Australia Says No
A FORMER Antrim man who now lives in England with his family has spoken of his distress at being turned down by Australian immigration because of his autistic child.
Adrian Scott, originally from Brantwood Gardens, lives in Oxfordshire with his wife Julie, 19-year-old son Tevin and Niamh, who will turn 13 next week. The couple's twin sons, Stephen and Marc, are both already settled in Australia with their respective families.
The 47-year-old and his wife always had the intention of moving to Australia once they had completed their family, but due to Niamh's condition the process has not been smooth. As well as the autism, Niamh is profoundly deaf and has no verbal communication skills.
"My mother-in-law has contacted a federal MP in Australia who is going to take our request for ministerial intervention to the immigration minister. It's just been so disheartening for us, although a small blessing is Niamh's unawareness of the situation,” Scott says.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship said families who required health or community care could be refused. In a letter to the Scotts, the department said it did not refuse applications based on disabilities, but it took into account public expenditure on “health care and community services in short supply.”
"For most permanent visas, if one family member fails to meet the health requirement, the visa cannot be granted to any of the migrating unit,” the letter added.
A petition urging the department to reverse the decision has attracted worldwide attention and has been signed by people in England, Australia and elsewhere
Scott’s parents Nelson and Olive Scott still live in Antrim and are “devastated” by the plight of their son and his family.
“Niamh does not require more medical attention than any other child now," Olive Scott said. "She wouldn't be a drain on their services. And her quality of life would be improved dramatically. The different climate and the pool are a real tonic for her, she's like a different child when she's in Australia.”
A NEW survey has found that over 50 percent of Irish brides say bad weather will disrupt their big day, with a third citing the likelihood of good weather in summer months as a major factor in choosing the time of year to get married in Ireland.
The survey of over 230 Irish brides was conducted by top wedding venue, Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa, which in response will launch its new “rain or shine” offer at a wedding fair it is hosting this month.
The four star hotel's offer takes the stress out of Ireland's typically bad weather for brides and grooms.
If the sun shines, the bridal party can have their photography taken in the hotel's picturesque tree-lined grounds. If the weather is not so good, photography can be taken in the hotel's light-filled Castle Lounge and originally restored Dunboyne Mansion, with a romantic, candle-lit drinks reception.
"We want to give people the wedding of their dreams, and this survey is so useful in identifying that for an incredible 53 percent of brides-to-be surveyed, bad weather is a real wedding worry" said Elisabet Diaz, general manager of Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa.
The survey also found that over half of respondents said the reputation of wedding venues was a primary factor in choosing a location, more specifically those with great surroundings and photo opportunities. Over 70 percent choose the weekend to get married for guest convenience, with Saturday being the most popular day.
SEVEN little Lurcher puppies found abandoned at Ballybrittan Bridge are being transferred for further care to an Offaly Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) foster carer.
he OSPCA's Colette Coates said she has been minding the puppies since passersby got in touch with the organization after stumbling on the secret seven, thought to have been thrown into or close to the canal. A lady driver on her way to see her father initially came across six weak little Lurcher puppies on the road, while a male good samaritan who then came on the scene helped to uncover a seventh puppy in the ditch nearby.
Though estimated to be approximately 12 weeks old by a vet, all of the puppies are severely underweight and are suffering from mange. The weakest of the lot weighs under two kilos, while the others weigh approximately three and a half kilos.
Treatment for mange would have initially cost something in the region of €16 according to Coates, but because the problem has been allowed to escalate and the puppies' skin is now infected their medical bill is in the hundreds instead. All puppies are on antibiotics for the skin condition and must be washed with special shampoo.
Coates said when found the puppies were suffering greatly from the cold. Lurchers feel cold more than other breeds, she explained, and the situation was worsened by the mange that meant the puppies had hardly any hair left to keep them warm.
Coates urged dog owners to neuter female dogs to avoid the arrival of puppies, and said that if puppies are born and are unwanted contact should be made with the OSPCA.
CONCERNED Castlebar parents say that children are living in fear of robbery and violence by a gang of youths terrorizing the town. Councilor Michael Kilcoyne chaired a recent meeting of 27 angry and worried parents.
“These children are being beaten for money and their mobile phones,” said Kilcoyne. He said that a gang of thugs is targeting students on their way to and from school. “One parents also told me that her child is afraid to go into town on a Saturday and Sunday,” said Kilcoyne.
The meeting heard that the bulk of the gang is made up of teenage members of the traveling community, but that settled youths are also involved in the bullying and harassment. “They’ll approach a child take the phone of him and you can now text credit from one phone to another. They are also making kids hop up and down to see if any change jingles in their pockets,” said Kilcoyne.
Parents told the meeting that children were also receiving abusive texts from the culprits threatening to stab and cut them. There was anger that the Gardai (police) have failed to tackle the problem. One woman said that when the contacted the Gardai she was told they could not do anything as the offenders were underage.
Kilcoyne said the thugs sometimes hop the school walls and gates to get at their victims or lie in wait outside the school. Another woman told the meeting that they are across the road from Davitt College every day, while it was also reported that on the day of the meeting a gang congregated outside St. Gerald’s College.
“Most of this is going on unseen. It’s happening in the laneways and alleys of our town,” commented Kilcoyne. “They are violent and kids are petrified.”
Kilcoyne said that a wider problem already exists in Castlebar with three families in three separate estate forced to move due to harassment and intimidation from neighbors. A meeting has now been arranged to take place this week between worried parents and the local superintendent and senior Health Service Executive social worker.
Girl Sick After Diet Pills
A TEENAGE girl had part of her colon removed after she ingested illegal diet pills bought online.
The 18-year-old developed a life threatening illness after taking the slimming product Botanical Soft Gel.
The young girl faced organ failure associated with ischaemic colitis, a medical condition in which the large intestine is inflamed so much there is an inadequate blood supply.
It can have devastating consequences, and the girl underwent life saving treatment at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
The teen told doctors that she bought the pills online to "tone up" for a holiday.
The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) analyzed the pills and found high doses of sibutramine, an appetite suppressant similar to amphetamines.
Earlier this year the IMB issued a "strong precautionary message" for consumers about the health dangers of sibutramine in slimming products earlier this year.
Sibutramine was withdrawn from use as a medicine in Ireland and across the entire EU in early 2010 due to the increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. But thousands of these products are still available for purchase illegally online.
Custom officials have reported a 600 percent increase in seizure of the products with the substance between 2009 and last year.