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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
October 20, 2004
News 10/20/04 - Dublin May Axe 100 Yr Old 1916 Trees
News about Ireland & the Irish
GU 10/20/04 Dublin May Trade Its History For A Modern View
SM 10/20/04 Irish Officials Trying To Contact Kidnappers ÂV
SF 10/19/04 No Evidence That The DUP Are For Power Sharing
BT 10/20/04 We Won't Be Pushed: DUP
BT 10/19/04 Orange Parades 'About Bigotry'
SF 10/19/04 SF Welcomes Call For Inquiry Into Conditions In Prison
IT 10/20/04 Government Urged Not To Release IRA Men
BB 10/20/04 Integrated Schools 'In Demand'
BT 10/20/04 Ban On Smoking In Public Places Urged
IT 10/20/04 Plan To Have Fewer Armed Gardai
BT 10/20/04 Stray Dog Problem Is Serious: Sinn Fein
IT 10/20/04 Dublin Is Dirty, Dear, Dangerous, EU Survey Told
IT 10/20/04 Whale Sightings Off Mayo 'Very Significant'
QA 10/19/04 Does The Panel Agree With The Minister For Foreign -VO
QA 10/19/04 How Would The Panel Vote In The US Election? -VO
RTE Q&A Show: Does The Panel Agree With The Minister For Foreign
Affairs, Dermot Ahern, that it is only a matter of time before Sinn
FÃ©in is part of a coalition?
RTE Q&A Show: How Would The Panel Like To Vote In The US Election?
Dublin May Trade Roots Of Its History For A Modern View
Plane trees that survived Easter rising may be cut down as city
tries to create a cafe culture plaza
Angelique Chrisafis, Ireland correspondent
Wednesday October 20, 2004
They survived the two most traumatic events in modern Irish
history, the bloodbath of the 1916 Easter rising and the civil war
that followed, and watched Ireland change from an economic basket
case into one of the wealthiest countries in Europe.
But an avenue of ancient trees lining Dublin's central boulevard,
whose bullet holes and shell scars are a source of national pride,
are facing the axe in what some call an act of official
In a controversy that has pitted the old Ireland against the new,
an alliance of academics, artists and politicians is fighting to
save the 100-year-old trees, which are to be swept aside to improve
the view of Dublin's Spire - a towering silver needle shortlisted
for this year's Stirling prize for architecture.
A row is growing in Dublin over the landscaping around the 120-
metre spire. Known affectionately by Dubliners as the "Stiletto in
the Ghetto" or the "Stiffy near the Liffey", the Â4m (Â£2.8m) giant
pin was completed last year to replace Nelson's Pillar, bombed by
the IRA in 1966.
O'Connell Street had fallen into shambolic decay in the 1970s and
until the Â300m redevelopment which began during the economic boom
of the late 1990s, it was a tatty collection of fast-food shops and
Already, more than 50 historic London plane trees in O'Connell
Street, which witnessed the beginning of the new state, have been
felled to make way for the spire and the city's new tram system and
to create a "cafe culture" plaza in front of the bullet-scarred
General Post Office - scene of the 1916 rising, which left 500 dead
and ravaged 100 buildings.
But despite a motion by Dublin city council to protect the
remaining 10 trees, developers plan to axe them, saying they do not
fit plans to transform O'Connell Street into a European boulevard
to rival the best of Paris and Barcelona.
The outrage deepened when plans were made to bulldoze a house in
nearby Moore Street dubbed "Ireland's Alamo", where the 1916 rebels
made their last stand and decided to surrender in what was then the
back room of a fish shop. It was to be destroyed to make way for a
Christy Burke, a Sinn FÃ©in councillor in Dublin, led the campaign
which secured a reprieve for the Moore Street house last week. He
said he would fight for the trees.
"They are part of our history," he said. "Some people couldn't give
two tosses about Irish history, particularly 1916. But 1916 has
been hidden long enough - it is time to put it out in the open. We
should be proud of it."
CiarÃ¡n Cuffe, a Green party MP and former architect and town
planner, said that destroying trees which were "witnesses to
history" would be "a crying shame". Michael Conaghan, the Dublin
mayor, said piles of letters of complaint had arrived on his desk
every day and he would fight to get the old trees incorporated into
the new design of the street.
Imogen Stuart, a sculptor, who sent an angry letter to the Irish
Times, said: "These trees are monuments, living witnesses to the
liberation of Ireland. How can we destroy them?"
A spokesman for the O'Connell Street Project said public
consultation over the trees had just ended and a report would be
considered next month before the city manager made a final
decision. About 160 replacement trees would be planted.
He said the felling of the mature trees was regrettable. "But from
an architectural point of view, it was felt their height didn't
lend itself to the design of the street in terms of symmetry."
See video at
Irish Officials Trying To Contact Aid Chief's Kidnappers -V
By Senan Hogan and Louise Hogan, PA News
The Irish government is leaving no stone unturned in its attempts
to free aid director Margaret Hassan from her captors in Iraq, the
country's parliament was told today.
Irish Premier Bertie Ahern said the abduction of the Dublin-born
CARE International chief in Iraq was a "terrible deed" to inflict
on her family.
He agreed to a request from main Opposition leader Fine Gael leader
Enda Kenny to debate the issue in the Dail today to enable members
of the House to express their sympathy to Mrs Hassan's family and
to appeal for her release.
Mr Ahern said government officials were working hard behind the
scenes to determine which group was involved and to establish
contact with them.
"All communication links are being used. Efforts went on late into
the night last night by our Foreign Affairs people and Minister
Jack Straw in the UK," he said.
"It's a terrible deed to hit her family firstly and secondly to hit
the Care International organisation."
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern was expected to discuss
the issue with Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy when they
meet at Iveagh House, Dublin later.
In emphasising her Irish links and her long record of selfless
humanitarian work for CARE International, he said: "For our part,
everything will be done to assist the situation."
Earlier, in calling for a short debate on the kidnap situation, Mr
Kenny said: "This is a matter not to divide the house but is a
matter of unity."
Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte and Sinn Fein's Caoimhghin
O'Caolain supported the request for a debate and extended their
support to Mrs Hassan's family and friends.
Mrs Hassan, who is in her early 60s, heads CARE International's
operations in Iraq and the humanitarian organisation has suspended
operations in country.
She was seized on her way to work in western Baghdad after gunmen
blocked her route and dragged the driver and a companion from the
car, her husband said.
Former Fianna Fail MEP Niall Andrews, who met Mrs Hassan on several
occasions, compared her to Mother Theresa.
"I knew the work she did and she was quite an extraordinary woman,"
"She was the next thing to Mother Theresa. She was apolitical in
the sense that she didn't get involved in politics under Saddam
Hussain and equally she didn't go on about the sanctions. She just
went about her work.
"She is an Iraqi in that she has lived there for 30 years and is
married to an Iraqi. She was born in Dublin to Irish parents, and
her family name is Fitzsimons."
Mr Andrews also told of one time he had worked with Mrs Hassan
before the war when they provided medicine for suffering Iraqis.
"We flew a plane into the no-fly zone, we had medicines on board,"
"We gave them to her and she was really glad to have them.
"She would have had an Iraqi passport, as you had to have one under
Saddam Hussain and she had been there for 30 years," he added.
Mrs Hassan's father died two months ago in England.
Her husband, Tahseen Ali Hassan, is a retired economist.
Her sister, Geraldine Riney, lives in Kenmare, Kerry, while other
siblings were born in England, where the family moved when Mrs
Hassan was a child.
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has advised all of Mrs
Hassan's relatives not to comment to the media.
No Evidence That The DUP Are For Power Sharing
Published: 19 October, 2004
Speaking today from Dublin Sinn FÃ©in Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin
"The two governments are not simply facilitators or commentators on
this process. They both have a crucial role to play particularly in
honouring their outstanding commitments, if we are to achieve
agreement on a comprehensive package.
"Four weeks ago there was progress made at Leeds Castle. However it
is crucial that this work is brought to a speedy conclusion.
Republicans want to see a deal done. We want to see the political
institutions back up and running and the outstanding elements of
the Good Friday Agreement implemented.
"However the safeguards and protections in the Good Friday
Agreement cannot be diluted. There has to be democratic
accountability in policing.
"Both governments have declared their belief that the DUP is for
power sharing. There is no evidence thus far to support this and it
flies in the face of the DUP attitude in local councils where they
have majority control." ENDS
We Won't Be Pushed: DUP
Bickering continues as Ministers meet in Dublin
By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
20 October 2004
The DUP warned it would not be panicked or pushed into accepting
other agendas as the British and Irish Governments met again today
to debate devolution hopes.
Amid continuing speculation over a Government paper to close the
gap on remaining issues, Secretary of State Paul Murphy and the
Republic's Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern met in Dublin.
Their working lunch was expected to assess whether a new document
could assist the DUP and Sinn Fein to move towards accommodation -
or exacerbate current difficulties.
The meeting came after Mr Ahern said he hoped for an improvement in
the political situation but that it could not be guaranteed.
Senior DUP Assembly member Sammy Wilson said: "We are committed to
getting the right deal whenever it is on offer. We'll not be taking
anything less and we certainly won't be panicked or pushed into
accepting someone else's agenda."
The East Antrim Assembly member said it mattered little to his
party whether the UUP take up an opposition role, leaving the DUP
in an Executive with Sinn Fein.
"Their refusal to enter an administration will give more
Ministerial positions to the DUP and if they are as ineffective in
opposition as they were in negotiations and government, our
Ministers are unlikely to fear being scrutinised by clueless Ulster
Unionists," he said.
Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin said he could see no evidence of the
Governments' insistence that the DUP is prepared to enter power-
"It flies in the face of the DUP attitude in local councils where
they have majority control," he said.
As senior SDLP negotiator Sean Farren said the DUP must support
partnership politics, Alliance leader David Ford accused the SDLP
of being prepared to sit on its hands.
"Yes, the DUP have a poor record in local government. On previous
form, people are right to be wary of what they may do in
government. Surely, the logic is to try to put in place as many
safeguards as possible."
The SDLP's Alban Maginness said Alliance was becoming the "tail
end" of the DUP.
Orange Parades 'About Bigotry'
By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
19 October 2004
An SDLP Assembly member has branded claims that the majority of
Orange marches threaten no-one as 'complete nonsense'.
Tommy Gallagher told a a special event held to discuss Orangeism
that nationalists viewed most marches as linked to bigotry and
The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said the Orange Order must
engage with nationalists and others to ascertain their feelings.
His comments came at an event organised by Tyrone Orange Vision, an
Order initiative aimed at building an understanding of Orangesim in
"It is claimed that these marches threaten no-one and that they are
merely part of the Orange tradition. In my view this is complete
nonsense," he said.
"Many of these marches are seen in our community as having more to
do with bigotry and sectarianism than the celebration of a culture
or a tradition.
"For many nationalists it means roads are closed and long detours
inevitable for those who have to travel. Around the Twelfth,
nationalist communities, whether they like it or not, are subjected
to the sound of Lambeg drums.
"For them the sound of the drums spread fear and for some it
conveys a very clear message: We will march wherever we want and
you can't stop us."
Sinn FÃ©in Welcomes Human Rights Commission's Call For Independent
Public Inquiry Into Conditions For Women In Prison
Published: 19 October, 2004
Sinn FÃ©in President Gerry Adams MP has described today's second
Human Rights Commission report into the treatment of women detained
at the Mourne House Unit at Maghaberry Prison and Hydebank Wood
Young Offenders Unit as 'a scathing indictment of the scandalous
conditions in which women remand and sentenced prisoners are being
Mr. Adams said: 'Sinn FÃ©in welcomes the detailed report by the
Human Rights Commission and its series of 41 recommendations which
culminate in calling for an Independent Public Inquiry into the
role of all the key players. Anyone concerned at the conditions
under which women are being held in prison should examine this
report carefully. Our initial view is that it should be implemented
Recalling that three women have committed suicide in recent years
in Maghaberry the Sinn FÃ©in President called for the Prison system
to 'immediately lift its block on the Human Rights Commission
having access to the Women's Unit at Hydebank.'
'Sinn FÃ©in has been demanding that the British government provide
the Human Rights Commission with the power to enter places of
detention. This is now needed more than ever given the refusal of
the Prison Service to permit the Commission access to Hydebank, and
the appalling conditions under which women are being held as
revealed in today's report.'
"It is clear that the prison system has failed and continues to
fail women, particularly those at greatest risk. There is a lack of
healthcare, effective monitoring and support for women caught up
within the prison system.
"The Prison Service has failed to draw up, and more importantly
implement, a policy or strategic plan for the gender specific
treatment of women in custody. Transferring women from a female
unit in Maghaberry to a unit in Hydebank, which mostly holds young
male offenders, has not addressed any of the problems caused by the
absolute failure to provide protections for women in custody,
particularly where they are at risk.
"The prison regime at Maghaberry was unacceptable and the move to
Hydebank has not been accompanied by the necessary changes to
prison policy. The Prisons Inspectorate made clear recommendations
for the treatment of women, on separation of women, separate
management structures, in-cell sanitation and effective training of
staff. These have been totally ignored.
"One of the greatest areas of concern has been the fact that no
special provision was made for children and young people thus
breaching International Human Rights Standards. What also was of
concern was the failure to provide appropriate medical, and
crucially psychiatric, care especially for vulnerable women. The
failure of the Prison Service to develop a policy on the treatment
of women has compromised the health and well being of women in
custody and has unfortunately led, on a number of occasions, to
young women dying while in Maghaberry.
"The case of one of my constituents, Roseanne Irvine, raises all of
these issues. Roseanne died in Maghaberry Prison in March. This
young woman should never have been placed in prison. Roseanne was
failed absolutely by the Prison Service, by social services and by
Government Urged Not To Release IRA Men
The widow of Garda Jerry McCabe last night called on the
Government to keep its promise not to grant early release to the
four IRA members jailed for his killing.
Newspaper reports at the weekend suggested the four men could be
released if the IRA ends its military operations and political
agreement is achieved in the North.
The former minister for justice, Mr O'Donoghue, had previously
written to Mrs Anne McCabe on behalf of the Government promising
that her husband's killers would not qualify for early release.
Sinn FÃ©in, however, has again claimed this week that the four men
are covered by the terms of the Belfast Agreement and should be
granted their freedom.
Speaking to RTÃ's Prime Time programme, Mrs Anne McCabe said: "They
were convicted of manslaughter, and we had to take that, even
though in my view it was murder. But when the issue came out into
the public domain, and it was brought forward by IRA/Sinn FÃ©in, we
had to make contact with the Government as to the commitment they
had given us. This is the commitment they gave us in writing, and
so I don't believe they should qualify for early release."
The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, hinted at the weekend that if the IRA ends
all operations, the four men convicted of Garda McCabe's
manslaughter could be eligible for release. Speaking to reporters,
he said: "If we get to a fully comprehensive agreement, then that
is an outstanding issue for the Irish Government to deal with, that
is our position."
Mrs McCabe said on Prime Time: "Well, I believe in the commitment
the Government has given me, that they won't be released, and that
Pearse McCauley, of Strabane, Kevin Walsh, Michael O'Neill and
Jeremiah Sheehy, all from Co Limerick, are currently serving
sentences in Castlerea Prison.
In February 1999, the trial into Garda McCabe's killing ended
dramatically when the accused men changed their pleas at the
Special Criminal Court, Dublin.
They pleaded guilty to his manslaughter after they were re-
arraigned at the request of prosecuting counsel, Mr Edward Comyn
Garda McCabe was killed in Adare, Co Limerick, in June 1996.
Â© The Irish Times
Integrated Schools 'In Demand'
Young people want integrated education, the report says
More integrated education could help break down Northern Ireland's
sectarian divisions, a survey has said.
The Voices Behind the Statistics report, published on Wednesday,
studied young people's views of sectarianism.
Sixth-formers from across the religious divide said integrated
schools would help foster better community relations.
It was published a day after another integrated school in the
province officially opened.
The study, by Queen's University in Belfast and the University of
Ulster, discovered a demand for integrated education.
Sixth-form students from 11 schools were consulted on their
experiences of sectarianism and their ideas about how community
relations could be improved.
One student said: "I would like to hope that there will be a lot
more cross-community projects available within schools and that
there will be more integrated schools opened to give young people a
chance to mix."
Researchers from Queen's took part in the study
Another project participant said: "I hope young people will
understand both sides and will be able to mix within the community
The study was co-authored by the University of Ulster's Shirley
Ewart and Dirk Schubotz from Queen's.
It is the result of a joint project undertaken by the National
Children's Bureau (NCB) and ARK (The Northern Ireland Social and
Mr Schubotz said: "The project with NCB created an ideal platform
to get in touch and consult with young people in schools.
"The participatory workshops were enjoyed by young people and
researchers alike. The results of Voices Behind the Statistics gave
important impulses for the 2004 Young Life and Times survey, which
we have just concluded."
Northern Ireland's first integrated school, Lagan College, opened
in 1981 with just 28 pupils.
Now there are 57 such schools in the province with the latest to
open, Lir Integrated Primary School in Ballycastle, County Antrim,
Ruth Sinclair, director of research at NCB, said the study showed
how bringing youths from different backgrounds together could
"Actively engaging with young people and openly discussing
sensitive and controversial issues must surely be a way forward in
addressing sectarianism in Northern Ireland."
The research was designed to complement the 2003 Young Life and
Times (YLT) survey, carried out by ARK, which provided young
people's views on a large-scale statistical level.
Ban On Smoking In Public Places Urged
20 October 2004
Smoking in all work and public places in Northern Ireland needs to
be banned after a leaked report presented to the Government
confirmed passive smoking can kill.
That's the view of John O'Dowd, Sinn Fein's health spokesman, who
said that in light of the report, there can be "no excuse for not
introducing an immediate and total ban on smoking in enclosed
Yesterday it emerged that a report from the Scientific Committee on
Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) presented a report to the Government
four months ago on the dangers of passive smoking.
Mr O'Dowd said: "I find it deeply worrying, but not surprising,
that the Government has sat on this for months. The leaked SCOTH
report confirms what health organisations have been saying over
many years - passive smoking causes death and disease."
Plan To Have Fewer Armed Gardai
A review of the number of armed members within An Garda SÃochÃ¡na
is under way with a view to reducing the numbers carrying firearms.
Assistant commissioner Mr Nacie Rice has prepared a paper on the
issue for the Garda Commissioner, Mr Noel Conroy, who is currently
considering the matter.
The move forms part of an overall proposal within the force to
reduce the use of live ammunition while introducing "less than
lethal" weapons. It is envisaged that these would be used during
"critical incidents" which involve hostage-taking or the use of
firearms, but not as crowd control devices. There are currently
1,600 armed gardaÃ.
A trial of "Taser" electric shock weapons by six UK police forces
is nearing completion and will be reviewed by An Garda SÃochÃ¡na
before the end of the year. The devices temporarily incapacitate
people. Three other "less than lethal" weapons have already been
acquired by the force and are cleared for use here.
Members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit have travelled to the
Los Angeles sheriff's office for training in the use of the three
weapons, and are currently training their colleagues in the unit on
how to use the devices.
Det Supt Patrick Hogan, of the Special Detective Unit, told The
Irish Times that "the majority" of the ERU's 50 members have
already been trained to use the three devices. He said there was
"no question" that the devices were intended for use in crowd-
GardaÃ were also working on developing medical expertise that would
be present at "critical incidents" when there was a chance that the
"less than lethal" weapons would be used. He said the use of Taser
devices was "simply a proposal".
"It's one of a number [ of weapons] we're having a look at at the
moment. We'll wait and see the results of the UK trial by the end
of the year, and then look for more information from manufacturers
before making our own decision on it."
Supt Hogan was speaking during the Jane's Less-Lethal Weapons
Conference in the Berkeley Court Hotel, Ballsbridge Dublin,
The two-day conference, which concludes today, is being organised
by Jane's Information Group, the international "provider of
intelligence and analysis on national and international defence,
security and risk developments".
A crowd of around 150 peace activists gathered outside the Berkeley
Court last night in protest at the fact the conference was being
held in Dublin. Many activists believe the acquisition by gardaÃ of
"less than lethal" weapons would result in members of the public
being intimidated from going to large public demonstrations in the
The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Michael Conaghan, said some in the
political establishment feared public protest and dissent. The
"gadgetry" under discussion at the Jane's conference formed part of
their "agenda to suppress dissent". GardaÃ had a long history of
unarmed policing that should be closely guarded, he said.
Amnesty International said it had serious reservations about "less
than lethal" weapons. These had been used in some countries not as
a last resort but in the first instance, and had sometimes proved
Non-lethal weapons cleared for use by the ERU
A nine lead 40g bean bag device which is shot at an individual from
a 12 gauge shotgun at an effective range of 75 metres. The bean bag
does not explode or break up on impact. It can injure and disable a
target without causing death.
A 12 gauge ferret device, which is used to shoot CS, or pepper,
liquid through doors or glass into a room. This would be used to
clear individuals from a room. Because the CS or pepper substance
is in liquid form, rather than gas, its effects are more localised
An Mk 21 Aerosol Projector. This device allows a small canister of
liquid CS or pepper substance to be fired at high velocity at a
target up to a nine metre range. The impact of the canister,
combined with the effects of the liquid contained inside,
temporarily disables the individual.
Â© The Irish Times
Stray Dog Problem Is Serious: Sinn Fein
20 October 2004
Local dog owners have been urged to get their pets neutered in a
new drive to cut the number of unwanted animals being killed.
Sinn Fein councillor Gerry MacLochlainn has urged all local pet
owners to act responsibly by making sure their pets did not produce
He said: "The stray dog problem is serious in Derry.
"Apart from the alarm and misery such dogs can cause, the terrible
fact remains that many of these dogs when caught will be put down,
or to speak plainly, killed.
"It is vital that we all act to stop this appalling and senseless
He added: "Owners have a duty to care for their dogs.
"By having our dogs neutered we will reduce the numbers of unwanted
pets that are eventually dumped into the wild, a life they are not
suited for, and we will prevent many of these unfortunate animals
from being killed.
"There are schemes available to help those on benefits with the
cost of neutering their pets and I would recommend that people
avail of these schemes," he added.
Meanwhile, this week local man William Campbell has scooped Â£1,000
from the Dog's Trust charity draw after agreeing to have his
Staffordshire cross terrier neutered.
Dog owners on means tested benefit can take advantage of the
reduced neutering rate of Â£10 by contacting the Dogs Trust's
neutering hotline on 0845 606 3036.
Further advice on responsible dog-ownership, including neutering,
can be obtained from Derry City Council's dog shelter on 7126 1414.
Dublin Is Dirty, Dear, Dangerous, EU Survey Told
Dubliners believe they live in a city that is among the dirtiest,
most dangerous and worst-managed in Europe, according to a new EU
While eight out of 10 Dubliners said they were "satisfied" with the
city, only 19 per cent thought it was clean, and just half said
they "always felt safe".
Moreover, just 17 per cent of citizens said they felt the city's
resources were spent in a responsible way, the lowest satisfaction
rating of 31 European city populations surveyed for the Eurostat
The Urban Audit Perception Survey, published in Holland this week,
found that Dubliners were more optimistic than other EU city
dwellers about job opportunities, but less satisfied with services
and living costs.
Some 47 per cent of Dubliners said it was "easy to find a good
job", the highest satisfaction rate in the EU. But almost half said
they had difficulty paying their bills at the end of each month.
In only three cities, Rome, Naples and Athens, did people express
greater difficulty in meeting the cost of living.
As well as expressing higher-than-average dissatisfaction with
security, policing and cleanliness, Dubliners were the most
concerned among city dwellers in Europe about the provision of
Just 5 per cent of Dubliners said they found it easy to get good
housing at a reasonable price.
Eurostat said it was not surprising that there was "a clear inverse
relationship between availability of jobs and availability of
housing. Cities which find it easy to offer jobs experience higher
More than 300 residents were interviewed in each city for the
survey, conducted last January in 31 cities in the EU-15 (pre-May
2004 enlargement). The results were published by Eurostat along
with a major European study of urban area economic and social
The urban audit, drawing on pan-European figures from 2001, showed
Dublin to have a higher rate of heart disease and respiratory
illness than any other capital in the EU-15.
Dublin also had the highest average household size, at 2.74
persons, and the second-highest proportion of lone-parent
households at 13 per cent.
Some 62 per cent of Dubliners were said to live in their own
dwelling, the second-highest ownership rate in the EU. Just 11 per
cent lived in social housing, the third-lowest rate among capital
On the environment, Dublin had mixed results, with the lowest level
of summer smog in EU-15 capitals but the second-highest levels of
nitrogen dioxide pollution.
The average journey time to work in Dublin was 29 minutes, the
third-lowest among EU capitals surveyed. In London the average
journey time was 43 minutes, and in Lisbon 41 minutes.
Some 174 non-capital cities were also surveyed for the audit,
including Cork, Galway and Limerick.
The four Irish cities shared relatively similar demographic, social
and economic indicators. However, among the four, Limerick was said
to have the highest proportion of lone-parent households at 15 per
Cork had the highest proportion of households living in social
housing at 14 per cent, and the second-highest proportion living in
owned dwellings after Limerick.
LIVING IN DUBLIN: pros and cons
Affluence: Dublin has the third-highest car-ownership rate among
EU-15 capitals, after Luxembourg city and Brussels.
Employment: Dublin's unemployment rate of 6.7 per cent is one of
lowest in the EU.
Access: Surprisingly perhaps, the average journey time to work in
Dublin of 29 minutes is the third-shortest in the EU.
Technologically advanced: Some 40 per cent of Dublin households
have a personal computer.
Facilities: Dublin has 58 public libraries, just eight fewer than
Damp: Dublin is the wettest capital city in the EU-15, with 246
rainy days a year compared to 69 in Rome.
Dark: Dublin has the least sunshine in Europe, with just four
hours' sunshine a day on average, compared to 7.6 hours in Athens.
Polluted: While smog was not found to be a problem in Dublin, the
city had the second-highest levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution.
On 15 days such pollution exceeded recommended safety limits.
Illness: Dublin's mortality rate for heart disease and respiratory
illness is the highest in Europe.
Participation: Turnout at local elections is the second-worst in
the EU after London. Just 28 per cent of Dublin city
representatives are women, the third-lowest proportion among EU
Â© The Irish Times
Whale Sightings Off Mayo 'Very Significant'
Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent
Sightings this week of a pod of fin whales off the Mayo coastline
have been described as "very significant" by the Irish Whale and
Up to half of the marine mammals - the world's second-largest
creature after blue whales - were recorded feeding between three
and five miles off Clare Island and Achillbeg over the past few
days. Both fin and humpback whales have also been sighted off the
south coast this week.
Mr PÃ¡draig Whooley of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said that
up to 15 fin whales and some 500 common dolphins had been seen
about 19 miles south-east of Galley Head. However, this had become
a pattern at this time of year which they had established through
their work on the south coast, "whereas the Mayo sightings are very
exciting", he added.
"It demonstrates the need for far more research in other parts of
the coastline to determine more precise levels of activity of these
The reports from Mayo were made by Mr Johnny King, owner of the
Western Kingfisher angling charter vessel from Cleggan, Co Galway.
Mr King was working with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) on tagging
bluefin tuna about five miles south-east of the Bills Rocks west of
Clare Island when he noticed significant activity by gannets
feeding on herring shoals.
The herring had attracted up to 20 grey seals, and his vessel then
came upon about six fin whales feeding on the fish. The whales
moved west of Clare Island and were still in the area when he left.
Mr Whooley said the peak period for fin and humpback whales in
southern waters was October-November, with initial sightings in
June. "The continental shelf is closest to our land mass off the
Mayo coast, so it makes sense that there should be intense whale
activity there," he said.
Â© The Irish Times