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tallagHt news ©

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Dublin Mid West Sinn Fein representative Eoin O Broin has described Phil Hogan’s decision to withhold €2 million from South Dublin County Council's 2012 budget as “outrageous bully boy tactics”. He said that “imposing more cuts on local government will have a serious impact on the provision of services for hundreds of thousands of families.” O Broin said that “The introduction of the Household Charge was a bad idea. It was ill-conceived, badly implemented and has

no public support. The whole issue has been mishandled from the start. "Now the Fine Gael Labour Government are imposing deep cuts on Councils across the country because of the imcompetence of the Minister for Environment Phil Hogan. “Last December the Department of the Environment told councils across the state including South Dublin COunty Council what their 2012 allocation from the local government fund would be. Councils

agreed their annual estimates on this basis. At no stage were councils told that this funding was dependent on the collection of the household charge.

“Now half way through the year Phil Hogan has told Council's that he is going to withhold millions of euro. In the case of South Dublin he intends to cut up to €2 million before the end of the year with a quarter of this being cut immediately. This will have a serious impact on the provision of essential services for hundreds of thousands

of families. "It is not clear how this cut will affect services. However it leaves Council officials and councillors from all parties in an impossible position. The Government is punishing Councils and citizens for its own bad decisions.

"This is an utter disgrace. The fact that this is happening after the Dáil has gone into recess makes it even worse. Phil Hogan has enginered this move in order to avoid Dail scrutiny of his decision. “Sinn Fein accept that



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“outrageous bully boy tactics” from page 1

the government has to raise public finance but Fine Gael and Labour have wrongly chosen go after the most vulnerable in society, who are more reliant on the services provided by local government. If the Government

wants to raise more money for local services it should intorduce a third rate of tax of 48% on individual incomes over €100,000 per year which would raise three times what the Household Charge would raise.”

government fails to protect consumers from money lenders Your FREE Local Newspaper

Tallaght based Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has the described Government’s failure to regulate legal money lenders as a “dereliction of their duty to protect people from exploitation." Deputy Crowe made his after comments speaking last week on a Sinn Féin Private Members’ Bill that sought to cap by 40% the interest charged by licensed money lenders. Deputy Crowe said: “Just this week the findings of a policy briefing by Social Justice Ireland showed that the income of Ireland's poorest households fell by over 18% in a single year, while the income of the richest rose by 4%. “The Government claims that introducing greater regulation for money lenders would

force some into illegal activity. Surely it is wrong to do nothing because of a perceived threat of illegality. It is my belief that some of the charges demanded by these legal moneylenders are criminal anyway. How can any company can justify charging interest at 210% to people who are often in the most of desperate circumstances, with no real alternative means of accessing money. “It is not good enough for Government Ministers to tell us that 17% of people in this country do not have access to a bank account while at the same time not coming up with ways of addressing their difficulty.


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Government to regulate the thriving money lending business means the exploitation of vulnerable people will continue. I know families first-hand from the circumstances of my own constituents the type of hardship being imposed on hard pressed families who in desperation turn to these moneylenders, legal or otherwise, to

pay for essential goods and services. “The rejection of this Bill means Ireland’s moneylenders will remain some of the least regulated in Europe and our citizens will continue to be ripped off and treated as fools. Many will be caught in a spiral of poverty, a trap that will find they impossible to escape.”

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they are being extorted yet again the reality for those being exploited is that they are often fearful of making their situation worse. The fact that there has not been one successful prosecution of a money lender in the past 7 years would suggest their fears are well founded.


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dowds welcomes substantial government funding for special needs Housing

Labour TD Robert Dowds has welcomed the announcement by Housing and Planning Minister Jan O’Sullivan that over €2.8 million will be invested in South Dublin over the next two and a half years to provide new social housing units, particularly for people with special housing needs. Between now and 2014 42 units will be acquired or constructed in South Dublin. Both voluntary groups and the local authority will be involved in supplying the units. Commenting on the announcement Dowds said, “Labour has pledged to protect the most vulnerable in our community and this funding announcement is testament to our commitment to achieve that goal in the housing area. The substantial funds involved will provide long-term, stable homes for elderly, homeless and people with special needs.” “Local voluntary groups will be involved in acquiring and building many of the units and I would like to pay tribute to their work in this area. The provision of units for people with a special housing need is an issue I have worked hard on and have raised with Minister O’Sullivan during recent months. Today’s funding announcement will provide local families and individuals with certainty and security into the future. There is still much work to be done to ensure that these units come online, but I know there is a real will to get cracking on these projects now. “This housing initiative will also see investment in construction, especially from 2013 on. This will provide a much needed boost to the local economy.”

Zero cHild benefit: coming to a Home near you Your FREE Local Newspaper

So the IMF wants to means test child benefit. Do you think this will only affect the wealthy? Think again. To make significant savings in the child benefit budget, the cut off will have to be very low to counteract the administrative costs involved. The proposal would need "An army of means-testers," according to Minister Joan Burton. Many or most working families could be affected, creating poverty traps and disincentives to work, just one reason why PACuB is opposed to means testing child benefit. "Means testing will cost more than its worth to implement and cause undue

hardship to struggling families all over Ireland," says PACuB spokeswoman Niamh Kelly. "We need to think very carefully before we make a rash decision on means testing. We need to remember the following: Child benefit is the ONLY payment made towards the future taxpayers; it is an investment in our country, and it shows we value all children equally. Irish child benefit rates compare poorly with those in many other Eu countries, where families also benefit from free education, health care and subsided child care, where children are recognised in the tax system: in Ireland you can get a tax break if you have a race horse, but not if you have a child.

At a time when child benefit has become a vital lifeline to many and when the cost of rearing children is increasing each year, when child care costs are still at an all time high, it would be a backward and detrimental move to introduce means testing, it will push working mothers out of work, children will be removed from creches, there will be less tax revenue for government and longer dole queues. Means testing goes against the very foundations of child benefit when it was first introduced CHILDREN'S ALLOWANCES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 1946."

Fine Gael Senator, Catherine Noone, has called for tougher measures to be introduced to crack down on the problem of black market cigarettes, which is costing the Exchequer an estimated €250 million a year. “The fact that we’re losing a quarter of a billion euro a year through the illegal cigarette trade cannot be ignored. Retailers Against Smuggling say this illicit trade is also costing hundreds of jobs a year due to the lost excise duties. At a time when we are forced to take some very difficult decisions, we should do all we can to tackle a trade that is depriving the Government of hundreds of millions

of euro in taxes. “We need to explore what tougher measures could be implemented to crack down on cigarette smuggling. Improving scanning technology at our ports should be considered; while this would involve investment by the State, it could reap significant rewards in terms of detection. “While everyone accepts that cigarette smuggling is illegal, there also needs to be a level of personal responsibility with this issue. Buying cigarettes that you know to be smuggled is tantamount to complying with illegal activity. Consideration should be given to fining people who are found to be purchasing

contraband cigarettes. If we fine people for littering, then why not for avoiding this tax? “Smoking costs society a huge amount every year. The associated health risks put our health service under huge strain, killing thousands of people every year. On top of this, the illegal side of the trade costs the State hundreds of millions a year in lost tax revenues and contraband cigarettes are known to pose significantly higher health risks. Comprehensively tackling the cigarette black market would give us more resources to invest in health prevention measures and help more people kick the habit for good.”

PACuB believes that means testing could mean zero child benefit for many families. And that is a very bad idea.

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cutting welfare will enHance recession conditions

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Responding to calls from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut the dole, medical cards and child benefit local Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has argued that cutting Welfare will actually enhance recession conditions and make it worse.

Deputy Crowe said “The IMF representatives are plain wrong in their calls for cuts to the dole, medical cards and child benefit.

“It is ludicrous to suggest that 'low exit rates' from the dole is the fault of 'over generous' welfare payments rather than

the bald facts that there are approxmately fifty jobseekers for every single job vacancy.

“In reality, the social welfare cuts made to date have further shrunk demand in the local economy leading to even more and more business closures and job losses.

"You only have to walk around areas like Tallaght and see the boarded up shops, the empty factories units or talk to business owners who are operating on the last of their savings to see the real impact on he local economy

"It is understandable for many trying to survive on low incomes to direct their anger at the IMF and these ill considered remarks

“But people should also direct their anger at this inept Government. They are the ones implementing the policies of and deprivation hardship to the applause of their european ringmasters. "The IMF is lining up the ducks,but they are essentially telling the Coalition government what they want to hear.

the Troika earlier this month it was made clear that the reason they are suggesting social welfare cuts at all is because the Government have actually chosen to pursue deficit reduction with spending cuts rather than by raising revenue from the wealthy. "Cuts to Social Welfare and Child Benefit may happen following this latest International Monetory Fund statement but it appears it will only happen if it suits the failed policies and wharped thinking of the current Government."

draft newcastle local area plan (lap) on public display

The Draft Newcastle Local Area Plan (LAP) went on public display on the 17th July 2012 and will remain on display until 3rd September 2012. The LAP is a response to the changing economic circumstances nationally and a recognition that the existing Newcastle LAP adopted in 2003 required updating. A six week public consultation period previously took place at the beginning of the year which has helped inform and shape the Draft Plan that is currently on display.

The main thrust of the Draft LAP is the provision of a primary school adequate to cater for the needs of the area at present, the proposed reduction in housing density to be permitted on the existing residential zoned land, the provision of a significant public park to the south of Main Street and the reinstatement of the Main Street as the primary Village core area. The LAP includes extensive policies to maintain the unique character of Newcastle’s archaeological and historic heritage and to develop a Green Infrastructure Strategy for the area. An Environmental Report has also been prepared as

"When Sinn Féin met

part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Proposed Local Area Plan. The proposed plan has also undergone Appropriate Assessment Screening under the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). Further information can be found on and viewed at Tallaght Library, at County Hall Tallaght, Clondalkin Civic Offices and St. Finian’s Community Hall, Newcastle during normal opening hours (excluding public holidays). Council staff has been available to answer queries in relation to the Draft Local Area Plan at St. Finian’s Community Hall, Newcastle on the following dates and times: Tuesday 7th August 2012 4.00pm-7.00pm Thursday 16th August 2012 1.00pm-4.00pm Monday 20th August 2012 4.00pm-7.00pm

Staff are also available every Wednesday afternoon between 2.00pm-4.00pm at County Hall, Tallaght, during the public consultation period to answer queries in relation to the Draft LAP. Submissions on the Draft LAP must be made by 4.00pm Monday 3rd September 2012.

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obJection to proposed clondalkin takeaway


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Local TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has her colleague, joined Councillor Tony Delaney, in objecting to a new takeaway on Tower Road. The proposed takeaway is to be located in the old Royal Bank of Scotland premises beside Clondalkin Travel and Dolcain Mall in the heart of Clondalkin Village.

“Clondalkin Village has no shortage of take away outlets with 17 already in operation in the immediate vicinity. I am joining

Councillor Delaney in objecting to this development as it is our that another belief takeaway in the area would be unsustainable, create litter and potential antisocial behaviour. I also believe that having another takeaway so close to existing primary schools would be a real issue,” said Fitzgerald.

St. Joseph’s, Scoil Mhuire, Scoil Áine and Scoil Mhuire. I have been working nationally to promote the need not to locate new takeaway facilities adjacent to schools in light of the crisis facing obesity children,” said Fitzgerald.

Minister Fitzgerald has a strong track record in objecting to takeaways located beside schools having successfully objected

to a takeaway beside Griffeen Valley Educate Together as well as recently Hillcrest supporting residents in their objection to a takeaway located beside Scoil Mhuire, Arlie Heights in Lucan. “I recently opposed a planning application for a take-away facility in Hillcrest on the basis of its proximity to the school and youth services. This proposed takeaway is only yards away from St. John’s National School as well as being close to schools in the Village such as Moyle Park,

society. With increased cuts to investment in education, including savage cuts to both undergraduate and postgraduate grants, the government seems determined not to improve the prospects of young people. These statistics are particularly indicative of the stark situation that many are facing if they choose not to attend third level

education. Those who would have gotten apprenticeships are now left with only two options: emigrate or sign on the dole. uSI has consistently called for a reversal of cuts made to the maintenance grant. These cuts, when combined with the increase in the student contribution charge, have only served to disincentivise our youth from attaining a third level

education. uSI President John Logue said that “Young people are not looking for an easy way out of the employment crisis. They realise they will have to work harder than before with less to show for it. However, every crisis has a tipping point and ours is the growing sense of despair among young people in Ireland- a lack of confidence and pride not seen since the

In the 2005 Department of Health’s Report of the National Taskforce on Obesity recognises that ‘home and school environments that support healthy food choices for children’ present a probable decreased risk to weight

gain and obesity whereas ‘ heavy marketing of energy-dense foods and present a fast-food’ probable high risk. “In the Taskforce’s report, recommendation no. 7 under ‘Physical Environment’ states that ‘Local authorities should ensure that their mission statements, corporate plans and planning policies take account of their impact on healthy living,’. I have objected to the Council under this criteria as well as the wider issues around

business in what is an historic area of Clondalkin Village,” concluded Fitzgerald.

Councillor Delaney echoed Fitzgerald’s comments stating “There is already an excessive number of takeaway outlets in the central area of Clondalkin Village. I counted 17 within Tower Road, Orchard Road, Main Street and Monastery Road. This very high number of existing fast food outlets and is a major contributory factor to the ongoing issue of litter in the Village.”

growing sense of despair among youtH

The union of Students in Ireland has warned of a growing sense of despair among Ireland’s young people following the CSO’s announcement that 39% of 15-24 year olds are unemployed. The announcement comes as statistical proof that Ireland no longer offers its youth the opportunity they deserve to become productive members of


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1980’s. If we don’t act quickly and decisively to tackle youth unemployment in this country, we are resigning our future generations to an Ireland we thought we could never return to. The decision the government has to make is simple - should Ireland be a better country for the next generation or will they be

the first generation in Irish history to have a worse quality of life than their parents. If the answer is the former, we have an opportunity amid crisis to prioritise the most vulnerable at their time of need. Today, I challenge the government to combat the problem of youth unemployment and rebuild the smart economy from the ground up.”




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call on scHools to allow 'generic' uniforms parents can save over €50 on eacH uniform

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone, has called on schools to allow students to wear 'generic' uniforms which would enable hard pressed parents to make financial savings. Many schools stipulate that uniforms are sourced from designated suppliers which are often markedly more expensive than the uniforms available in supermarkets. “With the beginning of the new school term only five weeks away I am very concerned by the insistence of many schools that students source their uniform from designated suppliers which are often far more expensive than supermarkets and other retailers. “Many of these retailers supply affordable generic uniforms in a range of colours for around €10. The school logo can then be added to the uniform. In the last week, a large supermarket chain in Ireland has launched a school uniform that costs €5. However in many schools these uniforms are forbidden meaning parents have to pay significantly more. “Parents of school-going children are placed under significant financial pressure at this time of year by the need to provide uniforms, books and other school materials for their children. I believe that, given the pressure many parents are under, schools must allow students to wear these generic uniforms in order to save money. “Money is tight for everybody and parents of school-going children are often particularly hard pressed. The availability of generic uniforms gives parents an opportunity to save over €50 per child on a uniform – a not-insignificant amount for many families. I would hope that schools will consider this proposal, and I will raise the idea with the Minister for Education also.”

rent suppliment tHresHold must be reversed Your FREE Local Newspaper

Sinn Féin Councillor Matthew McDonagh has criticised the new rent supplement thresholds that has been introduced as part of the Budget 2012. The new thresholds will punish the most vulnerable in our society. Rent supplement is supplied to individuals living in private rented accommodation who do not have the financial resources to provide for their accommodation. The contribution cost increase for will individuals and the new rent limit will be reduced for new claimants whereas it will apply to existing claimants when their claims are reviewed. Cllr McDonagh said that “I am calling on the government and the department of social welfare to reconsider this measure that will further burden those

already facing financial difficulties. The restructuring of this new threshold is unethical, unfair and will create further austerity. This restructuring will force individuals to have to contribute more towards the cost of their rent, who cannot afford it. 'This new measure will see a single person having to pay the minimum contribution of €30 towards their rent whereas the minimum amount that a couple will have to pay is €35.” “It will also significantly reduce the weekly amount of rent suppliment paid to tenants. They will now to go and have renegotiate their rent downwards with their landlords. In reality many will continue to pay the full rent, making up the

difference from the existing social welfare payments.” “There was approximately 96,000 individuals who availed of rent supplement in 2011. This represents an increase of 61% from 2005. It is evident from this that many are difficulty having meeting the cost of their accommodation. Rent supplement is a means tested benefit that is awarded to those who are in need of it, thus considering that the percentage of those who have availed of it has increased, conveys the stark reality that many are having trouble meeting the cost of their accommodation. Therefore the increased contribution demanded will further hurt those in need of this supplement.”

constantly being outlining progressive alternatives to such issues. In 2011, €503 million was spent on rent supplement. We do not believe that this is the way forward. We have been arguing for

“We in Sinn Féin have

investment in social housing as a viable, progressive alternative. However, we will oppose the rent supplement threshold that affects citizens while it is in existence.”


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. (Mention favour) 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. M.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. (Mention favour)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.R.

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€2.25 billion infrastructure stimulus programme to create mucH needed Jobs welcomed Your FREE Local Newspaper

Local Fine Gael TD and Minister of State, Brian Hayes has welcomed the announcement by the Government of a €2.25 billion domestic infrastructure stimulus programme which is designed to give the economy a boost and create much needed jobs across the country.

“I am delighted with the announcement which will pump €2.25 billion into the Irish economy, making significant investments in roads and schools across the country and creating 13,000 jobs. “This announcement represents an

important investment in our future through the provision of top class educational facilities, reform of our healthcare facilities, enhancing our roads which will improve travel helping us to transport people and goods more safely and efficiently.

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“In the transport sector, €850 million will be invested in upgrading the national motorway and primary route network. Ireland’s financial difficulties in recent years have made it very difficult to successfully award any major Public Private (PPP) Partnership contracts, with the result that numerous projects were stalled. the education “In sector, €280 million will be invested in building 12 new or replacement schools as well as

consolidating Dublin Institute of Technology into one single educational facility at Grangegorman. This development also represents an for opportunity substantial development and rejuvenation of an important inner city urban quarter in Dublin.

“In the health sector, €155 million will be invested in building up to 20 Primary Care Centres across the country with more to

follow. Developing the network of Primary Care Centres is a key component of the Programme for Government to reform the health service, providing an essential point of contact for people who need access to health services in the years ahead.

“In the justice sector, €190 million will be invested in the State Pathology Laboratory, two new Garda divisional headquarters and a number of

courthouses. “The projects included in this package will be delivered through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) securing value for for the money Exchequer while delivering on projects that will significantly benefit towns and cities across the country. “Creating jobs is this Government’s number one priority and I look forward to seeing the benefits this announcement brings.”

calls on council to drop proposals to open-up estate railings

Cllr. William Lavelle, local councillor for Lucan has joined local residents in opposing controversial plans to open up gaps in the railings between Fforster estate and the Outer Ring Road. Lavelle states: “I recently attended a meeting with a large number of Fforster residents opposed to these proposals which are being proposed as part of a so-called ‘permeability’ project. “Residents in Fforster are very clear that do not need permeability measures foisted on their estate to increase their levels of walking and cycling. Instead residents fear that these new gaps will bring unwelcome traffic into their estate,

especially late night spillover from the Mint nightclub located immediately opposite one of the proposed gaps. “Last year I successfully supported residents of Moy Glas in opposing proposals to open-up railings at Griffeen Avenue. Yet again I am supporting residents against unwelcome proposals. “I will be tabling a motion at the next full county council meeting calling on the Manager to focus on improving pedestrian and cycle safety along key routes to schools, not on projects which the community does not want.

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soutH dublin county council to remove superfluous or damaged signage following audit of five village areas Your FREE Local Newspaper

Cllr. William Lavelle, Fine Gael councillor for Lucan has welcomed the result of an audit carried out by South Dublin County Council of signage in the five areas of Architectural Conservation in the County i.e., Rathfarnham, Clondalkin, Tallaght, Lucan and Palmerstown Villages.

The headline results of the audit were presented at last week’s meeting of South Dublin County Council.

In response to the audit, SDCC is now to remove 22 superfluous signs and to repair or replace 24 damaged signs. A further seven private signs are to be

examined to ascertain what action can be taken.

At the council meeting, the Director of Services for Roads Ms. Teresa Walsh advised that the council intended that work will start immediately and be scheduled throughout the summer months. This signage audit

tHe irisH computer society welcomes governments plans to develop tHe games sector in ireland

The Irish Computer Society (ICS) has welcomed the announcement from the government of the implementation of a working group which will consider ways to implement the Forfás report findings which show that 2500 jobs could potentially be created in the games sector by 2014.

The ICS view this as a key opportunity to further expand and develop a sector that has proven to be of particular growing interest to students in Ireland in recent years. The Inspire initiatives run by the ICS encourages students to learn about, and develop an interest in, the world of science and technology. under the ICS Inspire umbrella, ICS have two initiatives to help promote IT to students. Scratch ( is an introduction to software development, for students of all ages. Interest in this area has seen a

dramatic increase in recent months with 186 entries in this year’s National Scratch Competition, from both primary and secondary students. Choose IT ( ) is an initiative to highlight the positive aspects of a career in IT.

came about on foot of a concerted effort by Cllr. William Lavelle supported by two community groups in Lucan Village: Lucan Tidy Towns and Lucan Planning Council

Commenting on the problem of superfluous signage, William stated: “Councils are quick to put-up new signage, in particular road signage and normally for good reason. However councils have been very slow to remove outdated, damaged or superfluous signage which can then

as accumulate eyesores. In picturesque villages such as Lucan, signage detract can significantly from the visual attractiveness of the area. Outlining the steps he had pursued which led to this development: William stated: “In May 2010, following discussions with members of the Lucan Planning Council, I proposed and secured council agreement for inclusion of an objective in the new County Development Plan requiring an audit

of signage and other urban clutter, starting in our county’s five architectural areas, conservation including Lucan Village.

“In January of this year, I went on a walkabout with members of the Lucan Village Tidy Towns groups to identify work priorities for 2012. The Tidy Towns members highlighted out-dated and haphazard signage as a key issue to be addressed. On foot of this walkabout, I tabled a motion at the next council meeting seeking

action the to development plan objective for an audit. My motion was passed council and management responded positively.

Cllr. William Lavelle concluded: “I am delighted that my efforts, supported by both Lucan Tidy Towns and Lucan Planning Council, will now result in signage being removed, repaired or replaced which I hope will ultimately contribute to making our village more attractive.

“The computing field has weathered the economic storm better than most and there continues to be strong demand for graduates. Therefore, continuing to promote awareness of initiatives like the Inspire range is crucial as these programmes give students practical experience of the skills required in this interesting, well-rewarded and growing profession. The implementation of this working group will also encourage more participation amongst students knowing they can direct these skills towards a viable career path” said Jim Friars, CEO of the Irish Computer Society.

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plans for new primary care centre in nortH clondalkin welcomed

Local TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances has Fitzgerald, welcomed the announcement made by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, that Rowlagh is set for a new health centre. The new health centre has been identified under the Government's €2billion Stimulus Plan which aims to create more jobs through public infrastructure. "Rowlagh Health Centre is a fantastic resource

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for North Clondalkin however there have been maintenance problems in recent years," said Minister Fitzgerald. “under this new Stimulus Plan, Rowlagh could see improved facilities as well as the project bringing much needed into the jobs construction area". The proposed development in Rowlagh is one of 35 Primary Care Centres identified by the Minister for Health, James Reilly TD. Of

these, 20 will be commissioned subject to agreement between the local GPs and the HSE on active local GP involvement in the centres. The twenty will be offered to the market in bundles of ten. The remainder will be considered for later phases of the Public Private Partnership Programme. the “Developing network of Primary Care Centres is a key commitment in the for Programme

Government. It was also a central plank of Fine Gael’s reform programme for the health service, which was developed in Opposition and is now being pursued in Government by Minister James Reilly and his colleague Minister Roisin Shorthall. Primary Care Centres,

like the new one to be provided in Rowlagh, will be the first point of contact for people who need to access health services in the years ahead. In a developed Primary Care system, as by the envisaged Government, up to 95% of people’s day-to-day health and social care needs can be provided

a community in setting,” said Fitzgerald.

“A focus on Primary Care not only benefits patients, it will also benefit the taxpayer. By allowing patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, stroke and asthma, to be treated near or at their homes,

we can save the health service millions of euro by preventing hospital stays.

“I look forward to the development of the new Primary Care Centre in Rowlagh, and to seeing the benefits it brings the local community,” concluded Fitzgerald.

minister needs to rule out cie fare increases

Fianna Fáil Seanad Leader and Spokesperson on Finance, Senator Darragh O’Brien, has called on the Minister for Transport to confirm if there will be price increases at CIE this year.

Senator O’Brien was responding to the cabinet approval of a €36 million injection of funds into CIE because of a deficit in the state-run company. He said that hard pressed commuters have already faced big hikes in fares this year, and should not be squeezed any further. Senator O’Brien commented: “It is all well and good for Minister Leo Varadkar to give €36 million to CIE to plug a hole in its books, but a lot of questions need to be answered. Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus have all reported falling passenger numbers, yet the Minister has allowed massive price hikes. "Despite acknowledging that increased prices means less passenger numbers, the Minister refuses to rule out further prices increases in CIE

this year. I find that incredible. “The €36 million cash injection will result in cuts to other areas within his department. Yet the Minister refused to reveal what areas will be affected. This is not acceptable. Community groups depending on such funding need certainty and the Minister needs to stop evading the questions. I would be particularly concerned if sports capital funding is delayed to plug a hole in CIE's books.” Senator O’Brien also pointed out that the Minister has done a u-turn on price increases since he entered Government: “When he was in opposition Minister Varadkar hit out at fare increases; this seems to have changed now he is in Government. “This whole episode has revealed a lack of planning, and a lack of understanding of the most basic economics. The Minister must acknowledge that commuters have been squeezed enough, and he must rule out any further fare hikes."


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taxation of cHild benefit – not means testing – sHould be considered: frcnf

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government must take responsibility for tHe women of tHe magdalene laundries

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe has welcomed the comments from the special rapporteur on child protection and child law Geoffrey Shannon who criticised the State’s refusal to accept responsibility for the Magdalene Laundry issue. Deputy Crowe said: “Geoffrey Shannon’s scathing criticism of the Government for failing to accept responsibility for the plight of the women of the Magdalene Laundries is a timely reminder of the State’s failings to protect its citizens.

“It comes a week after the passing of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill when Sinn Féin amendments calling for the establishment of separate redress boards for the Magdalene Women and the survivors of Bethany Home

were rejected by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn.

“I fully agree with Mr Shannon’s assessment of the women and girls in the Magdalene Laundries whose treatment can be constituted as slavery as defined under the 1930 Forced Labour Convention of the International Labour Organisation, which Ireland signed in 1931. There also should be a criminal probe into the Magdalene Laundries; an unequivocal apology on behalf of the State and a properly resourced system of redress to compensate and help the surviving women. “In view of Geoffrey Shannon's criticism it is time for the Government to act now and help those who were treated like slaves in places that were supposed to be safe havens and places of care.”

The Family Resource Centres National Forum (FRCNF) has cautioned the Government against introducing a means test for Child Benefit and has suggested the introduction of a tax on the benefit as an alternative. Reacting to the IMF’s suggestion of a means test for Child Benefit, Packie Kelly, spokesperson for the FRCNF, said: “The introduction of a means test would be a very blunt instrument. It would create new poverty traps and act as a potential barrier to employment for some

The Legal Column

A. In recent years, Ireland’s Inheritance Tax regime has become less and less favourable prompting many more comfortably off citizens to consider drastic measures to minimize future tax bills for their families. However, considering escaping the Irish Inheritance Tax regime is not as straightforward as people believe.

Ireland used to have relatively cushy Inheritance Tax set-ups. As recently as 2008, the tax rate was just 20% and children got to inherit more than €500,000.00 tax free from their parents. Now, the rate has risen to 30% and offspring will face a tax bill if they receive assets worth more than €250,000.00. Of course, it is still a less punitive system than that in the u.K where the rate is 40%.

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 discusses the question of Inheritance Tax. Q. My wife and I have only one child. The mortgage on our family home has been paid off and currently it is worth about €450,000.00 even in the present reduced climate. However, we also have a holiday home in wexford worth about €250,000.00 and my wife inherited her own mother’s property which is currently let. My wife and I also run a small business. Naturally, we have made wills leaving everything to our daughter. However, we are concerned about the amount of tax she may have to pay as, she is currently unemployed. we have heard that other countries such as Portugal have no Inheritance Tax for close family members. what is the present position?

groups. A more progressive and targeted approach to reducing Exchequer spend on Child Benefit would be the application of taxation. This way, the universality of the payment would remain intact; however, those most in need of the payment – including unemployed people and low-paid families – would still continue to receive it. “So far, the approach to savings in Child Benefit has been to reduce the level of payment for all families, regardless of income levels. This has

Furthermore, asset values have tumbled in Ireland and SURVIVING SPOUSES are still COMPLETELY EXEMPT FROM TAX ON INHERITANCES left to them by their deceased husband or wife. Nonetheless, for those with significant assets, countries such as Portugal, where there is no Inheritance Tax for close family members, start to look interesting. However, not only is moving overseas an extreme measure but, it may not work. Avoiding Irish Inheritance Tax is easier said than done.

Irish Gift, or Inheritance Tax will apply if the person making the gift/inheritance is resident or ordinarily resident (which means that you have been resident here in excess of three years in Ireland) or if the person receiving the asset is resident or ordinarily resident in Ireland, or if the gift or inheritance is situated in Ireland. So, if a couple move to Portugal but their child or children remain in Ireland, the plan will not work. The children will

remain liable to Irish Tax on assets they receive from their parents. Even if the whole family relocates, if the children are gifted or left an asset located in Ireland, for example land or a farm, then this will also fall into the Irish Tax net. The parents could of course sell the Irish land (possibly incurring Capital Gains Tax) and then gift the cash proceeds to their children once they have all moved outside of Ireland for more than three years but, this requires a huge amount of planning and structuring. It is also worth bearing in mind that while the Portuguese Tax system is currently designed to attract wealthier people, there is no guarantee that the country’s tax climate will not become considerably less attractive in the coming years. The Portuguese Economy is not in any better state than our own so, tax changes are probably inevitable.

It is worth pointing out that there are a number of possible options and exemptions in relation to Inheritance Tax which parents may be able to take advantage of. For example, Gift and Inheritance Tax Reliefs for business and agricultural assets have remained in place, despite recommendations from the Commission on Taxation to make them less generous. It may be a good time for parents to consider transferring business assets to the next generation because asset values are at such a low point in this country. Also, the Irish rate of gift tax could keep rising. The current rate of 30% is still relatively low compared to other European Countries. During the 1990s it went as high as 40% here in Ireland. Owners of family businesses should also be aware of changes

left families at the bottom rung of the ladder bearing the brunt of the pain. The loss of a few euro each month has compromised people’s ability to pay for household bills, clothes and food. Meanwhile, families on higher incomes have – I would suggest – barely noticed the recent budgetary reductions.

“The Child Benefit payment simply should not be reduced any further in forthcoming budgets: low-income families – and the in these children

families – need to be protected. Equally, means-testing the payment will leave some families at risk.

“A system of taxation now needs to be considered, both in the context of the IMF’s suggestion and in terms of protecting Child Benefit payments for families who need it. A system of dealing with Child Benefit through the tax code would not only be the most equitable, but would also be easier to administer than a means test,” added Packie Kelly.

by Romaine Scally

coming down the line in relation to retirement relief. until now, a person who had reached the age of 55 and satisfied a number of conditions could transfer the family business to their child without being liable to any Capital Gains Tax. However, this year’s Finance Bill introduced a change whereby the maximum value a person aged 66 or over can transfer to their child under this scheme is to be capped at €3,000.000.00. There is a window between now and the end of 2013 to make those decisions as the new rules will not take effect until January 1st 2014.

Aside from business related relief, there are also a number of smaller steps people can take in terms of Succession planning. Instead of leaving all of their assets to their child or children, they could consider splitting the benefits among the wider family to use up various tax thresholds. So for instance a parent could leave each of their children a tax free Inheritance of €250,000.00 and then split the remaining inheritance between grandchildren who can receive about €33,000.00 each without incurring a tax bill. Also, consider availing of the annual €3,000.00 gift tax exemption. It may not sound like a lot but, if for example a husband and wife both give €3,000.00 (so a total of €6,000.00) to each of their 4 children each year for 10 years, they will have passed €240,000.00 to their offspring tax free. These smaller things all add up.

When it comes to planning for retirement, people need to mind themselves rather than prioritizing their children. Many people are retiring with less wealth than they had expected so it is key that they get an understanding of how much they need to fund themselves in retirement and not to make gifts or provide for children or grandchildren more than they can afford to do so.

Romaine Scally is the principal in the firm of ROMAINE SCALLY AND COMPANY SOLICITORS Main Street Tallaght, Dublin 24 TEL 4599506 FAX 4599510 email:


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Dublin media student wins a bright start in Brussels

A young Dublin student has scooped top prize in a journalism competition organised by the European Parliament Office in Ireland. David Yip (25), who’s just completed a year-long journalism course at Griffith College, came first in the annual Eu Communication Challenge with an informative and well-written piece on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

The article entitled “ACTA explained” was published in Griffiti, the student magazine run by Griffith College. The award-winning piece wins David an all-expenses-paid trip to Brussels later this year to take part in a seminar for working journalists in the European Parliament buildings.

Speaking after his win, David said he was “overjoyed” to get the chance to meet and work with other journalists, MEPs and

policy-makers in the heart of the Eu buildings in Brussels.

The Brussels seminar is well-timed for David, as he is about to begin a Masters programme in journalism at DCu. Commenting on his winning article, he said he wanted to write up an neutral, informative piece on the controversial ACTA deal which was rejected by the European Parliament earlier this month.

“I felt no one had explained well what ACTA would entail for the average internet user. I covered the protest marches that took place in Dublin and across Europe in February and March of this year. I also simplified the tenets of ACTA, pointing out for example that cover songs and mix tapes would have been illegal under the deal.” The Eu Communication Challenge workshop and competition are annual activities aimed at 3rd level journalism and media students. They aim to help would-be journalists communicate an Eu-related issue in either print, radio or TV form, in a clear and understandable manner. Government warned to extend visa waiver or lose Olympic tourists

David Yip (25) scooped top prize in a journalism competition organised by the European Parliament Office in Ireland

Ireland’s restrictive visa waiver programme could cost the tourism sector millions in lost revenue unless it is urgently extended during the upcoming Olympics, it was claimed this week.

Irish MEPs have urged the government to grant a temporary extension of the

programme to make it easier for non-Eu visitors attending the London Games to travel to Ireland.

Labour MEP Phil Prendergast warned that under the current programme, only travellers from 16 countries who enter the uK on a tourist visa can come to Ireland without needing to apply for another visa.

“Many of the people travelling to the Games come from countries not covered by our visa waiver programme, which means it’s cumbersome for them to obtain a visa and they will be less likely to visit here,” said Ms Prendergast, who said she was not seeking complicated legislation changes.

“What I want is a temporary extension of the visa waiver programme. It is something which could be achieved in a tight time frame with simply a stroke of the pen, and the Irish tourism sector could benefit enormously. It’s a no-brainer,” she said.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins pledged to use his new role on a key Eu tourism body to work towards extending the visa waiver scheme, to make it easier for non-Eu visitors to travel to Ireland. The Fine Gael MEP has been officially appointed to the European Parliament’s new Taskforce on Tourism, part of the Committee on Transport and Tourism. MEPs push for EU-wide animal welfare law

The disparate legislation covering animal welfare in each Eu member state could be

pulled together to form a single standard, under a new resolution approved by the European Parliament.

MEPs in Strasbourg called for a unified set of welfare rules to improve compliance and ensure a level-playing field for all European farmers. They said the framework should cover all farmed animals, including dairy cows, plus stray cats, dogs and other domestic pets, which are not currently protected by any Eu law.

Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness, who supported the motion, said it was particularly important to apply equivalent welfare standards to all imported animal products, so that Eu farmers can compete fairly with non-Eu counterparts.

“The Eu has to include discussions on its welfare standards in any trade negotiations with countries outside the bloc, so that we don’t end up compromising welfare for trade. We do have high welfare standards, so it is only right that third countries should adapt to those standards, rather than us having to lower our standards in order to compete,” said Ms McGuinness.

MEPs also asked the European Commission to consider creating a new label for meat products, “slaughter without stunning”, to help consumers make a more informed choice.

The proposed legislation also provides for severe penalties to be imposed on member states that fail to enforce animal welfare rules.

“time now please” strong public support for action by government to address national drink problem

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has welcomed the findings of the national poll conducted by IPSOS/MRBI for the Health Research Board which indicates strong public support for action by Government to address alcohol misuse in

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vested interests shouldn’t dictate alcohol policy

Ireland. It is clear that there is strong and growing public support for the range of measures proposed by the National Substance Misuse Group, of which NYCI was a member, last January.

“NYCI has been campaigning for a number of years to address alcohol misuse among young people under 18 years. We have among the highest levels of alcohol consumption by those under 18 years in Europe, with 1 in 5 under 18s being a weekly drinker. All the national and international evidence demonstrates that policies which address price, availability and promotion can reduce the quantity and frequency of drinking by young people under 18,” said James Doorley, NYCI Assistant Director.

“We have consistently called for the introduction of a minimum price, restrictions on the availability and sale of alcohol and stringent limits on the advertising and marketing of alcohol. This survey indicates that not only is there strong evidence to back up these measures but also now significant public support,” continued Mr Doorley. The survey finds: Ø 85% state that alcohol consumption in

Ireland is too high Ø 78% believe the Government has a responsibility to implement public health measures to address high alcohol consumption Ø 58% believe the Government is not doing enough to address alcohol related harm Ø 58% support the introduction of a minimum price Ø 65% agree that number of outlets selling alcohol has increased in last 10 years Ø 47% support reduction in the number of outlets selling alcohol Ø 76% support the introduction of a watershed on TV prohibiting alcohol advertising before 9pm Ø 57% support banning all outdoor advertising of alcohol

“The past 15 years have seen numerous committees and dozens of reports which have all largely recommended the same reasonable measures to reduce and better manage alcohol consumption in Ireland. These reports have been stymied by the powerful drinks industry, who have poured millions into lobbying and marketing, and by political handwringing and inaction. “Successive Governments have allowed the vested interests in the drinks industry to dictate alcohol policy. It is clear that the

majority of the public support reasonable measures to address alcohol misuse and protect young people from alcohol related harm and are unhappy with the lack of action by the State.”

“The current Government has the recommendations of the National Substance Misuse Strategy on its desk. Now is the time to wrest control of alcohol policy from the drinks industry and put the health and well being of the public ahead of the profits of the vested interests,” concluded Mr Doorley.

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new €250k fund to stimulate business start-ups by female entrepreneurs Your FREE Local Newspaper

saggart lad sHow off football skills

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton TD, has announced the establishment by Enterprise Ireland of a €250K Competitive Feasibility Fund aimed at stimulating high potential business start-ups by female entrepreneurs. The fund will be open for applications until 4th of September 2012.

Ciarán Duffy, Saggart, Dublin pictured at the Soccer Roadshow, in association with Tesco Mobile. The Roadshow, which took place in the RSC last week, is travelling across Ireland this summer using the latest technology to assess the football skills of players aged 9-15. Youngsters from all over the Waterford region were put through their paces by coaches who tested and developed different aspects of the participant’s game, with a number of winners getting the opportunity to train at the famous Liverpool F.C. Academy. For more details visit

The Female Entrepreneurship Competitive Feasibility Fund is designed to assist female to entrepreneurs investigate the viability of a new growth orientated business that can succeed in global markets. The focus is on developing new businesses that can move beyond the domestic market and demonstrate real potential for internationalisation.

Making the announcement, Minister Bruton said: “A key part of the Government’s plan for jobs and growth is encouraging more businesses to start-up, grow, and create jobs. In Ireland we currently have a relatively low level of female entrepreneurs, so by targeting a substantial increase in that number we can make a real difference to the overall level of entrepreneurial activity in Ireland. “The announcement that we are targeting this €250,000 fund specifically at start-up companies led by women is a start in addressing this challenge. The Taoiseach has set the ambition of making Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business by 2016 – ensuring that more women get involved in starting

businesses is a key part of this”.

will be announced via a national awareness campaign over the coming months.

Application Form are available on the Enterprise Ireland web site: www.enterprise-ireland .com/femaleentrepren eurship


Further Enterprise Ireland initiatives and supports for emerging female led enterprises


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