Tag Archives: Journalism

2,700 ‘ghost estates’ across country

4 Oct

Last day at InsideIreland.ie

An official audit has revealed that there are approximately 2,700 “ghost esates”, roughly 100,000 homes, around the country.

The number of unfinished housing estates is over four times the Government’s original estimate of 621, according to reports in the Irish Independent.

There are unfinished ‘ghost estates’ across the country which are vacant, or lacking adequate facilities.

A survey by the Department of the Environment of 63 unfinished estates in Laois showed 20% of the homes were without adequate water, sewage and road access, while 25% had serious health and safety issues including open sewers and water contamination.

30% of the completed estates lie vacant, while construction has not began on about 40% of units. It is believed that the figures from Laois reflect ghost estates across the Republic.

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LoveGAA.ie internet dating site launched

28 Sep

Donegal designer, Dermot Lawless, has launched an internet dating website for GAA fans, LoveGAA.ie.

Lawless, owner of  Aurora Web Design, came up with the idea for LoveGAA.ie (which is also available at LoveGAA.com) when he saw a commerical for a dating website during a Donegal versus Clare All-Ireland Football Championship match in July.

The site will help members meet potential partners who share their love of Gaelic Games.

In his view, dating websites in general are too complicated and he believes that the criteria for finding the right person misses the point.

“The ad said that they could find a partner based on 29 levels of compatibility, but I thought there really is only one level of compatibility – whether your partner likes GAA games or not,” said Lawless.

“You know you’ve met your soul mate when they stand alongside you in the rain at a club match, or shout at the TV, just as loud as you do.”

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Segway boss dies after fall

28 Sep

Millionaire Jimi Heselden, owner of the Segway company, has died after falling from cliffs while riding one of the scooters.

Heselden, 62, crashed into the River Wharfe while riding the Segway round his estate in Thorp Arch in West Yorkshire in England, on Sunday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Over 50,000 Segways have been sold since the vehicles launch in 2001.

A spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Police said: “Police were called at 1140 yesterday to reports of a man in the River Wharfe, apparently having fallen from the cliffs above.”

Mr Heselden, founder of Hesco Bastion, acquired the Segway operation in December 2009.

In 2009 Mr Heselden, who leaves a wife and children, led a British team which bought the United States-based Segway firm.

The vehicles are electric, two-wheeled, self-balancing machines. They were
invented by Dean Kamen and unveiled in 2001.

The tycoon was well known for his donations to charity, giving more than £20m to good causes. As a spokesman for Hesco Bastion said: “Jimi is perhaps best known for his charity work with Help for Heroes and the Leeds Community Foundation.

“A £10m gift to the foundation earlier this month saw his lifetime charitable donations top £23m.”

A family spokesman told the BBC: “Our family has been left devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of a much-loved father and husband.”

Speaking in 2009, a spokesman for Segway said that the company had sold over 50,000 vehicles.

The Segway, which can reach speeds of 20kph, have been the subject of much media attention and restrictions have been placed on their use in several countries due to concerns over pedestrian safety.

They have been used by police around the world, including specially-trained officers at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The scooters are available for rent for city tours across Europe, including Vienna and Prague. In Ireland, they can be rented for tours around Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

Urbanpup turnover up on Amazon contract

17 Aug

Working at InsideIreland.ie as part of a Journalism Internship, I’ll put the more interesting articles up here (most of them are about banks and politics.)

First up, clothes for dogs;

Bangor-based internet firm Urbanpup.com has recently secured a “significant amount” of new global sales in the multi-million dollar doggy fashion industry, with the help of Amazon and a partnership with the hit West End musical Legally Blonde.

Founded in 2007, Urbanpup.com supplies a range of dog clothing and accessories – from dog carriers, to doggy pyjamas and tiaras.

James Foote, left, of Ulster Bank and Denis Kelly of Urbanpup mark the Bangor internet company’s recent achievements, with Lilly the Chihuahua, who is wearing one of the company’s puppy coats.

The County Down company says its turnover has increased by 500% in the last financial year, and that it is set to increase further this year.

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COMMENT: Clubs and societies face challenges at QUB

4 Mar

The Refresher’s fair helped to boost the membership of the newest clubs and societies at Queen’s. The Lacrosse Club for instance, recruited 20 new members. The ranks of other new clubs, including the Boxing club, the Softball club and the Ultimate Frisbee club, have also grown. The new groups seem to be doing well despite certain setbacks, such as problems concerning facilities and training times. In the case of the Ultimate Frisbee Club, the problem lies with the fact that few seem to have heard of the club, or indeed the sport. Although the new clubs have teams with vast potential, they face financial challenges.

Published in QUB Newspaper The Gown

At Queen’s, new clubs do not receive funding in their first year and they have many expenses, from equipment to advertising, to travel and event costs.This first year can really make or break a club. Recruiting and keeping members on a low budget, as well as creating fresh, appealing ideas for fundraising requires innovation and dedication.

As a result, some clubs have found new ways to fund their sports. The Lacrosse Club have arranged an informal sponsorship with Rockie’s bar in the Odyssey. The Boxing club creators have invested their own money into designing T-shirts in a bid to raise cash.

Clearly, it can be difficult for a new club to raise funds for themselves as fundraising events cost money too, with the purchase of prizes and so on. The leaders of these new clubs felt that there was little help available to them concerning the financial side of organising a club. For example, the Softball Club discovered that the Queen’s Annual Fund might have helped them. However, the club discovered this initiative only after the deadline had passed.

Perhaps a more comprehensive source of information and guidance for new clubs, on financial matters and so forth, would be helpful. If clubs cannot find sufficient information on the Student’s Unions’ website, they are advised to email VP Clubs and Societies.

REVIEW: Tokyo Story

6 Feb

Published in QUB Newspaper The Gown.

I’m really not sure about this review, because extremely wise people talk about this film like it’s Shakespeare. So this review is probably a result of my lack of understanding or openness and no small amount of immaturity. I’m not particularly proud of it now. (14/5/2011)

Tokyo Story follows an elderly couple who visit their grown children in Tokyo. Their children have little time for them, as they are busy with work, or their own children. The children pay for their parents to stay at a spa at Atami. Yet, they find this place too noisy and decide it is for the younger generation. Feeling that they are a burden, they make their excuses and go home.

I felt the film depicted a transitional period in Japan. The traditional emphasis on family values and respect are fading while modern Japan is coming into focus, the hyper-competitive, capitalist Japan that we see today. This is shown through the lack of respect the children show their parents and the contrast of the elderly couple’s rural home with the growing industry of Tokyo.

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FEATURE: Would an independent Scotland spell the end of the Union?

27 Jan

On Monday, people around the world celebrated Burns Night. The 25th of January was also to be the date the SNP released the bill that they hoped would be a first step towards an independent Scotland. What would this mean for Northern Ireland?

Published in QUB Newspaper The Gown

On Monday night Queen’s celebrated its sixth annual Burns Night. The tradition marks the birthday of Robert (Rabbie) Burns, Scotland’s national poet and author of the world famous ‘Auld Lang Syne’.  This year’s guest speaker, Professor Leith Davis, of Simon Fraser University, Vancouver spoke about the worldwide appeal of Robert Burns and how he is appropriated by various cultures for various reasons.

Burns Night has been growing in popularity for many years. Last year, Robert Burns was voted ‘Greatest Scot of all time’ by STV. The poet managed to beat strong contenders such as David Hume and William Wallace.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) had hoped to attract some of this popularity to its cause, the fight for Scottish independence. Burns Night 2010 was to be the day that the SNP published their controversial Referendum Bill. Yet, it is now suspected that the bill will not be published until late February.

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