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Clondalkin news ©

Minister BaCks ProPosal for MiniMuM PriCing ProPosal for alCohol

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Statistics show that alcohol is a factor in half of all youth crimes

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Local Minister, Frances Fitzgerald T.D., is supporting plans to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol in Ireland. The proposal mean that would supermarkets could no longer use special offers on alcoholic drinks as a loss leader. It would also have significant effects on the prices of own-brand label spirits. “As a society we have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. A multi-faceted approach needs to be

Carton House, one of Ireland’s most luxurious destination hotels will be hosting a Wedding Showcase on Sunday, January 22nd from 2pm to 5pm. The Wedding Showcase at Carton House, Maynooth, Co.Kildare will offer couples the opportunity to enjoy one of the most beautiful venues in the country, while meeting with a range of unique and inspirational wedding experts to discuss all the various aspects of their big day. See page 16 for full details

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reCord attendanCe at loW Cost Counselling serViCe as eConoMiC stresses Bite

As economic stresses increase, a record 665 new clients attended a low-cost counselling service for the greater Tallaght area, the Villiage Counselling Service, in 2011

Depression, anxiety and stress-related issues accounted for more than one third of the problems clients brought to the service which is operated by the Institute of Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy with support from the HSe and the Family Support Agency.

The VCS provided an out-of-hours emergency service over the holiday period. "People’s problems disappear just don’t because it’s a holiday time," says VCS chairperson Marcella Finnerty. The holiday period "brings pressure on us with images of the perfect relationship

and the perfect family – neither of which exist in reality," she added.

This year's figure of 665 new clients contrasted with 491 last year and 375 in 2009. "Due to the difficult economic climate this has been our busiest year to date," said Ms Finnerty. All

The average number of sessions per client is ten, though no limit is placed on how many a person may

have. The breakdown of the top ten presenting issues with the percentage of clients experienced that who problem is as follows Depression 17% bereavement 11% Anxiety 11% Family Difficulties 10% Relationship Difficulties 10%

Anger 6% Addiction 4% Panic Attacks 4% Self esteem 4% Stress 4%

About one tenth of clients are minors. The service can be contact at 087 9049497

Minister BaCks ProPosal for MiniMuM PriCing ProPosal for alCohol ............ froM Page 1

taken to tackle this Introducing culture. minimum pricing for alcoholic drinks is one of the steps that will go a long way towards shifting this culture and creating further barriers between alcohol and teenagers,” said Minister Fitzgerald. “Research conducted by Irish Youth justice Service, now under the remit of my Department, in conjunction with An gardai Siochana, shows a shocking correlation between alcohol and crime. In 2008, alcohol

related offences accounted for 20% of those referred to the garda Youth Diversion Programme and perhaps more significant is the finding that when all alcohol related offences are taken into account – alcohol contributes to 50% of more of all youth crime,” continued Fitzgerald, Minister for Children & Youth Affairs.

“Alcohol abuse by teenagers contributes substantially to anti-social behaviours in our public spaces,

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parks, playgrounds and green areas. It has an impact on the lives not just of those who are becoming involved in public order offences but local residents who are affected night after night by breaches of the peace and often intimidation. Research conducted by the national Drug-Related Deaths Index in 2008 showed that one in four deaths in young men were due to alcohol. This is a startling statistic but, unfortunately, this is the harsh reality that many families are faced

with. Introducing a pricing minimum structure for alcohol will impact on these young people’s ability to access alcohol,” continued Fitzgerald.

“We have seen first hand the impact of the introduction of mandatory alcohol testing in terms of the reduction of road deaths. More measures such as this need to be introduced to help reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland. Alcohol abuse costs the State around €4 billion every year in terms of

health care costs, loss of productivity, criminal costs and alcohol related road accidents. Alcohol is involved in 27% of reported domestic abuse cases and is a contributory factor in half of all suicides. We need to do all we can to change this. Scotland has been leading the way in terms of changing national attitudes towards alcohol. I look forward to working with my colleague Minister Roisin Shorthall towards achieving this goal,” concluded Minister Fitzgerald.

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tallaght Bed Closures a 'deVastating BloW'

Tallaght based TD Seán Crowe described the closure of 62 beds in the Adelaide and Meath Hospital incorporating the national Children's Hospital in Tallaght as a devastating blow and said that unfortunately it looks like the tip of the iceberg in relation to bed closures.

Deputy Crowe said: “The revelation by the Irish nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation that Tallaght Hospital is to close 62 beds before the end of january, including a 31-bed ward, is a devastating blow to hospital care in this region which is served by one of the country's busiest trauma hospitals. “The closure of these beds is taking place without any consultation with staff and in an unplanned and arbitrary way. These bed closures should not be happening. Thanks to the devastating health cuts imposed the Fine gael/Labour by government in budget 2012 these closures will be the first of many in 2012. no consultation has been carried out regarding these closures and no assessment has been carried out. Closing beds in this haphazard way seriously undermines both the quality and quantity of healthcare available to the general population in this region and certainly does not reduce the demand for care

required by people who are sick.

“2,000 public hospital beds are currently closed due to cutbacks and 3,100 nursing and midwifery posts have abeen lost due to the recruitment embargo.

"These closures will inevitably have a devastating impact on waiting times including emergency departments. Tallaght Hospital is already under serious and sustained pressure with additional beds being place on inpatient wards. Overcrowding compromises patient care and leads to increased risk of infection and infectious conditions including the winter vomiting bug and MRSA. The closure of 62 beds in Tallaght will inevitably lead to greated pressure and expose the hospital to more overcrowding in the future. More beds means more patients suffering needlessly on trolleys and more waiting at home in pain due to cancelled operations. "In October Minister Reilly said in reply to questions that he did not agree that more beds closed meant more patients on trolleys and more people waiting for vital operations and treatment. The Minister needs to get his act together and start visiting the hospitals where these bed closures are happening."

Most Irish people’s finances have taken a hammering and it is essential that with rising and taxes disposable incomes falling, anyone who hasn’t done so by now needs to get their money affairs in orders, the co-author of the best-selling TAb guide to Money, Pensions and Tax, jill Kerby has stated.

Kerby was speaking at the launch of the 2012 edition of the TAb guide to Money, Pensions & Tax. The TAb guide has been published annually for over 30 years and its easy-to-read, jargon-free formula has meant that it’s been on the best seller list every year and should be on every household’s bookshelf.

grip on their finances. The volume of correspondence I receive shows clearly that many people are suffering greatly but could improve their situation if they took some simple actions. That’s where the TAb guide comes in: it has been written with the consumer in mind and is free of the jargon and gobbledygook that most financial service companies use in describing the products

they provide.

“After 30 plus years publishing the TAb guide, I believe we’ve got the formula right and that the 2012 edition will be an invaluable tool in helping people keep track of their income, taxes, savings and debts,” Kerby stated.

The TAb guide to Money, Pensions and Tax is written by jill Kerby, Sandra gannon and neil

brooks. jill Kerby is a personal finance columnist for the Sunday Times and also writes a syndicated personal finance column for a range of regional newspapers. She is also a regular contributor on personal finance topics on RTe, newstalk, Today FM and regional radio stations. Sandra gannon is director of TAb Taxation Services and neil brooks is director of TAb Investment Services.

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fianna fáil Calls for firM CoMMitMent on tiMeline for Mortgage arrears iMPleMentation Plan

Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Finance Senator Darragh O’brien has called on the government to set a date for the implementing an action plan to help struggling mortgage holders.

Senator O’brien commented, “It is now nearly three months since the Keane report on mortgage arrears was published, and the government has failed to take any meaningful action to help homeowners in distress. The only step that has been taken is an increase in relief for first-time buyers who purchased their home between 2004 and 2008. However this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tackling the growing mortgage crisis in this country. “In the last few days the Taoiseach enda Kenny said action will be taken on this issue

early this year. We have heard this before. Following the publication of the Keane report, Minister of State brian Hayes promised that his government would publish a detailed mortgage arrears implantation strategy before the budget. This didn’t happen. Finance Minister Michael noonan then promised that the strategy would be published before Christmas. This didn’t happen. now the Taoiseach has again said that the Finance Minister intends to act on the recommendations in the Keane report early this year. Struggling mortgage holders are quite rightly wondering, what is taking so long?

“The Taoiseach has also said that a Personal Insolvency bill will be published this month. While this is a welcome step, this bill will deal

with bankruptcy laws and will not help people to hold on to their homes. “We are in a situation now where nearly 1 in 5 mortgage holders are in some level of difficulty. So far there has been no urgency from this government to address this crisis. These homeowners need more than just another promise, they need a commitment from this government with a detailed time-line on when policies will be implemented that will provide real support to families who are at risk of losing their homes. “I am calling on the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance to name a date for the publication of a detailed action plan to tackle the mortgage crisis. The delays are inexcusable and only add to the distress of thousands of homeowners in difficulty”

ISMe, the Irish Small and Medium enterprises Association, has called on Minister burton to drop her ‘absurd’ proposal to transfer responsibility for paying sick pay in the first month of illness from the Department of Social Protection to individual employers. The proposed implementation of the measure demonstrates a bookkeeping rather than economic approach, a profound ignorance of human nature and a lack of understanding of the SMe sector. According to ISMe Chief executive Mark Fielding, “It is mind boggling in the extreme that the Minister is still leading this one woman crusade to crucify the already struggling SMe sector by threatening to introduce mandatory sick pay of up to four weeks.

Someone needs to have a serious word in her ear and remind her that this measure will increase employers’ costs and have a detrimental impact on employment.” “The Minister would be far better off tackling the huge level of absenteeism within the

public sector, rather than interfering with the private labour market and the much lower absenteeism levels that already exist in the private sector,” continued Fielding.

with job creation being drum-rolled as a priority on the one hand and this outlandish job-killing proposal on the other. Common sense, or any sense at all, needs to be applied and this ludicrous proposal needs to be dumped once and for all,” he concluded.

“The schizophrenic tendency of the government is worrying extremely

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MediCal Card reneWal ProCess to Be greatly iMProVed

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Local T.D., Minister Frances Fitzgerald, has welcomed news of major reforms to the medical card renewal process. “Over the last number of months I have had an influx of enquiries to my office in relation to concerns over delays in processing medical card renewal application forms. Having raised this as an issue, I am pleased to inform people that the system is undergoing major

reform and that this will mean improvements for those awaiting a decision on their medical card renewal application,” explained Minister Fitzgerald. “under the new system, a medical card holder who genuinely engages with the review of their medical cards will not have their entitlement withdrawn before that review is complete. The HSe is undertaking

significant changes to the review process, which will render it far less administrative and therefore quicker and more efficient,” elaborated Fitzgerald. “From january on, the HSe is easing the review process for pensioners. This means that reviews for medical card holders 66 years of age or over will operate on a self-assessment basis as happens for the over 70s. It remains the policy that medical

card holders are obliged to notify the HSe to any changes in their circumstances which would disqualify them for eligibility for a medical card,” continued Fitzgerald. “As part of the reform, being overseen by Minister Shorthall, gPs will now be able to maintain the eligibility of their patients throughout the renewal process and will be able to add new babies to the system through an

online facility. These reforms will hugely improve the system and medical card holders throughout Lucan and Clondalkin will benefit greatly from these efficiencies, particularly medical card holders between the ages of 66 and 70. I am pleased that these measures have been introduced and look forward to the delivery of a more efficient service,” concluded Fitzgerald.

The broadcasting Authority of Ireland (bAI) has issued a reminder that there is less than two weeks left to engage with the public consultation on proposed new rules to govern the level of subtitling, sign language and audio description that Irish

television broadcasters must offer to the public. The new rules will update the current Access Rules in place since 2005. proposals are The aimed at making television more enjoyable and accessible for people who are deaf,

hard-of-hearing, partially sighted or blind. The new rules have been developed taking into account a review of the existing rules and changes in broadcasting schedules and technology. The proposed access rules also look at issues such as the inclusion of

sign language in children’s programming; use of captions; audio description; the impact of Digital TV on access ongoing services; consultation between broadcasters and users on access; and the monitoring of compliance with the

new rules. For the purpose of the public consultation, a range of facilities have been developed to enable people who are deaf, hard of hearing, partially sighted or blind to offer their feedback. A consultation document that outlines the scope

o' Connor deMands aCtion on graffiti

Fianna Fáil Local Area Representative has called on South Dublin County Council to take effective action in respect of the graffiti along the walls at Alpine Rise/belgard Heights facing out onto the new embankment Road. He pointed out that the new extension is attracting huge volumes of traffic to and from the area and the graffiti is creating a very poor impression. He added that the many residents who had contacted him on the matter also point out that users of the LuAS lines to Tallaght and Saggart are also seeing this graffiti and again the impression is not a very good one. The former Dáil Deputy for the area says that "it is a pity that the image of the area along the stretch of such a fine piece of road network should be diminished by the graffiti" and he believed that the Council should now take immediate action in the matter.

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ConCerted effort needed to Continue isMe deMands goVernMent PuBlish redundanCy figures road safety iMProVeMents

on new Commenting figures published by the Road Safety Authority, Fine gael Councillor brian Lawlor said, “Deaths on Irish roads have dropped 50% since the introduction of the Road Safety Strategy 2007 – 2012. However, even one death is too many, and my thoughts are with the 186 families and communities around the country who tragically lost a loved one on our roads

this year.” “This government is committed to building on the progress made to date to ensure our road safety standards continue to improve. Since Fine gael have come into office we have rolled out significant measures, such as the new drink driving limits, which bring Ireland in line with best international practice. Minister Varadkar, has outlined

measures to further increase road safety he intends to introduce over the coming years.” “These measures include the move to plastic driving licenses and the provision of new penalty points for drivers, dangerous enhanced commercial vehicle roadworthiness testing and the publication of legislation to provide for roadside testing of suspected drug drivers.”

“I would also like to recognise the superb work done by members of the gardaí and the emergency Services both in working to prevent accidents on our roads, and in responding to emergency situations. The impact of the swift and professional responses of gardaí, Ambulance and Fire Service Personnel to road collisions cannot be understated,” concluded Councillor Lawlor.

ISMe, the Irish Small & Medium enterprises Association, has demanded that the government publish an up to date list of monthly redundancy figures, which they have failed to do since August 2011. The Association is furious that it is over four months since the Department of Social Protection took responsibility for compiling these important figures from the Department of jobs, enterprise & Innovation and still none have been published. ISMe Chief executive Mark Fielding outlined, “These monthly figures are extremely important as they indicate the number of redundancies announced, the trends, sectors and areas most affected. It is absolutely incredible that one department cannot transfer a responsibility to another without a major breakdown. It also highlights the inefficiencies in our public service, especially when we were informed that the figures would be available by november 2011 at the latest.” “It

is

also

ironic

when

government are doing their utmost to protect the Croke Park agreement, which was supposed to increase efficiency, that we cannot even get a basic count of redundancies, due to total incompetence. You couldn’t make it up”, continued Fielding. “The sad irony is that the government were very quick to implement a reduction on the redundancy rebate to employers, but are unable to outline the actual number of redundancies on which these rebates are based. It would be more beneficial if there were fewer announcements about announcements and more real work done by the over-protected Public Service”.

In conclusion Fielding called on the Minister for Social Protection to undertake to immediately publish an up to date list of redundancies, which will at the very least indicate what patterns have developed over the last number of months, which will assist with forward planning. “Should this be beyond their competence the private sector would duly oblige”.

free Computer reuse offered by irish Charity Camara in an attempt to meet growing demand of disadvantaged Communities

Camara education, a social enterprise and charity, specialises in the re-use of computers to educate children in disadvantaged schools in sub-Saharan Africa, jamaica and Ireland. Camara education refurbishes computers sourced from Irish businesses, government departments and individuals, loads them with educational software and distributes them to disadvantaged schools. This enables thousands of marginalised communities’ an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty they find themselves in.

To date Camara has dispatched over 27,000 computers in this way, improving education for over half a million disadvantaged children and giving them the opportunity to acquire the digital literacy skills needed for the 21st century. This year alone the charity has processed and shipped over 9,000 computers as the demand for affordable technology increases year on year. Currently Camara’s partner Hub in Kenya has 200 under-resourced schools on a waiting list to receive Camara computers and training. A similar situation is seen by Camara’s partner Hubs in

Zambia, ethiopia, Lesotho and jamaica.

Due to this ever growing demand, Camara is offering a free computer reuse option for the Irish public in january. The case for reuse before eventual recycling is very compelling. With up to 200,000 computers thrown out each year in Ireland, many of these could be reused by disadvantaged communities both at home in Ireland and abroad. With Camara, each reused computer has a positive educational impact for at least 10 disadvantaged children each year. each computer also defers the release of 650kg of CO2 emissions.

To reuse your old computer for the purpose of education, Camara’s drop-off location is in Chapelizod Industrial estate, Dublin 20 open Monday to Friday and late Thursday evening from january 3rd.

Camara also has drop off centres in Townsend enterprise Park, Townsend Street, belfast and on Distillery Road, as part of the national university of Ireland in galway. For further information, please call 01 685 7121.


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Speaking following the release of the CSO monthly live register figures today Sinn Féin Dublin Mid West representative eoin Ó broin has said that ‘there has been no fall in unemployment in Clondalkin and Lucan this month despite a marginal decrease country wide.’ The

Dublin Mid West live register figure for December was 8925 up from 8917 in november.

Ó broin said ‘The news from the CSO shows that unemployment in Clondalkin and Lucan has risen for two months in a row. In December 8925 people were on the live

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register. While the picture for the country overall indicated a marginal drop in unemployment for December, Clondalkin and Lucan have seen an increase.

‘After two months of marginal drops it is deeply depressing to see that unemployment in Dublin Mid-West is on the rise for the second month in a row, particularly when other parts of the country have experienced a small drop in joblessness. ‘There are now 443,200 people on the live register across the state. 14.3% of the labour force is out of work. Acording to the latest CSO figures 1,500 more are emigrating every week.

‘In October the government said that the economic future was looking brighter and that unemployment

was decreasing. The figures tell a very different story.

‘The response by the government has been to reduce investment in capital programmes that will result in up to 7,500 job losses; to cut 6,000 jobs from the public service; and to reduce the spending power of low and middle income earners with stealth taxes, vat increases and social welfare cuts all of which will lead to thousands more job losses.

‘The policies of this government will only further depress our economy, increase unemployment and increase emmigration. All of which will leave more families from Lucan and Clondalkin without work and dependent on ever decreasing social welfare payments or prospect of life away from family and friends

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‘It is time that the government listened to the people and fundamentally changed their approach. It is time that government put job recreation and employment at the

centre of its policies as proposed by Sinn Féin in our pre budget submission.

‘Dublin Mid-West’s four government TDs are voting for policies that are forcing more and more people from

Clondalkin and Lucan into unemployment and emmigration. Their support for the anti-jobs and anti-people budget in December. It is time they were held to account for their actions’

Sinn Fein protests at the Fine Gael office in Clondalkin highlighting the negative consequences of the budget on jobs and families


11

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dáil to deBate sinn féin Motion on deis sChools Cut

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The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on education Seán Crowe has said that the government must reverse the cuts in DeIS band One and Two schools that will arise from increases to the pupil-teacher ratio in December’s budget. Deputy Crowe was speaking as he announced the text of a Sinn Féin Motion calling on the government to pull back from targeting schools that service children from disadvantaged areas. He said: “The cuts to essential education services announced in last month’s budget are

indefensible and wrong. “It is clear that the government is continuing to implement the regressive polices of its predecessors by targeting the most vulnerable within our education system. “We have submitted this motion which will be debated in the Dáil next Wednesday and Thursday. The motion calls on the government to reverse their decision to increase the pupil-teacher ratios in DeIS band One and band Two schools. These cuts will result in the loss of hundreds of teachers who play a key role in

ensuring some of our most vulnerable young people receive a decent education. “If this government press ahead with these cuts then the incremental progress that has been made in improving our education system over many years will be lost. It will also impact on schools from across the country and will alienate a generation of children who will be cast aside. It will cause irreparable damage to many young peoples’ lives and will have serious implications for wider Irish society and the economy.”

Q. I have been living with my partner now for 6 years. We never got around to getting married. I was previously married but got divorced over 6 years ago. My partner was also previously married We are both now in our fifties and I worry at times about

what might happen to me if my partner died first. The house was previously owned by him and is in his sole name. We have discussed making Wills but my partner has been reluctant to actually do so. He does have children by his marriage, all of whom are adults now.

Ruairi Quinn, T.D., Minister for education and Skills today thanked the Irish Second Level Student’s union for their report entitled “naming the Reformed junior Cycle”. Commenting on the report, the Minister said “I warmly welcome the effort that has been committed to this project by the ISSu. Their use of text messaging, social media, email and consultation sessions

to engage students on the topic has set an excellent example for creating dialogue with the students themselves.”

The report is being published on the Department’s website www.education.ie, and is being forwarded to education stakeholders for further discussion.

The report includes a number of potential names for the reformed junior cycle, including STARS

The Legal Column If my partner was to die without making a Will or any provision for me, what could I do?

In THIS MOnTH’S eDITIOn, ROMAIne SCALLY OF ROMAIne SCALLY & CO. SOLICITORS, MAIn STReeT, TALLAgHT, DubLIn 24 (01 4599 506) DeALS WITH THe QueSTIOn OF SuCCeSSIOn RIgHTS OF unMARRIeD COuPLeS LIVIng TOgeTHeR. ROMAINE SCALLY & CO. SOLICITORS, MAIN STREET, TALLAGHT, DUBLIN 24 TEL: 01 45 99 506 FAx: 01 45 99 510 EMAIL: legal@scally.ie WEB: www.romainescally.ie

Minister Quinn WelCoMes seCond leVel students’ union ProPosals on naMing the reforMed Junior CyCle aWards

A. Firstly, we have to decide whether or not you qualify as a “ Cohabitant” under the provisions of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights And Obligations Of Cohabitants Act 2010. under Section 172 (1) of this Act, a Cohabitant is defined as “one of two adults (whether of the same or of opposite sex) who live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and are not related to each other within the prohibited degrees of relationship or married to each other or civil partners of each other”. Most importantly Section 194 of this Act deals with the rights of cohabitants. In summary, the position is as follows: A qualified cohabitant may, after the death of his or her cohabitant, but not more than 6 months after representation is first granted under the Succession Act 1965 in

respect of the cohabitant’s estate, apply for an Order under this Section for provision out of the net estate. A qualified cohabitant means an adult who WAS IN A RELATIONSHIP OF COHABITATION WITH ANOTHER ADULT and who immediately before the time that relationship ended, whether by death or otherwise, was living with the other adult as a couple for a period (subsection A) of two years or more in the case where they are the parents of one or more dependant children and (subsection b) of five years or more in any other case. An adult is not deemed to be a cohabitant if either party was married and had not lived apart from his or her spouse for at least 4 of the 5 years prior to the date of death.

In the event of the death of your partner, proceedings under this Act must be brought within 6 months of the date of issue of the grant. For example, if your spouse had previously made a Will appointing his former

spouse his executor and she applies for a grant of Probate then, you must make your application within 6 months of the date of the issue of the grant otherwise your case will be statute barred and you would have no cause of action under the estate of your partner.

In the event that the Court hears the case and it is not settled, then the Court may make an Order for the qualifying cohabitant i.e. “the Court may by Order make the provision for the applicant that the Court considers appropriate having regard to the rights of any other person having an interest in the matter.” If the Court is satisfied that proper provision in the circumstances was not made for the applicant during the lifetime of the deceased for an reason other than conduct by the applicant that, in the opinion of the Court it would, in all the circumstances be unjust to disregard. The rights of the other person might include a former spouse or civil partner. As this Act is

(School-based, Teacher-led Assessment and Reporting System) and ICA (Irish Comprehensive Assessment).

The report shows that strongly students welcome the proposed reforms and particularly the emphasis on active learning and the changed approach to assessment. One participant in the consultation stated “I think it will prepare

students for life after the exams, instead of just for the exams”

In welcoming the report, Minister Quinn said “Young people are uniquely placed to take the lead in redesigning their learning. It is precisely this engagement and enthusiasm for self directed learning which we are trying to promote in the reforms, developing important skills which will serve throughout life”.

by Romaine Scally still relatively new, there is no case law to determine how the Courts are dealing with these issues.

Section 194 (7) provides that the Order made by the Court “shall not exceed any share of the applicant in the estate of the deceased qualified cohabitant to which the applicant would have been entitled if the qualified cohabitants had been spouses or civil partners of each other. Thus, in the case of your partner having made a Will excluding you and you were to successfully bring a case to Court looking for “proper provision” then, your share cannot exceed (a) one half of the estate where the Testator (deceased cohabitant) left no children surviving

(b) one third share of the estate where the deceased left children surviving

and in the case of intestate succession (no will) the Order made by the Court may not exceed (a) two thirds of the estate where the deceased cohabitant left issues surviving (b) the entire estate where the cohabitant leaves no issue. both of you are, by virtue of the circumstances you describe, qualifying Cohabitants and as such should be mindful of your mutual rights and obligations on the death of either of you. Wills should be prepared taking careful note of these rights and obligations. We hope this has been helpful.

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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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16

Carton house Wedding shoWCase

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Pensions oMBudsMan Meets With reVenue

The Pension Ombudsman, Paul Kenny, met with the Revenue Commissioners on, Tuesday 10th january, at the request of the Revenue to review the events of the past few days.

Paul Kenny, Pensions Ombudsman, said that he had a very productive and positive meeting with the Revenue Commissioners. He is happy that things are being brought under control and that Revenue will make the necessary steps to correct the situation as quickly as possible. That small group of people who may have had tax deducted, for which they are not

liable, will receive refunds quite quickly, as work on the exemption certificates has already started.

Revenue assured us that arrangements are underway for them to get regular feeds of information from the Department of Social Protection so that changes to people’s benefits will be brought to Revenue’s attention immediately and tax credits adjusted accordingly, without the need for the taxpayer to notify Revenue individually. The Pensions Ombudsman noted the very positive feedback on telephone calls

that managed to get through to Revenue. The volume of calls is still very high and it may take some time to get through. However, it is very important, if you have a worry that you do talk to Revenue about it. The Pensions Ombudsman emphasised that the vast majority of people are tax compliant and expressed his sympathy and understanding for the worry that this updating exercise has caused, but is assured that, once this initial exercise is completed, there will be certainty and clarity into the future.

- January 22nd 2012 -

Carton House, one of Ireland’s most luxurious destination hotels will be hosting a Wedding Showcase on Sunday, january 22nd from 2pm to 5pm. The Wedding Showcase at Carton House, Maynooth, Co.Kildare will offer couples the opportunity to enjoy one of the most beautiful venues in the country, while meeting with a range of unique and inspirational wedding experts to discuss all the various aspects of their big day.

Celebrity make–up artist june Kelly from Makeup junkies will be running a series of beauty workshops on the day encapsulating make up trends for 2012. jillian bolger, editor of Irish brides will be on hand to divulge the best honeymoon tips along with a host of inspiring and unique wedding experts including

The Flower Factory, White Tea Photography, The Sweet Treat Company and enjoy wedding pictures with a hilarious twist from Caricature Artist, niall O’Loughlin. guests will also enjoy a chic and inspirational bridal fashion show to include leading trends from a range of Ireland’s top fashion emporiums such as House of Fraser while sampling the renowned food at Carton House with a canapés and champagne reception.

As one of Ireland’s most beautiful hotels with acres of rolling scenery, a royal history, exquisite décor, unrivalled food and short listed for 2012 ‘Wedding Venue of the Year Leinster’, Carton House is the ideal venue for the perfect wedding. With a team of leading wedding coordinators drawing on

many years of experience guests are sure to walk away from The Wedding Showcase at Carton House with plenty of ideas and thoughts on how their perfect day should be from the venue, to the décor, to the perfect menu for their guests, to simple touches to enhance the day for both the couple and their guests.

Admission is free with champagne and canapés on arrival and Carton House will be offering Wedding Showcase guests a complimentary room upgrade for those staying at Carton House on the night of Sunday 22nd january 2012. For further details on the Carton House Wedding Showcase visit www.cartonhouse.com or find us on facebook at www.facebook.com/Carton HouseIreland

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south duBlin County CounCil Bin fines – a disgraCe

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disCounts aVailaBle for Bin CustoMers

Dublin Mid West Sinn Féin representative eoin Ó broin has branded new South Dublin County Council bin fines ‘a disgrace’ following a recent increase in fines being issued for over filled bins. Sinn Féin is advising people who receive these fines not to pay them and for the Council to withdraw the fines pending the outcome of a review. Ó broin said ‘I have been contacted by a large number of people from bawnogue who have received litter fines from South Dublin County Council. The basis of the fines is that their bins were overfilled. ‘The fines were by accompanied photographs which clearly

show that either the bins were not overfilled or that the amount of overfill was very small. The photos also contained no evidence of littering. ‘The decision by South Dublin County Council to issue these fines is a disgrace. There is no offence being committed. These fines are punitive and completely unjust. ‘I understand that this issue has caused considerable controversy within the Council, as staff initially refused to issue the fines. I also understand that a working group has been established to examine the matter. ‘I have written to the Council calling on them to withdraw the fines and not

to issue any others until the outcome of this review has been brought before the elected members. Sinn Féin will also be tabling a motion at the next available Council meeting calling for the fines to be withdrawn. ‘I have also advised people who receive these fines not to pay them pending the outcome of Sinn Féin’s representations on this matter. ‘Families across Dublin Mid-West are reeling from the impact of the budget, with increased charges, the VAT hike and reduced social welfare payments. The last thing they need is the Council hitting them with €75 fines on the basis of a punitive reading of the litter laws.’

rethink your drinking for ‘12 How to make your new Year’s Resolution last

Making a resolution to reassess your drinking habits in january can seem like an easy decision after a hectic party season. However, making this resolution last past those january blues is the tough part.

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Fionnuala Sheehan drinkaware.ie Chief executive commented ‘knowing the reason why you want to drink more responsibly will really help you to stay focused. Maybe you want to get fitter, save money or you may be worried about how alcohol is affecting your relationships. Committing your resolution and reasons to paper will help keep you on track.’

Ms. Sheehan added ‘the online Drinks Diary and Calculator on the drinkaware.ie website is a useful tool for anyone looking to reassess their drinking habits. The Diary allows registered users to track how many standard drinks they’re consuming, as well as calculate the cost and calories of drinks. The

diary also provides feedback and recommendations based on the number of drinks inputted.’

drinkaware.ie Top Tips for more sensible drinking habits

Know the reasons behind the resolution – there are many incentives for drinking responsibly. You may be concerned about health problems, perhaps you want to lose weight or improve family relationships. Keep these reasons in mind to maintain your motivation.

get real - while it’s great to make a resolution, it’s even better to keep it realistic. The Department of Health and Children advises that low risk weekly limits are up to 14 standard drinks for women and up to 21 standard drinks for men. One standard drink is roughly equal to a glass of beer or a small glass of wine or a pub measure of spirits. get the know-how - set up your own personal online drinks diary on

drinkaware.ie. The diary adds up the drinks you have consumed in any given week so you can easily compare your drinking with the recommended weekly low risk limits. As an added feature, you can also keep an account of your spending by calculating how much each drink costs.

Take a break - daily low risk drinking limits are 2-3 standard drinks for women and 3-4 standard drinks for men. However, it is important to include some alcohol free days over the course of the week. Pick a day or two each week when you will not drink alcohol at all. Why not use this extra free time to take up a new hobby, start a course or rejoin a team? Pace Yourself- It can be easy to slip back into old habits when out with friends. Simple tips like alternating alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks, avoiding rounds and taking a limited amount of money on a night out will help keep you on track.

to adVertise in in any of our PuBliCations ContaCt our sales teaM on 01 451 3822 www.newsgroup.ie


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20

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“ProPosed Changes to retail guidelines Will Cost JoBs, CoMProMise Main streets and Cause More dereliCtion” - an taisCe

Minister Hogan needs to reject the proposed changes to increase the size of large stores. Research shows that 1.4 jobs are lost in town centres for every new job created in out-of-town ‘megastores’. because of their failure to engage with local suppliers and re-circulate money back into local economies, each new out-of-town ‘megastore’ results in a net jobs loss of 270 full-time positions, according to research undertaken in the uS (see submission for details). We have no reason to believe the situation is any different in Ireland. Indeed, Forfas, in its report to the Minister on the Retail Planning guidelines, could only make guestimates because of what it called “a lack of timely and detailed data”. If Minister Hogan has any real interest in buying local, reviving town centres, and sustaining neighbourhood businesses, it makes absolutely no sense to increase the floorspace of hypermarkets - which result in higher amounts of money

leaving the country, as the research shows. In fact locally based shops return twice as much money to the local economy as out-of-town retailers. Data from the uS shows that locally-based shops return 32 cents of every euro spent to the local economy, but large out-of-town retailers only return 16 cents of every euro in revenue back into the local economy (according to the research; see detailed paper). The reality is that mega-retailing in Dundrum has destroyed shopping in Dun Loaghaire, while edge-of-town shopping has also put Waterford and Limerick city centres in jeopardy. Minister Hogan must not let himself become the person that opens up a coffin for town and city centres. Minister Hogan does not need to be the Minister remembered for causing further dereliction along main streets. Minister Hogan needs to push back against the policy of some councils to poach business out of towns and cities - not promote it. Further, locally owned

businesses employ more staff and pay better. employees in ‘megastores’ earn 20% less according to research on what hyper-retailer Wal-Mart pay staff. The undermining of traditional town centres by massive out-of-town stores needs to stop – not be exacerbated. There's a simple two prong-strategy to stem the erosion of town centres, according to An Taisce. A hypermarket levy: An Taisce supports the hyper-market tax being brought in northern Ireland and calls for its introduction here. It will apply to 76 hyper-retailers in northern Ireland, and should be applied to the 300 largest stores in the Republic. As proposed in northern Ireland, there should be a 15 per cent surcharge on the rates bill of the largest retail complexes, with the proceeds used to finance rates-relief for small business, the use of empty shops for non-commercial purposes, and for public transport. Second, an out-of-town

retail parking levy is needed: An Taisce, Ireland’s national Trust, is also recommending an out-of-town retail parking tax where 20 to 25 cents is collected for every 2 or 3 hours of parking at major retail outlets which currently have free parking. The charge is not prohibitive – and it does provide much-needed revenue for public transport alternatives so that we can wean ourselves off our over-reliance on imported oil in the medium to long term.

Some revenue would need to go to back the retailer initially to pay for installing the car park charging system, but over time the money would be sent to local government to provide sustainable transport, including bike-sharing schemes, proper bus shelters and more frequent bus services. Finally the environmental Charity noted: “We do not live only as consumers; we are part of communities too. There is a balance to be struck here, and the current strike that guidelines

balance reasonably well. Rigorous competition already exists, not only on price grounds, but also on the ethical choice there is between shopping in locally-owned stores and leaving more money in the community – or, going to out-of-town mega-retailers and sending more money abroad. Weakening the current guidelines would result in mega-retailers gaining more monopoly power, the erosion of community and increased sums of money leaving the country.”

oMBudsMan aCknoWledges that 2011 Was another tough year for Pensions

The Pensions Ombudsman, Paul Kenny, acknowledges that 2011 has been another tough year for pensions and investments and highlights the work done by his Office in assisting individuals in the resolution of their pension-related complaints. The Pensions Ombudsman encourages the use of early intervention and mediation as a means of resolving disputes that are submitted to him. not every complaint has to go to Determination, and early intervention can sometimes help to prevent the escalation of a difficulty. The Pensions Ombudsman emphasises the role that good clear communication can play, particularly in helping members to understand the nature of their benefits and

in encouraging them to actively engage in its management. Those managing pension arrangements should ensure that the information they provide to members is clear, correct and can be relied on. In addition, it is most important that pension scheme members take the time to examine the scheme information they are provided with and understand the nature and value of their pension entitlement. The cases, summarised on the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman website (www.pensionsombudsman.ie) give a flavour of the variety and types of disputes that come before the Pensions Ombudsman and the means employed to resolve them.

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daft house PriCe rePort

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Asking prices fall sharply in final three months of 2011

Asking prices for residential property around the country fell by an average of 7.7% between September and December, according to the 2011 In Review report published by property website Daft.ie. This is the sharpest three-month fall in prices to date and means that the percentage fall in prices over the course of 2011 was 18%, as large as the fall seen in 2009. The average asking price is now just over €175,000, 52% below the 2007 peak of €366,000. between September and December, Dublin saw an average fall in asking prices of 8.9%, while the fall in Cork city was 5.4%. The average fall in Limerick was just 3%, while the fall in Waterford city was 7.7%. Of all the cities, though, the largest fall occurred in galway city, where asking prices were discounted by over 14% in just three months. In the previous quarter, asking prices had actually risen slightly in the city. Outside the

main cities, asking prices fell by between 7% and 8% in most parts of the country, except for Munster, where the average fall was 5.5%, which still marks the largest fall seen yet in the province.

new figures published in the report outline the speed at which properties are selling around the country. In Dublin, about one half of properties sell within six months, while in Connacht and ulster, it takes a full year for the same proportion to sell. Across the country as a whole, properties that don't sell within the first few months typically find it difficult to find a buyer in subsequent months: most will still be on the market after a year.

Dublin Across Dublin, asking prices fell by an average of 7.7% in the final three months of 2011, compared to a fall of 4.5% between june and September. The average asking price in Dublin is now €217,000, down from a peak of €483,000 in early 2007.

Commenting on the report, Ronan Lyons, economist with Daft.ie said: "It is tempting to see larger house price falls as a bad thing and no doubt many, particularly those in negative equity, will see this dramatic fall in those terms. However, if the size of the correction in house prices is determined by fundamental factors, then it is better for the prices to race to the finishing line than crawl there. Looking ahead to 2012, confidence and finance are central. It is vital to remember that recovery in the property market does not mean an increase in prices, it means an increase in transactions. This is ultimately down to the banks, who will not resume lending until the government's stress tests stop punishing them for doing so." The full report is available from http://www.daft.ie/re port and includes a commentary by Ronan Lyons, economist at Oxford university and author of the Daft.ie Report.

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21


22

suPPorting PeoPle With disaBilities

recently CASA celebrated it’s 30th anniversary and as an organisation is hopeful that they can continue to provide much needed services for many years to come. CASA however does not want to rest on its

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Casa 30 years and still going strong!

laurels and is hopeful that they can extend services in 2012. but to help achieve this we need help!! CASA (Caring & Sharing Association) is a voluntary organisation whose goal is to develop friendships and

social outlets for people with disabilities through a variety of social activities. CASA is a local based charity that works closely with those who need its services most. Activities include local social events, respite

breaks and Lourdes pilgrimages. CASA is unique in that it provides services for with all people disabilities - physical, sensory and intellectual – of all ages and backgrounds and it goes without saying that the

demand for services greatly exceeds volunteer capacity. There are now 21 local CASA groups nationwide including our Youth group in Swords. Local groups provide regular social events for people with disabilities where

they enjoy activities (a meal, live simple entertainment, a sing-song) with one-to-one care in a safe and relaxing environment. For people who are dependent on family support or carers, CASA offers a much appreciated sense of freedom and independence. In addition we have 2 respite care houses in Malahide and Swords that provide mid-week or weekend breaks for our members in a safe and family-like environment.

CASA is a voluntary group that relies heavily on the generosity of the public and once off donations. For our anniversary we would like to raise awareness and generate support for the work that we do. Ways to help:

• Make a donation • Volunteer with a local group • Donate to one of our charity shops • Visit Restaurant Ten Fourteen in Clontarf (all profits go to CASA) • Take out a Direct Debit • Organise a fundraising event in aid of CASA

We would also like to provide a much needed good news story to the public. Through the dedicated work of many volunteers CASA has continued to provide valuable services for hundreds of people with disabilities. “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” For further information log on to www.casa.ie or contact 01 8725300

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23

dirty danCing, the reCord Breaking sMash hit MusiCal, sets Pulses raCing With the announCeMent of the first eVer irish tour Your FREE Local Newspaper

The producers of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage, one of the most successful hit musicals in West end history, are delighted to announce the launch of the first ever uK & Irish tour, which is coming to the grand Canal Theatre on 17th january 2012 for 6 weeks only. now in its triumphant fifth year at the Aldwych Theatre in London, Dirty Dancing, opened in the West end in 2006, breaking all box office records with advanced ticket sales of over £15 million, which made it the fastest selling show in West end history. It has since played to over 1 million people, receiving nightly

standing ovations and continuing to enthrall and delight, and as a result, over 250,000 tickets have just been put on sale, extending the London run to 29th October 2011. The success of the London show, which will continue to play at the Aldwych Theatre, has led to overwhelming demand from fans to experience the iconic love story that is Dirty Dancing in their home cities, and the producers are therefore delighted to announce this major new venture for the production. eleanor bergstein, scriptwriter and creator of Dirty Dancing, said: “I am happy to announce the opening of the uK tour

of Dirty Dancing. In our fifth year in London, it is still astounding for me to sit amid our audiences, many of whom I discover have planned long in advance and travelled far to see us. each performance, they honour us with a personal and loving response which delights us and makes us grateful It is a special pleasure then for us to plan a production that will have the chance both to visit and thank those who have travelled so far to see us, and to take our show to those who could not make the journey”.

Kinesense, an Irish owned software company has collaborated with government bodies enterprise Ireland and the Irish security sector to create innovative and time saving video analysis technology which helps reduce public sector costs in this area by up to 95%. Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office indicate that since the demise of the Celtic tiger in 2007, crime rates are on the increase. With a rise in incidence of burglary of 7.69% and aggravated burglary up by a staggering 42%, the Irish government is looking to technology for help. Recently awarded ‘Most Inspiring Winner,’ by the

Irish executive network in their Inspire Ireland competition, Dr. Mark Sugrue of Kinesense said: “With recent austerity measures implemented in the public sector which will see the retirement of over 1200 garda officers, the mantra of 2012 is to save time and cut costs. The software that we have developed works like a video search engine allowing the user to quickly find the key events using ‘search filters’. To be awarded such a prestigious award a head of huge international competition really shows just how far Kinesense has come in a short space of time.” barry Walsh, Inspire Ireland judge said on the day:

“What made Mark and Kinesense stand out from the crowd was the sheer scale of their technological ingenuity. That said, innovation alone is not enough unless it’s backed up with a system people can easily engage with and understand.” established in 2009 Kinesense are at the forefront of forensic video analysis, specialising in technology for the public sector. This state of the art technology means hours of surveillance footage can be filtered to pin point any activity. Dr Mark Sugrue is responsible for product engineering, and research and development initiatives for Kinesense’s product range.

Tickets for Dirty Dancing live at the grand Canal Theatre are on sale now!

Prize Winning teChnology Wages War on groWing CriMe rates

POLYGREEN

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage is coming to the Grand Canal Theatre on 17th January

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Dr. Mark Sugrue and Barry Walsh pictured at an awards presentation in Kinesense’s Merrion Square offices


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