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June 2011 • Unit 38, Northwood Court, Santry, Dublin 9 • Tel: 01 813 8786 • Email: info@informer.ie • Web: www.informer.ie

Blanchardstown • Castleknock • Carpenterstown • Ongar • Littlepace • Huntstown

D15 Hospice most lauded Head into the West! of the Unsung Heroes

The Coolmine showrooms of Blanchardstown Ford recently hosted the grand final for the ten finalists of the Unsung Heroes initiative, which raised over €150,000 for local charities and community groups through corporate sponsorship, votes and sales of raffle tickets by individuals, schools and community groups. The final event saw the ten By Cathy Geagan unsung heroes with the most votes taking part in an elimination game Scouts, securing the top prize of with a total prizes totalling €20,000 for her charity. €80,000. Hot on her heels was secondJust under forty local volunteers placed Ellen Cogavin, who won were nominated to partake in the €12,000 for St Francis Hospice, initiative, and members of the pub- followed by John McGrath of St. lic voted through the dedicated John’s Ambulance with €10,000, website for their chosen hero. Brian Flanagan of BeKind Ireland Cheque for €40,000

Only one vote per person per day was permitted, with a total of 74,920 votes ultimately being cast in the allocated time frame. Fr. Dan Joe O’Mahony, representing St. Francis', the new Dublin 15 Hospice, received 15,173 votes (20% of the total) and was presented with a cheque for €40,000 of the funds raised. Ultimate success in the elimination game on the night went to Valerie Murphy of East Finglas

with €8,000 and Fr. Dan Joe O’Mahony with €5,000. St. Francis' Hospice was the biggest beneficiary from the Unsung Heroes initiative by a clear margin, with €62,000 raised for their worthy cause. New minibus

In addition, first prize of new Ford Transit Minibus for a year together with €5,000 for the running costs of the bus in a competition for top ticket sellers in the raffle was donated to the hospice

by winner Annette Dempsey. The hospice will hopefully build on this fundraising success this month through the repeat of last year's successful Midsummer's Moonwalk, which raised €40,000 for hospices last year. On Saturday, 25 June at 8.30pm supporters of St Francis Hospice, Raheny and Blanchardstown with start on a 5 mile walk towards the National Convention Centre, where they will meet supporters walking from Blackrock for a midsummer party, with great music and serious fun! Moonwalking

Registration for the Hospice Midsummer Moonwalk is €50 per person and €75 per family group, with all fees going to the hospice of your choice – for more information see www.moonwalk.ie. All those interested in the results of fundraising to date are invited to come and see the new hospice at their open day, which will be held on Saturday July 2nd 10am-4pm – all are welcome!

Brendan O'Carroll Interview

Win an Overnight trip for two to the Galway Arts Festival The streets of Galway will come alive with the world premiere of 'This Fierce Beauty' from Macnas, included in a worldclass programme of events from across the arts spectrum at the Galway Arts Festival from 11 to 24 July. We are offering you a chance to be there with an overnight stay for two at the Clybaun Hotel. See Page 30

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2

The Informer

The Drift

Q The month in Quotes

Wa

And, Ireland, if anyone ever says otherwise, if anybody ever tells you that your problems are too big, or your challenges are too great, that we can’t do something, that we shouldn’t even try - think about all that we’ve done together. Remember that whatever hardships the winter may bring, springtime is always just around the corner. And if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed: Is féidir linn. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Is féidir linn. Barack Obama on College Green. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to be judged simply on a couple of sensational newspaper headlines. David Norris keeps his eye on the election

As I said to Her Majesty down in Dublin Castle, one of the things that England gave Ireland was the language, the English language, and I said 'Your Majesty, look what we did with it - Beckett, Synge, Yeats, Heaney, Joyce and all the others and all in a space of a couple of hundred years. Enda Kenny on what he said to the queen We welcome death. Martyrdom is a million times better. Colonal Gaddafi really doesn't want to quit All of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's power, money and influence will not stop the truth of what he did to her in that hotel room from coming out Lawyer Kenneth Thomson sets the battle lines He always worked for the country and for the best for Ireland and I supposed until the end he did what anybody in public life would wish to do. Mary O'Rourke on the death of her nephew Brian Lenihan It's probably inevitable with the amount of travel, both from tourism and business, between Ireland and the continent ... that we may well see some cases Director of the HSE's Public Health Laboratory, Dr Eleanor McNamara on the e-coli threat I just said to her 'welcome to Cashel Your Majesty and I hope you enjoy your stay Sinn Fein's Michael Browne mayor of Cashel

Dublin by Numbers

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FACTS ABOUT THE INFORMER 4 We have the highest circulation of any paper in Dublin! 4 We distribute ALL our papers through the letterbox! 4 You can place an 84mm x 84mm full colour display ad in all our 10 papers for just e250+vat! 4 Our featured articles on health, beauty, family and personal finance are highly valued by our readers! IN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE, CIRCULATION IS EVERYTHING! YOU WILL REACH 185,000 DUBLIN HOMES WITH THE INFORMER

This is the amount of money that foreign visitors will spend in Dublin when Lansdowne Road hosts the 2013 Heineken Cup final. Of course, this depends on who's playing. It raises the question again of the stupidity of the government of not twinning Croke Park and Lansdown Road, with games being moved to the bigger venue when the demand is there. If we can sell 30,000 extra tickets to English fans for the next England game, why don't we do it?

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3

The Informer

Comment & Debate

Water tax, no way! Householders struggling under massive mortgages, trying to make ends meet with pension levies and the hated Universal Social Charge, were absolutely horrified to hear Minister Phil Hogan announce that the government was going to introduce a household utility charge from 1 January next year, with figures speculated as being in the region of €200 a year for every household! This is alongside preparations for a new property tax and a water tax. Despite all the confusion and denial from government on this issue, it's clear, that no matter what they end up calling it, a new tax connected to the home is imminent. Yet another broken promise! Before the election, Fine Gael said there would be no water tax without meters, while Labour said that there would be no Water Tax at all! Clearly they think that they can bulldoze their way to imposing a raft of new stealth charges and squeeze yet another pound of flesh from ordinary workers and our families, while they continue to line the pockets of unsecured bondholders. Let them take note. They are not going to get away with this. In the mid 1990s, the Socialist Party was to the forefront of mass campaigns of civil disobedience that made the water charges uncollectable and forced the government to abolish them. Similar campaigns of people power made the Poll Tax uncollectable and led to the downfall of Margaret Thatcher. The catchcall of that campaign was "Can't Pay! Won't Pay!" and there is no doubt this new charge will be met with a similar opposition. Attendees to the €420 per head

By Clare Daly TD Socialist Party

inaugural Water Metering Summit in Croke Park on 31 May were met with a lively and determined protest of United Left Alliance and No Water Tax activists to let them know that they will be met by a mass campaign of civil disobedience on this issue. The conference was organised with the backing of the likes of Celtic Anglian Water and addressed by no less that the Minister for the Environment himself. You could almost see the dollar signs lit up in the eyes of engineers from companies hoping to win contracts for installing water meters in approximately 1.2 million homes, at an estimated cost to the State of €600 million. Many of those in attendance are already sniffing around Ireland's water and waste water systems, with a proliferation of Design Build and Operate contracts being awarded to public private partnerships, despite costing the state more in the long run. Workers from local authorities who currently run the state's water supply met with United Left Alliance TDs last month to express their opposition to a speeding up of this process. It is clear that the introduction of meters has nothing to do with efforts to conserve water but rather to try and individualise the supply, ultimately making it easier for privatisation. Combined with the intention to set up Irish Water, it is clear that there are powerful vested interests pushing in this direction. We will not allow an environmental cover to be used to hide

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4

Green Scene

Electric cars go further

One of the problems with electric cars is their limited range. ESB ecars have started to roll out rapid charge points across Ireland to make long journeys easier and now it is going to be easier to travel to the UK and France with your electric car. In a move to help the environmentally conscious motorists Irish Ferries and ESB ecars have worked together to provide an electric car charging area is now available on Irish Ferries Ulysses flagship, and its free, so electric and hybrid drivers can travel to and from the UK freely. Citing the move as a further indication of Irish Ferries’ desire

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to be at the forefront in embracing new technology and facilities, Daragh O’Reilly, Marketing Manager said “the development extends the horizon for electric car and hybrid motorists who can now recharge not only their own batteries on our comfortable ferries, but also their car batteries!” On-board charging points are also offered on Irish Ferries’ routes between Ireland and France, and will be extended to the rest of the fleet in due course.

Getting Serious About Cycling Highlight of this year’s Dublin Bike Week is the Golden Pedal Competition. Golden Pedal is a search to find the organisation that has done the most for its employees’ commuting and business use cycling during the last year. The competition is open to all organisations in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) – so that could be anything from a tiny private company to a university or a government department. It could also involve the use of the Dublin Bikes hire scheme. The winning company gets a year's free membership of the Dublin Cycling Campaign for ALL its employees. Anyone can help their employer do well (or badly) in the competition by completing an on-line survey questionnaire at www.dublincycling.ie/goldenpedal2011 The award will be made just before the Dublin Cycling Campaign annual lecture Cycling in cities – Are we really serious? in the Edmund Burke Theatre, Trinity College Dublin at 7pm on June 20th. In it Phillip Darnton will ask whether there is really the political will to get more people cycling. Despite the success of Dublin Bike Hire and the increased numbers using bikes around Dublin City anyone walking, cycling or driving in Dublin can see that cars are still using bike lanes, that separation distances are not great enough to keep cyclists safe and that Dublin’s cyclists still take their lives in their hands to get around the city.

The Informer By Kathy Marsh, Sonairte

Volunteering in the woodlands Anyone with an interest in environmental politics will have noticed the battle over turf cutting rights on Ireland’s bogs that is going on right now in the media. If you want to get up close and personal with some of our rarest bogland habitats there is an opportunity at the moment through the Irish Peatland Conservation Council who are undertaking an extensive survey of the bog woodland habitat on their reserve Lodge Bog in county Kildare. Bog woodland habitats are listed as a priority habitat for protection under the EU Habitats Directive. In Ireland bog woodlands are very rare - possibly less than a hundred acres in the whole country, and unlike other woods they are very wet underfoot with deep carpets of moss and very acid soil. In open exposed bogs these tiny woods are often the only shelter for rare animals, insects and plants. “We are looking for volunteers to assist us with the undertaking of the bog woodland survey and to participate in all aspects of the fieldwork” says Michael Kenny, IPCC Conservation Officer. “Who knows what we will discover! he added.

Calling young nature photographers Do you live in Ballymun, are you under 21 and do you like taking photographs of trees? Global Action Plan is celebrating the 2011 United Nations International Year of Forests by bringing out a calendar of trees and nature. You can find details of the competition on the GAP website at http://globalactionplan.ie/ Last year one of the 12 prizewinners was in senior infants so it really is worth entering however experienced you are, or aren’t. The top three photographers will win digital cameras to enable them to take even more picture!


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6

A Place in the City Built by the Walsh family, the location of this early Norman castle was strategically positioned on the edge of the Pale. Its main function was to defend the city from the frequent raids of the Wicklow families. The castle was a centre of military activity, and as such was larger than most tower houses, as forces of varying sizes were stationed there through the early years. Members of the Walsh family lines married into other landlord families in south County Dublin like the Eustaces, the Fitzwilliams and the Barnwells. In the early 1600s Theobald Walsh kept a priest and a friar to celebrate Mass. The Walsh family and their Carrickmines Castle were eloquently described by Ball as follows ... "At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Walshes were described as a large and ancient stock, and as men of note in the metropolitan county, which was then rich and plenteous in corn and cattle, and inhabited by a people of stately port and garb. The castle of Carrickmines was surrounded by an orchard and a garden, and, so far as was possible, its lands had been subjected to the plough". During the Rebellion of 1641 the Walshes changed sides, and led a revolt against the English. In March 1642 the Government force, led by Sir Simon Harcourt, laid siege

The Informer

All About Dublin (1) Carrickmines Castle

on the castle. There are varying accounts of this, but it seems that at least three hundred of the occupants were killed. The castle was blown up and then leveled to the ground. A fragment of this castle remained, and later formed the end wall of a piggery for the Mooney family who lived there until August 2001 when excavation of the site commenced in preparation for the completion of the remaining part of the South Eastern section of the M50 motorway. Dundrum, Stillorgan and Rathfarnham Gateway to the Mountains', with paintings by Olivia Hayes and text by Christopher Ryan, is published by Cottage Publications. It is available from bookshops, priced around e22.

Edited by Zoz

Lesser known Dubs

Dan Donnelly

Daniel Donnelly was born in Townsend Street, Dublin, in 1788, and was one of 17 children. A carpenter by trade he was known for drinking and fighting - though he was hard to rise once he got going he was a whirlwind. After one brawl in a coffee shop when the six foot, 14 stone berserker Donnelly demolished foe and friend alike he was approached by Captain William Kelly, then a Kildare horse trainer, who, once Donnelly had calmed down, suggested that prize-fighting might be profitable. Kelly became Dan Donnelly's manager and trained him near Kilcullen. His first known fight was against the English fighter Tom Hall at the Curragh in 1814. Though Hall was the favourite he lost in 20 minutes (it was a disputed victory as Hall, who had been hit while down, refused to continue), leaving many thousands of spectators unhappy - Donnelly went on the batter for five days after his win. The fight for which Dan Donnelly is best remembered was only his second for a purse. It took place on November 13, 1815, near Athgarvan in what has become known as 'Donnelly's Hollow'. His opponent was the English boxer George Cooper who, with Tom Molyneux, was touring the country giving exhibition matches. Upwards of 20,000 people were on hand to see the fight and they were not to be disappointed. Beginning at 10am the fight lasted for 10 rounds (a round continued until a fighter was on the ground). Cooper was the 10/1 favourite but went down three times in the first three rounds. Then Cooper's experience came into play, and for the next three rounds he outboxed Donnelly. But Donnelly's strength came into play from the seventh round onward and Cooper was floored with a broken jaw in the 11th round). "Ye sons of proud Britannia, your boasting now give o'er, Since by our hero Donnelly, your hero is no more;

In eleven rounds he got nine knocks down, besides broke his jawbone Shake hands, says she, brave Donnelly, the battle is our own." It was a sign of the troubled times that Dan Donnelly became so well known - an Irish boxer beating the best that Britain could produce. After beating Cooper, Donnelly toured England, eventually fought a few times more, opened a number of pubs (all of which failed) and died at the age of 32. He was buried after a huge funeral in Bully's Acre, from where his body was stolen by medical students. The body was eventually re-buried but minus the right arm which was kept for medical research by a Surgeon Hall. In time the arm was brought to Scotland, later toured as an exhibit in a travelling fair, was purchased by an Ulster bookmaker, Hugh 'Texas' McAlevey, and finally passed into the possession of the Hide-Out pub in Kilcullen where it was on display for many years. Dan Donnelly's arm is presently travelling as part of the 'Fighting Irishmen' exhibition. For a really interesting follow-up on the story take a look at The personal Web Log of Kilcullen writer Brian Byrne (http:// tiny.cc/gphya).

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By Ryan McaRdle While on my way to my in-laws at the weekend we were driving down Rathgar Road, I was flagged down by a lady, standing by her car at the side of the road. We automatically thought that she had car trouble – so we pulled over to the side to see if we could help. The poor lady was really annoyed. It turned out that it was not car trouble at all – she was locked out of her home by her automatic gates. She had gone out to the shop for milk and when she returned, the gates would not open. For twenty minutes, she had been trying her remote and entering her code on the keypad but the gates would not open.

Locked out by her own gates! Having a little knowledge of gates I asked if there was a power cut –The lady told me that her daughters were inside watching tv, so she was certain that the power still on. Thinking that there must be another means of opening the gates – I asked the lady if there were some keys to release the gates. The gates had been installed several years earlier and that she had only been given remote controls and a code for the keypad outside. There was never any mention what would happen if the gates would not open. Thinking that maybe I could force the gate open, I tried pushing them, but the gates would not budge. The builders electrician had installed the

electric gates, but the lady did not have a number for the builder or the electrician. In the end, she had to call the fire brigade out.

Are gates too much trouble? On arriving at my brother in laws, we told them of the lady’s difficulties, and that we had been thinking of having our own gates electrified – but maybe now we would reconsider (there has been a lot of break-ins in the area). John told me that they had similar problems with the gate in their last house, constant problems with the gates jamming. When they moved house they wanted electric gates to keep the children safe from the road, and to keep out the unwanted callers.

But this time he did his research. He told me of this great company that did the whole job for them, the gates and the automation. He told me that he had been ringing around for for quotes and information. Some companies only did the automation, others would not put the cables in for the intercom or the power. Others would only make the gates but not automate them. Some did not come out when they said they would.

Great company to be in! Then he surprised me by telling me about this business who offered to do the whole lot.

He said he noticed their ad in one of the free papers, he told me about Adrian – who owns the business. John was singing his praises, how friendly and easy he was to deal with. John was telling me that he pointed out to the guy that he had electric gates before and that he was concerned about reliability and servicing, etc. The guy – Adrian – not only told him that he was right to be concerned, but offered him the Electric Gate Buyers Guide - a lot of information that he had not given any thought to. He offered John some really good advice – such as to put a sliding gate in rather than the swinging gate – as it would leave more space in the drive for parking. In the end John and Angela decided that since they had such a good feeling about Adrian and his business, that they would go with him on the gate and automation. He says he got a really good deal too.

Great advice John! Based on John’s recommendation I decided on Monday past to give Adrian a call to discuss our own gates. I was immediately impressed with how friendly, professional and polite he was. Before I ended the call he offered to email me some important information – the things that I should consider before having my gates automated. i got his email on Monday night and my how helpful this information really is. The best thing is he provided all this information

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(about 10 pages of it) for free. It covers all the aspects that I had thought of and many more I had not. Martina and I placed our order with Adrian today (Friday) for our gate automation. We had been doing a bit of shopping around, so we had a good idea of what to expect in terms of pricing. I’ll be honest, they were not the cheapest price we got – but certainly not the highest. But from talking to Adrian – he knows his stuff, plus he offered so much advice for free and really important a money back guarantee. He was friendly, polite and very professional. Our minds made up we placed our order. I think value is really important these days and I certainly think we are getting great value here.

Get the Report for FREE! If you are thinking of getting gates or electric gates you should probably have a chat with this guy - he is willing to share the Electric Gate Buyers Guide with all our readers for free. His name is Adrian McGivern at AutoGate Ireland. If you email him with your details at adrian@autoGateIreland.com he is happy to send you the info or give the girls in the office a call on 01-6424214 and they will be happy to take your details. Or better still, you can call Adrian directly on 086-8560063. There is a lot of information but it’s well worth the read before you spend your money.

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8

First hand History

All About Dublin (2)

Battle tales from the 'She Barracks'

"When the Richmond Barracks (re-named Keogh Barracks in 1923, some of the buildings were later incorporated into St. Michael's CBS) were built at Golden Bridge, they were intended to afford ample accommodation for more than an entire regiment. "There were also barracks at Island Bridge, and the distance between both was about half a mile. The former were generally occupied by infantry, and the latter by artillery. "A person in the vicinity had a large building constructed through a speculative motive of a very extraordinary kind. He was aware that soldiers marrying without leave, or whose wives were dishonest, turbulent, quarrelsome, slovenly, or habitually intemperate, were not allowed to bring such objectionable characters into the regimental quarters. "He consequently calculated that he would find no difficulty in having his premises occupied by tenants, to whose habits and morals he attached no importance, provided they paid the rent, and his expectations were not disappointed. "His apartments were no sooner vacated by the incorrigible termagants of one regiment, than a succession of vixens was supplied from another to fill the unedifying edifice. "The proprietor had not appropriated any particular name to the building, but it became speedily known in the district under the designation of "The She Barracks." "In the southern division of the Dublin police districts, there were five extensive military barracks, and I can unhesitatingly declare, that the cases supplied for police intervention or magisterial decision from them all, were completely outnumbered by those derived from the comparatively diminutive limits of the structure designed for the use and associated with the name of the softer sex. "I cannot ever forget a case in which two women, the wives of artillery-men, appeared, on summons and cross-summons, to swear against each other to the greatest extent of culpability. Each provided ever more exaggerated details of the sheer maliciousness of the other, backing up their claims with numerous witnesses. "Meanwhile, the husbands of the two inmates of the She Barracks were seated together, quietly listening to the proceedings, apparently on quite friendly terms with each other, and not evincing any anxiety for the success of their respective consorts. At the close, I stated that I would send both ladies to prison for a month, unless they could provide surety of ÂŁ5 each for their future good behaviour.

"I added, that as they were strangers, I did not suppose they could easily find bail amongst their neighbours, and that I was satisfied to take the husband of each as a surety for his wife. Immediately I was addressed by one of the artillerymen:"May it please your honor, I'm only a private soldier, and where would I get five pounds in a day or two. Besides, if I was able to pay, I would sooner be bound for his wife's behaviour than for my own wife's. Tis best to let them go." Then turning to his comrade, he added, "Come, Sam, we're likely to have a quiet month while they're both up." "Nevertheless, he was disappointed, for the two viragoes, acting on the suggestion of an attorney who had been engaged in the case, came almost immediately to terms, and withdrew the charges against each other. They were consequently liberated, and instead of having a quiet month, I am sure that the artillery men had, during that time, to undergo some heavy domestic bombardments. An extract from "Twenty Years' Recollections of an Irish Police Magistrate" By Frank Thorpe Poter, published in 1875.

n A lovely photograph of the old library at Trinity College Dublin. Downloaded from freegreatpicture.com. A site worth visiting.

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The Informer Edited by Zoz

From the archives...

Come Dine With Me! Dean Swift, on one occasion, invited to dinner several of the first noblemen and gentlemen in Dublin, who, knowing his punctuality, assembled at the appointed time to a minute. A servant announced the dinner, and the Dean led the way to the dining room. To each chair was a servant, a bottle of wine, a roll, and an inverted plate. On taking his seat, the Dean desired the guests to arrange themselves according to their own ideas of precedence, and fall to. The company were astonished to find the table without a dish, or any provisions. The Lord Chancellor, who was present, said, "Mr. Dean, we do not see the joke." "Then I will show it you," answered the Dean, turning up his plate, under which was half-a-crown, and a bill of fare from a neighbouring tavern. "Here, sir," said he, to his servant," bring me a plate of goose." The company caught the idea, and each man sent his plate and half-a-crown every thing that the appetites of the moment dictated, soon appeared. The novelty, the peculiarity of the manner, and unexpected circumstances, altogether excited the plaudits of the noble guests, who declared themselves particularly gratified by the Dean's entertainment. The story continues, growing less interesting with every sentence. It can be found in full in Vol. 13 of 'The Percy Anecdotes' by Sholto and Reuben Percy, published in 1826.


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10

The Informer

Informer Interview

Brendan and Mrs Brown Do you come from a large family? Youngest of 11, mum said she would have one more for old time sake.

ing to the most? Most of all I enjoy new places. Are there any Irish comedian/entertainers that have come along in the past few years that have impressed you? Dara O Briain one of the best I’ve seen.

Where did you grow up? Born in Dublin City Centre in the tenements, were moved out to Finglas and we thought we were being deported. What was your first job and do you remember how much you got paid? Commis waiter in the Skylon hotel, 13 years of age, received £1 and 1 shilling per week (€1.40 in today's money).

What did you make of the visit of the Queen and President Obama’s visit to Ireland? The Queen's visit was momentous and historic. Obama's visit was showbiz at its best, great for the country. The visits will be talked about for decades to come.

What made you choose a job in show business? Desperation, owned a pub and while on holiday my business partner absconded with all funds including all furnishings.

What type of music do you like listening to? Pop music, I love Boyzone, Westlife, Take That, Queen. When I’m writing I listen to classical, I love Mozart.

Your first break in show business? John Sweeney, manager of the Rathmines Inn, gave me my first gig on 10th October 1990. Then Gareth O'Callaghan asked me to write a five minute sitcom for his afternoon radio show. It was supposed to be for two weeks and the show went on for two and half years. The show was Mrs Brown's Boys. On February 16th 1992 Gay Byrne invited me on to the show so that listeners would get to meet the author of Mrs Brown's Boys. Etonian school boy who was a producer with the BBC saw the show and asked me to write a sitcom for the BBC. The rest is history

How is your golf? Do you get to play much? Mainly I play when I’m in Florida. I take a few weeks each summer in Florida and play off handicap of 15 at the moment and I’m very happy with that.

Who was your biggest influence on life? Mother, bar none. If you were not in show business, what career do you think you would have chosen? Barrister or lawyer, I love contract law. How did the idea of Mrs Brown come about? The street traders on Moore Street. Why do you think Mrs Brown is such a success around the world? Top 10 in 27 countries in 11 different languages. Familiarity of the character, there is a Mrs Brown in some shape or form in everyone's life worldwide How do think things differ now for entertainers than when you were starting out? Value for money, people have to be wowed by every show they go to, they have to be bigger and better. There is less and less venues these days. There used to be lots of small venues in most towns but they have been closed in recent years and venues are fewer and bigger. What has been the lowest moment in your life? The movie Sparrow Trap which was my third book, I thought I was invincible and that nothing would fail. Two days before filming began I lost my distributor and decided to fund the movie myself, I lost €1.4 million. Funniest thing that has ever happened to you? My mother in law from my first marriage had taken a loan from a loan shark for £50. After she had paid over £350 back there was still an outstanding balance for £1200 (interest was multiplying and multiplying).

What’s your favourite type of food? Pasta.

n Pictured above is Mrs Brown (AKA Brendan O'Carroll) who is the new patron of Charity 25, promoting their “2WILLDO” campaign where people are asked to text €2.00 per month to Charity 25 with funds being divided equally between 25 Irish National Charities. Their website www.charity25.ie I went and visited the loan shark and screamed abuse at him, I ripped up my mother in laws' loan book and threw it at the guy, and turned around and stormed out the door. But the door that I went through was a broom closet. I stood in the broom closet for five seconds and thought what to do. I then went back into the office, shouted at the guy again and left through the correct door. The loan shark did not visit my mother in law again. Comedian Peter Kay is a good friend and lifelong fan of you. Do you remember when you first met Peter? I met Peter at an IAA gig in the Four Seasons a few years ago. Peter asked me to appear in his sitcom Max and Paddy, which I did. Peter and myself have been great friends ever since. Mrs Brown spends a lot of time on the road touring. How do you get time to relax? I always liked painting and have done so for many years. I also love writing. I now keep a journal and makes entries everyday. I love to watch people and could do so all day long. Some of the people that I see get little mentions in my journal. Mrs Brown is patron of Charity 25, a charity responsible for raising money for 25 Irish national charities. How did this come about and why should people get involved? Everybody wants to give in Ireland, they like it. There are more buskers on Grafton Street than in the whole of NYC. We are 6th in the world to give foreign aid which in incredible for a country that is on its knees.

Brendan O'Carroll has reached international fame through his stage creation Mrs Brown. He talks to Kevin O'Brien about his life and career. I feel that there are many big charities that receive a large percentage of the charity donations, charity 25 is a way of giving to many small charities that sometimes miss out. It is so amazing to be able to help 25 charities all at once by just donating €2 per month. The fact that the money is publicly accountable is an incentive for us all to get involved. How would you suggest Ireland can get out of the current economic problems we are facing? The government should look at other forms of revenue generation. Income tax should be at a flat rate of 20% across the board, the top three earners in Ireland last year did not pay any tax, they did not evade tax they just avoided it. There should also be a 10% transaction tax on all transactions (eliminate vat). There were 15 million tourists in Ireland last year and each of them spent an average of €2,000. If a transaction tax was in place that would have generated €3,000,000,000 in revenue for the government. Mrs Brown has performed all around the world, which city or town have you most enjoyed play-

What’s your favourite TV show? Entertainment 'Coldcase'. Current affairs 'Primetime' and 'Vincent Browne'. Do you recall where you were on Sept 11th? Gigging in Glasgow that week, at the exact moment I heard I was speaking to an Aer Lingus rep on the phone trying to change flight arrangements. The rep actually told me that at that time there were seven planes unaccounted for What upsets Brendan O’Carroll? Meanness, in spirit and with possessions. What does the future hold for Brendan O’Carroll and Mrs Brown? That's a question I ask myself every morning. 'Sometimes it is best not to analyse music but to just dance'. If you could have a meal with three people, past or present, who would you choose and why? Charlie Chaplin, would love to just listen to him talk. Nell McCafferty, amazing speaker always thinking outside of the box. Albert Einstein, I think I could answer a lot of his questions. If you had a wish, what would it be? They have all come through already. What advice would you give to people thinking of getting into the entertainment business? It is easy, just hold your nerve and don't let anyone tell you that you can’t. Tell us something about Brendan O’Carroll that would surprise us? I worked with the department of protocol and was a waiter. I waited on Margaret Thatcher, President Reagan, Crown Prince and Princess of Japan, Mugabe, and many other world leaders. Who would have thought? Eh??


Pension levy: good time to review where you stand There has been outrage in the media regarding the 0.6% Pension Levy that will be imposed to pay for the jobs budget. This has been seen as an attack private pension funds and punishing individuals for being responsible and planning for their retirement. This levy especially hurts defined benefits schemes the vast majority of which are in deficit. All of this comes as workers who are lucky enough to be in a job and are under the age of 50 will be forced to wait until they are 68 before they get the state pension. Let's hope the levy is kept as a temporary measure as has been outlined by Minister Noonan. Despite all the press comments, pensions remain the most effective way to save for retirement. The arrival of the pension levy has focused the mind on the pension questions and is a good time to review where you are. There are two key considerations to effective pension planning: l Investment Performance l Charges (which now include the pension levy) Investment: A cornerstone of an individual’s financial strategy is deciding how to distribute your funds among various investments. Most investors know that their portfolios need to include three main asset classes: equities, bonds and cash; and since these asset classes historically outperform at different times, the combination tends to temper volatility while pursuing return. Further diversification within asset classes — by security, sector and region — can help mitigate unnecessary risk and take advantage of various segments of the markets. This is where good Managed Funds can play a part. Managed Funds or Multi Asset Funds should be combined with Equity, Fixed Interest and Specialist Funds where appropriate depending the individual’s attitude to risk. We need to remember that risk and reward go hand in hand and without risk there’s no reward. If the last few years have thought us anything it is the importance of insuring our pension is invested in assets which match our appetite for risk. Charges: This is a fundamental factor in how a pension performs. Entry charges of 5% are not uncommon on older schemes which can significantly affect performance. Annual Management charges should be reviewed to ensure they are competitive versus what is available in the market. At SmartQuotes.ie we are adopting an innovative approach to minimise the impact of this levy for clients who switch to a pension from us. We will cover the levy for the 4 years of the life of the levy by offering an additional allocation* on amounts transferred over by 31st July 2011. This is the minimum benefit which you will get from switching your pension to SmartQuotes.ie.

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12

The Informer

Garden Growing

The benefits of growing your own As I write this month’s article scientists are still battling to find the source of the deadly E.coli bacteria which has broken out in Germany. Put into context this is Germany’s biggest post war epidemic. If ever there was a sound reason to grow your own vegetables this is surely it as it seems that the vegetable growing process might be the cause of this nightmare scenario. Quantity over quality

We all know that modern farming methods leave a lot to be desired as quantity rather than quality is the driving force. So

looking to the future when outbreaks like this will happen again and again, if you haven’t tried growing your own food you really should start now. I am reminded of a quotation by J.C. Loudoun which I’ve taken with kind permission from Klaus Laitenberger's brilliant book 'Vegetables for the Irish Garden', “For all things produced in a garden, whether of salad or fruits, a poor man can eat better that has one of his own, than a rich man that has none”. Mid June is a great time of year in the garden in general and

"A poor man can eat better that has one of his own, than a rich man that has none"

in the veg plot in particular as we are all starting to reap the fruits of all our hard work. Apart from the lettuces which we have been eating since midMay it won’t be too long before we can harvest other things like tomatoes and the eagerly awaited new potatoes.

With

Gerry Norton

Don't dig the spud yet

The spuds are all in flower at the moment and should not be dug up until all the flowers have faded. There is no need to dig up all your potatoes at the same time, simply dig as you need them as they are happy to stay in the ground for many weeks. My few courgettes are also in flower but these will take a few more months before we can enjoy them. They are lovely to eat but take up a large amount of space so if you haven’t tried them this year be aware that one plant needs about a square metre which is a lot of space, if like me, your garden is on the small side. All the raised beds are looking

n Spuds in flower

great this month in particular a new bed that I’ve just finished featuring Wild Sages (Salvias) of different kinds with a few Veronicas. The varieties I’ve chosen are called Hot Lips, and Hot Trumpets, which are bright reds with white, and the more traditional 'Blue Queen'.z Hanging baskets seem to be

everywhere at present which is wonderful. A good tip if money is scarce is to buy a cheap made up basket and add in a few more cheap plants to fill the basket up and add some more colour. Nasturtium seeds can also be put into a basket and you will have a great range of colour for July and August.

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 livinglandescapes@eircom.net. 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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14

The Informer

Personal Finance

The importance of Life Cover to you Almost half the population of Ireland, 1.6 million people have NO life cover. Of those that have cover, most have only enough to cover their mortgage. Not only that, people think it’s far more expensive than it actually is. A recent survey by Irish Life highlighted that only 33% of people surveyed have a life insurance product which is not linked with their mortgage. We all like to think we’ll always be there to take care of our family’s needs – but unfortunately that’s something nobody can guar-

antee. Life’s unpredictable and we never know what is going to happen next. Have you ever thought how your family would cope financially if something happened to you? Could they maintain their standard of living? Life Cover what is it?

Life cover pays your family a lump sum if you die. They can use this as they wish, to help pay bills, loans - whatever matters most. It gives you peace of mind that your family could be secure financially when you’re gone. How much Life Cover do I need?

This is very much dependent on personal circumstances but, as an example, if a 30-year-old contributes €2,000 to the family home each month and has debt of €20,000 for a car. If he/she wants to leave a lump sum for his family to cover day to day living expenses for 20 years and a lump sum of €50,000 the individual would need cover of €437,000. The above excludes the mortgage which we have assumed would be paid off by the Mortgage Life Assurance policy. How much does Life Cover Cost?

Life Assurance need not be expensive and can help protect your family in the event of a premature death. In the case of the above an individual aged 30 looking for €437,000 of cover for 20 years would pay circa €25 per month. For a couple aged 30 years of age the cost for €250,000 of cover for both for 20 years is €25 per month (non smokers). What is a Whole of Life Policy and is it good value?

In the past, whole of life policies gave the life assurance market a

bad name due to reviewable premiums as the person got older. This made the policy prohibitively expensive at a time when a person's income was reducing. A lot of people, however, want a policy that will pay out something when they die. A new product from one of the leading Life Assurers gets around this problem. It offers the best of both worlds. In the case of a 30 year old couple paying €25 per month for €250,000 of life cover for 20 years, for an additional €40 per month (ie a total cost of €65) a couple would be guaranteed that in the event of their death after the 20 years they would be paid out €25,000 on each person. That is a total payout of €50,000 for addition premiums paid over 20 years of €9,600. There is no sneaky surprises and your premiums stop after 20 years and your €50,000 will be paid out many years after that on death. The couple also have €250,000 of cover to protect them for the next 20 years when they may be raising a family or have other significant outgoings. How do I get Life Cover?

There are numerous information sources available online which can guide you. Furthermore if you require advice you can speak to a financial advisor. Paddy Mahony PFP Financial Services Limited Ph: + 353 (0) 1 6853813 Mob: +353 (0) 85 7653134

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The fruit and veg market at your fingertips Most of us are familiar at this stage with the concept of on-line shopping. Whether you are purchasing that new dress (having tried it for size in the high street) or booking flights for that weekend in London shopping on-line is now an important part of how we do business. Some of our larger supermarkets have embraced the idea providing a range of products on-line. Marketfresh is a new company based in Celbridge who believe they have found a gap in the market by providing an on-line shop for all your fruit and vegetable requirements. They also sell complimentary products such as free range eggs, Irish pressed fruit juices home made jams and chutneys and a full range of ready to cook prepared vegetables. Marketfresh have developed a simple on-line platform where you can choose your products and pay for them on a secure site. Internet based food shopping has increased by 5% in the last 18 months as people look to take the hassle out of their shopping experience. However the issue has been raised when purchasing fruit and veg that the produce nearest its sell by date is reserved for the internet customer. The difference with Marketfresh is that produce comes direct from the markets, cutting down on

transit time and shelf time and ensuring that produce makes it from the farm to the table in the shortest possible time. There are a number of Standard Fruit & Veg. Boxes already assembled if customers want to make a quick purchase. These include a Juicing Box and the popular Toddler Box for people who prefer to cook their own food for their children with fresh healthy ingredients. In these challenging times many commentators believe we should look to our own communities and support our local businesses. ‘Buy Irish’ is a much used phrase but it was never more important. Marketfresh use local Irish produce whenever it is available. As well as supporting our own farmers, homegrown produce is on our tables in a much shorter space of time thus ensuring optimum freshness. Householders are much more discerning these days when it comes to spending their hard earned cash. On-line shopping can provide good value, a delivery service which saves valuable time and in this case a superior product because of its freshness. Marketfresh.ie are providing an introductory offer; if you purchase any of their standard boxes for a period of 4 weeks you get the 4th box free.

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17

The Informer

The sky over Dublin Two amazing sights to see in the night sky this month with Conor Farrell, Astronomy Ireland

This month there are two extra special sights to see that you simply cannot miss. First up is a total lunar eclipse – and the last such eclipse that we will see over Ireland until 2015 – on June 15th at 10pm. A lunar eclipse happens when the Moon and Sun are located exactly opposite each other in the sky, putting Earth in between them. Earth's shadow is cast through space and falls on the Moon, enshrouding it in darkness.

But that's not all: in total lunar eclipses – like we will see this month – all of our planets red sunrises and sunsets shine on the Moon, bathing it in a crimson glow. From Dublin, skywatchers will see the Moon rise already totally covered and red at 10pm. As it makes its way over the horizon, that redness will turn to darkness, and the Moon will look like a bite has been taken out of it. Check out www.astronomy.ie for more details on the eclipse, and make

Win tickets to see Peter Pan at the Grand Canal Theatre Daniel Boys has been cast in the title role of this year’s brand new adaptation of Peter Pan at The Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin. Les Dennis takes on the role of pirate Smee. The wonderful Maureen Nolan has been cast as Mrs Darling whilst the dashing Ben Richards is the dastardly Captain Hook.

sure you send your photos of the Moon to Astronomy Ireland! The second amazing thing to see is a sight that usually only occurs throughout the summer months. If you're out late, you will notice that the sky does not get completely dark, and a faint glow from the Sun is visible to the north. In the couple of hours around midnight, the Sun can sometimes illuminate faint, wispy clouds that are located 80km above the ground, almost at

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the edge of space. These are called noctilucent clouds, and are invisible during the day. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are an eerie yet spectacular sight. They cannot be missed as they look like no other cloud you will have seen, glowing electric blue and bright yellow, almost like a web in the northern sky. If you don't see them one night, don't worry; keep checking regularly around this time of year and you should get to see them!

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Beauty Notes

18

with Kathleen Rowley

Irish companies forging beauty Irish entrepreneurs have used the recession as a chance to develop and pioneer high quality cosmetic products. In addition to the feel good factor from ‘buying Irish’ your conscience can also rest easy as these products are made with the environment, animal welfare and fair trade in mind. Green Angel Skincare harnesses the rejuvenating qualities of seaweed and sea salt and combines them with an array of rich therapeutic essentials oils. The ‘Sunrise body smoother’ (excellent for getting rid of blotchy fake tan), seaweed hand cream and massage oil have all won acclaim. A must have is the ‘Seaweed and Collagen Face Cream’ which is rich enough to keep skin soft and supple without being greasy! Green Angel can be found in Clerys or go to www.greenangel.com for stockists. The Handmade Soap Company makes 100% natural soaps and creams all of which are made in Kells. Co Meath. With adorable packaging its soaps work up a creamy lather so skin is left cleansed, soft and smelling fab! The Hand Cream is a citrus-scented essential and the Body Butter is divine and contains shea butter, sweet almond oil and cocoa butter. They supply to over 120 stockists including Clerys. www. thehandmadesoapcompany.ie. Voya products merge the benefits of seaweed with the expertise of the finest cosmetic scientists in the world and prices start at a reasonable €9.95. To get the benefits of the ocean without slimy rock pools ‘Lazy Days’ is a great option as you get the seaweed in a nice handy net bag. ‘Me Time’ is an antioxidant rich moisturiser, once applied skin gets a visible boost. Voya is available from House of Fraser. www.voya.ie. Flourish Organic Cosmetics & Organic Skincare are handmade in Killarney Co. Kerry with 100% organic ingredients that are a luxurious treat for the senses! Shirley’s Herbal Care specialises in creams and ointments for those suffering from eczema and psoriasis along with a range for babies.

Health & Beauty

The Informer

Nail polish that lasts two weeks? Manicures and pedicures aren’t known for being everlasting. They chip and they smudge. Sometimes a nail is ruined even before you get home from the salon. Usually just a few days after a manicure, your polish doesn’t have that high gloss shine anymore! Now you can say good-bye to chips, smudges, and dry time and say hello to Shellac Nail Colour. This innovative nail polish goes 'On like Polish. Wears like Gel. Off In Minutes.' More important, once applied, you get 2-3 weeks of high gloss

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shine with no chipping and looking like you just left the salon. Soak-off gels look like polish but last much longer, because they are cured onto the nail with an ultraviolet lamp. The colors are hypoallergenic, and '3-Free' - no formaldehyde, toluene or DBP. It is very important that the Polish is applied and removed by a professional manicurist. Trying to remove it yourself will damage your nails. It goes on with a base coat, two colour coats, and then a top coat. But after each coat your nails will go under a special ultraviolet lamp which will also leave your nails dry as soon as you're done. Goodbye to flip-flops in the snow post pedicure. A predecessor product, hard gels, took too long to remove and involved filing, which damaged nails. However, unfortunately the new gel polishes won't work for everyone! If your nails are dry, or there’s flaking of the natural nail, the polish will crack or chip where those peelings are. So for all those women out there who are not coming to the salon for a manicure right now, they are going to be coming for Shellac, and they are going to be blown away.” Linda, Senior Therapist, Rathgar Laser & Beauty Clinic Tel: 014976434 www.rathgarlaserandbeauty.ie


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20

The Informer

Family Focus

Plans for a birth Tasty recipes for expectant mums centre in Ireland

Philomena Canning, a self-employed midwife with 30 years’ experience in Ireland, is launching her plans for the country’s first Birth Centre that will offer increased choice and the opportunity of a unique birthing experience for women and their families. The centre will be named Alukura House, which means ’place of birth’. On her website www.birthcentre.ie, Philomena says “We need your support to develop Birth Centre services in Ireland and to bring Alukura House to fruition as our first. You can help us to achieve our goal in two important ways: firstly, by completing our survey to let us know how you feel about having this option available for your maternity care; and secondly, by spreading the message about our website to your friends. The development of Birth Centre services is dependent on the level of demand, so please sow the seeds for this option of care in your local area.” A Birth Centre is best described as a ‘half-way’ house between home and hospital that provides a relaxed informal atmosphere in a homely rather than a clinical environment. It is run and managed by highly skilled and experienced midwives who provide continuous care to healthy mothers and babies throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and up to 6 weeks after birth. There are now over nearly 70 birth centres in the UK and they are becoming more common across the globe. You can use the services of the Birth Centre if you are healthy and well, including first-time mothers; if your pregnancy is deemed to be ‘low-risk’; and you have a good chance of having a normal birth at full term. For those who wish to complete the survey, go onto www. birthcentre.ie

After the thrill of finding out you are pregnant your next concern may be ‘but what can I eat?’ We read a lot about what not to eat during pregnancy and this can make cooking and coming up with ideas for meals something of a challenge, and yet it’s crucial to you and your baby’s health to have a healthy diet at this time when you are both growing. Food writer Ericka Lenkert and leading nutritionist Brooke Alpert have put together over 100 delicious and healthy dishes especially for

pregnant women. Each recipe is accompanied by clear nutritional information and advice and there are even helpful suggestions for small healthy snacks such as Herbed Parmesan Popcorn for when cravings strike. There’s also helpful information for vegetarian mothers, sleeping tips, exercise advice and how to continue keeping healthy after the birth. Yum! Healthy Eating during Pregnancy by Erika Lenkert & Brooke Alpert is published by Kyle Cathie at e15.80.

New maternity consumer guide

Cuidiú - IrishChildbirth Trust's (ICT) new Consumer Guide to the Maternity Services in Ireland is just out and it’s designed to helps mums and dads-to-be to make informed decisions about maternity care and childbirth. Check out www.bump2babe.ie where the findings of the report which is published online can be easily accessed, and find out what kind of services are available in your local area. The report is the result of Cuidiu antenatal teachers Louisa Crowley and Niamh Healy sending out a questionnaire to all 22 maternity units in the State in order to gather birthing statistics and to acquire information on services, policies and practices. It was sent to the units during December 2010 and 100% of the maternity units partook in the lengthy survey. The guide makes interesting reading and reveals some big differences in the percentages of caesarean sections, inductions etc from one unit maternity to another. An invaluable resource for parents-to-be.

Now is a great time for getting out into the garden, and there’s no better place for all your gardening needs than Doyles Nursery, Dublin’s newest Garden Centre. The owners of the Cabinteely based Doyles Nursery, Colm and Sean Doyle have created an unrivalled garden plant destination, which features over 50,000 trees, shrubs, climbers, bedding plants and hardy perennials. This new nursery & garden centre is beautifully designed and is a veritable haven of attractive plants where customers can wander at leisure, relax and pick up ideas and suggestions for their own gardens. If you are looking for specific help there are knowledgeable trained staff always on hand to help with any queries you may have. Brian Berry, a real plant enthusiast, manages the team at Doyles Nursery & Garden Centre. Brian has many years experience

in Garden Centre management. He sources plants of the highest quality and value for money from local growers. Brian has worked with Colm and Sean to create a wonderful atmosphere at Doyles Nursery & Garden Centre. Inspirational plant displays provide a feast of colour for everyone’s eyes. whilst the nursery may look new, this famous site in Brennanstown Road, Cabinteely does in fact have a long horticultural heritage A nursery existed in this semi rural location between 1963 and 2005, founded by John Doyle, father of Sean. Today Doyles Nursery is again full of top quality exquisite plants, ranging in size from small starter plants, to large mature trees, and shrubs for instant impact. Full delivery service available.

Those Toddler tantrums

Gina Ford is a maternity nurse who made her name writing feeding and sleeping routines for babies, and most parents either love her or find her techniques a bit too rigid. Now she has turned her hand to toddlers and how to cope with their all too common tantrums. This small book is a good size for busy parents and its tips are straightforward and practical. Top Tips for Toddler Tantrums by Gina Ford is published by Vermilion at €9.25.

If gardening seems too much like hard work then Doyles have a solution. Bring in a simple photograph of your garden and we can help you choose suitable plants. Doyles also offer a planting service using their qualified horticulturalist who will ensure that your plants get the very best start in life. And if its inspiration you are looking for then why not consider their garden design service? For a modest fee Colm Doyle, one of the nursery directors and an award-winning garden designer can create a unique and beautiful design for your garden, no matter what size and budget. So, if you are looking for a great destination that has all the plants you want, then pop down to Doyles Nursery. You’ll be sure of a great welcome, great service and of course, great value!

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22

The Informer

Health Issues

Why all men over 40 should have PSA test Q: What is PSA test and can it be used to tell me whether or not I have prostate cancer?? A: PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen and can be measured using a simple blood test. In men with a healthy prostate, PSA is present in the blood at very low levels. A number of conditions can give rise to elevated PSA levels. These include prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer. There can also be a non-medical reason for a raised PSA level such as recent ejaculation or irritation of the prostate. A PSA test alone cannot diagnose prostate cancer, but it can give an indication of the presence of a problem with the prostate gland which can include cancer. Most McCabe's branches now offer PSA testing. The prostate gland is found in men and is present at the base of the bladder. It's main function is the production of seminal fluid. It surrounds the urethra which is the tube through which urine passes on its way out of the body. If the prostate is enlarged for any reason, it can obstruct this tube causing difficulty in voiding urine. While a PSA test cannot diagnose prostate cancer, and it cannot absolutely rule out prostate cancer, it can be used as an “early warning system” to give an early indication of a problem with the prostate. Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of death in men over 40. However, if caught early, it is one of the more treatable cancers and has a high survival rate. PSA screening can give an early indication of a problem with the prostate. Early prostate cancer will usually have no symptoms

and so if no action is taken, the cancer may develop undetected. An elevated PSA result can be the only non-invasive method of detecting a prostate problem before any symptoms develop. If you have a PSA test and the result is normal, the likelihood of you having prostate cancer is very low. However, if you have any symptoms of prostate trouble, you should make an appointment to see your GP. Problems caused by an abnormal prostate include frequent need to urinate, difficulty beginning urination, dribbling of urine, or the stream of urine may stop and start intermittently. As the PSA test offered by McCabe's is a screening test for those without symptoms, you should attend your doctor if you have any symptoms of prostate trouble. If your PSA result is high, you should attend your GP even if you are symptom free. It should be made clear to you at this stage that an abnormal PSA result does NOT necessarily mean that you have cancer. As mentioned earlier, other more benign conditions may give rise to an abnormal PSA result. Your doctor may wish to perform further tests such as a digital rectal exam and may send you have to have a biopsy taken. Due to the position of the prostate, it can be felt clearly through the wall of the rectum and your doctor will be able to detect any swelling or lump on the prostate. A biopsy involves taking small samples of tissue from various areas of the prostate which can then be checked under a microscope for the presence of cancerous cells. BPH is very common in older men. It is caused by a non-cancerous overgrowth of cell in the prostate which causes the prostate to become enlarged and leads to inter-

ference with urine flow. There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat BPH. All men over 40 should have a periodic PSA test, especially if they have a family history of prostate cancer.

Concentration help

Q: I was hoping you might be able to suggest a supplement I could take to help me concentrate. I'm currently studying for my Leaving Cert but am very tired while studying and finding it difficult to concentrate. A: There are a few things you could take to help concentrate and energy. The first thing I would recommend is Pharmaton Capsules. These have a good range of vitamins and minerals and also have an extract of a herb called ginseng, which is very good at increasing energy levels during periods of stress and fatigue. Take one a day with some food. You could also take an omega-3 fish oil supplement. The brain is made up of lots of omega-3 fatty acids and increasing your intake of these oils can help to improve concentration. There are a number of omega-3 fatty acids, but the most important ones for supplementation purposes are EPA and DHA. I would recommend one with about a 75:25 mix of EPA to DHA. Eye Q Capsules would be ideal for your purposes. In most McCabe's branches we also do blood tests for iron levels and thyroid hormone. If your thyroid is underactive or your iron levels are low, this can cause chronic fatigue. You may wish to book an appointment to get these blood tests done.

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 eoin@mccabespharmacy.com 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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24

The Informer

Dublin Advice Understanding the process of bereavement The death of a loved one can be a devastating experience, especially if the death is sudden, violent or unexpected. Grief can be a rollercoaster of powerful and unfamiliar emotions, leaving us disorientated, exhausted and depressed. But mourning is a vital and necessary part of healing, and awareness can help understand and manage the grief process. Stages of Grief

Recognisable stages have been identified in the grief process, but bereaved people do not necessarily go through these in sequence.

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Different feelings surface at different times, and each person's grieving will be unique. Stage 1: Shock and Denial. This can occur even when the death was expected. There can be an inability to take in what has happened. A person at this stage can appear to be unaffected by the death, whereas they are actually numb with shock. This stage may last for weeks in some cases. Stage 2: Loss. The realisation of the loss can lead to anguish, bringing emotional release through crying. This is a natural and healthy way to express grief. It is important that friends and family allow the bereaved person to cry, without trying to 'make them feel better'. Suppressing crying and burying feelings will delay the mourning process and store up problems in dealing with other losses in the future. Stage 3: Anger. This may seem irrational but it is an understandable feature of grief. There may be a sense of injustice resulting in anger towards doctors, family members, the person who has died, God, or against oneself. These feelings need to be expressed and worked through in a non-destructive way, ideally with a sympathetic and non-judgemental listener. Stage 4: Guilt. Typically, people feel guilty about not having done more for their loved one in life or for unkind or careless words that can never be taken back. If the death was by suicide, guilt can be a significant factor for those left behind. In time, guilt will lessen as events are seen more in perspective, and self-forgiveness can follow. Stage 5: Preoccupation. It is natural to have constant thoughts of the person who has died, especially if they were a daily companion. Some bereaved people have a sense of the person still being there, even smelling their perfume or hearing their footsteps. Dreams can be vivid and may be either disturbing or reassuring. Stage 6: Fear. As the grieving continues, there can be anxiety that it will go on for ever or that it will be impossible to cope without the

person who has died. There is no timetable for mourning, but the intensity of emotions does lessen with time, as grief is experienced and expressed. Stage 7: Depression and Loneliness. Low mood, coupled with lack of interest in life, can set in as the finality of death is recognised. Stage 8: Hope. The goal of mourning is to accept and live with loss. With time and care, wounds heal. Though life will never be the same, it slowly becomes meaningful and enjoyable again. Many bereaved people describe themselves as more understanding of others, more appreciative of the small things, and with a greater spiritual awareness than before their loss. The Importance of Self-Care

Grieving can take an enormous toll on the body and mind. Eating well, getting up and dressing every day, sleeping enough and taking light exercise will help maintain physical health and emotional stability. Asking for help is essential, whether from family and friends or from a professional. Consult your GP if you feel that symptoms are unmanageable. Counselling can help with expressing painful feelings and working through anger, guilt and self-blame, allowing the bereaved person to move on with their life.

Maeve Halpin is a Registered Counselling Psychologist. Appletree Health and Wellness, No 126 Ranelagh, Dublin 6. Contact: 087-2877837

Email: maeve@maevehalpincounselling.com www.maevehalpincounselling.com

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26

The Informer

Graham Connor's Movie Advice The Hangover Part 2 HHHHH Directed by Todd Philips Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Zach Galifianakis Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug are back together again, this time in Thailand celebrating Stu’s upcoming nuptials. One drink leads to another and before you know it, the wolfpack is in serious trouble again. The Hangover was one of the biggest surprises I have ever seen, a refreshing and continuously hilarious movie about a batchelor party gone wrong. The Hangover Part 2 is a dull and often humourless movie about a batchelor party gone wrong. The main

problem with this sequel is that it sticks rigidly to the “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” formula. It is so like the first film that it’s almost boring to watch as there are no surprises and a lot of the jokes rely on cheap toilet humour, not the clever banter from the first film. Bradley Cooper’s charm as Phil carries the film for long periods as does Ed Helms freakouts as Stu. But that’s it. The ace from the first film was Alan, the weird one. In the sequel he is the annoying, borderline obnoxious and unlikeable one. Ultimately, this is a missed opportunity, a big disappointment. . Advice: Save for a Friday night DVD.

The Way

HHHHH Directed by Emilio Estevez Starring: Martin Sheen, James Nesbitt, Deborah Kara Unger, Emilio Estevez Tom is a widowed American who does not approve of his son Daniel's free-living lifestyle. When Daniel dies on a pilgrimage trek along the Camino De Santiago, Tom travels to take his son’s body back home but decides to finish the pilgrimage his son started. The Way could have been a lot of things, a travelogue, an examination of the fatherson dynamic or a religious epic. To its credit, The Way is all of these but unfortunately the mix of these themes makes the film feel

slightly disjointed as it tries to be all things to all people. In places The Way is truly beautiful and moving and Estevez displays a deft touch for emotion but on the flipside, some of the dialogue and scenes are very clunky. Yet, Martin Sheen turns in a wonderful performance, his own hardships between himself and his son Charlie no doubt providing great inspiration. James Nesbitt provides the comedy but unfortunately he ticks too many stereotypical Irish boxes to make comfortable viewing. Advice: If you are tired of soulless blockbusters, The Way could be for you.


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WIN TICKETS TO GALWAY ARTS FESTIVAL

The prize is two tickets to De La Soul with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble on Sat 23rd July in Galway Arts Festival Big Top and one overnight stay for two people sharing (twin/double) with full Irish breakfast in The Clybaun Hotel, Galway on the same night. 2 sensational weeks of Music, Theatre, Dance, Family events and Street Performance throughout Galway City from 11-24 July. Full programme and Special Offers at www.galwayartsfestival.com. Find Galway Arts Festival on Facebook and Twitter for updates. BOOK TICKETS: Phone the Festival Box Office at (091) 566577. Located in the Tourist Office, Forster Street, Galway.

Or online at www.galwayartsfestival.com

The Informer

Read your local Informer edition online at our revamped website The paper opens online the same way it does in your hand

To win two tickets to the Galway Arts Festival, just answer the following question:

When is the Galway Arts Festival? Answers by e-mail only to competition@informer.ie Please include your contact number Closing date for entries 7 July 2011.

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informer.ie

Golf tips with Aideen Rogers

PUTTING (BASED ON A RIGHT HANDED GOLFER)

In putting the aim of the game is obviously to get the ball in the hole. But I believe that the most important thing is pace/speed. (More than two putts per green is disappointing, more than three is a mortal sin) If the speed of your putt is correct you will benefit in two ways. Your next putt will be close enough in order to get the next one in. The hole becomes 5 times its size if the ball is rolling at the right pace. i.e.: A) Left of centre, b) right of centre, c) left edge, d) right edge, e) the back door. Technique:- There are two Grip techniques recommended by Aideen. Grip the putter as normal but with the grip on the club up the middle of the palm of your left hand in order to lock the left wrist into place then place the right hand on. Or you may grip the putter with your left hand down the bottom of the putter grip and your right hand on top, making sure the left wrist and inside of the left arm hugs against the putter grip. Either of these grips are suitable, but the main reason for these grips are to avoid any flicking action in the stroke and replace with a rocking action i.e. the left arm/wrist and the putter move as one. The putting stance should be approximately shoulder width, but in windy weather a little wider. The ball position should be left of centre of the stance as this will encourage a nice smooth roll on the ball. Place the putter head flat on the ground and in the direction of the line you want to go on. Any lines or markings on the putter will help you line up to your target and also meet the centre of the ball. The putting stroke should go back and through along the intended line of fire, as you would if you wanted to pot a ball in snooker or throw a dart to a dart board. The putting stroke should move with rhythm back and through and like a pendulum, I like to think it’s like a TICK TOCK on a clock. Very importantly during the stroke we must not ever move our legs, so lock your legs straight in order to keep them quiet. Remember you DRIVE FOR SHOW but you PUTT FOR DOUGH!!

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The Informer

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Blanch In Brief... Coolmine 'Mind Ur Buddy' winners

5th year students from Coolmine Secondary School, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 recently won the ‘Mind Ur Buddy’ schools competition run by suicide crisis centre Pieta House. The 'Mind Ur Buddy' competition is a pilot programme that actively encourages secondary school students to create campaigns that deal with social issues experienced by students. This project not only educates young people to look out for each other by looking for signs of distress amongst their classmates and friends but also encourages them to look for help from teachers, counsellors or relevant adults who they could approach when they are feeling distressed. The concept came about as a result of an in-house survey among the young people who attend Pieta House. Most people said that when they go through difficult times they find it hard to talk about it and don’t know how to bring up the problem among their friends – ‘Mind Ur Buddy’ aims to encourage young people to look for help at times like this and to encourage their own friends to do so too. Pieta House received entries from schools who made videos and created posters and artwork raising awareness about self-harm, suicide and social issues that affect students of their age. The 5th year students in Coolmine Secondary School won the competition for their video entry in which they sang a song they composed called ‘Mind Ur Buddy’.

Art Explorers - Summer Projects at Draíocht

From Monday 4th to Friday 8th July Draíocht will be running workshops which give young participants the opportunity of looking, exploring, making, painting, drawing, printing and more in response to some famous works of art, and artists like Van Gogh and Sir Henry Moore. The week ends with a mini exhibition for family and friends to celebrate. Book your place through the Draíocht box office on (01) 8852622. 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th July 11am-12noon: Art workshop A (6-8 years). €25 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th July 1pm-3pm: Art Workshop B (9-12 years). €40 Access Places: If you would like to nominate a child to participate in any of the summer projects who may not have the fee, please contact Sarah Beirne, Children & Youth Arts Administrator on 01 8098029, or email sarah@draiocht.ie in confidence and enquire about access places. Draíocht is committed, within its resources, to access to the arts for all young people.

Controversial animal circus set for Blanch centre

Despite the passing of motions by Fingal County Council banning the use of council sites by circuses using wild animals, Blanchardstown Centre Management have decided to rent space to Duffy's Circus, which advertises and uses wild animals for entertainment in its shows. Socialist Party Councillor Ruth Coppinger has condemned the decision, stating: “Circuses are very bad for animals and also miseducate children as to how to treat animals. Tigers and lions are majestic animals who obviously must suffer greatly in the very confined conditions required for circuses. These animals cannot behave or socialise normally. It is also highly dangerous to the public as there are many cases of wild animals attacking trainers and the audience”. Ms Coppinger called for an outright national ban on animal circuses – a move which would see Ireland join countries such as Finland, Sweden and Singapore.

Events at Blanchardstown Library

Call today for a free assessment

01 - 231 0095

Visit www.ecofix.ie for more information

Fingal Volunteer Service will have an information stand in the library on Thursday 30th June, from 12.00 -1.15pm. LifeRing is an international organization of support groups for people who want to live free of alcohol or other addictive drugs, providing an environment for interactive sharing and participation meeting each Saturday at 12.45pm. For information contact 085 1837444 or email lifering.dublin.irl@gmail.com. Spanish Conversation Group meet Mondays at 7pm. French Conversation Group meets Tuesdays at 7pm. All welcome. Irish Conversation Group meets Saturdays at 12 noon.

Have you got news for us? news@informer.ie


Blanch Informer June 2011