Five Laois monuments to receive almost €200,000 in government funding Ten Laois based players named on Leinster rugby U-18 girls squad Community RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR The kids of Portlaoise Educate Together NS released balloons to mark the opening of the new autism centre Twitter Facebook The kids of Portlaoise Educate Together NS released balloons to mark the opening of the new autism centre The official opening of Le Chéile, a purpose built autism unit for Portlaoise Educate Together, took place recently.Gemma Phelan, Deputy Principal and Special Needs Co-ordinator at Portlaoise Educate Together, was MC on the day and she began by welcoming children, staff, parents and members of the community.She also welcomed local Minister Charlie Flanagan and Leas Cathaoirleach Laois County Council Willie Aird.Gemma’s last address she gave a very warm welcome to Adam Harris from AsIAm a spokesman and a role model for people in the autism community.The ribbon ceremony took place with some children from the unit cutting ribbons.Stef McGinn, mother to twins Aoife and Áine McGinn who both attend Le Chéile cut a ribbon to represent the close working relationship between the parents and the school.Finally Adam Harris cut a jigsaw ribbon to open the doorway into Le Chéile.April is autism awareness month with the colour blue signifying all those who live with autism. A blue balloon release ceremony was next on the agenda to celebrate this great occasion. Laois County Council create ‘bigger and better’ disability parking spaces to replace ones occupied for outdoor dining Pinterest Twitter 1 of 16 Home News In Pictures: Le Chéile Autism Unit in Portlaoise Educate Together opened News Pinterest SEE ALSO – Concerns raised over sexual and serious assault of prison officers in Portlaoise Children, parents and staff released and watched loads of blue ballons float away to a raptuious applause.The Greens Schools Committee, the Student Council, the School Band and 6th Class who were representing the student body sang ‘I’m a Believer’.Mary Dolan, chairperson of the Board of Management spoke a few words, she thanked the builder, the staff and the parents and children who were patient when ground works and building were underway.She stated: “the unit represented the main ethos of the Educate Together, which is inclusion.”Adam Harris, brother to Minister for Health and Fine Gael TD Simon, spoke of his Aspergers.He explained he is often asked what it’s like to be autistic and said: “The best way I can describe it is, if someone plucked you up out of obscurity and dropped you in the middle of Tokyo and asked you to navigate your way around.“You can only imagine how confusing that would feel.” He went onto say if I could ask everyone who meets someone with autism to do three things. One – use plain language, two – simplicity, always keep things simple and three – acceptance, be accepting of who you’re speaking to.He asked everyone to follow his AsIam programme for the month of Apil, autism awareness month. It’s called the AsIam Challenge using the hashtag #asiamchallenge. Everyday advice, guidence and quotes will be posted on all social media platforms. WhatsApp Previous articleLaois mum left stranded in flooded council house since MondayNext articleTimeline emerges for demolition of vandalized Portlaoise primary school Alan HartnettStradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016. WhatsApp Adam then unveiled a wall plaque to commemorate the opening of the unit and before everyone was invited inside Gemma made special mentions to Theresa Cullen, parent and Eamon Lennon the school’s caretaker, for their work in the sensory room. Theresa painted a beautiful mural of an underwater shipwreck. TAGSPortlaoise Educate Together By Alan Hartnett – 19th April 2018 In Pictures: Le Chéile Autism Unit in Portlaoise Educate Together opened Rugby Council Facebook
Claire Woodcock holds a few titles from the Norlin Library display honoring International Women’s Day March 8.For her entry of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Alaynah Penalosa (College of Media, Communication and Information, class of 2020) won the raffle prize of a Future Is Female wall calendar, poster and postcard set.The crowd-sourcing project also has culminated in a Norlin Library book display of 60 titles in honor of International Women’s Day March 8. Example titles include Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People by Pulitzer Prize winner and CU Boulder distinguished professor Elizabeth Fenn and Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell.The display is located near the west entrance of Norlin Library (closest to Norlin Quad), or the circulation desk, and will be available through March 30. Categories:ExhibitsEvents & Exhibits Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: March 7, 2019 University Libraries put out the call via social media, and the campus community responded. The question: Who are your favorite female storytellers?
Dublin, London and Brussels all say they do not want a return to the borders of the past. But it is unclear how customs can be avoided. If Northern Ireland is outside the single market and Ireland is within it, they are inevitable.Peter Leary, a University of Oxford historian who wrote a book about how locals have negotiated the border, noted that customs were never the plan in the past either. Rather, customs were forced into place by the pursuit of other policies.“The border didn’t come about due to deliberate design,” Leary said.“What the history points to is that … people pursue other things that make customs inevitable. That leads to other potential dangers, the potential for conflict,” Leary said. “Customs were attacked in the 1920s, they were burnt down in the 1930s, they were attacked in the 1950s … If there is to be a return to customs will they have to be defended? Will there be a re-militarization of the border?”Theresa May and Enda Kenny meet in Dublin | Charles McQuillan/Getty ImagesThe British Army attempted to enforce a hard border in the 1970s to combat the IRA. Roads were blown up or blocked to reduce the number of crossings that required manned checkpoints. The attempt was abandoned after the army found the complexity of the border, the manpower required, and the strength of local opposition made the task unfeasible.Treanor, the councilor, was involved in a campaign to reopen border crossings that the British Army had blocked or blown up. He is missing a finger from one 1994 incident when he was arrested and IRA gunmen fired on the police car he was in. Treanor said people would do “whatever they have to” to get around the border. Local officials believe the subsistence smuggling of the past has given way to something more serious that could be turbo-charged by Brexit.“It has moved into racketeering,” said Breathnach, who has introduced a bill in parliament to bring in fines for buying illicit tobacco, alcohol and fuel. “They’re in every racket you can think of, and it’s going to become more acute. I keep raising this issue at senior level and nobody’s listening.”In all, illicit trade in Ireland may cost the exchequer over €800 million a year and industry €1.59 billion a year, according to the study.The border has always been porous, even when the resources of the British Army were focused on securing it, because of its complexity and local resistance, according to the armed forces’ own accounts.The smuggling infrastructure and know-how to make the most of Brexit is already in place. Border commerce long ago adjusted to regulatory changes and fluctuations between sterling and the euro.Roadside shops advertise cheap fuel and alcohol deals, and markets are held in fields straddling the boundary where visitors can buy anything from agricultural equipment to clothing to washing powder from the backs of vans. Some black- or gray-market dealers even offer home delivery. “You can have a house with a front door and a back door, and the border goes through the middle. Of course, people will find a bit of ingenuity to get around it,” said Pat Treanor, a Sinn Féin councilor in the border county of Monaghan. “The black market will thrive.”The bigger the differences between the tax and regulatory regimes on each side of the post-Brexit border, the greater the opportunities for illicit profit.British Prime Minister Theresa May has said the U.K. will leave the EU’s customs union. Complying with the procedures required to cross the border after that happens would add costs to businesses of up to 24 percent, according to the U.K. Treasury — offering an attractive profit margin to anyone willing to break the rules.Cars cross the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, in Donegal, Ireland | Paul Faith/AFP via Getty ImagesSince 1922, when Ireland broke away from the United Kingdom, people have been finding creative ways to get around the border. There’s a certain cultural acceptance of exploiting the border, which carries a sheen of political justification and Robin Hood-style glamor.“It might be seen as populist to smuggle in the community I live in,” said Declan Breathnach, a member of parliament for Fianna Fáil from the border county of Louth.Cross-border arbitrage runs from legitimate bargain hunting to black-market trade. Older residents of border towns fondly reminisce about smuggling butter or tea to get around food restrictions in place before the 1970s. The later exploitation of EU farming payments by moving animals over the border is even celebrated in song. And although they are illegal in the Republic of Ireland, fireworks smuggled down from Northern Ireland light up the skies of Dublin every Halloween. What gets smuggled?In recent years, a major trade across the border has been in fuel, with smugglers adjusting their prices according to regulatory changes. A sophisticated industry grew up based around removing the dye from diesel meant for agricultural and industrial use, which is taxed at a lower rate, so it could be sold as more expensive diesel for ordinary cars.A crackdown on the practice and changes to fuel that make it harder to remove the dye helped reduce the trade, but there are signs the racketeers have now moved into oil for heating houses, according to local officials.Businesses that sell coal and peat fuel complain that a rise in tax in Ireland caused their business to shift to the black market. The change created a €2,000 incentive for anyone who can move 20 metric tons of coal from Northern Ireland into the Republic, according to the Solid Fuel Trade Group.According to a study by legal and accountancy firm Grant Thornton, there are between 10 and 12 main gangs with deep local roots who are involved in the cross-border fuel trade. They take advantage of the two jurisdictions in law enforcement to evade capture, moving operations from one side of the border to the other when needed.In all, illicit trade in Ireland may cost the exchequer over €800 million a year and industry €1.59 billion a year, according to the study.According to Breathnach, the Louth lawmaker, border gangs are also targeting groceries such as soft drinks and washing powder, mixing and repackaging them before passing them on for sale. There are clear risks for food safety. The border is an agricultural area, and some farms straddle the international boundary. If the U.K. adopts different standards following its exit from the EU, the border would be an obvious weak point to introduce food illicitly into Ireland, which has invested heavily in quality and traceability systems in recent years.Farmers are looking for ways to offset potential hardship. Those on the Northern Irish side of the border may lose their Common Agricultural Policy payments and supply chains on both sides will be disrupted.Paramilitary overlapDuring the years of conflict known as the Troubles, the border areas saw some of the worst violence. As peace took hold, police believe that remnants of paramilitary groups on both sides that once fought over whether Northern Ireland should be part of the United Kingdom moved into organized crime.Locals say there is an overlap between republican paramilitary circles and those in charge of cross-border smuggling. Locals refer to the main figures as “godfathers” and can be reluctant to speak about the subject. (This reporter was warned some smugglers wouldn’t hesitate to “take you out.”)The name most commonly mentioned is Thomas “Slab” Murphy, a prominent republican whose family farm straddles the border and who was convicted of tax evasion last year and jailed for 18 months. He is widely reported to have been a senior member of the Provisional IRA and to have amassed a fortune smuggling animals and fuel through his farm.“It would be like telling Germany to rebuild the Berlin Wall” — Pat Treanor, a Sinn Féin councilor CLONES, Ireland — Businesses along the boundary between Ireland and Northern Ireland are gearing up for hardship as Brexit turns it back into an external EU border.But one sector is looking forward to it: smuggling.Locals along the complex division, which twists for 500 kilometers through towns, villages and remote countryside, joke that at least Brexit could be good for employment. “It would be like telling Germany to rebuild the Berlin Wall,” he said. Asked about the risk of a return to violence, he said “it depends.”“If a customs or whatever border were to be introduced and it turns out there are military, armed people on it, and they’re treating people like they used to treat people,” Treanor said, “that would create conditions [for violence].” Also On POLITICO UK government extends Northern Ireland talks deadline By Saim Saeed Northern Ireland talks deadline extended By Saim Saeed Letter from Agadez Welcome to Agadez, smuggling capital of Africa By Lucas Destrijcker
The European Commission is seeking views on what an EU regulatory framework on renewable energy should look like for the post-2020 period.Current EU renewable energy rules are contained in the Renewable Energy Directive, which is designed to ensure that all EU countries meet their renewable energy target by 2020 and therefore contribute to EU’s target of 20% share of renewable energy in overall energy consumption by 2020.In October 2014, EU countries agreed to a new target of at least 27% renewables by 2030. In order to reach this target, and as part of the EU’s plans for Energy Union, a new Renewable Energy Directive, including a post-2020 framework, will be needed.In its public consultation document, the Commission states that several areas in particular will need attention.These include: a new governance to ensure target is achieved at EU-level, measures to empower consumers on renewable energy solutions, cutting emissions in the heating and cooling sector, removing market entry barriers for renewables and boosting the use of renewables in the transport sector.The consultation is open until 10 February 2016.Image: EC