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Lucan Informer 15,000 copies delivered monthly

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

Lucan and Palmerstown

The Lucan school to benefit Governor from €100m investment Claims that 1,200 direct and indirect construction jobs will be created through the national projects.

A Lucan primary school is set to benefit from a recent investment announcment by the Department of Education. Scoil Mhuire Primary School in Woodview, Lucan, will be among a number of schools nationwide that will see €100 million invested in 28 new school bulding projects over the next four years. In addition to Scoil Mhuire, four other Dublin schools will also benefit from the investment. The investment will see St Laurence O’Toole’s Special School in Seville Place get a new school building. St Mary’s Central NS, Donnybrook; Sancta Maria College, Rathfarnham; and Castleknock Community College will all get major extensions and refurbishments benefiting over 2,750 students. The new funding will enable 28 new school building projects to go ahead. The Department of Education's total investment in these new school projects will

By Paul O'Connell come to €100 million, with the balance coming from the existing €2.2 billion school building budget for 2012 and 2016. The Lucan Informer understands that nationally, 18 primary schools and 10 post-primary schools will be replaced or refurbished to provide state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities for over 12,000 students. The 28 schools are in addition to the 275 major school building projects announced in March 2012 under the Department of Education's

The woman who saved George Washington All About Dublin - Page 12

“Five Year Plan”. The schools that will be replaced or refurbished have completed extensive architectural planning already and can progress quickly to tender and construction before the end of this year. The additional €50 million is being provided by the Department of Public Expenditure Reform under the Government's €150 million 'Investing in Infrastructure and Jobs' package. It is expected that over 1,200 direct and indirect construction jobs will be created through the projects. Local communities will also benefit, as many schools make their grounds and buildings available for a range of community activities.

Flash Fiction

Invitation to Number 16 on Page 16

John Lonergan Interview

Page 10

Win a pair of Tickets

See page 2

Should we still give foreign aid?

Barry Andrews says yes - Page 2



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The Informer

The Drift Comment Box

By Barry Andrews, Goal

Should we still give aid?


Dublin by Numbers


This is the number of new cars sold in Ireland from January to May this year who were propelled by electricity, according to the CSO. This is out of a total of 46,201 so it's still a small proportion of car sales. Of the 310, only 22 were full electric vehicles and the rest were petrol/electric hybrids. This is not surprising given the range anxiety cited by many analysts. At less than one per cent of sales, electric cars have not gone mainstream but up to recently the choice of hybrids was very small. There is still a huge amount of innovation going on so expect electric's share to start rising in coming years.

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One Friday afternoon recently, I found myself standing beside an unremarkable area of ground in a town in northern Syria trying to comprehend what I was being told. The section of turf that I was looking at had been home to a mosque that, on another Friday a few months previously, had been levelled by a direct hit from an aerial bomb. The strike took place during midday prayers. Up to 80 people were killed instantly. As I stood there, struggling to take this on board, I could see little evidence to suggest that such an atrocity had taken place. The remains of the building had been cleared away, the bodies long-since buried and all that remained was a small clearing. Yet, happen it did, and like so many other cases of violence and bloodshed in this battle-scarred country, it has become a mere footnote in the wider conflict. More than two years after it commenced, the battle for control of Syria rages on. The UN estimates that at least 80,000 people have been killed. Other reports put that figure as high as 120,000. Since we began our intervention in Syria towards the end of last year, GOAL has distributed 8,000 kits, which included blankets and essential hygiene materials; and 107 metric tonnes of wheat flour, which is a staple diet for the people of Syria. We are currently preparing to distribute 33,000 family food baskets which will benefit more than 230,000 people. These are individuals that, without our support, would struggle to find assistance elsewhere. Like any Irish organisation, or business, GOAL is very mindful of the fact that the Irish Government is grappling with grave difficulties. As a charity, we are very cognisant of the difficulties being experienced by thousands of people in this country. It is deeply troublesome to bear witness to the decline in living conditions and, as always, it is the poor and disadvantaged that are affected most. In recent years, GOAL has seen its income reduce significantly as a result of the economic downturn and we have had to make very difficult and painful decisions to completely end our operations in some countries and scale down our programmes in others. We are all too aware of the painful reality of watching those who are in dire need suffer, and being unable to provide assistance. Any conversation around Ireland's aid programme must always be borne with these people in mind. It must also consider the view that spending part of our budget on overseas aid does not necessarily have to affect how we help people who are distressed at home. In fact, comparing and contrasting the poor in Ireland with the poverty-stricken in developing countries is both disingenuous and divisive. They are not mutually exclusive. We can be part of a country that helps those most in need here, and delivers aid to help ease the suffering of those families on the margins of society in countries like Syria. What is required is not surrender or a walking away from the field, but a bold new focus and resolve to do things better with a total concentration of effort and resources. Instead of being defeatist in the face of our own difficulties, we must do more, with less.

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS TO DISCO INFERNO! WITH THE RTÉ CONCERT ORCHESTRA Due to phenomenal demand, the troupe that brought the roof down at February's sold-out Bee Gees and Super Troupers concerts are back with their brand new show, DISCO INFERNO! It takes a certain something to have a 1,200 strong audience on their feet. DISCO INFERNO! is that something. Expect hit after 70s hit from the Bee Gees, Abba, Isaac Hayes, Elton John, Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand and so many more, brought to you by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra conducted by Andy O’Callaghan with his funky Celebration Singers. This is a night for mirror balls and dancing in the aisles! (Tickets from `11 available from 01 417 0000 / To win a pair of tickets to DISCO INFERNO with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra on THURSDAY AUGUST 29TH at the National Concert Hall, simply answer the following question: What group had a hit with the song DISCO INFERNO in 1976? a)

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The Informer

Lucan In Brief... WestSide Stage School Summer Camp

This year WestSide Stage School's Summer Camp is a two week course and as usual it is open to everyone aged between 4 and 16 years. The Summer Camp will be held in Griffeen Valley Educate Together National School. This year organisers are delighted to confirm that the staged production on the final day of the two week course will be in The Wilson and Wright Theatre in The King's Hospital School, Palmerstown, Dublin 20 where parents are invited to attend. Camp details are as follows: 10.30am to 1.30pm Monday July 8th to Friday July 12th Monday July 15th to Friday July 19th Includes Staged Production Friday July 19th @2pm in The Wilson and Wright Theatre Open to everyone aged 4 to 16 years, COST €160, For more details go to

Lucan Festival Seeking Donations and Volunteers

From The Committee are currently canvassing companies in the area for donations. Last year the Festival cost aprox €13,000 to run and we are appealing for donations no matter how small which will be acknowledged publicly. Do not give donations to anyone purporting to be from the committee unless they have an official letter from the Festival. If you have had no one call please contact the writer below. On Thurs 26th September the Tea Dance returns to the Spa Hotel. Since the Dance started 2 years ago it has become very popular and this year promises to be the best. So put the date in your diary and dig out the

with Paul O'Connell dancing shoes in good time. Admission is €8 including tea/coffee and finger food. Following on from last year's event it was suggested that an historical walk around the village should take place at the weekend as a lot of people are tied up on weekdays. So this year we will have three walks, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings begining at 11am. The starting location will be announced nearer to the time. If anyone would like to volunteer their services during the week please contact the writer. On our website a collection of last year's festival photos will be available. See www.lucan-festival. com. Our festival this year is from 23rd to the 29th September and we invite all local groups and organizations who would like to participate particularly on the 29th when we hold our Open Day to contact us . We would like local bands and performers to participate and show off their talents. We are also looking for local makers of goods such as jams, sauces, bread, cakes, chocolate, candles, knitwear, etc to partake on our village open day. Events will also take place throughout the week which will be announced at a later date. Contact us at or or directly to Joe Byrne Chairman 0867944074.

Free Family Fun at Farmleigh House

Farmleigh House will host children's art workshops for children between 6-12yrs on Saturday the 13th July. The Invented Zoo has a lot of fantastic animals. Check out Farmleigh for The Invented Zoo to design

n Irish rugby star and UNICEF Ireland Ambassador Donncha O'Callaghan has returned home from a humanitarian mission to Lebanon where he saw first-hand the dire situation for Syrian children and their families. The war has left more than 70,000 people dead and nearly six million displaced from their homes. Donncha is pictured with siblings, four-year-old Mohmoud and five-year-old Kawthar. To donate please visit or call 1850 767 999. Photo: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland and create your own animals from scratch. Dinosaurs, giraffes, tigers, lions, bears and more. You design and you create using material from your kitchen, wardrobe and garage. Anyone interested in bringing their kids along for a fun packed day can join Orla Kelly from Early Childhood Creativity for creative summer workshops in Farmleigh.

Workshops are free but ticketed. Tickets are allocated on the day on a first come first served basis. Session 1: The Invented Zoo ~ The Motorhouse: 12noon-1pm. Session 2: The Invented Zoo ~ The Motorhouse: 1.30pm-2.30pm. Session 3: The Invented Zoo ~ The Motorhouse: 3pm-4pm

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Green Scene

The sewage - do it right

So now we know where the new giant sewage facility for North Dublin is to go. If big is beautiful the site chosen is probably the most suitable of those under review both ecologically and from the point of view of accessibility. For the sake of those living in the area one must hope that it is properly designed and the budget is in place so that the problems that were associated with the construction and commissioning at Ringsend are avoided. My personal belief is that it would have been better to build a series of smaller local treatment facilities because the consequences will be so widespread if something goes wrong. I do hope there is plenty of power back up and triplicated management systems

Good for the Irish Sea

Thoughts about sewage bring me inevitably to the end product. Although we keep hearing about waste water treatment there is, of course, a lot more than water going to be produced in the plant which will be second only to that in Ringsend in capacity. I'm assuming that most of the electricity to power it will be produced on site. Ringsend gets 40% of its power requirements from the methane that is generated from the solid fraction of the waste but technology has improved even in the short time since that was built and it surely possible to do better. More importantly the project should take a lot of pollution out of the Irish Sea. Listening to some of the comments I've been puzzled by those who say that the outfall at Ireland's Eye will have an adverse effect on fishing in Dublin Bay. In fact the opposite should happen so long as the specifications and design are right. At the moment Ireland still manages to put far too much poorly treated waste into our waters, bot inshore and coastal. This plant should be a big step in the clean up.

End product - not waste

In fact I get pretty annoyed about the concept that the end product of a good sewage treatment plant is waste. Do it right and you get clean water, methane gas for power, and a clean safe fertiliser to go back on the land. Yes, it's been through our bodies on the way to that state but it certainly isn't waste - it is reclamation, recycling and waste prevention. For far too many years we have taken the nutrients from soil and cycled them, via vegetables, animals and our human bodies, into the sea, gradually diminishing the mineral status of our soils. Now at last we are trying to stabilise the equation. There is still going to be a small net loss, but at least if we return sewage to the land as a treated, safe balanced fertiliser that loss will be minimised. And because the end product of good sewage treatment is a very stable product, it won't leach into groundwater as easily as "bag nitrogen" does so the nitrate levels in Irish groundwater, which can cause damage to the capacity of blood to carry oxygen, should continue to fall to ever safer levels.

A blooming great day

Thoughts of fertiliser bring me to gardening. Along with what seemed like most of Dublin I headed for Bloom over the June Bank Holiday to bask in the unexpected sunshine, pick up new gardening ideas and pig out on the artisan food. I had a great day, meeting up with lots of old friends both on the stands and in the crowd, and seriously damaging my wallet on new plants for my garden and delicious - and all too often fattening - things to eat. Though I have to admit that the fattening was down to my choices, since there were plenty of healthy options available. After all, the only way to decide whether you like Keogh's potato crisps or the kale chips from Natasha's Living Foods best is to eat both. So I did. And bought both.

The Informer

By Kathy Marsh, Sonairte Gardening or food?

However, I think I wasn't the only one who felt that in its attempt to provide something for everyone Bord Bia was putting on a very confused show. Is it a gardening event or a food fair? And where do the craft stall come in? Judging by the queues to "have a go" in the latter it is maybe time for a serious Dublin summer craft event, although I doubt if the Craft Council of Ireland have the funding to stage an event on the scale there is obviously a demand for. I've thought a fair bit about why so many people are now busily trying to recover skills that were commonplace a generation or two back, such as knitting, cooking and gardening - it isn't just that the recession has bitten since some are willing to spend a fortune on special wools, artisan ingredients and rare plants. It is more, I feel, about a determination in an out-ofcontrol-world where both climate and economy have gone mad, to take control of the minutiae of our lives, to be flexible and adaptable, to be able to pass on to future generations survival skills that were cheerfully tossed overboard in the days when growth and expansion were taken for granted. It would be nice to see government putting some cash behind such investment in sustainability but somehow, in these Troika days I can't see it happening. I guess we should be grateful that through Bord Bia and Leader, they continue to invest in the development of local artisan foods - though thanks to some careless wording of Ireland's EU agreements they can't put as much from the agriculture budget into this form of local development as most other European nations are doing.

The desire to control

But back to the gardens. To be honest I was pretty disappointed with a lot of the show gardens in competition far too many gave the impression that the designers had hopped down to their local big box suppliers, bought

everything in sight and planted it out in tight bright blocks with no regard to succession, sustainability, or biodiversity. There was good reason for this, for when I listened to the comments of many show visitors this was exactly what they wanted - not nature in their gardens but total control, which included strongly colour co-ordinated hard landscaping, furniture, and foliage. Talking to some of the designers they felt they had to go in this direction because this is what the Irish clientele still wants. Of course the winning garden gave a completely different message and one much needed in our times.

Garden within a garden

Gerard Mullen, from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford built a garden within a garden. Somewhere nearer the house was a neatly manicured lawn and vegetable and flower beds but here the owners had taken advantage of their setting in the Comeragh Mountains to build a tranquil retreat. A stunningly simple ultramodern pavilion looked out over pond, meadow and old stone walls which were demonstrating the excellence of the planting by providing a home to a host of beneficial insects when I saw it - I could almost wonder if the designer had brought the lacewings and hover flies with him. This garden was also stunning in the quality of the planting. Don't mistake me - the quality of the actual plants at the Bloom this year was excellent. Irish growers really showed they can produce the goods but sometimes they weren't as well planted and maintained as they should have been. In one case plants hadn't been properly watered and were already wilting two days into the show. This was a great shame since it was a garden with a strong message.

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The Informer

Angler's Angles with Keith McDonnell

The sky over Dublin with Conor Farrell, Astronomy Ireland

Why I love to go fishing An eerie yet spectacular sight I’m often asked why I fish as it is apparent to anyone I meet that I am absolutely passionate about Fly Fishing. I think it appeals to me so much because for a short time, I can switch off from everything else in my life. I can arrive at the water and in two minutes be thinking only about the best way to outwit my quarry. At times when I can’t get out fishing I can easily pull out some memories of the beautiful places I’ve visited or remember a significant capture or escape. We live in a fast paced stress filled world with people spending considerable time doing things that they dislike. Fly-fishing is more about solitude when compared with conventional types of fishing. Although I enjoy a fishing adventure with friends while actually fishing we generally fish alone and will meet in the evening to eat, drink and brag about big fish! Then there are the rewards, If I have read the water correctly, chosen the correct fly and presented it well and then the fish takes, it is like a shot of adrenaline into your heart. To capture a fresh run bright silver Salmon or a large wild Trout is something that cannot be bought, it can only be earned through patience and dedication and the sense of achievement is immense. There are many facets to the sport that appeal to me; fly casting itself is an art form, fly

n Painting of river Suir Trout by Keith McDonnell

tying, photography, conservation and fish art. Yes I also paint fish!, I know I am obsessed with fish and their environments but as the author Robert Traver once wrote: “I fish not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant and not nearly so much fun.” Keith McDonnell is a fly fishing guide and instructor and big trout nut based in Dublin.

While we don’t get completely dark skies in the summer like we do in winter, this time of year still brings plenty to see in the night sky. The ringed planet Saturn is placed in the southern sky and later on in the month it will be placed right next to the fainter star Kappa Virginis. However, Saturn itself will be quite bright and will have a slight yellow-ish tinge to it, from its clouds. Observing Saturn through binoculars will show you its moons, while a telescope should reveal its rings. With a larger telescope you may even be able to make out the large Cassini Division in the ring system! Summertime also brings an unusual phenomenon called noctilucent clouds (NLCs for short). These are very high-altitude clouds, invisible in all cases other than deep twilight. This makes summer the ideal time for them to appear, when the Sun – although below our horizon – can still shine on the clouds which are in the mesosphere, approximately 80km above the ground. The clouds were first observed in 1885, following the eruption of Krakatoa two years earlier, but research has shown that NLCs are not caused solely by vol-

canic activity. Their discovery was also after the end of the Industrial Revolution, and their increase in appearance has been suggested to be linked to climate change due to pollutants in the atmosphere. Noctilucent are an eerie yet spectacular sight. They cannot be missed as they look like no other cloud you will have seen, glowing electric blue, almost like a web in the northern sky. They are best seen from Ireland between 10:30pm and 11:30pm or so. If you don't see them one night, don't worry; keep checking regularly around this time of year and you should get to see them! You can get your equipment to scan the Dublin sky at

n Helsinki skyline. (Credit: Timo Newton-Syms)

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The Informer

Garden Growing With Gerry Norton Phenomenal growth after cold spring As I write this June piece the rain and cold wind has arrived after about 10 days of glorious sunshine and warmth. Readers will appreciate that there is a time gap between submitting my monthly piece to the editor of The Informer and you, the reader actually reading the article. So I sincerely hope that the lovely weather will return later in the month when this issue is popped through your letter box. Burst into life

The growth during the lovely weather has been phenomenal allowing everything to finally burst into life after a windy and cold Spring. Oddly enough one of the bonuses of this is that many plants and shrubs which would have finished flowering many weeks ago are still in flower or have only just stopped flowering. A great example of this is the early Climatis ‘Montana’. I have a white variety which is still in flower. If you too have one of these

early climbers unless you want it to cover an old shed or ugly wall the new shoots should be cut back once flowering is finished. Weeds grow too

Lawns have also started to take off and most could do with a liquid feed at this time of the year. The lovely weather has also given weeds a boost and weeding should be tackled whenever possible, just try to do a little at a time rather than spending hours at this laborious task. Deadhead any faded plants in your beds and borders and don’t forget to keep deadheading your hanging baskets for a continuous display. A feed every 2 weeks or so is also vital for your baskets, window boxes and containers. Squishing and squashing

Roses this year appear to have more green and black fly than usual. I’m a great believer in squishing and squashing the blighters rather than spraying them. Just put on rubber or surgi-

The Glen of Aherlow

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n A lot of hedges and spring flowering shrubs will need pruning now but do be careful as there may be nests

cal gloves and work away. Also cut back any suckers when they appear. If you have a pond now is a great time to introduce some new fish and clean up overgrown oxygenating plants. Fish should also be fed more often but don’t over do it. A lot of hedges and spring flowering shrubs will need pruning now but do be careful as there may be nests. I have discovered about three recently despite being assured by the customer that none

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were present. In the veg plot up to the end of May everything looked rather sad. Now I have an abundance of lettuce and rocket. The potatoes have just been ‘earthed up’ and some have flowered. I hope to eat the first of them in about 3 or 4 weeks. Think about winter veg

Alway remember to leave them in the ground and pick them as required rather than harvest them all at the same time. The beetroot

have been thinned out giving me a bit more space to sow more seed for later in the year. Now is the time to think about winter veg, such as cabbage or sprouts. These are best bought as small healthy plants in your local garden centre. Tidy up and cut back faded flowers in your spring bed such as daffs, bluebells, and lily of the valley. You can sow perennial seeds in the gaps that might appear when you do this tidy up.

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

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

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The Informer

The Governor

Where did you grow up? I grew up in a small rural community in Bansha, Co. Tipperary.

John Lonergan

What’s your fondest childhood memory?

Interview with Rachel Murray

As a child I had a great love of horses and our neighbour, Jimmy O’Heney, always had horses, so I spend much of my childhood years with him and his horses. I have great memories of that period of my life and I learned a lot from him about the value of kindness and gentleness. He told me that horses always reacted positively when treated with kindness and gentleness. He was right, and I must say that this proved to be a lesson for life as I soon discovered that human beings also respond positively to kindness. Indeed, I now strongly believe that if kindness doesn’t get the very best out of a fellow human being, nothing will. What drew you to work in the Irish Prison System?

I ended up working in the Irish Prison Service purely by accident. When I applied for a position in the prison service in 1967 I had no idea or insight into what working in a prison would be like and I knew nobody who worked in the service. I guess many people end up working in jobs that they never planned for and I was certainly one such person. You were in the prison service for 42 years, did you ever want to do something else?

Yes, I worked for over 42 years in the prison service and I found the work very challenging and rewarding. And, no, I never thought about leaving to do other things until 2010, when I decided to retire. What do you think has been the greatest development in Prison System since you began in 1968?

For me personally it was the building and development of the Dochas Centre. When I took over as Governor of Mountjoy Prison in 1984, conditions in the old women’s prison were brutal. Eventually, I was given that opportunity in the mid 1990s

The Informer Interview

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I now strongly believe that if kindness doesn’t get the very best out of a fellow human being, nothing will. and in 1999 a new modern facility for women prisoners was opened. The design of the Dochas Centre was a most innovative creation and I always believed that it introduced a new and very positive approach to imprisonment. The principle underpinning it was ‘normalisation’ and that was to allow women to live as close as possible to a normal life on the inside so that when they were released they would find the transition from prison to the outside less difficult. Being governor was a stressful job did it affect you personally?

I never felt any stress during my years as a prison governor - perhaps I was but I certainly was not aware of it. I do know that I never lost a night’s sleep during my working life or woke up stressed out over the job. I was very lucky to be able to switch off once I left the prison and that was a great ability to have. I was very involved in sport for most of that period of my life and this was also a great help. I kept physically fit as well, and again, I believe that this was very helpful in coping with the job of a prison governor. How did you find the balance between work and home life?

I had no problem finding the right balance between work and home life. I never brought the job home with me, never spoke about Mountjoy or Portlaoise. I separated the two main strands of my live and it certainly worked for me and kept me relatively sane!! Do you live day-to-day or do you plan for the future?

I live very much day to day and take life as it comes. At this stage of my life, 65 years, I am very aware of the important things in life and that is life itself. I’m really very lucky to have enjoyed wonderful health throughout my life and that is the greatest gift of all and I never take it for granted. So, no forward planning in my life because, like many other people, I know only too well what happens to ‘the best laid plans’. You were constrained by the system throughout your career as Governor was it important to you, to have free reign with your memoir? Well, I was a bit constrained but I did my best to push the boat out as much as possible and I spoke out publicly about many issues while I was a prison governor. My main motivation for writing my memoirs was to put on record my experience of the prison system and, in particular, to place on public record the things that I

believed in and what worked and didn’t work in the system. I also knew that the system would try to damage me as much as possible once I was gone and now with the benefit of hindsight I was dead right too. That said, I have nothing but very happy memories of my time in the prison service and the vast number of people I worked with in the service. You travel the country giving talks in communities and to parents. What’s the most important message you convey to parents?

For many years now I have the great privilege of being invited to speak to parents all over the country. Two of the most important messages I give to parents are (a) as parents you have about 14 years at maximum when your children want you, after that it’s you who want your children. I encourage them to make the very best use of those early years and to do their best to be present for most of the ‘firsts’ in their children’s lives. I focus this especially at fathers because us fathers miss out on much of our children’s lives. I emphasise the fact that there’s only one first, first smile, first word, first step, etc. My message is be there for as many as you can. And, (b) I urge parents to chat to their children as much as possible from a very young age and to continue to do so when they are teenagers. Now, I stress that chatting should have no agenda; it must be totally off the cuff. I believe that if parents chat to their children many of the blocks in communication that arise during teenage years will never arise. As parents we are much more likely to interrogate our teenagers than to chat with them. Communication between parents and their children is absolutely vital and I encourage parents to do everything possible to keep their lines of communication open at all times with their children. What is the best bit of advice you’ve been given by someone?

The best advice I ever got was from a senior official in the Department of Justice when he said to a group of us one day in

Shanganagh Castle, now closed, “Remember, the truth never goes away”.

You have two grown up daughters, what’s the best advice you have given them as a father?

I hope I gave my daughters ‘lots’ of good advice, actually, I never stopped, unfortunately they didn’t seem to think it was all that good!!! I guess my best advice to them was 'be true to yourself and always treat other people with respect'. Of course, I also advised them to share their wealth with their father, advice that they have so far totally ignored, but I live in hope. With the success of your memoir, have you any plans to write another book in the future?

I am currently writing a book on parenting and I hope it will be published later this year with the proceeds going to a children’s charity. Do you have anything planned for the future that our readers may be interested in? Do I have any plans for the future? The answer is definitely not, as I said already, I live in the present and I’ll leave tomorrow take care of itself.


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The Informer

All about Dublin 1

A Place in the City Military Road - Featherbeds

One of the most scenic areas of County Wicklow is across the Military Road and the Featherbeds. It makes for a breathtaking drive through mountain, bog, lake and indescribable scenery. For four centuries these mountains and forests in County Wicklow were the strongholds of the O’Byrnes and the O’Tooles. They attacked and taunted the British and retreated to their strongholds with little possibility of detection. Two years after the 1798 rebellion some of the rebels were still holding out, the Wicklow Mountains providing them cover. The rebels, evading capture for so long, proved most embarrassing for the local commanders and yeomen. Through sheer frustration the British government decided to build

roads through the mountains to get within range of the rebels and end their activities once and for all. In August 1800, 200 soldiers were detailed for the operation and were paid 1/- per day. They constructed a military road from Rathfarnham, County Dublin to Aughavanagh, to make the mountains accessible to troops during the campaign. The road linked Glencree to Sally Gap, Roundwood and Glendalough. Initially the roads made little impression on the rebels and the government decided to quarter soldiers in private houses higher up in the mountains. The rebels were in the heart of the mountains when snow came, leaving them in a wretched condition. A local priest made an appeal to the rebel leader, Michael Dwyer, to accept a truce and he agreed to surrender on certain terms. On 14 December 1803 Dwyer surrendered to the local garrison commander, William Hoare Hume, thus ending one of the most gallant efforts in Irish history. The Government failed to stand by their commitment that Dwyer

Edited by Zoz and his family would be sent to North America and instead they were transported to New South Wales. Many block-houses and barracks were constructed along its route at Glencree, Laragh and Drumgoff. An excerpt from 'Bray and North Wicklow - Gateway to the Garden' with Paintings by Val Byrne and Text by Arthur Flynn. It is published by Cottage Publications and costs around €22.

Lesser Known Dubliners Lydia Barrington

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Born in 1728 in Dublin, Ireland, Lydia Barrington married fellow Quaker William Darragh in 1753. A few years later they emigrated to Philadelphia where William taught and Lydia was a midwife. They had five children, four others died in infancy. During the American Revolution Philadelphia was occupied in September 1777 by the British after several military victories. General George Washington attacked the town but was repulsed and set up a fortified camp 16 miles away. Although many Philadelphia residents fled, the Darraghs remained in their home which was just across the street from the British HQ. As Quakers they were considered neutral and not a threat - their eldest son, William, broke with Quaker tradition and joined the American forces. Using another son, John (14), Lydia smuggled coded notes to William. He, in turn, passed the intelligence on. It is doubtful that it was of much use but events were about to take a strange turn. The Darragh home was requisitioned by the British and, though the youngest children were sent away to relatives, Lydia was allowed to stay. On December 2, 1777, the British officers ordered the family to stay in their bedrooms all evening while they held a meeting. Suspicious of what they would say or do, Lydia hid in the chamber closet of a room adjoining the council room. She overheard a plan for a surprise attack on General Washington’s army at Whitemarsh in two days time. The following day she requested a pass to go visit her youngest children and to obtain flour from Frankford Mill. Early on the morning of the fourth, Darragh left her home and started a long walk through the snow. Her pass allowed her to go through the patrol stops without any trouble. On her way, she crossed paths with an American officer she knew and told him about the surprise attack General Howe planned for that evening. That officer, Elias Boudinot, wrote:- "I was reconoitering along the Lines near the City of Philadelphia. - I dined at a small Post at the rising Sun abt three miles from the City. - After Dinner a little poor looking insignificant Old Woman came in and solicited leave to go into the Country to buy some flour - She walked up to me and put into my hands a dirty old needlebook, with various small pockets in it where I found a piece of Paper rolled up into the form of a Pipe Shank. - on unrolling it I found information that General Howe was coming out the next morning with 5,000 Men - 13 pieces of Cannon Baggage Waggons, and 11 Boats on Waggon Wheels. On comparing this with other information I found it true, and immediately rode Post to head Quarters." The tipoff proved invaluable, turning what could have been a decisive battle into a three-day (Dec. 5-7) series of skirmishes. The British forces, low on provision and fearing the onset of winter withdrew. General Washington had lived to fight another day. Back in Philadelphia Lydia was questioned but cleared of leaking details of the attack. In mid 1778 the British left and the family was reunited. William died in 1783 and Lydia in 1789. In Philadelphia, the British soldiers conducted an investigation to find out who leaked their plan. Darragh was questioned by one of the officers about whether anyone in the family was awake the night the soldiers held council in their house. Darragh replied no and the officer believed her. In June of 1778 the British left Philadelphia and Darragh was reunited with the rest of her children. In 1783, her husband William died. Three years later, Darragh moved into a new house and ran a store until her death in 1789. Both were buried in the Friends' burial ground, Fourth and Arch Sts., Philadelphia.

y Zoz

Treatment of sunburn

The clock is ticking!


The Informer

Ask the Pharmacist

Sunburn is a painful inflammation of the skin caused by UVB rays from the sun (or from tanning beds). UVB rays penetrate into the lower layers of the skin, damaging the cells and causing the characteristic redness and pain. ➤ If you have been burned by the sun, there are a number of treatments that can be used. Aloe vera gels and lotions can be applied to the burnt area and are great for cooling and soothing hot, painful skin. La Roche Eoin Meany works as a Posay or Ambre Solaire also do excellent after-sun gels and lotions. pharmacist in McCabe's ➤ Many people don’t realise that sunburn is an actual burn, and the effects on the body are similar to burns caused by hot water, or touchPharmacy, Ridgewood ing hot surfaces. Therefore, treatments that would be used for these Avenue, Swords. types of burns are also beneficial for sunburn. Burnshield or Medicare Hydrogel can be good for soothing the pain and heat of sunburn. If you have a question you ➤ While topical treatments are beneficial, people often overlook treating would like answered for the pain as they would treat other types of pain. Ibuprofen or paracetanext issue, please send mol tablets can work wonders for very painful sunburn. it by email to ➤ After the initial burn has begun to heal, sunburn can become very itchy. If this occurs, antihistamine tablets or creams can be useful for treating the itch. or by post to McCabe's ➤ If sunburn covers a large area of the skin, dehydration can become a Pharmacy, Ridgewood, problem as a lot of water is lost through the burnt area. It is important Swords, Co. Dublin. to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. You should also avoid any sun exposure until the sunburn has healed. ➤ While sunburn is usually a just an uncomfortable lesson in why you should keep yourself protected from the sun, severe sunburn can be dangerous. It is important to seek medical attention if: • you have severe, blistering sunburn over a large part of the body • you develop a high fever, vomiting or are in severe pain • you become confused or disorientated • your sunburn does not improve within a few days Disclaimer: The advice you have been given by the pharmacist should not be • you develop a skin infection from scratching regarded as a clinically accurate diagnosis of any disease or a guarantee that a Sunburn can be avoided by staying out of particular medicine is safe for you to take. direct sunlight and using sunscreen correctly The advice given is based solely on the when you are exposed to the sun. If you are in limited amount of information provided the sun for any length of time, remember that it and so should not be regarded as a can take up to six hours for sunburn to become substitute for a face to face consultation apparent, so you should be mindful of the poswith a pharmacist, doctor or other health sibility that you have already been burned even professional who is personally familiar if your skin looks and feels normal. with your medical history.

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The Informer

All about Dublin 2

Edited by Zoz

Firsthand History

The Changing City

In 'The Picture of Dublin, or Strangers Guide to the Metropolis' published in Dublin in 1825 by William Curry Jnr., the growth and changes in the city between the 16th and 18th centuries were described. The following excerpt gives an overview of the times:-

"Before the reign of Elizabeth (1533-1603), all the buildings throughout Dublin, with the exception of the castle, towers, churches, and some of the houses appropriated to religious worship, (which were built of lime and stone of a very durable quality), were composed of wattles daubed with clay. About that period the inhabitants began to build their houses in a more permanent and convenient manner; they were constructed with timber, in the cage-work fashion, and covered with slates, tiles, or shingles. From the inflammable nature of these materials, many parts of the city were from time to time completely destroyed by raging fires. "In the 17th century stone or brick began to be commonly used in the construction of private houses. In 1610, the entire circuit of its walls, which were wholly confined to the south side, did not exceed a mile and there about 30 streets and lanes. "Now (1825), the length of the city from east to west is little short of three miles, and its breadth almost equal. The number of streets, lanes, etc. is now above 800, containing more than 22,000 houses, and above 204,000 inhabitants. "Since the Elizabethan period, nearly the whole of the north side of Dublin has been built; and Grange-

Gorman, Stoney-batter, and Glasmanogue - villages then at a considerable distance - have been united to the city; Rutland and Mountjoy-squares, with a number of elegant and spacious streets, occupy the north-eastern part of this tract. "Dame-street was built only on the north side, and did not extend more than three hundred feet in length. On the east and south of George's-lane, a space now occupied by Stephen's-green, Merrion and Fitzwilliam-squares, little was to be seen but enclosed fields; Golden-lane, Stephen street, and South Great George's-street having been at that time the boundary of the south-east limits of Dublin. "To the eastward, on both sides of the river, streets and squares of the most spacious, airy, and elegant description, have been erected within the last fifty years. Fitzwilliam-square, together with several elegant streets, have recently been formed towards the south-east. "Most of the streets are well paved; being Macadamized in the centre for carriages, while on either side, generally speaking, and with the exception of that part of the city denominated the Liberty, there is a well flagged foot-path. The city is lighted with gas, and the inhabitants enjoy a plentiful supply of excellent water from the Grand and Royal Canals, conveyed by pipes from large reservoirs, or basins, constructed at the north and south sides of the river. "The city is encompassed by a circular-road, nearly nine miles in length, and on three sides by the Grand and Royal Canals, which terminate in docks communicating with the Liffey near its mouth. "At an early period of its history, on account of the

n CAPTION: A section of a wattle and daub house.

walls with which it was surrounded, and from the houses being built so close together, and the streets so narrow, the inhabitants were at various times visited with a kind of plague - in 1575 over a four month period 3,000 people died - and also with a disease called the sweating sickness, which carried off immense numbers in a very short space of time. Sweating sickness typically killed people in 24 hours or less after the first symptoms. It was first noted in Ireland in 1492 and the last known outbreak was in 1551 - the cause remains unknown. "Previous to the Union (1800), Dublin was the constant or occasional residence of 271 temporal and spiritual Peers, and 300 members of the House of Commons. At present, about half a dozen Peers, and some fifteen or twenty Members of the House of Commons have a settled dwelling within its pre-

cincts. Other persons of this exalted class of society, whom business or amusement may draw to the capital occasionally, take up their residence at one of the hotels, which are numerous in the city. "The resident gentry of Dublin now amount to about 2,000 families, including clergymen and physicians, besides nearly an equal number of lawyers and attornies, who occasionally reside there. "The families engaged in trade and commerce are calculated at about 5,000, and the whole may yield a population of 60,000 or 70,000 in the higher and middle ranks of society. "The change which has taken place, though injurious to commercial prosperity, has, perhaps, in an equal proportion, proved beneficial to public morals; the general character of the inhabitants, which was once gay and dissipated, has now become more serious and religious, and those sums formerly lavished on expensive pleasures, are now happily converted to purposes of a more exalted nature. "Formerly there were seven theatres well supported; at present the only one which remains is frequently thinly attended. Club-houses and gaming-tables are nearly deserted; and even among the lower classes, vice of every kind has visibly diminished."

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The Cour Divorce A are provid considered tion? Where up and a assets wer redistribut parties' cir if they bec Our Sup known as legal sepe was unabl debts beg substantia lifestyle. T sum to the to the Sup The Su earning ca responsibi tion of ma emphasise Separation eration, e settlemen Unlike break” in to. In othe finality fo

y Zoz


The Informer

Law matters with Noreen Maguire

'Proper Provision' in Divorce where a Deed of Separation already exists The Courts in Ireland have a duty under the Divorce Act to make sure children and spouses are provided for adequately. So what would be considered “proper provision” in a Divorce situation? Where time has passed since the initial breakup and a Deed of Separation exists whereby assets were already divided up, can the Court redistribute wealth? What happens if one of the parties' circumstances have altered, for example, if they become sick? Our Supreme Court gave guidelines in the case known as G v G, where a number of years after a legal seperation the wife suffered an illness and was unable to work. She ran out of money and debts began to mount. The husband's wealth substantially increased and he had a comfortable lifestyle. The High Court awarded a substantial sum to the ill wife but the matter was appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court looked at income and earning capacity, financial need, obligations and responsibilities. Also the age of spouse and duration of marriage were of importance. The Court emphasised that where there was a Deed of Separation in place, it must be taken into consideration, especially where it is “in full and final settlement”. Unlike other countries there is no “clean break” in Irish divorce, however, it can be aspired to. In other words, the Court can look to achieve finality for the couple. In this case the Supreme

Court agreed that the award to the wife was excessive. Just because there is more money in the pot since the initial separation does not mean there is an automatic entitlement to a divvy up of these monies, especially where they are unconnected to a joint project of the spouses during their married life. If an ex-spouse has managed his or her financial affairs cleverly postseparation, it would be unfair if the Court took this into account when examining the matter. Furthermore, the Court indicated that the longer the time since the Deed of Separation, the less likely they are to interfere. Of particular interest, the Court said that monies inherited by one of the spouses were not to be considered marital assets. However, the Court's job is to be fair and reasonable and, accordingly, if a wife or husband's life has dramatically altered since the original split because of a serious illness or bursting of a property bubble affecting the value of assets, for example, they will of course look at that person's reasonable requirements. The important point to remember is that provisions will be made if it is in the interests of justice to do so, but there is no automatic entitlement. Noreen Maguire is a solicitor with Maguire Muldoon Solicitors, 34 Gledswood Park, Clonskeagh, D14. Tel (01) 296 4266 E-mail: Web:

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an enemy pushing device, to the powerful Warp Rifle, a weapon that creates gravitational singularities within a foe, thereby almost wiping them from existence. These weapons are extremely fun, and within the confines of Co-Op mode with each player being assigned a unique weapon, makes for many memorable team-based moments. At it's heart it's a rather sub-standard cover based third-person shooter complete with its boring, wafer thin characters, but use of the Fuse weaponry elevates it a great deal.

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Visuals often balance between being completely run-of-themill to impressive. It's finer moments come from the foes you go up against, particularly with some of the enemies which include all kinds of robots, mechs and most memorably, a giant boss that towers over you. It's at moments like this in which teamwork, and proper use of your advanced weapons, is key.

Fuse isn't perfect, nor is it too inventive. But while Insomniac Beyond the usual generic fire-power that can be found in Games plays it far too safe here, Fuse's online multi-player any third-person shooter, the most important aspect of the and Co-Op mode may just be the tonic for a Call of Duty/ gameplay is the Fuse weaponry, firearms that are unlike Battlefield weary audience 14:00:35 anything our planetjump-zone-02-9-2-FINAL-silhouettes-jump.pdf has ever seen. These range from24/10/2012 the Game Reaction: 7/10 Magshield, an instant shield for your character that doubles as



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Invitation to Number 16

He read the invitation card again. It was sleek and expensive looking. Something in the way the card was addressed told him he must have invested in it. He couldn’t remember which sort of company or project it was. He had invested in a lot of projects back then. When money mattered. Before it all had gone to hell. With the ice sheet disintegration doubling every decade, the sea level had risen to such an extent that Dublin had now its legs deep in water. Three million people had started to slowly but surely move to higher ground. The poorest had migrated to the Wicklows, the richest to Kerry. Ireland was a crowded island. But that’s not what had surprised him over the years. No, what he hadn’t realized was that with the low-lying areas flooded either by downpour of rain or sea level rising, it was acres and acres of land that no one could cultivate anymore, water that no one could drink and this had created such a strain on resources that food and water were now as scarce as sunlight was just a hundred years ago in Ireland. He remembered his grandparents talking lightly about how much sunnier Ireland would be with Global Warming. But there was still no sun. It just rains a lot more and it was more humid. So much for global warming. He missed the sun a lot. In a desperate attempt to close the ozone layer, all multinationals across the globe had declared that all airplanes would be banned from flying - governments no longer made decisions that mattered - so now everyone was stuck in their own country. One could still travel by car or boat with food but with small children, it was to expose them to danger and knowing how desperate people were for food, he wasn’t going to risk it. He looked at the invitation card again. The location was in Knockboy. It was no longer a mountain but a city of twenty thousand inhabitants. It was only half an hour drive. He would have to go through customs and travel after curfew but he didn’t care. For the first time in months, a smile appeared on his lips. He had hope. He arrived at 10pm sharp. Number 16 in Knockboy Main Street looked mundane. He knocked five times as requested on the invitation and a doorman looking rather tired let him in. In the living room, ten men stood around a standalone door. It wasn’t any door and the hair on his back rose when he recognized what it was. He had heard about it. There were rumours but he thought it was desperation talking. One man, he remembered him, now for he was so small, stood before the ten men. “Gentlemen, “he said,” I want to thank you for having believed in me during all those years. I am presenting you the first mean of teleportation. I hope it is to your taste.”

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The Informer

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By Regi

The Informer

Dublin ‘How Could You?’ - bereavement Advice through suicide - a special loss Approximately 500 people take their own lives in Ireland every year, with males outnumbering females by about 4 to 1. On average, every death directly affects six other people, meaning 3,000 people per annum are suicide-bereaved. Grief after suicide can be particularly intense, difficult and complicated. In addition to the expected grief at the loss of a loved one, it can raise many painful issues for which special support and intervention may be needed. Initial Reactions

By Maeve Halpin, Registered Counselling Psychologist

With suicide, a death is usually sudden, unexpected and often violent. Shock and disbelief are common initial reactions. A Garda investigation will take place and a post-mortem will have to be held, which can cause further trauma for family members. Feelings of guilt and shame can be overwhelming after a suicide. Friends, family and even professionals who had been supporting the person can feel that they have failed, that they were negligent, unobservant or uncaring. People can become preoccupied with thoughts of what they could have done - what if I had listened more? Why didn't I notice the signs? Even though nearly 90% of all suicides are associated with a diagnosable mental health or substanceabuse disorder, family members in particular can over-estimate their own contributing role and their presumed ability to affect the outcome.


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Anger and Blame

Ironically, while those bereaved by suicide often need more help than other bereaved people, they may be less likely to receive it. There can still be a social stigma attached to suicide and in many religious traditions it is considered a sin. Until 1993, suicide was a crime in Ireland. Some family members may deny the reality of the suicide as a way of coping and refuse to talk about it. They may feel that they will be judged negatively by the community or be seen as a 'problem family'. People can feel angry with the dead person for killing themselves, for not asking for help or confiding in them, for taking 'the easy way out'. They can feel rejected and abandoned, helpless to express their feelings to the person who has died. They can feel added guilt for being so angry and be too embarrassed or ashamed to admit their anger to others. Mutual blame often surfaces after a suicide, with people trying to alleviate their own guilt by targeting other family members. This can disrupt the family solidarity that would otherwise be a support in times of bereavement. Getting Help

Loss through suicide can require special measures. Unanswered questions can be torturous for those left behind. They need to find a way to understand the act, what led up to it and its consequences, in order to

integrate and accept it. They may find this in their religious or spiritual life, in learning about the psychology of suicide, or by talking to friends and acquaintances of the dead person. Online forums and discussion groups are popular because they can preserve the anonymity of the person and are available 24 hours a day. Many people find one-to-one professional counselling very effective, as it allows them to explore the conflicting and contradictory tangle of emotions generated by suicide in a constructive, confidential and non-judgemental environment. Survivors of suicide loss are at higher risk of developing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal behaviours, as well as a prolonged form of grief called complicated grief. It is important that shame, guilt or stigma do not hinder them from accessing support services that can provide crucial assistance towards healing and recovery. Short-term counselling can be an essential first step on the road to acceptance, understanding and regaining peace of mind. Maeve Halpin © May 2013

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




eauty Notes

The Informer

with Kathleen Rowley

Summer makeover...

Irish brothers Mark and David Van den Bergh established the Max Benjamin range of scented candles seven years ago. Hand poured in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, the range was named after their twin nephews Max and Benjamin. The brand has grown extensively and now features 15 different fragrances and new products including room diffusers and hand/body washes and lotions. CANDLES - €19.95 Max Benjamin candles are made from 100% natural plant waxes. The fragrances are made from a blend of essential oils which all have holistic properties designed to destress, relax and

calm the mind. The wick is an Italian cotton wick which is lead free providing a non toxic burn and the candles have a burn time of 40 hours. Beautifully packaged, this luxurious range is well priced with candles starting at €18.95. Over the past number of years Mark and David have expanded the range to include three wick candles, gift sets, diffusers and washes & lotions. DIFFUSERS - €26.95 Irish candle company Max Benjamin introduced room fragrance diffusers almost three years ago and they have been proving extremely popular. The Diffusers feature rattan reeds which absorb scented oils from the white glass bottle in which they are placed. As the reeds absorb the oil the room becomes infused with the gorgeous fragrance which lasts for up to four months. The advantage is that they give a constant aroma and don’t have to be lit. “The Diffusers were new to the Irish market in 2010 and were very well received as a great innovation in home scenting. They

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look great, provide a constant fresh, subtle aroma to a room and last for up to four months. ” says Mark Van den Bergh of Max Benjamin. All Diffusers are alcohol free and have reduced allergen levels. Max Benjamin Diffusers retail at €26.95.

FasterEFT: The new Therapy that really does work! FasterEFT is currently producing incredible results for all sorts of mental and emotional problems for people across Ireland. Many of these clients have spent a small fortune and many years in therapy trying to get well. However with FasterEFT they are achieving amazing results with just a few sessions of FasterEFT. These sessions can be taken in person at the Mind & Body Clinic, Rathgar, Dublin 6 or on Skype. This amazing therapy gets to the root cause of your problems quickly and easily, then removes them permanently, leaving you feeling like a new person. Whether you suffer from Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Phobias, Addictions, Low Self Esteem, Physical Ailments….or anything else, FasterEFT will change your life, permanently. [FasterEFT essentially reprograms your mind, changing bad memories and beliefs which are causing your mental and physical symptoms today. There are two key techniques used in FasterEFT, - NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and Tapping. FasterEFT is so powerful that most people feel significant benefits after just one session and many are free of all their ailments after just two or three sessions. A simple example would be if you had ‘Fear of Dogs’. You remember an incident with a dog from your past which still impacts on you today. When you see a dog your heart starts pounding. you feel panic, you palms sweat. These are all physical reactions to a memory from your past that is triggered by seeing a dog. FasterEFT removes the physical reaction to memories like this therefore removing your fear of dogs for good! FasterEFT puts a big emphasis on empowering the client by taking responsibility for everything that you create in your life. If you have the power to create a problem, then you have the power to change it or cure it. At www.fastereftdublin you will see video examples of a FasterEFT session. This therapy is a major breakthrough in dealing with negative memories from the past impacting on us today. There is also a list of some of the ailments treated including Social Anxiety, Depression, Pain. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Linda Walker FasterEFT Practitioner, Mind & Body Clinic Rathgar. 01 4976434.

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