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Private Health Insurance Cover

Most of us have been aware for some time that many, within our community of Thurles and Tipperary, have made the conscious decision to cancel our existing private health insurance. It therefore comes as no surprise to learn that in an answer to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael colleague Jim Daly, the Health Minister  Dr James Reilly TD has confirmed that over 76,000 people have now cancelled their health insurance cover. In just the past 12 months up to the end of March of this year, (2012) record numbers have instead applied for medical cards.

The Irish Patients Association warns that this mass exodus from the Irish private health sector will end up with the bill for medical card holders, being paid by the taxpayer & by those who manage to remain insured members.

With costs running at an average of €1,000 per head in some cases, private health insurance is now viewed as a non affordable commodity, being operated purely for profit.  These high costs are forcing people to fall out of the private health insurance market, mainly due to other demands on families to fund what are considered to be other more necessary demands on their weekly household budgets. Any further price increases will make it more difficult for persons who currently hold private health insurance to continue to renew their policies.

While there are still 46.6% of the population covered by private health insurance, our public system now has the highest number of medical cards ever issued in the Irish States medical card history. Private health plans are becoming unaffordable, particularly for our elderly, and health insurance providers continue to tailor their insurance plans toward the younger, healthier customers, who are less likely to make any immediate future claims.

Figures compiled by the Irish Patients Association show that between January 2010 and March 2012, the number of medical cards increased by over 280,000 or 19.0% and doctor-only visiting cards by 28,000 or 28.5%.  When all is totted up, this equates to 1.76 million people with medical cards and 126,860 people with doctor-only visiting cards.

If this present trend is allowed to continues, then patients arriving at hospital reception desks will soon be asked the question, “Have you private health insurance or do you want to die?

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A Minute Of Silence For Great Famine Victims Tomorrow

St. Mary's Famine Museum, Thurles. Tipperary.

All schools around Ireland will hold a minute’s silence tomorrow as a mark of respect for all those who died, suffered or were forced to emigrated, during the Great Famine period 1845-1849, here in Ireland.

Known, mostly outside of Ireland, as the Irish Potato Famine, this period witnessed the death of approximately 1.3 million people and the emigration of at least 1 million others from Ireland, causing the island’s population to fall by between 20% and 25%.

On Sunday next St Mary’s Famine Museum here in Thurles will officially open from 2:00pm – 5:30pm for the current Tipperary tourism season (May 1st to September 30th) with the museum running a series of “Guided Tour Lectures,” on the afternoon, as part of the Irelands 2012 National Famine Commemorations.

Thurles Famine Museum now holds the largest collection of original Famine Memorabilia in Ireland and a number of new exhibition items will go on display for the very first time on Sunday, including an original document which is the only proof in existence of the “Tithe Wars,” here in Thurles.

Sandhurst Military Academy Uniforms And Holocaust Exhibition

Other events planned for later this year at St. Marys Museum include:-

  • An exhibition of clothing and other artefacts from the Downton Abbey era of Irish history, including old military uniforms from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Surrey, England.
  • A Holocaust photographic exhibition entitled  “The Shoah,” dedicated to the memory and genocide of 5.29 – 6.2 million of our Jewish brethren.

Full details of these exhibitions will be announced by St Mary’s Famine Museum, in the coming weeks.

In the meanwhile if you are out and about on Sunday afternoon next do call to St Mary’s Famine Museum in Thurles. Entry for this event costs just €2.50 which includes the ‘Lecture Tour,’ latter which begins sharp at 3:00pm.

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Autonomous i Release Debut Album

Autonomous i

Friday next 11th May 2012 will see Thurles based band ” Autonomous i,” release their debut album “Attack the Mattress.”

This five piece band fuse rock, grunge, funk, metal, electronic, classical and folk sounds, to form an interestingly schizophrenic but always melodic wall of sound.

The aim of these five lads has been to create a unique album and by drawing from a breathtakingly broad sonic palette this has culminated in the creation of their own brand of quirky social commentary, mercilessly ravaged by Audio LSD. You will laugh, you will cry but most importantly – you will jump up and down.

Three tracks from this mostly self-produced album, Stand Up and Take It, Car Activate and Start Again, were produced by Ken McHugh (Autamata, Mundy, Cathy Davy, David Kitt).
These exciting new prospects have featured on TV3’s The Apprentice. The song Car Activate was chosen to appear on the winning compilation CD produced by the show, which was distributed by The Daily Mail. Car Activate was also used extensively during the show and as part of TV3’s advertising campaign.

Have a listen here to just one of their unique tracks, picked at random from this new exciting debut album.

[audio:http://www.thurles.info/music/MinusOne.mp3|titles=Minus One|artists=Autonomous i]
Click the play button above to play a sample song from the album.

Autonomous i’s live performances are varied in the extreme and the band have been heard throughout the country, fluidly navigating their lively sets. They have torn up the stages of The Village, Whelans, The Mercantile, The Sugar Club and The Grand Social in Dublin, The Quad and The Crane Lane in Cork, Bakers Place in Limerick, The Black Box and Kelly’s in Galway as well as the RDS as part of the Toys For Big Boys exhibition.

Autonomous i have participated in several radio interviews and live acoustic performances for RnaG, Dublin City Fm and 2Xm. They also played a slot on the seminal Balcony TV and will be appearing on Frank’s Shed TV and The Sauce Music Show in the coming weeks.

The album will be launched at The Source Arts Centre, Thurles on 11th May 2012. Please feel free to come along and see the show – the band are going all out to make it a memorable night. It’s a ticketed event so please contact the band to get your name on the guest list. Gig begins at 8.00pm.

Attack the Mattress will be available on iTunes, Amazon and other online stores. It will also be available in Tower Records, Dublin and Heartbeat City here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

You can find gig listings, booking details, music, videos and the latest news about Autonomous i here online:

Best of luck guys and I will see you on Friday.

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SSD Price Wars Benefit Consumers

An interesting SSD (Solid-State Drive) Price War has begun in the last few weeks which will hugely benefit technology addicts like ourselves. SSD’s are super-fast hard drives for your PC and their prices have dropped dramactically in the last few weeks. The price war was sparked because of dropping Flash Memory prices and some of the bigger players in the SSD market such as OCZ & Crucial etc have decided to slug it out in an all-out price war in order to become the dominant supplier of these drives. The fact that SSD’s have now broken the €1 per gigabyte mark is fantastic news for consumers and now means that SSDs are almost half the price they were just a short time ago.

What is a Solid State Drive?

An SSD, or Solid-State Drive, is a small 2.5″ hard drive that uses NAND Flash Memory similar to the popular USB sticks that almost everyone uses today and they do not have any moving mechanical parts in them, unlike the traditional spinning-platter Hard Disk Drive (HDD) found in almost every PC today. The traditonal HDDs have a lot of disadvantages when compared to SSDs;

  • HDDs have mechanical parts that are prone to wear and tear
  • HDD performance varies depending on where the data is stored on the platter
  • Dropping a HDD accidentally usually means instant death of the drive

SSDs are superior because they use NAND flash memory so that data access is almost instant no matter where the data is on the drive, this also means never having to defragment your SSD. And with no moving parts they don’t suffer from the wear and tear a normal drive would.

The only slight downside of the SSDs at the moment is their relative storage size when compared to the usual hard drives found in PC’s at the moment. SSDs normally come in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB sizes upward etc. This might sound like a backward step to some people (who download a lot of stuff) but for everyday normal PC users, having a super-fast SSD installed would give your PC a major boost in speed. Imagine Windows and programs loading in seconds, not minutes!

Top 5 SSDs For Your PC or Playstation

I’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 SSDs on Amazon that have, or are currently, dropping rapidly in price. It’ll be well worth checking out how these prices vary over the next few weeks.

#1 Crucial M4 64GB SSD – The Crucial M4 64GB is a great value SSD. Although it’s only 64GB, it is a fast drive with up to 415Mbps read speed. It would be an ideal intro to the world of SSD. The price has dropped to €80 at the moment but that may drop even further.

#2 Crucial M4 128GB SSD – Similar to the one above, except bigger, the Crucial M4 128GB is probably the best deal out there at the moment. Pricewise it’s less than €1/Gigabyte which is great value for this fast SSD. The price has dropped by half and is now approximately €115 at the moment for this M4 128GB but stock is selling fast and prices are likely to vary as they become more scarce.

#3 OCZ  Agility 3 120GB SSD – OCZ drives are reliable and fast SSD. At 120GB it is a decent size with fast performance to match. The price is also approximately €115 at the moment.

#4 Corsair Force 120GB SSD – This Corsair Force SSD offers sequential read speeds of up to 550 MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 510 MB/s. The price is also approximately €115 for this drive and also likely to vary over the coming days and weeks.

#5 OCZ Vertex 4 128GB – This Vertex 4 is one of the latest ones released by OCZ, which is why it is more expensive than the other ones mentioned here, but it does offer up to 535 Mb/sec sequential read speeds. The price is approximately €150 which is a lot more expensive than the others, but it is one to watch over the next few weeks as it’s likely to drop down in price soon, fingers crossed.

Remember, if you do happen to order one of these SSDs from Amazon, remember to select the FREE Super Saver Delivery option at the checkout for the free shipping.

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Pregnant Teen Refused Education Claim

Education

Although unnamed in a report by the Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan, the school, who it is claimed turned away a 16 year-old girl because she was pregnant, has been named by today’s Independent as St Joseph’s College, Borrisoleigh, Thurles, Co Tipperary.

St Joseph’s Secondary School is a privately owned school founded by Co Kerry born Mr Padraig O’Shea, back in the late 1970’s. The school was founded following the closure in 1977 of the Convent of Mercy School, in Borrisoleigh village.

Although now former Principal for some years, Mr O’Shea is understood to remain the current owner / patron of this College, residing close to the stated premises.

Mr O’Shea is regarded locally as a “strong no nonsense disciplinarian,” and is held in high esteem within his catchment area, especially by parents who greatly value the school’s high academic achievements.

Pupils who formerly attended this school include North Tipperary Co Councillor & current Mayor, Michéal Lowry, son of former Fine Gael Minister Mr Mr Michael Lowry, Mr Michael Dwyer, latter shot dead by Bolivian police in 2009 and well known Tipperary County hurlers Seamus Callanan, Brendan Maher, Paddy Stapleton, James Woodlock, Gearoid Ryan, Jody Brennan and David Young.

The school has so far declined to comment on the controversy, however in 2007 an inspection noted in its report, the commitment of staff /teachers at the Secondary School, to obtaining high standards in quality education.

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