CSO figures see rise in employment

Credit thejournal.ie

Credit thejournal.ie

CSO figures released today show a rise in employment in Ireland. There was an annual rise of 3.2% in the year until the third quarter of 2013, bringing total employment to 1,899,300.

On a quarterly adjusted basis, numbers in employment rose by 22,500 in this quarter. This also follows on from a seasonally adjusted increase in employment of 13,500 in the second quarter of 2013.

The unemployment rate over the quarter decreased from 13.6% to 12.8%. An unemployment decrease of 41,700 in the year brings the total number of people out of work down to 282,900.

The total number of persons in the labour force in the third quarter of 2013 was 2,182,100. This showed an increase of 16,300 over the year. The number of people not in the labour force in the third quarter of 2013 was 1,410,700, a decrease of 19,000 over the year.

Stephen Kinsella, Lecturer of Economics in the University of Limerick, tweeted the following: “Unambiguously good news for Irish labour market: emp. up 58k in year to 2013:Q3, unemployment down 41.7k”.

According to the Irish Times, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said: “There are still far too many people out of work, and tackling unemployment will remain the Government’s number one priority, but these figures demonstrate that we are making steady progress”.

John Lillis

UK fishing vessel in breach of EU fishing regulations

Credit: military.ie

Credit military.ie

A UK registered fishing vessel was detained by the Irish Naval Service today after it was found to be in breach of fishing regulations.

The vessel is being handed over to the UK Maritime Management Office and will return to the UK this evening.

Speaking to News Anois, the Naval Service revealed that the reason for returning the vessel to the UK rather than seeking prosecution in Ireland is because the breach is of “EU fishing regulations”, not just those of Ireland.

Regardless of the EU country that the law is broken in, anyone in breach of these fishing regulations is guilty of “the same breach” and prosecution can be carried out in any EU country.

The vessel will be turned over to the appropriate authorities in the UK where the breach will be investigated further.

Lauren O’Halleron

Minister for Justice condemns hate mail sent to members of the Muslim community

Credit WikiCommons

Credit WikiCommons

The Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has condemned hate mail that has been sent to members of the Muslim community in Ireland.

An unsigned letter containing a photo of Micheal Collins was sent to a number of schools and mosques, threatening violent action if the proposed plan for a new Mosque in Dublin goes ahead. The letter contained threats such as ‘We will defend the faith by any means against the expansion of the Muslim faith’ and continued to threaten that they “will attack any Muslim man, women and child that enter any Mosque in Ireland”.

Mr. Shatter said in a statement that he condemns any “racism and religious bigotry in all their forms” and said he is “appalled by the nature of the communications”.

The letter and its violent intent have been condemned by the Irish Immigrant Council with a statement saying “A hate campaign against the Muslim community in Dublin must be fully investigated and those responsible prosecuted”.

Ahmed, who works at the Clonskeagh Mosque in Dublin, insisted that there is a good attitude towards Muslim people in Ireland saying that it is “generally peaceful”. He claimed that the violent letter instils “no fear at all” in Muslims in Ireland and that the act is an isolated incident that is not acceptable in a multicultural society.   He said: “We don’t care about the letter; the act is not acceptable but it will not shake our belief in God”.

There are currently over 65,000 Muslims living in Ireland, with over a third of those being born in the country.

Gavin Lacey

No snow on Christmas Day

Credit Irishtimes.ie

Credit irishtimes.ie

Notorious weather forecaster Ken Ring, who successfully predicted the July heat wave back in January and our extreme winter of 2010, expects snow in December but Ireland will miss out on a white Christmas. The New Zealander uses the moon, sun and tidal activity to make his forecasts.

Talking to the Irish Examiner, Ring says “Some southern areas may get isolated heavier falls but these are not expected to be widespread. There will be a sudden downward plunge into sub-zeros in the last few days of November. The first serious cold spell is in the last few days of November with the possibility of widespread snow on or near the last day”.

“There may be chances of snow in the last days of the year and the first few days of January, in the third week of February and in the first week of March” he said.

The weather expert is not expecting the arctic conditions of 2010 to return.

A Dublin City Council spokesperson, along with the Stephen Smith from NRA (National Road Authority), confirmed that they have increased their stock pile of salt since the severe winter of 2010. Their current stock pile is 2200 tonnes, with a reserve of 2000 tonnes. From October until March the Dublin City Council monitors road conditions and responds once temperatures reach below 1 degree Celsius. They cover approx. 300 km of Dublin city roads concentrating predominantly on key roads, bus routes and emergency routes, but housing estates are not included. Once in operation, 80-100 tonnes of salt could be used on a severe night.

Last week, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D., and Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan, T.D. launched the Government’s ‘Be Winter Ready’ 2013-2014 Information Campaign at the National Emergency Coordination Centre in Dublin. Advice from Government departments, the Gardaí, the HSE, local authorities and transport providers will now be available on the website www.winterready.ie.

The campaign intends to provide practical advice on how best to prepare for the coming winter. It aims to ensure the public are aware of where advice and help can be found if needed and to reassure the public that arrangements have been put in place to ensure that there will be a coordinated response to severe weather events.

The weather, as un-predictable as it is to most of us, remains unthreatening. Most of us can rest assured if Ring’s predictions are true, along with the comprehensive preparations in place at the NRA and Dublin City Council, a severe winter doesn’t pose a threat.

Lilah Gaafar

Irish Government experts travel to the Philippines

Credit Goal.ie

Credit goal.ie

Government experts will travel to the Philippines tomorrow to assess how Ireland can further assist the country as it recovers from the effects of Typhoon Haiyan.

The team will comprise of representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Defence Forces. They will travel to the Philippines on Wednesday where they will meet the Filipino Government, U.N agencies and NGO’s in Manila.

Eamon Gilmore said “Although the world’s cameras are moving on, millions of Filipino citizens remain homeless, their livelihoods destroyed and their families at risk. Ireland is committed to helping them rebuild their lives over the coming months… We have charged the team with assessing how Ireland can be most effective in responding to the longer-term needs of communities in the Philippines”.

On completion of the mission, the team will outline their recommendations of how Ireland can continue to support the Filipino people.

Ireland has already donated €2.6 million in funding to the relief effort with three airlifts of shelter, water, sanitation and other emergency services to the worth of €845,000 have also been offered.

Aer Lingus provided a flight that departed Dublin airport yesterday morning with over 40 tonnes of aid with help from the Irish agency GOAL.

Goal Irish chief executive Barry Andrews said “Once again, the people of Ireland have been extremely generous… I would like to sincerely thank everyone at Aer Lingus for arranging and putting on this flight, and for the cockpit, cabin crew and operations staff employees, who volunteered their free time”.

Typhoon Haiyan left almost 7000 people dead or missing when it ravaged through the Philippines in early November.

Gavin Lacey

International men’s day

Credit International Men's Day

Credit International Men’s Day

Today is International Men’s Day, a day designed to promote ‘a focus on men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.’ In Ireland, it would seem that the former concern about men’s health is a significant one. The average life expectancy of Irish men is five years less than that of Irish women, and Ireland has the highest rate of prostate cancer in Europe. The National Men’s Health Policy report for 2008-2013 makes for uneasy reading. Apparently ‘men have tended to be more reticent in terms of advocating or speaking out about their own health.’ Not only are men apparently less willing to face their own mortality, but ‘the burden of ill health and mortality is borne, in particular, by men from the lower socio-economic groups’.

Some progressive measures have been introduced to try and combat male apathy towards their own health. One exceptionally successful initiative has been ‘Movember’. This organisation, independent from International Men’s Day, encourages people to raise money for charity by getting sponsored for their moustache growth. A cursory glance at your Facebook feed will likely bring the shocking sight of many of your male friends sporting dashing ‘stashes, and indeed women doing their part with assorted brushes/combs. The novel manner with which the organisation has tackled men’s reticence to address their own health seems to have found an inroad to apparent male squeamishness. The sacrifice of one month’s appearance (depending on growth ability) is apparently a price many are willing to pay to support those who suffer from many of the debilitating cancers in Ireland.

Conor Campbell

Arnotts & Boyers Future Up in the Air

Credit EventHaus.ie

Credit EventHaus.ie

MANDATE, the union representing staff of both department stores are expressing fears over the future of their members’ jobs.

Both stores have been held by IBRC and the Ulster Bank since 2010. Causing concerns, the Ulster Bank are currently considering selling their share of the debt after a number of restructuring firms have expressed interests.

John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary said:
‘Arnotts and Boyers workers have gone through a very painful and difficult five years. Nonetheless, they have worked with the current management to turn Arnotts and Boyers around in a very difficult retail environment, once again making Arnotts a unique and successful Irish retail brand.’

He added, ‘It would be a slap in the face to all Arnotts and Boyers workers if either IBRC or Ulster Bank were to merely try to maximise their return on their debt without any consideration of what is best for the workers now and into the future.’

It has been rumoured that Ulster Bank will make a decision on the sale this week.

Amanda Connolly

Debate over US ambassadors to Ireland

Credit WikiCommons

Credit WikiCommons

EXECUTIVE director of the Ireland-US Council, Roddy Feely, has dismissed claims that the failure to appoint a US ambassador to Ireland is a ‘slap in the face to Irish Americans and Ireland’.

The position has not been filled since previous ambassador, Dan Rooney, resigned in December 2012. This is the longest period of time the position has been vacant.

Irish-American lobbyist and lawyer, Brian O’Dwyer, has heavily-criticised the US government for not filling the position.

Speaking to Sky News, O’Dwyer said: ‘There’s any number of people who want this job, many of them well qualified. I have no idea why this is happening’. He called the situation ‘a disgrace’.

Speaking to News Anois, however, Roddy Feely rejected these claims.

He said the Ireland-US Council ‘understands that similar delays are being experienced in other countries’.

He said the delay in appointing a successor to Dan Rooney has not had an adverse effect on the council’s work.

‘We’ve been working well with deputy ambassador Stuart Dwyer,’ he said. ‘We haven’t seen our work affected.’

He went on to say he does not agree with Brian O’Dwyer’s assertion that the delay in appointing a US ambassador to Ireland is a ‘slap in the face’.

‘We’re not the only country affected by hold-ups. It’s inappropriate to think like that (like O’Dwyer)’.

The Ireland-US Council for Commerce and Industry was founded in 1963. It aims to build business links between America and Ireland.

Its Irish chapter is based in Ballsbridge.

Eoghan McNeill

Ireland welcomes Indian students

Credit WikiCommons

Credit WikiCommons

Richard Bruton TD has today announced that Ireland is on track to double the number of Indian students studying third level degrees in the country by 2014.

There is an anticipated growth of over 2,000 Indian students from India over the next 18 months with 120% increase in Indian student visa applications.

The announcement was made during Bruton’s 5-day trade and investment mission to India, during which Irish universities and education institutes unveiled a range of new programmes and partnerships with Indian institutions.

UCD will launch an office in Delhi to support partnerships in education and research, as well as support students who apply to UCD.

Minister Bruton said: ‘International students have a significant impact on the Irish economy. These Indian students also play an important role in deepening the business, cultural, education and research ties between India and Ireland.’

Indian student Reshma Ann, who is currently studying in DIT, thinks it is a good move. Detailing her experience in Ireland, Reshma said: ‘It’s good. My experience in Ireland hasn’t been bad, everybody is nice and the teachers are very good’.

However, Reshma has noticed a drop in Indian students coming to Ireland: ‘They are all going to different countries now. I know there isn’t as many students here as there was in the past, that’s why they’re probably trying this new initiative’.

Further partnerships and programme announcements are expected over the coming year.

Gavin Lacey

3,000 blood donations required weekly; can we afford to be so picky?

Credit WikiCommons

Credit WikiCommons

THE Irish Blood Transfusions Service (IBTS) has announced that 3,000 donations are required weekly to maintain Ireland’s blood supply. Successful applicants can donate blood every 90 days, roughly four times a year.  First time applicants must be between 18 – 65 years old.

The process of applying to become a donor is a strenuous and time consuming process. Applicants must fill out question forms which ask things such as:

  • For men; have you ever had sex with another man, even once, even if you used a condom?
  • Have you spent one year or more in total/cumulatively in the UK* between 1980 and 1996, including living, working or on holidays?

Give Blood advise that you cannot give blood for 12 months after doing the following things:

  • You have left prison
  • Having sex with anyone who has ever been given money or drugs for sex
  • Having oral sex with a man who has engaged in sexual activities with another man
  • Having sex with anyone who has ever has sex in a part of the world where HIV is common.

While the questions and regulations initially seem to be excessive and over the top, the public are reminded that blood transfusions carry high risk of infection and the IBTS must attempt to minimalize any possible transfer of disease between patients.

Mirenda O’Donavan, Head of corporate affairs of IBTS, said: ‘permanent deferral is the most effective way of preventing transmission by blood transfusion’.

A spokesman for IBTS stated: ‘In addition to testing every unit of blood collected, the IBTS, like every blood transfusion service in the world, operates a wide range of deferral policies, some temporary, some permanent. This is for the safety of patients.’

Katelyn Cook