Archive | June, 2008

Garda and Customs Deployed To EU Anti-Drugs Agency

30 Jun

Garda and Customs Deployed To EU Anti-Drugs Agency

Irish Costal Communities Should Be On High Alert over the Next Four Months for Drugs Being Landed In Remote Costal Locations

By J. P. Anderson

GARDA and Customs officers will be deployed to a European agency which aims to tackle the increasing shipments of cocaine into Europe.
The Maritime Analysis and Operational Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N) was established last year and is based in Lisbon.
Involving seven EU countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Britain, the Netherlands and Ireland), the centre is tasked with gathering intelligence about air and sea routes for drug trafficking.

It is estimated that more than 300 tonnes of cocaine are trafficked into Europe each year. The bulk of this comes from West Africa, having been shipped there from South and Latin America.
Each participating state is assigning staff to the centre. Earlier this month, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern informed an Oireachtas committee that the Garda and Customs would each send a liaison officer to Lisbon. The US also has a number of liaison officers attached to the centre. Mr Ahern said the liaison officers from each state would be the “key conduits” in the information exchange process.
“In that regard, I am pleased to inform the committee that the Garda Síochána intends to assign a liaison officer to MAOC-N. Intensifying intelligence-led operations against drug traffickers is a top priority of the 2008 policing plan and it will remain as a top priority for the foreseeable future,” he said. “The Customs Service has also notified me of its intention to assign a liaison officer to the centre. Participation in MAOC-N will enhance its ability to carry out its primary responsibility for the prevention, detection, interception and seizure of controlled drugs intended to be smuggled or imported into the State.”
Mr Ahern said, however, that the MAOC-N could not hope to eradicate cocaine shipments entirely.
“MAOC-N is obviously not a panacea. It will not be the answer to all of these problems, but it is another instrument in the toolkit for tackling drug supply to the streets of Europe, including Ireland.”
Meanwhile, junior minister John Curran has said no country has yet managed to get to grips with drug-smuggling.
Responding to Dáil questions from Fine Gael TD Catherine Byrne last week, Mr Curran said the Garda and Customs had achieved notable successes in recent years.
“At the same time, it must be acknowledged that trade in illicit drugs is a global phenomenon and no country has fully come to grips with it,” he added. “There has been a sharp increase in the production of heroin in Afghanistan and this has resulted in an increasing supply in Europe. Similarly, production of cocaine continues strongly, with the resultant implications for supply in Europe.”

Dublin Children Of 14 On Heroin: Shock Report

30 Jun

Shock Report: Dublin Children of 14 Using Heroin

By J. P. Anderson

CHILDREN as young as 12 years of age are abusing drugs and by the time they reach 14 many are addicted to heroin, a study of teenagers in the Dublin region has found.
Of the 86 young people studied, most were found to have left formal school at an early age and only one teenager had completed secondary education.
The shocking findings of the study, published in this month’s Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, looked at young people under the age of 19 years who were assessed at the Young Persons Programme (YPP).

The programme is located within the Drug Treatment Centre Board (DTCB) in Dublin, the largest and longest-established addiction centre in Ireland.
While internationally the use of heroin by teenagers is recognised as a growing problem, the study found that Ireland, and Dublin in particular, has a high prevalence of young heroin users in comparison with other European countries.
Of the 86 young people studied, the average age was just 16 years old and 46% of these were female.
Only 26% came from an intact family setting, while 27% had been in care at some point in their lives.
Alarmingly, the average age for the first use of heroin was just 14 years old, while for many other illegal drugs it was 12 years old.
Of those who had a recorded reason for leaving school, 13% transferred to alternative youth education and training schemes, 14% were expelled, while 50% simply dropped out. A further 57% said they had never worked after leaving school.
The report found that early school leaving was a common trend among young drug users with 49% of those studied having first tried heroin after leaving the education system.
Such a figure pointed to a “missed opportunity to intervene before some of these early school leavers progressed to heroin”, the study found.
Mental illness was also at the core of many young peoples’ drug use, with 52% saying they had previously seen a psychiatrist.
Boys were more likely to leave school early, have a substance-abusing sibling and to have a past conviction, while girls were more likely to have a partner and taken a deliberate overdose.

Head of operations at Merchants Quay Ireland Dermot Kavanagh said the findings were “of concern” and said that early intervention was critical in preventing drug addiction.
“Intervening as early as possible is very important. People who fall out of school early have nobody to keep a view on how they are getting on. That’s where youth outreach programmes and social services are so important in playing a role.”
Mr Kavanagh said that despite the boom years, the numbers attending Merchants Quay, which works with drug users and homeless people, were steadily increasing “Heroin remains a major issue in Dublin and the numbers coming to us have steadily increased. We are a very rich country but we are very unequal. If you walk five minutes in either direction from Merchants Quay you have poverty the same as it was in the 1980’s with second and third-generation drug users,” he said.

Concern Over Moral Values Of Young People

30 Jun

Concern over Moral Values

Of Young People

By J. P. Anderson

Young people are viewed with widespread anxiety and distrust by adults in their communities, according to survey a revealing growing public concern about the moral values of children.

Two-thirds of adults, or 66%, think the moral values of children today are "not as strong" as when they were young, a survey for the Children’s Society has shown.

More than half, or 55%, thought there is more conflict between adults and children compared with when they were young and only a third, or 32%, thought that attitudes towards young people in their neighbourhood are "mostly positive".

Nearly seven out of 10 people polled, or 69%, said community values among children are not as strong as when they were young.

The findings from the telephone poll of 1,176 UK adults, conducted in January, were released to coincide with the publication of a summary of evidence on values submitted to the Good Childhood Inquiry.

Professional groups who gave evidence expressed fears about trends in society affecting the values children learn, the Children’s Society said.

A rise in materialism, a preoccupation with celebrity, and declining networks of support from community and extended families were all cited as "negative factors", the charity said.

In separate evidence to the inquiry, more than one in 10 children, or 11%, said adults in their community were "never" friendly to them and 37% said only "sometimes" when responding to questions on the Good Childhood Inquiry and BBC Newsround websites.

The Rt Rev Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester and leader of the panel which drew up the summary on values, said children were aware of negative attitudes towards them, particularly in the media, and wanted to be portrayed positively, rather than as "thugs" and "vandals"

"There does seem to be evidence that as a society we have collectively developed fairly negative attitudes towards children in ways that mean children do not flourish as well as they might…We have got to think about why it is like that, and what we can do to change this," he said.

Child Slaves Still Used On Cocoa Plantations

30 Jun

Child Slaves Still Used

On Cocoa Plantations

By J. P. Anderson

On July 1st, people all across our town will be going out of their way to buy more

Chocolate—a chocoholic’s dream, but it will be fairly-traded chocolate. This is the

Best way and the only way to eat your chocolate slave free.

July 1st is a very important day around the world.

It’s the day when the chocolate industry promised to make sure that no children

Were being used as slaves on cocoa farms.

It’s the day when we could eat a bar of our favourite chocolate such as a Mars, Kit

Kat or Dairy Milk knowing that no child has been used in the harvesting of the cocoa

Beans that went to make the chocolate we love to eat.

Sadly there will be no celebrations on July 1st.

Industry has failed to keep its original promises.

Today, children as young as 12 are still being used as slaves on cocoa plantations.

Here are the words of one child after being rescued from a farm. “I will tell you how

I lost my arm. I tried to escape, but I could not. They caught me and tied me to a

Papaya tree and they beat me and broke my arm. I used to dream horrible dreams

That they were beating me and about many other things: the hard work, my family …

I still have these dreams today”.

Although the majority of farmers would not treat children in this way, there are some

Who do, and there are an estimated 12,000 children trafficked onto cocoa farms in

The Ivory Coast into a life of slavery.

In our community, thousands of people are buying chocolate without knowing that

These children are suffering for our sweet tooth to make fat profits for an industry

That hasn’t delivered on its promises.

In 2001 they said they would certify that farms were slave free. Now they are saying

That they are gathering data on some of the areas where cocoa is harvested.

This is not what they promised.

This is not good enough after 7 years of waiting for the freedom, safety and

Protection of these children.

We have to choose which chocolate bar to buy, at little cost to us when our

Chocolate is costing some children their lives.

http://www.stopthetraffik.org

2

We have to choose which chocolate bar to buy, little cost to us when our chocolate

Is costing some children their lives.

STOP THE TRAFFIK

For further details contact:

(Put your name and contact details for the press to talk to you about what you

Are doing)

www.stopthetraffik.org

UK: Police Hunt Sex Attack Suspect

29 Jun

UK: Police Hunt Sex Attack Suspect

By J. P. Anderson

A manhunt is under way for a suspect police want to trace in connection with two sex attacks.

Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team issued a warning to the public not to approach David Newton, 55, from Knottingley, West Yorkshire, who could be in Cornwall.

They want to speak to him in relation to two attacks on women – one a 52-year-old who was walking on Ilkley Moor in June 2006, and the other a 16-year-old girl on parkland in Halton, Leeds in July 1997.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "New evidence has very recently come into the inquiry which has prompted this appeal to trace David Newton."

He is 5ft 6ins tall, medium build with a beer belly, a ruddy complexion, with a round face, no top teeth and a dark brown mole on the left side of his face near his sideburn.

He is believed to be driving a metallic powder blue Land Rover Freelander, registration NA51 VYM, and was spotted on the M5 heading towards Cornwall on Friday.

Police said he could be anywhere in the country. He is known to have links to the St Ives and Helston areas of Cornwall.

Detective Superintendent Chris Thompson said: "We are urgently appealing to the public to contact us with any information that will help us trace David Newton’s current whereabouts.

"It is vitally important that we locate him and speak to him as soon as possible. We would advise anyone who sees him not to approach him but to contact the police immediately on 999."

Anyone who has seen a man fitting David Newton’s description or his vehicle at any time since Friday morning is asked to contact West Yorkshire Police on 0845 6060606.

Viking Ship Departs Dublin On Voyage Home

29 Jun

Viking Ship Departs Dublin

On Voyage Home

By J. P. Anderson

Thousands of well wishers saw off the replica Viking longship The Sea Stallion of Glendalough from Dublin Port today as it began its return voyage to Roskilde in Denmark.

The Sea Stallion is a reconstruction of a ship, the Skuldelev 2, built in Dublin in 1042 and believed to have sunk in Roskilde Fjord, near Copenhagen, some 30 years later. The remains of this ship, as well as four others, were excavated in the 1960s.

The reconstruction was carried out over four years at the boatyard attached to the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum.

The farewell ceremony was attended by the Lord Mayor and Admiral of the Port, Councillor Paddy Bourke; Dr Martin Mansergh, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works and the Arts; Dr Pat Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland and Tinna Damgard-Sorenseon, director of the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde.

After farewell messages from the dignitaries present, cheers from the crowd and a traditional piper, the 65-strong crew embarked the ship in preparation for their return journey.

“Ireland has a rich Viking heritage and the arrival of the Sea Stallion to Ireland has regenerated interest in this heritage. This magnificent ship symbolizes the shared history of Ireland and Denmark and will continue to link in friendship and community, both our peoples and countries now and into the future,” said Dr Mansergh.

“I wish the crew of the Sea Stallion every good fortune on their continuing journey.”

The return journey is planned via the southern English coastline, and the vessel is due to berth in Portsmouth in a fortnight’s time for the weekend of July 11th to 13th.

The crew – some volunteering for the first time – are “fit and well”, and the mast was set in Dublin Port yesterday. The vessel is due to be packed with food, lifejackets and survival suits today and will be accompanied on the 1,400 nautical-mile journey by a supply ship.

It is more than 1,200 years since Viking raiders landed in Ireland. They came exclusively from Norway, and the first recorded raid was in 795 on Rathlin Island, off the Antrim coast, where the local church was burned.

The Irish Times Now Free Online

29 Jun

‘The Irish Times’ free online at irishtimes.com from Monday

THE IRISH TIMES will publish under its own title online from Monday morning with the launch of a new site for the newspaper, www.irishtimes.com . Access to the site will be free.

The redesigned www.irishtimes.com aims to reflect the changing demands of online readers. The simplified and improved structure of the site is intended to keep pace with internet-user demand by helping readers find what they want quickly. The new site is planned to bring readers easily from one story to another on related topics, or related websites, and it will develop many multimedia features.

The restoration of The Irish Times title online is designed to make the newspaper the dominant media website in Ireland in the 21st century. The change from a subscription model to a free newspaper on www.irishtimes.com is a further instalment in the biggest editorial development programme in the history of the newspaper, embarked upon last February with the redesign and modernisation of The Irish Times and the launch of new supplements.

The move to a free Irish Times on the web follows in the recent footsteps of many leading newspaper titles in the world today, among them the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times .

Those people who have subscribed to The Irish Times on www.ireland.com will be offered a full refund for the remainder of their subscription period.

If they prefer, they can join the new Irish Times Crossword Club – to be introduced on Monday – and access our digital archive dating back to the foundation of the newspaper in 1859, for the same period.

To help them decide, all subscribers will be given one month’s free access to both of these services.

Subscribers will receive a personal e-mail outlining these options.

The changes announced today mark the start of an exciting programme of online development which, over the coming months, will see the www.irishtimes.com site enhanced with richer content in the form of pictures, graphics, audio and video. We will be developing content in areas of particular interest to our readers, which will allow them to interact better both with each other and with us on subjects of common interest.

The Irish Times

has had a proud and progressive history online. When it first established an online presence in 1994 as www.irish-times.ie , it was the first newspaper in Britain or Ireland and one of the first 30 newspapers in the world to do so. The Irish Times bought the domain name ireland.com in 1997. And in 1999, www.ireland.com launched as the internet address of The Irish Times .

In 2002, www.ireland.com was the most successful website in Ireland by standard media metrics, with 25 million audited page impressions per month and 2.5 million unique users. Later that year, like many other newspapers, we turned to a subscription model to provide a revenue stream.

A decision has now been made to move to www.irishtimes.com to complement a development programme over recent months to integrate The Irish Times newsroom in print and online. Journalists who previously worked for ireland.com in a separate building are now integrated into the newsroom in The Irish Times Building on Tara Street.

From Monday, the ireland.com address will be launched as Ireland’s homepage, a separate commercial and new free lifestyle portal site.

The launch of www.irishtimes.com presents us with the enhanced opportunity to bring Irish Times standards of journalism to a new audience.

In a new world where trust and accuracy are often the casualties of speed, www.irishtimes.com is designed to co-ordinate Irish Times content in print and online; to capitalise on our reputation for accuracy, authority, independent analysis and comment; to appeal to web-based readers who are growing in numbers; and, to restore The Irish Times title to the web.

Like this newspaper, irishtimes.com is governed by the Memoranda and Articles of The Irish Times Trust which mandates us "to publish The Irish Times as an independent newspaper primarily concerned with serious issues for the benefit of the community throughout the whole of Ireland, free from any form of personal or party political, commercial, religious or other sectional control".

The launch of www.irishtimes.com on Monday morning is intended to ensure the continuity of this newspapers distinct ethos, identity and journalism in new media.

GERALDINE KENNEDY
EDITOR