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15 Years Ago
The Irish Emigrant - August 19, 1991


August 19, 1991 THE IRISH EMIGRANT Issue No.237


Editor: Mike Hughes Circulation: 1,000


Editor's note: I have made every effort to synopsise the news from the papers of the past week (Irish Times, Sunday Press and Connacht Tribune). I plead heavy workload mid-week as my excuse, but I was unable to commence this edition until late Sunday night, so I trust the usual standards are maintained.

It was a very strange week if one was to record it through the headlines of the Irish Times. This paper had a tough time finding a main story all week, except on Tuesday when the hostage situation in Lebanon was the main story. Yet this week was the bloodiest for a long time in the North of Ireland. Eight people died from violence in as many days. In all six Catholic men, a former member of the UDR and a British soldier were killed. One of the Catholics was killed by a grenade meant for the security forces. The leaders of Church and State had by Friday deemed it necessary to appeal for calm in the midst of this blood-letting, with Mr Brooke, the Secretary of State for the North, and the Chief Constable of the RUC hinting that internment was an option in dealing with the upsurge in violence. Other stories to make the news were the murder of a German tourist camping with a companion in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, and various items in the education field before and after the issuing of the results of leaving certificate examinations.

Finally on the medical front there was the sad news yesterday that Mrs Caroline Featherstone, who had undergone a heart transplant operation earlier in the week, had died following rejection of the organ. I was also surprised to find out that there had been ten heart transplant operations in Ireland in the past week with two occurring on the same night.


The upsurge in sectarian killings and attacks on civilians reached a new high this week. The UFF claimed responsibility for the killing of a Sinn Fein party worker on Monday. Patrick Shanaghan (31) was shot dead at the village of Killen, near Castlederg, as he drove to work. Members of Sinn Fein said that Mr Shanaghan was continually harassed by the security forces and that the RUC had recently threatened to give his name to loyalist paramilitaries.

On Thursday the IRA said it killed Ronnie Finlay (47), a former part-time member of the UDR. Mr Finlay was shot dead in front of his wife and two sons when he was left at his work on a farm near Sion Mills. He resigned from the UDR four years ago after his brother, also a member, was killed by the IRA in similar circiumstances. Later on Thursday, Jim Wood (20) was killed in an explosion on a piece of waste ground in West Belfast. The blast came from a booby trap set for the security forces and the IRA admitted responsibility.

On Friday two leading republicans were gunned down, Thomas Donaghey (38) in Kilrea, Co.Derry, and Martin O'Prey at his home in the Divis flats in Belfast. It was claimed that his attackers arrived and left under the immediate view of British Army security surveillance cameras. Mr Donaghey had served time in prison and was a member of Sinn Fein, while Mr O'Prey was said to be the leader of the IPLO.

It was late that night that a British soldier died in an explosion in South Armagh and reinforcements had to be flown into the area by helicopter.

These six deaths followed two others last weekend and heightened tensions in the North. The week ended with the RUC chief constable and Mr Brooke making statements that made mention of internment. The leaders of the two main churches, Cardinal Daly and Archbishop Eames, called for people to remain calm and for no retaliation for the murders being perpetrated but, as the spiral continued, one could be forgiven for wondering if retaliation was exactly what was being practised.

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

- The diver who drowned off Mullaghmore last weekend was named as Tony Martin of Belfast.

- RTE had to abandon its plans to screen the "Shoot-to-Kill" documentary, first shown on the Independent Network in Britain two months ago. Legal action is pending against Yorkshire Television, the makers of the four-hour programme, and it has withdrawn permission for the screening here.

- Sean Kelly's brother Joe was killed during a cycle race near Carrick-on-Shannon last Sunday. He was involved in a head-on collision with a car near the end of the Comeragh 100 race. He was aged 39 and is survived by his wife, Helen, and their three-month-old child. Sean abandoned plans to compete in the Tour of Galicia and returned home to Ireland.

- The case of Judith Ward, jailed for a bomb explosion on a bus in the UK in 1974, has been re-opened by the British Home Office. It appears that the Griess test, now discredited, is a major piece of the evidence to be reviewed in this case also.

- The Minister for Justice has introduced new regulations governing the release of videos in Ireland. The film censor is now empowered to ban the distribution of certain kinds of videos.

- The Los Angeles release of "The Commitments" continues to be mentioned in the papers. The film is being widely acclaimed as the best screen and music sensation of the autumn. It is about a blues band in the making (and breaking) on Dublin's Northside and is supposedly funny, raw, and musical to boot. Apparently it paints Dublin as a skid-row city and is not your normal tourist travelogue of our capital. At last a true presentation of Dublin, I think I'll go to see my first movie since E.T.

- Early Christian grave slabs stolen from an island in the Shannon river two years ago were returned to Shannon airport on Sunday by two FBI detectives. The slabs had been recovered by the FBI in Boston when they were offered for sale to Boston College. A man is in custody in Boston in connection with the theft of the 1,000 year old slabs.

- Film stories continue with the Tom Cruise film taking over the Temple Bar area of Dublin and making it resemble turn-of-the-century Boston.

- There was no further news on the quadruplets born in Dublin, leaving me to assume that all are making good progress.

- The saga of the Newry Lottery ticket continues. Mrs Theresa Magee, accompanied by her husband Michael, arrived at the Lottery headquarters with a large paparazzi entourage to collect the half of the prize of £1 million that she is allowed to receive under the terms of the injunction currently in operation. The other half of the prize will be distributed after a decision is reached in the courts.

- The Mass from Dublin which was to be broadcast in Russia on August 15 did not go on air. RTE did pass it to Eurovision but no one can say what happened to the original plans.

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

- A bus carrying women and children to the Maze prison to visit relatives imprisoned there was fired on by loyalist gunmen. The attack was an apparent attempt to kill the man who usually drives this bus. Two women were wounded, one in the shoulder and the other in the leg. The driver accelerated away once the firing started. A baby had a lucky escape when a bullet pierced its bottle.

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

- The longest case in Irish legal history came to an end this week when Superwood failed in its attempt to force a group of insurance companies to pay out £8m for lost business after a fire in 1987. The case lasted 115 days and at one stage the plaintiffs took out a large policy on the life of the judge who was nearing his 70th birthday.

- Two young fishermen were convicted of attempting to steal a mini-bus outside a Howth night club early one morning. While they were busy trying to start the vehicle the passengers were all sitting in their seats watching them and only the driver was missing.


- There was a call for a national forum on job creation made on Tuesday by Mr Peter Cassells, echoing the criticism levelled at the "limited response" of the Government's task force on unemployment. The Irish Times ran a series of articles on the great national ailment.

- Burle Industries in Cork is closing its R and D division with the loss of 20 jobs. An examiner has been appointed and it is hoped to keep the 80 jobs in manufacturing.

- A management buy-out at the Tallaght electronics company of Landis and Gyr Lake has resulted in 28 of the 82 staff being made redundant.

- The latest unemployment statistics in the North show a further 5,000 people out of work bringing the total to 103,612. Worst hit continues to be Strabane where the jobless total is 40% of the population.

- Aer Lingus is looking for 200 redundancies among "support" workers.

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

- The silly season is now in full swing and this means that most of the politicians are gone away on holidays. Charlie has gone to Inishvickillaun and it appears that only Mary O'Rourke and Ray Burke are minding the shop.

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

- A London pub was badly damaged by a fire bomb which police say is of a type used by the IRA. It is thought that the pub was not the target but the bomb had to be abandoned there.

- Two members of the Guildford Four, Patrick Armstrong and Gerard Conlon, will appear in a London Court on drugs charges. They were arrested last May when it is alleged they were in possession of cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy.

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

- The apparent murder of a 26-year-old German man in a tent in the Phoenix Park came two days after the announcement that crimes against tourists were down on previous years in the Dublin area. The man and a companion were asleep in their tent when they were set upon by up to four men who beat them with clubs. The dead man suffered severe head injuries. His companion feigned unconsciousness and was tied up. He was admitted to hospital after raising the alarm. This crime has shocked public opinion here and there were many calls to the German embassy in the aftermath.

- The Minister for the Environment has approved a further by-pass on the N4 from Dublin to the West. This will take traffic around the towns of Maynooth and Kilcock by 1995. At the same time he approved an 8-mile by-pass of Portlaoise which will aid traffic to Limerick and Cork from 1997.


- There are reports that sea trout are returning to rivers in the West after two bad years. Good runs of young trout in two fisheries on Clew Bay are cited as evidence.

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

- The results of the Leaving Certificate were sent out to final secondary year students of the nation and received much media coverage. The points race is now well and truly on and all students hoping to enter third level education are busy calculating their chances of gaining entry to the course of their choice. On the higher-level papers the statistics are as follows:

A B C 6% 22% 34%

The numbers taking higher level maths was down to 6,700 from 7,200 last year.

- The Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University is threatened with closure due to lack of funds, just three years after it opened.

- The Ombudsman has ruled that there is no problem with students who sit their leaving certificate exams through the medium of Irish being awarded extra marks.

- The Minister for Education, Mary O'Rourke, believes that, with 31 subjects on offer in the leaving certificate, students have too wide a choice. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has been asked to look at ways of rationalising the number of subjects.


- The annual Cruinniu na mBad brought the usual gathering of traditional craft, mainly currachs and hookers, to Kinvara last weekend. It was feared that the event would be cancelled this year because of a shortage of funds. Murphy's Stout saved the day for the organisers.

- For the 32nd successive year the Yeats Summer School opened in Sligo. The numbers were down on last year but at least fourteen nationalities were represented at the opening ceremony.

- The McGettigan Clan recently met in Donegal while the McClancy's had a gathering in Kinlough, Co.Leitrim. The McGeady Family Association had its reunion across the Atlantic in New Jersey. I was invited to that one but will have to wait until they meet again in Donegal in four year's time.

- According to the Irish Times, French was the predominant language at the Connemara Pony Show in Clifden on August 15. A total of 400 ponies were entered for the various competitions.

> > > > > > > > > MUSIC < < < < < < < < <

- Daniel O'Donnell fans are up in arms over a ruling by the Country Music Association in London that his music will no longer be classified as "country". For years his albums have dominated the country charts and now they are no longer quoted. His supporters held protests for an hour each day in Grafton Street a couple of weeks ago.

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

- The new Dublin Corporation is claiming that the city's year as Cultural Capital of Europe is a bit of a flop. This allegation made news for a day or two and then appeared to be forgotten.

- The National Gallery is to contribute a substantial sum to the Shaw Birthplace Museum Trust. The director of the gallery said that the board had been "hurt" by the publication of an open letter to the Taoiseach pleading for funds to restore, and pay off debts, on the writer's birthplace. The National Gallery has benefited substantially from the royalties on Shaw's works. It had been approached for funds by the trust three weeks earlier and says that it responded favourably but had to investigate the position of a charitable trust making contributions to other charities.

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

- John FitzMaurice Mills, artist, art historian, author and Irish Times columnist on fine arts, has died.

> > > > > > > > > GALWAY NEWS < < < < < < < < <

- Gerard Feeney of Fairhill in the Claddagh was killed on Sunday morning last when his motor-cycle was in collision with a cow on the Kilcolgan to Kinvara road.

- There was a row over the closure of the sub-Post Office in Dominick Street this week.

- I am not au-fait with the latest music happenings in Galway but the number of buskers on the streets in the city seems to be soaring.

- Planning permission has been granted for two developments in the Headford Road area of Galway this week also. Both developments appear to be located between the roundabouts at Dunnes shopping centre and at Tirellan Heights. A third proposal on the Dyke Road is meeting with strong local resistance.

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


IRISH POUND Aug 16 Aug 9 Sterling 0.9138 0.9127 US Dollar 1.5419 1.5490 Deutschmark 2.6724 2.6720 French franc 9.0883 9.0911 Dutch guilder 3.0129 3.0123 Belgian franc 55.06 55.05 Italian lira 2003.73 2000.15 Spanish Peseta 167.33 167.35 Japanese Yen 210.36 211.28 Swiss franc 2.3483 2.3426 Canadian dollar 1.7622 1.7759 Australian dollar 1.9781 1.9765

- The Government has reduced its budget forecast of 2.25% economic growth to 1.25%.

- The Pretty Polly hosiery group has been sold to the US company Sara Lee. The IDA hopes that this will "enhance the prospects" of the Pretty Polly plant in Killarney which employs 450 people.

- German Interest rates went up by .25% on Thursday. Other central banks in Denmark, Holland and Belgium followed suit. The Irish Central Bank stayed its hand on this occasion but there is nervousness in money-market circles should the upward pressure on the German rates continue.

- Flogas, the LPG supplier, recorded pre-tax profits of £6.7m.

- Avis has disengaged from the Irish market-place with the sell off of its rental and leasing business to the Denis Mahony group for £5m. Earlier in the year Avis had sold its car-hire business to Johnson & Perrot Ltd, while Hertz sold out to Boland Rent-A-Car.

- UK inflation has fallen to 5.5%

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

It was a typical week in August in Ireland. Dry and dull for the most part with one day of rain and one night of the same. Saturday and Sunday turned out to be the sunniest weekend days of the year and the crowds were out in force at the agricultural show in Claregalway to-day.

Latest Temperatures: Day 20C........................Night 11C

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

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

All-Ireland Football Championship - Semi-final:

  • Meath 0-15 Roscommon 1-11

- I regret that I was unable to supply the usual GAA reports this year but I will commit to the two all-Ireland finals. To-day's game was anything but the foregone conclusion that most pundits had predicted. Roscommon were leading by three points at half-time and were one point in front with five minutes to go, but Meath took a strong grip at mid-field and went two points clear with a minute remaining. Roscommon brought it back to another single point margin for Meath. Indeed, if Meath were to win the title this year after the marathon championship they will have done so by playing all their games at Croke Park. Over 38,000 were in attendance at headquarters in the warm sunshine.

All-Ireland Minor Football Championship:

  • Mayo 1-12 Kildare 2-3

All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship semi-final:

  • Galway 2-19 Cork 4-10

- Galway now meet Offaly in the final of this competition.

All-Ireland Under-16 Special Hurling Competition Final: Mayo 6-5 Louth 3-6

- The significance of this result is that it marks Mayo's first ever national hurling title.

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

Pre-season Friendlies:

  • Cobh R. 1 Birmingham City 1
  • Derry 2 Los Pumas 1

- There is something of a crisis in Galway United at the moment, with the sudden resignation of manager Joey Malone during the week. This follows the departure of two of last year's cup winning team for "greener" pastures. A late late rumour has it that Malone has agreed to stay on for Wednesday's European Cup Winners Cup clash with Odense of Denmark at Ballindereen hurling pitch on Wednesday.

- Liam Brady has twice tried to bring Paul McGrath from Aston Villa to Celtic. Although he is apparently available, it is at a price. The Villa manager thinks that the injury-prone 32-year-old is worth more than Brady's revised offer of Stg£700,000.

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

- GOLF: David Feherty finished the US PGA last Sunday with a fine 68 and 4-under for the tournament. THis brought him up to joint sixth position.

- GRAND PRIX RACING: Both Jordan cars finished in the Hungarian Grand Prix last Sunday but were out of the championship points positions. De Cesaris was 7th and Gachot, who set a new lap record, was 9th.

Bertrand Gachot, the Belgian Formula 1 driver with the Jordan team mentioned above, has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for spraying CS gas into the face of a London taxi driver, with whom he had a disagreement. Gachot is seeking leave to appeal the severity of the sentence.

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