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Students should consider senior cycle subject choices carefully





At this time of the year many Third and Fourth Year students are considering their options for Senior Cycle. Some thought and proper research at this stage paves the way for lots of opportunities for progression onto college courses, apprenticeships, training programmes and the workplace in the future. The main choices to consider are Transition Year, Leaving Cert Applied and the traditional Leaving Cert.

Transition Year: Opting to do TY gives students lots of opportunities to develop new skills personally and in terms of the world of work. It also facilitates work experience and subject sampling which greatly assists subject choices for Leaving Cert and subsequently career choices. Students are encouraged to engage in activities that move them outside of their comfort zone, allowing them to take on more responsibility and leadership thus gaining more independence. The TY programme varies from school to school so it is important to look at what is offered before deciding if it is the right option.

Leaving Certificate Applied Programme: For students who are interested in more practical learning and hands-on work, the LCA is the ideal option. It is a two year stand-alone programme which focuses on equipping students with work-based skills and knowledge while assessing in a more continuous way. Work Experience is an integral part of the programme, usually offered on one day of the school week. While students who do LCA can’t apply directly through CAO from Leaving Cert, most other career paths are open to them, including Post Leaving Courses (PLCs) which then allow them to progress onto Institutes of Technology and Universities.

Traditional Leaving Certificate: Moving into the final two years of secondary school requires students to make subject choices that suit them and allow them to progress in career areas they may be interested in. That said, it is perfectly normal for 15 and 16-year-olds to not know what they want to do after school. Students will generally take seven subjects for Leaving Cert; Irish, English and Maths, which are compulsory unless a student has a language exemption and four optional subjects chosen from those which are offered in the school. If on offer in the school, some students will also opt for Leaving Cert Vocational Programme (LCVP), a subject which focuses on enterprise education and preparation for the world of work.

Optional subjects should be chosen by taking the following into consideration; what subjects the student likes, what they are good at and what subjects/grades may be required for the colleges or courses that they are interested in. For students who have a big interest and a flair for a particular area for example business or science, they may opt to take two subjects from either area. For students who are considering applying to an NUI College such as UCC for areas other than Science, Food Science and Engineering they will need to keep on a language as it is a minimum requirement, while this is not the case for other Universities and ITs. For students who are undecided, the best advice is to choose a broad range of subjects. Consider taking one option from the following; a language, a science, a business subject, a practical or humanities based subject. By talking to the guidance counsellor in school, students can consider their strengths, results, aptitudes, interests and career areas they are considering before making choices. Further information on entry requirements is available on the college websites and by checking the subject requirement module on For information on the content of all the subjects on the Leaving Cert course consult


Niamh Dwyer is a guidance counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore and is PRO of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors.


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Top tips for exfoliating your skin

One of the most important steps when we are looking after our skin, face and body is exfoliation. There are many different types of exfoliators so finding the right one […]




One of the most important steps when we are looking after our skin, face and body is exfoliation.

There are many different types of exfoliators so finding the right one is important. We don’t want to cause any unnecessary damage, especially to the face.

We must help to exfoliate the dead cells to reveal new glowing skin. As dead cells have a negative effect on the skin, it clogs pores, creates dark spots and rough skin texture, more pronounced wrinkles as well as dullness and dryness. Also, the build up of dead cells can inhibit the effectiveness of skin care products as serums and creams can’t reach the basal (lower) layer which is the active level of the skin. This layer is responsible for the growth of collagen and elastin. These molecules/cells rise up to the outer layer giving your skin plumpness. Think of them like grapes when they are youthful and hydrated. Unfortunately as we age, and if we don’t look after our skin, environmental factors such as the sun, wind, and diet can cause the collagen and elastin cells to look more like raisins. Therefore, it’s super important to exfoliate those dead cells away.

The different types you can choose from might depend on your likes or dislikes and if your skin is normal or combination. If you have dry, thin skin you must be careful to choose a suitable exfoliating product, something without grains, as they can sometimes be a little harsh. If they are dissolving grains they maybe suitable.

A great tip when exfoliating the body is to put on exfoliating mitts every time you shower. Always apply a little body lotion after every shower or bath also.

Any questions call Jill on 064 6632966.

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Budget 2023 has been announced, so what’s in it for you?

At lunchtime today (Tuesday) Budget 2023 was announced which includes an €11 billion package in what’s been described as a ‘Cost of Living Budget’. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and […]




At lunchtime today (Tuesday) Budget 2023 was announced which includes an €11 billion package in what’s been described as a ‘Cost of Living Budget’.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath announced a series of measures which they say will be “focused on helping individuals, families and businesses to deal with rising prices”.

It included a further €300 million in public service support measures funded from the Contingency Reserve Fund.

“We were emerging from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We now face a further economic challenge,” Minister Donoghue said.

“The government understands, and I understand, the worries which small business owners, farmers, pensioners, those who work really hard to get by, will feel. This is why the government will help, and by helping our country will overcome this challenge.”


Personal Tax Credit, Employee Credit and Earned Income Credit set to increase by €75

Standard rate band for Income Tax is to increase by €3,200 to €40,000

Increase in the second USC rate band (2 percent rate) from €21,295 to €22,920 in line with the 80 cent per hour increase in the national minimum wage recently agreed by this government

€200 electricity credits for homes over the next three billing cycles – November, January and March – (€600 in total)

Petrol/Diesel: The reduction on excise duty on fuel previously announced earlier this year to ease the cost of petrol and diesel has been further extended until February 28, 2023. Motorists will continue to pay 21 cent per litre in respect of petrol, 16 cent per litre in respect of diesel and 5.4 cent per litre in respect of Marked Gas Oil.

A €1.2 billion package of supports for businesses hit by soaring energy costs

New Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) has been set up to assist businesses with their energy costs. A monthly cap of €10,000 per trade will apply and an overall cap will apply on the total amount which a business can claim.

Excise on pack of 20 cigarettes to increase by 50 cent

Lump sum payment of €400 for Fuel Allowance recipients will be paid before Christmas

Extra lump sum for the elderly, carers, and disabled as social welfare rates go up €12

VAT: 9 percent VAT rate which is currently in place to support the tourism and hospitality sectors to remain in place until February 28, 2023

Double Child Benefit payment for all eligible parents on November 1

Christmas bonus to be paid in December, with a separate double payment in November

New rent tax credit worth €500 for 2023. This can also be claimed for 2022. This applies to those who do not get any other housing supports. Approximately 400,000 persons are expected to benefit.

Rural Ireland will get a €390 million investment for development

Newspaper: VAT on newspapers to be reduced from 9 percent to zero from January 1, 2023.

1,000 new Garda and 430 Garda staff will be provided

20% fare reduction on public transport will be extended to the end of 2023

Social Welfare

Weekly social welfare rates will be increased by €12 for working age recipients

€12 increase in weekly payments for pensioners

Working Family Payment threshold will increase by €40

€2 increase in the weekly rate for a Qualified Child

An increase in eligibility for Fuel Allowance

€500 lump sum for families availing of the Working Family Payment, a €500 lump sum for carers, a €500 cost of disability payment and a €20 increase in the domiciliary care allowance for sick children


All inpatient hospital charges will be abolished, GP visit cards will be provided to those on or below the median income (340,000 additional people)

There will be a €2 increase in the weekly rate for a Qualified Child.

Drug Payment Scheme threshold will remain at the lower rate of €80 in 2023

Funding will be provided for IVF treatments

Free contraception will be available for all women aged between 16 and 30

Childcare and education

Free School Book Scheme for primary school pupils from autumn 2023

Over 660 additional mainstream teachers, over 1,190 SNAs and 680 special education teachers will be provided

The National Childcare Scheme hourly subsidy is to increase from 50c to €1.40

A €500 increase in post-graduate contribution grant for eligible families

Over 4,800 additional places on craft and consortia-led apprenticeships and 4,000 places on craft apprenticeship programmes will be supported


Funding will be made available to support 8,800 new HAP tenancies and 800 RAS tenancies

9,100 new-build social homes, 5,500 new affordable homes for sale and rent and 6,500 new social homes will be supported

Funding to deliver 37,000 home energy upgrades


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