Gardai called to pickets at Credit Union


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Gardai called to pickets at Credit Union

LEIXLIP, NOVEMBER 14, 1998: Gardai were called during the week to picketers at Leixlip & District Credit Union, following claims by the management that they were 'intimidating' members - a claim emphatically denied by the four staff, who said they were getting enormous support from the members and the public for their action. The SIPTU-backed picketing began on Tuesday following the withdrawal of an offer by management on improved pay and working conditions. The strikers say not only are they being paid inadequately, but that they also can never be sure which day of the week they are paid on. One of them has worked for the Credit Union for eighteen years. In a statement signed by the treasurer, Eamonn Hartley, the Board of the Credit Union said it regretted that the staff had taken their action. It said efforts to reach a settlement on 2 November had failed to reach a conclusion and the Board was therefore willing to avail of the assistance of the Labour Relations Commission. A further meeting between the Board and SIPTU was arranged yesterday for last evening.

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Residents protest 'atrocious' conditions

NAAS, NOVEMBER 14, 1998: A Naas councillor is to pursue claims by some residents of Sarto Park in Naas that there is 'undue delay' in carrying out improvements to their homes under a Remedial Works Scheme being operated by Naas UDC. Cllr Evelyn Bracken says the families, who have purchased their homes from the local authority, are living in 'atrocious' conditions, with unplastered walls in rooms where new windows have been put in, and kitchen fittings left 'for weeks' in the middle of floors. The families are paying for half the cost of the refurbishments, which can mean them paying between £4,500 and £9,000.


New science facilities 'most modern'

MAYNOOTH, NOVEMBER 14, 1998: Guidance teachers from all over Ireland have been to visit the new Science Building at National University of Ireland, Maynooth, which is the latest element in a £20 million investment in the facilities over the last 10 years. There are now 1,000 undergraduates in the university's Science programme, along with 250 postgraduates and 55 academic staff. According to Professor Martin Downes, the facilities and the relatively young age of the staff has Maynooth's Science faculty probably 'more modern' than those in other universities.


Devoy Barracks talks conclude

NAAS, NOVEMBER 14, 1998: The Department of Education and Science and the Department has decided that Devoy Barracks in Naas would not be suitable for apprentice training by the department and discussions on this possibility with the Department of Defence have been concluded. In the Dail this week Defence Minister Michael Smith said also that discussions are taking place with the civilian teachers at the former Apprentice School there to move them to the Curragh, where the remaining 28 Army apprentices currently training. The teachers will complete the 'off-the-job' training of the apprentices. A number of the military personnel relocated from Devoy to the Curragh Camp continue to be involved in the training of apprenticeships, the minister said.


McCreevy applauds 'cooperation and concern'

BALYNA, JOHNSTOWNBRIDGE, NOVEMBER 14, 1998: What he called 'the basic sense of cooperation and concern for one another' was alive and well in Balyna, the Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy TD told the Balyna Rural Development Association (BREDA)'s AGM this week. He said this was gratifying against the 'dramatic and often traumatic' changes in lifestyle which threatened traditional values. He commended BREDA for becoming one of the 'primary forces' behind the regeneration of both Balyna Parish and the surrounding hinterland. "Rural development is essentially about people and the rural communities in which they live and work," he said. It is about making our communities better places in which to live for ourselves and for our children - voluntary community development groups such as yours make a real and positive contribution to providing these conditions."


'Ropes' parent increases profits

NEWBRIDGE, NOVEMBER 13, 1998: The parent company of Irish Ropes, Barlo plc, has announced pre-tax profits of £5.8 million in its interim results for the half-year to 20 September 1998, an increase from £2.95 million for the previous half year. This was on a turnover of £88.6 million, up from £58 million. Barlo has increased its annual turnover from £97.3 million in 1994 to £138 million for this year. It recorded significant losses in 1996, but has recovered well. The company's activities include the manufacture and distribution of domestic and commercial radiators; industrial, agricultural and packaging related plastic products. It employs a total workforce of 1,206, 140 of them in Newbridge, though 40 of these are to be laid off in a restructuring programme at Irish Ropes.


Holiday win on Punchestown card

PUNCHESTOWN, NOVEMBER 13, 1998: A holiday for two in South Africa with the Kildare GAA team is the prize for holders of pre-sold tickets to the Kildare GAA Supporters Club race day at Punchestown on Saturday (tomorrow). The team and prominent GAA officials as well as many supporters will be at the event, which has as its feature race the £20,000 Morgiana Hurdle. Sponsors of the day include Texacloth Wool Merchants, Cox's Cash & Carry, Ballymore Properties and the Stand House Hotel.


Band founder stone unveiled

THE CURRAGH, NOVEMBER 13, 1998: The 75th anniversary of the Curragh School of Music has been marked with the unveiling of a commemoration stone at McSwiney Road on the Curragh Camp. The school later became the nucleus of the Band of the Curragh Command, which has performed both at official army functions and for many community events around County Kildare for many years. The ceremony was performed by Mona Fritz Brase, the neice of one of the founder members. The memorial was commissioned by the Curragh Local History Group.


Newbridge 'being left behind' claim

NEWBRIDGE, NOVEMBER 13, 1998: The lack of a Newbridge representative on the Kildare County Development Team was cited as the reason why Newbridge 'is being left far behind' in the matter of improvements and repairs. That was the view expressed by Cllr Spike Nolan at this week's meeting of the Town Commission - he said that the County Development Team was 'all Naas oriented' and it forgets all about Newbridge. The matter came up in a discussion about the length of time the commissioners had been talking about streetlights and footpaths all over town in need of repair. He asked the other commissioners to support him in a walkout at next month's meeting if no progress had been made.


First woman rector

CELBRIDGE, NOVEMBER 13, 1998: The Reverand Ann Wooderson has been installed as the first woman rector of Celbridge and Straffan. The ceremony at Christ Church in Celbridge was presided over by The Most Reverand Walton Empey, Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough. Rev Wooderson has been assistant rector to the parish of Naas for the last four years, where her husband Michael is rector.

Ploughing MD honoured

ATHY, NOVEMBER 13, 1998: The managing director of the National Ploughing Championships, Anna May McHugh, has been presented with a People of the Year award. Ballylinan-born Anna May began working with the National Ploughing Association in 1951 and has been credited with the success of it having become a major international event. At the awards she dedicated the prize to the 'hard-working crew' in the organisation.


Naas development row escalates

NAAS, NOVEMBER 12, 1998: The staff in the planning departments of Kildare Council should all resign, because they've nothing to do, a Naas councillor claimed this week, in the latest round of a growing row about development in the county town. Teresa Scanlon said the advice of the planners was not being listened to by most of her fellow councillors, and what now passed for planning in the town was 'developer-led'. She was speaking after the latest of a series of meetings about the Naas Draft Development Plan, during which UDC members voted to rezone upwards of 370 acres of land for industrial and residential development. Ms Scanlon said that the UDC was being seduced by developers who provided 'packages' with school, hotel and cinema proposals that were effectively conditional on them getting their rezoning if housing was to be provided. Those same developers became millionaires when land was rezoned, she said, and yet in all the hype no-one was even sure what facilities were actually to be provided in such new developements.

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'Newbridge needs more land' - Nolan

NEWBRIDGE, NOVEMBER 12, 1998: A call to reassess the County Development Plan in relation to Newbridge has been made by Cllr Spike Nolan, on the grounds that all the land zoned for industrial, housing and commercial development in the town has been used up. At a recent meeting of the Newbridge Town Commission he asked that Kildare County Council extend the potential of the town by bringing services beyond the railway bridge and installing a sewerage access pipe to Milltown Road. He said Newbridge should have the same facilities as Naas, where they have the power to rezone when they run out of development land. "The land bank in the town was to have been enough until 2003," he said, "but it is now 1998 and we have run out."


Aspell 'concerned' at factory redundancies

NEWBRIDGE, NOVEMBER 11, 1998: A Newbridge Town Commissioner has expressed his concern at the planned moving of Irish Ropes operations to an alternative site in the area (see previous stories). Murty Aspell said it will be a 'sad day for the town' after 60 years when the present site provided a 'landmark' for Newbridge and was a major employer - though he noted that it now only employed 140 people and a sizeable part of the factory grounds were already sold off. Earlier, Irish Ropes MD Christy Howard said a restructuring of the company will concentrate on developing the present packaging business, incorporating both Sealcon Ltd, which supplies the dairy industry, and Sealstrap, which supplies the food processing industry. Mr Howard said both businesses have a large share of the Irish market and substantial growth is being projected for both the home and new European markets. The new plant will initially employ 100 people but the company expects an overall increase in employment figures over the next four years. Of the 40 redundancies announced this week, it's understood that that 26 of them will be from the factory floor.


Ballymore developer submits new application

BALLYMORE, NOVEMBER 11, 1998: A developer who has already been the focus of controversy in Ballymore Eustace has submitted a fresh application for a lesser number of houses on a site close to the scenic Golden Falls. Abbeydrive Developments had earlier looked for permission for 507 houses but the new application is for 416. A spokesman for the local lobby group Association of Ballymore Control and Development (ABCD) said his organisation is concerned that the new application will mean that 500 objections which they have already lodged will not be considered in relation to the new application. Chairman Ed Fleming says ABCD will be calling a public meeting 'within weeks' to consider the new situation. Meanwhile, ABCD have recently affiliated with the Kildare Planning Alliance.


Kilcullen man gets Barlo promotion

NEWBRIDGE, NOVEMBER 11, 1998: The managing director of Irish Ropes, Christy Howard, is to become MD of all the Newbridge activities of Barlo plc, the owners of the local company. In a statement this morning, the company also confirmed that 40 jobs are to be lost in the restructuring of its Newbridge operations, with the relocation of its Sealcon twine plant to another part of the town. This is a direct result of a fire which devastated a store adjoining Cutlery Road earlier this year. There's speculation that two sites are being considered for the Sealcon relocation - the Green Road or near Tougher's on the Newbridge-Naas road. Christy Howard is from Kilcullen.


O Fearghaill's hat will be in the election ring

KILDARE, NOVEMBER 11, 1998: Kildare Fianna Fail councillor Sean O Fearghaill is to put his name forward to run for the council again, at Kildare South selection meeting to be held on Tuesday next. At a party meeting last night he discounted speculation that he would not be running, allegedly because of 'difficulties' he experienced during the last General Election. At that time Cllr O Fearghaill was known to be very unhappy at the 'parachuting' of former CKR personality Christy Walsh into the constituency by Fianna Fail head office. Mr Walsh performed poorly, while Sean Power was elected as the TD for the party in Kildare South.


Naas councillor cites 'pressure and abuse'

NAAS, NOVEMBER 11, 1998: Naas UDC member Charlie Byrne tried this week to be excused from any further involvement with the Naas Draft Development Plan because of 'pressure and abuse' he says he has been getting in relation to development proposals in the plan. "It was all finally getting to me and I asked the Town Manager twice this week if I could exclude myself, but he said that legally it wasn't possible for me to do so," he told KNN. "The pressure I've been put under has included totally incorrect allegations in some cases." He declined to be specific about individual instances, but said that for the first time in his career as a public representative it was affecting his home life. Cllr Byrne also criticised what he said was a 'monstrosity' being visited on Naas in the case of the proposed new Millennium Park which has been the subject of recent consideration by the UDC. "We are, it seems going to have TWO industrial parks, one at each end of the town, and each of them promising upwards of 5,000 jobs in a relatively few years. That's far too much industrial development for Naas, and anyway, anyone who can look down the road and guarantee 5,000 jobs must be a reincarnation of the prophet Amos ... you just can't do that." In a long series of sometimes heated meetings recently, Naas UDC members voted to rezone upwards of 370 acres of land in Naas for industrial and residential development. This was against the advice of town manager Terry O Niadh, who told the councillors that the infrastructure of the town as it stood could not cope with such development.


Intel beefs up 4th quarter forecast

LEIXLIP, NOVEMBER 11, 1998: The parent company of the Intel operation at Leixlip is now anticipating better than expected business performance for the fourth quarter of 1998. The company had forecast revenues of silghtly above $6.7 billion, but now says the result will be higher. A spokesman said the better performance will come from a stronger than anticipated demand for PC products across all market segments. The improved expectation is against a background of an improved gross margin to 55% and expenses some 8-10% higher than the third quarter of $1.4 billion. The company has been reducing its workforce by a planned 3,000 and expects this target to be achieved by the end of the year. There's been a cut in recruitment at the Leixlip plant and numbers there have dropped by natural wastage.


New County Council offices suggested

NAAS, NOVEMBER 10, 1998: The possibility of building new County Council offices on the site of Devoy Barracks in Naas has been raised by former councillor Pat O'Reilly. In a statement issued this week he noted the 'inadequacy of the existing council premises at St Mary's to cope with the needs of a rapidly expanding county' and suggested that a new 'and inspiring' council complex on the site would enhance the area. Some of the buildings on the 22-acre site are listed for heritage reasons and one of these could be turned into a County Museum, he said. "I would envisage that all services provided by the council would be included in the complex, including a new county office for the VEC," he added. "Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture officees, and a motor registration office could also be there, thereby having a one-stop area for all these services." Mr O'Reilly said St Mary's, which was originally built as a hospital, could be taken over by the Department of Health and converted to such use again.


40 jobs to go in Newbridge

NEWBRIDGE, NOVEMBER 10, 1998: Newbridge is to lose 40 jobs as a result of the fire which devastated a store belonging to Irish Ropes earlier this year, according to Fianna Fail TD Sean Power. The parent company Barlo says it is relocating the Sealcon twine plant to another site in the town and it it understood that the company is negotiating with the workforce unions over the loss of the jobs. It is believed that a full restructuring of the company will result in a phasing out of cordage manufacturing products. However, the company says projected growth over the next four years in its agri-trading business should result in an increase in total numbers employed. Deputy Power has called on other industries in the locality to make up the lost jobs.


Leixlip lawyer selected for election

LEIXLIP, NOVEMBER 10, 1998: Leixlip town commissioner Paul Kelly has been selected by Fianna Fail to contest the elections to Kildare County Council, scheduled for next June. The convention chose just one candidate for the newely-created Leixlip Electoral Area, which includes Leixlip, Maynooth, and those parts of the Celbridge Area north of the M4. Commissioner Kelly said environmental issues will be of particular concern to him, given what he called 'the relentless pressure' of development and urbanisation in the area. He has worked on the Leixlip Town Commission for 10 years and was a Fianna Fail candidate in the last General Election.


Money for litter campaign

NAAS, NOVEMBER 10, 1998: Kildare County Council has been allocated £31,300 from the Department of Environment to help it undertake an awareness campaign against litter. Among other things, the money is to be used for the provision of litter bins in estates, towns and villages; to implement a skip scheme in order to facilitate major local clean-ups; and to advertise in local media informing offenders of the penalties of 'flyposting'. A Junior Litter Warden scheme is also to be launched in primary schools in the county and dog waste signage and bins are to be provided in a number of identified areas. Grants will also be made available to residents' associations in local authority houses for the provision of bins and the purchase of gardening equipment.


'Cripple' in final rehearsals

KILCULLEN, NOVEMBER 10, 1998: The last stages of the rehearsal of Martin McDonagh's 'The Cripple of Inishmaan' are underway in Kilcullen's Town Hall Theatre as the town's drama group prepare for the opening next week of the World Premiere of the hot playwright's work by an amateur drama group. The permission to do the play came about when producer Paddy Melia attended a production course in Galway at which McDonagh was present, and for his 'homework' did an extract from the play which caught the attention of the writer. The Kilcullen Drama Group production previews on Thursday 19 November with a Gala Opening the following night. It stars Vivian Clarke and Pat Cullen (the cripple) as well as old stagers Bernard Berney, Lilian Healy and Dick Dunphy. Booking 481497.


Car of the Year competitors in Newbridge

NEWBRIDGE, NOVEMBER 9, 1998: More than 30 cars eligible for the Irish Car of the Year 1999 award are being assembled at Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge, Co Kildare on Wednesday for appraisal by Ireland's top motoring journalists. The event is a refresher day for the journalists, who have driven the cars during the year and will make their decision at the end of this month on which qualifies for the award ... one which is keenly sought by the distributors of the various marques. The number of cars in the event this year is unusually high, and competition is fierce, with cars as diverse as Ford's new Focus and Alfa Romeo's156 in contention. The competition is organised by the Irish Motoring Writers Association, which has over 20 members ... it is sponsored by tyre distributors Semperit Ireland. The IMWA has two strong local connections, with the current chairperson Mary Schwer-Foley and vice-chair Brian Byrne both being from Kilcullen.


Rare monument to be saved

KILCULLEN, NOVEMBER 9, 1998: A rare monument dating back to the Middle Ages may be relocated within Kilcullen's New Abbey Graveyard to prevent it deteriorating further from weather exposure. The Portlester Monument was the top of a tomb in a former Franciscan Church in the area and depicted a man and a woman who had been buried in the tomb. Extensive erosion has taken place over the years because of water lodgement on the monument. Now Kildare County Council's Senior Executive Architect Brian Swan has proposed to the council's National Advisory Committee that the monument be relocated in a standing position in the graveyard, where it could be protected from the elements. The Kilcullen Heritage Group has been asked for its opinion on the proposal, as part of establishing the views of the local Kilcullen community.


New £2 million garden

KILDARE, NOVEMBER 9, 1998: A £2 million garden now being planted close to County Kildare's famed Japanese Gardens is set to become the biggest tourist attraction in the county. The five-acre formal garden will be opened next March and will be themed around the 'beehive' monastic structures of early Christian Ireland. A key element will be a 'garden' in one of the beehive structures made completely from Waterford Glass. The project is the biggest formal garden to be designed and built in Ireland or Britain in this century and is being funded by the EU as part of a deal following the compulsory purchase of 100 acres of local land to facilitate the Kildare By-Pass. The garden was designed by the internationally-acclaimed Irish landscape and garden designer Professor Martin Hallinan, responsible for an Irish Garden at the Tokyo World Fair and more recently for the landscaping of the City West business campus on the Naas Road.



Stories for week ending 7 November 1998 are here

Stories for October 1998 are here


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