Friday 19 January 2018

Extra staff needed to process huge volume of Back to School applications

UP TO 45,000 applications for the Back to School clothing and footwear allowance have yet to be processed due to the sheer volume of families in need of assistance.

The Department of Social Protection has redeployed existing staff in order to process the mountain of applications. At least 14 extra staff are required despite the fact that an automated process was introduced this year.

A spokesperson said: "Of the 66,000 claims received, 20,600 claims have been processed of which 16,000 have been paid (bringing the total paid to 147,600 households), 1,400 have been refused, 2,700 returned because there was insufficient information and the remaining 500 were duplicate claims. The cost of the BSCFA has been rising steadily in the last three years. In 2009 the scheme cost €69m rising to €77.4m in 2010 and €82m has been set aside to meet the demand this year."

GAA to try out Hawk-Eye technology

The GAA has decided that Hawk-Eye technology will be used on a two-year pilot basis for all Championship football and hurling games in Croke Park from 2012.

Hawk-Eye is already widely used in other sports such as cricket and tennis. Calls to introduce the system intensified last month after the Limerick versus Wexford football qualifier at O'Moore Park.

With the teams locked at 1-17, Ian Ryan's injury time free was waved wide by one umpire but flagged a point by his colleague. Referee Derek Fahy awarded the point that ended Wexford's championship run. Limerick progressed only to be beaten by Kerry in an All-Ireland quarter-final.

Hawk-Eye is a computer system used to visually track the trajectory of a ball and construct an image of its most statistically likely path. See Sport, Page 1

Man found dead at bottom of stairs

A post-mortem examination was carried out yesterday on the body of a 39-year-old man found dead at the bottom of the stairs in a house in the Castleview estate, Swords, Co Dublin, in the early hours.

Gardai said there was no suspicion of foul play after an examination of the house. The man's identity is being withheld until relatives are informed.

Repairs for Fastnet yacht to cost €1m

OVER €1m worth of repairs will be required to a Fastnet Race yacht which capsized off the west Cork coast.

The revelation came as it emerged the €18m Rambler 100 -- owned by 65-year-old US tycoon George David -- will now be shipped back to New Zealand from Baltimore for expert restoration.

An international team of 21 sailors cheated death when the yacht's keel shattered off the Fastnet Rock last Monday -- and the 33m vessel capsized in just 60 seconds.

The 21 sailors were successfully rescued by the Baltimore RNLI lifeboat and AquaVentures dive operator, Gerry Smith. Full Story, Pages 14 & 23

Earl sends good wishes to Dublin 4

The Earl of Pembroke -- the UK's most eligible bachelor until last year -- has sent his good wishes to the people of Dublin 4 today. William Alexander Sidney Herbert, the 18th Earl of Pembroke, will not be able to make today's celebrations in Herbert Park to mark its centenary.

The Earl's great great grandfather gifted the park, known as 'The Forty Acres' to the Pembroke Urban District Council to mark the coming of age of his son Lord Herbert. It eventually became Herbert Park.

A spokesperson for the Earl, who resides in the stately home of Wilton in Wiltshire, said, "he hopes the day goes well. Unfortunately he will be away. He wrote to the local historical society wishing you all a happy a successful day".

A Family Fun Day, organised by Dublin City Council in conjunction with the local community and traders, will run from 1pm to 5pm today.

Collins focus of Beal na Blath speech

The well-known academic and founder of University College Limerick, Dr Ed Walsh, will deliver today's annual oration at Beal na Blath. Dr Walsh will speak on the theme of what Michael Collins would do if he was faced with the fiscal challenges facing today's Government.

Body of 22-year-old found in canal

The body of a 22-year-old man was taken from the Royal Canal in Dublin yesterday. Gardai and emergency services were called to an incident at around 6.30am at Ballybough Bridge, where it is believed the man fell into the canal.

He was taken from the water and removed to the Mater Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Gardai appealed for anyone who was in the area at the time (6am to 6.30am) or who may have information to contact them at Fitzgibbon Street, 01 666 8400, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Winning numbers in €3.8m Lotto

THERE was no winner of last night's €3,810,745 Lotto jackpot. The numbers were 1, 13, 29, 34, 42, 43 (bonus 28).

There was one Match 5+bonus winner who will receive €25,000; 49 Match 5s (€1,604); 114 Match 4+bonus (€173); 1,902 Match 4s (€64); 2,625 Match 3+bonus (€31); and 33,193 Match 3s (€5 scratchcard). The Lotto Plus 1 numbers were 10, 13, 19, 21, 43, 44 (bonus 28) and the Lotto Plus 2 numbers were 5, 6, 7, 17, 35, 37 (bonus 21).

Meanwhile, in the UK draw for an estimated stg£6.8m the numbers were 2, 3, 18, 30, 34, 35 (bonus 24).

MS charity cycle for birthday twins

Twins Mary O'Sullivan Pocock and Nora O'Sullivan Looney decided to celebrate their 50th birthday with a difference yesterday -- by cycling around the Beara peninsula to raise funds and awareness about MS.

The main beneficiary of their cycle is the One and Only MS Respite Centre, which is based in Dublin. It is a very personal cause for the sisters because Mary's 25-year-old son was diagnosed with MS last year.

Cyclists from all over Ireland joined the sisters when Francis Brennan of The Park Hotel presided over the departure from The Square, Kenmare, yesterday.

To donate, log on to Or cheques, made payable to MS Ireland, can be sent to: No 5, The Pines, Fairyhouse Road, Ratoath, Co Meath.

1.7 million visits to cultural centres

More than 1.7 million people visited Ireland's cultural institutions in the first six months of this year -- but there was a worrying 15 per cent drop in attendances at the National Gallery of Ireland in Kildare Street.

Visitors to the National Concert Hall also dropped by more than seven per cent while the the Hugh Lane in Dublin dropped by 20.3 per cent. Overall attendances to cultural institutions with Government funding rose by six per cent compared with the first six months of 2010.

The Chester Beatty Library enjoyed a 17 per cent increase in attendance while the National Museum at Kildare Street reported a 16 per cent increase. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan urged families to take advantage of the many free cultural institutions before the end of the school holidays.

Woman leaves €1,524,105 in will

Angela McNamara of Channel Road, Rush, Co Dublin, who died on February 6, 2009, left €1,524,105 in her will.

Other wills: Deirdre Mehigan, a retired businesswoman of Malahide Marina, Dublin, left €1,495,254; Edward Bourke, a retired farmer of Leugh, Thurles, Co Tipperary, left €1,076,993; William Ryan, a farmer of Derryleigh, Newport, Co Tipperary, left €1,036,655; and Rita Rogers, of Abbeylands, Navan, Co Meath, left €1,060,063.

The value of wills include property, including the family home, and should not be regarded as cash amounts

Sunday Independent

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