Archive

Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink..

January 15, 2010 Leave a comment

As it has been snowing or raining since the start of 2010 it’s ironic that Dublin is now suffering from a water shortage. Many homes in Dublin this evening especially in Finglas and the north-east of Dublin are facing their sixth day without water. Severe water curtailments have left many other areas with very low pressure.

The lack of water is being blamed on the severe cold snap of the last two weeks, during which Dublin City Council seeing a 25% increase in the demand for water. Last week when the city was in the midst of one of the coldest spells in decades and DCC were urging people to stop running taps to prevent pipes for freezing, which is thought to have contributed to the decrease in water levels.

This doesn’t seem to be the main factor behind Dublin’s water crisis, as DCC water supplies suffered several major leaks due to burst pipes caused by the big freeze. Although some of the burst pipes have now been repaired there are still undetected leaks which involve running the water to find. The service is also still reduced as treatment plants which are being ran to full capacity aren’t capable of processing enough water to reduce the deficit.

There also seems to be a huge lack of information about the water problems. Many of the councils were initially slow to respond and provide the public with information about the reductions. Even now six days on the facts are still hard to come by. DCC is struggling to deal with the high influx of calls and their site isn’t much help either. Their website stops updating at six o’clock. I had to contact a few people I know in the affected areas to let them know where their nearest water tanker was as they hadn’t been informed or hadn’t been able to contact DCC.

People are still in the dark with regards to when any sort of service will be resumed. There’s talk that normal service wont be resumed for three or four months. If this speculation is true it will enevitably cause chaos and animosity among the communities affected. It will also have a terrible impact on businesses and schools.

I heard of a school in South Dublin that had reopened on Monday after the unexpected thaw, which on it’s reopening had been left with no water. The school had been warned by the council not run taps or use the toilets and under the circumstances the school was forced to close. If the water shortage is set to continue for up to three months many other schools and businesses will be forced to close their doors.

In their response to the water shortage, DCC have announced plans to bring in water charges with in two years, claiming that instances like this shows how we need charges to cut down on the waste of water. Even though the main cause of this disruption is due to the council’s leaky pipes and a poorly maintained water infrastructure.

In 2006 it was estimated that 28% of Dublin’s water was lost by leaks, leading to 150 litres of water being wasted everyday (source from rte.ie). Since then about €120 million has been invested in improving pipe work but as the current situation shows the service is still not fit for purpose.

It seems water charges are just a friendly face of a new tax which the government can brand as helping the environment and charge VAT on top of. If water charges were to be introduced would the service be ran by the DCC or perhaps sold off to a private company (like the waste and recycling service)? If it is sold off to a private company will they be charged with the up keep of the infrastructure or would that remain with DCC? Surely if DCC is struggling to maintain it a company out to make a profit would struggle even more.

Don’t get me wrong I think we should take more care with such a precious and vital resource but I don’t think charges is the way to go about. I do think they should set a reasonable water limit per household per month, maybe based on the number of people, and if that limit is exceded a charge could occur. I think water is an essential resource and it is wrong to go about trying to profit from it.

Advertisements

The countdown to the CAO deadline…

January 13, 2010 2 comments

I just finished filling out my CAO form the other day and I’d forgotten how complicated it was.  The CAO or the Central Applications Office handles and distributes college places in Ireland. Places are award using a points system based on the Leaving Cert examination result. It wasn’t my first time filling out the form because I’d been in college the year before but the course didn’t suit me. Even after having going through it before it took me nearly an hour to fill it out. On my first attempt the website timed out on me, then on my second attempt it was like some challenge from the ‘Krypton Factor’. Then when you consult the CAO hand book for help it makes as much sense as a Klingon version of Ulysses.

As I was a college student last year, this caused some complications for me whilst filling out the form. I had to inform them that I had previous attended an institute of higher education, which I did and that I had to provide them with a letter from the college which I was going to go about doing the next day. Then to my surprise I received the normal confirmation email and another email saying I had to provide the letter with in seven days of the email. It gave no reason for the seven-day deadline, I can understand it would be necessary to have it in by the closing date which was twenty days away, but seven days? Maybe if the letter doesn’t arrive my application spontaneously combusts or something.

I decided to read up more to see what would happen if I didn’t have it in on time. It didn’t really give any explication at all, just stating that “Failure to comply with these instructions may result in an extra fee and the consequent delay may seriously hinder the processing of your application.“. Okay fair enough but what’s all this about extra fees? The CAO is obsessed with extra fees. If you apply online by the 20th January it cost €35 but if you apply from the 21st January until the official closing date on 1st February for some mad reason it costs €10 more.

Although when you log on to the front page of the CAO (http://www.cao.ie) it says that “CAO is a not-for-profit company registered in Ireland.” So where does the extra €10 fee go? On administration? Biscuits maybe?

It’s not just the late application fee, if you make any mistakes on the form or fail to supply the supporting documents (like I have to) you have reapply and pay the fee again. That’s another €35 (that’s 566 in Jaffa cakes) going to the non profit company.

Then it gets down to nitty-gritty, picking the ten courses you want to be doing for the next three or four years. Do you go for what your interested or do you follow economic trends? For instance last year the points dropped for courses such as architecture and engineering which reflected the reduction in construction brought about by the economic down turn and points for science courses rose as that industry still remains strong. Points are likely to follow the same trend this year.

Is it wise purely basing you course choice on the current economic climate? Three or four years is a long time, for both the economy to change and also to be studying a subject in-depth. Last year I was reading Natural Sciences which had favourable career prospects. Although there were some aspects of the I liked, overall I hated it. The thought of spending another minute in a lab dissecting some poor animal or pipetting dangerous chemicals fills me dread. This year I decided to choose a course that suited my interests, I’d rather study something because I love it rather than something I find tedious just because it’s a stable sector of the economy.

It’s kind of nice to fill out the form with out the pressure of exams hanging over my head and being able to know in advance how many points I have. I feel sorry for the students sitting the exams this year as they is even more pressure on them as more people apply for third level courses forcing the points to rise.

So if you are filling out your CAO get on early to avoid giving the CAO extra money for Jaffa Cakes!

The Great Snow of 2010…

January 10, 2010 3 comments

As we move in the second week of freezing conditions in Ireland with grit running critically low and infrastructure coming to a stand still it’s obvious that this period will stick in the memory for a long time to come.

I, at 20, have never seen weather like this. I wasn’t around in to witness the big snow in Dublin in 1982 (really cool, forgive the pun video here) but even for those who were the conditions then didn’t even come close to what we’re dealing with at the moment.

The first lot of the ‘white shite’ as we are now calling it in our house fell on New Years Eve, shortly before 12 o’clock and is was truly magical, but now 11 days on, well for me it’s still magical (the child in me can’t help but prance around the garden crunching the snow) but it’s not practical. In my estate, where the roads are too minor to be gritted, it’s getting almost impossible to get to the main road.

Even some of the main roads this morning weren’t gritted and with the grit running out they’re not likely to be by Monday morning. Many people are torn between heading out on the treacherous roads to get to work or staying at home, and it’s hitting people especially hard due to the current economic situation.

The cold snap has been markedly damaging for businesses in Ireland. Sales were already struggling before the deterioration in conditions and with many people unable to travel to town and to shopping centres they’re set to feel the pinch and therefore having a knock on effect on the already woeful economy. Many companies are straining to cope as they are forced to close as employees can’t make it into work. The icy city streets are deserted when they should be bustling, full of shoppers looking for bargains, pubs and clubs are empty as people can’t get in or out of the city.

Resources such as water and food are being tested but are just about coping with the increased demand. On Friday water levels dropped severely low in certain areas in Dublin where it was believed people were running taps to avoid them freezing. Just this morning towns in North County Dublin lost their water supplies due to problems with frozen pipes. Also with the problems with transportation around the country comes the fear of a food shortage. At the moment there is no problem but unnecessary panic buying could cause problems in the coming days (here’s hoping the milk and tea doesn’t run out, there would be a national crisis).

I feel particularly for the elderly at the moment. I’m ok if I’m stuck for food as at least I can go on foot, but many elderly have been left stranded in their homes for nearly a fortnight. With temperatures dropping as low as -12oC they are particularly vulnerable.

Many people having been critical about the government’s lack of provisions in place for such conditions, but who really could have planned for this?

Last week saw cancellation of bus services, treacherous driving conditions and unbelievable traffic jams. All primary and secondary schools are closed until Thursday and many universities have postponed exam sessions (to the dismay of students, alright they have another week to study but they can’t get out or into town to go drinking). With even more snow predicted tomorrow and the middle of next week it looks like Ireland’s set for another week of chaos.

As the temperature stay well below zero and the snow keeps coming, I cannot help but think will it ever stop?!

Me crunching in the snow!!

Snow and Geese!!

Gogarty Gate!!

December 11, 2009 Leave a comment

“In the most unparlimentary language F**k You!!” “That is most unparlimentary language”

This is about as wild as Irish politics gets…

Love the manic bell ringing at the end!!

I have to watch this again!!

Snuggies…why???!!!BUY A JUMPER!!!

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Is this some sort of scary gang, maybe even a cult??

No. It The Snuggies! Yay! (Trying my hardest here to feign enthuasiasim….no, nothing)

Ok so they’re kinda a good idea. For instance if you’re so out of it with a cold or flu and you could be wearing a bin bag to keep warm and not notice.

But why line you and your entire family up like some fluffy cult and post it on Facebook?

(Btw: Are those flowers on the left on the wallpaper or just floating in mid-air?)

Jaws

December 7, 2009 Leave a comment

I haven’t been blogging the past couple days as I have been recovering from my wisdom tooth removal. I was supposed to go to the hospital and have all four removed at once under general anaesthetic but now I’m soooo glad I didn’t.

Due to a really bad toothache I decided to brave the procedure (and my fear of dentists) under local anaesthetic on Friday. The operation itself was fine, almost too fine, I found myself nearly falling asleep in the middle of it.

The recovery on the other hand was the worst. Although I’m feeling much better now my jaw is still quite swollen. I’m still restricted to liquids and baby foods (which are delicious!!). I miss chocolate and pizza..awww.. Every television show I’ve seem to put on over the past few days they’re munching on pizza or pasta. There’s even loads of pizza leaflets coming in the door.

Overall the past three days have been quite unpleasant. At times I couldn’t open my mouth to eat at all. Beforehand I really underestimated the effects of the procedure.

The worst side effect is that I haven’t been able to laugh (or well without saying “Ouch!!”) since Thursday. I’ve had to bypass all my favourite comedies, funny pictures and certain Twitters!!

I’ve been the quietest I’ve ever been for years. I cannot wait to get back to laughing!! (and chocolate!!)

Thierry Henry is a Cheat (Parody Song) – Dublin’s 98

November 19, 2009 Leave a comment