Scariff school showcases its talents

SCARIFF Community College’s as- sembly arena was overflowing for the annual open night.

Principal Sean Daly welcomed po- tential incoming students and their parents to the event which showcased the wide range of subjects and facili- ties available in the building and on the beautifully wooded 20-acre cam- pus as a whole.

Teachers were on hand to meet the visitors, demonstrating in particular the recently installed computerised information technology now avail- able in all classrooms. Part of this

development is a fixed data projec- tor for each room, providing access to information from the internet, world libraries, course textbooks and a host of other gadgetry of our in- formation age. Aided by broadband, these developments greatly enhance the learning experience for students WN uee

Current students took part in les- sons so that parents and would-be students alike got a flavour of the comprehensive curriculum of the college.

Sean Daly recalled that the col- lege, in arural setting close to Lough Derg, had a co-ed history going back

to the original vocational school in 1941. The new and imposing build- ing was completed in 1981.

He told those present that it was the college’s policy to view the devel- opment of the student in the widest possible sense, seeking to provide a learning experience both of a formal and informal nature which would lead to the development of one’s to- tal personality. “Through a broad curriculum, we seek to facilitate the development of our students so that each may leave the college equipped with good life skills,” he added.

Deputy principal John O’Donovan outlined details of the junior cycle up

to Junior Certificate and the senior cycle up to Leaving Certificate.

Cllr Pat Hayes, chairman of the college’s board of management, spoke of his unbounded admiration for the dedication of the staff and the high academic and technical results AYO eA ee mere ON ort

Before departing for conducted tours of the facilities, the visitors further heard an account from Mrs Geraldine Condren of the pastoral care action programme available in the college.


Council home deemed unacceptable

that she received a house from the council just over two years ago. As the in1- tial house was damp, she was then moved to her current home.

“When they gave me this I thought great because they promised to do work on it,’ she said.

“This was a dump when I got it but I thought it would be done up.”

Ms Guerin said that she put in new floors, painted and refurbished the house herself as best she could.

There is still no central heating in the house, and the Stanley range

does not work properly.

The only heating in the house are two electric heaters bought by Ms Guerin, which bring some heat to a room but at a huge cost.

She also raised concerns about the electrics in the house.

Ms Guerin explained that sparks come from some electric sockets when she switches them off, some sockets don’t work properly and if she puts the television on while the washing machine-dryer is on the switch at the mains is tripped.

She said there was also a problem with sewerage coming up through her garden when she moved in first, but while the sewerage no longer comes into her garden the underlying cause has not been solved and there is still a bad stench in the house dur- ing the summer from a pipe that run under the front of her house.

As an asthmatic, Ms Guerin said it is not possible for her to stay in a house that is cold and damp, and therefore despite paying rent, she must stay with her sister.

She said her GP has also written to the council on her behalf raising concerns about her health.

In the letter he said, “the level of dampness and fungal mould” in the house has caused an acute attack of Asthma to Ms Guerin, and described the house as unacceptable.

A spokesperson for Kilrush Town Council said it was the policy of the council not to comment on any indi- vidual tenant or individual tenancy pase eel

He said however that the council had spent more than €5 million to date on preliminary works and phase one of the remedial works in John Paul Estate.

The council is now in “advanced” talks with the Department of the En- vironment, Heritage and Local Gov- ernment (DoEHLG) for funding for phase two of the programme.

‘As part of the proposed works for which we have sought funding for phase two it is proposed to refurbish all occupied houses in the estate in- cluding the provision of central heat- ing. Detailed surveys have been car- ried out on our housing stock to carry out such works as part of our submis- sion to the DOEHLG,” he said.

While awaiting that approval the council has just upgraded five houses

in John Paul Estate under the Energy Efficiency Scheme rolled out by the department.

“This allowed us to significantly improve these houses and _ bring them up to a Cl Building Energy Rating (BER). Kilrush Town Coun- cil is planning further such works in 2010. Unfortunately as we have only received a provisional allocation of €100,000 for such works in 2010 it will not be possible to upgrade all houses and some will need to be car- ried out on a planned phased basis subject to the available funding,” he said.

The council also carries out essen- tial repairs to Local Authority Hous- ing stock by using its own mainte- nance budget and the response time for dealing with such repairs is pri- oritised, he said.

‘Any issues highlighted to us of an electrical or other nature, which may affect Health and Safety, are dealt with immediately once we become aware of the issue,” he added.


Number of sexual assaults on the rise

through the Freedom of Informa- tion Act, show that the number of people attending the mid-west’s Sex- ual Assault Unit last year increased by 11 per cent from 36 to 40.

The centre serves mainly Clare, Limerick and Tipperary and the number of Clare women attending the centre last year dropped from 12 to eight while the number of Limer-

ick women increased from 17 to 23 and the number of Tipperary women rose from four to seven.

The centre, which is based at the Mid-West Regional Hospital in Lim- erick, has been in operation since 2006 and prior to the introduction of the out of hours service, victims had to travel to Cork. This caused consid- erable problems for victims of sexual assaults as they only have 72 hours after the incident to undergo a foren- sic examination.

The unit is funded through a €30,000 annual budget to support on-call and call-out fees to GPs on the Forensic Medical Examination


Rape Crisis Centre director Miriam Duffy said, “It is very sad that the numbers are increasing year on year. We are so thankful that the unit is there, but there is a need for a full- NbN emo ms lome

She said that research is to take place this year on cases that went before the courts and to the DPP for women who underwent a forensic examination in the aftermath of an PLLA

However, she pointed out recent research that showed 70 out of 100 complaints are dropped when the case files go to the office of the Di-

rector of Public Prosecutions (DPP) which decides whether to prosecute or not.

A spokesman for the HSE said that the success of the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) was attrib- uted to the fruitful collaboration of Shannondoc, the Mid-West Regional Hospital Limerick, the Gardai, Rape Crisis Centre and the forensic exam- nay

“The service would benefit from extra resources to enable its hours to become extended and to enable the increased presence of rape crisis counsellors to victims and gardai at the time of an examination.”


Jobs woe sparks fear of being left out

Dick fires some parting shots


Dick fires some parting shots

THERE is an urgent need for states- men and leadership in politics, not just in Government but in all parties.

That was the message from the out- going Chairman of the Clare branch of Fine Gael Dick Pilkington, whose three-year term came to an end last night (Monday).

The Cree man, who has been re- placed at the helm by local election candidate Rodger Fox, was critical not only of the leadership shown in the Government parties, but within his own party, of which he has been a member for most of his life.

“The body politic has gone beyond a joke,” he said.

“Tam calling on the Fine Gael party to show leadership. Is there a states- man among the whole lot of them?” Nemes) Col 0B

“It is unfortunate that when people are elected they are institutionalised and it is time they broke the shack- ie

The outgoing chairman said he was sad and disappointed to see George Lee leave the party and the Dail, but explained he understood his reasons for taking this step.

Mr Pilkington called for change across all aspects of politics.

“Politicians need to be held ac- countable, it is the tax payers’ money

they are managing. Would they con- tinue to run a private company in the same way they are running the coun-

try?” he asked. “The health services need to be addressed urgently as the quality of

the health services you receive de- pends on the size of your wallet,” he added.

The Fine Gael man said he was dis- heartened by the growing number of unemployed in the county, and asked how much longer people were going to accept things before they revolt.

With more than half a century of party politics behind him, the Cree man was selected as Director of Elections for Fine Gael in Clare for the last local elections.

He was also the chairman of the Clare branch of the main Govern- ment opposition party previously in the 1980s.

At the party’s AGM in Clare last night he welcomed the guest speaker Agriculture spokesperson Michael Creed TD.

“Has Irish agriculture got someone to rescue them at last?” he asked. “I hope Deputy Creed will now raise the profile of the party in rural ar- Cr TS

Mr Pilkington then wished the in- coming members of the executive of the Clare branch of Fine Gael well CLIT M barca UsCoIU mo mON TOMO) REleer


New farmers market is eager to grow

THE call has gone out for local food and craft producers in Clare to trade their produce at the newly formed Ennistymon Farmers’ Market.

The idea of hosting a farmers’ market in Ennistymon has been

mooted for some time. Given the success of other farmers’ markets in the county, a small group of lo- cal people came together in July of last year to ensure that Ennistymon lives up to its reputation as a mar- ket town.

The newly formed Ennistymon

Farmers’ Market committee would like to have a wide variety of local produce sold at the market ranging from fresh vegetables including po- tatoes, cabbages, carrots, onions, salads and peppers as well as fresh cheeses, fish, meats.

They also hope to source a wide

variety of home baked goods such as cakes, buns, biscuits muffins, quiches, pies and soups as well as a variety of home crafts such as knit- ting, crochet, art work and even stained glass.

The organisational committee would also like to express a warm welcome to all local farmers who wish to take part in the market. At the moment farming is under pres- sure, and farmers must look outside their normal systems to generate more income.

Many local farmers have been growing their own vegetables over the years and now there will be a sales outlet right on their doorstep. Some farmers may not wish to stand and sell at a stall but there will be an opportunity to sell collectively from a community stall.

Anyone with an interest in Sell- ing at the market is invited to at- tend an information evening on Tuesday, March 9 in the Commu- nity Centre in Ennistymon from 8pm. For further inquiries please contact Gerry McDonagh, Clare Local Development Company on 086-8544036.


Good food

THE Department of Agriculture is inviting Clare farmers’ markets to sign up to the Code of Good Practice for Farmers’ Markets. The closing date for applications is March 31 and all markets who take part will re- ceive a certificate and banner which they can display to inform the public that they are operating to a set degree of conditions.

These conditions include sourcing a substantial proportion, ideally 50 per cent of its produce locally, ac- commodating seasonal and _ local garden produce and complying with food safety and labelling rules and eloure


Celebrating a job well done

HUNDREDS of people joined the party last week for the official open- ing of the building that the Irish built.

Villagers rubbed shoulders with high government officials.

During Mass, Fr Martin Keane’s niece, Roisin, played traditional Irish airs on the flute.

After Mass – at which the chief celebrant was Bishop Willie Walsh – the pople of Migombani laid on en- tertainment with traditional dances and songs while children from the primary school and the school for the blind provided refreshments.

Among the VIP guests were the Archbishop of Mombassa, Boniface Nele and the Irish consul to Kenya, Joe O’Brien with his wife, Gay.

In his homily, Fr Martin Keane said that it was “‘a very emotional day. It’s the climax of what has been a great event and what is very important is the local workers and the Irish did it together. You spoke a common l|an- guage — not Swahili or English but the language of Meitheal.”

Bishop Walsh told the congrega- tion that “we should see our own strengths and if we take anything away from here it should be the sense of the depth of love which this has brought out in people.”

Volunteers sang the Irish national anthem as the plaque commemorat- ing the work was unveiled and Con- sul Joe O’Brein ceremonially planted Ea Keron

He said that in Ireland “so lit- tle is seen of the good work which the Irish do overseas. The work you have done here will go much further than you know. We are very short in Kenya of properly trained crafts- men. This morning I saw the best craftwork I have seen since I came to Mombassa.”


Ambassador gets behind jet plan

Shannon lures in the jet-set


Disabled and stranded in Kilrush

The lack of a wheelchair-accessible public bus has also put added pres- sure on his mother, Mary. Ms King said she had to buy an expensive spe- cialist van so that she could ensure Shane got to his course in Limerick every week.

“Shane couldn’t do his course un- less I got the transport. This is a na- tional disgrace,” she said.

Ms King said there is a local trans- port service that is wheelchair acces- sible but it does not go to Ennis. While a Bus Eireann bus leaves Kilrush that would facilitate Shane’s travel to col- lege, it 1s not accessible to him or any other wheelchair users.

‘No one in a wheelchair can leave Kilrush. They are bound to stay here,” said Ms King. “This is not a

privilege Shane is looking for, it is a iu hae ee

Local Town Councillor Ian Lynch (FG) wrote to the Minister for Trans- port on behalf of Mr King and other wheelchair users in the town.

A letter from the minister’s office redirected him to Bus Eireann. A letter from Bus Eireann merely re- emphasised the fact that people in Wheelchairs cannot use the service from Kilrush.

The letter said that the company is

planning to roll out a coach service with a wheelchair lift but this would be on a route-by-route basis.

It says it also has a reservation system, where wheelchair users can book a place 24 hours in advance and a seat is taken out of the bus to accommodate them. Just one wheel- chair user at a time can use this serv- ice, however, and it is not available at all in Kilrush. “We do not have any booking system or accessible bus stop infrastructure to bring wheel-

chair passengers from Kilrush at present,” the letter said.

“Tf the issue was addressed, that is if a wheelchair accessible bus was to operate from Kilrush to Ennis, per- sons with disabilities could then take the train to further destinations,” said Cllr Lynch.