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February 25th 2004

Justice will prevail

Polls show great American public deserting President

Probably the most radical right wing TV station in the free world is Fox News in the States. An avid backer of George W. and his ‘go get’em’ policy on Iraq, Fox’s presenters have, since the invasion, conducted a non-stop love-in with the president and his actions and an overt hate campaign against anyone who dared argue differently.
Leading the charge at the station was one Bill O’Reilly whose ‘O’Reilly Factor’ kept up a continuous barrage of abuse against those whom the show’s host perceived as being anti-Bush and the invasion of Iraq. But in a turn-around worthy of the conversion on the road to Damascus, the bold Bill has had second thoughts. In an interview with ABC TV in the States last week, Billy boy apologised to the nation for supporting Bush’s pre-war claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction saying “I am not pleased at all – and I think all Americans should be concerned about this”
But not just O’Reilly, another big supporter of Bush in the media was Rush Limbaugh, an extremist neo-conservative radio presenter, whose right-wing rants are legendary in the States. However, the words of poor Rush were slightly tarnished recently when he was put on trial for abuse of prescription drugs, and the unlawful acquisition of same. Rush went into rehab. and now, in his new lucid state, sees clearly the errors of past judgements. He has changed his mind about Dubya - worried, in particular, at his lack of fiscal restraint. On a recent program, Rush apologised “Bush has outspent Clinton, I hate to say this - I’m sorry, folks”.
So the right is in retreat - Bush on the back foot - reduced to passing out his dental records to prove he was not A.W.O.L. during his National Guard service in Alabama in the early 70’s. But at least one political commentator was not impressed, quipping “All that proves is that his mouth was there.”
With nine months still to the election, the US presidential campaign will have many twists and turns before the vote is taken. However, unless he shoots himself in the foot, John Kerry should end up as the man to face Bush. The latest opinion poll suggests that Kerry holds a present day 12 point lead over Dubya. For the sake of the great American people and a magnificent country whose image has been grossly tarnished by this administration, let us hope Mr Kerry goes on to defeat the sitting occupant.
Only by that happening can America begin to redeem itself in the eyes of the world and initiate the process of restoring its reputation for fairness, integrity and justice, a reputation enshrined in a constitution that has been grossly besmirched by the present incumbent, George W. Bush.

Changes at the Magee Shop

Well known faces depart landmark store

Relaxing in the Magee store yesterday - Darren Jervis, Jean Ellis and Michael Shallow

Photo: Jason McGarrigle

You will possibly notice some big changes in the Magee shop over the coming weeks. A decision has been made by top management to close the home furnishing departments located on the first floor. A consequence of this is the redundancy of two staff -Michael Shallow and Darren Jervis.
Retiring from the store is long time manager, Victor McKean who finishes at the end of this month following 27 years service, and canteen supervisor, Jean Ellis, also 27 years is leaving mid-March.
So big changes in both layout and personnel in the famous Diamond store.
But whereas Victor intends to ‘take it easy’, concentrate on his many interests and follow up the various things in life he always wanted to do, and Jean will help out in the family business ‘Ashtree Garden Centre’, Michael Shallow is about to take on a new challenge. With the blessing of Lynn Temple, Mickey is setting up his own company ‘Michael Shallow Interiors’ which will carry on the same business in which he has achieved a high level of expertise “I have often thought of doing this” Michael told the Times “and the decision to close Furnishings in Magee gave me the impetus I needed.”
Operating from a home office in Ballybofey, Michael will service the county and farther, as an interior design consultant making use of the great experience gained in working on such contracts as Harvey’s Point, the old Central under Mrs Hyland and the Abbey Hotel when Mary Breslin called the shots.
“I already have a good bit of work on my books” said Michael “and I know that the good relationship I have built up with clients over 23 years with Magee, will serve me well. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Temple family for 23 years of employment and their kindness to me over all those years, and I would like to wish the company many years of further success”.
We wish Michael all the best and, if you have a design or decorating job coming up, his address is - 65, The Beeches, Navenny, Ballybofey. Phone 074 9190233; Mobile 0879179139

Nicked at the butt

Vintners huff and puff - but minister sees light and tips smokers out into cold

Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin, TD, has announced that the smoking in the workplace ban will be implemented in Ireland from March 29th 2004. Enforcement of the ban will be carried out by Environmental Health Officers and by Inspectors of the Health and Safety Authority.
Speaking after the announcement the Minister said "First and foremost, this is a health and safety measure, the purpose of which is to offer protection to workers, and the public, who are exposed to the harmful and toxic effects of second-hand tobacco smoke, in workplaces.
"I am pleased that the way is now clear to enforce this important Legislation, which has the overwhelming support of the majority of people in Ireland.
"There can be no dispute over the damaging effects of tobacco and second hand-smoke. There can be no dispute about the health benefits of this measure. The Legislation has been introduced in the interest of health and in the interest of the Irish people. It is as a result of unequivocal expert advice, which states that the best way to protect workers from the effects of environmental tobacco smoke is through legislative measures." he said.

Good news for the 70 plus percent of Irish people who do not smoke and, though they mightn't believe it now, even better news for those who do and will kick the anti-social habit following the minister’s edict.
And some advice to the hospitality group who are threatening to fight 'The Ban'. Forget about it, boys - you're doing yourselves and your customers no favours. Any sector in the country that wishes to fight the abolition of a known health hazard will find few backers among our people. The vast majority of the population don't smoke, and in any democracy - majority rules!

The editorial in last weeks Derry People/Donegal News sums up the opinion of most people succiently and has little sympathy with objecting bar owners. Part of it read
‘Within minutes of the ministers announcement, Vintners' representatives were busy on air, on-line, and on fax machines, trotting out the now tired objections to the ban and reiterating threats of legal challenges while forecasting job losses and pub closures throughout the land. The predictability of the outcry was depressing, for not only have we heard it so often but because many of the objections have been found to be based on dodgy data.
There has been too much scaremongering; buses packed with drinkers will leave Donegal nightly for the North; there will never be another Tyrone couple married in Donegal; tourists will stay away in their droves; millions will be lost in tax revenue.
The main reason drinkers will leave Donegal is to avail of cheaper prices and many Tyrone couples might just like the idea of a smoke free day out. Tourists have often complained about smoky Irish pubs and the experience of elsewhere shows that more people actually visit the pub because of the healthier environment,
Recent figures show that publicans are indeed experiencing a downturn in trade and this has been attributed to the state of the economy and the prices they charge. In recent years, prices escalated away beyond inflation, and the euro changeover was exploited for more profit. No doubt a few customers will stay away in the early days of the ban and then perhaps, like other businesses, the publicans might look to their prices and the service they provide as a means of attracting them back.'

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-74-9722860 Fax: +353-74-9722937