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.