It’s the law of the jungle - Housing Executive chiefs in Derry are being forced to consider evictions to deal with the epidemic of squatting in the city. Derry now has the biggest squatting problem in Northern Ireland as squatters are grabbing one out of every three houses which become vacant. Executive District Manager, Mr Sam McPherson told the ‘Journal’ this week; “It’s the law of the jungle.” He said the whole housing system was under threat. There are squatters in 242 houses in his District Number One, which takes in most of the cityside. And this is despite the move to ‘legalise’ 150 squatters in recent months. “It’s worrying the hell out of us at the moment - it’s almost becoming a way of life,” Mr McPherson said. “It’s a very, very difficult situation. Because of the connotations of evictions in Ireland we didn’t want to get into that, but we’re going to have to consider eviciting squatters from the premises.”
Dont make cuts until you get facts, say teachers - The Derry branch of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) is calling on members of the Western Education and Library Board to postpone their decision regarding cuts to the further education budget “at least until they are in full possession of the facts concerning their likely impact on the North West College of Technology.” In a statement issued through their chairperson, Robin Percival, NATFHE argue that Board members have not been told in detail the likely effect of cuts on the college and that they should resist any attempt to impose cuts until they are fully aware of exactly what they are doing.
Joe’s Hackney ‘business’ doing well - A Derry man with a rather unusual hobby, hackney pony driving, has just returned from England with major honours in the sport. Joe Quigg, from Hillview, Prehen, competed in the prestigious South of England Show’s National Hackney Event and lifted three first prizes and two second prizes. But what may have pleased Joe more than anything was the fact that he has now earned the distincition of becoming not only the first Derry man, but also the first Irish man to bring back a first prize from a show in England. At the event in Ardingley, Joe was placed first in the novice pony class, was awarded the reserve champion in the novice section and was presented with the whip for best amateur driver. And to add to that haul, he was also placed second in the amateur class and open class. But Joe didn’t stop there. He came straight back to the Ballymena show where he took first place again in the hand class and the pony driving class. Major honours indeed for the Derry man but as Joe explains, it is something of a team effort between himself and his little pony, ‘Lissue Master Midas.’