Thursday 21 September 2017

1983 State Papers: Briefs

Alan Dukes
Alan Dukes

DAIL RESTAURANT ROW

THE government was forced to concede a supplementary estimate of IR£430,000 in 1983 -- to cover debts that forced the temporary closure of the Dail restaurant.

The restaurant closed for four days in October after a financial dispute between the contracted caterers and Finance Minister Alan Dukes.

On October 14, Mr Dukes brought a proposal for a supplementary estimate to cabinet to resolve the Dail restaurant crisis.

ABORTION POLL CONCERN

A CONFIDENTIAL government memo warned that the 1983 demands of the pro-life lobby for an abortion ban to be included in the Constitution "cannot be complied with by any formula of words".

Documents released as part of the state archives show increasing concern within the Department of Justice and the attorney-general's office over how to agree a formula of words for the proposed referendum -- and its possible future implications.

TERRORISM FEARS

THE possibility of strike action at a Meath factory generated a potential cross-border security headache 30 years ago.

Irish and British officials feared that if a shop-floor dispute developed at the Irish Industrial Explosive works in Enfield, an opportunity could be created for terrorists if explosive materials were imported into Ireland from the UK. However, the industrial row was defused after intense negotiations.

SMOKING BAN WARNING

THE government was warned that a ban on smoking could trigger higher spending on old-age pensions as people lived longer.

The warning came as part of a confidential 1983 government briefing on proposals to limit smoking in public buildings and on public transport.

ARMS INDUSTRY VETO

THE government warned the IDA that it would not favour the establishment in Ireland of any type of arms industry.

The warning came in a 1983 briefing note for cabinet on a proposal from a Ugandan/British firm to build personnel carriers in Ireland and create about 300 jobs.

LAW REFORM STYMIED

PLANS for law changes affecting children still branded as illegitimate hit a series of complications and legal heart-searching 30 years ago.

Official papers highlighted general support for the recommendation of the Law Reform Commission that the concept of illegitimacy should be ripped out of the statute book. But there was still a degree of caution in political circles over ways to tackle the reform. Eventually, in 1987, the Status of Children Act did away with the term "illegitimacy".

Irish Independent

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