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Monday 11 December 2017

In Brief: U-turn on embassy, Paisley denied visa

THE government was warned against jeopardising Ireland's potentially lucrative exports market with Iran by closing its Tehran embassy – all to save the modern-day equivalent of €259,000 a year.

Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Collins had examined the consequences of shutting down the embassy after the previous government had decided to close it "as a money-saving measure". But the department said the minister was satisfied there were "compelling reasons" for reversing that decision and that he was supported in his view by several other government departments.

Jail cuts sparked fears

MOVES to cut the overtime of prison officers led to predictions that the country's prisons could be "wrecked" within hours by rioting prisoners.

Government officials feared the "destruction" of some jails – including Portlaoise – as a dispute flared between the Department of Justice and prison officers over moves to reduce costs by cutting down on overtime.

Princess mourned

PRESIDENT Patrick Hillery reflected the shock of the Irish nation on learning of the tragic death of Princess Grace of Monaco – who had Irish roots – in a car accident in the south of France in September 1982.

In a message conveyed to Prince Rainier of Monaco, the president said, "The Irish people share my great sadness at the loss of a figure for whom they had such deep affection and regard and in whom they took immense pride."

US vetoed Paisley visa

FORMER US president Ronald Reagan was behind a decision to revoke Ian Paisley's visa in 1981 as a result of his "divisive tone", which was feared would hamper reconciliation between the two sides in Northern Ireland.

A communication from the British embassy in Washington, released by the UK National Archives, shows how President Reagan's deputy secretary of state, Judge William Clark, blocked Dr Paisley's US visa, but with the backing of his superior.

Data demand refused

EXASPERATED civil servants refused a demand from colleagues for statistics, warning it would effectively shut down an entire section for over a week.

State archives reveal tensions between two state agencies – the Department of Social Welfare and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) – over the compilation of data in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Irish Independent

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