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g in your step!


me at Castleland Park, Balbriggan


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Swords school bus row rages on

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Win Tickets to Singin' in the Rain The 1952 movie classic comes back to life with the RTE Concert Orchestra and the big screes at the National Concert Hall on Saturday, April 27th. And you can be there!

See page 2

Property Tax battle just starting Joe Higgins - Page 2

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Close to Schools & Local Amenities Traditionally Built

Councillors in Swords have a battle on their hands as Bus Eireann he or she is more than 2.4km from BUILT BY continues to refuse to run a school bus from Knocksedan estate. The the school - Knocksedan is 2.3km refusal means that children in the area have to be driven to school due to from the school the 27 children the lack of footpaths in the area. attend.2 APPROX 1,320 SQFT / 123M Fianna Fail councillor Darragh Cllr Butler asserted this growing By Paul Cantwell problem was becoming 'extremely Butler has advised and supported the council to work with Bus frustrating' and it was 'annoying' to This is dense residential area based Eireann to resolve the situation. around a 1 Km loop of houses. hear from the bus company that the The council have responded 'The Bringing a large vehicle into an area was 100 metres inside miniresponsibility for bus routes lies estate with no traffic control is not mum distance required for school with the bus operator. The operatransport. He called on the council possible in any circumstance. tions department have engaged 'The transfer of the Knocksedan to keep pushing the bus company with Bus Éireann who reviewed pupils by means of a smaller vehi- on the issue, which council offithe school bus services at cle to the existing pick-up point at cials committed to do. Knocksedan.' Cllr Tom Kelleher (Lab) is quotSwords Manor was investigated Bus Eireann, for their part, con- but as there are 27 ticket holders ed that the Labour councillors had ducted a review late last year and from this estate a medium-sized voted against a residential zoning reported: 'The Bus Éireann vehicle would still be required, the in Knocksedan precisely because it Inspector for North Dublin has problem would therefore remain.' was isolated from the rest of the visited the Knocksedan Estate Since then, the bus company told town but Fianna Fáil backed the numerous times, most recently on a resident of Knocksedan and Cllr rezoning. the 13th December, 2012. He supported Cllr Butler's calls Darragh Butler (FF) that 'From a safety point of view, Department of Education guide- for the bus company to resolve the nothing has changed with regard to lines suggest that a child should be issue immediately to relieve the a large vehicle entering the estate. provided with school transport if residents of this problem.

Put a Spring in your step!


The Informer

The Drift Comment Box

By Joe Higgins

Anti Property Tax campaign just starting

From this month the latest bitter austerity pill will be administered to our hard pressed low and middle income earners as letters arrive in every home from the Revenue Commissioners demanding the new property tax.

Although having the Revenue logo, they will arrive by edict of the Troika, the economic dictators who are being allowed to walk with jackboots over the living standards of our people, courtesy of the connivance of gutless politicians who comprise the Fine Gael and Labour parties, and before them, Fianna Fail. And never forget, this is another tribute exacted to bail out the private gambling debts of the bankers and bondholders who wrecked this economy.

Dublin by Numbers



This is the percentage of the property tax nationally which will be paid in County Dublin according to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. Of course, this is down to the Government's decision to base the tax on property values and Dublin was always going to pay more in that system. The decision that 80% will be retained locally should greatly improve local services in Dublin.

The winners of the tickets for the Ella Fitzgerald Songbook: Stephanie McGuinness Swords

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

The war begins in earnest now. The Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes is to the forefront having organised a highly effective movement last year, which still has 52% of owners of one home boycotting the Household Tax tax. It called for ‘a massive Boycott of the Revenue returns as a key platform for a major resistance campaign including determined pressure to stop deduction at source and involving industrial action.’

It called for relentless political pressure on the Fine Gael and Labour Parties and announced the organisation of public meetings in all areas of the country as the Revenue letters arrive. As well as that, it has set Saturday, March 23 as a day for regional and local protests all around the country, Saturday April 23 for a major National Demonstration in Dublin and Mayday as a nationwide day of protest. This plan of action is designed to involve, and to give confidence, to all those ordinary taxpayers who are angry about this tax and want to fight it before the dates set in May for the return of registration forms. A long summer of discontent and resistance to the property tax beckons which coincidentally will interweave with the debate on the Croke Park agreement which constitutes yet another vicious attack on the living standards of low and middle income workers, this time in the public sector.

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS The 1952 classic Singin' in the Rain is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. Now, for the very first time in Ireland, you have the chance to watch this legendary film on the BIG SCREEN like never before, while the RTÉ Concert Orchestra performs the Academy Award nominated soundtrack, LIVE! In a feast for the senses, the orchestra will bring the iconic soundtrack to life while the re-mastered film is shown on the big screen with the original vocals and dialog intact. Watch the stars of this stunning film, Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds on the big screen and at the same time enjoy all the classics such as Good Morning, Moses Supposes, roadway Rhythm, Should I?, Make 'em Laugh and, of course, Singin' in the Rain. (Tickets from `20 available from 01 417 0000 / To win a pair of matinee tickets to Singin’ in the Rain, Saturday April 27th, National Concert Hall, answer the following question: Who starred in the 1952 film Singin in the Rain? a) Gene Kelly b) Marlon Brando c) Clint EastwoodTo be in with a chance to win one of 3 pairs of tickets to this fantastic concert, simply answer the following question: Answers by e-mail only to Please include your contact number Closing date for entries 15th April 2013.



The Informer

Swords In Brief... Swords Library may be on the move

Swords Library may be accommodated in the county hall as part of a renovation of the building. The proposal is based on including 16 extra councillors next year and a review is undeway as to how the space is used. The library, in its current location in Rathbeale, has been though to outgrow this location and the review of the county hall may offer a solution. The council are quick to assert that no decision has been made on this issue, but the ‘efficient’ use of all public buildings are being reviewed. A Fingal County Council spokesperson said: "With regard to the mention of Swords Library moving to County Hall - we are currently exploring ways of maximising the efficient use of the public spaces (lobby/atrium) in both County Hall and Grove Road from an architectural and building facilities perspective. "At the moment this exploration is only at a very high level and we have no definitive plans as to what services may or may not be based in the public lobby/ atrium of either building."

Fingal council included in bike scheme

Fingal Council have been included in a funding plan to improve facilities for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users in the Greater Dublin area. The National Transport Authority (NRA) announced last month that a package worth €44m in grant aid will be made available to seven local authorities, of which Fingal is one. ‘These projects are designed to encourage more people to leave the car at home and try out alternative

with Paul Cantwell forms of transport,’ said Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar. ’We want to make the city safer for walking and cycling, and improve the experience of using public transport. ‘The new cycle routes... across the Greater Dublin region should encourage more people to cycle to work, but many will also be attractive to tourists.’ This initiative will see a boost to tourism in this area and also should make transport to schools and local amenities less expensive and environmentally friendly.

Kids Go Free On Luas @weekends

Children can travel free of charge on the Luas at weekends during March and April 2013.

New Planning Web Application

You can now look at planning across the four local authorities. This will facilitate greater communication between local authorities and the public. The mapping service is free to use:

Malahide parkrun continues after huge numbers turn out

The Malahide parkrun, the first of its kind in Ireland, is proving popular with local joggers, walkers and runners. Each Saturday at Malahide Castle, running enthusiasts gather at 9.30am to run 5k. The good thing is that it is free but is timed, so you can check your progress each week. Since the start of the year, the numbers have been growing weekly and the core numbers each week are estimated to be around 400.

n Zoe's Play at The Ark. Zoes from ages 2 to 29 gather at The Ark to celebrated the opening of 'Zoe's Play', an exciting production for 8-12 year olds now running at The Ark with public performances at weekends and during the Easter Holidays. Photo Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland. The setting provides an ideal venue to take up running for novices or provide a decent trail run for more experienced runners. For more details, check out

Big Egg Hunt comes to the Pavilions With Easter around the corner, it’s time for The Big

Egg Hunt again. This year, Swords Pavilions are delighted to be involved and we have six hand crafted eggs on display in the mall including Nick Munier’s and Kevin Dundon’s masterpieces. For more information on how you can get involved in the Easter Egg Hunt go to Proceeds with go the Jack & Jill Foundation and the main is sponsor is Lily O’ Brien’s Chocolates.

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Green Scene

The holiday diaries

Never let it be said that I forget the Informer readers when I disappear off to sunnier climes - in this case not just visiting friends but helping with fisheries research on the island of Malta. Which was what I had been intending to write about until I discovered the newest projects from WasteServ Malta, the nations's waste handling system. (Waste in Malta is a matter for national, rather than local government and is looked after by the Maltese equivalent of our Department of the Environment.) As someone who has lived for the last forty years in places where the ever growing waste mountain at Ballealy constantly intrudes upon the vision and the nose I'm very conscious that we not only need to deal better with the waste stream now, but with the rubbish we've inherited, like every modern society, from the past. Malta, as a nation, came late to the concept of recycling and has a fine collection of old quarries filled with refuse of every kind. And when WasteServ Malta finally introduced recycling to waste collection in 2008, with 'grey bags' which are the equivalent of our green wheelie bins, there was understandable remonstration from the inhabitants of the pretty little fishing port of Marsascala when it was decided to build a giant recycling facility on the outskirts of the town. They felt they had suffered long enough from a traditional dump on the outskirts of the town, the highlight of

which had been its use to bury carcases during a foot and mouth epidemic - the odour of which was long remembered. Attitudes changed quickly when local residents found out that not only would the recycling facility not cause mess, noise or smells, but the old dump site was about to become a park - and what a park. My friends found it hard to drag me away. If I had been able to borrow a child or two I would still be there now. It doesn't matter whether you are five or fifty - or for that matter ninety - there is something to play with from toddler swings to circuit training and even a dog training park. If you are into mazes you can tread the herb labyrinth or get lost in the yew maze. I found it hard to drag myself away from the Nubian goats in the petting zoo (I'm a sucker for goats, which I used to keep). There are fruit gardens and exhibitions of native plants, a restaurant and picnic areas, and soon there will be a water park.

Bio-regeneration And where does the power come from? It is generated from biogas produced in the anaerobic digesters of the recycling facility which feeds back into the grid. Steam produced during the process goes via separate turbines to power the facilities for people with physical and intellectual disabilities next door including things like heating the rehabilitation pool. Non-biological waste is hand sorted and shipped out on a two monthly basis to whoever will pay most for it at the time - WasteServ's public relations people tell me it is a constantly shifting market and more profitable if they stick to on demand sales rather than long term contracts. This isn't a one off - the compost generated by the anaerobic digesters is being used to landscape other

The Informer

By Kathy Marsh, Sonairte projects - other old dumps are becoming parks whilst one is being used as the home of a luxury residential development. powered by methane mined from the site. The one incinerator generates more power than it uses which also goes back to the grid. And I was fascinated to find that far from charging residents to use recycling facilities those taking sorted plastic get entered in a quarterly draw - now that's an idea I can see catching on in Ireland.

Where are the fish? On a different track completely I'll be up at 2am on a couple of mornings later this week and into the fish market to help record changes in catches of once abundant local fish around Malta. Some local fisherman still use the traditional luzzus, tiny boats that are almost unchanged in 2000 years and have the Eye of Horus carved onto their raised prows to help them find their way safely to harbour, but there are almost no quota of permitted fish left within their range and most have moved to bigger boats of a similar size to the smaller trawlers that operate out of Howth or Skerries. These are now ranging some fifty miles out of port most days in order to find any legal fish at all and their skippers are getting more and more anxious that there will be no fish left when their sons take over the boat. Various NGOs are working together on scientific monitoring, while the national Fisheries Science Institute is focussing more and more on the development of aquaculture with sea bream, white bream and blue tuna being the chief fish studied. One type of fish that are being caught more as others disappear are the sharks, to such an extent that some

species are also being hunted to local extinction. I'll be working with SharkLab Malta who are collecting fertilised eggs from female sharks in the market and working on ways of rearing them to adulthood. Volunteers work with the fishermen and traders to harvest the egg cases and rear them in aquaria. It is hoped that the experimental work will shortly be carried out at both the almost completed new National Aquarium and the Fisheries Science laboratories so that students and children can get involved too. The Fisheries Science Laboratories also house the turtle rescue centre, where fishermen bring turtles that have become entangled in nets or damaged by propellers. Some are rehabilitated and returned to the wild, others have to spend the rest of their lives in a protected environment,

Malta should learn from our mistakes Malta has huge physical problems - it is a tiny island with a population that is far too large for its land mass to support - and it has come very late to environmental awareness. But change is coming at an ever faster pace and Europe's fastest growing economy is rapidly becoming a model for others - it will be interesting to find out how the new government elected this week tackles the challenges. I can only hope that they've learned from some of our mistakes - though the property investment discussions sound horribly familiar.

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The Informer

Angler's Angles with Keith McDonnell

The dance of the Irish Mayfly The highlight of the the Irish game anglers calendar is not far away! I am of course talking about the Mayfly fishing. The Mayfly is an insect that is high on the Brown Trout’s menu and can provide some spectacular fishing on our rivers and loughs. Already I am dreaming of a balmy evening sitting on my favourite lough watching the clouds of mayfly dancing in the trees. If weather conditions are suitable, the mayfly will fly out on to the lake in order to lay its eggs. The Trout are well aware of this and as if by magic will appear and porpoise like dolphins in the water guzzling down the food bonanza. This creates a serious opportunity for the flyfisherman as a well presented imitation of the fly cast into the path of a cruising trout can produce a very large fish indeed. If all of these things come together and you manage to fool one of these fish, it has got to be one of the greatest experiences an angler can have.

During the aquatic stage they go through several stages. They shed their outer shell several times as they mature underwater. Eventually the mayfly nymph swims to the surface and once again sheds its skin emerging as a winged insect. This juvenile fly will shed its skin one final time to become a beautiful adult mayfly. Mayflies are the only species of insects who molt after they have developed wings.

Although the entire lifecycle of the Mayfly, from egg to adult, can span a full year, the life of an adult Mayfly is very short, ranging from a few hours up to a day or two, just long enough to mate.

Once a mayfly reaches adulthood, its life is very nearly over. These adults spend this short time dancing and mating in the air. After they mate, females will fly out over the water to lay its eggs. Once this job is done, the fly will fall to the surface of the lake and die.

There are about 33 different species in Ireland that vary in size, shape and coloring. Mayfly eggs hatch in rivers, loughs and ponds.

Keith McDonnell is a fly fishing guide and instructor and big trout nut based in Dublin.

The sky over Dublin with Conor Farrell, Astronomy Ireland

Don't be put off by light pollution As I write this I'm on my way to Mayo, where I hope to enjoy some very dark skies over the coming week. While there is no doubt that a dark sky away from towns and cities is the best for astronomy, sometimes people mistakenly believe that stargazing cannot be done at all from Dublin! We're all familiar with that orange glow that lights up clouds on overcast nights, and those lights can affect views on clear nights. But seeing some of the brighter – and more interesting! – objects from Dublin is surprisingly easy. By now you are probably familiar with the bright object in the south, which is Jupiter and easily spotted from even the city centre. Binoculars will reveal the planet's moons dotted around it. Jupiter is travelling through the sky against the background of distant stars, a tiny bit each night. At the moment, it can be used as a 'signpost' for the star Aldebaran. This star is placed close to Jupiter and has a reddish tinge to it: this is because it is actually a red giant almost 45 times the width of our own Sun! The Moon is another easy object to see in less-than-perfect skies. When you think of it orbiting Earth, it becomes easier to understand how it's placed between the Sun and Earth around the time of a New Moon, then on the opposite side of the sky to the Sun a couple of weeks later, during a Full Moon.

The day/night boundary line on the Moon is known as 'the terminator', and if you take a look at this line with binoculars you can make out the shadows of mountains and craters. It really emphasises the terrain on the Moon, and gives the lunar disc some depth when viewing. Don't be put off by light pollution in Dublin: it's still very possible to go out and enjoy the night sky. If there is any parkland or green area near where you live, try viewing the sky from there, as you will get some great views!

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Garden Growing With Gerry Norton The highs and lows of spring

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. Normally first and second early potatoes would be put in the ground in mid March. As we have had a long cold winter, late 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. 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 grass seeds on the bare spots and let nature take over. 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. 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 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

Flash Fiction

Black Inside

The Informer

With LA Speedwing

As sharp as a guillotine the rubber roll springs to the next line and with the sound, he springs sharply to his feet. Cluck, cluck, cluck ka-cluck, cluck-cluck-cluck, Ka-ching. tap. Between his thumb and index, he pulls the He tries to pull his hands away from the sheet of paper ever so slowly and releases it old black type writer. But he can’t. He can’t from the roll. stop typing. Raaaa-pa. Cluck cluck cluck cluck. The sheet of paper seems to make a sigh of In a last somersault, he puts all his energy contentment happy to be set free. into removing his hands from the keys. But A black viscous liquid drips from his skull the pull is too strong and soon all he can onto his neck. He bats his hand clumsily at his hear is the loud strokes. Key after key. Less head in an attempt to wipe it off. and less thought. More and more ink on the He reads the last three lines again: page. “Remember he hates you. Remember your life Ka-ching. can only start when he is dead. Professor He stares at the last word. His eyes narrows Sloane must die.” and his lips slowly curl up into a sneer. He pushes back his chair. He opens his bag Ka-ching. and before putting it on, calmly checks the box He smiles and stares fixedly at the rubber cutter is at the bottom of the bag. roll. The page falls from the desk and flutters to Ka-ching. the ground in his wake as he leaves the room. The roll springs back again. Several droplets of black ink seep from his Ka-ching skull. But this time his hand is steady. He clears A strangled sound reaches his lips. For a the smudge and reaches the handle of the brief moment, it sounds like the death rattle door that leads onto the street. of another man. He sees nothing. He feels nothing. He hears Ka-ching. nothing but the metallic key strokes A demented laugh escapes his throat. resonating in his head urging him to carry out Ka-ching. the task he's been ordered.

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The Informer

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The Informer

Still got the Committment

It’s hard to believe that it’s nearly 23 years since The Commitments first hit the big screen and went on to be a global success at the box office. Based on a novel by Roddy Doyle, The Commitments was a story of one man’s dream, Jimmy Rabbitte played by Robert Arkins, to manage the greatest 'white' soul band ever. Set and filmed in Dublin, the film is full of different characters with different agendas and massive egos. One of them was Billy Mooney, played by Dick Massey who today is still touring with some members of the original cast of the film in their band 'Stars of The Commitments' (above). Kevin O’Brien caught up with Dick in the South of France as the band prepared to hit the stage to another packed audience to talk about what he has been up to since the film. Where did you grow up? Clondalkin in Dublin… On the southside, but they gave me a visa after we shot the movie so I can move between the northside and southside with ease, which helps because I live on the northside now!! How did you get the audition for The Commitments? I was playing in my band the Sindicate and Hubbard Casting came to one of our shows, recorded our show, and then asked us to come audition. It was a case of don’t call us, we’ll call you…. And they just kept calling!! Did you audition for the part of Billy Mooney? Well, I didn’t know I was going for Billy Mooney per se, as I hadn’t read Roddy’s book at that point. But it quickly became apparent that it was Billy that they wanted me for. What was it like working on set with the other characters? It was a lot of fun. None of us had ever been

involved with making a movie before, except for Johnny Murphy who played Joey The Lips, the trumpet player, so we really had no clue. I didn’t really know any of the other cast members. I’d met Dave Finnegan and Glen Hansard before but that was it. But we all got along really well. We partied our heads off during the making of the movie. It was pure mad stuff altogether! I also think that Alan Parker was very clever with the cast that he picked. We’re all a little similar to the characters we played which helped get a really true performance from each of us. And it was really strange realising how many personnel are involved in making a movie. There was literally hundreds of crew members. Did you earn lots of money from the film? No!! The music in the film really captured the imagination of people. How do you think Soul compares to modern day music? Some of the music made today is made quickly to bang out hits for a quick dollar, but that’s usually because of the business side of it – record labels, managers, etc are always pushing for that kind of thing. True musicians always wants to make soulful music. Soul music translates to any era, any heart, no matter where you come from.

reunion shows. We did four shows in Ireland to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the movie’s release, and then we played four arena shows in the UK last year.

Do you have a Facebook page or website where people can stay in touch with you? Yes they can follow the band on Facebook. www.

Have you done any acting work since? No, I was never an actor. I wanted to keep playing drums!

So if you love soul, then you will love The Stars of The Commitments and it’s great to see that the guys are still keeping the faith and check out their website at

What have you been up to since The Commitments? I’ve been touring for the last 20 years or so with Stars From The Commitments playing the soul music that I’ve always loved playing! I’ve also been involved with the production side of concerts, mainly in the UK. You married the beautiful Nicole last year, how is married life treating you? She is the best thing that ever happened to me, bar none! She’s in the business too, on the production side and she’s had some down time recently so we’ve been spending some quality time together. Life is good. What does the future hold for you? A lottery win would be nice! But seriously, as I’ve said already, life is good for me right now.

How did your life change after the film was released? Ahh, the obviously thing - like getting recognized on the street every where we went

What type of music do you listen to, any favourite artists or bands? I listen to a very varied range of music. I have classical to Neil Diamond to Coldplay to AC/DC on my iPod. AC/DC would probably be my favourite band.

Do you still stay in touch with any of the other cast members? Yes, we all stay in touch to some degree. We don’t necessarily all hang out together but when we do meet up and it’s always good craic. It was also great to see all of them at the recent

Tell us one thing that people would not normally know about Dick Massey? I split my time between the US and life on the road. I don’t spend much time in Dublin any more. I miss it for many reasons but such is the adventure of life.

The Informer Interview

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The Informer

All about Dublin 1

A Place in the City

Masonic Girls' School (Bewley's Hotel) Dating as far back as 1792 the Masonic Female Orphan School (caring for the daughters of deceased and distressed Freemasons) drifted around the city to no fewer than seven locations until the final move in the 1880s to the corner of Merrion and Simmonscourt Roads. The foundation stone (under which were placed coins, gifts and that day's newspapers) was laid by the Duke of Abercorn on a very rainy 25th June 1880 'in the presence of a fashionable and extremely large assembly.' Funding for the building was secured through the Grand Masonic Bazaar (12th April 1882) which was held in the RDS. It raised ÂŁ6,601, a huge amount at the time. Ten years later even that success was overshadowed by 'the greatest Bazaar ever seen in Ireland.' The week-long event attracted 96,000 people and raised an impressive ÂŁ21,692. The event which doubtless raised the most eyebrows came

at the end when the lady stallholders formed into a double line and burst into the hall 'to the stirring music of Ta-ra-ra-Boom-deay, played with great spirit by the band of the Gloucester Regiment. Even old ladies were carried away ... they beat time with the umbrellas,' reported The Irish Times. The guarantee of education for all, particularly in Northern

Ireland, from which the school drew up to 80% of pupils, led to a sharp decline in student numbers. While the school, renamed The Masonic Girls' School in 1944, could cater for 105 girls, numbers dropped between 1968 and 1971 from 87 to 57. The school closed on June 30th 1972. The building now houses Bewley's Hotel.



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Lesser Known Dubliners

Richard Montgomery Richard Montgomery (17381775) was born in Swords, educated at TCD and had a long and distinguished career with the British Army. Over 16 years fought in North America and the Carribbean and rose to the rank of Captain. He returned to Britain in 1772 because of ill health and left the army after deciding to become a farmer in the American Colonies. A year later he married Janet Livinston, from a prosperous and influential New York family, and settled down to a peaceful life. The best laid plans, however, have a habit of coming unstuck and Montgomery found himself caught up in the Patriot cause – he was elected to the New York Provincial Congress in 1775. In June of that year he somewhat reluctantly became a Brigadier General in the Continental Army, finally accepting that his “extreme passion for farming� would have to come second to his belief that the will of an oppressed people . . . must be respected.�

He was second in command when the Continental Army invaded Canada, taking complete control when Philip Schuyler fell ill. He captured Fort St. Johns and Montreal before moving towards Quebec to join up with forces led by Benedict Arnold. With just 800 troops – a force he

described as “not very adequate to the business in hand�) he was out-numbered, ill-equipped, had no prospect of reinforcement, and faced a growing garrrison in Quebec. Montgomery opted for a rapid attack. On December 31 1775, he led a force of 200 men men towards the city with the intention of linking up with Arnold who was in charge of a second attack. Forewarned by deserters, British troops and Canadian milita made short work of the invading troops Montgomery died at the start of the battle. His body was recovered by the British and given an honourable burial. In 1818 his remains were removed to St. Paul's Cathedral in New York. Forgotten in his native Dublin, Richard Montgomery is commemmorated in the USA with no fewer than 14 States having counties named after him. Alabama's capital and second largest city bears his name, and the US Navy has regularly had a USS Montgomery in its fleet.

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The Informer

All about Dublin 2

Firsthand History

Humour in Court

The following article is taken from 'Twenty Years' Recollections of an Irish Police Magistrate,' written by Frank Thorpe Porter in 1875. More than half a century has elapsed since the office of Recorder of Dublin was held by Mr. William Walker, whose town residence was in Lower Dominick Street. One day a groom, in the service of a Mr. Gresson, was tried before him, for stealing his master's oats. The evidence was most conclusive, for the culprit had been detected in the act of taking a large bag of oats out of his master's stable, which was in the lane at the back of the east side of Dominick Street. When the prisoner was convicted, the Recorder addressed him to the following effect:The sentence of the Court is, that you are to be imprisoned for three calendar months, at the commencement of that term you are to be publicly whipped from one end of that lane to the other, and back again; and in the last week of your imprisonment, you are to be again publicly whipped from one end of that lane to the other, and back again; for I am determined, with the help of Providence, to put a stop to oat-stealing in that lane. Mr. Walker's emphatic denunciation of oatstealing in that lane, arose from the circumstance

of his own stable being the next door to Mr. Gresson's. Walker was a great amateur farmer. He had a villa and some acres of land at Mount Tallant, near Harold's Cross, and prided himself upon his abundant crops of early hay. On one occasion he entered the court and was horrified at hearing that there were upwards of twenty larceny cases to be tried. "Oh!" said he, "this is shocking. I have three acres of meadow cut, and I have no doubt that the haymaking will be neglected or mismanaged in my absence." In a few minutes, he inquired in an undertone, "Is there any old offender on the calendar?" "Yes," was the reply, “there is one named Branagan, who has been twice convicted for ripping lead from roofs, and he is here now for a similar offence, committed last week in Mary's Abbey." "Send a turnkey to him," said the Recorder, "with a hint that, if he pleads guilty, he will be likely to receive a light sentence." These directions were complied with, and the lead-stealer was put to the bar and arraigned. "Are you guilty or not guilty?" "Guilty, my lord." "The sentence of the court is that you be imprisoned for three months. Remove him." Branagan retired, delighted to find a short imprisonment substituted for the transportation that he expected. As he passed through the dock,

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Edited by Zoz he was eagerly interrogated by the other prisoners. "What have you got?" "Three months." "Three months — only three months!" they exclaimed; Oh I but we're in luck. His lordship is as mild as milk this morning. It's seldom that he's in so sweet a humour." “Put forward another," said the Recorder. " Are you guilty or not guilty?" "Guilty, my lord." "Let the prisoner stand back, and arraign the next." Accordingly, the prisoners were rapidly arraigned, and the same plea of "Guilty" recorded in each case. Presently it was signified to his lordship that the calendar was exhausted. All the thieves had pleaded guilty. "Put the prisoners to the front of the dock," said he; and they, were mustered as he directed. He then briefly addressed them:"The sentence of the court is that you and each of you be transported for seven years. Crier, adjourn the court." Branagan had been thrown as a sprat, and had caught the other fish abundantly. This incident might afford a useful, or perhaps it should be termed, a convenient suggestion, to other judicial functionaries, especially on circuit when there is a crowded dock.

The Crown, names in Irish, barrells of apples and a dead sheep At the auction rooms of Mr. Hill, Ormond Quay, on Saturday, the sale took place of four barrels of apples seized the previous day at the business premises of Alderman Cole in satisfaction of two fines of 10s. each imposed on him because he continued to retain the name-plates on his carts in Irish characters instead of in English. The Alderman, who had already been fined on a similar charge, refused on principle to pay the penalties. On the same occasion the sale also took place of a carcase of a sheep seized at the victually establishment of Mr. W. P. Geoghegan, Lower Leeson Street, who was fined 5s. on a similar charge. The proceedings were devoid of any sort of excitement. The apples were knocked down at 35s. to a gentleman present - a friend, it is understood, of Alderman Cole - while the sheep fetched 27s. The spectators present, who principally consisted of members of the Gaelic League and a number of uniformed and plain clothes constables, then took their departure. (Irish Independent, Monday, December 4, 1905)

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The Informer

Social anxiety is the fear of social situations and the interaction with other people that can automatically bring on feelings of self-consciousness, judgment, evaluation, and inferiority. Social anxiety is the fear and anxiety of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression. If a person usually becomes anxious in social situations, but seems better when they are alone, then "social anxiety" may be the problem. Specific and Generalized Social Anxieties A specific social anxiety would be the fear of speaking in front of groups (only), whereas people with generalized social anxiety are anxious, nervous, and uncomfortable in almost all social situations. It is much more common for people with social

anxiety to have a generalized type of this disorder. When anticipatory anxiety, worry, indecision, depression, embarrassment, feelings of inferiority, and selfblame are involved across most life situations, a generalized form of social anxiety is at work. Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder People with social anxiety disorder usually experience significant emotional distress in the following situations: • Being introduced to other people • Being teased or criticized • Being the centre of attention • Being watched while doing something • Meeting people in authority ("important people") • Most social encounters, especially with strangers • Going around the room (or table) in a circle and having to say something • Interpersonal relationships, whether friendships or romantic This list is certainly not a complete list of symptoms -- other feelings have been associated with social anxiety as well. The physiological manifestations that accompany

social anxiety may include intense fear, racing heart, turning red or blushing, excessive sweating, dry throat and mouth, trembling, swallowing with difficulty, and muscle twitches, particularly around the face and neck. Constant, intense anxiety that does not go away is the most common feature. People with social anxiety disorder know that their anxiety is irrational and does not make "head" sense. Nevertheless, "knowing" something is not the same thing as "believing" and "feeling" something. Thus, for people with social anxiety, thoughts and feelings of anxiety persist and show no signs of going away -- despite the fact that socially-anxious people "face their fears" every day of their lives. Faster EFT is an excellent therapy for treating and clearing Social Anxiety See I highly recommend you take time to browse any videos relevant to you. Please contact Linda Walker (FasterEFT Practitioner) 014976434 or with your questions.

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Graham Connor's Movie Advice Oz: The Great and the Powerful HHHHH

Directed by Sam Raimi. Starring James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz. It is 1905 and carny magician Oscar Diggs is transported from Kansas to the Land of Oz, where he is taken for the wizard who is prophesied to save the realm from a wicked witch… Okay, what is this film? It is a prequel to the Wizard of Oz that has been made for the Harry Potter generation. Sam Raimi, the man who gave us the first Spiderman trilogy but also the Evil Dead trilogy, directs it. This was a great move on the part of the producers as Raimi deftly weaves a narrative that flicks between childlike fantasy and dark, moody moments. The cast are uniformly excellent, especially the witch sisters, and it is great to see Oz before Dorothy and Toto start dropping houses all over the place. It is a bewitching and enthralling film and, though it comes nearly 75 years after the original, was worth the wait. Children and adults will love this film, probably more so the adults that grew up watching Wizard of Oz on television, but that’s not a bad thing.

Advice: There’s no place like the cinema for this one.




Stoker HHHHH

Directed by Park Chan-wook. Starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode. After her husband dies tragically, lonely widow Evie invites his estranged brother to stay. Evie’s strange daughter soon suspects her uncle of being up to no good and intends to prove her instincts correct. This is a strange film, everything about it is odd, from the performances to the lighting, to the dialogue, everything. But, as you soon discover, it is meant to be odd and that is what makes Stoker a truly brilliant film. It is part horror and part drama but it is fused together to make something that can only be described as awesome. I am not a fan of Nicole Kidman but she really excels here, as does Mia Wasikowska, channelling her Alice in Wonderland aloofness wonderfully. Matthew Goode is really the revelation, injecting a serious dose of nasty into his character, Uncle Charlie. Inspired by both Bram Stoker’s Dracula (hence the title) and Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, it cunningly makes itself a very original film while still feeling quite familiar. Stoker is not your typical horror/thriller; it is something quite different and absolutely mesmerising – but you have to be ready for it and prepared to go where it will take you.

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The Informer

Ask the Why do prescriptions not last longer? Pharmacist

Q: I got a repeat prescription for Betnovate Cream around this time last year. I only used one tube and as my skin had cleared up, I didn’t get any repeats. But when I went to my local pharmacy last week, they said that it was expired and wouldn’t give me the cream saying that I needed to get a new prescription. Why do I need to get a new prescription if I already had a prescription that still had repeats on it? My friend was able to buy Betnovate over the counter in Spain.

A: A lot of people don’t realise that prescriptions are only valid for six months from the date that they are written, regardless of whether there are still repeats left on them. Pharmacists can only give out prescription medicine in accordance with the legislation governing the supply of medicines and are subject to periodic inspections from the Pharmaceutical Society (the pharmacy regulator) to ensure that all applicable laws are being adhered to. Among the provisions of this legislation (give the rather long-winded title “Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) Regulations 2003”) are that the maximum validity of a prescription is six months. This applies whether there are unused repeats, if the doctor writes the prescription for a year or the doctor tells you that you will be taking medication for the rest of your life. While this six month time limit can seem rather arbitrary and can cause some frustration to patients (as well as pharmacists), there are some good reasons to have

this time limit on prescriptions. If someone is on regular medication, they should be reviewed regularly by their doctor to ensure that the medication is still working, that it is still needed and that it is not causing any adverse effects. Or if a medicine such as Betnovate is just being used periodically, a doctor should check that the current skin condition is the same as the previous condition and that the same treatment is appropriate. There is a strong case to be made that pharmacists are


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well equipped and trained to carry out many of these type of reviews for some medications. For example, the pharmacist could check that the current skin complaint is one for which Betnovate is a suitable treatment. They could check the prescription to ensure that the cream had not been overused, and as long as it was to be used in an overly intimate area, to check the skin for signs of skin damage that can be caused by steroid creams like Betnovate. Pharmacists could also carry out reviews of other treatments, like making sure that asthma or blood pressure were well controlled or review treatment for certain pain medications or antihistamines. This could potentially take some of the burden off overworked GPs. However, at present the law does not allow pharmacists to do this, and prescriptions only last for six months. Many people are not aware that pharmacists can issue repeats of some medicines, even if the doctor does not specify a repeat on the prescription. Unless the doctor has specifically asked to see you back within a certain time frame or when you have finished a course of medication, if you feel you need more medication, you can check with your pharmacist if your prescription can be repeated (so long as this is within the six month deadline). The pharmacist is then entitled to issue repeats if he/she feels that it is safe and appropriate to do so. In certain circumstances, if there is an urgent need for medication, the patient has been prescribed the medication before but do not have a valid prescription, the pharmacist can also give an emergency supply (usually limited to five days) to give the patient a chance to see their doctor.

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 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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The Informer

This time you will lose weight

Animal Tracks with Fionnuala Rogers, DSPCA

Kind and Caring this Spring Now that spring is soon to arrive there will be numerous animals and birds that will be at risk say the DSPCA. Some of the most vulnerable animals are those who are having and raising their babies. Fledgling birds learning from their parents how to fly, feed and care for themselves are often mistaken as abandoned and ‘rescued’. Foxes and rabbits will sometimes leave their young hiding in a group while the mother eats a short distance away. If a mother cat has to change nursing dens, it is typical for her to move one kitten at a time, hiding the rest of her kittens in a temporary location until she can return for them. It is important for people who think that a baby animal has been abandoned to observe, from a safe distance, the creature for a couple of hours to ensure that its parents are not caring for it. Try to keep children and pets away. If you find a bird that is fully or partially feathered, chances are it doesn’t need your help. As young birds develop they soon outgrow the limited space of a nest. The young birds, referred to as "fledglings" at this stage, typically leave the nest and move about on the ground and on low branches for a few days before they can fly. Their parents are nearby and continue to care for the birds, answering their demanding calls with regular deliveries of food. The scolding calls coming from the nearby tree are likely the adult birds, voicing their disapproval while they wait for you to leave.

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Unless injured, the fledgling bird should be left where it is. Unfortunately, people often mistakenly interfere and take a healthy bird out of the wild, this deprives the growing bird of the essential care that only its parents can give. If you find an uninjured, featherless nestling that has fallen or been pushed out of its nest, replace it in the nest or in a temporary nest (one made from an old plastic plant pot and grass lining will do if placed up high close by). If the nest has fallen down, which is common after windy storms, replace the nest in a tree with the baby bird(s) in it. If you have concerns about the welfare of a young animal or bird, give the DSPCA a call on 01 4994700 and we will advise you on the best course of action.

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Dublin Advice

The Informer

Traditional Thai Massage – an Ancient Healing Art Traditional Thai Massage is a unique healing art which has been part of traditional Thai Medicine for thousands of years. It blends elements of acupressure, yoga, reflexology with an understanding the traditional medicine systems of India, China and Southeast Asia. Thai massage is performed on the floor, on a firm mattress. The client wears comfortable clothes that allow for movement. No oils are used in Thai massage. The therapist uses palms, thumbs, elbows, knees and feet to apply pressure to the Sen lines (energy lines) and pressure points. She assists the client through a variety of stretches and yoga-like postures in order to release blockages, stimulate the free flow of energy and restore general well-being. The massage therapist works with full awareness, mindfulness and concentration, using bodyweight rather than strength to apply pressure. She performs the treatment in rhythm with her breathing, creating a calming and restful experience for the client. Origins of the Practice

By Marion Bienert

Much of the origins of Thai Massage remain obscure. Contrary to its name, the earliest roots are found in the Indian medicine system of Ayurveda. The legendary founder of the art is believed to have been Dr Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, a yogi and Ayurvedic doctor from northern India who was a contemporary of the Buddha over 2,500 years ago.

Thai Massage was never seen as just a massage but as a spiritual practice, closely connected with the teachings of the Buddha and the giving of Metta (loving kindness). When Buddhism spread from India to other parts of Asia, the monks and nuns brought their practices with them as an integral part of their teachings. Central to the true practice of Thai massage is the compassionate intent of the healer. The spiritual practices associated with Thai massage cultivate humility, awareness, compassion and concentration in the healer, designed to bring the practitioner to a deeper level of awareness of herself and the client. Buddhism reached what is now known as Thailand around the 3rd century B.C. and Traditional Thai Massage was taught in the monasteries and practised within the family unit. With the advent of Western medicine, Thai Massage became neglected until the late 1980’s when the limits of Western style medicine became apparent. Since then it has seen a revival and it is now taught throughout Thailand by individual Masters and Schools.

blood circulation and balances the nervous and hormonal systems. The massage will leave you feeling highly relaxed, rejuvenated and wonderfully stretched and loosened up. Regular Thai Massage will improve your flexibility and restore your general well-being. Thai Massage has been shown to be an effective therapy for many health problems, including back, shoulder and hip problems, muscular tension, headaches and migraines, digestive disorders, insomnia, respiratory problems and fatigue. Thai Massage is suitable for everybody as the pressure and stretching movements are always matched to the receiver's needs and physical abilities. It is particularly beneficial for those who are feeling quite stiff and don't exercise much. Yoga students will find that it complements and deepens their yoga practice and helps them to further increase their flexibility.

Benefits of Thai Massage

The massage is a highly relaxing and energising experience, as it gently stretches and lengthens the muscles and opens up the joints. It also stimulates the functioning of the internal organs, improves

Marion Bienert is an advanced Thai Massage Therapist. She studied Thai Massage in Dublin, Northern Thailand, Germany and Greece. She also practises Reiki, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage and Thai Foot & Leg Massage. Marion is based in the Appletree Health & Wellness Centre, No 126 Ranelagh, Dublin 6. Phone: 086-8913703

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