Republican News · Thursday 12 October 2000

[An Phoblacht]

New Light on ESB Pylons

ESB chief Ken O'Hara ran into awkward moments at last week's meeting of the Dáil Trade and Enterprise Committee, when he faced questioning about the Board's plans to construct some 80 220 KV pylons across Cobh. The ESB has claimed that a company pulled back from a 500 million investment in Cork harbour, all because of uncertainty regarding reliable electricity supply. However O'Hara refused to disclose the identity of this company to the Committee.

O'Hara also refused to deal with questions concerning the costings of laying the cable under the sea, which protestors have proposed.

But the primary question with which the CEO had difficulty concerned why the ESB, a semi-state company, had found the need to employ Frank Dunlop, a PR consultant, (who has been much in evidence at the Flood Tribunal). It seems that Frank Dunlop was paid 108,000 by the ESB for his `political advice'.

Dunlop had agreed a new contract of 3,700 a month earlier this year, but this contract was terminated after revelations at the Flood Tribunal last May.

``Ultra-racist proposal''

It was reported yesterday that the general secretary of PDFORRA, the body representing non-commissioned ranks in the Free State army, has proposed that asylum seekers might like to join the Defence Forces, after six months of good behaviour in the state, and furthermore, if these people were to ``make a sufficient commitment to the Force,'' says John Lacey, ``they might even be rewarded with Irish citizenship,'' if they are alive of course.

It is not clear from reports whether this proposal is motivated by a desire to meet recruitment needs which, at 400 this year, fall far short of the target intake of 750, or whether the proposal in fact represents the Ministry of Defence's effort to engage, as required under the ``Partnership for Peace'', in ``promoting positive inclusion of minority ethnic groups.''

Whatever the reasons for the proposal, it bring shades of Tom Lerner and Vietnam War days. Won't it be lovely, with all the blacks doing the fighting in the EU's new Rapid Reaction Force.

Racism ne plus ultra. It puts Minister O'Donoghue in the ha'penny place.

Inquiry into teenager's death deferred

On Tuesday, Justice Peter Kelly took a radical step in ordering an inquiry into the death of a 15-year-old child, who had absconded from the residential unit at Newtown Gore, Co Wicklow, to which he had directed she reside. Kim O'Donovan was found dead in a Dublin city centre B&B in Dublin three weeks after warrants for her return were issued.

At the time of going to print, however, thatinvestigation has been deferred as lawyers for the health board take instruction on whether the inquiry is within Kelly's jurisdiction.

Although the outcome is in doubt, Judge Kelly's order for an inquiry represents another milestone in his efforts to force the Department of Health and the Health Board to implement their undertakings, made in response to his injunctions, that suitable accommodation be provided for seriously disturbed children who have been brought before his court.

The judge ordered that the Ministers for Health and Children, and Education and Science and the Garda Commissioner, be involved in the proceedings.

Greenpeace shuts down incinerator

Greenpeace shut down England's largest incinerator at Edmonton, London, on Monday, 9 October. The environmentalist campaign group activists succeeded in capping one of the plant's 100-metre-high exhaust chimneys.

Campaigner Roy Gueterbock commented: ``We've gone a long way to stopping this toxic cocktail spewing out of the chimney. We're stopping the amounts of arsenic and acid gases, which is definitely good news for North London. These incinerators are little more than cancer factories.''

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