IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~ Irish Recipes ebook - A Free Christmas Gift!
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ The Homeless in Ireland by Noel Cleere
~~~ Last Minute Gifts from Ireland
~~~ Irish Quotations of the Month
~~~ Monthly free competition result
A very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to
you all. After a traumatic and historic time it is
good to reflect on a year that, while so many will
be glad to it put behind them, still did offer some
Perhaps the most hopeful event of the year was the
decision by the IRA to decommission some of its
weapons. This is the first time in Irish history
that an armed revolutionary group has done this.
Joe Hayden's article on Northern Ireland and
Robert McElroy's article on the disappearance of
our cultural heritage certainly struck a chord
with readers last month. Be sure to stop by the
Newsletter Forum to see the various comments you
Finally, we received a few enquires about the
absence of our Irish Recipes from the last
newsletter. The reason for the absence was a good
one because we are now providing an ebook (a
downloadable electronic book) that gives you all
of the most popular Irish recipes, including a
few especially for Christmas, free of charge!
HAPPY CHRISTMAS FROM IRELAND!
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
THE EURO IS ON THE WAY!
The new currency for Ireland and Europe (but not
Britain), will be available to citizens from
January 1st. There will be a short period of 'dual
circulation' of both the Irish Punt and the
new EURO currency for a few weeks before the
Irish currency is consigned to the history books.
The expected last gasp rush to get rid of the
Irish currency before it becomes worthless has
seen some frenetic activity in banks and post
offices as well as in Auction Houses! Auctioneers
have indicated that they are experiencing their
busiest winter in years as 'matress money' is
taken out of storage and used to buy fine artwork,
paintings, antique furniture and the like. It is
speculated that the rush to the auction rooms is
to try to keep this money away from the taxman!
The Government has issue every household in the
country with a EURO conversion calculator and has
been prominent on television, radio and in the
print media in trying to get the message about
the changeover across.
One EURO is worth just under 79 Irish pence
(.79 punts) and so calculating the price into
Irish Punts is relatively easy (10 EUROs is
approximately 8 Irish Punts, etc.) Pity the poor
Italians and Spanish however who are use to
dealing in hundreds and thousands of Lira and
The English government has indicated that they
will probably put this issue before their
electorate in a Referendum soon as it if
economically costly for them to remain outside
the new currency.
Several countries who are not in the European
Community (EC) have adopted the new currency too.
Small nation states such as Andorra, The Vatican
City, Monaco, San Marino, etc. were quick to jump
on the bandwagon but what is more surprising is
to see the likes of Montenegro (part of the
Yugoslav Federation) and Kosovo also opt for the
Irish people living abroad as well as Tourists to
Ireland have been warned that they need to convert
any Irish Currency or Cheques that they have in
their possession immediately because in a few
weeks they will be completely worthless!
NORWAY TO JOIN FIGHT TO CLOSE SELLAFIELD
The reprocessing of nuclear waste has begun at
Sellafield in the new MOX plant despite severe
criticism from the Irish Government, a member of
which who described the decision to give the
facility the go-ahead as an act of extreme
arrogance on the part of the English government.
This follows on from the recent revelation that
the four nuclear reactors at Sellafield will be
out of action until the new year because of a
technical malfunction in November.
Norway has indicated that it will join the fight
to have the plant in Cumbria closed down
permanently as they have seen increases in the
levels of radiation in their coastal waters in
recent years, which they blame on the English
IRISH TROOPS TO BE SENT TO AFGHANISTAN
Irish leader Bertie Ahearn announced at a recent
meeting of EU leaders that Ireland will send
troops to Afghanistan as part of the EU
peace-keeping force, if requested. 300 Irish
soldiers are likely to be deployed.
IRISH EDUCATION SYSTEM GETS TOP MARKS
A recent OECD survey has shown that Ireland is
in third place for literacy and ninth in science,
in a survey of 32 of the World's developed
THE HOMELESS IN IRELAND by Noel Cleere
I was in Dublin recently and I am appalled at the
number of Irish people begging on the streets.
The homelessness problem in all our major towns
and cities is a major cause for concern. The level
of poverty is increasing and many of the
charitable organisations whose sole function is
to deal with these issues receive little or no
I was speaking to the proprietor of an
establishment that houses asylum seekers. I was
informed that besides receiving £15.00 per week,
asylum seekers receive clothing allowances and
travel allowances (when travel pertains to their
application for asylum). They also receive three
substantial meals every day. Fruit, tea, coffee
etc. must be made available to them whenever they
require it. Satellite TV must be provided in each
of their rooms and the temperature of the room
must be 20 or more degrees. Toothpaste, soap,
washing powder, towels etc. are also provided.
Their every need is catered for. Support groups
provide them with classes in English, Mathematics,
Computers, Football, etc., etc., totally free!!
They also have free medical and dental treatment
...need I say more?
Now, I am not interested in the rights and wrongs
of the Asylum issue.
What I am concerned about is equality. If our
government can provide accommodation and a full
range of services for non-nationals, why are they
not providing the same level of services to our
I am sure that many a homeless person in Dublin
or Cork today would settle for far less than those
services that are provided for asylum seekers.
Surely our country can provide our poor with
accommodation, food, clothing - sufficient to meet
their basic needs? Surely the dignity and
understanding extended to asylum seekers should
also be extended to our own people and to the
Charitable organisations that struggle to support
Now some people reading this article may think
that I am racist. This is the 'whip' used by many
asylum seeker support groups against people who
speak frankly about these issues. My reply to
these people is simple. I believe that every
person - black, white, red or yellow - have the
right to life, dignity, hope and equal treatment.
If we can provide such excellent facilities for
asylum seekers then we should provide on par
facilities for our homeless, poor and destitute.
If this means that I am racist - then so be it.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas and peaceful
new year and I look forward to your opinions.
Voice your opinion about this article here:
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IRISH QUOTATIONS OF THE MONTH
If the Three Wise Men arrived here tonight,
the likelihood is that they would be deported.
Pronsias de Rossa, Irish Politician,
advocating an amnesty for asylum-seekers, 1997
There are some people who want to throw their
arms round you simply because it is Christmas;
there are other people who want to strangle
you simply because it is Christmas.
Robert Lynd, 1879-1949, The Book of This and That
Christmas Eve can be hell on earth... Everyone
running round doing their last-minute shopping.
It's as if Christmas comes on people by surprise,
as if they hadn't known for weeks it was on the
Maeve Binchy, The Glass Lake, 1994
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