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Busy week with Minister’s visit and Yellow Flag award

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By Michelle Crean

It was a busy week for one school last week as not only were they awarded the Yellow Flag for their work in promoting diversity, inclusion and equality - but they also welcomed in the Education Minister and a Kerry TD.

YELLOW FLAG AWARD: Education Minister Norma Foley with the Yellow Flag committee: Shauna Myers and Elizabeth O'Shea pictured at the front and Mehek Asghar Jasmine Shehabali Myassar Saleh and Daria Pokojska.

St Brigid's Presentation Killarney gave a warm welcome to Minister Norma Foley and TD Danny Healy-Rae on Friday morning last. There they met with members of the Student Council and members of the Yellow Flag committee.

The school is only one of five schools nationally to attain the Yellow Flag for their work in promoting diversity, inclusion and equality for all in St Brigid's.

Minister Foley chatted with many students and staff, visited the ASD class where Zoomer the school's therapy dog was delighted to meet with the Minister. Minister Foley's final stop on her visit was the green field site where St Brigid's future new school will be located.

"It is great to see an alumni of a Pres and CEIST school currently in the role of Minister for Education. We are delighted she was able to visit and chat with the students," school PRO, Sheree Murphy, said.

YELLOW FLAG AWARD

The ‘Yellow Flag Programme’ - made up of all kinds of people, those with different hopes, dreams, languages, cultures, beliefs and ways of life - was established in St Brigid's in 2020.

Some of the initiatives carried out by the active Yellow Flag committee include a Culture Day promoting the many cultures and ethnicities.

"We also ran a school wide diversity code competition where we asked our students to lend us their voices to design a diversity code for us to live by," teacher Cliona Hallissy said.

"There was a huge response with students displaying their creative talents through exceptional pieces of artwork and eloquent pieces of writing. We were thrilled when the Irish Traveller Movement informed us that the school had received a Yellow Flag in recognition of the work carried out to promote diversity and inclusion."

A virtual ceremony took place on Thursday last which was hosted via Zoom by RTÉ presenter Emer O’Neill. All 20 members of the Yellow Flag committee attended and enjoyed a wonderful celebration of their work.

Sixth Year Daria Pokojska gave a student perspective on what the programme meant to her and Miss Hallissy spoke from a teacher’s perspective about the importance of the ‘Yellow Flag Programme’ to the school community.

On Friday Minister Foley celebrated the students’ achievement. The national co-ordinator of the Yellow Flag Programme, Molly Brady-Martin, was also in attendance."The enthusiastic committee all received certificates recognising their participation. Students received a letter from the President Michael D. Higgins congratulating them on their commitment to a truly inclusive education."

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Minister passes the buck on major road upgrade

By Sean Moriarty Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Eamon Ryan has passed the buck after being challenged on why the Killarney to Farranfore road has been further delayed. Transport […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Eamon Ryan has passed the buck after being challenged on why the Killarney to Farranfore road has been further delayed.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) have been putting off the revelation of the preferred route corridor for the badly needed road for months.

Elected councillors at the January meeting of the Killarney Municipal District expressed their anger after TII failed to honour a pre-Christmas promise.

In November last year the roads authority said it would put the preferred corridor on public display by the start of December.

So far, nothing has been published.

This prompted local TD Michael Healy-Rae to bring the issue to the Dáil where he asked Minister Ryan to make a statement on the delay.

However, the Minister passed the buck, saying the matter was for the TII, the very agency that has not honoured its late 2022 promise.

“As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned,” said Ryan.

“This is also subject to the Public Spending Code and the necessary statutory approvals. In this context, TII is best placed to advise you on the status of this project. Noting the above position, I have referred your question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.”

Next Friday (February 10), will mark 10 working days from the date of the statement was made.

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Contraceptive Services in Ireland

Birth control or contraception is the use of medicines, devices, or surgery to prevent pregnancy. You can get contraception from most pharmacies in Ireland. Most contraception will need a prescription […]

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Birth control or contraception is the use of medicines, devices, or surgery to prevent pregnancy.

You can get contraception from most pharmacies in Ireland. Most contraception will need a prescription from a GP but you do not need a prescription for emergency contraception or condoms.

You can get prescriptions for contraceptive drugs and devices, as well as advice about contraception from GPs, voluntary organisations and private family planning clinics. Voluntary and private family planning clinics usually have charges but may waive them or have lower fees in certain cases.

In Budget 2023 it was announced that the age range for free contraception will be extended to include women aged 16 and aged 26 to 30, from 1 September 2023. This change requires legislation.

Is contraception free in Ireland?

You can get free contraception if you are:

A woman or person with a uterus
Aged 17 to 26
Living in Ireland

What contraception costs are free for people aged 17 to 26?

Any GP appointments about your contraception options
Contraception prescriptions from your doctor (at participating pharmacies)
Emergency contraception (the morning-after-pill)
Fitting, removal and check-ups of long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs)
Other types of contraception such as contraceptive injections, implants, IUS and IUDs (coils), the contraceptive patch and contraceptive ring
Prescriptions for combined oral contraception (the daily pill)

How do I get free contraception if I am aged 17 to 26?

You do not need a medical card.
You need to book an appointment with a GP or doctor to discuss your contraception. This appointment will be free. The GP and pharmacy will ask for your:

PPS number
Name
Date of birth
Address

Your GP will use this information to let the pharmacy know not to charge you for your free contraception prescription. You can also collect your free contraception from some family planning clinics.

Is contraception covered by my medical card?

If you have a medical card, you get free contraceptive drugs, devices and free GP services including contraceptive advice. This also includes emergency contraception. You will have to pay a prescription charge for items you get from pharmacies under the medical card scheme.

What is the situation, if I do not have a medical card?

If you do not have a medical card, and you are not eligible for the free contraception scheme (above), you will have to pay for contraception and contraceptive services. You may be able to reduce the cost of your contraception through the Drug Payment Scheme. For example, the cost of long-acting reversible contraceptives such as the IUS (hormonal coil) or IUD (copper coil). You may also be able to claim tax relief on medical expenses.

Can I get free condoms in Ireland?

Condoms are not free under the medical card or free contraception scheme.

You can get free condoms from:
Sexual health or GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinics
Some sexual health NGOs
Many third level colleges

Where can I get emergency contraception?

Emergency contraception is a back-up contraception. You can use emergency contraception up to five days after having unprotected sex, but it is more effective the sooner you take it after unprotected sex.
You can get emergency contraception tablets (sometimes called the morning-after pill) over the counter in most pharmacies without having to go to a doctor for a prescription.

You can get free emergency contraception if:

You have a medical card, or
You are a woman or person with a uterus, aged 17 to 26 and living in Ireland

You can read more about contraception services on the HSE website: www.sexualwellbeing.ie.

For anyone needing information, advice or have an advocacy issue, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie for further information.

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