The Week: News highlights from Ireland, here, and around the world…
Irish wildfire reveals huge hidden ‘Eire’ signal from Second World War
Irish helicopters discovered a forgotten Second World War landmark, after a wildfire on Bray Head revealed a huge stone “Eire 8” sign along the Irish coast.
The large gorse fire on Bray Head two weeks ago exposed the sign which was originally used to warn air crews of their location in neutral Irish territory.
The word Eire means Ireland in the Irish language. The Defence Forces Air Corps noticed the landmark from above while assisting emergency services as they put the fire out. The sign had been hidden for years by thick undergrowth.
“The signs themselves are quite common on the west coast but unusual on the east,” an Air Corps spokesperson said.
“The Air Corps helped put the fire out and then the Garda helicopter, which we fly, noticed the sign emerging from the past.”
In some of the 83 signs placed around the Irish coast, up to 165 tons of stone were used to create the navigational aides. Many of the signs, which were carved into headlands for both Allied and German pilots, are still visible and have been restored by volunteers in recent years.
The Eire signs were also given lookout post numbers at the request of the US Air Force. It helped American bomber pilots navigate across the Atlantic.
Head of British Army hits out at ‘vexatious’ Troubles claims
The newly appointed head of the British Army has come under fire from some politicians in Northern Ireland for saying that some of the many lawsuits and legal action taken against soldiers for wrongful deaths and other harm during the Troubles are “vexatious claims”.
Sinn Féin said his remarks had been “insulting and hurtful” and that he had of insulted the families of people injured or killed by British troops. Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter said the British Army had done a “remarkable job” in Northern Ireland and said that some veterans were being “chased by people making vexatious claims” of wrongdoing.
“That will not happen on my watch,” he said.
Kenyan-born Sir Nick, a Green Jacket, served in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He promised that soldiers facing investigation would be looked after “to the best of our ability”.
He told reporters at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire: “It is right and proper that if our soldiers have done something wrong then they should clearly be investigated…but only if they have done something wrong.”
Some Tory MPs have insisted that British Army veterans should be given amnesty from prosecution for killings or injuries during The Troubles or called for a statute of limitations. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said he is prepared to look at “all options” to protect veterans including a universal amnesty that would cover paramilitaries as well, if that is the price of protecting the soldiers. Ireland is opposed to a statute of limitations and says it would breach the Good Friday Agreement.
Office of the Foreign Minister and Tánaiste Simon Coveney said: “The government’s position is that the rule of law, including the requirement under article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, for effective investigations of unlawful killings, must be upheld by all responsible authorities.”
Worker gets thousands for late night emails
Ireland’s Labour Court awarded thousands of euros to an employee expected to answer emails in out of work hours. Business development executive Gráinne O’Hara was awarded €7,500 when the Labour Court ruled that Kepak Convenience Foods in Blanchardstown had repeatedly breached the Organisation of Working Time Act, which sets the maximum working week at 48 hours.
The court heard she had been contracted to work 40 hours a week but actually worked 60 hours and had to reply to emails after midnight. She worked at Kepak from July 2016 to April last year.
She showed the court copies of emails she had received or sent outside her working hours. Her former employer insisted that Ms O’Hara had undertaken the same volume of work as other members of staff, none of whom worked more than 48 hours a week and her work, efficiently done, could not have exceeded that. The court noted that the company had not produced a full file of Ms O’Hara’s emails and had offered nothing to contradict her evidence on that front.
The court said it found Ms O’Hara was a credible witness and accepted her evidence as the company had offered nothing to contradict her documentary evidence. It said the company would have been aware of the hours she was working but it had taken no action to curtail them.
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