Get OFF the mobile phone: NOW!

December 22, 2007

So.. you have been told that it dangerous and that you can driver.jpgget someone, other than yourself, killed by doing it but there are those who continue with the practice. Don’t say you weren’t warned when you are, quite rightly, chucked in jail.

Read this Guardian report – Jail risk for motorists who use mobile phones while driving – of the latest attempts to get people to stop driving and using their mobile phones at the same time makes interesting reading:-

Motorists who use mobile phones while driving could be jailed for up to two years under new guidelines published by prosecutors yesterday.

Endangering drivers and pedestrians while using a handheld mobile phone, satellite navigation system or iPod at the wheel will now be treated as dangerous driving rather than careless driving. The change means that drivers face up to two years in prison, the maximum penalty for dangerous driving, instead of the £5,000 fine and penalty points under a careless driving prosecution.

And it goes on:- Read the rest of this entry »


Policeman shot in Dungannon

November 12, 2007

An off-duty officer has been shot a number of times as he sat in his car at traffic lights on Circular rira.jpgRoad in Dungannon at about 5.30pm. The officer was able to drive to Dungannon Police Station. He has been taken to Craigavon Area Hospital where he is said to be in a stable condition.

The attack comes hard on the heels of last week’s shooting of an off-duty police officer in Bishop Street, Derry. To-day, that attack was claimed by the Real Irish Republican Army, a dissident group that was behind the 1998 Omagh bomb which claimed 29 lives.

Few people will welcome this upsurge in Real IRA activity.

Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister, said:

“These people are attempting to plunge our society back into conflict.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward called the attack as ” despicable and cowardly” and said:-

“I am confident that the vast majority of people here will ensure that this does not happen.”

I’m sure the vast majority of people agree with that sentiment. The last thing we need is another attempted murder.

What is important at this time is to remember that only a VERY small number of very misguided individuals are involved in this organisation. Thankfully they do not enjoy any degree of support. If we all stay calm then the culprits will be found and isolated. Once that is done we can get on with our journey to peace.

The community’s thoughts are with the injured officer and his family. May he make a speedy and full recovery.


Open Season?

November 2, 2007

Sometimes the news here in Northern Ireland is unbelievable, like today as reported on the BBC website…

Youths on roof ‘not prosecuted’

roof2.jpgThe minister of an east Belfast church vandalised by youths has criticised a decision not to bring any prosecutions.

During the summer stained glass windows at St Donard’s in the Bloomfield area were smashed and its roof was damaged.

Pictures of children on the roof were taken, but the Public Prosecution Service has written to the church saying there is not enough evidence.

The rector, Rev Charles McCartney, has said he intends to appeal their decision.

“If the prosecution service don’t do this, then it sends a message to the young men involved that there’s nothing the police can do,” Rev McCartney.

“It says to the local people there’s no point ringing the police, it also says to the police themselves ‘what’s the point in taking a case’.

“Really, we’re back to square one and in a way Bloomfield has been told it’s open season.”

I had a look at the Church of Ireland website and a statement made by the Rev Harold Millar the Bishop of Down and Dromore. Back in September he highlighted issues which included…

  • The abuse of places of worship.
  • The inadequacy of community policing.
  • The lack of common sense.

He stated

The inadequacy of community policing. For whatever reason, the story of policing this past week at St Donard’s is the all-too-common cry of ordinary citizens in their own homes and lives: The lack of visibility of police on the streets, the difficulty in getting hold of police in the community, the slow response in situations which means that it is too late to catch those who are committing the crime, and the perceived response, ‘There’s nothing we can do’.

It leaves decent everyday folk that encounter anti social behaviour regularly with questions like ‘Should we call the police?’ ‘What can the police do anyway?’ ‘Should I seek help to deal with this elsewhere?’