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February 2012 • Unit 38, Northwood Court, Santry, Dublin 9 • Tel: 01 813 8786 • Email: • Web:

Blanchardstown • Castleknock • Carpenterstown • Ongar • Littlepace • Huntstown

Appeal for witnesses to shooting incident

Form an orderly Q!

Fashion Craft

Man Shot a Number of Times in Hartstown

Gardai in Blanchardstown investigating the shooting of a man in contact the Garda station.” Hartstown are appealing to the public for assistance. Following the shooting, Gardaí preserved the scene pending a techAt approximately 7:00pm on the By Paul O'Connell nical examination and an incident 25th of January, a lone gunman approached a car as it pulled out of radio shortly after the incident room has been set up at a driveway on Cherryfield Avenue Councillor McGuinness said: Blancahardstown Garda Station. Anyone with information is and shot the front seat passenger, a "Hartstown has seen fatalities in male aged in his 30s, a number of the past with gun crimes but this asked to contact Blanchardstown times. It is believed the attacker will no doubt go down as a shock Garda Station 01-6667000, or the was waiting in the area for his vic- locally and I would encourage any- Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 tim, and pounced shortly before one who has any information to 111. 7:00 pm. It is understood the gunman fired at least five shots at his victim. The injured man was taken by ambulance to James Connolly Hospital, where he was put under Garda security and his injuries are thought to be serious. The driver of the car escaped unharmed and the gunman escaped on foot in the direction of Portersgate. Local Councillor David McGuinness added his voice in calling on the public to come forward in assisting Gardaí with their investigation. Speaking on local n Gardai seeking information about the shooting on Cherryfield Ave.

Wind Power breakthrough Green Scene Page 4

Yvonne Beale Interview

Page 12

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The Drift

Q The month in Quotes Who's the mad borrower now?. Headline on David McWilliam's Sunday Business Post article on Enda Kenny's blaming 'mad' borrowers on the one hand and paying €1.2 billion to unsecured bondholders on the other. The Argentine people regret that the royal heir will arrive on national soil in the uniform of the conqueror and not with the wisdom of the statesman. The Argentine Foreign Ministry reacting to news that Prince William is to do a military tour of the Falklands/Malvinas Islands. I never thought I would see an audience outside the Guildhall in Derry actually applaud a Conservative prime minister Lord Saville, who led the inquiry into Bloody Sunday. We are very, very thankful we got him back for the burial and I have mixed feelings. Our thoughts are with the families of the skipper and the two Egyptian families Paddy Kershaw whose son Kevin was lost in the Bonhomme trawler tradegy. I was trying to get people to get into the boats in an orderly fashion. Suddenly, since the ship was at a 60- to 70-degree angle, I tripped and I ended up in one of the boats. That's how I found myself there. Francesco Schettino, captain of the Costa Concordia on how he ended up in a lifeboat. I can say she suffered an appalling death that is incomprehensible in a civilised society Chief Supt Michael O'Sullivan on the abduction and murder of Romanian teenager Marioara Rostas Imagine a world without free knowledge A message on the English version of Wikipedia as it closed down for a day in protest at a new anti-piracy law in the US. My career is important to me - this is my pastime and what I enjoy doing. If it was my job, it wouldn’t seem the same for me Pat Gilroy says he wouldn't like to get paid to manage the Dubs

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It appears the difference occurs in the numbers earning €50,000 or more. Perhaps this is an indication that women still pay a monetary price for minding children, in that they miss out on promotion and consequent higher pay scales.

This the percentage of what women earn to what men earn. It looks pretty stark but most of the imbalance is accounted for in that men work longer hours in paid employment. Women actually earn 94 per cent of male earnings.

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Comment & Debate

The criminalisation of alcohol

Personal responsibility and personal liberty are two sides of the same coin. This is not a currency that the Irish state trades in. We've had a lot of health and safety law foisted upon us over the last ten years, from the smoking ban to the extreme drink driving laws; from the outlawing of head shops to the ban on raw milk; from the continuing 'war on drugs' to the ending of on-field celebrations at Croke Park. All of these initiatives have one thing in common: a complete and utter contempt for the right of people to make up their own minds about the risks that they take. In a few weeks' time the National Substance Misuse Strategy will be released. The main points of the report have been flagged up in advance and they are, predictably, and authoritarian wet-dream. According to the Irish Times, they include: • Prohibit all outdoor advertising of alcohol; • End cheap alcohol promotions in pubs and price incentives to buy multiple containers of drink in shops; • Enforce regulations to separate sale and display of alcohol from grocery items • Introduce a “social responsibility” levy on the drinks industry • Lower safe weekly guidelines for consumption of alcohol to 11 units for women and 17 for men • Ban alcohol sponsorship of all sporting and large

By Niall Gormley

music, comedy or theatre events • Introduce a “social responsibility” levy on the drinks industry Can anybody doubt that people who think like this wouldn't bring in alcohol prohibition if they thought they would get away with it? The authoritarian mindset

To see how the authoritarian mind works, let's consider one issue associated with the alcohol 'problem'. Let's take domestic violence. A man drinks ten pints of lager and then he comes home and beats his wife. The authoritarian believes that the problem here is alcohol. Having concluded that alcohol is the problem, the authoritarian decides that controls on alcohol is what is required. These controls will then be applied to all alcohol users, regardless of whether they are violent or not. But, fundamentally, the authoritarian is wrong about the responsibility of alcohol. If a man beats his wife after drinking ten pints of lager, the man is responsible. If he can't take responsibility for himself after drinking, he shouldn't drink. He should, like everyone, take responsibility for the things he does. Interestingly, and tellingly, the justice system agrees with me. Try using alcohol as an excuse in front of a judge.

The release of the National Substance Misuse Strategy report will open another front in the war on personal liberty The authoritarian view of the world

So having started out with the wrong analysis, the authoritarian will start to list all the ills that alcohol is responsible for. For example, alcohol apparently kills 80 people a month outright. Alcohol is responsible for people crashing cars. Alcohol is responsible for the occupation of 2,000 beds in hospital every night. Alcohol costs the health service €1.2 billion every year. To the authoritarian, these are risks which must be eliminated with universal laws. A guerilla war on freedom There's nothing wrong with the regulation of alcohol. In fact, regulation rather than prohibition is the policy that should be applied to all risk behaviour. The problem is that the Irish state and the people within it in control of health and safety pol-

icy have a very, very poor record when it comes to personal liberty. In their hands, the policy is not harm reduction but criminalisation. To see how it works, look at the drink driving legislation. The policy is based on the need to stop people being killed on the roads. It has adopted a policy of zero-risk. It has taken no account of the damage it has caused. It has emptied Ireland's pubs, the single greatest source of social capital in our society. It has overthrown the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' with mandatory breath-testing. The policy started off with the laudable aim of stopping people driving stocious drunk and killing other people, and has ended with the criminalisation of people for taking a one in a million chance of getting killed. And all of this without the personal consent of one single Irish person. The cannabis lesson The reason cannabis is banned has nothing to do with safety. Both alcohol and cigarettes are at least as dangerous. The reason cannabis is banned is because the political majority supports the ban. When the authoritarians have blackened alcohol enough with this strategy to win a political majority, what you thought was your choice will disappear. The lot of the cannabis user today is the alcohol users' tomorrow.


The Informer

Green Scene Wind power breakthrough! We hear a lot about the potential for wind power in Ireland but the latest figures from Eirgrid make it clear that these days we are well past the potential stage and windpower is here to stay (See chart below). There are already more than 150 windfarms from small single turbines to offshore banks contributing to the total generating capacity and this week Electric Ireland – the new name for the ESB in case you missed it – showed its faith in the future of windpower by lodging a planning application for five giant turbines, each twice as high as Liberty Hall, beside the coal burning station at Moneypoint. The wind farm won’t replace the coal burning station, which employs 235 people in the employment blackspot of West Clare, but it will have a significant impact on the company’s plans to generate 40% of Ireland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Meanwhile Eirgrid’s monthly report demonstrates just how much more is going on in the field of renewable energy, and of the more sensible use of energy. Besides the peat, coal, gas and oil, which once gone cannot be replaced, varying amounts are coming into the grid from hydro-electric plants from big plants like Poulaphouca to tiny ones in traditional mills, and from pumped hydro, which is a means of storing electricity that is generated off peak. Also already linked in are combined heat and power

By Kathy Marsh, Sonairte

plants, landfill gas, and biogas plants, with the University of Cork having a pioneer photovoltaic generation bank using sunlight to make electricity. The graphic below shows how electricity was generated across the island of Ireland in December 2011. The green area is wind power and it is already apparent that wind is making a huge contribution to energy in Ireland.

Powering our Isles

Meanwhile the governments of Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland have launched the ISLES project which aims to tap into up to €4.6 billion of funding that will be available from the European Investment Bank and the €9.1 billion that is available from the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility for investment in trans-European energy infrastructure. The project revolves around a joined-up energy grid involving offshore wind, wave and tidal energy that could generate enough electricity to power 2.8 million homes and estimates that up to 5.6GW of wind, wave and tidal energy could be generated by 2020 in Donegal, Louth, Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford, Co Antrim and Co Down. The first stage of the project will involve linking up electricity grids in Scotland and Northern Ireland, while the second stage would involve further interconnection between the east coast of Ireland and Wales.

Wetlands on-line

World Wetlands Day, February 2nd, saw two launches that are important for the Irish Environment. Ireland has hundreds of wetlands, big and small, each of which has its own population of animals, plants, birds, insects and fish. Many of these, including Bull Island and Sandymount Strand, are recognized as being of international importance. Others are filled in and levelled as part of 'land reclamation' and their inhabitants are lost forever. Now you can find out about this essential part of the heritage of Ireland and the world on the new Irish Wetlands website where you can check out the location of your local wetland.

Join the frog census

The second launch was the Irish Peatlands Conservation Council’s annual frog survey Hop to It. Frog numbers are dropping steadily in Ireland, partly because so many wetlands are being lost to infilling and partly because of diseases which are spreading through the frog population around the world. This means that garden ponds, damp spots in gardens, old garden walls and other places in the areas where we lived are becoming important frog habitats, essential to their survival. The IPCC are trying to find out just how many frogs there are in Ireland, where they are living and how healthy they are as they are barometers of environmental health. February and March are the peak times for frog spawning;

although spawning in the south of Ireland may occur in January if the temperature is warm enough but you can record sightings of frogspawn, tadpoles or frogs at any time of year. You can join in by downloading a report card from the IPCC website,

Back to the bad old days?

Do you remember when farmers got 'headage payments' – when they received payments from the Common Agricultural Policy according to how many animals they owned? And do you remember that that was changed because of the damage that increased livestock numbers did to the Irish landscape. Anyone who travelled through the Dublin mountains in those days will remember the landslides, as bogs, their surface vegetation eaten completely away and swollen by rain, spread across the road. In those days it could be hard to get from Dublin to the Sally Gap because the roads were under a foot of peat. Now the situation could be returning as the Department of Agriculture has asked the EU if it can require a doubling of the sheep stocking rates in Disadvantaged Areas and to require that this stock be held for six months rather than the previous three months. Irish environmental groups have asked the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, to refuse Ireland's request on the grounds that it will lead to disastrous effects on Ireland’s most vulnerable landscapes.

Source: eirgrid/SONI

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The Informer

Garden Growing With Gerry Norton Using the early spring to start off the year What an amazing winter we’ve just had in comparison to the winters of 2010 and 2011. I can’t remember one as mild for many years. As a result we can see everywhere flowering daffodils, snow drops and crocuses which are about four weeks ahead of their usual flowering time. Some birds, magpies for example have already started to patch up last year's nests and the dawn chorus seems to start earlier every morning now that spring is here. I have even noticed that the fish in my small pond never really hibernated and in fact I gave them a few morsels of food once or twice during the winter. Give the veg plot a break

Regular readers will know that I don’t grow any winter veg, Instead I prefer to give the veg plot a break and I always cover it with plastic to help it to warm up. As a result of the mild

winter I will take the cover off the plot in a week or so and start to do some early digging. I will also dig in some well rotted leaves which I bagged about 15 months ago. Leaf mould as it’s called is a marvellous natural fertilizer and it costs nothing. February is also the best time to apply chicken manure to your plot. It’s sold in a pellet form and smells awful but only for a day or so. Seaweed is also wonderful for the soil and can be bought in liquid or powder form if you can’t get the real thing. Don't overdo it

Don’t overdo the digging when you start as you don’t want to do your back in, just do a small bit at a time and take a break every 15 mins or so to stretch. I mentioned getting some seed catalogues in last month's piece and deciding what you would like to grow in the veg plot this year. If you are a newcomer try not to be too adventurous.

n You can also incorporate a small herb garden in your plot Start with some simple plants such as early potatoes, lettuce, onions, beetroot and of course tomatoes. You can also incorporate a small herb garden in your plot by growing the usual stuff like thyme, oregano and parsley. Never grow mint in anything other than a container, don’t put even one plant in the ground as it will take over the whole garden very quickly. Over the next few weeks I will give newcomers to veg growing,

a step by step guide to help you along. Growing patatoes

Let’s start now with the potatoe. I don’t have a big veg plot, mine is 10x6 feet, so I only grow an early variety called ‘Orla’. They taste amazing and are very easy to grow giving a very good yield. I also grow some in large containers due to the lack of space in my plot. All the garden centres

now have early varieties. A great trick with potatoes is to give them a head start by ‘chitting’ them. What you do is put the potatoes in empty egg boxes for example, with the eyes facing upwards. These little eyes will soon develop into healthy shoots which will be well advanced when it comes to planting them outside towards the end of March .I’ll tell you more in next months article and also give you some advice on the other plants. Prune and shape Elsewhere in the garden now is a good time to prune and shape hedges and trees before this years leaves start to appear and also before the birds start to pick their nest sites. Also, don’t forget to keep feeding the birds. Don’t buy those mixed seed bags as they are bulked up with seeds that the birds don’t eat. Just get peanuts and black sun flower seeds and enjoy their antics …

Finally folks, if you need any information on gardening or if you have any tips or suggestions which I can pass on, please send them to me at I would be delighted to quote for any/all of your garden requirements from set-up organic vegetable plots to restoration of neglected gardens, design, planting and maintenance. No charge for initial visit and I will travel within reason.

Gerry Norton, Living Landescapes, 97 Church Avenue, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 Tel: 087-2462724 or email

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The Informer

Animal Tracks

The sky over Dublin

with Miriam Kerins, DSPCA

Keep those pet resolutions One of the best traditions of ringing in the New Year is the resolutions. So readers, have you managed to keep yours’ or have you broken them yet? I’ll bet you have. I know, I know, like me, three seconds into 2012 (as you downed your fifth mince pie; yum) you resolved to eat less, move more or in my case, keep moving; and yet, here we are a month into the new year and the old backside, reminiscent of an EU butter mountain is still sitting on the sofa, eating chocolates and watching re-runs of Oprah! My bad. So, with that in mind, I’d ask all you pet parents to forget about your own resolutions and to ask yourselves ‘what were the top five things I wanted to do for my dog in 2011 and, have I managed to do them?’ Here are a few gentle reminders… • Check it Out: Regular check ups give your vet the chance of picking up on any developing illnesses and the opportunity to take care of them immediately. • Get the Look: It’s 2012 and those long nails and matted coat are soooo last year. Take your pooch to the poodle parlour for a bit of pampering. • Watch the Weight: Read the feeding

guidelines on your pet’s food and follow them carefully. Overweight animals face a number of health risks. Lay of the scraps and too many treats; and, if your pet is not already on a well balanced, top quality, dried pet food now is the time to switch. • Pearly Whites: Does your dog have ‘coffee breath?’ Yes! He may require dental care. Check his teeth and gums once a week and ask your vet to show you how to brush his teeth regularly. • Poison-Proof Your Home: Are there dangerous toxins lurking in your cupboards? The home can be a minefield for dogs and cats. Lock those poisons away today and create a safe environment for your animals. • ID: Microchip your pets and get them a new collar and ID tag. Make sure your information is accurate and if it changes, i.e. you get a new mobile ‘phone number or move house, then update it.. For more information log onto or email me at © Miriam Kerins, Education Officer, Dublin SPCA.

with Conor Farrell, Astronomy Ireland

The Northern Lights

Even many of the suburbs and green areas outside the main city centre are dark enough to see the displays. However, if a very strong solar flare bursts, it can potentially cause a display bright enough to see from the city itself! Astronomy Ireland monitors “space weather” and releases alerts when there is potential for an aurora to be seen from Ireland. Visit for more details and to sign up. People who see anything interesting in the sky (not only the aurorae!) are invited to send their report to

Over the last number of weeks skywatchers on this island – particularly in the North – were lucky enough to see the aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. Over the next couple of years more and more of us will get to see these spectacular displays as they get stronger; they might be visible in Dublin! The aurorae are becoming more regular and stronger as the Sun approaches the peak of its 11-year cycle, which is expected to occur in 2013. As activity increases, there are more sunspots on our nearest star. These sunspots can trigger solar flares, which then send huge bubbles of plasma into space. If this plasma gets caught up in Earth's magnetic field it can get pulled to the north and south poles. In these regions, it interacts with gases in the atmosphere, making them light up as spectacular Northern Lights. Solar flares can't be predicted, we just have to wait until they happen. But when they do it takes roughly two days for material to reach Earth (if it's Earthdirected in the first place), and that's when the Northern Lights are triggered. The best place to see aurorae is from a dark sky with a clear northern horizon. n More of us will get to see these spectacular displays



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Driving safely in crosswinds So you think we are getting off lightly this winter compared to last…well we are. This time last year it was 20* cooler and we were all clambering around looking for snow tyres and the like !! Well this year so far we’ve had a few bad storms with devastating floods and wind damage to contend with. So how do you rate your driving behind the wheel? Crosswinds cross your direction of travel from either side. Most of us tend to tense up and squeeze the living day lights out of the steering wheel. Many things can change the way the wind crosses your path. Trees, small hills, buildings and other vehicles on the road can make a strong crosswind act differently on your vehicle Simply try to relax your grip and adjust the steering slightly into the direction of the wind. Here, though, is where you need to be on the lookout for objects that will block or redirect the crosswind. Without warning a crosswind can completely disappear. If you are not prepared you could steer yourself off the road or, worse, into an oncoming lane. Anticipation is key. Try and use your periph-

eral vision. Make a note of the objects beside the road that could block or redirect the crosswind. Consider the vehicles on the road in the same manner. An approaching truck will temporarily block any crosswind coming from the right as it passes you ! Prepare by beginning to relax the tension you have on the wheel as the vehicle begins to pass you. That way you will not be drawn toward that lane by the apparent vacuum the vehicle creates. You will also be better prepared for the crosswind as the vehicle completes its pass. Above all slow down. Avoid overtaking manoeuvres on open stretches of roadways. Remember high winds will affect different types of vehicles in different ways, from high sided commercial vehicles to small light road cars. Also when passing motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians be prepared in case the wind blows them into your path. Windy weather is unpredictable. You can increase your chances for safety by paying close attention to your environment. As always drive safe, drive smart and....... Arrive Alive !

Nick Jones, First Choice Autos, Patrick Street Dún Laoghaire • • 01 2844448 / 087 226 9787

The Informer

With LA Speedwing

Kathrina Rupit's urban artwork They say good news comes in pairs and I can definitely testify to that. Not only is there a great exhibition coming up from Kathrina Rupit, her first Irish solo as a street artist but this will happen in a new gallery called the Little Green Street Gallery just off Capel Street which I didn’t even know until today.(The gallery first opened in April 2011) Kathrina Rupit’s urban artwork will hopefully create two emotions in you: she will gain your respect by depicting proudly her Mexican culture, society, and current issues and admiration by offering to the public a chance to view street art as more than just graffiti. 
 With a mind for Mexican history like her famous predecessor Diego Rivera, Kathrina has portrayed in in one of her pictures, the 'Adhelitas 2', women who fought in the Mexican Revolution. Ordinary people in extraordinary times, these women - rich and poor, educated and uneducated - would fight for their beliefs on the battlefields in their everyday clothes, armed to the teeth. They have become the heroes of the Revolution, and are traditionally honoured by Mexican artists and literary figures. Kathrina is joining those ranks in her portraits of “Adhelitas 2”, paying homage to

the women of her country as many have done before her. I said good news comes in pairs, let me correct this, good news comes in threes, as some of Kathrina's pieces will go for €20 only. Done on very special industrial paper, they won’t be your regular exhibition prints but they are hand-painting originals! So good news all around!! Where: Little Green Street Gallery, 21A Little Britain Street, Dublin 7. Free entry! When: Saturday 25th February opening night (6-9), until Tuesday 28th February.

LA Speedwing pens a weekly blog about writing, arts and other randomness at

Life Insurers launch some great new Mortgage Protection and Life Assurance offers FRIENDS First have followed in the footsteps of Irish Life and New Ireland in offering the first two months premiums back in cash for anyone who takes out a new policy with them by March 2012.

Caledonian Life (July 2011) noted that savings of up to 40% on a monthly premium can be achieved.

It is hoped that this initiative will highlight the fact that life assurance is not as expensive as people may have thought. This initiative also applies to Mortgage Life Assurance customers. Mortgage Life Assurance also known as Mortgage Protection is a life insurance policy designed to pay off your mortgage if you die during the term. It runs for the same length of time as your mortgage. So, if you take out a mortgage over 20 years, your mortgage protection insurance must also be in place for 20 years.

In addition to the 2 month's cash back offer from the insurers, will provide you with 70% cash back on your premiums for a further twelve months.

You can change insurer during the term of your mortgage if you find better value elsewhere. People who may have taken out a policy at the time of taking out a mortgage can now look at replacing this cover with a cheaper policy and in addition get cash back on your first two months premiums. A common misconception is that individuals cannot switch their mortgage protection provider, however this is quite easily done and your bank cannot stop you from doing it. In an environment where everyone is looking to save money this could help reduce your monthly outgoings. Recent research by


For example, if your premium is €50 per month you will get €100 back after 2 months from the insurer and then get 70% of your premium back for the next 12 months from For someone paying €50 per month this would be a minimum saving of €520 over the first fourteen months of a new policy. It is not uncommon for people to spend hours searching the internet for savings on Home and Car Insurance which might yield €50 when switching your Mortgage Life Assurance provider could potentially save significantly more. There are however some terms and conditions attached. It is only prudent to switch your policy if the monthly cost after the discount period is less than what you are currently paying, the minimum premium is €30 euro and a minimum term of 10 year years applies.








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The Informer

Informer Interview

Fashion craft - with style and elegance Full Name Yvonne Beale. Where were you born? Dublin.

From designing a crochet necklace for America’s first lady, Michelle Obama and with the ability to cheer us all up with her positivity, leading fashion designer Yvonne Beale chats to Kevin O'Brien about herself and her life in fashion.

What was your first job? Waitress work as a student. What got you interested in fashion? Creating and making has always been around for as long as I remember. My mother and my grandmother always had needles and yarn in hand. While growing up did you have a favourite fashion designer who you admired? When I was a child the dress designer I knew best was my mother - she made everything for us. Where did you study fashion? At home and at the Grafton Academy in Dublin. Do you remember the first item you designed? The vest for my Teddy Bear. Where do you get your design inspiration? All around me, all the time - on the street, on TV, in magazines. I am con-

stantly seeing shapes and materials that I reckon I can re-interpret with yarns and needles. What item of clothing have you designed and thought, 'I don’t like that'? As a designer you always feel you can do better again and your new collection cannot but be better than the last! How did you start designing your own collection? For my latest collection, I used leather cords worked in crochet to create statement jewellery for the neck and wrist.

I can imagine it was a big financial risk, how did you cope? It is very hard, particularly at the moment and I couldn’t do it without the support of my parents. Now I want to give classes. Budgets are very tight. How does having your own label differ from working for a large corporation? Complete freedom of expression. What is the best perk in being a designer? Doing what you truly love to do. Constantly creating.

Where can the public buy your items? The Design Centre in Powerscourt, 99b boutique in Rathgar, D6 or What’s your favourite item you have designed? My latest leather crochet collection of chunky neckpieces and bangles. What is a typical day in the life of Yvonne Beale? Long ....... starting at 9am and not finishing before 9pm. With all of the office work to be covered these days it is usually in the evening I get most chance to make and design new pieces. What’s the most insulting thing anyone has said to you about your fashion work? I haven’t heard it! Who would we know who is famous, has paid you the biggest compliment about your work and what did they say? Michelle Obama. It was so wonderful to present my crochet necklace 'Grace' to Michelle on the presidential visit to Ireland in 2011 and she sent me an absolutely lovely letter of thanks, which I treasure.

What are your favourite types of clothes and colours you like to wear yourself? I could live in my jeans and jumper. Clothes just have to be comfortable to wear. No frills or flounces. Colours have to be warm because I am so pale. Are there other designers out there whose designs you admire? Calvin Klein, I love his classic clean cuts. So elegant. If you had the opportunity to design a piece of clothing for anyone in the world today, who would you choose and what would you design for them, style and colours? Imelda May. She is just a fantastic person to cheer you up. I would love to design a super leather neckpiece for her. So what can we expect to see from Yvonne Beale for the future? More statement crochet jewellery in exciting materials. I am now looking for suede cords. In your opinion, what does it take to become a good designer? Plenty of imagination, hard-work and 101 per cent commitment. How do people contact you?

My migranes seem to be getting worse Q: I have been getting migraines since my late teens, but over the past few months they have been getting more frequent and more severe. In the past I was able to take Migraleve and they would help, but lately they seem to have no effect and I have to go to bed with the pain. Is there anything more effective that I could take? Is there anything that a doctor could prescribe apart from strong painkillers? I am an otherwise healthy woman in my late 20s. A: The first thing I would recommend in your case is to go to your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. While the term “migraine” is often used simply to describe any bad headache, it actually refers to specific neurological disorder with specific symptoms and specific treatments. Other illnesses with which migraine may be confused include tension headaches, cluster headaches or headaches caused by a separate illness which would need separate treatment. For this reason, it is important to have an accurate diagnosis that it is in fact migraine which is the cause of your headaches. Migraine usually only affects one side of the head and is described as pulsating in nature. It will vary in intensity from moderate to severe and is often is associated with nausea and vomiting. Extreme sensitivity to light and sound can also be present. Some migraine sufferers may also experience what is called a prodrome in the hours or days before an attack which may involve mood changes, dizziness or other physical symptoms, and/or an aura immediately before an attack. The aura is usually

characterised by visual disturbances but other senses can also be affected. However, only a minority of migraine sufferers experience an aura. Assuming that migraine is indeed at the root of your problem, your doctor will also want to investigate what may be the underlying cause for the increase in the frequency and severity of your headaches. Perhaps you have changed contraceptive pill recently, your diet has changed or you have been under more stress. Altering any of these may cause a worsening of symptoms and hence, reversing these changes may form part of your treatment. Your doctor may refer you for further tests to see if there is any other underlying cause for your worsening condition. While over the counter painkillers are often the first line of treatment, along with an anti-nausea drug (both ingredients are contained in Migraleve) they may only have limited success, particularly if the migraine is severe. Migraleve, or another paracetomol-based medicine can safely be combined with ibuprofen if it alone is not effective in relieving the pain and discomfort. If over the counter painkillers are not effective, the next step would usually be a type of drug called a triptan.

Currently, triptans are only on prescription in Ireland, although this may change in the future. They are generally highly effective in the treatment of migraines and will often greatly reduce or eliminate symptoms within 30 to 90 minutes. They should be taken as soon as the headache phase of the migraine begins and can be repeated if necessary, although it is important not to exceed the dose that you have been prescribed. They generally have little in the way of side effects, although they should be taken with caution if you are taking certain medicines such as anti-depressants or if you have a heart condition. There are a number of different triptan drugs available and you should ask your doctor or pharmacist if you want more information about a particular drug. While triptans are usually effective at treating a migraine attack, they are not effective in preventing migraine. If you cannot take triptans, if they are ineffective or you need to take them more often than about once a week, you may benefit from taking medication to prevent migraines. There are a number of different preventative (also known as prophylactic) medicines. Most of them are actually more frequently used for other conditions but can also be taken to prevent migraine (e.g. betablockers are usually given to treat high blood pressure, but are also effective at reducing migraine attacks). Any of these medications need to be taken regularly to be effective and will not have any effect if taken in response to a migraine attack. However, if taken regularly they can markedly reduce the number of migraine attacks you get.

Ask the Pharmacist With Eoin Meany Eoin Meany works as a pharmacist in McCabe's Pharmacy, Ridgewood Avenue, Swords. If you have a question you would like answered for next issue, please send it by email to or by post to McCabe's Pharmacy, Ridgewood, Swords, Co. Dublin.

Disclaimer: The advice you have been given by the pharmacist should not be regarded as a clinically accurate diagnosis of any disease or a guarantee that a particular medicine is safe for you to take. The advice given is based solely on the limited amount of information provided and so should not be regarded as a substitute for a face to face consultation with a pharmacist, doctor or other health professional who is personally familiar with your medical history.

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The Informer

All about Dublin 1

A Place in the City

In the mid-19th century Ireland was making a profit - the problem was that any surplus of income over expenditure found its way into the pockets of the English monarch of the day - in this case 'the choleric little sovereign' George II. The Irish parliament of the day opted to deprive George of his pocket money by financing public works - one of the first to be funded was the Grand Canal. While it might seem logical to start at one end and work to the other it was decided to start excavating outside Dublin as it was more difficult and, even then, more expensive to acquire land in the city. The first notice appeared in the press in 1755 and work began in earnest the following year. There was a hitch however, the parliament eventually ran at a deficit and the money and the canal dried up. Dublin Corporation decided to continue the project, at least through the city because it would provide a new source of drinking - but it had no interest in continuing the work to link Dublin with the Barrow and the Shannon. "The Company of Undertakers of the Grand Canal," composed of successful businessmen, M.P.s and Dublin Corporation members, came into being in 1772. As well as loans and grants money was also raised through a series of lotteries - one in 1776 had 20,000 prizes with two top prizes of £3,000. On 1st August 1776 water was let into the canal from the head river and flowed into the City Basin. In 1784, a new spur was begun to link the Grand Canal with the Liffey - it was abandoned but only after £30,000 had been spent. The Grand Canal Docks (Ringsend Basin) was opened on April 23 1796 by the Lord Lieutenant, Viscount Camden, aboard the yacht 'Dorset'. The Dublin Journal reported that 'their excellencies landed and partook of a Grand Dejeuner, prepared in marquee tents on shore for above 500 people.' Among the spectators was Robert Emmet. The dock, which in earlier times might have proved invaluable to Dublin Port, was already outmoded - M. B. Mullins noted (1859) that it never held more than half a dozen ships. In time the shareholders fell out and one group departed to build a rival, the Royal Canal. The two competing canals ensued that neither was ever completely successful. By the mid-19th century the arrival of the railways sealed the fate of the passenger trade on the canal - the last scheduled service ran in 1852. Boats on

Edited by Zoz The Grand Canal

the canal were slow, about 2 miles (3.2km) per hour and the locks made for numerous delays. The Grand Canal survived, and occasionally prospered, petrol shortages during WWII ensured a resurgence of waterborne traffic. But vans and trucks made every increasing inroads - total tonnage carried by the Grand and Royal Canals declined steadily (from 148,000 tons to 111,000, between 1948 and 1952). In 1950 the 'dead duck of the Grand Canal Company' was given over to CIE which, almost immediately, applied to case all operations on the canal. An excerpt from 'Dublin 4 - Sandymount - Donnybrook - Ballsbridge Ringsend,' with text by Ken Finlay and paintings by Tom Roche. Published by Cottage Publications it costs around €22.

Visiting Dublin -1860's "Dublin is a handsome city, with many stately buildings and fine wide streets, but a very dull place, I should think, so far as business goes. It was almost painful for active-minded Americans to see how deserted the streets looked. One street in particular, and that one of the finest (Sackville street, now O'Connell Street), shows much less traffic than is seen on our Main street, though it is about three times as broad, and Dublin has nearly thrice as many inhabitants as Buffalo. I know not why it was, but our whole party certainly were victims to the blues all the while we were there, a circumstance which may have given a sombre colouring to our impressions of Dublin; or else the knowledge that the ancient city is actually in a rapid decline - its population steadily decreasing and its business "going to the dogs" - made us view the place with the sort of melancholy interest with which one always contemplates the hectic fading beauty of a consumptive woman.

Our first drive in Dublin was to the Phoenix Park, a splendid and almost too large inclosure, containing nearly eighteen hundred acres, and affording many fine but rather lonesome drives, so few people are to be met on the way. The most conspicuous object in the Park is the Wellington Testimonial, an immense quadrangular truncated obelisk, erected by his fellow-townsmen of Dublin in 1817, to commemorate the victories of the Great Duke, at a cost of over one hundred thousand dollars. The work was done entirely by Irish artisans, and a very handsome piece of work it is. On our way to this spot we had passed an enclosure within which were rows of cannon pointed toward the city, which they commanded; an unpleasant Continued next page >>

This feature was researched with the help of

Dublin Advice Practical tips for dealing with depression Fair

Depression is one of the most common and most treatable mental health conditions. Unfortunately, due to shame, fear, or simply lack of information, many people with depression suffer unnecessarily for months or even years. A combination of self-help and professional strategies can alleviate the most distressing symptoms of depression, and form the basis of a preventative self-care plan to guard against re-occurrence. Recognising Depression

Depression can be mild, moderate or severe. There are eight main symptoms: feeling sad, anxious or bored; low energy and fatigue; sleep disturbances, e.g. waking frequently or very early; poor concentration; loss of interest in hobbies, family or social life; low self-esteem and feelings of guilt; unexplained aches and pains; and loss of interest in living, with morbid or suicidal thoughts. If five or more of these symptoms last for a period of over two weeks, depression may be diagnosed. Practical Steps towards Recovery

It's easy to believe that other people's lives are perfect, especially when we are feeling down – but 'don't compare your inside to someone else's outside'. Accepting that there is a problem is the first step to addressing it. Healthy food, natural sleep and regular exercise are the foundation of mental health. Start with small steps, one day at a time. To nourish body and mind, it is important to eat mood-boosting foods such as baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads, and bananas. Fresh fruit and vegetables supply vitamins and minerals, and oily fish contains Omega 3, all essential for brain functioning. Try to take a 10-minute walk every day, building up the time as the

days progress. Three 30-minute sessions of exercise a week has been shown to be as effective as a mild anti-depressant. Good nutrition and regular exercise will also help to normalise sleep patterns. Tackling Negative Thinking

Our mood affects what we remember, what we focus on and how we make judgements. A bad mood triggers negative memories, increasing feelings of guilt, failure and pessimism. This is how depressed people become locked in a cycle of negativity, seemingly impervious to reason. It is vital to learn to manage our moods, as a small shift can have powerful knock-on effects. Attending to the positive in our lives, regardless of how artificial it feels at the time, is an effective antidote to low mood. List five things that you are grateful for. The next day, list three things good that have happened to you. Research has shown that these simple exercises have potent positive

effects on mood over time. A daily relaxation practice can also help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of Redundanc well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation an empl or meditation. work pla exercise. Talking It Out cedure w Depression can be a signal that there are issues in a person's life that redundan need to be addressed. These might include poor job satisfaction, marIn gene riage or relationship difficulties, health concerns, parenting stresses, tion aris financial worries, or anxiety about ageing. longer ex Sometimes early life problems may be re-surfacing, such as childThe em hood abuse or neglect, or school bullying. Sharing these issues with a statutory partner, family member or trusted friend can help to alleviate the of service problem. cumstanc Support groups can provide invaluable help in understanding and Payment managing depression. AWARE, GROW and Recovery all meet the minim throughout the city, with groups run by trained and experienced sum. The facilitators. Anti-depressant medication can be useful, especially make thi when used in conjunction with an overall self-help program. A short Payment course of medication will give the person enough of a lift to begin to Employ address the causes of their depression, helping prevent relapse. Onements if to-one counselling provides confidential, professional help to discuss tract of concerns and develop an active recovery plan. two year The emp Maeve Halpin is a been ter Registered Counselling Psychologist. ended by Appletree Health and Wellness, nation. No 126 Ranelagh, Dublin 6. If the e Contact: 087-2877837 selection Dismissal Email: The Ac

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Law matters with Noreen Maguire

Fair procedures in redundancy Redundancy normally happens when an employer needs to restructure the work place, and usually its a cost cutting exercise. The employer must use fair procedure when selecting an employee for redundancy. In general, a genuine redundancy situation arises where an employee's job no longer exists and he/she is not replaced. The employee may be entitled to a statutory payment because of the length of service and the employer in some circumstances, may offer a Termination Payment also. This is a payment beyond the minimum statutory redundancy lump sum. The employer is not legally bound to make this payment under the Redundancy Payments Acts Employees qualify for statutory payments if they are employed under a contract of employment and have at least two years service and meet other criteria. The employee's employment must have been terminated and should not have ended by reason of the employee's resignation. If the employer's procedures during the selection process are flawed the Unfair Dismissals Act may apply. The Act provides that the dismissal of

an employee shall be deemed to be an unfair dismissal “unless, having regard to all the circumstances, there were substantial grounds justifying the dismissal�. Certain reasons for the dismissal are deemed to be unfair by Sections 5 and 6 of the Act and they include “unfair selection for redundancy�. In summary, the courts have determined that an employer must prior to any type of dismissal, including redundancy, act fairly and have full and proper regard to the Rules of Natural and Constitutional Justice. Accordingly the employer needs to get advice where possible, to ensure their methods are beyond reproach. Similarly if an employee feels their selection was unjust they need to seek further advices. For information on how to calculate entitlements see the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment website. Noreen Maguire is a solicitor with Maguire Muldoon Solicitors, 34 Gledswood Park, Clonskeagh, D14. Tel (01) 296 4266 E-mail: Web:

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All about Dublin 2


First hand History

"Bridget Butterly and Bridget Ennis were natives of Dublin, and Butterly had been servant with a Captain Peck, who resided at Portland Place on the banks of the canal, north of the city. The captain's wife, Mrs. Peck, author of several novels, did not live with her husband, but he kept under his roof a young lady named Thompson, also known as Bailis, an Englishwoman. Butterley claimed that while in Captain Peck's service she had improper connexion with her master, and on being turned out of his service she became jealous of Miss Thompson, and consequently wished to do her some harm. Captain Peck denied having had any improper connexion with Butterly, but she declared to the contrary a few minutes before her execution, and it is not likely that on the verge of the grave she would persist in a falsehood, which served no purpose but to add to the infamy of her own memory. After leaving the service of Captain Peck she went to lodge with one O'Brien, in Summer Place, where she had Ennis for a fellow lodger. The latter, after some time, proposed visiting England. Butterly consented, and offered to provide funds for the journey by robbing the house of Captain Peck. This was agreed to, and on the 28th of March, 1821, they watched the house until they saw the captain go into town. Butterly went up and knocked at the door. Miss Thompson received her with great kindness, shook her by the hand, and took her into the parlour, where Butterly took up a child of two years old, and began to caress it. In a few minutes Ennis knocked at the door, and on gaining admission she desired Butterly to put a handkerchief round Miss Thompson's mouth, to prevent her from giving alarm. Butterly immediately did as desired, and dragged the poor young lady down stairs into the kitchen,

where she kept her until Ennis had stolen a considerable amount of money hidden on the premises. Ennis on going away cried out from the top of the kitchen stairs, 'Butterly, don't injure the young lady on your life.' But she had no sooner closed the door after her, than jealous fury took possession of the atrocious wretch, and she took up the poker, with which she struck Miss Thompson on the head, and repeated her blow until life was extinguished.

Jealous fury took possession of the atrocious wretch, and she took up the poker The sight of death seems to have softened the savage barbarity of her heart; for, with an unaccountable impulse, she took up the mangled body in her arms, and wished that she could again infuse life into that once beauteous form. But as this was now impossible she thought of her own safety, and ran up stairs. In the hall she met Miss Thompson's child; kissed it, and carried it into the parlour, after which she took her departure. In the mean time, Captain Peck's servant, who had followed her master to the market, returned, and not gaining immediate admission looked through the kitchen window, and saw her mistress lying on the floor. Giving the alarm,

with Aideen Rogers

It's easy to get out on the golf course and play, hoping your game will improve. But without a plan and specific goals and expectations, you may spend all your time hoping instead of improving. No one wants to think of golf as work (it's the thing we do to get away from work!), but just as your job requires you to meet or exceed expectations, hit deadlines and show real results, so too should your golf game. It's not that hard. With a little forethought and examination of your current game and where you want to improve, you'll see your scores drop and your enjoyment of the game climb higher and higher. 1. Set goals as needs arise. Goal setting tends to happen at the end of the year as you look forward to the next season, but you should be ready to set new goals anytime you feel you need to make a change. 2. Take notice of what you do well and what part of your game consistently needs work, and then form a goal to improve the area that needs improvement. If your drives have been coming up short the past few times out, then make it a goal to add 30 yards to your drive and start working on whatever will get you there - whether it's a little strength training, working with a pro on your technique, or even purchasing a new driver. 3. Listen to your instructor or your pals when they make suggestions, and listen with an open mind. They may say something in passing that will suddenly have you intrigued. If you're always open to constructive criticism, you'll reach your goals that much faster.

Edited by Zoz

Death in the afternoon

Golf tips Set your golf goals

The Informer

4. Set attainable goals. If you're an 18 handicap, but you want to get down to a 5, don't set that as a goal for three months. Instead, try to lower your handicap by a couple of shots each year (depending on how often you play, of course). But certainly pick a number and work toward it. 5. Don't try to tackle too many goals at once. Find one or two that you can concentrate on every time out, and when you achieve those expectations, move on to the next one. 6. Use numbers in your goal setting. To improve your putting, work on limiting your three-putt greens to five in each round. Keep a number in mind, and then challenge yourself to beat your goal. 7. Write down a well-thought-out list of goals and expectations, and then write down ideas for making them happen. Then refer to your list often to keep you focused. 8. Take lessons from a pro and talk with them about your specific goals and expectations. If the two of you agree on reasonable goals, you'll have someone on the same page as you who's willing to get on your case if you slack off and will able to offer tips to help you meet or exceed your expectations. 9. Ask your local pro or talented playing partner what she/he did to improve at your stage of development. “Think about your golf goals even when you're not playing and visualize them coming true” Visit Aideen Rogers in Portmarnock Driving Range at 'The Strivers Golf Academy' call to book on 0879906738 or email • Mobile 087-9906738

the door was forced open, when the robbery and murder were quickly made known and thousands of curious Dubliners flocked to Portland place, to see what they could see and chew the far. The sensation produced in Dublin by this mid-day murder was intense; the youth and beauty of the deceased deeply affected all who saw her mangled remains; and, fortunately for the ends of justice, the culprits did not long enjoy their ill-gained wealth. Ennis went to a grocer in Great Britain Street, and having ordered some tea tendered a £10 note for payment. The grocer, whose name was M'Gloin, questioned her about the money, and finding that she became alarmed he sent for a peace-officer, and had her taken into custody. The note was soon identified by Captain Peck, and Ennis having mentioned her lodgings, the officers proceeded thither, when they found Butterly, with the rest of the stolen money. The women were no sooner committed to prison than they acknowledged their guilt. On the first of the following May they were tried and convicted, and on Monday the 4th were executed in front of Kilmainham gaol, amidst an immense concourse of spectators. Soon after they had been turned off, a butcher's dog got into the circle kept clear about the fatal drop by the dragoons, who attended for that purpose. One of these men made a cut of his sword at the dog, who immediately attacked his horse, and in the confusion which ensued the people imagined that the soldiers had charged them. The consequence was a simultaneous movement to get away, and in the confusion a young man was trampled to death, and several persons were dangerously hurt." An excerpt from The Newgate Calendar, by Andrew Knapp and William Baldwin, published in London in 1828.

Visiting Dublin -1860's Continued from previous page >>

reminder that the authorities did not feel "quite at home" in the Irish capital. The palace occupied by the Viceroy is not far from the entrance to the Park. It is not an imposing building, by any means - indeed, I think it would be regarded as rather shabby were it in the neighborhood of Madison Square, New York. Soon tiring of the Park, we turned back and drove about the city, taking hasty glances at many fine public buildings, of which Dublin has more in proportion to its size than any other city we have visited. We went ... to the Cemetery [Glasnevin] ...the grounds, which are quite extensive, are so tastefully laid out and so well preserved, there are so many flowers and hedges and trees, and the walks are so prettily bordered, that the spot makes as cheerful a burial place as one could desire. O'Connell's monument is a very conspicuous object, but not a beautiful one, nor hardly an appropriate one it seems to me, though there may be some significance, beyond my appreciation, in its resemblance to the peculiar ancient round towers which are so numerous in most parts of Ireland." An excerpt from "My Holiday; how I spent it - being some rough notes of a trip to Europe and back in the Summer of 1866," by James N. Matthews. Published in 1867.

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Graham Connor's Movie Advice The Grey HHHHH

Directed by Joe Carnahan; Starring - Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo and Dallas Roberts A plane carrying a group of oil workers crash-lands in the snowy Alaskan wilderness. The survivors soon find that they have more than the cold to worry about. Joe Carnahan, the man who made the excellent Narc, struggled for years to get this film made. I can’t imagine why, for The Grey is as close to perfect as you are going to get. While being an adventure film, The Grey has so much heart, so many reasons for each man to return home and you find that you care about these characters. Of course there are jumps and scares, it is a tight well constructed film where very little is wasted or unnecessary but it will leave you a little wary of going into the woods on your own, but the greatest scares come from the wonderful sound effects. You don’t see much of the wolves but you hear them constantly. Liam Neeson puts in a truly wonderful performance, a haunted and lonely man who suddenly finds he has to fight to stay alive. The supporting cast are also brilliant, Dallas Roberts in particular. The Grey might just be the best survival film ever made.

Advice: Don’t miss this!!




The Intruder HHHHH

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo; Starring – Clive Owen, Daniel Bruhl, Carice Van Houten. A young boy in Spain and a girl in central London seem to be sharing the same visions of a shadowy spectre known only as Hollowface. Is there something connecting them? I feel genuinely bad reviewing this film as I can see what director, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was trying to do but also what he failed to do. He was trying to make a thinking man’s film, a film that comments on the anxieties that parents pass on to their children without knowing. Unfortunately he chose horror as his genre to make this statement and failed to add anything remotely scary. Yes, The Intruder is the least scary film you will ever see. Besides the lack of scares, the film is also too predictable; so much so that you have guessed the twist ending after about 30 mins and then get quite bored waiting for the ending. Clive Owen hasn’t done himself any favours with this film, he isn’t terrible in it but he isn’t very good either. Over all, the film lacks an emotional punch, you don’t care about these characters and cinema, with the character of Hollowface, has been given one of its least convincing villain’s. A brave film but unfortunately a poor horror film.

Advice: Avoid.

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The latest scientific weapon in battling the bulge:

Now you can fight fat around the clock Science has discovered a way to reduce body fat 24 hours a day. A combination of three active ingredients taken at different times, can shape up your figure and make you slim and firm. THIS is the time of year where many of us are trying to stay motivated and stick to our New Years weight loss resolutions. There are tons of ways to lose weight, but one remedy has gained particular interest among dieters: A supplement that makes it possible to burn fat around the clock - even while you sleep. A whole new combination of three active compounds may help overweight people lose excess body fat and get a firm and slim figure. Scientists have dis-

covered that CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), green tea extract, and a substance called carnitine can boost the body’s ability to burn fat, and when the active ingredients are combined in a special way they work around the clock. Lose fat while you sleep Studies have shown that CLA alone can reduce body fat by up to 9% and green tea extract can increase the turnover of fat by more than 30%. What really makes a difference is when you split the ingredients up and take them at different times of the day. The tablets which consist of green tea and carnitine should be taken at lunch time, while the capsules containing CLA should be taken with an evening meal. The reason for this is that CLA has been shown to increase nocturnal fat turnover by about 14%, making you lose fat even while you sleep. Energy during the day As dieting usually results in a reduction in calories, many dieters suffer from fatigue – meaning more time on the sofa and less time being active. The combination of green tea extract

and carnitine, helps to keep your energy levels up in the afternoon. Green tea contains EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), an active compound that boosts energy levels, while carnitine works by continuously pushing fat into the cells, where it is converted to energy. The more energy you have, the easier it will be to stay motivated and stick to an exercise routine. Shrink that bottom Recent research conducted by Danish scientists has shown that in women, CLA seems to have an affinity for fat around the hips and waist. National newspapers published a story where CLA was presented as “the ideal remedy for shrinking your bottom”. Interestingly, another study carried out on male subjects demonstrated that CLA, when given in supplemental form, tended to reduce their belly fat. Apparently, the substance has somewhat different effects depending on your sex.

Amazing but true – burn fat while you sleep. A recent study conducted by American researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of WisconsinMadison, demonstrated that participants who were given a daily supplement of CLA burned 13.4% more fat during sleep, compared with those who were given a placebo.

An impressive fact that gives hope to those who are struggling with their weight. Source: Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep;86(3):797-804.

The safe way to a lean and firm body DIETERS often focus on BMI (body mass index), a measure that pitches your weight against your height. This measure has serious flaws. Most importantly, it fails to distinguish between fat and muscle. Since muscle weighs more than fat, someone with relatively high muscle mass may find themselves in the overweight category, when in reality this is far from the truth. Instead, the hip-waist ratio can be used. This measure gives you an idea of how much fat you have around your waist. Since abdominal fat is assoiciated with an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, it is important that people who have unhealthy levels of abdominal fat try to reduce it. CLA, green tea and carnitine is a very useful and safe combination for reducing fat and making your body leaner and firmer – all day long.


The Informer

Family Focus

By Lucy Taylor

Pregnancy and Baby Fair This April sees The Pregnancy & Baby Fair in Dublin’s RDS and, for the first time, in Cork’s City Hall. The third year of this hugely successful event will be in Dublin on April 14th and 15th and in Cork on April 21st and 22nd. Bringing the biggest names in the baby and family business all under one roof, it’s the place to buy, try and test all the products and services you and your baby will ever need. 25,000 people are expected to attend the event in Dublin this year, while 5,000 are expected in Cork for shopping, expert advice, professional services, entertainment and a fun filled day out for all the family. There will be exclusive discounts and special offers from over 100 well known sponsors and exhibitors who will be showcasing their products and services. Among the exhibitors are Ikea, Bellababy, Water Babies, Kelkin Ltd, Nelo Maternity, Milestones & Moments Photography and Clever Clogs. Visitors can also observe demonstrations from Ireland’s leading baby care experts on everything from how to bath your baby to dismantling a buggie, get free advice from a

host of experts on everything from baby sleep to family budgeting, breastfeeding and parenting. There will be a dedicated ‘Play Area’ for children of all ages where children’s entertainers and face painters will be on hand to keep little ones engaged throughout the weekend. Competitions will be run on the main stage throughout each weekend with top of the range buggies, holidays, nursery furniture and pampering sessions up for grabs. There’s also a goody bag packed with sample products and discount vouchers for every visitor. Tickets are €10 per adult and available on

Making maths easier Nine year old Harry Moraghan never found maths easy. Then he discovered he really hated it when it came to learning multiplication tables. So Harry’s mum Stephanie, a Montessori teacher, invented an ingenious way of remembering his tables by using rhymes and pictures. In two weeks Harry had all his multiplication tables down pat. Soon after, Harry’s teacher gave the class a test. Harry finished it in five minutes and got every question right! News of Harry’s Magic Tables spread like wildfire in his school. In no time, the book was shared with some lucky classmates, friends, cousins, and eventually complete strangers too! And now Harry’s Magic Tables is published by Irish publisher Gill & Macmillan on 17 February at €6.99 so that all children can benefit from its ingenious method.

The club for talented teenagers


The results of a three-year study by Irish Educationalist, Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly, reveal a number of links between the rate of depression and gifted teenagers whose talents may or may not have already been spotted in schools around the country. Dr. O’Reilly, Founder of The Homework Club, confirms that teenagers are falling through the cracks in the education system as their talents aren’t recognised and this makes them prone to depression. In her experience, certain teenagers, depending on their personality types, can also fare worse. As a dyslexic herself, Naoisé has particular interest in small group-led learning environments and the facilitation of students with different learning needs. If you want to find out more about Dr. O’Reillys work and The Homework Club check out

eauty Notes

with Kathleen Rowley

Love is in the air...


Love it or loathe it Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and every year it seems there is an increasing amount of fluffy teddies, heartshaped chocolate boxes and nauseating cards dominating the shelves. Whether you are single or in a couple you can use this marketer’s dream/Hallmark holiday to spoil yourself without the need for overpriced flowers, crowded restaurants or a horrendous ‘Love’ compilation cd. Lush have a gorgeous range of bath products which almost demand romance! The Bath Bombs are great for both the novelty factor (they come in so many colours, shapes and sizes) and for their almost edible fragrances. Heart shaped Tisty Tosty contains Rose absolute, geranium, jasmine, lemon oil and orris and in addition to smelling great also contains actual rosebuds which will bob nicely at the top of your bathtub. They also have a great Irish company Green Angel produce an extensive range of bath soaks for all requirements. Green Angel

Relax Bath Soak is a traditional Irish preparation which combines a blend of Lavender and Orange essential oils with Sea salt and Irish seaweed extracts, they are priced at an affordable €9.95. Green Angel‘s Body Massage Oil with Neroli Geranium & Irish Seaweed Extract has received glowing reviews, as well as smelling divine it is also excellent for the skin and can also be used as a bath oil. It costs €28.95 for 200ml, www.greenangel. com. To inject a bit of Valentine’s glamour into any outfit try Yves Saint Laurent’s Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain. Not exactly lipstick, not exactly gloss, and so much more than a simple lip stain it provides shine without being sticky and lasts all day. There are 19 indulgent shades to choose from ranging from creamy nudes to bold tangerine. At €33 it is great Valentine’s treat.


l. It costs eenangel.

glamour Laurent’s tain. Not ss, and so ain it proand lasts shades to my nudes is great


Durkan Ecofix is proving that insulating your home does pay. “External insulation is almost like having your house wrapped up in a warm duvet,” says Paul Quinn of Durkan Ecofix. “The benefits are greater warmth, comfort and lower heating bills.”

excellent advice based on our in depth experience.

Durkan Ecofix is Ireland’s leading home insulation company with over 40 years experience in the industry. Ecofix specialises in external wall insulation but also provides attic insulation, floor insulation, heating systems, heating controls, ventilation systems and solar panels. Ecofix provides a ‘one stop shop’ service and its business is growing based mostly on personal referrals because of its excellent reputation.

We use fully trained technicians who have worked for the company for many years. Every six months there is inhouse training not only on the systems but on how to treat and respect client’s homes. External insulation is a very expensive process and can take up to 4-5 weeks depending on the size of property so we need to keep the client happy over the time period.

External insulation has become hugely popular over the last five years, with Ecofix completing over one hundred properties in the last year alone. The number of houses being insulated has doubled year on year as homeowners realise the benefits of insulating. With the cost of energy rising all the time and a spate of cold winters the increased comfort and warmth of insulating a house properly is a sensible decision explained Quinn. "In our annual customer survey, actual energy bills savings averaged 30% on heating bills with one client saving 42%. We know this because we go to great lengths to work with our customers to analyse their energy bills and maximise their savings. We analyse about 20 clients a year to see what kind of savings can be achieved so the figures we quote here are accurate, not wild estimates to grab your attention. We provide

A large number of companies have recently set up with insulation becoming more and more popular, what sets Ecofix apart in not only the materials we use but the workmanship.

The Process: External insulation involves fixing between 4 to 5 inches (100 mm to 120 mm) of insulation to the outside of all external walls. The insulation can be Rockwool, polystyrene or phenolic and the depth depends on how well insulated the customer wants their walls to be. The average depth is 5 inches using Rockwool. After the insulation is fixed a number of layers of a special waterproof and breathable render are applied over a mesh reinforcement. The final coat is a coloured render so no painting or maintenance is required. Every house benefits from a renewed façade which improves its appearance and value. All jobs have a 10 year guarantee. Referrals "A huge amount of our work comes from referrals," explains Quinn. "If we get into an estate we could be there for a few

months as clients recommend us if a good quality job has been done. "The market is very competitive at the moment but we are not slipping on our standards, we do a large amount of jobs each month which in turn gets us discounts from our suppliers which we are passing straight onto our clients.

Case Study Example: BEFORE

"Prices have fallen over the last few years but to keep the best trades men you do have to pay a premium but it is worth it when it comes to your home. The finish to external insulation is critical and this starts when the insulation is being fitted. " Ecofix use qualified carpenters to fit the insulation as it is a skill in its self to fit the boards in straight lines. If the boards are off at the beginning it will affect the plaster finish at the end. What also sets Ecofix apart from its competitors is each job is assigned a site engineer who oversees the works and is more than happy to discuss any issues clients might have. Any interested clients should log onto where they will see a number of insulated properties in the gallery section, there are also a few videos, including when Ecofix were featured on “about the house”. Otherwise call the office on 01 231 0095 and arrange a free assessment. Durkan Ecofix is NSAI and SEAI registered for external insulation work. Visit to see our videos including “About the House” with Duncan Stewart or call for a Free Assessment on 01 231 0095


The above photos show a 3 bedroom semi-detached house before the insulation is applied and then after the insulation is finished. This house had a poor BER rating of ‘F’ before Ecofix did the work. The house was externally insulated with 120 mm of Rockwool, the attic was insulated with 300mm of Rockwool, a new high efficiency boiler with heating controls was installed. After completion the BER rating jumped to a very good ‘C2’ and the customers are saving 38% on their energy bill.

Costs, Timing and grants: The most frequently asked questions relate to cost and the time a job will take. Below is a rough costing and time line to a few properties, we have also added in the grants. This is a guide only but should give you an idea.







2 weeks

3 bed Semi detached property



3 weeks

4 bed semi detached



3-4 weeks

Large detached property



4-5 weeks

Mid terrace property

Ecofix are registered with the SEAI who provide the grants. If you log on to you will be able to see a list of all grants available. Call for a Free Assessment on

01 231 0095

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After nearly five years of mischief, bad behaviour and political incorrectness, London’s funniest show by far is hitting the road and stops at Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin from Tuesday April 3rd – Saturday 7th. The Tony Award – winning Avenue Q is the irresistibly charming musical about the lovably hopeless characters on a downtown New York street trying to make sense of life’s burning issues: love, work, relationships and, above all, how are you supposed to pay the bills with a BA in English? We have a pair of tickets for Tuesday April 3rd up for grabs for one lucky reader!

To be in with a chance to win just answer this question. Avenue Q is set in: a) Paris; b) New York c) Moscow Answers by e-mail only to

Please include your contact number

Closing date for entries 1st March 2012.

Blanch In Brief...

By Paul O'Connell

The Fingal Film Festival is coming

Launching on the 21st March 2012 the Fingal Film Festival will host an eclectic mix of short and feature films, as well as documentaries from around the globe. During the three-day event the festival will host a series of Master Classes. BAFTA Award winner Aisling Walsh (Song for a Raggy Boy), Film Producer Arthur Lappin (In the name of the Father, The Boxer) and Emmy nominated Film Composer Joseph Conlon (Behind Enemy Lines) have confirmed their attendance. Other guests will be announced later this month. The festival is being held at the UCI Cinema, Blanchardstown, with Master Classes and Q&A Screenings taking place at Draoícht, Blanchardstown Centre, D15. This is the first festival of its kind in Fingal and will soon become the central hub for filmmakers and distribution agents to meet and develop relationships. Filmmakers are encouraged to become members of the festival at www.fingalfilmfest. com for discounts and access to various events during the year.

Bug Outbreak at Connolly Hospital

A recent outbreak of the Norovirus bug led to visiting restrictions at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown. The hospital imposed visiting bans in all areas of the hospital and visitors were only allowed in to the wards with the permission of the ward manager. There was also a strict ban on children from attending the general wards. Visitors who had vomiting and or diarrhoea were also advised not to visit the hospital for 48 hours after symptoms had ceased and they were feeling well.

Blanch whistle-blower gets job back

Blanchardstown woman Louise Bayliss has been reinstated in her job at the Irish Advocacy Network. Bayliss had been originally sacked by the IAN when she went public after discovering female patients at St Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital in Grangegorman, Dublin, were being moved to a "lock up" ward over Christmas. The mother of two came to national attention when she contacted RTE's Joe Duffy Liveline show to express her concern for the patients. She then had her six-month contract terminated by the Irish Advocacy Network (IAN), which is part-funded by the Health Service Executive.

Award Winning Comedian at Draíocht

David Doherty, 2008 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner and 2010 Hot Press Irish Comedian of the Year has performed around the world at festivals in Melbourne, Montreal, New York and Wellington. He has toured around Ireland with Tommy Tiernan, around Britain with Rich Hall and recently around America with Demetri Martin, and on the 2nd of March O'Doherty returns to Draíocht with small keyboards and much talking. Book early to avoid disappointment. This show may contain adult content and strong language. Fri 2 Mar 2012 8PM Main Auditorium. Entry €16.

Celebrations for Phoenix Park 350th birthday

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has announced a series of events throughout 2012 to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Phoenix Park including: • The establishment of a Phoenix Park Arboretum • The restoration of the Frame Yard at the Victorian Walled Garden • New Phoenix Park archive to be housed in one of the Park Lodges • A National Photographic competition • A Primary Schools competition • Kids summer camp • The Phoenix Park Spring and Winter lecture series – a series of illustrated lectures connected with the Park • Opening up Chesterfield Avenue at weekends from the Phoenix Monument to the Mountjoy roundabout for pedestrians, runners, cyclists, toddlers and to hold family events with a fun street party at Easter to start things off. • Historical re-enactments of motor racing. • Historical re-enactments of the Duke of Ormond and Lord Chesterfield • Exhibitions at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, Ashtown Castle Further details on

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Blanch Informer February 2012  
Blanch Informer February 2012  

Blanchardstown • castleknock • carpenterstown • ongar • littlepace • huntstown Property Lettings/Management Property Sales Alongside This Ne...