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    Racism in Ireland

    In recent weeks, there have been a number of racist attacks in Ireland. With plans for Ireland to take in 600 migrants as part of an EU programme, is our society becoming more racist?

    Our reporter Brian O’Connell has been looking at this issue.

    Contact Brian here.


    Air BnB

    Now, for some it has more than halved their mortgage repayments, while for others it provides annual holiday money - it seems more and more people are using AirBnB to generate income.

    Our reporter Brian O’Connell has been looking into how it works and who is making money from it.

    Read More: Revenue dashes hopes of AirBnB generation, Dominic Coyle, The Irish Times, 4th Feb 2015

    Contact Brian here.

    Cervical Cancer Vaccine

    A group has recently been set up to highlight concerns they have about possible side effects of the HPV vaccine, which is given to teenage girls in Ireland. I’ll be joined shortly by Dr Kevin Connolly, Chairman of the National Immunisation Committee, but first our reporter Brian O’Connell has been looking at this issue.

    Contact Brian here.



    Cervical Cancer Vaccine

    A group has recently been set up to highlight concerns they have about possible side effects of the HPV vaccine, which is given to teenage girls in Ireland. I’ll be joined shortly by Dr Kevin Connolly, Chairman of the National Immunisation Committee, but first our reporter Brian O’Connell has been looking at this issue

    Contact Brian here.

    HSE response to Brian's questions.

    Brian asked the HSE some questions about the HPV vaccine following queries by parents - read response here

    The company which distributes the HPV vaccine here also provided a comprehensive reply to issues raised - read here

    And in relation to complaints about the vaccine, this is what the HPRA told him - read here

    Spike Island Excavations

    It has housed everyone from Irish Nationalist John Mitchell to notorious Dublin criminal Martin The General Cahill, and for the next few weeks Spike Island, at the entrance to Cork harbour, is home to a team of archaeologists. Our reporter Brian O’Connell has been to Spike Island to find out why they are there.

    Contact Brian here.

    There’s an open day tomorrow, Tuesday, and outside of that you can visit by getting the boat from the harbour in Cobh where there are sailings every hour from 11am until 3pm.

    Mindful Walking

    Billed as Ireland’s first mindful walking group, former army commandment Hugh O’Donovan aims to get people fit and promote inner peace and wellbeing at the same time. Our reporter Brian O’Connell met some of a new mindful walking group in Cork yesterday.

    It takes place the last Tuesday of every month meeting at the Bishopstown Café in Cork. Next one is July 28th. More details on Hugh’s website

    Contact Brian here.


    New Postcode System for Ireland

    On Monday, a new postcode system for Ireland will be launched. After years of planning, Eircode will come into being. Despite this several stakeholders are less than impressed with the kind of postcode we have adopted. Our reporter Brian O’Connell has been looking at the issue and joined Sean this morning.

    Q&A with Eircode

    Can you explain why the decision was taken to have a code that is not sequenced? In that it appears to me buildings adjacent bear no link to each other in the database. Why did we decide to go with this kind of system when the likes of freight operators for example are against it?

    The fact that Eircodes are not sequenced with those of adjacent buildings brings no disadvantages to users. This is because each Eircode comes with co-ordinates, which means any series of Eircodes can be put in sequence for delivery or other purposes using basic software. See slide 6 in the attached presentation for more information.

    From a citizens’ point of view, the most important thing is that the Eircode is easy to remember.

    A sequenced code would require thousands of individual postcodes to be re-assigned every time a new premises was built between existing buildings. Aside from the administrative costs this would entail, it would mean an individual citizen’s post code could change frequently, making it difficult to remember the correct, current, code. It would also put additional costs on businesses, who would have to change stationary and other printed materials each time the code changed to maintain the sequence.

    It is inaccurate to say that all freight operators are “against it.” For example Nightline, which is the biggest delivery company in Ireland, fully supports Eircode and says it will be using the system shortly after launch.

    Gary Delaney from the company Loc8 proposed an alternative form of postcode, more in keeping he says with the way postcodes have evolved internationally. Why is it his system was not adopted?

    Loc8 did not bid for the contract, either on its own or as part of a consortium.

    As is required for all Government procurement, there was a comprehensive procurement process for a 10 year licence to provide the postcode system. This covered  design, encoding of public sector databases, implementation, and the on-going operation and management of the system for ten years.  This process was carried out in accordance with national and EU procurement procedures.

    Can you explain maybe in a paragraph who exactly Eircode will benefit, and what the actual need for it is? How will it impact on people's day to day lives.

    Eircodes will bring many benefits to citizens, communities and business. For example:

    • It will be easier to accurately identify addresses, including the 35% of Irish premises that currently share their address with one or more            others.
    • It will be easier to shop online.
    • Businesses that deliver parcels – or other goods and services – will have an affordable and effective new tool, which accurately identifies addresses and enables improved efficiency.
    • A wide range of public services will be delivered more efficiently  improving quality and planning, while reducing costs.
    • Emergency services will be able to find the correct address more quickly, particularly in rural areas.
    • On costs, is the total amount spent €27 million? Of this how much was spent on the actual code? I understand it may have been €2 million. Can you confirm what that amount is?

    The total cost of €27m covers the various elements of design (including coding), encoding of public sector databases, and the implementation and on-going management of the operation of Eircodes. The costs associated with the design and verification of the code itself are included in the design element, which amounts to 9% of the total cost. The largest element of the costs were encoding public service databases and accessing the GeoDirectory database, which is owned by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland.

    What happens if county or city councils decide not to adopt Eircode?

    It is not mandatory for any individual or organisation to use Eircodes. As is common across the OECD, we expect it to be widely used because of the benefits it will bring (see above). This point also applies to City/Councils.

    The Department has worked closely with a wide range of public service organisations, including the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA). Local authority electoral registers and rates files have been updated with Eircodes.


    Tag Rugby

    Next week the annual Pig N Porter festival takes place in Limerick and it will see 130 teams from Ireland, Great Britain and Australia compete in a tag rugby competition. The sport has grown in popularity here in the last decade, so much so that Ireland is soon to send several teams to the tag rugby world cup in Australia. We sent our reporter Brian O’Connell to a weekly tag rugby event in Cork to see what it is all about.


    Direct Provision

    This week, a report on Ireland's asylum and protection process was published and it recommended a whole raft of changes to the current system. To talk about that report and some work he has been carrying out with RTE’s Investigations Unit, our reporter Brian O’Connell joined Sean in studio.

    There will be more on this RTÉ Investigations Unit report tonight on RTÉ’s Prime Time at 9.35pm on RTÉ 1.


    Free GP Care

    Starting from today, children under six are entitled to free GP care with doctors who have registered for the scheme.

    In some areas of the country however, there has been a low uptake of the scheme. Only 19 per cent of doctors in South Tipperary have registered. Our reporter Brian O’Connell has been out and about in Clonmel talking to parents about the scheme, also one of those GPs, Dr Martin Rouse joins Sean. 

    Read More: Everything you need to know about free GP care for under-sixes, Fiona Reddan, The Irish Times, 30th June 2015

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