News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Thursday 27th August 2015

The Oireachtas is wasting cash on new printers

Says Lucinda Creighton

  

Creighton said she was ‘astonished’ the Oireachtas was splashing out on new printers and insisted she did not want a new one

RENUA leader Lucinda Creighton has hit out at the Oireachtas authorities for “wasting” taxpayer’s money on new printers for politicians.

Ms Creighton strongly criticised the replacement of every printer in Leinster House during the Dáil’s summer recess, insisting that the appliances are still working.

The Oireachtas has rejected the criticism, insisting that full value for money is being achieved in the replacement of the printers.

But Ms Creighton said she was “astonished” the Oireachtas was splashing out on new printers and insisted she did not want a new one.

“The timing is very curious given that we are approaching an election. We were astonished, we didn’t request additional equipment – a lot of this equipment is a little more than six-months-old,” Ms Creighton told the Irish Independent.

“We would far prefer if this expenditure went on things like schools, hospitals and nursing homes…It is the sort of thing that gives politics a bad name.”

However, the Oireachtas insisted the new printers would result in savings and said the newer printers being replaced will be reused.

“There is no question of any waste of public money in these new arrangements. In fact, the new approach is expected to produce savings of up to 20pc on our current print costs per annum,” said a spokesman.

“It would also be wrong to infer that recently purchased printers will be rendered obsolete. While the vast majority of our current printers are over five years old, all newer devices are being re-used to meet the requirements of remote sites on the Oireachtas network.” The Oireachtas did not say how much the new printers cost.

Joanne O’Riordan the outstanding Young Person of the Year

 

Teen with rare congenital disorder says award highlights abilities of every citizen

Joanne O’Riordan (19) from Millstreet, Co Cork, with President Michael D Higgins during a visit to Áras an Uachtarain in 2014.

Teenager Joanne O’Riordan has been awarded the prestigious Junior Chamber International (JCI) Outstanding Young Person of the Year award.

Ms O’Riordan (19), from Millstreet, Co Cork is one of seven people in the world with Total Amelia, a syndrome in which individuals are born without limbs. She also has curvature of the spine.

Total Amelia, a very rare congenital disorder, is caused by mutations in the WNT3 gene.

Studying criminology

Ms O’Riordan, who is studying criminology at UCC, was informed she had won the award by JCI president Ismail Hazdene.

She said she is “blown away” to receive such an accolade.

“To say I’m over the moon was an understatement. I was joking with my brother Stephen last night that if I am ever interviewed on the Late Late again I’ll have to ask Ryan Tubridy to address me as the Outstanding Young Person of the World.”

Joanne added that the award highlights the ability of every citizen, irrespective of disabilities.

“I want people to realise that people with disabilities are contributing to a wider society in a more positive and helpful way,” she said.

Ms O’Riordan secured over half of the 26,000 online votes. She also secured the judges’ vote. She will travel to Japanin November to pick up her award.

National prominence

Ms O’Riordan rose to national prominence in 2011 when she challenged Taoiseach Enda Kenny about cuts to the disability benefit.

She subsequently gave a keynote speech to the United Nations on how technology has helped her advance her life.

She had won the Rehab Young Person of the Year Award in 2012.

Half of all speeding offences take place within towns and cities

Motorists can expect more speed checks on Friday as part of ‘national slow down day’

  

Gardaí will begin a 24-hour speed enforcement campaign from 7am on Friday.

Town and city speed limit zones are the worst for speeding offences, new figures show.

According to Gardaí, nearly half of all speeding offences take place within 50km/hr zones – the limit which replaced the old 30m/hr speed limit in towns and villages.

In the first six months of this year, 50,000 notices were issued imposing fines and penalty points for speeding offences in 50km/hr zones.

The figures were released as gardaí prepare for a 24-hour speeding detection campaign as part of “National Slow Down day” which starts on Friday.

From 7am on August 28th, to 7am on Saturday, August 29th, Gardaí will operate an intensive speed enforcement operation aimed at reducing speed-related crashes.

What are described as “high visibility enforcement activities” will be deployed on both national primary and secondary roads.

Gardaí will use a range of technologies including laser hand-held speed detection devices, safety camera vans and in-car speed detection systems to reinforce the message: “If you speed this weekend we will catch you”.

They said privatised Go-Safe vehicles will also be working in areas where serious and fatal injury crashes have occurred.

The 727 speed enforcement zones to be targetted are available on the Garda website.

According to the Road Safety Authority, excessive or inappropriate speed is a major contributory factor to road traffic collisions with a direct correlation between higher speeds and more severe injuries.

As a general rule, a 1% reduction in average speed brings about a 2% reduction in minor injury collisions, a 3% reduction in serious injury collisions and a 4% reduction in fatal collisions, according to safety authorities.

This year an effort is being made to involve fleet operators, who have been asked to reinforce the road safety message among employees. Whether driving for business or private purposes, drivers will be reminded to “always drive within the speed limit and at a speed appropriate to the prevailing conditions”.

The Garda website and social media will be actively used to promote the initiative.

Speaking in advance of the initiative Superintendent Con O’ Donohue, of the Garda National Traffic Bureau, revealed details of a recent Garda analysis of speeding.

The analysis found:

Up to -90% of detections were more than 10km/hr over the speed limit.

– 10% of detections were made for speeds from 1-9km/hr above the posted speed limit

– 79% were made from 10-29 km/hr above the posted speed limit

– 11% of detections were for speeds in excess of 30 km/hr above the limit

– 50km/hr zones worst for speeding offences, nearly half of all speeding offences were detected in this zone.

To date this year 106 people have been killed on Irish roads, 21 fewer than this date in 2014.

Some 109,000 speeding fixed charge notices were issued between January and June 2015

THIS IS THE SIMPLEST WAY TO SHIFT SOME EXCESS POUNDS WITHOUT HITTING THE GYM

  

If you’re looking to drop some excess pounds, but hate the gym, this might be the news for you.

While in an ideal world we’d all head to the gym five times a week and preach the ‘clean eating’ lifestyle, in reality we’re usually tired after a long day in work and settle in front of Netflix with a good cup of tea and a biscuit.

Now new research published in the journal Obesity has proven that the key to losing weight might be as simple as drinking a pint of water before every meal.

A study conducted by the University of Birmingham asked a group of obese adults to drink a pint of water half-an-hour before mealtimes for 12 weeks.

As well as being given a weight management consultation and advice on how to lead healthy lifestyles and diet, only half of the adults were told to ‘pre-load’ themselves with a pint of water before meals.

The second half of adults were told to ‘imagine’ they were full before they ate rather than drinking the water.

After 12 weeks, the group who drank water before meals lost on average 4.3kg. Those who didn’t drink the water only lost an average of 0.8kg over the same period of time.

Dr Helen Parretti, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) clinical lecturer at the University of Birmingham, said:

“The beauty of these findings is in the simplicity. Just drinking a pint of water, three times a day, before your main meals may help reduce your weight.

“When combined with brief instructions on how to increase your amount of physical activity and on a healthy diet, this seems to help people to achieve some extra weight loss – at a moderate and healthy rate. It’s something that doesn’t take much work to integrate into our busy everyday lives.”

Dinosaur foot found by student takes story of Wales’ newest dinosaur forward

  

Recently discovered fossils of a Dinosaur’s foot has helped advance the story of Wales’ newest dinosaur adding a new chapter in a story started off by two brothers at Lavernock Beach, near Penarth in South Wales.

Sam Davies, a palaeontology student at Portsmouth University, stumbled upon the fossilised foot of possibly the earliest Jurassic dinosaur in the world. Davies arrived at the South Wales location no more than 10 hours after a cliff fall, that effectively unearthed the fossilised remains of a dinosaur foot.

Upon close examination, Dr David Martill, Reader in Palaeobiology at the University of Portsmouth, concluded that the fossil remains are actually a part of the same therapod dinosaur – a distant cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex – which was found earlier and is on display at National Museum Cardiff until 31 August.

Davies saw the the fossil, embedded in a 20 cm piece of rock, because it was in his line of sight as he was walking along.

“It was pure luck that I found it. It was just sitting on top of a slab of rock. It was obvious the fossil was fingers or toes, because there were three in a row, but the first thing that came to mind was that it was some sort of plesiosaur”, Davies said.

Dr Martill says that the new specimen will enable them to chart the evolution of dinosaur feet, specifically looking at the number of toes and the nature of the ankle bone.

“What we can tell already is that this dinosaur was primitive. It’s right at the bottom of where we draw the line and say ‘These rocks are Triassic, and these are Jurassic’, added Dr Martill.

Dr Caroline Buttler, Head of Palaeontology at Amgueddfa Cymru added: “The dinosaur found by Nick and Rob Hanigan is the first skeleton of a theropod found in Wales. Sam’s find adds to its significance because we can learn more about the animal and how it is related to the dinosaurs that eventually evolved into birds.

“We’re very grateful to Sam for donating the foot to the Museum and hope to put it on display for our visitors to see very soon.”

The skeleton, already on display at National Museum Cardiff includes the small dinosaur’s razor sharp teeth, and claws.

The Welsh dinosaur was a small, slim, agile dinosaur, probably only about 50cm tall and about 200cm long, which had a long tail to help it balance. It lived at the time when south Wales was a coastal region, offering a warm climate. It had lots of small, blade-like, sharp, serrated teeth suggesting that it would have eaten insects, small mammals and other reptiles.

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