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May 09, 2005

Brits Must Move Agenda For Change Forward

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 05/09/05 British Must Move Agenda For Change Forward
IT 05/10/05 DUP & SF Gain In Local Elections
IT 05/10/05 Alliance Retains Balance Of Power In Belfast
IT 05/10/05 Ken Maginnis Loses Seat
SF 05/09/05 SF Local Election Results
IT 05/10/05 MEP Says Three Men Have Information
SF 05/09/05 de Brún For McCartney Campaign For Justice
IT 05/10/05 N Ireland Junior Ministers: Who They Are
IT 05/10/05 Call For New Effort On Disappeared
IT 05/10/05 Major Radioactive Leak At Sellafield
IT 05/10/05 Highly Toxic Leak Poses No Danger To Ireland
IT 05/10/05 50-Minute Trip For Heart Attack Man
IT 05/10/05 Tourism Business Here Expected To Rise


British Must Move Agenda For Change Forward

Published: 9 May, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking after meeting
the new British Secretary of State, Peter Hain, in Stormont
Castle today said that the British government must move the
agenda for change forward without delay.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Adams said:

"Since the breakdown of the comprehensive Agreement in
December the peace process has been paralysed by the
politics of recrimination and blame game. Now with
elections behind us and the new mandates we should all turn
our attention to the challenge of rebuilding the peace

"Key elements of the Good Friday Agreement do not require
cooperation from the DUP. Progress on equality, human
rights, collusion, the Irish language, demilitarisation,
justice and policing are entirely within the gift of the
British government. There is an increased onus on the
British government to face up to the many issues within its

"We told the new British Secretary of state that he must
now move this agenda of change forward without further
delay." ENDS


DUP And SF Make Gains In North's Local Elections

The Democratic Unionists and Sinn Féin have underscored
their leading positions following the first day of counting
in the North's local elections. Dan Keenan, Northern News
Editor reports

Ian Paisley's party will be confirmed later today as the
largest single party in local government with Sinn Féin
consolidating its position ahead of the SDLP.

As results were collated, a planned meeting in Moscow
between Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair did not take
place as the British government sent deputy prime minister
John Prescott to attend the Victory in Europe celebrations

Downing Street last night announced the new line-up of
junior ministers at the Northern Ireland Office. Joining
new Northern Secretary Peter Hain will be Angela Smith, a
member of the outgoing NIO team, as well as Shaun Woodward,
David Hanson and Lord Rooker.

In the council elections the DUP easily overtook the Ulster
Unionists who entered the local government election with
154 councillors.

Republicans did well generally across Northern Ireland and
in West Belfast in particular. In Upper and Lower Falls
alone it claimed nine of the 10 seats.

However, the party lost a seat to Alliance in east Belfast,
the area where murder victim Robert McCartney lived. The
party also won its first seat in Ballymena Borough Council.
More than 900 candidates fought for the 582 seats on 26
local councils, with polling taking place at the same time
as the Westminster election.

With 404 results declared on a turnout of 63.35 per cent,
the DUP had won 143 seats, with Sinn Féin on 89, the Ulster
Unionists winning 82, the SDLP on 64, Alliance on 22, the
Progressive Unionists and the United Unionists on one and
the Green Party with two councillors.

District councils are elected using PR and voting reflected
closely the patterns established in the Westminster first-
past-the-post election. The DUP polled 30.4 per cent, a
rise of 7.9 percentage points, while Sinn Féin rose 3.1
points to 23.5 per cent. The SDLP and Ulster Unionists
slipped to 15.3 per cent and 18.5 per cent respectively.

Ulster Unionists continued to lose seats to the DUP, which
has also swept up seats once held by the smaller, anti-
agreement unionist parties. On balance the DUP had a 6 per
cent swing against the Ulster Unionists, while Sinn Féin
enjoyed a 3 per cent gain at the expense of the SDLP. The
UUP suffered a high-profile defeat when Lord Maginnis lost
in Dungannon, where he has been a councillor for more than
20 years.The UUP is expected to pick up more seats when the
final results are declared later today.

Yesterday's results underpinned some political dynasties.
Gareth Robinson, son of MPs Peter and Iris Robinson, was
elected to Castlereagh council. In Derry, a nephew of the
SDLP leader, also named Mark Durkan, topped the poll in one
ward for the party. Also in Derry, Seana Hume, niece of the
former SDLP leader, was elected.

© The Irish Times


Alliance Set To Retain Balance Of Power In Belfast City

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

The Alliance Party was on course last night to retain the
balance of power in Belfast City Council. By the close of
counting last night the party had three seats and was on
course to pick up three more on a slightly increased share
of the vote.

With 28 of the council's 51 seats declared, Sinn Féin had
won 12 and the SDLP just two seats. On the other side of
the chamber, Democratic Unionists won six seats and the UUP
picked up four, while Mr David Ervine's Progressive
Unionists slipped to just one seat.

The party's other councillor, Mr Billy Hutchinson, followed
his Assembly defeat in 2003 with the loss of his seat in
north Belfast.

The Alliance vote rose by 0.3 per cent to just under 7 per
cent, but that was enough to consolidate its position in
City Hall as power-broker between the main unionist and
nationalist blocs.

In West Belfast, Sinn Féin picked up nine of the 10 seats
in Upper and Lower Falls, with Mr Tim Attwood, brother of
the former SDLP chairman Alex Attwood, the sole
representative of his party.

Mr David Ford, the Alliance leader, was pleased with his
party's performance across Northern Ireland and stuck to
his claim that his councillors alone represented the true
centre ground.

For the DUP, Mr Sammy Wilson was re-elected in east Belfast
having been elected to Westminster for East Antrim on

The Alliance Party claims its presence in City Hall has
calmed what used to be highly confrontational meetings of
the council, and underpinned a system by which the parties
rotate the position of Lord Mayor.

It was under such a voting arrangement that Alex Maskey
became the city's first Sinn Féin Lord Mayor in 2002-3.

© The Irish Times


Maginnis Loses Seat

Dan Keenan

Lord (Ken) Maginnis failed to win re-election to Dungannon
council having held a seat for some 20 years.

He was not defending his former seat, having moved to
another district in an attempt to pick up another seat for
the Ulster Unionist Party.

The former Fermanagh-South Tyrone MP, now a member of the
House of Lords, last night refused to comment on his
chances in the forthcoming election of replacing David
Trimble as party leader.

With Lady Sylvia Hermon, the party's sole member of the
House of Commons, retaining an open mind on the leadership
question, Lord Maginnis and Lord Kilclooney - the former Mr
John Taylor - have been mentioned as possible leaders, at
least in the short term.

Lord Maginnis said last night he would neither seek nor
refuse the leadership if that was his party's wish. His
defeat in the local government election was not the only
high-profile loss.

In Belfast, Billy Hutchinson, David Ervine's Progressive
Unionist Party colleague, lost his council seat in north

In Antrim, Sinn Féin's Martin Meehan failed to win a
council seat while the SDLP's Donovan McClelland was also
eliminated. Mr McClelland lost his South Antrim seat in the
October 2003 elections to the suspended Stormont Assembly.

Joe Byrne, a former SDLP Assembly member in Omagh, lost his
council seat. His fate is being linked to the overall
success of Dr Kieran Deeny, an independent, anti-hospital
closure candidate, and to local dissent within the SDLP.

© The Irish Times


Local Election Results

Published: 9 May, 2005

Latest Local Government Results 2005 (6.20pm)

Antrim Borough Council

Henry Cushinan - North West

Anthony Brady - North West

Armagh District Council

Catherine Rafferty - Armagh City

Noel Sheridan - Armagh City

Ballymena Council

Monica Digney - Bannside

Banbridge Council

Dessie Ward - Knockveigh

Belfast City Council

Upper Falls

Michael Browne

Paul Maskey

Gerard O'Neill

Chrissie MacGiolla Mhín

Lower Falls

Janice Austin

Tom Hartley

Fra McCann

Marie Cush

Marie Moore


Danny Lavery

Margaret McClenaghan

Caral Ni Chuilin

Ballymoney Council

Philip McGuigan - Bann Valley

Daithí McKay - Bann Valley

Anita Cavlan - Bushvale

Cookstown District Council

John McNamee - Cookstown Central

Pearse McAleer - Ballinderry

Michael McIvor - Ballinderry

Oliver Molloy - Drum Manor

Sean Clarke - Drum Manor

Coleraine Borough Council

Billy Leonard - Bann

Craigavon Council

John O'Dowd - Craigavon Central

Maurice Magill - Lurgan

Derry City Council

Lynn Fleming - Waterside

Gerry MacLochlainn - Northlands

Billy Page - Northlands

Maeve McLauhglin - Northlands

Down District Council

Willie Clarke - Newcastle

Hugh McDowell - Newcastle

Eamon McConvey - Downpatrick

Liam Johnston - Downpatrick

Dungannon District Council

Francie Molloy - Torrent

Michael Gillespie - Torrent

Michelle O'Neill - Torrent

Dessie Donnelly - Torrent

Sean McGuigan - Clogher Valley

Colla McMahon - Clogher Valley

Fermanagh District Council

Thomas O'Reilly - Erne East

Ruth Lynch - Erne East

Brian McCaffery - Erne East

Gerry McHugh - Enniskillen

Pat Cox - Enniskillen

Stephen Huggett - Erne West

Bernice Swift - Erne West

Poilin Ui Cathain - Erne West

Limavady Borough Council

Anne Brolly - Limavady Town

John McElhiney - Bellarena

Gerard Butcher - Bellarena

Lisburn Council

Paul Butler - Dunmurray Cross

Michael Ferguson - Dunmurray Cross

Magherafelt District Council

Peter Bateson - Magherafelt Town

James O Neill - Magherafelt Town

Patsy Groogan - Sperrin

Kathleen McEldowney - Sperrin

Sean Kerr - Sperrin

Hugh Mullan - Sperrin

Oliver Hughes - Moyola

Ian Milne - Moyola

Moyle District Council

Cara McShane - Ballycastle Town

Cathal Newcombe - Ballycastle

Oliver McMullan - Glens

Marie McKeegan - Glens

Newry and Mourne District Council

Charlie Casey - Newry Town

Omagh District Council

Sean Begley - Omagh Town

Martin McColgan - Omagh Town

Ann Quinn - West Tyrone

Barry McElduff - West Tyrone

Peter Kelly - West Tyrone

Frankie Donnelly - West Tyrone

Sean Clarke - Mid Tyrone

Michael McAnespie - Mid Tyrone

Declan McAleer - Mid Tyrone

Sharon O Brien - Mid Tyrone

Strabane District Council


MEP Says Three Men Have Information

A DUP MEP has named three people he claims have
information about the murder of Robert McCartney which
could identify his killersm, writes Denis Staunton in

Jim Allister told the European Parliament that Bob
Fitzsimmons, Joe Fitzpatrick and Terry Davison, two of whom
he claimed were Sinn Féin members, were in a position to
give evidence about the murder. Mr Allister said that the
man who ordered Mr McCartney's murder was a member of the
IRA's northern command and that the person who carried it
out was a Sinn Féin treasurer. He said the man who wielded
the knife had been seen in the company of prominent

"Three months after the murder this cut-throat psychopath
remained publicly proclaimed as one of Sinn Féin's official
treasurers and the man who ordered the killing still struts
the streets of Belfast in the company of the IRA's chief of
intelligence, Bobby Storey and leading Provo, Eddie
Copeland. So much for Sinn Féin/IRA's supposed disciplinary
action - it is a farce," he said. Mr Allister was speaking
during a debate on a resolution condemning the murder and
calling on the EU to offer financial help to Mr McCartney's
family to mount a civil action if there is no criminal
prosecution of his killers.

He called on Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún, to use her
influence to bring the killers to justice.

"She and her colleagues are in a position to help this
family by influencing Sinn Féin members, like Bob
Fitzsimmons and Joe Fitzpatrick and other people like Terry
Davison to truthfully tell the lawful authorities what they
know of the horrific events in the alleyway," he said.

Mr McCartney's sisters, Catherine and Paula, who were in
Strasbourg for the debate, said that Mr Allister had not
consulted them before naming the alleged witnesses, adding
that they did not believe the move would help to bring the
killers to justice.

The resolution, which is backed by the five biggest
political groups in the European Parliament, condemns IRA
violence and criminality and calls on Sinn Féin to insist
that those responsible for Mr McCartney's murder should co-
operate directly with the PSNI.

The debate was dominated by sharp criticism of Sinn Féin
and the IRA. Fine Gael MEP Avril Doyle said: "The rule of
law Sinn Féin advocates and the IRA enforces is a brutal
regime of terror, intimidation and violence.

"One parallel to and incompatible with democratic society.
One so grounded in illegality and criminality that it
constitutes an affront to the very concept of justice and
leaves its victims, such as the McCartney family, powerless
and without redress for their terrible loss," she said.

Ms de Brún insisted that her party supported the McCartney
family and called on witnesses to the murder to come
forward. Catherine McCartney accused Sinn Féin of

Lord Mayor of Dublin Michael Conaghan is to host a civic
reception for the family of Mr McCartney. Dublin City
Council was last night expected to approve Mr Conaghan's
proposal to hold the reception in the Mansion House on May

© The Irish Times


De Brún Speaks In Favour Of GUE/NGL Resolution In Support
Of Mccartney Family's Campaign For Justice

Published: 9 May, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will this evening speak in
the European Parliament in favour of a GUE/NGL resolution
supporting the McCartney family's campaign for justice.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg Ms de
Brún said:

"Sinn Féin supports the McCartney family's demand for those
responsible for Robert's murder to face trial and we will
continue to do all that we can to help them". ENDS

Full text of speech:

Tacaíonn Sinn Féin le héileamh chlann McCartney go dtógfar
os comhair na cúirte iad siúd a dhúnmharaigh Robert agus
leanfaidh muid linn lenár ndícheall a dhéanamh cuidiú leis
an chlann.

Casadh Sinn Féin ar chlann McCartney níos mó ná uair
amháin. Bhuail mise leo nuair a thug siad cuairt ar an
Pharlaimint sa Bhruiséal roinnt seachtainí ó shin. Gheall
mé mo thacaíocht féin dóibh agus tacaíocht an pháirtí seo
chomh maith.

Sinn Féin supports the McCartney family's demand for those
responsible for Robert's murder to face trial and we will
continue to do all that we can to help them. Our party has
met with the McCartney family a number of times. I met them
when they visited the Parliament in Brussels a few weeks
ago. I have pledged them my support and the support of this

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called on those
responsible to come forward and admit their responsibility
for this horrendous murder. They have refused. He also
called on everyone who was in the vicinity of Maginnis's
bar to provide full and frank statements.

Because we take this matter so seriously, 11 members of our
party who were in the bar on that night and one who later
arrived on the scene, were suspended without prejudice.
This has been done to establish, whether or not they
complied with the call by party leaders for everyone to
provide a full and frank statement.

Two members were expelled for refusing to follow this
instruction and four others resigned. The other six remain
suspended pending a report to our party's National

Mar Fheisire Eorpach Shinn Féin agus mar dhuine aonair, ní
rachainn ar fheachtas ar son íobartaigh bhithiúntacht na
Breataine agus na nAontachtóirí muna rabh mé díreach chomh
soiléir agus chomh geallta sin le ceartas chlann McCartney.

Ba chóir daofa siúd a dhúnmharaigh Robert McCartney go
brúidiúil é sin a admháil i gcúirt dlí. Is é sin an t-aon
bhealach cuíosach dóibh. Ba cheart d'éinne eolach eile
teacht chun tosaigh. Creidtear dúinn-ne gur chóir don PSNI
an cás a chur i ngníomh um an dtaca seo. Níl fiosrúchán
críochniúil déanta acu sa chás.

As a Sinn Féin MEP and as an individual I could not
campaign for the victims of British or unionist
paramilitary thuggery, if I was not as clear and as
committed to justice for the McCartney family.

Those responsible for the brutal killing of Robert
McCartney should admit to what they did in a court of law.
That is the only decent thing for them to do. Others with
any information should come forward. It is our belief that
the PSNI could and should have acted by now. They have not
carried out a thorough investigation.


N Ireland Junior Ministers: Who They Are

DAVID HANSON: David Hanson represents the safe Labour
constituency of Delyn in Wales which he has held since
1992. Mr Hanson's voting record in the House of Commons
reflects strong loyalty to the last Blair administration,
especially on the Iraq war, university fees and hunting.

He has served as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to
Tony Blair (2001- 2005), junior minister at the Welsh
Office under Peter Hain (1999-2005), government whip (1998-
1999), and PPS to Alistair Darling, who was chief secretary
to the Treasury (1997-1998).

LORD ROOKER: As MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, Jeff Rooker
once introduced a Bill to abolish the House of Lords. Now
appointed to the upper house after a series of junior
ministerial appointments in the first two Blair
governments, Lord Rooker is known for his party loyalty but
also for his independent streak.

He has been a party spokesman on economic and environmental
issues and once stood in for Tony Blair at prime minister's
questions. In government he was appointed food safety
minister and served throughout the BSE crisis.

SHAUN WOODWARD: Shaun Woodward is Labour MP for St Helens
South. Elected as a Tory MP in 1997 he defected to Labour
prior to the 2001 general election. He said at the time: "I
realised this Tory party was destined only to make people's
lives worse. So I left."

His recent House of Commons voting record shows him to be a
faithful Blairite who strongly supported the Iraq war,
student top-up fees, foundation hospitals, the introduction
of identity cards and anti-terrorism legislation. He is
particularly interested in issues of children's rights.

ANGELA SMITH: Angela Smith has been a minister at the
Northern Ireland Office since 2002, with responsibility for
victims and reconciliation, health, the environment and
culture. Elected to the House of Commons in 1997 she has a
record of strong support for Blairite positions on such
issues as the Iraq war and anti-terrorism legislation.
Formerly head of political and public relations for the
League Against Cruel Sports, Ms Smith's personal political
interests include crime prevention, education and
international development.

© The Irish Times


Call For New Effort On Disappeared

Elaine Keogh

Relatives of 17 people abducted and murdered by the IRA
and INLA have called for the Commission for the Location of
Victims' Remains to be revamped.

Speaking after they met Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot
Ahern in Dundalk yesterday, the relatives said the
commission which is jointly chaired by former tánaiste John
Wilson and Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, "is reactive not

Last night the commission said it had done everything it
could in the legislative role it was given. A spokesman
said the commission was not opposed to a review but
cautioned that changes would not necessarily yield better

The commission was established in 1999 and, on foot of
information from the IRA relating to nine so-called
"disappeared", gardaí carried out digs at isolated
locations over a two-year period. two bodies were

Mr Ahern said yesterday a report from the commission was
recently completed and was being considered. The relatives
said they had not seen the report and that it was meant to
be completed a number of years ago.

© The Irish Times


Major Radioactive Leak At Sellafield

Dick Ahlstrom, Science Editor

Safety officials at Sellafield have yet to find a way to
clean-up a major radioactive leak 22 days after the
discovery of a broken pipe at the nuclear reprocessing
plant in Cumbria.

The highly toxic mix contains plutonium and uranium
dissolved in acid and enough spilled out to fill two
typical family livingrooms right to the ceiling.

The "pipework failure" occurred at Sellafield's €3,000
million Thorp plant. Remote camera checks first detected
the leak on April 18th and the radioactive "liquor" now
covers the floor of a concrete chamber, according to a
spokeswoman for the company.

"It has leaked into this cell, which isn't ideal, but it is
able to contain the leak," she said yesterday. "There is no
safety threat to employees or to the environment. The
plutonium is in a safe and stable state."

About 83 cubic metres of radioactive liquor escaped into
the concrete chamber, the spokeswoman said. "We raised a
Sellafield incident report and are required to publish this
in the Sellafield newsletter. It was published on Wednesday
27th April."

The company has yet to devise a way to get the highly
radioactive liquid out of the chamber, but the incident has
forced the closure of the controversial Thorp plant, which
reprocesses spent nuclear reactor fuel to recover its
plutonium and uranium.

"It is a relatively serious event though there was no
release," stated the Radiological Protection Institute of
Ireland's director of advisory services, Tony Colgan. "It
is all contained within a building which has walls several
feet thick. The issue for [the company] is how they are
going to get access and get the liquor out and what they do
with it afterwards. It is a big headache for them."

The institute received notification of the incident on
April 21st and the Department of the Environment got
details of the event the following day. "We were advised on
the 22nd of April by our UK counterparts in compliance with
agreements," the departmental spokesman said yesterday.

"We were advised no one was hurt and there was no release
to the environment," he added. "We got the information and
immediately put out a release."

Safety officials began looking for a leak when they
discovered the amount of radioactive liquor being produced
was "8 per cent lower than it ought to be", he said.

The Sellafield spokeswoman suggested the Thorp plant would
be closed for several weeks or a few months, but Dr Colgan
doubted this estimate. "A couple of months is optimistic. I
think we are talking six months."

The pipe carrying the radioactive liquor would have leaked
for some time before its discovery, he added.

"We don't have information from them as yet when the leak
started," Dr Colgan said.

The improved early warning system for nuclear incidents
agreed between the Irish and British governments last
December had worked well, according to Minister for the
Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dick Roche.

The incident however, demonstrated the justification for
Irish concerns regarding nuclear installations in the UK,
he added in a statement.

The Thorp closure is a blow to the Nuclear Decommissioning
Authority, which took over ownership of Sellafield from
British Nuclear Fuels Ltd on April 1st. Thorp's €1.4
million a day income is meant to finance clean-up costs at
other British nuclear facilities.

© The Irish Times


Highly Toxic Leak Poses No Danger To Ireland-RPII

The large leak of highly radioactive liquid at
Sellafield's Thorp plant should not have any safety
implications for people here, according to the Radiological
Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII).

"It is all contained within a building which has walls
several feet thick," according to the RPII's Tony Colgan.

Cleaning up the spill of 83 cubic metres of plutonium and
uranium dissolved in nitric acid will prove a "big
headache" for Sellafield, however. The concrete chamber is
too radioactive and dangerous for workers to enter.

No plan has yet been devised for removing the liquid but it
may involve the use of robots or other remote controlled
machines, according to a Sellafield spokeswoman.

Only one reprocessing "cell" is affected but the leak has
forced the closure of the entire plant, she said yesterday.
Thorp may have to remain closed until after the clean-up is

The seriousness of the incident was "less than one" on the
seven-step International Nuclear Event Scale, the
Sellafield spokeswoman said. Dr Colgan countered this view

"They listed it as a class zero event. Class 1 is probably
the more correct," he said, given it involved a significant
amount of material even if there was no release.

Ireland and Britain agreed new early notification
procedures last December and these appear to have worked
for this incident.

The RPII was notified three days after the leak was first
detected. It receives warnings from the UK's Health and
Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

The Department of the Environment received its notification
four days after the discovery. It receives word through its
UK counterparts via the British embassy in Dublin, Dr
Colgan said.

© The Irish Times


50-Minute Trip For Heart Attack Man

A town the size of Monaghan should have acute medical
services rather than patients having to travel long
journeys on poor roads to avail of emergency care, a
coroner said yesterday.

Co Louth coroner Ronan Maguire made his comments after an
inquest into the death of a father of four who had to
endure an almost 50-minute ambulance journey to Dundalk
after suffering a heart attack just over a mile from
Monaghan General Hospital. The hospital was off call at the

Philip Courtney (49), of Lackafin, Broomfield, suffered the
attack in Monaghan town on May 29th last year. An ambulance
crew was called at 11.17am and arrived six minutes later.

The staff began cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and
left the scene at 11.35am. They arrived at Louth County
Hospital in Dundalk 58 minutes after the emergency call.

Dr Olwyn Lynch said the man initially stabilised after
treatment but remained deeply unconscious due to extensive
brain damage. His condition deteriorated and he died on
June 4th.

She said it was vital a coronary patient receive CPR within
five minutes of a heart attack to prevent brain damage.
Intubation was the best way of securing an air way and
breathing, and that could have been performed at Monaghan
Hospital's coronary care unit, which was between a mile and
1½ miles from where Mr Courtney took ill.

Mr Maguire returned a verdict of death by natural causes.
He said he would write to the Health Service Executive to
say a town the size of Monaghan should have acute medical

© The Irish Times


Tourism Business Here Expected To Rise

Alison Healy

Most tourism businesses expected this summer's trade to
be up on last year with hotels being particularly bullish
about the season, a Fáilte Ireland survey has found.

The tourism barometer survey carried out last month found
that hotel operators were expecting high levels of business
from Irish customers while hostels and caravan and camping
providers were also expecting increased business.

However, B&B and self catering operators were not as
optimistic about the season, particularly in rural areas.

According to Fáilte Ireland, golf providers have already
reported an increase in business in the first three months
of this year. Equestrian centre owners were also optimistic
that they would be particularly busy in July and August.

Fáilte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn said the early
signals coming from the industry were encouraging and it
was hoped that the recovery in activities such as golf and
walking would continue.

The survey was released on the first day of Meitheal - a
tourism fair organised by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism
Ireland in Dublin's RDS.

© The Irish Times
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