Tipperary travelling a slippery road.
Some TDs, claiming to represent the people of Tipperary and who signed in at Leinster House for expenses worth up to €38,000 a year, failed to take part in a significant number of Dail votes. Fine Gael’s Tom Hayes is one of quite a number of elected Tipperary public representatives identified by the Independant today, of claiming expenses by fobbing in, but yet not turning up for Dail votes.
Tom has been absent for ten votes, but is still behind the main offenders, namely TV celebrity Michael Healy Rae, and keen bog environmentalist Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, both of whom have the poorest voting records since elected.
According to the same newspaper Casino promoter, Mr Michael Lowry TD, only voted 3 times, out of a possible 24 and missed 7 of these votes while clocked in. He was just plain absent from Leinster House on the other voting days. Michael Lowry was also one of the biggest recipients of the “Party Leaders’ allowances,” since its conception in 2005, with payments of almost €250,000 according to Departmental figures obtained under freedom of information legislation by the Irish Times, and which has cost Irish taxpayers, nationally, in total, more than €4.6 million. This allowance, paid on top of salary and other allowances and expenses, is understandably tax-free and recipients do not have to account for how the money is spent. Nationally twenty-six Oireachtas members are now entitled to this allowance, well up on the ten who were claiming it last year, due to the success of so many Party defecting Independents, in last February’s general election.
Now do you understand why Cabinet Ministers should be placed above ordinary citizens and as such, be allowed to leave Dublin’s traffic jams and use emergency bus lanes, they just cannot get to work.
In the light of this leadership shown by our politicians, it is not totally surprising then that John Hennessy, the Regional Director of operations in HSE West reveals this week that the Mid Western Hospital in Limerick, attempting to serve the population of North Tipperary, has a staff average absenteeism rate problem. Low staff morale is sited as probably a key factor, but certainly not pay and conditions. This absenteeism rate stands at 7.3% among the 703 nursing staff and 11.5% in the hospital’s 211 other care staff, hence the corridor trolley service currently on offer.
Meanwhile according to that English newspaper the Irish Daily Mail, (You surely remember the newspaper that campaigned for the reintroduction of the HPV Cervical Cancer vaccine in Ireland, while their London edition were printing stories attacking the same vaccine.) state that cash-strapped Montrose bosses in RTE are to fork out €10 million to implement 75 redundancies, while TV licence payers are invited to gain entertainment by watching washed-up celebrates clean horse manure from racing stables. I can’t wait to get home and switch on.
What all 3 papers failed to note, however, is the regular attendance nowadays by two TD’s at every possible public vote catching event. The recent invitation, to persons involved in promoting the Arts, by Minister Jimmy Deenihan, who was visiting Ballina/Killaloe, Co.Tipperary, last Thursday, saw Alan Kelly enter the Lakeside Hotel arm in arm with Jimmy. Despite RSVP to the Arts Office in North Tipperary County Council, Jimmy had no time to discuss the neglect of Thurles and surrounding towns and villages, so the Hidden Tipperary Group were ‘fobbed off,’ onto his Press Officer, Therese O’Connor. Jimmy it turns out was in a hurry to join Transport, Tourism and Sport Minister Leo Varadkar to announce a €7 million investment for that little known tourist area in Ireland known to the few as Killarney, Co Kerry.
For those of you who think I am being a bit cynical check this out. Click Here and ask yourself the following questions:-
Where is the Thurles GAA museum?
Where is the Thurles Source Theatre?
Where is Thurles Famine Museum?
Since when did Tipperary Institute become a Museum or indeed an Art Gallery?
Who is supporting the funding and administration of this Joomla, Open Source Content Management System, website?
While our local Politicians, Urban and County Councillors and other gold chain wearing Community Leaders continue to practise a policy of party politics and personal gain, before and above fiscal rectitude or fair play, County Tipperary continues to be lead along and down a very slippery road, with the worst yet to materialise.
As you can see from the image attached, here in Tipperary we are beginning to erect public warning signs.
Ardscoil na mBraithre the CBS High School, in Clonmel has successfully appealed against an earlier Equality Tribunal finding, which ruled that the school indirectly discriminated against members of the Travelling Community and others when it refused a Traveller child admission.
The school had argued that their actions did not constitute discrimination, because 83 other children from the locality had also been refused admission, due to their parents having not attended this same establishment.
Judge Thomas Teehan allowed the appeal against the decision of the Equality Tribunal, that it should offer John Stokes a place and also their direction for the school to review its current admission policy, thus ensuring that in future it did not indirectly discriminate against any child of the state.
Thirteen year old John Stokes, through his mother Mary Stokes, latter instructed by the Irish Traveller Movement Independent Law Centre, first lodged a complaint against the Clonmel school based on the grounds that the school had breached the Equal Status Act 2000.
John Stokes had applied in November 2009 to attend the CBS School, having attended a local primary school in Clonmel town. However there were 174 student applications applying for just 140 places available, at this educational facility, at that time.
The school selected pupils on the basis of an agreed admission policy and based on three criteria:-
(1) The students father or another older sibling had previously attended the school.
(2) He was Roman Catholic.
(3) He had attended a primary school in the locality.
While John Stokes met the last two criteria of the school boards criteria, John Stokes was the eldest boy in his family, and his father had never attended the school in question.
The student, through his family, had unsuccessfully appealed this initial refusal by the school, to the Department of Education, and failing here, had appealed to the Equality Tribunal, on the grounds that requiring a parent to have previously attended the school, disproportionately affected the rights of the Irish Travelling Community and others.
Judge Teehan said that he was satisfied that the parental rule was discriminatory against Travellers and indeed others, whose parents were unlikely to have had the opportunity of attending this school previously. However, it fell to the school to demonstrate that its admissions policy could be fairly justified, and he found that supporting family ethos within education had amounted to a legitimate aim by the school.
Judge Teehan also found that the policy was appropriate in a case where numbers of students applying, exceeded available existing places. This parental rule, by the school, assisted in striking a fair balance between academic results and admissions, based on these exceptional circumstances.
He further noted that the CBS School had highlighted the importance of ties between their school and their past pupils in terms of meeting funding shortfalls and therefore this parental rule was necessary in creating a balanced and a proportionate admissions policy.
The school was therefore within its legal rights to reject a student because his father was not a past pupil.
Thurles natives currently visiting Oslo in Norway sent us these pictures from outside of Oslo Cathedral early this morning. Up to 98 people are now feared dead and 97 wounded, following the shooting spree and bomb attack, admitted by 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik.
Floral Tributes outside Oslo Cathedral
One of many memorial service held across Norway took place at Oslo Cathedral this morning, as the nation mourned their dead, while bracing itself for the possibility that the number of victims may rise even further in the coming hours. Police searched bags as people entered for the religious service.
People stream to the Cathedral to express their sympathy
King Harald V of Norway, his wife Queen Sonja and the Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, who wept openly at the memorial service, all met with grieving relatives of the young innocent victims gunned down, in the worst atrocity since World War II.
Thurles visitors report, “Everybody in Oslo is simply unable to understand, it’s very unreal, they’re shocked, the whole experience is just unbelievable. Buildings across Oslo display their countries flag at half-mast, and people of all nationalities are streaming to Oslo Cathedral to light candles and lay fresh flowers.”
Soon this nation will be given the names and images of all those who died, and the size and scale of this wickedness will only then become fully apparent.
From Tipperary we offer the Oslo and Norwegian people our sincere sympathy.
Thurles.Info are pleased to report that two Thurles natives, currently visiting in Oslo, are safe and well. Both men who were luckily out of their hotel when the explosion occurred, report tonight that they are without their baggage, passports and other belongings, but have been successfully in touch with the Irish Embassy in Oslo who have promised them every assistance.
The Thurles natives, both male, were staying at the Comfort Hotel Xpress, when the explosion occurred.
All residents have been evacuated from the badly damaged building and some are now resident at the Clarion Hotel Royal Christiania, formerly the Hotel Viking. Both report that the bomb blast tore through central Oslo, shattering windows and leaving at least seven civilian people dead and many injured.
The Thurles visitors report that large sections of the center of Oslo have now been evacuated. “There was a huge explosion, the windows just blew out. Glass everywhere covers the streets. There is much debris, people are injured. It was like a grenade explosion.” the couple report.
Using their iPhones they have been able to send us exclusive pictures of the devastation in the streets, prior to police urging people to stay away from the center of the city and to limit their use of mobile phones.
The attack is understood to be the deadliest in Europe since bomb blasts at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport in January last left at least 37 people dead.
Police state that they don’t expect further blasts, but the question now being asked is who is likely to be behind it. An earlier report this year, by Norwegian intelligence, claimed that there was an increased risk of a Jihadi terrorist attack, with Norwegian citizens reportedly receiving training in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan.
Oslo is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental centre of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is an important centre for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe.
Gardaí in North Tipperary and Offaly have warned parents to be extremly vigilant, following the attempted abduction last night of a 13-year-old girl, near the town of Ferbane, Birr, Co.Offaly.
Superintendents in both counties are said to be extremely concerned about this particular incident and are using this opportunity to create greater public awareness of such dangers, considering the fact that all children are currently enjoying school holidays and are possibly therefore subject to greater unsupervised public freedom than is usual.
Parents in the area are warned that they should be aware of their children’s whereabouts at all times, and children should communicate to their parents, if they decide to change already conveyed planned destinations.
The 13 year old teenage girl is understood to have been cycling to the home of a friend, close to Moyclare in Ferbane, at approximately 8.30pm last night when a white van, described as similar to a van used by An Post, pulled up alongside her. The driver, understood to be a male, then attempted to pull her into the vehicle. Following a struggle, the girl escaped, sustaining some minor injuries, before running to a neighbouring house to raise the alarm.
The man being sought by Gardaí is described as being middle aged, low in stature, with dark hair and wearing glasses.
Gardaí are actively appealing for witnesses or any other information the public may have on the movements of the driver and the white van involved in this assault. Anyone operating security CC TV anywhere in this area are asked to check their system, with a view to identifying the movement of white coloured vans.
Gardaí also confirm that they are following a number of lines of inquiry at this time.