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August 24, 2007

Troubles Group Will Meet Public

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 08/24/07 Troubles Group Will Meet Public
DJ 08/24/07 Shotgun Blast Through Bradley's Front Door
BT 08/24/07 Unity 'Not Unthinkable'
BT 08/24/07 £1.5 Billion: Price Paid For Sectarianism In Ulster
SF 08/24/07 UUP Have Nothing To Fear From Irish Language
SF 08/24/07 Parade Needs To Ensure No Repeat Of Breaches
IT 08/24/07 Pat Rabbitte: Career At A Glance (Timeline)
IM 08/24/07 Opin: Michael Collins - The Truth
IT 08/24/07 RTÉ Radio Is Holding Its Own
DN 08/24/07 A Dark Tale Of Crucifixtion In Ramelton Church
BN 08/24/07 'Time To Look After Donegal's B&B Sector'


Troubles Group Will Meet Public

The body set up to deal with the legacy of Northern
Ireland's Troubles has announced the start of its
engagement with the public.

Co-chairs Lord Robin Eames and Denis Bradley are meeting
the police Historical Enquiries Team in Armagh.

Mr Bradley said they wanted everyone to share their

"We have met with a number of organisations who have
already carried out some very commendable work in this
sensitive area," he said.

The Consultative Group on the Past has already met the
Stevens Inquiry Team, Healing Through Remembering and the
PSNI's Public Enquiries Branch.

They will also meet the Northern Ireland Human Rights

The Armagh meeting saw the group joined by former Finnish
president and arms inspector Martti Ahtisaari and former
Drumcree mediator Brian Currin.

"They bring with them not only an international
perspective, but a wealth of valuable expertise in
mediation, peace work and human rights issues," Lord Eames

The consultative group is working towards reporting to the
Secretary of State in summer 2008 on a community consensus
on the best way to deal with the legacy of the past.

The group will be placing press adverts encouraging
individuals and groups with views on dealing with the past
to contact them.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/08/24 06:57:33 GMT


Shotgun Blast Through Bradley's Front Door

By Staff reporter

The Real IRA have claimed responsibility for yesterday's
gun attack on the home of a former Deputy Mayor of Derry
whose son is a serving PSNI officer.

The home of former Derry City Irish Independence Party
Councillor Liam Bradley was targeted shortly before 1 am. A
shotgun blast was discharged through the front door of the
house on Lone Moor Road while attempts were also made to
set the family's car alight. Mr. Bradley was in the house
with his wife Marie at the time but they escaped injury.

In call to the `Journal' using a recognised code word last
night, a spokesperson for Oglaigh Na hEireann read the
following statement, which warned of possible further

"Oglaigh Na hEireann claims responsibility for the attack
on the family home of a serving RUC man. This attack was in
direct response to ongoing attacks on the families of
republicans. If the Crown Forces continue with this course
of action they must realise that they and their families
that support them will have a price to pay."

Speaking to the `Journal' yesterday, Mr Bradley said he and
his family were "too upset" to talk about the incident.

"The family is very shocked and I must worry about them at
the minute. We're all very upset," he said.

Mr Bradley has been threatened in the past because his son
is a member of the PSNI. Derogatory graffiti referring to
the PSNI has also appeared on walls near the Bradley family
home in recent times.

Mr and Mrs Bradley suffered the tragic death of another son
in an accident two years ago. Liam junior died in January
2005 after a tragic fall.

`Very sinister'

Condemnation of the shooting was last night led by the
Bishop of Derry, Most Reverend Seamus Hegarty, who said his
prayers were with the Bradley family.

"This attack must be condemned by all right-thinking
people. The Bradley family are no strangers to intimidation
but this is a very sinister and frightening development.
The family have shown great courage in the past and can be
assured of the overwhelming support of all in the

"This attack is not only an attack on the Bradley family
but also an attack on democracy and the newly formed

SDLP Leader Mark Durkan said he utterly condemned the
attack, adding that those behind it have absolutely no
support from the people of Derry.

"This was a despicable attack on a solid, strong and well-
respected family and it is rejected by the entire community
here in Derry. We had all hoped that the dark days of
attacks on people's homes had been consigned to history. It
is important not only that the family knows that the whole
community stands behind them, but that those responsible
for this attack know that they do not have support from the

The Foyle MP added that the people of Derry wanted to move
on and prosper, adding that those responsible had nothing
to offer society. He said: "They prove nothing by using
this violence other than the fact that they do not have
strong arguments to persuade anyone.

Last Updated: 23 August 2007 6:15 PM


Unity 'Not Unthinkable'

[Published: Friday 24, August 2007 - 12:00]
By Noel McAdam

A former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service has
said some form of Irish unity is not unthinkable in

Sir Kenneth Bloomfield added, however, the idea of closer
association would also have to be mutually acceptable in

He told the 40th anniversary Merriman summer school in
county Clare: "Please do not suppose that if, in some
future poll, 50.1 per cent of the electorate were to vote
for Irish unity, the outvoted 49.9 per cent would tramp
into the new jurisdiction like a defeated army."

Sir Kenneth, who earlier this year published a book called
A Tragedy of Errors: The Government and Misgovernment of
Northern Ireland, said successive Stormont governments had
been too slow to acknowledge the Irishness felt by an
"extensive minority" in Northern Ireland.

The former Victims Commissioner, currently involved with
the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims'
Remains, said Irish unity should be thought of as a
possible or potential contract between distinct groups of
people "with all the cards on the table."

It would not be a single step but a process with a "modest
beginning and no predetermined end," he told the gathering
on its 40th anniversary.

"So it is that I do not find the idea of some form of Irish
unity or closer association - almost certainly after my
time - in any way unthinkable in principle," Sir Kenneth,
who was secretary to the 1974 Sunningdale power-sharing
government, said.

"But what is conceivably acceptable in principle would have
to be mutually acceptable in practice."

Stressing he was offering a personal perspective, he added:
"As I grow older, I care less which flag is flown and which
anthem is played where I live."

Sir Kenneth, who was targetted by the IRA in a bomb attack
on his Co Down home in 1988, said he accepted the presence
in government of Sinn Fein.

He said he would find it difficult to bear "with any sense
of self respect" any relapse into a period of " that parody
of democratic government, direct rule".

"Far sighted politicians, economists and academics will
have to think long and hard about the true nature, cost,
ethos and dynamics of a new orientation of affairs," he

c Belfast Telegraph


£1.5 Billion: The Ridiculous Price We Pay For Sectarianism
In Ulster

[Published: Friday 24, August 2007 - 08:51]
By David Gordon

Northern Ireland's sectarian problems inflate the policing
bill here by as much as œ500m a year, an official report
has found.

The figure is contained in a study for Government that
gives an estimate of up to œ1.5bn for the annual total cost
of the province's divisions.

The report was commissioned by the Office of the First
Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) prior to the
restoration of devolution.

It examines the drain on the public purse that violence,
segregation and duplication of services for the two
communities causes.

Entitled 'Research into the financial cost of the Northern
Ireland divide', the document was compiled by consultants
at Deloitte, with input by senior Government officials and
the PSNI.

It found that in one year alone, œ478,000 was spent on
policing in Northern Ireland for every 1,000 people in the
province. The figure for England and Wales was œ183,000.

Based on these figures, the report concluded that the
"maximum additional cost of policing due to the sectarian
divide is potentially œ504m per annum".

The Deloitte researchers also spelt out the impact that
decades of violence and negative publicity has had on
Northern Ireland's economy.

This included the loss of 27,600 jobs in the period 1983 to
2000, costing the economy on average œ12.5m a year.

Spending on industrial development per head of the
population here was almost three times the level of that
the UK as a whole in one year recently.

In addition, Government has given support to "high-risk"
investment projects like the ill-fated DeLorean car
factory, the study noted.

The consultants also concluded that some œ49m has been lost
annually in tourism revenue on average, with potential
visitors being confronted with " images of civil unrest,
terrorist outrages and periodic sectarian strife" in the
world's media.

The cost of the divide in the public housing arena was
given as œ24m a year, of which œ21m is attributed to
inefficiencies resulting from segregation and sectarian

Civil unrest has blighted districts, leading to houses
lying empty and, in some cases, being demolished. In other
areas, meanwhile, waiting lists are growing while new homes
are being built.

The report also stated: " The marking of territories
according to tradition has led to inefficiencies in meeting
housing need. In particular, there are a significant number
of additional social housing units developed through the
social housing development programme whilst other social
housing lies vacant for reasons related to societal

In education, a œ10m estimate was given for the cost of the

On top of this, the Deloitte consultants outlined details
of 165 additional school bus runs per day which need not
occur in the rest of the UK. They found that this required
45 extra buses, costing some œ2.45m.

The study also quoted œ13m as the annual sum spent on
community relations, and œ7m on support for victims.

In conclusion, the report stressed that the examination of
the costs of division was "particularly complex" and
quantifying the figures had "proved difficult".

It further stated that the œ1.5bn overall total "could be
considered to be the upper limit".

c Belfast Telegraph


UUP Have Nothing To Fear From Irish Language

Published: 24 August, 2007

Responding to media reports claiming that the UUP MLA team
believe that the proposed Irish language legislation is a
"republican cultural weapon in their ongoing struggle
against unionism" and should not be supported, Sinn Fein
spokesperson on the Irish language Francie Brolly MLA has
said that the UUP have missed the point.

Mr Brolly said:

"The UUP claim that any Irish language legislation is a
negative move. Nothing could be further from the truth. The
Irish language is a threat to no-one and it is not
compulsory. What do the UUP have to fear from multi-

"What does Unionism have to fear from safeguarding Irish
language rights? The language belongs to everyone;
catholic, protestant and dissenter. What was agreed in the
St Andrews Agreement protects the rights of those 4000
Irish speaking children which the UUP and the new Assembly
now represent. The legislation enshrines the Irish language
within a multicultural and multilingual society. Can the
UUP tell me what is wrong with this?

"Ireland is changing into a positive, vibrant and welcoming
entity which provides for all and the language has a part
to play in uniting everyone. I urge the UUP to be long-
sighted in this matter." Cr¡och


Black Perceptory Parade Needs To Ensure No Repeat Of Last
Years' Breaches

Published: 24 August, 2007

Sinn Fein East Belfast representative Niall O'Donnghaile
has called on the Black Perceptory to ensure that, as a
Christian organisation, there is no repeat of the
disgraceful scenes during its parade last year when the
'sash' was played outside St Matthews Church in the Short

Mr O'Donnghaile said:

"There was frustration locally that despite numerous
breaches of the Parades Commission determination last year
that there was not a much stronger ruling on this year's

"There is a responsibility on the Black Perceptory, as a
Christian organisation, to ensure that there is no repeat
of the disgraceful scenes during its parade last year when
the 'sash' was played outside St Matthews Church in the
Short Strand.

"We all need to recognise that marching within areas where
there is deep animosity does little to encourage good
community relations. This is an interface area where much
good work has gone on in recent months. This should not be
undone by anyone wanting to inflame tensions." ENDS


Pat Rabbitte: Career At A Glance (Timeline)

1970/71: Appointed president of the UCG Students' Union. He
later becomes president of the Union of Students of Ireland
between 1972 and 1974.

1974: Appointed national secretary of the Irish Transport
and General Workers' Union.

1985: Wins a seat on Dublin County Council in the local
elections of 1985 with Sinn Fein the Workers' Party.

1989: First elected to the D il as a Workers' Party TD. He
later joins Democratic Left when six of the Workers'
Party's TDs leave to form DL.

1992: He accepts a œ2,000 cash donation from PR executive
Frank Dunlop. The money is later sent back after a
discussion with local DL party members.

1994: He is appointed as minister of state in the rainbow
government with special responsibility for commerce,
science, technology and consumer affairs. He serves until
the government loses office in 1997.

1999: Labour and Democratic Left merge. He is one of the
chief proponents of the move. He was previously a member of
the Labour Party, quitting in 1976 because of its alliance
with Fine Gael.

2002: He is elected leader of the Labour Party, taking over
from Ruair¡ Quinn after a disappointing general election.

2004: The party performs well in the local elections,
breaking the threshold of 100 county councillors.

2007: The party fails to make an impact in the general
election, returning with the same number of seats it won in

c 2007 The Irish Times


Opin: Michael Collins - The Truth

National History And Heritage News Report
Friday August 24, 2007 12:09 By Rooster

At this time of year we're used to an entire gallery of
ludicrously fictional Michael Collins being mellifluously
wafted out of the Bael na mBlath clay by some Irish voice
or other, so I suppose there's no reason why some tame
Englishman like Lord David Puttnam shouldn't have been
invited to add to the heap of poppycock about the most
fictionalised man in Irish history.

And naturally, he didn't disappoint, labelling Michael
Collins "an icon for peace and reconciliation" and an
example of " how people ought to behave in the service of
their country".

Well, as it happens, at the time of his death, this "icon
of peace and reconciliation" had already started a war
against the Northern state, which, in the Treaty of the
previous year, he had already agreed should come into

And with what did he equip the IRA units he unleashed on
the North?

Why, the very guns supplied by the British for the self-
defence of the new Free State Army, which he had given his
word of honour would not be allowed to be used against the
Northern state. To " refresh" your memories - which
probably have been misinformed by a criminally delinquent
educational system, and by a general social consensus which
prefers the annual farrago of falsehoods of the flowery
meadow to the truth of the school of hard fact - let me
remind you of the truth about Michael Collins.

It was he who, with his murders of the men of the G
Division of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, introduced the
concept of a campaign of assassination in support of a
political cause: in doing so, he injected a toxin into
Irish life that has never left it.

Bad as this was in southern Ireland, it had perfectly
catastrophic consequences in the North.

After he organised the murder of DI Swanzy in Lisburn,
massive rioting followed there and in Belfast, in which 22
people were killed, and almost all Catholic businesses in
Lisburn destroyed.

The murderous chaos moved the Northern authorities to enrol
a special constabulary, the Ulster Special Constabulary
(USC), to restore order.

Contrary to republican myth ever since, this was not
intended to be all-Protestant.

Some Catholics joined, but after one of their number,
Special Constable McCullough was shot by the IRA, most

Collins's attitude to Northern unionists was perhaps best
exemplified by events in February 1922, when he authorised
the kidnap of 100 Northern Protestants by cross-border IRA

The raiders actually managed to abduct just 42 men from
their homes, and these men were kept as hostages in IRA
hide-outs in the Free State, incredibly, with the assent of
Michael Collins, the leader of the Provisional Government.

Collins then authorised an intensified assault on the USC.

A train containing mostly unarmed special constables en
route for Enniskillen was ambushed at Clones and four
constables killed, with a dozen others captured.

The consequences were entirely predictable: riots in
Belfast in which over 30 people, most of them Catholic,
were killed.

That, however, did not slake Collins's appetite for blood,
for he then ordered a further systematic assault on USC

Between March 10 and June 1922, and on Collins's general
orders, 38 Northern police officers were killed.

Some of them - such Samuel Laird and George Chittick of
Trillick, Co Tyrone - were assassinated in their homes. Two
others, Sergeant Patrick Joseph Early, a Catholic from
Roscommon, and his colleague, Special Constable James
Harper, were calculatedly lured to their deaths in south
Armagh by IRA men wearing uniforms taken from the Clones

In Garrison, Co Fermanagh, Special Constable James Plumb
was killed in an ambush and his body seized.

What followed had nothing to do with Collins's orders, but
it is a salutary reminder of the consequences of a
generalised authorisation to commit murder. Kiltyclogher
IRA men lined up to beat the body into an unrecognisable
pulp with rifle butts.

The return of Constable Plumb's shattered cadaver to his
home off the Albertbridge Road in Belfast must have done
wonders for community relations.

Now admittedly, Collins was now no longer in control of the
Northern IRA, but he had equipped and formally unleashed
it, with catastrophic consequences for all concerned.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, the cult of murder, which Collins had
done so much to promote, was now reaching its diseased

In Galway, two middle-aged RIC sergeants, Tobias Gibbons,
from Mayo, and John Gilmartin, from Leitrim, who were
gravely ill patients in St Brigid's Hospital, were shot
dead in their sick-beds by the IRA.

The campaign against the Northern Ireland security forces
was ended, not by Collins's orders, but effectively by the
Civil War, which divided the Northern IRA.

So to call Collins an "icon for peace and reconciliation"
is not just idiotic, but is to indulge in the depraved
rhetoric of Irish republicanism.

This invariably sees "who" as "whom": perpetrators are
victims, and unrepentant, jovial killers like Collins are
peacemakers: thus the annual Bael na mBlath blather.


RTE Radio Is Holding Its Own

Paul Cullen

Radio Listenership Figures: Click thumbnail for full

Joe Duffy, Ryan Tubridy, Gerry Ryan and Pat Kenny all
recorded increases in listenership, with only the News at
One among its leading programmes showing a slight fall.

The trend follows several years of gradual decline in the
national broadcaster's figures as measured by the JNLR
TNS/mrbi survey.

Increased competition from the commercial sector had been
eating into RTE's audience.

The latest survey covers the period from July 2006 to June

In the fiercely contested evening slot, RTE Radio One's
Drivetime , presented by Mary Wilson, Des Cahill and Dave
Fanning, leapfrogged above Today FM's The Last Word ,
presented by Matt Cooper.

However, the growth in the show's audience from 180,000 in
the previous survey to 204,000 is largely explained by a
move to a 4.30pm starting time, from 5pm, in August 2006.

Once again, RTE broadcast nine of the 10 most popular
programmes in the State, led by Morning Ireland with a
listenership of 435,000, up 11,000 on the previous survey.
The only non-RTE programme in the top 10 is Today FM's Ray
D'Arcy in ninth position; his listenership dropped 2,000,
to 246,000.

Commercial rivals suggested RTE's improved figures could be
linked to its general election coverage, but this hardly
explains the strong performance by 2FM's Gerry Ryan, who
added 24,000 listeners to reach an audience of 325,000.

Joe Duffy added 13,000 listeners to Liveline , Ryan Tubridy
gained another 4,000 listeners and Pat Kenny's audience
grew by 10,000.

Another strong performance came from Marion Finucane, whose
Saturday-morning show gained another 13,000 listeners. Her
Sunday show has 237,000 listeners, compared to 102,000 for
Today FM's Sunday Supplement.

RTE radio managing director Adrian Moynes said the figures
showed that schedule changes were paying off.

"I've always said we're in this for the long haul. RTE
radio made strategic changes last year on RTE Radio One and
RTE Lyric FM, and earlier this year on RTE 2FM.

"The initial signs are that listeners are welcoming those
changes. We are determined that this pattern will

Overall, Today FM was steady, with its two rush-hour
presenters, Ian Dempsey and Matt Cooper, recording their
highest listenerships yet. Dempsey was up 6,000 to 233,000,
while Cooper's audience grew from 187,000 to 193,000.

Chief executive Willy O'Reilly expressed satisfaction at
the station's performance in the face of increased

For Newstalk FM, these were the second set of figures since
it started broadcasting nationally in September 2006.
George Hook's drivetime programme added another 5,000
listeners, but the station has yet to make as strong an
impact outside Dublin as it does in the capital.

Some 85 per cent of the population listen daily to the
radio, the figures show.

Among national stations, RTE Radio One has a audience share
of 20.9 per cent, while 2FM has 13 per cent. Today FM is on
12.4 per cent, Newstalk has 3.2 per cent and RTE's
classical station, Lyric FM, has dropped slightly to 1.7
per cent.

In Dublin, 2FM gained ground on its commercial music rivals
but its 11.5 per cent share remains behind the 12.7 per
cent enjoyed by both 98FM and FM104. New entrant Phantom
has a 1.2 per cent share.

As usual, the most listened-to local radio station was
Highland Radio in Co Donegal, with a 64.2 per cent share of
its audience.

Mid West Radio and Radio Kerry also recorded audience
shares of more than 50 per cent.

c 2007 The Irish Times


A Dark Tale Of Crucifixtion In Ramelton Church

By Catriona Gallen

GARDAI in Donegal are investigating a murder in a church in
Ramelton. The Second Ancestoral Church is the scene of a
gruesome crucifixtion in the town. The victim has been
named as master carpenter James Moore from Downings.

Murder, suspense, affairs and intrigue are rarely
associated with the Ramelton town, resting on the banks of
the River Lennon, but for crime writer, Paul Charles, the
Donegal town has provided inspiration for his new book,
"The Dust of Death".

Local landmarks, like the Bridge bar, Letterkenny General
Hospital, the Silver Tassie, Downings and many more venues
take centre stage in Charles' first crime novel set in
Donegal. "The Dust of Death" is the first in a trilogy of
crime novels the Irish author hopes will put Ramelton on
the literary map.

Speaking to the Donegal News on Wednesday while on holidays
in the US, it became clear that the Magherafelt man has a
long standing association with the county, beginnning long
before he married Letterkenny woman, Catherine McGinley in

"Catherine's from Glencar, so I should know Donegal well,
but I'd been coming to Donegal for years. I spent many
months traveling every back road and visiting every outpost
in Donegal with my good friend John McIvor. It's a
beautiful county and quite unspoiled. There are lots of
characters and stories just waiting to be told and written
about," he said.

Paul Charles, an accomplished crime writer, has written
eight Inspector Christy Kennedy novels which are primarily
set in London. This new book is a departure into Donegal
and introduces the reader to the Garda Inspector Starret, a
native of the county.

The plot revolves around the gruesome discovery, in the
very first chapter, of the crucified body of James Moore
hanging in the Second Ancestory Church. Inspector
Starrett's droll observations and keen eye for the ladies
bring the reader on a mission to unravel the mystery of

The ingenuity of Charles' writing lies in his ability to
inject his characters with realism. The Eileen McLaughlin's
of Ramelton and Sergeant Packie Garvey's of the novel seem
almost to be based on someone local we could all know or
relate to. Charles though says his characters are not based
on specific people. "When writing stuff we are all
influenced by the people around us, so maybe that's why
they seem familiar. There is no one character replicated in
the novel; they're all composites of people I've met,"
explained Paul.

For regular Paul Charles readers Garda Inspector Starrett
will be familiar. The central character first appeared in a
Christy Kennedy detective novel, "I've heard the Banshee

"I introduced Inspector Starrett when Christy Kennedy was
solving a crime and returned to his native Portrush. I like
to keep things factually accurate. I'd wouldn't like my
readers to be scoffing at something in the plot saying 'ah
come on that could never have happened,' so when it went
cross border he had to work in conjunction with Inspector
Starrett. It made it much easier to write this first
Donegal detective novel because he came to me already fully
formed," said Charles.

"The Dust of Death" has been meticulously researched and
plotted. The path of intrigue is set in actual locations
througout the county and the writer knows his way round.
The real locations make the novel more atmospheric and is
fascinating for readers, especially in Donegal, to see the
plot unfold on our doorstep. The lead character also makes
some barbed comments about planning legislation and
development in the county. Starrett makes some keen
observations on Donegal developers, remarking to a couple
who have moved to Ramelton: "The klondyke has nothing on
the Letterkenny boyos; but instead ofprosepctors,
Letterkenny is infested wth developers."

Ramelton's peaceful heritage town may have been shattered
by a brutal murder but Letterkenny has been robbed of its

Later Starrett observes: "Letterkenny was being forced to
grow too quickly, robbing it- at least Starrett believed-
of the opportunity ever to become a magnificent or even a
soulful city. Starett believed Letterkenny was a bit like
his young guards in that they both needed to be nurtured
and cared for in order to give them a chance of achieving
their goals. He knew there was a good chance Letterkenny
had missed its opportunity".

The observations though are not a reflection of the
author's own views. "That's the beauty of writing. You can
make your characters say and do things you normally
wouldn't," said the author.

With a background in music, Charles' career as an author
began dismally back in the ealy 1960s.

"I first began to write in the 60s and 70s. I was working
in London and writing music reviews for a Belfast magazine
City week. They had a musical supplement and if Van
Morrison or anybody Irish was in London I'd go along and
write a review. I tried to write my first novel around then
too but I couldn't find a hook. I'd start to write
something and it would turn out as absolute rubbish," he

A passion for crime novels led Paul Charles into writing
crime fiction, and many idle hours travelling as a music
agent meant he had lots of time to create. "I have a huge
collection of books by British crime writers. I travel a
lot and had lots of time in airplanes and nights on my own
in hotel rooms to play around with ideas. Instead of
sitting in a pub on an evening I'd sit in and create
plots," he said.

Paul and his wife Catherine are arriving back in Donegal on
Saturday. The couple have a cottage in Ramelton.

"Ramelton's still has its own charm and much of the
heritage is still intact. The people are nice and
friendly". It will come as no surprise then that Paul
Charles is already working on his second novel based in
Ramelton, called "Family Life" and has the workings of a
third Donegal crime novel already thought out.

"The Dust of Death" is available in all bookshops from
Tuesday September 4th, priced 22.99 hardback.


'Time To Look After Donegal's B&B Sector'

By Catherine Cook

THE Chairperson of Donegal-based Town and Country Homes
Association has highlighted the urgent need for B&Bs and
guesthouses to be properly licensed.

The comments by Chairperson, Kate Burns, come following
research carried out by the 'T&CH' which shows the majority
of overseas visitors into Ireland choose to stay in a B&B
or guesthouse, confirming the importance of the sector in
bringing tourists to Ireland. F ilte Ireland has announced
plans to stop licencing holiday accommodation from next

Speaking with specific reference to Donegal, Ms Burns
commented: "The situation with B&Bs in Donegal is that they
are still the preferred type of accommodation with visitors
into the county. In particular research shows that the
visitors we get from Italy, France, Austria, New Zealand
and Australia are typically higher spenders than those who
stay in hotels."

She added: "While our research shows that the majority of
visitors stay in an B&B the fact of the matter is that
Irish people do not like staying in B&Bs and because of
this we are not given the support that we need by tourism
bodies. At the moment all their efforts are going to
increasing the capacity of hotel rooms."

There are, however, a number of challenges facing B&B
owners in Donegal.

"B&Bs in Donegal are suffering slightly because we are not
getting enough visitors to the North West. Donegal has some
of the best B&Bs in the country but they are not getting
the same trade as Galway and Dublin."

"B&Bs in Donegal experienced a decline in 2001 and 2002,
partly because of the impact of 9/11 on visitors from the
US. Recently there have been more people coming to stay in
the North West and business in 2007 is up 20 per cent on
2006. And the forecast for 2008 is looking promising
despite terrible weather we have experienced this summer."

"We at the 'T&CH' recognise that the B&B sector, like
everything else, needs a bit of innovation or else it goes
stale. This is the reason we will begin rolling out a
marketing programme in the autumn regarding themed B&Bs.
This will enable visitors to chose their accommodation
suited to their needs, for example, there will be training
and network supports put in place for B&Bs to market
themselves on angling, culture and heritage, walking or
gourmet themes."

Ms Burns continued, however: "We strongly feel that the
Irish tourism industry has underestimated the importance of
the B&B tourism product. For the good of the whole sector
it is very damaging not to have a situation where B&Bs and
guesthouses are not licensed or regulated. It is estimated
that over 50 per cent of B&Bs in Ireland have no fire,
insurance or safety cover. And these are the places which
are pulling our product and reputation down."

"Ireland is the only country in Europe not to have B&Bs
licensed or regulated. There is no quality control over the
product. And despite our attempts to have a structure put
in place we keep having barriers put in our way."

The findings of the 'T&CH' survey revealed that over 300
million was spent in the Irish economy by tourists staying
in approved Town & Country Homes or Farmhouses. Ms Burns
said the research also showed that the Central Exchequer
derived a dividend of 144 million from these tourism
overnights in the B&B sector.

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