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TDs got €250k classes in delivering bad news and using mindfulness

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Classes included sign language and dealing with aggression

Classes included sign language and dealing with aggression

Classes included sign language and dealing with aggression

Mindfulness courses, vegan and patisserie masterclasses and managing workplace violence and aggression were among nearly 300 training programmes and sessions offered to politicians and staff in Leinster House over the past 15 months.

The courses cost €251,859 last year and provided a wide choice of services for TDs, senators, their political staff and civil servants working in the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Stresses

A number of mindfulness courses were run for staff in Leinster House to help deal with the stresses and strains of political life.

Irish sign language, Irish and French classes are offered as a matter of routine.

Pre-retirement planning was also organised for seven TDs and senators last month, three days after the election ended their political careers.

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Classes included sign language and dealing with aggression

Classes included sign language and dealing with aggression

Classes included sign language and dealing with aggression

Eight-week "Mindfulness for Members" courses were offered to the politicians, starting in January and September of last year and run by a company called Mindcul.

For the January course, 20 TDs and senators expressed an interest in attending, and there were 62 participants over the two months of the course.

For the second course, interest levels plummeted and only seven politicians were interested in attending, with low turnouts recorded during the eight weeks.

The Oireachtas also ran a series of courses on "Non- Violent Crisis Intervention" last September to teach staff how to de-escalate situations that threaten to turn nasty.

Other courses offered to TDs and senators included a deaf awareness training seminar provided by irishdeaf.com.

One politician expressed an interest in that course last March and they did attend.

A "Dignity at Work" session last April proved more popular, and of the seven TDs and senators who signed up for the course, all attended,

Other educational activities were poorly attended, according to records released under Freedom of Information.

A "Managing Conflict" course had three people registered but no participants.

Courses this year included two vegan masterclasses for catering staff to reflect the growing interest in meat and dairy-free lifestyles in the wider community.

A patisserie masterclass - to upskill two people from the Dail bar and restaurant - was also provided.

Sixteen people attended a talk on how the Oireachtas Communications Unit supports transparency and access to information.

Some of the more specialised courses included "Presenting Difficult Messages", "Speed Reading Skills" and "Telephone Techniques".


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