PRAYING FOR CHANGE: Nuns from the Hampton Heritage Carmelite Order arrive at Drumcondra National School in Dublin on Friday to place their election votes.

Sad Exodus Continues

THIRTEEN young people booked their tickets to leave Donegal within the space of 14 hours this week, according to Killybegs travel agent Mona Vial.

The unprecedented numbers of young people who are leaving the county has shocked the Killybegs travel agent who has been exceptionally vocal on such issues in the past. To date it is estimated that 43 young local people have booked their ticket to leave Ireland since the beginning of January.

She said, “Thirteen young people booked their tickets within two days. It’s incredible. It was averaging six a week but now in the last week it’s just gone crazy.

“That figure does not include people that I am holding seats for or those who are making inquiries. There are a lot of young people coming to me asking for help with visas and such. It’s unbelievable.”
Vial, who is a mother herself, feels sorry for those who come to her with a heavy heart, forced to leave due to the lack of work.

“I do feel sorry for some of them. You tell them that they are getting a chance to do something different while they are young.

“You can tell them that they may bring home something that will benefit the country in future years. It becomes a new opportunity for them and the climate here is terrible. You want to help them as much as you can,” she said.

The recent closure of the Bayview Hotel in the fishing port of Killybegs has left the whole community deflated.

“The feeling here in the town is terrible. The heart is just gone out of it,” she said.

Donegal Democrat

Waterford Stars Again

WATERFORD Wedgwood is on target to post a cash operating profit of14.8 million, a turnaround in the fortunes of new owners KPS.

Waterford Crystal was the star performer in the group, posting growth of 1.5%, with sales of more than 100 million. Sales are expected to rise again by 2.3% this year.

This comes one year after Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton suffered a net loss of $52 million. This figure included $32 million of restructuring costs relating to the closure of warehouses and shops and the streamlining of manufacturing and head office operations.

This year’s gain has been described by the firm’s chief financial officer, Anthony Jones, as “significantly ahead of expectations.”

He said the House of Waterford visitor center is expected to post a profit of 230,000 on revenues close to €2.5 million. Since it opened in June 2010, 87,000 people have flocked to visit the tourist attraction, and in 2011 it is hoped 130,000 people will go through its doors.

Waterford News & Star

Child Eating Disorders

CHILDREN as young as 10 in Newry and Mourne have been diagnosed with anorexia and other eating disorders.

?Figures released by a leading eating disorder charity reveal that children as young as 10 have been diagnosed with disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, while 25% of anorexia patients aged between 10 and 14 are boys.

The shocking statistics were released as part of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which aims to highlight the growing problem.

Diane Copeland from Newry knows all about the impact the disorders can have on a sufferer and the family.?  Her daughter has been battling anorexia for eight years, and she says it's vital more people understand the condition.

?“It's a taboo subject and the sufferers themselves are very secretive about it. So a lot of it isn't understood by the general public," she said.

“I think that's one of the reasons there are not enough services to support people with an eating disorder.”


?While services and information have improved since her daughter was first diagnosed, Copeland believes more needs to be done to highlight the problem.

“There's still a long way to go," she said. "Talking to other parents, I think doctors need to be more aware of what to do when someone comes to them with an eating disorder.? I would also like to see a proper easting disorder unit in Northern Ireland.”

?Commenting on the pressure the celebrity culture places on young people and how they look, Copeland added, "While the whole celebrity culture doesn't cause eating disorders, it's fair to say it doesn't help. I wouldn't say that someone looking at a picture of Cheryl Cole would make them anorexic. There would have to be underlying tendencies for that to happen. But there is a lot of pressure on young people to look a certain way."

The Family Eating Disorder Support (FEDS), a local voluntary group that offers support to friends or family of those who have an eating disorder, meets in Newry on the first Tuesday of each month and has supported dozens of families since its establishment almost two years ago.

Newry Democrat

Drill Baby Drill

AN Irish oil and gas exploration company is planning to start drilling an oil and gas well 200 kilometers off the West Clare coast, which has an estimated value of up to $2 billion dollars over its lifetime at current prices.
The oil and gas well production would, according to Providence Resources Plc, lead to a significant increase in commercial traffic in Shannon Airport, which would be used as a base for helicopters and the transport of equipment to and from the site. It would also create additional employment in service and support companies

It is understood that the gas and oil would be brought ashore through a pipeline in the Shannon Estuary.

Providence Resources has formally notified the Department of the Communications, Energy and Natural Resources that it has decided to enter the second phase of its two frontier exploration licenses, which contains the Spanish Point gas condensate and Burren oil discoveries.

This phase carries a commitment to start drilling the discovery, which was located in 1981 and has a total projected volume of 200 million barrels of oil during its lifetime.

Senergy, a leading Aberdeen-headquartered energy services company, has carried out an in-depth report on the resource potential of the Spanish Point and Burren discoveries.

The subsurface evaluation of its wells off the west coast has been based on 2D seismic information, together with the integration of the mapping into the overall Spanish Point regional model. 

?The announcement is seen as a major boost to the Clare and mid-west economy, which would benefit from access to gas once connected with the existing Bord Gais network. Oil would also have to be transported to the Whitegate refinery in Cork.

?A company spokesman predicted there would be a significant increase in commercial traffic in Shannon Airport, noting that Cork Airport has benefited considerably from the drilling that is taking place off the south-west coast in the Celtic Sea.?

A wide range of ancillary support services would have to be readily available once drilling starts, providing a much-needed jobs boost for the Clare economy.

Clare Champion

Second Hand Communion

CASH-strapped parents have resorted to selling their children's Holy Communion outfits to raise some extra funds.

The elaborate garments, which in recent years have become more and more extravagant, are usually kept as keepsakes, but some families are being forced to sell them as they try to make ends meet.
The prized possessions are increasingly appearing on auction sites and on notice boards in local supermarkets with the label "worn only once."

Photographs of girls' dresses and boys' suits accompany the advertisements in a bid to attract buyers shortly before the Holy Communion season.

A mother named Debbie in Co. Laois assured prospective buyers on Donedeal.ie that her daughter's gown is in pristine condition.

"Hi, I am selling my daughter's Holy Communion dress," she wrote. "Worn just once but looks new."
Other ads even specify how little the gown was used.

"Worn for only three hours. Fully dry cleaned. Excellent condition," another ad reads.

Parents have targeted this time of the year especially for the Holy Communion season of April and May.
The Money and Budgeting Advice (MABS) agency has explained that families are under such financial pressure with the recession that they are taking drastic measures to try to convert any of their superfluous possessions into cash.

"Many families are in dire straits after losing jobs or getting pay cuts or just struggling with the general cost of living,” said spokesperson Michael Culloty.

The price of second-hand Communion dresses and accessories varies between 40 and 100 on auction sites such as Donedeal.ie and eBay.ie.

For those who can still afford to buy new Communion outfits, choices have become much thriftier over the past year.

Instead of labeled designs, which can cost up to 300, parents prefer to buy shops' own brands, such as Debenhams and Marks and Spencers collection, for a third (or less) of the price.

Evening Herald