blanch informer august 2011

Blanch Informer August 2011 • Unit 38, Northwood Court, Santry, Dublin 9 • Tel: 01 813 8786 • Email: [email protected] • Web: Blanchardstown • castleknock • carpenterstown • ongar • littlepace • huntstown 20,000 copies delivered monthly Higgins said: "The government will face a massive campaign of resistance to its new tax. The call for a nationwide boycott campaign, mass non-payment and resistance is receiving a huge echo of support. On a recent Irish TV morning show a text poll was held asking people what they felt. A massive 87% said they would support a boycott with only 13% disagreeing." Higgins also pointed to the past where a strong public backlash overturned the introduction of gov- ernment water charges to house- holds through out Ireland. People power "The fight against an equally unfair and regressive water charge was defeated in the 1990s because of huge opposition which saw tens of thousands of households refus- ing to pay. A highly effective cam- paign led mass resistance to intimi- datory action by local authorities when they tried to disconnect water to boycotting households or drag thousands of people through the courts. "In the end the establishment was forced to abolish the hated water charge in December 1996. People power won out". Higgins calls for non-payment By Paul O'Connell SOCIALIST Party TD for Dublin West Joe Higgins has called for a mass boycott of the newly introduced household charge. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan recently announced that a new yearly charge of €100 per house will be introduced as part of the terms of the EU/IMF bail- out. At the time of the announcement Minister Hogan insisted: “I’d pre- fer not to be introducing any charg- es but I’m obliged to because we have ceded our economic sover- eignty as part of the EU/IMF agree- ment, to bring in a property tax”. Escaping responsibility However former MEP Higgins has said that the excuse of acting under orders from a higher author- ity has long been used as a "means of escaping responsibility". And in response to government criticisms that he is acting irre- sponsibly in advocating a boycott of the charge, he said: "A non pay- ment campaign against this house- hold tax and future water and prop- erty taxes is entirely justified. John Fitzgerald of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) claimed on the same afternoon of the announcement that by his esti- mation in 2014 householders could face property tax bills of between €700 and €800 per year and a water charge of €500 on top of that." Higgins also added that the new charge will hit those already strug- gling to make ends meet. "Low and middle income work- ers have seen their living standards severely depressed over the last three years by wage cuts and sav- age impositions such as the Universal Social Charge. This lat- est tax adds insult to the injury of working people, pensioners and the unemployed." He said that the government were in for shock if they thought people would just roll over and accept this new levy. Deputy mary davis interview page 10 From special olympics to presidential race advertise to 20,000 homes in Blanchardstown for e 250 plus vat call 01-813 8786 we don't need shannon water say Friends oF the irish environment opinion - page 3 DublinInformer delivered city wide - see page 2 185,000 copies animal tracks - page 16 it's kitten season win tickets to see 'thriller live' at the grand canal theatre Gone but not forgotten, the songs and showmanship of Michael Jackson will be re-lived at the Grand Canal Theatre in September. THRILLER - LIVE includes over two-hours of non- stop hit songs. The Informer has two tickets for the opening night and you can win by entering our free competition. SEE BACK PAGE Jacko still thrills Lo Call: 1890 929 950 TERMS & CONDITIONS APPLY & PRICES SUBJECT TO VAT LEAFLETS DELIVERED Alongside This Newspaper e 30.00 per 1,000 Coming September 2011

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LeafLets DeLivereD 185,000 copies 185,000 copies in Blanchardstown for we don't need shannon water Blanchardstown • castleknock • carpenterstown • ongar • littlepace • huntstown it's kitten season Alongside This Newspaper page 10 From special olympics to presidential race 20,000 copies delivered monthly animal tracks - page 16 win tickets to see 'thriller live' at the grand canal theatre say Friends oF the irish environment opinion - page 3 mary davis interview


Page 1: Blanch Informer August 2011

Blanch InformerAugust 2011 • Unit 38, Northwood Court, Santry, Dublin 9 • Tel: 01 813 8786 • Email: [email protected] • Web:

Blanchardstown • castleknock • carpenterstown • ongar • littlepace • huntstown

20,000 copies delivered monthly

Higgins said: "The government will face a massive campaign of resistance to its new tax. The call for a nationwide boycott campaign, mass non-payment and resistance is receiving a huge echo of support. On a recent Irish TV morning show a text poll was held asking people what they felt. A massive 87% said they would support a boycott with only 13% disagreeing."

Higgins also pointed to the past where a strong public backlash overturned the introduction of gov-ernment water charges to house-holds through out Ireland.

People power"The fight against an equally

unfair and regressive water charge was defeated in the 1990s because of huge opposition which saw tens of thousands of households refus-ing to pay. A highly effective cam-paign led mass resistance to intimi-datory action by local authorities when they tried to disconnect water to boycotting households or drag thousands of people through the courts.

"In the end the establishment was forced to abolish the hated water charge in December 1996. People power won out".

Higgins calls for non-paymentBy Paul O'Connell

SOcIAlIST Party TD for Dublin West Joe Higgins has called for a mass boycott of the newly introduced household charge.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan recently announced that a new yearly charge of €100 per house will be introduced as part of the terms of the EU/IMF bail-out.

At the time of the announcement Minister Hogan insisted: “I’d pre-fer not to be introducing any charg-es but I’m obliged to because we have ceded our economic sover-eignty as part of the EU/IMF agree-ment, to bring in a property tax”.

Escaping responsibilityHowever former MEP Higgins

has said that the excuse of acting under orders from a higher author-ity has long been used as a "means of escaping responsibility".

And in response to government criticisms that he is acting irre-sponsibly in advocating a boycott of the charge, he said: "A non pay-ment campaign against this house-hold tax and future water and prop-erty taxes is entirely justified. John Fitzgerald of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) claimed on the same afternoon of the announcement that by his esti-mation in 2014 householders could

face property tax bills of between €700 and €800 per year and a water charge of €500 on top of that."

Higgins also added that the new charge will hit those already strug-gling to make ends meet.

"low and middle income work-ers have seen their living standards severely depressed over the last three years by wage cuts and sav-age impositions such as the Universal Social charge. This lat-est tax adds insult to the injury of working people, pensioners and the unemployed."

He said that the government were in for shock if they thought people would just roll over and accept this new levy. Deputy

mary davis interview page 10

From special olympics to presidential


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we don't need shannon watersay Friends oF the irish environment

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win tickets to see 'thriller live' at the

grand canal theatreGone but not forgotten, the songs and showmanship of Michael Jackson will be re-lived at the Grand Canal Theatre in September. THRILLER - LIVE includes over two-hours of non-stop hit songs. The Informer has two tickets for the opening night and you can win by entering our free competition.

SEE baCk paGE

Jacko still thrills

Lo Call: 1890 929


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e30.00 per 1,000 Coming September 2011

Page 2: Blanch Informer August 2011

2 The Informer

The Drift

Dublin by

Numbers 65%This is the proportion of fines that people actually pay. It is down from over 70% in recent years. In some cases people simply don't pay and wait to see what happens. It has also emerged that people are being turned away at the front door of prisons when they show up to serve time in lieu of payment. There's no place inside so turning up at the door is deemed sufficient to serve the sentence.

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We don't need Shannon waterThe month in Quotes

The official approaches have all been made. Fianna Fail are convinced no matter who they put up will be unelectable, so they're giving me their support.Gay Byrne musing on whether he would stand for the presidential election.

Nawi did not know the age of the boy and the boy told him that he was over 16Nissim Mossek, an Israeli film director who made a film on the work of Ezra Yizhak Nawi, a former partner of David Norris convicted of statutory rape

I do not regret supporting and seeking clemency for a friend, but I do regret giving the impression that I did not have sufficient compassion for the victim of Ezra's crimeDavid Norris withdraws from the presidential race

Over the past year or so UNICEF Ireland’s story in the media was being overshadowed by stories relating to the private life of its executive director, Ms Melanie VerwoerdUNICEF statement on why it fired Verwoerd

I will reluctantly take my case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. This may take some time but I trust and hope the people of Ireland, who have always been incredibly generous, will support the children in the Horn of Africa who need our help now.Melanie Verwoerd on what should happen now.

She was shot at several times but only hit once, she was very lucky, she had big boots on and a big shirt, both her shirt and boots were shot.A Norwegian mother explains how her daughter survived the massacre

Our answer is more democracy, more openness, and more humanity – but never naivety.Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg

It may, in part, be attributable to the general downturn in the economyJustice Minister Alan Shatter explains why the payment of fines has decreased


Page 3: Blanch Informer August 2011

The Informer

Comment & Debate3

We don't need Shannon waterWater, water everywhere, the poet said, and not a drop to drink.

Dubliners know exactly what that means. It means chaos in the kitchen, filling the bath with extra water, and even flushing toilets with bottles of soft drinks. and for business, the cost of a 7pm to 7am water cut is enormous.

at the moment the supply and demand for 1.5 million people is finely balanced - 560 million litres a day. a drought - or a big freeze and thaw - and you can see there’s going to be trouble.

after 15 years of debate, what the powers-that-be want to do is increase this amount by more than 50% - another 300 million litres a day. that level of need relies on now discredited projec-tions of massive Celtic tiger eco-

nomic growth.Bord na Mona propose to take

the water from the river Shannon, store it in cutover peat bogs, and construct a pipeline across the country to bring it Dublin.

Economic millstonethe bill? €500 million. and if

the project goes ahead and the demand isn’t there, will it be an economic millstone like the motorways? We’re currently pay-ing the operators half a million euro a month compensation because tolled traffic levels are below the projections.

another issue not discussed to date is that water contaminated by peat produces cancer causing agents - trihalomethanes - when treated with chlorine. these are a growing problem in Irish water and expensive to remove.

In fact, only a fraction of our water needs expensive drinking

water treatment. In Calcutta, a separate system supplies water from the Ganges for non-drinking purposes. In urban China, a two-supply system is now standard. rain water collection is in its infancy in Ireland and should be mandatory in new buildings - farmers can now get grants for it.

to be fair, Dublin has already taken the low hanging fruit. Leakages have dropped from 42% to 28%. Water metering required by the December 2010 IMF agreement will identify the harder to spot leaks and make the wasters pay. It will also reduce consumption.

Overuseeach of us uses 160 litres of

water a day per person compared to Denmark’s 116 litres. We wouldn’t need any new supplies if we could do that - but part of that is high quality design of buildings and appliances that are only now appearing in Ireland.

Oddly enough, our forestry policy has a lot to answer for when it comes to water. By cov-ering areas like Wicklow with conifers, the plantations use up and contaminate our water. If we had planted broadleaves, both the quantity and quality of Dublin’s water would improve – as well as our amenities and wildlife.

By Tony Lowes Friends of the Irish Environment

another answer is groundwa-ter. aquifers - underground water storage systems - can be as large as an Irish county.

Unfortunately, we have con-taminated the groundwater under our cities. But estimates suggests that 52% of Ireland still has good groundwater available – and only 2% is used so far. this is espe-

cially useful as the urban areas expand into the uncontaminated countryside.

rather than relying on massive central supplies transported long distances, new communities can develop their own sources of water. Portarlington recently drilled nine bore holes, and now has ample water reserves to call on when the river Barrow has quantity or quality problems.

AlternativeOne entirely new solution has

been pioneered in Singapore, where the country must end its reliance on imported water by 2050. they now provide 30% of their drinking water through ‘advanced waste water treat-ment’. this takes water treated from our waste water plants and purifies it to bring it up to pristine standards. You simply add anoth-er unit to the treatment plant.

We don’t have to build massive pipelines to bring water from the Shannon. We can do it our-selves.

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Page 4: Blanch Informer August 2011

4 The Informer

eSB testing wave powerthe Sustainable energy authority of Ireland has

given the eSB a grant of €238,000 towards its Westwave Project which aims to develop the first wave energy project in Ireland by 2015 by generating an initial 5MW of clean renewable electricity from the plentiful wave energy resource available off the west coast of Ireland.

the project is led by eSB and includes both Irish and Scottish development companies who are currently experimenting with a number of different technologies. these operate in different depths of water from 20 metres to deep oceans and use everything from almost traditional hydro electric methods to water columns in buoys that rise and fall with the waves. One even looks like, and is named for, a giant sea snake.

While it is good to see the SeaI supporting the project, and while it is possible that there may also be european funding for the project the price of a mid-ter-race house in an unfashionable area of north Dublin seems very little to invest in a project that we are told will give Ireland the lead in the wave technology field.

the Danish government's steady support for the development of wind power has given Denmark a €6bn industry. It is going to take serious investment to make Ireland a major player in wave power. the government is hoping to generate 500MW from ocean energy by 2020 but the big money and the jobs are in technology and this isn’t the sort of investment to generate those jobs and even to make money out of power generation.

Whilst it is critical that we move to renewable energy forms to give us power in the future, it is just as impor-tant that the eSB and eirgrid work to upgrade the grid so that technologies can be plugged and unplugged to take advantage of new developments in new places. and it is extraordinary that with small scale generation improving daily the eSB is still making no realistic provision at all for home owners to feed spare power into the grid.

Watching WhalesIF you want to start watching whales and dolphins but

don’t want to go to sea mark down Sunday 21st august in your diary.

that’s the date for Whale Watch Ireland 2011 and from 2pm to 5pm experts from the Irish Whale and Dolphin group will be manning headlands around Ireland to help you identify the 22 species of these amaz-ing mammals that swim in Irish waters.

You should bring binoculars or a spotting scope and dress for the weather on the day. there are no boat trips

involved, and no guarantees that you will see whales or dolphins but even if you don’t spot any you are guaran-teed to learn a lot about them. Please contact your local organizer for further details (see below) or visit the IWDG website for the latest information on whale and dolphin sightings and strandings in Irish waters.

the two venues in the Dublin area are howth head, meeting in Balscadden Car Park (contact Brian Glanville 087-1390665) and Bray head, meeting in the Pitch & putt car park (contact Debbi Pedreschi, 087-9455302).

What do you know about the area you live in?the Whale Watch above is one of the events of

National heritage Week, which runs this year from august 18th – 28th and this year the focus is very much on people telling the stories of their own area, whether these are about people, buildings or the natural environ-ment.

to find out what is happening near you go to where you can not only find the events but also enter your own stories into a national competi-tion.

Your local Fáilte Ireland Office is looking for volun-teers throughout heritage week who are enthusiastic about their areas and willing to tell people why. If you have some time to spare why not get in touch by email-ing [email protected].

Photo opportunitiesthe heritage Council is also inviting you to cele-

brate National heritage Week 2011 by taking part in the National heritage Week photography competition. to enter all you need to do is submit an image(s) that you think captures a message or aspect about our heritage

and provide a brief caption with your picture.National heritage Week is all about Your history,

Your Culture and Your Nature and so in keeping with this message photos can be of our natural, cultural or built heritage. to enter just upload your images to the official photo competition website

If you are an amateur photographer and your picture fits the caption “Nature in the Urban Jungle” you may also like to enter it in the sixth environmental Science association of Ireland photography competition. that is the theme of the international euroscience Open Forum conference to be held in Dublin, the City of Science 2012, next July, 2012 and the competition is celebrating it. entrants are encouraged to interpret this theme how-ever they see fit. Full details from

Ecological can be EconomicalSOMe people always seem to come up from eco-

nomic hard times smelling of roses and for a few people the current financial situation will be the best thing that ever happened to them.

If you’ve always felt trapped in a job that’s folded from underneath you, this could be the time to grab an opportunity for change, maybe to something you’ve always wanted to have a go at.

there are courses on offer in all manner of traditional and modern crafts at the moment and one that’s caught our eye is the furniture restoring course on offer from Just Forests, the educational charity that campaigns for sustainable forestry around the world and teaches Irish children about the relationships between woodlands and clean air and water.

Full details from Just Forests

By Kathy Marsh, Sonairtegreen Scene

n Wavebob - one of the technologies involved in the Westwave project

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Page 5: Blanch Informer August 2011






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Page 6: Blanch Informer August 2011

6 The Informer

FOr generations of Dubliners the name Dollymount Strand recalls sunny days as young-sters frolicking in the sea or playing amongst the sand dunes. For youngsters growing up in the locality up to the mid 1950s, summer days were rain free for three months and every day they wanted to, was spent on Dollymount.

For over two centuries Dollymount Strand became a place of pilgrimage for Dubliners at weekends and during the summer season. they would take any form of transport to bring them there.

In more recent years the Strand has become a venue for learner drivers, joy riders and lovers. the fine stretch of flat sand is also attractive to joggers and power walkers. the beach has been broken in two with a series of large boulders to prevent high-speed drivers using it as a race-track.

along with the beach and dunes there are many other interesting features on Bull Island. there are two golf courses - the royal Dublin and Saint anne's Golf Links and, in 1981, the area was declared a UNeSCO Biosphere.

Mid-way along Bull Island is the Bull Wall Interpretative Centre that informs visitors of the many features of the area. In 1986 the centre was opened by Dublin Corporation to help in the identifying and understanding of the unique flora and fauna of the area. It also gives information on the habitats of the surrounding sand dunes and salt marshes. In 1988 the island became a National

Nature reserve.the bird sanctuary on the island offers a feast

for bird watchers. It includes a wide variety of wading birds, many of them migratory. the birds include curlews, oystercatchers, herring gulls, little terns, dunlins, redshanks, lapwings and wintering Brent geese from arctic Canada. the rich feeding grounds are also frequented by a range of ducks including widgeon, shelduck and mallard.

there are two means of access to the Bull Island/Dollymount - the wooden Bull Wall that was erected in 1907 and a Causeway near Saint anne's Park.

'Dublin's North Coast - Drumcondra, Clontarf, Howth, Malahide', with paintings by Margaret Field and text by Arthur Flynn, is published by Cottage Publications. It is available from book-shops, priced around e22.

This page was researched with the help of

The archives...A Place in the City...ghosts in court!Bull Wall, Dollymount

"a CaSe about a haunted house took place in Dublin in the year 1885, in which the ghost may be said to have won. a Mr. Waldron, a solicitor's clerk, sued his next-door neighbour, one Mr. Kiernan, a mate in the merchant service, to recover £500 for damages done to his house.

Kiernan altogether denied the charges, but asserted that Waldron's house was notoriously haunted. Witnesses proved that every night, from august 1884 to January 1885, stones were thrown at the windows and doors, and extraordinary and inexplicable occurrences constantly took place.

Mrs. Waldron, wife of the plaintiff, swore that one night she saw one of the panes of glass of a certain window cut through with a diamond, and a white hand inserted through the hole. She at once caught up a bill-hook and aimed a blow at the hand, cutting off one of the fingers. this finger could not be found, nor were any traces of blood seen.

a servant of hers was sorely persecuted by noises and the sound of footsteps. Mr. Waldron, with the aid of detectives and policemen, endeavoured to find out the cause, but with no success. the witnesses in the case were closely cross-exam-ined, but without shaking their testimony.

the facts appeared to be proved, so the jury found for Kiernan, the defendant. at least twenty persons had testified on oath to the fact that the house had been known to have been haunted."(An extract from 'True Irish Ghost Stories', by St. John D. Seymour B.D., (1914).

All about Dublin 1 Edited by Zoz

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Page 8: Blanch Informer August 2011

8 The Informer

FIrST HAND HISTOry Tales from a Dublin police magistrateExtracts from "Twenty Years' Recollections of an Irish Police Magistrate" By Frank Thorpe Porter, published in 1875.

ShOrtLY after my appointment to the magistracy, an old man died in a lodging-house in Bishop Street. the place in which he had lived for nine or ten years was a small room without the slightest indication of comfort or even of cleanliness. Nevertheless, he was reputed to have been possessed of a considerable sum of money, which was supposed to be hoarded in some part of his humble habitation.

two of his relatives made an oath that they believed him to have accumulated some hundreds of pounds; that they suspected and believed that the cash had been purloined; and they demanded that the house should be strictly searched.

I gave a search-warrant to a detective named James Brennan, who

proceeded to the house, and stated his function to the landlady. She declared that the man had been miserably poor, that he died in com-plete destitution, and that they had to bury him in a parish coffin.

Brennan searched the premises most rigidly, but the expected treas-ure was not forthcoming. Some of the landlady's female neighbours expressed great indignation at "any honest woman's place being ran-sacked after such a manner."

One of the garrulous sympathisers declared that "so far was the landlady from having a lot of money, that she was hard set to live, and that the very night the old man died, the poor woman had to pledge her best feather bed, at Booth's the pawnbroker's, for a few shillings."

Brennan took his leave, and immediately went to the pawn-office. he had the bed produced, and observed that the stitching on one seam was fresher in appearance than on the others. he ripped the seam, and

in the middle of the feathers he found seven notes, each of a £100, and two of £20.

the affair eventuated in the money being divided amongst the kin-dred of the deceased. the landlady denied all knowledge of the money, and insisted that the old man must have concealed it himself. She was not prosecuted, but Brennan's intelligence was rewarded with one of the £20 notes.

* * *the residence of the late Dr. Graves in Merrion Square was robbed several years ago, by the thieves' entrance through windows of the front drawing-room, which had been left unfastened. the balcony did not appear accessible by ordinary means, but was easily attained from that of the adjoining house.

Brennan was sent to examine the premises, and he at once perceived the traces left by a soiled foot in climbing by the pillars of the hall-door next to Dr. Graves's; he then walked over to the rails of the square, and found marks which satisfied him that some person had recently crossed; amongst the bushes there were a few heaps of twigs, the par-ings or prunings of the shrubs; and beneath one of them he discovered an excavation or cache, in which was a quantity of the stolen property.

at night he lay down at a lit-tle distance from the place, and was not long there before a p e r s o n approached and proceeded to take up the prop-erty. at the rails he was giving it to an associate, when, on a sig-nal from Brennan, some other constables came forward, and the burglars were secured. they were subsequently convicted and transported.

* * *I WaS applied to, on a Monday afternoon, by a gentleman who asked and obtained a private interview. he was in a high social position, and possessed an ample fortune.

he stated that his wife had lapsed into habits of intemperance which rendered his life wretched, and estranged him from association with his friends, to whom he could not bear to have her deplorable tenden-cies exposed.

When inebriated she was excessively violent, and did not hesitate to assault the domestics, and that on the preceding evening she had assaulted, in his presence, a female servant, with a poker.

I told him to have her summoned by the servant for the following thursday, and I had three o'clock mentioned as the hour for hearing the complaint. the lady did not attend, and on proof of the service of the summons and a sworn information of the assault, I issued a warrant for her apprehension.

She was brought before me after all the other business of the next day had been finished, and I required her to give bail in two sureties to keep the peace, and in default of such, to be imprisoned for three months.

at Grangegorman, she was not compelled to associate with the other prisoners, and the matron's attention was invited to the case. at the termination of the second month, her husband, who had received fre-quent letters from her, felt confident that she had become reformed, and I discharged her at his instance and on his surety.

I afterwards met them frequently in society. I have seen her at vice-regal parties, and never observed the slightest appearance of, or ten-dency to, her former indulgence. I do not believe that she ever relapsed; but whilst I am happy to notice a complete reformation, my satisfaction is alloyed by the reflection that it was the only instance of such a change that I ever knew to occur!

n An 1887 advertisement for Pat Whiskey, Mitchell & Son, Kildare Street.

All about Dublin 2 Edited by Zoz

Page 9: Blanch Informer August 2011

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Page 10: Blanch Informer August 2011

Informer Interview10 The Informer

From Special Olympics to presidential race

Where did you grow up?Between Swinford and Kiltimagh in County Mayo.

Are you married/family? Yes, I am married to Julian and we have four children – Jonny (29) rebecca (26) emma (24) and Paddy (22).

What was your first job? I worked as a waitress during my student days.

What do you think it means to be Irish? James Connolly said ‘Ireland without her people means nothing to me’. to be Irish and to be ordinary is to be extraor-dinary and we are irrepressible as peo-ple.

What would you say is your best per-sonal achievement todate? Completing the New York marathon; climbing Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro.

What got you interested in a life of politics? I have been working to change people’s lives for the better all my life. My only agenda is the people’s agenda in this election. this election should not be about celebrity or advancing the fortunes of any political party.

It’s about who best can help Ireland in a critical hour of need. We need to get our country back on its feet. that’s what I have been doing all my life. We need to move away from politics and the culture of celebrity and find leaders who have no agenda but a people’s agenda – that is my agenda.

How did you get involved with Special Olympics Ireland? I began as a volunteer and then became Special Olympics Ireland first national director in 1985.

How do you think things for Special Olympics have improved since your involement? Special Olympics is about changing the lives of people with intellectual disabili-ties, it is not about me. I am proud of my involvement and what I have contributed as part of a large team of staff, volun-teers, families and supporters to improv-ing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in this country over many years.

Mary Davis is best known for her work with

Special Olympics Ireland and now she's aiming for the highest

office in the land.She talks to Kevin

O’Brien her life, work and the run for the


you were appointed to the council of state by our current President Mary McAleese, what does this role involve? Members of the Council of State advise the President on the constitutionality of certain Bills.

In your opinion what was the key fac-tor that made you decide to enter the race to be elected the next president of Ireland? I am running as a truly independent can-didate with no political affiliations and I believe Ireland needs an independent leader at this time in our history to pur-sue the people’s agenda not a political one.

The role of the president requires extensive foreign travel representing ireland abroad, how qualified are you to manage this aspect of this role? as managing director of Special Olympics europe eurasia I am responsi-ble for developing Special Olympics in 58 countries which includes extensive travel and meetings with Governments and the eU Commission so I am very experienced in representing Ireland on the international stage.

Would you agree that it is going to be a tough task to fill the shoes of President McAleese given her fantas-tic achivements as president? Yes, of course. Mary Mcaleese was a truly fantastic President but I will bring my own skills and experience to the role if honoured to be elected.

It would appear that your whole life has been about bringing out the best in people, will this aspect of your expereince be part of your campaign message? Yes, very much so, my whole life has been dedicated to making change hap-pen and empowering people.

Do you think the nomination process for president should be changed? It is worthy of a debate, yes. however, I was very happy to go down the county council route.

Do you think Ireland's reputation as a country has been badly tarnished over the past few years given our financial problems?

Yes, I do believe it has been damaged and I want to play a part in repairing it.

How does Mary Davis take time to relax? I love running.

What is your favorite type of food? My favourite food is my husband’s Chorizo Stew!

What type of music do you listen to? rod Stewart; Imelda May and adele.

What is your most embarrassing moment? I took part in a karaoke competition once and won first prize for worst singer!

What is happiest moment of your life to date? Wedding day and when my four children were born.

If you could have lunch with three people (past or present) who would they be and why? rosa Parks because she showed such n Used to an uphill struggle - Mary Davis on Mont Blanc

courage; Nelson Mandela, who came to Ireland for the opening of the 2003 World Special Olympics Games because of his outstanding character and Oscar Wilde because of his wit.

What should the Irish voters consider before deciding who to vote for in the presidential election? that this election should not be about celebrities or advancing the fortunes of any political party. Ireland needs a leader who has no other agenda only the peo-ple’s agenda – that is my agenda.

Given your wealth of experience in helping to promote Ireland on the international stage combined with your compassion show through your various charity work, what would your message to the people of Ireland be when asking them to vote for you as the next president of Ireland? I want to repair Ireland’s reputation abroad so foreign direct investment is secured into this country and I also want to lead the people’s agenda in rebuilding our society.

Page 11: Blanch Informer August 2011

aN intense price war among life companies has resulted in a new round of cuts in premiums for life insurance and mortgage protec-tion. Zurich Life have cut some of their life insurance premiums by up to 10pc. this is on top of previous cuts in 2011 from the major-ity of the other Life assurance Companies. this can only be good news for customers. It is estimated that in some cases rates have reduced by 25% over the last two years.

Life insurers are competing harder to win business because peo-ple are no longer investing in pensions and investments due to the economic downturn.

You have a choicethe cover you took out with the bank at the time of taking out

your mortgage may not be the most competitive available. It is important that borrowers realise that they have a choice, and that they were not under any legal obligation to purchase these types of products from their lender only.

the average monthly premium for Mortgage Protection is €60 per month. a saving of 25% would equate to €18 per month. this is over €4,000 on a 20 year policy.

the process is quite easy and in most cases if you are in reason-able health a medical will not be required. It only takes a few minutes to see if you can save significantly on your monthly outgo-ings. In addition, Dublin brokerage are also offer-ing up to 70% off the first twelve months premiums. For someone paying €50 a month this is a minimum saving of €420 in the first twelve months. these savings could go towards a holiday, savings or paying off your credit card for example.

Free for all new parentsthis month, Ireland's leading low cost financial

services and insurance website are delighted to announce the launch of their promotion for new parents, offering the first year of Life Cover Free for all new parents.

the maximum level of cover is €50,000 per parent. are doing this to highlight the fact that Life assurance may not be as expensive as you think.

almost half the population of Ireland, 1.6 million people have NO life cover. Of those that have cover, most have only enough to cover their mortgage. Not only that, people think it's far more expensive than it actually is. a recent survey by Irish Life high-lighted that only 33% of people surveyed have a life insurance product which is not linked with their mortgage.

We all like to think we'll always be there to take care of our fam-ily's needs, but unfortunately that's something nobody can guaran-tee. Life's unpredictable and we never know what is going to hap-pen next. have you ever thought how your family would cope financially if something happened to you? Could they maintain their standard of living?

Price war on life assurance

n You might not always be there for them

Page 12: Blanch Informer August 2011

Garden Growing12 The Informer

Gerry Norton, Living Landescapes, 97 Church Avenue,

Drumcondra, Dublin 9Tel: 087-2462724

or [email protected]

Finally folks, if you need any information on gardening or if you have any tips or suggestions which I can pass on, please send them to me at [email protected].

I would be delighted to quote for any/all of your garden require-ments from set-up organic vege-table plots to restoration of neglected gardens, design, plant-ing and maintenance. No charge for initial visit and I will travel within reason.

aS I mentioned in July’s article ‘high Summer’ is a time when we gardeners don’t have a huge amount of work to do except to enjoy all the hard work that we have put in over the last seven months or so.

regular readers will know that I have a small, suburban, Dublin 9 garden and as an exercise a few evenings ago, I made a list of the edibles that I have growing at present. I was quite amazed at the variety of herbs and vegetables that can be grown either in the ground or in containers.

here is the list and I hope it demonstrates to readers that you can grow your own fresh food even in a small space.

Herbs: Mint, oregano, fennel, thyme, parsley, bay, coriander, rosemary, chives, and sage.

Vegetables and other things: Potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes, beetroot, lettuce (x 5 varieties), rocket, garlic, asparagus, apple cucumber and basil (in the small

Saving both money and butterfliesmentioned in last month's article using an irrigation system if you are planning a holiday.

however another great way to keep your container plants watered is to use capillary mat-ting. the felt-like matting sucks the moisture from a reservoir of saved water and the roots suck it up into the container.

this matting is available in all good garden centres and is a cheap way to keep your patio-container plants well watered.

Butterfly gardenFinally I would like to mention

a plant that in the past as a gar-dener I wouldn’t recommended

to any customer, Buddleia, or Butterfly bush mainly because they can end up the size of a mini bus unless they are dead headed and hard pruned every year.

they are without doubt the best plant you can have in your garden if you want to attract but-terflies and bees.

Some of our butterflies are in danger of extinction and accord-

With Gerry Norton

ing to the U.K based Butterfly Conservation 50% of our native butterflies are in decline.

Sir David attenborough. President of ‘Butterfly Conservation’, says “Butterfly numbers are falling. If we change the environment to help butter-flies, other wildlife will benefit too”.

n The butterfly bush, Buddleia

tIP oF tHe MontHDon’t forget to leave some food out for the birds. My garden has daily visits from young birds and research shows that they will thrive if they can rely on garden treats, in addition to their regular diet.

€40 plastic green house) and last but by no means least strawber-ries.

Think of the money!apart from the quality of your

own produce and the joy of har-vesting them, think of the money saved!

If you are a wee bit afraid to start growing your own, why not think about doing an evening course in your local VeC. their course programmes will be drop-ping into our letter boxes in a few weeks for the September to December courses. the courses are usually ‘as cheap as chips’ and are a great way to learn from scratch.

The benefit of rainelsewhere in the garden, the

various borders are looking really well, mainly, I guess due to all the rain we’ve had so far this summer.

at least it saves time as we really only need to think about watering the container plants. I

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singing out loud releases endorphins into our system, leaving us feeling energised and uplifted – so do we sing because we are happy or are we happy because we sing?

it undoubtedly promotes a healthy mind and helps com-municate our emotions. A less-er-known fact is that it can be physically healthy for us!

Depending on the instrument you could be strengthening your facial muscles, your arms, your fingers and hands, and even your legs (playing the drums burns approximately 180 kcals an hour). An essential part of playing wind instruments is the breathing, which can also improve your endurance when playing sports.

I am a qualified secondary teacher with a primary degree in music and French and a masters in Music Technology. i taught music in France for several years and on return i opened Rachel’s Music centre. As a true believer in life-long learning, i continue to study music regarding psychology and the effects of music and the mind and the use of music to learn languages.

First and foremost it is important that eve-ryone who comes to our lessons, leaves each week feeling happy and with a sense

of achievement. Our students learn through positive and modern teaching methods and encouragement.

students study all genres of music and focus is on a well-rounded music education including reading, ear training, theory and history of music. courses are devised with

the student to allow for different musical tastes and direction. Many students also sit music exams from various different exam boards.

Rachel’s Music centre offers music lessons in piano/key-boards, guitar, drums, singing, violin, flute, theory and Junior and Leaving cert music.

individual and group lessons are available. We now also offer the oppor-tunity for music students to join our ‘music sessions’. This allows budding musicians of all ages to come down and play in a group with the direction of a music teacher. All instrumentalists and vocalists are encour-aged to join.

We also have many adults who come as beginners or as accomplished musicians to take music lessons. it’s never too late!!!

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Page 13: Blanch Informer August 2011

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Page 14: Blanch Informer August 2011

14 The Informer

the introduction of the Pensions Levy of 0.6% in the recent “Jobs Budget” has caused outrage amongst the general pub-lic.

the introduction of this levy provides an opportunity to review our charges to see if we can obtain a low charging structure to compensate for this new levy. there are a number of different types of charges some of which are detailed below.

Saving thousandsCustomers spend countless hours ana-

lysing the cost of their home and car insur-ance annually and may only save €50 however by reviewing you pension you could save hundreds and possibly thou-sands over the lifetime of your pension plan.

In addition, it is a good time to review fund choice and fund allocation. as we have seen recently volatile markets make for unpredictable returns.

In recent times a number of deposit based products have been launched on the market which provide a level of return in a similar way to a normal deposit but with the potential for further upside based on market performance. the appealing fea-ture of these products is that the pension investor is guaranteed a minimum return without putting their capital at risk. In

most cases there is no additional charge for this.

Pension Charges vary significantly depending on the insurance company and the time the policy was taken out. the typical charges levied on pension plans are the allocation rate (amount of your money invested) and the Fund Management Charge. an allocation rate below 100% is effectively an entry charge. entry charges of 5% are not uncommon. Fund Management Charges can vary depending on the types of funds you have chosen to invest in and the overall charges associat-ed with your plan.

Other chargesanother charge that may be levied is

what is known as a bid/ offer spread. a bid/offer spread is basically the difference between the price the pension company buys units in a fund and the price it sells them to you.

typically it is 5% and is effectively a 5% charge on your investment. this along with 'initial units' i.e. higher management charges on the first number of years con-tributions are more typical of plans taken out a number of years ago.

all of the above are quite complex and difficult to understand so it is important to ascertain exactly what you are paying and

seek better value where possible.Charging structures in general have

become more transparent in recent years. this is due to a more competitive market-place and advances in regulations which have imposed an obligation on providers to disclose charges levied on certain pen-sion plans. Charges have also become more competitive as, like everything else, customers have become more savvy and have demanded more value in these reces-sionary times.

Despite the levythe Pensions levy, while a tax on capital

and not to be welcomed, we believe should not act as a disincentive to plan for your retirement. Due to the tax relief’s available on premiums paid and the tax free growth of the fund a pension remains the more effective way to plan for retirement.

risk adverse investors should be aiming for a return after charges of between 3.5% and 4.25% per annum from a deposit based product based on current prevailing rates without having to take on the risk associated with managed funds and equi-tiesAndrew Nevin is a Director of SmartQuotes.

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CÓRus invites new members to come along for a trial session without any obligation to join, if you enjoyyourself, take an application form and sign up to become a member of CÓRus the following week.Membership for CÓRus is €100 for an ten week term and is open to men and women over 18yrs.

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Page 16: Blanch Informer August 2011

with Miriam Kerins, DSPCAAnimal Tracks

IT’S that time of year again - Kitten Season; a time when cats give birth: flooding the Dublin SPCA with homeless litters.

When the warm weather coincides with female cats’ reproductive cycles, they go into heat, send-ing the male cat population into a mating frenzy; visiting the ladies from near and far. This usually begins in spring, peaks early summer and runs right through to October.

As you can imagine, cats are not the only ones feeling the effects of the stress. The burden also presents enormous challenges for us here at the Dublin SPCA, with space and finances stretched to the limit and, on top of our usual compliment of rescued animals; we are inundated with hun-dreds of homeless cats. We rescued 300 last month, all now available for adoption.

Typically the adult cats suffer the immediate affects as they’re overlooked by potential new families when kittens are available in abundance; increasing the risk of feline illness and death.

What can you do to help?

Well the best way to reduce the overwhelming burden is to spay/neuter your own kitty. Unaltered cats are driven by hormones and will sneak out-doors in search of a mate. It’s important to know that mating just the once can start a cycle that will result in thousands of unwanted animals who are often left to fend for themselves and end up arriving en masse here at the Dublin SPCA.

Below are some guidelines if you come across a mother and her litter:

Establish if the litter is feral or tame. If the mother responds to you giving her food and water then she’s most likely tame. Give them shelter but NEVER separate them.

If the mother hisses and warns you off; it’s likely they’re feral. If the kittens have opened their eyes fully, (usually around two weeks), it’s likely they can see and may try to defend themselves by biting.

Leave them alone but do NOT separate them from their mother. Ring us and we will advise you. PH: 01-4994700. You see, even if the family is feral, there’s every chance we can tame the kit-tens, re-home them when they’re ready to leave their mother and spay mum so that this does not occur again.

To adopt a cat log onto, tele-phone 01-4994700 or email me at [email protected]© Miriam Kerins, Education Officer, Dublin SPCA.

It's Kitten Season

16 The Informer

Space Station aboveThe Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down on July 21st at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, marking the end of the NASA Space Shuttle Programme. This final mission carried sup-plies and four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

The ISS is well-known sight in Irish skies, as it passes over every couple of months for around ten days at a time. A much rarer sight, however, is seeing the Space Shuttle chase the ISS in space as it makes its way to the massive orbiting structure. While we didn't see such a sight from Ireland this time, the sky is still full of extraordinary manmade objects that can be spotted with the naked eye.

At around midnight over the next few weeks, go outside and face south where the sky is at its darkest. Let your eyes adjust for around 15 minutes, and don't look at any white or bright lights (they ruin your night vision).

Amongst the stationary stars you may spot moving objects: satellites! Many of these objects won't be objects per se, but are, in fact, leftover casings from rockets launched in the 70s and 80s, slowly orbiting our planet. Some objects are even secret spy satellites: recently the USAF tested the X-37 space-plane. While all details of this new craft were

top secret, skywatchers quickly spotted it amongst the stars and were able to follow it throughout its mission.

While most of these are quite faint, an observer cannot miss the spectacular Iridium satellites. These communications satellites flare up extremely brightly for several sec-onds as they reflect sunlight off their panels. The trick to recognising satellites is that they don't have flashing lights and always appear white. If you see anything different, it's almost definitely an aircraft closer to home.

happy satellite hunting!

The sky over Dublinwith Conor Farrell, Astronomy Ireland

n Atlantis at the launch pad. Pic: NASA

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Page 17: Blanch Informer August 2011


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Page 18: Blanch Informer August 2011

18 The Informer

Health & BeautyIF you've never tried massage, learn about the possible health benefits of massage and what to expect during a massage therapy session.

What is massage?Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating

your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage therapists typi-cally use their hands and fingers for massage but may also use their forearms, elbows and even feet. Massage may range from light strok-ing to deep pressure techniques. there are many different types of massage, including these common types:

• Swedishmassage.Thisisagentleformofmassagethatuseslongstrokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to help relax and energize you.

• Deep-tissuemassage.Thismassage technique uses slower,moreforceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connec-tive tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.

Benefits of massageMassage is generally considered part of complementary and alter-

native medicine. It's increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations. the benefits of massage are:- •Stressrelief•Managinganxietyanddepression•Pain•Stiffness•Bloodpressurecontrol•Sports-relatedinjuries•Boostingimmunity

add to massage the healing powers of Infrared lamp therapy which warms, soothes and relaxes aching muscles and you have the perfect holistic massage treatment.

the healing power of infrared waves was discovered about two decades ago in China by a team of researches and doctors. Since the discovery, infrared waves have been happily and healthily used by tens of millions of people. the waves work by vibrating at the same rate of the body. Just as a body needs a healthy intake of food and water, it needs a healthy intake of infrared waves. this can be done very inefficiently through sunlight or very efficiently and beneficially through the use of an infrared lamp.

Linda, Senior Therapist, Rathgar Laser & Beauty Clinic Tel: 014976434

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OUR poor long suffering feet they do so much hard work and the most they can hope for is a slap of red nail polish once the open toe shoes come out of hiding. With Met Eireann predicting a second summer in September we will need to look after them for a little longer.

Getting rid of unsightly cracked heels has been made easy and relatively cheap with Soft Sole Exfoliating Foot Peel. The pack comes with a number of sachets containing all kinds of wonderful ingredi-ents and some socks to really crank up the peeling process. If used correctly your feet will feel and look soft and smooth in ten days. Soft Soles is €19.99 available from many pharmacies.

Once the tootsies start looking presentable keep them soft by slathering on some thick moisturiser or Vaseline and a pair of socks before bed time. A lovely rich cream is L’Occitaine’s Shea Foot Cream, which along with the super moisturising Shea also contains lavender essential oil and anti-inflammatory arnica extract.

For keeping them fresh in the sweltering sun or following a days shopping try one of the products from the Body Shop Peppermint Foot Care Range. Peppermint oil is renowned for making a great soothing foot treatment to relax tired feet and it also helps fight odour-causing bacteria. The range includes rich foot creams, reviving soaks and smoothing scrubs. My favourite is the Peppermint Cooling Foot Spray which if kept in the fridge will refresh in one easy step. Prices start at €8.85.

Make the most of the summer with some bright and cheerful col-ours on your tootsies. If you are off on holidays and don’t want the hassle of bringing nail polishes opt for something like a Shellac manicure/pedicure (average €30 each) that will provide lasting colour for up to 3 weeks. Cheaper options include Rimmel’s brighter colours like Coral Romance and also the Sally Hansen Complete Manicure collection that has some strong colours also and aims to provide the 5 steps of a manicure in one bottle.

Beauty Noteswith Kathleen Rowley

Sensitive soles….Putting your best foot forward…

A soothing massage can help unwind



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Page 20: Blanch Informer August 2011

Health Issues20 The Informer

Ask the Pharmacist

With Eoin MeanyEoin Meany works as a pharmacist in McCabe's Pharmacy, Ridgewood

Avenue, Swords. If you have a question you would like answered for next issue, please send it by email to

[email protected] or by post to McCabe's Pharmacy, Ridgewood,

Swords, Co. Dublin.

Q: I have been on a medication for high blood pres-sure for the past few months called Tritace. Since I've been taking it, I have had a persistent, irritating cough. The doctor says I don't have any sign of an infection and says she can't do anything to treat it. I've tried over-the-counter cough medicines but they only partially help. Is there anything I can do for it? I also have diabetes.

a: tritace is a medication to treat high blood pressure and contains a drug called ramipril. ramipril is from a class of drugs called aCe inhibitors. Other drugs belonging to this class include captopril, enalapril and lisinopril.

each of these drugs is sold on prescription under a variety of trade names. aCe inhibitors are very effective medications for high blood pressure (hypertension) and are particularly useful in diabetes as they help protect the kidneys from damage that can be associated with diabe-tes. they are also used to treat congestive heart failure.

Heart has to work harder the term aCe inhibitor is short for angiotensin

Converting enzyme Inhibitor. angiotensin is a hormone produced by the body which causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels). When blood vessels are narrowed, the pressure of the blood increases and the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body.

It's a bit like when you suck a drink through a narrow straw, you have to suck harder than drinking through a wider straw. an aCe inhibitor prevents the conversion by the body of angiotensin I, which is inactive, to angi-

otensin II, which is the substance that actually causes the blood vessels to narrow. the end result is that there is less angiotensin II in the body, and so there is less stimulus for the blood vessels to contract, hence lowering blood pres-sure.

aCe inhibitors also prevent a condition called diabetic nephropathy which is a type of kidney damage caused by diabetes. this effect is independent of their blood pres-sure lowering effect, so aCe inhibitors are often used in diabetic patients even if their blood pressure is already well controlled.

however, aCe inhibitors also increase the level of another substance in the body called bradykinin. Bradykinin helps open up the blood vessels further, but it is also involved in irritation and inflammation. It is believed that the increase in bradykinin levels can cause the persistent dry cough that is a common side effect of all aCe inhibitors although other mechanisms may be involved as well.

this dry cough is regarded as a class effect (i.e. if you suffer from a cough as a result of one aCe inhibitor, a different aCe inhibitor will most likely have the same effect) and is dose-independent (i.e. a lower dose proba-bly won't improve the symptoms).

There are alternativesDespite the fact that aCe inhibitors are highly effective

at treating high blood pressure, and especially useful in diabetes, there are alternatives that you could ask your doctor about. a newer class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor antagonists also work on the angiotensin system, but instead of blocking the production of angi-otensin II, they work by blocking its effect on the cells of the blood vessels and kidneys. they are rarely associated with a cough and are often used when patients cannot tolerate aCe inhibitors. Drugs in this class include olm-esartan, losartan and irbesartan which are also available under a variety of trade names.

You should not stop taking your prescribed medication without speaking to your doctor and neither should you take any medication that has not been prescribed for you, but an angiotensin II antagonist (sometimes known as a tartan) may well be suitable for you.

Disclaimer: The advice you have been given by the pharmacist should not be regarded as a clinically accurate diagnosis of any disease or a guarantee that a particular medicine is safe for you to take. The advice given is based solely on the limited amount of information provided and so should not be regarded as a substitute for a face to face consultation with a pharmacist, doctor or other health professional who is personally familiar with your medical history.

Problem with my blood pressure medicine

Page 21: Blanch Informer August 2011

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Page 22: Blanch Informer August 2011

Family Focus22 The Informer

Knitting something fun with the kids

What women wantTraining for parenting'HELP me to parent' courses were set up by two Irish women who wanted to still keep improving their parenting skills as their children grew up.

They offer a whole variety of courses and the following are coming soon to The Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley, Dublin.Antenatal & Newborn Care - Sundays 14th August, 18th September, 23rd October, 27th November, 11th December.Personal Development For Teenagers - Wednesday 27th July.Parenting After Separation or Divorce - Saturday 16th July and Sunday 18th September.Parenting Age 1 to 6 - Saturday 20th August.Parenting Age 6 to 11 - Saturday 17th September.Parenting Teenagers - Saturday 24th September.For more information check out

NOt just for girls, knitting is a valuable life skill for all children and it’s good for improving manual dexterity and coordination.

But where to start? Learning the basic stitches and having some-thing fun to knit gives children a project, and they will feel proud of what they have created.

'Knitting for Children, 35 simple knits kids will love to make' by Claire Montgomerie (Cico Books) is the perfect starter book to get kids click clacking with a pair of needles, and it needn’t be uncool with some great ideas for what to make.

there’s no need to get bored knitting yet another scarf, with patterns for a sheriff’s badge, beard and moustache, doctor’s stetho-scope for playtime; hot water bottle cover, fingerless mitts, slippers, a snowday earflap hat – all of the 35 patterns are easy to follow and guarantee excellent results

the 'Getting started' section gives essential guidance, covering not only all the knitting basics, but also how to finger knit, French knit, make tassels, put together pompoms and more. Claire has chosen yarns that are smooth and simple to knit, with the weight suitable for smaller hands. Start with the snake scarf - it's a fun but easy project that teaches the basics, and once they've mastered this piece, your child will be straight onto the next challenge. they can try the cosy mittens and then move on to a pretty ragdoll, or stitch the cute and colourful v-neck cardigan before making an MP3 player cover.

IN recent research from UCD and the Coombe Women and Infants University hospital 500 women were asked to rate what they con-sider important when choosing maternity care.

the resulting report called 'What Models of Maternity Care Do Pregnant Women in Ireland Want?' was published in the Irish Medical Journal. the report revealed that 45 per cent of women preferred to have their baby delivered in a doctor-led maternity unit and 43 per cent said they would prefer to have their baby in a midwife-led centre.

Safety for both mum and baby were the most important factors for women when choosing their maternity care and women rated intensive care for babies highly. the women interviewed rated a private room less highly than safety factors.

A BRAND new Irish parenting magazine has recently been launched - Easy Parenting has a motto that states ‘You never stop being a parent’.

What makes it different from other parent-ing magazines is that it doesn’t stop giving parents advice once their children go to school and become more independent. Its sections Pregnancy and You, Precious Beginnings, Discovery Years and Taking Flight join every parent’s journey with their child as they grow up

With practical solutions to the daily chal-lenges of busy family life, every issue will tackle the issues parents confront, e.g. child-care, pregnancy, health, family time, man-agement and education, etc. There will also be age specific child development guides and hands-on tips and advice to help par-ents balance their lives, as well as tackling controversial issues.

The first issue is out now. Easy Parenting comes out every other month and costs €2.90 from newsagents

Irish parenting magazine

Page 23: Blanch Informer August 2011

23 The Informer

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Helping the body to heal itself naturallyDublin Advice

Shiatsu and Kappo: Traditional Japanese style physiotherapiesWhat is Shiatsu?Shiatsu is a traditional form of Japanese bodywork or physiotherapy. It was initially devised in the early twentieth century and several variants of this original style exist.

Practitioners perform shiatsu by pressing with their thumbs, fingers and palms on 660 shiatsu points throughout the body. these points are based on an understanding of modern anatomy and physiology, combined with tradi-tional Japanese theory and technique. they are effective in treating the muscu-lar system, nervous system, endocrine system, circulation of the blood and other systems in the body. Pressure applied to these points stimulates the body's own inherent natural healing ability to effect a cure from within.

the hands of a trained and experienced shiatsu practitioner become sensitive enough to detect, on contact, irregularities in the skin, muscles or body tem-perature. In response to irregularities practitioners apply shiatsu. the amount of pressure and its tempo are gauged – sometimes soft or strong, slow or quick. the pressure releases tension comfortably without side effects.

What conditions can Shiatsu benefit?Shiatsu has been shown to benefit a wide range of conditions including back and neck pain, sciatica, frozen shoulder, tension from stress or fatigue, consti-pation, poor circulation, whiplash, arthritic pains, repetitive strain injury and high blood pressure.

What happens at a consultation?treatments are done fully clothed, on either a plinth or a mat on the floor. Clients will be asked the reason for booking the treatment, and for information regarding past or present injuries, information about any medication being taken, whether they have any medical conditions/contraindications that could give the practitioner cause for concern, and the kind of work and exercise the client does. the practitioner will then create a treatment plan tailored specifi-cally for the individual. treatments usually last from 30 minutes to 1 hour.

What is Kappo?Kappo, translated into english as 'active method', is also a traditional form of bodywork from Japan. It dates back to Japan's feudal era when injured soldiers needed to be returned to the battlefield as quickly as possible. the approach is somewhat similar to that of a chiropractor, but doesn`t use force.

Problems which manifest in the body`s musculo-skeletal system can be cor-rected by a combination of techniques such as gentle manipulation of the joints and spine, joint rotation, tensing and relaxing of targeted muscle groups and soft tissue massage. these techniques are designed to harness the body's natu-ral healing abilities to bring it back to a state of harmony and equilibrium.

What conditions can Kappo benefit?Kappo active Method, like shiatsu, has been shown to benefit a wide range of

conditions including joint pain and stiffness, back pain and neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, sciatica, numbness in hands and feet, injury from sports, insomnia and compressed lum-bar vertebrae.What happens at a consultation?a client history will be taken and then the practitioner will use different methods to help identify which areas of the body need treating. these methods include dialogue with the client, gentle touch to find tight or painful areas, a range of motion tests and gentle strength tests.

treatments are done fully clothed on a plinth or a mat on the floor. Clients actively participate in a kappo treatment by following the directions of the practitioner. For example, the

client might be asked to move a limb in a certain direction. the practitioner then resists this movement for a few sec-onds, causing targeted muscles to contract. the client is next asked to quickly relax these muscles which in combination with the direction of movement of the limb and the practi-tioner's resistance causes pain and tension to be released naturally.

Kevin Mundow is a fully qualified Shiatsu and Kappo Active Method practitioner, trained by Japanese teachers

in Japan and Canada.Email : [email protected]

Website : www.activemethodireland.weebly.comMobile : 086 108 0951

Page 24: Blanch Informer August 2011

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26 The Informer

Dublin Advice

We all need a certain balance of protein, vitamins, and other nutrients to help our bodies reach maximum energy levels and to ensure overall physical and emotional health. Making the right food choices can help to prevent many health problems including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Below is some basic information to get you started on your journey to better health now and in the future.

Don't skip meals: Skipping meals wreaks havoc on blood sugar and hormones. this results in poor metabolism and turns on your fat stor-age mechanism, leading to weight gain. Ideally, eat three good meals

'Let Food be thy Medicine' - My Tips for Good Healthper day with small healthy snacks in between.

Eat unprocessed food whenever possible: Can you pick, gather, milk, fish or hunt the food you’re eating? It's likely that someone does that for you, but avoiding foods that are processed, damaged or full of toxic chemicals is always your best option. It's better to buy foods that don’t have labels, but if they do, read them. avoid ingredients you cannot pronounce.

Add good fats to each meal: olive, coconut, sesame, avocado and flaxseed oils should be included in your diet as they are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. research shows that omega-3's reduce inflam-mation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concen-trated in the brain and appear to be important for memory, concentra-tion and mood. avoid all damaged fats known as ‘trans-fats’ (“par-tially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated”). Olive oil and butter are healthy fats but can be damaged by excessive heat, so use coconut oil for high temperature sauteeing or frying. Most margarine and spreads that come in tubs contain trans-fat or chemicals, so it's best to avoid them.

Eat unrefined carbohydrates: Fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes (beans, peas and lentils) are the best choices. eat non-starchy vegetables freely. Many of the essential nutrients you need to regener-ate body tissues such as vitamins, mineral and fiber are found in non-starchy vegetables such as leafy green veg, sprouts, carrots, onions, peppers and tomato. Organic foods reduce your intake of toxic chemicals such as pesticides, so opt for these where possible.

Supplement: take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement. Unless you are eating sufficient quantities of organic foods produced in nutrient-rich soil, it is very possible you are not getting the required vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Water: Drink at least six glasses of water everyday.

De-stress: engage in stress relief or regenerative exercise like walk-ing, cycling, yoga, tai chi or pilates.

Mindful Eating: Mindful eating has the powerful potential to trans-form people’s relationship to food and eating, to improve overall health, body image and self-esteem. Mindfulness helps us disengage from habitual, unsatisfying and unskillful habits and behaviors. engaging in mindful eating practices on a regular basis can help us discover a far more satisfying relationship to food and eating than we ever imagined or experienced before.

For information on upcoming Mindful Eating Workshops please visit my website, or contact me at the number below.

What does a Holistic Nutrition Consultation involve? a holistic nutrition consultation is a confidential, one-to-one meeting where we discuss lifestyle and diet by looking at your energy levels, digestive health, emotional well-being, activity level and food intake. together we will agree a simple dietary plan incorporating basic steps that move you in the direction of a healthier lifestyle that has been spe-cifically designed for you.

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Ranelagh, Dublin 6.Phone: 086-2141947

Email: [email protected]

© Deirdre Kavanagh July 2011

No more nicks or scratches with ChipsAway

If you’ve ever wondered if there was a way to repair those small nicks and scratches without an expensive trip to the body shop then the service of ChipsAway could be just what you are looking for.

The team decided to take a look at the service up close to see just how effective it is. finding a volunteer really wasn’t that dif-ficult. In the Dublin traffic and car park road wars there is no shortage of driv-ers who seem to manage their way around the mean streets by “touch”.

"We found a Hyundai with a nasty scuff to the offside rear bumper, all the more noticeable because the car is finished in Electric Red."

A phone call to ChipsAway brought the fully equipped mobile repair cen-tre to the door at the appointed time. The first thing we noticed was how well-equipped the van was.

It looked as if the man from ChipsAway could undertake any repair without difficulty. What followed was like watching a skilled surgeon at work.

After a brief spell preparing the damage our man disappeared into the magic van to match the paint col-our.

No problem. Within minutes the exact colour match was made and the finishing touches were being put to an expert job.

Even at close inspection it was hard

to see where the repair had been, such was the attention to detail in preparing the sur-face and matching the paint colour.

Our verdict on ChipsAway is that for any motorist who would prefer to save money and have that minor repair done in the con-venience of their own home - a call to 086-8802776 or 085-1912678 is essential.

Page 27: Blanch Informer August 2011

The Gaiety School of Acting has a range of full- and part-time courses. The school is based in Temple Bar, at the city's cultural heart, and is run by some of the eminent names in Irish dra-ma. The courses are designed to bring out your abilities, enhance your confidence and creativ-ity, and help you develop as a performer.

The Young Gaiety programme ranges from 18 months to 18 years and is the most compre-hensive acting course available to young actors in Ireland. Currently running in 7 locations in-cluding Temple Bar, Bray, Malahide, Kilbarrack and Clontarf the programme offers students the opportunity to participate in anything from a 10 week course to year long programmes. There are several levels in each age group and age groups are structured to allow for progression.

The school also offers a comprehensive range of Adult courses from a 10 week Intro-duction to Drama course to the One Year Part Time courses in Performance.

This is The Gaiety School's 25th Year of pro-viding comprehensive actor training for young people and adults all over the country, of cre-ating the stars that now grace our stages and screens. There's something here for everyone!

For more details, call 01 679 9277 or visit

Helping you develop as a performer

Page 28: Blanch Informer August 2011

28 The Informer

Captain America: The First Avenger HHHHHDirected By Joe JohnstonStarring: Chris evans, hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones

STEVE Rodgers is a bullied, asthmatic weed of a man who only wishes to help his friends fight in WW2. A German scientist recognises his bravery and heart and offers him the chance to be the ultimate soldier as a dark force within Germany, HYDRA, raises against the Allies.

Captain America is a Marvel movie and with that you have nearly all you need to know. Like Iron Man and Thor before it, Captain America is played for fun and entertainment. Unfortunately this film falls to the rule of diminishing returns. Iron Man was excellent, Thor was excellent, Iron Man 2 very much a let down as was The Incredible Hulk and so I am afraid is Captain America. Not that the film is bad, it is very enjoyable but never exciting like Iron Man or humorous like Thor. While Chris Evans is good as Captain America, Hugo weaving steals the film completely as Red Skull and he is the most enjoyable aspect. It feels very much like a film that was made as a stepping stone to something else, which of course it is as this film is the set up to The Avengers movie that is coming to us soon. We never really care about anyone in this film and that is a shame as Steve Rodgers as the weedy pre Captain America is a rich character.

Advice: If The Guard is sold out, you could do worse.

Super 8 HHHHHDirected by JJ AbramsStarring Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, elle Fanning, Noah emmerich. JOE Lamb is a 12-year old boy living in a sleepy Ohio town, mourning the recent death of his mother. While helping his friends make a zombie movie they inadvertently film a train crash and suddenly realise that their little town is in great danger.

Super 8 is a type of film that has not been made, or at least made well, in a very long time, a blockbuster with a lot of heart where the special effects largely take the back seat. Like the films it takes inspiration from, namely ET, The Goonies and Stand By Me, this film is all about a group of pre-teen kids that are trying to come to terms with love and life and letting go. It is exceptionally well acted considering its young cast, but does starts slowly. The ending creaks a little considering the devastation reeked upon the town in the final act but these are minor quib-bles. This is a wonderful and refreshing film that may just make you fall back in love with the cinema.

If you want a soulless CGI extravaganza, go see Transformers. This film is the perfect antidote to the summer FX overload. Near perfection.

Advice: Essential viewing

Graham Connor's Movie Advice Law matterswith Noreen Maguire

We are all aware of how difficult employers are finding things at the moment and solicitors are often con-sulted when problems with staff arise.

employers think they cannot dismiss an employee who is on certified sick leave. Lack of capability to carry out terms and conditions of a contract of employment are grounds for dismissal.

The employer needs to gather as many facts about the employee's condition as possible and the employee must be given fair notice that the possibility of dismissal for incapacity is on the table. The employee should be allowed an opportunity to influence the employer's decision by providing relevant evidence where necessary.

The employer needs independent medical advice. however, the decision to terminate is not a decision to be made by a doctor, but one to be made by management while taking that advice into consideration.

Remember, there is a very broad inter-pretation of the term 'disability' and should the illness be considered a disa-bility under employment equality legis-lation, the employee is protected and

their rights must be observed. In general, the employer needs to

consider the length of service, type of job, working environment and what is required of the employee. The employer must look at what facilities could be made available that would allow the employee work as normal. The equality Acts state the cost of such special treat-ment or facilities should be considered.

Where the employers are able to make alternative arrangements or indeed can tolerate high levels of absence, they must try to do so. It would be very difficult to defend a claim where the employer failed in their duty to rea-sonably accommodate an employee.

each employer will have a different set of facts to consider but should remember they must be able to show the dismissal was necessary and for good reasons.

Noreen Maguire is a solicitor with Maguire Muldoon Solicitors,

34 Gledswood Park, Clonskeagh, D14.Tel (01) 296 4266

E-mail: [email protected]:

Dismissing an employee on certified sick leave

The beauty industry is a fast paced and innovative one and for those wishing to reach the top it is extremely demanding. At Dublin Insti-tute of Beauty our students are well equipped to deal with the rigour and demands required to be highly suc-cessful.

There is no effort spared in the pursuit of excellence. Self-discipline and a profes-sional work ethic are es-sential factors in achieving success within the beauty industry. If you believe that this is the career you would like to pursue, then Dublin Institute of Beauty is the only place to train.

Upon completion of the course, Dublin Institute of Beauty offer their graduates the amazing opportunity of an internship within a salon. It is our aim to produce ex-cellent full beauty therapy course!

The opportunities avail-

Benefits of Beauty TrainingDuration: September - June • Awarding Body: ITEC and VTCT

DuBlIn Institute of Beauty is renowned both nationally and internationally for its high standard of training and expertise. upon completion of requisite training cours-es, graduates progress to become very successful pro-fessionals within the beauty industry.

able to graduates of Dublin Institute of Beauty are end-less, and include working in a salon, owning a salon, or working on board many cruise liners.

There are many additional courses available at Dublin Institute of Beauty, such as Specialised Waxing for both males and females, Spray Tanning, Threading, Nail Technology Course, Holistic Massage, Indian Head Mas-sage, Hot stone Massage, False Eyelashes, Gel Nail, Acrylic Nail Basic Waxing.

Are you sick and tired of the inconvenience of con-

stant shaving and messy waxing? Are you looking for an easier. Faster and safer way to remove facial hair without damaging your skin? Why not to try threading hair removal ?

Threading, one of the old-est methods of face and body hair removal, is popular in India and the middle east Threading is fast becoming the most popular form of temporary hair removal on the face, as it is kinder to the skin.

At Dublin Institute of Beau-ty, our courses are taught to the highest standards and is renowned especially for its threading course. This leaves our students at a dis-tinct advantage once quali-fied.

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30 The Informer

Read your local Informer edition online

The paper opens online the same way it does in your hand

Golf tipswith Aideen Rogers • Mobile 087-9906738

Beginner's golf societyMy golf society started back in 2004 for begin-ners who were having lessons with me! I formed the name “Strivers” for complete beginners. This society was set up in a way that you would play with beginners at your own level therefore feel less intimidated playing 9 holes once every three weeks on one of the many golf courses used around North County Dublin,

I remembered back when my own father 1st brought me out on to the golf course and allowed me to tee my ball up on every shot, drop the ball from heavy rough and also from big bunkers, if I missed the ball he would say “Don’t mind that just try again”.

With the result it gave me confidence to play golf and every time we played together he would introduce the shot off the ground, the shot from rough and so on.

So in the Strivers Golf Society I adapted these rules, Category 2: are the complete beginners, I allow them to 1, tee the ball up until they reach the green, if they wish, 2, fresh airs don’t count, 3, free drop from heavy rough and bun-kers and 4, once they reach 10 shots just pick up and mark X, I will give them a 10 max per hole.

Category 1: players have the same rules except for the Fresh air rule plus dropping from rough and bunkers.

I found that this idea appealed to a lot of

ladies in particular and in year two we had an over flow of members queuing out the door at our 1st introductory meeting of the year.

I then decided to set up the Stormers Golf Society, this society was there for all players advancing from the Strivers, so that there was always room for new comers to join the Strivers every year, and it helped keep the meaning of why the Strivers society was there in the 1st place.

A lot of the Stormers also felt they were not quite ready to “enter the real golf world just yet”

So we made it that Stormers have the choice to play either 9 or 18 holes, and real golf rules. I introduced all the different formats of golf and created a matchplay event.

This year I introduced a new beginners golf society on the South Side of Dublin named the “Rookies Golf Society”. I have over 30 mem-bers and all is going very well, this society is opening up to male golfers starting from 2012.

All societies are played on a Sunday after-noon with the odd Saturday thrown in. I am now taking new members for the 2012 season please see the appropriate contact details below. New comers joining/subscription fee is €90 for the year.

Email: [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected]. All info is on my website Society mobile: 086-0341044.

3 Nights Only e2504 Nights Only e3255 Nights Only e350

Free Family Pass

to the rock of Cashel

Mid-week Special Offers

Last minute deals on Family Summer Breaks

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32 The Informer

Blanch in Brief...

have you got news for [email protected]

Award Winning Play at DraíochtDRAíOcHT will be showing award winning play Fight Night on Thursday 15th September.

It tells the story of the comeback of a failed amateur boxer. Dan coyle Jr. has long struggled to step out from the shadows of his accomplished fighter father and brother. In the past he has put a party lifestyle and girls before his sport, which leads to an incident with his father moments before a fight that exiles him from the ring and his family.

It isn't until the birth of his first child years later that coyle regains his thirst for the ring, resulting in him setting out on a road to redemp-tion.

Fight Night has already won both best actor and the Bewley’s little Gem Award in Dublin’s ABSOlUT Fringe 2010. It is written by Gavin Kostick, performed by Aonghus Óg McAnally and directed by Bryan Burroughs. According to Draíocht this fast-paced and engaging solo performance combines intense physicality with a classic Dublin wit in a storytelling experience that will leave audiences both exhaust-ed and exhilarated.

Tickets for Fight Night are €15 & €12 with concession and can be booked online at Draí

Lively Irish language conversation group, LittlepaceTHIS ciorcal comhrá begins on Thursday August 18th and will run all year around depending on demand. Parents with children starting or returning to Gaelscoil/school and all others who wish to practise their Gaeilge are welcome.

There is also a céad míle fáilte to all standards of Irish from begin-ners to fluent Gaeilgeoirí, as this is not a course situation and people can start any week they wish.

Excellent assistance at Gaeilge will be provided by the host as requested, including help arising from the night's chat or the provision of written/audio learning material as appropriate. Info on the Irish language scene will also be available. The host is experienced in Gaeilge activities, including, organising conversation groups, tutoring and broadcasting.

The price is €50 for a set of 10 two hour sessions, 8-10pm, Thursdays, including refreshments. The series fee is payable on the first night. For further details contact Dave on 087 9138265.

Assist Suicide Prevention WorkshopAS part of Safer Blanchardstown week, crosscare will host an Assist workshop on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th of September.

The two day skills building workshop in suicide first aid will run from 9am to 5pm and on successful completion of both days, partici-pants will receive a certificate from the office of suicide prevention. The course is absolutely free and will be held at the crosscare centre in Blanchardstown.

Booking is essential and for more details go to or con-tact Jean at (01-8219892).

Stars at FarmleighWEDNESDAy September 14th sees a host of well known Irish actors and writers appear at Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park.

The event entitled Actors in their own Write will give people the chance to see the actors reading, performing, and discussing their own work. Just some of the performers on the evening will be Tom Hopkins (christy, Fair city), Mick Nolan (Ray, Fair city) and play-wright and actress, Elizabeth Moynihan.

For more details go to

New School set to open in D15BlANcHARDSTOWN West Educate Together National School will open its doors for the first time this coming September 1st 2011.

The school is on the site of the former Mary mother of Hope National school, littlepace Dublin 15.

If you are interested in enrolling your child there, forms can be found on the schools website at

By Paul O'Connellwin tickets to see

thriller liveTHRILLER LIVE is a spectacular concert created to celebrate the career of the world’s greatest entertainer. Moonwalking its way around the world, award-winning director Gary Lloyd’s THRILLER LIVE brings to life the sensational dancing and distinctive sound of Michael and the Jackson 5.

To win two tickets to the opening night of Thriller at the Grand Canal Theatre on Monday 19th September, just answer the following question:

Who is the director of Thriller Live? Answers by e-mail only to [email protected]. Please include your contact number

Closing date for entries 2nd September 2011.