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Blanchardstown • Castleknock • Carpenterstown • Ongar • Littlepace • Huntstown

Gloves are off in Bearly hanging on! Dublin West election

An instinct for fashion

By-Election Candidates Exchange Blows

Dublin West By-Election candidate for Fianna Fáil David McGuinness has thrown the first punch in the campaign by launching a scathing attack on Labour and fellow candidate Councillor Patrick Nulty. He has called on his opponent to By Paul O'Connell clarify his position on the proposed sale of the public stake in the tion outlined by his Labour colESB. leagues. The reality is that he is McGuinness stated, “Two senior seeking a mandate from the people Labour Ministers have worryingly of Dublin West to enter the Dáil to signalled their intention to sell a support and vote for these policies. minority stake in the ESB. I believe I think that Cllr Nulty needs to say that the approach outlined by clearly, that if elected, he would Minister Rabbitte and Tánaiste vote in favour of the selling of a Gilmore in the Dáil will mean that minority stake in the ESB.” this is the first step to the eventual Vigilant opposition and inevitable full privatisation of the ESB." He went on to add he was seekHe continued: “This has been ing a mandate from Dublin West pointed out clearly to Minister constituents to "provide construcRabbitte in the Dáil, however the tive yet vigilant opposition to the Labour Ministers are happy to current government." carry on regardless.” He said: "I do not believe that the He insisted the people of West people of Dublin 15 will benefit Dublin deserved to know Councillor from electing a silent government Nulty’s position on the issue, say- backbencher, particularly considering: “Now it is time for Cllr Nulty ing we already have two local TD’s to clarify his support for the posi- sitting at the cabinet table. Neither

do I believe that the best interests are best served by electing another hard left, ideologically blinkered Dublin West TD." Responding to McGuiness's comments and stating his position on the issue councillor Nulty told the Blanch Informer: "I welcome the fact that the ESB will remain in state ownership and will not be broken up into different companies, which was Fine Gael's preference. In an ideal world it would be better not to sell any stake in ESB but I welcome the fact that any money raised will be used for job creation." He finished by indicating McGuinness and his party were in no position to question government decisions, stating: "Fianna Fáil have no credibility when it comes to economic matters as it was their disastrous bank guarantee and nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank which precipitated our economic crisis."

Peter O'Brien Interview

Page 10

At Dublin Zoo, two red panda cubs, one male and one female, were born at the beginning of August but have only recently ventured out of the den. From the time they were born their mother, Angelina, kept moving the cubs to different hiding places around the habitat to keep them protected. Not actually classed as a bear, and sometimes referred to as a 'Shining Cat', the Red Panda comes from southern China and, as they are down to the last 10,000 adults, they are classed as endangered.

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2

The Informer

The Drift

Q The month in Quotes Steve was among the greatest of American innovators brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it. Barack Obama on the passing of Steve Jobs. I never had a shadow of a doubt that he was going to get that. It went right over the black spot. He has got a great mental ability to kick that without any nerves. It shows his strength. Bernard Brogan on Stephen Cluxton's winning All-Ireland free. I want him in front of me so he can look into my eyes and say to my face that I imagined it. Tristane Banon, the French journalist who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape, on her proposed meeting with him. So many people in Greece ask me, Is all the pain worthwhile? Can we make it? My answer is, yes, we can. Greek prime minister George Papandreou borrows a phrase. There has been the suggestion too of flying the flags of deficit sinners at half-mast in front of EU buildings. It would just be a symbol, but would still be a big deterrent. German commissioner Günther Oettinger before he quickly backpedaled on the idea. I think it’s significant there was still an increase in clients despite the fact there was practically no heroin on the streets from September to after Christmas. Tony Geoghegan of Merchants Quay Ireland on an increase in heroin use in Dublin. Supply and demand are not in line and for the first time in quite some time. Sleeping bags are being handed out again. Dublin Simon chief executive Sam McGuinness on the rise in homelessness in Dublin. Palestine has the same right to membership of the United Nations as Ireland or any other Member of this Organisation. Eamon Gilmore outlines Ireland's position at the UN General Assembly

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The Informer

3

Comment & Debate

Bring on the Tobin Tax Social Justice Ireland welcomes the decision of the European Parliament to urge the EU to promote the introduction of a financial transaction tax such as the Tobin Tax which could raise around €200 billion per year in the EU and would also discourage speculative trading by making it more costly. A tax along these lines has been proposed constantly by Social Justice Ireland. The resolution argues that a tax of this kind can yield a "double dividend" by not only generating more funds, but also making the financial sector safer and society greener. The EU should promote the introduction of such a tax, even if it is alone in doing so as a first step. As the international economic chaos of the past few years has shown that the world is now increasingly linked via millions of legitimate, speculative and opportunistic financial transactions. Similarly, global currency trading has been increasing dramatically throughout the last few decades. It is estimated that a very high proportion of all financial transactions traded are speculative currency transactions - these speculative transactions are completely free of taxation. A progressive tax

There is growing support worldwide for the introduction of a tax on such speculative exchange transactions. The Tobin Tax, proposed by American James Tobin the Nobel Prize winner in economics in 1981, provides a potential solution. It is a progressive tax, designed to target only those profiting from currency speculation. Therefore, it is neither a tax on citizens, nor on business. Given the recent world economic experience, the tax also has merit in assisting Governments and regulators to continually monitor the risk that financial institutions are taking. The majority of foreign exchange dealings are done by one hundred of the world's largest commercial and investment banks. The scale of their dealings is estimated at US$1.5 trillion worth of currency every

By Fr Sean Healy, Social Justice Ireland day; all this in essentially unregulated financial markets. In 1998 the financial institution with the largest share of this market, Citibank, engaged in foreign exchange transactions worth US$8.5 trillion, a value in excess of the corresponding US GDP for that same year. The scope of the Tobin Tax varies. Initially, James Tobin suggested a tax on all purchases of financial instruments denominated in another currency. Since then, Canadian economist Rodney Schmidt has broadened the tax to include all foreign exchange transactions. These would include simple exchanges of one currency for another (spot transactions) as well as complex derivative financial instruments including forwards, swaps, futures and options if they involve two currencies. The recent proposals in the UK for a ‘Robin-Hood Tax’ represent a further development of these proposals. Considerable revenue

The revenue from the tax would be considerable - somewhere in the region of €50 -100 billion per year. Though the effect of the tax over time would be to reduce the volume of currency speculation and thus the potential revenue from the tax, nevertheless the intake will remain high. It is proposed that the revenue generated by this tax be used for national social development and international development co-operation purposes. According to the United Nations, the amount of annual income raised from the tax would be enough to guarantee to every citizen of the world basic access to water, food, shelter, health and education. Therefore, this tax has the potential to wipe out the worst forms of material poverty throughout the world. When James Tobin first put forward his idea he envisaged the tax

being adopted by every country in the world simultaneously. Otherwise, he argued, speculators would “flock” to those countries without Tobin tax laws. Since such international agreement seemed improbable, the tax was seen by many as a worthy but impracticable proposal. However, over recent years the work of economists and financial experts has demonstrated that universal simultaneous adoption is not vital for a successful implementation. Essentially, foreign currency markets are concentrated on a global scale and if the principal countries implement the tax, this would suffice to cover the planet as a whole. Eight major countries account for more than 80 per cent of world exchange transactions, the foremost four for 65 per cent. In the City of London, the largest financial centre with 33 per cent of the world total, the 10 biggest banks account for 50 per cent of transactions. What is needed is for one major region of the world to implement the tax. Consequently, Social Justice Ireland welcomes the increasing attention this proposal has been receiving at European Inter-Governmental Level. We believe that the time has come for such a tax, It would simultaneously facilitate, and perhaps fund, the required regulation of financial speculation while providing substantial funds to adequately address the world development issues highlighted in the Millennium Development Goals.

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4

The Informer

Green Scene M3 Parkway trains go to Connolly on weekends

Last month we highlighted the limited use of the M3 park and ride service where trains go to the Docklands station. Perhaps Irish Rail were listening to us because they have revised their timtables so that all trains from the M3 Parkway on Saturdays and Sundays now go to Connolly. This is very good news for weekend shoppers and users of the M3 who can now go directly into town and link up with Dart and Luas services. Well done, Irish Rail. A move in the right direction. However, if we lived on the M3 corridor I think we’d still be asking why peak time services still only go to Docklands, and why there is only one train an hour during most of the day – hardly an incentive to leave the car behind.

Can agriculture save the economy?

Since last month’s mention of the problems in the artisan food sector we’ve had a chance to talk to Minister for Horticulture Shane MacEntee about this and about Ireland’s dependence on imported fruit and vegetables. Naturally the topic of producer groups came up and the Minister told us he was keen to support farmers and growers in their efforts to get together and take back control of the markets from foreign owned supermarket chains. However, when it came down to the nitty gritty he felt that the funding for producer groups and co-ops should come from the members themselves and that they should band together against supermarket 'divide and rule' policies.

Which would be fine if the competition was coming from inside Ireland – but it isn’t. Irish growers are being played off against producers not just in the rest of Europe, but in the rest of the world and while the Department of Agriculture is refusing support to producer groups in Ireland Foreign Affairs, through Irish Aid, is funding producer groups in Africa. No one seems quite sure how many days food supply we have in Ireland – estimates range from three days to three weeks – but if agriculture is going to save the economy, as the government claims, the horticulture sector needs realistic support.

The ban on raw milk

And while we are on the topic of agriculture it seems Minister Simon Coveney needs to extend the range of expertise among his advisors as well. This month has seen the removal of the right of consumers to drink raw milk brought to the top of his agenda after lobbying from the Food Safety Authority. Now I’m not advocating a return to the days when you paid a premium for milk from tuberculosis free herds or the nice old lady down the lane strained out the larger chunks of cow pat through muslin but I do think that we should have the right to choose to buy milk that hasn’t had a lot of its nutrients killed by heat treatment. After all, we wouldn’t suggest that mothers boiled breast milk before giving it to their babies would we? Numerous challenges to the FSA have failed to produce a single study in Ireland showing illness linked to the consumption of raw milk bought from a clean and properly monitored healthy dairy herd. Yes, people have got sick from drinking raw milk – but they were farm families drinking the milk from their own herd and that milk wasn’t being sold untreated. The very small number of Irish farms that sell raw milk are producing it in conditions where you’d be happy to eat

By Kathy Marsh, Sonairte your dinner off the dairy floor and the same farms are making raw milk cheese which has never had the shadow of a doubt over it. We just don’t think the Minister knows much either about the health benefits of raw milk or about the hygiene standards under which it is produced. In fact, when we read the Minister’s statements it becomes pretty obvious he doesn’t even know what raw milk is. He told the Dail that “some artisan food producers are using pasteurised raw milk to make ice cream, yoghurts, cheese and milk products.” Minister, if its pasteurized it isn’t raw. We think it is time you got down on the farm and had a look at how the quality producers do it. And maybe even see on opportunity rather than a problem.

Good work at Irish Steel

Having been nasty to Minister Coveney we do think he deserves a pat on the back for finally getting the Haulbowline clean up under way – though we are not sure why the Department of Agriculture should have to take the lead on paying for the mess left by Irish Steel, even though we understand that other departments will also contribute.

"particularly pleased the Minister for the Environment will be joining us". Requests by other groups such as the Environment Pillar to attend the seminar were turned down on the grounds that they had had the same chance as the rest of the public to feed into the consultation process. Readers will remember that IBEC and the IFA jointly worked to block climate change legislation under the previous government.

Steve Jobs, environmentalist

As this column goes to press the death has been announced of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and Pixar and a man who’s vision changed the way the rest of us see the world in our work, our play, our communications and the fulfillment of our own dreams. He wasn’t one for blowing his own trumpet as an environmentalist but it may be worth mentioning here that one of his major focuses in the last years of his life was the greening of his company from the elimination of harmful chemicals in production processes to whole life carbon accounting so that by the time of his death Apple was by far the most environmentally friendly technology company among major producers.

Business as usual in Fine Gael’s 'Galway Tent'

Hard on the heels of Phil Hogan’s decision to abolish Comhar, the Sustainable Development Council, comes the opportunity for IBEC to take the inside track on climate policy. In a letter to business leaders inviting them to a private seminar with senior civil servants and advisors IBEC Director General Danny McCoy described the event as "a timely opportunity for our members to influence the development of a climate policy framework" and he was

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6

The Informer

All about Dublin 1

A Place in the City

St. George's Church, one of Balbriggan's most recognisable features, has seen many memorable and sad days in a history that stretches back over 170 years. It has a long association with the Hamilton family, many of them featuring on tablets of stone adorning the walls of this ancient place of worship. The two world wars claimed many of its congregation; soldiers falling in battle on foreign shores, and their names are recalled on both sides of the main aisle. One of those names is Henry Walter Knight. He was 36 and a seaman when WWI broke out. He was born in Bournemouth in fact, but lived at Seaview, Balbriggan with his parents, Thomas and Mary Knight. He was aboard HMS Surprise on the night of December 23rd, 1917 as she made her way to assist two other vessels, the Torrent and the Tornado, just off the Maas Light buoy in the North Sea. All three struck German mines and sank. Henry Knight was one of those lost to the waters of the cruel sea. Then there's Philip Beer. He was an English native too, from Weymouth in Dorset, but attached to the Coastguard station in Balbriggan.

Edited by Zoz

St. George's Church, Balbriggan

He had the rank of petty officer 2nd class on board the HMS Bayano. The Bayano was an unusual ship. She had been a banana boat in the past but converted to act as an armed merchant cruiser. On March 11th, 1915, she was 10 miles north west of Corse well Point in the Clyde, Scotland when she became a target for U27. Two torpedoes later, Philip Beer was lost with 196 other sailors. Richard Thomas Dennis lived through the war until late 1918, dying at the age of 19 and buried in Terlincthun, near Boulogne. He was a

member of the Northumberland Fusiliers and had been injured and taken prisoner by the Germans at Montigny in March 1918. He died at Wimereux in December, 1918 on his return from Rastatt, Germany. One of those to die in action in WWll was William Bryan of the Loyal Regiment, who was killed at Anzio in Italy in 1944. An extract from 'Fingal - from the Danes to the Delvin", with paintings by Hugh F. Ryan and text by Hubert Murphy. It is published by Cottage Publications and is priced around e22.

Lesser known Dubs... John Howard Kyan was born in Dublin in November 1774. His father, owner of copper mines in Wicklow, had the same name. It was intended that the younger Kyan would eventually manage the mines but the company fell on hard times and, after the death of his father in 1804, he left for England. He worked in the vinegar business and, probably due to his mining experiences, began to experiment with ways to preserve wood. In time he found that bichloride of mercury gave the best results and submitted a block of oak impregnated with that substance to the British Admiralty in 1828. It was placed in the 'fungus pit' at Woolwich, where it remained for three years. When taken out in 1831, it was found to be perfectly sound, and after further trials it still remained unaffected In 1832 Kyan patented his discovery - extending the application of the invention to the preservation of paper,

John Howard Kyan

canvas, cloth, cordage, etc. A further patent was granted in 1836 (No. 7001). In 1836 Kyan sold his rights to the Anti-Dry Rot Company, an Act of Parliament being passed which authorised the raising of a capital of £250,000. Great things were predicted of 'kyanising,' as the process then began to be called. When wooden railway sleepers ("ties" in the USA) became general (in place of the stone blocks used on the early lines), a very profitable business for Kyan's company was anticipated, and for a time these hopes were realised. There was, however a problem with the process iron fastenings could not be

used in 'kyanised' wood, on account of the corrosive action, and it was said that the wood became brittle. The process was also more expensive than later invention and, in time, 'kyanising' was replaced by creosote. Kyan also took out patents propelling ships by a jet of water ejected at the stem, and for a method of obtaining ammoniacal salts from gas liquor. He was also the author of 'The Elements of Light and their Identity with those of Matter radiant or fixed,' 1838. He died on January 5, 1850 at New York, where he was engaged on a plan for filtering the water supplied to that city by the Croton aqueduct.

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8

The Informer

All about Dublin 2 First hand History

An article from 'The Gael', a monthly journal devoted to the preservation and cultivation of the Irish language and the autonomy of the Irish Nation, published in Brooklyn, New York, from 1882 until around 1904. With easy reach of Dublin and so close as to be included in a one day's expedition, lies a series of interesting architectural and antiquarian studies, one at least of which is too little known to the average Dublin citizen. The names of Kilbarrack and St. Fintans are, to be sure, borne in on his mind by their appearance on the tram tickets of the electric service which now engirdles old Ben-Edar, but we wonder how many of the crowds who throng the hill in the Summer months have ever visited or have ever heard of the existence of the great Howth cromlech, the reputed "Aideen's Grave."

n The Cromlech at Howth, Aideen's Grave

Edited by Zoz

Historic points of interest near Dublin

The first of these - Kilbarrack - the Church of Berach, a disciple of St. Kevins, is rather bleakly situated on the sea shore before one reaches the promontory of Howth, and except for some circular and pointed arches, presents no very striking architectural features. Here, however, is still pointed out the grave of the notorious Higgins, the "Sham Squire," the proprietor of the "Freeman's Journal" during the Rebellion of '98, and who was buried here in 1804. The small broken stump at the extreme left of the photograph is now all that is left of a ponderous tabular tomb which recorded in the most extravagant language the eminent merits of the deceased. The popular opinion of the man, judging from the destruction of the monument, seems to have been strangely different. Nearby, too, is the grave of Margaret Lawless, mother of the patriot peer Lord Cloncurry. Continuing our Journey to Howth and ascending the main street we come to St. Mary's Abbey, said to have been originally erected early in the eleventh century by Sitryg the Dane, but enlarged and considerably altered by Archbishop Luke in 1235, when the prebendal church - dating from the sixth century - was removed from Ire- land's Eye (InisEreann) to the main- land. The style - pointed Gothic - is rare in County Dublin. It had in its perfect state a double roof, supported at each end by pointed gables and each division of the church had an eastern window. The larger one consists of three compartments divided by mul-

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n Remains of Howth Abbey lions, the two extreme ones are trefoiled at the top and the center division rises in the pointed form above an archway which seems to have been a later addition. The window of the back aisle is also divided into three compartments, the center one rising the highest though all their tops are circular. There are two entrances by Gothic pointed arches - one at the south side which had formerly been a porch, into the body of the church, and the other at the west end into the back aisle. A flat embattled belfry with pointed arches for three bells springs from the gable at the western extremity opposite the great window. These bells are still preserved at Howth Castle. Further west on the other side of the Hill are the ruins of a little oratory known as St. Fintan's church. It is extremely small - only 12 feet in length by about eight in breadth, with a disproportionately sized belfry at one end over a pointed arch entrance.

The Cromlech is situated about one- fourth mile from St. Fintan's, In the demesne of Lord Howth, at the base of the cliff called Muck Rock, from which the immense quartzite blocks forming it had become detached. The table or roofing-stone lies east by west and measures 17 feet in length by 12 in breadth and is six feet thick. Its circumference from point to point round the edge is 66 feet and its girth 45. This enormous weight estimated at 70 tons, has forced the sup- porting stones to give way to some extent, inclining them in an eastward direction and breaking one of them in two. The roofing-stone did not come to the ground, however, being arrested by the fractured stump. The cromlech is traditionally known as "Aideen's Grave," who after dying for grief at the loss of her husband, Oscar, son of Oisin, who was slain at the Battle of Gavra, is said to have been buried at Howth by the Fenian heroes near the mansion of her father, Angus of Ben-Edar.

n Ruins at Kilbarrack

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10

Informer Interview

The Informer

An instinct for fashion Full Name Peter O’Brien Where were you born? I was born in London to Irish parents. Where did you grow up? I grew up back home in Ireland in Dun Laoghaire and in Finglas. What got you interested in fashion? Hard to say what got me interested in fashion and clothes but I always was obsessed, even as a school boy drawing ladies in ball gowns on my copy books. (You can imagine how popular that made me in a Christian Brothers school in the 60's). While growing up did you have a favourite fashion designer whom you admired? Growing up I loved old movies so my favourite designers would have been those great Hollywood designers, Adrian, Orry-Kelly and Bernard Newman (who did those great dresses for Ginger Rogers in those movies with Fred Astaire). I used to watch these old movies in black and white on Sunday afternoon and was transfixed. Where did you study fashion? I moved to London when I was 19 and worked in window display and applied to Saint Martins (now Central Saint Martin’s School of Art) in 1975. I did one year foundation studies and a three year degree course in Fashion Design. I then did a post grad year at Parsons School of Design in New York. Do you remember the first item you designed? I remember my degree show at St Martins when I designed ball gowns and a slightly 30's style jacket entirely bugle beaded by hand by a company called Lockes. It cost me about two years grant. Where do you get your design inspiration? It's hard to know where inspiration comes from. With me it is rarely a literal thing like a painting or an era, I think I just absorb things non-stop, unconsciously, all the time so that when I start to draw it just all comes out by some sort of osmosis. I guess what I'm trying to say is that what I do is instinct married to almost 30 years technical experience. What item of clothing have you designed and thought, I don’t like that?

One of Ireland’s most loved and recognised Irish international designers, Peter O’Brien chats to Kevin O’Brien of Fashion.ie about his life in fashion. I say 'I don't like that' 20 times a day! If there are 25 pieces in a capsule collection I do at least 150 drawings. How did you start designing your own collection? In fact I have only done 'my own' collection once in my life, in 2000 when I did my own Haute Couture collection in Paris.

I can imagine it was a big financial risk, how did you cope? It was a wonderful experience but without huge investment and a much better business sense than mine. It is a minefield to do it oneself and those who do are very brave indeed. You design for many leading high street fashion names, can you name just some of them Working with A-Wear and now with Arnotts have been absolutely positive experiences. It is great to work on a product that is more accessible than couture and see women in the street wearing my clothes. It's really a great buzz. What’s the most insulting thing anyone has said to you about your work? Well Herve Leger, the designer, once said to me: "Peter, you have terminal good taste", which is pretty damning.... he meant it nicely but there was a sting in there; he's right of course, I'm not great with the bright, the flashy or the obviously sexy. I guess I have a somewhat 'Reverend Mother' aesthetic. Who would we know who is famous, and has paid you the biggest compliment about your work? I never talk about famous people who

have worn my clothes simply because I loathe today's celebrity culture and also I believe if someone has paid for a frock it's in bad taste for me to wave their name about in the media. I know that may make me sound a bit priggish but I am so so so opposed to this notion that a piece of clothing has no design integrity unless it has been trawled down a red carpet. What are your favourite types of clothes and colours you like to wear yourself? My clothes are invisible. The legendary Mrs Vreeland once said: "Everybody over 40 should wear a uniform" and I do; Black/navy suits or jackets. 501 Levis or chinos white shirts and what I think are the most perfect shoes on the planet, 'Shannons' by Church. That's it and it never changes.

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SmartQuotes.ie have launched a new innovate product, exclusively for readers of the Informer. SmartQuotes.ie will cover the cost of a quit smoking hypnotherapy course to assist customers in kicking the habit. Then once the customer has ceased smoking for 12 months they can contact the relevant insurer via ourselve who will revert them to the lower non smoking rates without the need for new medicals etc. (Subject to minimum premium of €50 per month and relevant terms and conditions). In addition, SmartQuotes.ie will also offer 70% off the first twelve month's premiums. For some paying €50 per month this would be a saving of €420 in the first twelve months alone (subject to relevant terms and conditions of the offer). There has never been a better time to improve your health and your wealth. The offer is limited to the first 100 subscribers.

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12

The Informer

Garden Growing

Autumn in earnest, winter in sight With September behind us autumn has really started in earnest. I really dislike the dark mornings but we’ll have to put up with this until the clock changes at the end of the month. Sadly, apart from a few lovely days at the end of September, there was no sign of an Indian summer. However let’s keep our fingers crossed as October can be a very pleasant month. Work to a plan

There is a lot of work to be done this month so have a good wander in the garden and work to a plan. Hedges and most shrubs should be pruned now but if there are

Tip of the month Clean out or buy new bird feeders. We will soon start to see winter visitors such as the blackcap. Make sure to leave out some water as well as seeds and nuts.

berries leave these for the birds as they will devour them in a few months when food is scarce. Leaves must be gathered every week for the next eight weeks or so as otherwise they will do damage to your lawn. Don’t forget to put a few bags of leaves aside for at least a year as leaf mould is a marvellous natural compost. Bare patches on lawns should also be treated now but you need to do this very soon, don’t wait until the end of the month.

With

Gerry Norton

A bit sad

Your veg plot will look a bit sad now that it’s finished providing us with food. You can make a start on clearing it out and once this is done it’s a good idea to cover it with plastic sheets to keep the weeds at bay. Soon we will hear the dreaded F word!! Frost can be expected, especially in the midlands in the next few weeks, so get some horticultural fleece which is available in garden centres. Cut it into

J.GUERIN

n Now is a good time to plant shrubs and trees as they will get established over the winter shape to protect any plants that may be frost damaged . As we all know a lot of supposedly hardy plants were killed or damaged in the last two winters. I don’t have enough space for a green house but I have just bought one of those cheap mini plastic greenhouses which cost about €40. I will put my delicate container grown shrubs into it for the

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Now is a good time to plant shrubs and trees as they will get established over the winter. The garden centres will have a good stock available soon but one of the best places to get trees is Lissenhall nurseries just north of

Swords run by the ever cheerful Mary Proctor. October is also the time to lift and store dahlias, gladioli and summer flowering bulbs. Speaking of bulbs you can now start to plant for next spring. My favourite bulb is ‘’ Fritillaria’’ or snake’s head fritillaria, the bell shaped flowers resemble tiffany lamps and are really gorgeous.

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.

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14

The Informer

Personal Finance Don't be too negative about negative equity Negative equity is a term that's positively guaranteed to strike terror into the heart of many an Irish homeowner. With so much of people's hopes, dreams and financial security locked into the value of their homes, it's perfectly understandable that people get the jitters when the term is mentioned. But what exactly is negative equity, what does it mean for homeowners and what can be done about it? Basically, you are in negative equity if the value of your house is worth less than the outstanding balance of your mortgage. To take a simple example: if you took out a 100%, interest-only mortgage on a €300,000 house at the height of the market in 2007, and say that the value of that property has now fallen to €250,000. As you have made no repayments on the capital borrowed, only the interest, you would now be in negative equity to the tune of €50,000 – that’s the difference between your mortgage balance and the current market value of your house. However, most homeowners will have borrowed a smaller percentage of the value of their home, usually 70-90%. This gives some leeway as values fall: a more typical 80% capital-and-interest mortgage on the same property would yield a current mortgage balance of €240,000 - €10,000 less than the current market value. Nevertheless, if you bought a property at the height of the market in 2007 with a mortgage greater than 85% of the value then there’s a good

chance that you're in negative equity. If you're not looking to move house or raise money secured against your home and you can continue to make your monthly repayments, however, negative equity probably won't affect you in the short-term. But there are things you can do now to help ensure that negative equity doesn't affect your future financial freedom and security. The most important thing is to ensure that you continue to make your monthly repayments. If you are on an interest-only mortgage then your repayments will be having no effect on reducing the capital you owe. So, as property values fall, your level of negative equity rises. You should ask your financial adviser or lender about the possibility and financial practicalities of switching to a repayment mortgage. This could then begin to narrow the gap between your home’s value and the outstanding balance of your mortgage. The money you are using to pay off your mortgage is coming from the money you earn, so it makes sense to take steps to protect your income. One of the best ways of doing this is through a form of insurance called Income Protection. This insures your income against the possibility of you suffering an illness or injury which prevents you from working and earning an income for six months or more. While many employers will provide some form of sick pay, this very rarely lasts beyond six months. Talk to an advisor to get further information or go online where you can do your own research

After that you could qualify for State Illness Benefit, but at just €9,776 per annum in 2011 this is highly unlikely to cover a typical mortgage. If you're self-employed you don't qualify for State Illness Benefit at all. Income Protection provides you with an income that can be up to 75% of your net relevant earnings, allowing you to meet your most immediate financial responsibilities such as your mortgage, loans and utility bills, as well as day-to-day living expenses. Also, if you have a Mortgage you will have Mortgage Protection. Life Assurance rates have come down significantly in the last number of years due to a more competitive marketplace. A recent issue of the Sunday Business Post highlighted that savings of up to 30% can be made by reviewing your Life Assurance. It may therefore be worthwhile reviewing your cover to see if you can obtain a lower monthly premium. The cover you took out with the bank at the time of taking out your Mortgage may not be the most competitive available. It is important that borrowers realise that they have a choice, and that they were not under any legal obligation to purchase these types of products from their lender only. The average monthly premium for Mortgage Protection is €60 per month. A saving of 30% would equate to €18 per month. Andrew Nevin is a Director of SmartQuotes.ie an online low cost financial services provider


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16

The Informer

Animal Tracks

The sky over Dublin

with Miriam Kerins, DSPCA

Trick or treat, or trauma? Hallowe’en is fun for humans; for pets, it’s a nightmare! Loud whistles and bangs, a kaleidoscope of flashing lights and continuous knocking at the door by trick or treaters wearing strange costumes make this holiday a traumatic time for all pets. We’ve all heard stories of those who torment and torture animals over the Hallow E’en period; this year the Dublin SPCA have already had plenty of casualties. With that in mind, I’ve put together some tips that should help keep your pet safe this Hallowe’en. • As soon as it gets dark, keep your pet indoors. Animals have a heightened sense of smell, sight and sound; and once they hear a loud bang, will often panic, become disorientated, bolt out the door and be unable to find their way home. (A micro chipped pet stands a better chance of being reunited with its owner). • Keep the animal in an interior room – i.e. a bathroom or cloakroom and draw the blinds. Keep a radio or TV on to distract from loud bangs and leave a light on so that flashing lights aren’t as noticeable. • If your pet looks for reassurance, don’t give it! I know it goes against our humane nature, but it’s best to carry on as if nothing

is out of the ordinary because your pet may feed off your anxiety, making the situation worse. • Sweets and chocolates are not good for pets. Chocolate is toxic to animals so don’t feed them unsuitable treats. Sweet paper, cellophane and tin foil are also a choking hazard if swallowed. • Take care around lit pumpkins and candles; curious pets may knock them over, running the risk of being burned and/or causing a fire. • Unless your pet loves being dressed up, don’t put them in a costume; this can add to their stress. • Remember, large animals living in nearby fields, such as cows and horses hate scary noises. So, if you’re planning on having a firework display, and have secured your own pets, be sure to take other animals into consideration. • Talk to your vet about different medications to ease your pet’s distress. For more information log onto www.dspca.ie or email me at miriam.kerins@dspca.ie © Miriam Kerins, Education Officer, Dublin SPCA.

with Conor Farrell, Astronomy Ireland

Orion and Taurus above

This month brings a couple of the bestknown constellations into view: Orion and Taurus, the Hunter and the Bull. If you look towards the east in the evenings, you'll see the very bright planet Jupiter. Later on in the night (and in the early mornings) this is where Taurus and Orion will rise from. The first thing to rise is the Pleiades; a young, open star cluster in Taurus. If you have good eyesight, you can probably make out seven stars in the cluster, but the real treat is found when you look at this cluster with a pair of binoculars, revealing dozens of stars! Next is the Hyades cluster, which is a bit larger than the Pleiades. The 'V' shape of the cluster represents the horns of Taurus. Again, this is a stunning sight through binoculars. After Taurus is up, Orion rises, first revealing the red giant star Betelgeuse (in the shoulder of Orion), and then the well-known trio forming Orion's Belt. You may notice a line of faint stars below this trio: one of these is in fact a nebula, in which new stars are being born. This is barely visible with the naked eye, but a favourite sight n The position of Taurus and Orion in the night sky

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with binoculars or a telescope. As you can see from the starmap, Orion is depicted to fight Taurus. While the Greek myths don't mention any such fight (most constellations are based on Greek mythology), the origin of Orion and Taurus is from Sumerian mythology. The Sumerians saw the pair of constellations as the Hero Gilgamesh battling the Bull of Heaven The best time to view Orion and Taurus is later on the month, when they rise slightly earlier. However, if you watch this part of the horizon regulary, it's easy to see how the sky changes over time, as the constellations reveal themselves!

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Beauty Notes

18

The Informer

Health & Beauty

with Kathleen Rowley

Winter skin savers... Injectable treatments for cosmetic purposes The arrival of winter brings wet and cold weather, central heating and many experience changes to their lifestyle. Your skin will reflect these changes and a new skincare regime can help your complexion remain peachy through the dark gloomy months ahead. If you feel good on the inside it will show on the outside, well that’s the theory anyway. It’s tempting during winter to reach for the comforting coffee, hot chocolates and teas but there are other drinks that will help boost your skin. Green tea contains potent antioxidants so try to drink one cup a day and you can add this recognised anti- inflammatory to your skin regime. There are lots of new flavours which can make it a little more palatable if you find the taste a little overpowering. Try to drink plenty of water also as it will moisturise from the inside out and is the single most important thing you can do for your skin. New Zealand brand Trilogy has become very popular on the shelves of many a beauty addict, its Rosehip Oil has gained cult status. It is packed full of antioxidants and is great for repairing skin and protects against the signs of ageing, three drops massaged into damp skin at night for a nourishing skin treat. It is available in pharmacies and health shops for €19.95. If you’re soldiering on with the exercise regime make sure you have your face protected winter sun can be quite powerful so try incorporate spf in your moisturiser. A brisk walk can give you a great rosey cheeked glow but to prevent broken veins a slick of Vaseline or the much heralded Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream will provide a good barrier from the elements.

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Beauty this Autumn

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20

The Informer

Family Focus

Have a safe hallowe’en

Hallowe’en is a thrilling time of year. Excited children tend to be forgetful about safety issues, so it’s up to parents to ensure any dangers are minimised. Always accompany young children when they are trick-or-treating, and don’t let them eat the sweets until they get home. Be aware that strange foods could be a choke hazard and that allergies don’t disappear on Hallowe’en night. Only let your child eat sweets where the packaging is complete and undamaged. Dressing up danger

Hallowe’en costumes can present different risks. Read the label to make sure costumes are flame resistant or retardant. If a costume is too long and a trip hazard trim it down. If your child is wearing a mask ensure they can see through it properly. Either

cut bigger holes in the mask or use face paints instead. A cape could be a choking hazard if it gets caught on something or is pulled from behind, so fasten with Velcro. Fireworks hazards

Most accidents and injuries at this time of year are caused by fireworks and bonfires, and it’s not unusual to see the skies lit up on this special night. Children should never be allowed to light or add anything to a bonfire or handle fireworks. Sparklers are not safe for young children to use as they become incredibly hot and the risk of suffering a burn is definitely there. In general, supervision should be stepped up a notch at this time of year. It’s up to parents to explain the dangers of fireworks and bangers to chil-

dren and make sure that they are supervised at all times. Finally, let’s spare a thought for pets who, not at all surprisingly, find Hallowe’en terrifying. You should never dress up your dog and take him trick or treating, instead put pets in a quiet room and let them relax.

Irish history for kids What were the 100 greatest moments in Irish history? Well, a new children’s book looks at just that from the earliest settlements at Mount Sandel around 7000 BC to the first meeting of the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2007. '100 Greatest Moments in Irish History' looks at everything from the Battle of the Boyne, the Great Famine, the rise of GAA, the Easter Rising and the Good Friday Agreement to the first publication of the Irish Times, the opening of Dublin Zoo, Riverdance and Stephen Roche’s victory in the Tour de France. 100 Greatest Moments in Irish History (Gill and Macmillan) costs e12.99 in bookshops.

Safety first at Hallowe’en Eco-friendly disposable nappy n Make sure Hallowe’en costumes are flame retardant and fit properly. n Always accompany younger children trick or treating. n Avoid using naked flames in pumpkins or anywhere else. n Be aware of road safety issues and make children visible. n Tell children never to play with fireworks. n Make sure bonfires are safe. n Put your pet somewhere quiet for the Hallowe’en

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22

The Informer

Health Issues

Are cough medicines ok for under sixes?

Q: My 4 year old son gets frequent colds throughout the winter and sometimes develops a cough as well. My pharmacist usually recommends Actifed Syrup, Benylin Children’s Cough & Cold Syrup or something similar. However, last time I went to buy something for his cold, I was told that they shouldn’t be given to children younger than six. I’m concerned that I may have been putting him in danger by giving these to him. Should I be worried? Is there any alternative available?

Many of these medicines, including the two you mentioned, have now been re-classed as only suitable for children over six. The IMB are the body who regulate medicines in Ireland and ensure that any medicines licensed in Ireland are safe, effective and of high quality. They have recently undertaken a thorough review of the use of a number of drugs used to treat coughs and colds in children.

A: Recently, the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has issued new advice on the suitability of over the counter cough and cold medicines for children under six.

When they examined the issues closely they discovered that the evidence for these medicines being effective in children under six was not actually very strong. However, no new safety concerns came to light, so an important message to give is not to worry. There are no serious safety issues with these medicines when given to children aged two to six when given in accordance with the directions on the pack. So if you have given your child these medicines, there is no reason to be concerned. However, some of them can cause mild side effects such as sedation, hyperactivity, tremor or skin rashes. Also, they can potentially be dangerous if given in too high a dose or if more than one medicine is given, resulting in a “doubling-up” due to drugs of similar effect present in different products. Due to these factors, and the fact that coughs and colds in young children occur frequently and are usually self-limiting (i.e. they generally resolve within a few days without any treatment), it was decided that the risks outweigh the benefits associated with their use. There a still a number of medicines available that can be used to treat coughs and colds in younger children. Glycerine, Honey and Lemon is a tried and trusted remedy

Not to worry

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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that will soothe the throat of a child with a cough, helping them to get a good night’s sleep and easing their discomfort. However, honey or products containing honey should not be given to children under one year old. For a child with a stuffy nose, an inhalation vapour can help to ease the congestion. Karvol Capsules or Snuffle Babe release a pleasant vapour which can make breathing through the nose easier. Either of these medicines is suitable for use from three months of age. A saline nasal spray or nasal drops can also help to wash mucus from the nose and wash away any irritants such as dust. By helping to remove mucus from the nasal passages, this can also help the symptoms of cough. Very often, if a child has a dry, irritating cough, this is caused in part by mucus produced in nasal passages running down the back of the throat. This causes irritation in the windpipe, causing an uncomfortable, unproductive cough. If your child has a persistent fever that is not brought under control by a fever medicine such as Calpol, or develops breathing difficulties or any other symptoms that you are concerned about, you should take him to the doctor. However, for mild, uncomplicated coughs and colds, lasting less than about three days, simple over the counter remedies are all you need. Paracetomol liquid such as Calpol, or ibuprofen liquid such as Nurofen remain unaffected by the new recommendations and can still be used from 2 months of age in the case of Calpol and 3 months in the case of Nurofen. A copy of the advice from the IMB and a list of the affected products can be downloaded at this link: http://www.imb.ie/images/uploaded/documents/ IMB_2011_CoughandColdMedicines_ReleasR_Final.pdf.

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26

Graham Connor's Movie Advice Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy HHHHH

Directed by Thomas Alfredson Starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong and John Hurt Smiley is a former M15 agent, one of the highest ranked intelligence officers in“The Circus”, the intelligence HQ. When one of his colleagues is murdered Smiley is asked to return, to hunt down the mole in M15 who is threatening to bring down the entire “Circus.” Having never seen the original 1970’s BBC serialisation of John Le Carre’s novel, I had nothing to compare it to and ultimately that was a great thing. TTSS is the best spy film I have ever seen but you have to be prepared to work to enjoy it. This isn’t Bourne, there are no action scenes or shootouts. Instead there are long, pondering shots and brooding silences between actors. Gary Oldman says about 12 words in the whole film. The original novel is so dense and heavy that it's amazing Alfredson has been able to condense it into just over two hours and keep it comprehensible. You have to pay attention to make sense of it but it is a really rewarding experience. Another triumph for Alfredson, a fantastic performance from Oldman and a career best from Mark Strong make TTSS a joy, a painful but brilliant joy.

Advice: Not to be missed.

The Debt HHHHH

Directed by John Madden Starring Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Worthington & Jessica Chastain. It is 1966. Rachel, David and Stefan are Mossad agents embedded in East Berlin, tasked with capturing a Nazi war criminal. 30 years later they are classed as heroes but an unexpected development makes them confront the truth of their mission. The Debt works and fails in equal amounts and that is the most annoying aspect of this film. There are some truly wonderful standout moments but unfortunately too many scenes plod along, as, while it always keeps your interest, you never really feel terribly concerned for any of the characters. Comparisons to Munich, Steven Spielberg’s excellent take on the Munich Olympic atrocities will be inevitable and unfortunately The Debt comes off as a weaker and much paler counterpart. Taken on merit, the 1960’s set scenes are full of punch and vigor but the 1990’s set scenes let it down as it steals the energy that the younger cast generate. Jessica Chastain and Helen Mirren work wonderfully as younger and older versions of the same character and Worthington, albeit with a dodgy accent, broods with quiet menace as the agent who cannot live with the truth. The Debt is a film worth seeing but whether it will stay with you once you leave the cinema is very debatable.

Advice: If Tinker Tailor is sold out, give this a whirl.

The Informer

Arts Angle

With LA Speedwing

Seeing the invisible ones Invisibility. You can ask any kids: they would love the power. However older people seem to have it and wish they didn’t. Did it ever occur to me that older people would want to be seen or at least been given the choice? Shamelessly it never did, but neither does it occur to the fashion industry. Yet there’s no denial of a market. By 2050, a third of the rich nation’s population will be over 60. Garvan Gallagher’s exhibition at the Draíocht Arts Centre “My Way” explores the interesting theme of how society views the elderly and how the elderly view themselves via different mediums: personal texts from the participants and a short film documenting their involvement as well as photographic portraits. What will strike you and it certainly struck me is how Mr Gallagher was able to capture a sense of glamour, confidence and authenticity through his vision of the elderly. More specifically his series of photographic portraits has a wonderful vintage quality. You feel you are traveling back to the 20s and it makes you wish you were 60 to start shining the

way the participants do in his pictures. This exhibition is the result of a collaborative effort between the artist during his 15-month residency at Draíocht and his participants and the chemistry is certainly showing. Exhibition “My way” has started since September at the Ground Floor Gallery and will go on until the 5th of November. So do take a leap back in time and prepare to be blown away by the elderly. They are about to rock your world.

LA Speedwing pens a weekly blog about writing, arts and other randomness at laspeedwing.blogspot.com

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€75 €90 €225 €275 €400 €500

For information on our top class massage therapies please see www.absolutehealth.ie

Our Price Promise To You

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The consultation consists of “a health check, blood pressure, heart rate, iridology and a medical history of you and your family (as far as possible)”. After care and diet are also discussed during the treatments.

Colonic Irrigation Can Enhance :• ENERGY • CONCENTRATION • GOOD SLEEP • • GOOD SKIN • CLEAR/BRIGHT EYES • • HEALTHIER APPETITE • • STRONG NAILS • IMMUNE SYSTEM • • FEELING FRESH AND LIGHT • • MORE EFFICIENT NUTRITIONAL • • ABSORPTION IN GENERAL • Colonic hydrotherapy promotes normal bowel function. In turn all the systems in your body benefit from both a reduced toxic level and an abundance of nutrients. Almost everyone will notice marked improvements in how they feel after this treatment. You will leave feeling light, full of energy and eager to face whatever life throws at you.

e would always recommend a course of at least 4 sessions for any clients new to Colonic Irrigation treatments. In some cases it may be necessary to have more than 4 sessions and the extra sessions may be added for the deal price provided the first 4 were paid after the first session. All sessions in any course deal are open for 12 months (subject to booking availability). As it is usually necessary to have a maintenance session every 6 to 12 months why not save by buying a large course and using left over sessions at a later date. The six session and eight session deal may be split with a friend or partner provided full payment is made for the full deal after the first session by whoever goes first. It is advisable to at least book the first 4 sessions well in advance in order for the best continuity and therefore the best possible outcome from your course.

Aromatherapy Massage Swedish Massage Deep Tissue Sports Massage Book on line now

www.absolutehealth.ie

If you are able to find any equally priced Colonic Irrigation Treatments or better on any Dublin based website, we guarantee to beat that price by €25. Please note these prices or deals have to be shown on a website in order for us to verify the authenticity of the price.

Absolute Health, Woodside, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 Tel: 01 4901569. Book Online at www.absolutehealth.ie

A CC or Laser number will be required to secure booking All Major Credit Cards Accepted. Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10am - 7.00 pm Book early to avoid disappointment Gift Vouchers available


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The Informer

Blanch In Brief...

By Paul O'Connell

Phoenix Park faces major road works

From Monday 3rd October until approximately the end of December, works will be carried out on Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park. From 10am Mon 3rd the road will close from the Gough R/A to Mountjoy R/A until Sat 26th Nov, at which point a further update on these works is expected. To accommodate traffic, a one-way traffic system will be set up and most of the traffic will travel in an anticlockwise direction around the Park. Road works are also currently underway in the Blanchardstown Village area. A two-way contra-flow system and a stop/go system will operate on the Main Street until the end of November. For more information log on to www.AAireland.ie

Google jobs for west Dublin

Dublin West TD and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has welcomed the recent announcement by Google that it was creating 30 full-time jobs and 200 temporary jobs as part of a €75m investment in a new data centre in west Dublin. Minister Burton said: “This is a vote of confidence in the Irish economy. It is a boost to Dublin 22 and to the wider west Dublin area where we already have a large number of international technology companies.’’ She added: “The corporation tax rate here is attractive. But foreign companies also come here to do business because they see west Dublin is an attractive place to invest, work and live.’’

Local musician holds cancer society fundraiser

Sunday 9th October saw Blanchardstown resident Brenda Reilly launch her new album in The Mercantile Bar, Dame St, Dublin. The album "A New Dawn" is in aid of The Irish Cancer Society, and Brenda was also joined on the night by fellow musicians including The Flaws, Tupelo and Senekah. This is the Sligo native's second album release in aid of charity following her previous release "My Time" which saw the proceeds go to Cancer Care in Galway. Speaking before the launch Brenda said: "I'm really excited about the launch of this new album. I've been singing for as long as I can remember and like so many Irish people, members of my family have been affected by Cancer. The Irish Cancer Society have been of such great help and I wanted to give something back."

Favourite Songs of the 20th Century

Join Geraldine Mangan and The Ritz Ensemble as they pay tribute to the great songwriters and celebrated artists of the 20th Century including Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, Eva Cassidy, Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald and Irving Berlin, performing some of the most popular and memorable songs of all time including Que Sera Sera, Putting On The Ritz, Pennies From Heaven and Get Happy. The evening will be completed with a unique slide show presentation. Join Geraldine Mangan and The Ritz Ensemble on Friday 11 Nov 2011 8.15pm Draíocht Studio // €16 / €14 conc For more information go to www.draiocht.ie.

Verona Sunday Market

Verona Sunday market is situated behind the library and Leisureplex at the Blanchardstown Centre and is open every Sunday morning from 11am-6pm. The organisers are encouraging people to come and have a look around, as there is sure to be something for every member of the family at great wholesale prices. There are indoor and outdoor stalls, plus full bar & live music with free entry and parking. Stall holders for the market are also wanted, and anyone interested is asked to contact 085 2346636. For more information log on to www.veronamarket.ie.

Have you got news for us? Have you got a local news story you would like covered? Email the newsdesk:

blanch@informer.ie

Blanch Informer Oct 2011  

Blanchardstown • castleknock • carpenterstown • ongar • littlepace • huntstown only e9,900 10'x 10' Conservatory Alongside This Newspaper HO...

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