Irish Phrase Of The Day

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

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Budget Vote Could Be In Doubt If Hoctor Misses Vote

Batt O'Keeffe's Letter to Deputy Lowry

Batt O'Keeffe's Letter to Deputy Lowry

Backbencher Ms Maire Hoctor TD, who was sacked as a Junior Minister by Taoiseach Brian Cowen last year, was not present for a number of tight votes in Dail Eireann recently.

Truth is that in the past three weeks Ms Hoctor has only voted possibly twice out of 18 votes which were signalled. This includes one vote last week that saw the Government scrape through by a meagre two votes.

The Tipperary North TD is a constituency colleague of Independent TD Michael Lowry, who claims to have his own private deal with the Fianna Fail Government. This deal, which has seen Mr Lowry claim credit for a series of capital projects in Ms Hoctor’s constituency, is said to be quietly causing serious tension in the Fianna Fail camp. Political whispers claim Ms Hoctor is growing increasingly unset with the way in which Mr Lowry was being allowed to wheel and deal with the Boss, her party leader, Brian Cowen.

A spokesman for the Government Chief Whip Pat Carey last night said he was aware Ms Hoctor did not vote on a number of recent issues. So was Ms Hoctor given a pairing by the whips office so that she could miss the string of votes? We can’t confirm, but ahead of tomorrow’s important Budget vote, Mr Carey has implemented a three-line whip which requires the presence of all Fianna Fail TDs.

According to the local scholarly political pundits “Presently, every pothole patched in the constituency of North Tipperary, credit is claimed by Michael Lowry.  Anything of a positive nature that is implemented or promised, he’s claiming it’s part of this special deal with Brian Cowan”.

While the Government is still expected to win the majority of the votes tomorrow, thus avoiding an immediate General Election, the result would be very tight without the presence of Ms Hoctor.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in North Tipperary yesterday, Deputy Michael Lowry has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O’Keefe TD that Scoil Nasuinta Cronain Naofa at Dromakeenan, just outside Roscrea in Ms Hoctor’s neck of the coral, has got the go ahead for their long awaited building project. The scale of works approved is for a three classroom extension, a new GP room, along with refurbishment and associated works on the older parts of the school.
In the coming days the Building unit of the Department of Education will contact the school to allow them to issue the ‘Letter of Acceptance’ that will enable them to award the building contract to the winning building tender. It is hoped that works will be completed over the summer holidays at the end of the current school year.

Deputy Lowry stated:

“I am delighted that building will finally commence for this project, as they have been waiting for the go-ahead since 2007. The school has proven itself to be very progressive in recent years, and has set up an autism unit that serve the people of Roscrea and its surrounds. I have been working with the school and with other public representatives to get a favourable outcome on this case and the Ministerial order (See Above)  that has been issued today comes on foot of a concerted lobbying campaign dating back two years since the contractor had been selected in 2007.”

Enhance Corporate Social Responsibility Say Thurles Fairtrade

Thurles-Fairtrade

Thurles Fairtrade Town Committee are asking all workplaces in Thurles to switch to products carrying the Fairtrade Mark as a meaningful way to make a real difference to the lives of farmers and workers in developing countries.

Thurles became a Fairtrade Town in December 2005 and each year we are required to audit the support for Fairtrade in town, in order to renew our Fairtrade Town status. We would love to hear from you if your workplace has switched or wants to switch to Fairtrade, so we can include you in our report to Fairtrade Mark Ireland!

The benefits to workplaces of making a simple switch so that Fairtrade tea, coffee, fruit juice, sugar,  chocolate or biscuits are available to employees in the staff canteen or vending machines, in meetings or through corporate catering, even to the flowers at reception, would be significant and would include:

A visible gesture of your support for Thurles as a Fairtrade Town.
Thurles has been a Fairtrade Town since December 2005. We were awarded Ireland’s Most Creative Fairtrade Town in 2007. The Council has installed permanent signs announcing our Fairtrade Town status on the five approach roads. The current Mayor of Thurles chairs our meetings.

Joining our network of high profile Fairtrade supporters in Thurles.
There are over 50 shops, cafes, restaurants, businesses, schools and community groups in Thurles that actively support Fairtrade. Companies that serve Fairtrade to their staff, customers and clients include Dew Valley Foods, Tipperary Institute, Hayes Hotel, Thurles Chamber, St. Patrick’s College and Thurles Technology Park.
Continue reading Enhance Corporate Social Responsibility Say Thurles Fairtrade

Cheap Peat Briquettes At Bord Na Mona Factory

This information hereunder may be of help to those of you attempting to make some savings on your necessary winter fuel bill this Christmas.

Currently, peat briquettes are retailing in your local shops at an average cost of €3.85 per bale.

However, direct from the factory the price is considerably less at around €3.03 per bale.

Briquettes

Briquettes

So if you can get your hands on a car trailer and travel direct to the Bord Na Móna factory outside Littleton village you can make quite considerable savings.

The average small domestic car towing a small trailer can accommodate 40 bales of briquettes with out any great problem.

 

So let’s do the sums:

Retail Price: €3.85 x 40 = €154.00.      Factory price: €3.03  x 40 = €121.20.

Total savings made on 40 bales of Briquettes: €32.80.
Keep in mind that if a carbon tax is introduced in Wednesday’s budget, the price of a bale of briquettes could increase by as much as .55 cents per bale.

The door to door selling of timber is also now on the increase in most housing estates in the town. Most of this timber is sold in bags and the buyer can not always be sure of the type of timber and if it will give off sufficient heat.

Hereunder is an old poem which explains the heat and other values associated with Irish timber products.

Beechwood fires are bright and clear, if the logs are kept a year.
Oaken logs burn steadily, if the wood is old and dry.
Birch and fir logs burn too fast, blaze up bright and do not last.
Chestnut’s only good they say if for long is laid away.
But ash new or ash old, is fit for a Queen with a crown of gold.
It is by the Irish said that Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Poplar gives a bitter smoke, fills your room and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room, with an incense-like perfume.
But ash wet or ash dry, is for a King to warm his slippers by.

See Update for 2011 fuel prices.

See Update for 2012 fuel prices.

Child Abuse Body For Thurles Vetting Unit

Following on from the disturbing Murphy Report recently published, which deals with child sex abuse in the diocese of Dublin, the Minister of State for Children, Mr Barry Andrews TD is proposing that the Garda Central Vetting Unit, currently based in Thurles, be put on a statutory basis with responsibility for the management of all soft and hard information relevant to allegations or suspicions of child abuse in the State.

Barry Andrews TD

Barry Andrews TD

This statutory body, now proposed, would run similar to the layout of the present Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB,  An Biúró um Shócmhainní Coiriúla) and the first stages of a bill is currently being prepared, in co-operation with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, for eventual presentation to the Government.

The proposed agency will be led by the Gardaí, with the HSE, Revenue Commissioners, Department of Social and Family Affairs and other relevant support groups working closely under their leadership.

This expected legislation will automatically take into account each persons constitutional rights, the right to equality before the law, the right to privacy, the right to a good name, and the right to earn a livelihood.

Contrary to popular belief the Thurles Garda Central Vetting Unit, which was decentralised to Thurles, Co.Tipperary in 2007, does not provide clearance for persons to work with children, vulnerable adults or any other capacity. The function of the Garda Vetting Unit and the vetting process has been to disclose details regarding all prosecutions, whether successful or not, whether pending or completed, and – or all convictions.

It will therefore be interesting to see how this proposed new body will co-exist if approved by government.

Humanitarian Assistance Scheme Open For Flood Claims

Applications forms and information about the Government’s Humanitarian Assistance Scheme for those households affected by floods in County Tipperary have now been published on the Department of Social and Family Affairs and the Community Welfare Service websites.

Minister Mary Hanifin

Minister Mary Hanifin

Outlining details of the scheme, Tipperary born  T.D.Mary Hanafin and Minister for Social and Family Affairs yesterday (1st December 2009) stated:

“This scheme is intended to provide financial assistance to eligible households who have suffered major flood damage to their homes. It is particularly intended to assist those households who are not in a position to meet costs for essential needs in the period immediately following the flooding.”

Click here for to download required Application Form.

So what is covered by this Scheme:

Damage to a person’s home and its basic essential contents, such as: carpets, flooring, furniture, household appliances and bedding, structural damage and medical treatment and supplies

What is not covered under the Scheme:

Commercial and business losses, Losses covered by any insurance policy and Loss or damage to private rented accommodation or local authority accommodation.

Minister Hanafin said that in order to ensure that assistance is targeted at those most in need, applications will be initially assessed and prioritised on the basis of a means test. The level of payment to individual households will depend on the severity of the damage experienced relative to the household’s ability to meet these costs.

Minister Hanafin said that while this scheme is not intended to provide full compensation for all losses and damage, “it will go towards alleviating the hardship which many hundreds of families have had to endure.”