Issue 3-2023-200dpi

27 March 1997 Edition

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Editor's desk

There was an almighty screaming match in the British media last week when the Portuguese police fired plastic bullets at Manchester United fans in Porto. One paper ranted about the police being one step away from their fascist past. I don't remember the same outcry when nationalist football supporters in the Six Counties have been attacked by real plastic bullets fired by the RUC, a force which is well in step with its fascist past.

Now a story for all you soap fans. A guy by the name of Jim McDonald is taking over as the ``independent'' assessor for complaints against the British Army.
You may know that Jim McDonald, the Coronation Street character, is a boozy former British soldier with the most annoying accent on television and a tendency to beat his wife. Just right for handling complaints, you might (not) think.

The NIO informs us that Jim takes up his post on April the first.

Little attention has been given to the recent discovery by workers in an American-owned factory in Cork that management was deploying sophisticated cameras and listening equipment against them. It surely represents the tip of the iceberg as far as surveillance of workers goes. As far back as 1985 this paper reported the discovery of a bug in Collins Brothers Irish Lamb Exporters factory in Waterford. The company, in which Fine Gael TD Eddie Collins was a major shareholder, had planted a bug in the canteen where union meetings were held. 12 years on we can only imagine the sophisitcation of technology now deployed widely in industries here.
I think I'll start a weekly column about Joe Hendron's Guinness Book of Records bid for the most inept campaign in electoral history.
Dr Joe, the SDLP's very own Corporal Jones (Don't panic! Don't panic!), claimed he saved the Royal Maternity Hospital two weeks ago, only to see its closure announced a few days later. Many of his campaign workers haven't a clue about local issues, telling the people of Andersonstown last week, for example, that their local SDLP office is on the salubrious Malone Road.

And this week he put his foot right in it when he took a swipe at Albert Reynolds for not showing him respect as the local MP when he visited West Belfast on Tuesday for the opening of the Féile an Phobail offices. Dr Joe said Albert had snubbed him.

Not a bit of it. In a stinging response Albert pointed out that Joe had also been invited to the opening of the office but had declined to attend. ``All of us [who did attend] were supporting a cultural and not a political event,'' he said sharply.

The light at the end of Joe's tunnel is that after May he won't have to worry about anyone showing him respect as the local MP.

An Phoblacht
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