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FROM THE NEWSWIRE:
While essentially tonight is a protest occupation, making it evident to the authorities how seriously we regard this situation and our willingness to engage in confrontations over it, the whole process has been one whereby extra hours in which to study have been reclaimed by students by means of a simple refusal to leave when the college decides it's time to go."
OPEN, the national network of lone parent groups has expressed its anger and dismay at the latest reported changes to the Community Employment (CE) programme. "During its first incarnation, the FF/PD coalition altered the CE programme so that lone parents under 25 years of age were excluded from participation" said Frances Byrne, spokesperson for the group. "The latest leaked report proposes increasing CE hours from 19.5 to 30 hours per week. This change would discriminate against lone parents with school-going children, who will simply not be available to work the extended hours. To add insult to injury, CE participants would not be paid for the additional hours. Every report, including those commissioned by the government, has shown that lone parents rely on this scheme to overcome poverty and welfare dependency", continued Ms. Byrne, "How then can this government justify punishing some of the most excluded families in the state?"
OPEN has already surveyed their groups in Dublin in order to monitor the local effects of ongoing government cutbacks in CE and other programmes. The results show widespread reductions in staff and services in communities such as Finglas and Tallaght. A group in N.E. Dublin reported that its already relying exclusively on donations in order to continue to provide education and training programmes to lone parents and others in their community. Lone parent groups in Tipperary, Limerick and Mayo have also had to drastically curtail their activities. This means that in many rural areas lone parents and their children are losing vital services.
FROM THE NEWSWIRE:
"Focus Ireland claimed today (Nov 14th) that the new changes to the SWA rent allowance system bought in by Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Coughlan could actually act to increase homelessness as the safety net of private rented accommodation is removed as an option for thousands of families and single people. Focus Ireland Chief Executive Declan Jones said: “We could now have the crazy situation where a person who is working and has been renting accommodation for less than 6 months loses their job they could find themselves homeless under the new rule where Health Boards have the power to refuse rent allowance to people who have been renting for less than 6 months.”
Mr. Jones added: “With average rents running at least 800 euro a month for a 1-bed apartment this means people could be expected to pay nearly 5,000 euro in rent over 6 months before they qualify for rent supplement.” Mr. Jones added while the Minister has said there will be provisions for exceptions in relation to people who are homeless or where there are “other compelling reasons” these have not been specified and could vary significantly across different health board areas.
Focus Ireland also maintains the private rented sector has provided a “safety net” for many people nationwide (Even though rents have rocketed in recent years) to prevent them from becoming homeless while waiting for years as one of the record total of 48,413 households on the housing waiting lists.
Mr. Jones said: “This new rule could see more people in this situation being forced into homelessness if they are refused rent allowance under these new changes. It could also mean many people (Vulnerable women and children in particular) could be stuck in an abusive relationship/household or in a very unhappy relationship as they will have no other option but emergency accommodation or living on the streets if they try and leave.”
Because he (My Father) died suddenly it was necessarily for a post mortem to be carried out. I learned that there were 9 autopsies on 9 other suicides in the mid west region over the previous 2 days. The day after My father died, while the body was being removed from the family home, I heard an ambulance respond to an emergency. It passed my house and I remember one man say to me, "it's terrible, some other family might have to deal with a tragedy". The next day i learned that the ambulance had been called in response to another suicide, a neighbour had killed herself. The neighbour, also mentally ill from bi-polar disorder killed herself while her husband was at my fathers funeral.
My point is that these deaths were ignored by the public at large. Every tragic car accident is reported on the news, people realise how dangerous cars can be, there are measures being taken, lots of money being spent to try to reduce these car accidents. However, when a person takes his or her own life there is a hushed silence, whispers behind closed curtains, Very often the family will not disclose the cause of death, instead preferring to ascribe a more "acceptable" departure to their troubled loved one.
A large crowd gathered outside City Hall in Galway on Monday the 8th , on what may be the last chance to do so legally if the city's reactionary and draconian council get their way. People and groups from all walks of Galway life were there, buskers, skateboarders, kite flyers, shopkeepers, sports enthuasiasts, unions, voluntary and political groups. All were united in protest and condemnation at the introduction of the borderline facist byelaws, which are set to strangle through over-regulation nearly all public activity of almost any sort, and destroy the vibe and spirit that Galway is famous for.
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