Multiple shots were fired at a house in Ballymun, Dublin in the early hours of Saturday morning. The incident happened at Belclare View, no-one has been injured in the incident, however, there was damage to the front of the house. There have also been reports that a nearby apartment was also damaged during the shooting. The scene was cordoned off this morning, and a Garda investigation has been launched into the shooting.
More to follow as this story develops: Follow: @DemocratOnline on Facebook for live updates.
On Wednesday, over 30,000 members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation formed picket lines outside hospitals and HSE facilities across the nation. The striking nurses are demanding pay restoration and for the Government to take action on staff shortages; issues which they say are affecting staff morale.
The strike affected a broad range of patient services in hospitals, healthcare centres, and community facilities across the country on Wednesday. This is only the second occasion in 100-years on which nurses have had to resort to strike action. Pickets were placed on all acute hospitals including the Midland Regional Hospitals in Mullingar and Tullamore, Portiuncula Hospital, Sligo University Hospital and University Hospital Galway. There were also pickets at Roscommon County Hospital. The Urgent Care Centre at Roscommon Hospital was closed due to the strike action, however, Primary Care Centres in the region remained open. The INMO did place pickets on the Primary Care Centres at Clonbrusk in Athlone, in Monksland, Mullingar, Boyle, and Roscommon town. The dramatic action by nurses has been described as “extraordinarily regrettable” by Health Minister Simon Harris.
Nurses also protested outside St Joseph’s Care Centre in Longford. The nurses there made the most of the extremely cold winter conditions by building a snowman which they labelled “Leo”, a reference, we are sure, to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who has taken a cold line on the pay-talks and is refusing to engage further in discussions. The deadlock between the INMO and Government may see up to 5 additional 24-hour strikes added to the existing schedule of stoppages if the dispute is not resolved. The INMO claims that nurses are ready to reenter talks but are waiting for the Government to engage in a meaningful way.
There is no sign in sight that the deadlock between the Government and nursing organisations will be broken with further action planned by both the INMO and PSA in the coming days and weeks. On Thursday the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) halted all over-time, and on Tuesday coming, February 5th, further industrial action is planned by the INMO. The 6,000 members of the PNA have begun an overtime ban as part of an escalating campaign of industrial action over pay and conditions. The psychiatric nurses will continue to refuse to work overtime today (Friday 1st) and on further again on February 5th, 6th, and 7th.
It may not seem like it yet, but climate change is altering the world so drastically that all enterprises will need to undergo a transformation to avoid going extinct.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported (with high confidence) that at the rate we’re going, global warming of 1.5°C is likely between 2030 and 2052. This level of warming will cause irreversible damage and increase climate-related risks to health, livelihood, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth. While it’s technologically still possible, it explained that pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems.
Some of the impacts on business are indirect, like changes in how insurance firms assess natural disaster risk, while others are clearly direct, such as Coca-Cola’s fear of water scarcity and IKEA’s fear of deforestation. These more immediate physical impacts are leading companies to invest in new processes and technologies to mitigate risk.
There are also less intuitive impacts related to the transition to a carbon-free economy, as well as new trends in how customers, investors, business partners, and regulators make decisions. For example, customers are rewarding companies for sustainability efforts, governments and partners are enforcing goals of the Paris Agreement, and investors are demanding climate-risk disclosure. In fact, since 2013 more than $6 trillion in financial assets have been divested from funds related to fossil fuel, and hundreds of businesses have made clean energy commitments.
Firms that listen to their stakeholders and take a stand on values, sustainability, and climate resiliency and adaptation are better fit to serve and retain customers today and in the long run. To win in the age of the customer, your firm must assess and act on its risks and opportunities from climate change and there are many more than you may think.
The Forrester report, “Adapt to climate change or face extinction,” aims to help business and technology leaders understand climate change as a risk and opportunity multiplier. We use real-world examples to explain how more sustainable investments can transform your business, reduce risk, and uncover opportunities. Every initiative is unique, including investments in clean energy which reduce risk and attract talent, conservation efforts that protect natural resources and lead to new markets, and climate risk assessments that help investors make more informed decisions.
Because it is difficult to know exactly how dramatic the effects of climate change will be, it is hard to know just how much it will affect various industries but some of the changes already are being seen. Climate-related disasters like droughts and hurricanes, for example, are hitting pocketbooks and insurance premiums, even for people living on the other side of the world. Meanwhile, the complicated supply chains of a globalised retail industry mean that a disruption in one place can cause consequences elsewhere. That was shown recently when earthquakes hit Japan in April 2016, damaging Plants that sold parts to Toyota and forcing the auto giant to suspend production.
Even the health industry may be affected. As well as affecting the availability of clean water and food, warmer weather is increasing the vulnerability of areas already at risk of diseases like malaria and dengue. The recent Zika epidemic may have been exacerbated by warmer weather patterns. Between 2030 and 2050, the World Health Organisation predicts that climate change will cause roughly 250,000 additional deaths per year.
Now, while it may not be very popular to admit that climate change is real and worsening, around here, and there can still be healthy debate about the factors which contribute to climate change, businesses must accept that they have a role to play in combating climate change, and the more businesses which adapt, the better the effect on all their bottom lines.
The Irish National Teachers Organisation’s Roscommon-Galway District CEC Representative, Tommy Greally, has strongly criticised plans by the Revenue Commissioners to remove the teacher's tax relief on expenses.
Speaking at an INTO District 6 meeting this week Greally explained: “INTO is engaging with revenue in regard to the teachers’ flat rate expenses allowance. The INTO was asked, and has provided, a detailed submission on the relevance and use of this allowance. INTO expects Revenue to fully consider that submission, prepared in good faith that it might receive a fair assessment, before proceeding to change policy.
“This allowance has been revisited many times by Revenue in the past. In all those assessments, the allowance was found to have an ongoing relevance and there is no reason to believe that this has changed. The ongoing cuts to school funding, still 5% lower than OECD levels, makes such allowances all the more critical for teachers.”
“I firmly believe that these out of pocket expenses compensate individual teachers for the many out of pocket expenses which they typically incur and for which they do not receive a reimbursement.”
In conclusion, he stated “I know that ending the allowance will wipe out any gain from the recent Budget. This latest move comes despite Fine Gael promising more tax cuts for workers.”
Children: Fionnbarr (26), Ryan (24), Ailisha (22), Neala (20), and Siofra (18).
Q & A
Question: Why have you selected Fianna Fáil as the political party that you would like to join?
Response: Options are fairly limited. You either start one or join one. I think that if you polled 100 people in Dawson Street, probably 1% could tell you the real difference. I would call myself a compassionate capitalist. I totally believe in helping those who need to be helped, BUT you have to encourage a culture of Pride and self-achievement.
Question: Or are you just pulling their leg, as you don't really take them seriously?
Response: I think they could retain their former mantle of the party for the people.
Question: Would you like to possibly be An Taoiseach some day?
Question: Given some of the reaction from Fianna Fáil members in the Oireachtas, who have basically said that you would not be welcome in their party, what other political party would you consider approaching?
Question: Would you consider venturing into forming a New Political Party in Ireland?
Question: Have you had any conversations or meetings with any members of The Oireachtas, either Senators or TDs?
Question: With regard to the open letter published in a recent issue of the Sunday Independent, penned by Mary "Mammy" O'Rourke, to you, telling you to leave party politics alone, and in particular Fianna Fáil, and telling you to go ahead and run as an Independent. What, if any, response do you have to her?
Response: Amazing lady who I respect greatly. I was seated beside her on a TV show discussing millennials and it was like sitting beside my late mother. I wonder what advice she would give Micheal?
“As the non-effects, of the non-measure, that was Budget 2019 ‘sink in’, it is surely time for us to draw certain conclusions about where farm families and the wider agri-food sector stands in the Government’s list of priorities,” Pat McCormack, President ICMSA
An analysis of where farmers stand on the Government's list of priorities is greatly aided by a cool and rational examination of what the Government did, or rather did not do, for farmers in the most recent budget. Pat McCormack, President of the ICMSA explained: “It is shockingly obvious that the current Government simply does not understand the scale of the challenges being faced by farm families. Neither in terms of the 50% fall in income predicted for this current year, or the transformational challenges that could follow Brexit next March,” he added: “There haven’t been any signs of appreciation about the scale of the problems that are not just looming on some distant horizon, but are in the here and now, and are already biting into our unique family farm system.”
The ICMSA President claims, that in the absence of any kind of coherent response from Government to the crisis developing, farm families can only conclude that the Government has decided that it doesn’t want to support them. The farm organisation concludes that the agenda now seems to be about enhancing the position of big businesses over family farms.
Mr Mccormack expressed his concern further, stating: “I am genuinely reluctant to come to this conclusion, but it is the only logical one to arrive at, based on Budget 2019, as set out by the Minister for Finance. Introducing new minor schemes; with more conditions and more inspections, along with tweaks to existing schemes, won’t solve the massive underlying problems. And it is simply ‘throwing shapes’ rather than providing real solutions for the farming community. A perfect example of what I mean is exampled by the litany of inaction in dealing with the ‘Gorilla in The Room’ that is farm income volatility.”
It is claimed by the ICMSA that the single biggest issue facing family farms today is income volatility. They explained that this volatility in income has farming families trapped in an utterly destructive ‘boom and bust cycle’, that can see their annual incomes go from relatively sustainable to absolute unsustainable in the space of a single year.
2018 has already put farm families to the test, with Teagasc already predicting that average farm incomes will fall by 50% this year.
“One would now have to question, at this stage, the level of priority that agriculture is getting around the Cabinet table, and this should be a matter of concern for everyone in rural Ireland,” explained McCormack.
As the economy in general improves, and incomes rise across the board, farmers are set to face a phenomenal income collapse. Farmers are subjected to the massive market and income volatility that is, often, caused by margin manipulation by more powerful links in the food supply chain. Imagine any scenario where any other group in Ireland was facing a 50% drop in income. Would that financial disaster be completely ignored by Government? That is precisely the situation in which farm families in Roscommon, Longford, Leitrim, and all over Ireland find themselves in this year. The result of same is that co-operatives, vets, agricultural suppliers, mechanics, local shops, and the like are left with bills going unpaid. The fodder crisis which shocked the agricultural community last year has meant many bills have already carried over and will continue to do so for the next number of years unless the Government provide drastic support for farmers and their families.
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