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15 Years Ago
The Irish Emigrant - January 21, 1991

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January 21, 1991 THE IRISH EMIGRANT Issue No.207

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Editor: Liam Ferrie Circulation: 838

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Newspapers, television and radio did try to squeeze in some of the happenings in Ireland this week but the news from the Middle East really overwhelmed everything else. Even some of the home news related to the Gulf War as politicians argued over the stance this country should take, and special precautions were taken at airports and embassies. Some elements of the media tried to keep their eye on the Soviet army in the Baltic states but I suspect that it was missed by most people.

News addicts would have noticed that progress was made in the negotiations on the Programme for Social and Economic Development, with employers, unions and farmers reaching agreement with each other and the Government. John Bruton named his team of front bench spokespersons two days before war broke out, so he received a reasonable amount of publicity for that. Farmers, at least, noticed that new proposals were being made in relation to the EC's Common Agricultural Policy and were not too pleased.

IRELAND AND THE GULF WAR

- All foreign employees at the Parc hospital in Baghdad, including the few remaining Irish people, were evacuated to Cyprus last weekend.

- The Government here sent 1,000 gas masks to the Gulf for use by Irish citizens in areas considered at risk. The masks are the property of the Department of Defence and are to be returned unused, or a charge of 225 will be levied on the user.

- The US Ambassador called to see the Taoiseach on Wednesday but we were not told what was discussed.

- Opposition parties insisted throughout the week that, under the Constitution, the Dail had to approve any decision to allow US military aircraft to use Shannon in time of war. The Government insisted that this was not so and that it had to allow refuelling there to honour its UN obligations.

- When the war started, RTE television rebroadcast the CNN coverage throughout the night and did so for two or three hours on Thursday night.

- Sporadic anti-war protests took place throughout the week but none attracted significant crowds. I think it is true to say that the majority opinion here approves of the action, to some degree, but are anxious to see it over as quickly as possible with minimum loss of life. Many would have preferred to allow the sanctions to continue for a while longer. A vocal minority say they disapprove of violence under any circumstances, but leave themselves open to the accusation of being anti-American. There is another quiet peace-loving minority whose motives cannot be questioned. I base this assessment on discussions with colleagues and friends, radio phone-ins, and television interviews with the man and woman in the street. Not very scientific but there have been no opinion polls on the subject.

- On Thursday, security was increased at airports with Garda checkpoints and Army patrols being brought into play at Dublin and Shannon. Although not obvious there were reports of additional security measures around the Embassies of countries directly involved in the war.

- The Government recalled the Dail on Friday so that TDs could discuss the war. Fianna Fail and the PDs wanted to express support for the Allies. Fine Gael felt the same but wished to have the opportunity to share in the decision to allow refuelling at Shannon. Labour wanted to decry the decision to start the war, to insist that the Dail had to formally approve the use of Shannon, and then to vote against such use. The Workers' Party wanted to do the same, only more so. During the debate Des O'Malley launched a bitter attack on Proinsias de Rossa and the Workers' Party, reminding him that he and his colleagues, not so long ago, had links to Kim Il Sung and Nicolai Ceaucescu. Labour put forward a motion that facilities at Shannon be denied to the Allies. This was defeated by 122 votes to 23.

- Three TDs are members of the Jewish community and they had a different view from their colleagues. Mervyn Taylor (Labour) absented himself from the Dail when it came to the vote. Ben Briscoe (FF) and Alan Shatter (FG) were annoyed at the failure of their party leaders to specifically criticise the rocket attack on Israel.

- Much of the argument in the Dail concerned our neutrality. It was the Government's view that this was not affected by the level of support being offered at Shannon. Fine Gael believes that our neutrality is subservient to our UN obligations. Labour and the Workers' Party claimed that it put an end to our claim to be neutral and that in any case it was not a UN but a US initiated war. All of Saturday's national dailies carried editorials on the subject and all supported the decision to grant landing rights to military planes at Shannon. The Irish Times suggested that those who opposed this were confusing "pacifism with non-alignment".

- Irish Times reporter Maggie O'Kane was, as far as I know, the only Irish reporter still in Baghdad when war broke out. She was told to leave on the 15th but opted to stay on. There was no report from her in Thursday's paper but she was back in print on Friday with a short article which was sent through Independent Television News of London. Her editor was unable to contact her and assumed that she was with other reporters in the Al Rashid Hotel. Another report appeared in Saturday's paper but there was no indication as to how she transmitted it. Ms O'Kane seems to be a remarkable woman. She is aged 28 and a native of Downpatrick. She was in Berlin when the wall came down and was the only Irish reporter in Romania when Ceaucescu was toppled. I presume she was among the journalists who arrived in Jordan yesterday.

- A team of doctors from the North are currently working in British teaching hospitals, passing on their experience in dealing with wounds inflicted by bullets and bombs.

- Former Northern Secretary Merlyn Rees was speaking in the British Parliament about the War and unintentionally introduced humour to the debate. He found himself saying ".. and when Saddam Hussein is driven out of Northern Ireland..".

- Newspapers here have been very impressive in capturing the latest news about the war. The early editions which we normally get in Galway cover incidents which occur after midnight Irish time. Almost half of the front page of Thursday's Irish Times was devoted to the fact that the war had started and included details of the bombing of Baghdad from the CNN reporters.

- There was a bit of a row between the Minister for Energy, Bobby Molloy, and Labour leader Dick Spring over the level of fuel reserves here. Mr Molloy says that our reserves are higher than at any time in the last ten years. Mr Spring claimed to have information from the Irish National Petroleum Co. which contradicted this. A spokesman for the INPC said that Mr Spring had not been in touch with them.

- The EC has called for a reduction in fuel consumption throughout the Community. Whether it was in response to this or an independent initiative is not clear, but the Government placed full page ads in the national press on Friday and Sunday listing ways to cut down on fuel. The oil companies were inundated with orders for home heating oil in the days before the war started and some filling stations are taking note of the car registration numbers of regular customers, who will get precedence if shortages materialise.

UNIONS, EMPLOYERS, FARMERS, GOVERNMENT IN AGREEMENT

As tentatively expected, employers and unions reached agreement on the level of pay increases over the next three years. The deal is that this year there will be a 4% increase, 3% next year and 3.75% in 1993. On top of this there is the opportunity to negotiate a once off 3% increase where companies can afford it. Provision has been made for low paid workers (under 150 per week) to get a fixed amount which would be greater in percentage terms. This is what has been agreed by negotiators but it will have to be ratified by both the employers' federation and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. If it is agreed then the Government has committed to increases in social welfare payments.

With that out of the way, the farmers, who walked out of talks last week, resumed negotiations with the Government. It was obvious that there was some tough talking and the Taoiseach had to intervene twice before agreement was reached on Thursday.

Part of the total agreement is that everyone will be entitled to free hospital treatment. At present those on an income greater than 16,700 are ineligible. According to the Irish Times the Government is committed to substantial income tax cuts in this month's budget.

NEW FINE GAEL FRONT BENCH

John Bruton introduced five new names to his front bench on Monday. They were Austin Currie (Communications), Austin Deasy (Agriculture), Monica Barnes (Marine, Urban Affairs), John Farrelly (Tourism) and Charles Flanagan (Chief Whip). Also introduced to the front bench are Joe McCartan MEP, as the party leader in the European Parliament and Senator Maurice Manning, as Fine Gael leader in the Senate. Peter Barry was named deputy leader and has responsibility for Industry and Commerce.

Those who supported Mr Bruton as party leader did well in the shake up while those who pledged support for Alan Dukes were thought to have lost out. Ted Nealon and Dinny McGinley were dropped from the front bench. Ivan Yates, who was probably the party's most effective spokesman when in Health, has been moved to Transport. The Health portfolio has gone to the wee brother, Richard. Paul Connaughton, I am sure, would have rather stayed in Agriculture but has been given Social Welfare. Finance spokesman, Michael Noonan, is the only person not to find himself with different responsibilities. In all, John Bruton found jobs for twenty on the front bench. Almost everyone else was appointed junior spokesperson for something or other. There were no jobs for the two former party leaders, Garret FitzGerald and Alan Dukes, which maybe is as it should be. However, Paddy Harte and Godfrey Timmons must have blotted their copybooks as there were no pickings left for them.

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

- On Monday night, John Kelly, the former Fine Gael TD and cabinet minister, was admitted St Vincent's Hospital after a heart attack. Sunday's papers reported that he was still in a critical condition.

- Lifeboats around the Irish coast were launched on 380 occasions during 1990 and were responsible for saving 96 lives.

- The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gerry Collins, called in the Russian Ambassador to express the Government's displeasure at the use of force and loss of life in Lithuania.

- EC Agricultural Commissioner, Ray MacSharry, is reviewing a number of options which will reduce EC agricultural spending. These include a cut in the intervention price for beef and butter and reducing the total EC milk quota. Although this is part of the plan to divert subsidies from large to small farmers, farm leaders here described the proposals as "savage".

- A fair amount of publicity was given to the decision of a London Court to release a man who was serving a 14 year prison sentence. The significance of the case was that the man had been convicted on the evidence of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, the force which investigated the Birmingham Six case.

- The Supreme Court has reserved judgement on the appeal to permit Radio Tara to retain its transmitter in Co.Meath.

- Dubliners appear to be very interested in proposals for an Eastern Bypass which would provide a motorway from Booterstown in the South, to Whitehall in the North. No decision has been made, at this stage, on how the Liffey would be crossed, although it is clear that it would be down river from the Eastlink Bridge. We provincials are excellent at accusing Dubliners of not being interested in anything which happens outside the city. I discovered however that we are just as bad, in that we are not very interested in Dublin's problems. The Irish Times devoted a full page on two successive days looking at the merits and demerits of such a proposal. I glanced at it, but only because I felt I had to mention it here.

- Roger Daly (20) of Clonmel was jailed for nine months (with a further nine months suspended) after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and killing two cyclists outside the town last June. The court heard that he had drunk eight to 10 pints of beer on the day of the incident.

- Gardai are conducting a murder inquiry after the body of Mrs Julia Donovan (34) was discovered in a public toilet in Loughrea, Co.Galway, on Friday morning. A post-mortem examination established that Mrs Donovan, who lives locally, had been strangled. By Sunday night a man was being questioned in Galway Garda Station.

- Pat Grace, who once operated a string of "fried chicken" restaurants, owned Limerick soccer club, and sponsored the League of Ireland, told a judge on Friday that he had no money. He was in court because he failed to pay 11,000 to two women who had successfully sued him after becoming ill through eating at one of his restaurants. (One was actually hospitalised for 15 days). Mr Grace claimed that the 18 to 20 restaurants which carried his name belong to his wife and that he was employed by her on a salary of 110 per week.

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

- A Church of Ireland Religious Court has ruled that it is acceptable for a Newtownards Church to place a cross on the communion table. The Court sat for the first time in 43 years after some members of the congregation complained that the use of the cross was an introduction of Catholic practices. The rector of St Mark's Church pointed out that the use of a cross on the communion table was common to more than half of C. of I. parishes.

- Seamus Mallon MP has been complaining about the attitude of soldiers towards his constituents in the South Armagh area. He talks of "gross, offensive and dangerous behaviour of some soldiers" since the controversial shooting of Fergal Caraher three weeks ago. He also claims that some young people have required medical treatment after being assaulted by troops.

- The Catholic parish priest of Dungannon refused to attend the official opening of a new multidenominational school in the town.

- A man was shot and seriously injured as he entered a car outside a social club off the Shankill Road in Belfast on Thursday night. A woman who was already sitting in the car was also injured but her condition was not serious.

- On Saturday, the body of a man was found on waste ground in the Twinbrook housing Estate in Belfast. It is thought that Brendan Short (24) died from a severe beating to the head.

- The IRA attacked British troops at least twice in Co.Armagh. A mortar bomb attack in Crossmaglen slightly injured a woman civilian. Later in the week a bomb was detonated in Newtownhamilton as a foot patrol was passing. One soldier received minor injuries.

- In London, Crossmaglen man Danny McNamee was refused leave to appeal against his conviction in 1987 of conspiracy to cause explosions. His lawyers may now take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

- Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, has become a member of the Irish Branch of P.E.N., the international writers' association. (Anyone with two books published can be nominated for membership).

> > > > > EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS < < < < <

- A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 was the first plane to be brought into the new TEAM-Aer Lingus hangar at Dublin airport. The company also has contracts to overhaul planes for Federal Express, Air Canada, Quantas and a Swiss airline.

- The seasonally adjusted number of those out of work in the North rose by 600 at the end of December. The total number out of work stands at 96,000 (13.9%).

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

- The Labour Party unveiled a private members' Bill aimed at giving votes to emigrants who are less than fifteen years out of the country.

- In London, Dubliner Martin Doherty, who had been charged with conspiring to cause explosions, had the charges withdrawn and was released by a Magistrates Court.

> > > > > > > > > TRAVEL AND TOURISM < < < < < < < < <

- The Minister for Transport and Tourism announced that he is reviewing the compulsory transatlantic stop-over rule which applies to Shannon Airport.

- Ryanair has suspended its service between Carrickfin (Donegal), Sligo and Luton. Aer Lingus has denied reports that it is considering a takeover of Ryanair.

- Almost 5m is to be spent in enlarging and upgrading the Connemara Coast Hotel to the west of Galway City. Formerly know as Teach Furbo, the hotel will have a total of 86 bedrooms, plus improved conference and leisure facilities. The owner, Charles Sinnott, in partnership with Hillview Securities, is the preferred applicant to build a hotel on publicly owned land beside Galway docks, but the Corporation has deferred a final decision on this development.

- Dan-Air announced that it will not operate scheduled flights from Belfast after April 18.

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

- Prospective students at the country's third level colleges have about ten days to lodge their applications with the Central Applications Office. This deadline has given rise to many advice columns in the newspapers and special programmes on the radio.

> > > > > > > > > THE ENVIRONMENT < < < < < < < < <

- It took the EC to point out to the Department of the Environment that no environmental impact statement had been prepared in relation to the the proposed "theme park" at the Rock of Cashel. Planning permission for the development was granted by the local council and is currently the subject of an appeal to An Bord Pleanala. A letter from the EC contained a veiled threat that EC structural funds could be withdrawn from the project if rules were not strictly adhered to.

- An Bord Pleanala confirmed Mayo County Council's decision not to permit the mining of talc near Westport. The planning application was turned down on the grounds that it would be detrimental to the tourist industry.

> > > > > > > > > THE ARTS < < < < < < < < <

- Some Joyce scholars thought that they were going to hear about the contents of a box of the author's papers, on the 50th anniversary of his death last weekend. The box was sent to Dublin by a close associate of Joyce in 1941, with instructions that it was not to be opened until 50 years had elapsed. The National Library now says that it will be some months before the contents are made available to researchers because of the need to preserve the now ageing papers.

- The Bank of Ireland Arts Awards were presented on Tuesday evening with the overall award going to John O'Conor, for his recording of John Field's nocturnes. Five other awards were presented, to Brian Friel for his play "Dancing at Lughnasa", John McGahern for his novel "Amongst Women", Jim Scanlon for his stone sculptures in Sneem, Louis Stewart for his guitar playing at the Cork Jazz Festival, and Derry City Council for its enlightened arts policy and in particular for commissioning the Siege of Derry Symphony by Shaun Davey. The Emerging Artist Award went to sculptor Greg O'Mahoney of Cork.

- Gabriel Byrne's latest film "Miller's Crossing" had its Irish premiere on Thursday night. The film has attracted a good deal of critical acclaim.

- Galway is to get a new 650-seat theatre at a cost of 1.1m. This one is being built by private enterprise and will be built above and behind the Quays bar in Quay street. This is in addition to the theatre being built by the corporation, about 110 yards away beside the Spanish Arch. (This and all the other Galway items this week made the national news this week).

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

EXCHANGE RATES:

IRISH POUND Jan 18 Jan 11

Sterling 0.9156 0.9156

US Dollar 1.7716 1.7456

Deutschmark 2.6680 2.6737

French franc 9.0738 9.0731

Dutch guilder 3.0112 3.0155

Belgian franc 55.05 55.20

Italian lira 2008.99 2012.24

Spanish Peseta 168.04 168.14

Japanese Yen 235.45 234.12

Swiss franc 2.2420 2.2325

Canadian dollar 2.0536 2.0144

Australian dollar 2.2768 2.2570

- Profits at the Dublin Trustee Savings Bank rose by 65% to 2.75m in 1990. The TSB chairman said that after 1992 it may not be possible for such a small bank to operate independently. It is known that Irish Life and the National Irish Bank are interested in taking it over but the TSB is looking at the possibility of a merger with the Cork and Limerick Trustee Savings Bank.

- AIB's US subsidiary, First Maryland Bancorp, saw its profits fall by $30m in 1990. Profits for the year were $43.5m against $73.4m in 1989. This news brought the bank's shares below the 140p mark.

- A small Cork stockbroking company, Beale, Sheffield and Co., has failed to meet its obligations for share dealings which it had transacted. It is understood that the firm is being investigated by the Garda Fraud Squad. The Stock Exchange assured the company's clients that any losses would be covered by a compensation fund.

- The Dublin Stock Exchange behaved like others around the world on the day after the start of the war. The major banks showed the biggest increases with AIB jumping 10p to 148p and Bank of Ireland up 13p to 165p.

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

After the recent extremes of weather, this week provided a pleasant change. If we had anything to complain about it could only have been the return of wind and rain on Friday and a light drizzle on Sunday. For the rest of the week we had plenty of sunshine, even if it was chilly on Monday and Tuesday.

Latest Temperatures: Day 12C................Night 10C

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

> > > > > > > > > G.A.A. < < < < < < < < <

- There were a number of challenge games played yesterday. More than 5,000 spectators turned out to watch Dublin play Leitrim, with the Dubs coming out on top by 1-14 to 0-13. Waterford hurlers travelled to Limerick and both sides scored 2-12.

- The All-Stars will be back in Toronto for St Patrick's Day and it is expected that the crowd will exceed the 30,000 who turned out last year.

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

Premier Division:

Wednesday: Shelbourne 0 Bohemians 0

Sunday: Derry 2 Shelbourne 0

Galway 2 Dundalk 3

St Pat's 3 Athlone 0

Shamrock R. 4 Cork 0

Sligo 1 Bohemians 0

Waterford 1 Limerick 0

Table: P W D L Pts

St Pat's 20 13 6 1 32

Cork 21 11 9 1 31

Sligo 21 11 6 4 28

Dundalk 19 12 4 3 28

Shelbourne 21 10 5 6 25

Shamrock Rovers 21 9 6 6 24

Derry 21 7 8 6 22

Galway 21 7 0 14 14

Bohemians 21 5 4 12 14

Athlone 21 3 6 12 12

Limerick 20 3 3 14 9

Waterford 21 3 3 15 9

First Division:

Cobh 0 Drogheda 2

Kilkenny 2 Monaghan 0

Longford 1 Finn Harps 3

St James's G. 1 Bray 4

UCD 3 Home Farm 0

- That was Cork City's first league defeat since last March.

- I know somebody out there is interested in soccer in the North so I do my best to give all the main results. Coverage of the North's soccer scene is not very comprehensive down here and as a result I am confused at the different competitions. A couple of weeks ago I reported that Portadown were knocked out of the cup. This week there is a list of Bass IFA Cup (fifth round) results and Portadown is there, being held to a nil-all draw by Newry. Linfield failed to overcome Harland & Wolff Welders with both sides scoring once. Crusaders defeated Distillery and Omagh overcame Ballymena. All the other matches saw league clubs winning against non-league opposition.

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

- The five nation championship got under way on Saturday with the French beating Scotland 15-9 in Paris and the English going to Cardiff for their first win there in 28 years. They easily overcame an inexperienced Welsh side by 25-6.

- The Irish team to play France in two weeks time was announced on Monday. The big surprise was the selection of new cap Rob Saunders to captain the team. Saunders was ignored by the Ulster selectors this season but impressed everyone else in the recent "B" International against Scotland. Ciaran Fitzgerald justified the decision by saying that the 22-year-old scrum half had considerable experience as captain of London Irish, the Under-21 team and Queen's University. Other new caps are Simon Geoghegan, Mick Galwey, Brian Robinson and Gordon Hamilton. There were a number of other surprises. Des Fitzgerald was selected although he has not been able to retain his place in the Lansdowne side. Michael Kiernan retained his place despite being dropped from the Munster team. Of those missing probably the most disappointed is Noel Mannion. The full team is:

Kenny Murphy (Constitution)

Simon Geoghegan Brendan Mullin Michael Kiernan Ken Hooks (London Irish) (Blackrock) (Dolphin) (Bangor)

Brian Smith Rob Saunders (Leicester) (London Irish)

John Fitzgerald Steve Smith Des Fitzgerald (Young Munster) (Ballymena) (Lansdowne)

Mick Galwey Neil Francis (Shannon) (Blackrock)

Philip Matthews Brian Robinson Gordon Hamilton (Wanderers) (Ballymena) (NIFC)

- Dungannon are this years Ulster Senior League Champions having put themselves beyond the reach of Ards with a win over City of Derry on Saturday.

- The Leinster Championship will be decided next weekend when Clontarf and Blackrock, who both finished on 14 points, are involved in a play-off.

- A draw or a win against Waterpark next weekend will see Dolphin win the Munster crown. Highfield are currently two points behind.

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

- BASKETBALL: This sport is played here without too many of us knowing (or caring) what happens from week to week. Nevertheless, on one weekend each year RTE provides us with live coverage of the semi-finals and final of the ICS Cup. This year Ballina defeated Neptune by 77 points to 61, reversing last year's outcome. The women's final was won by Blarney who defeated Wildcats by 86-56.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* 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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