Irish news media – 17th March

Summary includes – travelers’ rights; emigration; violence against women; medical care; student fees and rural economics; medics’ sex abuse may top Church scandals

Undocumented in Ireland will celebrate St Patrick’s Day ‘in the shadows’ – The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland is using this weekend’s celebrations to highlight the plight of what it says is an estimated 30,000 undocumented people in Ireland.

Calls for Irish government to recognise Travellers as ethnic group – At a Universal Periodic Review, the Irish government was also called on to address the situation of thousands of asylum seekers and take steps towards improving the conditions they live in.

Ireland signs protocol on violence against women – The Government signed the Council of Europe Convention on Violence Against Women, a move which was welcomed by Amnesty International at today’s Universal Periodic Review.

Ireland criticised over rejection of abortion recommendations – The Irish Family Planning Association criticised the government’s rejection of recommendations on abortion; but the move was welcomed by the Society for the Protection of the Unborn.

Quinn to proceed with asset tax
Irish Times – Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn is set to press ahead with a new Capital Asset Test for student grants which could be make it more difficult for children of farmers and the self employed to gain funding.

The president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) John Comer, has promised a ‘teeth and nail’ campaign of resistance against the changes to current means testing arrangements.

Reform of the student grant scheme has been on the education agenda for over two decades but successive ministers have been reluctant to overhaul it. Reform has been demanded since the 1997 de Buitleir report concluded that the current means test is “is defective in that it fails to take full account of ability to pay – particularly since it ignores the accumulated wealth of individuals. Some people with clearly expensive lifestyles obtain grants while others, who are very hard-pressed, lose out.”

Open democracy: Leinster House to offer public tours – Members of the public can now tour the houses of the Oireachtas every Monday and on non-sitting Fridays without having to book beforehand.

Man died after 20 hours on trolley
BBC – An elderly man who died unnoticed in an A&E unit had spent more than 20 hours on a trolley.

We’re at breaking point, warns Northern Ireland nursing director
Belfast Telegraph – “Stop trying to make the unworkable work.” That is the view of Janice Smyth, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Northern Ireland, on the current state of the health system. Ms Smyth contacted The Belfast Telegraph after this newspaper revealed the reality of waiting times at Northern Ireland’s A&E departments.

Action plan after hospital death
BBC – A health chief says a robust action plan is being implemented to ensure patients are moved quickly through a Belfast hospital’s emergency system, after a patient apparently died unnoticed on a trolley in A&E.

Dáil hears calls for justice for survivors of symphysiotomy – Symphysiotomy was a practice used during childbirth during the last century before the advent of safe Caesarean sections. However, it was used for longer in Ireland because of Catholic religious and ideological circumstances.

Alcohol a factor in fewer fatal road crashes since 2005 – Ahead of this weekend’s festivities Gardaí have also released statistics which show 26 people have died on Irish roads during the St Patrick’s Day periods of the past five years.

Cash woes halt work on historic Derry building
Belfast Telegraph – Restoration work on a landmark building in Londonderry has ground to a halt because of financial difficulties.The Cathedral School in London Street, a Grade B1 listed building, was awarded total funding of £1.5m —but the organisation appointed to oversee the project, Cresco Trust, has gone into administration. The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £832,000 to the project to turn the building into a social enterprise centre, with the rest of the money coming from the Department of the Environment (DoE) and the Tourist Board.

How did Church’s moral compass avoid this issue?
Belfast Telegraph – Fionula Meredith writes – … religious institutions, making them look uptight, repressive and out-of-step with public opinion. If they really want to stem the tide of secularism, they won’t achieve it by harrumphing self-righteously from the pulpit. Except in Northern Ireland, …

Medics’ sex abuse may top Church scandals
Examiner – The scale of sexual abuse by medical practitioners against patients could be far worse than scandals that rocked the Catholic Church, it was claimed yesterday. Dignity 4 Patients, which supports more than 250 alleged victims, has demanded a state inquiry into patient abuse after allegations were made against consultants, doctors and nurses from all over the country.

Overcrowded prison system an absolute disaster, report finds
Irish Times – The republic’s overcrowded prison system is an “absolute disaster”, and new measures such as giving prisoners a third of their sentences off for good behaviour need to be examined to ease prison violence and tension, according to a new report.
Social campaigner Fr Peter McVerry said the idea of increasing remission from 25 per cent at present to 30 per cent was “not all that radical” in an international context, and yet would significantly reduce overcrowding.

Money lenders under investigation
BBC – A number of payday lenders in Northern Ireland are facing investigation for unfair practices following undercover visits by Trading Standards.

Nearly a fifth of Irish children growing up with “significant” problems: study
CNI – Between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of nine-year-olds are growing up with, “significant levels of emotional or behaviour problems,” according to a major Government-funded study of children’s wellbeing.

The study, Growing Up in Ireland, also found that children in single-parent households, as well as those in more economically disadvantaged families, “displayed higher levels of social and emotional problems.”

It said, “Coming from a lower socio-economic background or single-parent family may increase a child’s risk for poorer social and emotional outcomes.  However, processes within the family and child characteristics remain the most important predictors of children’s social and emotional outcomes.”

While it found that a majority of nine-year-olds were developing, “without any significant social, emotional or behavioural problems,” it said that approximately 15 per cent to 20 per cent of children displayed significant levels of emotional or behaviour problems.  Children who experienced high levels of conflict with their mothers and fathers displayed more social and emotional difficulties, it said.