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15 Years Ago
The Irish Emigrant - May 8, 1988

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May 8, 1988 THE IRISH EMIGRANT Issue No.66

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Editor: Liam Ferrie Circulation: 279

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GOOD NEWS

I will start with some good news this week. For the fourth month in succession unemployment number have fallen. The April figures show a healthy drop of 5,400 in the total number unemployed. Even allowing for seasonal trends the drop is still 2,600. These figures are the lowest for seventeen months.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) forecast a 1% growth in the economy this year. As recently as January they were forecasting zero growth.

Good news too if you happen to have a few shares in the Jefferson Smurfit Group. They reported record profits for the twelve months to the end of January. Describing them as a record fails to highlight the full significance of the company's performance. Profits at 154m were 156% up on last year. Turnover was up 9% at 1,160m. Some of the company's U.S. acquisitions make up a substantial part of the profit and this was their first full year as part of the group. You would have done even better if your shares were in the James Crean group. They jumped 50p (just under 10%) after the group reported profits of 12.5m, more than 2m better than the most optimistic forecasts. Smurfit shares hardly moved as the results were apparently not unexpected.

Horan International Airport (Knock to you and me) is to get 1.3m in regional aid from the EC. The money is to be used to complete the airport's development by providing approach lights, aprons, navigational equipment and to tarmacadam the car park. The announcement of this caused a little political stir which you can read about in the political section.

There now, I have the good news out of the way so let's get down to business.

I.R.A. ATTACK IN HOLLAND

Nothing seems to have come from the investigations into the killing of the three British servicemen in Holland last Sunday. Some elements of the British press "named" those who were involved but they couldn't quite agree on the same set of names. A day or two later a bomb was found attached to a British officer's car at a base in Germany. This was dealt with and no one was injured.

THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS

Another row broke out when the BBC screened a programme similar to the one shown last week by Independent television. Some of the same witnesses appeared and repeated the allegations they had already made. However, two additional witnesses were produced who backed up the statements already made. One added, in relation to the shooting of Sean Savage, that he saw a man with a gun standing over another man on the ground. The gunman, with one foot on the chest of the other, pulled some sort of identification from his pocket and shouted to fleeing passers-by, "It's all right, it's the police" and then continued firing into his victim. Although the programme was only broadcast by BBC N. Ireland the British Government attempted to influence the Director General of the BBC into banning it. He rejected the appeal saying that it was of particular interest to the people of the North. The Labour Party in Britain welcomed the broadcasting of the programme.

TRAGEDIES

In a number of separate incidents during the week a total of nine people died in tragic circumstances. Two girls, aged nine and thirteen, were killed when a car mounted the footpath in Buncrana last Sunday. On Monday, two young members of the staff died from shotgun wounds in Sligo Hospital. A 20-year-old man shot his former fiancee (from Kiltimagh), also aged twenty, and then killed himself. This story was prominent in the news throughout the week as was the next tragedy.

On Tuesday, two women in Co.Wicklow went out horse-riding and did not return home. Their horses were found wandering near the River Dargle and it was assumed they had attempted to cross the river at a recognised crossing-point and had been swept away. The river was in flood after heavy rain on the east coast. One of the missing women was Mrs Lynda Kavanagh who is the wife of Mark Kavanagh, the property developer with a share of the contract to build the new financial services centre in Dublin. Mrs Kavanagh's body was found three miles downstream on Thursday.

A car was found in the sea off the pier at Rossaveal on Wednesday morning. Inside were the bodies of two young people from the area. One of the dead was local fisherman Alan Faherty. He left his father's trawler the previous night to drive Mrs Liz Curran home. It is thought he made a mistake while reversing the car. A similar accident happened in Carrickfergus and a 40-year-old woman was drowned.

MAN DIES IN SHOOT OUT

Two gunmen tried to raid a post office in Caher near Feakle in Co.Clare. In an ensuing gun battle with the Gardai one of the raiders was shot and the other escaped by hijacking a truck. The wounded man died later in hospital. He was named as Hugh Hehir from Ennis and he is believed by the Gardai to be a member of the IRA. He spent four years in Long Kesh in the seventies.

A sum of money had just been delivered to the small post office when two armed men knocked at the door. The postmistress opened the door and screamed so loudly that the men made off. She closed the door and ran to a neighbour where she contacted the post office in Feakle. At this stage the two men had second thoughts and tried to gain entry to the premises while at the same time the garda escort which accompanied the van delivering the money had reached Feakle post office. The two gardai, one of whom was armed, returned to Caher and attempted to block the road when they saw the raiders. The man who was driving the getaway car fired several shots at the Gardai. One shot was fired in return, hitting the driver.

Initially the IRA in Belfast said that Hehir had no connection with the organisation but, according to today's news, an IRA spokesman described him as a volunteer.

ANGLO-IRISH CONFERENCE MEETS

The Northern Secretary, Tom King, was in Dublin on Tuesday for a meeting of the Anglo-Irish conference. He first spent an hour talking to the Taoiseach. No statement was issued after this meeting. He went on to spend a number of hours talking to the Minister for Justice, Gerry Collins, who was standing in for Brian Lenihan who is still resting after being released from hospital.

The usual statement which accompanies these sessions was released telling us that progress was made but essentially saying nothing. Some other details did emerge afterwards. There is talk of co-operation to defeat a major smuggling racket which the IRA are supposed to be organising.

SOME AGREEMENT ON SCHOOL CUTBACKS ROW

The announcement last week of the retention of the six year school cycle should have solved a problem but a union leader responsible for teachers in the Vocational Schools system was quite upset and claimed that only the privileged children in society will benefit.

At the same time the Minister for Education announced that agreement had been reached with the INTO on class sizes in primary schools. Thirty-nine pupils will be the maximum class size. Where a teacher has to take more than one grade, as in small rural schools, the maximum class size will be thirty-five.

FISHING LICENCE ROW

After a Cabinet meeting on Friday the Government issued a strongly worded statement indicating that there will be no climb down on the rod licence decision. The only other news I noticed on this issue was that Minister for Sport, Frank Fahy, had a meeting with anglers in Oughterard. Nothing was conceded on either side.

I heard that Fianna Fail supporters in Clare who are also anglers are determined that Brendan Daly, Minister for the Marine, will not get re-elected at the next election. Daly is of course a T.D. for the area.

BRITISH SEAMEN'S STRIKE

All Sealink services between this country and Britain are still suspended as the ships' crews are refusing to work, in sympathy with their colleagues who are in dispute with P & O Ferries. The P & O service between Larne and Stranraer is also off. B+I services and the Cork-Swansea route are not affected.

The strike is beginning to have a major impact on our exports. Particularly badly hit is the meat trade. Meat exports to the U.K and the Continent have dropped by about 70%. Some meat plants have closed as a result.

Bord na Mona have reported 50% drop in exports. This is their busiest time of the year for exporting peat moss.

PRISON OFFICERS' STRIKE ENDS

Just when we had forgotten all about them the leaders of the Prison Officer's Association announced that progress had been made by an ICTU official who was acting as intermediary between the Officers and the Government. They said on Friday evening that they were putting proposals to their members with a recommendation that they be accepted. Voting took place on Saturday and it was announced today that the strike is over. Well, almost over; union leaders are to meet with Department of Justice staff to discuss a return to work.

> > > > > > > > B I T S A N D P I E C E S < < < < < < < <

- McDonalds are to send over a team of recruiters from the USA in the next few weeks to interview third level students in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. They intend to bring over 500 Irish students as full and part-time workers in their U.S. restaurants. In addition they will be offering fifty Irish graduates the opportunity to participate in their Management Development Programme.

- Paul Goldin, a well known hypnotist, settled out of court for an undisclosed sum after five people claimed that he failed to refund fees paid to him after failing to cure them of stammering.

- The High Court ruled that a district justice was wrong in refusing an extradition application in respect of former Irish Embassy official Kevin McDonald, the man accused of selling Irish passports to foreign nationals. The British authorities wanted him extradited last year. It is expected the case will be appealed to the supreme court.

- Knowing you all like a bit of scandal, however innocuous, I will include the news item on the former Government minister who appeared in court during the week. Austin Deasy, who was Minister for Agriculture in the last Government, was fined 30 for "dangerous overtaking" in Naas district court. He crossed a continuous white line to overtake a line of traffic.

- The Garda Representative Body held their annual conference in Killarney during the week. They received plenty of news coverage but nobody said anything controversial enough to make the front pages or get reported here.

- Two Irish nurses were kidnapped by guerrillas in Ethiopia about ten days ago. Both are relief workers with Concern. Their capture is not causing too much anxiety, as in previous similar kidnappings the victims were well treated and eventually released unharmed.

- Clontarf Golf Club has been refused a licence to sell alcohol on the basis that they do not allow women as full members.

- The RDS Spring show was held during the week. One of the major attractions was a team of Mounties from Canada.

- Emigration and a falling birth rate have forced planners to revise their estimates of the future population of the country and in particular the Dublin region.

- The Irish Cancer Society came up with a novel way of raising funds. They designated Saturday as "One Day for Life in Ireland". Everyone with a camera was urged to take photographs and submit them for possible publication in a book in the autumn. Each photograph submitted has to be accompanied by at least one pound. The whole idea received much publicity and seems to have been a big success.

- An Post workers are threatening a two day strike in the near future. They are annoyed at management proposals to stop paying them for overtime when they are on holiday.

- Another nuclear argument between this country and Britain seems about to break as there are indications that a pressurised water reactor may be built on Anglesey, sixty miles from Dublin. This is the same type that was involved in the accident at Three Mile Island in the U.S. some years ago.

> > > > > > > > N O R T H E R N N E W S < < < < < < < < <

- Five children in Toomebridge were slightly injured when one of two grenades they were playing with exploded. The grenades were of the type currently being used by the IRA.

- A number of Derry City football supporters were injured in the early hours of Monday morning, when stones were thrown at their coach as it passed through the mainly loyalist village of Ballymagorry, near Strabane. The supporters were returning home from last Sunday's cup final in Dublin.

- Nigel Dodds of the DUP and a right-hand man of Ian Paisley was elected Lord Mayor of Belfast. He has said he will continue to boycott links with the Republic in protest at the continuation of the Anglo-Irish agreement.

- A third man has been charged with the killing of two British soldiers at an IRA funeral six weeks ago. Ten others have already been charged with related offences.

- On Saturday night the Knocknamoe hotel in Omagh was badly damaged in a fire that took five hours to bring under control.

> > > > > > > > > G A L W A Y N E W S < < < < < < < < <

- Mike Hughes is delighted with himself. The City councillors agreed to site the new sports centre on University property at Dangan. Not quite on the spot that had originally been muted but according to Mike the location is excellent. Unfortunately none of the papers give Mike any credit for the part he played in this momentous decision! Maybe Mike will now get back to his real work of writing sports reports.

- Even more delighted with himself is Joe Snype of Digital who won 32,500 on the National Lottery. Joe was one of five people drawn to go to Dublin to spin the wheel for one of the big prizes. He was assured of winning at least 5,000 but could have won 250,000. When he spun the wheel it stopped at 20,000 but he was also awarded a bonus spin which brought him a further 12,500. As far as I know he came away with the most of any of the five contestants. I am reporting this because I am confident that none of you will start sending him begging letters. He has mine and that is enough!

- UCG has announced an 8.5% increase in tuition fees for next year.

- The Galway Lions club organised a clean up of the City's waterways today.

- Madden's Nurseries have left their long standing base on Taylor's Hill for a five acre site at Bushy Park a mile beyond Kelehan's. There is much speculation as to what the Taylor's Hill site will be used for.

> > > > > > > P O L I T I C A L N E W S < < < < < < <

- Fine Gael came out with a radical new proposal on taxation. They intend putting forward an amendment to the Finance Act to the effect that tax rates be reduced immediately so that the standard rate is 25% and the top rate 40%. Well, it wasn't really so radical as the same rates were proposed by the Progressive Democrats at the last election and ridiculed by Fine Gael. Clearly the Government is not going to accept these proposals and there is no question of Fine Gael forcing an election on this.

- A major row developed in the Dail when Labour T.D. Barry Desmond accused the Taoiseach of being in collusion with the developers of the proposed Dun Laoghaire marina. The Dail was suspended for a time. Desmond has kept up his attacks all week and was interviewed at length on radio today. Haughey denies that anything underhand took place and that any action he took was in the cause of progress. Officialdom has been talking about a marina for years but has never got beyond talking.

- Another good political row emerged in Galway. The Fine Gael MEPs organised a conference in Galway to which they invited an EC Commissioner who is in the same political grouping as themselves. His presence clearly worried Fianna Fail who suspected that he was going to announce a 1.3m EC grant to Knock airport and allow the Fine Gael party to collect the associated brownie points. To prevent this the Government leaked news of the grant to the media before the Commissioner had the opportunity. Cries of "foul", "cheat" and "cynical behaviour" followed. Meanwhile the management of the airport is delighted with their windfall.

> > > > > > > > B U S I N E S S N E W S < < < < < < < <

EXCHANGE RATES:

IRISH POUND May 6 Apr 29

Sterling 0.8518 0.8475

US Dollar 1.5865 1.5961

Deutschmark 2.0675 2.6682

French franc 9.0700 9.0690

Dutch guilder 2.9920 2.9920

Belgian franc 55.8200 55.8000

Spanish peseta 176.7400 176.3700

Swiss franc 2.2251 2.2210

Canadian dollar 1.9612 1.9600

Australian dollar 2.0604 2.1048

- The Guinness Peat Group (a British financial services company) announced it was selling its 19.6% stake in Guinness Peat Aviation. The decision is related to plans to rationalise the company's operations.

- Insider dealing on the stock exchange is to be made a criminal offence with fines of up to 10,000 and 10-year jail sentences.

- B+I said that the first quarter results were 700,000 better than expected but refused to give any further details.

> > > > > > > > > > > > S P O R T < < < < < < < < < < < <

> > > > > > > > > > GAA < < < < < < < < < <

Munster Football Championship:

Limerick 2-4 Clare 0-5

Tipperary 1-9 Waterford 3-11

- The latter score is approximate. There was too much noise in the Ferrie household when the score was read out on the radio. Waterford did win.

- I think I neglected to mention that Kerry footballer Mikey Sheehy announced his retirement a few weeks ago. This week his team mate Seanie Walsh has also said he is retiring. Both played important roles in Kerry's string of successes in the last ten or twelve years. There is no suggestion that they are retiring to give the other counties a chance! Walsh has had to give up on doctor's orders and it is thought that he has arthritis of the hip.

> > > > > > > > > > RUGBY < < < < < < < < < <

Munster Senior Cup Final:

Shannon 13 Garryowen 9

Leinster Senior Cup Final:

Dublin Univ 6 Blackrock Coll 12

> > > > > > > > CYCLING < < < < < < < <

- Sean Kelly continues to go well in the Tour of Spain. During the week, when he was just over two minutes behind the leader and in second place, he said that if could hold that gap until Saturday night he would be well pleased. He went into Saturday's stage in the same position but surprisingly pulled back one and a half minutes. He is now in third place, thirty-three seconds off the lead and it is considered well within his capabilities to win the race which finishes next Sunday. There was no change in the leading positions today.

> > > > > > > > GOLF < < < < < < < <

- Des Smyth was the only Irish golfer to make any impact in the Epson Grand Prix matchplay championship. He went out to an Australian in the quarter final by 2 and 1. He had beaten the favourite Ian Woosnam by the same score in the previous round.

> > > > > > > > BOXING < < < < < < < <

- Ireland's amateur boxers beat a Cuban team by six bouts to three.

> > > > > > > > > > > W E A T H E R < < < < < < < < < < <

Dublin had an inch of rain in the twenty-four hours to 6:00pm on Tuesday. It was a bit damp here in the west but not nearly as bad as Dublin. It cleared up after that and by Friday we were basking in bright sunshine for most of the day, or I would have been if I did not have to go to work. Saturday was probably the warmest day (about 17C) of the year although it did turn hazy after bright sunshine in the morning. Today was cooler again.

Latest Temperatures:

Night 8C Day 15C



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