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Armed GArdA Unit needed

22nD APRIL 2013 P.O. bOx 3430, TALLAGHT, DUbLIn 24 TeL: 451 3822 email: info@newsgroup.ie web: www.newsgroup.ie

Deputy Derek Keating has reiterated his call for an Armed Response Unit to be assigned to the Clondalkin/Lucan area and he is saddened that a representative of Sinn Féin rejects this appeal to the Garda Commissioner.

“It is understandable that Sinn Féin might continue to maintain their anti-State and anti-democratic policy but the reality is that Dublin Mid-West in the past four months has exceeded the national

figures for crime including shootings, pipe bombs, robberies and so-called "Republican IRA" membership.”

“I am concerned for the welfare of the Garda in Clondalkin and Lucan who have to deal with these criminal elements on a daily basis. I do not want to see another Garda life lost in protecting the State against dissident republicans whose origins are questionable

and who enjoy the support of some political figures in Dublin Mid-West.”

“As the duly elected and local TD for I Clondalkin/Lucan, personally represented Dublin Mid-West in ensuring that no Garda Station would be closed and I highlighted the need for a new fleet of Garda vehicles when the previous administration put Garda lives at risk because of the type of equipment and vehicles

that they had to use in their fight against crime were ancient and clapped out.”

“I welcome the Minister for Justices announcement in the last number of weeks that €3 million is to be provided for new equipment and vehicles for the Garda.”

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“As the local TD for Clondalkin and Lucan, I don’t need any member of Sinn Féin to remind me of the tremendous dedicated and

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Armed GArdA Unit needed From pAGe 1

successful work that the Garda are involved in in my constituency. Garda recruitment is expected to commence and new equipment and vehicles are all in place

because of this Minister's commitment to fighting the criminal element and so-called republican subversives and their supporters.” Keating concluded

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keAtinG “Gross HypoCrisy” on GArdAí And Crime Your FREE Local Newspaper

Féin Dublin Sinn Mid-West representative has accused Derek Keating TD of “gross hypocrisy” after the Fine Gael TD called for more armed Gardaí on our streets.

Ó broin said: “Derek Keating has called for more armed Gardaí on our streets. His call came after a number of incidents of serious crime in Lucan and Clondalkin.” “Deputy Keating has a cheek to release such a statement. His statement is nothing short of gross hypocrisy.” “Since Fine Gael and Labour took office Garda numbers have been cut by 10%. The force is fast approaching the critical number of 13,000 and has lost more than

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1,000 officers since Alan Shatter became Minister for Justice.”

“In addition to less Gardaí on our streets, local stations are being closed and Garda vehicles are being reduced. All of this is having an impact on the ability of the Gardaí to tackle crime in our communities.”

“Garda moral is at an all-time low. This year, for the first time, the Garda Representative Association refused to invite the Minister for Justice to speak at their annual conference.” Keating “Derek supported the two Fine Gael Labour budgets that implemented the cuts to Garda numbers and funding. To come out now calling for increased resources is nothing short of gross

hypocrisy.” “If Deputy Keating was genuinely interested in supporting the Gardaí and reducing crime in

our communities he would join with the rest of us in opposing the proposed cuts to Gardaí numbers and funding

and call on the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to lift the recruitment embargo on emergency services.”

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tenAnt eviCtions dUe to repossessions mUst Be Avoided

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Housing Dessie ellis TD has called on the Minister to work to develop a binding code of conduct to avoid rental tenants been evicted in the event of repossessions. He made his comments during a debate requested by

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him in the Dáil.

ellis Deputy continued:“Across the state and especially in Dublin we are facing a crisis within a crisis. This is the problem of landlords who are not paying their mortgages and in doing so are

jeopardising the housing of potentially thousands of people. “In the last few weeks I have personally dealt with five families in Dublin who are facing eviction due to the repossession of their rented homes. The lenders want to sell and

wash their hands of the property, in some cases forcing the landlord to evict the families before they take over. “I spoke to emma, a mother of two from Drimnagh: 13 years on waiting lists afraid to leave her home to go to speak to the council

because she might come home to find that she has been evicted. “The long term solution is to provide sustainable public housing which is not endangered by the whims of the market, lenders or profit driven landlords. The more

immediate solution is to force lenders to enter into a code of conduct in relation to tenants, especially those with an assessed social housing who are need particularly at risk of homelessness in the event of eviction. “banks need to honour

tenancy agreements in conjunction with a strategy from Local Authorities to ensure that no tenant is left homeless. As we face increased repossessions due to government policy this will only become worse if nothing is done.”

eCo –week 2013

South Dublin County Councils 9th Annual eco-Week is a week long festival celebrating all things environmental and takes place on 22nd – 26th April. There are lots of activities planned in many areas of the County – libraries, parks, Tallaght Stadium and schools. There is something for everyone in eco-Week – members of the public, students and businesses. Workshops are provided by South Dublin County Council free of charge. For more information check out www.sdcc.ie

BAllyCUllen- old CoUrt AreA plAn mUst not spoil moUntAin Amenity

Chris bond- Labour Party councillor for Tallaght South has urged against excessive residential development on Montpellier Hill in the new ballycullen and Old Court area plan. The ballycullen/Oldcourt area plan encompasses a substantial belt of land between the M50 and bohernabreena. Whilst certain aspects of the plan are to be welcomed. Cllr bond is concerned about the possibility of residential development on the side of the mountain. There is a large swathe of undeveloped agricultural lands stretching in a straight line from the top of Hunterswood estate to bohernabreena Cottages. As of today it still remains eligible for residential development. ‘’ As someone who grew up in Allenton estate I know the value of the existing landscape to the south of our estate and I am determined that it should remain unspoilt, not only for local residents but the wider community who value this amenity’’ ‘’I am campaigning for as much as possible of these lands to be designated for a: Public Park with the long term objective of creating a public park linking Oldcourt and ballycullen to the Hell Fire Club Park’’


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stop mUGGinG tHe ConsUmer witH tHe priCe oF mediCine Your FREE Local Newspaper

The national Consumer Agency (nCA) study into the retail prices of prescription drugs, has been warmly Deputy welcomed by eamonn Maloney.

"The nCA is to be commended for its work and deserves our sincere thanks for highlighting this issue. The media and politicians

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have tended to concentrate on the manufacturers of medicines where pricing is concerned, while the pharmacies have been silent on the variations in charges for medicines." "The percentage difference in price of individual prescription medicines range from 39% to 119%. The average percentage

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difference across all products nationally is 56%. In terms of how the consumer is being misled, the average price variation among the 39 prescription medicines included in the study is 30% and 27% in Galway and Waterford respectively. The corresponding figure for Cork and Limerick is 29%. These are hugh variations. In Dublin the cost of a particular drug used to treat stomach complaints varies in price from €19.96 to €42.33, a difference of 112%. Given the variations in price of the same product in a small city like Dublin, pharmacies have some questions to answer."

"Those who are losing as a result of the excessive pricing are the consumer and through the drugs scheme, the refund taxpayer. I have never believed in self regulation. Historically it has not worked well in this country. The nCA study has clearly shown that some pharmacies, when left to their own devices,will engage in overpricing. As

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legislators we must now ensure the speedy passage of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) bill 2012 through the Dail and Seanad. This legislation will promote price competition among suppliers and pharmacists and ensure that lower prices are paid for those medicines, resulting in further savings for both the consumer and the taxpayer."

"The issue is excessive price variation, particularly in this city, where one can pay double the price depending on where you live. If one adds such price variation to the prices of medication under the drugs refund scheme, consumers are hit twice. The consumer is being mugged with regard to to the prices charged for medications in certain pharmacies. The taxpayer is also being mugged because with medicines priced at this level, they reach the ceiling under the drugs refund scheme much quicker. The need for regulation in the pricing of medicine is urgently required.

Dublin South West Representative Seán Crowe TD with Killinardan resident Eileen McCelland and Amanda, Staff Member at the LauraLynn Ireland's Children's Hospice care for children with life limiting conditions, where they donated 2690 euros raised recently through a Sponsored Walk in Tymon Park, Tallaght

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inFormAtion CAmpAiGn kiCks oFF to Help tHose strUGGlinG witH deBt Find A wAy oUt 9

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Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cait Keane, has said the launch of Insolvency Service Ireland’s public information campaign will allow those who are struggling with the burden of debt to find a way out of their financial difficulties. “Many people in Tallaght and across Dublin South-West, and right across Ireland, feel crippled under the weight of debts that were acquired during the boom. For these

people, the burden is overwhelming and the cause of considerable stress in their everyday lives. With this in mind, the Government advanced legislation at the end of last year to set the wheel in motion to help people to get on top of their debts, find a way out and to begin again to play a role in our economic recovery.” “Insolvency Service Ireland (ISI) launched a public information campaign to enable

people to find the best way of dealing with their debts, depending on their situation. The website www.isi.gov.ie is now live and offers a wealth of information about debt resolution measures for dealing with both secured and unsecured debt. “ISI also set out guidelines on what can be determined as reasonable standards of living and reasonable living expenses which should act as a defensive shield for

tAllAGHt stUdents win top prizes in teXACo Art Competition

Three Tallaght students have won top prizes in this year’s 59th Texaco Children’s Art Competition. In Category G, third prize of eUR200 was won by 12-year-old David Mcnamara, a student St. Joseph's Special School, Tallaght, for his untitled painting depicting a cat on a window sill. The two other Tallaght students, also pupils at St. Joseph's Special School, won Special Merit Awards in the same

category. They are, nicole McKeever (17), for her untitled work, and emily behan (14), for her work entitled ‘Fish’. Prizes will be presented at an awards ceremony in Dublin next month when all of the 126 top prize-winners will be in attendance. The competition, which attracted entries from each of the 32 counties, will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year.

Proud winner: David McNamara (12), a student at St. Joseph's Special School, Tallaght, is a winner in this year's 59th Texaco Children's Art Competition. He is pictured with his untitled prize-winning painting, of a cat sitting on a window sill, with his mother Ann (left), grandmother Ann, grandfather Michael and sister Denise.

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debtors to ensure that the financial institutions they are dealing with are not unreasonable in their demands.”

“People who are in genuine distress over their financial situation should be afforded every opportunity to work through their debt with dignity. The guidelines are not designed to micro-manage people’s lifestyles or expenses by the Insolvency

Service or creditors. Instead they are intended as a baseline for negotiation and discussion and are intended to be flexible and to help both sides to come to a satisfactory resolution.” “It is hoped that from the end of June, ISI will be in a position to begin accepting applications for new debt solutions. From May, it is expected that Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPs), whose job it will

be to act as mediators between debtors and creditors, will begin being authorised. This gives people a real timeline regarding a roadmap to dealing with their debts.” must be “It remembered that the three debt resolution measures set out by the ISI; Debt Relief notices, Debt Settlement Arrangements or Personal Insolvency Arrangements, are voluntary arrangements undertaken by both

sides. The aim is to come to an agreement that is acceptable to all. Continuing to ignore the plight of those who are in everyday anguish over their debts is not an option. by engaging in this new process, banks will be working towards meeting Central bank targets on mortgage arrears and those in debt will be given a second chance and hope for a happier future that is not utterly mired in debt.”

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"being a european Citizen: how do you see it?" is the theme of this year's illustration competition addressed to you, Citizens of the eU and Croatia, launched by the ePP Group in the Committee of the Regions (CoR) be creative and share your vision of eU citizenship in the form of a graphic design, a painting, a diagram, a cartoon, a photo or any other illustration. Your work can be published in a book to be released by the ePP/CoR Group in October 2013 on "A vision of eU Citizenship for the year 2020", and if you are among the winning contestants you will be invited to the launch in brussels, and win an iPad.

We've launched this competition not only because 2013 is a european Year of Citizens but also to explore in what ways europeans identify themselves with european citizenship. Raising awareness on eU citizens’ rights should be a long-term objective beyond 2013; every year should be the year of citizens - explains Michael Schneider, President of the european People's Party Group in the CoR – Indeed, for some it can mean a right to move or reside freely in any european Member State, for others it is a synonym for peace. What better way to illustrate these thoughts than an image? Are you in? Find out more and enter now: www.epp.cor.europa.eu


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review oF disABility AllowAnCe And domiCiliAry CAre AllowAnCe Your FREE Local Newspaper

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan burton T.D., has released the Second Report of the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare on the issue of the budget 2012 proposals Disability regarding Allowance and Domiciliary Care Allowance, along with the Report of the

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Review Group on the operation of the Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) Scheme. The Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare was established in June 2011 with the aim of harnessing expert opinion and experience to examine a number of specific issues. In

December 2011 the Minister asked the Advisory Group to examine and report on the policy objectives underpinning the budget 2012 proposals regarding changes in eligibility criteria and rates of payment for Disability Allowance and the increase in the age threshold for

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payment of Domiciliary Care Allowance.

The Minister said “I welcome the publication of this Second Report of the Advisory Group, which will be a valuable contribution to the policy debate in relation to young people with disabilities. My colleagues in Government and I are carefully reflecting on the findings of the Advisory Group and will further consider the recommendations contained in the Report taking into account future developments in terms of the budgetary and fiscal situation as well as other work underway. In this regard, I understand that the Advisory Group is currently examining the issue of working age supports and that the Group will be considering the appropriate payment rates and the equitable treatment of all people of working age.”

The review of the DCA scheme was announced by the Minister in May 2012, with a review group being set up to examine the operation of the scheme, its current administration, medical assessment and appeals processes and to make recommendations by the end of 2012. Speaking

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review report, the Minister said “I am pleased to publish the report of the DCA review group and commend the group on the scale of the review and the consideration it has given to the scheme in the short timeframe. I believe that the recommendations made will result in an improvement in the level of service to our provided customers and will assist in ensuring that those people who meet the qualifying conditions for the payment receive it in a timely manner. It is my intention that the administrative improvements recommended in the should be report implemented as quickly as possible.” The report on the review of the scheme also includes policy and legislative recommendations and the Minister stated “As in the case of the Advisory Group report, my colleagues in Government and I are carefully reflecting on the policy findings and will further consider the recommendations taking into account the prevailing budgetary and fiscal situation.” Copies of the reports are available on the Department of Social Protection website www.welfare.ie.

plACes still AvAilABle in new GAelsCoil in FirHoUse

Application forms for places in the Junior Infant class in the new Gaelscoil in Firhouse are still being accepted. The new multidenominational school will open under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta this September. Over 8,000 children currently attend Irish medium schools in Dublin . In 2012, the Department of education announced that a new Gaelscoil would be opened in Firhouse to cater for the demand for Irish language education in the area. The new Gaelscoil will be based at a temporary location in Firhouse and will transfer to a permanent site in the area. The Department of education is currently sourcing this location. The position of principal in the new Gaelscoil has been advertised. An Foras Pátrúnachta, the school’s patron, expect that the principal will be appointed by the end of April.

Caoimhín Ó heaghra, General Secretary of An Foras Pátrúnachta, said: “Children starting off in the new Gaelscoil in Firhouse will be getting the fantastic advantage of a low pupil teacher ratio as well as the full support of the Department of education with regard to accommodation and funding.

“The Gaelscoil will have the full support and experience of An Foras Pátrúnachta, setting the school on the path of providing an excellent standard of education to the children.” Great interest has been shown in the new Gaelscoil to date. An information evening was held for parents recently and a parents committee is currently being formed. It is expected that an Irish language summer camp for the children will be organised. There has also been a keen interest in Irish language classes for parents. Further information as well as application forms (for 2013 and other years) are available from www.foras.ie

Caoimhín Ó hEaghra, General Secretary of An Foras Pátrúnachta opening a new school building recently in Cork. (Pic.Bandon Photography)

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inFormAtion CAmpAiGn needed As 16,000 smArtpHones stolen in dUBlin lAst yeAr 12

Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine noone, has spoken out about her concern at the rise in petty crime relating to smartphones. Citing recent statistics

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that show that an estimated 16,000 phones were stolen in Dublin in 2012, Senator noone said: ‘This is an alarming trend that is rising. A number of things need to happen

here – first and foremost, all smartphone owners should have their IMeI number to hand – which is a unique number to each handset that can lock it indefinitely. If a

phone is stolen they can have it deactivated in one of the most effective possible ways if they have their IMeI number. “Surprisingly, only 15% of owners knew the IMeI

numbers of phones stolen in Dublin. This should be remedied, and I think an extensive public information campaign on safeguarding your smartphone is in order. I believe this campaign should also alert people to methods in which smartphones are stolen, which include thieves snatching the phones from people as they ride by on their bicycles.

“Dublin City Council has released an excellent leaflet, advising people on how to protect their phone. However I think that, given the extent

of the problem, a wider public information campaign needs to be undertaken. I also believe that more has to be done along the lines of retailer best practice, as well as by ensuring that petty crimes such as this are punished in a more serious way. are useful “There security apps which users can upload including iGotya which takes a photo of whoever is holding the phone following an unsuccessful password login and emails it to the owner of the phone. The Find My iPhone app allows users

to get pinpoint information on exactly where their phone is. I would urge smartphone users to upload available security apps so as to increase the chances of finding their phones and apprehending the thieves.

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“Maybe it’s the case that for every crime of this type committed, a larger fine would be imposed and – if on social welfare – payments would be reduced for a period of time. With this trend going up, it’s clear that something has to be done.”

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14

FUrtHer mediCAl CArd restriCtions sneAked in

Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has accused the government of sneaking in further restrictions on medical card qualification while the Dáil was in recess and through a HSe announcement to Oireachtas members, rather than a public statement from a government minister. Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "According to the HSe it is amending the eligibility criteria relating to medical cards by removing Home Improvement Loan payments and excluding the first €50 per week from travel-to-work expenses from the standard medical card means test assessment. The exclusion of travel-to-work costs relates to removing the weekly amount of €50 allowed to cover standing charges (i.e. depreciation and running costs) used when considering travel to work costs as an outgoing where public transport is not available or suitable and a car is required. The HSe say it will continue to consider the standard mileage costs and transport (bus/train) costs when assessing eligibility. "This further restriction follows the recent legislation which lowered the income threshold for medical card qualification for people over 70 years old. "What is, in reality, another cut to health services has been sneaked in while the Dáil was in recess and announced through a HSe e-mail to Oireachtas members rather than a public statement from a government minister. Health Minister James Reilly and Minister of State for Primary Care Alex White are emulating their predecessor Mary Harney who regularly hid behind the HSe when such announcements were made."

troikA reJeCts JUnk ColleCtion proposAl Your FREE Local Newspaper

Councillor Éamonn Walsh (Tallaght Central) (FF) has criticised ‘coalition forces’ of Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin at South Dublin County Council for defeating his motion for the reintroduction of the junk collection in the South Dublin County Council area despite its limited reintroduction in the Dublin City Council area by the FG and Labour members of the city. Walsh said that the Council has operated a ‘Polluter Pays’ principle for many years and I subscribe to this view in normal times. However elderly constituents have a problem with disposing of mattresses, old wardrobes, presses and other junk. Some elderly people have had junk dumped in their back gardens without their knowledge; these

gardens being used as storage for bonfire material by young people, later on. A junk collection as well as the annual and better free advertised ballymount Civic Amenity Day around Hallowe’en, would reduce the materiel for the bonfires saving the Council money on the subsequent clean up’. free Wee The (electrical goods) by some voluntary groups and at ballymount are services excellent however any other material entails a door to door collection charge of €15.

Councillor Walsh noted that the Council management and the SF/Labour controlling group’s insistence that the cost would be €2.5 m which is questionable given that the equally cash starved but twice

more populated Dublin City Council has found a way to reintroduce the junk collection in their area on a once every three year basis.

Walsh believes that ‘Labour and Sinn Féin have controlled the Council these last five years and were useless in preventing the sale of the bin service to Greyhound which has had a number of controversies around their service ever since. With the introduction of this modest proposal and being carefully budgeted, it would restore some of the goodwill lost over that sale’. ‘The introduction of the property tax of some 500-600 euros in parts of the constituency next year and the payment of half that amount this year, will prompt a

Monty-Python-esque ‘what has the Council ever done for us’ query from residents and the usual litany of responses will follow; however, this small measure is a way of restoring faith with residents and removing the farcical sight of bus users on the 27A bus going to Tallaght seeing three sides of the Walkinstown roundabout having a junk collection and the others having none.’

At Labour’s demand more Councillors will be added to the Council next year which will probably cost the Council the bones of a million euro. ‘Sinn Féin an dá thaobh’ with the collaboration of Labour in the controlling group, accepted the plum positions of the Council, whilst senior SF party officials at

national level refused to state whether they were going to pay the household charge last year encouraging a default which has left the Council having nearly 40% of its residents refusing to pay. This has led to many of the services they claim to protect being compromised as a result of the cash shortfall.’

Walsh concluded ‘ The troika of FG/Labour/SF ought to get real about their constituents needs. basic services like water and bins are privatised or will be taken out of Council oversight. Councillors need to listen to their constituents and give them something in return for their sacrifices over the years; a junk collection is one of those modest measures.’

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”


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15


16

rAmBle Aid, tHe 5k series

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Ramble Aid, the 5k series for charity which is organised by South Dublin County Sports Partnership, takes place next month in Tymon, Griffeen & Corkagh parks. With no traffic in view or roads to cross it offers a great way to explore the parks involved. Costing only €5 to enter the event is excellent value and is open to all members of the public be they runners, walkers, young children on bikes or wheelchair users. Proceeds this year go to Teenline, beacon of Light and Jigsaw, local charities promoting youth mental health, particularly in the battle against youth suicide. For full details and to register for the event go to www.rambleaid.ie. Pictured are Cllr. Cathal King, Mayor of South Dublin County at the official launch with representatives from the 3 charities, South Dublin County Council and the HSE/ Get Ireland Active programme.

3 oUt oF 4 people Here do not AvAil oF Free CHeCk Ups European study of 7 countries shows Irish adults worst for attending routine dental examinations

new figures from the Irish Dental Association show that 75% of people who are entitled to a free dental examination do not avail of the service.

The Irish Dental Association said cutbacks to the two main dental health schemes and ongoing confusion over people’s entitlements have led to an alarming deterioration in the dental health of the population. It said the HSe’s failure to explain to people what their entitlements were, amounted to a dereliction of duty. The IDA pointed out that a study on perceptions of dental health in seven european countries* found that Ireland had the lowest number of adults attending the dentist for routine examinations. Ireland also had the highest number of patients citing cost as a factor preventing attendance at the dentist. The Chief executive of

the Irish Dental Association, Fintan Hourihan, told delegates at the IDA’s annual conference in Galway, that the short-sightedness of withdrawing several modest benefits from three million patients was already becoming apparent. “These simple preventive treatments were key to maintaining good dental health for the general population. In their absence dentists are seeing a huge increase in dental decay and gum disease. Other problems which may be caused or made worse by poor dental health include heart disease, strokes, diabetes, premature and low birth weight babies and respiratory disease.

by slashing the PRSI and Medical Card schemes, by halving tax reliefs for orthodontic and other dental treatments and by reducing the number of dentists and nurses in the public service by

20% over the last two years - leading to longer and longer waiting lists – this Government and its predecessor has created a dental health time bomb which will have huge repercussions for the population as a whole in coming years” Hourihan said.

The IDA believes that if the Government was to take a number of timely and cost effective measures – including the introduction of a voucher system for the annual oral examination - it could arrest the shocking decline in the dental health of the nation. It says the Government should; l Introduce a voucher system for annual oral examination l Gradually restore benefits to Medical Card and PRSI schemes l Restore marginal rate of tax relief l end the embargo on recruitment of dentists by the HSe l Appoint a Chief Dental Officer (Vacant

for the last 20 years)

“everyone would have an entitlement to a voucher and would physically receive one. We think it would be seen as a service they have paid for in the case of PRSI employees and one to which they are entitled by medical card holders. If people had an actual voucher they might be more inclined to avail of the service and this could save them painful and costly treatment down the line as well as leading to higher detection rates for oral cancer at an early stage.

It would also be easier to administer from the State’s point of view and again more cost effective. This system has worked well in Sweden, Australia, Canada and several US states. We need urgent action. The voucher system would be a good starting point and that’s what we need right now” Hourihan concluded.


rent sUpplement limits UnreAlistiC As rents rise

17

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Fein Housing Sinn spokesperson Dessie ellis TD has blasted the Minister for Social Protection for setting unrealistic limits for rent supplement. He made his comments as it was announced by the CSO that residential rents have increased 3% in the past year.

new accommodation. “Is the Minister living on a different planet? Rents have continually up as this gone government refuses to deliver housing.

Deputy ellis said; “In budget 2012 Minister burton increased the contribution for tenants on Rent Supplement by

25%. These are people who were already struggling to make ends meet and have nothing more to give. The move put many at risk of homelessness and undoubtedly forced many out of their homes also. “now the people on Rent Supplement are sent letters being telling them that their rent is too high and that they must get it lowered. They are told to renegotiate or find

Fine Gael Councillor for Tallaght, Cllr brian Lawlor, has welcomed the publication of the non Use of Motor Vehicles bill 2013 . This bill will stop the practice of retrospectively claiming that your car has been 'off the road' in order to avoid paying arrears on motor tax. This loophole currently costs the state in the region

of €55 million per annum. "This loophole provided the perfect opportunity for motorists to evade motor tax and placed the onus on the Gardaí to certify that the car was off the road,” Councillor Lawlor stated. “This bill means that if someone intends to take their car off the road for a period of

time, they will be responsible for notifying the Motor Tax Office in advance in order to prevent arrears accruing. This will be particularly useful, for example, to people who need to spend time working abroad. Furthermore, it will exclude the Gardaí from the process and free up their time from this administrative burden.

“Rents have risen 3% in the last year. Landlords have their pick of tenants and can ask what they want for their properties. The ordinary tenant has no power or ability to drive a lowering of rents.

“Minister burton must change how Rent Supplement is administered so that department the negotiates rents with landlords and drive a better deal for tenants and the public purse.

“Penalising the poorest tenants in the country for high rents is not acceptable in the short term though and limits must be revised to address the reality of rents on the ground.”

tiGHteninG oF motor tAX loopHole welComed

"It has been known for sometime now that the closing of this loophole should generate approximately €55 million per annum in taxes that are currently being evaded by opportunistic motorists. It is vital that the bill is operational without delay to increase the revenue intake for financially strapped local authorities".

An JiG GiG series 5 TG4’s hit show returns with a mission to find the best traditional Irish dancers in Ireland

Over the past 4 years thousands of Irish dancers have applied for An Jig Gig in their quest to be crowned TG4’s best Traditional Irish Dance Act. The dance acts have come in all shapes and sizes, from solo dancers to large dance troupes, and it is the first Irish dance competition that sees dancers of different ages, styles and organisations battling it out head to head on the same stage. now it’s time to begin the search for An Jig Gig Champion 2013!

All forms of Irish dancing are eligible for the series, from step dancing to brush dancing, from Sean-nós dancing to set dancers. This is the ultimate free-for-all Irish dance competition and a celebration of all the Irish dancing traditions. but only one act can be crowned champion and will claim the title of TG4’s best Traditional Irish Dance Act 2013.

Keeping a close eye on all the talented hopefuls are 3 judges.

Breandán de Gallaí, former lead dancer in Riverdance, breandán is used to working with the world’s top Irish dancers. He is a hard man to impress and any dancer going on stage in front of him, aiming to be crowned the best Irish dance act in Ireland, better give the performance of their lives!

Dearbhla Lennon, also a former lead dancer in Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance. She has experienced performing at the top level in Irish dance for years. Like breandán, she is an expert in the field, and will quickly weed out the chancers from the talented dancers. Labhrás Sonai Choilm Learraí, a champion Sean-nós dancer, and a fanatical supporter of the older styles of Irish dance completes the judging panel. Labhras, a man who knows what he likes, won’t be pulling any punches with such a prestigious prize at stake.

All 3 judges are experts in the field of Irish dance, but will they see eye to eye with such a variety of styles on display? Sparks are sure to fly again on An Jig Gig….. Any style of Irish dance is eligible for the show. Also, there are no age restrictions on contestants. The number of people in each act is also not restricted, and can range from one upwards. If you want to take part in this year’s competition, please fill out the application form on the TG4 website: http://www.tg4.ie Or call us on 01-2843877 All applicants will be contacted to confirm a time and venue for their audition. Auditions will take place nationwide.

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18

-

mid-west Unemployment Crisis ContinUes

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Dublin Mid-West Sinn Féin has accused the Government of ‘complacency as the local unemployment crisis continues.’

His comments come after the CSO revealed that the number of people signing on in Clondalkin and Lucan rose slightly in March. 8874 people were signing on in March compared to 8837 in February. Ó broin said: ‘Once again Dublin Mid-West is bucking the state

with the live register trend. While the overall figures indicate a slight drop in the numbers of people signing on in Clondalkin and Lucan the numbers are up again. ‘The live register figures for March in Clondalkin and Lucan are 8744 compared to 8837 in February. While the change is slight it that the shows unemployment crisis continues. ‘It is clear that the Government is being

The Legal Column

are registered for that. Self-employed people are registered with the online service.

Q. I have checked the valuation of my house on the Revenue’s website. I am not happy with the valuation. Should I retain the services of a Solicitor or Auctioneer?

In this month’s edition of the paper, Romaine Scally Solicitor, of Romaine Scally & Company, Solicitors, Main Street, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Telephone 01-4599506 email legal@scally.ie looks at the area surrounding the new Property Tax.

Many people will by now have received letters from the Revenue Commissioners seeking payment of the new Local Property Tax. There are many unanswered questions about this new tax and I hope that the following question and answer session might be of assistance.

Q. I feel I would like to ignore the letter I got from the Revenue. Is this a good idea?

A. Much as we would all like to ignore a letter of demand from the Revenue, it is not a good idea to do so. Our advice is to open it immediately or check the Revenue’s online service if you

A. The Revenue website contains “suggested” valuations for every house and flat in the country. The valuation website is by no means perfect. If you feel that the valuation seems about right then, don’t challenge it. Hiring Solicitors or other professional advisors is not necessary and is only adding to the expense of the tax. Remember however, that this is a self-assessment tax. This means that the Revenue will accept your own valuation. There are however penalties if it turns out that your valuation subsequently proves to be substantially incorrect. It is therefore better to be careful. It might be an idea to talk to neighbours if your house is one of many similar houses in an estate and get a feel for what valuation other people are putting on their homes.

Q. I cannot afford to pay my Property Tax in one lump sum. Are there other options?

A. There are several ways of paying. You can pay it one lump sum either by direct debit, credit card or straight from your bank account. Homeowners will also be able to pay the tax by cash through a, as yet to be announced, network of intermediaries, probably including the post office. For homeowners who cannot afford to pay up front, there are a number of stage

payment options. These include deductions at source from your salary, pension or social welfare payment and stage payments by direct debit, credit card or cash through the approved intermediaries. In short therefore, it is possible to pay the tax over a period of time.

Q. I live in rented accommodation. Am I liable for the Property Tax? A. no. It is the owner of the property who is liable. However, you will almost certainly receive a letter from the Revenue. When you do, you should immediately inform the Revenue that you are a tenant and keep a copy of this letter.

Q. I cannot afford to pay the tax. Can I get an exemption?

A. Unfortunately, the answer to this is, almost certainly no. The criteria for payment of the Property Tax have been drawn extremely tightly. The best that you can hope for is a deferral. Single people on less than €15,000.00 and couples on less than €25,000.00 qualify for a full deferral. Partial deferrals are available for people whose income is less than €25,000.00 for a single person or couples up to €35,000.00. However, you need to be aware that interest on payments clock up on the unpaid tax at 4% a year. This applies irrespective as to whether or not you qualify for the deferral. Q. I am a first-time buyer who bought my home since the beginning of the year. Do I have to pay the tax?

complacent about the local unemployment crisis. We have four Government TDs in this constituency. Yet there have been no initiatives proposed or agreed aimed at stemming the local tide of joblessness or emigration.

‘Labour and Fine Gael come to office in 2011 promising action on job creation. To date there has been little or no government led investment to get people off the dole and back to work. There are not even enough

training places on government schemes to meet the demand. ‘Meanwhile 1,600 people, mainly young, are leaving the country every single week.

‘It is time for the Government to match their talk about jobs with some real action. We urgently need investment in job creation and areas with high levels of unemployment like Dublin Mid-West much have targeted job creation plans.’

by Romaine Scally A. You are one of the very fortunate few. Just about the only people who qualify for an exemption are first time buyers who buy their home between 1st January and 31st December 2013. You and all other similar first-time buyers will be exempt from this tax until the year 2016.

Q. I bought my home in 2006 and paid a fortune in stamp duty. It is now worth less than half what I paid for it and I am struggling to repay the mortgage. I have had to look for interest only and am struggling even to pay that. Do I qualify either for a deferral or an exemption?

A. Unfortunately, one of the injustices of the new tax is that those in negative equity will have to pay up like everybody else. It is based on the value of your house without any mortgages taken into account. If mortgages were to be taken into consideration, it would be hugely less attractive to the Revenue so unfortunately, to add insult to injury, you and many others are not only in negative equity and have paid a fortune in stamp duty, but you will have to register and pay for this new property tax annually. Unfortunately, there is no fairness about this and there is nothing anyone can say to make it seem so.

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. 8TH MAY. 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


sHApe Up And slim down! Get set for summer...

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Easier said than done? Not necessarily. with a new type of fat binder you can lose up to 8 pounds of body fat in just one month! Make this Summer extra special by getting the bikini body you’ve always wanted.

Are yoU dreAdinG Bikini seAson?

Rest assured, there’s help for us all. A new type of fat binder has revolutionised weight loss. The special tablets dissolve in your stomach right after ingestion, releasing the fat-absorbing fibres that cling to fat molecules like magnets. Instead of getting absorbed by your body, the fibres leave your digestive system taking the fat with them.

20 GrAms witH eACH tABlet

each tablet can bind about 20 grams of fat in the stomach. by consuming six tablets a day

you can lose around 120 grams of fat which otherwise would have been absorbed by your body and contributed to your weight problem. That’s nearly 8 pounds of fat in just one month! The fat-binder does not make you “immune” to pizzas and other high-fat foods but it will make them less fattening. Furthermore, thanks to this really useful remedy you can continue eating what is considered a normal diet and still lose weight. normally, this would not be possible.

Here is How it works: 1. Before you eat your meal you 1. take the fat-binder.

2. The tablet quickly dissolves in 2. your stomach, releasing the 2. active substance. 3. The fat-binder attaches to fat 3. in the stomach and absorbs a 3. substantial amount of the fat 3. content.

4. The complex (fat + fat-binder) 4.travels through the digestive 4.system without dissolving.

5. Afterwards, it gets excreted 5.the natural way without any 5.unpleasant side effects.

wHAt mAkes it diFFerent? There are several reasons why this 2nd generation fat-binder is superior: • It does not affect the body’s fat • metabolism like certain drugs that • work by blocking an enzyme that is • needed to break down fat • (blocking this enzyme is known to cause • certain side effects)

• It enters the body and leaves it again • without interacting • with any bodily functions • The tablets dissolve very fast in the • stomach and go to work right away • You can increase or decrease your • fat-binder intake depending on the • amount of fat you eat

19


20

novenAs novenAs novenAs

MIRACLE PRAYER THANKSGIVING 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.C.

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. E.R.

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

eU mUst Be JokinG

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mine. Amen. Say this prayer for three days. Promise publication and favour will be granted no matter how impossible. never known to fail. E.B.

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.T.W.

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. B.C 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. P.F.T. NOVENA TO ST. JUDE May the Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved throughtout the world now and forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St Jude worker of miracles pray for us. St Jude helper of the hopeless pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day, by the eighth day your prayer will be answered. Say it for 9 days. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised.M.F.

PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to have your novena published please make a donation to our selected charity. Send a postal order or cheque made payable to Solas Centre (NCBI) and send, along with your novena to: Newsgroup, PO Box 3430, Tallaght, Dublin 24. If you require any further information call us on 01 4519000.

ireland’s paid and public holidays four days below eU average

Research released by travel experts reveals Hotels.com discrepancies in paid and public holiday entitlements across europe. When looking at both statutory annual leave and public holiday allowances across the continent it’s the brits, Irish, Swiss and Germans who are the worst off. The UK has a minimum of just 28 days putting them at the bottom of the table closely followed by Irish residents with 29 days, the same as Switzerland and Germany. The Russians and Italians top the table, benefiting from 40 and 36 days holiday respectively. Of the 12 european nations surveyed, the travel experts found the average leave and public holiday entitlement is 33 days across europe, meaning Irish workers lose out

on four days out of the office each year compared to some of their european counterparts.

A plethora of bank holidays also exist across europe, with Spain, Italy and Russia leading the way with 12 days each, thanks to holidays such as ‘Victory Day’ on 9th May in Russia and the ‘Assumption of Mary’ on 15th August in Spain. Surprisingly, Ireland has one of the lowest numbers of public holidays at nine per annum, but if marketers and Diageo are successful in championing Arthur’s Day to be the next public holiday, this could increase to ten shortly. On a global scale, Mexico has the lowest total of paid and public holidays with just 13 days given to workers per year comprising six

public holidays and seven days annual leave almost 30 days less than the top ranking country of Russia. China, Thailand and Taiwan only receive 5, 6 and 7 days annual leave respectively but benefit from a substantial of public number holidays per year.

Alison Couper, from Hotels.com, said: “Irish workers are towards the bottom of the table when it comes to the amount of bank holidays and annual leave days, compared to their european counterparts. However they can take some comfort from the fact that they’re not the most hard done by nation globally, with Mexicans receiving a mere 13 days holiday a year. It's fascinating to think what we could do with an extra 11 days holiday a year, like those who live and work in Russia!"


21

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Cllr. BreedA Bonner ConGrAtUlAtes tHe ClondAlkin yoUtH BAnd on reCent winninG nAtionAl ConCert BAnd CHAmpionsHips in limeriCk Clondalkin Youth band added another national Championship to its fabulous roll of honour when it won the national Concert band Championships in Limerick last Saturday. bands from all over the country competed for this title and many of these bands concentrate on the concert band format. Clondalkin Youth band is better known as a marching band and indeed they brought great credit to Clondalkin with their performances in St Patrick’s Festival Parades in Dublin City, Lucan and in Limerick City.

However, it is great credit to the bands director Vincent Dolan and to the skill and commitment of the band members that the

Cllr Breeda Bonner with Band Director, Vincent Dolan.

Standing ovation as President Higgins does Ireland proud

Clondalkin Youth band is also one of the foremost concert bands in the country.

The national Concert band Championships took place this year in the University of Limerick with Clondalkin Youth band leaving their headquarters at St Joseph’s nS before seven thirty last Saturday morning. It was great to see their hard work rewarded with another national championship title. The band is now looking towards the european Marching band Championships in Holland in late July and will be working hard on developing a new field show for this important competition. Cllr breeda bonner paid tribute to the band and to its director. “I

am very proud of the work of Clondalkin Youth band and they bring glory to Clondalkin year in and year out. Vincent Dolan, the band’s director, has worked tirelessly for many years, teaching all of the band members their instruments from scratch. At this stage he has taught many hundreds of children in Clondalkin to play instruments at a very high level. The current band has over a hundred members and many of them have been with the band for years. Comhghairdeas to everyone involved in their latest win and the best of luck to Vincent and the band in their preparations for the european band Championships in Holland this Summer”

euROLInk... WHAT’S HAPPenInG In THe euROPeAn PARLIAmenT

The rousing speech by Irish President Michael D Higgins at the european Parliament in Strasbourg this week represented a dazzling intellectual sweep of eU history which so impressed the chamber that the entire body of MePs took to their feet in sustained applause.

The 12 Irish MePs were visibly thrilled and even european Parliament President Martin Schulz could only mumble “wunderbar, wunderbar” after Michael D’s 30-minute oration which ranged from the birth of 6th century Irish scholar St Columbanus through to the modern-day blight of “unaccountable” rating agencies.

The word “intellectual” featured about ten times in the speech, but there was no doubting the message in this cri-de-coeur from our poet of the people, delivered as part of Ireland's six-month eU presidency. “europe needs a soul,” said Michael D, one of several quotes he drew from French statesman and former european Commission President Jacques Delors.

He cautioned of the “threatening clouds” hanging over europe and the danger of “drifting into a kind of moral and intellectual impotence” if we continue to entertain an economic discourse that is “indifferent to social

consequences” “democratically unaccountable”.

and

He singled out rating agencies for particular contempt, warning that to depend on their “fallible” opinions was to reduce citizens to the status of mere consumers, “pawns in a speculative chess board of fiscal moves.” As an alternative to “an economic narrative driven by dry technical concerns”, President Higgins urged politicians to draw strength from the founding values of the european union: “respect for personal dignity; freedom; democracy; equality; the rule of law and respect for human rights.”

He appealed to leaders to rekindle the Union's “fundamental connection” to its citizens, without which, he cautioned, “we are adrift.”

President Higgins also warned of “an unconscious drift to disharmony, a loss of social cohesion and a recurrence of racism” if europe is defined simply as “an economic space of contestation between the strong and the weak”. Instead, he said, “our citizens yearn for the language of solidarity.”

Mr Higgins commended the concrete measures put forward during the Ireland's eU presidency to fight unemployment including the Youth Guarantee Scheme, and said that there was

“nothing more corrosive to society and more crushing to an individual than endemic unemployment”. He called for measures to ensure that women participate in the workplace as equals, older workers are not left on the sidelines and the long-term unemployed are fully equipped to get back to the workplace. He also urged europeans to draw on their “shared intellectual heritage”, citing the “rich legacy” of radical thinkers such as Diderot, Kant and Herder. “We should never forget that we are the inheritors of a profoundly important set of european values – Greek democracy, Roman law, the Judeo-Christian tradition, the reformation, the enlightenment, the great democratic revolution that began in France.”

President Higgins concluded by hoping for a response to emerge from our current problems that constitutes “a tapestry of many colours, of different strengths in its threads.” “Whether it is made out of wondrous reason or woven with a prayer will not matter. What matters is that it be the work of us all, working together, in co-operation, cosmopolitan and open to the world.” bravo!

Fine Gael MEP picked for plum EU role

Fine

Gael

MeP

Mairead

McGuinness has vowed to use her new influential position as Vice President of the european People’s Party to do her best for Ireland at eU level and on the world stage.

The Ireland east MeP was elected by a large majority this week, defeating two other candidates, to the role of second-in-command of the ePP. The biggest political group in the european Parliament, it comprises 270 members out of a total of over 750 MePs in the entire european Parliament, making it the largest political force in brussels. As well as being home to the three Irish Fine Gael MePs, it boasts such influential members as German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party.

Speaking from Strasbourg after her successful election, Ms McGuinness was asked whether she would be able to use her influence to soften the German approach towards Ireland and other bailout countries. The Meath MeP said she “It’s my job to talk about Ireland; the realities and the possibilities. Whenever you speak in this parliament you have influence; you just have to use your voice well and pick the right moment. I certainly will use my voice,” she declared, adding that she would seek to bring hope to both ordinary people and the body politic. “Particularly

now

when

europe is trying to pick itself up again, feebly, we need to give people hope and this is a thing I would like to bring to our group and to the public generally – a sense of hope, that europe can deliver,” she said.

“I’m concerned that we use this word ‘austerity’ all the time, instead of ‘growth’ and ‘stability’. What I want to bring to the group is a sense of what’s happening on the ground, to understand the problems not just of Irish citizens but of all european citizens,” she said. Cap on bankers' bonuses is not enough, says MEP

An Irish MeP has slammed an eU decision to cap bankers' bonuses as going “nowhere near far enough”. Fine Gael's Jim Higgins said the vote by the european Parliament to limit bonuses for those in financial institutions to one year's salary was “ridiculous” and begged the question as to how much bankers have been getting in the past. Over 600 MePs in Strasbourg backed the proposal this week as part of a range of measures aimed at stopping the kind of speculative risk-taking that created widespread instability in the sector. The Capital Requirements Directive, which takes effect from next January, recommends that bankers' bonuses should not amount to any more than the size of their salary. However, it stipulates that bonuses could extend

further to a maximum of twice your salary, if two-thirds of shareholders agree. Speaking after the vote, Mr Higgins said banks should not be allowed to award bonuses at all if they are functioning at a loss or are in financial difficulty. He also expressed the hope that new measures ensuring greater transparency in banking will mean that banks are too “embarrassed” to give the same level of bonuses as in the past. “At least they will be held accountable in the court of public opinion. We will be able to see the exact level of bonuses bankers are receiving and name and shame those guilty of taking inflated bonuses,” said Mr Higgins. His Fine Gael colleague Gay Mitchell, however, defended the measures, claiming it was “perfectly reasonable” to allow bonuses of twice your annual salary, as long as most shareholders agreed. Mr Mitchell, a member of the european Parliament's economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, admitted that the provisions were “generous” but said it would mean that directors wouldn't be able to do “whatever they wanted and pay themselves huge bonuses.” elsewhere, Labour MeP Phil Prendergast described the bonus cap as a “welcome breakthrough”, which she said should help to “deter short-termism and risky behaviour.”


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