Friday, June 23, 2006

Due to 'staff' (!) shortages here at '1169...' - because of some football matches or other , this Blog will only be updated every second day , for the next few weeks . In short , I have been abandoned by all but this machine ! Sharon . (PS - the exams are over , but now 'Junior' is distracted by the football ! What next - girls knocking on the door.... ?)

From 'MAGILL' magazine , November 1997 .
By Fionnuala O' Connor .

The youngest 'Ulster Unionist Party' member , Jeffrey Donaldson , is the only party delegate of any significance whose 'engagement' others noted , on the subject of identity , Britishness and Irishness : but an approving (P) Sinn Fein soundbite brought immediate party denial - he had offered no more than clarification , through the chair . The exception pointed up the rule - David Trimble's habit of dipping in and out of sessions and rarely making a personal contribution sets the tone .

An official whose hallmark is understatement says : " Even though they're in the talks , it looks like the UUP have'nt worked out any clear strategy beyond registering disapproval of (P) Sinn Fein . " Another participant , not a nationalist , came to a despairing conclusion a year ago and sees no reason to change his mind : " They're a mess . They don't like each other or trust each other . I can't believe what a shambles they are close up . "

When the parties were meant to provide papers setting out their 'principles and requirements' in Strands One and Two of the talks , the UUP at first sent neither a paper nor the expected senior figure : next day , no paper but deputy leader John Taylor did stay for an hour ! When that stage ended , the UUP delivered their 'opening statement' - which everyone else had turned in on the first day of talks - and were challenged on same being "sloppy".......

Following the disbandment of the Dublin-based grouping , the NSIWP , a new right-wing organisation , believed to be linked with right-wing Catholic groups , has been formed . COLM KEENA reports .
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , 1 October 1987.

The new 'group-within-a-group' , the 'Social Action Initiative' , says it is going to 'go public' in May of 1988 , and wants to be well organised around the country by that date - it has yet to decide on a public name . Referring to various strands of belief within extreme right-wing groups , the 'Editor's Note' in the latest issue of the 'Ar Aghaidh' bulletin reads -

' In these darkening days , all non-communists must pull together , under all circumstances . To do otherwise is to play the 'System's ' game for them . We are all nationalist , pro-Western civilisation , pro-family , pro-life and pro-Nature . Surely there is ample room for manoeuvre here ?' Kevin Boland says that following his and most of his colleagues' withdrawal from Aontacht Eireann , it was taken over by a group of strongly pro-Catholic individuals . For a number of years , up to last year (ie 1986) , the party continued to register with the clerk at Leinster House , with the rights to take part in elections , which that registration 'allows'.......

Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act has just been renewed for another year by State Communications Minister Jim Mitchell , despite increasing protests and lobbying by the NUJ .
HELEN O'CONNOR examines the results of a recent NIHE survey of the attitudes of Dublin people on the issue and GERRY LAVERY looks back to the roots of Section 31 .
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

Dr. Garret Fitzgerald (Fine Gael , Dublin South-East constituency) rose to his feet in Leinster House to voice opposition to Fianna Fail pressure on the RTE Authority : Fitzgerald stated that he supported "...every word ,(of) which I heartily endorse.." of that which the State Labour Party's David Thornley had said by way of objection to Fianna Fail machinations .

Fitzgerald continued - " The government regarded this occasion as a means of getting control of RTE , of replacing it with a puppet Authority and preventing freedom of speech * . The real threat to this country is not the IRA but the threat to freedom of speech and this is a sinister plot on behalf of the government to get control . I do not know what kind of superhacks could be found to obey the whim of the minister . " ( * '1169...' Comment : the "threat to freedom of speech" , as represented by Section 31 and acknowledged as such by Fine Gael whilst in opposition , was never recognised as such by Fine Gael when they were in power!)

Despite Garret Fitzgerald's 'outspoken opposition' to Section 31 censorship , when he was returned as a member of the State coalition Administration after the 1973 election , he was not noticably in a hurry to restore the 'independence' of RTE - in fact the opposite was the case and Posts and Telegraphs State Minister Dr. Conor Cruise O' Brien quickly set about trying to refine Section 31 censorship and make it even more an instrument of government policy.......