Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod


The continuing rise in the live register figures in Kerry have been slammed by Councilor Toiréasa Ferris, who has called for immediate government action to address the soaring levels of unemployment in Kerry.

She warned that the combination of soaring unemployment among under 25s and the slashing of their welfare entitlements is forcing many young people to emigrate. For those who cannot leave, the only option is to remain on the dole.

"These people want to work yet the government is content for them to sit at home," Ferris stated.

"Many of them have skills that can and should be used to rebuild the economy. Nobody wants a return to a situation where the best and the brightest are forced to leave yet by cutting dole payments for the under 25s, the government has ensured that this is exactly what will happen," she added.

Meanwhile, business organization ISME has revealed that 204 redundancies have been enforced in Kerry in the first three months of 2010, leaving families around the county struggling to cope.

ISME described figures as a worrying indication that the economy is still on the slide, with concerns that the situation will continue to deteriorate within the small business sector unless actions are taken to avoid further damage to the sector.

"The government has completely taken their eye off the ball with regard to the growing unemployment problem," said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding.

The Kingdom

Homelessness for Teen

AN 18-year-old Waterford girl in foster care has allegedly been told by the Health Service Executive (HSE) that she has one month to find a place to live.

The girl’s mother said she had received a letter in advance of her 18th birthday recently telling her she would no longer be entitled to care.
The girl has been in care since last summer after she ran away from home. She has since begun using heroin, and her mother maintains little has been done to help her.

“I was devastated for my daughter when I saw the letter. It would mean she would be homeless. It was very insensitive. It simply said her place would be closed on the day of her 18th birthday,” said the mother.

The case was first raised by the Irish Examiner last year after the girl was reported missing. At the time, the teen’s mother said she felt her daughter was falling under the influence of an older man known to Gardai (police) and who may be supplying her daughter with drugs.

“I feel the HSE has really let her down. She is now using heroin. The guards have been helpful, but it seems as though there is never anyone available in the HSE. They even started sending her post to her boyfriend’s house even though they know she should not be there,” the mother said.

A spokesperson for the HSE said, “While it is not appropriate to discuss individual cases, the HSE would like to point out that in situations where a person in its care is about to turn 18 years of age, a range of supports are made available and appropriate plans are put in place.”

Once a teenager turns 18, the State does not have to maintain care services. Section 45 of the Child Care Act states that the HSE may continue to provide aftercare.
Waterford News & Star

Train Resumes

The new Limerick to Galway rail line was officially launched on Monday, reopening the rail links between the two cities for the first time in 34 years.

However, some reservations have been expressed that the service does not include the populous areas of Moyross in Limerick and Oranmore in Galway.
The re-opening of the rail link comes after ***106m has been spent on upgrading the Ennis to Athenry line.

There will be five services each way starting at 6 a.m. from Limerick, with journey times varying from just under two hours to two and a half hours. An estimated 300,000 passengers a year are expected to use the service.

West on Track, which has campaigned heavily, for the new service said it was important to proceed to phases two and three to Tuam and Claremorris.
However, Irish Rail cannot say when these phases will be start given the current difficulties with the state finances.