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Irish Times


  • Originally published 07/28/2013

    Value of Boston College tapes diminished by anonymous voices

    There are voices and they talk about the death of Jean McConville. It may not matter. After two years of legal proceedings in the US, a set of audiotapes in a Boston College archive are supposed to answer questions about McConville’s 1972 murder by members of the IRA, who claim they suspected her of informing for the British army in Belfast.The voices on the tapes are said to belong to former militants from the organisation that took McConville from her home, shot her dead and then buried her on a beach in the South.But the prolonged court battle may produce evidence of questionable legal value, as Boston College now says it is unable to identify some of the interviewees....

  • Originally published 07/23/2013

    Development in Dublin could destroy historic well

    The construction of the cross- city Luas line will destroy a holy well associated with St Patrick, Jonathan Swift and the introduction of frogs to Ireland, a historian has claimed.Gary Branigan, author of Ancient & Holy Wells of Dublin, said the line would pass over St Patrick’s Well as it makes its way past Trinity College. The underground well would be destroyed in the process, he said.The Railway Procurement Agency said it was aware of the well, which is a recorded monument, but said it would not be affected by the Luas works.

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Ireland considers making history non-compulsory

    UCD history professor Diarmaid Ferriter said plans to remove history as a compulsory subject under the new junior cycle programme were “very worrying for the future”.Would the student “be equipped to analyse effectively the present?”, he said as part of a History Teachers’ Association of Ireland delegation speaking to the Oireachtas education committee today.The Association expressed “grave concern” at the removal of their subject as compulsory under the new junior cycle programme. History “may not be offered” at junior level and “does not have to be offered under the statements of learning,” Association president Gerard Hanlon said referring to the criteria to be met under the planned junior cycle programme which is to change history from 2017.

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Is distinctive DNA marker proof of Irish genocide?

    Did you know Ireland has the highest concentration of men with the R1b DNA marker? No fewer than 84 per cent of all Irish men carry this on their Y chromosome....“The high prevalence rates have always perplexed Irish geneticists and historians,” says Alastair Moffat of IrelandsDNA. The firm’s research proposes a new hypothesis. There is already established evidence suggesting that the first farmers, (carrying the Y chromosome lineage of ‘G’, which can be found across Europe) arrived in Kerry about 4,350BC.According to IrelandsDNA, the so called ‘G-Men’ may have established farming in Ireland “but their successful culture was almost obliterated by what amounted to an invasion, even a genocide, some time around 2,500BC” (the frequency of G in Ireland is now only 1.5 per cent). “There’s a cemetery in Treille [France], where ancient DNA testing has been carried out and almost all men carry the ‘G’ marker but the women don’t,” says Moffat. They carry native/indigenous markers. This strongly suggests incoming groups of men. Because the R1b marker is still so prevalent in Ireland and is also frequently found in places like France and northern Spain we believed that around 2,500 BC, the R1b marker arrived in Ireland from the south.”...