Attending the gathering of four hundred Irish, American and Australian Girl Guides, which included their Leaders, here in ‘The Dome’, Semple Stadium, on Saturday last, set me to thinking.
My thoughts, (a very dangerous practice many would forecast) were focused on the major event in progress.
Four hundred young people were all lodged in less than three acre of activity space and despite an abundance of Fruit Drinks in plastic containers, Twix Bars, Mars Bars, Lolly Pops, Chewing Gum, Sweets and Treats of all make, manner and description, not one solitary paper wrapper or plastic bottle could be found carelessly dumped on the ground during the afternoon events. No one shouted or verbally argued, pushed, shoved or were disrespectful to those leaders who from time to time issued commands. Questions were asked and fully answered in a pleasant civil manner, silence was fully observed when necessary, without any request from authority, when leaders and guests spoke publicly. Contentment, enjoyment, fun, a thirst for knowledge, civility and wisdom was everywhere in abundance, yet these Girl Guides were not hand picked and came from all denominations and varying social backgrounds, to attend this event.
What was the secret to achieving this harmonious setting I pondered?
Afraid to ask the question, I watched in the full expectation that all would be self revealing. Later, leaving the event, close to the close of business, the answer was clear as crystal.
To my mind, it was a successful combination of what most of us have now sacrificed on the alter of that most powerful and insatiable deity, the god of greed, during that short period, known as the ‘Celtic Tiger Era’. Their secret was a mixed bag of goodies they collected and now carried with them, each item clearly wrapped and labeled. The labels bore the words ‘share’, ‘team work’, ‘practical education’, ‘self discipline’ and ‘respect for fellow beings’.
Having watched these bright inquisitive young people, I left with the feeling that despite the current absence of honest leadership in this county and country, the future of Tipperary and Ireland was in safe hands, thanks to the mighty work and effort, much of it unpaid, by this worthy organisation, who gave so unselfishly of their time and vast experience. Well done.
Forty year old, Thurles born, Fianna Fail, Senator John Hanafin has been appointed to the permanent delegation of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Current Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Mr Pat Carey recently announced the nomination of the Senator who replaces the former permanent delegate, Senator Deirdre de Burca who resigned some months ago, following disagreements with her Green Party colleagues.
John is the brother of the current Minister for Tourism Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin and the son of the former Senator, Des Hanafin. He was first elected to the Seanad in 2002 and re-elected in 2007. He was a member of North Tipperary County Council representing the Thurles area from 1988 to 2003.
John was educated at the CBS Thurles, Co. Tipperary and later at the Cistercian College, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. He is a graduate of UCD,( B.A.) where he studied History and Geography. He later went on to study Marketing at the Institute of Ireland. He also holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration with the Institute of Public Administration and a Diploma in Legal studies from the Kings Inn.
Fifty young people were presented with prestidious Gaisce Gold Awards by President Mary McAleese, in Dublin Castle, at a special ceremony on Monday last.
The President’s Award Programme, which currently enjoys its 25th year in existence, honours young achievers in four named categories: Personal Skills Development, Community Involvement, Adventurous Expedition, Physical Recreation, and medals are awarded to individuals who achieve their agreed goals in all four of these categories.
The fifty men and women honoured at yesterday’s ceremony included three recipients from Co. Tipperary. These Tipperary recipients are named as Zoë Murphy a native of Clonmel, Co Tipperary, Ciara O’Meara, Borrisokane, Co Tipperary and Clodagh Joyce, also from Clonmel, Co Tipperary.
Commenting on the wide variety of achievements and experiences celebrated by this years Awards Ceremony, President McAleese , pointing out that the very heart of the Gaisce Programme, was the choice, by this years contenders, to not wait for life to grab them, but instead to have choosen to go out and grab life.
President McAleese stated:
“Your achievements were not merely a series of gratifying experiences, but are ones that have deepened you, sharpened you and changed you quite profoundly. Your imprint of the Gaisce Gold Award on your Curriculum Vitaes should signal to college applications officers, recruiters and employers that you are people of initiative, showing leadership, dynamism and self-discipline. It may well open doors to you in these early days of your adult lives and careers, but the imprint of Gaisce Gold on your future lives will reveal itself over your span of many years. It will have helped awaken in you a determination to be considerably more than a mere spectator on the sidelines of life. You have put down a marker here today, that you are now what you intend always to be, active contributors to your own lives, to your community and to our society as a whole.”
The Gaisce Awards are non-competitive and are presented at three separate levels, namely Bronze, Silver and Gold each year. Gaisce Gold Awards are affectionally known as ‘Goldies’ and all entrants must successfully complete agreed tasks, decided between the participant and a President Award Leader (PAL) volunteer.
A record number of nearly 17,000 young people, between the ages of 15 and 25, fully participated in the Gaisce Award programme last year.
It has to be some kind of ‘Death Wish’ folks, but the Fianna Fail and Green Coalition intend to press ahead with plans to hit motorists with a further additional stealth tax. As and from the 1st of June 2011, all cars over 10 years old will now be obliged to undergo an annualNational Car Test (NCT).
Currently there exists a bi-annual NCT, for vehicles, four years and older, however this new requirement for cars over 10 years old is expected to lead to approximately 12,000 additional tests per year.
Originally when the NCT was first introduced car owners were deceived by promises that such inspections would lead to potentially lower insurance premiums and use less fuel. Facts are that insurance premiums and fuel costs have gone through the roof.
With effect from the 1st April 2010, an additional 7 items have already been added to the National Car Test which includes malfunctioning indicators for Airbags, Electronic Stability Control Systems and Electronic Braking Systems.
This new NCT is being introduced despite the fact that most roads in this county are in the worst condition that they have ever been in and also despite the fact that the 2010 road grant allocation just for North Tipperary, alone, is almost €5million less than in the previous 2009. The state of Irish roads presently creates a huge spin-off benefit for all sectors of the motor industry, which includes garages, importers, motor car part dealers, exhaust and tyre centres at the expence of the motorist, who, despite paying car tax have little recourse to compensation for damage caused by these poor road conditions.
Deputy Noel Coonan when contacted by www.thurles.info this morning stated:
“This Government is once again targeting the wrong people. The Government continues to impose additional stealth taxes on people who cannot afford it and the Transport Minister’s decision to hit motorists with an annual NCT test is the latest in a long line of such taxes.
It’s a clear example of how the Government is relentlessly attacking the wrong people. A lot of North Tipperary people drive cars that are more than 10 years old, but because of massive economic blunders made by this Government, these motorists can only dream of visiting a shiny car showroom. While people on the ground continue to suffer, this Government pumps billions into busted bankers, speculators and developers who have seen fit to gamble away the future of this country. There seems to be mountains of money for the golden circle at the expense of the individual. It’s now time for a change of Government because people are sick and tired of cutbacks and continuous injustices against them. If they insist upon an annual NCT , then at the very least let them half the fee for this test. People pay their road tax, yet North Tipperary roads look like they have been blown up, such is their bad condition.”
Motor vehicles used only on islands not connected to the mainland by road and motor vehicles belonging to the Armed Forces, the Garda Síochana or the Fire Service are currently not subject to mandatory road worthiness testing. Vehicles registered before 1980 are also exempt from the test.
The car test fee is 50.00 Euro and a re-test, if faults are found, costs 28.00 Euro (both fees are inclusive of VAT and maybe subject to change). Re-tests, which do not require the use of test equipment, will be free. Free re-tests cover minor items, for example, a visual inspection to check that faulty windscreen wipers have been replaced.
On Saturday, April 10th last, the Irish Girl Guides launched their new logo and new uniforms, with a big event for 400 of its membership here in ‘The Dome’, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. This comes in advance of the IGG’s 100 year celebrations in 2011 and will further illustrate how vibrant and modern, the Irish Girl Guides really are.
Special guest at the event was Thurles Mayor, Mrs Evelyn Nevin.
New uniforms for Irish Girl Guides
The Irish Girl Guides were first founded in Harolds Cross in 1911. Now in their 99th year the IGG number some 10,500 members throughout the country.
IGG’s new uniforms have been designed in consultation with some of the organisations younger members. They are bright, they are colourful and in the words of the girls themselves, they are ‘cool’.
IGG has always been a forward thinking organisation and they rightly feel that this new attractive look will further encourage members to take pride in their uniform. With so much of IGG’s programme based on education through action, group activities and the great outdoors, these new uniforms, while attractive, are also practical, versatile and come in different colours identifying each section within the organisation. The new look includes colourful t-shirts, trendy hoodies and fitted micro fleeces as well as accessories, such as branded bags.
Ladybirds, Brownies and Guides aren’t just, as often misconceived, some cute kids in uniforms who go camping on weekends. The Irish Girl Guides are so much more, as people like myself quickly found out on visiting their chosen campus on Saturday last. IGG members are currently working on exciting projects such as a weekly Guide unit in Crumlin Hospital for girls who want a fun break from hospital life, Road Safety and Drug Prevention programmes for their members, their Outreach Programme – the positive step of bringing minority ethnic communities into IGG.
Those lucky to attend as visitors, witnessed everywhere, teamwork, enjoyed discipline, sharing, laughter, caring and knowledge being transmitted through the medium of competitive fun, and we were left with the feeling that, contrary to the day’s dreary newspaper headlines, this country may after all have a bright productive and positive future. Personally, if I had daughters, still young enough, I would be seriously encouraging them to join this wonderful happy organisation.
Some of IGG’s core methods are still very much in evidence such as earning badges, but they have also modernised these for example: New Brownie Badges -Discovering Faith, Cultural Diversity, Foreign Language, Disability Awareness and for Guides – Chocolate, Film Lover, Beautician, Renewable Energy, Ski-ing and Team Player.
Commenting on the IGG’s new look, Emer O’Sullivan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Girl Guides stated:
“We were very conscious when designing our new logo that we kept the traditional elements of Guiding. The Trefoil which is used by all Guiding Associations, together with the uniquely Irish Celtic knot, in a modern style. Up till now, our Guides and adult Leaders all wore the same uniform. Our new range of uniforms has colours and styles to suit all ages.”
Linda Peters, CEO of the Irish Girl Guides stated:
“The launch of our new logo and uniforms comes at a very exciting time for our organisation as the Irish Girl Guides will celebrate its centenary in 2011. We will have a dynamic new image as we move into the next century of Guiding.”
The launch in Thurles on Saturday last saw 300 girls aged 10 – 15 and 100 leaders from all over the country come together for a fashion show of uniforms from the last 100 years, as well as taking part in 100 Guiding challenges with everything from hand-printing, crafts, fun outdoor games, and camping challenges, to taking a photo in the shape of our organisations letters and sending messages to Girl Guides around the world via the Internet.
The 10th of April, the date chosen for this event, was significant, as it was also the day when the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) were celebrating the centenary of Guiding worldwide with a themed ‘Plant Day‘, which involved Girl Guides all over Ireland in the planting of trees in their local towns.