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TDs and senators dine in the dark

Oireachtas members last night enjoyed dinner blindfolded to raise awareness about the challenges faced by people with sight loss. Dine in the Dark is an initiative which has been promoted by the National Council for the Blind in Ireland (NCBI) and the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) to increase awareness of the challenges faced on a daily basis by people who are blind and visually impaired. The dinner was hosted by Senator Martin Conway, who is himself visually impaired. The fully booked meal included Ministers, TDs and Senators from across all political parties and is the first time in the history of the Houses of the Oireachtas that such an event was held. Senator Conway said, “The NCBI’s Dine in the Dark event is a fantastic initiative that challenges people to go outside their comfort zone and gives them an insight into what life is like with vision impairment. “Last year the event was a great success for the NCBI …

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Examining State bereavement support

AN Taoiseach Enda Kenny has launched Finite Lives Dying, Death and Bereavement: An Examination of State Services in Ireland, a report by Independent Senator Marie-Louise O’Donnell. The report is the first comprehensive analysis of end-of-life issues across all government departments outside health.  Commenting on the report, Senator O’Donnell said that death affects nearly 1,000 people every day between the estimated 80 people who die each day, and the 800 people directly affected by these deaths. Amongst the recommendations in the report is: The need for a whole-of-government strategy on end-of-life A national public consultation process. A socio-economic review of the costs of  death and bereavement An analysis of fuel and funeral poverty Regulation of the funeral services industry Further recommendations include the reinstatement of the Bereavement Grant and an audit to combat financial abuse of pensions of the elderly. In terms of communications, Senator O’Donnell has recommended that the State develops a dedicated website outlining all State services that are available to support …

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Mulcahy labels his father ‘a bully’

Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy has said, from what he can remember, his father was “ a thug and a bully”. He made the comment in a  contribution to a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, which was discussing submissions on domestic and sexual violence. During the speech on Wednesday night, at the end of which he received a round of applause, the Shannon-based senator said he was not sure how his family would react to his sharing these personal details but said he thought nothing had changed in Ireland since then with regards to this issue. As regards gardaí being called out to investigate an alleged domestic incident, he remarked, “What’s perpetrated at the time is an absolute assault, right, and it is a criminal act, and we need to treat it as a criminal act,” he said. More power should be given to gardaí, as first responders to these incidents, Senator Mulcahy suggested, adding that community …

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EU flood fund still open

SENATOR  Martin Conway, on this Wednesday, welcomed comments from the office of the EU’s Regional Policy Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, that Ireland can still apply for assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund. “I am greatly encouraged that the Regional Policy Commissioner has advised that Ireland can apply for funding within the deadline provided if it informs the Commission that additional information will be submitted at a later point. “The EU Solidarity Fund was created in response to severe flooding in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and France during the summer of 2002. “It is possible to access this funding if the majority of a population of a region are hit by serious and lasting effects in living conditions and stability, a definition which could certainly be applied to the destruction which has been wrought on coastal communities and low lying areas around the country,” the Fine Gael senator stated. He urged the Government to push ahead with an application to this …

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