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Details Of Extra Funding For DSGBV Service Providers Announced.

* Extra supports to address cost pressures and meet geographic demands.
* Some €6.8m for Tusla to address acute service demands.

The Minister for Justice, Mrs Helen McEntee TD, has announced details of additional funding for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV) services for 2023. 

Much of the additional €6.8m is being made available through a targeted call to established DSGBV service providers already funded through Tusla.

Minister McEntee said, “This amount of additional funding being provided to domestic, sexual and gender based violence services for 2023 is unprecedented. 
Under Budget 2023 I secured an additional €9m for combatting DSGBV, which represents a 22pc increase. It is my intention that every person who needs a refuge space will have access to one, and this extra €6.8m for Tusla will be used to maintain existing services, to address existing acute demand, and for the enhancement and development of new services.
This record level of funding will also support the implementation of Zero Tolerance, our Third National Strategy on DSGBV, which I launched in late June.”

The additional allocation includes a 6pc increase to all domestic and sexual violence services funded by Tusla to address rising cost pressures, amounting to a total of approximately €1.75m. 

Tusla-funded DSGBV organisations will be invited to submit requirements or proposals for additional funding in a number of areas including:

  • €2.3m available to domestic violence services to address acute sustainability and service demand pressures, to support organisations to provide greater coverage in rural areas and for children’s support services.
  • €900,000 available for sexual violence services to meet the needs of younger people and to address geographical gaps in provision.

Approximately €1.1m for safe accommodation will be focused on the priority locations identified under the Third National Strategy.

Minister McEntee added, “In general terms the funding announced today will increase the ability of organisations on the frontline to support victims, which is especially important given the rise in those seeking help.
This Includes additional funding which is being made available through a targeted call to established DSGBV service providers already funded through Tusla.
There is an emphasis on supporting projects to address geographic need, for those with additional vulnerabilities or complex needs, and for supports for young people who have experienced sexual violence.
Tusla will contact the relevant organisations directly with details of how to apply.”

In total, Tusla has been allocated €37m for funding DSGBV services in 2023 which includes the additional €6.8m Minister McEntee was able to secure. Separate to the funding of DSGBV services, the Department of Justice has allocated €6.09m for other measures to tackle DSGBV, including through awareness raising campaigns and funding for perpetrator programmes, which are targeted intervention programmes to hold perpetrators to account and work to prevent future reoffending.

 The Department of Justice has allocated a further €5.8m to promote and assist the development of specific support services for victims of crime within the criminal justice system, including victims of domestic and sexual crime.

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Government Approves Publication Of Gambling Regulation Bill.

The Government has today approved the publication of the Gambling Regulation Bill.

Led by Minister of State for Law Reform, Mr James Browne TD, this Bill sets out the framework for a modern, robust regulatory and licensing regime for the gambling sector. The legislation paves the way for the establishment of a gambling regulator focused on public safety and well-being covering gambling online and in person, with the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps.

The Bill gives legislative underpinning for the new Gambling Regulatory Authority, which will be essential to its success.

Welcoming today’s Government decision, Taoiseach Mr Micheál Martin said: “This approval by Cabinet is significant and the publication of the Bill is unquestionably a major milestone. It is an important and necessary piece of legislation, designed to meet the challenges of gambling responsibly in 21st century Ireland.
This long awaited and much needed Bill takes a responsible approach to balancing the freedom to gamble with the safeguards to protect people from falling prey to addiction. This Bill provides a clearer framework for operators and for consumers.”

Speaking at the launch of the Bill today, Minister for Justice Mrs Helen McEntee said: “At the heart of the Bill is the establishment of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, an independent body equipped to enforce regulation of the gambling sector.
The Bill will ensure that the Gambling Regulatory Authority can appropriately, meaningfully and swiftly respond to ongoing and future developments in the gambling sector. The focus on preventing harm is of vital importance. As a former Minister of Mental Health and as a local representative, I have seen the damaging impact gambling addiction can have on people and families, particularly on their mental health.”

The Bill provides for a modern and streamlined approach to gambling licensing activities which will replace the currently fragmented regime. Three types of licences for both in-person and online or remote betting will be introduced:
* Business to Consumer Gaming, Betting and Lottery Licences;
* Business to Business Licences;
* Gambling licences for Charitable/Philanthropic Causes.

Welcoming the Government’s decision today, Minister Mr James Browne TD said: “Reforming gambling legislation and regulation in Ireland is a key commitment in our Programme for Government and Justice Plan, and has been one of my key priorities as Minister. I am pleased to have gotten the draft legislation to this point, and look forward now to it being published and brought through the Houses to enactment.
This legislation will establish a Gambling Regulator which will be robust with a focus on prevention of harm to people vulnerable to problem gambling and particularly protecting children, and also a focus on enforcement of a strong, modern regulatory framework for the gambling industry.
Operators who provide gambling activities without a gambling licence issued by the Authority, or who do not operate in accordance with the provisions of their licence could, if convicted, face to up to 8 years imprisonment and/or a fine at the discretion of the courts.
Strict regulation of gambling advertising will be a priority area for the Authority. Under the legislation, advertising intended to appeal to children will be prohibited, as will advertising that promotes excessive or compulsive gambling.
A watershed prohibiting gambling advertising at certain times of day (between 5:30am and 9:00pm) will be introduced.
In this digital age, to address the particular proliferation of gambling advertising on social media, such advertising shall be prohibited by default.
The Bill also puts forward certain measures to minimise the ill-effects of gambling. The Bill will establish of a National Gambling Exclusion Register. The Bill prohibits the use of credit credits as a form of payment. The Bill will allow the Authority to prohibit the offer of inducements and promotions.
A Social Impact Fund will be created and managed by the Authority while being funded from the industry. It will be used to finance initiatives to reduce problem gambling and support awareness–raising and educational measures.”

There is a pathway mapped for the legislation progressing which will facilitate the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland being established and operational in 2023.

Noting the Government’s decision today, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Mr Roderic O’Gorman said:

“As Minister with the responsibility for Children and Youth I welcome Government’s approval to publish this new legislation which places a particular focus on prevention of harm to people vulnerable to problem gambling, children and young people.
The ever-changing but technologically advanced nature of the gambling industry means that children and teenagers are more exposed than ever to both overt and subtle gambling advertising. It is important that this is properly regulated to ensure that where gambling is advertised, it is done in a way that minimises harmful influences to young people.”

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Opening Of Consultation On Civil Legal Aid Scheme Welcomed.

The Minister for Justice, Mrs Helen McEntee T.D., has today welcomed the opening of a consultation to seek the views of key stakeholders on how the Civil Legal Aid Scheme can be reformed.

The consultation forms part of a comprehensive, independent review of the Civil Legal Aid Scheme; an action as committed to in the Justice Plan 2022 and the Programme for Government.

Minister McEntee said: “I recently announced a review of the Civil Legal Aid Scheme, for the first time in its more than 40-year history. Today’s consultation marks the first step in that process.

In order to provide maximum benefit to those it was established to serve, within the finite resources available to fund legal aid, a robust, comprehensive review of the scheme is now timely.

This review will allow for an assessment of how flexible and responsive the scheme is to the needs of those it is intended to serve.

The consultation is aimed at academic and research institutions, NGOs, agencies and volunteer organisations. I would encourage as many groups as possible to participate and have their say on this important matter.”

The consultation is seeking interested parties to make submissions in relation to the following themes relating to the Civil Legal Aid Scheme:

  • Types of civil law cases.
  • Jurisdictions covered by the scheme.
  • Eligibility.
  • Financial Contribution.
  • Mode of delivery.
  • Accessibility.
  • Awareness and assessment of the current scheme.
  • The future.

An Independent Review Group, chaired by former Chief Justice, Mr. Frank Clarke, will oversee the consultation process as part of its work.

The Group’s terms of reference require them to examine all aspects of the current operation of the scheme and make recommendations regarding the future legal assistance needs of those who cannot afford to access legal advice and representation privately. The submissions made as part of this consultation will help inform that work.

Mr Clarke said: “Throughout my career I have striven to broaden access to justice across the Irish legal system. Ensuring that we have a fair and robust Civil Legal Aid Scheme is key to achieving this.

I am delighted to Chair the Independent Review Group, which is made up of expert membership drawn from those who work with marginalised groups, legal practitioners, academics, Department officials and representatives from the Legal Aid Board.

We will be considering a number of issues in the review, including eligibility for Civil Legal Aid. This stakeholder consultation will be a valuable opportunity to hear from those most familiar with the scheme about its operation and potential for the future.”

This work is the first phase of a multi-phase consultation process to capture a broad range of views across society.

Minister McEntee added: “The Group is here to listen and wants to hear from a full and varied range of voices on this crucial issue.
While this phase is aimed towards specific stakeholder groups, a separate, forthcoming consultation will invite members of the public to have their say.

Furthermore, the Review Group will, in the coming months, launch a third consultation specifically designed to enable hard-to-reach groups to contribute to the discussion and have their voices heard. I look forward to hearing what each group has to say.”

The consultation will run from today, Monday, 14th November 2022, until Friday, 6th January 2023, and submissions can be made by email to legalaidcivil@justice.ie.
Full details on the consultation can be found HERE

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Thurles Councillor Calls For Tree Culling To Prevent Song Bird Faeces.

“The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on earth, living or dead, as we now have. That lays upon us, whether we like it or not, an awesome responsibility. In our hands now lies not only our own future, but that of all other living creatures with whom we share the earth.”
Quote by Sir David Attenborough, English broadcaster, Biologist, Natural Historian and Author, —— “Life on Earth

St. Patrick’s Cemetery was consecrated 94 years ago, on May 11th, 1928, by Archbishop Dr. J.M. Harty.
Of the persons of high rank and position present on that day were; J.M. Kennedy (Town Clerk, Irish Nationalist, Historian), W. Butler (Chairperson Urban District Council), and L. Scully (Chairman Burial Board).

St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Pic: G. Willoughby.

Prior to the above date, (95 years previous), the first interment had already taken place on August 1st, 1927; that of Mrs M. Gorman (R.I.P.), latter a resident of Athnid, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

In that same period, immediately prior to its consecration, trees had been planted outlining the shape of a cross in St. Patrick’s cemetery, which today, with the exception of possibly one, all still survive, standing healthy almost 100 years later.

Recently, according to local press, Thurles councillor Mr Jim Ryan has asked Tipperary County Council to cut back or remove these trees in St. Patrick’s cemetery; the reason – “to prevent bird fouling”.

Councillor Ryan stated that he had received complaints from families visiting the graveyard, regarding visiting birds, which he declared were “causing huge grief”.

An unnamed spokesperson for Tipperary County Council stated that they were ‘disinclined‘ to remove healthy trees, [Tipperary County Council, removed 6 healthy 35 year old trees in Liberty Square, in 2021, as part of their ‘half-town centre upgrade’, sadly replacing them with trees not fit for any real purpose].

Without any previously known or highlighted complaints from families, within the last 94 years we wonder:-

  • Was this just another attempt to grab a newspaper headline by Councillors?
  • Should now numerous, 100 year old, healthy Yew (Taxus coniferous trees) and Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) be cut down?
  • Should a giant micro net be thrown over St. Patrick’s Cemetery, thus prohibiting birds from obtaining items of food?
  • Should all the headstones, where birds also come to land, be totally removed?
  • Should we have a ‘Halloween fireworks display’ every evening, twice paid (using private donations and taxpayer money as is currently the case) to terrorise these feathered, God’s creatures, to drive them completely out of the area?
  • With data confirming the loss of around 600 million breeding birds in the EU since 1980; should we employ a member of staff and arm them with a shot gun to rid us of this imaginary nuisance?
  • Could those persons complaining, not instead, arm themselves with a pair of gloves; a bottle of water and a piece of kitchen towel or a rag, as most normal people do, when visiting their family graves?

After the massive downpours of rain, experienced over the past 14 days, today, I failed to find even one headstone showing evidence of bird faeces.

A 30.48cm (12 in) deep pothole existing for over 8 weeks at Loughtagalla, opposite the Mace Supermarket, close to the Moyne Road junction in Thurles.

However, on returning home from the cemetery today, just a few metres further on, west of the cemetery entrance, (opposite the Mace Supermarket at Loughtagalla), I once again made the acquaintance of an eight week old, 30.48cm (12in) deep pothole, which failed to get a mention at that same Municipal District Council meeting.

But sure, as Torquay builder Mr O’Reilly (Actor David Kelly) said to Mr Basil Fawlty (Actor John Cleese) in Faulty Towers “If the good Lord meant us to worry he would have given us things to worry about.”

Sadly we live in a time when intelligent people remain silent, so that stupid people won’t feel offended.

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Failure To Lift Aluminium Flood Barriers Causes Thurles Flooding.

The failure to raise Aluminium Flood Barriers at the junction of Thomond Road and Emmett Street in Thurles, and the unblocking of one drain at the base of Thurles foot bridge, is causing unnecessary flooding here in Thurles.

It should be noted that as water rises on this now flooded Thurles junction, following occasional rain showers, a storm drain, less than 5 meters away, is helping to drain new excess rising flood water, successfully, back into the river.

Anti-flood flaps/valves fitted to Emmett Street road storm drains do not appear to be functioning presently, possibly due to being prevented from closing by a build up of vegetation. This neglect is caused by the Council’s pretence love of biodiversity; latter the excuse for our local Council’s failure to properly maintain our town.

Our eye in the sky captured the above picture at 4:00pm this afternoon November 3rd, showing the true cause of the unnecessary flooding, which has homes across the road using sandbags to block water from entering their homes.

The flood barriers exist, currently shut, as can be seen in the above picture, both at the swinging gates and also across the nearby wheelchair/pram entrance.

Thurles Municipal District are now being asked to monitor and temporarily lift the flood barriers to allow the vast majority of flood water to escape back into the river and to clean the offending blocked drains.

The flooding is seen by residents as an irresponsible act, carried out by Thurles Municipal District Council officials.

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