30/10/2009

Other NI News In Brief

PSNI's 50% Recruitment To End

The government is to consult on the 50:50 PSNI recruitment provisions, and intends to renew this legislation in March 2010 for a further, final year. Over 27% of serving PSNI officers are from a Catholic background and, with the 50-50 provisions in place for one more year, current projections indicate that the PSNI will have 30% Catholic composition by 2011, as set out in the Patten Report. Once the 30% target has been reached, the legislation will come to an end. NIO Minister, Paul Goggins said: "Since the introduction of the temporary provisions in 2001, tremendous progress has been made towards a more representative police service. At the time of the Patten report, Catholic composition stood at just 8.3%, today it is 27.58%. I will return to Parliament and end the provisions as soon as the 30% target has been met," he said today.

Cash For RUC(R)

Around 9,000 ex RUC reservists could benefit from a £20m payment to recognise the former members of the police part-time force's service in Northern Ireland. A letter from the Prime Minister to the DUP Leader Peter Robinson - which Sinn Féin Junior Minister Gerry Kelly obtained by mistake - was sent to the office of the First and Deputy First Minister. Mr Kelly said today that it was a government attempt to "buy off the DUP" and said the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness told the Prime Minister that such payments would be "wrong and unacceptable". However, it is understood the demand was contained in an eight-page letter given to Mr Brown by the DUP during negotiations.

Derry Taxi Firm Robbed

A taxi firm in Londonderry have been robbed at gunpoint. The police said up to four men wearing scarves and carrying guns robbed the premises on William Street on Thursday night. Nobody was hurt, but a significant amount of cash was taken.

Deer Hunters Targeted
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Organised gangs as well as small groups operating independently are being blamed on an upsurge of illegal deer poaching along the Co Fermagagh border area. Local conservationists are warning the public not to approach those involved as they can be very dangerous individuals, but instead to report sightings to the police as soon possible. Today, it has emerged that the police have made seizures of dead deer in the Irvinestown area following reports that the two female red deer had been shot. Chief Inspector Graham Dodds told the BBC that the period in the run-up to Christmas was the worst time for deer poaching. "Poachers target deer indiscriminately and have no respect for females with dependant or suckling young," he said.

Border Shoppers Pay To Park

Shopping centres in Northern Ireland have introduced parking fees to cope with the huge influx of Republic shoppers over the Christmas period. The first of the festive cross-border consumers made their exodus north during the October bank holiday weekend and shopping centre managers are reporting a year-on-year increase in consumer numbers with the management at the various centres keen to avoid the "chaotic scenes" which were witnessed last year. Shoppers were involved in punch-ups over shopping trolleys, while PSNI officers were called to break up a fight between two men arguing over a parking space in the run up to Christmas. For example, the Quays Shopping Centre in Newry has introduced parking charges to prevent people, who do not use the site's facilities, from parking all day.

Builder Fined Over Death

A leading NI builder, John Graham, Dromore Ltd have been fined following the death of one of their workforce because of an avoidable accident. Grahams were fined a total of £65,000 for breaches in the Health and Safety legislation which led to the death of 53-year-old Gerald Morgan. He was crushed to death when a 'telly handler' truck moving tubs of cement reveresed over him as he was shifting rubble on the site of the old Ormeau Bakery in Belfast on February 8th last year. Belfast Crown Court heard this week that the driver of the reversing truck, which could not be turned because of the limited space, did not even realise he'd run over Mr Morgan until he was driving back to pick up another load of mortar.

(BMcC/KMcA)

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