Irish Phrase Of The Day

"Cad atá ar súil agat ?" - What are you doing?

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Back to School Clothing And Footwear Applications

Noel-CoonanDeputy Noel Coonan has confirmed that five additional staff will be deployed to process the huge number of applications received under the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Scheme 2009. Parents are growing increasingly anxious with the delay in payment this year as the start of the next school year looms closer.

Deputy Coonan has warmly welcomed the extra resources, albeit at a late date.

Confirming the news to www.Thures.Info this morning Deputy Coonan stated:

“I’m glad that the Health Service Executive( HSE )will tackle the issue of the delay in issuing payments as it has been causing undue hardship and stress to parents. With school reopening in only a few weeks I welcome the extra resources although it is late in the day. HSE staff who are dealing with applications are working as hard as they can but their workload has increased dramatically this year.

The increase in the number of applications is a sign of the extreme economic hardship being experienced by some families throughout North Tipperary. The increase in school costs has also contributed significantly to their plight. Fianna Fáil has hiked up the cost of school transport significantly for the coming school year with a 79% increase in junior post-primary fees from €132 annually to a now crippling €300 per child. Senior post-primary pupils are also being hit with a 28% rise.

I have been making representations on a regular basis on behalf of distressed parents and I’m glad that my pleas are being acknowledged. There has already been a lot of confusion with the scheme this Summer. People didn’t know where they could get the forms as the local Community Welfare Officers did not take applications or queries this year. Applicants then didn’t know where they were to send the completed applications forms.
It is coming very close to the time when children will return to school and parents need to know if they will be getting the allowance so they can buy uniforms and footwear. Understandably, they are becoming increasingly concerned and anxious with the long processing time”, concluded Deputy Coonan.

Over the next three weeks, the HSE will be adding five staff from existing resources, thus increasing the capacity to deal with the vast number of applications that still have to be processed.

There have been 12,500 applications received under the scheme this year from the Mid-West region including North Tipperary, Clare and Limerick. Of these, it is hoped that 4,000 people will be paid by this coming weekend.

Note: The scheme does not close until September and applications are still arriving.

Last year, 8,981 applications were received over the full period of this scheme showing a significant increase this year.

The Back to School Clothing Scheme Unit lo-call number is 1890 252973.

Tipperary V Limerick Hurling Championship

Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy has announced just one change in the panel to play Limerick in Sunday’s GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship semi-final at Croke Park.

Brendan Maher enters the side at left half-back replacing Conor O’Brien. This in the only change in the team which beat Waterford in July to take the Munster title.

The reshuffled defence will place Padraic Maher at full-back, Paul Curran at left corner back and Brendan Maher at left half-back.

gaa-125Team selection is as follows.

1 Brendan Cummins (Ballybacon-Grange)
2 Paddy Stapleton (Borris-Ileigh)
3 Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
4 Paul Curran (Mullinahone)
5 Declan Fanning (Killenaule)
6 Conor O’Mahony (Newport) (Captain)
7 Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
8 James Woodlock (Drom & Inch)
9 Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch)
10 Pat Kerwick (Killenaule)
11 Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch)
12 John O’Brien (Toomevara)
13 Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney)
14 Eoin Kelly (Mullinahone)
15 Lar Corbett (Thurles Sarsfields)

For non ticket holders, the match can be followed live on RTÉ Two on Sunday next 16th August, throw-in 3.30pm.

Leaving Cert 2009 - How Lucky Are You

The Leaving Certificate results for 2009 were revealed yesterday in Tipperary and although many students greeted their results with joy, relief and celebration, there will be those who feel utterly dejected. Despite giving the exams their best shot, they haven’t got the points they had hoped for and now must agonizingly wait to see what Central Applications Office ( CAO ) offers they will receive on Monday 17th, 2009.

If you are feeling disheartened, take some time out to put things in proper perspective and consider those in Irish society that, like Dr.Theodor Seuss, are dying to tell you “how lucky you are!”.

That’s right, lucky! Don’t believe me?  Take a look at these facts and figures and you’ll see why!

International Adult Literacy Survey

SchoolMr Batt O’Keeffe TD please also take note.
In 1997, results from the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), developed in conjunction with the OECD, revealed that:
• 25% of the Irish adult population (that’s approximately 500,000 people) were found to have a Level 1 literacy ability (NALA: National Adult Literacy Agency). The literacy abilities of adults at Level 1 are so low, that they may, for example, find it difficult to follow information on a packet and be unable to figure out the correct amount of medication to give to their child. Nearly one fifth of the adults found to have a Level 1 literacy ability were aged between 16-25.
• A further 30% of Irish adults had a Level 2 literacy ability, which means that they could only deal with material that is very simple, clearly laid out and which does not require complex tasks (NALA).

Written Out, Written Off:

The report entitled “Written Out, Written Off ” (Barnardos, 2009) revealed that despite the economic ‘good times’, children from disadvantaged backgrounds “still face stark inequalities of opportunities and outcomes in education (Barnardos, 2009, p. 8). Here are some startling facts presented in the report, which may be deemed even more startling in light of the tidal wave of recent and prospective cuts in education:
• While 58 per cent of students from higher professional backgrounds achieve four or more honours grades in the Leaving Certificate, students from manual backgrounds are much less likely to achieve any honours. (Barnardos, 2009, p. 4).
• While over 90 per cent of young people with parent(s) in professional occupations complete the Leaving Certificate, just two-thirds of their counterparts from unskilled manual backgrounds do so. (Barnardos, 2009, p. 4).
• Over 70 per cent of young people from higher professional backgrounds progress to Higher Education within the first two years of leaving school (Fig 4.3). This compares to less than half of those from intermediate and other non-manual backgrounds and just 30 per cent of those from semi- and unskilled manual backgrounds. (Barnardos, 2009, p. 5).
• Early school leavers have a higher risk of committing or being convicted of a crime. A sample of prisoners in Mountjoy Prison indicated that 80 per cent had left school before the age of 16, 50 per cent had left before the age of 15, while 75 per cent had never sat a State examination. The costs associated with each prison place was €97,700 per year (2007 figures). (Barnardos, 2009, p. 9).

The Moral of the Story:
So why are you so lucky, even if your Leaving Cert. results aren’t what you hoped for?
The answer should be obvious.
There are thousands of men, women and children within Irish society that:

  1. Have never and will never be lucky enough to simply sit the Leaving Cert.
  2. Have and will not have the literacy abilities needed to sit any Leaving Certificate examination at any level.
  3. Receiving Leaving Cert. points, high or low, is a dream that has not and will never become a reality in their lifetime.

So if you are disheartened, or even if you are celebrating, please remember how lucky you are and as Dr. Seuss wisely points out:

“Thank goodness for all of the things you are not!
Thank goodness you’re not something someone forgot,
and left all alone in some punkerish place
like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.

That’s why I say
‘Don’t grumble! Don’t stew!
Some critters are much-much,
oh, ever so much-much,
so muchly much-much more unlucky than you!”

(Dr. Seuss, Did I ever tell you how lucky you are?, 1973).

Perseid Meteor Shower

Sky watchers around Co.Tipperary will have a good chance of spotting the annual Perseid meteor shower which is expected to be quite spectacular, weather permitting, for anyone prepared to stay up late tonight.

The Perseid meteor shower has been observed in our skies for the last 2000 years, with the first known information about this meteor shower recorded in the Far East.

However, the absence of clear skies will not be the only drawback to those wishing to view this spectacular event, as the moon will also be high in the sky and its light will outshine some of the fainter meteors in the shower train.

Also referred to as the Burning Tears of St. Lawrence, the Perseid shower is made up of bits of debris from the parent body of the Comet Swift-Tuttle.

PerseusNote : St. Lawrence, whose feast day is August 10th, was burnt to death in AD 258 on an iron stove. Once when ordered by the Roman Emperor Valerian to turn over the treasures of his church – he presented the poor of his parish.

This debris, some no bigger than a grain of sand and at the largest no bigger than a marble in size, was laid down over the centuries as the Comet orbited the sun. In August, each year, the Earth passes through this stream of debris and  the skies above the Northern Hemisphere become  peppered with little bits of space debris which create this meteor shower spectacular.

Meteors visible to the eye in this display, can number as many as 60 per hour entering Earth’s atmosphere at an incredible 133,200 mph.

For best viewing advantage move away from interference caused by town and city lights. Rural areas usually allows you to view as much sky as possible with little distraction. If you have a lightweight folding deck chair and a rug bring them with you for added comfort as the temperature tonight will be quite  low.

The Perseid meteors will appear to originate in the north eastern sky, near the constellation Perseus, and shoot off in many different directions.

Meteor showers and also random shooting stars are, as a general rule, best viewed during the predawn hours.

Poor Can't Pay

DoleSome of Ireland’s leading non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) and trade unions have formed a joint initiative to launch a new campaign called “The Poor Can’t Pay”.  This coalition aims to mobilise all out active opposition to proposed cuts to basic social welfare payments and possible proposed cuts to the minimum wage.

The Poor Can’t Pay initiative claim that people earning the minimum wage or who presently living on social welfare had no hand act or part in causing Ireland’s economic crisis and should therefore not be forced to pay the price for Ireland’s current recession.

The campaign was launched  jointly by Age Action, Barnardos, CORI Justice, EAPN, Focus Ireland, INOU, Mandate, National Women’s Council of Ireland, SIPTU and St. Vincent de Paul (SVP).

Organisers are now calling on other NGO’s and trade unions to sign up to further add weight to the campaign.

The Poor Can’t Pay said it is now vital for the present Government to live up to its promise to protect the most vulnerable in society from the impact of a recession which is not of their making.

John Mark McCafferty of SVP speaking on behalf of the Poor Can’t Pay campaign  said:

“We hear all the time from many commentators who say it is inevitable that basic social welfare payments and the minimum wage must be cut. This campaign aims to highlight that most people in Ireland do not accept this view and they actually believe that we must do all we can to protect the most vulnerable people in our society. The reality is that cuts to welfare payments will mean people going without food, essential healthcare, children getting no presents at Christmas and pensioners wondering if they can afford to keep the heat on. We all need to ask ourselves as a nation, are these the people who should be forced to pay the cost of the economic crisis?  It’s important to stress that the Christmas welfare payment is not a “bonus” but rather a key part of the income of the poorest households. If it the Government does not make this payment it represents a real cut in income to the families and single people who can least afford it, adding to their hardships.”