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:: News In Brief

38 patients without bed today 17.01.17
LETTERKENNY University Hospital has 38 patients on trolleys and in wards waiting for an in-patient bed today - the highest in the country. The figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show there are 527 people without hospital beds natiowide today. Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth is the second worst hit today with 35 people without beds followed by the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar, Co Westmeath with 34.

Hospital overcrowding spikes again 12.01.17
OVERCROWDING spiked at Letterkenny University Hospital today again with 36 patients waiting on a bed. The figure from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) included 21 patients on trolleys and 15 patients waiting within wards for an in-patient bed. The nurses' trolley watch survey shows there were a total of 509 patients waiting on a hospital bed nationally today with Cork University Hospital again the worst hit at 41 patients on the waiting list.

26,000 fewer NCT tests last year
SOME 26,000 fewer cars were put through the National Car Test (NCT) in 2016 compared to the previous year, new figures show. A total of 1,465,707 tests were undertaken last year compared to 1,492,179 in 2015. This represents the first drop in test numbers in almost a decade and reverses a trend that saw more people holding on to older cars in the recession. The NCT test figures first broke the one-million mark in 2012 - a year when just 80,000 new cars were registered here. By contrast, almost 147,000 new cars were registered here in 2016. The latest NCT statistics, released yesterday by Applus, also show that more cars failed than passed the test for a fifth year running. A total of 757,171 vehicles (51.6 per cent) failed the test compared to a pass rate of 702,777 (48 per cent) A further 5,789 vehicles (0.4 per cent) were immediately put off the road by NCT mechanics who deemed them unsafe to drive out of the test centre.

Nominations invited for Tip O'Neill Award
NOMINATIONS have opened for the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards 2017. The award ceremony which is held annually in Buncrana is part of the broader diaspora project in the country and has become a highlight of Donegal County Council’s calendar of events. The main award is presented each year to a member of the Irish diaspora "who has achieved prominence or recognition in the area of business, commerce, industry, education, politics, finance or sport". Previous honourees include journalist and publisher Niall O’Dowd; former Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer and the incumbent recipient, the US political commentator, Chris Matthews. For further information where you find details of the nomination process. Closing date is May 31, 2017.

84 children in psychiatric hospitals
SEVENTEEN children between the ages of 13 and 14 were resident in Irish psychiatric hospitals for a range of mental health disorders last year, new census figures show. The statistics show that a total of 84 under-18s received psychiatric in-patient care for conditions such as depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia and neuroses. The majority of young patients were aged 16 or under with some seventeen patients aged between 13 and 14 years. Almost two-thirds of young in-patients were female. The figures, published by the Health Research Board, were collated from a national census of psychiatric hospitals and units around the country on March 31, 2016. It shows there were a total of 2,480 resident in-patients in psychiatric units and hospitals - seven more than in 2013. Almost one-third (about 800) of patients had a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Donegal invited to join Engineers Week
ENGINEERS Ireland has called on engineering organisations, local authorities and third-level institutes in Donegal to get involved in Engineers Week 2017. This is a seven-day programme of nationwide events celebrating the world of engineering in Ireland. Some 1,000 Donegal primary and secondary students and their teachers attended lectures, tours and shows, sparking enthusiasm about STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and the engineering profession last year, a spokesperson said. To find out more visit

17 patients without bed in Letterkenny 11.01.17
ELEVEN patients are on trolleys at Letterkenny University Hospital today with a further six waiting within wards for an inpatient bed.
This is a deterioration on Monday's figure when six patients were waiting on a bed. A total of 20 patients (eight on trolleys and 12 within wards) were without an inpatient bed in Letterkenny yesterday.
Figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) trolley watch survey also show there are 543 people without an in-patient bed in hospitals nationwide today. Cork University Hospital is the worst hit with 46 patients on the waiting list.

Derry parking to rise 10p an hour 06.01.17
PARKING prices in Derry will increase by 10p an hour next month. The increases were agreed by members of Derry City and Strabane District Council at a recent council meeting.
The local authority's head of business Kevin O’Connor said: “Council currently operates 15 paid car parks, providing 1042 spaces throughout the district. The tariffs for these car parks range from 20 pence to 50 pence in addition to the availability of four weekly, 12 weekly and quarterly season passes. Off-street car park charging across Northern Ireland ranges from 20 pence to £1.20 per hour. Council is embarking on an overall car parking strategy and will evaluate the impact of the tariff changes, consulting with users, retailers and stakeholders throughout 2017."

Cars sold with finance outstanding
THE number of cars being offered for sale with finance outstanding is on the rise, according to motor data group,
It said that from a sample of over 5,906 vehicles offered for sale and checked via the website in 2016, almost one-in-three registered in the last three years were offered for sale with finance outstanding.
In the case of one-year-old vehicles (2015) the levels of vehicles offered for sale with finance outstanding rose from 26.7% in 2015 to 31.5% in 2016 – a jump of 18%. "This means there is now almost a one-in-three chance of a one-year-old vehicle bring offered for sale with finance outstanding," said a spokesperson.

Scheme for would-be Derry start-ups
DERRY City & Strabane District Council is working in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland, Enterprise North West and Strabane Enterprise Agency to provide local people with the support and advice needed to set up their own business. Go For It offers free advice and mentoring to people in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area "who are considering self-employment or are interested in setting up their own business but don’t know where to start or how to take their ideas and plans forward". The scheme provides "a range of expert guidance and mentoring to help individuals create a business plan, with market research and financial forecasts".

Loyal fox stays by partner's side
A LOYAL fox refused to leave its partner's side when she got stuck between rocks as the tide came in this week. Wildlife volunteers described the "remarkable" scene as the fox tried in vain to dig out the vixen with less than two hours until the rocks would be submerged in the rising tide at Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. A volunteer from Kildare Animal Wildlife Foundation was dispatched to the scene and as the volunteer approached, the trapped animal managed to free herself and the two foxes ran away.

€10 per ewe under new Sheep Welfare Scheme 04.01.17
A new Sheep Welfare Scheme worth €10 per ewe has opened for farmers.
The per-head payment will be made provided farmers undertake actions that make "a positive contribution to flock welfare". These include lameness and parasite control, mineral supplements and scanning depending on whether the animals are of lowland or hill flock. Sinn Féin agricultural spokesperson Martin Kenny welcomed the new scheme and its future benefits to the health of the national flock. But he said he had concerns around inspections. "Notice of 48 hours is not sufficient for hill farmers to get sheep down off the mountains, especially during winter, when inclement weather can prevent farmers accessing extremely high peaks," he said.

NUI Galway hosts information event in Donegal
NUI Galway will host an information evening for Donegal students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors later this month in Letterkenny.
The event will provide details of over 60 courses while university staff will be on hand to answer questions in relation to study, accommodation, fees, campus supports and scholarships. NUIG student recruitment and outreach manager Sarah Geraghty said: “NUI Galway has strong links throughout the North West, having recently opened a new medical academy in Letterkenny in addition to providing Irish language courses in Ionad Ghaoth Dobhair. We are delighted to have the opportunity to visit Letterkenny and showcase all of the undergraduate and postgraduate courses on offer in Galway and throughout the West. The event will take place at the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny, on Thursday, January 12, 2017 from 7pm-9pm.

€250,000 raffle win for Donegal 03.01.17
A DONEGAL family is getting a dream start to 2017 after scooping a whopping €250,000 in the National Lottery's Christmas Millionaire Raffle.
The win was the second prize in the draw with the €1m going to a lucky ticket holder in Cork. There were four other winners of €100,000 in the draw as well as thousands of other prizes. The lucky Donegal ticket number was 435295 and was sold at American House on Main Street, Bundoran, on the day of the draw. There were a total of 3,176 prize winning numbers drawn as part of the seasonal raffle.

"Simple lifestyle changes" lowers cancer risk 03.01.17
THE Irish Cancer Society has urged the public in Donegal to make "simple lifestyle changes" in 2017 to significantly lower their risk of cancer.
It reminded people that over four-in-ten cancers can be prevented because cancer risk is attributed to five lifestyle factors — tobacco, diet, overweight/obesity, alcohol and low physical activity. Irish Cancer Society cancer prevention manager Kevin O'Hagan said: “The number one thing people can do to improve their health and lower their risk of cancer is to quit smoking. Three in every ten cancers are caused by smoking and we would urge all smokers to make quitting their number one resolution in 2017. The National Smoking Quitline on Callsave 1850 201 203.

Rises for welfare claimants 03.01.17
Donegal welfare claimants can look forward to New Year payment increases after measures outlined in Budget 2017 passed all stages of the Oireachtas before Christmas.
The spending increases this year will be €330 million bringing the Department of Social Protection's total budget to almost €20 billion in 2017.
The rises will kick in at various stages throughout the year including a €5 top up for pensioners, one-parent families, people with disabilities and others from March 2017. One parent families will also be allowed to earn €110 weekly (a €20 rise) and still qualify for payment. Meanwhile, the Invalidity Pension will be extended to the self-employed from December 2017.

€25,000 for Buncrana angling 03.01.17
BUNCRANA River and Fullerton Pollen Dam Fisheries has been awarded more than €25,850 as part of a plan to develop a top tourist destination fishery open to all anglers. The grant is part of a €500,000 fund from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), being awarded to 50 angling development projects across the country. The projects, which focus on improving angling access and infrastructure, will be delivered in 2017. Applications for over 100 capital projects were received. Donegal's three other beneficiaries were Sessiagh Lough (€6,000); Lough Keel (€1,050) and Lough na Toohey, Creeslough (€3,500). IFI aims to grow the angling sector’s socio-economic contribution of €836 million per year by an additional €60 million annually through its National Strategy for Angling Development.

Brexit is big fear for Irish firms 03.01.17
BRITAIN'S exit from the European Union is the biggest fear for Irish firms in 2017, a survey by Dublin Chamber of Commerce reveals. It found that a quarter of companies see Brexit as their "number one concern"when looking ahead to the coming 12 months. Meanwhile, one-in-six firms cite labour costs as their biggest worry for the year ahead while a similar number said skills shortages was the biggest threat to their business in 2017. Dublin Chamber CEO, Mary Rose Burke said: “Given the close economic ties between Ireland and Britain – with over €1bn worth of goods and services traded between the two territories every week - it is vital that our trading links with the UK are protected, even as we maintain our strong commitment to Europe.”

Tower Museum closes for renovations 03.01.17
DERRY'S Tower Museum has closed for a short period for essential maintenance work at the building. The museum, at Union Hall Place, charts the history of the city through the centuries and is one of Derry’s most popular visitor attractions. The facility will be closed until Monday, January 16, 2017 to allow for refurbishment works to flooring and the public reception area.

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