Are book stores like Easons still big in Ireland? They're dwindling rapidly here.
This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.
6 March 2013 Last updated at 07:48 ET
Truant Irish teen's parent 'could face jail'
The parents of an Irish teenager who has missed 91 school days this year have been told one of them will be jailed if their son misses classes in the next month.
Judge Alan Mitchell issued the warning during a court case brought against a 15-year-old Galway boy's parents.
He said: "If you don't want a parent to go to jail, and want a qualification, you have to go to school."
The judge agreed to adjourn the case until 10 April.
The National Educational Welfare Board brought the case due to the boy's history of truancy from school - despite having been previously made aware of the consequences.
The case began at Galway District Court on Tuesday but was adjourned overnight.
The judge told the teenager's parents on Tuesday: "Overnight you need to decide which of you is going into prison for 21 days and who's getting a suspended sentence - your son can decide that."
The boy appeared in court on Thursday, but his solicitor did not wish him to give evidence, due to his age.
The solicitor said there had been lengthy consultations with the family in relation to the threat.
"Obviously, he wants neither of his parents to go to prison," she said.
"I am assured that he will go to school tomorrow (Thursday)."
The judge agreed to put the matter back to "see if there is a change of attitude" by both the parents and the child.
"Various supports have been made available and you haven't necessarily co-operated," he said to them.
"You have to obey what your parents tell you, and what the law tells you. There are two and a half weeks left of term. I want you to be there every day (until the Easter holidays) and on the first two days of next term."
Continue reading the main story
If you are not in attendance one of your parents will have to have their bags packed because they will be going to prison that day”
End Quote Judge Alan Mitchell
He told the boy that he could not hope to get on the road to employment without a basis of education.
Adjourning the case, the judge added: "If you are not in attendance one of your parents will have to have their bags packed because they will be going to prison that day."
On Wednesday, Paul McCavera, Galway city education welfare officer with the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB), told the court there had been a "long history of engagement with the family" but this had ended last year.
Both parents had previously been summonsed to court but the father had failed to attend, resulting in a bench warrant being issued for him.
Mr McCavera added that a range of support services had been offered to the family, but they had failed to avail of them.
He agreed with a solicitor for the family that the teen had no interest in attending school.
However, he rejected the suggestion that the family had done everything they could to persuade him to attend.
The court heard that the boy in question was "a very pleasant child" who had no discipline problems in school.
The BBC has learned that last year, the board issued 132 summonses to parents who failed to ensure that their children attended school with 30 ending in convictions for the parents.
Five of those convicted received suspended prison sentences, 17 were fined and the remaining eight cases, although recorded as convictions, were still before the courts.
A spokeswoman said court proceedings were issued "where the parents refuse to co-operate with the board and have failed in their duty to ensure their children attend school".
All-Ireland hurling and football finals 2013 could lose star players
By Richard Barrett Updated: February 28, 2013
The harsh sanctions emerged as the motions for next month’s GAA Congress in Derry came to light. This is sure to cause outrage throughout the country, as the decision to punish three cumulative double yellow or black cards with a one-match ban was believed not to affect a player’s availability for the All-Ireland final.
Many figures in the GAA embraced the clause, believing that special dispensation would be given to players that picked up their third double yellow or black card in an All-Ireland semi-final. However, the new revelations are sure to ruffle a few feathers as Congress will not be asked to make an exception for any match.
This motion is expected to cause a large amount of controversy over the coming weeks.
Feile future under threat
27 February 2013
The future of the renowned Feile competitions is under threat because some clubs are too competitive.
GAA officials have raised concerns on the matter as Feile heads into its 42nd year as they feel that the competition has lost its ethos.
Feile is a competition at under-14 level that covers hurling, football, camogie and girls' football and it has become an important part of the GAA's culture.
At a recent Central Council meeting plans were discussed to remove the competitive element from Feile and also to ensure that clubs of every level get a chance to participate, rather than just the best teams in respective counties.
Reports of teams staying in hotels and warm weather training in an attempt to win the national Feile competition have lead to the current discussions.
BNP make equality complaint against GAA
Published on Monday 18 February 2013 08:57
The British National Party in Northern Ireland has written a letter of complaint about the GAA to the Equality Commission.
BNP regional organiser for Northern Ireland, Steven Moore, claims in the letter that the GAA “is likely to be in breach of The Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998”.
He has alleged that the GAA seeks to exclude unionists by flying the Irish flag at grounds and singing the Irish national anthem at matches.
“Furthermore,” Mr Moore writes, “some GAA grounds are named after prominent Republicans and have been used for Republican anti-British political commemorations contrary to the Association’s own rules.
“This creates an environment where unionists will feel intimidated, threatened and of less value than other citizens, because of their national identity.
“Effectively they are excluded from attending or participating in GAA in Northern Ireland.”
Lots of bling but no bang
By Ewan MacKenna - Monday, February 04, 2013
It took just a few sentences, but in those few seconds Jimmy McGuinness managed to depressingly sum up the next three months.
Standing in a cramped corridor under the Cusack Stand on Saturday night, the first real game of 2013 had barely drawn its final breath and the Donegal manager wore a gentle smile as he spoke. This is a man that hates losing so much he’d essentially been unemployed for the past two years, devoting all his time to winning. But here and now, defeat didn’t bother him, and little wonder. "We’re probably at 65-to-70%," he said. "It’s not something to get overly carried away with. We want to get enough points to stay in the division."
His honesty had just launched the league — one of the most pointless competitions in sport.
The start of the season should be a showpiece occasion but despite the valiant efforts of both the GAA and Dublin County Board in trying to make it a spectacle, these games aren’t, and under the current format they never will be. It’s not that the standard is bad, rather that high-end sport is largely about winning and losing. Without the brutal choice between exhilaration and devastation for all stakeholders, it’s boring. Yet the majority of 112-round-robin games will be played out with a mentality McGuinness and others openly admit to: it’s better to avoid the drop while finding one or two players and honing tactics than it is to win out with the tried and tested.
What’s worse is, on average an inter-county side plays just over 11 competitive games per year. However over seven of those will be in this competition. In short, close to twice as many games that don’t matter are played out as games that do. But we are so wrapped up in familiarity that there is no contempt for the league, rather an acceptance of mediocrity and a waste of time and talent.
Consider this — while fans of other sports get regular high-profile matches that matter, and while players, managers and backroom teams in other sports work and train to test themselves at the highest level, we don’t get that in football. The best teams may all have finally rode in and hitched up in Division One, but still we must wait until August before they challenge one another. It makes no sense. Instead, what we got on Saturday night was what we already knew before Saturday night. Dublin are deeper than most in terms of talent, Kildare are very good but have enough flaws and problem positions to stop them being great, Donegal aren’t fit, and after dominating the league recently Cork finally realised it isn’t worth their while to do so again.
Any competition of importance involves hitting the ground running however the champions of the last three years have done no ball work. Instead, a side that has been back just over two months are in the gym on Tuesdays, doing fitness work on Thursdays and are expected to fit in another day of weights themselves. It explains the ball striking of Colm O’Neill and Donnacha O’Connor and explains why so few from Cork were troubled by it. Indeed on Saturday, Conor Counihan’s dummy team was actually stronger than his named team, which sums up so much. As for the best team in the nation, Donegal are only back training less than four weeks, and while they were subjected to a gruelling schedule of workouts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays after returning from Dubai, it’s all been to catch up on lost time rather than get ready for a tilt at a competition that dominates the inter-county calendar in terms of the number of games played.
Who can blame them? Of the 40 teams that have reached provincial finals in the last five seasons, only 12 reached any league final that same season. In the past three years, the All Ireland semi-finalists have won just 58% of round-robin league games. There’s little correlation between championship class and league form because there’s little interest.
Right now in football, there are so many exciting questions, from what Mick O’Dwyer can do with Clare, past dark horses like Laois and Monaghan and Roscommon, all the way up to how Jimmy McGuinness double-jobs at the top. There’s an exciting tactical revolution taking place. There’s a middle-class of teams that have never been as good at any point in football history. There’s better preparation and higher standards. Sadly though we waste all of that over the next few months and must wait until 65% of intercounty games are out of the way before we can enjoy what we have. In the meantime McGuinness and others will battle it out not to be the worst, rather than trying to be the best. Something to be endured rather than enjoyed.