11th April, 2002
Notice Board


MALICIOUS PHONE CALLS - The Bureau

Malicious Calls Bureau
The Bureau was launched by Telecom Eireann (now called Eircom) in April 1998. The Bureau works with the Gardai to help and advise victims of nuisance calls. Staff are trained to deal with situations where customers may be distressed or upset.
The Bureau stays in contact with the victim until the case has been resolved. In many cases the Bureau recommends changing to an unlisted
number; this solves the problem in most instances. In more serious cases, it advises the customer to report the problem to the Gardai. The Bureau sends a 'Call Logging Sheet' to the customer as a reminder to keep manual records of any unwelcome calls received. After examining the ease, the Gardai can request that Eircom trace calls made to the customer's number. Before this can be done, the customer needs to sign a form giving his consent allowing Eircom activate call tracing.
The Malicious Calls Bureau makes a report based on this information and sends it to the Gardai. It continues to liaise with the customer throughout this procedure.
Becoming ex-directory
The Bureau may offer you the choice of becoming ex-directory. This can be done immediately. The service is free of charge if it is being requested because of a malicious calls problem, and in these cases the caller is assigned a new number.
An unknown problem
It is difficult to assess the scale of the nuisance phone call problem, as so many cases are never reported. Eircom's Malicious Cal Is Bureau deals with around 30,000 complaints a year Most cases are resolved through advice from the Bureau on bow to deal with nuisance callers, or through changing to unlisted numbers. The Bureau estimates that around 15% of cases go on to more serious action.
In 1998 complaints were from 57% female customers, 41% male and 2% were businesses. Around 44% of complaints come from the 01 area alone; 56% are from the rest of the country.
There is also a variation in the types of calls complained about:
58% were threatening or abusive, 31% were silent, 9% were hoax calls and 20% were electronic errors. The most common of these is where a fax machine has been mistakenly programmed to continuously call a domestic phone number
Penalties
People convicted of this crime can receive tines anywhere between €1000 and 50,000 a prison sentence of up to 5 years, or a combination of booth.
This concludes our articles on Malicious Phone Calls.
You can contact the Malicious Calls Bureau at freemen 1800 689 689.


... IN THE DOG HOUSE


... Continued from last week

The animals were upwards of a year old, but it was unlikely they had ever been allowed outside their cages-for dogs are sold by weight, and exercise means that they lose valuable body fat.
Noticing that I was a foreigner, the salesmen eyed us aggressively. But one burly butcher was unconcerned
and continued his grisly work: burning the fur from the rigid corpse of a recently-killed dog with a blow torch, then holding it up by the leg and hacking it into quarters.
How much for a whole dog, he was asked. 'That depends,' came the suspicious response. 'Maybe 250,000 won for a live one weighing around 25 kilograms.' He sharpened his knife. 'But 350,000 won (€ 190) if you want me to process it for -you.'
We attempted to extract more information, but the dog-traders don't care for small-talk with outsiders. So we travelled 200 miles south to Daegu, where fewer westerners venture and the people are less cautious.
The city will play host to four world Cup matches, but just a 20-minute drive from the stadium is Daegu market.
Viewed from the outside, it is a colourful spectacle, crammed with exotic fruit and vegetables and all manner of fresh fish. But inside, in the labyrinth of narrow walkways, it is a vision from hell.
First, we come across the butchers' stalls, neatly laden with the upturned carcasses of what appear to be very small dogs or puppies then we find countless cages of dogs and cats.
MOST of the dogs were yellow ones, but one cage contained about eight English bullmastiffs and another had a straggly haired border collie, which looked about 12 years old.
Unlike in Seongnam, the barking and yelping here was frenetic. Kyenan said this was probably because most of these dogs were pets that had been sold, discarded or stolen.
So much for the Korean Embassy spokesman in London, who assured me that 'Koreans do not eat pet dogs, only dogs that have been farmed specially.'
Here in Daegu market, the dogs were kept in slightly better conditions than in Seoul, but vet Dr lm said they were still suffering terribly. 'You can see they are afraid. They have almost certainly been beaten. But within one month, with proper care and affection, they could again become loving family pets.' Such care will never come, of course.
Taegun Yu, 67, has run his Kim Chun 'dog tonic' store for 18 years. It is a stifling little dog-processing den lined with six spotlessly scrubbed pressure cookers and a variety of other machines designed to turn his animals into juice. He became friendly when I feigned interest in buying one of the six yellow dogs. He said that in good times, he once sold more than 30 dogs a month, which meant an annual turnover exceeding 120,000. Since the financial downturn, he has sold only five or six, hut he added: +AGA-Things are getting a lot better now the economy is improving.'
Customers, he said, came from all walks of life - doctors, teachers, businessmen, bankers. They would choose a dog and he would then fetch the butcher to kill it.
THEN he would place the whole carcass into the pressure cooker and boil it for six hours until even the
bones were reduced to mulch.
Finally he added various herbs, ginger and ginseng, before straining it into small plastic containers. 'I never use a dog under 12 months old,' he said, as if this were a virtue. Why, then, was he also keeping puppies caged outside? 'Oh, they are pet dogs,' he replied evenly. 'Nobody wants to eat them. They're not meaty enough, and anyway they're not good for the male virility. You can have one for 30,000 won (€16).' Declining the offer, I asked him if he ever pitied his dogs. 'No, never. I've seen so many. Sometimes they are good-looking or particularly healthy, and I admire them, but only as meat.'
The arrival of Mr Yu's angry-looking wife brought our conversation to a premature close. By now, we had been standing near the cages for more than two hours and the experience had left me feeling physically sick. My every instinct was to flee and never return. But the image of one dog, in particular, was lodged in my mind, and I knew that I had to go back. I found Mary exactly as I had left her, with her nose pressed against the rusty bars, and for €175 she was mine. The experience of leaving her cage, perhaps for the first time since she was born some 18 months ago, was almost too much. Her tail hung between her legs, her back was hunched, and she was so confused that she staggered dizzily. Within a few moments, though, she had gathered her bearings and was able to walk with me for 400 yards to Dr Im's veterinary van.
We agreed to take her to Sunnan Kum's animal sanctuary and gave her a big bowl of food - the first time she had tasted anything other than scraps. An hour later, when I gave her a pat and said goodbye, her tail was curled upwards and she was starting to make friends with some of the other 80 rescued dogs.
Two million dogs may perish in the cooking pots of South Korea this glorious World Cup year. But Mary, at least, is safe.


NOTICES

Brothers of Charity
A Coffee Morning in aid of Bungalow 8 takes place on Friday 19th April at 11 AM . All proceeds go towards the purchase of a new Mini-Bus. Music will be provided by Steve Goodman. For further information ring 4363867

Spring Meeting
The Ileostomy, Colostomy and Internal Pouch Support group are holding their Spring Meeting in the Gresham Metropole Hotel, McCurtain Street on Saturday 13th April; @ 1.30 PM. Further information from Cepta Burke 087 6992916


Address by John Cashell, President, Cork Chamber of
Commerce at the Chamber's 183rd Annual General Meeting on Monday, 8th April 2002 at
the Imperial Hotel.

Past Presidents, Honorary Life member, members of the Chamber and members of staff I would in the first instance like to thank my proposers for my renomination as your President. It is my privilege and pleasure to accept your invitation and you can be assured of my best endeavours on all your behalf in the year ahead. The past year has been quite a roller coaster for me but with the back-up of council, board and staff the job got done. My sincere thanks to all those who assisted me in carrying out the various functions of the Chamber and who will continue to do so over the coming months or so. But then that surely is one of the great strengths of Cork Chamber. So where to from here.
There were a range of issues which I have referred to in the past 12 months which will still be issues of concern and issues for attention in the year ahead. 5 such issues in no particular order of importance are as follows:
Membership - I said last year that I wished to have 1000 members by AGM 2003. We had 830 at end of 2000 and 940 by end of 2001. This year will see difficulties for a number of companies but the barrier will not be dropped and we will, by particularly retaining our existing membership by good events and servicing, achieve this goal by the end of this year.
Competitiveness At the last AGM I referred to our absolute need to remain competitive. Subsequent events, unforeseen at that time, only re-emphasise the need for this. Let us be realistic we are in more difficult times. The returns for 2001 and first quarter 2002 have been well short of budget. Ireland Inc. is committed to ongoing day-to-day expenditure well in excess of revenue. A little over 12 months ago we all were committed to adding 2% to our PPF agreement because of a temporary blip in inflation. But once this receded did we see it come back? No. The loss of control of government spending in the last 2 years must be a major concern to business so I intend to set up a group shortly to review this area. The Chambers voice for the region will be heard on this issue irrespective of who forms the next government. We are also going to be facing the end of the current PPF in October. The ESRI are among those of us who believe the lack of built in mechanisms to allow for adjustments reflecting changing economic circumstances made it inevitable that the terms of agreement will be broken. We ourselves havemany member companies who in the past 12 months have had to pay well over the PPF to retain or recruit staff. While this may have changed somewhat recently,the fact remains that some have and continue to pay well over the odds while quite a number of others are struggling to remain competitive and in business at the present rates. Whether to enter another agreement or not is something that we in Cork Chamber should have a regional view on and be prepared to say so. Again my intention is to get a group to prepare the groundwork on this vital issue.
Local Government Since last years AGM we have had the publication of the Cork Area Strategic Plan 2020, the Cork Docklands Plan and now the Cork City and County Development Plans issued or open for discussion. These are major key plans and visions for the future that will impact hugely on the members of the Chamber. The cornerstone of the Chamber Support of the Cork Area Strategic Plan was the upfront loading of infrastructural expenditure and regular reviews. Realistically this much needed requirement for all our local plans to be effective has to be closely monitored
and again I am committing your Chamber to doing just that and being vocal on this issue in the months ahead. On this note I again come back to the need for competitive broadband connectivity. While we welcome the government's agreement to support the 19 local urban broadband networks we are still waiting for support for your Chambers drive for an international consortium who would provide competitive international broadband access and independence not only for this region but for the whole Cork/Limerick/Galway/Dublin loop. Time is of the essence. We have the consortium where is the government support?
Access Access continues to be and always will be key for this region.Air We will continue to pursue an early start to the committed new terminal and improved flight frequencies on existing and new routes.Sea We commend support for the newly purchased 11 months service on the Cork/Swansea route.
Road/Rail We will continue to press for the infrastructural improvements which will be needed for public and private users. We are concerned at the lengthy process of evaluation for the changes so necessary in our road/rail links and will be pressing hard on these issues in the coming months.
Waste Management Your Chamber has advocated best practices in waste management and have taken important leads in this area in recent months. Individually and corporately we are well behind where we should be locally and nationally at reducing, reusing and recycling waste items. Successive national governments, local councils, urban and rural communities have been unwilling to accept the need for change. This cannot go on. Equally let us be quite clear where we stand on incineration. As the region produces almost 60% of Ireland's hazardous waste, we cannot refuse to support the establishment of a thermal treatment plant in the region to handle this waste. We must have confidence in the ability of the Health and Safety Authority together with the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that such a plant operates as it should and that whatever additional monitoring or personnel are required will be made available to them. There have been immense advancements made with such plants in recent times. There is no reason why we cannot and should not have the safest and most efficient plant in Europe, which will help sustain and advance our industrial base without compromising on our environmental standards.
The year ahead is certainly going to be a busy and adventurous period. I look forward to your continuing support, help, advice and assistance.
Thank you.


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