Archive | August, 2011

Basildon, Essex: Irish Travellers In Farm Evection Showdown

31 Aug

The Dale Farm site in Essex where around 100 traveller families face eviction

Irish travellers living illegally on a site in Essex have told Sky News they would rather burn their homes than move if an eviction order goes ahead.

They have until midnight to persuade High Court judges to grant an injunction to halt the site clearance from Dale Farm which could put them on the road.

Basildon Council recently issued the 50 families with notice to leave in a planning dispute that has dragged on for 10 years. The notice expires on September 1.

The travellers own the land but, crucially, they do not have planning permission to live there.

The site is classified as green belt but the Dale Farm residents argue it was a disused scrapyard when they bought it.

Travellers told Sky News the community would not go peacefully if the planned eviction goes ahead.

Nora Sheridan said: “They will burn what they have up there… they will use their homes and cars as shields and set fire to them because they’re not going to let people come in.”

Mary Slattery added: “Who is going walk out of their homes peacefully?

“In the real world if you’re living in your house and you’re getting evicted for nothing will you walk out your front door for nothing? It’s not going to happen.”

Last week around 30 supporters set up a camp at the site to offer residents tactical support and eviction-resistance training.

Activist Natalie Fox told Sky News: “After the Roma evictions in France earlier this year, people are seeing this as an international human rights issue.

“Activists are arriving here from all over Europe to take part in human-rights monitoring and to engage in peaceful civil disobedience to stop the bulldozers.”

Actress Vanessa Redgrave visited the site on Tuesday to pledge support and declare an eviction would breach human rights legislation.

“I have great hope that this strong, wise, warm and gentle community will have their rights protected and will not have their rights disintegrated,” she said.

Five years ago her brother Corin suffered a heart attack at a public meeting as he pleaded with Basildon councillors to save the families from eviction.

But some residents from the nearby village of Crays Hill hope the eviction will go ahead.

Len Gridley, whose garden backs on to the site, claims his house has lost half its value since the travellers moved in.

When we arrived at his home he attempted to burn down plastic sheeting that activists had put up over his fence. He was later arrested.

Basildon Council has offered the families alternative housing and say they are not discriminating against their lifestyle.

Leader Tony Ball said: “The legal process has, after a decade, finally been exhausted and the council now has the job of upholding the law.

“We have offered help with accommodation and we’re aware of issues around elderly and very young residents on the site.”

If the eviction does go ahead it could cost the council £8m.

The Traveller Community Of Dale Farm Face Eviction

Slave Trade Exposed: Romanian Human Trafficker Ran Irish Brothlels

31 Aug

Slave trade: Romanian trafficker ran brothels in Irish cities

IT IS a simple transaction. Men pay and women sell their bodies in towns and cities up and down this country.

Then the punters walk out the door and close off any thought as to the lives of the women they have left behind.

In some cases, these men even rush to internet discussion boards to rate their experiences.

The women concerned often have a very different duty to fulfil, however.

From one case being played out in the Romanian courts, it would appear that many women — in brothels located mainly in Galway and Dublin — had to quickly prepare for the arrival of a dedicated lieutenant from a notorious East European criminal gang.

This lieutenant had been tasked with calling to brothels across Dublin and Galway and collecting the gang’s cut of the proceeds.

After gathering the cash from various women — who had often been blackmailed and trafficked to Ireland — this man would bring the loot back to Romania to be split up among gang members, who were micro-managed by a violent criminal locked in prison.

This flow of money forms the backbone of the case against Florin Nicolae Ghinea, an international trafficker and pimp, and seven associates.

Their arrests followed the arrest of 23 people by detectives in Romania five months ago.

This gang was monitored with wire taps by police in Romania, in close co-operation with the Gardaí.

The information gleaned during this surveillance, along with separate records from Romanian authorities, has helped to throw fresh light on the brutality of a growing trade in young women brought to this country to supply a burgeoning sex industry.

Figures supplied to the Irish Examiner show 38 people are known to have been smuggled into Ireland by Romanian criminals between 2007 and 2010. These were brought here to either work as prostitutes, to beg or to be exploited by black-market employers.

A detailed analysis of the trafficking reveals:

*In 2007, there were nine victims.

*In 2008, there were 17 victims.

*In 2009, there were four victims, all of whom were sexually exploited.

*In 2010, there were eight victims, three of whom were sexually exploited.

Put alongside data from the Department of Justice’s anti-trafficking unit, this means 47% of European trafficking victims were from Romania.

However, trends suggest the market is being taken over by Nigerian traffickers.

Last year, Gardaí opened 69 inquiries into the cases of 78 individuals.

Of these, 38% (30 cases) came from the west coast of Africa.

Data from Ruhama, the charity that works with women affected by prostitution and human trafficking, shows that in 2010 it dealt with more Nigerian prostitutes (51) than any other nationality, including Irish (31). Half of all trafficking victims it saw were Nigerian.

However, figures have also shown the difficulty prosecuting cases of trafficking in Ireland.

Of the cases reported to Gardaí last year, 35 were still ongoing at the end of the year.
 There were two convictions, but 14 investigations closed because of insufficient evidence. www.garda.ie & www.stopthetraffik.org

Ballyboughal, Co Dublin: Drugs Worth €200,000 Seized In Garda Raid On Cannabis Grow-House

31 Aug

Gardaí have discovered cannabis plants and herbal cannabis with an estimated street value of €200,000 during a raid in Co Dublin.

Two men were arrested by gardaí in the raid

Two men were arrested by gardaí in the raid

The Garda National Drugs Unit has discovered cannabis plants and herbal cannabis with an estimated street value of €200,000 during a raid in Co Dublin.

Two men, aged 27 and 32, were arrested in the raid at a rural dwelling house in Ballyboughal.

Gardaí say a fully functioning grow-house was discovered with a sophisticated lighting and irrigation system installed.

Brookfield, Tallaght: Gardai Make Fresh Appeal Over Arson Attack That Killed Boy (12) : UPDATED

31 Aug

NEWS UPDATE:

THE mother of a 12-year-old boy who died in a suspected arson attack has made a heartfelt plea for fresh evidence on the 10th anniversary of his death.

Stephen Hughes Connors was camping in a makeshift hut with a pal in Tallaght, Co Dublin, on September 1, 2001, when they were engulfed by flames.

Liz Hughes said she remains devastated by her son’s death 10 years on.

“I’m pleading with anyone who knows what happened that night to contact the guards.”

(Editor’s note: To the person/persons who have detailed information regarding this terrible crime, committed against a harmless and defenceless 12-year-old child by a cowardly psychopath, HAVE THE DECENCY – THE BALLS – now to come forward and contact the Gardai).
—————-

A fresh appeal has been made for information relating to a fatal fire in Tallaght ten years ago.

The tenth anniversary of the death of Stephen Connors is tomorrow

The tenth anniversary of the death of Stephen Connors is tomorrow

A fresh appeal has been made for information relating to a fatal fire in Tallaght, Dublin 24, ten years ago.

Gardaí have issued a fresh appeal on the eve of the death of Stephen Hughes Connors on 1 September 2001.

Stephen was 12 when he was killed in the fire at Rossfield Avenue, Brookfield.

The deceased and a 14-year-old male friend were sleeping in a makeshift hut made predominately of pallets, doors and carpet when it was set ablaze sometime before 5am on the morning in question.

The incident was featured in a ‘Crimeline’ programme in 2003 and re-examined by the Serious Crime Review Team who made an arrest in April 2006.

The 51-year-old suspect was not prosecuted after a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Liz Hughes, mother of Stephen, has pleaded to anyone with information to come forward.

She said it would be a comfort to “know what happened to Stephen – even after all these years.”

Superintendent Eamon Dolan said he is “confident that there are people out there who know what happened that night or who may have been confided in afterwards”.

They are asked to contact Tallaght Garda Station on 01-6666000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666111 or any garda station. www.garda.ie

Ballymote, Co Sligo: Seven Railway Level-Crossing Gates Stolen

31 Aug

Seven level-crossing gates have been stolen on the railway line between Ballymote in Co Sligo and Boyle, Co Roscommon.

 
Image from Irish Rail's safety campaign

Image from Irish Rail‘s safety campaign

Iarnród Éireann says that seven level-crossing gates were stolen in the early hours of Sunday last between Ballymote in Co Sligo and Boyle in Co Roscommon.

Two gates were stolen at Cloonloo and five at Culfadda, according to a company spokeswoman.

She said Iarnród Éireann moved fast to secure the train lines for the safety of livestock and the public.

Cabling had been stolen in the past but level-crossing gates, which can be up to 14-foot high, had never been taken before, the spokeswoman said.

Gardaí in Ballymote and Boyle are investigating. www.garda.ie

Carraig na bhFear, Cork: Joint Garda/HSE Probe Into Alleged Child Sex Abuse At Former RC Boarding School: UPDATED

31 Aug

NEWS UPDATE:

Five fresh claims of child sex abuse at Carrignavar school

FIVE new allegations of child sexual abuse at a Cork school were received by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in the past month, according to the order.

The complaints were all lodged since Senator Mark Daly used Seanad privilege in July to disclose how the order had failed to properly supervise Fr Donnacha Mac Carthaigh, former principal of the Sacred Heart College in Carrignavar, Co Cork.

Fr Mac Carthaigh was on restricted ministry after seven complaints of abuse were lodged against him between 1986 and 2008.

The complaints refer to the period when it was a boys’ boarding school. It has been a co-educational day school since the 1990s.

Garda sources have revealed that in recent weeks, stations nationwide were contacted by ex-pupils with concerns about past abuse.

The HSE’s director of children and family services, Gordon Jeyes, has said he is to investigate child welfare at the former boarding school. The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation is also investigating.

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church is investigating the order’s handling of abuse complaints.

Last night, a spokesman for the order said: “It is our intention that all survivors of child sexual abuse will be offered appropriate help and support through the proper agencies. We encourage those who wish to come forward to contact the Towards Healing helpline.”

*Towards Healing: 1800 30352; HSE freephone helpdesk: 1800 742 800; Harbour: 1800 234 116; Cork Sexual Violence Centre 1800 496 496; One in Four 01 662 4070.
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The HSE and the gardaí are jointly examining allegations of child sexual abuse at a former Catholic boarding school in Co Cork.

HELPLINE:  HSE National Counselling Service

Historic complaints about boarding school

Historic complaints about boarding school

Gardaí and the Health Service Executive are jointly examining allegations of child sexual abuse at a former Catholic boarding school in Co Cork.

The HSE is focusing on identifying children who may be currently at risk, while gardaí are conducting a criminal investigation into past events.

The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, which closed the school in 1995, has received five historic complaints within the past month in addition to those which prompted the inquiry.

The HSE said it acted in response to recent child protection concerns regarding the boarding school in Carraig na bhFear near Cork City.

It emphasised that these related to the time when the Missionary Order ran the facility, which is now a day-school under separate management.

It is understood that the inquiry is being conducted under Section 3 of the Child Care Act, which obliges the HSE to take steps it considers necessary to identify children who are currently at risk.

Welcoming the inquiry, the Ministers for Justice and Children said they had been assured that none of those against whom allegations had been made were currently engaged in any work activities which brought them into contact with children.

Several former students have complained they were sexually abused and early this month, at the Missionaries’ invitation, Ian Elliott, the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog began auditing the Order’s response to all allegations.

The Order says it is fully co-operating with officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and that a confidential telephone helpline will open shortly.

In a statement, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said they welcomed the investigation.

‘Both Ministers are limited in what they can publicly state at this time as they are anxious to ensure that nothing is said that could cause difficulties of any nature for the inquiry being conducted by the HSE nor which could, in any way, inhibit the Garda investigation or prejudice any prosecutions that may result,’ the sattement read.

‘In the context of serious allegations that have been made they, however, believe it is important to state that they have been assured that none of those against whom allegations have been made are currently engaged in any work activities which bring them into contact with children.’

RELATED ARTICLE:  HSE investigation into Cork boarding school

HELPLINES: www.spunout.ie & www.teenline.ie & www.letsomeoneknow.ie & www.3ts.ie & www.garda.ie

NEWS UPDATE:

THE HSE and the Garda Síochána have launched an inquiry into allegations of sexual and physical abuse at a Cork school while it was run by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.

Last night, the HSE confirmed it is to initiate an inquiry into “matters relating to the protection and welfare of children” who attended Coláiste an Chroí Naofa, in Carrignavar, Co Cork. The inquiry will co-operate with Detective Superintendent John McCann of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit.

Anyone with information or a concern in relation to any allegations have been advised to contact the HSE or the Garda Síochána.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald welcomed the inquiry.

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church has begun two probes into the order’s handling of child protection complaints on foot of the allegations.

The HSE inquiry comes after it emerged last month that sexual and physical abuse complaints were made against Fr Donncha Mac Cárthaigh and Fr Tadhg Daly, who were principal and dean at the school.

The order said this month that another member was removed from ministry after an allegation of child abuse against him.

NEWS UPDATE: Source: THE IRISH TIMES:

Three investigations are under way into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart congregation while managing their Coláiste an Chroí Naofa school outside Cork city.

Last night both the Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter welcomed decisions by the HSE and an Garda Síochána to investigate “concerns regarding the welfare and protection of children who attended a boarding school in Carraig na bhFear, Cork, run by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart”.

It is also understood the congregation requested that the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children, conduct a review of child protection procedures at the school, which is currently under way.

State investigations there have been initiated by HSE national director Gordon Jeyes, and by Det Supt John McCann of the Garda’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit.

Last night Ms Fitzgerald said she “met Gordon Jeyes to discuss the issues involved and welcomed the priority being given by the HSE to the inquiry”.

The Ministers said she also felt that it was important to state they have been assured “that none of those against whom allegations have been made are currently engaged in any work activities which bring them into contact with children”.

In the Seanad on July 27th Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly named a priest who had taught at the school. Despite seven cases of alleged child abuse against the priest being reported to four different Garda stations between 1986 and 2008, the Director of Public Prosecutions declined to pursue a criminal prosecution against him, said Mr Daly.

Mr Daly said the Sacred Heart Missionaries had settled a civil case in relation to this priest before it was brought to court and accused them of failure to enforce restrictions placed upon the priest.

Last year, he said, the priest had been advertised as spiritual director for a pilgrimage abroad, where he could have unsupervised access to children.

Related

Clerical child abuse – an Irish timeline | 13/07/2011

New Catholic trust to oversee 112 schools | 14/06/2007

Bishop denies Raphoe abuse claims | 11/08/2011

Contact details for counselling services | 13/07/2011

‘To the victims of abuse: You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry’ | 22/03/2010

National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church

HSE National Counselling Service

Corballymore, Co Waterford: Elderly Couple Threatened & Robbed By Masked Gang

31 Aug

A masked gang has tied up and threatened an elderly couple with a hatchet and hammer before making off with their savings.

The husband and wife, in their late 70s, were bound up when at least three men broke into their home at Corballymore, near Tramore in Co Waterford, on Monday night.

After threatening the terrified pair, the men fled with their savings.

The woman managed to free herself and alerted her neighbours, who contacted gardai.

Neither was physically hurt but they were understood to be upset over the ordeal, which began around 9pm.

The men in the gang hid their faces behind scarves and baseball hats.

Gardai confirmed they were investigating an aggravated burglary.

Garda technical experts have carried out a forensic examination of the scene.

NEWS UPDATE:

Gardaí investigating the assault and robbery  

Gardaí investigating the assault and robbery
 
Play Stop

Six One News: Raiders threaten elderly couple with hatchet

Six One News: Raiders threaten elderly couple with hatchet

Gardaí are investigating the assault and robbery of two elderly people in their house in Co Waterford last night.
The couple, both aged 79, were threatened with a hammer and a hatchet before being tied-up at their home in the Saleen area, near Brownstown Head, close to Tramore.

It is understood three or four men were involved in the incident and got away with some savings the couple had in the house.

Nicksie and Kathleen Dunphy have lived in their bungalow in this rural part of Waterford for decades.

Their two daughters said the couple were still too upset to talk.

There are more than 20 detectives and uniformed gardaí working on the case.

Superintendent Chris Delaney said these incidents are still rare but it is imperative those responsible are caught soon. www.garda.ie