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Laoghaire Informer Dún

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January 2013 • Unit 26, Western Parkway Business Centre, Ballymount, Dublin 12 • Tel: 01 813 8786 • Email: • Web:

Dún Laoghaire • Dalkey • Killiney • Monkstown • Blackrock

DLR has most affluent areas in the country

A musical spring season... Colouring in every day

But Olivia Mitchell slams the 'unequal' burden of property tax According to maps newly commissioned in advance of this year’s property tax, Dublin has been listed as the second most affluent region in Ireland with areas in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown the most affluent in Dublin. These maps, backed up by the recent Social Inclusion report for the Dun By Graham Connors Laoghaire area, also show that, if taken as a singular entity, the Dun Laoghaire- health being classed as Bad or Very Rathdown area is the most affluent in Bad. the country. Trutz Haase, one of the people behind Drawn by economic consultants the new map said, “I’ve been doing this Trutz Haase and Jonathan Pratschke, for 20 years and my main client is the maps feature an index that high- Pobal which is the organisation that lights every neighbourhood in the coun- oversees local development companies. try in terms of wealth. The index goes In the 1990s, areas were designated to from red, meaning extremely disadvan- receive special funding and this is the taged, to dark blue, indicating extreme- key to this research, to allocate resourcly affluent, and also works on a num- es for development programmes and for bered scale within each region. For those living in an area to understand example, the most affluent region in where to focus their work.” Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown is Coundon When asked about his work and how Court/Killiney Avenue, which scored it could best be implemented, Mr. Haase 686 out of 686 in the county. added that, “local authorities can desigWhile saying that the Dun Laoghaire nate disadvantaged areas in need of Rathdown area is the most affluent in funding, access to services like onethe country it should also be noted that stop shops to alleviate deprivation. Yet, the overall number of disadvantaged over the years, very little has changed areas has experienced a negative shift as far as the areas go: Ballymun is still in terms of disadvantage over the last Ballymun and Foxrock is still Foxrock, six years, with 1.2% of the population’s so the needs in the areas remain effec-

Don't burn your Christmas Tree Green Scene Page 6

Mitchell slams new tax

Meanwhile as homeowners prepare to pay the new property tax Fine Gael's Olivia Mitchell has criticised the extra burden placed on Dublin homeowners. “A house in Dublin will pay up to six times more than an identical house in another local authority. Nobody, no matter where you live in Ireland, can think that is fair,” she told RTE. “It is going to be difficult to pay and it is going to be extremely unpopular, but every tax has to be fair and reasonable. People here will bitterly resent the method that is used to calculate it”

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tively the same as those who improve their situations move on to more affluent areas.” South East Dublin suburbs are still among the most affluent, with levels of education among some of the highest in the country with less than 1% of housing owned by the council. Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown also has the fewest amounts of unemployed people in the country, a figure that stands at 6.6% of the area’s total employable population.

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Rasher Interview

Win Tickets to High Society and a celebration of Abba and the Bee Gees

Page 10

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We have loads of chances for you to win tickets this month. From Cole Porter's High Society to the RTE Concert Orchestra's celebration of the work of Abba and the Bee Gees.

See page 2

No to nursing on the cheap!

Opinion - Liam Doran - Page 2

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The Informer

The Drift Comment Box

By Liam Doran, Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation

No to nursing on the cheap

Dublin by Numbers



This is the percentage of payments which are more than 30 days late according to a survey by the Small Firms Association. Late payments are a vicious spiral. Firms waiting for cash slow down their payments to other firms and so on. The state has made some attempt to change the balance but in a situation where companies don't have money they simply can't pay others.

The winners of the tickets for the 9-5 competition Paula A. Maher, Leitrim. Christina C Anderson, Sandyford.

Editor: Niall Gormley Unit 38, Northwood Court, Santry, Dublin 9 01 813 8786 • • Sales Director: Declan Keane • Mobile: 087 9145073 For Advertising Enquiries, please contact: Telephone: 01 813 8786

The INMO has always supported the commencement of a nursing graduate initiative, aimed at retaining new Irish graduates in this country, as a solid investment in the future of our healthcare system. However, the proposal by the Government, on this potentially very good idea, has been tarnished and sullied by the proposed payment of 80% of the public sector pay rate for new graduates taking up the programme. The simple conversion from employment through an agency to direct employment, while placing the new graduate on the minimum of the agreed public sector scale (already reduced by 10% for new entrants), would have saved the HSE over 54% per annum. However, this very significant saving was not sufficient and the government now appears intent upon imposing this 80% rate even though the new graduate, as a registered nurse/midwife, will carry the full duties and responsibilities of a registered and regulated health professional. The new graduate scheme, which was announced by the Department of Health without any consultation or discussion, would see 2012 graduates, while performing the full range of duties, responsibilities and obligations of all registered nurses and midwives, paid at 80% of the minimum of the staff nurse scale. The INMO condemns this exploitative approach to these young, registered and regulated nurses and midwives as opportunistic and greedy. Against this background the IMNO has decided to commence a campaign of opposition to the scheme including a call for all 2012 graduates to boycott the scheme. We will also explore the possibility of a legal challenge under the Employment Equality Acts. This scheme does not involve the recruitment of 1,000 nurses/ midwives as suggested by the Department of Health and the HSE. There are no new posts and no additional posts and to suggest otherwise is blatantly misleading. In reality this is just the displacement of agency and temporary staff and their replacement, by new graduates, at 80% of the proper scale. The proposal is exploitative and seeks to undermine the value of every nurse and midwife in the country, in addition to the 2012 graduates

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS From the producers of the recently nominated tour of The King and I (UK Theatre Awards 2012) comes a dazzling new production of Cole Porter’s timeless classic, High Society. Adapted from the hit 1956 film, High Society fizzes with a host of beautiful Cole Porter ballads including ‘True Love’, ‘You’re Sensational’ and the unforgettable ’Did You Evah!’.

To be in with a chance to win a pair of tickets to see High Society on the opening night in Tuesday February 5th answer the following question: What year was the original film of High Society released? Answers by e-mail only to Please include your contact number Closing date for entries 1st February 2013.

WIN TICKETS: ABBA AND THE BEE GEE YOU SHOULD BE DANCING! A TRIBUTE TO THE BEE GEES and SUPER TROUPERS: THE MUSIC OF ABBA The RTÉ Concert Orchestra is bringing disco back!!! Following a sell-out performance last year, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra returns with YOU SHOULD BE DANCING! A TRIBUTE TO THE BEE GEES, Thursday February 7th, National Concert Hall. Then, on Thursday February 28th, the same team return with another 70s concert, SUPER TROUPERS: THE MUSIC OF ABBA. Tickets for YOU SHOULD BE DANCING! A TRIBUTE TO THE BEE GEES and SUPER TROUPERS: THE MUSIC OF ABBA are on sale from only `11. Booking: 01 417 0000 or


To win a pair of tickets to BOTH concerts, simply answer the following question: The Bee Gees brothers were Barry, Robin and...... a) Ben, b) Maurice, c) Mike Answers by e-mail only to Please include your contact number Closing date for entries 1st February 2013.


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The Informer

Dún Laoghaire In Brief... Gardai to be transferred to Dundrum from Sandyford

Gardai currently operating from Stepaside Garda Station are to be transferred to Dundrum when the station is closed this year. Commenting on the move, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said it is envisaged that the 34 gardai will remain in the Blackrock District but they will be stationed in Dundrum Garda Station. The move has caused much criticism from local representatives and businesses. However, Labour TD Alex White has supported the decision. He said he understands the concerns raised by people but added that he is certain that alternative arrangements would be put in place. "I would be quite confident that these can be allayed through alternative policing arrangements being put in place. I will do all I can to help reassure local residents on this," he said. Defending the announcement, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said: "The Commissioner has concluded, and I fully agree with him, that resources could be better deployed by closing some garda stations and reducing the public opening hours of others at off peak times. The objective is to ensure that the best possible policing service will continue to be provided in our communities."

Harbour wants world class design

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) has called for design proposals to assist them in “positioning Dun Laoghaire Harbour as a marine, leisure and tourism destination of international calibre.” The company is looking to recruit a team of designers for a proposed marina village at the West Port in Dun Laoghaire, at an area known as the Gut.

with Graham Connors Former Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Cathaoirleach John Bailey of Fine Gael reacted to the news by saying: “Any development for Dun Laoghaire is welcome and this is just one in a long list of new initiatives for the area all of which show positive signs of growth.” Dun Laoghaire’s yacht clubs identified a “significant amount of shore space” ripe for development in the area earmarked for the Marina Village scheme.

Fit to pay extra gym charges?

Due to changes in tax rules Dubliners face an increase of up to 3.5pc in charges at gyms, swimming pools and fitness centres run and owned by local authorities. Local authority facilities had managed to keep annual membership rates low but the cost of membership is set to rise now that councils are obliged to charge VAT, following on from a European Court of Justice ruling. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan gave the green light to implement the change under a Commence Order but Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Councillor Tom Murphy said that the local authorities must find a way to ensure fitness facilities remain reasonably priced for all the population for the sake of activity levels.

Harbour increases parking chrges

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has changed its parking pricing for sailors and students using the area’s four yacht clubs. Until recently, parking in front of the waterfront yacht clubs in Dun Laoghaire cost €8 per day but parking at the Royal Irish YC, Royal St. George, National YC and Dun Laoghaire Motor YC are now subject to a standard hourly minimum parking charge

n The wonderful thing about Tiggers... In January, Ussuri, a two year old male Amur tiger joined Zeya and Shilka, two eleven year old sisters, in their habitat located in the Fringes of the Arctic at Dublin Zoo. of €2. This means that the parking costs for a typical day's sailing will almost double for the parking spaces outside the clubhouses. When quizzed about these changes, DLHC said that discounted parking will continue to be available from €8 per day on Carlisle Pier, the Underground Car Park and Dun Laoghaire Marina Car Park with a rate of €4 per day applying to the West Pier/Old Harbour Car Parks. Operations Manager Tim Ryan believes 'everyone can now benefit from discounted parking throughout the Harbour and DLHC is offering some of the cheapest rates around'. Annual parking permits have decreased in price, from €1000 to €800 per annum, for use in designated areas and are available for purchase from the Harbour Office.

Mobility improved in Sandyford

Based on the Mobility Policies outlined in the Development Plan 2010 – 2016, DLR County Council has recently completed improvements to the footpaths and road surfacing in the Sandyford Industrial Park. In an attempt to introduce more sustainable transport and mobility measures these improvements are designed to create greater accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists also. One of the many improvements sees a short section of Blackthorn Road converted from one-way to twoway traffic to try and curb speeding on approach to Blackthorn Avenue. Monitoring is ongoing to measure the affects of the changes but it is accepted that at peak times, for traffic exiting at the Leopardstown roundabout, delays should be expected.

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-1+%/8&/-1 %/&5-++%1 ,%0&)5 6 %1(-675-'7 86-1)66 ,%0&)52* :')//)1') 200)5') 9%5( 86-1)669%5( As I write I’ve just finished arranging roses in a vase on the 5)'-3-)17 table – roses picked from my garden in late January.

Green Scene

There are always a few battered blossoms that stagger along but this year we’ve had fresh healthy flowers opening every few days with cold spells not lasting long enough to persuade them that the depths of winter have arrived. I’m hoping winter won’t be in May again, as it was last year.

Whither the weather?

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We seem to be seeing a lot of unusual weather events. It is a waxwing winter, when flocks of these lovely birds arrive from Scandinavia because theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had a very successful breeding season and they are looking for the extra berries that are normally to be found on Irish hedges. But theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve moved on quickly, because this year the berries had all been eaten long before they got here. The miserable conditions last summer killed pollinating insects and the crop was very poor â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the worst Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever seen. Only where householders had put food such as chopped apple on bird tables was there anything for them to eat. Perhaps by the time you read this winter will have finally arrived and summer flowers will have given up. But it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t only here in Ireland that we are having yet another extraordinary season â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in Australia temperatures have hit a record high, while friends in California are shivering in many degrees of frost. Another friend in Alabama is gardening in bare feet because the soil is so warm. And the winter ice at the North Pole may be the lowest ever, with unknown knock-on effects on our climate.

+92EDH9J>@C6 25G6CE:D6CD2C6 49@@D:?8FDE@ 249:6G6 Climate change - just add fracking >2I:>F> C6DF=ED7@C E96:C3FD:?6DD

By now there are very few who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe that the dramatic swings in climate that make meteorologists tear their hair out are related to the recent release back into the atmosphere of carbon our planet has spent billions of years collecting and storing. Yet we go on doing it and our response to diminishing

sources of oil and gas is to go looking for new reserves we can burn, increasing those atmospheric carbon levels. The favourite new method is the so-called fracking â&#x20AC;&#x201C; or fraccing, or fracing â&#x20AC;&#x201C; take your pick. This involves pumping water and other liquids at high pressure into rocks below the surface, believed to contain natural gas, which makes them split. The fluid contains sand which keeps the fractures open â&#x20AC;&#x201C; hence the name, and the gas is taken up to the surface. Across the water in the UK the government has not only lifted its ban on exploring for shale gas â&#x20AC;&#x201C; despite the!+6*6*'2#55+0)1(45#4)#4'6*142'6*+59''- fact that at least one localised earthquake has been triggered by fracking there â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but has 914&5*#5.15610'1(+65.1%#."%*#4#%6'45*'*#& announced its intention of subsidising its extraction. In the US5''0/#0;%*#0)'5+06*'61905+0%'5*'%#/'*'4'#5# it has been associated with the pollution of water supplies and with other environmental problems. ;170)/#44+'&91/#018'45+:6;;'#45#)1 The estimates of potential reserves seem to vary enormously with oil companies promising to meet energy needs #8+0)%1/'(41/474#.1!+%-.195*'*#&61 for generations and some but not all neutral observers saying $'%1/'75'&61.+8+0)+06*'/+&&.'1(6*'6190$76 that they will only meet power needs for a year or two. The EU was asked by environmental groups to ban fracking but 9*'05*')16176#0&$'%#/'+081.8'&+0%1//70+6; has instead said that environmental safety must be priori)417255*'5110'0&'#4'&*'45'.(61#..9*1)1661 tized, but some European governments, notably France and Bulgaria, have decided to ban it anyway. -019*'40(#%6*'4*175'10#+064''69#5.+-'#

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%1//70+6;%'064'6*'4'9#5#.9#;5#9'.%1/'106*' EPA to the rescue? /#6#0&#0%721(6'#9*+.'.1%#.241$.'/59'4' Happily here in Ireland fracking has been put on hold while 64#5*'&17615681.706#4;)41725+0914&59+..*#8' the EPA investigates its safety. Several companies have $'0'(+6'&(41/*'4+0276.+-'6*'146+%7.674#.1%+'6; permission to explore for shale gas here in Ireland, but they cannot go ahead unless they can prove that what they are +&;19051//70+6;170%+.+5614+%#.1%+'6; doing will be safe. '4&'&+%#6+1061*'4.1%#.%*74%*61.7/$#5 How does the EPA decide what is safe? On this occasion you can help *74%*1(4'.#0&9#59'..-0190#0&5*'917.&6+4' to make the decision. The studies are .'55.;(70&4#+5'(146*'2#4+5**'5'48'&106*''.'%6 still being designed and the public can '564;#0&#5#)18'40141(6*'.&1417)*%*11. have their say on how to design them via a dedicated email address, until March 8th. !'..-0190(144+&+0)*'4$+%;%.'7261#$176#;'#4 Full details are on the EPA website but impacts on rock structure and groundwater will be key, along with the risk of #)15*'&+&)7+&+0)+0'9$4+&)'175'#0&'0,1;'& seismic damage, other environmental damage and the risk of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7H;C;J I7F7H;DJ By Kathy Marsh, Sonairte L?I;: U ->; 7BIE 7HEKD:J>;7H;7 .>; =?L;DJ>;I>EHJIJH7M FE?DJI EKJ J>7J 7D:H;I?:;DJE<J>; M>;D?J9EC;IJEJ>?I contaminants coming back up to the surface through the You can see what happened at last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s planting day and H;9;DJIK99;IIE<EKH wells. You can check up on all EPA research at http://www. check on how the trees are growing 7H;7 at https://www.face# ADEM J>7J %?DI;7BO>7IH;9;DJBO )BOCF?97J>B;J;I=7L; ?IIK;R7B8H?==7D?I For those who canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make it C7DOEJ>;HF7H;DJI =EJ7D;M9ECCKD?JO the day there will be a second chance at the trustâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reserve J>; (EHJ> EKDJO 7 ED; E< J>; B7H=;IJ on in9;DJH; .>;?IIK; I>; Waterford â&#x20AC;&#x201C; details on their website. <;;BJ>;;N79JI7C; JEMDI ?D J>; (EHJ> Flogging the tar sands CK9>D;;:;:B?<J7D: M7O .>?I?IDJ=E?D= I7OI after ?I ;L;D At the same time the Canadian government is lobbying the Look yourCEH; fruit tree H;7BBO8HEK=>J>EC; EKDJO IEM>O?I?J Irish Presidency to try to persuade the EU to reclassify the 7FF7H;DJ7IM;9EC; JE=E7M7O7D:IEC;

J>7JEJ>;HJEMDIIK9> bitumen now being mined in as a clean fuel. The EU If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve already planted fruit trees in your own garden J>; ?CFEHJ7D9; E<Canada 8; ?DJE has strong regulations that are gradually limiting the use7D: of and want J>; to know1?DJ;H more aboutJ>?D= how to D;;:I look afterJE them 7I -MEH:I ;D9EKH7=?D=EKH9>?B

so called â&#x20AC;&#x153;dirty fuelsâ&#x20AC;? such as coal and bitumen, which have thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an opportunity on the same day at Sonairte, :ED;78EKJ?J8;97KI; I;7IEDJ>;;L;D?D=I ED787J;>7L;CKBJ? where a:H;DJEIJ7O<?J7D: particularly bad effect on air quality. Pat Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Mara of Irish Seedsavers will be giving a Canada has huge reserves of FKHFEI;9ECCKD?JO bituminous 7H;I>EHJ;H7D:9EB:;H hands on pruning course in the?JIJ>;9>?B:H;DJ>7J organic orchard. 79J?L;  1?J> ?Dbe able to sell shale oil and wouldJ>?I like to And on Thursday March 7thBEI; Dale Treadwell be EKJ Uwill I>; 7D:OEKD=9>?B:H;D those on the world market without restricshowing primary school students exactly what lives in C?D: '7HO M>E?I7 9;DJH;I<EHOEKD=;H tions on its burning and Ireland is seen as a 9ED9BK:;: 7D: J>;?H F7H;DJI and around the trees at Sonairte. To book call 041 982 country that can be pressured lobbying IFEHJI 9E79> ?D into9>?B:H;DJEC;;J7D: 7572 or email for its use. So far the government is resisting pressure â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I 7B8H?==7DJEB:J>; hope that by the time you read this they wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have changed sides. Don't burn your Christmas Tree 2716;)%()4 J>7J?J And a final note on timber as fuel. I was horrified while ?I CEH; ?CFEHJ7DJ Volunteer to plant trees listening to a recent Liveline phone in to hear people J>7D ;L;H JE >7L; suggesting cutting up their dead Christmas trees to burn Meanwhile there is still time to do something for Irelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on home fires, cutting green wood from hedges to mix in 7:;GK7J; future fuel security by BE97B planting bare rooted trees, and if they with coal to stretch it, and burning old window frames. are native varieties so much the better IFEHJ?D=<79?B?J?;I<EH since these will continue to support our The first two will deposit very wildlife. high levels of tar in your chimney OEKD= 9>?B:H;D Opportunities to get up close and perand practically guarantee a chimney R.>;H; @KIJ DEa Spring Tree sonal with 7H; trees include fire â&#x20AC;&#x201C; wood for burning should Planting Day with the Native Woodland always be non-bituminous and very IK?J78B; IFEHJ?D= Trust at their Wicklow Mountain Woodland Reserve in well seasoned â&#x20AC;&#x201C; native hardwoods <79?B?J?;I <EHofOEKD= Laragh. Thousands native oak, hazel, birch and scots pine like oak, beech and ash are perfect. seedlings are being planted in the reserve so plenty of musAs for old window frames, these are likely to be 9>?B:H;DKD:;H?D cle power is needed. soaked in arsenic based wood preservatives and then The meeting point is the Brockagh Centre car park in 7B8H?==7D '7DOE< covered in varnish or paint â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not good things to either Laragh at 11am on Saturday 16th February and children are release in your garden via the chimney, or in your living J>; 9BK8I asJ>7J just as welcome adults M; to come and plant their very own room where dioxins can remain in the carpet for years. tree. And because the reserve is open all around the year you >7L;>;H;7H;<KD:;: Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be tempted into risking your life by making bad can drop in and check how your tree is growing any time you choices about home heating. FH?L7J;BO  J>; H;7B like. ?IIK;?IJ>;B79AE< <79?B?J7J;IEF;DJEJ>; =;D;H7BFK8B?9 UI>; I7?: R EH;N7CFB; ?< OEKH;DEJ7C;C8;H .(896*)(*0*'6&8.2,8-*

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The Informer

Angler's Angles Fly Tying in Ireland

Fly-tying is the process of binding fur, feathers and other materials to a hook with thread in order to create something that fools a fish into thinking it is food. Ireland has been a mecca for anglers for many years and with that there is a strong tradition and rich history in fly tying for Trout and Salmon.  There is not much known about fly fishing in Ireland before 1790 but it is thought that fly fishing was first introduced here by English army officers. Although prior to this the Monks would have "dapped" natural flies on the surface of the water using horse hair for line and sally sticks as rods.   Irish flies are quite unique in both their style and colour which has been developed over hundreds of years to be effective in the prevailing conditions on our loughs and rivers. The availability of materials such as Seal and Hare's fur, Duck and Chicken feathers has also been a factor in the Irish style of fly tying. Some of the colours used in our flies are amazing rich warm colours with names such as Fiery Brown and Golden Olive. And some of the stories about how the colours were originally achieved are equally interesting! For example the Fiery Brown colour is said to have been made by using very specific quantities of Donkey's urine in the dye mixture!  One of the most popular methods of fishing the trout loughs of Ireland is drifting on a boat while casting and pulling bushy flies through the rolling waves. A well tied fly will move and pulsate and give the appearance of something alive in the water. 

The sky over Dublin with Conor Farrell, Astronomy Ireland

with Keith McDonnell

2013 - the year of the comets

n T ypical Salmon fly tied in the Irish style to give maximum movement and reflection in the water.

Fly tying is almost as much fun as fishing and is not the dark art that some might have you believe. I think fishing flies are one of the few things these days that can't be produced by machine. There are many excellent fly tying instructors in Ireland who are more than willing to pass on their knowledge. Flies can be a simple or complicated as you like and it is most rewarding to catch fish on something that you have created yourself. Anglers and Conservationists are holding a protest against the mega salmon farm proposed for Galway Bay. This farm has the potential to destroy our fragile wild salmon and sea trout stocks as well as polluting the marine environment. The protest will take place on the 2nd of March. For more details please see Keith McDonnell is a fly fishing guide and instructor and big trout nut based in Dublin.

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Happy New Year to all you skywatchers, and single, one-way trip to their destruction. what a year it will be! 2013 will hopefully be Assuming ISON doesn't fizzle away during its a fantastic year for astronomy with two pos- close approach to the Sun, we may be treated sible 'Great Comets' this year, both visible to a spectacle 15 times brighter than a Full from Dublin skies. Moon with a vast tail, making it easily visible While there is no official definition of the in broad daylight – something that hasn't term, a Great Comet is a comet that becomes been seen since the Great Comet of 1680. exceptionally bright and bright enough to be In the meantime however, the planets connoticed by the casual observer. The Great tinue to put on a good show. Jupiter is visible Comet of 1997 is one you may remember: high in the south-east in the evenings, and known as Hale-Bopp, this object became will be placed next to the Moon on February bright enough to be seen with the naked eye 17th. Early risers who venture outdoors while early in 1997, and grew brighter and brighter it's still dark may have noticed the brilliant and dominated the northern sky for months. Venus blazing brightly in the eastern sky just The first of the Great Comets of 2013 is before sunrise. expected to appear in mid-March, right on time for St Patrick's Day. This was discovered using the PANSTARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii and so is named Comet PANSTARRS. The second, Comet ISON (named after the International Scientific Optical Network), is a special kind of comet called a sungrazer. All comets orbit the Sun, but sungrazers pass extremely close to the star; in many cases the comet evaporates and is destroyed. While many comets make the trip from the outer Solar System to the Sun several times, sungrazers often just make a n Comet McNaught (Great Comet of 2007) Flagstaffotos


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The Informer

Colouring in every day The Informer Interview Married, children? I am married the last six years. I have two children - Lucas and Mischa - and another one being cooked as we speak May the force be with me. Where did you grow up? I grew up in Oldcourt in Bray, Co Wicklow until I was 9. It's council estate. There was never a dull moment, always kids to play with and devilment to get up to. We learned how to make slings and go-carts, played conkers and marbles. Kids don’t play those games anymore. What is your fondest childhood memory? Heading down to Seagull's Rock down by the railway tracks near Bray Head in the summer. Seagull's Rock is a 40-50 feet rock that we jumped off into the sea.... I loved it. What is your favourite colour? I love all colours, I don’t have a favourite colour. Where did the name Rasher come from? Where I grew up every body got a nick name. I was sunburnt on my back and I had blonde hair and got branded 'Rasher'. Were you academically good in school? I could have been if I tried. I didn't see the need for academic subjects as I new early on that I wanted to be an artist. At what age did you realise you had a talent for art? I didn’t relise I was good at art - people like family and friends did, as every time I would draw, my mother would tell me that’s a great drawing. So I drew a lot because I got praise, all kids love praise. Can you remember the first piece of art that you did? No, I can’t remember, it is too long ago now. I have cre-

When people hear the word Art, they usually associate it as something for the rich and well-off. Not Mark Kavanagh who is known better for his nickname 'Rasher'. He is not only one of the world’s most recognised young artists but is self-taught!. Owners of his paintings include Tom Cruise, The Royal ated too many to remember. How did you get your first break? I am still waiting for it and will let you know when it happens. What’s the best thing about being an artist? I get to colour in every day... Do you express different feelings when painting or do you just paint for the sake of painting? I deal with all the emotion of a painting when I am thinking and developing the idea in my head when I paint. It is just labour intensive work. I have some emotion when things go wrong like F.K, S.T frustrating emotion. Do you work from life, or from photographs or from imagination? It varies and includes life, imagination and photographs. What is your favourite piece of work you have done to date and why? Where is it now? I am still waiting to paint it. How do you know when your artwork is finished and it's ready to be signed? As Picasso would say: 'a painting is never finished'. Your painting and brand has grown extensively since its earliest beginnings and now is recognised and purchased worldwide by lots of celebrity superstars, why do you think this is? I am not a brand, I’m myself. Do you think there is a brain drain going on in Ireland at the moment with so many young talented people living the county? I don’t know. I am stuck in a box all day using my imagination and trying to free myself from the small confined

Family of Jordan and we don’t have room for all the celbs who have his work hanging on their walls nor will Mark reveal them either. However, the 36 year old is probably one of Ireland’s rarest and most humble gems and is a true artist in the true sense of the word. Kevin O’Brien caught up with Rasher to chat about his life and work.

space of the box. All I know is that kids play too much two dimensional games which effects their reflexes....

Accept poverty and a life of uncertainty and being on your own all day...

What do you think we should be doing as a country to encourage our young people to stay? I am not qualified to answer that question. Just get stuck in doing something you like - it will lead somewhere.

What does the future hold for Rasher, what projects do you have planned? I have just finished creating a egg for the Jack & Jill foundation, great project to work on. I’m also working on five commissions and a mural on a wall in a private residence in Barcelona.

What type of clothes do you like to wear, do you have a favourite piece of clothing? Fred Perry as they give me free stuff plus I like their designs, which helps.

To find out more about Rasher and see a collection of his work, go to

Who in your opinion who would you say is the coolest dressed celebrity at the moment that you admire and why? I don't admire celebrity. I admire people who do extraordinary things. If you weren’t an artist what job do you think you would be doing now? A bin man. As a kid I loved when the bin men came around and I would help them. Plus they would let me hang on the back of the truck pure freedom. Explain a typical working day of Rasher? Tormented by my creative mind - it never stops. This mixed in with family jobs. You love your hats, what’s your favourite and where did you get it? My jazz looking hat. I don’t know what style it is and all I know is I got it in Eager Beaver. What type of music do you listen to, favourite bands? The Minutes, they are pure Rock N Roll. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of becoming an artist?

CONTRIBUTOR WRITERS REQUIRED Ireland’s largest Fashion website are now looking for part-time fashion writers to contribute regular fashion related articles for our new website coming February 2013

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The Informer

eauty Notes

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Beat the New Year Blues.... So maybe some of the New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside and the ‘only in emergency’ snack stash has been attacked but a little bit of pampering can help beat the January blues. Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Essence Absolue, Nourishing Fragrance with Oil Pearls holds the extraordinary benefits of the original Essence Absolue, in a beautiful hair fragrance. The precious, light mist captures the quintessence of Camellia Oil in a refined perfume, offering intense shine and nourishment, with the delicacy of a flower. Results: The delicate oil flawlessly perfects hairstyles with a subtle lingering scent and an intense radiance. If you are suffering from dry lacklustre winter skin and post party self tan build up, take two effortless steps to radiance with KARORA’s skin renewing heroes:

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EARLY Intervention and continuous parental involvement are among the key elements required to give individuals with developmental disabilities the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Irish Centre of Behavioural Support & Research advocates these key elements in the services they offer. The centre, located in Ballycoolin near Blanchardstown in Dublin, was set up by Behavioural Psychologists with the common goal “to provide a unique and holistic intervention support service to individuals with specific behavioural needs”. The centre offers services in early intervention, behaviour support, home programs, parent education, and workshops for professionals. Other services include onsite workshops to teachers and Special Needs Assistants who require, or have an interest in, further training and support in behaviour management in the classroom. Transitioning, language and communication and social skills groups are also offered, as well as professional supervision for those seeking certification with the Behaviour Analysis Certification Board ©. The centre also offers Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Psychological/ Diagnostic assessment services. The mission of the centre is to provide “an all-round behavioural support system that encompasses input from a

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multidisciplinary team, and involves the whole family as well as the individual". The centre endeavours to provide behavioural support to the wider community that enables individuals to gain a better understanding of the behaviours they encounter on a daily basis. There is an extensive amount of research highlighting the benefits of early intervention with individuals with developmental disabilities. Realtaí early intervention preschool provides 1:1 intensive intervention for individual’s age 2 – 5 years. Each child’s program is individualised and designed to meet the individual’s needs. Monthly review meetings are held with parents and progress is monitored on a continual basis by the team of Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBA’s). Realtaí Early Intervention Preschool provides children with a setting that combines both one to one intervention and a social environment for children to develop and incorporate their social interaction and language skills to other natural environments. For more information on the services offered within the centre or to book a free consultation then please contact or alternatively you can find out more at

Return of the dark evenings – time to think about Electric Gates? NOW that the wet dark evening are returning, maybe it is time to think about why Electric Gates are a good idea? Most homes that you pass that have manual gates (the ones you have to open and close your self) tend to leave the gates open all the time – why? Because it is probably too much hassle to get out of the car to open or close them. If it raining, or cold and dark, or you have a crying child in the car, you are not going to walk back to close them. Where’s the point in having gates if you are not going to use them? Automated gates make life that little bit easier. Just think of the other automated systems we have in our homes, the dishwasher (washes and dries the dishes) the heating controls (brings the heat on so our homes are nice and warm and we have hot water when we get home) Sky plus (though I’m not allowed it, makes sure we don’t miss our favourite soaps or other TV programs). Like any automated system in our homes, before you get it, you probably don’t appreciate how much easier it makes life, and once you have it for a couple of weeks, you wouldn’t be without it. Electric or Automated gates are exactly the same. You may say to your self “Now why would someone want automated gates?” I remember years ago, my father saying “why do we need a dish-washer? Sure it only takes a few minutes to wash them?” After a few nights washing up after the dinner he went and bought one (there was ten of us by the way!). ■ Electric gates mean that the gates are always closed, keeping strangers away from your door. Unwanted callers can be dismissed at the gate rather than confronting them at your front door. ■ Closed gates keep children safe away from traffic on busy streets. ■ An open gate is an open invitation to a would-be intruder. A closed automated gate puts another line of defence around you home. A potential intruder would have to climb over a closed gate or wall to gain access – making them a little more obvious. It’s another deterrent.

■ A closed gate keeps your car safe in the drive. ■ High Quality automatic gate systems, professionally installed by a friendly and reliable gate automation company add value to your home. ■ On coming home on a cold, wet, dark night you only have to push a button and the gates open ahead of you and once in the drive, they’ll close automatically.

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We provide a free quotation, free information, and since it is September and you may have children going back to school or college, so anyone who sends an enquiry through the web-site contact page will receive a 10% discount on their gates and automation for the next 6 weeks. T’s & C’s apply but no tricky stuff. Send us a message through the contact page or Adrian @ and we will send you our Free Report on all you should know before you buy Electric Gates. We will also send you a Free Home Security Report as a bonus as we are now getting back to the dark evenings and need to make our homes more secure. Thanks for reading, Adrian.

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The Informer

Garden Growing Things are growing early this spring A very happy and healthy new year to all Informer readers. Even though January can often be one the worst months of the year in terms of weather at least the days are starting to get longer by I’m told 2 minutes per day. In addition because we’ve had such a mild winter so far, plant growth is well advanced for this time of year. The usual early spring delights such as Daffodils and Snowdrops are well up and will be in flower much earlier than normal. If your January garden is looking a bit dull have a walk around your neighbourhood to see what’s going on. Near my house a neighbour has a stunning Mahonia covered in bright yellow flowers. Another garden has a variety of Cornus or Dogwood with their different coloured stems under planted with Helleborus otherwise known as Christmas or Lenten rose. All these plants and others suitable for winter, heathers for example, are available now in your local garden centre or plant nursery. There aren’t too many things to do in the garden in January except to keep things tidy. Cut down the last of any dead stems from Perennials and do a little weeding. Wisterias should be pruned now. You do this by shortening all last year’s new shoots to two or three buds from the main stem. It’s very easy to do as there are no leaves so you can see exactly what you’re doing. This winter pruning will encourage the formation of flower buds so you will get a great show of colour in early summer. All this year’s seed catalogues are now available. They are all free and

Flash Fiction

each year the seed merchants offer us new and exciting varieties of familiar plants and vegetables to choose from. I have decided this year when I pick this year’s vegetable seeds to be a little more adventurous than usual. I’m not a big fan of Courgettes, however I’m going to try a yellow variety called ‘Goldrush’ which is available from The Organic Centre in Leitrim. I will also try the yellow tomatoes variety called ‘Iidi’. Another great company for seeds are Seed Savers in Clare. There isn’t a whole lot of work to be done just now in the vegetable plot other than to cover your plot with plastic sheeting to dry and warm up the soil. January is the time when small over wintering birds such as Blackcap and Dunnock will be spotted in the suburban garden. However, I haven’t seen either so far this year and I’m at a loss to know why. I would be grateful if a reader

With Gerry Norton Gerry Norton, Living Landescapes, 97 Church Avenue, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 Tel: 087-2462724 or email can explain their absence so far this year. While on the subject of birds don’t forget to keep your feeders clean and full. In next month's Informer I will explain the process of chitting this year’s early Potatoes which gives this season’s seed Potatoes a marvelous head start. Until then take care and enjoy your labours. Finally folks, if you need any information on gardening or if you have any tips or suggestions which I can pass on, please send them to me at I would be delighted to quote for any/all of your garden requirements from set-up organic vegetable plots to restoration of neglected gardens, design, planting and maintenance. No charge for initial visit and I will travel within reason.

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Who's a chicken now? “Chicken! Bad chicken!” I said staring at the beast as if the chicken could be sorry. But the beast wouldn’t be sorry. Although it was in a sorry state. It was dead for sure but the smell made it more alive than I wished it to be. “How come?” I asked again more to myself than to the chicken who was obviously in no condition to answer me “It shouldn’t smell this bad. I brought the chicken to my nose hoping I was wrong but… “Eww!” “Rotten! Completely rotten!” And the expiration date stated…“Tomorrow! No way! I’ll have none of this!” I considered the chicken, considered the money I paid for it, considered going back to the shop to get a refund and my shoulders sagged. How many people ever returned bad products to their local shop? No one. Ever. I lifted the dead, hairless slightly blue monstrosity. The whiff travelled to my nose and I gagged. I wrapped the damn thing in a plastic bag as fast as I could. As I did, it slipped out of my hands and did a little twirl on my worktop before I was able to control it and shove it in the bag with the packaging. “Yuk!” I said again as I cleaned my hands with soap. I considered throwing it in the bin and considered the image of a perfect crisp ten euro falling into the bin. “No!” I said out loud. “You’re going back! Dead or alive!” I said to the wrinkly monster. I stopped myself from gagging again at the sickening smell and stuffed the chicken in yet another bag. “You might end up stuffed but I won’t!” I put my coat on and took the keys to my car. Five minutes later, I was walking into my local shop. “Sorry, this chicken isn’t right!” I said after spotting a staff member. He looked at me, then he peered into the bag. “Gah. Arh. Sorry. We usually have top choice meat.” “Yes I know,” I said trying to sound diplomatic. “Can I get a refund please?” “I don’t know why you bothered?” he said at last shaking his head. “What? Why?” I said losing the little confidence I had. “It could have crawled back by itself!” he replied with a smile. I laughed politely. “Sure thing.” He gave me my refund with more apologies and I walked back the shop lighter and less smelly than I came in. “Who’s chicken is out now?” I said to myself with a triumphant smile. Back To Love, a very short collection of 4 Romantic Short Stories based in Ireland for 1 euro. 1 teenage love story (Unloving you), 1 dark romance (See Through Love), 1 first date romantic story, (Cup of Love ) 1 sexy romance (Like a Tide) and an E-book to bind them all.

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