5 February 2004 Edition

Irish volunteers build homes in South African township

5 February 2004

Poverty - you have never seen the like of it - tiny shacks, one after another, 'housing' a million people or more, stretching for miles across Cape Flats, stretching as far as the eye can see, and beyond, little shacks made of hardboard, of corrugated iron, strips of wood, with black plastic bags to keep the rain out. There are narrow paths through the reddish earth, which flood in the rains, no running water into the shacks, no sewage out; cooking by little paraffin primers, electrics by 'illegal' hook-ups to the power lines - so infinitely dangerous when the hook-up shorts and the houses catch fire. Free article

Concern at delay in Colombia verdict

5 February 2004

The EU and the Dublin Government need to make strong representations on behalf of the Colombia Three. This was the message of a delegation of Irish parliamentarians who have returned from a visit to Bogota last week. There, they visited with the three Irishmen who are awaiting a verdict on charges of training FARC guerrillas, and held meetings with Colombian officials, international diplomats and human rights groups. Free article

Cormac

5 February 2004

Coming Home, but when?

5 February 2004

Sinn Féin TD SEÁN CROWE was among a delegation that travelled to Colombia last week to highlight the case of the Irishmen known as the Colombia Three, Jim Monaghan, Niall Connolly and Martin McCauley. Here, he writes about that visit. Free article

The tip of the iceberg

5 February 2004

In the aftermath of Belfast's anti-racism rally, a report issued by the Housing Executive has revealed that more than 30 families and individuals have been forced to flee their homes in the last year due to racially-motivated attacks. For the first time, the Housing Executive has compiled separate figures on ethnic minorities desperate to move after suffering racial intimidation. The results reveal that the Executive dealt with an average of two cases a month over a 12-month period. Free article

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Brits renege on plastic bullet pledge

5 February 2004

Sinn Féin has reiterated its demand that plastic bullets be immediately removed from operational use in the wake of an NIO-commissioned report into possible alternatives to the lethal projectiles. The publication of the fourth report by an NIO-led steering group follows an announcement by Direct Rule Minister Jane Kennedy that plastic bullets will remain in use until at least 2005. Kennedy's declaration breaks the British Government's pledge - made in April of last year - that the plastic bullet would be phased out by Christmas 2003. Free article

Clare Lockout - Community management board shuts up shop

5 February 2004

Imagine a scenario where you, the taxpayer, has ordered that some of your taxes be directed to a worthwhile local scheme finding work for the long-term unemployed. Imagine that that scheme is extraordinarily successful and is slowly helping an area of disadvantage get back on its feet. Now imagine that the management board of that invaluable service, the board whose wages you pay, has decided to shut the service down because, they claim, there are problems with the staff. No negotiations are held, no arbitration help is sought, just bang - we're closing, and 16 people, also paid by you, who staffed the service with dedication, are now locked out of their offices and forced to picket on the street to bring some attention to their plight. Free article

Young racists target Indian family

5 February 2004

An Indian family who recently moved to Bangor has been subjected to regular racial abuse from children as young as ten and plagued by young racists attacking their home with eggs and stones. The devoutly Christian family has already endured a long line of attacks since they moved into their new home on Beechwood Avenue only three months ago. Free article

Special Branch up to old tricks

5 February 2004

Sinn Féin in Derry says the PSNI Special Branch kidnapped a man in an attempt to recruit him as an informer. The incident came to light after the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted Sinn Féin. Councillor Barney O'Hagan told how the man was abducted after being stopped on Foyle Bridge in the early hours of Friday 23 January by uniformed members of the PSNI and his car was searched. Free article

Sinn Féin member threatened

5 February 2004

Those behind an alleged threat issued to a County Armagh Sinn Féin activist are "lacking in political intelligence and credibility", says Sinn Féin Councillor Cathy Rafferty. A Mass Card with a bullet enclosed and containing the words RIP and was signed Continuity IRA, Armagh was sent to the member last week. Free article


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