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wind speed: 3 m/s WSW
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Allegations Of Financial Irregularities At Garda College

An Garda Síochána is due to publish a report with regard to what are seen as ‘financial irregularities’ at the Garda Training College in Templemore, Co. Tipperary.

The Garda’s Internal Audit Section have examined financial transactions over a number of years at the Templemore college and are understood to have discovered what are regarded as financial irregularities, suggesting that money may have been spent on gifts and entertainment.

The report, forwarded to the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner, identified a large number of bank accounts examined as part of a non-transparent system of accounting. One such account, identified as a laundry account; it appears was not being used for the purpose as identified.

However, the Garda Commissioner, Mrs Nóirín O’Sullivan, has stated that she regards the issue as merely a past legacy problem. While she admits that the then prevailing accounting practices would not be in acceptable by today’s standards, there has never been in fact any misappropriation of money or misuse of public funding.

Last night Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Mrs Frances Fitzgerald informed those in attendance in Dáil Éireann that the report raises governance issues.  Same will be referred to the Comptroller and Auditor General and to the Public Accounts Committee whose mission is to provide independent assurance that public funds and resources are used in accordance with the law and are managed to good effect while properly accounted for; thus, contributing to improvement in public administration.

For the last week, the Garda force nationally has come under strong criticism, following serious irregularities identified in road traffic policing; involving issues around breath testing and speeding convictions.


Tipperary Couple Win €500k Lottery Quick Pick

Luck has indeed smiled on a couple from Co. Tipperary, who turned up to collect their Lotto Plus 1 top prize of €500k at National Lottery headquarters today.

Quick Pick selection ticket sold at Centra Store, Parkmore, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary

The recently married couple, who wish to remain anonymous, stated that the timing of last weekends win could not have been more perfect, as they had only recently started looking for a house to purchase. Now they can afford to buy their dream home without a mortgage.

The winning Lotto Plus 1 Quick Pick selection ticket was sold at the Centra Store, Parkmore, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary on the day of the draw.

The National Lottery was again reminding players to check their Christmas Millionaire Raffle tickets. The winner or winners of the €1 million National Lottery Christmas Millionaire Raffle has just days left to claim their prize, and the deadline of Friday March 31st is fast approaching.

That winning ticket was numbered 179740 and the lucky holder(s) made the purchase at the Topaz Service Station on Lower Tivoli Road in Cork on December 21st 2016.


New British Coin In Circulation From Today

New one pound coins designed by David Pearce (DP), (who won a competition at the age of 15) have gone into circulation in Britain today. The new coins are being manufactured at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, South Wales, at a rate of three million per day.

Individually, the new coin is thinner, lighter and slightly bigger than the coins they intend to replace. While the old coin and the new coin will continue to co-exist for a period of around six months, the current, in use, round pound is expected to cease as legal tender on October 15th, 2017.

This latest 12-edge sided coin features the portrait of the Queen on one surface, while on the other side is a royal coronet out of which emerges the symbols of England (English rose), Scotland (Scottish thistle), Wales (Welsh leek) and Northern Ireland (Irish shamrock), and all from one apparent stem.

According to Britain’s finance ministry the new bi-metallic coin is currently the most secure of its kind in the world, designed as such to prevent a rise in counterfeits.


Applications Open For Early Years Capital Funding

Some €4m of taxpayer funding is being allocated to providing improved childcare services nationally.  This new funding is expected to help put further infrastructure in place in an effort to support plans to convert Ireland’s expensive childcare system into one that is both practical and paramount to our country’s future needs.

The 2017 Early Years Capital Funding programme is to be made available to childcare centres, crèches and other early year services under three strands:
Strand 1: Additional childcare places with €3 million in funding allocated.
Strand 2: Provision for building improvements and maintenance expected to see €500,000 in allocated funding.
Strand 3: Provision of natural outdoor play areas will see an allocation of €500,000.

Some 30% of families are expected to qualify, according to Early Childhood Ireland; benefiting directly either from targeted or universal subsidies. However, the non-means-tested payment will only apply until the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme kicks in at the age of three.

Note: An estimated 40% of families use family relatives to undertake their childcare requirements, thus it is not currently feasible to make this scheme relevant to them.

The maximum household net income (after deductions of various taxes, pension contributions, USC and PRSI and other allowable deductions) is €47,500 a year.

The newly announced scheme will come into effect from September 2017. Qualifying families are expected to start directly benefiting next Autumn with the subsidy paid direct to the provider of the childcare.

Between now and September next is considered sufficient time to sort out any /all operational details with those offering childcare provision.

We understand ‘Pobal‘ will be responsible for administering this programme and Tipperary Childcare Providers are being urged to make their applications.  The submission process officially opened on Friday last and will close at 3.00pm on Friday 21st April next.

Grant outcomes can be expected to be announced next June and all endowments awarded must be fully spent and reported to Pobal, not later than 30th November 2017.


International Earth Hour March 25th 2017

Thurles Eco Spirituality Group reports:

Eco-spirituality is based on a simple fundamental belief in the sacredness of Nature, Mother Earth and our Universe.  Promoters and exponents of such spirituality come from an assortment of beliefs and religious faiths including: Christianity; Judaism; Buddhism, Islam and many other indigenous traditions.

While many of the above named religious group’s and their beliefs may differ considerably, one central theme remains that there is a spiritual dimension to the present ecological crisis being currently experienced.

International Earth Hour is an annual campaign that brings attention to the effects of climate change by asking people to switch off non-essential lights for one hour on this evening, Saturday 25th March, between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. (In roughly one hour’s time.).

This campaign was begun in Sydney, Australia in 2007, making today its 10th Anniversary.

Simple actions to assist in bringing about climate justice:
  • Turn off lights when you leave an empty room.
  • Switch off and unplug TV’s, Chargers, Laptops, etc. when not in use.
  • Do not leave the tap running while preparing food or brushing your teeth.
  • Buy locally produced food and plan your shopping to avoid wastage.
  • Plant trees and shrubs.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
  • Encourage family and friends to do all of the above.