We look at the stories that were making the headlines this week in 1982
Turning up the heat in Twinbrook
A UNIQUE Housing Executive exhibition in Twinbrook last week was visited by a continuous stream of local residents anxious to select a new type of heating for their homes.
Following an Executive decision to disconnect Twinbrook from the central oil heating system householders have been given an opportunity to choose whether they wish to receive coal or electric heating conversions. Anyone whom the Executive regard as a squatter will be disconnected from the system but will not receive full central heating.
The display in St Mark's Primary School was attended by representatives of the Coal Advisory and Electricity Services who explained the benefits of their respective methods of heating. The NIES will be installing electric heating in the flats of the elderly and in the area's maisonettes.
Taking pride of place in the electricity exhibition was publicity for the new Economy 7 Off Peak Tariff. Economy 7 operates between midnight and 8p.m. and will, it is claimed, "heat your home cheaper".
The Parkrav room heater and the popular Trianco G boiler were featured in the Coal Advisory Service display. The majority of householders in Twinbrook are opting for the solid fuel central heating.
Pensioners’ flats at Glasvey Gardens have already been disconnected from the central system and their homes had been converted to electric central heating. Work on all other homes on the estate will begin in October.
Streets on the periphery of the central fuel system, which have suffered most due to its inadequacies, will be the first to be converted to the new systems.
The Housing Executive hope to have a start made on all houses in the area by October '83 with 50% per cent being completed by the same date.
The success or otherwise, of the new scheme will be monitored by the Housing Executive. The exhibition will be returning to the estate over the Christmas holidays.
Language rights for prisoners
CONRADH na Gaelige, Ireland's leading Irish language organisation, is studying the "position regarding Irish language publications in prisons in the Six Counties", with a view to highlighting present restrictions on Gaelic literature.
The British Home Office has replied to an enquiry from the Conradh on the language issue by stating that "the regulations covering books and periodicals apply equally to publications in the Irish language as to those in any other language."
However, in practice there has been a total ban on Irish books and newspapers in Long Kesh. Earlier this year, a sub-editor of the Irish Times was unsuccessful in an attempt to send the Irish language novel Peig into a H-Block prisoner. Irish is now the dominant language in the H-Blocks, the majority of the inmates having learned it during the lengthy no-wash and blanket protests.
The 26 Counties Minister for Justice Gerry Collins, has also stated recently that he believed "an attempt should be made to cater for prisoners in the North who are interested in Irish. The claim came in a letter to Conradh General Secretary Sean Mac Mathuna. In the same letter, the minister said he would be “raising the question with the English authorities."
Recently 70 Gaelgeoirs from the H-Blocks applied for admission to Conradh na Gaellge.
Editorial: New bishop and new dialogue
WHEN the Reverend William Philbin was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor in 1962, he was only 55 years of age.
A noted Irish scholar and accomplished academic with some bishopric experience behind him, he looked to be the perfect choice for this complex, and often trying diocese. Yet just the opposite was true. As years went by, he isolated himself more and more from his flock, and in later years rarely ventured forth, except for church functions.
Reliable sources tell of his anger at the Catholic people of Belfast in August 1969, whom he believed to be responsible for the disturbances in the city, and that it was only with some difficulty he was persuaded that the apposite was true, and eventually called for the protection of the British Army for the people of Ardoyne.
Dr. Philbin is a man of many accomplishments with a great spiritual integrity, but his passing from the Down and Connor scene will not be mourned by many of his beleaguered flock. Despite all this, we wish him all the best in his retirement.
Dr. Philbin's successor, Bishop Cathal Daly, is a completely different personality, certain to maintain a high profile on political matters – he is reputed to have written the Pope's Drogheda speech – while at the same time defending the conservative status quo of the present hierarchy. His appointment can only be viewed in political terms at the present time, since he is 65 years of age which is rather old for new appointments, considering that all the bishops appointed in recent years have been in their 40's or 50's. Dr. Daly will be more approachable than Dr. Philbin, and more outspoken on political matters.
Although we have disagreed profoundly in the past with his analysis of the situation here, we welcome the dialogue he will initiate when he comes here to live in our midst.