Thursday, February 6, 2014

Money by Charley Deegan

Money in Ireland
Money is a good that acts as medium of exchange, including coins, paper money, and demand deposits.The official currency for money in ireland is the Euro (€). The Euro currency was physically introduced into Ireland on 1st January 2002 although it had come into being on paper only a few years earlier with all banking transactions being given in both Punt and Euro. When the idea of a common currency was first introduced in the early 1990's, it was first called the ECU or European Currency Unit. This was later changed to Euro. On its similtaneous release into the Euro Zone on 01/01/02, both Euro and Punt(pound) were acceptable currency for 6 weeks in all Irish shops and outlets with all change being given in Euro.
     There are also other countries in the EU that use the Euro:Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Holland, Portugal and soon to be Latvia in 2014.
Money is a huge problem in Ireland at this current time.There is a thing called “Recession”.Which is a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP.
                    I’ve seen a couple of sites where the buildings were just left abandoned with nothing in them because there wasn’t any money left at all.The best thing they can do with them is just knock down the whole site.Although 553 previously unfinished developments were completed in the past year, there are still 1,258 so-called "ghost" estates.
Furthermore, developer bonds set aside to cover the cost of providing public infrastructure have expired in one out of six of these estates.
Almost 1,000 of the unfinished housing developments have people living in them.
Minister for Housing and Planning Jan O'Sullivan she was particularly eager to tidy those up.The Government set aside €10 million  in the Budget to resolve unfinished estates.The second annual progress report on unfinished housing developments in Ireland shows the number has more than halved since 2010.
                  Coming up to Christmas money is a high demand for buying presents etc. It is very hard for people to get their hands on money and often parents try to work extra hours so they could have food on table, clothes on their backs and a proper living space.
               Unemployment is very high but has fallen by 12.8% thats 41700 people reducing the total number of people out of work to 282,900.But there is some people who are getting jobseeker’s benefit and don’t try and look for a job. The Government has claimed a turnaround in the rate of unemployment is evidence of the strengthening Irish economy.Taoiseach Enda Kenny said over 1,000 new jobs were being created per week in the economy and there were “positive signs that business confidence is rising”. The total number of people in the labour force is 2,182,100 - up 16,300 over the year.Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said: “There are still far too many people out of work, and tackling unemployment will remain the Government’s number one priority.

Peace By Jack Brophy

Ireland is a newly found country when compared with other countries in the world but in the short time we have being a 26 county country we have managed to become pretty infamous when it comes to the term “Peace”, Ireland from its war torn beginnings of the Easter Rising and The War Of Independence up to the The Troubles in Northern Ireland has not had much time to be at peace. Only recently (In 2005 the IRA official laid down it’s arms) Ireland has being free from violence and terrorist acts, these “terrorist” acts were mainly carried out by the IRA (Irish Republican Army) in opposition to British rule of Ireland during the early 1900’s and later Britains ownership of 4 counties in the north of Ireland, The IRA wanted a fully unified Ireland all 32 counties and found Britains ownership of them 4 counties un-needed and a insult to the Irish People. At this current time Ireland is probably at its most peaceful and longest period of peace since it was declared a Free State in 1921. Since 1998 Ireland has being more or less peaceful with only small infractions in peace. This extended period of peace is mainly because of the signing of the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland that established peace in the Northern Ireland.

All the way back in the early 1600’s peace was luxury that was shared by few and even before that with the Normans and Vikings all of them bringing war and violence to Ireland and removing any prospect of peace in Ireland. The root of the violence that exists to this day started in 1608 when King James The First sent English settlers to Ireland to set up farms, claim land and spread the Protestant religion. The majority of the land they claimed was up in the north of Ireland. Many small insurrections followed this, the Irish were obviously not happy with the way the English treated them. The Penal laws followed further angering the Irish causing. In 1649 Oliver Cromwell came to Ireland with 2000 soldiers and murdered and purged all of Ireland killing thousands of Irish and claiming large amount of lands for England. Many small rebellions ensued and Ireland was far from stable and nowhere near “Peaceful”.

The Easter Rising was the match that lit the powder keg which exploded into something much bigger than it was ever perceived to be, the rising and the events that followed sealed a peace treaty with Britain and was the stepping stones to a Irish Republic. In 1919 the War Of Independence between Britain and the IRA broke out and lasted till 1921, it ended with treaty between Britain and Ireland where Britain releases its rule of Ireland but strengthens its grip on the 6 counties it keeps in the north of Ireland. At this point you would think that Ireland would finally have the peace it so badly needed but no. Another war broke out in 1922 this one between the Irish free state army (Those who accepted the treaty and its conditions) and the IRA (The members of the IRA who thought the conditions of the treaty were unfair and wanted a full 32 county Ireland) This war was different from other wars and rebellions, In this war its was Irishman versus Irishman, The IRA were underarmed while the Free state army had British weaponry and knowledge of the land they were fighting on unlike the English. The IRA were soon defeated.

In 1949 after Britain declares Ulster a full part of the British Empire, Ireland declares itself a republic and therefore making it “The Republic Of Ireland”......Now peace surely?...No, sadly another dark chapter in the history of Ireland and its association with the word “Peace”.
On the 30th of January 1979 in Londonderry 13 unarmed Irish protesters. This event is known as Bloody Sunday and is a dark day in the history of Ireland. Heavier bloodshed ensues Bloody Sunday and thus begins a period time in Northern Ireland called “The Troubles”. The Troubles are finally ended when The Good Friday Agreement is signed, this was a major step in the peace process.

Finally peace comes to Ireland, with the Good Friday Agreement signed tensions between Northern Ireland and The Republic decrease but are not fully gone. To this day there is still small infringements and killings on either side of the border that are related to the IRA but overall peaceful would be a word to describe the attitude in Ireland. Lets just hope it will stay that way.

                                                                                                               -Jack Brophy

                                                                                         (770 words)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

GUN CRIME BY Pádhraic Dunne
We all have the right to feel safe but what if the object that is making you feel protected is the same thing that is making you feel scared, what if it is the same thing that’s being used to kill people in public events, what if it is the same thing that is being used to kill children in their schools. The object I am talking about of course is guns.
Recent Crimes: In the U.S. there have been several gun murders in the last few years. Firstly there is the the shooting at a cinema in Aurora Colorado by a man called James Eagan Holmes. He went to his car  while the show was screening to retrieve his weapons, several pieces of protective clothing and a gas mask. He killed 12 people and 72 people were injured. Then there was the school shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary, School Sandy Hook, Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza first shot his mother at their home, he then went to the school and shot 20 students and 6 members of staff. He later shot himself when the police arrived.The shocking thing is that this is the second worst school shooting in America. The worst happened in 1927 at Bath Township, Michigan when Andrew Kehoe planted explosives in the school and then detonated them. When rescuers were trying to save survivors he drove his truck filled with dynamite and shrapnel, got out of the truck and shot at the truck killing himself and several others in the process . They say that those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it . It seems obvious to me  that America isn’t learning!.
Video Games: Video games have been receiving a large amount of negative attention because of these crimes but in all honesty I don't think video games deserve the attention that they are getting. Some of these people have used games like Grand Theft Auto to train for these acts of violence but I don't see the game saying go and kill your mother, I don't see Battlefield saying go to your local cinema and shoot the viewers. The real problem is the law and availability of guns in America.
Availability and Law : If you have committed no crimes and can wait 15 days while they check your record you are able to purchase a gun of your choosing. The gun that you want to buy can depend on your age as well. If you are between 18 and 20 you can only buy a handgun, if you are over 21 you can buy any long gun you want. Depending on the state you can't buy automatic weapons. There are even websites where you can buy guns at cheap prices such as a shotgun for $26. and 50 round assault rifle drums for less. If these are the prices for legal guns I would hate to see the price for black market guns.
Circumstance : Depending on the state and reason you shot someone you can either receive a medal or a death sentence. In California if you shoot someone who broke into your neighbor's house you can receive high praise for it. If you shoot someone who breaks into your house you won't receive much punishment from the authorities. These laws are altering peoples views on right and wrong and the laws of gun ownership should be changed.
Punishment : Different states have different punishments for different kinds of murder. In Alaska second degree can get you 10-99 years first degree murder can get you 20-99 years and a murder with an aggravating factor can get you 99 years. In Missouri you can get 10-30 to life for second degree murder and for first degree you can get the death penalty or life without parole.
Summary : In short America needs to reconsider its gun laws and try to perform more psychiatric evaluations on gun owners. There should be a higher price on guns as well as tax. There should be a ban on the internet trading of guns and accessories as well as a limit on the amount of rounds a gun should be able to hold. There should be a new law where all firearms should have a tracking device that alerts authorities when it enters an area that it is not supposed to such as a bank or a school. This in my opinion is the best way to prevent further gun murders from occurring in America

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sean Connolly's China Trip

Sean Connolly

A Typical School Day in China
 I attended a school in Beijing, called the Beijing Concord College of Sino-Canada, for three weeks in December. This is a mixed international school attended mostly by South Koreans and Chinese boys and girls, who come to learn English and Chinese. I was put into a dormitory with the Korean students. They are friendly people and they made me feel very welcome.
My Class

A typical school day for me was that school started at 7:50am. At the start of the first class we all had to stand for the Chinese national anthem. There were ten classes a day with a break of an hour for lunch. During the classes I tried to pay as much attention as possible and to take down as many Chinese words and characters as I could. The characters have very little or no connection to the meaning of a word. Also to write the characters properly you had to learn a lot of different types of strokes and the pattern of forming the character. In the evenings I had a Chinese grind which really helped me. The class I found easiest was Maths as I recognised the formulas the teacher wrote on the board, and as a result I was able to work out the equation. Calculators are not used at all.
ate all my meals in the Korean canteen. In the canteen I would usually have lots of rice and whatever looked and smelled the most appetising. I had to use chopsticks to eat and I also had to drink out of a bowl. The Chinese students ate in their canteen. The Chinese food we eat here in Ireland has no resemblance to the food out in China. They would eat every piece of a chicken, chicken head, chicken claws, eyeballs, etc. Nothing goes uneaten. It was not at all appetising.

After supper, I would play basketball and soccer with the Korean students. There were very good sports facilities in the school. From time to time I would run around the running track if it wasn’t too cold. Sometimes the temperature would drop to as low as -12°C. When I was there, there was no form of precipitation of any sort. There was also a lot of smog in the sky. It is twice as hard to run in Beijing because of the smog. Sometimes you would hit a horrible patch of air that smelled like sulphur or something awful. It is said that living in a smoggy area, like Beijing, and breathing in the smog will take five years off your life. You would see some people walking around with surgical masks over their mouth and nose to filter the air.

Overall, I found that my journey there was a fabulousopportunity to experience the Chinese people, the culture and got to see a massive city with enormous buildings compared to the ones in Kilkenny. The highlight of my trip was seeing the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. The thing I found the hardest to get used to were the toilets, which were just a hole in the ground that you had to squat over. Chinese is considered the hardest language in the world to learn but after my three weeks I found I was able to put a few sentences together, which I was very pleased about. At the end I was happy to come home.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Robbie O'Driscoll

Sport in Ireland - 
The Irish are avid sports fans,especially of their native games of Gaelic football(a cross between soccer and rugby) and hurling, which resembles a rough-and-tumble version of field hockey. Both are promoted by the Gaelic Athletic Association founded in 1884 to revive native Irish sports. 

Today there are several hundred thousand members of the G.A.A. who play these games as amateurs, and the professional teams compete in the All-Ireland matches that draw huge crowds to Dublin’s Croke Park. Handball is also a traditional Irish sport.

Football and Rugby are widely popular, often played in sold-out
stadiums in Dublin. In 1990 the national football team reached the
quarterfinals in the World Cup, and Irish players are prominent on
the rosters of professional teams throughout the world. 

The Irish are extremely passionate about horse racing, and the Irish Derby draws Europe’s best competitors to The Curragh, the flat racetrack in County Kildare. Greyhound racing at Shelbourne Park in Dublin is also well attended. 

In bicycling, Dubliner Steven Roche won the Tour de France and the World Championship in 1987.

The Olympic Council of Ireland was formed in 1922, and Ireland’s
official participation in the Olympic Games began in Paris in 1924.
(Irish athletes had competed for Great Britain in previous games,
since 1896.) Since then Ireland has missed only the 1936 games. 

The first medal by an Irishman came in 1896, when John Boland won a gold medal in tennis for Great Britain. The first medal for the Irish team came in 1928 in Amsterdam, where Patrick O’Callaghan won a gold in the hammer throw. In 1996 Michelle Smith became the first Irish female athlete to win a gold medal, capturing three gold medals in swimming, though she was later banned for four years from competition after being found guilty of manipulating a
drug-test sample. Four years later distance runner Sonia O’Sullivan
won a silver medal in the 5,000-metre event at the 2000 Olympic
Games. Irish competitors won five medals in the 2012 London
Olympics, including Katie Taylor, who won a gold medal in women’s boxing.

Facts about sport in Ireland:
General Background:

  • 2.1 million participants made up of 1.2 million adults & 900,000 children 18 & under.
  • 70 plus different National Sports Organisations/Governing Bodies
  • Over 12,000 sports clubs approx.

Government Funding:

  • Commenced in a meaningful fashion in 1997.
  • Peaked in 2008 at €234 million. 
  • Funding for 2013 is €77 million.
Spending can be broken down between current & capital. 
1997 –2013 saw emphasis placed on capital funding – approximately 88% of all monies invested.

Sport and the Economy:

  • Government gets a return of €149 for every €100 invested in


  • Sport sector supports 40,000 jobs.
  • Sport contributes 1.4% of GDP.
  • Sport generates €1.9 billion of household spending.

Sport and Health:

  • Physical inactivity responsible for 6% of deaths globally.
  • UK research indicates that 11% of their health spend each year is due to physical inactivity.
  • €1.6billion the estimated cost of physical inactivity in Ireland.
  • Australia estimate that for every 1% of the population that becomes active, 122 deaths from heart disease, non-insulin dependent diabetes and colon cancer could be eradicated.

Philip O'Donnell
Business in Ireland
Ireland has many very well known and successful business over the years some like Red Mills , Glanbia,Diageo export globally to far off continents like the US ,Europe and now China and the middle east  these now successful business began in the humble rural towns of Ireland and have grown from strength to strength .
Irish businesses are the backbone for Irish employment people and supply the government with €13.798 billion tax revenue which is vital for the government's funds and even do many people believe that the corporation tax is too low , Ireland was recently ranked as the best country in the world for business as with the combined factors of low corporation tax, friendly country and a and a growing market.
While many big multi-national companies are using Ireland as a new base in Europe and taking advantage of the gap in the market ,the Irish home grown companies are now putting it up to them with young, talented and up and coming entrepreneurs beginning  produced in vast numbers as the recession has left them no other option only to sink or float.
Ever since the collapse in the economy people have had to actually go out and work hard to make a decent living as it is no longer the common practice to go buy a house sell it on and make a fortune now those who went down that road are still paying off that debt and has forced business to succeed with ingenuity and a passionate drive to thrive in a desolate world of despair .A famous quote puts it “fortune favours the brave”.
I think that business in Ireland if well managed and nurtured they will blossom to the vibrant flower that is Irish success.  
The Arts
At the turn of the century art became a very wide term today The Arts means anything that can be an expression of emotions or opinions in any form from paintings and literature to dance and music. The Arts today does not differ grately from science and cooking which today can be considered art forms anyway. Even in our big, modern cities we can see art whether it is graffiti or architecture.

Each artist is renowned for having his or her own unique style. Style is having a way of doing something that others may have not seen or others have done with a twist of their own put
with it. This can be commonly seen with abstract artist like Jackson Pollock or with dancers and Chefs. With this idea many artist have done something new with their art with great results or have had disastrous results.

An example of this would be Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper where instead of painting on wet plaster which would have allowed the painting to be seen clearly today, instead he tried a mixture of eggs, cream and paint he made in his kitchen and as a result the painting is dried, peeling and fading away.

A subgroup of art called the Performing Arts is all about giving a show for entertainment these would include dance, music and theatre. The most famous playwright is William Shakespeare he
was born in England, he studied literature and entertained many members of royalty and indeed making plays for and about them. Ludwig Van Beethoven was a genius of his time although
 many people did not appreciate him and his art until after his death he did still continue writing symphonies up until his death. His most widely known piece is his 9th “The Ode to Joy”.

Not known as being an artform but has millions invested in it every year is Video Games. While early works could not have been known as art per se most modern games take at least a year
of planning and preparation which intricate storylines, artwork and drawings it is easy to see why some much people put their time and money into making and playing these games. Video
games are basically on the same level as movies but they are more immersive and there are things that you have to figure out for yourself.

Dance has many forms whether it be ballroom or hip hop. A true experience with dance is finding a piece that you can relate to have a feel for and be able to make a dance to express yourself through it. With all the different movements is easy to get lost in the drama of the moment but you have to understand what the dancer is trying to show you and tell you with the accompanying music.

But over all the most popular and famous for of art is painting. The reason for art being so popular, in my opinion, is that there are some many ways of presenting your work, developing your work and doing your work. With great paintings like the Mona Lisa, whose background is still unknown, we can see what the artist is trying to say and if we look hard enough we can find what the artist felt and find his true emotions.
Adam Kealy