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15 Years Ago
The Irish Emigrant - September 30, 1991

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September 30, 1991 THE IRISH EMIGRANT Issue No.243

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Editor: Liam Ferrie Circulation: 1,000

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It was a depressing week, dominated by continuing allegations of financial scandal and abuse of power. The leaders of Fine Gael and Labour vied to produce the most damning accusations against Fianna Fail. Of course while the politicians are gunning for each other there are others who get caught in the cross-fire. The low-light of all this was the decision by Dr Michael Smurfit to resign as chairman of Telecom Eireann. Now that he has gone his critics have suddenly realised that the multimillionaire chairman of a Fortune 500 company had, for eight years, given of his time to develop a key semi-State company. They also now accept that he did not accept this role for the salary involved, and must have been motivated by some form of altruism.

All the allegations have cast doubt on the ability of Charles Haughey to continue leading Fianna Fail and the Government. A statement issued by four FF backbenchers did not do him any favours.

The big story on Sunday night was of the appearance in court of a Limerick-based Garda officer on IRA related charges.

The weather made news with warnings of a storm about to hit us on Friday night. The brunt of it was felt in the South and East. It was serious enough to badly disrupt ferry crossings to the UK. In the worst case more than 500 passengers, who thought they would be in Ireland on Saturday morning, could only gaze ashore until Sunday afternoon.

The weeks sporting news was dominated by the Nissan Classic which finished in Dublin yesterday with yet another win for Sean Kelly.

SMURFIT RESIGNS

Following the Taoiseach's suggestion that he should "step aside" until inquiries are complete, Dr Michael Smurfit submitted his resignation as chairman of Telecom Eireann. On Monday he held his peace and went off for a game of golf. The following morning he received a phone call from the Minister for Communications. Mr Brennan then reported back to the Taoiseach. Later in the day Dr Smurfit called to the Taoiseach's office to discuss the situation. When he left it was to attend a board meeting to inform his fellow directors of his decision to resign.

It was at this point almost everyone started to express regret and recall that he had transformed an antiquated loss-making company into one of the most efficient modern communication companies in the world. His fellow directors, who had stood by him, had a right to articulate their disappointment. It could be said that Mr Haughey and other Government Ministers, who said they were now sorry to see him go, should have stood by him. Fine Gael politicians who helped bring about his demise stayed silent but rolled out their colleague Peter Barry, who until now had remained aloof on the matter, to say that Dr Smurfit had been treated disgracefully. Dick Spring and Proinsias De Rossa welcomed his resignation but said that wasn't the end of the matter.

Of course the politicians cannot carry all the blame. As Harold O'Sullivan, the now acting chairman of Telecom, said, the media also played its part. Clearly, when information arises which indicates possible wrong-doing, an investigation must take place. It is a pity that guilt is assumed, and the need to sell more newspapers and gain political advantage becomes more pressing than the good name and personal feelings of individuals.

There are many other aspects to the Telecom story which I cover later.

DISQUIET IN FIANNA FAIL

Four backbench Fianna Fail TDs issued a statement saying that they were unhappy with the way the Taoiseach was handling the current series of allegations. They were particularly disturbed at his interview on RTE Radio last Sunday, when he called for Seamus Pairceir to step aside from his duties with the Custom House Docks Development Authority. Mr Pairceir is now seen as a man of the highest integrity who has been very badly treated.

The four were Liam Fitzgerald (Dublin N.E.), Sean Power (Kildare), M.J. Nolan (Carlow-Kilkenny) and Noel Dempsey (Meath). They claim that they are making an independent statement simply asking that the Fianna Fail house be put in order, and that there is no question of this being part of a plot to change the party leadership. Of course there is a great deal of speculation that this is the beginning of the end for Mr Haughey.

It is not clear just how much backing the four TDs have. Some of their colleagues have supported their views. More have said that while they are entitled to these opinions they should first have been aired at a meeting of the Parliamentary Party. They will get that chance on Wednesday, as a meeting which was scheduled for the following week has been brought forward.

> > > > > > > > > GREENCORE, TELECOM, ET AL < < < < < < < < <

- The Investment Bank of Ireland was mentioned by the Taoiseach in his radio interview last Sunday. He thought that it should suspend work it was carrying out on behalf of Telecom. The bank did not think much of this idea and issued a statement saying that it had no connection with any of the matters under investigation. This was true but questions were being asked as to how it had received its contract. When the bank did not respond in the required manner the Minister for Communications instructed Telecom to suspend the contract.

- Seamus Pairceir carried out his threat to resign as chairman of the Custom House Docks Development Authority on Tuesday, but that was overshadowed by the resignation of Dr Smurfit.

- Pat Rabbitte TD, of the Workers' Party, claimed to have information which linked United Property Holdings, the company in which Dr Michael Smurfit has a 10% stake, with Hoddle Investments. Hoddle purchased the Johnston, Mooney and O'Brien site from UPH and later sold it to Telecom. That was on Monday and we heard no more about that claim.

- The Irish Times appeared to make a similar suggestion on Tuesday. It said that one of the companies involved in the purchase of the Johnston, Mooney and O'Brien site was connected to UPH, the company in which Dr Smurfit had an interest. Chestvale was the company in question and Pat Doherty has already claimed sole ownership of it. The Irish Times accusation appeared to be explained very simply. When sale of the site was agreed UPH formed Chestvale and transferred ownership of the site to it. The next stage was to transfer ownership of Chestvale to Pat Doherty. The sale was carried out in that manner as the stamp duty payable on the sale of a company is much less than that on the sale of a property.

- In last week's interview the Taoiseach said he was considering the setting up of a serious fraud agency under the control of the Attorney General. No one appeared to find merit in this idea. The Gardai thought it was a vote of no confidence in the Garda Fraud Squad. The unions wished to see the Garda Fraud Squad strengthened, and opposition politicians said they were concerned that such an agency would be under the control of the Government. The Attorney General is appointed by the Taoiseach.

- It is clear that the Taoiseach did not have any prior discussions with those whom he said should "step aside" from their duties, pending the outcome of the inquiry into the Telecom property deal. This seems a strange way of conducting business and probably made the resignations of Dr Smurfit and Mr Pairceir inevitable.

- In their continued search for further misdeeds, opposition TDs accused the Government of pressurising UCD into purchasing Carysfort College as a business school last December. The college authorities deny that they came under such pressure.

- At the same time others were accusing the Minister for the Environment of exerting undue influence on Dublin County Council. He is said to have been responsible for a decision to extend a planned sewage system to run through the Taoiseach's property. The pipes were laid to bring sewage from a group of 40 cottages adjacent to the Kinsealy Estate. The implication is that the sewage system will increase the value of the Taoiseach's property. Later in the week the Taoiseach issued a statement. This said that in 1979 he donated land to provide a sewage treatment works for the cottages. He also allowed the installation of a pipe to take the effluent from the treatment work to a stream on his land. The new pipe simply took the effluent from this pipe to the nearby extended sewage system, and stopped it from entering the stream.

- On Tuesday the Irish Times highlighted an old story in relation to the current headquarters of Telecom. Back in 1979 the then Bord Telecom signed a 35-year lease on Merrion House against the explicit advice of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. The building was considered totally unsuitable and the rent excessive. Earlier the Minister for Communications ordered that this transaction be included in the inquiry into Telecom Eireann's property dealings.

- The Oireachtas committee on State-sponsored companies has asked Dr Smurfit to appear before it and answer a few questions. I don't think he has responded, although he said he would co-operate fully with the official Government inquiry.

- The Government announced that it will implement a code of conduct for those involved with semi-state companies.

- All of these allegations could not be made without Larry Goodman's name being mentioned. On Thursday the Irish Times led with the headline "Goodman faces new tax demand". The story explained that the Revenue Commissioners were looking for another few million in back taxes from the Goodman group; this, despite having previously reached agreement to accept £4m in lieu of all outstanding tax liabilities.

- The Goodman name arose again that day. Someone had told Dick Spring that accountants had visited two Goodman factories and viewed Department of Agriculture documents while claiming to be working on behalf of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the Beef Industry. Mr Spring passed this information to the Minister for Justice, Ray Burke. He in turn asked for a Garda investigation and informed the Minister for Agriculture. The general public only became aware of all this when Michael O'Kennedy issued a statement saying that something untoward appeared to be happening and mentioned the name of accountants Somers and Murphy. An incensed Bernard Somers quickly appeared on our television screens. He insisted that his staff had examined the documents with the approval of the Department of Agriculture. He quoted from a letter from Mr Justice Liam Hamilton, the Tribunal chairman. This seemed to clear his company of any wrong-doing. He also demanded an apology from the Minister. Mr O'Kennedy was unrepentant, saying that misrepresentations were made and that the quotations from Justice Hamilton's letter were selective. A spokesman from the Goodman Group then said that his company had informed the Department of Agriculture that accountants were coming in to examine records in connection with the beef inquiry. This of course was true but the statement agreed that it could be misleading, and that the officials may have assumed the accountants were working on the instructions of the Tribunal.

That was an unholy row while it lasted but now seems no more than a storm in a tea-cup. Somers and Murphy are clearly innocent and Mr O'Kennedy claims that he never implied otherwise. There was no reason why the accountants should not see the documents. Mr Spring appeared to be suggesting that, as the accountants were unsupervised, the documents could have been removed or altered. In fact they were just copies and the originals are stored by the Department in Dublin.

- This story was rapidly followed by a demand from John Bruton that Dermot Desmond resign as chairman of Aer Rianta. He claimed that Mr Desmond's company, NCB, had attempted to pass confidential information about an Aer Lingus subsidiary, Irish Helicopters, to its rival Celtic Helicopters. The latter happens to be owned by one Ciaran Haughey, the Taoiseach's son. It seems that in 1988 a letter addressed to Celtic Helicopters was mistakenly delivered to Irish Helicopters. It was mistakenly opened by an employee of Irish Helicopters and discovered to contain "financial information bearing an uncanny resemblance to data which had been sent confidentially to NCB by Aer Lingus". At the time legal advice was sought but we are told that the matter was settled to the satisfaction of Aer Lingus and NCB. No one is prepared to say more and John Bruton does not look as if he is going to let go of Dermot Desmond.

- Saturday's Irish Times carried a couple of notable corrections to serious allegations about relationships between UPH, Chestvale, Dr Smurfit and Telecom Eireann. The corrections did not receive the banner headlines which the original accusations were given.

- As the politicians fought to make political capital, Greencore, where probably the most serious allegations were made, hardly received a mention.

> > > > > > > > > BITS AND PIECES < < < < < < < < <

- French farmers destroyed another truck load of Irish lamb last weekend. A British truck load received the same treatment. Minister for Agriculture Michael O'Kennedy met his French counterpart and received assurances that, in future, all trucks would receive a police escort.

- A young man was found dying from stab wounds in Limerick in the early hours of Tuesday. Later in the day Richard Coughlin of Caherdavin was charged with wounding the dead man who was named as Cormac Ronan.

- Two Californians were rescued when their helicopter plunged into the sea off Dingle on Tuesday. They were working on the new Tom Cruise film and when flying low over the sea they were caught by a wave. The helicopter was owned by Celtic Helicopters.

- The Tribunal of Inquiry into the beef processing industry opens today.

- The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Des O'Malley, has decided to lift price controls on petrol. This news was welcomed by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry. They argue that prices must increase because of this country's high ratio of filling stations to vehicles. They also claim that this apparent anomaly is necessary because of the social requirement to provide fuel in rural areas. Nothing was said about petrol sales being just a sideline in most small towns and villages.

- A Limerick-based Garda, Denis Kelly (28) of Mallow, was charged on Sunday with contravening the Official Secrets Act. He is accused of passing garda information to another person. The court was told that he was also suspected of being a member of the IRA. On Friday he and another Garda along, with two women, were arrested in Limerick and detained for questioning under the Offences Against the State Act. The arrests arose from investigations into IRA activities in the Limerick area. The other three were released without charge. Another man who was arrested later is still being questioned.

- On Saturday there was the makings of another scandal but this time there were no state companies or politicians involved. The Incorporated Law Society is investigating the affairs of Dublin solicitors Malocco and Killeen. This follows a complaint from the Irish Press newspaper group. Elio Malocco, one of the firm's partners, was a director of Irish Press plc but he has now resigned. Mr Malocco is one of the more flamboyant members of the legal profession. We have not been given any indication of the nature of the complaint.

- Mr Harry Whelehan SC was nominated by the Taoiseach as the new Attorney General and he received his seal of office from the President a day later. Mr Whelehan is aged 47. He is a native of Mullingar and succeeds Mr John Murray who becomes a member of the European Court.

- Sixty truck drivers blockaded the B&I terminal in Dublin over what they saw as undue delays in unloading containers. These delays, they said, were costing them £25 per hour. An aggressive B&I spokesman, who appeared to understand little of customer-supplier relationships, told a television reporter that the company would not talk to the drivers until they ended their action. Some sort of resolution was achieved within about 24 hours.

- 570 passengers spent 36 hours on a Sealink car ferry instead of the usual 3.5 hours for the journey from Fishguard to Rosslare. A storm prevented the vessel from docking at Rosslare Harbour on Saturday morning and the ship took shelter off Dunmore East. It was Sunday afternoon before conditions improved sufficiently for the ship to enter the harbour. Other car ferry services were also disrupted and a ship carrying dangerous chemicals had to stay at sea during the storm, rather than risk entering Dublin port.

- Former Beirut hostages Brian Keenan and John McCarthy are at present relaxing in Galway according to a BBC report.

> > > > > > > > > NORTHERN NEWS < < < < < < < < <

- The wheels of officialdom grind slowly but something is, at long last, being done to protect Belfast taxi drivers. In future it will be sufficient to carry the word "TAXI' on the vehicle instead of the company's name. Also it will no longer be necessary for drivers to display their names and addresses in the cabs. These changes make it more difficult for gunmen to decide on the religion of taxi drivers.

- There are frequent reports of unrest in Belfast's Crumlin Road jail. The fact that it all takes place behind closed doors presumably accounts for the low level of media attention. Areas of the prison have been wrecked, the canteen set on fire and prison guards and inmates injured. Recently a loyalist prisoner threw boiling water in the face of a prison officer, almost blinding him. Forced integration of loyalist and republican prisoners has provoked the trouble.

- Friday's Irish Times carried a two-page interview with Peter Brooke by Frank Millar. I didn't read it all but none of the highlighted quotes appeared to tell us anything new.

- Larry Murchen (63) was shot dead on Saturday morning, as he was getting ready to open his shop at St James's Road, Belfast, on Saturday morning. A group calling itself the Loyalist Retaliation and Defence Group claimed responsibility and said his death was in retaliation for the previous week's killing of John Haldane. Mr Murchen is believed to be the 2,000th civilian to die in the violence of the last 22 years.

- There were numerous gun and bomb attacks against the security forces during the week but there were no serious injuries.

> > > > > > > > > THE COURTS < < < < < < < < <

- Four Dublin men have now been charged with the murder of a German student in the Phoenix Park last month. Earlier they were charged with assaulting the student's companion.

- Dr David James (50) of Ranelagh was arrested when he arrived at Dublin Airport. He was later charged at a special court sitting with stealing manuscripts, books, paintings, rugs and other items, valued at £400,000, from the Chester Beatty Library. He is described as an Englishman and is a former employee of the Library.

- Waterford Civil Court ruled that a British-based ground rent landlord was entitled to six years arrears of rent from 200 residents in Lismore Park, Waterford. A spokesman for the residents later said that they have no intention of paying the rent, which has been withheld for the last twenty years.

> > > > > EMPLOYMENT & INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS < < < < <

- The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Des O'Malley, told a conference that the pharmaceutical industry provides jobs for 13,000 people, exports £2.3bn and contributes £740m to the balance of trade. He also said that 11 of the world's top 15 pharmaceutical companies now had Irish operations.

- An expansion programme at Lotus Development will create a total of 228 new jobs over the next four years. This includes 44 positions which have already been filled.

- Applied Magnetics, also in North Dublin, is adding 162 jobs in the same period.

- SFADCo has opened a new 110-acre aviation park in the Shannon Duty Free Zone. It situated two miles from the airport. US company Acromil is the first company to start operations. Currently it has 9 employees but expects to increase this to 90 by 1995.

- Postal workers are threatening a strike in two weeks time. They are looking for a 6% pay increase despite An Post's ability to return major operating losses each year.

- Rubair Motair Teoranta, the subsidiary of a German company which employs 160 in Sligo and Ballyshannon, has opened three new factory units in West Donegal which will employ 350 people in the manufacture of auto parts.

> > > > > > > > > POLITICS & POLITICIANS < < < < < < < < <

- Minister for Finance Albert Reynolds warned us to expect a harsh budget in January.

- The Soviet Ambassador returned quietly to Dublin about ten days ago. It would appear that his explanation for his comments during the attempted coup last month have been accepted in Moscow and that he will keep his job.

- A left-wing attempt to obtain approval in the European Parliament for the legalisation of euthanasia in EC countries is causing some problems for Irish MEPs. It is seen as embarrassing at a time when it is being suggested that the parliament be given greater powers to pass laws applicable to the entire EC.

- Minister for Foreign Affairs Gerry Collins addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations on Friday. He expressed his desire for a peaceful settlement to the North's problems but said little of consequence.

- Eoghan Harris has resigned from his job as media adviser to Fine Gael. This saves the party from having to make a decision to renew his contract in November.

> > > > > > > > > THE IRISH ABROAD < < < < < < < < <

- John O'Reilly, of Austin, Texas, has asked me to include details of a major charity drive being undertaken by Dr John Scully of Galway.

On November 1, 1991, Dr Scully set out on a walk from San Diego to Maine. The purpose of the walk is to establish a trust fund for the education and development of under-privileged children in Ireland and in some of the world's poorest regions. Specifically, in Ireland, the project is intended to help mentally handicapped children in Galway and Dublin, the children of travelling families in Galway, as well as other children from impoverished backgrounds. In the Third World, particular attention will be given to the mission area of Mindinao in the Philippines where people are so poor that they cannot afford the minimum high school education fee of $3.00 per child per month; to Wenza, Zimbabwe where poverty is equally acute and widespread; and to orphaned and homeless children in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

The long walkathon is estimated to last some eight months in all. It will pass through 21 states, some 40 major towns and cities and roughly 400 other towns. Dr Scully's effort is being supported along the route by various Irish organisations, by the Catholic Schools and by members of the Catholic Youth Organisation in many Dioceses. Its principal sponsor is Texaco, U.S.A.

To become involved in Dr. Scully's walk for under-privileged children contact:Dr Maureen O'Brien,Clans Alliance International,8916 Troost,Kansas City, MO 64131, Tel: 816-822-7431

Donations can be sent to:The Pamela Scully Memorial Foundation,Vermillion State Bank,Vermillion, MN 55085.USA

Dr Scully should have just completed a walk from Dublin to Shannon and be on his way to the West Coast of the US for the start of his walk.

- Senior gendarmes in Paris were given suspended sentences for their part in detaining three Irish people for nine months in 1982. Explosives were planted in the Paris apartment where the three were living.

- The Aer Lingus Young Scientist winners, Daniel Dundas and Barry O'Doherty of St Patrick's College, Maghera, have won a major award at the European Young Scientist Contest in Zurich.

> > > > > CONSERVATION & THE ENVIRONMENT < < < < <

- Publisher Noelle Campbell-Sharpe appears to be successful in realising her ambition to restore the pre-Famine village of Cill Rialaig, near Ballinskelligs. The idea is that the village will become an "international artists' retreat".

- The Greenpeace organisation protested at the visit of a US Navy cruiser to Cork Harbour. It was argued that the visit violated Government policy in that nuclear arms are not allowed in Irish waters and vessels on naval exercises are also excluded. Of course the US authorities refused to confirm or deny that the USS Monterey carried nuclear weapons. The visit actually took place at the end of a NATO exercise and not during it.

> > > > > > > > > EDUCATION < < < < < < < < <

- Even with college places decided for this year, Christina Murphy continues with her "Points Race" column in the Irish Times. Her exposees are badly needed. On Monday she focused on the colleges' strange attitudes to student deposits. It seems that every opportunity presented to some colleges for extracting money for nothing is eagerly grasped. RTCs, which are running courses funded by the EC, impose non-refundable charges of up to £150. Athlone goes one better by imposing an additional charge of £310 for a catering course, a course which is supposed to be free. At least one UCD student found herself in a strange predicament. She paid her £100 deposit for a place in the hall of residence. In early September she was asked for a further £650 in advance rent. Her problem is that she has to resit some of her first year exams. The results are not due until October 7 and she now finds that if she fails she will lose her entire £750. The other money-making exercise of particular note concerns 500 would-be students who paid their deposit but failed to inform the CAO that they wished to accept the offered place. Their places have now been taken by others but some colleges, she did not identify which, are holding on to the substantial deposit.

> > > > > FESTIVALS & SUMMER SCHOOLS < < < < <

- The crowds attending this year's Galway Oyster Festival was larger and more diverse than ever. The revellers included a party of 17 Texan millionaires and five Russian scientists.

- The Waterford Light Opera Festival is currently in full swing.

> > > > > > > > > BOOKS < < < < < < < < <

- Roddy Doyle, the author of "The Commitments", has been nominated for this year's Booker Prize for his novel "The Van". William Trevor's "Two Lives: Reading Turgenov and My House in Umbria" is also on the short-list of six.

> > > > > > > > > DEATHS < < < < < < < < <

- Ollie Freaney, a famous Dublin footballer of the 1950s, died at the age of 62, while holidaying in Donegal with his family.

> > > > > > > > > DIGITAL NEWS < < < < < < < < <

- It is with deep regret that I have to report the death of Caroline O'Carroll (nee McArdle) after a long illness. My deepest sympathy goes to her husband Joe, who is a long-time colleague in Ballybrit and Mervue. Caroline will be sadly missed by her colleagues in ESSB, Mervue. There was a large turn-out for the removal of her remains to the Church of the Assumption in Athenry on Wednesday and for Requiem Mass on Thursday. Burial took place in her native Ballymoney on Friday.

> > > > > > > > > BUSINESS NEWS < < < < < < < < <

EXCHANGE RATES:

IRISH POUND Sep 27 Sep 20Sterling 0.9172 0.9153US Dollar 1.5908 1.5807Deutschmark 2.6733 2.6730French franc 9.1062 9.1056Dutch guilder 3.0146 3.0125Belgian franc 55.09 55.08Italian lira 1998.22 2001.93Spanish Peseta 169.09 167.93Japanese Yen 212.59 212.41Swiss franc 2.3281 2.3339Canadian dollar 1.8044 1.7941Australian dollar 1.9972 1.9836

- Ardagh plc reported profits of £4.98m, up from £4.35m, for the year to the end of June.

- Fyffes are thought to have bid £470m for Del Monte, the world's third largest fruit distributor.

- Liam Connellan is to remain as Director General of the Confederation of Irish Industry, a job he has held for twenty years. Some months ago he announced his intention to leave the job and set up a consultancy business, but no replacement was found despite extensive advertising.

- The Taoiseach presented Amdahl Ireland with the 1990 Irish Times/PA Management Award at a reception in the Mansion House on Dublin.

- Former property speculator Patrick Gallagher was released from Magilligan prison in Derry on Friday. He had served 12 months of a two-year sentence after being found guilty of a series of fraud charges.

> > > > > > > > > WEATHER < < < < < < < < <

Wet and windy weather was interspersed with some bright sunny spells. Temperatures were well down on previous weeks. We were promised a storm for Friday evening but this seems to have had its greatest impact in Munster and Leinster. It was hard to believe on a calm sunny Sunday morning in Galway that the Sealink car ferry mentioned earlier was still sheltering off the Waterford coast.

Latest Temperatures: Day 12C........................Night 6C

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

> > > > > > > > > SOCCER < < < < < < < < <

Premier Division:Athlone 1 Dundalk 2Bohs 1 Shamrock R. 1Bray 0 Shelbourne 1Drogheda 0 Galway 0St Pats 0 Derry 1Sligo 2 Cork 1

Premier Division: P W D L PtsDerry City 5 5 0 0 10Dundalk 5 4 1 0 9Shamrock R. 5 2 3 0 7Shelbourne 5 3 1 1 7St Pats Ath 5 2 2 1 6Bray W. 5 2 1 2 5Bohemians 5 1 2 2 4Sligo R. 5 1 1 3 3Athlone T. 5 1 1 3 3Cork C. 5 1 1 3 3Galway U. 5 0 2 3 2Drogheda U. 5 0 1 4 1

First Division Shield:Cobh 3 Limerick 4Home Farm 1 UCD 1Monaghan 0 Longford 0Waterford 1 St James G. 1

- Waterford now play UCD in the final.

Irish League:Ballymena 1 Larne 1Bangor 1 Omagh 3Carrick 1 Portadown 4Cliftonville 0 Linfield 1Distillery 1 Ballyclare 1Glenavon 2 Crusaders 1Glentoran 6 Coleraine 1Newry 1 Ards 2

- Poland defeated the Irish youth team 3-0 at Tolka Park and look virtually certain to qualify for the UEFA Youths Championship.

- Vinny Jones, the Chelsea midfielder, has discovered an Irish granny. He is trying to obtain a copy of her birth certificate so that he can make himself available to the Irish team. The same Mr Jones has a bit of reputation as a "hard man" and English referees have had plenty of practice at writing his name in their little books.

- St Pats are expected to sign George Best in some vague role in the near future. The club's supporters have a number of grievances at present. The chairman was recently ousted by someone who has acquired a major shareholding, and promises of a return to its traditional home at Richmond Park are said to be vague.

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

- The Rugby World Cup opens on Thursday. Ireland's first match is against Zimbabwe on Sunday. Pat O'Hara and Simon Geoghegan are recovering from injuries but it is hoped both will be fit for the opening fixture.

- Rugby followers might think of asking their loved ones here in Ireland to airmail a special rugby supplement in tomorrow's Irish Times.

> > > > > > > > > SPORTS SHORTS < < < < < < < < <

- CYCLING: The Nissan Classic was again won by Sean Kelly. This was his fourth success in seven years. Having got his nose in front on the penultimate stage he was too experienced to lose his one second margin on the road from Kildare to Dublin. In the end he had four seconds to spare over his nearest rival.

Johnny Talen's ownership of the yellow jersey after stage one was decided on the seconds gained in the three sprints. An Italian rider succeeded in making a break and built up a 90 second lead, but he was hauled back by the bunch and all 93 riders were given the same time.

On stage two, into Galway, Stephen Roche made what looked like a successful break. He was almost six minutes in front going through Portumna but, forty miles into the wind on his own proved too much and he too was caught. He went early to take advantage of the last major downhill section of the stage. Another mass finish again credited all the riders with the same time. Martin Earley was prominent in closing the gaps on both days. Talen of PDM still held the yellow jersey.

Gallows Hill outside Limerick was expected to sort out the riders on stage three. It succeeded. Bo Hamburger broke away at Clarecastle and was more than a minute ahead at the top of the climb. This put the pressure on the remainder and a number of gaps appeared in the field. Three times round Limerick reeled in Hamburger and a large number of riders were involved in the sprint for the line. Others were six minutes behind. Johan Museeuw took over the yellow jersey but he only had a one second advantage over Talen.

Conditions were bad on the road to Cork. Sean Yates of England made a break coming down the Vee. Sean Kelly went with him. This time the break succeeded as the two supported each other. Yates pipped Kelly to the line but Kelly took the yellow jersey on account of a one second advantage gained on the sprints. The third place rider was 36 seconds behind Kelly.

The Irish Amateur team put on a creditable performance. After stage one Declan Lonergan was fourth overall, having twice picked up a valuable second in the hot spot sprints. A day later he was still seventh. Gallows Hill and a puncture put an end to his challenge and that of his team. Paul Slane wore the Polka Dot King of the Mountain's jersey at the end of each of the first three days but Patrick's Hill in Cork proved too much for him.

- AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL: Tony Boyle of Melbourne sent me the following:

"Former Dublin footballer, now Australian Rules player, Jim Stynes was last night (Mon 23rd) awarded the highest accolade the sport can offer, the Brownlow Medal. The medal is awarded to the player who is considered the best and fairest by the umpires (referees). Votes are given after each game and added up at the end of the season. Stynes received 25 votes, his nearest rival receiving only 20. This tops off an excellent season for Stynes having won almost every other 'player-of-the-year' type award in Australia. His father Brian accompanied Jim to the awards ceremony last night. His mother and sister also flew out from Dublin for the occasion. Since winning he has been on almost every TV and radio station and has been to visit most of the Irish pubs around Melbourne.

"Stynes was recruited to Aussie Rules football seven years ago in what was seen as a bold experiment by the Melbourne football club. He played his first senior game only four years ago. Since then he has proven himself to be one of the most skilful proponents of the game".

- GOLF: Ireland's Amateur Golfers retained the Men's Home International Championship at Rosses Point. After a shaky start in which they could only draw with Wales, the Irish team had relatively comfortable wins over England and Scotland.

Des Smyth and Eoghan O'Connell were the only two Irish golfers to survive the cut in the Austrian Open. Neither ever looked like challenging the leaders and finished well down the field. Darren Clarke and Stephen Hamill appear to have been the only other Irish players who entered the competition.

David Feherty played his part in in the exciting Ryder Cup competition which finally went to the US team on the very last hole. After a poor start, which saw him and his partner down three holes, it was he who won three back to half the game. Things did not go so well in the next foursomes but he came back and defeated Payne Stewart two and one in the singles.

- GRAND PRIX RACING: New driver Allessandro Zinardi finished ninth for Jordan in the Spanish Grand Prix. De Cesaris failed to finish.

- ATHLETICS: John Treacy is returning to cross-country running and hopes to make the Irish team for the World Championships next March. He has not, however, abandoned the marathon and has his sights set on that race in Barcelona next year.

- OLYMPICS: Irish athletes received a major boost in their preparations for the Olympics in 1992 and 1996. Delta airlines is to provide free travel for those who need to avail of training facilities in the US and for US-based competitors who wish to travel to Europe for competitions.

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* This newsletter has been prepared primarily from *

* press and radio reports. It should not be taken *

* as representing the views of my employer or those *

* of other companies within the group. *

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