Other News In Brief

Adams Extends His Condolences On Death Of Margaret Doherty

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has extended his condolences to the family of Margaret Doherty, mother of IRA hunger Striker Kieran Doherty.

Speaking at her funeral, Mr Adams said: "I want to extend my personal condolences and that of Republicans everywhere to the family and friends of Margaret Doherty, mother of IRA hunger striker Kieran Doherty who died last weekend.

"Margaret died two days after the anniversary of Kieran's death on August 2nd 1981 after 73 days on hunger strike.

"I had the great privilege to know Margaret and her late husband Alfie for many years. They were people of immense courage who bore with great fortitude and resilience the enormous trauma of the 1981 hunger strike.

"To Margaret's family – her children Michael, Terry, Roisin, Mairead and Brendan, her grandchildren and wider family circle I extend the solidarity of republicans everywhere."

FF Reiterate Call For Govt To Address Back To School Costs

Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill has added to the call for the government to tackle back to school costs.

Deputy Cahill said the government must listen to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Skills which has outlined a number of measures to reduce the financial burden associated with sending children to school.

He explained: "Recently the Oireachtas Education Committee published a report on school costs. It called for funding for the school book rental scheme to be increased; non-badged generic uniforms to be introduced and for the Department of Education and Skills to carry out an independent assessment of the adequacy of the capitation rates and incrementally increase funding to schools.

"The recent Barnardos School Costs Survey has shown that the cost of sending children to school remain stubbornly high. Worryingly, the average cost for a first-year pupil is €735 which really brings a different meaning to 'free education'.

"It shouldn't be the case that parents are having to get themselves into debt, or worse, turn to loan sharks, to prepare themselves for an influx of school related bills as September approaches.

"New uniform costs, book expenses, transport charges and voluntary charges which aren't really voluntary whatsoever all add up and these don't even take into account additional costs associated with extra-curricular activities such as school trips. It's a worrying time for some parents when instead they should be enjoying the next chapter of their child's life”, Deputy Cahill concluded.

National Concussion Strategy Needed In Ireland

Ireland needs a National Concussion Strategy to ingrain the culture of 'if in doubt sit them out' in Irish sports, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator and General Election candidate for Dublin Rathdown, Neale Richmond, said: "We have seen Irish sporting organisations including the GAA and the IRFU make great strides in tackling the problem of concussion in sports recently but now is the time to introduce a national strategy to face the issue head-on.

"Coaches and players need to be aware of the dangers of playing with a suspected concussion and the appropriate actions to take if there is an incident or if a player presents with some of the symptoms such as dizziness or nausea.

"Greater awareness about the issue of second impact concussion – where a second trauma occurs before there is time to recover from the first – is also crucial.

"This is especially important for our new generation of athletes. Children should be as aware of the dangers of concussion as they are of the perils of crossing the street without looking both ways.

"Education is key here and a national strategy would allow for a cohesive approach to ensure that children are taught in school about how to spot a concussion and, importantly, taught that it is absolutely OK to sit out a game if they need to.

"This should be key for all sports and not just contact sports or those who have made high profile strides. The short- and long-term impacts of concussion range from the unpleasant to the deadly; they can happen in any sport at any level. Having been carried off the pitch, concussed, three times in three very low level rugby matches, I can vouch for the need for widespread understanding.

"While a national strategy needs a coordinated response across government, including from the Department of Education and the Department of Health, the Department of Sport should take the lead on developing a new strategy. It makes sense as the department is best placed to work closely with sporting bodies across the country and ensure that the final strategy is workable and responsive to the situation on the ground.

"Ireland is a sporting nation – we will see how true this is again this weekend when Ireland take on Italy in the Aviva and the two All Ireland Football semi-finals take place in Croke Park.

"The value our sports clubs play in our communities should never be taken for granted. A National Concussion Strategy is a way to protect our players and support our clubs," he concluded.

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