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March 12th 2003

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Donegal Times
says .......

‘If a Hair on the Head of one Iraqi Child
is Harmed -
Bush and Blair
Must Be Indicted ‘

If, despite overwhelming world opposition, the US and Britain invade Iraq without a UN mandate, visiting terror, destruction and death on its citizens, the leaders of these two countries should immediately be charged with crimes against humanity. President George and Prime Minister Tony seem intent on spearheading an action which is nominally to install democracy in Iraq, while they blithely ignore the democracy of world opinion. A war against Iraq, without the clearly expressed assent of the Security Council, would be in breach of international law. As a letter by 16 distinguished academics, professors of international law, published in last Friday’s Guardian made plain ‘the doctrine of pre-emptive self-defence against an attack that might arise at some hypothetical future time has no basis in international law’. Yet the reality is that the Yanks and Brits are prepared to wage war on Iraq without any regard to moral or international law and without the endorsement of the Security Council.
And if our own great leader, Bertie the Vacillator, places the Yankee and Queens shilling above the morality of opposing this attack - then he should be regarded as an accomplice to the act. And it’s about time that we heard from our own two Ministers on this issue. Do they back an invasion of Iraq? And there’s no point in them answering that they back Government policy - because this Government has no policy!
Make no mistake, people are angry, and those who make these unilateral decisions will bear the brunt of this anger. But even more than the people, there is another judge before whom they must eventually appear. Bush and Blair profess to be religious men, but by ignoring the cautions of all moral and religious leaders on this earth, they are going to have to face the judgement of the final Arbitrator in the next.

Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle, the Cow Jumped Over the Moon - Well not quite - but the two cows that escaped from Donegal mart last week did manage to jump over a few things before being recaptured by forces that included fire brigade, gardai, veterinary surgeon and locals.

Rising Costs Worry Traders
Escalating Insurance Premiums causing concern

A worried looking Maurice Timony considers he is not getting value for the rates that he is paying.

A survey of business people in Donegal Town by this paper has found that many traders are being crippled by charges that have escalated over the past three years. In particular, insurance premiums, rates, council charges and new wage legislation are being blamed for putting the future of small and medium size firms in jeopardy. The Irish Business and Employers Confederation has warned that a number of companies in the south of the county are in serious difficulties because of these rapidly rising costs.
According to IBEC’s Regional Director, Mr Padraig O’Grady, their office in Donegal Town had been inundated with ‘absolute horror stories’ regarding insurance costs from organisations in the region.
“Many companies engaged in building, haulage, restaurants, hotels are being asked for increases above 90%” Mr O’Grady said.
Claiming that Ireland was ‘seriously out of line’ with the rest of Europe, Mr. O’Grady explained that we have the highest premiums, despite the fact that we have the second lowest accident rate in the EU.
“For every €100 a company pays for insurance in Ireland, similar companies in England pay €34 while that figure drops to just €13 in the Netherlands - which places us at a major disadvantage. The spiralling cost of insurance will cost the North West region jobs and will lead to the closure of otherwise profitable companies”, Mr. O’Grady said.

Donegal Times sent reporter Margaret Gallagher out to talk to traders in this town in order to assess the effect these charges are having on their companies.

Jim White, Managing Director of the Abbey and Central Hotels, “Insurance premiums have gone up three times in 18 months. The Abbey insurance has gone from €27,000 to €105,000. The problem is - legal fees are so high that insurance companies are settling out of court. This has to stop.”

Anne Leonard, Under the Hat feels that although insurance has gone up 20% in the last year, rates and Council charges are more of a problem.
Brian Gallagher of the Blueberry Tearooms says that insurance costs have doubled since last year. But that is not the only difficulty that small businesses face, according to Brian, costs associated with health and safety legislation are also a big factor, especially in the food sector. He feels that people in catering have so many rules and regulations to meet, that it is driving their costs through the roof.
Michael Breslin, Pier 1, said that in his first year of business he saw insurance premiums rise by 50%.
Insurance costs of the Waterbus have risen 15% last year to a current figure of €7,500.
Maurice Timony, Timony News, “Current employment legislation is killing enterprise. The cost of employing staff over a weekend in now prohibitive. We are getting no value for money paid in rates.”
Ernan McGettigan, Michael McGettigan & Son Butchers “Insurance premiums have risen 90% in the past three years with veterinary fees and rendering charges up 300%.” Ernan feels that the bubble has burst and that the economy is on its way down.
Daniel Ward, The Voyage Bar, found it hard to even get a quote for insurance. Said no company wants to touch pubs - very critical of Bertie and the Government, claiming they are not interested in the problems of small businesses.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-73-22860 Fax: +353-73-22937