We look at the stories that were making the headlines this week in 1983

Trail of destruction in Lenadoon and Stewartstown

FOR the second consecutive week joy-riders in the Lenadoon and Stewartstown area have left a trail of destruction in their wake. 

Joy-riders who stole a van in the Stewartstown area proceeded to ram and vandalise other vehicles.

This latest wave of 'carbashing’ began in the early hours of Monday morning and residents were disturbed from their sleep by a continuous barrage of banging and smashing. 

On rising, car-owners were shocked to find their cars badly dented and wind-screens shattered. 

"It's sickening to think that these hooligans get their fun at the expense of ordinary working people," said one stunned and angry car-owner.

It was later discovered that a grey van was one vehicle used by some joy-riders who were armed with axes and iron bars.

’Murph Women’s events

AN unprecedented scheme to help women, and single parent families in particular, will be launched in the Ballymurphy area next Tuesday. 

A Womens' Information Day in the Ballymurphy Tenants' Association on 12th April, will be the first public event undertaken by project organisers The Upper Springfield Resource Centre.

“The Women’s Project,” said one of the organisers, "has been set up in response to the massive problems faced by women who in many cases feel isolated and forgotten about."

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. local women are being invited to drop in and meet representatives from various Belfast organisations. Displays will be set up and groups participating include Rape Crisis Centre, the Equal Opportunities Commission, E.H.S.S.B. and Women’s Aid. A creche and coffee bar will be provided during the day.

A spokesperson for the Resource Centre explained the background to the unique project.

"We want to raise peoples' awareness of the contribution made by women to the life of the community. This could be done through the development of education and support networks throughout the community. 

"We especially hope to provide support for single parent families. Surveys we carried out before recent demolition, showed 25 per cent of Moyard and 13 per cent of Ballymurphy families are single parent. 

"Our project would hope to break through the isolation felt by many of these women by providing them with opportunities to come together to take part in educational and recreational programmes."

The organisers hope a women’s group which will meet weekly, will develop out of the Information Day.

"We are hoping for a good turnout and we are stressing that the Information Day is not only for older women and mothers, but for all women from 16-up."

Editorial: Who will speak for the  people of the Six Counties?

THE controversy in the 26 Counties about the Abortion Referendum has created more discussion on human rights and freedom in one year, than the holocaust in the Six Counties has over the past 12 years. 

There is hardly a political party, church or social group which has not had its say on the matter, and made its position clear. This is how it should be and we welcome the discussion, but at the same time, we must ask why the Six County tragedy has not caused the same interest. 

Is it simply a lack of interest on the part of the general public, or a sense of shame at not doing something that prompts people to put it at the back of their mind? Or, is it a deliberate policy by the mass media and the major political parties to downgrade an issue that threatens to overwhelm them?

We think that it could be any one of these things, or a combination of all. But we also think that we members of the Nationalist community of the Six Counties must share part of the blame for letting our cause go by default. We have for too long allowed politicians and clerics to speak for us, and more often than not, tell us what we should want, rather than articulate our fears and aspirations in a truthful manner. We are afraid that the new Irish Forum is going to do exactly the same thing and give a platform to our so-called leaders, to tell us once again what we should want. 

Is it too grandiose, even at this late stage, to suggest some form of standing conference in the Six Counties, representative of the main Nationalist areas, and divorced as far as possible from all political parties, to discuss and report on the issues that affect us, the ordinary people and leave the politicians and clerics to speak for themselves.