Irish Republican Information Service (no. 308)

Irish Republican Information Service (no. 308)
Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill, 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
Phone: +353-1-872 9747; FAX: +353-1-872 9757; e-mail:

Date: 21 Nollaig / December 2012
Internet resources maintained by SAOIRSE-Irish Freedom [2]

In this issue:
1. Finucane murder exposes reality of British Occupation
2. RUC to investigate Bloody Sunday?
3. Loyalist demonstrations continue to disrupt Belfast city centre
4. Gap between Catholics and Protestants in Six Counties down to 3%
5. Four Martyrs remembered in Dublin
6. Commemoration to IRA Chief of Staff Charlie Kerins
7. Grey Abbey Martyrs honoured on 90th Anniversary
8. New information in HET murder report
9. Press Statement from the Home Help/Home Care Community Action
10. Irish people once more sacrificed for European banks and
international financiers
11. New research shows hardship of older people during recession is
12. Clare protesters vow to fight against fracking on Irish shores
13. Ireland tops European household unemployment figures according
to new research
1. Finucane murder exposes reality of British Occupation
IN A statement on December 12 the President of Republican Sinn Féin
Des Dalton said:

“The latest revelations regarding the murder of Belfast human
rights lawyer Pat Finucane by a British-backed loyalist death squad
in 1989 exposes the reality of British Occupation in Ireland. That
the British Government was aware of the threat to Pat Finucane two
months before his murder, a fact confirmed by journalist and author
Ed Moloney, is particularly damning. We would share the view of the
Finucane family that the De Silva Report is a: “…sham” and:
“…a whitewash”, designed to protect the British Government and
its institutions, including the covert intelligence force MI5.
“As a result of the Stormont Agreement the position of MI5 in the
Six Counties is now stronger than ever before. The Director of the
Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ) Brian Gormally made
the telling observation: “The reality is that MI5 – secret,
unreformed and unaccountable – is now running one of the most
sensitive areas of policing – covert national security.” This
enhanced role includes the recruiting and running of agents like
those who were instrumental in carrying the murder of Pat Finucane,
such as Brian Nelson.
“The De Silva Reports admits that 80% of the intelligence supplied
to loyalist death squads came from the British Army’s notorious
Force Research Unit or the RUC Special Branch. This merely underlines
their role as another arm of the British Crown Forces. The activities
of the loyalist death squads are a classic example of the
counter-insurgency tactics set out by senior British Army General,
Sir Frank Kitson in his books Gangs and Counter-Gangs and Low
Intensity Operations. The murder of Pat Finucane was carried out as
part of just such a carefully-directed campaign, designed to strike
terror into the nationalist community. The British-backed loyalist
death squad murder of lawyer Rosemary Nelson in 1999 also fits into
this pattern.
“The leopard does not change its spots, and as long as there is
British occupation of any part of Ireland it will not hesitate to use
such tactics on Irish people in the future.”
Pat Finucane’s widow Geraldine dismissed the report into his death
by British barrister Desmond de Silva as “a sham” and “a
“This report is not the truth,” she said.
Renewing her call for a full public inquiry into her husband’s 1989
assassination by British forces, Geraldine Finucane said that the
British government had suppressed the truth and attempted to throw
all blame on dead individuals and disbanded organisations while
exonerating ministers, serving officers and existing security
She said: “Yet another British government has engineered a
suppression of the truth behind the murder of my husband, Pat
“At every turn it is clear that this report has done exactly what
was required – to give the benefit of the doubt to the state, its
Cabinet and ministers, to the Army, to the intelligence services and
to itself.

“At every turn, dead witnesses have been blamed and defunct
agencies found wanting. Serving personnel and active state
departments appear to have been excused.
“The dirt has been swept under the carpet without any serious
attempt to lift the lid on what really happened to Pat and so many
“This report is a sham, this report is a whitewash, this report is
a confidence trick dressed up as independent scrutiny and given
invisible clothes of reliability. But most of all, most hurtful and
insulting of all, this report is not the truth.”
Geraldine Finucane said her family had been “misled and humiliated
in a cruel
and unnecessary fashion” when they were invited to Downing Street
last year, only to be told that there would be no public inquiry and
that instead David Cameron was ordering a behind-closed-doors review
of documents.
“I left Downing Street that day so angry I could hardly speak,”
she said.
She insisted that the family came to London prepared to judge the
report with “an open mind” and with “a faint hope” that their
misgivings would be proved wrong.
However she said “I regret to say that once again we have been
proved right.”
She said the review had been “compiled by a lawyer with strong
links to the Conservative Party who was appointed by the Conservative
Government without consultation. The report is the result of a process
into which we have had no input – we have seen no documents, nor heard
any witnesses.
“In short, we have had no chance to assess the evidence for
ourselves at first hand. We are expected to take the word of the man
appointed by the British Government.”
On December 12 the Pat Finucane Centre said: “The British prime
minister, David Cameron, has today described loyalist/state collusion
revealed in the de Silva review relating to the murder of solicitor
Pat Finucane as ‘unbelievably ghastly’.
“The Pat Finucane Centre, however, believes those words would be
better applied to the British government’s continuing refusal to
establish a full, public, independent inquiry.
“Cameron is pushing the line that there was no ‘over-arching’
State conspiracy into Pat Finucane’s murder, yet:
1. The UDA, whose gunmen (including RUC agent Ken Barrett) murdered
Pat, whose ‘intelligence’ unit was headed by a British military
agent (Brian Nelson) and whose ‘quartermaster’ (Billy Stobie)
provided the weapon used (stolen from a British Army barracks in
Holywood, County Down) was a legal organisation at the time of the
It took a further three years before the UDA was banned. The Pat
Finucane Centre has uncovered documents showing that, as far back as
the early 1970s, the UDA was viewed as a ‘release valve’ for
‘Protestant extremists’.
2. In January 1992, the then Department of Public Prosecutions
reached a deal (effectively a cover-up), allowing Nelson to plead
guilty to five counts of conspiracy to murder. This prevented the
courts examining his activities as a British military agent. Nelson
was given a derisory ten year prison term.
3. The man who acted as Nelson’s “handler” and who gave him a
glowing character reference during the 1992 court hearing was
Brigadier Gordon Kerr who became head of the Force Research Unit in
1987, two years before Pat Finucane’s murder.
“In 1997 (eight years after Pat Finucane’s murder), Kerr was
promoted and became Britain’s military attaché in Beijing, where
he was awarded an OBE. He also holds the Queen’s Medal for
Gallantry. Two weeks after he was identified in the Stevens Report
into collusion in the murder of Pat Finucane, Tony Blair sent him to
Iraq. He has never been charged with a single offence.
“Pat Finucane was stalked by a British military agent who was then
given effective immunity by the office of the DPP. The gun used to
murder him was of British military origin. It was supplied by one
RUC agent and fired by another RUC agent.
“Pat Finucane’s murder was authorised and carried out by state
agents. What more evidence is needed before London grants the public
inquiry demanded by the Finucane family?”
2. RUC to investigate Bloody Sunday?
IT was reported on December 21 that the British colonial police, the
RUC/PSNI are to examine the possibility of bringing criminal charges
against members of the parachute regiment of the British army who
were responsible for the murder of 14 men and the wounding of 14
other people during a civil right march in Derry on January 30, 1972.

3. Loyalist demonstrations continue to disrupt Belfast city centre
ON December 2 members of Belfast City Council voted to remove the
Union Jack from Belfast City hall except for 17 designated days.
Following the decision, hundreds of loyalists took to the street and
burnt Irish Tricolours to show their opposition to a motion to have
the Butcher’s Apron removed for the first time in over a century.
Minutes after the vote was taken, hooded loyalists tried to kick
down the back doors of City Hall. The RUC used batons and brought in
dogs to push the protesters, who had scarves covering their faces, out
of the courtyard at the back of City Hall on to Donegall Square South.

Two RUC members were injured after at least one firework, bricks,
bottles and other missiles were thrown. It is also understood a
council security guard was hurt.
Cars belonging to elected members and staff were damaged during the
Protests continued every day since. On Sunday, December 9 loyalists
burned two Irish Tricolours at a mass Union Flag protest in the city
centre. Demonstrators in a 2,000-strong crowd applauded as the Irish
flags were burned.
The demonstration caused the RUC to close the city’s famous
Christmas market as the Union flag row continued over a decision to
curtail the flying of the British flag outside City Hall.
Leading loyalists including PUP leader Billy Hutchinson and UDA boss
Jackie McDonald ended the demo with a rendition of the British
National Anthem God Save The Queen.
Former Belfast Deputy-Mayor and DUP councillor Ruth Patterson
refused to condemn the burning of the Irish flag, saying “I don’t
condone it but I’m not going to condemn it. The protesters are
Riots broke out again in East Belfast after the rally with eight
people arrested on public order offences.
On December 11 attacks and threats against politicians over the
removal of the union flag from Belfast City Hall were likened to a
“pogrom” by the deputy leader of the Alliance Party, who have
been especially targeted by the loyalists.
East Belfast MP Naomi Long, whose constituency office was the scene
of a petrol bomb attack on RUC/PSNI officers, said the loyalist
campaign of violence against her party was akin to fascism.
“There has to be a line drawn in the sand for me,” she said.
“This is no longer about whether you are for the flag or against
the flag. This is about whether you are for democracy and the rule of
law or against it and there is only one side that we can be on in that
Around 40,000 leaflets were distributed in Belfast by the DUP and
the Ulster Unionist Party ahead of the vote, contributed to the
“hysteria” which has surrounded the issue.
The Alliance Mayor of Larne was forced to spend two nights away from
her own home on RUC advice.
The RUC/PSNI warned Geraldine Mulvenna and other Alliance
councillors in east Antrim about safety concerns following the
ongoing flag protests.
On December 14 it was reported that a press photographer’s home in
County Down had been targeted in an overnight pipe bomb attack.
Mark Pearce, from Mayobridge, described the attack as a terrifying
experience and said he believed he was targeted because of his job.
His family were evacuated from their house by the RUC/PSNI in the
early hours December 14. Six homes on the street were evacuated.
Pearce told Radio Ulster: “I had to grab my children, grab what I
could and escape out the back of the house and pass by a pipe bomb
which had been set against the front door of my home. It was
terrifying, trying to calm my children. It was just something I
wouldn‘t wish on anybody.”
Pearce has worked as a photographer for more than 20 years but said
he had never been targeted before in this way.
A meeting of the leaders of five main political at Stormont failed
on December 20 to agree on how to deal with the flags issue that
continues to trigger disruption and violence.
DUP First Minister Peter Robinson and Provo Deputy First Minister
Martin McGuinness held talks with the Ulster Unionist Party leader
Mike Nesbitt, the SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell and Alliance
leader David Ford but after 7½ hours the meeting was adjourned. It
will reconvene in the New Year.
Meanwhile loyalists continue to protest in Belfast City Centre and
local businesses say that footfall has been drastically reduced
because of the disruption, which will probably lead to loss of jobs.

4. Gap between Catholics and Protestants in Six Counties down to 3%
A REPORT published on December 11 said that 40% say they are British
only in latest Six-County census
The Catholic population is now just three percentage points behind
the number of Protestants. New census figures show that the gap
between the proportion of Protestants and Catholics has narrowed.
The percentage of Catholics is up to 45 per cent while Protestant
representation has fallen to 48 per cent from the 2001 census.
Experts say the dwindling gap between the two groups will lead to
major political change in the near future. When first created the
Six-County State had a 66 per cent to 33 per cent Protestant
population over Catholic and Sir James Craig called it a
“Protestant state for a Protestant people.”
The new figures are detailed in the 2011 census by the Northern
Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
The Six-County population now stands at 1,810,900, the highest ever
recorded, and brings the population of Ireland to just under 6.4
million which is the highest since the first post-Famine census of
The population on the island of Ireland has increased by more than
1.25 million in the past 21 years and by well over two million in the
past 51 years.
5. Four Martyrs remembered in Dublin
ON Saturday, December 8 Republican Sinn Féin held a seminar in
honour of the Four Martyrs – Rory O’Connor, Liam Mellows, Dick
Barrett and Joe McKelvey – murdered by the Free State government
while prisoners in Mountjoy jail 90 years to the date.
The very successful event was chaired by Mary Ward, Donegal (and
Cork) and speakers were An tUachtarán Des Dalton and Seán Dolan,
Westmeath. The last letters of the four were read, poems recited and
dongs from the period played.
Before the event, a wreath was laid on Rory O’Connor’s grave in
Glasnevin Cemetery by Des Dalton. In Belfast members of the
McKelvey/Steele Cumann, Republican Sinn Féin held a wreath-laying
ceremony on December 8 at the plot in Milltown Cemetery. Members from
Lurgan and Craigavon joined their comrades from Belfast for this
fitting tribute to one of our patriot dead.
In Cork a wreath was laid at the Republican Plot in memory of Dick
Barrett and his comrades and a wreath was laid in Athenry, Co Galway
by Maureen Madden on behalf of Sinn Féin Poblachtach, Gaillimh.
On December 9 members of the Rafter/Mellows Cumann, Enniscorthy and
Pádraig Ó Pearaill Cumann, Wexford held their annual Liam Mellows
Commemoration at Crosstown.
(A full report of all these events will be carried in the January
2012 issue of SAOIRSE.)
6. Commemoration to IRA Chief of Staff Charlie Kerins
THE annual Charlie Kerins commemoration took place in Tralee on
Friday, December 7. The crowd assembled at the 1798 Pikeman monument
in Denny Street and paraded behind a uniformed flag bearer and a
piper to the Kerins Memorial, Strand Street.
George Rice, Tralee chaired the proceedings and welcomed everyone in
He then called on Mary O’Connor, niece of Charlie Kerins, to lay a
wreath on behalf of the Kerins/O’Connor family.
Jer Kelliher, Tralee laid the wreath on behalf of Sinn Féin
Poblachtach, followed by Jimmy Finucane, Listowel laying a wreath in
memory of all those who gave their lives for the cause of Irish
Freedom. A final wreath was laid on behalf of the POWs by Matt Leen,
Tralee ex-POW Portlaoise Prison.
Éamon Breen, Castleisland recited a decade of the Rosary as Gaeilge
and Matt Leen was called on once again to read a National Roll of
Honour of Republicans from the ’30s and ’40s campaign period.
Stephen Brosnan, Cathaoirleach, Comhairle Ceantair Chiarraí,
delivered the oration.
In the course of his oration Stephen said: “At the time of his
capture, having been on the run for some time despite a price of his
head for information leading to his arrest, Charlie Kerins was the
Chief-of-Staff of the Irish Republican Army.
“On the first Friday in December 1944 in a despicable act of
treason by the de Valera-led Fianna Fáil administration that hired
the services of the British imperial hangman Albert Pierpoint,
Charlie Kerins was executed in Mountjoy Jail; having been tried by a
Free State military court and after the guilty verdict was returned,
the only sentence was that of the death penalty.
“In one of his final letters written while awaiting execution,
Charlie wrote to a friend, ‘All I ask is that the ideals and
principals for which I am about to die will be kept alive until the
Irish Republic is finally enthroned.’
“Charlie Kerins adhered to ideals and principles of the 1916
Proclamation and the declaration of independence of the All-Ireland
Dáil Éireann 1919 for which he paid the ultimate sacrifice of
martyrdom for his country and for all the people of Ireland.
“Sixty-eight years on, and despite the huge sacrifice by Charlie
Kerins and Irish Republicans who have given their lives for a free
and independent Ireland since, the Ireland of today still remains
under foreign occupation at the present time by the twin imperialisms
of the British in the six north-eastern Counties and the European
Union in the 26 Counties of the Free State.”
He continued: “The Provisionals and the SDLP may rejoice on the
fact that the Butcher’s Apron or Union Jack flag will now be
hoisted over Belfast City Hall on 17 rather than 365 days of the
year, but it leaves true Republicans in no doubt that British rule
will remain entrenched in the Occupied Six Counties for some time to
come at the hands of those people who claim to work for Irish unity
and Independence.”
He spoke of the vision of the 1916 leader, James Connolly when he
warned of creating an Ireland without social justice based of sound
socialist and true democratic principals, and that James Connolly
stated all that would change was the colour of the flag, and “as we
take a look at the political landscape of Ireland today we see just
how right he was”.
Stephen spoke about of the economic injustices of the Free State
administration and said: “On December 5 we witnessed just how fair
and just the Fine Gael/Labour coalition is to the people when they
again cut the basic needs of workers and the most vulnerable people
in society to protect the lifestyles of the rich. The opposition in
Leinster House, made up of Fianna Fáil and the Provisionals among
others, condemn the cabinet for the budgetary failures, but if any of
those parties or independents take power in the next Free State
elections, they will impose the very same hardships on our people, as
they jostle for position and play their games of ins and outs, anyone
that is in doubt just look to the Six Counties were the Provisionals
have no problem inflicting austerity and cuts on Nationalists and
Unionists alike on behalf of their British masters.”
Stephen spoke about the POWs and said: “Tonight we send our
salutations and our best wishes to the Republican Prisoners
incarcerated throughout Ireland and to their families, and we pledge
our continued support to the POWs who continue to fight for their
right to political status in Maghaberry and Magilligan prisons. We
also send our best wishes to Martin Corry and Marian Price and call
for their immediate release from internment.”
He went to say that the current partitionist setup on this island,
which consists of two artificial states, exists as a result of the
Government of Ireland Act 1920 passed in a foreign parliament at
Westminster and the Treaty of Surrender 1922, forced on the people of
Ireland with a threat of war within three days of failure to sign, and
that the ÉIRE NUA policy of Sinn Féin Poblachtach remains the only
viable and realistic alternative to achieving the goal of ending
foreign rule and creating the conditions for true self determination
of all our people to decide their own future and destiny.
The document proposes to create a 32-County Federal Democratic
Socialist Republic, a federation of the four Provinces which include
a nine County Ulster. Only a United, Free and Independent Ireland
will be a fitting tribute to the sacrifice of Charlie Kerins and all
those who have given their lives for the cause of Irish Freedom.
Stephen finished with the words of hunger strike martyr Bobby Sands
who died in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh in 1981.
”There can never be peace in Ireland until the foreign, oppressive
British presence is removed, leaving all the Irish people as a unit to
control their own affairs and determine their own destinies as a
sovereign people, free in mind and body, separate and distinct
physically, culturally and economically.“”
George Rice, Cathaoirleach thanked everyone and the piper played
Amhrán na bhFiann. [3]

7. Grey Abbey Martyrs honoured on 90th Anniversary
ON Sunday, December 16 in Kildare Town, Kildare Republican Sinn
Féin held a commemoration to mark the 90th anniversary of the
executions of seven soldiers of the Irish Republican Army by Free
State Army. The executions took place in the Glasshouse on the
Curragh on December 19 1922. The commemoration began at 2 pm with a
parade, led by a colour party, from the Square in Kildare Town to
Grey Abbey Cemetery.
The ceremony at the Republican Plot was chaired by the An
tUachtarán Republican Sinn Féin, Des Dalton and began with the
laying of two wreaths. Anne Origan, Newbridge, a grandniece of
Commandant Bryan Moore, laid the first wreath on behalf of Republican
Sinn Féin. The second wreath was laid by Kevin Kavanagh, Co Wexford,
on behalf of the South East Comhairle Ceantair of Republican Sinn
Féin. This was followed by a minute’s silence and a dipping of the
flag. Róisín Hayden, Dublin, read the Four Courts Proclamation,
issued by the Republican leadership at the beginning of the war in
defence of the All-Ireland Republic of 1922-23.
Republican Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member Seán Dolan, Co
Westmeath gave the oration. He briefly outlined the events leading up
to the executions of the seven IRA Volunteers. “These men dedicated
their lives to the cause of the All-Ireland Republic and died in its
defence. The recent riots in Belfast and across the Six Counties as
well as the latest revelations relating to the murder by a British
backed loyalist death-squad of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, all
point to the fact that only a full British withdrawal and the
creation of a New Ireland north and south can deliver a just and
lasting peace.” Seán Dolan said.
The seven members of the Rathbride Column executed were : Patrick
Bagnall and Patrick Mangan, Fairgreen, Kildare; Joseph Johnston,
Station Road, Kildare; Bryan Moore and Patrick Nolan, Rathbride,
Kildare; Stephen White, Abbey St. Kildare and James O’Connor,
Bansha, Co. Tipperary. This was the single biggest execution of the
civil war or counter-revolution of 1922-23. An eighth member of the
column, Commandant Thomas Behan of Rathangan died at the scene of
their capture in Mooresbridge on December 12 1922 as a result of the
beating he received from Free State soldiers. The Free State Army
later tried to cover up his murder by claiming he was “shot while
trying to escape” from the Glass House.
8. New information in HET murder report
The family of a Fermanagh man shot dead in 1972 said on December 17
that a report by the Historical Enquiries Team has revealed
significant new information about his murder.
Louis Leonard was a member of the IRA who was shot in his butcher’s
shop in Derrylin by loyalists.
The HET believes that two men suspected of the murder were from the
Rathcoole area of Newtownabbey who were living and working in
Fermanagh. His family has said there were shocking failures in the
They believe if the two suspects had been arrested then other
murders would have been prevented. They have said it is absurd that
Louis Leonard was targeted randomly because he was a nationalist.
The family want time to consider the findings of the interim HET
report and say they have more questions that need answered. Louis
Leonard had been working late in his shop when he was shot several
times and dumped in a fridge used for storing meat.
9. Press Statement from the Home Help/Home Care Community Action
ON Budget day, December 5, the Home Help/Home Care Community Action
Group the Home Help/Home Care Community Action Group joined the
anti-austerity budget day demonstration to make it clear to Fine
Gael, the Labour Party and the HSE that they will not give up until
every last hour of home help cut this year has been reversed.
Speaking ahead of the budget Paula Campbell, a home care worker and
campaigner based in Wicklow, gave her reasons for joining the
“I have seen first hand the devastation the cuts to home help
hours have; clients receiving very little social interaction with
their carer, who might be the only person they see for several days,
a simple cup of tea and a chat can mean so much to the mental health
of a person. Social care is every bit as vital as physical care,
which is also impacted. How can a person who has a physical
disability be helped to get up, showered/washed and dressed in a half
hour visit? It simply can‘t be done.
“These cuts make no economic sense, and are not only financially
wrong but morally wrong; the treatment of the elderly and/or disabled
in this country is disgraceful.
“I personally believe it is only a matter of time before a tragedy
happens and someone will be found too late to help, and this
government will have their blood on their hands. When and not if this
happens, we will remind this government every single day that the
culpability lays at their door; we will never let them forget. These
cuts have to be reversed and reversed immediately – this is why I
will be taking part in the protest march alongside many other
campaigns fighting back against the cuts.”
10. Irish people once more sacrificed for European banks and
international financiers
IN A statement on December 5 An tUachtarán, Sinn Féin Poblachtach
Des Dalton said:
”The latest austerity budget from the 26-County Administration
once more sacrifices the people of Ireland in order to prop up
European banks and international financiers.
“The very people who caused the biggest economic collapse in
living memory are once more protected from the consequences of their
greed and excess. Instead the Dublin regime slavishly follow the
instructions of their political and economic masters of the EU, ECB
and IMF troika and condemn this and future generations to poverty and
“We salute the many thousands who take to the streets today and in
recent weeks in opposition to the austerity programme. But we also say
to the Irish Trade Union movement that the time has come when it must
decide whether its first allegiance is to the Irish working class or
to the hierarchy of the 26-County Labour Party? This is a question
that cannot be avoided any longer.
“The Labour party are willing collaborators in the political and
economic sell-out of the Irish people and the trade union movement
cannot ignore this reality any longer if they are to salvage any
credibility. We join the calls for a national strike as the first
stage in a fight back against the new economic imperialism which is
engulfing not only Ireland but working people across the world.
“We believe that the type of economic model set out in SAOL NUA is
a template for real economic democracy. It is time for new economic
thinking which recognises that the primary purpose of an economy is
to serve the needs of people and not the reverse.”
11. New research shows hardship of older people during recession is
ON Tuesday, December 4 a new report suggested that many older people
are experiencing real hardship during Ireland’s recession, but that
this remains largely hidden from public view. This suggests caution
is necessary when interpreting official statistics, which show
deprivation and poverty rates for pensioner households to be at an
all-time low. The NUI Galway research report ‘Deprivation and its
Measurement in Later Life’ was undertaken by the University’s
Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. It was funded through the Irish
Research Council with support from the Department of Social
Led by Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for
Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, the research tries to understand
how older people respond to the 11-item basic deprivation index used
in official poverty statistics.
Re-analysis of available national data shows that measured
deprivation depends in large part on the choice of indicators used.
Some indicators used in official measures are less relevant to older
people than other population groups. This was reinforced in focus
groups and interviews with a diverse sample of older people. As a
result, older people are less likely to be identified as deprived.
In launching the report, Professor Scharf said: “Older people’s
finances are not regarded as a problem, but look deeper and genuine
hardship is there. Our research suggests that older people respond
differently to standard deprivation measures than other population
groups. This means that reported levels of deprivation may
under-estimate the actual experience of poverty and deprivation
amongst older people.” Professor Scharf feels that a new,
stand-alone deprivation index for older people is needed for use in
official statistics.
Many research participants held a relatively narrow view of poverty,
linking this to an inability to afford basic household items.
Participants were generally more likely to identify as necessities
items relating to housing and accommodation, food and food quality,
household bills and clothing. By contrast, taking a holiday away from
home or being able to afford to replace worn-out furniture were less
likely to be regarded as essential.
The research shows that poverty and deprivation continue to affect
the lives of many older people in Ireland. While the value of state
pensions has been maintained, a number of people who took part in the
research were struggling to cope with the loss of other forms of
support at a time when additional demands were being placed on their
finances. In particular, providing financial support to adult
children and grandchildren during the recession featured in several
participants’ accounts.
Welcoming the research, Robin Webster, CEO of Age Action Ireland,
congratulated the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology on producing
this timely report that gives a greater insight into the nature of
deprivation as experienced by many older people in maintaining their
quality of life in the face of rising costs and reduced support
services. He also welcomed the proposal to have a new deprivation
index for older people.

For further information:
Professor Thomas Scharf, Director Irish Centre for Social
Gerontology, NUI Galway. [4]
Dr Kieran Walsh, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway. [5]
To obtain a hard copy of the report, please contact [6]. The report can be downloaded at: [7]

12. Clare protesters vow to fight against fracking on Irish shores
LONDON-based Enegi plan on apply for an exploration license off the
Clare coast
A Clare based action group has warned a British energy firm that
fracking of a natural gas field off the west coast will not proceed
— “not now, not ever”.
According to the Irish Examiner London-based Enegi plans to apply
for an exploration license over the coming weeks. The independent oil
and gas group currently operates in Ireland, the UK and Canada.
Clare Fracking Concerned spokeswoman Róisín Ní Gháirbhith said:
“What Enegi Oil need to realize is locals value their health,
water, environment and, most of, all their children a lot more than
any short term jobs or financial gains.
“We strongly encourage Enegi to stop wasting its time and energy
investigating the possibility of carrying out fracking in our
Ní Gháirbhith emphasized: “Not now, not ever will this highly
controversial, destructive method of extracting gas be allowed by the
A study by the company showed that up to 3.86 trillion cubic feet of
shale gas in the site, south of Doonbeg and north of Kilrush in Co.
Enegi’s preliminary findings stated: that „given the maturity,
thickness and buried depth of the shale, the whole area under the
option remains prospective for shale gas“.
The extraction method is known as fracking (hydraulic fracturing).
Fracking involves creating fractures in rocks by injecting fluid into
cracks to force them further open.
The larger openings allow more oil and gas to flow out of the
formation. The practice has been the source of much controversy
Enegi chief executive Alan Minty said the company was looking
forward to exploring off the coast of Clare.
“Our findings and the report from Fugro have further endorsed
management’s belief that the Clare basin has a strong best case
investment profile. The whole acreage appears to be very prospective
and we are particularly excited by the area at the centre of the
existing seismic grid which we have defined as high grade.”
13. Ireland tops European household unemployment figures according
to new research
Ireland now has the worst household unemployment statistics in
Europe according to a new report on December 11.
The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) confirmed that the
proportion of households without a working adult in Ireland is the
highest out of 31 European countries. One in five Irish households
includes an unemployed adult, more than double the Euro zone average.

The ESRI found that in 2010, 22 per cent of households in Ireland
were jobless compared to the Euro zone average of just over 10 per
A jobless household is defined as one in which its adult(s) spend
less than one-fifth of their available time in employment.
The Irish Times reported that in 2007, before the Celtic Tiger
collapsed, Ireland also had the highest proportion of jobless
households in the zone.
Spain and Greece have greater unemployment rates but the percentage
of households without a working adult stood at 10 per cent and 7.5
per cent respectively in 2010.
The ESRI report remarks that Ireland had an unusually high
percentage of jobless households even when the economy and employment
levels were growing strongly.
The report states: “Even during the boom years of the early 2000s,
the rate of joblessness at household level was very high by European
The figures show Ireland with the highest rate of jobless households
in the zone in 2007, according to the Eurostat data the report uses.
Only Bulgaria had a higher rate of the 27 EU member states in 2007.
The report says that between 2004 and 2007 when Ireland enjoyed very
low unemployment and rapid jobs growth, the share of the State’s
households defined as jobless recorded a double-digit increase to
reach 15 per cent of the total when the average across the euro zone
in 2007 was just below 10 per cent.
The report added: “Welfare reforms to encourage work were
introduced in a number of European countries, such as the United
Kingdom, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands in the 1990s and Germany
in the 2000s.
“Such reforms were not given the same emphasis in Ireland. The
Irish welfare system is defined by its complexity, with a diverse
range of different benefits available to working-age adults.
“While the payment rates are quite similar, each scheme has its
own set of rules regarding the assessment of means, tapering
arrangements and earnings disregards.
“In 2004, 70 per cent of those in jobless households were
at-risk-of-poverty. This had fallen to 34 per cent by 2010. This
change over time appears to be entirely due to an increase in the
generosity of social welfare payments relative to the poverty income
The report also notes that one in 25 people in Ireland was
classified as ‘working poor’ in 2010, unchanged on 2007 and 2004.
The definition of poor in this context includes those whose household
incomes are lower that 60 per cent of the median.
CRÍOCH/ENDS – – – – – – – – – –

Republican Sinn Féin
International Relations Bureau
Sinn Féin Poblachtach Roinn Gnóthaí Idirnáisiúnta
Web: [8]
Post: Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Vienna, Austria
Tel: 0043 664 556 18 68
Fax: 00353 1 872 97 57
Sinn Féin Poblachtach
Head Office: 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, Éire.
Tel: 00353 1 872 9747
Fax: 00353 1 872 9757
Belfast Office: 229 Falls Road, Belfast, BT12 6FB, Co Antrim,
Northern Ireland.
Tel: 0044 9031 9004

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