of conflict), in the literary, musical, ancient traditions of its people?
This is a country with a built heritage of significant archaeological and architectural importance, and truly blessed with a diversity of outstandingly beautiful landscapes.
A country that succeeded in retaining its identity through centuries of foreign rule is now risking to lose it by destroying its own heritage (alas, how hypocritically this word is frequently used).
It is time that Ireland, after having received more than generous financial support from the EU over the past decades, must finally stop its inward looking policy of destruction and feeble economical stability, and take interest in learning from the past mistakes of other European countries, and look out for what they are doing now.
Shouldn't we be past an Orwellian 1984 at that stage, or would that imply that we are now, in 2004, part of an even more dreadful vision of the future come true?
Ultimately, it will not save Irish identity to give the notorious sterile and anonymous mass housing estates illustrious names like the luxury 'Ard Carcair' development, or declaring the M50 a national monument.
In Irish newspeak, preservation of heritage means its destruction, freedom means control, luxury means spiritual famine, cultural diversity means cultural conditioning.
So the rulers of Ireland in 2004 very much combine the practices of the former Eastern Block with a kind of absurd totalitarian capitalism.
Materialism is determined to entirely supercede the once unique Irish spiritualism of myths and boundless imagination that has always been the strong link between Ireland's people and the Irish nature they have found solace in through the ages.
Social salvation will not be found through blind faith in 'progress' and insatiable hunger for profit.
How about the Government being inspired to carry 1984 to the extremes of ultimate profit through energy production and flooding an area formerly inhabited by 4 million people, getting rid of Tara and all the rest of problems at once, for a major Atlantic dam project, not unlike to what has been done recently in China almost 30 years after the end of the Cultural Revolution? "       (letter ends)

I really loved this article in the Sunday Independent,October 11th 2004,particularly the bit about the posh cars arriving to dump their rubbish in the heart of "The Liberties" in old Dublin!

. 'Travellers on illegal dump want compensation for building work, interrupting their business.'!

"A halting site in central Dublin,near the Guinness Brewery, was last year considered an eyesore by many. Twelve months later, the Grand Canal Harbour site has been transformed into a full-scale illegal dump which Dublin City Council says will cost at least €125,000 to clean up. The knackers were not slow to capitalize on the increasing profitability of the rubbish business,after all they have been involved in the trade long before Bertie Aherne turned it into a goldmine.

Heavens we may even see the C.A.B. investigating the poor itinerants who display their new found wealth ostentatiously-with new four-by-four jeeps and so on,like the Foxrock set do.
Three times a week, lorries laden with old electrical goods, building rubble and furniture trundle into the site - just across the road from the Citys most popular tourist spot, The Guinness Storehouse - and dump their loads. By night the rubbish is set alight, pumping toxic fumes into the atmosphere. The site has also become infested with a large colony of rats.
Yet, incredibly, the head of the Traveller families on the site, Sam Maguire, last week approached local builders working on the construction of neighbouring apartment blocks and demanded compensation money.
Mr Maguire claimed the dust and noise of the building works was distressing his family and causing them to fall ill.
He said: "There is building going on here this last seven months and the children are sick from the dust coming through the windows."
He denied having anything to do with the illegal dumping and said he wanted the council to clean up the site.
Mr Maguire said: "Local lads come in and dump stuff. There is nothing we can do, people get killed in this city over less. Tips are so dear people might not have the money so they bring the odd buggy or van of stuff,and we look after them".!
"No one's taking any money here."he was quick to interject." There are rats under us and the rats would be far worse if it wasn't for the burning," he said.
Director of Sini Holdings, John Kelly, has completed one block of apartments and is working on a second, both of which overlook the Traveller halting site.
He said: "I have no problem with a clean, well-run halting site, but I draw the line when my foreman is asked for compensation for dirt and nuisance from someone living on an illegal dumping site."
The burning of fridges and other white goods containing dangerous CFCs has caused serious concern to neighbouring residents.
Windows at James Street CBS, which is separated from the halting site by just a thin strip of no-man's land, regularly have to be shut to protect pupils from the plumes of noxious smoke.
School principal Willie O'Brien said: "There has been no problem for years, but recently it has become a scrap-yard. We have to call the fire-brigade on a regular basis because the black smoke blows in through the windows. The smoke is dense and has a rubbery, plastic smell. It is full of poisonous gases."
He added: "There is an area between the school and the halting site which becomes flooded and is infested with rats. We can see the rats from the school. Rats are always dangerous, but it is also very bad for the morale of the staff, and for parents and pupils."
Neighbours have recorded the registration numbers of lorries transporting rubbish to the halting site and passed this information on to Dublin City Council, but say they are frustrated by a lack of action.
Manager of the Pim Street Apartments, Liam Kelly, said: "Nothing has been done and people have started moving out. The Travellers themselves are not very approachable and there have been a lot of confrontations."
Sini Holdings is angered by a lack of response from Dublin City Council, as the company has paid €250,000 in levies to the council.
Sini director John Kelly said: "The council do not return our calls. This area was targeted for restoration and people took a risk investing here. It is the council's job to deal with this and they are not doing anything.
"The council is frightened of all the Traveller lobby groups. If you say anything about it, you are labelled a racist capitalist, but I grew up in this area and went to James Street CBS and I am trying to do something for the area. Anyone else who had an illegal dump like this would be carted off."
School principal Willie O'Brien is also angered by the council's response. He said: "Dublin City Council is responsible for running halting sites and it is not managing this one properly. We have no gripe with Travellers. We also see people in posh cars coming down and dumping their scrap on the strip of land between the school and the halting site, and we want the council to block that off."
The halting site was built 10 years ago to accommodate 14 families. Now that number has dwindled to three families living in five caravans.
Head of Dublin City Council Travelling Section, Sean Moran, said: "Things started going downhill about three or four years ago.
"People are people and we have to deal with this humanely. We have talked, written and spoken to them over the years and had the gardai working with us, but all to no avail. The council set up a committee earlier this year to address the problem of illegal dumping on the halting site." Mr Moran said "all options are on the table" and he expects a decision on what action to take will be reached "within a couple of months".
Meanwhile back in the hilly billy country,:the county of Wicklow,formerly known as "The Garden Of Ireland",it may be renamed: "The Dumping Ground Of Ireland".Little do the elected councillors care.

Wicklow county councillors took some time off in october 2004,from re-zoning pockets of land all over the county to enrich their cronies,and discussed the fascinating dilemma; that before the new houses can be built,-the rubbish ,that their less civic minded neighbours (cement Roadstone)have deposited all over the hills and glens,will have to be sorted and removed-at the taxpayers expense-as usual.

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of domestic, commercial and hazardous waste have yet to be moved from four illegal dumps, three years after they were discovered, Wicklow county councillors heard at their monthly gathering.
Council officials told the councillors that they had encountered difficulties in getting the owners of most of the sites and those suspected of the illegal dumping to deal with the waste.(Whats wrong with a few prison sentences to buck them up?)
Councillors were also told that there were serious concerns about the potential impact of illegal dumps on drinking water at lands in Blessington, owned by CRH subsidiary Roadstone, which said it had been unaware of the illegal dumps until they were discovered by the council.(this is the company that used to play host to the Cayman Islands Tax Dogers Club).They were never aware of that carry-on either!
The details emerged during an emergency debate by councillors to discuss proposals by Roadstone to deal with up to 115,000 tonnes of illegal waste on its site by removing recyclable and hazardous material, and burying the remainder in a one-off landfill.
The proposals have met with considerable opposition from locals in the Blessington area, who protested outside the council chambers yesterday afternoon, along with residents living near other illegal dump locations.
The proposals were approved by council staff.
During the meeting, councillors from west Wicklow, including Mr Edward Timmins, Mr Tommy Cullen and Mr Jim Ruttle, outlined their opposition to the proposals, and called for all of the waste to be removed.
Mr Timmins said it was the only way to restore public confidence.
Wicklow county manager Mr Eddie Sheehy said that Roadstone had worked closely with the council to find a solution to the dump problem, and that it was the the only landowner to date to have done so in relation to the illegal sites.
The company had to date paid the council more than €550,000 towards the cost of investigating the site.
Mr Sheehy also said that the council had recently been paid €200,000 by another illegal dumper for the investigation cost in relation to another site at Coolnamadra.
However, he said that a High Court order from 2002 to remove the waste, some of it hazardous medical material, had yet to be complied with.
The council has also issued a warning notice in relation to Whitestown, the site of the largest illegal dump, estimated at over 250,000 tonnes, he said.
The council has also received no definite proposals in relation to the clean-up of another large site in west Wicklow - Stevenson's Quarry.
Mr Sheehy added that the site of the Roadstone dumps was on an aquifer, which supplies drinking water to houses in Blessington.
This was "a matter of serious concern to us", he said.(The fact that one third of all new housing stock built in Ireland last year,was in rural areas where groundwater polluting septic tanks are the only sewage outlet,is not a matter for even, passing comment)
However, he pointed out that continuous testing of water supplies had resulted in no discoveries of contamination to date, although he acknowledged there could be the possibility of some ground water pollution on the site.
If there is one thing that the sheep shaggers of Wicklow dislike-it is paying taxes.Maybe the cost can be added to the Dublin Jackeens bin charges next year!

"Dear God-Joe Higgins will go flaming mad! Bertie Ahern have you any idea what you've started.The country was lawless enough before you started stealth taxing the rubbish- for selling  off to your pals in the privitization sector"!

I would like to end this discussion on a lighter more positive note,and recommend the following knackers for the "Irish Entrepreneur of the year award" if such a title exists in Celtic Tigerland.Our cubs have reached all corners of the globe.!

(Irish Independent,January 2005)

"Four Irishmen have been arrested by police in the Canary Islands ( my own backyard.!) following the discovery of a tarmacadam business employing illegal immigrants.

The men,ranging in age from 23 to 40,were detained after four illegal immigrants,one a fourteen year old boy,were found resurfacing a car park on the Island of Gran Canaria.

Police said the immigrants had been promised that they would be given contracts and that their situation would be regularised.

Two of the Irishmen were stopped in a van heading towards the town of Galdar with five algerians on board.!


Meanwhile back in Costa Del Wicklow  itinerants are in trouble again.! Prosecutions are pending over illegal dumping which  has sullied one of the Wicklow,s finest beaches. A massive clean up got under way in February 2005 and Magheramore has now been returned to its former glory.

The land in front of the beach is owned privately and the €2,500 clean-up was carried out by the council with the extensive co-operation of landowner, well known property developer Niall Mellon.

Wicklow County Council enforcement staff have once again blamed bogus rubbish collectors for the dumping.(Where better to dump it than at the doorstep of a local developer. Even the knackers have a sense of humour.!)

More than 50 bags of domestic waste along with fridges, cookers, nappies, clothes and a headless statue of the Virgin Mary were strewn over an area used as a car park, just metres from the beach.

Council enforcement officer, Wayne Jones, confirmed that the council intended to initiate legal proceedings against the culprits within the next two weeks.

He had found evidence, including household bills, during a search of the dumped material. He said the rubbish emanated from Wicklow town

Even women were accused of running illegal waste operations in the ever controversial county of wicklow,the garden of Ireland where anything goes-thanks for that Fianna Fail.!

Roadstone appear to have some competition in the illegal dumping sector.!
In February 2005 a woman appeared before Wicklow District Court over allegations she was involved in illegally collecting waste without a permit ,but was given the benefit of the probation act.

Mary O'Brien, 23 Ocean View, Ballyguile, claimed all the green waste spotted in a van heading from Wicklow town to her house came from her own back garden, and denied an illegal waste collection operation was running out of her home.

Andrew Lawless, Senior Engineer for Wicklow County Council, followed a large pick-up truck full to the brim with tree branches, twigs and bits of shrubs from outside the Grand Hotel to the address of Mary O'Brien on February 5, 2004.

She was served notices requiring her to provide information to the county council. After receiving no reply, another letter was sent to 23 Ocean View requiring information on the quantity of waste and the destination of the waste source.

Again no correspondence was forthcoming, leading the council to believe that the vehicle was carrying waste without a permit.

O'Brien told the court that the green waste was the result of renovations being carried out in her home and that all the truck's full load came from her back garden. She denied any suggestion that she was wilfully operating an illegal business.

Defence Solicitor David Tarrant, produced a receipt in court from The Murrough recycling centre dated February 5 which he said proved his client's load had been disposed off in the correct manner.

Mr. Tarrant told Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla that his client was a settled Traveller who had difficulties with forms and documents and this was the reason why she failed to reply to any of the council's correspondence.

Judge O Buachalla found the facts of the case proven, but said he wouldn't proceed to conviction.Nice to see a little humanity,from tim e to time, in our judiciary.!

Meanwhile back in the Kerry mountains,an anti illegal rubbish dumping campaign is in full swing.

The government of Columbia may (with generous american funding) be spraying the farmers coca fields with pesticide to eliminate the scourge of cocaine,a fashionable drug in the U.S. cocktail party circuit,and funding helicopters etc. to rid their nation of this undesireable addiction, but down in the Magillacuddy reeks the local councillors-heretefore famous for building McMansions on every hillock and Bohereen-are into high tech weaponry to eliminate the illegal rubbish tax evaders who burn their waste by moonlight.!

KERRY County Council is paying thousands of euro for a stealth helicopter to catch people who illegally burn or dump rubbish,to evade this the latest of Fianna Fail,s stealth taxes which are creeping into every nook and cranny of the Emerald Isle.

The big-brother approach has prompted a number of people to contact local representatives and has infuriated Councillor Brendan Cronin.

The helicopter hire costs Kerry County Council over €1,000 per hour and has been used more frequently by the council’s Environment Section in recent months. The helicopter is usually hired for periods of an hour to two hours and can cover one third of the entire county in one trip.

A senior council official confirmed to The Kerryman this week that helicopters are used by Kerry County Council from time to time, usually by the Roads or Planning Sections. However, he confirmed that the council’s get-tough approach to illegal burning and dumping has now incorporated the use of helicopter. A north-Cork based company confirmed to The Kerryman that it has hired its helicopter to Kerry County Council on a number of occasions. The company’s hire charge is €1,100 per hour.(probably owned by a local Fianna Fail councillor)

Over the last year, up to four officials at any one time have flown in the helicopter and photographed what they deemed to be illegal dumping or burning and relied on the photographic evidence to initiate an investigation.

However, no photographic evidence gathered from a helicopter has been used in a court prosecution and officials hold reservations about the admissibility of photographs taken from ‘big brother’ in the sky.

The most recent statistics show that the number of convictions secured by Kerry County Council for illegal dumping is relatively small. Despite spending thousands of euro on helicopter hire and a total of €1.4 million on investigating illegal dumping, the local authority secured just two convictions in 2003. It investigated 389 cases in the same year.

Independent Councillor Brendan Cronin launched a scathing attack on the council’s ‘big brother’ approach this week. He tabled a motion for a meeting on Wednesday on the issue in an effort to get answers from council officials about the frequency and cost of helicopter use.

(No weaponry has been fitted to the copters according to official sources, but the use of non lethal "slurry bombs"manufactured from waste pig sileage is being considered by the authorities as a deterrant to lawbreakers.)

This is a new  nuclear-I mean nitrate-dimension, and the big brother in the sky approach is quite disturbing,

Daily Dioxin tonic for Meath residents;

The waste incinerator that Indaver Ireland wants to build in Carranstown, Co

Meath, would not be permitted in the United States, according to an American

professor of chemistry, Dr Paul Connett.

He told the Environmental Protection Agency oral hearing into objections to

granting a licence to the facility that the legacy of incineration was dioxin

levels in food, body fat and babies.

He disputed statistics produced by a witness for Indaver Ireland who said the

dioxin exposure for humans from the incinerator would be insignificant.

Instead, Dr Connett said, the exposure to dioxins could exceed the WHO's

daily limit. The levels produced, he estimated, would translate into an

incremental cancer risk of between 825 and 1,325 in a million.

More useful ado about itinerants.

Sunday Independent.New years day 2006.

THERE is only one Traveller in the gardai, we learned last week. It is a surprise that there are any.

Travellers are a criminal class to most gardai. They are a criminal class to most people.

The public reaction to the Patrick Ward case brought that out tellingly. It comes out too in everyday conversations where people joke or complain about "knackers" and their ways. Their alleged light-fingeredness, their lack of respect for anyone else's property, their almost total absence from the parts of the big-brother network we must all be part of, such as the tax net; while at the same time their strong presence in the social welfare system and the prisons. They are barred from pubs by landlords who are called racists and these same pubs are frequented by the rest of us who do not complain that the place is not half filled with Travellers.

The debate about whether or not they are a separate ethnic group goes on endlessly, pointlessly and becomes an excuse to do nothing. While we discuss their culture, their language, their distinctive look, we can ignore the way they live day in, day out.

Only occasionally do we have to examine this and face up to it, like when children in a caravan on a council site are burned to death and it turns out there was not an adequate water supply nearby.

Travellers do themselves few favours in trying to win the sympathy, and more importantly, the support, of the rest of us. They are an oppressed minority. They have been oppressed by neglect for decades. That was never a problem - for us - when they were humble and knew their place. They lived in caravans and under canvas, they travelled around from place to place, they were itinerant workers useful to farmers with seasonal crops and housewives with pots to mend. A few traded in horses of low breeding. And sometimes they begged from door to door. Occasionally they stole, maybe a chicken from a yard or a warm jumper off a clothesline.

But when their usefulness became obsolete, there was just the begging and the stealing left. Good people that we were we continued to give them money and food and clothes - our old clothes. And sometimes they would discard half the clothes you gave them - just throw them on the bushes up around the corner. Now they were getting uppity, losing their humility, and they were beginning to mess up the place.

And when horses were replaced by tractors and cars, they started trading in scrap and old vehicles. No, they didn't have showrooms, or warehouses, they did it on the side of the road. And old washing machines and bangers soon filled the lay-bys and the long acre where once their scrawny ponies grazed. And more and more like the native American Indians and the Aborigines of Australia, they took to the drink.

They were still the same separate group. We said they were separate. They said they were separate. So it must be true.

A sort of catch 22 evolved to make the problem insolvable. The only way to improve their lot was to house them. But they didn't want to be housed. If you gave them a house they would use the furniture for firewood, camp on the front lawn and take off in the summer. Not good for the property prices.

So what's the point. Leave them as the are. Leave them to their own culture. Which is what we did largely. But their culture didn't stand still. It evolved.

There evolved two classes of Travellers, the rich and the poor. The rich got involved in tarmac and carpets and anything else that could be done from the back of a Hiace van and their success could be seen from the increasing ornamentation of their bigger and brighter chrome-lined caravans pulled by Landrovers and Jeeps. Another manifestation of their wealth, peculiar to the Travellers was the ever more ostentatious decoration of the graves of their dead. Many of these graves are of children. Few Travellers make it to what we would call old age.

When they wed they would take over a whole village and celebrate. The coming together for a funeral or a wedding or a horse fair or some bare-knuckle boxing, often ignited an old clan feud into savagery. This was the public manifestation of the well-off Traveller. This was what the rest of us saw.

But there were still poor Travellers. The Traveller with nothing except a large family that continued to simply exist from day to day. Mostly on social welfare. Some on welfare scams.

These two groups had one thing in common. Neither of them had much use or respect for the law or for education. So as the rest of the population became better educated and better off the rift between settled and Traveller grew.

Efforts to improve their lot by some enlightened members of both the settled and the Traveller community, and indeed by that new grouping - the settled Travellers - were well meaning, but ineffective against the prejudice of both sides. There were discussions, protests, deputations, token court cases for the right to buy drink in licensed premises. There was even a much praised movie last year, Pavee Lackeen, starring a young Traveller girl and featuring some members of her family. All very nice, very worthy. Very feel-good.

At official level effectively nothing was done. Some small progress was made in getting a tiny number of Traveller children to attend secondary school. A few even stayed to do their Leaving Cert - against the odds. Girls who tried it were told by their peers it was pointless because soon they would be married and having the first of their many children for a husband who would be their lord and master. Boys were mocked by their peers who lay in bed for most of the day and in the evening welcomed their ambitious brothers home with jeers at their school uniforms.

But a few persisted. A few still do. They are little rays of sunshine, but they are up against it. And the chances are that in the long term they will be crushed by the opposition of their own and by our indifference.

The problem of the Traveller in Irish society today is much worse than it has ever been. The patriarchal and anti-woman nature of the Traveller culture, and the distrust of the settled community is all that survives of a once moral tribe. They are no longer ruled by Catholic church principles anymore than the rest of us. And criminality and drug and alcohol abuse is as rife among some of their young men - and has been for a generation now - as it is among some of our young men.

That situation will not improve by itself. The policy of neglect has not worked - never could have. Drastic measures are needed. If public authorities are to provide accommodation in whatever form for Travellers, they must do so up to the full capacity of what is needed and to a standard that public officials and representatives would consider habitable for themselves.

But mostly the solution lies in education. There must be a long-term education plan to transform the next generation of Travellers into knowledgeable young people equipped to take their place as equals beside (if not yet among) the settled community. Only in that way will they aspire to live normal, useful, moral lives, where men and women are equal, work is the acceptable way of getting money, and the Garda Siochana is a career option - not the enemy.

This is necessarily a longer-term solution. Because a necessary, if harsh, part of this process is the acceptance that most of the present generation of Travellers can be written off in terms of schooling. The best that can be done is to make sure that whatever part of their culture is passed on, it does not include the criminality, the lack of respect for the law and especially, for the education system.

Here is a real social policy challenge for Ministers for Justice, Law Reform, Equality, Children, Education and Housing, to get their teeth into in 2006.

And if the fact that this is a wrong that really needs to be put right isn't reason enough for action, perhaps we could see a response to self-interest. Let us do something before some smart barrister makes a name by persuading Travellers that they have a potentially huge constitutional class action against the State; or before some of the sore-head parties like Sinn Fein or the Socialist Workers remind Travellers that each and every one of them is entitled to vote.

Perhaps in once and for all sorting out the problem of our own traditional underclass, we will learn something practical about the real application of multiculturalism we have talked so much about since economic migrants first started coming here five years ago.

Willie Kealy

VERSION 1 of the Clint Eastwood style farmer-avenger from Mayo;

THE Padraig Nally Support Group thanked the thousands of well-wishers who sent the jailed farmer Christmas cards and letters.

Nally, who was convicted of the manslaughter of Traveller John 'Frog' Ward, in 2005,received over 3,000 Christmas cards and letters to his prison cell and home, from Ireland and abroad.

Well-wishers from Ireland, as well as Britain, Germany, Australia, and America, sent Christmas cards, Mass bouquets and prayer booklets, as well as many hand-written letters of support.

The mail arrived to Nally's cell in the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, as well as to his south Co Mayo farmhouse.

A spokesman said: "We received over 3,000 separate items of post between everything. We thank everybody from the bottom of our hearts.

"We were further heartened by the level of support expressed in the correspondence in relation to the injustice done to Padraig by the severity of the sentence handed down to him."

The support group made an appeal in early December asking people to show their support by sending cards to the Midlands Prison.

A special bank account has been put in place to help with the running of Nally's farm.

Sentencing Nally in November, Mr Justice Paul Carney told the Central Criminal Court that it was the most difficult case he had to deal with in more than 14 years on the bench. The trial heard Nally shot Mr Ward twice and also beat him 20 times with a stick in October 2004.

Nally claimed in his defence that he believed his life was under threat

Version 2 of the Clint Eastwood style farmer-avenger from Mayo

The John Ward Support Group yesterday thanked the thousands of well-wishers who sent the deceased knackers family, Christmas cards and letters.

His wife received over 3,000 Christmas cards and letters to her caravan home, from Ireland and abroad.

Well-wishers from Ireland, as well as Britain, Germany, Australia, and America, sent Christmas cards, Mass bouquets and prayer booklets, as well as many hand-written letters of condolence on the death of her husand.

. A spokesman " Itinerants Against Racism" said: "We received over 3,000 separate items of post between everything. We thank everybody from the bottom of our hearts.

"We were further heartened by the level of support expressed in the correspondence in relation to the injustice done to John by the light sentence handed down to his cold blooded murderer.

The support group made an appeal in early December asking people to show their support by sending cards to the caravan site.

A special bank account has been put in place to help with the feeding of John,s eleven children.

Sentencing Nally,his murderer, in November, Mr Justice Paul Carney told the Central Criminal Court that it was the most difficult case he had to deal with in more than 14 years on the bench. The trial heard Nally shot Mr Ward twice and also beat him 20 times with a stick in October 2004.

Nally claimed in his defence that he believed his life was under threat.

The true version is here;

http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=1536889&issue