Diary November 1985 - UCD cleaners, Roscommon Herald

  • 31 October 1985
  • test

A Sense Of Community

THE PEOPLE WHO RUN UCD earlier this year took a cleaning contract away from one company and gave it to another, causing a number of existing cleaners to lose work. The cleaners objected to this and went on strike.

Newsletters and speeches emanating from the college administration frequently reefer to Belfield as a commuunity, and point out that the population of Belfield is equivalent to that of a small town. From the outset of this dispute however, the college have maintained that the cleaners' dispute is with the cleaning company who emmploy them and not with the college. The cleaners who every night clean up the mess that UCD's staff and students leave behind are not members of this Belfield community.

Now the cleaners are picketing outside the gate of the college and the college buildings are becoming very dirty. There is litter allover the place, the. toilets smell and some people have reporrted sightings of rats and mice. The number ten bus which used to drive into the campus now only goes as far as the gate, student dances have been cancelled and some deliiveries to the college have been stopped due to the picket.

The college authorities have begun to take drastic action to defend the campus. They have gone to court

seeking to stop certain people from picketing outside the college. They argued that a person who was not a striker should be debarred from supporting the picket. On Friday October 18, the college Secretary and Bursar, Mr J.P. McHale took the unprecedennted step of addressing a mulltitude of students to explain the college's position on matters relating to the strike. Senior members of staff have taken to sneaking in to the buildings armed with sweepping brushes and refuse sacks when few people were lookking.

On Saturday October 19 a Magill photographer spotted some of these strikebreakers and began to take pictures of them. A group of three addministrative staff approached him. One threatened to hit him with a tray, another said "I'll break your fucking neck." They temporarily took some of his photoographic equipment, and they took his film from him.

Saturday's strike breakers included the College Secreetary and Bursar Mr J.P. McHale, the Buildings and Development Officer, Pat o 'Beirne, the Registrar and candidate for the presidency of the college Paddy Massterson, Peter Start, college Safety Officer and chemistry lecturer and many more.

Before going on strike the cleaners earned £32 per week. For this sum they spent over

five hours every night cleanning the Belfield campus. The floors would regularly be strewn with litter, the toilets used by the 10,000 students would be filthy. They were among the lowest paid worrkers in the country doing one of the most unpleasant jobs. The people who are trying to break the strike are paid ten times as much as the women cleaners øsome are paid twenty times as much.

Maintenance workers have said that they may black any buildings that are cleaned by non-union labour. It is beelieved that the college will react to this by suspending any workers who refuse to carry out orders. This in tum, could lead to an all-out strike in the college. In that event the Belfield community might no longer be able to defend itself from its workers.

Mark Brennock


Beyond The Pale

A MEETING OF THE LEITrim Health Committee passed a resolution calling on the Minister for Health, Barry Desmond to resign, the Longgford News reports.

The proppsal that was passed was made by Counncillor Joe M80ney, father of country and western supremo, Paschal, who said, "The sooner Mr Desmond is put ol1t of office the better for the whole country."

Calling the Minister a bishop-basher with an 0 bsesssion for condoms, he said, "Mr Desmond is only worried about the fact that his 'soocalled' family planning Bill is not implemented. He is sufffering from a guilty conscience because his actions are leaving the health services in a shammbles, and he is getting away scot-free. "

Supporting Cllr Mooney, fellow Fianna Failers, Farrell, McElgunn and Michael Gucckian, called Mr Desmond, "a very weak minister" and somebody "who is playing to the gallery in the Royal Burough of Kingstown."

"I Saw Our Lord And Popes' Says Garda After Grotto Visit", declares a front page headline in the Roscommon Herald. Accorrding to the Herald, retired Roscommon garda, Bernard Guerin, his wife and twelveeyear-old daughter witnessed a series of startling apparitions during a visit to a County Laois grotto.

He had heard of happpenings there recen tly, but he went to the grotto at Spink-Knock around midday "to convince ourselves that there was little substance in those reports," the Kerryyborn garda told the Herald.

"I certainly went with the inten tions of finding nothing" added his wife Carmel.

The couple say they both saw the faces of Our Lord, similar to the image on the shroud of Turin, clearly superrimposed on the face of the Blessed Virgin. They also say they saw the definitive feaatures of three popes - John

Bishop basher Barry -. obsessed by coridoms.

Paul II, his predecessor John Paul I and either Paul VI or Paul X, "because both wore glasses."

They also claim they have seen the dark features of a man, "with deep set eyes" and Garda Guerin stated the grotto surround seemed to disappear at intervals leaving a clump of rock apparently suspended over the Blessed Virgin's head.

According to the couple the visions continued for two hours. They were so moved by the experience they left the grotto and returned with relatives whom they were visiting.

He brought back five of them. "Only one of them saw anything," said Bernard. During the time they spent at the grotto there were only a handful of visitors. Most, they say "laughed off" their account of the visions. But one . woman began to shake saying she could see the Blessed Virgin's lips move. She had to be assisted away from the grotto.

Both Mr and Mrs Guerin say there were no lasting effects of their experience. But Sergeant Guerin admitted to "feeling a b'it nervous the day after." "I will never forrget it as long as I live," he added.

The Roscommon Herald also tells us that residents of Boyle could not believe their luck recently. Someone in the to wn discovered the main Telecom Eireann pay-phone at Bridge Street had mallfunctioned and that they could enjoy the facility of free trans-world phonecalls.

After the discovery was made it took only a short while for the news to spread throughout the town, resultting in queues at the kiosk. Those lucky enough to know about the matter called their relations on two continents and one person called friends in Australia at not a penny cost. When contacted about the fault, Telecom Eireann said that it was a freak occurrrence, a result of equipment failure. They said that the use of the phone in these circummstances must not be conndoned, and if calls were made to locations outside Ireland, Telecom Eireann would evenntually be levied with the charges by the telephone authorities in those countries.

A larynx operation prevennted a Navan publican from bellowing at customers to get them out at closing time the Meath Chronicle reports,

At the local court, Patrick Fitzsimons was fined £ I 0 for permitting persons to be on his premises after closing hours. In his evidence to ·the court Mr Fitzsimons said he had an abnormally large crowd on the premises that night Hthere was a send-off for a man who was going away, along with the usual Friday clientele. He said he went around trying to clear the premises but added: "You can't just bully people." He also added that an operation on his larynx meant he could not bellow at patrons.

"If a plain box is good enough for the Pope, a middle price coffin is good enough for me. Too good maybe."· So wrote the late Sigerson Clifford - Kerryman, poet, songwriter and playwright in his Funeral Instructions prinnted this week in Kerry's Eye.

"No parlours or lying in state," continues the letter. "As soon as the coffin arrives, pop me in, screw down the lid and tell those that want to stare at me to shove off.

"I should like a Cahirciiveen undertaker to come up for me. If not, I will have to be content with a Dublin robber," wrote Mr Clifford who died in Dublin.

And then there was the final instruction from the talen ted Cahirciveen man's letter:

"I take my sleep in these green fields/The place I grew a man with the boys from Barr na Sraide/Who hunted for the wren."

This is a verse from the song Barr na Sraide which he wrote and which is now enngraved on the back of his headstone. In Cahirciveen.

Elderly people in Old Folks' homes in the Western Health Board region are not allowed to take naps in the afternoon, according to a report in The Western People. The report quotes Councillor Martin Finn as saying that the Board's regulations bannned all siestas in the Homes. "As far as"I know it is not the fault of the people who run these homes, but whatever the reason, elderly people should be entitled to take a nap if they wish." Mr Paschal McDaid, a Health Board offiicial, said that in some homes the residents tended to retire and would spend all day in bed if they were allowed. The Board's Chief Executive, Mr Eamonn Hannan promised to check out the situation and clear up the matter with the matrons in the various homes.

The master of Corofin workhouse reported at a meeting of the Corofin Board of Guardians that two pigs in the house had died during the week and that two others were sick. The matter was reported to the police who were going to take the necesssary steps. "Is it the swine fever they have?" asked a Mr McGann. "I am not sure but I think it is," said the Master. "The place should be disinnfected at once," said Mr Hunt. Mr Flanagan said that the pig rearing in the workkhouse should be abandoned for some time. "We will have to get out of it for six months," said Mr McGann, "it is awful to see another outbreak of fever in the country." He asked the Master how many pigs there were in the workhouse at present. "Five, I have three healthy ones." The Board of Guarrdians ordered that the house be disinfected each day with Jeyes ' Fluid, This eventful meeting was recorded by The Clare Champion in its "75 Years Ago" column.