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Report: Longford Sleep out for Simon raises over €30,000

Longford people sleep outside for Midlands Simon Community fundraiser

Midlands-Simon
On Good Friday night my good friends Sharon Devlin, Aisling Reilly and I joined others in the Longford Sleep Out for Simon in Longford’s Army Barracks.

At first we made this great fort to sleep in, but unfortunately the rain fell so hard we were forced in doors with all of our stuff drowned.

We “slept” in a barn then for four hours damp and cold, but on learning we just raised €30,000 for sleeping out, our spirits were not dampened.

At 6am it was lights on, clear out time and as I lay on my bed waiting for the water to heat so I can shower; I was never so thankful for my warm sheets, comfy pillow, hot water and a roof over my head.

Lying outside in the rain that night, even for a few hours, then in the barn on a hard ground beside loads of others really hits it home; our homeless, the refugees, these nameless…we really haven’t got the faintest clue.

I for one am humbled.

€30,000 in one night is an incredible feat; but a drop in the ocean of what we need to do.

I was reporting on the night for Shannonside FM, listen below to the report featuring interviews from those who slept out; CEO of Midlands Simon Tony O’Riordan, Community Fundraising Officer for Midlands Simon Noel Greene and Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council Gerry Warnock.

Longford Sleep Out for Simon:

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President Michael D Higgins Visits Ardagh, Co. Longford- Finished Video

On March 14th, President Michael D Higgins took up an invite to plant a tree and tour the wonderful setting of Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre in Ardagh, Co. Longford. I was on hand to film the day and I even got to interview President Higgins.

 

Property Tax Makes it Cheaper to Live in a House, a Very Big House in the Country

mansionThe property tax has to be the most despicable and unfair tax out there. People cannot afford their mortgage and then the Government slaps an added charge on the already mounting bills. Now we discover the gross inequality of the tax between counties as a one bed Dublin apartment will be forced to be more than a large 4 bed house in the country.

The find has been labeled “An injustice to the people of Dublin” by members of Fine Gael and Dublin South TD, Olivia Mitchell, slammed it as grossly unfair. What has happened is young people who bought apartments in the capital are now subsidising country mansions.

So if you live in a house, a very big house in the country, you may be pissed off about the tax but you will probably be laughing all the way to the tax office as you had a lucky escape retreating to the sticks rather than setting up home in Capital D.

According to a county by county analysis  large homes in counties Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Cavan, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Laois and Wexford will pay lower property tax than owners of the smallest apartments and houses in areas such as Stillorgan, Dalkey and Blackrock. In a breakdown it shows that in Mayo, if you own a five bedroom house you will pay €225 a year in property tax, while people in the same-sized house in south Dublin will be forced to pay €945, a difference of €720 a year, that is a colossal difference.

In rural counties, owners of large homes will pay €90 less tax than those who own one bedroom apartments in the city centre. While we could say we don’t have the same services in the back of beyond as they have in the city at the end of the day it is supposed to be a property tax and isn’t being treated as you would think, by size of the property. What do you think of the tax?

The Community Games, Mosney and The Olympic Village of Dreams

basketballAhhh, the Community Games, a chance for you to show just what you are made of, where fantasies are turned into reality as you become a community champion. All those stories you heard about the community games final are soon to be transformed into a real world experience where you create your own Olympic dream, Mosney.

This year the Leinster semi finals will be held right here in Longford. The 40 year old sporting tradition will take place over two weekends, April 7th and July 6th 2013 and will bring the finest that each county in Leinster has to offer to Longford.

The games will bring basketball, handball, hurling, camogie, tennis, football, drafts, rounders and lots more along with excitement and enthusiasm to the county. The dream will come alive as sporting hero’s fight for their place in the final, for Mosney.

Though unfortunately Mosney is no more an Olympic camp of Irish hope, it is a refugee camp, home to 600 asylum seekers, not exactly living the dream there are they? Athlone Institute of Technology is the new final of the Community Games, doesn’t sound as inspiring as the Mosney holiday camp to me. Where are the bumpber cars, the slot machines?

I won the community games once, in art. I made a clay sculpture of a swimmer. When I say won, I mean I came first in the Clonguish parish hall. The next thing I heard about it was my friend ringing me from the next stage, which was in the Mall in Longford, but I didn’t know about it and there ended my Community Games dream, dashed in a single phone call, a mishap, a mistake. I had heard the stories of Mosney, it was as exciting as the Gaeltacht but me, I was destined to spend my summers at home.

Anyway, back to the games, the venues in Longford which will hold the Leinster finals are in Ballinalee, Edeworthstown, Killoe and Ballymahon. It is sure to let the people of County Longford see what the games are really all about and with Mosney out of the picture, it really is about the games, and the community I suppose.

Longford Woman Finds Strange Visitor in Her Kitchen And Feeds Him!

parrotIt would usually be an annoyance for a strange visitor to land tired and hungry on your door step. What if you found them in your kitchen? Last thing you would want to do is feed him, look after him and try find where he came from, but that is just what one Longford woman did!

The woman came home to find a very exotic stranger flying in her kitchen, no he wasn’t on drugs, he, which we are so calling for the purpose of this article, was a bird! An Alexandrine Parakeet to be exact. He eventually landed on her kitchen floor, cold, hungry and tired. The lady fed and watered him before calling around finally making contact with Kildare Animal Foundation who look after exotic birds.

The bird got a few hours rest and then a kind supporter of the centre drove the bird up to be looked after. The bird is now in the safe care of foster parents who are giving it a home until he is reunited with his rightful owners.

I must confirm I don’t even know if this parakeet is a he but this story reminds me so much to the movie “Paulie” about a parrot who loses his little girl Marie and goes on a great adventure to find her. The movie is heartbreaking and heartwarming, if you haven’t seen it then now is the time!

The bird is both beautiful and clever and is thought to be a native of County Longford and was found in the South Longford area. The shelter are keen to locate the rightful owner and fly the bird back to its coop. The bird won’t be tricked however as it knows some words and its own name and will recognise its real family over a stranger.

If you are missing a bird that sounds like this one or have any information please contact Kildare Animal Rescue on 045-522929.

Twist Soup Kitchen to Open in Longford

twistTwist soup kitchen, which recently opened in Roscommon and is in a number of locations around the country, is hoping to open in Longford within the next two months.

This is according to the owner of Twist soup kitchens, Oliver Williams,who said there is a need for one in Longford and a number of locals have approached him about it. He said that Longford is a black spot for unemployment and he is looking for a suitable premises to open the kitchen and a charity shop.

In a real life case of taking from the rich and giving to the poor, this charitable cause gets donations of food from local people and businesses and gives it to those who have fallen on harder times. He is just one man with a big heart who has worked hard to open up the same service in Roscommon, Sligo, Athlone and Galway.

Taking on the hungry, one county at a time, Oliver is determined to establish a Twist kitchen in any location that would readily avail from the service. Speaking to Feck TV Longford, Mr. Williams said establishing a Twist soup kitchen in Longford is a great possibility once they find a suitable location in the town. They rely heavily on the generosity of local businesses and the community to donate food, supplies and their time.

The kitchens generally stay open from 10am to 4pm daily and this includes a few hours on Christmas day. If you are interested in putting in a few hours or donating anything to the cause full contact details can be found on http://www.twistsoupkitchen.com, Do you think this service is needed in Longford?

An Post Ras Cycle Will Go Through Longford

cyclingAn Post have announced details of this years Ras. The 61st edition of the annual international race was announced at the GPO yesterday launched by two time Ras winner and former Olympian Ciaran Power along with county cyclists Brian Ahern and Robin Kelly and Rás organiser, Tony Campbell.

Stage one of eight stages will begin in Dunboyne and end in Longford with a total distance of 135.4km. An Post Ras 2013 will begin on May 19th in Dunboyne, travel down to Longford where it will stop for the night. Stage 2 will start on May 20th going from Longford to Nenagh which is 160.2km.

The An Post Ras is an annual, eight-day, stage race around Ireland and is the biggest cycling event in the country. This year the organisers have opted for a slightly different route with some flat and some mountainous stages to attract the elite cyclists.

The first three stages are pretty flat with the following stages posing a more difficult challenge. The Ras will finally end up in Skerries, Co. Dublin with those who have taken part in the entire event or in the final stage.

Knowing the high level of interest in cycling in the County this is sure to attract many from local clubs and individuals to sign up. Keep an eye out on http://www.anpost.ie/AnPost/IrishCyclingRas/Home/ for details of registration.