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Irish Examiner Saturday 12.10.2013
B&B owner abused daughter from age of 5
Ad executive gets €51k for unfair firing by Stephen Rogers
■ Father pleads guilty to indecent and sexual assault by Jimmy Woulfe Mid-West Correspondent The horror secrets of a welcoming family-run B&B in the idyllic village of Adare unfolded yesterday. Guest house owner Oliver Haskett for years inflicted a reign of depraved sexual terror on his daughter Sheila which drove her to the verge of suicide, Limerick Circuit Court heard. Haskett, now aged 61 and living in Westbury, Limerick, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of indecently assaulting his daughter between Jan 1988 and Dec 1990 and to a further 20 counts of sexually assaulting her between Jan 1991 and Dec 1995. The abuse started when Sheila was aged five and the family was living in Foynes. Outlining the abuse Michael Collins, counsel for the DPP, said the victim, who is now married, was waiving her right to anonymity and her right that the accused, her father, not be named. Garda Elaine Freemantle, Foynes, said the victim made a statement to gardaí about the abuse in Sept 2008. She produced a letter she had received from her
father, in which he apologised for abusing her over the years in their various family homes in Foynes, Kilcornan, and latterly Adare. Over the years there was an atmosphere of correction and control over the family members, who were dominated by Haskett. The abuse started when Sheila was 5 and there was a strict regime in the home, where she was chastised for matters such as mispronouncing words. Haskett photographed Sheila naked in the home and when they were on holidays in 1985 and 1986. Haskett’s wife at the time, Sheila’s mother, kept a “bold list” which he would get each evening and mete out punishment accordingly. There was ongoing abuse and Sheila told gardaí there was an element of fear, and she felt there was no escape. In 1991, the family moved to Adare where they ran a B&B, and Sheila at this time had started secondary school. When she was aged 16, one night after coming home, Haskett brought her to a room in the B&B, took off her bra and panties and abused her. When she was 17 he took
her to a bedroom and again sexually abused her. Mr Collins read out a victim impact statement in which Sheila recalled trying to commit suicide and ending up in hospital with alcohol poisoning. She also suffered from eating disorders as a result of the abuse. There was great sadness in her life due to her lost innocence. Her ambitions had not been fulfilled as she could not apply herself to her education due to the ongoing abuse. She drank to block out the pain and still receives treatment for depression. Her childhood had been lost to the dysfunction in her family and her formative years had been immersed in it. When she had been in a romantic relationship, she suffered flashbacks. She said her mother facilitated the abuse. Pat Barriscale, defence counsel, said Haskett was undergoing a programme of treatment which should lower the risk of re-offending if he continued his treatment long-term. Haskett, he said, had given his daughter €166,000 compensation from the sale of an investment property. Judge Carroll Moran said
Oliver Haskett: Told by the judge that he is facing a prison sentence after assaults on his daughter in their family homes in Foynes, Kilcornan, and Adare, Co Limerick. it was a difficult and particularly serious case involving the abuse of a daughter by her father. He ordered
Haskett’s name be placed on the sex offenders’ register and adjourned sentence to Oct 24.
Remanding Haskett in custody, Judge Moran said that there would be a prison sentence.
Get up and walk: Wheelchair left behind on public transport by Stephen Rogers The healing power of travel has often been asserted but, if the items left on Irish buses and trains are anything to go by, one would think public transport had the capacity to perform miracles. The National Transport
Authority has revealed the 10 most bizarre items left behind after travellers have disembarked after their journey. In two cases the journey may have had healing powers, because the passengers left behind a wheelchair and a blood pressure/heart rate monitor. There is also evidence that bohemian pastimes can sometimes
lead to a slightly forgetful disposition — three of the other most bizarre items left behind were a 5ft tall artist’s canvas; a lava lamp; and, particularly strange, a life-sized cardboard cutout of Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers — but that may have been a bit of a “le freak” occurrence. Two passengers must have been
hopping mad with themselves after one managed to forget his/her box of live crickets and the other left a fluffy rabbit onboard. The NTA also provided a list of the 10 most often forgotten items. Among the less surprising objects were umbrellas, coats, hold-alls, and wallets. However, again the healing
power of public transport was to the fore as walking sticks featured among the most neglected. Some trips must also be significantly long because passengers who needed a buggy for their child at time of boarding manage to teach the infant to walk by journey’s end and, therefore, managed to leave the pram behind.
The Galway Advertiser has been ordered to pay €51,000 to a former advertising executive after the Employment Appeals Tribunal found that he was unfairly dismissed. The man, who had been employed by the weekly free newspaper for three years, was let go after one of the company’s employees complained that he had emailed confidential information about a particular advertisement to another advertiser. The complaint was referred to the managing director and the man’s line manager, a sales manager, was asked to carry out the investigation. The employee was suspended pending the outcome of that investigation. A disciplinary hearing was chaired by the sales manager. On the following day, the man was dismissed for “gross misconduct”. At an appeal hearing chaired by the managing director, the decision to dismiss was upheld. The managing director told the tribunal that, as a free weekly paper, the company depended on advertisements for revenue; the information, which had been emailed to a competing client contained confidential information not previously in the public domain; advertisements had to be kept confidential until they were published; and the claimant’s actions amounted to a fundamental breach of trust. He did not accept that the claimant’s action was an accident. The complainant said he had sent an email to a competitor which he believed appeared in another publication and was already in the public domain. He said he accepted it
was a mistake to assume the advert had already been published the previous day. He said the purpose of sending the email was only to save time and for no personal gain. In its ruling, the tribunal said gross misconduct “generally presupposes intentional and deliberate misconduct” but in this case the sending of the email was a “time-saving exercise, motivated by expediency”. There was no evidence of malfeasance on the claimant’s part. It also said there was no evidence of loss of business or revenue by the respondent. The tribunal also said the person who made the initial complaint was not identified, depriving the complainant of the opportunity of offering an explanation for his actions. The tribunal said the independence of the managing director in hearing the appeal was open to question, in that he had already been involved in the investigatory process on the date of the claimant’s suspension. It also said the company had failed to consider alternative sanctions. “From the factual evidence, and in the light of explanations offered, it was clear that the respondent acted unreasonably under the circumstances,” the tribunal ruled. “The decision to dismiss the claimant was excessive and disproportionate to the gravity of the complaint.” It said the claimant was unfairly dismissed and awarded him €51,000 under the Unfair Dismissals Acts. It further awarded him €800 as the equivalent of two weeks’ gross pay, in lieu of notice under the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts.
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Irish Examiner Saturday 12.10.2013
Families forced to cut annual sun holidays
Gamers get set for battle
by Audrey Ellard Walsh
Gamers are set to pit their skills against each other at Ireland’s first professional electronic sports event next month. Irish startup, n00b gaming, will host the eSports professional video game competition in Cork, with a €10,000 prize fund on offer for the top Starcraft gamers. N00b gaming, founded in Cork last March, say over 200 people have registered for their n00b c0n event already. And they expect to have more prizes announced in the coming weeks. The two-day event will include exhibits, casual gaming and four pay-in tournaments. N00b gaming founder Paul Allen, a duty manager with Voxpro, said the concept of facilitating Irish e-sports was something he always envisioned, but he never imagined it would take off like it has. “It’s just something I messed around with in the evenings after work. I didn’t think it was actually going to become a full-on compa-
■ But more over-50s take to skies by Catherine Shanahan
From left: Gamer Kristina Krasimirova with Kevin Sanderson and Paul Allen, of n00b gaming, gearing up for n00b con, Ireland’s first professional e-sports event, which will take place on Nov 16 and 17 in Cork’s Rochestown Park Hotel. Picture: Daragh McSweeney ny. Once we started to see numbers we started to build plans behind it,” he said. The site has more than 2,500 members and is growing. From initially
running 32 to 64 player knock-out tournaments, they now run large leagues, with 400 games played in last month’s tournament. E-sports is a multibillion-
dollar industry, with professional players and commentators earning a living online and attending offline conventions. The United States, South
Korea, Sweden, and Japan have embraced it, but until now there has been no dedicated company for it in Ireland. N00b c0n takes place on
Nov 16 and 17 in the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork. ● Tickets will be available from www.n00bgaming.com or on the day.
Coroner: Cannabis use putting young people at risk of stroke by Gareth Naughton Heavy use of high-potency cannabis is putting young people at risk of stroke, a leading specialist told an inquest. Consultant stroke physician Joseph Harbison told Dublin Coroner’s Court that doctors at St James’s Hospital have seen “five or six cases” of young people having strokes following the use of herbal cannabis in the past three years. The strokes may be
linked to the increased potency of cannabis available in Ireland over that period, he said. He was speaking at an inquest into the death of 33-year-old Noel Boylan of Oliver Bond House in Dublin 8, who collapsed on Thomas St in the city centre on Aug 17 last year. Mr Boylan was taken to St James’s Hospital where he was treated for a suspected seizure but later developed a stroke. He
died in the hospital on Sept 2 when a blood clot travelled to his lungs. Following his death, Prof Harbison asked that an autopsy be carried out as Mr Boylan had been a regular cannabis smoker. The drug has been linked to strokes in young people but it is not known why. Until Mr Boylan’s death, it had not been possible to study blood vessels in the brain affected because few young people die from strokes and brain
biopsies are dangerous, the court heard. When the blood vessel was examined, they found the lining had “grossly thickened” and blocked off the artery, resulting in the stroke. Prof Harbison said this echoed findings in another of his patients, a heavy cannabis user who had had a blood vessel outside the brain biopsied after surviving a stroke. This raised concerns that the potency of cannabis available in
Ireland is affecting heavy users by irritating the lining of blood vessels, he said. “The cannabis available in and around Ireland at the moment is typically hydroponically grown [grown in water] and has a very high potency,” he said. “I now strongly suspect that we are seeing the consequences of younger people developing an arteriopathy [arterial disease] related to the direct irri-
tant effects of this new potent cannabis.” Returning a narrative verdict outlining the facts, coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that further research into the link between high-potency cannabis and stroke is needed and that he hoped the case would generate debate in the medical community. Speaking following the inquest, Prof Harbison said that he did not believe that irregular users of the drug are at risk.
Cash-strapped families are cutting back on the annual sun holiday while the over-50s are taking to the skies more, according to the head of the Irish Travel Agents’ Association (ITAA). Speaking at the association’s annual conference in Granada, Spain, CEO Pat Dawson said while the number of older travellers was on the rise, families were increasingly replacing the annual sun holiday with a trip abroad every two years instead. “The family end of the business has taken a hit, no doubt about it,” he said. “They’re certainly looking for value [for money]. Many used to go yearly in the good old days, maybe twice. It’s back to every second year now.” The excellent Irish summer this year also impacted heavily on family travel, he said, with many choosing to holiday at home. “The six to eight weeks of good weather certainly affected trade in Ireland big time. The airlines had a downturn and so therefore we had a downturn. It was something nobody could see coming. “Most of our business in January and February was up by 20%-30%, so everyone assumed this was going to be a fantastic year. Then the sunshine arrived. Any travel agent or tour operator in Ireland that breaks even or makes a small profit this year will have done very well.” ITAA member Hugh
Bruton of Brittany Ferries said while a lot of families had cut out a second break during the year, their experience during the summer months had been positive. “Our company saw an increase of 9%-10%, with the emphasis on June, when it’s cheaper for people to travel rather than during the peak months of July and August.” He said getting bookings was “all about maintaining prices” and his company’s prices had remained largely static since 2009. In relation to the growth at the older end of the market, Mr Dawson said it had contributed significantly to the €978m turnover among ITAA members. “The over-50s market is very, very strong because many are on decent pensions. Bookings for this age group are particularly strong during the shoulder seasons ie April, May, September, October. “Those people are very flexible, they can travel any time and they certainly have more disposable income. They haven’t really been hit as badly as the younger sector of the population.” Roz Walsh, sales director of travelfox.ie, said cruises were particularly popular among older age groups. “We can do first-time cruises to the Mediterranean starting from €459, all in, flights, transfers, food, the lot. People are looking for value for money and want to pay for their holiday up front,” she said. Travel agents also reported growth in the corporate end of the market.