18 August 2005 Edition

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News in Brief 1

Wicklow commemoration

A large crowd attended the recent celebration of the 1914 Kilcoole Gun Running in County Wicklow.

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady, who is also the party's general election candidate, was the primary speaker. Brady detailed the many chapters of Wicklow's republican history from Michael Dwyer and Anne Devlin to the current day. Referring to the commemoration itself, Brady noted that the Kilcoole gun running was organised in response to a much-larger unionist guns importation earlier in 1914. Feeling pressured to respond, Irish patriots purchased arms on the continent. One shipment famously came ashore on the Asguard in Howth. Two weeks later, the second batch was landed in Kilcoole. Both shipments proved invaluable in the 1916 Rising.

"Republicans are still making history in Wicklow. Myself and Councillor Éamonn Long were first elected just over one year ago. We are pushing mightily to implement policies of equality and fairness at the local level. We hope to continue making history in Leinster House after the next general election."

Martina Anderson, Sinn Féin's all-Ireland co-ordinator, told the crowd that the country needed to start preparing now for re-unification.

Tullybeg sit-in continuing

Over 50 workers at Tullybeg Retirement Village, County Offaly who have occupied the nursing home for the past seven weeks in a dispute over unpaid wages are facing the possibility that they will never get their money following seizures of assets in the same complex by the Revenue.

More than €144,000 in wages and holiday pay is owed following the closure of the home in July with the board of directors citing financial trouble. The workers have occupied the premises since then, maintaining a 24-hour presence and pickets at the entrance to the grounds.

On Monday, bailiffs entered the complex and seized property from the Beechlawn Golf Course, which adjoins the nursing home and was run by the same board of directors as the nursing home.

Hopes were raised of a resolution last July when company director Liam Grennan gave staff, some of whom have not been paid since mid-June, a commitment to be payed in full by 19 July, but the failure to honour this commitment, and now the actions of the Revenue, point to an increasing likelihood that the employees will not be paid.

Dunnes workers strike in Finglas

Eighty workers employed in Dunnes Stores in Finglas, Dublin held a one-day strike last Friday in protest at a proposed reduction in hours. Store management refused to enter into talks prior to the strike over proposals that would see some workers lose between €100 and €120 a week.

Joe Donnelly of Mandate said: "For many low-income families at this time of year, the costs of school uniforms and books place families under considerable financial pressure. Together with the recently announced imminent hikes in utility costs such as oil and gas, this reduction in hours is going to hit some families hard this autumn.

"At the very minimum, we are requesting Dunnes Stores management to ensure the roster enables workers to claim Social Welfare for the balance of the week."

SIPTU stands up to Gate Gourmet

Airline catering firm Gate Gourment, at the centre of a bitter dispute involving sacked staff at Heathrow, is threatening to refuse to pay the terms of Sustaining Progress and seems set on introducing new terms of employment without agreement.

"While we have tried to resolve these issues through the normal industrial relations channels, management has done everything in its power to frustrate the process," said SIPTU Civil Aviation Branch Official Pat Ward. "Following an overwhelming ballot in favour of industrial action, our members now have official sanction to take industrial action — up to and including strike — if management attempt to force through change without agreement."

Gate Gourmet services 15 airlines operating out of Dublin Airport, including British Airways, Air America, Air France, Cityjet, Lufthansa and British Midland and any industrial action would be bound to lead to disruption of passenger services.


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