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Mortgages arrears Nearly Double

11TH MARCH 2013 P.O. BOx 3430, TALLAGHT, DuBLIn 24 TeL: 451 3822 email: info@newsgroup.ie web: www.newsgroup.ie

Sinn Féin representative Seán Crowe TD has said that yet another increase in number of the individuals and families in morgage arrears is another strong that the indicator government’s policy is failing.

Deputy Seán Crowe stated “This latest increase must act as a wake- up call to the Government and is another strong indicator that their policy in this area is not working. “The number in March 2011 in arrears was 49,609. The situation clearly got worse and

rose in September 2012 to 91,358 accounts (11.5 per cent) according to the Central Bank. Some 94,488 or 11.9% of principal dwelling houses (PDH) were in arrears of over 90 days at end-December. This continuing increase after two years of Fine Gael and Labour government shows that their policy is clearly failing a big proportion of house owners. “Figures show that there are now 185,882 households in mortgage distress.That is a whopping 23.5% of all domestic mortgages.

“A shocking figure for

any government but we were informed this week that they will not exempt those in arrears from their new Family Home Tax. This extra tax will inevitably tip those morgage holders in arrears already further into distress and push a greater number of those struggling to pay into arrears.

“Two years of a Fine Gael and Labour government has seen the number in arrears of over 90 days nearly double.The Personal Insolvency Act that was talked up by Government will do nothing to force the banks and other lenders to face the morgage

distress problem and leaves them with the final say.

“When this the Bill was published Sinn Féin argued that it was essential that the proposed Insolvency Service be independent and that a more humane approach to individuals in was bankruptcy needed.

“It has been a bitter disappointment to the tens of thousands of families that are in mortgage distress, that the Bill provides for the banks having complete power in relation to

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teXaCo art JuDgINg uNDerway

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Mortgages arrears Nearly Double ............froM page 1

personal insolvency arrangements.

“Sinn Féin submitted a number of amendments and had called for an Independent Agency empowered to enforce legally binding settlements on debtor and creditor. The only other option open to people in serious

arrears is bankruptcy. “While we welcomed the shortening of the bankruptcy term from 12 to three years, we are mindful that anyone entering bankruptcy couldl lose all their assets, including their home. “Our position has been consistent. "People should be

helped to remain living in their homes and that the newly established Independent Agency examine in a case-by-case basis, how to actually make a mortgage debt sustainable. "Figures from the Central Bank of those in morgage distress confirm that the

individuals and families in morgage arrears is growing highlights the need for a new approach including the appointment of an Independent body with the power to compel banks to come up with fair and equitable deals including write downs for those in morgage distress."

Judging of the entries submitted for this year’s 59th Texaco Children’s Art Competition is under way. Winners will be announced at a function to be held in Dublin in early-April. Going for judging is one of the entries received from Dublin – a work entitled ‘The Mind’s Construction in the Face’ by 17-year old Caitriona Ryan, a pupil at St. Colmcille’s Community School, Knocklyon. Admiring it is competition administrator Anne-Marie Barnes.

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Illegal waste DIsposal

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Illegal waste disposal operators are at present collecting waste illegally from households in South Dublin County. The public should be aware of the need to dispose of their waste in a proper manner according to the law. All waste disposal firms should have a waste collection permit. In 2013, the budget for cleansing and litter management for South Dublin County is €6.5 million. The money spent on this

activity reduces the funds available for other activities such as the provision of playgrounds, sporting and recreational facilities, libraries and other good things that benefit all members of the community. Remember - You are responsible for your waste. Persons found disposing of waste illegally or littering can receive a minimum fine of €150 or €3,000 in court. Illegal waste operators will be monitored and prosecuted.

Checklist for good waste management Check your waste operators permit use recognised facilities – Civic Amenity, Ballymount Be smart – Reduce, Reuse & Recycle Only ever use a recognised waste service provider Report any suspect services to South Dublin County Council , email info@sdublincoco.ie or telephone 014149000 ext 4239

st MICHael’s House MultI - seNsory storIes for CHIlDreN wItH INtelleCtual DIsabIlItIes lauNCHeD

St Michael’s House has teamed up with its long-term corporate partner, KPMG, to develop a Multi-Sensory Stories pack for children with intellectual disabilities. The MultiSensory Stories pack was officially launched by international best selling author Cecilia Ahern at the organisation’s Head Office in Ballymun, Dublin. Cecilia also contributed by writing one of the stories.

The Multi-Sensory Stories pack is an imaginative sensory developmental aid for young children with intellectual disabilities and their families. The idea for the pack came from two of the organisation’s home teachers, Mairead naughton and Maria nolan, who work with young children with intellectual disabilities and their families. The aim of the pack is to improve children’s sensory development and awareness. each pack contains specially written stories and a range of props that bring the story to life by touch, smell, sight and sound.

John Leonard, Chairman of the Board of Directors of St Michael’s House, said: “The Sensory Stories pack is a very important initiative and will greatly enhance our developmental work with young children. We are delighted with KPMG’s sponsorship of this project, which allows parents to support their child’s development through interactive story telling.”

Staff in KPMG have worked on the project over the past number of months, developing the logo and packaging for the pack and writing a number of the sensory stories.

Karina Howley, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, KPMG, commented: “Our volunteers are really excited about being involved in this project because they know the positive impact these stories can have on both the children with special needs and their families. This ‘book in a box’ concept has been a hands-on creative process that our staff have enjoyed being part of.”

The Multi-Sensory Stories pack is being launched in conjunction with St Michael’s House annual “Bring a book, Buy a Book” fundraising campaign, which runs from 1st – 10th March 2013. The campaign asks members of public to set up a ‘Bring a Book, Buy a Book’ stall in their work-place, school, club or home. used books are donated to the stall for purchase for a nominal fee of €2. 100% of funds raised go directly to supporting St Michael’s House’s services for people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

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Tom O' Leary,with his mother Catherine at the launch of St Michael’s House Multi-Sensory Stories for Children with Intellectual Disabilities


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youtH CouNCIl welCoMes eu agreeMeNt oN youtH guaraNtee Your FREE Local Newspaper

The national Youth Council of Ireland (nYCI) has welcomed the on the agreement proposed Youth Guarantee scheme reached at the eu's Council of employment and Social Affairs Ministers. “The nYCI has been a

long time advocate of a youth guarantee – which would ensure young people on the live register for four months or more will automatically be directed into employment, education or training,” said James Doorley, nYCI deputy

director. “The youth guarantee scheme is not a panacea, but it is an important first step - it could work in Ireland, if a number of conditions are satisfied,” continued Mr Doorley. “Firstly, it needs to be properly resourced to

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ensure we have sufficient high quality education, training and job experience places. “Secondly, the Government will have to provide incentives to employers to take on young people who have participated in the scheme. we need “Thirdly, additional measures to

support young people who are long-term unemployed - who make up almost half of the young people on the live register - to avoid the weaknesses identified in the scheme in other countries where it already exists, including Finland and Sweden,” added Mr Doorley. number of young people

in Ireland at work down almost 10% “CSO figures released yesterday indicate that employment increased by 0.1% in 2012. However, while there were increases in employment in older age groups, these were offset by the significant decreases recorded in the 20-24 (-12,800 or

-9.3%) and 25-34 (-8,900 or -1.7%) age groups,”* said Mr Doorley. “So it is clear that we need to address youth unemployment with practical solutions, sooner rather than later. A positive first step would be the successful implementation of the guarantee,” youth concluded Mr Doorley.

Fine Gael Local TD Derek Keating said the reduction in the number of day case and in-patient cancellations at Tallaght Hospital since this Government came to power indicates the steady progress being made in turning our health services around and delivering better healthcare for all of our people especially the people of South dublin County. The progress being made at Tallaght

Hospital is being mirrored in many of our hospitals across the country with a reduction in the number of cancellations down 9.5% nationally; from a total of 16,764 cancellations in 2010 to 15,167 last year. While these figures show that there is still a mountain of work to be done in dealing with the unacceptable delays experienced by patients, they also show that we are moving steadily in the

right direction. “If we remain focused on unblocking access to acute services, we can gain better control of the system and manage services more efficiently. By dramatically improving the flow of patients through our hospitals streamlining and waiting lists, including referrals from GPs, we can cut down on the time patients have to wait to be treated and further reduce the cancellation of planned

procedures. “The reform of our health service will not happen overnight but we should be encouraged by the progress that is being made at Tallaght hospital and across the country. We have lived with an inadequate health service for too long. The people deserve better.

CaNCellatIoNs at tallagHt HospItal DowN by 71%

This Government’s programme of reform will ensure that it is delivered.”

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10 MultINatIoNal retaIlers HeapINg up to 40% eXtra Cost oN IrIsH CustoMers Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South east, Catherine noone, has denounced the pricing approach of a number of multinational retailers doing business in Ireland. Senator noone made her comments following reports which showed 10 multinational retailers have heaped up to 40% extra cost onto their Irish customers compared to what their uK customers pay. “There are huge price discrepancies between Ireland and the uK that just cannot be accounted for. It was bad enough when this was happening during the so called ŒCeltic Tiger‚ era. In this day and age it is completely unacceptable. The chains, which include TopShop, Zara and Monsoon, are all high-street names and all are clearly adding a premium to their Irish prices, making them far more expensive than their uK counterparts. even taking into account logistics and staffing costs, there is a huge premium - in many cases up to 40% - being added on to these items relative to their sale price in the uK. It’s absurd. Consumers deserve an answer on this and I’m working to get one. It’s time somebody stood up for ordinary customers and got a better answer than ‘it’s just a little more expensive here’.

“I have written to all the retailers demanding an explanation, and have written to the Consumer Association of Ireland (CAI) to urge them to investigate this issue further. The CAI needs to put together a report to show that it’s working on behalf of Irish consumers and to really put pressure on these retailers to explain themselves.”

Crowe appalleD at tHe aXINg of traNsport supports for tHe DIsableD

Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has said he is appalled at the government’s decision to discontinue the Mobility Allowance and the Scheme Motorised Transport Grant Scheme.

Deputy Seán Crowe said: “This is an out and out attack on people with disabilities and will directly lead to their greater isolation. “The department has been knowingly operating these schemes illegally because they discriminate against people who are excluded from them on the basis of an upper age limit and too narrow qualification criteria. “In the case of the Mobility Allowance the upper age limit was found by the Ombudsman to be discriminatory in 2009. As the Ombudsman has pointed out in her statement, expressing disappointment at the

government’s action in ending the schemes, they were operated in breach of the equal Status Act since 2000. “The Mobility was Allowance means-tested and was mostly paid to people who live on a disability allowance of under €190 a week. “Axing these schemes completely is not a solution and will hurt some of the most vulnerable people in Irish society.

“While they will continue for the next four months, the Minister has made it quite clear that they are to end at that point. A review is being put in place, but there is no certainty about what will emerge for this group, who are very dependent on this small, but hugely important financial support. "This decision has made an approximately 20% cut to the income of people who are already

financial having difficulties, not to mention the combined added costs that come having an with impairment. “The schemes are being shut down at stroke of a pen, but the mobility needs of disabled

people still need to be met. "The question Minister Reilly has to answer to the 5000 people his decision effects is: how are people who are already financially struggling supposed to make up the shortfall, from his decision to

discontinue the Mobility Allowance Scheme and the Motorised Transport Grant Scheme, which currently meets some of their mobility needs? "The Minister needs come up with a better excuse than the stock reply that he had no choice."

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oVer Half of property taX to be paID IN greater DublIN

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new local property tax estimates produced by Dublin Chamber of Commerce have found that 54% of the property tax revenue will come from homes in the Greater Dublin Area. next week, valuation letters will be issued by the Revenue Commissioners as a first step in the

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than a similar size house in the Midlands. So, a family in Dublin on the same income as someone in the Midlands will have had to pay considerably more for their home, and be taxed for the privilege.”

Dublin Chamber’s estimates of total property tax take by local authority were based on data collected by Daft and the CSO as part of the census. The analysis shows that County Dublin will raise approximately 42% of the property tax, while funding to the local authorities in Dublin from the local government fund for 2013 is only 18%. “A local property tax is about funding local services,” said Ms Quin. “But the figures show that money raised locally in Dublin will not be staying locally. The introduction of a true system of local funding for local services would greatly enhance public awareness of the benefits of the services they receive from local government and of the costs of running them.”

New Zoo soft playlaND Now opeN IN leIsurepleX tallagHt

Mums and Dads have a treat in store when they bring their children to the new exciting zoo playland in Leisureplex Tallaght. Children will love the bigger, better play centre. New slides, climbing wall and more. Zoo birthday parties are a speciality. Why not let the zoo crew make your childs day a memorable one. Leisureplex Tallaght is situated in the Village Green Centre. Ample free parking. New ! New ! Toddler mornings. Only €5.00. Visit Leisureplex today and you won't be disappointed.


Ó broIN slaMs DowDs property taX ClaIMs

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Sinn Féin Dublin Mid-West representative eoin Ó Broin has hit back at Labour TD Robert Dowds claims that changes to the property tax legislation are good for Council tenants. Ó Broin who was responding to claims made by Deputy Dowds also accused the Labour TD of breaking his pre-election promises.

Ó Broin said: “Labour TD Robert Dowds welcomed a move by Government to impose

a property tax of €90 a year on Council homes. He also welcomed the deferral scheme for people on low incomes. “South Dublin County Council has yet to decide whether to pass this €90 charge on to its tenants or whether to absorb the cost from its existing allocation of funds. In either case local people will suffer. “If Council tenants are made to foot the bill they will be paying a tax for a property they don’t own. If the Council covers the cost

local services will suffer and hundreds of thousands of euros will be diverted from Council budget to the Revenue. Deputy Dowds suggestion that this is good news is clearly absurd. “Deputy Dowds also welcomed the deferral scheme for families on low incomes. However what he did not make clear is that there is an annual 4% penalty charge for those who defer. This means that if you are unable to pay the property tax

because of low income the Government will charge you an additional interest payment of 4% for every year you defer. The Government is effectively punishing people for being unable to pay. “In their 2011 general election manifesto Labour promised not to introduce a property tax before 2014. They also promised that any tax introduced after that date would take into account issues such as negative equity,

excessive stamp duty and regional differences in property values.

“Labour has broken all of these promises. They have introduced the tax in 2013 and there are no exemptions for people in negative equity, no reductions for those who paid large amounts of stamp duty and no mechanism to take into account higher property prices in Dublin. “Worse still Labour believe that people

who do not own their own home, such as council tenants or those who live in the private rental sector, should also pay this tax and that those who are unable to pay should be charged penalty interest. “The Property Tax is

deeply unfair and should be scrapped. Sinn Féin will be tabling a repeal Bill before the summer and we will be calling on all TDs including Deputy Dowds to keep their elections promises and reverse the imposition of the unjust property tax.”

europeaN week agaINst raCIsM

As part of the european Week against Racism, South Dublin County Council’s Social Inclusion unit and Sports Officer along with the F.A.I. Football in the Community Development Officers, Rugby Officer and Cricket Officer will hold a Sports blitz in

16th March – 24th March 2013

Clondalkin Sports & Centre on Leisure Thursday 14th March and Thursday 21st March utilising sport as a medium to highlight the anti-racism theme and to promote cultural integration and social inclusion through sport.

Years in secondary schools in the county area and 6th class in primary schools with an emphasis on fair play and equality. One of the main objectives of the Council is to facilitate initiatives to promote integration in the

county. This is one of the reasons why we have organised the sports blitz. The day is about having fun whilst being conscious of the need to promote cultural integration and social inclusion through sport. It is about participation together!

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Discrimination, racism, the intolerance of others is borne out of ignorance. Be it in our workplace, our schools, our homes, our clubs a willingness to learn about others and to communicate with others is the key to a successful, fair and open society.

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soCIal welfare - €669 MIllIoN saVeD tHrougH CoNtrol Measures IN 2012

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The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., has published details of how savings of €669 million were achieved in 2012 through a broad range of control measures across Department of Social Protection schemes. The savings exceeded the target originally set for the year of €645 million.

In total, more than 1 million reviews of individual social welfare claims were carried out, again exceeding target, which had been set at 985,000. As a result of the Department's consistently strong performance in this area, Minister Burton has now set a target for €710 million in control savings to be achieved this year. The Minister said: "These figures demonstrate once again my Department's

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MINIster sets target of €710M IN CoNtrol saVINgs for 2013

commitment to stamping out welfare fraud and abuse. I have always championed the welfare system as a safety net for those who need it most, and that safety net is more important than ever in the current economic climate. However, it's precisely because the State's limited resources should go to those most in need that we need to prevent fraud and abuse in the system.

"The Programme for Government commits to maintaining core welfare rates while taking a zero-tolerance approach towards welfare fraud. These are my twin aims to ensure we protect the vulnerable and pursue those who try to defraud the system." The savings refer to money that would have been paid out by the Department but

for the control measures implemented. Control measures include all activities that the Department undertakes to ensure that people are receiving the correct amount of their entitlement. They are also aimed at preventing and detecting social welfare fraud. They range from mail shots whereby social welfare recipients confirm that eligibility conditions continue to be met, direct reviews of entitlement by inspectors and medical re-certification or examination to fraud and abuse investigations by the Special Department’s Investigation unit. The figures are contained in the 2012 Progress Report on the Department's Fraud Initiative 2011-2013, published today by Minister Burton. The key objective

of the Fraud Initiative is to ensure that the right person is paid the right amount of money at the right time.

"This year, the Department's total budget amounts to almost €20.3 billion and the public must have confidence that this money is being spent appropriately," Minister Burton said. "Social welfare fraud undermines confidence in the entire system and is unfair to genuine claimants and the taxpayers who fund the system in the knowledge that it is there for them when they need it."

The Progress Report sets out the progress made in 2012 across 10 key areas. Commenting on the report, the Minister pointed to the important work the Department is doing to tackle difficult issues such as “welfare tourism” and the recovery of overpayments.

Since June 2012, social welfare inspectors have had powers to question people at ports and airports whom they believe may be entering the country to claim social welfare payments fraudulently. With regard to the recovery of overpayments, the Minister pointed out that the Department can now recover up to 15% of a person's core personal welfare payment in cases of overpayment whereas previously it had been as little as €2 a week. “This is

a very important development and means the Department can take the necessary steps to recover monies that have been overpaid in a timely manner,” the Minister said.

The Progress Report gives a number of examples of projects undertaken in 2012 to combat fraud and abuse. In addition to the Progress Report, Minister Burton has also published two other reports:

• Child Benefit - Fraud and Error Survey • Non-Compliance Analytics Pilot Project

Child Benefit: The Department undertakes fraud and error surveys to establish baseline fraud and error levels for social welfare schemes. These surveys help to identify the level of risk associated with particular schemes so that control measures can be enhanced to minimise the level of future risk.

The Child Benefit survey found that the net cost of fraud and error in the claims surveyed amounted to 0.5% of expenditure. Of this, all 0.5% related to suspected fraud and 0% to error. “I very much welcome the findings from the survey which highlights the fact that Child Benefit is a very well controlled and low-risk scheme,” Minister Burton said.

Project: In 2012, the Department worked with Accenture and SAS to explore the potential of predictive risk analytics. Predictive analytics models allow for all data held by an organisation, such as the Department, to be analysed to indicate and predict where higher incidences of risks of fraud and error may occur amongst certain cohorts of customers.

using a series of risk indicators, 1,000 jobseeker cases were identified, which were then investigated to determine whether they were in fact non-compliant. The outcomes were then benchmarked against the Department's existing investigations and detection rates. The key findings of the pilot were that:

• using the jobseeker predictive model, the investigations ‘hit rate’ increased from the Department’s baseline figure of 4.5% to 6.3% - an uplift of 1.8 percentage points, which is significant in expenditure terms • Based on the findings from the pilot, using Advanced Analytics to drive jobseeker investigations could deliver a further €50 million approximately in jobseeker welfare savings over three years

Non-Compliance Analytics

The Department will be considering the future use of risk analytics over the coming months.

newcastle St. Patrick’s Fest has a wonderful weekend programme of events which are guaranteed to entertain. events include; information displays by local Clubs/Groups, performance by R.A.M.S. Male Choir, display by the Air Corps Museum, Mat-bowls demonstration, face painting, balloon sculptor, Soccer Academy Coaching Skills by Peamount utd. F.C., football blitz by St. Finian’s G.A.A. with St. Finian’s national School, a poker classic in aid of St.

Finian’s GAA Club and music nights by the Gondola Pub. The Mayor Cathal King, in the presence of Minister Frances Fitzgerald and local Deputies and elected Members will officially launch this event at 6.30pm Friday 15th March 2013, in St. Finian’s Community Centre. R.A.M.S Male choir will open the evening with a rendition of songs and a display by the Air Corp Museum will conclude the event. Refreshments will be provided courtesy of R.A.M.S.

NewCastle st. partICk’s fest

South Dublin County Council Community Services Department are organising a St. Patrick’s Fest and a Community Information event in St. Finian’s Community Centre, newcastle. The event is a celebration of the important contribution local clubs / groups and volunteerism makes to the health and well being of the newcastle area. The event also provides the general public with information on what’s on and where? in the newcastle area.


"geNeratIoN VaNDalIsM"

Clondalkin People before Profit Councillor Gino Kenny has hit out today about the cuts to Youth Services across Dublin. Between seven to ten percent has been cut from youth services budgets which will into effect immediately. The Ronanstown Youth Service which is based in neilstown and caters for hundreds of young people from the locality will face a seven percent cut which will be implemented immediately. The 7% cut could mean anything from 50,000 to 70,000 in financial terms to the service for the year. This is already on top of budgetary cutbacks in the last two budgets which has had a detrimental effect on the services that the youth service can provide and utilise. Speaking about the cuts Cllr Kenny said: “This is tantamount to death by a thousand cuts. These cuts to essential services in working class communities particularly at this time when people need them the most is short sighted at the least and at the most generation vandalism. The knock on effect to the fabric of communities and society will not only have effect now but will have far worse consequences in the future. Services such as Ronanstown Youth Service and a plethora of others youth services around Dublin that are facing this new round of cuts are struggling as it is. This goes back to the economical narrative in which we live in that the people who didn’t start this financial crisis are the ones to pay for it. not investing in our youth today is failing in our youth tomorrow. Cuts like this effect everybody in the community in which they serve, whether you use these services or not. We need to show the government that communities will resist these cuts.”

11

New tools to taCkle INtIMIDatIoN aND aNtI-soCIal beHaVIour welCoMe Your FREE Local Newspaper

Labour T.D. for Dublin Mid-West, Robert Dowds, has said that announced newly measures will make it easier to crack down on disruptive tenants who intimidate neighbours.

“I have discussed the issue of anti-social behaviour with Minister Jan O’Sullivan on several occasions, and I am delighted that she has agreed to bring in these important changes. “neighbours of bad tenants will no longer have to bring complaints individually to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB). now, a group of neighbours or residents associations will be able to take collective action and work together. There

can be a real problem with making complaints to the PRTB, as neighbours can be very afraid or intimidated to use their own names. Fear of those causing the trouble can be very real. This change will help tackle that. "A greater responsibility will be placed on landlords to deal with the problem. Individuals or associations will be able to approach landlords directly about the problem, instead of the unruly tenant. This again means that a certain degree of intimidation can be avoided. All complaints about anti-social or disruptive behaviour will now be lodged with the Private Residential Tenancy Board, after just one attempt to

solve the problem directly with landlords. This means that landlords will have to take action against troublesome tenants and that action will be quicker."

"It is important to stress that the majority of landlords and tenants cause no problems whatsoever and are good neighbours. Problems arise where bad or absentee landlords have bad tenants. I am delighted to see the strengthening of the law in this area. Anti-social behaviour is a very real and serious issue. I have met with many constituents over the past couple of years who have experienced extremely distressing anti-social behaviour in

their area." "The changes are due to be brought into law as part of the Residential Tenancies Act 2012, which is currently going

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14

216 sCHools to reCeIVe 100 Mbps (busINess Class serVICe) broaDbaND aCCess Your FREE Local Newspaper

All second level schools in Dublin, Meath and Kildare will have high speed (100Mbps) broadband installed during 2013, the Minister for Communications, energy & natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D. and the Minister for education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D.have announced last week. This is the second stage of a national roll-out to all second-level schools. The 2012 phase of the project saw broadband installed in all post-primary schools in 14 western and midlands counties, covering 202 schools. This built upon a pilot project involving 78 schools nationally, where the use of broadband has been shown to have improved both teaching and learning. The announcement details a further 216 schools to be connected in Dublin, Meath and Kildare by September 2013, with all remaining 250 schools to be connected in 2014.

Speaking at Presentation Secondary School in Warrenmount, Dublin, Minister Rabbitte said “I am very pleased that my Department is investing in industrial strength, future proofed connectivity for these schools. By bringing 100Mbps uncontended connectivity directly to the premises many students will now have vastly enhanced access to new and innovate educational tools. This is a completely different standard of connection to domestic broadband and will allow multiple applications to be accessed by students right across the school.

“This is an important investment in Ireland’s competitiveness. From now on these schools will mirror the workplaces of tomorrow. These students will therefore be much better prepared for the digital economy when they seek work.” Commenting

on

the

announcement, Minister Quinn said “This Government is committed to delivering on the commitment in the Programme for Government to incorporate the integration of ICT/ digital technology in teaching and learning across the curriculum, and to invest in broadband development to ensure schools have access to modern high-speed networks. The use of ICT/ digital technology will be one of the key skills in the new Junior Cycle, and it will be enhanced through the availability of a short course, currently being developed by the nCCA, that will deal with programming / coding for junior cycle students from September 2014. In order to facilitate students in developing ICT skills access to fast reliable broadband is essential.

augment the school-work component of the new Junior Cycle.”

Both Ministers were agreed that despite Ireland’s current economic difficulties, this significant investment in driving our schools forward into the digital age is money well spent. According to Minister Quinn, “the internet is providing learners with the possibility of learning at any time and in any place. Accessing education through mixed media delivers a richer educational Applying experience. technology in the right way can make education not just more engaging – but more appealing – so the students

The roll out of 100Mbps to all post primary schools will also facilitate schools to develop e-portfolios to

and teachers get more from it.”

Minister Rabbitte concluded by referencing the important job creation possibilities. “It is a key in future investment employment and employability as it feeds into the development of a ICT literate more workforce. The european Commission estimates that there will be up to 1 million unfilled vacancies in the ICT area within europe, by 2015. At a conference in Brussels today, 'Filling the gaps: e-Skills and education for Digital Jobs', policy makers, industry and education specialists are discussing this challenge.

Clearly, ICT literacy at second level is an important element of the wider objective of addressing europe’s ICT skills deficit”.

The Department of energy Communications, and natural Resources (DCenR) is funding all of the capital costs of this project, to be estimated approximately €11m, as well as contributing some €10m in current costs for the years 2012 to 2015. The Department of education & Skills (DeS) will fund the remaining current costs (estimated to be some €20m up to 2015). DeS will also fund the on-going costs on an annual basis into the future.

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tHIs tIMe you wIll lose weIgHt 16

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You may have tried and failed to lose weight numerous times, but you should’nt give up before you’ve tried the new second generation of super effective fat binders. We don’t have to tell you the basics of weight loss: burn more calories than you consume. But you probably know from experience that this is not always easy. With a whole new fat-binding concept, however, you are likely to see a difference.

Consumers have been surprisingly impressed with a new type of fat binder that captures an impressive amount of fat in your digestive system and removes the fat so it doesn’t get absorbed by the body.

With one single tablet, you can bind the equivalent of 20 grams of fat (40 times the weight of the tablet). That adds up to 180 calories or the same as 15 minutes on the treadmill. In one month you can rid your body of approximately 7.7 pounds of fat that would otherwise have represented a huge calorie burden. Imagine what that can do for you in terms of your figure.

HOw IT wORkS

It enters your digestive system, takes out a large amount of the fat inside, and leaves without a trace. It does not have any physiological effects on the body. 1. When the tablet enters the stomach it 1. dissolves immediately, releasing the active 1. ingredient 2. The fat binder attaches to fat in the 2. stomach and forms an insoluble “matrix”

3. The bound fat moves through the intestinal 3. tract and is excreted naturally without any 3. side effects

4. The less fat you have in your digestion, the 4. less is absorbed and stored in the body.

SAY GOODBYE TO HUNGER PANGS

Fat is a calorie burden. It contains more calories than anything else. One gram of fat contains about nine calories so if you want to lose weight, reducing your fat intake - or uptake - is definitely a good place to start. The good thing about this second-generation fat binder is that it attaches itself to fat and forms an intelligent “gel matrix” that cannot be absorbed by the body. This slows down the rate at which food leaves the stomach and reduces cravings. This gives us a feeling of being full for much longer. This effect could in turn have a substantial impact on total food intake per day. Another beneficial effect is that the fat binder lowers levels of unhealthy blood fats like LDL cholesterol, which is useful for reducing the risk of artery clogging

wItH tHe New 2ND geNeratIoN fat bINDer you CaN: • lower your food cravings • lose weight • reduce bad cholesterol • surpress your appetite


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forMer MINIster DelIVers key Note speeCH at aN CosáN aNNual INterNatIoNal woMeN’s Day luNCHeoN

Over 300 guests gathered at The Shelbourne hotel to celebrate International Women’s Day at the annual fundraising lunch in aid of Tallaght-based education and training centre, An Cosán. Referring to the importance of education and empowerment of Women, former Minister Liz O’Donnell said: “A central plank of our national recovery should be greater participation of women in leadership positions in politics and business. Too often women are absent from decision making at the

highest level. There are just 25 women (15%) in Dail eireann ranking 89th in a league of 113 countries for female participation. While at corporate board level, the diversity picture is equally poor. Ireland languishes at the bottom of the eu list between Poland and Bulgaria”. to the Referring transformative educational work of An Cosán, Ms O’Donnell said “I hope that arising out of the life altering work of An Cosán at community level, some graduates will be

empowered to become politically involved and even consider crossing the bridge from community activism into elected politics”.

17

DIgItal Hub lauNCHes Dare to be DIgItal CoMputer gaMes DeVelopMeNt CoMpetItIoN

An Cosán is a unique centre for lifelong learning that for more than 25 years has provided second-chance education and training opportunities for thousands of women living in West Tallaght. The organisation also runs a high quality childcare facility which enables many parents to avail of its education and training services.

Hse spIN CaNNot HIDe Cuts

Commenting on the publication of HSe 2013 Service Plans, Sinn Féin health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said: "no amount of spin from the HSe in these regional plans can hide the fact that they implement the Fine Gael/Labour Budget 2013 and the HSe's national Service Plan 2013 which imposes €721 million in cuts to our public health services.

"An initial reading of the HSe Service Plan, for example, shows a staff reduction of 750 (whole time equivalents WTes) and 55 fewer public nursing home beds for older people.

"It shows that the HSe in the region is owed €15.75 million by health insurers for the use of beds in public hospitals by private patients. "The HSe claims that home help hours that were cut in the last quarter of 2012 have been reversed but there is no evidence to support this and people who lost hours have not had them returned. A real reversal would see these hours restored in 2013 and this is what should happen. "There are also reductions for children and family services and disability services and closer scrutiny of these plans will be needed to see the reality behind the spin."

Pictured at the launch of the Digital Computer Games Development Competition, an international computer games development competition for third-level students, were Dr Stephen Brennan, Chief Strategy Officer with the Digital Hub, and Maura Stanford aka Sonic the Hedgehog, a student at Ballyfermot College of Further education. Dare to be Digital is coordinated in Ireland by the Digital Hub Development Agency and supported by the north-South Cooperation unit at the Department of education and Skills. The closing date for the Irish leg of the competition is 9th April 2013. The winning team will be chosen by a judging panel made up of industry insiders to represent Ireland at the international competition later this year. The successful team will spend nine weeks with other national teams at Abertay university in Scotland during summer 2013, developing their prototype video games. Further information is available at www.thedigitalhub.com and www.daretobedigital.com. (Pic Maxwell's)

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18

labour MeMbers publIsH bIll to preVeNt DIsCrIMINatIoN of teaCHers Your FREE Local Newspaper

A group of Labour TDs and Senators have published the employment equality (Amendment) (no. 2) Bill 2013, which will put an end to the situation where staff in educational or medical institutions can be discriminated against for having children outside marriage, being divorced, or for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). The Bill will be introduced under Private Members’ Business in the Seanad by the Labour group of Senators on Wednesday March 13th 2013. Speaking at the publication of the Bill, Deputy Ó Ríordáin said: “As a teacher and former principal this is an issue I feel

passionate about. I worked with colleagues who could have lost their jobs simply for being gay or not being married. These people were my friends and some of the best teachers I ever knew. I am glad the law will finally protect these people and catch up on public opinion.”

Deputy Lyons added: “I attended the launch of the Stand up! campaign yesterday evening, which encourages young people to stand up to homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools. The exact same principles should apply to teachers in our schools, whose identity or personal lives should never be used against them in a work

Q. I HAVE A VERY GOOD wORk RECORD AND IN MY THREE YEARS OF EMPLOYMENT I HAVE NEVER BEEN OUT SICk. HOwEVER, I CONTRACTED A VERY BAD DOSE OF FLU RECENTLY AND wAS OUT OF wORk FOR FOUR OR FIVE DAYS. MY PAYDAY HAS NOT YET COME SO I DO NOT kNOw IF I wILL BE PAID BUT I AM wONDERING wHETHER OR NOT MY EMPLOYER HAS TO PAY ME, PARTICULARLY CONSIDERING MY GOOD wORk RECORD.

Q. MY CHILD wAS QUITE SICk RECENTLY AND I GOT A CALL wHILE I wAS AT wORk. I ASkED IF I COULD LEAVE TO PICk MY CHILD UP FROM THE CRECHE, BUT I wAS TOLD I wOULD HAVE TO wAIT UNTIL LUNCHTIME. SHOULD I HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO LEAVE AND STAY OUT? AS IT HAPPENED, I HAD TO MAkE ExPENSIVE ARRANGEMENTS FOR A CHILDMINDER TO STAY IN THE HOUSE wITH MY CHILD FOR TwO DAYS.

A. In certain cases where there is an emergency, you may be entitled to leave under the Parental Leave Act 1998. This relief is only available in restricted emergency circumstances and for a maximum of 3 days in twelve months, or five days in thirty-six months. This can only be availed of when your child is actually ill. Clearly it should be used strictly in emergencies and if you have a

Deputy Hannigan added: “The climate of fear which the original employment equality Act has created, is one which this Bill will

The Legal Column

Human Resources Manager at work I would point this out to them for future reference.

In this edition of the paper, Romaine Scally, Principal in the Firm of Romaine Scally and Co, Solicitors, answers more readers queries. This month they include some topical questions in relation to employment. As always please send your queries to Romaine Scally, Solicitors, Main Street, Tallaght Village, Dublin 24. Telephone 4599506, Email – legal@scally.ie.

context.” Adding her comments, Deputy Conway stated: “It's timely that we're launching this Bill in the same week as International Women's Day, as the Labour Party is committed to seeking an end to gender discrimination. no women or girl should be discriminated against in her workplace or school because of her gender. Our Bill will make sure that women who are single parents, are LGBT, or are separated or divorced, will no longer fear for their jobs.”

A. under Irish Law there is no Statutory entitlement to be paid sick leave. Paid sick leave should be dealt with in your Statement of employment Terms provided under the Terms of employment Information Act in your Contract of employment. If you are not entitled to be paid sick leave in your Contract, you may have to apply for Illness Benefit from the Department of Social and Family Affairs. unfortunately, the fact that you have a good work record does not make any difference. Paid sick leave without a Contract to the contrary is strictly at the discretion of your employer. You do of course have a legal obligation to provide a Certificate from your Doctor if you are absent in excess of two days, but I assume that you did this. Our advice is to speak to the Human Resources Department, if there is one, to clarify the situation. This is worthwhile as most employers have some discretion in these matters and are most likely to apply this discretion for the benefit of an employee who has already shown an excellent work record.

Q. I SAw AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR A JOB RECENTLY wHICH wOULD SUIT ME PERFECTLY BUT IT IS STATED TO BE FOR “NON-SMOkERS ONLY”. IS THIS LEGAL NOw THAT SMOkING IN THE wORkPLACE HAS BEEN BANNED ANYwAY?

A. The employment equality Acts 1998-2007 ('the eeA') does not expressly prohibit discrimination against smokers. However, the eeA do prohibit discrimination on the grounds of a disability, which is widely defined, and addiction has previously been held to be a disability. It has to be said however, that the question as to whether addiction to nicotine is a disability has not been decided. It is possible that a smoker may claim that their smoking is an addiction which qualifies as a disability under the eeA, and therefore any such advertisement could potentially breach the eeA. This means that an employer would need to carefully consider this risk before advertising for non-smokers only. It should be considered whether the concern (presumably the odour of cigarettes) could be addressed in other ways. For example, rather than excluding smokers from applying for the position, during the application and selection process, it may be preferable to set out the workplace rules concerning smoking, the necessary appearance/conduct for meeting members of the public (if relevant) and question whether or not the individual could meet those rules. I would strongly advise you to apply for the job anyway and during the interview, ask the employer about those workplace rules and reassure them if possible that you would have no difficulty abiding by those rules. Q. I NOw wISH TO REVERT TO MY MAIDEN NAME AND I AM wONDERING AS TO THE PROCEDURE INVOLVED. COULD YOU PLEASE ADVISE ME? ALSO, CAN I CHANGE MY CHILDREN’S NAMES BACk TO MY MAIDEN NAME? MY SON IS NINETEEN YEARS OF AGE AND MY DAUGHTER IS 14 YEARS OLD. I wOULD APPRECIATE wHATEVER ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE.

bring to an end. I’m proud to have worked with my Labour colleagues on this Bill, which I believe will bring us a step closer to full equality” Senator Bacik, who will propose the Bill in the Seanad next Wednesday said: “'I am delighted that at last we will see legislation that will effectively address the legacy of the eileen Flynn case, and that will end the continuance of the legislative provision that enables discrimination against and even dismissal of teachers or health workers who are seen in some way as undermining the religious ethos of their institutions. I look forward to the acceptance of this Bill by Seanad Éireann next week.”

by Romaine Scally

A. Changing your name to that of your husband on marriage, is a matter of form and not law. There is no legal obligation whatsoever to change your name to that of your husband’s surname on marriage. equally therefore, if you have been using your married name on various documents, it is a very easy matter to change back to your maiden name. You simply write to your various Banks, etc. and if necessary, produce your Birth Certificate to prove your identity. A utility Bill may also be required to prove your current address. With regard to your children, you cannot change a child’s name without the consent of both parents, unless one of the parents is not a Guardian, in which case his or her consent is not required. However, your nineteen year old son is already an adult in the eyes of the law and must make the decision himself to change his name back to your maiden name. In the case of your daughter, who was registered at birth with her father’s name, you will require a document known as a Deed Poll to be executed to change her surname back to your maiden name. This can be done relatively simply at nominal costs and is enrolled in the High Court as proof of a ‘name change’. This is only required for young people and adults whose Birth Certificates are not consistent with the name they wish to use into the future. Technically we can all change our name to almost any name we wish by means of a Deed Poll.

roMaine Scally & co, SoliciTorS

operate a FREE LEGAL ADVICE CLINIC on the second Wednesd ay of every month from 2.00pm until 6.00p m at their offices in Main Street, Tallaght, Dublin 24. NEXT CLINIC: WED. 13TH MARCH. No Appointment is neces sary. We look forward to answ ering your legal queries in person.

romaine Scally is the principal in the firm of roMaine Scally and coMPany SoliciTorS Main Street Tallaght, dublin 24 Tel 4599506 FaX 4599510 email: legal@scally.ie


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saVe tHe MIll poster CaMpaIgN lauNCHeD

Pictured with Sinn Féin representative eoin Ó Broin are traders from the Clondalkin Mill Centre at the launch a poster campaign calling for Dunloe ewart to reduce the rents at the centre. The poster campaign comes after Ó Broin met Dunloe ewart Director noel Murray.

Ó Broin said:“The situation at the Clondalkin Mill Centre is reaching a critical point for some traders. If Dunloe ewart do not act soon to reduce the rents I have no doubt that businesses will close and jobs will be lost.

“The poster campaign aims to make the community here in Clondalkin aware of the problem. We will be distributing thousands of posters and leaflets in the coming weeks and will be urging local people to get involved and help keep the traders and jobs in the Mill. “Last week I met Dunloe ewart Director noel Murray. I outlined to him my growing concern for the of individual future businesses and the Mill Centre as a whole. I told him that it was no longer acceptable for his company to be charging traders boom time rents.

19

“At the meeting noel Murray indicated that Dunloe ewart had taken a decision to put rent reductions on the table at meetings with individual traders. However to date no rent reductions for long standing traders have been implemented.

“Given the high levels of unemployment in Clondalkin every single job must be saved. And that means that every single struggling business must be assisted. Reducing rents to reflect the current market and trading conditions is crucial.”

wINDOw-MAN, PADDY wINSTON “I have been in the window trade since I left school at the age of 15. and now, at the age of 51, I have many years and lots of experience in the design, manufacture and fitting of aluminium and uPVC windows, doors and conservatories. Over the years, through the boom, I noticed that, even though there was plenty of money around for the purchase of houses, builders still managed to fit the cheapest, most unreliable windows and doors they could possibly get there hands on, most of these are now giving terrible trouble with broken handles, hinges, locks etc. etc.. So, I decided to set up this service, to get your windows and doors to perform in the manner they were designed and that’s to keep the heat in and the cold out... IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS wITH YOUR wINDOwS OR DOORS, GIVE ME A CALL...CHEERS...PADDY”


20

recruiTing now!!!!

MINIster burtoN INVItes eXpressIoNs of INterest for appoINtMeNt to tHe CItIZeNs INforMatIoN boarD Your FREE Local Newspaper

The Minister for Social Protection, Ms Joan Burton TD, has invited expressions of interest from suitably qualified experienced and persons for two positions on the Board of the Citizens Information Board. The appointment will be for a period not exceeding five years.

hoMebaSed buSineSS oPPorTuniTy Part Time & Full Time Hours Available We are looking for self motivated, honest hard working people. We offer: ● Extra income ● Flexible hours ● Full training & support For an aPPoinTMenT PleaSe

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The Citizens Information Board operates under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection and is responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice and advocacy on a wide range of social services and for the Money Advice and Budgeting Service.

The Board of the Citizens Information Board is charged with providing the Minister for Social Protection with advice, information and assistance in relation to

the development of social policy, as well as to develop and implement services to address needs by the identified Minister.

gender balance on Boards. The State Minister may appoint persons from outside the expressions of interest received in response to this

In submitting an expression of interest, a person should state relevant their experience and qualifications, skills and competencies. In considering applications, due regard will be given to Government policy on

Pictured are a group of women from Killinarden who took part in the 10k sponsored walk for the Laura Lynn House Irish Children's Hospice. The walk took place in Tymon Park on Sunday 24th February. The group said they fought the elements, hungry ducks and swans! Flying Footballs! Determined Runners and walkers and a couple of hangovers! Well done to all who took part in the fund-raising walk for this very deserving charity.

Full details of the Board and the requirements for the positions are available on www.welfare.ie . All appointments will be made in accordance with the legislation governing appointments to each body. The Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies includes a description of the roles and responsibilities of Directors of State Bodies.

invitation. parties Interested should submit an application via www.publicjobs.ie with a together Curriculum Vitae and

cover letter by 22 March 2013. Further information on the application process is available on the website www.welfare.ie

10k spoNsoreD walk for laura lyNN House


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21


22

Your FREE Local Newspaper NoVeNas NoVeNas NoVeNas NoVeNas

MIRACLE PRAYER Dear Heart of Jesus in the past I have asked for many favours. This time I ask you for a very special one. Take it, dear Heart of Jesus, and place it within your own broken heart where your Father sees it. Then in His merciful eyes it will become your favour and not mine. Amen. Say this prayer for three days. Promise publication and favour will be granted no matter how impossible. never known to fail. k.M. THANkS TO THE HOLY SPIRIT. Holy Spirit, You who solve all problems, light all roads so that I can attain my goal. You who give me the Divine gift to forgive and forget and forget all evil against me and that in all instances in my life you are with me. I want to thank You and confirm once again that I never want to be seperated

from you even in spite of all material illusions. I wish to be with you in eternal glory. Thank you for your Mercy toward me and mine. The prayer must be said for 3 consecutive days and the request will be granted. The prayer must be published after the favor is granted. Ann.

MIRACLE PRAYER Dear Heart of Jesus in the past I have asked for many favours. This time I ask you for a very special one. Take it, dear Heart of Jesus, and place it within your own broken heart where your Father sees it. Then in His merciful eyes it will become your favour and not mine. Amen. Say this prayer for three days. Promise publication and favour will be granted no matter how impossible. never known to fail.J.J.B.

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goVerNMeNt urgeD to reVIew report of tHe CoMMIssIoN oN assIsteD HuMaN reproDuCtIoN

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has urged the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD, to review the Report of the Commission on Assisted Reproduction following a landmark High Court ruling yesterday, which found that the genetic mother of twin girls born to a surrogate mother has the legal right to be the declared the twins' mother. Senator Keane has been urging for some time for the Minister to declare what the status is of the Report of the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction, an eminent report prepared under the chairperson of Professor Dervilla Donnelly over ten years ago. That report contains 35 recommendations on

assisted human reproduction. "We have seen once again where the legislators have been superseded and the Judiciary has taken a decision that the Oireachtas will have to examine. A very serious decision on assisted human reproduction was taken yesterday and legislators will now have to catch up with this judgement. "I ask that the Report of the Commission of Assisted Human Reproduction, which contains 35 recommendations and which is nearly ten years old, be discussed by the Oireachtas and that the Minister will examine it with a view to implementing its recommendations. Yesterday, the genetic parents won their

case to have the biological mother recognised as the twins‚ mother on their birth certificate, which they were initially denied from doing by the Registrar General. "We have seen in every sphere that self-regulatory systems are not acceptable. This is a serious area that must be examined. We had always understood the principle of mater certa semper est, motherhood is always certain, but now science has taken over and we, as legislators, have to catch up. It is not fair to have people in and elsewhere clinics self-regulating and legislation must be introduced to deal with this area."

eurolInk... what’s happenIng In the european parlIament

Dublin innovators bask in Brussels limelight

Dublin-based Twelve employers and research experts enjoyed centre-stage this week at a week-long exhibition in Brussels showcasing the capital as a “smart, connected and sustainable” city. Scientists from uCD, DCu, DIT and Trinity College were among those exhibiting alongside representatives from Intel, Innovation Dublin and The Green Way. The Green Way is a collaborative group of industry, academic institutions and public/semi-state players in the Dublin region, set up to create jobs in “clean technologies”. The exhibition, organised by Dublin Labour MeP emer Costello, was well-placed to catch passing trade from the major international science

conference taking place at the same time in the european Parliament as part of Ireland's eu presidency. Speaking from Brussels, Ms Costello said her idea was to encourage networking between Irish innovators and like-minded eu partners. “It's been a really interactive exhibition, portraying Dublin as a creative, outward and forward-looking city. It shows how the capital is capable of attracting much more inward investment and is also an attractive place for people to move to and settle,” she added. It's hoped that the exhibition will lead to the development of collaborative projects for which funding can be leveraged under the eu's Horizon 2020 framework. MEPs over the moon to meet astronauts

Two pioneering nASA astronauts were among the high-profile speakers at the biggest ever eu science conference at the european Parliament this week. Buzz Aldrin, the second man ever to walk on the moon, and Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space, caused palpable excitement in the crowd when they took to the podium to launch the five-day event. The conference brought together scientists, policy-makers and industry reps from 100 countries with the goal of placing eu research at the centre of the international response to global challenges, particularly in energy and health. Mr Aldrin summed up the ethos of the conference when he told the audience “the only limit to what we can achieve lies in the limits of our imagination.” Ms Jemison spoke of the

importance of bypassing another limit to our imagination, namely the gender gap in science. “We need to make a conscious effort to reflect the make-up of the planet in the sciences...it should take no more than 20 years,” she said, referencing International Women's Day on 8th March. Fine Gael MeP Sean Kelly, who helped organised the conference on behalf of the Irish eu presidency, said Irish companies and universities stood to gain substantially from the conference. “We're trying to get a least one billion euro worth of projects led by Ireland under Horizon 2020. That's a minimum. The fact that almost every third-level institution in the country came out to this conference shows that they knew the benefit of being here; networking and seeking funding opportunities to get research projects off the ground,” said Mr Kelly. Mr Aldrin was bemused to get a gift of great significance to his host, when the Munster MeP presented him with Kerry GAA jersey. Youth Guarantee must be managed locally

Former GAA President Sean Kelly giving a present of a Kerry jersey to former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin

The much-vaunted Youth Guarantee Scheme agreed by eu ministers last week could be the jewel in the crown of Ireland's eu presidency – if it is enforced in all member states. The initiative makes a commitment to all those under 25 who are unemployed for four months that they will be offered a

job, an apprenticeship, further education or training. Six billion euro from the eu budget has already been set aside to tackle youth unemployment in regions with jobless rates of around 25 per cent, but already there have been warnings that the scheme must be put in place swiftly. Fianna Fail MeP Liam Aylward cautioned that the initiative must be “managed locally, at member state level – without delays due to red tape and administrative burdens”. “It's up to each government to run this scheme effectively, establishing strong partnerships with schools and universities, employment services, youth support services and career guidance counsellors, to ensure early intervention and action to help young people into the job market,” said Mr Aylward. european Commission President, Jose Manuel Barosso, also told Taoiseach enda Kenny last week that he's been pushing the “urgent need” to confront youth unemployment to the top of europe's political agenda. “Too many young europeans are asking if they will ever find a job or have the same quality of life as their parents. They need answers from us,” he said. MEP blasts government over mobility cuts

Irish MeP Marian Harkin hit out at the government this week over its decision to axe the current mobility allowances before coming up with any alternative replacement. The

Independent MeP said she was “horrified” to learn of the move, days after she had called on the government to ratify the un Convention for Persons with Disability. “The un Convention states that people with disabilities should be able to live their lives with dignity and independence, that they're not discriminated against and that they have access to the services they need. The government's cut to mobility allowances is inhumane – it means people who are in a wheelchair can no longer look forward to getting out of their houses every now and then,” said Ms Harkin. Taoiseach enda Kenny has said that the allocation of over ten million euro for this year's mobility allowance and the motorised transport grants will be ring-fenced for a new scheme. But Ms Harkin claimed that the government should have devised another scheme before getting rid of the current funding supports. “I know there is a legal issue with the current mobility allowance and that the government are in contravention of the equal Status Act because the grant should be payable to people over 65, and up to now it's only been available to those under 65. But if the government were really concerned about people with disabilities and the fear they have of being prisoners in their own home, they should have ensured that those recipients of the scheme could continue getting access to it, even it had to be reduced,” she said.


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