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June 2012 • Unit 38, Northwood Court, Santry, Dublin 9 • Tel: 01 813 8786 • Email: info@informer.ie • Web: www.informer.ie

Swords • MALAHIDE

Swords man calls off hunger strike in Dubai Sentenced to six years in Dubai’s central prison in the Al Awir desert last October

An Irish businessman who has been on hunger strike in a Dubai jail has would look into his case,’ his father reportedly resumed taking food this week after being promised a review of his Michael said. case. He said his son was hoping to Christopher Renehan (38), a fathermake bail in the new negotiations. By Paul Cantwell of-five, began his hunger strike on ‘He is hopeful now, and he is April 16th as a last resort to highlight owed more money than he owes,’ his ‘He came off hunger strike some father said. ‘If he could get out to his case after being told he was not authorised to sign off to receive weeks ago after the local prosecutor collect the money then he would money for his company that would promised that if he came off they have all his debt cleared.’ clear his name. Mr Renehan, from Swords, Co Dublin, had been working in Dubai since 2003. He reportedly owes €2 Gift Voucher firm Smartbox is to extend its Swords base by setting million to suppliers but is owed some up a new international centre which could create up to 70 jobs at the €6.6 million for work carried out. firm. The IDA client company’s facility will cover strategy, project Six years management, business to business, digital supply chain and IT. Already in the process of transferring its data centre here and Mr Renehan was sentenced to six years in Dubai’s central prison in the recruiting for 50 jobs, the new operation has the potential to create Al Awir desert last October. The jail- a further 20 positions in the next 18 months. ing was subsequent after a cheque he Employing almost 1,000 people worldwide, Smartbox has been in signed on behalf of his construction Ireland since 2009, when it opened its facility in Swords. company, Sire Contracting, bounced. ‘This operation has been highly successful and as a result of this Under Dubai law, signing a cheque Ireland will now play a major role in our plans to maintain industry that bounces is considered fraud and therefore is a criminal offence result- leadership and expand geographically to build a dominant global presence,’ chief operations officer Erwan Corre said. ing in a jail sentence.

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How we might fix the mortgage crisis New beginning - Page 3

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2

The Informer

The Drift

Q The month in Quotes The manual working-class areas have voted highly No because the people have been the biggest victims of austerity. They have rejected the Government’s advice. The middle classes, in the hope that things won’t get any worse, have voted with the Government and with the establishment. People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett gives his view of the referendum result The armed group set itelf the aim of mounting terror attacks, creating a mood of powerlessness and lawlessness, sowing ethnic and religious enmity and damaging Azerbaijan’s international image. Azeri police on a plot to kill Jedward, amonst others, at the Eurovision I'm not litigious. I don't feel right about doing that. But it could have been worse and you have to ensure it doesn't happen to someone else. Ray Darcy threatens to go to law after tripping over a signpost stump It's very, very hard for all the family now. We feel that he wouldn't have went in if he didn't think he was going to walk free. Anne Lafferty, Annie Gilespie's sister-in-law after her killer John Gallagher handed himself in to the Central Mental Hospital 12 years after he absconded The President just called to say congrats. Caller ID was blocked, so at first I thought it was a telemarketer. Elon Musk, the head of SpaceX, the first private company to send a supply ship to the International Space Station. We are there to record violations and to speak out so that the perpetrators of crimes may be held to account. We are not there to play the role of passive observer of unspeakable atrocities. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the crisis in Syria We might not be ready for the title, but the process starts today Brendan Rodgers on taking over at Liverpool FC.

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This is number of years that the average female in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown is older than the average female. This is the biggest difference in the state. The CSO didn't say why this should be but the difference tends to be higher in urban areas. Women appear to live longer than men due to having less heart disease. Men need to take better care of themselves. The other reason is that women have two X chromosomes. Not much that men can do about that.

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The Informer

Comment & Debate

3

How we might fix the mortgage crisis WHEN WE TRUST in someone or something we expect that our trust will be respected and honoured. Over recent years there has been a substantial diminution in the public’s trust in our systems, institutions and political leaders; and in recent weeks we have seen those of the Catholic faith being challenged again by the lack of trust in some of its senior figures. When someone breaks that trust it is very difficult, if not impossible to regain. In Ireland our trust in the banking system was shattered in recent years with citizens paying a very high price. We are all too familiar with this story. This government promised action on a number of fronts. After 14 months in power they still have not introduced new insolvency legislation. They promised to deal with household – and specifically mortgage – debt. There has been report after report, spin after spin and no action. The Taoiseach was to form a sub-committee of the cabinet and chair it himself; the Tánaiste was frustrated with the inaction of the banks – all fine words but what we need is action. Many householders are struggling with debt and are making every effort to pay as much as they can. Many are paying more than they can reasonably afford and the economy suffers as a result. If people don’t spend in their communities, the small businesses shut down and then there is more unemployment and more indebtedness.

‘This is a car-crash’

People eat into their savings to make current payments; parents use their savings and income to help children who face eviction. From any point of view this is a car-crash happening in slow motion. The root of the problem is that the banks are in control. Letters demanding ‘immediate full repayment of debt’ issue with relentless aggression and in a menacing tone. Pay us all the money and interest or vacate the property within seven or 28 days. The latest Central Bank quarterly report states that some 9,000 final demand letters have been issued and that there were 3,000 sets of legal proceedings. This is a small fact forgotten when the banks spin about the low number of repossessions. Borrowers need and deserve professional representation in dealing with well-funded banks. Some people will lose ownership of their homes, as the debt is simply too high and their income no longer will support any realistic payment of the debt. But there is a serious discussion to be had regarding the balance of this debt after the house or property is sold. Let’s be realistic about this debt. I believe there is no issue with a bank asking someone to make significant changes to their budget as long as the bank is realistic and will agree long-term solutions. To try and extract small monies by changing someone’s household budget is in my view unacceptable. Restructure the debts so the borrower has certainty. We need certainty for growth and for

Winner of Midnight Tango Competition Winners Nina Sheridan, Rathfarnham.

By David Hall, New Beginning renewal. Nobody can begin again when their future can be taken away from them at the whim of some unknown banker. ‘The borrower does not trust their bank’

The key challenge in resolving the over-indebtedness is trust. The borrower does not trust their bank and I believe in most cases the bank does not trust the borrower. It is incredible that in 2012 banks cannot devise a system that will allow transparency for a borrower’s finance. Maybe a sworn standard financial statement given to the bank by the borrower might be a starting point. A borrower completing the standard financial statement does so with the bank being the enemy. There is an incentive to declare high expenditure, to use as a bargaining tool with the bank. This may even cause the bank to view the debt as unsustainable by reason of the expenditure being stated as higher than it might actually be. Having a sworn financial statement would be at least a step towards making sure both parties begin the discussions with some level of trust. And if trust is gone then solving this crisis will be significantly more difficult. There must be a way to renew or reestablish that trust. But one sure way not to restore that trust is by giving the bank a veto in the upcoming Insolvency legislation. Does anyone believe that if a bank has a veto it won’t use it? Now the Government has delayed the introduction of the insolvency bill and created yet again an air of fear and

uncertainty. Moral hazard is not the issue – it’s government hazard. Let’s now move on to solutions.

‘The current system does not work’ The current system does not work, as the banks hold all the cards. We may be wasting time waiting on the banks and our Government to act as they have both failed to do so in any meaningful way in the middle of a massive financial and human crisis. Over the next three months New Beginning will expand its services. We will continue to arrange legal representation for those facing repossession of their family home and who have no representation, advocating on behalf of those in debt and promoting solutions. We will add financial and negotiation services for borrowers to help deal with their creditors. Borrowers need power to be rebalanced. One way is by borrowers coming together. This is very important in order to give the borrower the best chance of working towards a common aim. Many debt companies will be established over the coming months but my view is that a more powerful way of finding a solution for the thousands of homeowners in difficulty is through one central organisation representing borrowers. This would give a very strong negotiating position. Dealing fairly with this debt burden is essential for the economic recovery of our country. New Beginning will play a part and provide vital services to help borrowers and our economy recover by seeking fairness and recovery for all. David Hall works with New Beginning, a group of lawyers, businesspeople and citizens set up to defend citizens facing home repossession.


4

The Informer

Green Scene Greening the pages Do you ever wonder why one piece of information rather than another appears on this page? Where does it all come from? This month I thought I’d let you in on the process. So where does it begin? It begins with an email from our revered editor telliing me when he wants the copy on his desk – and I write back to say I don’t have a single inspiration this month, has he got any ideas. So he sends me a couple of interesting press releases which I add to the huge file of press releases I’ve already got. I put the date in my calendar with an alarm so I can’t forget it. Then I forget it. Come copy day the alarm goes off and I panic and pull out all those files – and none of them feels very inspiring. So I remember that this is a monthly, and that the editor, understanding my dilatory ways, has actually given me a day or so of grace in deadline terms. I put it all on one side for tomorrow. Creative juices flowing

But then tomorrow comes – still no inspiration so I go grocery shopping. I talk to fellow shoppers, the person on the checkout, what environmental issues have surfaced for them? I meet a friend for coffee – talk to them and the waiter – sooner or later something will come up that gets the creative juices flowing. Especially when I get home and there’s another friendly email from the editor asking where my copy is. This month it was my builder who finally got this column moving – he asked me whether I’d like him to use RoundUp to tidy up my nettles. I wish I could share the expression on his face when I told him I wanted to keep the nettles just where they are – in my garden nettles are one of the many weeds I’ve encouraged to grow in particular spots. But what worried me, apart from the casual suggestion that glyphosate, which is toxic to amphibians and fish,

By Kathy Marsh, Sonairte

should be sprayed on a stream bank, is that this happened just after biodiversity week, when the government is pledged to spread information about the the importance of maintaining a wide range of habitats and wildlife. It obviously hasn’t reached him. And I see no sign that our government is learning that biodiversity has a value in hard cash to a struggling economy. A couple of days ago I saw something about that hard cash value to another struggling economy – that of the Maldive Islands. A grey reef shark is worth $32 dollars cooked on a plate. Alive and swimming the reefs of the Islands it is worth $3,300. That is what tourists will pay to come to the islands to see that one fish during its lifetime. Bio-value

What might birds and butterflies be worth, properly marketed, to the Irish economy? In order to have those butterflies we need nettles which feed and pupate on them. How much economic damage can spraying hedge bottoms with RoundUp do in the long term? And that is just in tourism terms before we look at the impact of biodiversity on a healthy agricultural economy, or forestry, or clean air and water. Biodiversity has a hard cash value – and it looks pretty as well. Last night I was sitting up on top of the chamber tomb at the Four Knocks enjoying the sunset when a French tourist arrived, camera in hand. She’d come to Ireland for the

A grey reef shark is worth $32 cooked on a plate. Alive and swimming it is worth $3,300 history, but no one had told her about the wild flowers and she was bowled over by the toasted coconut scent of the gorse flowers along the path to the mound, and by the daisies that covered it and the buttercups and clover in the field beside it. Biodiversity threats

And now back to those press releases. The EPA has released its Biodiversity Action Plan 2011-13 which seems a little late in the day to me. But let us concentrate on the content which says that while progress has been made in the designation of EU protected areas in Ireland many areas of national importance are not protected and significant aspects of biodiversity in Ireland remain under considerable threat from unsustainable activities. Based on the bad conservation status of many important habitats and some species, considerable efforts and resources will be required to improve their status, both within and outside protected areas. The plan also says that it is evident that there are specific challenges relating to biodiversity posed by climate change and that biodiversity can be somewhat of a ‘poor relation’ among environmental topics. The EPA stress the need to push biodiversity into the mainstream. Enforcing the law

n Nettles are necessary too

Meanwhile our legislators continue to fail to enforce the laws that should protect biodiversity. I’ve talked a lot about turf cutting and we all know that in the end legislation was brought in to protect specific bogs with those with traditional turf cutting rights being given a mixture of cash, insulation grants and other measures so that they did not need to rely on now illegal cutting.

Unfortunately no attempt is being made to enforce the new laws, with Gardai standing by laughing and joking while turf is cut illegally by machine. Meanwhile the insulation grant part of the new legislation has also not been implemented. An Taisce and the Friends of the Irish Environment have called on the Taoiseach to stand over his promises – so far he has made no response. More overstocking

Meanwhile the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is also putting €100m EU funding at risk by requiring higher stocking rates for sheep in disadvantaged areas. This hasn’t been approved by the European Commission – because he hasn’t asked them to approve it – so they are likely to ask for their money back. Perhaps he is too young to remember the landslides around the country caused by overstocking last time headage payments were introduced. Why is he doing it? Because big farmers see their brown envelopes being reduced if small farmers get paid for managing their land for biodiversity. And yes, there’s been a judgment standing against Ireland in the European Court since 2002 for allowing overgrazing. But paying the fines will come out of the Environment budget – not Agriculture. Birth of the Abbey

And finally a quick diversion from the biodiversity theme. Fire recently destroyed 34 Camden Street, where the Abbey Theatre was born. It was also the building where Na Fianna was born - a key training base before 1916. It is part of a significant Georgian Terrace. This site qualifies as a National Monument under several criteria, and is of far too great significance to be left demolished. An Taisce wants the State to buy the site under a compulsory purchase order, declare it a National Monument, reinstate the building, and list adjacent Georgian buildings on the Record of Protected Structures. To add your voice to the campaign visit the An Taisce website.

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The Informer

Animal Tracks

The sky over Dublin

with Miriam Kerins, DSPCA

Cats just want to have fun Well who’d have thought there were so many lovely cat people out there and I’m delighted you’re all regular readers. With that in mind, and since cats appear to be so popular, I thought I’d dedicate this week’s column to cat toys and cat play with an aim to help you make your home a more stimulating environment for Miss Kitty. First of all, let me say that when it comes to self amusement, cats are experts and it doesn’t take much to keep them keen. For example, if you have a balled up piece of paper or a little rubber ball you can flick, well Miss Kitty will be in puurrfect heaven just chasing and swatting it. In fact, the clever cat may actually like to play ‘fetch,’ by placing an object in your lap, expecting you to throw it for her. And yep, I know, pets’ toys can be expensive; I’ve got dogs who have managed to shred every single ‘guaranteed unbreakable,’ toy I’ve purchased, but with a cat it’s different; you don’t need to raid the piggy bank to keep her happy. Below are a few simple but doable hints for playthings for you to make Miss Kitty Claws. • An empty cardboard box is a great way for cats to investigate and play hide and seek. Or make a cat apartment by attaching boxes together and cutting out doors and windows. • Make it a family affair and set the kids a project by getting them to make felt mice stuffed with catnip. • Used paper towel or toilet roll tubes are great for Kitty to unwind. • Paper bags are fab but make sure you remove

the handles. Never, ever use plastic bags, they are a suffocation risk and sometimes cats can chew and choke on the plastic. • Plastic golf balls…you know the ones hubby uses for practice. Steal one from his stash and place it in a dry bath tub and let Kitty play. • Cats love anything that moves so why not get a tub of bubbles and blow them through the air and let Kitty catch and burst them. • Turn off the lights, get the torch out and play shadows on the wall by dangling cat toys back and forth encouraging your cat to leap up at the wall trying to catch her prey. For more information contact your vet, log onto www.dspca.ie or email me at miriam.kerins@dspca.ie © Miriam Kerins, Head of Communications and Public Relations, Dublin SPCA.

with Conor Farrell, Astronomy Ireland

Summer clouds

This time of year is when we get to see something a bit different in the sky. Not stars, not planets, not even something in space! What we get to see are eerie noctilucent clouds. Around midsummer the Sun sets but doesn't go very far below the horizon. You might notice this if you get a clear horizon away from buildings at night: a faint glow is always there towards the north, and you don't see as many stars as you would during the winter. In fact, the Sun is close enough to the horizon that very high up in the atmosphere it's still daytime! Sunlight lights up wispy high-altitude clouds that are otherwise invisible. Their name roughly means 'night shining' in Latin, and noctilucent clouds form an electric blue web in the northern sky, unlike any other cloud you have ever seen. When you see noctilucent clouds you'll see just how bright they can be, and you'll be surprised to learn that the phenomenon was only discovered in 1885. Indeed, over time, the clouds seem to be appear-

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ing more regularly and more brightly. Some suggest that this may be related to climate change, as the first sightings coincide with the Industrial Revolution. Noctilucent clouds appear approximately 80km up in the atmosphere and are made of ice crystals that form on dust that comes from volcanic activity and meteors. Their appearances are useful to meteorologists as they can indicate changes in the upper atmosphere. Ireland is an ideal location to view noctilucent clouds as we are relatively close to the polar regions, but the night sky still gets dark enough to make the clouds extremely vivid. If you get to see or photograph them, please send your observation report to Astronomy Ireland by email to observe@astronomy.ie.

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8

The Informer

Garden Growing With Gerry Norton Gardens are coming alive with colour One very hot week at the end of May had us all thinking has the summer finally arrived? Late April and most of May were awful weather-wise with arctic winds and little or no heat for this time of year. The good news though is that June will be a lovely month. I was told this by a farmer and if anyone can predict the weather it is the farmers. So keep the shorts, T-shirts and summer tops at hand. The growth in the garden during that lovely May week was incredible and was just what was needed to bring on all kinds of plants. The golden rule

Assuming my farmer friend is correct it is vital that young plants in particular are kept well watered in order to establish in their first year. In addition, the golden rule when planting any plant whether it is a small bedding plant or a large shrub is to loosen up the

root ball before planting. It is amazing how many people simply take the plant out of the plastic container and pop it straight into the planting hole. Nine times out of ten the plant will not survive.

time they are available in garden centres and even your local corner shop. It’s possible to spend a lot of money on a really nice basket but I think it’s better to get a cheaper basket and supplement it with some other small plants. One thing that I do every year is to pop a few nasturtium seeds into your basket. My favourite is ‘Empress if India’ which are widely available. The flowers are a lovely reddish colour and are ideal for baskets.

Veg plot

The veg plot has finally started to produce early lettuce leaves especially on the cut and come varieties and everything else is coming along nicely. The potatoes at this time of year need constant ‘earthing up’ but other than that they need no special attention. Keep germinating lettuce seeds for a good supply later in the year. Elsewhere in the garden keep watering and dead heading to maintain colourful displays. If you don’t dead head regularly the plant will try to produce a seed head to replace the flower which is not what is needed. The lawns have also recently

Alive with colour

n The golden rule when planting is to loosen up the root ball before planting started to grow in earnest but don’t cut the grass too low as it’s very easy to damage the grass. Established lawns don’t need to be watered too often however newly established lawns really do need lots of H2O. Apply a

good liquid feed to tired lawns. Now is a good time to tidy up the faded foliage of spring flowering bulbs and it’s also a good time to divide overgrown clumps. Hanging baskets are easy to make but if you don’t have the

My herbaceous border is alive with colour right now and the star of the show is a wild sage called ‘’Hot Lips’’! Another great plant for vigour and colour is in the herb garden, it’s the normal sage plant which is now about two foot high and wide and is covered in a mass of lovely blue scented flowers. This plant could be used in any herbaceous border to great effect.

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

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

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The Informer

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10

The Informer

Help Mrs Brown raise €500k to help 25 Irish charities

What is Charity 25?

Charity 25 which is a not –for-profit Irish registered charity that has just re-launched its €2WILLDO text subscription campaign where people over the age of 18 years of age can donate to 25 Irish charities in one single text every month. It even gets better for the charities as €1.94 of every €2.00 raised via it’s €2WILLDO text campaign is divided equally between 25 Irish national charities. The remaining €0.06 is a mandatory legally required administration fee charged by mobile phone operators for auditing purposes Do you know someone who is affected by depression, long-term illness or disabilities, cancer and loneliness

Well if you do isn’t it a simple way to help our charities who work tirelessly every day to provide essential services for those less fortunate than ourselves. Your money stays in Ireland.

Charity 25 is a patriotic charity that believes charity begins at home. In these uncertain times we live in, people are not in a position to support charities like they were years ago and have simply stopped giving money because they cannot afford to or they don’t know which one to donate to. This is why Charity 25’s €2WILLDO text campaign is very simple as not only is your money going to help people in Ireland but you are helping 25 Irish National charities in one go. Imagine that. €2.00 is less than half the price of a pint

Our very own BAFTA winner and mammy Patron to 25 National Irish charities, Mrs Brown wants you to help Charity 25 raise the sum of €500,000 for 25 Irish National charities this year. and ¼ the price of a packet of cigarettes so we are asking you to just STOP and THINK about how your €2.00 will help those less fortunate. Come-on care for your country and donate today. A word from Our Patron Mrs Brown

This is the most simplest and easiest way in which people can help 25 Irish charities all in one go, Just knowing that for only €2.00 a month where a full €1.94 is divided equally between 25 Irish charities is only marvellous and I’m urging everyone who has a mobile phone to sign up to this wonderful idea and the money raised stays in Ireland to help our own people. If you care about your country text the words 2WILLDO to 57802 and your €2.00 will make the difference and I’ll be there to make sure it does”.

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All profits raised on the day goes directly to Charity 25 TO BOOK YOUR SPACE CONTACT US NOW AT

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Charity 25 is a fully audited Irish based charity is run by a team of professional volunteers who offer their time and services free of charge so it has not operating costs like other charities ensuring that €1.94 of your monthly donation actually reaches all of the 25 Irish national charities. Charity 25 has no paid directors, managers or staff and all marketing overheads are covered by our proud sponsor www.grantwater.ie who volunteered to help cover the marketing costs of Charity 25 directly. A word from Sponsor

Managing Director of www.grantwater.ie Jamie Grant explains why he decided to get involved with Charity 25. “Where else can you give something as small as €2 a month that goes to helping 25 Irish national charities all in one go. The idea is very simple and affordable in today’s economic climate, where we all can play our role in helping the thousands of people who rely on these charities every day for support. "My role is to work with Charity 25 and Mrs Brown to ensure that €1.94 of your

donation reaches the 25 charity members and I’ve pledged to cover all marketing costs to ensure we achieve our goal." Our Ambassador

As ambassador to Charity 25, Derek O’Neill has 26 years of experience of charitable works in eleven different countries around the world, encouraging thousands to help themselves. Receiving the 2012 Variety International Humanitarian Award only shows he knows all that is needed to get charity to the source, both on the ground and in the boardroom. Derek strongly believes getting twenty five charities to cooperate like this saves money, time and helps those most in need. All of Charity 25’s charities have been carefully selected to ensure they can provide essential services to people who rely and depend on their services on a day to day basis and Charity 25 will holds each charity accountable for all money given to them via our €2WILLDO campaign with them publishing regular updates on how they are spending your vital donations on our website and Facebook pages.

To donate simple text the words 2WILLDO to 57802 today and help our charities help your brothers and sisters of Ireland. Monthly subscription service. €2.00 per month 18+. Helpline 0818 217100. To unsubscribe text STOP to 57802. €1.94 of your €2.00 text is divided equally between all 25 charities with the remaining €0.06 is a mandatory legally required administration fee charged by mobile phone operators for auditing purposes.

Please LIKE us on Facebook and see how our charities are doing. Please follow us on Twitter for regular charity updates.


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13

The Informer

All about Dublin 1

From the archives Lesser Known Dubliners Capt. William Cunningham In the 18th century the science of medicine as we know it was just in "I, William Cunningham, was born in Dublin Barracks, in the year 1738. My father was trumpeter in the Blue Dragoons; and at the age of eight years, I was placed with an officer as his servant, in which station I continued until I was sixteen, I rose to the rank of Sergeant but, with the end of the Spanish War (1763), found myself a civilian. Being bred to no profession, I took up with a woman who kept a gin-shop in a blind alley, near the Cole Quay, but the house being searched for stolen goods, and my doxy taken to Newgate, I thought it proper to decamp; accordingly I set off for the North, and arrived at Drogheda, where, in a few months after, I married the daughter of an exciseman, by whom I had three sons. About the year 1772, we removed to Newry, where I commenced the profession of scaw-banker, which is that of enticing mechanics and country people to ship themselves for America, on promise of great advantage, and then artfully getting an indenture upon them, in consequence of which, on their arrival in America, they were sold, or obliged to serve a term of years for their passage." Cunningham travelled to America, arriving in New York in August 1774 but had to flee to Boston after being beaten in the streets for "rendering myself obnoxious to the citizens in their infant struggle for freedom." When the American War of Independence began he was appointed Provost-Marshall to the British army - "which placed me in a situation to wreak my vengeance on the Americans." And that he certainly did with a vengeance - poisoning the prisoners' food, exchanging good for bad provisions, and continuing to draw their rations after their death, or, as it was put at the time: "he fed the dead, and starved the living." He was also personally responsible for the execution without trial of 250 American prisoners. "At the end of the war, I He was also returned to England with the army, and settled in Wales, as personally being a cheaper place of living responsible for than in any of the populous cities; but being at length perthe execution suaded to go to London, I without trial entered so warmly into the disof that capital, that I of 250 American sipations soon found my circumstances prisoners much embarrassed, to relieve which I mortgaged my halfpay to an army agent; but that being soon expended, I forged a draft, of ÂŁ300 sterling, on the Board of Ordnance, but being detected in presenting it for acceptance, I was apprehended, tried and convicted, and for that"offence am here to suffer an ignominious death. I beg the prayers of all good Christians, and also pardon and forgiveness of God for the many horrid murders I have been accessory to. William Cunningham [The Life, Confession, and last dying Words of Capt. Cunningham, formerly British Provost-Marshal in the City of New York, who was executed in London, the l0th of August, 1791, appeared in American newspapers after Cunningham's death, is factual in many ways - he was a brute, a thief and a sadist, but there is no record of his execution in England.] Capt. William Cunningham. From 'Historic Blackguards', by Albert Paysune Terhune, 1912

This feature was researched with the help of

its infancy - crucially, the causes of disease were largely unknown ('bad air' was a popular diagnosis). But, even if there was no real understanding of many diseases, and still less any idea of how to cure them, there were steps which could be taken to reduce the number of cases. Below is a shortened account showing how Dr. Joseph Clarke, Master of the Lying-in Hospital, Dublin, dealt with the 'nine day fits'. "At the conclusion of the year 1782, of 17,650 infants born alive in the Lying-in Hospital (now the Rotunda Hospital), 2,944 had died within the first fortnight, that is nearly 17 per cent. The disease which carried off most of these children, perhaps 19 of 20, was general convulsions, or what the nurses have been long in the habit of calling the 'nine-day fits', owing to their constantly occurring within the first nine days alter birth.

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Edited by Zoz Curing the 'Nine Day Fits' "This disease generally attacks with violent general convulsions, particularly affecting the extremities and face, and occurring at uncertain intervals. The agitation is in some very great, the mouth foams, the thumbs drawn into the palms of the hands, the jaws quite locked, and any attempt to wet the mouth, or to administers medicines, seems to render the complaint infinitely worse. The face and body swell and turn of a livid hue, which circumstance when it occurs has given occasion to the nurses and attendants calling the complaint the black fits. The paroxysm lasts from eight to thirty hours. "It happens more frequently that the symptoms are all less violent, the extremities being rather twisted than convulsed, and the power of sucking and swallowing remaining until near death. The body shrinks, and grows pale, becoming in short a miserable spectre of emaciation and disease, the nurses have called these the white fits. Continued next page>>


14

The Informer

All about Dublin 2

Firsthand History

Donnybrook Fair in 1833 We drove about the town on a jaunting car, with a talkative driver, seeing all the sights and listening to strange, wild legends. In the pretty cemetery of Glasnevin, we saw, through the grating of a vault, the magnificent coffin which contains the body of O'Connell, the great orator. We enjoyed most our drive in Phoenix Park, a noble enclosure, filled with fine trees and shrubbery, flowers, birds, gentle deer and playful, brown-eyed fawns. But if we liked the streets, buildings and parks of Dublin, we liked the people better. Very courteous, generous and cordial, we found all those to whose hospitality we had been commended, and warm at my heart is now, and ever will be, the dear memory of my good Dublin friends. A mile or two south of Dublin is Donnybrook, the place where a famous annual fair is held. We happened to be in the city at the time of this, and one pleasant afternoon we drove out to see this great gathering of the Irish peasantry. The fairground presented a busy, gay and curious scene. A large enclosed space was covered with booths and tents - horse-markets cattle-markets - buyers, sellers, and crowds

of spectators. There was almost every thing one could think of for sale, - there were all sorts of games and sports and shows going on - there were Ethiopian concerts - plays - exhibitions of Punch and Judy - little circuses and menageries - jugglers - tumblers -hurdy-gurdy players - ballad-singers, pipers, fiddlers and dancers. In nearly all the tents were gay young couples dancing away as though for dear life - dancing not alone with their feet, but with their arms, their heads, and their

Edited by Zoz merry, twinkling eyes. They were not all welldressed, or even clean, but they seemed happy and healthy, and merrily snapped their fingers at care. Everywhere there was laughter and chatter, and feasting and frolic - but, I am glad to say, we saw little tippling, and no quarrelling. It was very different in old times, when the wild fun of Donnybrook Fair always ended in confusion, drunkenness and fighting. This happy change has been effected partly by the Temperance reform, and partly by the establishment of a strong and active government police. An excerpt from 'Countries I have seen Dublin - Donnybrook,' By Grace Greenwood, published in the Philadelphia magazine 'The Little Pilgrim' in 1855 (the year in which Donnybrook Fair was finally banned).

n Donnybrook Fair in 1833 (Dublin Penny Journal).

The silent killer Passive smoking By Tom Ryan PASSIVE smoking kills children and adults. No exposure levels are safe. Harmful effects on the heart, blood vessels, and circulation are immediate. Even brief exposure can damage cells and set the cancer process in motion. Over time heart disease, heart attack and stroke risks are greatly increased. Passive smoking causes lung cancer in people who never smoked. It’s classified as “A known carcinogen” by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US National Toxicology Programme, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemical compounds. 250 are known to be harmful of which 69 cause cancer. Children suffer more from exposure than non-smoking adults. Tobacco chemicals are found in breast tissue and breast milk. Evidence suggests links to childhood leukaemia and cancers of the larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), brain, bladder, rectum, stomach, and breast. Children’s growing bodies are especially sensitive to tobacco poisons. Asthma, lung infections, and ear infections are more common in children of smokers. Some are serious and even life-threatening. Even minor ones add up. Think of the costs, doctors, medicine, lost school time and parents work time. Each year in the United States passive smoking exposure is responsible for: • An estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths • About 3,400 non-smoking adult deaths from lung cancer

• Increased asthma and related problems in up to 1 million children • Between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections and lung infections with 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations each year in children under 18 months. Since 1964 numerous US Surgeon General’s reports have highlighted the dangers of passive smoking, such as: • Increased disease and deaths among exposed children and non-smoking adults. • Increased risk of miscarriage, still-birth, low birth- weight baby, and other pregnancy and delivery problems from exposure during pregnancy. • Tobacco chemicals damage sperm reduce fertility and harm foetal development. • Smoking parents increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear infections, and increased severity and frequency of asthma attacks among children. • Smoking parents can cause wheezing, coughing, bronchitis, pneumonia, and slow lung growth in children. Millions of children and adults remain exposed to passive smoking despite controls. A smokefree home and car are vitally important for family health. Smoking in cars is particularly harmful. Stop killing yourself and others. Stop smoking now. It’s the intelligent option. © Tom Ryan 2012 Discover how at www.totalminddynamics.com

Curing the 'Nine Day Fits' >> Continued from page 12

"Both varieties constantly attack within nine days from the birth, and most frequently about the falling off of the umbilical cord." Based on his, and others, observations on this always fatal disease, Dr. Clarke came to the conclusion that it was caused by "Foul air Neglect of keeping the children clean and dry - Irregularity in the manner of living of their mothers, more especially in the abuse of spirituous liquors." To get rid of the impure atmosphere Dr. Clarke had air pipes installed in the ceiling, holes were bored in every door [some can still be seen in the Rotunda] and window to allow air to circulate, reduced the number of beds in each ward, and put a greater emphasis on regular cleaning. And the results were impressive - of 8,033 children born after the changes, 419 died (roughly 5 per cent, a decrease of 12 per cent). It was to be more than a century before the story of the 'nine day fits' became clear. It was, in fact, tetanus. In 1897 Edmond Nocard found an antitoxin which could be used to give immunity - by WWII a vaccine was widely used to treat wounds. The form of tetanus Dr. Clarke was dealing with was neonatal tetanus which usually occurs through infection when the umbilical stump is cut with a non-sterile instrument. Today it accounts for 14 per cent of all neonatal deaths in developing countries, but is very rare in the developed world. While introducing a flow of air in the hospital wards may have been generally helpful, it was probably the increase in cleanliness that resulted in the dramatic fall in the Lying-in Hospital. Dr. Clarke's achievement is all the more remarkable in that he really had no idea about the disease itself and, for example, never made the connection between cutting of the umbilical cord and the onset of the 'nine day fits.'


y Zoz

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18

The Informer

Ask the Protecting yourself with sunscreens Pharmacist

Q: Are any suncreams better than any other suncreams or do they all work the same? Is there anything I should be looking out for when buying a sunscreen?

A: Most people will be aware that sunscreens give different levels of protection, and this degree of protection is expressed as SPF (Sun Protection Factor), often just known as 'factor'. The higher the SPF, the more protection the sunscreen will give against UVB rays from the sun. Broadly speaking, ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can be divided into two types – UVA and UVB. Put simply, UVB rays cause sunburn, whereas UVA rays cause damage in the deeper layers of the skin and cause the skin to lose elasticity and to age prematurely. All types of UV radiation cause skin cancer, although UVB appears to be the more serious culprit in this regard. Therefore when choosing a sunscreen, it is important to get one that gives effective protection against UVA and UVB. The SPF of a sunscreen is a measure of how long you could stay in the sun without burning compared to if you had used no sunscreen. For example, in theory an SPF of 15 means that you can stay in the sun 15 times longer before you begin to burn than if you had not put on any sunscreen.

Never provide the same level of protection

However, in practice sunscreens almost never provide the same level of protection as the SPF would imply. This is because the SPF stated is based on laboratory conditions using a much heavier application of sunscreen than people tend to use in real life. Also, with very high SPFs, the sun protection will have worn off well before the theoretical burning time implied by the SPF. Remember the SPF on the bottle only refers to the protection against UVB rays. Therefore it is important to ensure that your sunscreen gives adequate protection against UVA

rays. Generally, the level of UVA protection is given by a star rating, from 1 – 5 stars although not all brands use this rating. A sunscreen with good UVA protection will also have a UVA logo on the front of the bottle. Ask your pharmacist if the sunscreen you are seeking gives adequate UVA protection.

Applying sunscreen

There are a few rules that you should follow when applying sunscreen. All sunscreens should be applied thickly, taking particular care to cover all exposed skin. You should also apply then frequently, about every two hours, even the sunscreen is described as water resistant. You may also need to apply more frequently when swimming, sweating or using a towel. There a number of sunscreens on the market which state that they only need to be applied once a day. However, I feel that this may lead people into a false sense of security and they should still be applied every few hours. Sunscreens should ideally be

applied about 30 minutes before going out into the sun. While sunscreens can help prevent us getting burned, it is less clear to what extent they prevent us getting skin cancer. For this reason it is important to follow general advice regarding sun exposure even if we are wearing sunscreen. This advice would include the following: • Wear protective clothing when out in the sun, including a wide brimmed hat. Clothes with a close weave material will provide better protection than those of loose weave. • Seek shade when the sun is at its strongest i.e. between about 11 am and 3 pm. If you are on the beach or by a swimming pool, a tree or a parasol will provide good protection. Remember you can still get burned from reflected rays when in the shade. • During the summer months, you can still get burned even when it’s cloudy so don’t forget to put on sunscreen. • Wear UV protecting sunglasses. UV rays can damage the eyes and many people don’t realise that you can get a form of skin cancer in the eye. • Use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15.

You get what you pay for

In general, all sunscreens will give an equal level of protection if they have a high SPF and a good UVA rating. However, like many things in life, you get what you pay for. Although some sunscreens are significantly more expensive than others they can work out better value in the long run as they can spread across the skin much better, drip less and are less likely to wiped off by towelling or exposure to water. Cheaper sunscreens often contain more additives than more expensive and are more likely to cause irritation or an allergic reaction.

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

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

Protect Your Eyes this Summer STEPASIDE Eyecare heads into the summer with dazzling offers on prescription and nonprescription sunglasses. With a great range of budget and designer brands like Gucci, Armani, Maui Jim and Max Mara there’s plenty of choice in looking good and seeing well this summer. With a special focus on children’s eyecare, there is a great selection of kid’s sunglasses also available. Stepaside Eyecare offers the people of south Dublin a truly personal eyecare service. This includes advice on the dangers of Ultra Violet (UV) light and how to protect your eyes by wearing good quality sunglasses with full UV protection. Stepaside Eyecare owner and optometrist Joe Lee (pictured below) said: “There is a huge variety in the quality of sunglasses you will find on sale today. There are three things a pair of good quality sunglasses should do for you:

1. Provide protection from UV rays, preventing damage to the cornea and retina 2. Provide protection from intense light, preventing squinting 3. Provide protection from glare. Good sunglasses can completely eliminate glare using polarisation When you buy a pair of low quality sunglasses, you often give up all of these benefits and can even make things worse. For example, if your sunglasses offer little or no UV protection, you increase your exposure to UV rays. These sunglasses will block some of the visible light, causing your pupils to increase in size, allowing more harmful UV light to enter the eye, thus increasing the risk of damage to the retina. Wearing low quality sunglasses will actually cause more damage to your eyes than wearing none at all.” Getting the best advice and buying quality sunglasses for the conditions in which you use them gives you maximum protection and performance. Stepaside Eyecare are currently offering excellent discounts for the months of June and July: • 20% discount on prescription sunglasses • 15% discount on non-prescription sunglasses. For more information on summer offers call 01 532 2008 or visit www.stepasideeyecare.ie. Stepaside Eyecare is located in Stepaside village with free parking at the door.


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20

Arts Angle

With LA Speedwing

B

eauty Notes

Draw a Lego art exhibition Daddy Cool

The ‘Irish Mammy’ is as much a part of our culture as Guinness, red lemonade and disliking Bono but what about the much maligned ‘Irish Daddy’? Dads often get the rescue phone calls when we’re stranded outside nightclubs, are viewed as human shaped ATM machines and who we expect to feign huge appreciation for a packet of novelty socks at Christmas. So why not bypass the Simpson’s novelty paraphernalia and get something a little more useful and thoughtful.

Who said Art had to be boring? There’s an art event coming up which will please the young at heart. Draw a Lego art exhibition is an art exhibition dedicated to Lego featuring art from emerging artists around Dublin and Ireland. The exhibition will run from 22 to 30 June 2012 at Exchange Dublin gallery in Temple Bar. Exchange Dublin is a collective arts centre run entirely by young people. They hold discussions, gigs, visual arts and performance and anything else you can think of. Most projects originate from the autonomous “Exchange Groups” that use the space as a hub for their activity. All work is voluntary. The Opening day for the Draw a Lego Art exhibition will be 22nd June 2012 at 6 pm. The Art of The Brick has captivated millions of creative minds since its creation in 1949 and the artists hope the fan base of the legendary colourful construction toy will be equally captivated by this exhibition.

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The Informer

with Kathleen Rowley

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ARBER HAIR AND BODY WASH (RRP €10.50) This head-to-toe body wash for men will make for the perfect 2-in-1 gift. It has a sensual woody fragrance and it leaves skin feeling clean, fresh as well as lightly scented. HEMP HAND PROTECTOR (RRP €16.95) Perfect for fathers who enjoy gardening, DIY or working on their car, our cult hand cream is intended for very dry skin as it intensively rehydrates skin and protects against harsh working conditions.

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The Informer

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Graham Connor's Movie Advice Men In Black 3 HHHHH Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and Jermaine Clement Agents J and K are still saving the world from the scum of the universe when one day K ceases to exist. J discovers that to save his partner he must travel back in time, to 1969, and find young K before it’s too late. MIB1 was a hoot, a real summer crowd pleaser of a film. MIB2 was not, it being a poorer paler version of the original. Why would anyone want another sequel? I don’t know. I wish I could say that it was a stroke of genius to make this third instalment but I can’t. But, I also cannot say that MIB3 is bad, as it is not – it is a really enjoyable, if somewhat flat in places, fun summer film. While it is great to see Will Smith back in blockbuster mode, Josh Brolin steals the film as young Agent K and Jermaine Clement gives a worthy successor to Vincent D’Onofrio’s wonderful villain from MIB1. Not brilliant but not rubbish either. Unfortunately it is very forgettable though. Advice: Worth a shot.

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The Raid HHHHH Directed by Gareth Evans. Starring: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Donny Alamsyah, Ray Sahetapy. In the slums of Jakarta, a vicious crime lord turns a tenement block into his personal fortress. A SWAT team are sent to take him out alive but find more than they bargained for once in the building. I don’t like martial arts films, never have. So when I went to go see The Raid I wasn’t expecting much. I love it when a film surprises me and The Raid did more than surprise me; it totally blew me away. This is much more than a martial arts film, it’s one of the greatest action films I have ever seen with everything you want in a film, a hero you want to cheer for and a villain that you hate from the first frame. I can’t fault it in too many places, the performances are solid, the action is brutal and yes, it is extremely violent but it does not mar what is an extremely effective survival thriller. Don’t let the fact that this film is subtitled put you off; it’s the best action thriller since Die Hard. Advice: Absolutely brilliant!

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Man convicted of collecting cannabis gets 13 years

A man who was promised €5,000 for collecting cannabis worth €1.2 million and taking it to his rented home was jailed last week for 13 years at the Circuit Court, reports the Irish Times. Judge Michael O’Shea, passing sentence, said Jason Keogh (48) was an intelligent man and a good worker who ‘took a gamble, took a risk, and the gamble did not come off’. Keogh, a father of two, originally from Malahide, Co Dublin, was renting Woodview Cottage, Bettystown Cross, Bettystown, Co Meath, at the time of the offence on July 20th, 2011. He admitted possession of the drug for the purpose of selling or supplying it to others. Trim Circuit Court heard that a unit at Swords Business Park was kept under surveillance and a van driven by Keogh was seen collecting a number of blue barrels from the premises. Gardaí watched the van as it made its way to Woodview Cottage, where 100kg of cannabis was found. Det Garda Tim Casey said the drugs had an estimated street value of €1.2 million. The judge imposed a 13-year jail term and suspended the last three years on Keogh entering into a good behaviour bond on his release.

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Colourtrend to open fifth Irish store in Swords

Colourtrend, Ireland’s oldest manufacturer of paints, primers and wood care products, is to open its fifth store at Main Street in Swords, Co Dublin, where it has acquired the former Halifax premises from Lloyds Banking Group. The building extends to 185sq m (2,000sq ft) and has an adjoining yard off Main Street with an overall area of almost half an acre. The company’s other outlets are in Mullingar and Waterford. Colourtrend’s products are also available through a nationwide network of more than 100 independent paint retailers. The acquisition of a new trading opportunity in Swords comes at a time when paint sales are faring well in Ireland, according to Liam Holland, head of sales and marketing at Colourtrend. The company plans to mount an exceptional display of paint and wallpaper in the new Swords store which will have a skilled staff to offer advice to customers. Colourtrend began manufacturing premium quality paint in Ireland in 1953 when the business was established by the present managing director’s father, Ronan O’Connor. It is based in an old Famine workhouse dating back to 1841 in Celbridge, Co Kildare, where it employs 70 people.

Dublin North votes Yes to Fiscal Treaty

South Pacific at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS TO SOUTH PACIFIC The most acclaimed production ever of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s SOUTH PACIFIC followed a sold out London season with a record-breaking national tour and now the show is coming to Dublin! SOUTH PACIFIC will open at The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on the 7th of August for two weeks only. Following rave reviews, that Samantha Womack will be playing the role of Nellie Forbush here in Dublin. Set on a tropical island during World War II, this is the sweeping romantic story of two couples, threatened by the realities of war and by their own prejudices. Its portrayal of Americans stationed in an unfamiliar culture in wartime remains as relevant today as when it first thrilled audiences.

To be in with a chance to win a pair of tickets to see South Pacific in August answer the following question: Who will play the role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre?

Answers by e-mail only to competition@informer.ie Please include your contact number Closing date for entries 30th June 2012.

At time of going to press, counting for the Fiscal Treaty was underway in Dublin North with early results showing the Treaty will be carried nationwide with Dublin North reflecting the trend across the country. With a turnout of 52.9%, the Yes camp secured 60.4% of the valid poll with 39.6% opposing the ratification of the Treaty.

Bethany Bereavement Support Group

The Bethany Bereavement Support Group Support Group meet on the second and last Monday of every month in the Parish office at 42, North Street, Swords, from 8.30 pm to 9.30pm. Anyone suffering the pain of loss through bereavement is most welcome to attend these meetings. Group discussion or support on a one-to one basis is available. This is a free and confidential service. For more information phone Anne 087 6549765, Brid 086 6006397, Mary 8402652 or Mary 8403266.

Beaumont nursing initiative is 'Crystal Clear'

Two of Beaumont Hospital’s nursing specialists have been recongised for their role in a top class lung cancer project at a national awards ceremony. Janet Clinch and Siobhan Toner were a pivotal part of the National Cancer Control Programme team which has developed a booklet aimed at helping patients to better understand what will happen once they attend treatment clinics, how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and gain information on quitting smoking.

swords@informer.ie


Swords Informer June 2012