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May 23, 2005

5 Girls Killed in Bus Crash

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 05/23/05 Five Girls Killed In Bus Crash –V(8)
IO 05/23/05 Relatives Of Meath Bus Crash Express Sorrow For Victims
IO 05/23/05 Cottage Became Makeshift Hospital At Crash Scene
BT 05/23/05 Families Evacuated In Waterside Loyalist Bomb Alert
BB 05/23/05 Adair Son Jailed On Crash Charges
IO 05/23/05 Clinton's Hopes For Good Friday Agreement
SM 05/23/05 Ministers Owe It To Clinton To Make Agreement Work
BB 05/23/05 Primate 'Wants To Work With' DUP
DI 05/23/05 'Blair Must Push Paisley On Peace'
BT 05/23/05 Death Fears If Gun Attacks Go On
SF 05/23/05 IMC Report Due Tomorrow
SM 05/23/05 Hain Briefed On Paramilitary Activities
IO 05/23/05 Irish BBC Offices Affected By Cuts


Five schoolgirls killed in Co Meath crash –V(8)
Richard Dowling, North-East Correspondent, reports on the three-
vehicle road accident near Navan

Niall O'Connor, Consultant in A&E Medicine, delivers a statement on
behalf of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth

Paul Maguire brings details of the injuries following the crash

Vivienne Traynor gauges reaction from residents in Yellow Furze where
many of the youngsters involved in the crash are from

Richard Dowling reports live from Kentstown where an investigation
into the accident has been launched

Bethan Kilfoil outlines political reaction to the crash

Mary Hanafin, Minister for Education & Science, explains the support
available for those affected

Richard Dowling reports that there are concerns over safety on school

Five Girls Killed In Bus Crash

Five teenage girls have been killed in a school bus crash in County
Meath in the Irish Republic.

The regular bus run had pupils from four secondary schools on board
when it overturned at Casey's Cross at Kentstown near Navan.

The accident happened at about 1630 BST. An Irish police spokesman
said: "A number of children were trapped on the bus as a result of the

Forty-six people were taken to hospital and six are in serious

The more seriously injured were taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital
in Drogheda, the others to Our Lady's Hospital in Navan. A number of
them have been discharged.

"The collision involved a number of vehicles including a school bus,"
the Garda spokesman added.

'Terrible waste'

Fourteen ambulances were believed to have travelled to the scene along
with helicopters and heavy lifting equipment.

Ambulance crews in Northern Ireland were also put on standby to help
with the injured.

The girls who died were aged between 13 and 16 years and were pupils
at Loretto Convent School in Navan and nearby Beaufort College.

All the injured have been removed from the vehicle.

The bus ended up lying on its side in a ditch. It is believed there
were road works in the area at the time of the crash.

Walking wounded were being treated at local houses.

Caroline McDonnell, a teacher at a Montesorri school in Kentstown,
said the bus had been returning pupils home from schools in Navan.

"The bus was full of girls and boys from different schools returning
home," she said.

Local TD Damien English, who lives in Navan, told the Press
Association it was a horrific tragedy.

"It's unbelievable. Everybody is in shock. It's a terrible waste of
young life."

Transport Minister Martin Cullen said there would be a thorough
investigation of the accident.

"Obviously, an accident of this nature must and will be investigated
independently and fully," he said.

"However, tonight our thoughts are with the children involved, their
families and in particular those who have lost loved ones today."

Irish President Mary McAleese broke off from official engagements
during a state visit to the US to express her shock at the tragic

A spokesman said: "She sends her deepest sympathy to the families and
friends of those who have been bereaved.

"Her thoughts and prayers are also with those who have been injured."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/23 19:53:33 GMT


Relatives Of Meath Bus Crash Express Sorrow For Victims

23/05/2005 - 23:14:17

Relatives of the survivors of the Meath bus crash have expressed
sorrow for the victims of the tragedy tonight.

Outside hospital tonight, the relatives of the survivors also spoke of
their relief.

Five teenage girls were killed today and forty-six people injured when
a school bus overturned in an horrific crash.

The bus taking 51 youngsters home from secondary schools in in Navan,
County Meath, Ireland, was involved in a collision shortly after 4pm
in Kentstown.

Steven Gray, from Slane, County Meath, said his younger brother John
had sustained only a suspected broken shoulder and cuts.

"It's a relief he's alive," he said.

"There are so many people dead, and it could have been a lot worse.
But you have to think of the five families of the children who died."

He said that his brother was recovering after x-rays showed no serious
head injuries.

Mr Gray said he had told his brother that people had been killed in
the crash. "He was shocked."

He said that John, a 16-year-old student at Beaufort College,
remembered the bus being hit by a car and then veering off the road
and onto its side.

"He was sitting directly over the side of the bus that was hit. He was
one of the first out, and he rang home to say that the bus had
crashed," he said.

Sharon Matthews, 17, spoke outside the hospital about Catriona
Dunleavy, 17, her friend and classmate at the Mercy Convent in Navan,
who was also injured.

"She's OK, she's all smiles and stuff. She has a fairly big gash to
her forehead and she's had stitches," she said.

She said her heart went out to the people who had been killed and
injured in the crash.

"Most of them have cuts and bruises. Another guy had his neck in a
support and he looks fairly bad. Another girl broke her leg," she

She added: "There was another guy in there I know, and he's a bit
worse, but hopefully he'll be OK."

Students at the four schools attended by victims of the bus crash are
to be given counselling tomorrow, while Our Lady's Hospital of Lourdes
in Drogheda is providing accommodation and support to parents and

Two students at St Patrick's Classical School in Navan – Shane
Finnegan, 18, and Graham Crosby, 17 – said they were due to have been
on the bus but didn't make it because they were studying for their
Leaving Certificate – the Irish equivalent to the A Levels.

They said they had known two of the girls who were killed in the
crash. They described them as really nice, always cheerful, happy and
full of life.


Cottage Became Makeshift Hospital At Crash Scene

23/05/2005 - 20:19:40

A school bus which had travelled the quiet country road thousands of
times lay shattered on its side tonight.

The small community of Kentstown in County Meath struggled to cope as
word spread that five young girls were dead after the bus spun around
and crashed into a ditch.

A cottage was turned into a makeshift hospital to cope with the
walking wounded, while parents rushed to the scene to attend to their
young ones.

Others, less fortunate, were directed to Navan General Hospital in
search of their teenagers.

Dozens of gardai, ambulance workers, council and bus staff milled
around the scene.

The bus lay overturned in the ditch with all its windows shattered,
while just yards away two cars stood smashed.

Council workers, who were sealing the road, were at a loss for words
to explain what had happened.

The group of council workers rushed to the bus, where they saw dazed
children wandering around with blood pouring from heads, arms and

Some were still trapped on the bus, while others had been thrown
through the glass window by the force of the impact.

"There was a lot of roaring and crying. Some of the lads gave them
medical tips, and then the ambulances arrived; they were very quick,"
said the council worker.

The school bus, which had over 50 pupils on board from four local
secondary schools, was travelling from Navan in the direction of

There had been a light shower of rain, but the driver was well
familiar with the territory, as the roadworks had been in place for

In the events that followed, the bus was spun around and toppled over
onto its side.

Gardaí were unable to confirm if the bus had been in collision with
the two smashed cars, or had merely swerved trying to avoid them.

James Murphy, 14, a local boy who attends the same school as some of
the children on the bus, said: "I was worried about my friend, but he
is OK. I got on the phone to him; he was just coming out of Drogheda

However, for other friends and family, the news was far more bleak.

One man, a resident of Navan, said: "It is a terrible tragedy.

"We will all know someone once we hear the names; they are all local."

People in Kentstown gathered at the Church of the Assumption at 8pm to
light candles for the victims of the tragedy – as well as the many

Young students hugged each other and wiped tears from their eyes as
they emerged from the church.

"It is very worrying," said one student, who had been told that her
best friend was in a critical condition in hospital.

"It is hard to put into words how we feel."


Families Evacuated In Waterside Bomb Alert

By Clare Weir
23 May 2005

Ten families were evacuated from their homes for several hours this
morning following a bomb alert in the Waterside.

The incident has been blamed on loyalists after the Samaritans
received a phone call from a group calling itself the Loyalist Action
Force, warning that a device had been placed at a house in Gelvin

Police visited the family and carried out a search last night with
sniffer dogs but at that time failed to find anything.

However, they returned this morning along with army technical
officers, evacuating homes at around 6am, whereupon they found the
device at a separate address.

A controlled explosion was carried out on a suspect device at around
8.30am and people were beginning to be allowed back into their homes
at around 9am after homes were cleared and roads were closed.

Police said the device was a hoax and that it had been sent for
forensic examination.

A number of estates in and around Trench Road were closed as well as
the main road itself.

A statement issued by the Irish Republican Socialist Party claimed
that the UDA was involved.


Adair Son Jailed On Crash Charges

The eldest son of former loyalist leader Johnny Adair has been jailed
for a year in Belfast on driving offences.

Mark James Adair, 22, smashed a car into a lamp-post then ran off,
leaving his ex-girlfriend, Nadine White, with a broken back.

A prosecution lawyer told Belfast Crown Court that Adair, originally
from Oldpark Road in north Belfast, had since been exiled to Scotland.

He admitted causing grievous bodily injury and criminal damage.

The lawyer said that when Adair was first arrested he claimed he did
not even know Miss White and denied that he had been driving the car
on the night of the crash in January 2003.

Shot fired

Defence lawyer James Mallon revealed that as a result of the accident,
"other persons have made this their quarrel", adding that four months
afterwards, Adair's house was attacked.

He said that when the attackers could not get in, they fired a shot
through a window.

The lawyer told the court that since then, Adair had been living in

Sending Adair to jail on condition that he serve a further year on
probation, Judge Loughran said his driving that night had been a
"catalogue of deplorable behaviour".

He added that the consequences had been "very, very far reaching".

Adair was also banned from driving for three years and fined a total
of £3,250.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/23 20:07:55 GMT


Clinton delivers keynote address in Dublin

Clinton's Hopes For Good Friday Agreement

By Emily Beament, PA

There is no viable alternative to the Good Friday Agreement for peace
in Northern Ireland, former US President Bill Clinton said today.

Mr Clinton said he did not agree with the Rev Ian Paisley's comment
that the deal was dead, but said he thought the next move was in the
IRA's court.

"If they were to give up their arms and criminality I think it would
put a lot of pressure on Mr Paisley and others," he said.

Mr Clinton said the Good Friday Agreement was fair, with majority
rule, minority rights and self government.

"I hope it can still be revived," he said.

Of Mr Paisley's comment that the Good Friday Agreement was dead, he
said: "I hope he's wrong, because nobody has come up with any better
alternative, and it's fair," he said.

The former president made the comments while in Dublin for a gala
dinner to raise money for a suicide prevention programme.

"The public do not want to go back to the conflict.

"They've sent us a loud and clear signal they want politicians to
arrange things so they can go on with their lives," he told guests the
RehabCare event in Dublin.

Mr Clinton also urged people to support Non Governmental Organisations
such as RehabCare, which aimed to raise half a million euro from the
gala for the programme to reduce the number of people who commit
suicide each year.

The former President, who described himself as someone with "small
brains and lots of power", said NGOs had a great deal of power to
improve people's lives.

Along with the spread of democracy and the internet, the "explosion
across the globe of NGOs working within communities and across
national borders" was one of the most powerful changes in the world he
saw during his presidency, Mr Clinton said.

"You have more power than ever before," he told the 1,000 guests who
had joined Taioseach Bertie Ahern and opposition leader Enda Kenny for
the gala dinner.

Mr Clinton said suicide was an issue which touched him personally,
after a room-mate at Oxford committed suicide and one of his lawyers
at the White House took his own life.

"For years I wondered whether there was something I should or could
have done to intervene, to stop it, to get him to take another look,"
he said.

The former governor of Arkansas said he also saw a rash of child
suicides while in office in the state, a problem which he described as
"societal" and one which could be remedied.

"I don't want to see anyone die before their time, I don't want to see
any boy or girl denied their right to live his or her dream and I
don't want to see good people work like crazy to have all their
efforts come to naught just because they weren't moving in the right
direction or because they weren't organised properly," he said.

The former US President also said he wanted to devote all of his time
to his AIDs charity, bringing low cost medicines to people who would
otherwise die.

"I remember one day shortly after I'd left office I was shaving and I
looked in the mirror and thought 'Oh My God, I'm an NGO, I'm not a
politician any more, I'm an NGO," he joked.

Introducing the former President, Nobel prize winner and the event's
patron John Hume told the audience 444 people had committed suicide in
Ireland in 2003, and that 80% of those were young men between 15 and
24 years old.

"Suicide has been identified as a terrible problem in our society;
like a scythe it cuts down some of our youngest and brightest,
devastates our families and scars our communities," he said.

RehabCare aims to promote communication with young people, run school
and community-based prevention programmes and training and acute
intervention services in hospital emergency departments.

The service will cost 1.3 million euro to run in its first year, the
charity said.


Ministers Owe It To Clinton To Make Agreement Work

By Dan McGinn, PA Ireland Political Editor

British and Irish ministers owe it to former US President Bill Clinton
to disprove claims that the Good Friday Agreement is dead, it was
claimed tonight.

Following a meeting with the former President in Dublin, nationalist
SDLP leader Mark Durkan again hit out at claims by Democratic Unionist
leader the Rev Ian Paisley that the 1998 accord was dead and should be
given a decent burial.

The Foyle MP declared after his meeting: "Bill Clinton is a friend of
Ireland, a friend of the peace process and a friend of the Good Friday

"Bill Clinton hopes that Ian Paisley is wrong when he says that the
Good Friday Agreement is dead.

"The two governments owe it, not just to the Irish people, but also to
Bill Clinton to prove that Ian Paisley is wrong.

"He stated his clear support for the Good Friday Agreement and the
IRA's clear responsibility to end all of its activity so that we can
get the peace process back on track."

Mr Durkan said American leaders including President Clinton had
invested a lot of time in Northern Ireland's peace process.

He added: "It would be reckless and dangerous if all that goodwill was
to be squandered by parties who failed to live up to their
responsibilities and failed to live to to the Good Friday Agreement."

Northern Ireland's Assembly and power sharing government was suspended
in October 2002 amid concerns about IRA activity.

Three unsuccessful attempts have since been made by Prime Minister
Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to revive devolution.

A bid last year to secure a deal involving the DUP and Sinn Fein
stumbled when the IRA refused to allow photographic evidence of its
disarmament programme.

The DUP's demands have hardened since then because of the £26.5
million robbery of the Northern Bank in Belfast in December and the
murder in January of father-of-two Robert McCartney outside a bar –
both of which have been blamed on the Provisional IRA.

Mr Paisley and his team want the Government to restore devolution and
freeze Sinn Fein out of government if the IRA refuses to fully disarm
and end paramilitary and criminal operations.

However if devolution cannot be restored they have called for a more
accountable form of direct rule from Westminster, with Northern
Ireland Office ministers scrutinised by either Stormont Assembly
members or councillors.

The IRA is currently considering a call from Gerry Adams for the
organisation to abandon armed struggle for the democratic alternative.

Last week, Mr Paisley ruled out power sharing with Sinn Fein after a
meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street.

Mr Durkan's meeting with President Clinton took place on the eve of
the publication of the Independent Monitoring Commission's latest
report on paramilitary activity.

Earlier the SDLP leader also met Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern in
Dublin and he is due to meet Mr Blair in London on Wednesday.

President Clinton was in Dublin to support a new suicide prevention
programme for young people in the Irish Republic.


Primate 'Wants To Work With' DUP

The Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Sean Brady, has said
he is looking forward to working with the DUP on issues such as health
and education.

He said that engagement would show normal standards of decency,
respect and tolerance are central to a more mature and confident
Northern Ireland.

The archbishop said Catholics needed to be reassured about the
willingness of all parties to share power.

A solution based on anything else would be very problematic, he added.

Archbishop Brady was speaking at an event in Italy organised by the
British embassy.

He said he was optimistic that in upcoming months "significant, at one
time unthinkable developments, will emerge which have the potential to
unlock the last doors to a stable peace and the sharing of power at a
local level in Northern Ireland.

"At the end of the day, Northern Ireland is a story of immense
progress which should be a source of hope to other places in the


Meanwhile Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has said that DUP "attempts to
wreck the peace process" must not succeed.

Speaking ahead of a two-day visit to Washington and New York, Mr
McGuinness said outstanding issues in the process must be resolved and
the Good Friday Agreement implemented in full.

"In their discussions with the DUP the British and Irish governments
must make clear that there will be no dilution of the agreement," Mr
McGuinness said.

"There is a particular responsibility on the Irish government to adopt
a more assertive and active role in this process."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has said the two governments must not allow
the DUP and Sinn Fein to dictate the pace of progress in the process.

"They need to tell the Rev Ian Paisley that one third of the vote in
the north going to the DUP does not make him the sole arbiter of the
political process," Mr Durkan said.

"They need to tell Gerry Adams that just because he has finally asked
the IRA to do what the (Good Friday) Agreement has requested the IRA
to do for seven years, that doesn't make him the sole author of
political progress."

Mr Durkan was speaking after meeting with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/23 16:57:33 GMT


'Blair Must Push Paisley On Peace'

By Conor McMorrow

British MP George Galloway yesterday asked what more Sinn Féin had to
do before the Democratic Unionist Party would agree to share power
with republicans.

Mr Galloway asked whether Tony Blair would let DUP leader Ian Paisley
"push him away" from achieving peace in the North.

The newly elected Respect MP was the focus of world attention earlier
this month when he addressed a US Senate committee about accusations
that he had received vouchers for millions of barrels of oil from
Saddam Hussein's regime.

Mr Galloway said he was not surprised by the DUP refusal to share
power with Sinn Féin.

"The British government have been backing down in the face of the
unionist veto for the past eight or nine decades and that has led to
the bloody history of Ireland in the 20th and now in the 21st
century," he told RTÉ Radio.

"The real question is whether Tony Blair is going to allow him get
away with it or not.

"Is Tony Blair, who said he felt the hand of history on his shoulder,
prepared to let the hand of Ian Paisley push him away from the one
cardinal legacy that would have been worth having, and that was
achieving peace in the North of Ireland?"

Mr Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 over his
criticism of the Iraq war. He has been one of Mr Blair's staunchest
critics ever since.

Yesterday, he slammed the British government for not having taken a
tougher line with unionists earlier in the peace process.

When asked if he could foresee progress in the peace process, he said:
"I can't see it at this point. It would have required a British
government to have been much tougher earlier in the process with the
unionist intransigence and the unionist rewriting of the Good Friday

"I cannot imagine what more Sinn Féin can be asked to do. It is hard
to see what more Sinn Féin has to do to qualify as a negotiating

Mr Galloway's comments came on the eve of a crunch meeting between the
SDLP and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin today.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan will be joined by party colleagues Alasdair
McDonnell, Alex Attwood, Dominic Bradley and Dolores Kelly at the
meeting. An SDLP delegation will also meet Mr Blair later this week.

Mr Bradley yesterday said his party would urge the Taoiseach and Mr
Blair to disprove claims by Ian Paisley that the Good Friday Agreement
was dead.

"They must be clear that the DUP's mandate does not override the will
of the Irish people, North and South," he said.

"The two governments must stand behind the Agreement and press ahead
with its implementation."

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams also rejected Mr Paisley's claims.

"The reality is that any move forward in this post-election period has
to be bedded in the Good Friday Agreement and in the acceptance by the
DUP of the Agreement's core principles," Mr Adams said yesterday.

"There is now an unprecedented opportunity to move forward. But this
can only be achieved on the basis of equality, inclusion and mutual

"The DUP can be part of the process of change or they can opt out. But
they cannot veto progress."


Death Fears If Gun Attacks Go On

By Brendan McDaid
23 May 2005

Foyle's PSNI chief today issued a stark warning that someone will be
killed if "reckless" dissident shootings continue to escalate in

Superintendent Richard Russell spoke out today after a third shooting
incident in less than a week.

In the latest incident police said shots were fired in the Lislane
Drive area at around 12.20am yesterday.

There were no reports of any injuries.

On Thursday, a seven-year-old girl and her grandparents narrowly
escaped injury when gunmen targeted their home at Melmore Gardens.

Gunshots fired by masked men inside Jackie Mullans bar on Friday night
have also been linked to events in Creggan.

The Real IRA have been widely blamed for the shootings, after it
threatened to execute a number of people in the Creggan area.

Police patrols in Creggan have now been stepped up as tensions
continue to grow among residents.

Mr Russell said today he believes dissident republicans are behind the

He said: "We are very concerned that people out there see fit to fire
shots in built up areas and in pubs. It is blatant recklessness.

"Somebody could be killed either accidentally or deliberately and we
came close to that already at Melmore Gardens."

Mr Russell added: "We are now intensive in our patrolling.

"We are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry - but nothing excuses
the use of arms in built-up areas."

The SDLP, meanwhile, today said that Creggan people did not want the
violence witnessed during the Troubles back on their streets.

Councillor Jim Clifford said that tensions in Creggan were running

Veteran civil rights activist and Socialist Environmental Alliance
spokesman Eamon McCann today also urged residents to send out a clear
message to the organisation.

He said: "The activity threatened by the Real IRA in Creggan has
nothing to do with achieving a political objective, whether it be a
united Ireland or anything else.

"The objective is to establish the group as an organisation to be

Mr Clifford said, meanwhile: "There is a lot of tension because of
this ongoing activity."

"The people do not want to go back to those days. We had 30 years of

Detectives are appealing for anyone who heard the


IMC Report Due Tomorrow

Published: 23 May, 2005

Speaking in advance of the latest IMC Report due for publication
tomorrow Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy said:

Mr Murphy said:

"The Independent Monitoring Commission was established in breach of
the Good Friday Agreement. It operates outside the Agreement and
contrary to natural justice and the European Convention on Human
Rights and it can have no role in the political process.

"Sinn Féin predicted that the IMC would be little more than a tool for
the securocrats to try and damage our party and the wider political
process. Each report to date has have been used by the British
Government to discriminate against Sinn Féin in an attempt to
interfere with the democratic process. I would expect that tomorrows
effort will see more of the same." ENDS


Hain Briefed On Paramilitary Activities

By Dan McGinn, PA Ireland Political Editor

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain met a four-member body which
monitors paramilitary ceasefires today ahead of the publication of
their latest report.

The Independent Monitoring Commission's report on the activities of
the IRA, other republican terror groups and loyalist paramilitaries is
expected to be published tomorrow after it is laid before Parliament.

There has been speculation the report will confirm recent claims by
the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and Police Service of Northern
Ireland Chief Constable Hugh Orde that the Provisional IRA is still
recruiting members and training.

The IMC's report last February claimed senior Sinn Fein figures in the
Provisionals sanctioned the £26.5 million Northern Bank robbery in
Belfast and other raids.

Mr Hain met in Belfast the four commission members – former US Central
Intelligence Agency deputy director Richard Kerr, retired Irish civil
servant Joe Brosnan, ex-Metropolitan Police anti-terror chief John
Grieve and former cross community Alliance Party leader Lord

Afterwards, the Northern Ireland Secretary insisted the IMC, which
Sinn Fein and the loyalist Progressive Unionists have condemned, had a
valuable role to play in the Northern Ireland political process.

Mr Hain, who was joined at the meeting by Northern Ireland Office
Security Minister, Shaun Woodward, said: "I believe the Independent
Monitoring Commission makes a valuable contribution to the Northern
Ireland political process in helping to promote the transition to a
peaceful society and stable and inclusive devolved Government.

"I greatly appreciate the efforts of the individual commissioners and
the variety of experience they bring to bear.

"Shaun Woodward and I found the meeting extremely useful and I was
glad to be able to express to the Commissioners my gratitude for the
contribution, expertise and dedication they bring to a highly complex
and vitally important task."


Irish BBC Offices Affected By Cuts
2005-05-23 17:30:14+01

The BBC has taken much its programming off air this afternoon after a
day-long strike by its members.

Staff of the corporation are upset and angry at plans set out by
station management to remove around 4,000 jobs.

The offices in Belfast, Derry and Dublin have been affected by the

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has described the cuts as "savage"
and Northern political parties Sinn Féin and the SDLP have withheld
press statements regarding the issue in deference to the striking
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