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Barry Andrews TD Visits Tipperary

Minister Barry Andrews TD

Visiting County Tipperary on Monday last, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews, T.D., opened a new childcare facility in Ballingarry, Thurles and a Youth Centre in Tipperary Town.

The Brightsparks childcare facility in Ballingarry opened for business in February and provides a current service to 34 children.  The building has capacity for 50 children and is participating in the free pre-school year.  Approximately, €32 million has been spent on childcare facilities in Co. Tipperary over the past ten years.

Officially opening the facility, Minister Andrews paid tribute to the voluntary management board and in particular, Sr Patricia Wall, who was a major driving force in developing the project.

Minister Andrews stated:

“The local community here in Ballingarry has provided real leadership and support for parents and children in providing a state of the art childcare facility with a wide range of services.  South Tipperary County Council and the County Childcare Committee have come together to support this local initiative.  I am particularly delighted that the Ballingarry facility is participating in the free pre-school year, which is in its first year of operation”.

Continue reading Barry Andrews TD Visits Tipperary

Casino TwoMileBorris Could Be Nearer Than We Think

The recent announcement of a proposed Casino for the village of TwoMileBorris, Thurles, Co.Tipperary, could be closer than we think, if the present Government were to release details of their proposed intended changes to the Gaming and Lotteries Act .

This outdated legislation, The Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, is a major hurdle which currently prevents Ireland from putting in place a proper regulatory regime that would help this country to become a major E-Commerce hub for, in particular, the global online-casino business.

A major review of the present Gaming and Lotteries Act, which began in mid 2009, is now complete and a decision from the Government on intended changes is slow to materialise. A recent speech by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD given to the horse-racing industry, recently, suggests the industry would receive financial support into the future, through taxes on online betting, so what is the plan and why the delay in these recessionary times?

Properly implemented and governed, the introduction of a new Act has the potential to create some 5,000 to 8,000 new jobs for e-commerce professionals, web developers, accountants, business analysts and mathematicians. Properly legislated and  implemented changes to this Act, introduced immediately, would mean that if Ireland were to capture a mere 5% share of the present global online Casino business, it would immediately represent an Irish sector worth at least €2 billion.

Any changes which would open up this present outdated legislation, must first ensure that those vulnerable, including young people, are protected and that measures are formulated to ensure gambling is kept free of criminal elements, through its business being both fairly and transparently conducted.

Any changes to the present 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act should include a new strong regulatory body,  be free of all / any government interference and should also have under its umbrella, control over the present National Lottery, proceeds of the latter which appears presently to be the gift of government ministers. Irish National Lottery Sports Capital Grant Allocations in the past, appear to show a clear bias towards the geographical areas represented by the Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism and the Minister for Finance. This bias is the result of the procedures by which the funds are allocated.

River Suir – Water Lilies And Mute Swans

Our local water ways, namely the river Suir, which flows through the town of Thurles and the Cabragh Wetlands on the outskirts of the town, are particularly attractive at this time of year.

The native White Water Lily (Nymphaea alba) and the invasive Yellow flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) are in full bloom in Cabragh Wetlands, while on the river Suir our year round resident Mute Swans (Dan and Doris)  have finally introduced their surviving three cygnets, hatched in mid May, to the local residents.

The male (called a Cob), and the female (called a Pen) birds, usually attempt to mate for life, although it is not true to say that if one of the birds were to die, that the other would necessarily pine away. It is very possible for an adult bird to find an alternative mate.

Their nest is a huge mound of mixed material, normally assorted vegetation, consisting of  sticks dried grasses and rushes, are constructed at the water’s edge. The nest is built by the female, while the male supplies the materials.

The female lays up to seven eggs between late April and early May. Both sexes incubate the eggs, which hatch within 35-41 days. The young birds (called cygnets) sometimes ride playfully on their parents’ backs as seen in this video clip.

June On The River Suir, Thurles, Co Tipperary, Ireland. from George Willoughby.

The youngsters remain with the adult birds for four or five months before being driven from the breeding ground in mid Autumn.

Swans normally find enough food in the wild without supplementary feeding. It is only in freezing weather that extra food can be helpful. Many people like feeding bread to swans and while this is unlikely to do them any real harm in the long term, it is no substitute for the proper diet that the birds themselves will seek out. Grain, such as wheat, and vegetable matter, especially lettuce and potatoes, can be fed to swans.

Food should be thrown into the water to avoid encouraging the young birds onto the bank, thus putting their lives in danger.

A visit to Cabragh Wetlands is such a peaceful experience and for those who enjoy a closeness with nature, it is well worth a visit, particularly in the evening time.

Music used in the video clip is by Johannes Brahms, entitled “The Cradle Song”.

New Three Year Strategic Plan For Irish Civil Defence

A new strategic plan, launched from the Irish Civil Defence headquarters in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, by Minister for Defence Tony Killeen yesterday, now commits the organisation to training and development skills for half of its 6,000 members, during the next three years.

The new plan also seeks to attract more volunteers to its ranks and will work to strengthen its links with other front-line services that also have a role in reacting to any unforeseen or any unplanned emergencies.

A branch of the Civil Defence are located in each county in the Republic of Ireland and are a voluntary body that aid professional organisations, such as the Garda.

The body was originally set up in 1950, as part of the national defence structure and as a then necessary civil response to potential hazards which might arise in a war time situation. The organisation was designed to undertake non combatant activities to mitigate the effects on persons and property against possible attacks in the State from hazards arising such as radio-active fallout, biological or chemical warfare etc.
With the enactment of the Civil Defence Act of 2002, the Civil Defence Board has assumed responsibility for Civil Defence at National level. Prior to this, the Civil Defence function at national level was the responsibility of the Minister for Defence.

The Irish Civil Defence is an organisation comprising currently approximately 6000 members who voluntarily make themselves available in their spare time. Much of this time presently is devoted to training for situations which, it is hoped, will never happen.

Joining the Civil Defence

To request information on becoming a Civil Defence Volunteer or have a member of the Civil Defence organisation contact you, please see following link:  http://www.defence.ie/cdweb.nsf/enquiry?openform

Irelands Absence From World Cup 2010 FIFA’s Loss

The World Cup 2010 in South Africa is up and running and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s the visceral kaleidoscopic international spectacle we all expected it to be and then some.

All 32 teams have now completed their first stint of games and while what’s happening on the pitch is looking good, what’s happening in the stands isn’t.

One can’t help but notice the lacklustre attendances at some of the group matches so far, a sight that genuinely takes away from the passion and pride of the beautiful game on South Africa’s hallowed World Cup pitches. Yes the sound of the Vuvuzela implies there’s a full house at every game, but there isn’t.

There were almost 11,000 empty seats at Saturday’s game between South Korea and Greece in Port Elizabeth and the official attendance at the Algeria-Slovenia clash in Polokwane was 30,325, almost 11,000 below the capacity. Yes these events do not have the glamour ties with the Brazil’s, England’s and Portugal’s of this world, but this empty seat dilemma does more than just cast a shadow over FIFA’s pricing policy. It makes we Irish, a country that should be at this tournament, feel even worse about our absence.

If Ireland were at the World Cup you could guarantee that every game we would be involved in would be a sellout, glamour team involved or no glamour team involved. Our passion for the beautiful game coupled with our dedication to cheering on the boys in green and singing Amhrán na bhFiann loud and proud means that the Irish would be the solution to FIFA’s seating dilemma.

The Irish would have flocked to South Africa, in their multitudes, to support Trap’s Army if they would have qualified. The French cheated their way to the tournament and FIFA, although acknowledging this injustice, refused to do anything about it. It’s ok to cheat apparently.

It’s ironic really, FIFA wouldn’t let us go to the 2010 World Cup and now it appears we are exactly what the tournament needs, impassioned fans in their thousands, putting bums on seats and bringing passion to the pitch, from currently desolate stands.