Wigmore - August 1984: De Lorean and the Workers Party, Nicky Kelly's song, Women and Michael Noonan

THERE is nothing in the report of the British House of Commons Public Accounts Committee on the de Lorean scam which was not forseen back in 1979 when the Detroit dope dealer was pushing his project in the North. That de Lorean was a crook; that the car wouldn't work; that even if it did there was no possible market for it; that under the company structure envisaged the tens of millions of pounds the British Government was pumping in would give it no effective share of control; and that the entire enterprise would end in a shambles: all this was accurately forecast and argued in detail in a pamphlet published as an edition of the "Belfast Bulletin" by the Workers' Research Centre early in 1979. The pamphlet was mainly written by Ed Maloney, now Northern editor of The Irish Times. Copies were presented to the Northern Ireland Office, the Northern Ireland Developpment Agency, Northern members of parliament and every newspaper in Belfast and Dublin.
For his pains Maloney came under fierce attack, not least from the Workers' Party, whose "economic affairs" supremo, Eamonn Smullen, accused him of being in league with the Provos in an effort to deter investtment from west Belfast. Smullen waxed lyrical about the de Lorean project and its potential for "proleetarianising " the lurnpen masses on the Falls.

Which might help explain how come the party of the proletariat has been shiftily silent about the affair in recent weeks.


NOT, to be fair to them, that the Workers' Party were alone in denounncing opponents of the de Lorean rippoff. Far from it. And unlike Lord Fitt of Hell's Bells they aren't persisting in defending the project.

On breakfast TV the day after the publication of the PAC report, Fitt was still arguing that Roy Mason had been right to fling money into the fraud.

Is there nothing this man won't do to get on television? I do believe he'd even talk with Henry Kelly.

* * * * *

EVEN in the depths of Portlaoise prison Nicky Kelly had no trouble hearing "The Wicklow Boy", the song Nicky Kelly which Christy Moore wrote about him and recorded some time back. As far as we know RTE played the song only once, at a time when Kelly happened to be listening to the radio. The local radio in Portlaoise, Radio Screw, was never hesitant about playing the song. Even better, Kelly could hear the warders singing it from time to time. It seems that the record was on the juke box in the staff canteen.

* * * * *

ON July 18 the civil service commisssion advertised in the daily press for a "Media Researcher" at the Departtment of the Taoiseach. Cushy numbers' being hard to come by these days, I phoned Dr FitzGerald's department to find out the score.

"We know nothing about it," I was told. "That ad was placed by the commission."

I phoned the commission and they did know because they had in front of them the job specification sent down by the Department of the Taoiseach with the request that the ad be placed.

The media researcher will be reequired to keep files of news items and comment appearing in the press, to monitor radio and television news and current affairs programmes and to obtain sound or video tapes of certain of these for filing, to maintain and index a picture file, to compile a weekly summary of news and political comment and much else along the same lines.

In other words, to keep tabs on what the hacks are saying about Garret.

Why on earth should the downtroddden P A YE workers payout up to £11,665 a year (the advertised salary), to provide Garret FitzGerald and Peter Prendergast with this handy little facility? This is not a civil service job. It is a Fine Gael job. Fine Gael should pay for it.

I trust we will not have to wait until the Dail reopens after the summerrlong holiday for somebody to kick up hell about this latest example of Coalition cheek. The public coffers are not a slush-fund for the Fine Gael party.


JIM Fixx, author of the best-selling "The Complete Book of Running", has snuffed it from a heart attack while jogging in Vermont. Quite took my breath away, that piece of news.


I FIND it strange that the Oireachtas committee on marital breakdown hasn't paid more attention to abortion. Surely divorce could be handled in the same way? All that is necessary is for the Free State to recognise foreign divorces. Citizens could pop over to England, get divorced and pop back. I am assured that this would not require a change in the Constitution.


And what, after all, is England there for?

* * * * *

"THE plane flies up; my thoughts remain below."

This Henry Kelly guesting in The Irish' Times Saturday Column (July 21) describing a departure from Berlin.

Chrissakes Henry, the plane would hardly fly down.

Kelly's three thousand word column was possibly the most sustained piece of self-regarding, semi-literate banality ever printed in a "quality" newspaper. Entirely typical was an account of how Kelly entertained guests of the TVam weekend programme who had just participated in a "lookalike " contest: "I stand on the canal bank in the sunshine and have my picture taken with Koiak, Elizabeth Taylor and Sue Ellen because, when they're being nice, ordinary, normal people they want a photo with me which is damn decent of them and I love it."


IF Eileen Flynn had had an abortion instead of a baby she wouldn't have been turfed out of her job by the nuns. We know from their pronouncements during the referendum campaign last year that the RC clergy's line on women who have had abortions is that they should be swamped with symmpathy and understanding and given every opportunity to get their Christian act together again with no big guilt trip laid on them. Had Ms Flynn got rid of the kid, come back and confessed all, not only would she still be in secure and pensionable employment, squadrons of nuns operating in relays would even now be making loveebom bing runs over her place of resiidence.

I wouldn't doubt that this connclusion has already been drawn by a goodly number of unmarried teachers in RC schools and that this accounts for the disproportionate number of "professional, salaried" women in the latest statistics. I understand that many arrive at abortion clinics in London and Liverpool with the simple explanation that: "The nuns sent me". In light of which it is crystal clear we must look for a different explanaation for the earthquake.


AMID all this talk about prison secuurity nobody seems to have mentioned that for a number of months now it has been possible to open the cell doors in St Patrick's with a bucket handle. This is known to the prisoners, the prison officers and to the Departtment of Justice. The prison officers believe that the Department is in the process of arranging for a man to be sent up to have a look at the problem. He's expected "after the holidays".

And another thing. This business of a prisoner in Mountjoy going for the throat of a priest during Mass ...

I seem to remember that during the last Mountjoy riots Minister Michael Noonan told an interviewer that there were men in the prison "who would cut your throat in the church and walk out smiling. "

To the best of my knowledge nobody ever took a weapon to anyybody's throat in the church in Mounttjoy until Michael Noonan raised the idea.

MS Maureen Cairnduff, who I'm told works as a '~hostess", is involved in compiling a list of the "1,000 most influential people in Ireland". My sources indicate that she is daily in receipt of anguished phone calls from persons anxious to be included and nervous that they might not.

Many of these people offer bribes and blandishments, others burst into tears and say that it will break their mothers' hearts if they are left out, a few issue direct threats. But I am told that Ms Cairn duff is unswayed by <'. these entreaties; and fair play to her.

As to the criteria she uses, we can deduce what we like from the fact that Jim Hand is in, but Michael Hand out, Hal Roche is in. Joe Mulholland and

Ma Baker are "under consideration". Bono is in but not Brush Shiels, which seems very odd.

I have informed Ms Cairnduff that if she includes me in I'll come to one of her parties.

* * * * *

REMEMBER Lord Widgery, the fellow who arrived in a British Army heliicopter to enquire into Bloody Sunday? And then told a pack of lies about it? Well, he was mad.

This emerges from an article in the Guardian (July 2) which has attracted suspiciously little .attention, The late Lord Widgery , it seems, was middling daft when he was appointed Lord Chief Justice in 1971. As time went on he experienced more and more diffiiculty hearing or speaking and made less and less sense when he did manage to speak and less and less sense of what he heard when he did manage to hear. He also had' a habit of falling asleep during cases. By 1980, when he retired, he was generally accounted mad as a march hare.

The reason he retained his position for so long can be traced to the traditional solidarity of lawyers and other judges who combined to cover up for the old- loon for years.

Couldn't happen here.

* * * * *

ALSO from the Guardian: "A police officer kicked a man so hard that the sole of his boot came off, it was claimed at Leeds County court. The man, Mr John Marshall, aged 57, was accused of criminal damage to a police boot."

Also couldn't happen here.