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10 December 1998 Edition

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Fruit of the Loom

Two thousand workers laid off for a month and over 700 permanent redundancies - not much of a Christmas present for the local communities in Donegal and Derry dependent on Fruit of the Loom for their economic survival.

For weeks the Fruit of the Loom workers have been left dangling waiting for a decision to be made by the company. Now the commitment to guarantee 1,300 jobs for six years and 700 for the next ten will be seen by some as a partial reprieve.

Much has been made of the fact that the IDA and the Department of Enterprise and Employment has an economic strategy for the area. However even in August before the current Fruit of the Loom crisis blew up the IDA had publicly stated that it was finding it difficult to get industry to locate in Donegal due to a range of issues including lack of a proper transport and telecommunications infrastructure.

Here is an area that needs the Objective One EU structural funds that so much fuss has been made of in recent weeks. The fact that this area has been overlooked up until now is a damning indictment of successive Dublin Governments.

However, concocting a plan for new economic development in North Donegal will be meaningless without the input of the local community. They must be given control of their local economy and access to the same amount of money and resources given to Fruit of the Loom. Anything less is not acceptable.

Bombing victims - action long overdue

The Dublin/Monaghan bombings of 1974 killed thirty-three people and injured many more. The attack is widely believed to have been organised by the British secret service.

Nobody has ever been convicted or tried for carrying out these bombings and a shroud of secrecy and silence has surrounded the incident.

There has been widespread criticism of the RUC for blocking a proper investigation into the issue and thereby protecting the perpetrators. However much more could and should have been done by various governments in Dublin over the past 25 years to get to the bottom of this affair.

The recent announcement by John Wilson that he is recommending to the government that Garda files on the Dublin/Monaghan bombings be shown to the families of those killed is to be welcomed. But it only amounts to the very least that the government should do at this stage.

As the families of the victims pointed out themselves this week, they have had to endure the costly and unnecessary ordeal of fighting a legal battle to gain access to these files.

Having been subjected to a dreadful act of violence these families should not then have been forced to fight the political and police authorities in the 26 Counties as well. The latest recommendation is something which is long overdue.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1