getActionObject(action_path) is the method you are looking for.
Another problem with this:
getActionById is defined as public, getActionObject as private, so you
can't use it in any skin scripts or templates :-(
I'd be very much up for getting together on IRC and hammering this out.
All you need is a recently Plone 2.1 bundle and a lot of patience. I can
send you the patch I have so far to get you started.
Anyone else is also, of course, welcome...
What times/dates are good for people? Any time on monday is good for me :-)
Simplistix - Content Management, Zope & Python Consulting
Zope-CMF maillist - Zope-CMF@lists.zope.org
See http://collector.zope.org/CMF for bug reports and feature requests