The Week: News Highlights 15th Sep 2017

We look at the latest news highlights from Ireland

The Week: News Highlights 15th Sep 2017

Syrian refugee presents President with self-made violin

A Syrian refugee who arrived in Ireland last year made a violin from scratch and presented it to President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Almuthna Loulah, a university lecturer from Deir Azzor in Syria, now lives as a refugee in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon.

Since arriving in Ireland, Almuthna has taken up violin making, and he presented his first violin to the President, as a gesture of thanks to the people of Ireland.

Inside the violin, he etched all the names of the people who helped him make the violin, get the tools, find the inspiration and the support he needed. Almuthna was accompanied by his brother Muhammad, Amina Ramadan, Debbie Beirne, Ballaghadereen reception centre manager Jacqueline Mullen, English teacher Michael Geraghty and musician Maurice Lennon.

“He hugged me so strong, he was so warm and sweet, it was not like an official hug,” he said afterwards. “He is like a father to all Irish people.”

The Week: News Highlights 15th Sep 2017

Leo ‘de Varad’ passes his business Irish examination

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has passed an Irish language course after spending the start of this year attending weekly classes.

For three months in spring Mr Varadkar attended the intermediate Gaelchultúir course in Dublin, which involved three hours of classes every Wednesday.

The course was completed by an oral exam at the end, held on the same day Enda Kenny announced that he was resigning as Taoiseach.

Upon receiving his certificate last week, Leo Varadkar tweeted: “Tá an-áthas orm mo theastas Ghaelchultúr a fháil. Bhain mé an-sult as an gcúrsa. Táim ag feabhsú ach tá go leor fós le foghlaim agam!”

This translates to: “I am very pleased to find my Gaelchultúr certificate. I really enjoyed the course. I’m improving but I still have lots of learning!”

His certificate “as Gaeilge”was addressed to a Leo “de Varad”. Varad is his father’s ancestral village in India.
He said: “I studied the language at school, of course, but like a lot of people in this country I haven’t had many opportunities to use it since then and was therefore out of practice.”

The Week: News Highlights 15th Sep 2017
8/8/2017. Luas Traffice Chaos. A couple of tourists travelling by motor bike seek the assistance of two gardai at the bottom of Grafton Street, to try and find their way out of the confusion caused by the Luas works in the O’Connell Street, College Green, Dawson Street area. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/

Latest Garda Síochána scandal sees Irish public losing trust

The level of trust the Irish public has in the country’s police service has fallen since the beginning of 2017 as almost two-thirds of the population state that they believe the organisation is not well managed.

A new survey commissioned by An Garda Síochána has found 88 per cent of people have a mid to high level of trust in gardaí, which is down by four per cent from the first quarter of the year.

There was also a drop between the first and second quarters of this year in terms of gardaí being friendly or helpful (-2 per cent), community focused (-2 per cent), modern or progressive (-2 per cent), providing a world-class police service (-5 per cent).

However, there was no change in the number of people who believe the organisation is effective in tackling crime.

The figures come as the organisation is under fire for the inflation of breathaliser test figures, where an internal investigation found that 1.4 million false tests were logged on the Pulse system.

The largest reduction in the survey was the number of people who think the organisation is well managed, down 6 per cent to 37 per cent in the second quarter of the year.

The Week: News Highlights 15th Sep 2017

Irish people over 55 ‘are more active’ than those aged 18 to 24

A new survey by the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) has caused the organisation to further warn that sitting is as bad as smoking for physical health.

“An avoidable health crisis is looming for Irish Adults if current trends in physical inactivity continue. Two in three Irish adults are not getting enough activity to maximise the benefits for their health,” they say.

The findings suggest that the 18-24 age group may be the least physically active amongst all adults, as on average, they report spending the least amount of time being physically active at just 2.5 hours per day.

In comparison, the 55-64 and 65+ age groups are more physically active, reporting they spend on average 4.4 hours and 4.3 hours respectively per day being active.

Screen time also correlates with the statistics, as the 18-24 age group spend by far the most time using a TV, tablet or phone.

They record five hours per day, compared to the lowest amounts of 3.9 hours for the 55-64 group.

“We need the nation to recognise that sitting and being sedentary is the new smoking. If people aren’t more physically active now, then this will lead to all kinds of future problems,” ISCP president Marie Guidon said.

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