More news in brief

Soccer's governing body in Northern Ireland has been praised for its efforts to combat sectarianism, writes Dan Keenan.

The Irish Football Association's Football For All campaign to stamp out intolerance and to counter the game's largely loyalist image "has been a very real success in terms of transforming the atmosphere at internationals at Belfast's Windsor Park", a report states.

The findings have been published by Democratic Dialogue, a think tank which provides advice on a range of public concerns for government and other agencies.

Its director Robin Wilson says that the establishment of a new stadium on the site of the former Maze prison "offers a major opportunity for a fresh start, promoting not just anti-sectarian and anti-racist messages, but also facilities which encourage . . . the attendance of women and people with disabilities".

Despite the significant improvement in combating sectarianism at Windsor Park, however, Democratic Dialogue states: "Substantial progress remains to be made at the level of Irish League clubs."

It suggests radical ideas, including ground-sharing between clubs, and for what it calls "deeper community embededness".

The report further suggests that an alternative be sought to the singing of God Save The Queen at internationals, citing the move away from this in Scotland.

It also calls for the ban on Sunday games to be lifted.

Woman's body found in river

Gardaí in Galway have recovered a body from a river during the search for a Wicklow woman who has been missing since before Christmas, writes Lorna Siggins.

A body was sighted in the Clare river near Turloughmore, Co Galway, shortly before 4pm yesterday and was taken to University College Hospital, Galway. Gardaí could not confirm whether it was the body of the missing woman until formal identification took place.

Helena English (42), Bray, Co Wicklow, was reported missing in the Headford area of Co Galway on December 15th, after she had paid a family visit to the area. The Garda Water Unit was brought in to assist the search yesterday and local boat owners were also involved.

Schools short of language expertise

Primary and secondary schools in Dublin are not receiving enough support to cope with the increasingly multicultural nature of their students - many of whom require extra help learning English, Fine Gael has claimed, writes John Downes.

Senator Brian Hayes, the party's spokesman for Dublin, said he was aware of one school in the Tallaght area which had 200 non- national students - but only three language teachers to work with them.

Under Department of Education regulations, Mr Hayes said schools with more than 14 non-English speaking pupils were awarded a temporary teacher to assist them. Schools with 28 or more non-English speaking students were allocated two temporary teachers.

"These regulations take no account of the fact that many schools have significantly more than 28 enrolled pupils from non- English speaking backgrounds," he said.

"I personally know of one school, in the Tallaght area, which has 200 students from an international background. In this case, the school in question has been given two temporary language support teachers and one additional discretionary teacher to help the children with English."

As a result, he said he was calling for a new system of allocation of language support teachers. This should take "real account" of the total number of non- national non-English speaking students enrolled.