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The Irish Emigrant - January 18, 1993 | Print |  Email
Thursday, 03 January 2008
A new Government was formed by Fianna Fáil and Labour. Other than that the week's main talking points were a currency crisis, unemployment, and the weather.

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January 18, 1993 THE IRISH EMIGRANT Issue No.311

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Editor: Liam Ferrie Circulation: 1,435

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We have a Government and the media was able to spend much of the week considering the suitability of the various ministers and the difficulties faced by some of them as they attempt to establish new departments. The currency crisis was also a major issue, with numerous forecasts of a 3% increase in mortgage interest rates. This is still a possibility but has not yet come to pass. The unemployment problem just seems to get worse and at least one company announced its closure. A number of others are putting workers on short time.

The weather here is almost always a talking point but this week we were given a little more to talk about. A series of gales swept the country for most of the week. For the first couple of days these were accompanied by snow, which contributed to five road deaths and caused serious difficulties for drivers in most parts of the country. It was much milder by the end of the week but the gales then brought down trees, causing yet another fatal accident. Passengers on a Stena Sealink car ferry were given a fright when the vessel was hit by two freak waves.

Despite our own problems the Irish Times devoted almost its entire front page on Thursday to developments in Iraq.

THE NEW GOVERNMENT

As expected, the Dail met on Tuesday and elected Albert Reynolds as Taoiseach. Before the vote was carried, by 102 votes to 60, Des O'Malley returned to his earlier allegations about the copying of his personal papers, directing his attack at Mr Reynolds. In doing so he incurred the wrath of the Ceann Comhairle and eventually skipped parts of his prepared speech. Peter Barry proposed John Bruton for Taoiseach and, while he found a seconder, it was a futile exercise.

After the vote Mr Reynolds visited the President at Aras an Uachtarain to receive his seal of office. He then returned to the Dail and announced his new Cabinet. This is as follows:

  • Taoiseach..................................Albert Reynolds
  • Tanaiste & Min. for Foreign Affairs........Dick Spring
  • Min. for Finance.......................... Bertie Ahern
  • Min. for Social Welfare....................Michael Woods
  • Min. for Justice.......................... M. Geoghegan-Quinn
  • Min. for Employment and Enterprise........ Ruairi Quinn
  • Min. for Environment...................... Michael Smith
  • Min. for Defence and Marine................David Andrews
  • Min. for Agriculture and Food..............Joe Walsh
  • Min. for Tourism and Trade................ Charlie McCreevy
  • Min. for Transport, Energy & Communication Brian Cowen
  • Min. for Equality and Law Reform.......... Mervyn Taylor
  • Min. for Arts, Culture & the Gaeltacht.... Michael D. Higgins
  • Min. for Health............................Brendan Howlin
  • Min. for Education........................ Niamh Bhreathnach
  • Chief Whip................................ Noel Dempsey
  • Attorney General.......................... Harry Whelehan

There were no real surprises in this although, until a few hours before the announcement it was forecast that it was Charlie McCreevy and not Seamus Brennan who would be dropped. Labour was given the expected six cabinet places which meant that two Fianna Fail ministers lost their jobs. (The absence of the two PDs, the retirement of John Wilson and the move to Europe by Padraig Flynn already created four vacancies). Dr John O'Connell was the other Minister to lost out but it appears that he was not interested in remaining in a coalition with Labour. The six Labour Ministers turned out to be much as predicted, although from time to time Jim Kemmy's name was mentioned; I think that was just scare- mongering! Some members of the Labour Party will not be too pleased at the retention of Harry Whelehan as Attorney General. Niamh Bhreathnach's rise to fame was swift, picking up one of the big-spending departments within weeks of first being elected to the Dail.

The reaction to the make up of the Cabinet has generally been positive. The most frequently heard criticism among members of the public is the effective demotion of David Andrews. He was perceived as a tremendously successful Minister for Foreign Affairs, who presented a very positive image of the country abroad. Dick Spring's role as Tanaiste will be different from that of his predecessors. He has been given responsibility for what is called the "Office of Tanaiste". This will have its own budget, an office near the Taoiseach in Government Buildings, and will monitor the implementation of the Programme for Government. Michael D. Higgins' portfolio attracted a good deal of attention. Many of his responsibilities were previously managed within the Department of the Taoiseach but he also has responsibility for broadcasting.

THE SECOND STRING

The Ministers of State were appointed on Thursday; ten of these went to Fianna Fail TDs and five to Labour. This meant that there were no places for four Fianna Fail TDs who were Ministers of State in the last Government.

The following is the list of junior ministers, showing the departments with which they are associated and, in brackets, their particular areas of responsibility.

  • Noel Dempsey......Departments of the Taoiseach, Finance: (OPW).
  • Mary O'Rourke.... Employment and Enterprise: (Labour affairs)
  • Seamus Brennan....Employment and Enterprise: (Commerce and.Technology)
  • Pat Gallagher.... Gaeltacht
  • Noel Treacy...... Taoiseach, Finance, Transport, Energy and.Communications: (Energy)
  • Liam Aylward......Education: (Youth and Sport)
  • Liam Hyland...... Agriculture: (Forestry and Rural Development)
  • Willie O'Dea......Justice, Health
  • John Browne...... Environment: (Environmental Protection)
  • Tom Kitt..........Taoiseach, Foreign Affairs: (Europe and Overseas Development Aid)
  • Emmet Stagg...... Environment: (Housing and Urban Renewal)
  • Gerry O'Sullivan..Marine: (Port development, Safety and Inland.Waterways)
  • Brian O'Shea......Agriculture: (Food and Horticulture)
  • Eithne Fitzgerald Tanaiste, Finance: (National Development.Plan)
  • Joan Burton...... Social Welfare: (Poverty)

Seamus Brennan has also been given the task of reorganising Fianna Fail and will receive a salary from the party for this.

SNOW COMES AND GOES

Much of the country was covered with snow in the early part of the week but it cleared up more quickly than expected. Even where falls were light, black ice made road conditions treacherous and five people died in car accidents. The heaviest snow falls were in the North and Northwest and many schools in Donegal and Derry were closed on Monday and Tuesday. The snow was accompanied by gale force winds, with gusts of 80mph recorded in places.

The Road Haulage Association was critical of the failure to grit most major roads. Indeed it was strange to watch television pictures of trucks slithering down a hill on one of the major routes into Cork city. Donegal County Council, on the other hand, managed to put fourteen snow-ploughs into operation.

We were lucky here in Galway city. Although we frequently looked out on blizzard conditions, each fall was short-lived and the grass managed to stay visible. By lunch time on Tuesday there was no sign of any snow although it remained stormy. I believe it was a different story in Tuam and Loughrea where conditions where quite bad.

MORE BAD WEATHER

In what turned out to be a stormy week, gales again caused serious problems in the early hours of Sunday morning. Alice McKenna (34) died when the van in which she was travelling crashed into a fallen tree on the main Castleblayney to Monaghan road. Passengers on the Stena Sealink car ferry must have been terrified when the vessel was hit by two "freak waves". The ship left Dun Laoghaire at 11:00pm and was seventeen miles west of Holyhead when the incident occurred. Fifteen passengers and five crew members were injured. Most of the vehicles on the car deck were also badly damaged. One report said that the ship almost capsized. In any event the coastguard was put on alert for a possible major rescue effort. The ship made its own way into Holyhead and all the injured were taken to hospital. A spokesperson for the hospital later said that most were suffering from minor injuries and had been released. Stena Sealink say that the wind, of force 8 to 9, was not at all exceptional for a ship of this size and that the problem was the "freak waves". The ship's captain said that he had never before experienced such bad conditions.

Salthill took a bit of a buffeting at the same time and, while no one was injured, many cars were abandoned where they were parked on the "prom" and in car parks. Extensive flooding was caused by waves crashing up onto the road. Trains on the Dublin-Sligo route were running two hours late because of fallen trees on the line.

THE UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEM

There was a string of announcements about job losses and companies putting workers on short time. It started with a German clothing manufacturer which has been operating in Baldoyle since 1979. Gardeur will close on February 26 with the loss of 147 jobs. The entire operation will be moved to Eastern Europe where wage costs are very much lower. A company spokesman agreed that the Baldoyle plant was very efficient but said that there was no question of reversing the decision.

Bee Line Products of Ballyfermot, Dublin, another clothing company, announced that it was laying off 138 of its 165 staff for two weeks and the plant will close entirely for a further week. It hopes to be back in full production by the end of March. In Roscrea 19 people lost their jobs in the Antigen pharmaceutical plant and 15 casual staff were laid off by the Fresh Foods bacon factory.

On Wednesday Braun (Ireland) announced that it would put 300 of its 1,000-strong workforce in Carlow on short time from the beginning of February. The company is experiencing a serious decline in sales due to the current recession.

Friday's depressing news came from TEAM Aer Lingus which is experiencing some financial difficulties. The company is considering all options, including possible redundancies.

CURRENCY CRISIS CONTINUES

There was continued speculation that mortgage rates would rise as the punt remained under pressure from speculators for most of the week. Irish officials have been complaining that Germany is not doing enough to support the Irish currency. On Wednesday the President of the Bundesbank praised the stance taken by the Irish Government and said that he was fully supportive of the punt's position within the ERM. His deputy made a similar statement a day later. Wholesale interest rates remained high and there were many forecasts of an imminent rise in mortgage rates.

The currency crisis was at the top of the Cabinet's agenda when it held its first meeting during the week. Following this the Department of Enterprise and Employment met with representatives of the banks. £500m is to be borrowed from abroad and made available to manufacturing and tourism companies. The Government will guarantee losses arising from any future devaluation of the punt. At the same time the Department of Finance met the building societies and encouraged them to borrow at lower interest rates overseas. The societies were not satisfied with the guarantees against exchange rate losses but did agree not to increase mortgage rates for at least another few days.

An Irish Times columnist reviewed the apparent campaign by the British media against the punt. He claims that the media and the British Government "have been stung by the sheer nerve of Ireland's tenacity in clinging to a European currency grid which became too demanding for the British". The fact that 30% of Irish exports are sold on the British market makes the Irish stance more puzzling to them.

BEEF TRIBUNAL

Tomas Mac Ghiolla gave evidence to the Tribunal when it resumed its hearings on Tuesday. He agreed that many of the claims which he had made in the Dail were based on rumour and that he had no supporting evidence. He had suggested there had been political interference with Customs officers and Department of Agriculture officials, investigating alleged fraud and forgery in the Goodman Group of companies. Mr Mac Ghiolla continued to insist that the Department of Agriculture did not pursue a case against Eirfreeze, a Dublin meat storage company, with sufficient vigour.

On Wednesday, Fine Gael Senator Tom Raftery also said that many of the allegations which he had made were based on rumours. He withdrew a claim that Larry Goodman gave presents to Brussels officials and that Mr Goodman's helicopter was made available to them. Senator Raftery could not remember from whom he heard the various rumours but he insisted that Mr Goodman "was a ruthless businessman who has been known to use threats and blackmail against a public official". The public official turned out to be Joe McCartin MEP, who had told Senator Raftery of the means employed by Mr Goodman's agents to recover debts when Mr McCartin's business collapsed.

Pat Rabbitte TD, of Democratic Left, was in the witness box for the final two days this week. Most of that time was taken up with angry exchanges between him and counsel for the Goodman organisation. I don't think that Mr Rabbitte retracted any of the myriad of accusations he had made in the past but the Tribunal chairman at one point intervened to say that Mr Rabbitte had given no evidence, good, bad or indifferent, to support any of the allegations he had made.

As far as I can make out there was no mention at the Tribunal of the claims made by Des O'Malley against the State's legal team and Fianna Fail.

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

  • Last week I reported an item from the Irish Times concerning the missing Irish Life executive, Brendan Hayes. This Saturday's Irish Times carried a correction to its earlier report. It retracted the assertion that Mr Hayes had committed suicide and quoted garda officers involved in the case as saying that no conclusions had been reached and that the file was still open. The correction also said that garda sources had dismissed rumours that Mr Hayes was involved in any financial irregularities at Irish Life.

  • TEAM Aer Lingus had to make an embarrassing admission last weekend. The wing of a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 was damaged as the plane was being taken from its hangar, after the completion of an overhaul and just prior to it going back into service. A spokesman said that the cost of the damage was well below the £1m which was rumoured. The plane had to remain in Dublin another few days for repairs.

  • Hugh Sacker, of Donard, Co.Wicklow, agreed to allow officials from Wicklow County Council to inspect his garden, where he buried his wife, who died from cancer. The former TCD lecturer agreed to apply to the Department of the Environment for an exemption order so that his wife need not be re-interred in a public burial ground.

  • The harbour at Kilmore Quay, Co.Wexford, is to be developed at a cost of £2m.

  • Salman Rushdie was in Dublin on Friday for a conference on censorship. He met President Robinson, Dick Spring and Ruairi Quinn and was interviewed by Gay Byrne on the Late Late Show. The big name at the TCD conference was supposed to be Carl Bernstein but he was upstaged somewhat when Mr Rushdie appeared. For security reasons no one but the organisers knew about the visit beforehand.

  • The Irish Times surprised many, and sullied its reputation in some people's eyes, by carrying the full transcript of the much publicised telephone conversation which allegedly took place between the heir to the English throne and his woman friend.

  • The EC Commission has relented partially on its plan to introduce a weight limit on beef carcasses eligible for intervention payments. The limit of 340kg will come into effect in July 1994 instead of March this year. Intermediate limits of 380kg and 360kg will come into effect in July and January. The farming lobby has not been appeased by this change.

NATIONAL LOTTERY Winning Numbers:

  • Wed: 1, 3, 13, 19, 26, 37 - there was one winner of the jackpot of £395k.
  • Sat: 1, 3, 6, 9, 13, 28 - there was one winner of the jackpot of £508k.

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

  • The Catholic church in Comber Co.Down was damaged in a fire last weekend. The fire was started maliciously and the church will be closed for repairs for at least a month.

  • The IRA claimed responsibility for killing Matt Boyd (60), near Dungannon, on Monday. Mr Boyd was on his way home from work at a local creamery when the attack took place. Claims that he was a member of the UVF were strenuously denied.

  • The Northern Secretary, Sir Patrick Mayhew, believes that some IRA leaders wish to end the campaign of violence but are driven by loyalty to their dead and imprisoned colleagues. Speaking to the Rotary Club of Belfast he urged the IRA to call a cease-fire. Sinn Fein did not respond positively to him.

  • The editor of the News Letter in Belfast has stopped reporting statements from paramilitaries after they carry out killings. Normally these statements claim that the victim was the member of a rival organisation or an informer, or give some other "reason" for the attack.

  • The INLA claimed that it was responsible for an attempt on the life of a prominent loyalist, John "Bunter" Graham, at his home in the Shankill area of Belfast. He was hit by rifle shots fired through his window and is now in intensive care in the Mater Hospital. His grandson received minor injuries from flying shrapnel. The IRA and the IPLO previously attempted to kill Mr Graham.

  • That attack took place on Thursday and a few hours later UFF gunmen forced their way into the home of Anthony Butler (40) in the Ormeau Road area and shot him dead. Mr Butler's mother denied allegations that he was a member of the INLA.

  • Early yesterday evening a Catholic woman was shot dead in a flat on Belfast's Shore Road, a loyalist area of the city. The dead woman was named as Sharon McKenna (24) and was the fiancee of the Protestant man who lived in the flat. He answered a knock at the door and was confronted by two men with a shotgun. They pushed passed him and shot the woman as she came to see what was happening. This is being viewed as another sectarian attack carried out by loyalist paramilitaries, although no group has claimed responsibility.

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

  • The trial is currently taking place of Private Sean Courtney for the murder of Mrs Patricia O'Toole in August of last year. Mrs O'Toole's naked body was found in Rathfarnham. She had been beaten about the head with a brick but there is no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted. Private Courtney does not deny killing Mrs O'Toole but relates his action to traumatisation arising from an incident in the Lebanon.

  • John Purcell (23), of Clondalkin Dublin, was jailed for three years and banned from driving for six years on a drink/driving charge, in which a young woman was killed. Ann McLoughlin (23) was on her motorcycle on the Naas dual-carriageway, when she was hit by a car driven by Purcell. Ms McLoughlin was well- known in women's soccer circles and had played for Ireland.

  • An Enniskillen jury, at an inquest into the death of a member of the IRA, found that he had been shot by a British Army patrol without warning, and that the soldiers fired further shots into his body five minutes later. Seamus McElwaine died near Roslea in April 1986. His accomplice, John Lynch, was also wounded in the incident and is serving a 25-year prison sentence. Both men were carrying rifles but these had not been used.

  • A man appeared in Belfast High Court charged with the attempted murder of two men in Belfast on New Year's Day. Police found a key ring in the car which was used by the gunmen. A metal tag indicated that it belonged to "B. Harbinson" and the key opened the door of William Harbinson who was a suspected member of the Red Hand Commando. The wounded men were cleaning paint from a car which had been sprayed maliciously overnight.

  • Clonmel Circuit Court was told that an amateur radio operator in the US overheard a transatlantic telephone conversation about a plan to steal Irish archaeological objects. Maurice Hartlett (47), a Bord na Mona company representative, pleaded guilty to attempting to steal a Sile na Gig from Ballynahinch Castle, near Cashel, and was remanded on continuing bail.

  • A Dublin man decided not to proceed with a claim for damages against the Laurels public house, in Clondalkin. He had told the court that a chair on which he was sitting had broken, causing an injury to his back. Patrick Geoghegan withdrew his action when the court heard that he had won damages for injuries, in a variety of alleged accidents, five times in the last twelve years. The judge in this case ordered the papers to be sent to the DPP.

  • The court case which received most media attention was the five-year jail sentence handed down to David James (51), a former curator at the Chester Beatty Library. 38 months of the sentence was suspended. Mr James had pleaded guilty to stealing Oriental manuscripts and other valuable artefacts from the library. Since his trial he has been helping the library recover the stolen items. So far goods worth £385k have been recovered. The whereabouts of the remaining items, valued at £65k, is known but their new "owners" want compensation before returning them.

  • Limerick District Court ordered that Joseph Magee (27), of Armagh, be extradited to Britain, where he is wanted for questioning in relation to the killing of an army sergeant in Derby last April. He has fifteen days to appeal the decision. At the time the killing was claimed by the INLA.

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

  • There was a slight hiccup in the plans to cut costs at Waterford Crystal. The union decided that, although the proposals had been accepted overwhelmingly by the majority of staff, they should be voted on again by the different work groups as each was affected in a different way. General workers in the Waterford factory then voted against the cost cutting measures. Only 70 of the 210 workers in the section bothered to attend the meeting at which the vote was taken. The decision was reversed before the company's chief executive, Dr Patrick Galvin, met major investors in New York.

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

  • There wasn't a great deal of talk during the week of the allegations made by Des O'Malley and his legal team at the Beef Tribunal, except of course when he raised the matter in the Dail. Dick Spring did say that, in Government, he would ensure that the allegations are fully investigated. Fintan O'Toole, who has meticulously followed the Tribunal for the Irish Times, could find nothing in the Tribunal records to support Mr O'Malley's contention that his cross examination was based on the papers.

  • An IMS opinion poll in last week's Sunday Independent showed that 49% of those surveyed approved of Fianna Fail and Labour's attempts to form a coalition. 41% were against and the remainder did not have an opinion.

  • I paid little attention to talk last week that Fine Gael were wooing the PDs, with a view to a closer relationship and possibly an eventual merger between the two parties. It was said that the PDs were not interested. The story, however, persists. Brendan McGahon, the Fine Gael TD for Louth, even indicated that he could accept Des O'Malley as leader of a new party. There is some discontent within Fine Gael over the leadership of John Bruton. How strong this is, is not clear and John Bruton is not expecting any challengers when his name goes before the party this coming week. Fine Gael leaders must be re-elected after each General Election.

  • It was expected that Michael D. Higgins' first problem as a Government Minister would be the renewal of Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act. This is the section which bans interviews with members of Sinn Fein (and others) and it has to be renewed each January. It is known that Michael D. has some misgivings about the Act but it has just come to light that his predecessor, Maire Geoghegan Quinn, had signed the necessary order on January 6.

  • Michael D. has another immediate problem to deal with. As Minister for the Arts he has responsibility for heritage aspects of the Office of Public Works. This means that decisions concerning the controversial interpretative centres, including the one at Mullaghmore, must be made by him.

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

  • A concert billed as "A Feast of Celtic Music" will take place in Memphis State University Harris Auditorium on February 18, 1993, at 8.00pm, should any of you be in Tennessee on that date. It features Siobhan Farrell and Ultan Power, both from Co. Waterford, and also a traditional group from Memphis called Celtic Crossing. Tickets, $8 in advance and $10 at the door, may be obtained by calling (901)388-7514 or (901)382-7816.

  • Congratulations to Eamonn Sinnott and Marion Grady who became engaged over the Christmas. Eamonn and Marion both work for Intel in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

  • There is another row taking place in New York over the participation of a homosexual group in the annual St Patrick's Day Parade. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly gave the permit for the parade to a new organisation, St Patrick's Day Parade Committee Incorporated. The permit normally goes to the Ancient Order of Hibernians which has been associated with the event for more than 100 years. The AOH is appealing the decision to a New York court. Cardinal John O'Connor supports the AOH on this and asks how a parade held in honour of St Patrick since 1836 can arbitrarily cease to be a religious parade.

  • A Somali worker with the Irish aid agency Goal was shot dead last Sunday. The centre at which he was working had been closed three hours earlier because of fighting in the area.

  • James Canning (37) and Ethel Lamb (60), both of London, are currently on trial at the Old Bailey on charges of conspiring to cause explosions in London, and possessing Semtex and automatic rifles.

  • A group of leading Irish Americans had a three-hour meeting with president-elect Bill Clinton on Wednesday. They discussed future US policy on the North. Afterwards it was speculated that the peace envoy proposed during the presidential election campaign might not be appointed. The alternative would be a "strong" US Ambassador in Dublin. In that respect Ray Flynn and Brian Donnelly appear to be the front runners.

  • The opening of the latest Irish pub in Berlin, the Kilkenny, was reported in the Irish Times. A Guinness subsidiary carried out all the major work in establishing the pub. According to Guinness there is room for a further 380 Irish pubs in Germany, to add to the existing 120. The ease with which bar licences can be obtained means that an Irish pub can be set up in Germany for between £50k and £100k.

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

  • You might have noticed that the ferry company Sealink Stena has changed its name to Stena Sealink.

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

  • An ambitious proposal exists, calling for the establishment of a village of 100 families in either Co. Offaly or Co.Kildare. Each family will be given a farm on cutaway bog currently owned by Bord na Mona. The proposal arises from Bord na Mona experiments on the use of cutaway bogland and has already been shown to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture.

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

  • The Irish Times carried an article on the changing face of Queen's University Belfast. Catholics now make up 51% of the student population and have made their presence felt to such an extent that some Protestants opt to go to British Universities. The Irish language is widely used in the students union and there are protests at the use of the RUC band playing the British national anthem at graduation ceremonies. It is pointed out that few British universities play the anthem at their graduation ceremonies and spokeswomen for Oxford and Cambridge said that there would be no question of them inviting the local police band to the ceremony. About 25% of Catholics make a protest by not standing for the anthem, while many others opt to receive their degrees in absentia.

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

  • I must admit that I had never heard of Billy Roche before this week. He is described as a novelist and playwright and has come in for a great deal of acclaim in the last few days. His latest play "The Belfry" is described by the Irish Times as "a major work of dramatic art". Billy Roche is from Wexford and when the play opened there last weekend it was given a rapturous reception. It opened in the Peacock in Dublin on Friday, and his two earlier plays are also being staged there. The three plays had earlier been very well received by London audiences.

  • Bryan McMahon's play "The Honeyspike" is doing good business at the Abbey, about thirty years after it was first staged.

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

  • With Michael D. Higgins now a Government Minister he will be giving up his seat on Galway Corporation. It is unlikely that the other councillors will agree to co-opt a member of the Labour Party as his successor.

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

  • Lord Dunleath, the Alliance Party spokesman in the British House of Lords, has died at the age of 59. Lord Dunleath was also a member of the Church of Ireland General Synod, a former Governor of BBC NI, a leading businessman and he played an important role in many voluntary bodies.

  • Dr Jeremiah Dempsey, the former head of Aer Lingus has died at the age of 86. He joined the company as secretary in 1937 and retired as chief executive thirty years later. He remained on the board and was subsequently appointed chairman.

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

EXCHANGE RATES:

.................. IRISH POUND........ Jan 15....Jan 8

.................. Sterling............105.57.. 103.94

.................. US Dollar.......... 1.6210.. 1.6002

.................. Deutschmark........ 2.6414.. 2.6258

.................. French franc........8.9268.. 8.9267

.................. Dutch guilder...... 2.9693.. 2.9511

.................. Belgian franc........54.38....54.03

.................. Italian lira...... 2433.53..2404.70

.................. Japanese Yen........204.10.. 200.44

.................. Swiss franc........ 2.4185.. 2.3931

.................. Swedish krone......11.7477..11.8968

.................. Canadian dollar.... 2.0783.. 2.0526

.................. Australian dollar.. 2.4050.. 2.3809

  • Under a scheme proposed by the new Government, PAYE workers will be given tax relief on investments in small Irish companies. The investments will be deducted from the pay of those who wish to enter the scheme. Existing tax relief, for those participating in their own company's share scheme, will be retained and may be expanded.

  • The Irish Business and Employers' Confederation was launched on Wednesday. This is a coming together of the Confederation of Irish Industry and the federation of Irish Employers. The director general of the new organisation is John Dunne, who held the same position with the FIE. You should no longer find me referring to the CII or the FIE and I hope you remember what IBEC stands for.

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

After the snow cleared it continued stormy throughout the week, although what we had was a series of storms coming in off the Atlantic. Some brought heavy rain and others just gale-force winds. Saturday's was from the south west and gave much higher temperatures, 12C-13C, than we have been used to. That evening the wind turned to the west and increased in strength with the consequences which I have already described. Sunday was considerably calmer with sunny spells between squally showers.

Latest temperatures: Day 6C........................Night 0C

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

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

Premier Division:

....................Bohs 2..............Shamrock R. 1

....................Cork P..............Limerick P

....................Drogheda 0..........Derry 1

....................St Pats 0.......... Shelbourne 0

....................Sligo 1............ Dundalk 1

....................Waterford 1........ Bray 2

First Division:

....................Athlone 0.......... Cobh 0

....................Finn Harps 1........Galway 2

....................Home Farm 1........ Longford 1

....................Kilkenny 0..........St James G. 0

....................UCD 2.............. Monaghan 1

Irish League:

....................Ballyclare 2........Omagh 2

....................Ballymena 1........ Linfield 2

....................Bangor 1............Glenavon 3

....................Carrick 1.......... Distillery 5

....................Cliftonville 5......Newry 1

....................Coleraine P........ Crusaders P

....................Glentoran 1........ Ards 1

....................Portadown 3........ Larne 0

LEAGUE OF IRELAND ROUNDUP

Reporter: Gary Spain

St Pats took a major step towards securing a top six place by holding Shelbourne to a scoreless draw at Harolds Cross. Tony O'Dowd made some important saves but Pats did have a goal disallowed. The Pats fans celebrated afterwards but they could lose out if Limerick win in Cork.

The Cork City v Limerick tie was postponed but some Limerick fans (including me) didn't find out until we got to Cork. The game has been rescheduled for Wednesday next and it will be a nail- biting few days for fans of Pats and Limerick.

Bohs went back to the top of the table after a hard fought victory over Shamrock Rovers. Bohs were short several first team regulars.

Mark Ennis scored the only goal as Derry won in Drogheda while Sligo and Dundalk shared the points at the Showgrounds. Bray lifted themselves off the bottom after gaining only their second win of the season.

Galway continue to dominate the first division. They won 2-1 away to one of their main rivals, Finn Harps. - Gary Spain

*****

  • Most games in Scotland were postponed because of the weather. Aberdeen won 7-0 at home to Airdrie while Hibs defeated Dundee U. 2-1, also at home.

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

Five Nations' Championship:

....................Scotland 15........ Ireland 3

....................England 16..........France 15

This was yet another disappointing start to the International season by the Irish team. Within two minutes they trailed 3-0 to a Hastings penalty. Eight minutes later the score was 11-0. The Irish team was caught flat-footed and allowed Derek Stark over for a soft try at the corner. Hastings converted from a difficult position. After that the Irish team showed a lot of spirit and played intelligently against a strong blustery wind. Coming up to half time the 11-point gap looked a modest enough margin, considering Ireland would have the wind in their favour in the second half. That wasn't the end of it however and Stanger finished off a fine move in the same corner as before. This time Hastings was unsuccessful with his kick. We were not long into the second period when it became obvious that Ireland were going to have great difficulty in breaching the Scottish line, even with wind advantage. A couple of penalties were conceded but Niall Malone, who was having a fine game, failed on each occasion. In the 20th minute he had his only success. Scotland came back into the game in the final quarter and there were few further opportunities for the Irish to narrow the gap. Scotland dominated the line-outs and towards the end were also causing the Irish problems in the scrum.

England were hot favourites to win the other game but the French showed that this English team is not invincible. Only the greatest good fortune gave England victory. Trailing 12-6 a Webb penalty rebounded off the post and into the arms of Ian Hunter who had no problem crossing the line for a try. In the second half a drop goal attempt from the French came off the cross bar and was easily cleared.

I am sure many of you miss the graphic rugby reports of my sports editor but I seldom see Mike these days as he spends his working week in England, delivering courses, and only sees his family at weekends. Maybe if Ireland were playing better he would find time to write for you!

It wasn't much consolation, but the Irish under-21 side defeated Scotland by 18-3 and Irish students had a massive 49-13 victory over their Celtic cousins.

According to a report in the Irish Times, holders of ten-year tickets for the East Stand at Lansdowne Road will be asked for £2,000 when they come up for renewal. In 1983 these tickets cost £500.

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

GOLF: The European Tour opened in Madeira at the weekend. Des Smyth had been doing well but slipped in the final rounds. Ronan Rafferty finished in joint fourth on three under, four strokes behind the leader. A back problem prevented Eamonn Darcy from competing and Christy O'Connor Jnr felt he needed more practice.

In a competition in South Africa, Darren Clarke finished joint 10th on eight under.

GRAND PRIX: Eddie Jordan unveiled his new Formula One car at Silverstone on Friday. The new Hart V10 engine had previously been tested on the 1992 chassis. Jordan was very optimistic about the car's ability and lavished praise on his new driver, Rubens Barrichello, a 20-year-old Brazilian. The Ireland logo will be missing from the car this year as his "commercial people" insisted that all advertising space be paid for. Attempts to raise funds here were unsuccessful.

ATHLETICS: Catherina McKiernan won an International cross-country race in Seville yesterday.

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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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