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

Swords • MALAHIDE

Thornton hall up for review The hills are alive! by under new proposals

The incoming Fine Gael-Labour coalition administration has included in its Programme for Government, significant proposals for reform in the areas of sentencing and prison policy. As part of these proposals, there By Paul Cantwell is a clear commitment to ‘review the proposal to build a new prison This news of the review of the at Thornton Hall, whilst commitproject has been warmly welcomed ting to upgrading prison facilities.’ by some local residents. Teresa This controversial project began in 2005 when a 150 acre site at McDonnell, spokesperson for the Kilsallaghan in Co. Dublin was local residents said: "We are delighted with the acquired for €30m, a figure which Government commitment to review far exceeded any other sales in the area at that time. This led to fierce the proposal to build a new prison criticism of the then Minister for at Thornton Hall. We hope that at last there will be public debate, inJustice, Michael McDowell. The idea was that Thornton Hall depth analysis and consultation on would be the location for a new the need for this development," 2,200 berth super prison to replace said Ms McDonnell. Mountjoy Prison and also house Propelled by developers the Central Mental Hospital, "For six years, we have protested replacing the current facility in that the proposal to build a super Dundrum. Since the initial announcement, prison at Thornton Hall is wrong, there have been numerous reviews socially, environmentally, and morand reports from different parties, ally". "We have always believed that but this announcement is the first reform-based, government-led the decision to replace Mountjoy review which makes the proposal with a green field site was propelled by the massive potential part of government policy.

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windfall for developers," said Ms McDonnell. The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), Ireland’s leading penal reform campaign organisation, has also welcomed the news and also sees this proposal as a framework for sustainable reform. Commenting on the proposal was IPRT Executive Director, Liam Herrick said: ‘The new Government now has a unique opportunity to get it right, and this Programme provides a good framework to get to the heart of the problems facing the penal system. ‘Some of the proposals in the Programme build on the policies of the outgoing government, but they also present a much more comprehensive programme of reform. ‘We particularly welcome the commitments to review plans to build a super-prison at Thornton Hall, to end the imprisonment of children in St Patrick’s Institution, and to strengthen accountability within the prison system.’

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Centre Pages Win Tickets to see The Sound of Music at the Grand Canal Theatre

JASON Donovan and Verity Rushworth star in this wonderfully lavish production telling the timeless story of the Von Trapp family’s flight across the mountains, with its unforgettable score. See Page 28

Is the Blueline Dublin's new plan? Feature Page 3


2

The Informer

The Drift

Is B

The Informer Poll Yes

no

Are you happy with the new formation of the Fine Gael – Labour coalition government?

Are you confident that the new coalition government can negotiate a lower interest with the IMF?

Dublin Total

Dublin Total

30%

70%

15%

85% Santry

Santry

10%

90%

5%

95%

Lucan

Lucan

30%

70%

Blanchardstown

35%

65%

10%

90%

Blanchardstown

25%

75%

Raheny

Raheny

15%

85%

20%

80%

Swords

Swords

35%

65%

10%

90%

Tallaght

Tallaght

40%

60% Rathfarnham

Rathfarnham

35%

65%

Dún Laoghaire

35%

65%

15%

85%

Dún Laoghaire Dundrum

30%

10%

90%

Sandyford

70%

25%

75%

Dundrum

70%

20%

80%

Sandyford

30%

95%

5%

Survey carried out on Tuesday 8thth and Wednesday 9th March 2011. This is a “door step” survey. Total number of people interviewed is 200 with 20 residents being interviewed in their homes in each of the areas shown by The NRBI on behalf of Informer Newspapers. Results published do not reflect the views or the opinions of the Informer Newspapers or any of its employees.

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The Informer

3

Comment & Debate

Is BlueLine the new plan for Dublin transport? After years of expansion, proposals to build new Luas lines are effectively shelved as the Government deals with the crisis in the state's finances. The success of the Luas, and the Dart before it, has proven that high quality public transport can attract passengers and provide an alternative to the car. The strategy has been to expand rail based services around the city to do just that. At present there are plans for Metro North and Metro west; Luas lines to Lucan and Cabra as well as extensions to Bray and a link up in the city centre. In

addition the Dart underground plans to connect up heavy rail services in the city centre. At the moment, all these plans have stalled due to the financing crisis. The new programme for Government makes no promises and even Metro North is looking unlikely to happen in the shortterm. Dublin's public transport plans are becalmed. Into this uncertain climate has come the BlueLine proposal to build a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line between Sydney Parade Dart station and the

Dublin's public transport system is facing a severe shortage of capital to build proposed Luas and Metro lines. Could Bus Rapid Transit be the alternative? Niall Gormley examines the BlueLine proposal. Sandyford business district, taking in major employers and commuter destinations such as St Vincent's Hospital, RTE, and UCD. The line is being promoted by these organisations as well as Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. BRT is effectively a tram system without the rails. The buses, which are very similar to tram stock (as pictured left), are set on segregated routes as much as possible. The stops are more like stations with real time travel information and much improved passenger facilities. The advantage of BRT is that it can be implemented much more cheaply than light rail, that it can be rolled out quickly and that the routes can be more flexible. It is a step up from Quality Bus Corridors, which have been reasonably successful in Dublin, but still suffer from the fact that they don't have dedicated space like the Luas has. What has changed for BRT over recent years has been its successful implementation in cities around the world. One of

BlueLine Main Points

Greater Integration: It will provide interchange with existing LUAS, DART and Bus services High Speed: It will be quick with a total journey time of 18 minutes from St. Vincent’s Hospital to Sandyford Business Park High Frequency: There will be one service every 6 minutes operating 18hrs a day

the best examples is the Bogota in Colombia (above) from opening in 2000 the system there carries 1.5m passengers daily. Whether the BlueLine is implemented will depend on Government support. At some point the state might re-examined routes such as the Lucan Luas line and decide to redesign it as a BRT line. There are now many functioning examples of high quality BRT lines around the world providing a viable alternative to light rain and greatly enhancing the attractiveness of the bus network. See www.blueline.ie.

High Capacity: The service can carry in excess of 1,000 passengers per direction per hour High Quality: The vehicles will be similar to LUAS trams providing many doors for multiple boarding Passenger Focussed: Each stop will have real time passenger information signs, ticketing machines and seating areas Improved Accessibility: To work, education, retail, leisure, public facilities and other activities within southeast area Realisable: The service can be delivered within a relatively short timeframe


4

Green Scene

The Informer By Kathy Marsh, Sonairte

Fisheries Policy bows to common sense Green shoots...

A recent photograph by Johnny Woodlock shows just how crazy the current European Fisheries Policy is. All the fish in this picture apart from the very few prawns had to be thrown back, dead, into the sea, because the boat that caught them only had a quota to catch prawns. In fact, for every tonne of fish landed, four tones of perfectly edible dead fish are thrown overboard. Fishermen have been complaining about this madness for years, but it has taken a recent popular campaign, spearheaded by chef and food campaigner Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, and a series of horrifying tv films, to get those responsible in Brussels to start listening. At last EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki has proposed a phased ban of the discarding of fish as part of a reformed Common Fisheries Policy. In fact she has described what goes on at the moment as “unethical, a waste of natural resources and a waste of fishermen’s effort”. But the problem isn’t just limited to the EU – fish stocks are

being wiped out all round the globe. What can you do to help? Well you can find out more about it and sign up at www. fishfight.net, and you can start reading labels on tins, on frozen fish, and on the fishmonger’s counter. You could even ask your friendly local chippy where they are getting their fish from and maybe ask them to fry some of the less fashionable but more sustainable fish.

UN says ecological agriculture is the only way to feed the world Last December the UN’s Cancun Conference on Climate Change was told that agriculture is under greater stress than ever in many of the developing nations around the equator, and that modern farming methods are failing to handle that stress. Now another UN report says that agroecological farming can feed the projected 9 billion people who will be on the earth in 2050, and that feeding them can be carbon neutral by

2030, and could achieve a third of the world’s total carbon reduction target by 2050. New systems use agroforestry (interplanting trees and crops on the same parcel), biological control (controlling pests and diseases with natural predators), water harvesting methods, intercropping, green manure cover crops, mixed crop and livestock management, and many other practices. One feature uniting

all of the above advances is the low use of external inputs. The report also points out that projects in Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh recorded up to 92% reduction in insecticide use for rice, leading to important savings for poor farmers. Dr Olivier Schutter, the author of the report said “Knowledge came to replace pesticides and fertilizers. This was a winning bet.”

Who's in charge?

So who will be taking responsibility for all things green in our new government? The answer is that once again there won’t be a lot of joined up thinking. As far as I can tell responsibility for making sure our planet gets back on an even keel is split five ways between Phil Hogan (Environment), Pat Rabbitte (Energy and Natural Resources), Simon Coveney (Agriculture, Marine and Food), and Leo Varadkar (Transport) while two new ministers, rather than the old one, will have final say in whether there is enough money in the kitty to do the job. And while the new government has committed to keeping Coillte in national hands (due to all who made their voices heard on the doorsteps), and merging it with Bord na Mona, this new organization, which will own almost ten per cent of the land surface in the Republic, doesn’t come into anyone’s job title. The programme for govern-

ment makes it clear that there aren’t going to be any easy options in the days and years to come for the environmentally aware or anyone else. But it is going to be essential that we all watch to make sure that short term cash solutions don’t compromise long term sustainability. If we are all going to find ourselves with water meters (and I’ve been saying we need them for the last twenty years or so), then we also need financial supports for grey water utilization so we can use the washing up water on our gardens, instead of spending money on treated water, and we don’t want to see Ireland’s green food island image sacrificed to the GMO lobby. One of the last actions of the last government was to reverse Ireland’s established stance on genetically modified food – we need to get a quick turn round from the new kids on the block. And we also need to start complying with EU environmental law because until we do our hard earned cash is going to be spent paying an awful lot of fines.


6

The Informer

Garden Growing

Everything is starting to come alive As I write this month's piece, there’s talk of a white rather than a green Saint Patrick’s Day. Let’s hope that this prediction from our old friend, the Donegal postman-amateur weather man is wrong. March can be a very strange month weather wise. It’s possible to have day time temperatures as high as 12°c or 14°c, followed by serious night time frosts so don’t get too carried away for the moment and under no circumstances should you try direct seeding in the garden. Whatever you want in terms of vegetables to enjoy later this year

should be germinating indoors for at least the next four weeks or so. If you followed last month's tip on chitting your potatoes before planting outside, your seed potatoes will now be starting to come alive indoors and those small ‘eyes’ will now be a few centimeters long. Leave them inside for a few more weeks and then put them in the ground. Plant potatoes now Normally first and second early potatoes would be put in the ground in mid March. As we have had a long cold winter, late

n Start working on the dreaded lawn moss

March would be a better time to plant outside. Elsewhere in the garden everything has really started to come alive. If you have Hostas, make sure to use slug pellets now as the shoots emerge from the ground. If you don’t get there first the slugs and snails will devour them. Look after the roses Roses which haven’t already been pruned should be looked after now as there is still some time if you get a move on. As the temperature in the ground increases, now is a good time to think about sorting out your lawn if it needs attention. Moss is a huge problem in this part of the world and eradicating it is a constant battle. Now is a good time to scarify the lawn and try your best to rake out the moss and re-seed any bare spots. Lawn feeds are great for getting the grass going, while killing the moss. This will leave awful black, dead spots in the lawn which need to be raked off. After this you simply throw some

With

Gerry Norton

n Your pond will start live again grass seeds on the bare spots and let nature take over. Mind the birds As our feather friends are now starting to get intimate with each other and nest building is in full progress, I would encourage gardeners not to do any hedge pruning. Birds will already have picked their nest locations and if they get there first, leave them to it for this year.

(Depending on application)

March is usually the time of year when your pond will start to come alive again after winter. Over the next week or so is a good time to get rid of leaves and old rotted plants from the pond using a net and putting on some rubber gloves. Get the pump out of winter storage in the shed and get it working again in the pond. The fish will soon wake up and start to feed again.

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

livinglandescapes@eircom.net


8

A Place in the City

All About Dublin (1) Enniskerry

From each bower he picked a flower And from each tree a cherry O, He laid them down and built a town And called it Enniskerry O. Thus the roving bard described the creation of Enniskerry, the attractive village in North Wicklow. The village lies in the basin formed by Cookstown, Monastery and towering Kilgarron and is surrounded by hills. The name Enniskerry is Ath na Sceire, 'Ford of the Reef Rocks'. The cromlech at Parknasilloge and the dolmen at Onagh are strong indications that the district was inhabited in the Bronze Age before the coming of Christianity in 432AD. To the north of Enniskerry is the Scalp, a deep narrow gorge in the hill where steep cliffs of granite boulders run parallel to the road. The Scalp dates back to the Ice Age when streams from the glaciers cut deep drainage channels termed 'Dry Gap.' On 24 March 1797 at Cookstown Hill, near Enniskerry, Captain Gore challenged the youthful Earl of Meath to a duel. A bitter dispute had arisen between the two men over recruitment to a new militia corps bcing set up. They lined up in a field at Powerscourt gate 12 yards apart. The Earl received a ball in the thigh and fell to the ground. He was brought to Powerscourt House for medical attention. Despite being unable to remove the ball the doctor was optimistic that he would survive. Four weeks later the Earl died and Gore was put on

The Informer

trial for manslaughter. He was found guilty with a rider that his action was in self-defence. Enniskerry proper came into existence in the early 1820s when the first buildings were erected in what is now the village. The school was built in 1823 and in 1843 the village was given its distinctive identity when Viscount Powers court built the clock tower in honour of his father. Elegant valve towers and caretaker cottages were built along the Enniskerry Road and Dargle Valley. Relations between the religious denominations were exemplary but a bigoted minister, Reverend Robert Daly of Powerscourt in the 1820s did his utmost to disrupt the spirit of co-operation and create anti-Catholic feeling. He attempted to stop Catholic masters on their way to school and evicted tenants of Lord Powerscourt, but he did not succeed in his endeavours. An excerpt from "Bray and North Wicklow: Gateway to the Garden", with text by Arthur Flynn, and paintings by Val Byrne. Published by Cottage Publications.

Lesser known Dubs John Zephaniah Holwell was born in Dublin on September 17 1711, grew up in London and studied medicine at Guy's Hospital. Employed in 1732 as a surgeon by the English East India Company, initially on one of their ships, he was later given a shore position in India. He was appointed 'SurgeonMajor' and settled in Calcutta in 1736. After a period back in England he returned to Calcutta in 1751 as a 'covenanted civilian' (i.e. his employment depended on his good behaviour). He received a very sudden, unexpected, and entirely unwelcome promotion to the position of Governor of Calcutta in early June 1756 when the incumbent, Roger Drake, took to his heels as an Indian force, led by the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, closed in on the city. Holwell led the defence until his troops ran out of ammunition - the city fell on June 19. He was assured by Siraj ud-Daulah that those who surrendered would be well treated. Unfortunately Siraj ud-Daulah left the scene and his men forced the prisoners into a small guardhouse.

Edited by Zoz

John Zephaniah Holwell

Holwell wrote later: - "The dungeon was a strongly barred room and was not intended for the confinement of more than two or three men at a time. There were only two windows, and a projecting veranda outside and thick iron bars within impeded the ventilation, while fires raging in different parts of the fort suggested an atmosphere of further oppressiveness. The prisoners were packed so tightly that the door was difficult to close." Pleas for better accommodation were ignored - and the Nawab of Bengal had retired to bed. "By nine o'clock several had died, and many more were delirious. A frantic cry for water now became general, and one of the guards, more compassionate than his fellows, caused some to be brought to the bars, where Mr.

Holwell and two or three others received it in their hats, and passed it on to the men behind. In their impatience to secure it nearly all was spilt, and the little they drank seemed only to increase their thirst. Self-control was soon lost; those in remote parts of the room struggled to reach the window, and a fearful tumult ensued, in which the weakest were trampled or pressed to death. They raved, fought, prayed, blasphemed, and many then fell exhausted on the floor, where suffocation put an end to their torments." According to Holwell 123 out of 146 prisoners died during the night in what became known as the 'Black Hole of Calcutta' - a figure has been disputed ever since and may have been much lower. The prisoners were freed some months later.

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10

The Informer

All About Dublin (2)

First hand History

Dean Swift's revenge

A Dublin shoemaker called Bamerick offered to make a pair of boots for Dean Swift - to be ready the following Saturday. The Dean told him not to promise what he couldn't deliver and Bamerick said there wouldn't be a problem. But there was - though Bamerick had the boots ready he forgot to deliver them until the following Monday night. The Dean fitted them on, found them satisfactory, but did express his disappointment at the late delivery. The Dean seemed happy enough, but did enquire as to whether Bamerick knew anything about gardening. On being told that Bamerick had seen some very fine garden in England, the Dean offered to show him some improvements he had made in his own garden. After walking to the end of the garden, pausing here and there to admire some less than startling innovation, the Dean excused himself and said he would be back in a minute. To make a long story short, Bamerick found himself locked in the garden for several hours, prevented from escape by the high walls. It was a cold night in March and it would be safe to say that Bamerick grew more and more unhappy with each passing minute. At two o'clock in the morning the Dean roused the household, told them to arm themselves, and announced that he thought he had heard noises in the garden - it could only be burglars! Bamerick narrowly escaped being shot - not helped by the Dean roaring ""There's the robber, shoot him, shoot him." "Lord, Sir, (said Bamerick) don't you remember you left me here in the evening?" "Ah! friend (said the Dean) I forgot it, as you did the boots " then turning round to Robert (who was butler) he said, "give the man some warm wine, and see him safe home."

Edited by Zoz

From the archives...

Riot in the Phoenix Park In 1871 one of the topics of the day was of Fenians being held in English prisons, often in bad condition, some without trial for several years - the call was for an amnesty. Public meetings were not uncommon and one was organised to be held on the steps of the Wellington Monument in the Phoenix Park on the afternoon of Sunday, August 6th. Then, on Saturday evening, printed notices from the Office of Public Works were put up notifying the public that the meeting would not be permitted and that the police had been ordered to prevent one taking place. On the Sunday at 3pm there was a scattering of men women and children in the area around the Wellington Monument. Down the road, at the Parkgate Street entrance to the Park could be seen a gathering of policemen. At 4pm the numbers near the monument had not appreciably grown, but 15 minutes later a large crowd appeared marching down one of the side roads (bypassing the police) and within a few minutes the area around the monument, including the sloping steps, were jammed. Superintendent Hawe made his way through the crowd and, joining the speakers at the top, announced that the meeting had been proclaimed and would not be allowed to continue. He headed back towards his men, followed a large number of people. As the organisers, who argued that it was a legal meeting, attempted to get on with the meeting the police charged with batons drawn. The Freeman's Journal reported:- "A scene of confusion, almost of terror ensued, a large section

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of the crowd, including many women, lads and children, on the outskirts, fled in every direction, pursued by the police, several of whom appeared to use their batons freely, besides tripping up people as they passed, and hurling them down the steps. "The advance and attack were witnessed by crowds assembled on the rising ground opposite the Wellington Monument and some of the spectators hissed. and called out 'cowards'." There was a second baton charge which succeeded in mostly clearing the Monument. Meanwhile traffic had ground to a halt on the main road and spectators were gathering from all sides. In the distance, and growing louder, was heard the sound of a brass band. Within minutes the James's Street skinners band appeared and were promptly charged by the police. The band was "in a second routed; the musical instruments were flung up in the air or dashed to the ground; the

bandsmen were knocked down and some of them injured; the rest fled with the crowd for safety in every direction." Now those who had come to gawk found themselves in danger - "the police, renewing their charges wherever anything like a crowd gather, upset all who came in their way indiscriminately, using their batons unceasingly that women and children screamed in terrors as they ran to avoid the blows that seemed imminent." By five o'clock the entire area of the Phoenix Park from the main entrance to the Zoo was filled with people in varying density, and police numbers had increased to 400, including a troop of mounted police. Events calmed down after that, except for Steven's Hospital where 50 people were treated for injuries - six of them serious enough to warrant admission. Later that night there was some rioting along the quays and, more seriously, in Capel Street four people were arrested. The Freeman's Journal was in no doubt as to where the blame lay:- "The force used yesterday was most unnecessary to attain the object the police had in view, while in many individual instances their conduct partook of a kind of savage vindictiveness and a brutal indiscrimination for which there was no adequate cause and can be no adequate explanation. It was a furious onslaught of an armed disciplined few on thousands of defenceless men, women and children ... To some of them as constables the day was an official scandal - to them as Irishmen a rank, black disgrace."

The Stress Pandemic and The Most Effective Therapy By Tom Ryan The good feeling that prevailed during the Celtic Tiger years has been replaced by stress, fear, anger and despair. People are reaching out for solutions to cope in those uncertain times. People who would never have done so before are calling therapists and counsellors for help. Without knowing what to look for most are reaching out blindly. Save your time, money and sanity by choosing your therapist wisely. Keep the following in mind when considering therapy. Therapists are service providers and as such they should be competent in solving your problems within a reasonably specified period of time. If they can’t tell you how many sessions you need to achieve your desired results, walk. Therapy like any other service must have a defined objective in mind with a beginning, middle and an end clearly stated and understood by both parties. This includes the fee for the entire process. If you are not offered this minimum requirement, walk. There are many pseudo-therapists out there who think they own you once you engage with them. Their treatment is endless, useless and counterproductive. You don’t want to become part of their Blue Chip pension

scheme. If their ‘code of ethics’ doesn’t offer you the minimum stated requirements walk. If they can’t overcome ones smoking habit in one session they can’t change your mind programming in any way that will be of any use to you. That is the test that determines their usefulness. Your obligation to yourself is to find what works quickly, effectively and economically for you. So let me present you with evidence of what really works: A survey of psycho-therapy literature by Dr. A. Barrios revealed the following recovery rates. Source: American Health Magazine • Psychoanalysis: 38% recovery after 600 sessions (approx 12 years!) • Behaviour Therapy: 72% recovery after 22 sessions (approx 6 months!) • Hypnotherapy: 93% recovery after 6 sessions (1.5 months!) The results speak for themselves. So what makes hypnotherapy superior to all other therapies? People problems are at the subconscious level. Talking to the conscious mind to bring about subconscious change is as effective as polishing your car to charge your battery. The effort and energy is focused on the wrong place. Hypnosis communicates directly with the subconscious mind so change can be achieved immediately. To contact Tom phone: 086/3366713 www.totalminddynamics.com


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About Tom Ryan

Tom is qualified in advanced hypnotherapy and NLP. He specialises in smoking cessation, and is recognised as a leader in the field. He has more than 30,000 hours of direct experience with clients over 20 years. Doctors are so impressed with the medical benefits they are now referring more and more of their patients, who are able to stop smoking effortlessly. Tom teaches his unique Stop Smoking techniques to hypnotists internationally.

FORmER SmOKERS ARE SAYING: “I tried to stop smoking so many times. I am free of it at last. Hypnosis was the answer.” M. J. Cork “I still can’t believe how easy it was with Toms help” J.P.K. Galway “I wish I had known about this years ago. It was a great experience!” Mick V. Dundalk “2 years on I celebrate freedom from smoking daily. There is a real difference in my life and health. Thank you Tom.” Maire C. Dublin “Its feels great to have smoking out of my life for good thanks to Tom” Erick M. Dublin.

MY GUARANTEE

“All you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the experience. One hour later you will be a non smoker. This is guaranteed for life. 3 STEPS TO SUCCESS 1. Hypnosis on its own is 95% successful. I can improve on that. 2. I add NLP, which brings the success rate way over 97%. There may be still some doubt so I add a final process. 3. That is ‘Parts Integration’ which brings the rate up to close on 100%. Says Tom.”

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10/03/2011 21:44:26


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The Informer

The sky over Dublin Footsbarn coming back to Ireland for 40th Birthday Saturn and Mercury with Conor Farrell, Astronomy Ireland

This month is something of a planetary showcase, with some amazing treats coming up in the night sky! Jupiter is on its way out of the evening sky, but you can still see it in the west just after sunset. It looks like a bright star, and binoculars will reveal its largest moons, just like Galileo saw them just over 400 years ago when he first pointed a telescope to the heavens. By 11pm each evening the ringed planet Saturn will be above the eastern horizon. It is quite bright, with a yellowish tinge, and is located not far above the bright star Spica. Saturn is the second largest planet in the Solar System, and also the lightest: if a big enough pool of water existed, Saturn would float in it! The planet is famous for its beautiful ring system. I always find it amazing that

the rings are as wide as nine Earths, yet only 20m thick! It is believed that the rings were formed at some time in the past when an ancient moon broke apart into fragments. With a telescope, you will be able to see the rings and moons very easily, and will probably be one of the most amazing things you will ever see in the night sky. It is thought that less than 1% of people on Earth have ever seen the planet Mercury. Luckily, the tiny planet will be making an appearance later this month! On the few days before and after March 20th, Mercury will be visible with the naked eye immediately after sunset in the west, when the Sun has gone below the horizon. Mercury can be difficult to spot at first, but it will be placed right next to Jupiter from the 15th to the 18th, so use Jupiter as a signpost to join the 1% Club this month! n Pic: NASA

The famous Footsbarn Travelling Theatre celebrates its 40th birthday with a triumphant return to Ireland from Thursday 7th of April for a two week run. Their Spiegeltent will be moving into the Point Village where they will perform their new show “Sorry!”. “These guys are probably the best travelling theatre company in the world and it is great to see them coming back to Ireland,” explained Harry Crosbie, Chairman, The Point Village. “This is not your typical stuffy play,” explains Paddy Hayter, Footsbarn Theatre Company. “As the undertakers hold a funeral for a famous composer, a family of gypsies arrive to celebrate a wedding, all in the same place. With a plot like that you know you are in for a show like no other.” Ticket prices €20 for adults, €10 for children and €15 for students, those without a job and older people. Tickets for sale on the Tickets.ie website (www.tickets.ie/footsbarn)


k to day

Check out the Personal ads on the back page To advertise your business directly to thousands of homes locally email personal@informer.ie or call 813 8786


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The Informer

Unnecessary roof replacement averted by "help my house" Everybody has a horror story they can tell about a home improvement gone wrong. Whether the “victim” is themselves, a family member or friend, the end result is the same – the person ends up out of pocket and the house remains unimproved. The reason for the endless list of sorry tales is largely due to the number of homeowners who fail to get independent advice from salesmen and end up paying well over the odds for work carried out to their property. Sometimes the work is unnecessary; while on other occasions the work is unprofessional and fails to repair the damage. Thankfully, we are set to see a diminishing amount of people unhappy with the results of their home improvements thanks to Help My House, which is now in its second year troubleshooting homeowners’ problems. The nationwide organisation, which comprises 19 registered architects from the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI), was set up by Anthony Brabazon in a bid to solve the rising tide of dissatisfaction amongst homeowners carrying out home improvements on their properties. Help My House has become a vital service in Ireland today. With no sign of recovery for the property market and an increasing number of people facing negative equity, more and more property owners are choosing to improve their homes rather than upgrade. Last year, over 175 benefited

from this flat fee service. City based homeowners pay a fee of €150 including VAT while all others are charged €200. Homeowners can either log onto the website www.helpmyhouse.ie <http:// www.helpmyhouse.ie> or call 01 6683519. Within two days the area architect will contact them and a visit will be arranged within two weeks. At the end of the site visit, the architect will provide a written report with recommended solutions for the client. “I recently had a client in North Dublin who was complaining about a roof leak. The roof was guaranteed so the man had called up the roof company and they had visited his house. The company failed to find the source of the problem, which was actually just a severe case of condensation,” said Anthony Brabazon. “When I checked the house I discovered that the kitchen extractor wasn’t connected properly to the outside of the house. If the problem had not been properly identified, there is a good chance the homeowner would have taken the drastic step of replacing the entire roof. Worse than that, the problem would still have remained.” According to Brabazon, Help My House is thriving during our recessionary times because people are increasingly looking for low cost solutions to their house problems. “We are very used to dealing with people on tight budgets and fortunately we are in a position to help them.”


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Lo Call: 1890 929 950 www.leafletcompany.ie

March 2011 • Published by Leaflet Company Ireland, Leaflet Company House, 55 Western Parkway Business Park, Ballymount, Dublin 12 • Tel: 01 460 1673 • Email: info@businessstandard.ie • Web: www.businessstandard.ie

Portal to help Irish brands with no web presence

Geothermal energy coming near you?

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Green Business - Page 3

Call for minister for small business Change in attitude to smaller companies required - ISME ISME has called on the incoming Government to introduce a specific Minister for SMEs to ensure that the massive potential and contribution of the sector is harnessed and coordinated. The SME sector contrib- change in attitude towards utes over €10 billion to the smaller companies and Exchequer on an annual that the sector is viewed in basis and is the by far the its totality for the signifibiggest employer, with cant contribution it makes almost 900,000 people to employment, purchasworking in SMEs through- ing power, tax revenue, economic growth and to out the country. According to ISME society as a whole. This is Chief Executive, Mark crucial to developing and Fielding, “It is important maintaining an entreprethat there is a fundamental neurial culture, a corner-

stone for any successful economy” Ministers for Small Business have been appointed in many other countries, including Australia, the UK and France, who have recognised the value of their small business sectors and their unique concerns. Other sectors such as the agricultural sector has its own department to look after its concerns. “To achieve the maxi-

mum potential from the SME sector it is essential that there is a heightened awareness of the importance of SMEs. "Now is the time for a new administration to ‘put its money where its mouth is’ and show its commitment, by appointing a SME minister with direct responsibility for developing, stimulating and incentivising indigenous small companies,” concluded Fielding.

Finger on the pulse Interview Pippa O'Connor - Page 4 Sponsored by

CSO data shows budget cuts, austerity measures hitting home No sign of upturn for retail sector According to reports in Retail Intelligence published by Checkout magazine, budget cutbacks and the implementation of the universal social charge saw shoppers cut back on spending in January, with core retail sales declining by 1% in January. The latest CSO retail sales figures show that retail sales volumes (excluding cars) fell by 1.2% in the first month of the year (compared with the same period in 2010), with value sales down 1%. This decline was despite the fact that January 2010 was blighted by awful weather, meaning that the 2011 figures are relatively far worse than the 1% drop would indicate, with Retail Excellence Ireland CEO David Fitzsimons saying that there was no indication of any improvement in retail sales performance. “Based on our membership of 650

leading retailers, we expect to see 2,700 redundancies in January. This trend will continue until the incoming Government takes action to boost consumer confidence and address the problems of upward only rent reviews and increases in local authority rates and Joint Labour Committee retail industry wage rates,” he said. The decline in overall retail sales comes as overall food prices continue to rise, with grocery inflation running at almost 4%. This is mainly the result of price hikes being pushed through by suppliers, albeit with shoppers increasingly ‘trading down’ to cheaper lines and private label goods. The poor January sales figures could also be a result of shoppers having stocked up in one last desperate preChristmas mission, with the bad weather encouraging larger shops.

Fairtrade sales flying out despite the downturn It is reported in Retail Intelligence recently, despite the overall downturn in grocery sales in 2010, sales of Fairtrade products grew by 17% in Ireland last year. Figures released at the launch of the Fairtrade Fortnight event, which attempts to increase awareness of

the importance of buying Fairtrade products, show that total Faitrade certified sales hit €138 million in 2010, up from €118 million in 2009. These figures make Ireland one of the highest per-capita spenders on Fairtrade items in the world. Recent

pro-Fairtrade initiatives include a commitment by BWG symbol group Mace to convert 120 stores to Fairtrade-certified Bewleys coffee. The Insomnia group of coffee shops has also committed to using only Fairtrade chocolate in its hot chocolate drinks. Among the events

planned for the upcoming fortnight include carnivals in Carrick on Shannon and Donegal Town to celebrate their conversion to ‘Fairtrade Towns’. With their conversion, there will be 48 towns which meet the Fairtrade criteria in Ireland.


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2 Business View... GOVERNMENT PROGRAMME A ‘MIXED BAG’ for small and medium enterprises The Programme for Government agreed by cies to address the ‘calamitous’ unemploythe new administration is a ‘mixed bag’ but a ment problem with 439,200 people on the starting point in introducing measures to Live Register. assist the badly affected enterprise sector. The Country is in a dire state, following on While aspects of the agreement are positive, from a disastrous 2010. Small business ownserious issues such as cost competitiveness ers are indicating that this situation will deteand public sector reform have been either riorate further, with many companies just ignored or fudged. about hanging on by their fingernails, unless I welcome the decisions to ensure an ade- economic conditions improve. quate pool of credit for SMEs and the setting The reality is that job creation has to be at up of a strategic investment bank, the centre of our economic recovwhich should assist in this endeavery. It is vitally important, therefore, our. that the new Government puts as The decisions to reduce employmuch emphasis on job creation and ers PRSI and VAT on services and tackling unemployment, as it will abolish the travel tax are all steps in put into the banking crisis and renethe right direction. However, the gotiating the EU/IMF bailout. move to reverse the recently With 300,000 people having lost By announced minimum wage reducMark Fielding their jobs in the last four years and tion is nonsensical and sends out an anticipated 100,000 expected to ISME the wrong message internationally, emigrate in the next two, there is no with regard to the control of our cost base. time to waste in addressing the unemployThere is nothing particularly innovative ment scourge. contained in the programme, with many of Small businesses are the future for job creathe initiatives a rehash of policies of the pre- tion in this Country and we require an SME vious administration. The proposals to centered jobs plan to encourage indigenous address bankruptcy legislation are long over- companies to retain and recruit staff. due. Small & medium enterprises created over The one area essentially ignored was cost 400,000 jobs in the nineties and have the abilcompetitiveness, in particular the costs to ity to do so again with the correct policies and business including local charges, energy, initiatives”. transport and waste charges. While there was These should include: a reference to addressing upward only rent • Reduce the level of employer’s PRSI. reviews, the plan still does not go anywhere • Abolish wage control mechanisms, includnear to addressing the competitive gap with ing Employment Regulation Orders and our international competitors. Registered Agreements. For those policies that are outlined it is key • Address the costs of doing business, that they are delivered without delay. Overall, including local charges, rents, transport however, the programme is only a slightly and energy. modified version of the previous administra- • Increase access to credit and address busition’s four year plan, lacking the spark of ness late payments. innovation and leaving a significant gap with regard to the concerns and requirements of The new era in politics requires real action SMEs. rather than rhetoric, serious action to restore our low levels of confidence, badly damaged competitiveness and international reputation. The Government must propose and implement a long overdue action plan for the economy’s future, without delay, with job The incoming Government needs to hit the maintenance and creation at the very top of ground running and quickly implement poli- the list.

IMMEDIATE ‘JOBS BOOST’ URGENTLY REQUIRED

Portal to help Irish brands with no web presence Siliconerepublic have recently reported that 'I Support Irish', a new online shopping portal that will sell a range of Irish retail brands both in Ireland and in the US, was officially launched in early March 2011 in Dublin. The company is expecting to sell more than 2,000 Irish products, including handcrafts, art, books, cookery, foods, jewellery and fashion. Retail partners on the site include the Graham Knuttel, Jim Fitzpatrick, Joanne Hynes, Clodagh McKenna, Belle Cheminee, Mercier Press, Rockstar Tan, McCul Clothing, Handcraft Hurleys, Burren Smokehouse and Ri na Mara. Partner brands are charged a 10 per cent commission on their sales, which includes the cost of online payment charges. According to the company's founder and CEO, Alan Kavanagh, it will begin by targeting online shoppers in Ireland. “If you consider that €2.13bn was spent on online purchases in Ireland alone last year and with over 70pc claiming to now shop online, we are launching in Ireland first,” he said. “With the dramatic drop in retail in Ireland as a result of the recession then the only platform for struggling retailers is online. We provide that solution.” In June of this year, I Support Irish plans to move into the US market. Kavanagh said he will target the Irish American diaspora of more than

45m who seek out Irish goods, such as designer wear, handcraft hurleys, crafts, foods and jewellery. “It’s good news for Irish brands who don’t have a web presence and who need to take advantage of an e-commerce environment through our portal” he said. “This is really an online department store set to capitalise on the surge in the growth of the online retail sector at a time when the traditional retail model is steadily declining in Ireland,” said Kavanagh. “The company is currently searching for a further 200 companies, including those seeking export opportunities. Plans are also under way to tap into the UK, China and Russian markets.” For more up to date news checkout www.siliconerepublic.com

Retail snippets... World of Wonder in liquidation One of Ireland's oldest family businesses went into liquidation yesterday with the loss of 40 jobs. Founded after the Great Depression, Murphy's World of Wonder in Cork traded successfully through World War Two and endured the economic woes of the 1940s and 1950s. It finally fell victim to the current financial crisis yesterday. Owner Gerald Murphy said that the company -- founded in 1929 -- had been placed in voluntary liquidation. A total of 40 full and part-time jobs now face the axe with the closure of the firm's four stores in Cork city, Mallow, Fermoy and Midleton.

Carpetright cuts back Furnishings giant Carpetright is to shut seven of its Irish stores after sales halved in the last three years.

The company said management is negotiating with staff over the closures but expects to lay off 19 workers. Carpetright said it continues to face difficult trading conditions and business remains very difficult after a three-year downturn. "Throughout this period Carpetright has sought to maintain the size of its Republic of Ireland operation, in anticipation of the hoped-for economic recovery," a spokeswoman said. "However, more than three years since the start of the downturn, and with no signs of a recovery yet in evidence, we have recently completed a review of the business to examine ways to improve its performance." Carpetright has 25 stores across Ireland. "This has been a difficult but necessary decision in the face of steep declines in both customer footfall and sales volumes over a prolonged period," the spokeswoman said. "On completion of this process the business will be in a stronger position to await a recovery in economic conditions."


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Consumer advice... Consumer advice... Consumer advice... Consumer advice... Consumer advice...

Free to air TV Over two thirds of the approximately 1.46 million households in Ireland with a television are now subscribers to a pay digital TV service via satellite or cable. These are increasingly expensive and you will pay between €264-€300 a year for a basic package from Sky or UPC (formerly NTL/Chorus). If you want a multichannel TV service without the subscription

charges, there is another option. You can use a satellite dish to get free-to-air television from the UK. To get this you can buy either a generic brand satellite dish kit yourself from high street electronics store or even a supermarket like Tesco, Dunnes Stores or Lidl for around €100. Then, provided you are reasonably technically competent, you can tune a DIY satellite system. Once installed, you can access more than 130 channels without any rental fees whatsoever, including ITV 1, 2, 3 and 4; BBC 1, 2, 3 and 4, Channel 5, Channel 4, E4, BBC News and loads more. These channels are courtesy of UK-based Freesat digital television service, which transmits the free-toair services via satellite and is operated by the BBC and ITV. One snag to the free-to-air option is that the Irish channels are not available although you can still get them for free through a normal TV aerial. If you don’t have an aerial, installers can offer a complete system comprising the satellite equipment plus a separate TV aerial for the Irish terrestrial channels. Before opting for this set-up you should make sure you are not living in an area where the existing analogue Irish TV aerial reception is poor. That said, you may find the quality will improve once RTE officially launches its FTA “Saorview” digital terrestrial service. This will happen in spring of 2011.

Gift Vouchers Consumers are often uncertain about rules governing vouchers. If the voucher comes with conditions they must either be printed on the voucher or you should be made aware of them on purchase. Most vouchers have a three or six months to a year’s lifespan. If there is no expiry date printed on the voucher, and the seller didn’t make you aware there was a time limit, it should be valid for an unlimited time period. Some retailers will honour vouchers after they have expired as a gesture of goodwill, but are not obliged to. If you have a voucher that is due to expire ask the seller if they will issue you with a new voucher that would extend the expiry date. They may oblige, but again is at their discretion. There are no rules governing the unused portion of the voucher so retailers don’t have to give you the difference in change or vouchers. If the business changes hands between buying the voucher and the recipient using it, the new owner doesn’t have to honour it because the contract was between the consumer and the previous owner. But again out of good customer service they might. If you’re unlucky enough to lose your voucher the shop doesn’t have to replace it. But if the voucher was issued to you by name, the seller may have a record of this, and could cancel the lost voucher and issue a new one. In 2009 a Seanad Bill was introduced to amend the 2007 Consumer Protection Act to include a provision that all vouchers are valid for 5 years. This hasn’t made it to law yet and the Consumers’ Association of Ireland has called for the Bill to be progressed with urgency.

Accounting ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS FOR SMALL BUSINESS – SOMETIMES SIMPLE IS BETTER

By Barbara O’Sullivan

All businesses, large or small, need an accounts system. In most cases accounting software packages are used and in many cases a book-keeper is employed to maintain the records. However, in some small businesses, it may not be feasible to employ a book-keeper and someone with no accounting background is landed with the job. This usually results in an accounts system with many errors and leaves the accountant with a difficult job at the year end, sometimes discovering undeclared tax liabilities due to inputting errors. This results in additional accountancy fees and possibly surprise tax bills and interest charges. For a very

small business with a low volume of transactions, a simple system is much easier to maintain and understand for someone with no accounting background. A basic system can be designed to suit the particular business using a simple spreadsheet, listing payments, receipts, and invoices on different worksheets. This template can then be used for future years. Once all back up supporting documents are retained this simple system can result in clearer information at the year end and lower accountancy and software costs. (Barbara O’ Sullivan CPA, AITI is managing partner at Finn & O’Sullivan, Certified Public Accountants www.finnosullivan.ie Ph: 00353 1 426 5862)

Green Business...

Geothermal Energy Right now as you read this article you are sitting on top of a red-hot ball of energy. Thankfully, there’s a layer of insulation between you and it. At 6000°C the earth’s core is a fiery furnace waiting to be tapped into. Obviously, having seen what comes up in volcanoes, geysers and hot springs, the notion emerged of tapping down in other more usable places. By drilling toward this natural heat source increasing temperatures of 30°C for every kilometre drilled are encountered. By the time you hit temperatures of about 70°C By you are on to an energy goldmine, geo- John Mullaney thermal energy. The only other natural lucky dip you need in order to harness the heat at this depth is a water flow. By using techniques used by geologists for decades in the oil and gas industry it is possible to pinpoint very accurately if there is water present and where best to drill. Normally the approach is to pump up the hot water from under the ground for either direct heating or; if the water is hot enough, to drive steam turbines to generate electricity. Once the heat is extracted through a heat exchanger the water is returned to where it came from. In this way there is no pollution and heat can be extracted continuously and reliably for many many years. In December 2010 an Irish Company, GT Energy, obtained permission from South Dublin County Council to construct Ireland’s first geothermal electricity plant in Newcastle, south Co. Dublin. If this proves successful it can potentially be replicated right across towns and industries in Ireland. Even though there are hundreds of proven projects globally, we just need to satisfy ourselves that it’s not all an underground conspiracy before we plough ahead. One of the jobs awaiting the new government in 2011 is to bring the proposed ‘Geothermal Energy Development Bill’ into law which will allow licensing of companies to explore and develop deep geothermal energy resources as there is no legislation regulating geothermal energy at present. If passed, the law will create a regulatory framework for the sector and deal with matters such as resource ownership, licensing of exploration and development rights and third-party protection. And Bingo! Another new industry is formed. The pilot plant at Newcastle could provide up to 4 megawatts of electricity - powering up to 8,000 homes. Alternatively, these plants could just provide heating to homes, provided the recipients don’t mind having all the local roads dug up to get the pipes in place. But sure we’re used to that. John Mullaney, who lives in Lucan, is an Energy Consultant currently establishing an energy business called, ‘The Energy Workbench’. Contact John at: linkedin or jjemullaney@gmail.com


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Fashion

Her finger on the pulse Kevin O’Brien of Fashion.ie speaks exclusively to Top Irish model Pippa O’Connor

How did you get into modelling? I entered Miss Ireland at 18 as Miss Kildare, I didn’t win but made the contacts from there. First modeling job, can you remember how much you got paid? A photocall with Sarah McGovern We were dressed in a bikini top and football shorts. It was Aug 2006. I got paid €150. Who is the best dressed female celebrity you know and why? Victoria Beckham. She has buckets of style in my opinion and I love her collection

What is your favorite piece of clothing you have, explain? My wedding dress! It’s the most luxurious item I’ve ever worn/ owned.

Style guru Kate Sweeney from Ireland’s leading website fashion.ie answers some of your questions…

Hi Kate, I am loving all the colour I’m seeing everywhere at the moment and I would really like to get away from the monochrome rut I seem to be in. Everything I own is black or white and when I go shopping I am instantly drawn to black!! The thought of reinventing my whole look sends me into a slight panic so how can I add brights to my wardrobe for work and weekends? Thanks, Orla

Where did you grow up? Co. Kildare.

How do you think fashion in Ireland compares to that of the rest of the world? I think as a country we are as good if not better in terms of style. We aren’t afraid to try new trends and are good at putting our own style in the mix.

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Colours are magic

Name? Philippa Mary Louise.

What’s your favorite going out outfit and why? I love wearing a short black dress and high heels, it instantly makes me feel good

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What are your favorite colours? Nudes, black, pinks. Who is your favorite fashion designer or label? Victoria Beckham. They're beautifully structured and amazing fit. Where would you shop for your clothes? Topshop, great shop for everything! Soho boutique for something special, and Penneys for basics and shoes for work!

Hi Orla, Most peoples wardrobes are built around a neutral palette. Pick one colour that’s works well for you (navy, grey, chocolate and the likes of are a little bit softer than black) and team with flashes of colour. This can be in the form of a bag, a top, some ballet pumps or wedges. Prints are another good way to do colour, maybe as a skirt. There are lots of bright tunics and dresses out there at the moment that can be worn over jeans until the weather gets warmer when you can show off your legs with a nice pair of flat shoes. Do you have a question that you would like to ask Kate? Then simply e-mail it through to her at kate@fashion.ie

The full extended interview with Pippa is on www.fashion.ie

Denim Rules! Denim is one fabric that never seems to go out of fashion and is a staple in everyone’s wardrobe, be it a man or woman. Denim is timeless, but the denim styles are not so pay attention to the new denim style trends in order to stay looking fabulous! This season denim develops a life beyond jeans. On the catwalks denim has shown up as sharp blazers, vests, boxy shifts, and culottes. For inspiration look to Stella McCartney, Derek Lam and D&G.

Pretty in Pink! Pink is THE jean colour of the season and skinnies would be the perfect style. With skinny jeans, it’s important to have bulk on your upper half to balance out fullness in your hips, blouses and blazers will work well.

The Roll up , Gamine Crop and Culottes The roll up look best in faded denim and are fit like straight legged jeans but rolled up. They look great with pointy flats or brogues for daytime

and add heels and sparkle for night. Levi 470 slimmer straight leg jeans below are perfect, just roll up!

No 66%

Get your own! Now all you have to do is go out find the pair that suits you! I reckon the chances of me buying just one pair of denims this year is slim to none, ah well, life is short and it’s for living, laughing and shopping I say!! Go to www.fashion.ie to find out more on how you can look good in denim.

M&S Competition winners 1. Mrs Susan Furness

6. Mrs Dympna McManus

2. Mrs Thersa Tighe

7. Mrs Jacinta Nisbet

3. Mrs Shauna Marcone

8. Mr Chris Wiggins

4. Mrs Maureen Curley

9. Miss Helen Murphy

5. Mrs Sinead Layden Daly

10. Mrs Jea Ewing


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Family Focus

ClevaScoop - new Irish feeding product Clevamama™, the award-winning Irish baby products company, has developed a new scoop for infant formula. The ‘ClevaScoop™ reduces the health risks associated with over and underfeeding your baby. Regardless of the bottle size it only takes one easy scooping action to prepare your baby’s bottle the right way, every time. Independent tests have shown that the ClevaScoop™ eliminates miscounting and clogging of scoops. Whist underfeeding a baby can result in weight loss and a loss of vital nutrients, overfeeding can be equally as serious resulting in constipation, dehydration, increased salt and sodium in the blood and raised calcium/phosphate levels which can potentially cause damage to baby’s kidneys. Midwife, mother and baby coach Doreen Buckley has seen first-hand the problems faced by parents when babies are not fed accurately. “Whilst it is commonly acknowledged that breastfeeding is best for your baby, 70% of infants in Ireland are bottle fed beyond the one month stage and with that comes the importance of ensuring your baby receives a correctly measured fed every time. I have worked with infants who have needed urgent medical attention, simply because they have received inaccurate feeds through the mismanagement of formula scoops. The accuracy of the ratio of powder to water is extremely important and failure to get this correct has the potential to cause illness. The Clevamama ClevaScoop™ costs €12.99 from Tesco stores, Smyths Toys, Mothercare and other leading retailers nationwide.

On the bookshelf... Why not check out in bookshops these two family-oriented Irish kids’ books. My Irish Family Tree is a practical guide that will teach children everything they need to know about creating a family tree. With information on using the internet, talking to family members, accessing archives and library records, this book has everything they need to

build a family history and find out about the past. It contains a pull-out poster which readers can fill in with their own family details. €5.99 Irish Legends for Children Colouring Book has 15 traditional Irish stories to read and then colour in, making it a book to treasure. There is something for everyone, from cautionary tales of cunning leprechauns to the thrilling exploits of great Irish heroes. It costs €4.99.

The Informer

Tell me about morning sickness A whopping 60–80% of pregnant women suffer from morning sickness, making it the most common pregnancy health problem. Women have told me they were counting down the weeks until the end of their first trimester, hoping the sickness would ease off; others were sick morning, noon and night and had to tell colleagues and family members their news earlier than they might have wished because they looked so rough. Eating certain foods can help to allay morning sickness – such as dry toast or a cracker, a ginger biscuit, banana, and slow release carbohydrates such as porridge. It’s important to eat little and often and don’t miss meals, and drink enough liquids to replace fluids lost in being sick. Fatty foods can make nausea worse, so try to avoid these. Some women find wearing a travel acupressure wristband helpful (available from pharmacies); or taking a ten-minute walk can help to decrease nausea.

World record attempt... Did you know that 23rd April is the date for attempting to set a new Guinness World Record™. The Real Diaper Association (RDA) and the Real Diaper Industry Association (RDIA) in America and the Nappy Alliance in the UK are joining forces in a attempt to set a new World Record for the number of reusable nappies changed at any one time, regardless of time zones, across multiple venues around the world.

Free Thermal Insulation Courses for Out of Work Builders Green Works has added a whole host of new building related courses and workshops to its upcoming schedule. The courses, which are focussed on retraining unemployed builders for retrofitting and Green Economy jobs, will take place between now and June in The Greenhouse on St Andrew St in the city centre. New additions include Thermal Insulation Installation, Thermal Bridging, Small Scale Renewable Electricity Generation, Solar Heating Systems and LEED, while popular courses like Renewable Energy Systems, Domestic Energy Management and BER will be rerun over the coming months. With growing investment in the Green Economy, and the emphasis on retrofitting for energy efficiency within the construction industry, it is essential for builders looking for work to reskill in these areas. “The building courses are proving to be very popular,” says Alice Ryan, Outreach Coordinator for Green Works.

“Our students are really eager to get back to work and by adding lots of specialised training courses we are helping them achieve their goals. Not only do they learn the skills needed to find sustainable employment, but by networking with other students, or by taking one of our Start

Your Own Green Business courses they will also be in a much better position to create work for themselves.” All Green Works courses are free to those in receipt of unemployment payments. Full details can be found at www.green-works.ie or by calling 01 674 5773.


22

The Informer

Dublin Advice

Anxiety - the only thing we have to fear is fear itself Anxiety is one of the most distressing feelings we can experience. Symptoms range from mild butterflies in the stomach, through shortness of breath, sweating, trembling and heart palpitations, to feeling 'spaced out' and fearing that one is going to die. The key to overcoming anxiety is to understand why it happens, how it is maintained and how to short-circuit this process at an early stage, before it becomes unmanageable. Understanding anxiety

Anxiety results from some form of threat. It might be fear of an

exam, of redundancy, of loneliness, or of troublesome memories from the past. Whether the fear is rational or not, the body reacts in the same way – preparing for “fight or flight”. This is part of the ancient built-in physical defence mechanism that ensured our survival over the millennia of evolution: the threats faced by primitive people were life-threatening, and needed an immediate response – either to fight or run. Fear and anxiety cause powerful chemicals (mainly adrenaline) to be released into the bloodstream, alerting us that quick and decisive action is necessary. In modern society, we no longer face threats from wild animals or hostile tribes, but the fear reaction of our bodies is the same. These high-stress chemicals are what cause the uncomfortable, distressing and sometimes overwhelming symptoms of anxiety. Learning to calm the senses

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A simple, effective technique that can be used at any time is diaphrammatic (belly) breathing. To practice, lie flat on your back with no tight clothing around the waist. Lay one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Extend the stomach muscles with each slow in-breath, so that your abdomen expands like a child's balloon. The hand on your stomach should rise, and the hand on your chest should move very little. This can take a bit of practice! Try saying the word “calm” or “peace” with each in-breath. Once you are familiar with it, this technique can be practiced sitting or standing. This deep breathing reverses the production of stress chemicals in the body and quickly generates feelings of relaxation. A common reaction to anxiety is to eat less, to smoke more, and to drink more tea, coffee, fizzy drinks or alcohol. These are the worst possible reactions to anxiety, and are guaranteed to increase it. Healthy unprocessed meals are essential for a stable nervous system. Sugar, caffeine and the additives in processed food should be avoided by anyone prone to anxiety.

Learning to calm the mind

Controlling how we think is crucial to managing anxiety. Become aware of your automatic thoughts: is there a constant theme of negativity and self-criticism running through them? It is important to adopt more positive and life-affirming thinking habits. Begin your day by listing 5 things you are grateful for, and end the day by listing any positive things that happened that day. Developing this 'attitude of gratitude' has been shown to have a profound effect on enhancing mood. Anxious symptoms can build into panic if they are allowed to take over. Contradict fearful thinking by repeating quietly 'All is well', 'I am calm', or any other soothing phrase that appeals. Combined with deep breathing, this short-circuits the spiral of anxious thoughts, restores equanimity and allows for clearer thinking to emerge. Sharing the load

Much unnecessary anxiety is generated by trying to cope with everything without support. As a counsellor, I sometimes see clients gaining relief from anxiety after just one session, having unburdened themselves of their worries. Having the opportunity to discuss problems calmly and in depth, with an objective outsider, can greatly relieve the stress of trying to manage alone.

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

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


23

The Informer

It pays to shop around The reality of the 2011 Budget has resulted in a major dent being put in average household earnings. For a couple, both earning €40,000 the net effect is being down €226 per month from their household take home pay. With this in mind we tasked ourselves with finding five money saving opportunities to offset this recent tax hike. While each of the items below is general in nature it will give an overall idea of where savings can be made without to much hassle:: 1. Switch to a cheaper gas/ electricity provider Savings of 10% minimum can be made on gas and electricity. With the average combined cost at circa €150 per home per month. Switching to Bord Gais/ Flogas or Airtricty could save you €15 per month. Total saving e15 per month 2. Switch to a cheaper Mortgage Protection provider If you have a Mortgage it is likely you will have Mortgage Protection. Life Assurance rates have come down significantly in the last number of years due to a more competitive marketplace. A recent issue of the Sunday Business Post highlighted that savings of up to 30% can be made by reviewing your Life Assurance. It may therefore be worthwhile reviewing your cover to see if you can obtain a lower monthly premium. The cover you took out with the bank at the time of taking out your Mortgage may not be the most competitive available. It is important that borrowers realise that they have a choice, and that they were not under any legal obligation to purchase these types of products from their lender only. The average monthly premium for Mortgage Protection is €60 per month. A saving of 30% would equate to €18 per month. In addition SmartQuotes.ie also offers 70% off the first twelve months premiums. For someone paying €60 a month this is a minimum saving of €504 in the first twelve months.This saving in the first twelve months could go towards a holiday, savings or pay-

ing off your credit card for example. Contact SmartQuotes.ie on 01 6853813 to get a quick quote Total saving of e18 per month (potential additional saving of e504 in the first twelve months) 3. Switch to the corporate health insurance plan This is quite straightforward and only takes one phone call. Go to www.hia.ie (the Health Insurance Authority website). Compare what you currently have versus other providers on the market and the corporate plans available. Savings of circa e400 per family are not uncommon. Total saving of e30 per month (based on e400 above) 4. Switch to e-mobile With e-mobile customers can enjoy unlimited talk and text for e10 per week. This compares with the Meteor Unlimited Offer of e85 per month. Total saving of e80 per month (e40 per month per adult) 5. Review your tax credits and claim a refund While you can only do this once a year you can also go back four years to claim a refund of monies due (medical expenses, bin charges, certain dental costs, tax relief on pension contributions/ income protection). Every situation is different but on average a refund of circa €600 is achieved. Contact David Twomey at www.Payroll.ie for further details (Phone 01 2101967). Obtain a special lower rate by quoting SmartQuotes.ie. Total saving of e50 per month (e600 spread over 12 months) The above gives a total saving of e193 per month covering 86% of the difference in income as a result of the budget. Further changes such as reviewing your home insurance or shopping habits (Lidl versus Tesco) should get the total up very close to the e226 per month that Budget 2011 has cost you.

Treat yourself to a little Spring Sunshine! Travel Focus: Sunset Beach Club, Costa del Sol The Irish-owned Sunset Beach Club is located on the seafront of Benalmádena Costa on the Costa del Sol, and is easy accessible at only 20 minutes from Málaga airport (approx. €25 in a taxi). Ideal for a sunshine break, their one bedroom hotel apartments are perfect for couples or families of up to four persons, and offer the best of both worlds, combining apartment-style rooms with four star hotel services and facilities. Spring is arguably the best time to visit this part of Spain March, April and May are great months to visit to enjoy the sunshine without the burn, and all the pleasures of the Costa del Sol and surrounding areas, without the crowds!

Whether you are looking for somewhere to spend a few days lazing by the pool with a good book, play golf or relax with family and friends, or perhaps an extended visit to explore the amazing sights this part of Spain has to offer, Sunset Beach Club provides the perfect base for your holiday. The on-site Golf & Leisure Desk is also there to help you make the most out of your stay.

Great Value Spring Breaks March: B&B from €56 per apt/night (2 persons) April: Self Catering from €69 per apt/night May: Self Catering from €78 per apt/night. For more information and bookings: Visit www.sunsetbeachclub.com or Email booking@sunsetbeachclub.com


24

The Informer

Health Issues Ask the My asthma treatment is unsatisfactory Pharmacist

Q: I was diagnosed with asthma about 12 years ago, when I was a child. Since then I have been using a Ventolin inhaler, which I use about twice a day, sometimes more often. A few years ago my doctor also prescribed me a steroid inhaler. My doctor says it is important to use it, but I just don't find it as good as the Ventolin. The Ventolin relieves wheeziness very quickly, but the steroid inhaler doesn't seem to have any effect when I use it. Is there something stronger than the Ventolin that would be suitable for me to use? I find that the effect doesn't last as long as it used to.

A: Ventolin is a type of drug called a bronchodilator. This means that it opens up the airways, relieving the wheeziness and shortness of breath that you experience with asthma. It is very effective at this and will generally have its effect within a matter of seconds. Asthma is an illness that involves narrowing of the airways, so if we have something that opens up the airways quickly and effectively, that's all that's needed. Right? Well, not really. While the end result of asthma is a narrowing of the airways, causing wheeziness and shortness of breath, the underlying cause of this is an inflammation of the lungs. Although a drug like Ventolin opens up the airways and provides quick relief from the symptoms it does not tackle the underlying cause. In mild cases of asthma, a drug like Ventolin or another bronchodilator (what we call reliever medications) may be all that's needed to effectively treat the illness. As a

general rule, if you only need to use a reliever a couple of times per week, and your asthma symptoms don't keep you awake at night or prevent you engaging in activities such as sports, then that's probably all that you need to treat your asthma. In more severe cases, if the reliever medication needs to be used most days, or if asthma symptoms wake you up at night or interfere with your normal day-to-day activities, a preventer inhaler would usually be recommended. This would usually be a steroid inhaler. A steroid inhaler will reduce the inflammation in the lungs and so help to tackle the root cause of your asthma symptoms. Unlike a reliever, your preventer needs to be used regularly (usually twice a day) to be effective and will not provide any immediate relief from your symptoms, which is probably why you think it is not as effective as your Ventolin. If you have moderate to severe asthma and rely mostly

on your reliever to treat your asthma symptoms, you are putting yourself at much higher risk of chest infections, serious asthma attacks which could result in hospitalisation, and your asthma is also more likely to interfere with your daily life. You will probably also find that your reliever medication becomes less effective over time and that you need to use it more and more often. If you have been prescribed a steroid inhaler, there a few things you need to know to get the most out of your treatment: • A steroid inhaler will need to be used regularly to be effective. It will not provide any immediate relief from your symptoms. This does not mean that it is not working. • It is important to rinse your mouth out after using a steroid inhaler. Failure to do this can cause oral thrush and hoarseness. • If you have been prescribed a preventer and you still find you need to use your reliever most days, you should go back to your doctor as you may need a more powerful preventer or tablets may need to be added to your treatment. • While steroids are powerful drugs, a steroid inhaler will generally have minimal side effects as only very small amounts of the drug will be absorbed into the blood stream. • A major cause of treatment failure is incorrect use of an inhaler. If you are unsure that you are using your inhaler correctly or want a reminder of how to use it properly, call into your pharmacist for a demonstration

With Eoin Meany

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

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


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Males Provisional Licence

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e2,160 No Quote e3,664 e3,621 e5,673 e3,067

Based on 2004 VW Golf 1.4 €6,000 Driver Age 19 0 Yrs NCB Living in Swords, Co Dublin

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e625 e1,364 e1,151 e661 e1,363 e1,114

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26

The Informer

Getting Fit with Derry Temple , DT Fitness

Post Natal Fitness Pilates is a unique system of exercises designed to improve strength, control and endurance of your core muscles through a series of smooth, precise movements. During pregnancy, the pelvic floor is put under large amounts of stress to hold and support the enlarged uterus and increasing size and weight of the growing baby. If not strong enough, the pelvic floor weakens and you can become susceptible to pelvic instability, low back pain and incontinence. By strengthening the pelvic floor and core stabilisers you reduce the risk of muscle damage while also helping to repair and rebuild this region of your body. The low-impact work-out of Post-natal Pilates also assists with reducing back pain, joint swelling, muscular fatigue and soreness. It can be a valuable tool in maintaining healthy blood pressure and lowering stress levels. By participating in a class you can expect to see a noticeable increase in muscular strength, flexibility and energy levels. YOUR POST NATAL BODY Following childbirth, the core muscles of the abdomen are often very weak as these are the key muscles used primarily during labour with particular stress

applied during the final hours. These muscles when weak or damaged will very often encourage the spine to arch which in turn can cause backache for the postnatal mother. This weakness in the abdominal, pelvic floor and lumbar spine area encourages poor posture and contributes to aches and pains in the lower back. Providing you have had a normal delivery, you can usually begin Pilates around ten to twelve weeks after the birth. However if you have had a caesareansection it could take up to six months before you are able to join a class. This should only be undertaken following clearance from your doctor. At DT Fitness we promote a Pilates workout that is ideally suited to target, repair and strengthen specific core muscles. By exercising your pelvic floor and abdominals through Pilates you will begin to restore joint mobility and flexibility to middle and lower back while also strengthening this region. Derry Temple is a qualified Pilates Instructor and Strength & Conditioning Coach. He runs his own fitness company, DT Fitness, offering Pilates & Bootcamp classes along with Personal Training. DT Fitness is located in the Artane / Donnycarney area in Dublin 5. You can contact Derry by Tel: 085 7131417. Email: derry@ dtfitness.ie or www.dtfitness.ie

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Get sporty and support people with Motor Neurone Disease The count down is on! Registration for the Flora Mini Marathon opens on Wednesday March 2nd and RTE Sports Presenters, Jacqui Hurley and Jimmy Magee are urging women of all ages to get sporty and support people with Motor Neurone Disease this year. The Flora Mini Marathon is the world’s largest women’s race with nearly 780,000 ladies taking to the track in 2010. So come on Dublin, why not join Jacqui and women from all over Ireland this June bank holiday and run the race to make a difference? In Ireland, one person dies every five days from this devastating disease. MND is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the upper and lower motor neurones. It is a condition that leaves people unable to do the everyday things that the rest of us take for granted. Walking, talking and swallowing may become virtually impossible. MND strikes people across all ages and there is currently no known cure. The IMNDA provides specialised services for people affected by this debilitat-

n At the launch of IMNDA appeal for support from Runners in the forthcoming Flora 2011 Mini Marathon which will be held on Bank Holiday Monday 6th June, RTE Sports Presenters Jacqui Hurley, Jimmy Magee, Finola Leahy, Rebecca Hunt, Triona Hurley, Maeve Leahy ing disease such as equipment on loan, financial assistance towards home help, advice and home visits by a MND Nurse Specialist. The association also funds research. In order to provide these vital services the IMNDA depends heavily on the generosity of the

public and friends of the association who generate over 75% of its income. By running the mini marathon and raising as little as €250 you could fund nearly 20 hours of home care help making a real difference to those managing life with the symptoms of MND.


Non-invasive fat reduction treatment What is iLipo? iLipo™ is the latest in laser lipolysis (the instant breakdown of the fat cells). The iLipo emits low levels of laser energy, the fat cell membranes are disrupted releasing intra-cellular fat. This causes the cell to lose its round shape by changing the permeability of the cell membrane. Triglycerides spill out from the broken cell membranes and are released into the interstitial space, where they are slowly transported through the body’s natural metabolic functions, with no adverse physiological effects and are used by the body as an energy source. How does it work? The treatment incorporates over 32 advanced lasers, which safely penetrate the skin and are absorbed in the fat cells. This stimulation opens pores in the fat cell walls allowing fat to escape through the pores. The fat cells then shrink and collapse and the excess is safely removed by the body’s natural metabolic process. During the treatment, laser pads are placed on the specific areas being targeted for 10 minutes each area with each session lasting just 20 minutes. The treatment is totally painless, completely safe and clinically proven. A pre-treatment questionnaire will be carried out to ensure the treatment is suitable for the client. What results can I expect to see? Results can be seen immediately, with case studies showing typical losses of 2-4cm from the abdomen circumference following a treatment.

How many treatments should I have? 8 treatments are recommended over a 4 week period (2 treatments per week), to achieve maximum results.

For more information email info@ bodyelements.ie or call 012932969 Visit www.bodyelements.ie

What can I do to maximise results? Each treatment should be followed with 30 minutes of light exercise on the day of the treatment. A healthy diet and regular exercise is also recommended to maintain results.

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To avail of this offer mention promo code ‘Informer’ when making your appointment. This offer is valid until 15th April 2011. Terms & conditions apply.

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28

The Informer

Beauty Ideas

With Linda Mullen of Oceana Health & Beauty

Some dry skin fixes Win tickets to see

The Sound of Music on the Press Night on Monday 11th April at the Grand Canal Theatre

Jason Donovan* stars as Captain von Trapp in the world’s best-loved musical, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, which comes to the Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin direct from the London Palladium. This wonderfully lavish production tells the story of the Von Trapp family’s flight across the mountains with its unforgettable score that includes some of the most memorable songs ever performed on the musical stage including ‘Edelweisse’, ‘My Favorite Things’, ‘Do-Re-Mi’, ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’, ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ and the title song ‘The Sound of Music’. To win a pair of tickets to the star studded Press Night on Monday 11th April just answer the following question:

Jason Donovan used to appear in which Australian soap? Answers by e-mail only to competition@informer.ie Closing date for entries 1st April 2010.

Skincare is totally seasonal, just like your wardrobe. In summer, you're busy with sun protection (aren't you?), while in winter you may seem addicted to moisturizers because your skin gets so dried out and flaky (this is called "winter itch"). So why the dry skin in winter? Low temperatures, low humidity and strong, harsh winds deplete skin of its natural lipid layer which keeps the skin from drying out. To keep your skin feeling dewy and moist even in the harsh winter weather, follow these dry skin fix-it tips (More next month!) 1 - Keep Water Lukewarm, Not Hot Hot water robs skin of moisture causing dry skin, so it's best to shower in lukewarm water. If you can't bear this rule - I can't - try to keep your warm showers short and try showering only once per day. The same rule applies to hand-washing: wash hands in lukewarm, never hot water. If your skin turns red, the water is simply too hot and strips the skin. Also note if you have a high lime content in your water – does your kettle scale quite often? Then it's important to have lukewarm showers – as it will help with dermatitis and eczema. Try seaweed baths or seaweed products if this is the case too. It’s a great natural product.

2 - Moisturize after showers or handwashing For best effect, pat skin dry instead of rubbing with your towel before application. Antibacterial soap in public places can be very harsh on hands. To keep cuticles soft, massage in olive oil. My favourite winter moisturizer – Dermologica’s Skin Smoothing Cream – or the Age Smart Dynamic Skin Recovery.

3-Exfoliate on a Weekly or Semiweekly Basis Moisturizer is much more effective on properly exfoliated skin. Use a scrub in the shower and exfoliate facial skin with a mild scrub made for the face. It's best to scrub skin when it's dry. Apply scrub to dry skin before you turn on the water (mix with lotion if it's not moist enough). Massage the scrub in for a good five minutes for best results. My favourite scrub – Namara AHA Body Scrub – great for getting off tan and even gets those 'lil red bumps at the back of the arm. Dry brush skin before a shower with a body brush to remove flaky skin (it's more effective than brushing in the shower).

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30

The Informer

Dublin GAA

Dublin footballers and hurlers spring into action

Outside of the boot with Mick Hanley GAA Sportsdesk on

103.2

Dublin City fm Wednesdays @ 7pm

What a night. What entertainment. Even us mere mortals who were sceptical about Jedward were mellowing somewhat towards Lucan’s new favourite sons. On the field of play the Dublin’s hurlers and footballers were continuing their good start to the Allianz league. The hurlers took to the stage first, up against the All-Ireland champions Tipperary. Last year Dublin had given Tipp a trimming in Parnell Park and the kingpins travelled to Croker to reverse that result. They came up against a Dublin team that have set their stall out very nicely in 2011. New belief

The acquisition of Conal Keaney and Tipp native Ryan O’Dwyer has helped to cement a belief in the team. Keaney, who departed the inter county hurling scene six years ago to throw his lot in with the footballers has lost none of his silky skills. A man of the match display by the Ballyboden St. Enda’s

man yielded fourteen points of Dublin’s total. However, it wasn’t just a one man show as Dublin put in a great team performance to topple the All-Ireland champions by a point. One down and one to go but for many youngsters in the crowd the big attraction was Jedward performing between the two matches. Hot on the heels of their win to represent Ireland in the Eurovision, they didn’t disappoint their fans with twenty minutes of high energy.

Last season Bernard Brogan was scorer in chief, here he became the provider. Michael Fitzsimons was curbing the effect of Donacha O’Connor in defence and 'old' boys Declan Lally and Paul Casey were performing with aplomb. Dublin by five in the end in what was a perfect night.

Bernard Brogan scoring the all important winning point. Unfortunately the Dublin camogie team were well beaten by Kilkenny in the curtain raiser. Elsewhere the hurlers continued their good form with a Walsh Cup win over Kilkenny and a league victory away to Offaly.

Kingdom come

Hopefully as you read this both the footballers and hurlers have continued their good form with wins over Monaghan and Wexford respectively.

One week later we were all back in Croker again as the footballers got the better of Kerry in a rip roaring tight finish with

Good form?

Exploded

Meanwhile the Dublin footballers were going through their final preparations in the dressing room to meet All-Ireland champions Cork. Dublin exploded out of the blocks with Tomas 'Mossy' Quinn giving the Dubs the perfect start with an early goal. More goals were to follow from Kevin McMennamin and Barry Cahill as Dublin stamped their mark on the game.

n A field of dreams for a dream evening of football and hurling

The 'Spring Series' continues on Sunday March 20th as the footballers take on Mayo in Croke Park although the GAA may have missed a great marketing opportunity by refusing to allow the game go ahead on the Friday evening before. Many tourists will be in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day and for the big rugby international between Ireland and England but it is doubtful whether these numbers would still be around on Sunday afternoon. Legendary group Horslips

Dessie Farrell’s Dublin minors providing the curtain raiser entertainment. Legendary group Horslips will provide the music between the games. Put Saturday evening the 2nd April into your diary as the last in the 'Spring Series' promises to be a cracker. The hurlers will host Kilkenny while the footballers take on Down. Jedward will again provide the music entertainment. What more could you ask for?

Simply Slim to Success in Swords – weight loss made easy! Have you been battling to lose weight – but just cannot do it on your own? Well, Denise Conway of SimplySlim is proud to introduce ‘Trim Secrets’ 5 Step Slimming Plan to her new Swords motivational slimming classes. With over 20 years' experience helping members lose weight while still enjoying delicious, healthy menus. “This new synergy of a motivational slimming group combined with a natural supplement to suppress your appetite and stimulate your metabolism is THE formula for success!,” says Denise. Denise spent 16 years lecturing with one of the leading Irish slimming companies and then founded ‘SimplySlim Clubs’ which has operated for over four years. With ‘Trim Secrets’ overeating becomes a thing of the past! Attaining your ideal weight with no hunger pangs or nasty side effects is achievable for everyone no matter how weak your will power used to be. Denise is now very proud and excited to bring to her classes this highly successful plan supervised by the eminent naturopath as Prof. Jan de Vries. Professor Jan de Vries, a qualified pharmacist, turned to alternative medicine early in his career. Nearly fifty years later, he is one of the

most renowned and well-respected naturopaths in his field. In 2006 Michelle G Mone OBE, entrepreneur and founder of the UK’s Ultimo Lingerie range, approached Prof. Jan de Vries for assistance as she had become increasingly unhappy with her weight. De Vries had been developing a healthy and effective weight-loss product for 5 years and with Michelle’s input - they devised Trim Secrets - 5 Step Slimming Plan. The Result: Michelle lost over 6 stone in 18 months on the TrimSecrets 5 Step Slimming Plan! So excited is Michelle with her new slim figure - she recently modelled her own lingerie – a secret wish of hers for years!! TrimSecrets is a unique combination of 100% active ingredients designed to help you lose weight and feel great! Denise will be delighted to give you all the help, advice and support you need to reach your weight loss goals – the healthy way! Join us today on your journey to a new you - we will be with you every step of the way! Phone Denise on: 087 645 8266 Classes Meet - Tuesdays: B.A.S.E., Brackenstown Road, Swords 9..30 a.m. - 10.30 a.m. Swords Manor Pub, Swords 7.00 p.m. — 8.00 p.m.


The Informer

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28

The Informer

Swords In Brief...

with Paul Cantwell

Local childcare costs soar in nca review

In a recent National Consumer Agency review, the costs of childcare in the Swords area were among the highest recorded in the survey. The nationwide survey was conducted to examine levels of price disparities between what price is displayed and the rates actually charged for certain age groups among children. Swords fared poorly as it recorded the highest full time weekly rate of €233, contrasted to areas such as Sligo and Waterford, which have a weekly cost of €155, with the average across all areas coming in at €191. The average cost across all areas for part time care is €126 per week, with Swords recording the highest price differential of €58 within an area with the highest (€178) and the lowest (€120) recorded prices for this category. Commenting on the findings of the survey, recently elected TD for Dublin North, Clare Daly said: ‘This is an issue that is raised all the time, peole are bearing the brunt of the recession, they’re feeling it in their pockets, but this is another strain on families and is a real inhibitor in terms of accessing the labour markets, particularly for women,’ said Deputy Daly.

Baby died after attic lift struck her

A verdict of accidental death was recorded at the Dublin City’s Coroner’s Court, which heard that a home made attic lift struck a local baby girl at her home and led a head injury which caused her death in July of last year. Chrizena Johnson of Blackthorn, Swords, Co Dublin, sustained a head injury at her home on July 7th, 2010 when a motor attached to the lift malfunctioned. The baby girl died at Temple Street hospital the next day. Her father, Johnson Kurian, had built the lift to carry himself up and down to the attic, Dublin City Coroner’s Court heard. Mr Kurian, who has a background in electronics, had used the lift earlier to get a cleaning product from the attic to clean a car seat. Consulting engineers had described the lift as “ingenious” and said “obviously great thought, time and effort went into it”, the inquest heard. There is no requirement for safety features on domestic lifts in private dwellings, Garda Darragh Hayes said.

Liabilities of the long distance landlord

The onset of the emigration boom which Ireland is currently experiencing is having the effect of absentee landlords, where the homeowners are forced to rent their houses as they travel overseas to find work. Ken Morgan of Champion Lettings in Swords, Co Dublin, says he has been seeing four people on average every week who are moving abroad to countries such as Australia, America, and Canada. ‘There is quite a mix of young people and couples with children who can’t sell, often because they’re in negative equity,’ he says. Morgan says many landlords on the verge of emigration don’t realise that if they’re out of the country for 188 days, they have to apply for a new pps number and are treated as an overseas landlord. “We deal with one guy whose mortgage is €2,700 a month. He’s getting €2,000 a month in rent, €400 of that had to be stopped in overseas tax, so he’s only getting €1,600 a month. “So he’s having to send €1,100 each month from California to cover the mortgage. It’s very hard.

Birthdays chain in liquidation threatens local jobs

The Birthdays store in the Pavilions in Swords may see some job cuts and may face closure, as its parent company, the UK based Clinton Cards have placed all 14 of its stores in Ireland into liquidation. Last October the company warned that its Irish operation was under review. It said that in the 10 weeks to October 10th, like-for-like sales rose by 5.4 per cent at its Birthdays UK arm but slumped by 15.5 per cent at Birthdays Ireland. The Irish outlets also include stores based in shopping centres in Stillorgan, Liffey Valley, The Square, Blanchardstown, Galway and Irishtown (Athlone).

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Swords Informer March 2011