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The Irish Emigrant - February 11, 1991 | Print |  Email
Friday, 10 February 2006
The IRA launched mortar bombs at 10 Downing Street; Ryanair was fighting to survive; Britain's DPP seemed intent in keeping the Birmingham Six in prison; the western half of the country basked in bright sunshine while the east, like the rest of Europe, was covered in snow; and An Post announced plans for 1,500 redundancies (I think that remains under negotiation!)


February 11, 1991 THE IRISH EMIGRANT Issue No.210


Editor: Liam Ferrie Circulation: 897


An IRA mortar bomb landing in the garden of No.10 Downing Street was presumably a major news story no matter what part of the world you are in living in, so I won't take up too much of your time recounting the details in this issue.

That story of course took over the headlines from the Gulf War but it was a week when the War did not get quite the same attention as in previous weeks. It probably used up as much newsprint as before but other stories made the headlines. On Tuesday The Irish Times led with a story on the EC Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). A day later the headline was "Universities face teacher training cuts", a choice which probably reflects the nature of its readership. Thursday's story about 1,500 planned redundancies at An Post had much more general interest. Throughout the week there was speculation about the likelihood of Peter Brooke abandoning his efforts to bring the various sides together for talks on the future of the North. It was a related story which provided Saturday's headlines. The Taoiseach finally appointed a Minister for Defence and didn't quite end the rumour and speculation.

It was another week when the weather made news although, apart from being bitterly cold, it didn't affect us much here in the West.


The IRA launched three mortar bombs at 10 Downing Street on Thursday morning. The mortars were fired from a van which had been left in a nearby street. One exploded 15 yards from where the British Cabinet was having its weekly meeting. The reinforced windows of the room were damaged but no one was injured. Both the others were wide of the mark and one failed to explode.

The IRA attack was widely condemned here, with the Taoiseach sending a message of support to the British Prime Minister. There were some who felt that the matter should have been discussed in the Dail but this did not happen. Most reports said that it was probable that the mortars were manufactured in Britain rather than in Ireland and that Gardai were co-operating with British police in attempting to identify the two men seen abandoning the van. Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, neither condoned nor condemned the attack.


Brendan Daly is the new Minister for Defence. The Taoiseach has been carrying out this role, since the sacking of Brian Lenihan three months ago. The only other front bench change saw responsibility for Communications passing from Ray Burke to Seamus Brennan. This allows Mr Burke to concentrate on the Department of Justice but his colleague now has to concern himself with Tourism, Transport and Communications (including RTE, An Post and Telecom). Both these changes were widely forecast. In contrast, the promotion of Chris Flood to Minister for State at the Department of Health was not considered at all. There were a few other changes in the junior ranks but these were primarily of interest to the immediate family of those involved!

The opposition parties had a great time after these changes were announced. They claimed that such minor modifications to the front bench did not require three months deliberation and proved that the Taoiseach was indecisive and lacking in authority. Mr Haughey continued to insist that Padraig Flynn was never asked to change jobs, and that there was never any intention to reshuffle the Cabinet posts.

By Thursday an Irish Times reporter did, in fact, seem satisfied that the Taoiseach did not plan to move Mr Flynn. When the rumours started Mr Haughey phoned Mr Flynn to assure him that they had no substance. The same reporter insists that the rumours emanated from within the ranks of Fianna Fail.


Three times during the week Ryanair made the news and it was all in relation to its fight for survival.

Monday's papers carried details of pay cuts of up to £5,000 which have been accepted by the airline's pilots, as it continues to plead serious financial difficulties. Nineteen of the company's employees accepted redundancy terms and some management staff also took decreases in their salaries. When a union representative was asked why the pay cuts were agreed, he said that the alternative was redundancy.

Later we heard that Waterford and Kerry Airports have cut landing charges to Ryanair after a threat to cancel all its services from regional airports. Galway has not responded but has let it be known that it is not as dependent on Ryanair as are the other two airports.

The Sunday Tribune's forecast about a change from Luton to Stansted was largely confirmed. From April 29th most Ryanair flights to the London area will go to Stansted. In fact only Dublin passengers will be able to go to Luton. This looks like a good move as there are scheduled flights to ten European cities from Stansted. There have also been major improvements at the airport and a new fast rail link to central London.


The inquiry into the drowning of four fishery officers off Ballycotton last summer started on Monday and has been running all week. It will continue again next week. I am only aware of the more controversial statements which were made and so rated a mention on the radio and television news.

The picture I get is one of carelessness. Witnesses told of a total lack of training, poor equipment, missing equipment, the wrong boat for the conditions and too many people on the boat. We also heard of tremendous animosity between fishermen and the regional fisheries board. This was given as the reason the boat was launched from Ringaskiddy and not Ballycotton. A local fisherman denied that this animosity existed. The inquiry was told that the skipper of the boat which discovered the bodies in the sea was accused of deliberately ramming the patrol vessel. This accusation was made by a fisheries officer immediately after the disaster. The sole survivor was able to discount this and said that while taking in an illegal net the crest of a wave came over the stern of the boat. One of the engines cut out, the bow started to rise and all five men moved to the front. The boat was quickly swamped and the men had to take to the water before they could use the radio. Although the vessel was equipped with flares the men did not have any on their persons.


On Wednesday An Post announced a series of cost-cutting measures which it insists are necessary to ensure its survival. The most startling step planned is a reduction of 1,500 in the work force of 7,800. On top of this, 550 sub post offices will be closed, there will be more use of roadside mail boxes in rural areas, all areas will have just one delivery per day and prices will rise by 7%, with the standard letter rate going up from 30p to 32p.

An Post management made it clear that it was serious about its plans and that it had little option in its drive to save £24m per year. For the first few years after it became a semi-State company in 1984 the future looked promising. Previous heavy losses were initially curtailed and then turned into a modest profit. The promised good times never came and by 1989 it reported a loss of £3.6m. This increased to £9.8m last year and is projected to grow to £16.1m this year if action is not taken. The main cause of the decline of An Post is a rapid rise in wage costs which is not matched by an increase in business. The wage bill has risen by 40% since 1987 (with no increase in personnel) while inflation over the period was 13.5%. No explanation was offered for this.

At this stage we know that the proposed redundancies will be voluntary but there is no clue as to what sort of payments will accompany them. In justifying the loss of 550 sub post offices it was pointed out that 1,400 offices and sub offices accounted for 96% of revenue while the remaining 600 provided 4%.

The reaction to the cutbacks was quite vociferous. Opposition TDs asked all sorts of awkward questions in the Dail. Trade Unionists attacked the proposals as not living up to the ideals of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress. The closure of the sub post offices was described as undermining the social fabric of rural communities, and the use of the mail boxes, as depriving people in isolated areas of their last contact with the "outside world".


- The Irish Times estimated that there were 1,000 anti-war protesters marching through Dublin last Saturday, more than double the number I quoted from RTE.

- There was heavy security at Shannon Airport in the early hours of Friday morning when a US jet carrying Secretary of Defence Dick Chaney and General Colin Powell touched down for refuelling. Although on the ground for two hours neither man got off the plane. (As I finishing compiling this, news has come in saying that the plane carrying the two men back to the US has again landed at Shannon).

- Gerry Collins had talks with President Mubarak of Egypt in Cairo on Saturday. I am not sure what prompted the visit or what he hoped to achieve, but I don't expect it to lead to an immediate end to the war.

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

- None of us was aware of the precarious state of the nation's defences until we were informed that FCA members had formed a representative body. However, for a mere £500,000 we will again be able to sleep easy in our beds. This is the sum needed to provide our part-time soldiers with the equipment necessary to carry out their role. Apparently some new recruits are still waiting to be issued with jumpers and coats.

- Anglers in Co.Mayo are protesting against plans which they say will restrict their rights to fish on a 1.5 mile stretch of the River Moy. The fishing rights are owned by an Englishman, who lives near London. For the last 35 years he has leased the rights to a local angling club. This year, agreement has not been reached and it is being suggested that private commercial interests will take over and charge fees of up to £100 per day.

- On Monday and Tuesday a total of six incendiary devices were discovered in leading Dublin city centre stores. All of them failed to detonate. The first two devices were found after a phone call to the BBC in Belfast, from someone claiming to represent the UFF.

- A Government sponsored report blames fish farming for the decline in sea trout in Galway and Mayo in recent years. The fish farms appear to have caused an infestation of sea lice in wild fish stocks. The Irish Salmon Growers' Association dispute the findings and say that further research is required.

- There was satisfaction among Irish fisherman at the news that the US submarine base on the Holy Loch in Scotland is to close. They see it as a big reduction in the dangers they face while fishing in the Irish Sea.

- The monthly review of petrol prices brought no further reductions this month although diesel fell by 1.8p per gallon. However, the reduction in the top rate of VAT, which was announced in the budget, will bring the price of a gallon of petrol down by 4.5p from March 1.

- An attempt by three sales representatives to have the "benefit in kind" taxation of company cars declared unconstitutional failed in the High Court. The judge told them that they had the option of using their own cars and claiming an allowance, or using company "pool" cars when they needed them.

- Gardai are conducting a murder inquiry after the body of Sean Stephens (32) of Bohermore, Galway was found in a derelict house in Bowling Green. His naked body was wrapped in a blanket and he had been strangled. Reports indicate that the house was being used by people who were sleeping rough.

- Senator Sean Haughey, son of the Taoiseach and former Lord Mayor of Dublin, married Orla O'Brien on Friday.

- Hospital consultants learned that the Minister for Health had some more money for them in the wake of his decision to make free hospital treatment available to everyone. Their objections to the new scheme appear to have been withdrawn.

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

- The IRA sent a proxy bomb into the town of Magherafelt last Sunday night. An estimated 500lbs of explosives blew up outside the UDR barracks and caused structural damage to buildings within a quarter of a mile radius. A young woman was held hostage in a car while her husband was forced to drive the vehicle with the bomb. The construction firm which employs the man carries out work for the security forces and three members of the staff have already been killed by the IRA. There were no serious injuries in the blast but a 79-year-old man was trapped in his bed for a time when the ceiling fell in.

- On Tuesday Peter Brooke stated that he may have to "put up the shutters" on his attempts to get agreement on talks on the future of the North, as no significant progress had been achieved at last week's meeting in Dublin. This was a few days before he met Unionist leaders. After he did meet them things looked even bleaker. James Molyneux said there was no point in continuing discussions as Gerry Collins had said there could be no change in the Anglo-Irish Agreement. This was a bit disingenuous as Mr Collins clearly meant that there could be no change as a precondition to talks. Everything is on the table when the real talks begin. On Friday evening the Government here revealed that it gave another paper to Mr Brooke. This offered to let him decide when the Dublin Government should be brought into any talks. It is hard to say if this will lead to anything.

- Three detectives appeared in a London Court on charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice in their handling of the Guildford Four case. All three were released on bail.

- The head of the RUC Drug Squad claims that the UDA and UVF were collaborating with the IPLO in an attempt to control the North's drug trade.

- Maze escaper, Robert Russell, won his appeal against conviction of the murder of a senior RUC officer in 1981. He was twice convicted, having won a retrial after an initial appeal. His second appeal had not been heard when he took part in the mass escape from the Maze in 1983. He was later arrested in the South, attempted to escape and for that served a three year sentence. He was then extradited to the North where he was sentenced to five years for his part in the Maze escape. Instead of serving a 20-year prison sentence he will be released in two weeks time.

- The DPP told the Appeal Court in London that he would still contest the appeal of the Birmingham Six although he would no longer be using the forensic evidence which was so crucial to their original conviction. He has given no indication as to how he will proceed from here. This has given some encouragement to those who have been campaigning for the release of the Six. Even British Labour MP Chris Mullen, who has probably done most for them, detected a softening in the attitude of the Appeal Judges. There will be another preliminary hearing on February 18.


- Cylink Corporation of California is to open a manufacturing plant in Blanchardstown. Over the next five years 144 jobs will be created in the manufacture of electronic encryption equipment.

- Teradata Corporation, which is already operating in Clonshaugh Industrial Estate, Dublin, is to move most of its world-wide manufacturing to this country. There was no indication of the impact which this may have on the number of people employed.

- Contrary to previous reports, staff at Aer Lingus are now said to be ready to forego incremental pay increases this year. This will contribute £2m to the £20m which the airline says it must save.

- Kelly's Bakery of Kilcock closed on Saturday with the loss of 120 jobs. The fact that there is another bread price war in the supermarkets is being blamed. The 75p loaf in the corner store can be purchased for 39p in most supermarkets.

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

- Ray Burke has to be the ultimate "cute hoor" and he's not even a Cork man. The last thing he did before handing over responsibility for Communications to Seamus Brennan was to announce that there would be a reduction in telephone charges averaging 7%. He was unable to give any details as to how it would be applied, but he was still able to give the good news. Less than 24 hours later An Post was spelling out its difficulties in the greatest detail and the man who had to face the wrath of opposition TDs in the Dail was Seamus Brennan.

- Ray MacSharry was faced with a bunch of would-be St Augustines when he presented his proposals for CAP reform to EC Agriculture Ministers on Monday. All of them agreed that reform was necessary but none was ready for it just yet, or at least not in the method suggested. Mr MacSharry has not abandoned his objectives and will have further meetings. Most Irish farm leaders still say they don't believe that small and medium size farmers will benefit.

- RTE and Fianna Fail are in dispute about which members of the party should be invited to appear on the station's Questions and Answers programme. Eamon O Cuiv was invited to take part last Monday night but withdrew at the request of the party hierarchy. Mr O Cuiv has come close to winning a Dail seat here in Galway West and there is a suspicion that the sitting TDs fear that he is more likely to dislodge one of them than to take a third seat for the party. Once upon a time RTE submitted a list of party members which it would like to have on a programme and the party would select one of them. FF would like to revert to that procedure.

- Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French right wing extremist, will take part in a two-day conference at Dublin Castle this week. This has incensed left wing politicians here. The Government justifies the decision on the basis that the conference was organised by M. Le Pen's group in the European Parliament and through the offices of the Parliament.

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

- For those of you in Britain who cannot pick up RTE radio and cannot wait until Monday for this, your addiction for news can be satisfied by a telephone call. RTE is now offering a news and sport service similar to that offered in Belgium. For the latest news the number to dial is 0898 345 264. If you are just interested in sport then use 0898 345 265.

- Readers in Boston and California who don't normally read the sports news might still be interested to learn that the Irish soccer team will play against Mexico on May 28 in Los Angeles and against the United States in Boston on June 1.

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

- There was much talk during the week of the impact of the Gulf War on the tourist industry here. Already six of 25 American bands, which were due to spend St Patrick's weekend in Ireland, have cancelled their plans. Currently the number of visitors from the US is half what was expected. On Saturday The Irish Times devoted a full page to the problems of the tourist industry.

- Iarnrod Eireann had an impressive advertisement in last week's Sunday Tribune. It offered conference and entertainment facilities anywhere on the rail network. The ad included a photograph of the interior of a lavishly furnished carriage with a well stocked bar in the corner. Clients are offered flexibility in seating, audio and video facilities, and full meals or snacks.

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

- The Government would like to see the closure of three of the five education departments in our universities. There are already too many post-primary teachers.

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

- Sinead O'Connor made sure she was in the news again this week. As with the Grammy Awards she said she would not have anything to do with the IRMA Awards which were being presented in Dublin on Friday night. She had a change of heart and did appear. After singing one song she left the stage urging her young audience to express themselves no matter what anyone told them. The trouble was that in doing so she used language which is normally used by those assumed to have a limited ability to express themselves. She did not accept the two awards which she won and these are to auctioned, with the proceeds going to charity.

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

- The Merriman winter school, held in Westport last weekend, was said to be the most successful ever. Over 300 people signed up to attend a series of lectures on the women writers in Irish and women in Irish literature. The entire proceedings were in Irish, including the singing, dancing and drinking which accompanies these occasions,

- The Theatre Royal in Limerick reopened last Sunday night almost a year after it was gutted by fire. Mary Black topped the bill on the opening night in front of a capacity audience of 750.

- The War has affected business on Broadway and forced a postponement in the New York opening of Dancing at Lughnasa.

> > > > > > > > > RADIO AND TELEVISION < < < < < < < < <

- "Scrap Saturday", RTE's satirical radio programme, is rapidly becoming required listening if you wish to take part in discussions over Monday morning coffee. Among the characters most frequently abused are the Taoiseach and P.J.Mara, Padraig Flynnstone, (Gerry) Collins of Arabia and Michael Noonan. "Upstairs and Downstairs" is a regular feature from the stately home of "Lady" Robinson. Last week, when they were doing a skit on the televising of the Dail, a voice was heard to interject, "Brendan Daly is speaking next. Is the interpreter ready?". It's not just politicians who need to be thick-skinned. Jimmy Magee, Terry*, Mike Murphy, Charlie Bird, Donncha O Dulaing, Eamonn Dunphy and Johnny Giles all provide regular contributions, whether they like it or not. Actually Johnny G. never gets to say anything as Eamonn D. always knows Johnny's opinion and voices it for him. (*I don't think we have ever been told who Terry is, and we are left to assume that it is Sunday Independent gossip columnist, Terry Keane).

- I am not a follower of the RTE Sunday night soap, Glenroe, so I cannot give you a blow by blow account of what is currently causing a bit of a controversy around the country. A preoccupation with sex has prompted people to phone into radio programmes and the Sunday Tribune to carry a special feature article. Apparently Dick Moran has not been behaving himself, much to the annoyance of his fairly new wife. There are suggestions that Miley was a father long before his marriage to Biddy. A young single woman is pregnant and the father is not too interested, while another unmarried couple are unlikely to be following their parents advice in the way they are conducting their relationship.

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

- The Galway International Rally was one of the few events to survive the rigours of the weather. In fact it was held in perfect conditions over the weekend. On Sunday, for the first time ever, a stage was held within the city boundary. At 13:30 on Sunday the cars raced out the Dyke Road from Woodquay. It was a very short stage but provided spectators with a grand stand view from the new bridge.

- On Saturday night we found what must be one of the most interesting and attractive places in Galway in which to have a meal. Mackmats is a relatively new restaurant in the basement of a building on St Augustine Street. The basement is in fact a century's old vault which, apart from a new floor, appears to have been left as it always was. The food is also very good.

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

- The Stalwart of Wild Geese fame celebrated his ??th birthday on Saturday with a huge party which may indeed be still in full swing.

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



Sterling 0.9190 0.9155

US Dollar 1.8260 1.8104

Deutschmark 2.6590 2.6577

French franc 9.0542 9.0388

Dutch guilder 2.9950 2.9957

Belgian franc 54.73 54.69

Italian lira 2001.30 1995.51

Spanish Peseta 167.26 166.81

Japanese Yen 233.49 237.89

Swiss franc 2.2715 2.2666

Canadian dollar 2.1156 2.1006

Australian dollar 2.3422 2.3163

- The Managing Director of NCB Stockbrokers, Michael Buckley, has joined the AIB Group as head of investment banking and as a director of AIB Capital Markets. Mr Buckley has been succeeded at NCB by Padraic O'Connor, head of economic research with the company.

- Byrne Mech of Athenry has won a four-year contract to supply computer cabinets to Amdahl, in Dublin. This will allow the work force to increase by about 25, to over 100.

- Irish Sugar's decision to dispose of excess capacity in recent years appears to have paid off. Profits continued to rise and for the year to the end of September were up 30% to almost £22m. Turnover was up from £215.6m to £271.4m. The Irish Times claimed to have details of the company's stock market flotation at the end of March. It said that the State will sell off a 55% stake for £60m.

- The Central Bank released figures which confirmed that the country's external reserves fell substantially in December and gave rise to the increase in interest rates. Analysts believe that the drop of £428m has been more than reversed and that reserves now stand at about £3,400m.

- Motor insurance companies have been increasing their rates by about 13% in recent weeks.

- AIB must be assuming that I will never get the overdraft cleared. There was a report that bad debts at AIB and the Bank of Ireland will total £335m this year.

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

All of Europe is caught in the grip of severe arctic conditions and it seems that only here in the West of Ireland have we escaped the snow. Throughout the week night-time temperatures remained below zero. Gale force winds in the middle of the week gave us a wind-chill factor of -15C. The snow did reach Ireland on Thursday. Traffic was disrupted in the Midlands, Dublin and Cork but was moving again in most parts on Friday. Cork still had some problems. It snowed again on Saturday and caused difficulties right down the East coast and inland around Naas, Portlaoise and Kilkenny. There is still no snow from Donegal to Kerry or in as far as Athlone. Instead we have had day after day of bright sunshine.

Very few sporting fixtures escaped the ravages of the weather.

Latest Temperatures: Day 4C................Night -6C

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

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

- The Arctic conditions caused the cancellation of all Sunday's National Football League games. They will now be played next Sunday.

- The GAA has reached agreement with Belvedere College for the takeover of the college's sports ground beside Croke Park. The plan now is to rebuild the Cusack Stand.

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

Friendly Internationals:

N.Ireland 3 Poland 1

Wales 0 Rep. of Ireland 3

- Billy Bingham was forced to play an experimental side against Poland and must have been delighted with his young team. Poland took the lead in the 17th minute and it wasn't until one minute before the end of the half that Gerry Taggart equalised with a header. New cap Jim Magilton scored from the penalty spot in the 51st minute and Taggart sealed the issue 8 minutes from time. The team was: Kee (Oxford Utd), Hill (Sheffield Utd), Morrow (Arsenal), Taggart (Barnsley), Donaghy (Man.Utd), Magilton (Oxford Utd), Dennison (Wolves), O'Neill (Dundee Utd), Clarke (Portsmouth), Wilson (Chelsea), Black (Luton).

- Weather conditions took from what should have been a very satisfying and encouraging performance by a team that was badly depleted through injury. The Irish side dominated throughout and had at least another eight good chances against two or three from Wales. Both sides also had a number of speculative long range shots. All three goals were well taken with Quinn getting two, a header in the 25th minute and the second midway through the second half. Byrne wrapped it up three minutes from time. Conditions were very bad with a covering of snow on a very hard surface. For the most part the Irish players mastered the conditions more effectively than the Welsh. Bonnar (Celtic), Irwin (Man. Utd), Staunton (Liverpool), McGrath (Aston V.), Moran (Blackburn), Byrne (Brighton), Townsend (Chelsea), McLoughlin (Southampton), Sheedy (Everton), Quinn (Man.City), Slaven (Middlesboro) started and Gerry Kelly came on for Slaven late in the second half.

Premier Division:

Athlone 1 Dundalk 3

Bohemians P Galway P

Limerick 0 Shamrock R. 3

Shelbourne P Cork P

Sligo 0 Derry 0

Waterford 0 St Pat's 1

First Division:

Cobh 0 Kilkenny 1

Drogheda P Monaghan P

Home Farm P Bray P

Longford 0 St James's G. 2

UCD P Finn Harps P

Table: P W D L Pts

Drogheda 18 11 7 0 29

Bray 17 9 5 3 23

Cobh 19 7 7 5 21

Finn Harps 17 8 4 5 20

Kilkenny 19 5 10 4 20

UCD 17 8 3 6 19

St James's Gate 19 9 1 9 19

Home Farm 18 4 5 9 13

Monaghan 17 3 2 12 8

Longford 19 1 6 12 8

Irish League:

Ballymena 4 Glenavon 3

Bangor 1 Ards 1

Carrick 0 Omagh 3

Distillery 2 Coleraine 0

Glentoran 1 Larne 0

Newry 1 Crusaders 1

Portadown 1 Linfield 1

Roadferry Cup:

Cliftonville 1 RUC 2

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

- The first of the round robin series of games to decide who joins division two of the All Ireland League should have been played on Saturday, but were called off because of the weather conditions.

- The Irish selectors made three changes to the team which lost to France. Out went Kenny Murphy, Michael Kiernan and Ken Hooks. They were replaced by Jim Staples and Dave Curtis of London Irish, and Jack Clarke of Dolphin. The big talking point was the retention of Brian Smith, with many pundits preferring Ralph Keyes. Wales are Ireland's next opponents, this coming Saturday.

- The All Ireland League has been pronounced an outstanding success and has attracted sponsorship from the Insurance Corporation of Ireland for the next three years. The deal is estimated to be worth £500,000.

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

- COURSING: The Clonmel Coursing meeting attracted large crowds for what was the centennial event. It also attracted a number of anti-blood sport protesters. The weather forced the abandonment of the final day's coursing on Thursday.

- CYCLING: Sean Kelly was involved in a huge pile up in the second stage of the Ruta del Sol in the South of Spain and had to have eight stitches in a wound in his arm. He was supposed to continue in the race but we heard no more about it or the one in which Stephen Roche is competing. Possibly the weather put an end to both races.

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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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