The Disgrace of the CRC

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Some €700,000 worth of charitable donations to the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) was used to fund a retirement package for former Chief Executive, Paul Kiely, when he left the disability service in June.

This is on top of the €3m loan from the charity arm Friends and Supporters of CRC to fund the pension pot of Mr Kiely and others.

The Dail’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has heard that Mr Kiely’s lump sum payment was far greater than what he had claimed when he appeared before them on December 11.

Many people who have unwaveringly helped raise funds for the charity selling Santa Bears, running marathons and holding various events are angered about this .It is good that the lid is being lifted on these charities and their boards. I think this is a case of opening pandora’s box with the culture of entitlement across all these boards and across all sectors, both public and private of the state.

Unfortunately there has existed and continues to exist a group of people who do not live like the rest of us. They are the elite, and they see nothing wrong with this type of activity. Their faction includes Politicians, Churchmen, Medical Consultants etc. They see nothing wrong with paying themselves multiples of the average wage and getting top ups in the form of pension payments etc while other suffer. At a time when the old age pension age of entitlement is being pushed out to 68 for us mere mortals  we see scum like Kiely getting massive top ups to their pension pots. How come some users of the CRC are on long waiting lists for vital physiotherapy and other services due to lack of funding while this enormous sum of money for the CE can suddenly be found.

Of course the elite could not be expected to live on what we ordinary citizens have to live on.

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The Late Late Toy Show -Are We Ruining Our Childs Imagination With Too Many Toys .

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Watching the The Late Late Toy Show   with the family huddled around the television while eating a feast of rubbish  is an Irish Christmas tradition.On Toy Show night all normal rules go out the door, kids can eat as much junk as they want  and stay up as late as they wish.All sorts of toys will be demonstrated from baby dolls that wee and poo to toy cookers that really cook your food.This year has a record number of participants, with more than 231 performers, demonstrators and children taking part. The toy count has also reached new levels with 237 toys featuring in the show and 100 toys used in the set design. Great excitement grips both the adults and children,but do our children need all these sophiaticated toys and is it destroying their imagination and hindering their development.Although it is essential they have a certain amount of toys would it better to allow them play with a large cardboard box and use their imagination and natural  creative skills to create a garage or a cooker.The Guardian Newspaper recently published an article examining the effects of children having too many toys. As you can probably guess, the results are not positive. The findings were that an overload of toys can possibly hinder child development and creativity. Also, having too many toys can affect the child’s attention span and leave them giving up on an item quickly.

None of us  set out to spoil our  children.  If anything, we really triy not to.  When I was young, I didn’t have a great deal of toys, but what I did have was a love of the outdoors.   Come rain or shine, I was outside; sometimes in the street playing with friends, other times, in the garden or garage playing on my own, doing ‘scientific’ or gardening  experiments.I fear todays generation are missing out on this .
When you don’t have a great deal, you certainly make the most of what you have.  For me, that was nature and the world around me, for others it may be something more creative.  How many times have you found that the most fun your children have is with something really simple like a large cardboard box or other simple items?  Maybe we really do just over complicate things.

People need to understand that fewer toys will benefit our children in the long run.

  1. Kids learn to be more creative. Too many toys prevent kids from fully developing their gift of imagination. Two German public health workers (Strick and Schubert) conducted an experiment in which they convinced a kindergarten classroom to remove all of their toys for three months. Although boredom set in during the initial stages of the experiment, the children soon began to use their basic surroundings to invent games and use imagination in their playing.
  2. Kids develop longer attention spans. When too many toys are introduced into a child’s life, their attention span will begin to suffer. A child will rarely learn to fully appreciate the toy in front of them when there are countless options still remaining on the shelf behind them.
  3. Kids establish better social skills. Children with fewer toys learn how to develop interpersonal relationships with other kids and adults. They learn the give and take of a good conversation. And studies have attributed childhood friendships to a greater chance of success academically and in social situations during adulthood.
  4. Kids learn to take greater care of things. When kids have too many toys, they will naturally take less care of them. They will not learn to value them if there is always a replacement ready at hand. If you have a child who is constantly damaging their toys, just take a bunch away. He will quickly learn.
  5. Kids develop a greater love for reading, writing, and art. Fewer toys allows your children to love books, music, coloring, and painting. And a love for art will help them better appreciate beauty, emotion, and communication in their world.
  6. Kids become more resourceful. In education, students aren’t just given the answer to a problem; they are given the tools to find the answer. In entertainment and play, the same principle can be applied. Fewer toys causes children to become resourceful by solving problems with only the materials at hand. And resourcefulness is a gift with unlimited potential.
  7. Kids argue with each other less. This may seem counter-intuitive. Many parents believe that more toys will result in less fighting because there are more options available. However, the opposite is true far too often. Siblings argue about toys. And every time we introduce a new toy into the relationship, we give them another reason to establish their “territory” among the others. On the other hand, siblings with fewer toys are forced to share, collaborate, and work together.
  8. Kids learn perseverance. Children who have too many toys give up too quickly. If they have a toy that they can’t figure out, it will quickly be discarded for the sake of a different, easier one. Kids with fewer toys learn perseverance, patience, and determination.
  9. Kids become less selfish. Kids who get everything they want believe they can have everything they want. This attitude will quickly lead to an unhealthy (and unbecoming) lifestyle.
  10. Kids experience more of nature. Children who do not have a basement full of toys are more apt to play outside and develop a deep appreciation for nature. They are also more likely to be involved in physical exercise which results in healthier and happier bodies.
  11. Kids learn to find satisfaction outside of the toy store. True joy and contentment will never be found in the aisles of a toy store. Kids who have been raised to think the answer to their desires can be bought with money have believed the same lie as their parents. Instead, children need encouragement to live counter-cultural lives finding joy in things that truly last.
  12. Kids live in a cleaner, tidier home. If you have children, you know that toy clutter can quickly take over an entire home. Fewer toys results in a less-cluttered, cleaner, healthier home.
  13. Now Im not I’m not anti-toy. I’m just pro-child. So do your child a favor today and limit their number of toys. (Just don’t tell them you got the idea from me.)

I’m not anti-toy. I’m just pro-child. So do your child a favor today and limit their number of toys. (Just don’t tell them you got the idea from me.)

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What ever age your Children enjoy tonights Toy Show.For me it will be tinged with saddness as it will be the first time we will not watch as a family as my Aishling is in NewYork but we will enjoy it anyway.

Why do we believe in conspiracys

Conspiracy Theories, why do we believe them?

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was shot dead in Dallas, Texas, yesterday by a hidden assassin armed with a high powered rifle. But did he work alone, and if not who was he working with.

The circumstances surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, generated suspicions of a conspiracy. These suspicions were lessened somewhat when an official investigation by the Warren Commission concluded the following year that there was no conspiracy.      Since then, doubts have arisen regarding the Commission’s finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for the assassination of Kennedy, and most Americans today believe that others besides Oswald were also involved in the assassination. Critics have argued that the Commission and the government have covered up crucial information pointing to a conspiracy.

Successive official investigations confirmed most of the conclusions of the Warren Commission. However, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy, with “…a high probability that two gunmen fired at the President”. No person or organization was identified by the HSCA as being a co-conspirator of Oswald. Most current theories put forth a criminal conspiracy involving parties as varied as the CIA, the mafia, anti-Castro Cuban exile groups, the military industrial complex, sitting Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Cuban President Fidel Castro, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, the KGB, or some combination of those  bodies.

Whenever a famous person dies unexpectedly or in tragic circumstances or a tragedy occurs people will create a conspiracy around it.  Some people simply do not like the discomfort that a conspiracy theory creates. But for others, conspiracy theories are intriguing. They like to explore all of the possibilities that a conspiracy theory presents, in the same way that they like to explore puzzles or mystery novels. Sometimes a conspiracy theory is ridiculous and learning about it is a form of entertainment. Or you may find that the theory is credible and it makes you think. It’s interesting to consider the theory, weigh the evidence and come up with a conclusion.

In the 21st century, one event reigns supreme in the catalogue of conspiracy theories: the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States. This event is seared into the nation’s consciousness and significantly affected the entire planet. It seems inevitable that people would cry “conspiracy” about any event with this much impact. However, the conspiracy theories around 9/11 have been strong and consistent.

Much psychology research has focused on identifying factors which predispose certain individuals to endorse conspiracy theories. Given that not everyone believes in conspiracy theories, psychological studies have sought to uncover what distinguishes believers from non-believers.

Researchers have explored the relevance of more general demographic factors like gender, socio-economic status, educational level or ethnic background and so on, but also things like distrust with political authority, sense of powerlessness, political cynicism, authoritarianism or alienation from society.

Overall, this pursuit for the psychological profile of conspiracy theorists has produced modest results. Conspiracy theorists have been shown to be quite similar to sceptics in terms of rational thinking. In fact, the only consistent finding is that believers tend to be disenchanted with authority and cynical about the mainstream of politics.

But this is hardly surprising; these are the central drives of any conspiracy theory!

Great News.Chocolate and Wine are good for our health.

Great news, Chocolate and Wine may be good for you.

With Christmas only 39 days away and a feast of Chocolate in store the good news is that chocolate and red wine may be good for us. It’s possible that a little bit of chocolate may be good for you. Dark chocolate has antioxidants and also has some positive impact on the function of blood vessels. Chocolate also holds benefits apart from protecting your heart:

•it tastes good

•it stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure

•it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant

•it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants

The bad news is   you only need about one and one-half ounces of dark chocolate which is about 4 squares per day, and dark chocolate has more of the antioxidants than milk chocolate, so there are no health benefits from eating a whole box of Chocolates at a time.

Antioxidants have been in the news more and more in recent years, with research continuing to prove the powerful benefits of these protective vitamins. Wine antioxidants have also received a great deal of attention. A glass of wine a day has been proven to protect the heart, and recent studies even indicate it could help beat cancer. Again this is not an excuse to drink a whole bottle of wine.

So what, exactly, do antioxidants do? In general, they fight against free radicals, substances that contribute to the breakdown of body cells over time. Simply put, body cells undergo oxidation, similar to the process that occurs when metal rusts. This oxidation occurs as a natural side effect as the cells go about their daily business of producing energy by synthesizing the foods we eat. Antioxidants slow this oxidation process. In the same way, they can slow or stop processes occurring within the cells that can lead to cancer. They even seem to decelerate the aging process in general, gaining a reputation as a “fountain of youth.”

Antioxidants also help relax the blood vessels, contributing to overall cardiovascular health, reduce the clotting that can lead to strokes or heart attacks, and prevent LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, from oxidizing in the system. All these functions greatly reduce risk of heart attack and stroke, and additional evidence suggests they might help fight other age-related disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

mental health of our young people

                           

                                                                                  Government Ignoring Health of Our Young People                               

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The third week in October has been designated Mental Health Week.It was also a week when we saw the death by suicide of a 5 year old girl  in  Limerick. Chloe Kinsella was the third pupil from her school to have died from suicide this year.

A cross-border report on suicide shows the rate among young people in Ireland is one of the highest in Europe. An estimated 165 teenagers took their own lives in the Republic in 2011 along with 72 teenagers in Northern   Ireland during the same year. According to The Mental Health of Young People in Ireland, which was published by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), young people who experience mental ill-health are at an increased risk of suffering further mental health problems during adulthood.

The report is based on two research studies carried out in Ireland – the Adolescent Brain Development Study and the Challenging Times Two Study. As part of these, over 400 young people aged between 11 and 24 were surveyed and interviewed. The research showed that one in six children aged 11-13 had mental health disorders and this figure rose to one    Despite these figures the Government continues to ignore the problem Mental health organisation Grow called on the Government to deliver finally on the 35 million euros promised for community mental health services.

Chief executive Michelle Kerrigan revealed that between 2010 and 2012 the number of 18-35-year-olds attending Grow meetings around the country soared from 163 to 696.

“Young people have the right to recovery and social inclusion but without the right commitment of investment from our Government, this unfortunately will not be a reality for many of them,” Ms Kerrigan warned.

The heroes of the Dublin City Marathon

Image                                        The Valiant Heroes of the Dublin City Marathon

    The young man’s running shoes pond the streets as he sprints through the pain, chasing his dream of finishing his first Dublin City Marathon. Thirty four years earlier another man was setting out to fulfill his own dream.

    Noel Carroll was an Irish middle distance runner who set European and World Records in the 1960s. In 1980, with the help of the Business Houses Athletic Association fulfilled his dream of setting up a Dublin Marathon. He was among the 2,100 people who competed in the race that year. The first marathon proved such a success that it has been an annual event in Dublin ever since. The Dublin City Marathon is very much a people’s race. The reaction and enthusiasm of the spectators lining the streets to cheer on the runners are fundamentally responsible for the success of the race and it has become known widely as the Friendly Marathon. Some run to win, some compete in wheelchairs, but for most people it is not about individual competition but about personal achievement and human endeavor.

    This year on October 30th  14,000 will run on the streets of Dublin, most without any hope of winning but all with the same aspiration of reaching the finishing line. It is a challenge anyone can undertake all you need is a good pair of running shoes and a whole load of determination.

 As the finishing line comes into view, aching, shattered but elated one mans dream becomes another mans triumph.

 

 

Halloween,from Pagan tradition to party night.

halloween-pumpkinBoasting a rich history rooted in Celtic and Pagan ritual, Halloween has evolved from an ethnic celebration to a blend of street festival and fright night. So,what does all this Halloween iconography symbolise?

Halloween may seem like it’s all about costumes, trick or treating, ghosts and witches, but it has its roots in pagan beliefs. Dating back about 2,000 years, Halloween marked the Celtic new year and was originally called Samhain, which translates to “Summers End” in Gaelic. Halloween represents an end and a beginning, the perfect opportunity to honour the dead and look forward to the New Year.

Samhain is considered a time to eliminate weaknesses – our Celtic ancestors slaughtered weak animals that were not likely to survive the winter and their meat was salted and stored for the dark months. This has evolved into the custom of writing your own weaknesses onto a piece of paper and  then burning them. It was customary at Samhain to leave an empty chair and a plate of food for any dead guests, so they wouldn’t   be offended. At the stroke of midnight, believed to be the witching  hour, the dead visited and  everybody had to remain silent in respect. Candles were lit in the windows and as the flame flickered it was thought that it was being touched by the spirits of dead ancestors .

Over time Halloween has evolved to a secular event. The celebration of Halloween began in Ireland in about 1000 AD, so it’s no wonder that there are so many Irish Halloween traditions that continue around the world every year. Both adults and children dress in masks and fancy costumes, groups of young people light bonfires and children carve pumpkins and bob for apples. Most of these customs have their roots in Pagan and Christian rituals. The wearing of  costumes came from the tradition of mumming.

Mumming is an ancient Irish tradition  were groups of people called wren boys and straw boys  travelled from house to house dressed in costumes and entertaining  people. The wren boys where associated with St Stephens day, but the straw boys travelled during the winter months dressed in costumes made from straw. Groups of children dressed up, chanting, singing, play-acting, and general mischief making went from door to door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for treats, particularly soul cakes. On the eve of Samhain, young people would go from house to house asking for food offerings and kindling for the Samhain fires. On the traditional day of Samhain, November 1st, people would extinguish their hearth fires and gather together to light large fires on sacred hill tops to make offerings to the gods.

Crops and the bones of animals were burnt in the fires as offerings. The modern word, bonfire, comes from the words bone and fire meaning fire of bones. Personal and symbolic items were also burned as offerings for relief from sickness or bad fortune. Folklore tells us the carving of pumpkins dates back to the eighteenth century to an Irish blacksmith named Jack who plotted with the Devil and was denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to wander the earth but asked the Devil for some light. He was given a burning coal ember which he placed inside a turnip that he had carved out. Villagers in Ireland hoped that the lantern in their window would keep the wanderer away. When the Irish emigrated in to America there wasn’t a great supply of turnips so pumpkins were used instead.

The traditional Halloween cake in Ireland is the barnbrack. In today’s brack there’s only a ring,but originaly there where three items a piece of cloth, a coin and a ring in each cake. If you get the rag then your financial future is doubtful. If you get the coin then you can look forward to a prosperous year. Getting the ring is a sure sign of impending romance or continued happiness. The traditional Irish dinner on Halloween was colcannon, this consisted of  boiled potato, curly kale (cabbage) and raw onions. Clean coins are wrapped in baking paper and placed in the potato for children to find and keep.  Like barmbrack, symbolic charms can be hidden in colcannon, a ring means marriage, but a thimble dooms you to spinsterhood. The ivy leaf was often used on Halloween night to determine if a person would have a healthy year.

Each member of the family places a perfect ivy leaf into a cup of water and it’s then left undisturbed overnight. If, in the morning, a leaf is still perfect and has not developed any spots then the person who placed the leaf in the cup can be sure of 12 months health until the following Halloween. Finally, on Halloween night holy water was sprinkled on all farm animals to keep them safe during the night. If the animals were showing signs of ill health on All Hallows Eve they would be spat on to try to ward off any evil spirits.

Today you will find Halloween parties all over Dublin during the bank holiday weekend – from pub events to private gatherings. But the highlight of the festival is the Samhain Halloween Parade. Each year on October 31st the people of Dublin and its visitors come together for the spectacular and colourful parade to mark the end of summer and the people are encouraged to dress up and join in the festivities.   Spectators are treated to a splendid display of dancers, performers, monsters, ghosts, giants, goblins, witches and much more.  The Parade finishes with an extravagant and colourful fireworks display. Whatever you do to celebrate Halloween have fun and stay safe.