We look back at the stories that were making the headlines in the Andersonstown News this week in 1979
Agencies refuse to consult over Poleglass
AT a meeting on Wednesday night organised by the Falls Community Council, representatives of all the Government agencies involved in the building of Poleglass refused to accept that there was a need for consultation with the community in West Belfast about Poleglass.
The meeting was organised by the Falls Community Council because of the lack of public knowledge about the development. In a statement issued after the meeting the Community Council said “everybody in West Belfast supports and welcomes the Poleglass development, but we are concerned that the mistake made in other new housing estates will be repeated. The meeting confirmed that there was every cause for concern, the planners are making the same mistakes all over again only the Government refuses to consult with us.”
The statement listed five reasons for concern over Poleglass:
a) Community facilities will not be available to the new residents as of right; all facilities will be in the control of the Church or Government Departments
b) Totally inadequate provision is being planned for shopping, schooling, recreation and health.
c) The facilities that are being provided are to be made even more inadequate by the fact that temporary dwellings are to be used.
d) The Government refuses to guarantee that allocation of the houses will be on the basis of the points system.
e) Officials are still unable to state clearly how much of the publicly vested land will be sold off to private speculation.
“It would appear,” a spokesperson for the Community Council said, “that the Government is intent on extending the social and environmental deprivation of West Belfast to Poleglass. Not only will enough new houses not be built, but adequate services and facilities will not be provided.”
The group stresses that the real need is for 4,000 houses and that the original commitment to the homeless of West Belfast should be met.
THE new Belfast Household Survey provides cast iron proof that direct rule has not brought justice to Catholics in Belfast.
The unemployment, the bad housing and the overcrowding have got worse instead of better.
Those, like Conor Cruise O’Brien, who loudly sing the praises of the anti-democratic Stormont junta should study the statistics of this report. It surely provides a damning indictment of British rule in the Six Counties, from the foundation of the statelet until the present day.
The housing and economic problems were deliberately created by the cynical bigoted Orangemen of the old Stormont regime. But that regime was merely the tool of the imperial parliament. Its policies were warmly supported until the explosion of 1969. Then the organ grinder took over from his monkey.
Today, we are ruled by a regime which, on the evidence of its own statistics, is totally unable to solve the real problems of the people. It is now clear that the Atkins administration, like the Mason administration, is shamefully incompetent.
The new Unionist leader, Mr James Molyneaux, has seen fit to call for a further five years of direct rule. Nothing could more clearly demonstrate that the man is half-wit. For the sake of progress, for the sake of common sense, and for the sake of self-respect, these British bunglers must go.
Teachers’ unions bowing to bigotry of their members
SOME members of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation are angry at the attitude being adopted by the other teachers’ unions here regarding the one day holiday for the Pope’s visit.
They feel that the Ulster Teacher’s Union and the National Association of Schoolmasters, while denying opposition to the Pope’s visit are simply bowing to the wishes of some of their extreme loyalist members, who are completely opposed to any recognition of the Pope’s visit.
The UTU and the NAS stated that their members were being put under intolerable pressure in deciding whether to take the holiday or not, and had asked that they be allowed to take the holiday on an alternative date.
However, some feel that Mr David Allen, secretary of the UTU and former Protestant Loyalist Councillor from Antrim, is only articulating his members’ extreme loyalist views and who are in opposition to the Pope’s visit. Mr Al Mackie, Northern Secretary of the INTO, regretted that his union, which is the biggest here, had not been consulted before the other unions issued their public statements.
The minister in charge of education, Lord Elton, has since stated that those schools which do not take the October the first holiday, will not be granted a day in lieu.