• Make Play and Leisure Spaces Accessible
    I am writing to you today as a primary school teacher, and more importantly as a mother of two young boys who are disabled. My four year old is a full-time wheelchair user and we are unsure yet as to whether his younger brother will also require a wheelchair. My boys are both bright, intelligent, inquisitive children who are highly sociable. In light of current events during this pandemic, I have seen so many parents and teachers discuss how this may impact our kids and the overwhelming consensus amongst us all have been concerns regarding the possible implications on their social development as they cannot play with their friends, explore nature, play freely and make new friends at local playgrounds etc. It has really made me stop and think as these have been ongoing concerns of mine due to our sons’ mobility needs. The truth of it is, we have found it very difficult to find playgrounds where Oscar can play. As well as not having any wheelchair friendly equipment for use, many playgrounds have completely inaccessible ground coverings like tree bark. I’m a firm believer that if I have an issue with something, I will try to offer alternative suggestions in order to help resolve said issue. A simple Google image search for ‘wheelchair friendly activities in playground’ yields a plethora of equipment that is accessible not only for users of wheelchairs, walkers and buggies, but also for children without disabilities. Slieve Gullion Forest Park is close to where we live and would be the best we have experienced. It’s not lost on me that this particular playground is in Northern Ireland, where the UK has much stricter protocol for accessible planning regulations. Within my local area in recent times, I’ve seen two new playgrounds built, one completely inaccessible to wheelchairs due to the bark surfaces and use of steep hills in its designs. It absolutely baffles me how in these times when we are seemingly a progressive country, that we completely omit the needs and right to play of a whole category of children. We teach inclusion and diversity in our schools every day, yet when this is not practised by our leaders, it is unforgiveable. We cannot accept this as an oversight any longer, we cannot accept the meagre list of accessible playgrounds dotted few and far between across the entire country. There is very little opportunity for a family to engage in a spontaneous stop-off at the playground when the statistics show that the playground will more than likely be inaccessible for the disabled child. Accessibility needs to be engrained within everything we plan for our public spaces. Untold damage is being done to our disabled children when they are being excluded and made to feel less than in their own hometowns. - Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that: “Every child is entitled to rest and play and to have the chance to join in a wide range of activities including cultural and artistic activities.” - Article 30(5d) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that “children with disabilities should have equal access with other children to participation in play, recreation and leisure and sporting activities, including those activities in the school system.” Outdoor natural areas are another area which raise accessible issues within the disability community. I can only speak from my own experience, as an avid nature lover and mother to two children with mobility needs. I understand that the natural world is best left to its own devices and can be highly inaccessible. However, a lot of our natural amenities that are open to the public have some sort of surface laid down as a path for the public to use. Why not go one step further and make sure that surface is also wheelchair friendly? The choice of what gravel is used can make all the difference for wheelchair users’ accessibility. The Irish Wheelchair Association has published a guide called The Great Outdoors which provides excellent detail. As an island country, our beaches are areas of beauty which everyone should be able to access, and not just from the side-lines. Beach wheelchairs are available at some sites, but not nearly enough, particularly at times of the year when they are in high demand. Availability of sand mats such as Access Trax would open up access immensely. “Foldable, lightweight, portable pathways for accessibility over outdoor terrain” would allow wheelchair users to roll right onto the beach as well as walking mobility aids, buggies and prams. - Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises that disabled people should “Enjoy access to places for cultural performances or services, such as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism services, and, as far as possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural importance.” As an educator and a parent, all I want is for my children to be allowed every and equal opportunity to thrive and make their mark on the world. I am available for any discussion should you wish, but I would ask you to note that I am just one voice of many. My voice pertains to my experience as a parent of my disabled children. There are many voices of other parents , but most importantly voices of disabled adults who have lived through experiences of being excluded and treated differently and unfairly. This is only one area of accessibility we have come up against, and unfortunately, I am not naïve enough to hope that it is our last.
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    Created by Munny Hamilton
  • Remove Columbus Memorial in Galway
    In light of the global Black Lives Matter movement, Galway City cannot, in all conscience, allow a memorial to a coloniser who stands for the millennia of systemic oppression, murder and enslavement of millions of non-white peoples to remain, as if his supposed brief visit to Galway was something to be proud of. It needs to be removed immediately, and better still, be replaced with a memorial to his victims.
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    Created by Miriam de Búrca
  • Growing Clongriffin
    Growing local community, business and amenities.
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    Created by Игор Давид
  • Save Cavan Midwifery Led Unit (MLU)
    A still unknown decision has led to the MLU in Cavan being effectively closed in all but name under the guise of a merger with the consultant-led unit. This may be the third time Cavan MLU has faced closure and the pregnant people in the area have faced limitation of their care choices. The effective closure of the Midwifery-Led Unit on Monday 1st of June 2020 and the manner in which this decision has been taken, with no public consultation or formal announcement from either Cavan General Hospital or the RSCI group, who we understand are leading of this decision, shows a clear lack of understanding to the needs of those in the surrounding area. The claim that it is not a downgrading of service provision is simply false. For all who have accessed the MLU, either as a service user, healthcare professional or student, this closure will have significant impact on practice and care provision. To our knowledge, no rationale has been given to explain the decision. National and international evidence supports the expansion of midwifery led services. Closure of the unit limits choices for pregnancy care in direct opposition of this evidence. We cannot emphasise strongly enough 1. The retrograde nature of this decision which flies in the face of all the international evidence on best birth practices 2. And which spells the death knell of the 2016 Maternity Strategy which was specifically committed to the expansion of MLUs, not their closure Our model of maternity care relies on the majority of women going through a system of GP referral to an obstetric unit or maternity hospital. Despite the National Maternity Strategy, the dominant model of care across all our 19 maternity units is a consultant-led model of care. We have only the two midwifery-led units in Ireland (Cavan and Drogheda) and midwifery clinics across the maternity system are far too few. -- In international terms, our model of maternity care does not offer women choice of models of maternity care, something the National Maternity Strategy acknowledges clearly. Indeed, the Irish model of maternity care is at odds with best international evidence on the effectiveness of models of maternity care - The 2016 National Maternity Strategy, called for many more MLUs to be built. Instead this has not only been completely stalled - its implementation committee has met only four times up to 2019 (PQ 14615-19; PQ 14616) and the budget of the strategy has been slashed - The HIQA maternity report (February 2020) highlighted the lack of progress in supported care pathways under the National Maternity Strategy The 2003 Hanly Report on medical staffing with its overall aim of increasing still further centralisation of all hospital services continues to cast a shadow over the relevance of the small Cavan MLU – which has never had the full support of senior clinical and management staff in Cavan. If it had, it would be used to capacity and would not now be ‘merged’ with the consultant-led services. Who is affected? *this is not an exhaustive list of affected groups* Pregnant people are entitled to choice in care provision. There is no evidence at present to show that this has been supported or considered in the move to close the Cavan MLU. We hope to hear from service users to determine what plans are in place for those currently booked in the unit, those who were potentially being transferred back to the service following obstetric assessment, and those who had previously or planned to access midwifery led care in Cavan. Supporting practitioners in the Cavan/Monaghan area to continue the provision of Midwifery Led Care is vital. Evidence of support and solutions offered thus far to the midwives within the unit is needed so that as a national community of professionals and experts in normal pregnancy care can come together to save Cavan MLU. Midwives are the experts in providing pregnancy care and a wealth of evidence supports this model, referred to as “supported care” in the Maternity Strategy. Student midwives who began their training from 2018 in Dundalk Institute of Technology must complete Midwifery Led Unit placement experience as a core area, a change from its specialist area status before 2018. This reflects the importance of midwifery led care experience in well rounded learning. If Cavan MLU were to close, students would be limited to the Drogheda MLU to achieve the hours in order to qualify and register as midwives. It is already difficult for these MLU hours to be achieved between two units with the number of students requiring the necessary time in midwifery led services. The limitations that this closure will place on students has immediate and long-term consequences. Students in the 2019 cohort were due to attend Cavan MLU for placement in March/April and must make up this time due to COVID19. These students are now in limbo regarding completing these hours and gaining critical core learning experience. USEFUL LINKS; National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026 >> https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/0ac5a8-national-maternity-strategy-creating-a-better-future-together-2016-2/ HIQA Maternity Services report February 2020 >> https://www.hiqa.ie/sites/default/files/2020-02/Maternity-Overview-Report.pdf HSE / TCD 2009 MidU study >> https://nursing-midwifery.tcd.ie/assets/publications/pdf/midu-report.pdf Association for Improvements in the Maternity Service Ireland - Midwifery Led Care information >> http://aimsireland.ie/midwife-led-care/#:~:text=Midwife%2Dled%20services%20for%20eligible,further%20attention%20 AIMSI “What Matters to You” Survey 2014/2015 >> http://aimsireland.ie/care-choices/ Bump2Babe – Cavan General Hospital survey answers CLU >> http://www.bump2babe.ie/all-answers/unit/0/ MLU >> http://www.bump2babe.ie/all-answers/unit/1/
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    Created by Laura Henry
  • Say No to the Mow in Co. Wicklow
    During this pandemic, many of our green areas have been allowed to grow wild, with no council mowing ongoing. Which is great! Green areas have been allowed to flourish with flowers growing through them. Widespread population declines of bees and other pollinators from habitat loss are a growing concern. However, spontaneous flowers like dandelions and clover can provide pollen and nectar sources throughout the growing season....... Therefore, please don't mow, don't spray, let them grow!
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    Created by Anita Tuesley
  • Stop the Transfer Test
    Our children's mental health is being put at risk by the failure to put them first, and drop the transfer test. Young children of 10 and 11 should not be made to sit tests in the midst of a pandemic. The absence of the formal education setting means that those impacted by poverty will be even more disadvantaged, and put under additional mental health stress.
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    Created by Nicola Browne
  • Let Them In -3rd level places for all Leaving Cert students
    Everyone no matter what their circumstance or chance of birth deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential. Education is a powerful tool against poverty and inequality for both the individual who can access it and the generations after them. The current Covid19 pandemic poses an unique opportunity to change the entry process to 3rd level education in Ireland and let everyone who wants to be in education in. This petition is inspired by RTE broadcaster Joe Duffy using his platform to promote the importance of equal access to education throughout his life such as his campaign 'Let Them In' 40 years ago. If not now then when? LET THEM IN
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    Created by Grace Costigan
  • Recognise Leaving Cert subjects studied outside the school system
    Many students opt to register for and sit Leaving Certificate subjects which are either not offered in their schools curriculum, or were studied for due to other reasons such as timetable clashes or a home-schooled approach. Failure to recognise and confer appropriate grades for subjects students are registered to sit for their Leaving Certificate could disenfranchise Leaving Certificate students 2020 from access to third level places in 2020. For this reason we urge the Minister for Education and State Examinations Commission to ensure an equitable approach in the recognition of these subject choices.
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    Created by Kirsty Halloran Picture
  • A Community Garden in the Clonskeagh/Dundrum Area
    The garden's aim is to produce local food and teach gardening techniques. Empowering people to produce their own food is especially important during this time of financial, societal and climate upheaval. The community garden will be totally run by volunteers, and consistently monitored by a committee. Benefits of Community Gardens Health Community gardens increase the public access to affordable, fresh, healthy food (1). People who participate in community gardens, on average, increase their fruit consumption by 10% (1) and areas with community gardens have less obesity (3). The act of gardening is a form of exercise and so participation in community gardens promotes physical activity (1,3). Urban agriculture is also linked to reductions in stress and positive mental health especially for those suffering from mental health problems (3). Community gardens generally promote public health and improve quality of life (1) Community Community gardens promote connection with the earth and with other people (7). Working with each other and sharing resources and time builds social relationships and stronger communities. Participation in community gardens is linked with increased voter registration, civic responsibility, and reduced rates of crime (3). Compared to other communal green spaces community gardens are small scale, low cost and highly used. Community garden areas of public parks see more visits than any other part of the park (2). Resilient Food System and Sustainability Urban agriculture increases food accessibility and local food security (3,1). This is of great significance to food insecure households (3). According to Safefood.eu, one in ten households in Ireland in 2018 suffered from food poverty (8). People who grow their own food, or are a part of a community garden save money by supplementing the food they buy (3). In Seattle growers were able to supplement their produce by 30-40% (3). Many urban agriculture projects produce more than they can consume and donate the excess food to community members and food banks (3). Increasing urban agriculture increases the resilience and sustainability of the city’s food system and reduces reliance on imported produce (3). This is especially relevant in the wake of the coronavirus. Local food is generally considered to be more sustainable because of the carbon cost associated with travel. Education Community gardens can be a great platform for skill shares and events like gardening workshops, and gardening tutoring, taste-testing events or discussion events (1). In one study 20% of students that started gardening in the community garden began gardening at home (1). Community gardens can be used by local schools. This is greatly beneficial for children as gardening helps develop fine motor skills and teaches them about patience, science and where their food comes from (2). Community gardens can host a variety of workshops and help people develop tangible agricultural and organisational skills (3). References 1.Community Gardens: Lessons Learned From California Healthy Cities and Communities | Joan Twiss, MA, Joy Dickinson, BS, CHES, Shirley Duma, MA, Tanya Kleinman, BA, Heather Paulsen, MS, and Liz Rilveria, MPA 2. Community Gardening By Katherine L. Adam NCAT Agriculture Specialist Published January 2011, 3.The Intersection of Planning, Urban Agriculture, and Food Justice: A Review of the Literature Megan Horst, Nathan McClintock & Lesli Hoey 4. Multifunctional Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Land Use Planning in the United States Sarah Taylor Lovell 5.Alma Anne Clavin (2011) Realising ecological sustainability in community gardens: a capability approach, Local Environment, 16:10, 945-962, DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2011.627320 6.The motivations and experiences of community garden participants in Edinburgh, Scotland David McVey, Robert Nash & Paul Stansbie 7.It takes a garden: Cultivating citizen-subjects in organized garden projects Mary BethPudup 8. https://www.safefood.eu/News/2019/New-research-reveals-households-on-low-incomes-need-to-spend-up-to-1-3-of-take-home-income-to-afford.aspx
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    Created by Saoirse Sheehy Ariff
  • Community Objection to a Quarry in Raphoe
    Bonar's Quarries are seeking permission for 25 years to open an old quarry that has already adversely affected the lives of residents of this heritage town under planning number 1952015. It has gone unnoticed by most of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic but those who remember the building damage, noise pollution, air pollution and misery caused when this quarry was last operated will not want it to return. Unbelievably, the proposal is within just 800 metres of some 23 homes, a secondary school, businesses, multiple farms and within 1 km of Raphoe, a heritage town with a population of over 1000 people and with huge historical and cultural significance. Raphoe is also home to three other schools, a cathedral, a chapel, churches, numerous businesses including a livestock mart, a tourism attraction in Oakfield Park, forestry and many farms. We oppose the noise, dust, vehicular traffic, the safety record of the applicant, water pollution, vibration, the location and the release of any poisonous landfill leachate into aquifers, and second the views of the 18 page objection already lodged. There are many more suitable locations for a quarry but this one, on the edge of our town, simply must not go ahead. Therefore we need as many people as possible to CLICK BELOW TO BACK THIS PETITION and oppose living beside a functioning quarry in Raphoe for the next 25 years.
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    Created by Raphoe Community
  • Please don’t postpone the Leaving Cert for so long
    It has been difficult to keep the spirits up during confinement, knowing the end of the effort wasn’t so far away, or wasted, kept the focus and the effort going. The news of the long deferral have so deflated the LC students, who were studying so hard up to now. I worry about the consequences this decision might have on their resolve up to now. It would also interfere with plans to study abroad, and would have further implications regarding college entry, after correcting time is added in. Times are tough, but there’s no need to dismantle everything and take the carpet from under their feet. College classes can be taken online, exams can be scheduled in a way that social distancing is adhered to.
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    Created by Elena Lopez Sweeney
  • Cancelling CBAs across Ireland
    Due to the coronavirus schools across Ireland have been cancelled, despite this the second years are still having to complete the CBAs (classroom based assessments). This is unfair as every other year group that have completed them received a better opportunity to get help. The current second years deserve the same platform that previous students have had. Because of the current situation, there is a lot of unnecessary stress and confusion being caused.
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    Created by Natalie Bradshaw