Garda vetting system in need of reform

The Garda vetting system is in need of reform in order to make it more efficient and user-friendly. By Sandy Hazel.

Garda vetting is in the news thanks to its long waiting list and the burden of bureaucracy it places on businesses, community groups, volunteers and prospective adoptive parents. So what is the problem with the system and what is being done to fix what many see as a flawed process?

Time to see more women on Irish stamps?

Why are there so few women philosophers? Have women been too busy hanging up washing and sorting socks? A wonderful luxury, philosophy's place on the hierarchy of needs depends on whether you are female and if there is good drying weather. But if we ask why there so few women on Irish stamps then the answer is less tangible than the Beaufort scale.

[Pictured: Four Irish stamps from 2004 that honour the Irish Nobel Prize winners for Literature ]

What next for the Poolbeg incinerator plan?

Is the Poolbeg incinerator plan actually too small? After the exit of the Greens, the Minister for the Environment is now Éamon Ó Cuív. Within a few weeks we will have another minister in place. What will happen to the issue of the proposed Poolbeg incinerator is anyone’s guess.  Sandy Hazel reports.

Most election candidates are saying publicly that the incinerator is a bad plan, but they are in campaign mode and possibly telling the electorate only what it wants to hear. A recent readers’ poll by the Irish Times had 60-40 in favour of the incinerator being built.

Discrimination and cultural disintegration 'top' factor in Traveller suicides

Young Traveller men are the most vulnerable to dying by suicide in Ireland today. By Sandy Hazel

In a country with already high suicide rates - fifth highest in Europe for youth suicide according to the National Office for Suicide Prevention – men are more vulnerable to suicide than women. Four times more men in Ireland take their own life than men in the UK. More people die in Ireland by suicide than in car accidents each year, yet road safety campaigns receive ten times the budget of suicide prevention.

Sandymount to go high rise?

There were heated exchanges at the Sandymount and Merrion Residents' Association (SAMRA) meeting in October over the Dublin City Council's Development Plan which proposes extending the 'inner city' to include areas outside the current canals area. By Sandy Hazel.

Under the proposal, Lansdowne Road (pictured), Beech Road, Bath Avenue and stretches of the Dodder will become part of the inner city according to residents at the SAMRA meeting. The redefinition of this boundary will enable the city planners to allow high rise development in these areas.


Gormley vows to levy incinerator

Levies will be placed on the operation of the proposed Ringsend incinerator "regardless of threats by Covanta to sue" Minister John Gormley told a local meeting in October. By Sandy Hazel

John Gormley assured residents that figures quoted in recent media reports "are wrong" regarding the costs of stopping the controversial incinerator project at Poolbeg.

Notes from the Dublin City Council Autumn meetings

Sandy Hazel reports from recent Dublin City Council meetings. Questions remain unanswered on  the Poolbeg incinerator licence; the abject failure of the DDDA; renaming Merrion Square Park and the Queen's visit to Ireland. Please get in touch should you wish to report from meetings of other Councils.

When is 'I do' taboo?

Ireland has the highest recorded incidence of Hurler syndrome - a genetic disorder potentially fatal among children. Three quarters of Irish children diagnosed with the disorder are Travellers. A screening programme could save lives, yet no such programme is in place. Sandy Hazel investigates one of the risks of 'cousin marriage' in the first of three articles on Traveller health.