Diary October 1985 - Stardust, Dunnes Stores Strike,

"A bit of a PR job"

THE INITIAL HOPE OF A settlement to the Dunnes Stores strike would seem by now to have completely faded. The proposal to phase out South African goods sugggested by Minister for Labour Ruairi Quinn, has seemingly failed. This, despite Minister Quinn's suggestion that he is still in consultation with supermarket owners about the issue.
Dunnes Stores stated that they would continue to stock South African merchandise, unless they could acquire cheaper or better quality merrchandise, and that all their employees would have to handle South African goods. This is unacceptable to the Dunnes strikers on the followwing grounds: that they would still have to handle South African goods; that Dunnes Stores interpretation of "phaasing out" has no time limit and is dependent on the company's very vague definiition of price and quality.

The Irish Distributive' and Allied Trades Union which represents the strikers claims that they are not involved in any talks. Nor are they aware that talks are taking place. An attempt by the union's General Secretary, John Mittchell, to enter into talks about Minister Quinn's proposals with Dunnes' personnel deepartment, has drawn a blank. The company stated that any negotiations would have to be done with a Mr Martin Keogh, the Henry Street manager, and not their own personnel department, although Mr Keogh does not have any power to make decisions reegarding . the strike. The union has turned down this arrangeement. The union views this as a tactical move by the commpany, who are well 'aware that they will not enter into negotiations with anyone who is not empowered to make decisions, an exercise they see as pointless at this stage. Meanwhile the picke-ting continues as the strike drags into its fifteenth month,Twenty-four hour pickets take place once a week to stop deliveries to the store and continuous six-days picckets are planned for the coming weeks. The strikers claim that while some people initially thought that the disspute was over because of the publicity surrounding Ruairi Quinn's phasing out proposals, they are now receiving reenewed support in their cammpaign against South African goods being sold in the Henry Street store,

Over the past couple of weeks, the strike fund has reeceived a number of substanntial donations from both Ireeland and abroad. The reeformed Moving Hearts will do a major benefit in Dublin on 11 October for the fund at the SFX in Dublin. Also, the resolve of the strikers seems to have hardened.

Striker Cathryn 0 'Reilly says that "the strike will continue." She also says that "under no circumstances are we going back to work to handle South African goods. While Ruairi Quinn's propoosals were a bit of a PR job, we thought something might come out of them. But once again, Ben Dunne has proved that he is only interested in making profits even if it comes from black slavery."This determination is also echoed by other strikers, who also state they will only reeturn to their jobs when they do not have to handle South African merchandise.

Since two of the strikers, Mary Manning and Catherine O'Reilly, attended the recent British TUC conference, and appeared on TV programmes in Britain, the strikers have been inundated with requests to speak in England, Scottland and Wales on apartheid. Two of the strikers will address the United Nations Committee on Apartheid in New York later this month.

E.N. Kelly


Stardust Snooker

PLANS FOR AN EXTENNsion to a snooker hall and an open air market in the grounds of the Stardust commplex are to go ahead despite the objections of the injured and relatives of the dead in the Stardust fire. An appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanala against the granting of an application for a petrol service station in the grounds of the commplex.

The Stardust Victims Commmittee, according to PRO Lar Stout, want the complex turned into a youth training centre and the building to be a memorial to those who died.

On 7 June last, an appliication was granted for "the retention of the snooker area and extension of same into the bar area at Unit 3b, Fairdale Industrial Estate, Kilmore Road, Artane," acccording to the planning files. Unit 3b is adjacent to the area where the fire occurred.

A month later, Maxol Oils, with a leasehold on the area of ground beside the Stardust lodged an application for a petrol service garage next to Kilmore Road. The Victims Committee lodged a letter of objection to the applica- <'. tion, but the application was granted on 29 August. The Committee then lodged an appeal with' An Bord Pleannala, the planning appeals authority,' and there will be an eight months delay beefore the appeal is heard.

In a meeting with Charles Haughey soon after the serrvice station application was granted, the Victims Commmittee were told that Mr Haughey was surprised that the application had been granted, as he had asked his son, newly-elected councillor Sean Haughey, to keep a close eye on the application. Charles Haughey had replied to a letter from the committtee in July saying that the committee "shall be assured of my full support for their efforts on this issue."

Dublin City Councillors generally discuss only controoversial or large-scale planning applications, and the applicaations for the former Stardust complex would not come under this heading. The open air market application was discussed, but neither the snooker hall extension or the petrol service station apppeared on any agenda.

Planning decisions are the reserve function of the plannning officials in the Corporaation, and the Assistant City Manager signs all agreed appliications, after they have been checked out by the officials. Objections to applications do not necessarily mean refusals.

At the end of 1981, a renewal of the Bar Licence for the Lantern Rooms, a section of the Stardust commplex, was granted in Dublin Circuit Court. A High Court injunction was granted to stop picketers outside the bar when it opened.

Aileen 0 'Meara


Beyond The Pale

A MIDLAND NEWSAGENT has complained to the Cennsorship Board about a new publication Flint, a magazine aimed at the male market, the Westmeath Independent reports. Mr John Dillon has refused to stock the magaazine. Apart from the colour photographs of girls which are carried in the publication Mr Dillon is "particularly annoyed and concerned" with the content of such articles in the publication as '50 Things You Never Knew About Sex Until You Read This'.

Mr Dillon claimed that his objection also stemmed from the fact that newsagents were not "forewarned about this publication."

"It was just landed in on newsagents and any young assistant could put it on a shelf for sale," said Mr Dillon, a former member of Westmeath County Council. "To me, this magazine is totally unacceptable and I feel that the group behind the venture who describe themmselves as young people feddup living on the dole could have had a much mote worthwhile enterprise which would help towards creating a better society. They would have been better off to remain on the dole than bring out a magazine like this," he added.

A dog that was said to be able to play cricket and foottball was ordered by Justice Sean Magee at Bagenalstown Court to be destroyed accorrding to the Kilkenny People.

Two mothers told the court, the dog, which they described as an alsation, had bitten their children. The owner who said that the dog was a cross-bred collie, denied that it had bitten the children. He said that the dog was very clever and could play ball. "You would have .to see it yourself to believe it," he added. He went on to say that the dog was muzzled for its own protection. Chilldren used to be hitting it with hurleys.

After hearing evidence from the two mothers Justice Magee ordered that the dog be put down. A ninety year-old Donegal woman slept peacefully while waters rose as high as her mattress, the Donegal Demoocrat reports. Flood waters were lapping the sides of Lily O'Donnell's bed in her Doochary home when two locals burst into the house and swept her to safety during a torrential storm.

Lily was sleeping in a downstairs room despite the rain beating down and was blissfully unaware of the danger she was in before her rescue.

Forget about equality for women. In Longford it's the menfolk who are discriminated against. That was the sharp opinion expressed by Councillor Noel McGeeney at a recent Longford County Council meeting according to the Longford Leader.

"Men are being discriminaated against in this town," he declared "and they want the same conditions as women."

"The men feel discriminaated against," he continued. "The women have an evening session in the swimming pool, and the men don't. They can't understand why this facility applies only to women."

County Engineer Mr Conor Foley assured Councillor MeeGeeney that there was no disscrimination, but the women just seemed more interested in using the pool.

Councillor Peter Murphy had the last word. "I don't know who these men are, but I'll guarantee they're not farmers, because they have plenty of swimming pools on their own land this year."

A picture of Saint Bernaadette, in photographic "negaative" form, is being pushed through letterboxes in Limeerick in an effort to prove the phenomenon of "Moving Statues" as false, the front page of the Limerick Leader tells us.

According to the Leader, the picture, stared at long enough, will create optical. sensations which in a broad sort of way prove how the eye can play tricks on the human mind. Nobody has so far come forward as being responsible for the unsolicited mail, which appears to be occurring principally in suburrban Limerick.

The picture itself does not appear to move, when stared at. But you will, if you stare at it for ninety seconds, see a shimmering effect and, when you take your eyes away eventually and look at a blank wall, you should see a picture of the saint where there is none.

The secret seemingly is to look fixedly at the three white marks at the end of the saint's nose continually. Then look away.

by Derek Dunne