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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.


Irish Free Range Eggs To Be Reclassified

A new label is set to appear on all egg cartons across the country very shortly, with the Department of Agriculture insisting that the egg and poultry sector can no longer use the ‘Free Range’ label after St Patrick’s Day 2017.

This news comes following the introduction of recent and necessary regulations by the Dept. of Agriculture, which required all poultry keepers to maintain their flocks indoors in a secure building, ensuring no access to other wild birds or animals. Same decree was due to the outbreaks of the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza (H5N8) currently sweeping across Europe. Bird flu has been reported in no less than 16 countries across Europe last month.

The H5N8 strain of the virus was found in Whooper Swans in Borrisokane and Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, as well as in a Grey Heron in Middleton, Co. Cork. Two cases were also reported in Northern Ireland in Whooper Swans in Derry and Lough Neagh.

From March 18th next all eggs sold in cartons, or offered for sale on menus will be unable to use the description ‘free range’.  Egg producers must detail how hens were kept and according to the Department, all previously free range eggs will now have to be classified with the term ‘barn eggs’ or ‘barn eggs – laid by hens temporarily housed for their welfare’.

According to EU rules this new label must appear ‘easily visible and clearly legible’ on the outside of all egg cartons, with any reference to ‘free range’ on the label removed or covered over, with new sticker ‘not easily removed’.

Under current law, owners of hotels, restaurants, cafés and pubs selling food, can no longer have information on menus that is not totally correct, so proprietors will need to remove any references to eggs as being ‘free range’ on all written published material.

If and when the current confinement order in relation to avian influenza is lifted, the industry can again return to marking their produce as ‘free range’ if so appropriate.


Should Unclaimed Bodies Pass To Anatomy Departments

American-born feminist, theologian and independent politician, Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children, referred in the Dáil yesterday to the 474 “unclaimed infant remains” which were transferred from mother-and-baby homes and related institutions, to medical schools in Irish Universities. Same were transferred into the anatomy departments of Irish medical colleges here in Ireland right up to the mid 1960’s.

The Minister stated she wished to offer solidarity and a personal apology for the wrongs that were done to those affected.

‘Resurrectionists’ on the ‘Graveyard Shift.’

While apologies and offers of solidarity are all very well, one must ask the questions:
(1) Were there any laws broken when such transfers of unclaimed infant remains were transferred from these homes to Irish Universities?
(2) Do we now need to change or update existing law with regard to such matters?

In 2017 we must consider ourselves as living in more enlightened times. We learn that today, Friday 10th March 2017, that what is described as a highly original and thought-provoking exhibition of human anatomy will come to Dublin for a limited time only. Yes it is the ‘Human Body Exhibition’, which also features the bodies of genuine humans. The specimens featured were donated in accordance with Chinese law to the Dalian Hoffen Biotechnique Laboratory, which conducts research into plastination and provides specimens to medical schools.

This exhibition the purpose of which we are told is to further educate, is expected to run for six months and the promotions company founded by Eamonn McCann and Denis Desmond (MCD), have sent invitations to medical schools and primary and second-level students. Tickets however are priced at €14 for adults and €8 for children.

This exhibit has indeed attracted criticism since it is not possible to attest as to whether any of the specimens voluntarily donated their bodies, or whether they are instead the misappropriated remains of executed Chinese political prisoners, latter who had not given their consent to have their bodies shown, following their execution.

Should the Irish people at this time be upset by the arrival of this “highly original and thought-provoking exhibition of human anatomy”, in light of the 474 “unclaimed infant remains” similarly transferred from mother-and-baby homes to Irish medical schools between 1940 and 1965 ?

Prior to the Anatomy Act of 1832, the only legal supply of corpses for anatomical purposes were those condemned to death and dissection by the courts who were often guilty of harsher crimes. However those sentenced by Courts did not provide enough subjects for medical schools / private anatomical schools. During the 18th century hundreds had been executed for what we regard today as trivial crimes, however by the 19th century only about 55 people were being sentenced to capital punishment on an annual basis.

As many as 500 dead bodies were needed annually due to the expansion of the medical schools. Interfering with graves was not a felony, rather a misdemeanour in common law and therefore only punishable with imprisonment and a fine, instead of transportation or execution. Thus the trade of Body Snatching became a sufficiently lucrative business with the authorities tending to ignore what they considered a necessary evil.

The business of ‘Body Snatching’ became so prevalent that it became necessary for relatives and friends of deceased persons to watch over bodies until burial, and then to keep watch over the very grave itself to halt violations. Mortsafes, (a framework of iron bars placed over grave sites) and Iron Coffins, where affordable, had to be used frequently.

Graves were dug quite shallow and ‘Body Snatchers’ or ‘Resurrectionists’, as they were known, would dig at the head end (West) of a recent burial, using wooden spade (quieter than metal implements). On reaching the coffin, they broke the side open before placing a rope around the corpse and dragged it out. Stealing jewellery or clothing would cause them to be liable to a felony charge, so in many cases they were careful not to steal either.

Resurrectionists were also known to hire women to act as grieving relatives and claim the bodies of the dead from within poorhouses. Often poorhouses received a small fee from undertakers, or resold the bodies (especially those with no family) to doctors. Women also attended funerals acting as grieving mourners to ascertain any future hardships these Body Snatchers might later encounter during disinterment. Even bribed servants would sometimes offer body snatchers access to their dead master or mistress lying in state; the removed body would be later replaced with suitable weights in closed coffins.

Remember in more recent times the huge furore over Irish human tissue banks and the  removal of organs retained for further examination and sometimes subsequently used for educational and research purposes, dealt with by the Dr. Deirdre Madden Report on Post Mortem Practises & Procedures.

Enough with the apologies and offers of solidarity; our legislators now need to sit down and ask the question: “Do we now need to change or update existing law with regard to such matters?”  We as a nation can no longer afford the costs of day after day public enquiries, followed by the inevitable compensation claims in an attempt to remove our guilt, especially with regard to matters of Church and State, and which once were seen as being morally quite acceptably, by Irish Society, all those decades ago.


Help Fight Cancer On Daffodil Day March 24th 2017

March 24th 2017 is Daffodil Day!

Daffodil Day volunteers from Co. Tipperary recently travelled to Croke Park, in Dublin, to help assist in the launch of the Irish Cancer Society’s 30th Daffodil Day.

Daffodil Day supporters nationwide have raised some €66million to date, for cancer affected individuals in Ireland, since its inaugural Daffodil Day launch which began in 1988. In fact Daffodil Day has now become that vital fund-raising event, which involves communities across the length and breath of Ireland, coming together to support cancer patients and their families.

Incidence of cancer continue to rise annually with up to 150 people being diagnosed with cancer here in Ireland every day. Data extracted from the National Cancer Registry of Ireland reveals that some 1,354 persons, here in Co. Tipperary, were diagnosed as having cancer over a 12 month period.

Daffodil Day is now the day that the people of Ireland come together in massive unity to strongly fight against cancer. On this day our unity and countrywide demonstration of support will once again help fund important cancer research and assist in caring for all those affected by this ghastly and alarming disease.

March 24th, the 30th anniversary of Daffodil Day, can be our day to take action against cancer and hopefully, in the not too distant future, call it to a hault.

This year the Irish Cancer Society needs to raise over €3m on Daffodil Day, to enable the funding of vital services and important cancer research. You the public can support Daffodil Day on March 24th, 2017 by:

  1. Holding a ‘Coffee Morning’ or other event at your home, in your school or in your place of employment.
  2. Register as a volunteer to help sell “Daffodil Pins”.
  3. Buy Daffodils from a volunteer in your community.
  4. Simply Donate online at www.cancer.ie

For more information on Daffodil Day visit www.cancer.ie/daffodilday

Remember the Irish Cancer Society’s Night Nursing service, which in 2016 delivered over 8,000 nights of care to cancer patients in their homes; of which 99 cancer patients in Tipperary received 447 nights of care last year.

In 2016, 659 journeys were facilitated for 57 patients from Tipperary who used the Volunteer Driver Service. The Service currently operates in 21 hospitals around the country and transports patients to and from their chemotherapy treatment.

Grants totalling €9,580 were provided to 18 families in Tipperary through the Society’s Financial Support Programme.


Mother & Baby Homes Commission Of Investigation

It was confirmed on March 3rd 2017 that the skeletal remains of baby’s, infants and toddlers, which lay unknown and in many cases forgotten for decades, have been finally uncovered on the site of a Mother and Baby Home in Tuam.

The official website for the Mother and Baby Homes Investigation can be found HERE

Those involved in the investigation, on behalf of the Commission of Inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes have stated that a significant number of children’s remains, dating back to the years during which time the home remained operational, have been located. Some infants are thought to have passed on from debility suffered at birth, while others succumbed to respiratory infection and premature birth.

It is understood that these young infant victims could have also died in a number of cases from influenza, while measles and chickenpox could have contributed to death in others.  Just a small number of deaths were possibly attributed to malnutrition, while health issues; trivial in today’s world, such as ear infections, skin diseases, and whooping cough also contributed; as did meningitis, gastroenteritis, convulsions, congenital heart disease and congenital syphilis.

Certainly tuberculous bacillus (TB) was rampant during this period, with children making up more than half of the victims. This highly infectious disease thrived in crowded situations and in poorly ventilated buildings even in the country. It was not until the 1950’s that TB began to decline and by the 1970’s it had almost completely vanished from our shores.

Surely it must be observed as somewhat strange (or perhaps even hypocritical), that on reading this sad and most disturbing news, so many of the commentators on the Tuam babies scandal who remain rightly concerned about a respectful burial for these human remains; same also want to remove the existing constitutional protection and the right to life, from their modern day colleagues with fatal foetal anomalies, or limited prospects of a full life-span, or conceived as a result of rape or incest. Remember the report of the official Commission of Investigation mentions that the sample of remains that they examined range from 35 foetal weeks to 2-3 years, which would seemingly include still-born and perinatal infants.

While we remain arguing over what road we should take with regard to our future unborn children, we, over recent years, have shown similarly total disregard for those vulnerable and let’s admit that in today’s Ireland we can no longer place blame on the ‘Great Famine’, the Church and the Nuns.

Following the closing of the home in 1961, all records then held were handed over to Galway County Council. Were Galway County Council not aware of the burial grounds before any planning permissions for housing were granted in that immediate area?

Following the painstaking research undertaken by historian M/s Catherine Corless, the names of some 796 children who died in the Tuam institution between the years 1925 and 1960 inclusive, can be found hereunder.

Continue reading Mother & Baby Homes Commission Of Investigation