Network - radio Nova, problems at limerick jail, poverty and the london bombings
AS RADIO NOVA moves into its second year of broadcasting, general manager, Chris Carey, predicts that the first year of tradding will show a revenue of approxximately £1 million. Carey, a forrmer Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg DJ, arrived in ireeland in the summer of 1980 and set up Sunshine Radio. Ten months later he sold Sunshine and used his profits to set up Nova - his initial capital investtment in Nova was £125,000 in June of last year. Radio in Ireeland has not been the same since the advent of Nova. Carey points out:
"When I first came to Ireland, over 25% of the 15-34 age group were listening to BBC's Radio I and 2. Now the number of Irish listeners to the BBC is down to 4% ... .and the reason is simple Àwe do what the BBC did, only we do it better, and with local irnput."
The tight Nova station now broadcasts to an audience which Carey claims his market research proves to be approximately 350,000 listeners throughout the day, from 7.00am to 7.00pm. The listenership then peaks from 7.00 to 1O.00pm. Nova employs 30 people, which includes 9 DJs, 5 newsreaders, 2 engineers, 2 people working the Nova compuuter, p I us sales and maintenance staff. Business is booming and Carey claims to be paying his staff in excess of £150 per week.
Carey feels that the station has prospered because he arrived at a winning format and has stuck with it - adult sounding DJs, a minimum of chat, news bulletins on the hour, music which the Nova feedback proves to be popuular, and a high quality FM service make up the format. Carey claims that Nova has been unaffected by the current recession - adverrtising rates on the station run at approximately £250 for 20 x 15 second spots.
Among the ambitious plans that Carey has for the future are the renovation of the Greenacres in Rathfarnham , now the proopcrty of Nova, the purchase of an outside broadcasting unit, and involvement in some sort of arts promotion which may lead to a theatre being built in the Greennacres. Nova will continue with its own form of community serrvice which has seen Novacare raise money to buy a Kidney Machine, raise money for the Central Remedial Clinic and currrently raise money for the Natioonal Lifeboat Association.
Incidentally, the American sound of Nova may be faded out. Although Carey admits that he delibera tely wanted something of a transatlantic sound at first "because America has led the way" in the commercial radio field, he says the station no longer has a policy of hiring only American sounding voices.
Limerick jail to erupt
A NEW PRISON crisis is about to erupt. This time in Limerick jail, where "political" prisoners were moved from Portlaoise, which is over-flowing, some months ago.
The problem basically is that the prison in Limerick is poorly equipped and, it appears, that the prison authorities there resent the "imposition" of the "political" prisoners on them and have been inflexible in their application of prison rules.
The chief complaints on the part of 21 of the 32 "political" prisoners in the jail - the other "political" prisoners have conn ections with The Workers' Party and refuse to join in any prison agitation - are:
* prisoners arc subjected to arrbitrary and degrading strip searrches, involving anal examination. * the exercise area is hopelessly inadequate.
* prisoners are locked up in their ce!ls for protracted periods. * there are no craft or educaational facilities of any sort availlable.
Most of the 21 prisoners on protest are members of the IRSP or are "maverick" political prisooners, belonging to none of the three major para-military repubblican organisations (the Provisionnal IRA, the Official IRA and the. INLA). Most are serving long senntences of up to 14 years. Several are from the Cork area but as many as 7 arc from the North.
Relatives of the prisoners have approached TDs in the past few weeks and some, such as Eileen Desmond and even Joe Sherlock, have indicated sympathy but none of the grievances have so far been ameliorated.
The prisoners plan on starting a hunger strike on September 1, modelled on the I-i Block hunger strike of a year ago. this means that three or four prisoners will commence a hunger strike on September 1 and the same nummber will commence two weeks later and so on.
The prisoners maintain that they are seeking no more than is already available to prisoners in Portlaoise.
Contributors to 'Network 'include Paddy Agnew, Pat Brennan, Vincent Browne, Gene Kerrigan, Kerry Dougherty, and Stuart Rockefeller.
Politics of poverty
ALL PRETENCE that Ministerial appointments to Health Boards were non-political was finally dropped when Michael Woods announced that he was replacing the nation's foremost anti-poverty worker, Sister Stanislaus, with a local Fianna Fail TD. The original make-up of the Health Boards specified in the 1970 Health Act was supposed to be as follows:' almost half the members were to be elected by the local county councillors, most of the remaining half were to be elected from proofessionals in the health services, mainly doctors.
The remaining three were to be ministerial appointments of people who had a proven track record in the health/social wellfare area. Sr. Stanislaus was one
of the original Ministerial appointees when the South Eastern Health Board was established in 1971, under the Fianna Fail Minister for Health Erskine Childers. She was reappointed by Brendan Corish. She was dropped ~ by Michael Woods to facilitate a Fianna Fail majority on the Board. Q
There is, in fact, no apparent need for a political majority on Sister Stanislaus Kennedy the Health Boards. The work of the Health Boards is to decide how the money they are allocated should be spent. Rows in the Boards inevitably revolve around geographic bias as to which area's needs are most pressing. For example, Board members from Kilkenny, be they Fine Gael or Fianna Fail will almost certainly argue that the problems of Killkenny should take precedence over those of other areas.
Allegations by Sr. Stanislaus' successor, Dr. MacCarthy, get close to Fianna Fail's actual sentiiments: "Some so-called indepenndent non-politically aligned people have consistently proved that they were ever willing to be vocal in their criticism of Fianna Fail's policies on specific issues, whereeas they remained remarkably sillent on Coalition promises."
Sr. Stanislaus has, sometimes unwittingly, been a nagging thorn in Fianna Fail's side since her poverty com mittee came under the authority of Health Minister Charles Haughey. From the Fianna Fail viewpoint the Combat povverty programme wasn't actually alleviating poverty at a percepptible rate. From the committee's point of view Fianna Fail was inncapable of grasping their foundding. belief that the way to eradiicate poverty was to identify and eliminate the sources of inequaality in our society.
As well as that, there was a history of petty wrangling be-
tween Haughey and the poverty committee over particular projjects. More often than not, Sr. Stanislaus was identified with the grouping that voted against the Minister.
Following Fianna Fail's dissbanding of the Combat Poverty programme in December 1980, Health Minister Michael Woods transformed the National Social Services Council into the National Social Services Board as the statuutory agency that would deal with poverty. During the Coalition's short term of office, policies on poverty took a new turn. Garret FitzGerald made a statement at the Kilkenny poverty conference in November 1981 endorsing the Combat Poverty view that poverrty could not be tackled without serious redistribution of wealth and removal of the structures that perpetuate inequality. At the same meeting, Eileen Dessmond announced a new poverty agency with Sr. Stanislaus as it's chairperson.
The Coalition's poverty agency never saw the light of day, and Sr. Stanislaus was once again dropped. Since, Michael Woods has introoduced legislation for a Communnity Development Agency which is supposed to absorb the staff of the National Social Services Board. Interestingly, the same staff have not been consulted or advised as' to what the new agency will acttually do and how it will affect their jobs.
Whose hand on the reins?
WHO EXACTLY are the mysterrious "number of Irish individuals and companies (who) invited the RDS to act as trustees for the setting up" of the appeal fund in response to the London bombings by the Provisional IRA ? The RDS's press office disclaims all knowwledge of how this fund came into being and refused to put Magill in contact with any member of the RDS executive who might The aftermath of the London bombings, July 20, 1982 know something about the fund's genesis. When Magill contacted RDS President James Meenan at home, we asked him if he was happy for the RDS to be associaated with this fund. To which Mr. Meehan replied:
"Oh you are not going to start up with all that, are you?"
We than asked Mr. Meenan if the Bomb Appeal was not a cyniical move, given that for at least
12 years now Northern Protesstants (many of whom came down to the RDS's annual Spring and Horse Shows) have been killed by similar Provisional IRA actions without there being any question of an appeal fund of any sort being set up on their behalf. Professor Meenan declined to comment and suggested that we contact Frank O'Reilly, chairman of the RDS' executive committee. We contacted Mr. O'Reilly's offfice at Irish Distillers six times in the space of four days asking either to talk to him or for him to contact us. This he failed to do and thus we were unable to ask him if it is mere coincidence that this fund has been set up at a time when the Republic has been experiencing its worst tourist season in years.
We did notice one comment from the RDS Press Office who, despite their claim to know noothing about the creation of the fund, could tell us:
"It is true to say that the move came from a number of companies who have large tradding interests with the UK"
Tom, Parky and Larry
IF YOU'VE read In Dublin, Hibernia, Status, The Sunday Tribune, Garda Review or even Magill over the past few years you will have come across Tom Mathews's cartoons, tiny fixes of humour.
Now you can take home a whole bookful of them and find a quiet comer in which to overrdose. It's called The Toast Of Europe, costs £3.75 and is pubblished by Bluett and Company Ltd.
Mathews often relies on a pun, which makes you laugh first, then groan - and then there's another and another and another, until you figure it takes some odd kind of talent to squeeze so many laughs from cliches. (Draw a sad Humpty Dumpty and have a little guy ask him "How's the crack?")
As well as the dozens of oneeshot gags, the book includes a fair selection from In Dublin's long-running strip Porky The Tapeworm and Larry The Leech and a single exhibit from the Tribune's short-lived Baby Power strip - a good idea that may yet come into its time.
In the words of Mr. Mathews, reach deep into your pockets, or the pockets of those around you, and spend as if there is no tomorrow.
Labour under the SPUC light
THE RECENT disclosure by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) of names of Labour Party memmbers who signed their pre-election petition, represents the group's first move on the political offfensive.
SPUC canvassed candidates during both elections and claims a one third positive response rate. Last June when asked why the group hadn't published the ressponse SPUC PRO Patsy Buckley said, "We didn't publish it beecause we got the commitment of the party leaders. We didn't think it was fruitful to alienate anyone ... we're not really worried about the success of the referendum."
That was before the major Protestant churches came out against the referendum on secctarian grounds. Since then, many politicians who expediently and thoughtlessly signed 'the SPUC questionnaire in favour of an antiiabortion amendment to the connstitution, have acknowledged doubts on the issue. If they, or their parties, make public stateements that are less than enthussiastic about the amendment, they can expect SPUC to dig their names out of the file and expose their pre-election promises.
The Labour Party is deeply divided on the issue. The recent statement by Party Leader Michhael O'Leary, while representing the views of the majority of
Labour deputies, will probably be watered down for the party connference in October to allow for a free vote on the issue in the Dail. At least two Labour TDs - Sean Treacy and John Ryan - are acctive supporters of the pro-amendment campaign and would cerrtainly vote in favour of it even if it means going against the party whip.
Labour simply can't afford a split on the issue. Even members of the Labour Womens Council recognise this and have been less militant than might have been expected on the issue.
The Womens' Council came out publicly against the proposed amendment last March and have since had several meetings with the Parliamentary Party. Howwever, they've been very careful about not forcing the issue. They ~ have tabled and withdrawn anti-amendment motions to the Administrative Council of the Party. As yet they haven't put forward an anti-amendment resolution to the party conference in the hope that such a resolution will come Cl from the Administrative Council in itself. They accept that there will almost certainly be a free vote on the issue in the Dail, but are hopeeful that "when push comes to shove most of the deputies will do the right thing and support the party leader against the referendum".
Certainly O'Leary can expect the support of Eileen Desmond, Barry Desmond, Ruairi Quinn, Frank Cluskey, Dick Spring, and Michael D. Higgins. Others will probably follow suit, such as Depputy Michael Moynihan who says that while he is totally antition, he "will make no presion without seeing the wording of the proposed amendment ... I would rather see something be done to stop the haemorrhage of girls going to England. This amendment will not save one unnborn child. I would prefer to spend the £ 1 m on other problems like the serious drug problem which is destroying the youth of the country and contributing to the incidence of abortion."
Individual deputies are worrried about being tarred with the pro-abortion brush. And that is exactly what is likely to happen as SPUC fights back. Just two months ago the pro-life cammpaigners were willing to admit that genuine (though, they felt, misguided) people could be antiiabortion and anti-amendment. Now SPUC says: "It is obvious that you can not be a member of the anti (amendment) group and have unqualified respect for huuman life."