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:: News In Brief

Health check-up for the nation 15.04.14
A MAJOR survey of the nation’s health is to be undertaken looking at key areas such as diet, alcohol intake and sexual health.
The Healthy Ireland Survey will take place annually over three years and will poll a representative sample of the population in private households over the age of 15.
The project is part of a ten-year national framework to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Ireland.
The Department of Health recently invited tenders for the undertaking of the survey which "will report on key indicators of lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, diet, sexual health and wellbeing to monitor the key trends and policy impacts in those areas".

Is your child safe in your car? 15.04.14
AS many as three-in-four child car seats may not be fitted properly increasing the risk of death or serious injury to children in a road accident. The Road Safety Authority's Check it Fits service is providing free checks in Co Donegal this month.
Donegal road safety officer Brian O’Donnell urged parents not to miss the demonstrations. “This is a fantastic service and is fast, convenient and free of charge,” he said.
Check it Fits demonstrations will be held at the following locations at the same time of 10am - 5.30pm:
Lidl, Donegal Town on Thursday, April 17
Letterkenny Shopping Centre, Port Road on Friday, April 18
Aldi, Neil T Blaney Road, Letterkenny, on Tuesday, April 22
Forte Shopping Centre, Neil T Blaney Road on Thursday, April 24

12,000 pieces of gold for Brian Boru 15.04.14
A SPECIAL €20 gold coin bearing the face of Brian Boru will be launched later this month to mark the 1,000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf.
The miniature commemorative coin features an artist's impression of the bearded Irish High King on one side with the Brian Boru harp on the reverse.
The Central Bank coin has been designed by Irish sculptor Noel Hoare and has been struck in fine gold proof. It is 11mm in diameter, 0.5 grammes in weight, and will have a limited issue of 12,000 pieces.
The coin has been minted to mark Boru's victory at Clontarf on April 23, 1014. Noel Hoare said his design was inspired by coinage from the period.
"When I entered the Battle of Clontarf coin competition I came to the conclusion that a coin similar to the coins of the period would be suitable," he said.
The coin, priced €48, will be officially launched by the Central Bank on April 30 but can be pre-ordered now.

Top Irish paintings under the hammer 15.04.14
TWO seascapes by Irish artists Jack Butler Yeats and Paul Henry will be auctioned next month in London.
Jack B Yeats’ work 'Island Men Returning' is an oil on panel painted in 1919, depicting two currachs pulling back into harbour.
'Boats at Sea' an oil on canvas by Paul Henry was completed and signed by the artist in 1936.
Each painting is valued at between €72,000 and €97,000 and are from private British and Canadian collections. They will be among the top lots at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art Sale on May 28. “We are thrilled to be offering these two exceptional works by such stellar Irish names. Both featuring boats at sea and never before offered at auction, they present a golden opportunity to acquire a fresh and rare marine painting by two of Ireland’s most famous artists," said Bonhams head of Irish art, Penny Day.

Election register deadline looms 14.04.14
People who are not registered to vote in the forthcoming elections are being urged to get on the Supplementary Register of Electors before the May 6 deadline. Independent European candidate Senator Ronan Mullen said members of the public could check whether they are on the voting register by simply logging on to or visiting their local city or county council offices. Those not registered can complete a supplementary application form available from local councils, Garda stations, libraries, post offices or online "It's important that people make their voices heard at election time. Exercising your right to vote is essential for the healthy working of our democracy - a fact that can sometimes be forgotten," he said.

TD concerned about Junior Cert changes 14.04.14
A DONEGAL TD has warned Education Minister Ruairí Quinn that it is "extremely unwise" to abolish all independent assessment at junior cycle level.
Deputy Charlie McConalogue said there was just four months to go until the changes begin to be rolled out in schools across the country. “It is extremely unwise of Minister Quinn to continue his blind pursuit of abolishing independent junior cycle assessment, while teachers remain gravely concerned about the impact on students and educational outcomes.
"The teachers that he is expecting to introduce these reforms in matter of months are currently engaged in industrial action because they were not properly consulted and their concerns were ignored. My party is fully supportive of the need to reform the Junior Certificate and that is why the previous Government set the ball rolling. However I firmly believe that the outright abolition of all independent assessment is not the answer."

"Banks have fatally undermined personal insolvency" - TD 11.04.14
IRISH banks' intention to veto any Personal Insolvency proposal involving a write-down of mortgage debt has left the system "fatally undermined and useless" for many mortgage holders, according to Sinn Féin. Donegal T.D., Deputy Pearse Doherty said Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank had both outlined their positions to the Oireachtas Finance Committee. "The policies of these banks mean that the Personal Insolvency Act is now useless in its current form for many mortgage holders," said Deputy Doherty. "Minister Shatter must now look again at the whole process and urgently bring in the necessary changes to remove the banks’ veto."

Diabetes nurse for Donegal children 09.04.14
THE 143 children in Co Donegal with diabetes have got some welcome news that the recruitment of a specialist paediatric nurse for Letterkenny Hospital is to get underway shortly.
The announcement came following a meeting yesterday between Donegal Diabetes Parent Support Group and Health Minister James Reilly.
The issue had been highlighted in the Dáil by a number of Donegal TDs.
Deputy Thomas Pringle congratulated the parents' group for "all their hard work which has led to this result". The group had handed in a petition to the department calling for the urgent service. “I eagerly await the recruitment of this specialist nurse, which is the first big step towards providing a centre of excellence for diabetes in LGH that we so badly need in the North West," he said.

Quarter of Donegal farmers over 65 07.04.14
MORE than a quarter of working farmers in Donegal are aged 65 or older, latest figures show. European election candidate for Midlands, North and West, Ronan Mullen, said more measures were needed to attract young men and women into farming.
"Over 28 per cent of farmers in Donegal are over 65. The viability of small farms is important not just for the farmer and their families but also for the local communities, economic development and ultimately for consumers to ensure a reasonably priced supply of quality food," he said. " He called on the Department of Agriculture to launch a comprehensive information and awareness campaign highlighting the benefits of a career in farming for young people. "When farming thrives, communities prosper," he added.

Donegal "left behind" on broadband 04.04.14
LARGE areas of Donegal remain without access to a quality broadband service, a local T.D., has said.
Deputy Charlie McConalogue has now demanded a progress report on the implementation of the National Broadband Plan and the Rural Broadband Scheme in the county.
“This National Broadband Plan, published by the Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte in 2012, promised to ensure that high speed broadband was available to all citizens of this country. But it seems that Donegal is being left far behind," he said.
“It followed on from the Rural Broadband Scheme, which sought to provide a service to previously unconnected homes by the end of 2012. That scheme did not meet its targets. Only 25% of the homes targeted by the rural broadband scheme have been connected to broadband as part of this scheme. The real impact of the scheme is yet to be seen. I fear the National Broadband Plan is heading down a similar route," he added.

Derry company dresses 11,000 border staff
A DERRY clothing firm has picked up several industry awards after supplying new uniforms to 11,000 border and immigration officers in the UK.
Hunter Apparel recently supplied a whopping 250,000 bespoke items of uniform including dark blue shirts and trousers to Border Force and Immigration Enforcement staff at Britain’s sea and airports. Hunter Apparel said the new uniform had been praised "at the highest levels" in the Home Office in Whitehall. The textiles firm picked up gongs in the best business manager; best managed major contract and best bespoke work-wear uniform design categories at the recent UK Fashion and Textile Association Awards. It shared in the awards with Border Force. Border Force programme manager Samantha Heilling said staff had a new uniform they were "proud to wear".

€3.5m for disaster management project 02.04.14
EU funding of €3.5 million has been awarded to an Irish-led project that will help countries prepare for a large-scale disaster such as an explosion or flood.
University College Cork is to lead an international consortium tasked with developing "a new standard in crisis management" capable of operating across borders.
The three-year project titled Securing Health Emergency Learning and Planning (S-HELP), will be co-ordinated by UCC’s new Centre for Security Management Research. The HSE, the Public Health Agency in the North, Sweden's Lund University and Israel’s national aid society and blood bank service, Magen David Adom, are among those signed up to take part.
The new project will develop systems for managing all four phases of an emergency situation: planning, preparedness, response and recovery.
It will also examine what happens in the aftermath of a major disaster including its effects on mental health. One of the training exercises to simulate a large-scale disaster will involve the HSE and its counterpart in the North.

Donegal children need diabetes nurse
DONEGAL TD Thomas Pringle has called for the recruitment of a clinical paediatric diabetes nurse at Letterkenny General Hospital. He said the appointment was a "matter of urgency" for the health of about 143 Donegal children.
“As it stands there is currently no diabetes nurse covering paediatric care for these children in the county who have the Type 1 form of the condition, which in this day and age is ludicrous," he told the Dáil.
“These children can use an insulin pump to cut down on the number of daily injections they have to get, but the nearest centre of excellence for pump therapy is four hours away in Dublin. This is highly unsatisfactory for these children’s needs and a great burden on the families who are already struggling to manage their children’s condition," he added.
He praised the work of the Donegal Parents Diabetes Support Group and Donegal branch of Diabetes Ireland for highlighting this issue and said he would keep pressing for the appointment.

€36,000 to repair Greencastle road 01.04.14
FUNDING of €36,000 has been allocated to resurface the Poundtown road, from the crossroads to the fisheries college. Announcing the allocation, local Labour councillor, Martin Farren, said the money had been negotiated at a recent Road Services workshop in Carndonagh. “Earlier this year €100,000 was spent re-aligning and resurfacing the Drumaweir and Church Brae sections of the road and this further allocation should see the job completed. The Poundtown road is in poor condition at present but a series of water main bursts over recent years has delayed repairs. I would hope that resurfacing works can be done before the summer," said Cllr Farren.

Buncrana parking plan slated
BUNCRANA local election candidate, Joe Murphy, has hit out at plans to abolish the half-hour free parking in the seaside town. People Before Profit candidate Mr Murphy said free parking in Buncrana should be increased to two hours "to send out a strong signal to the people in Inishowen and further a field that we want your business".
Mr Murphy, a leading member of Donegal Action Against Austerity, said the group would launch a petition in the coming weeks in a bid to get the local council "to reconsider" its plans.

Top committee orders 'Lost at Sea' review
A EUROPEAN Parliament committee has asked the Irish government to review the Donegal Byrne family's ‘Lost at Sea’ case. MEP Jim Higgins said an official letter has been sent to Minister Simon Coveney, from the high-ranking Committee on Petitions asking for clarification as to why the Byrne family “was not treated with more equity and fairness”. It follows last month’s petition by Mr Higgins and Danny Byrne before the Parliament's Petitions Committee requesting that the Government compensates the Byrnes, according to recommendations by the then Irish Ombudsman, Emily O’ Reilly. “Importantly, the committee has now formally asked the Irish government to conduct a full review of the case relating to the Byrne family so that they may obtain justice,” said Mr Higgins.

Daffodil Day underway 28.03.14
VOLUNTEERS are out in force throughout Donegal today to collect funds for the Irish Cancer Society's Daffodil Day. All funds raised will go directly to fund the work of the society across research, advocacy, services and free nationwide care. More than 4,000 volunteers nationwide will be selling fresh daffodils and daffodil pins aiming to raise €3.45million.

Candidate welcomes move on roaming charges
LOCAL election candidate for the Foyle, Mary McCauley has welcomed the news that the European parliament will take a vote to abolish roaming charges in the coming weeks.
It is widely expected that the vote will be passed, allowing for the abolition of roaming charges by the December 15, 2014.
“This has been a major issue for the Foyle, due to our proximity to the border. The service that has been provided to the area has simply been below-par for years. We have been overcharged for a non-existent service and I am glad to see that we are nearing the end of roaming charges," she said.

Europe candidates vie for Donegal votes
DONEGAL is getting a fuller picture of the candidates who will appeal for their votes in the European elections in May.
Roscommon T.D., Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is the lastest to confirm his intention to seek a MEP seat. However he faces stout competition from popular sitting MEPs Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher of Fianna Fáil, Independent Marian Harkin and Fine Gael duo Jim Higgins and Mairead McGuinness, writes Jessie Magee.
Other hopefuls for the four seats in the sprawling constituency spanning 12 counties include Independent Senator Ronan Mullen, Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy, Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins and Thomas Byrne of Fianna Fáil.

Last week of library amnesty 26.03.14
IT'S the last week of the Donegal library fines amnesty so members are being urged to get overdue books back before the end of March. Any outstanding fines will be waived for this month only. It's an ideal opportunity to turn over a new leaf and return to the library with all it has to offer. The Donegal library service is also offering a €50 gift voucher for the best excuse for why books are late. There will be a voucher for an adult and child. For more information visit .

Senior ambulance official meets Porter family 26.03.14
THE deputy director of the HSE’s National Ambulance Service has travelled to Inishowen to meet the family of the late Maura Porter. Ms Porter (70) died after being knocked down near her home in Carndonagh five days after Christmas. The Irish Times reported that Dr Cathal O’Donnell was due to meet the deceased woman's husband, son and daughter in his capacity as chairman of the incident review team investigating events that occurred on the night. The local woman waited almost 50 minutes for an ambulance to attend her after the accident.

Do you need a Design Doctor? 24.03.14
DONEGAL people whose homes need a makeover are being invited to apply for the next series of RTE's 'The Design Doctors'. Homeowners who've outgrown their space with a lack of storage, drab or dated décor, wasted rooms or nowhere to entertain are eligible to apply.
"The Design Doctors will show people how best to invest in your home with the budget you already have, to add real value to your living space," a spokesperson said. Families, couples or individuals whose house or apartment is proving a negative in their lives can email or call Ciara on 01-6468243.

Young driver seriously injured in crash 20.03.14
A young driver has been seriously injured in a crash near Letterkenny in the early hours of this morning. Gardaí are investigating the single-vehicle collision that happened at about 12.50am. The 23-year old man was the sole occupant of the car when it collided with a stone wall at Drumnohoagh on the Letterkenny to Derry Road about 2km outside Letterkenny. The man was taken to hospital where his condition is described as serious.
The road is closed for a forensic examination and diversions are in place. Gardai are appealing for witnesses or anyone who may have been on the Letterkenny to Derry road between 12.30am and 1am. They are asked to call 074 9167100, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Troika “got it wrong” say MEPs 18.03.14
FIVE Irish MEPs have blamed policies by the IMF, ECB and European Commission for growing levels of unemployment, poverty and emigration in bailout countries, writes Jessie Magee. They were commenting on a report passed by the European Parliament following a four-month inquiry into the Troika’s activities in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus. The text written by Spanish MEP Alejandro Cercas acknowledged that the Troika may have “saved economic accounts” in the four countries. However, he said it failed on numerous counts by condemning ordinary people to “misery and joblessness”. Among the Irish MEPs who endorsed the report were Labour’s Emer Costello and Phil Prendergast, Independents Marian Harkin and Nessa Childers and Socialist MEP Paul Murphy.
“We were standing on the sidelines, powerless to influence what was going on,” said Ms Harkin. Mr Murphy added: “The best excuse they can come up with is ‘The Troika told us to do it.’ Did the dog eat your election manifesto too?” he mocked.

Bronagh commits to hospice
SINGER and actress Bronagh Gallagher has signed up to help terminally ill patients in her home city of Derry. The Commitments and Pulp Fiction star has been named the first charity patron of the Foyle Hospice. The local star now hopes she can help the hospice reach its challenging fundraising targets.


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