Social Democrats gain cross-party support for new protections for tenants

Eoin Stynes reports on the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill, which will seek to provide tenants with more security while renting

Mic Christopher remembered

On the 29th November 2001, Ireland lost one of its most eclectic and talented troubadours. Singer-songwriter Mic Christopher – aged just thirty two – died tragically after an accidental fall on steps in the Netherlands, the same night he opened for his musical heroes, The Waterboys.

Now sixteen years later, Mic is remembered through the release of his debut album Skylarkin’ on vinyl for the first time.

This feat was achieved through Born Optimistic, an Irish record label and concert promoter. Through the help of Born Optimistic’s founder and former friend of Mic’s, Donal Scannell, and by the request of the late singer’s family, the occasion was marked with the vinyl release.

Andrew Gleeson, Assistant Promoter and Producer at Born Optimistic said, “Mic’s family ordered a substantial amount of his album on vinyl as it was approaching the anniversary of his death. Donal, who had been friends with Mic had also been thinking of doing something to mark the anniversary too and got in touch. Mic’s family then asked him to release it through Born Optimistic.

“The family didn’t necessarily want to make a big deal out of the release, just enough to celebrate him so that fans could avail of the iconic album in a way they hadn’t before,” Andrew said.

Michael “Mic” Christopher, born in 1969 in the Bronx, New York to Irish parents, moved to the then relatively new area of Clondalkin when he was a toddler. Mic’s family were self-proclaimed Elvis fanatics with music being programmed into the young Mic’s mind as a child. From the age of fifteen, Mic began making the trek into the city centre to busk on Grafton Street. It was there he met fellow busker Glen Hansard and the pair quickly became best friends. With their natural showmanship and powerful voices, the pair became a formidable duo act playing to the masses on Grafton Street. The two rented a flat on Harcourt Street for quick and easy access to their workplace.

Last year for Mic’s 15 year death anniversary, Glen Hansard and several of Mic’s former busker friends performed a sold out show in Vicar St. titled “Glen Hansard and friends sing the songs of Mic Christopher” where they performed Skylarkin’ in full.

Mic formed the band ‘The Mary Janes’ in 1990 and performed with the band up until their split in 1999. What Mic is known mostly for however is his posthumously released first and only solo album Skylarkin’, and its blissful songs that remain just as influential and significant as they did back on the album’s first release in 2002.

The lead single of the album, “Heyday”, featured famously in a 2003 Guinness ad and would become an Irish anthem in the following years, with tracks such as “Listen Girl” and “Daydreamin’” fully encapsulating the singer’s writing talents and seemingly limitless future potential. The album achieved platinum status in 2004, selling 15,000 copies, and though sadly this was a feat that Mic did not live to see, the songs still resonate in Irish culture.

The vinyl release of Skylarkin’ on what would have been the singer-songwriter’s 48th birthday is not just a remembrance of a true Irish talent, but a celebration of art and creativity living on long after death.

Skylarkin’ is available for order here: https://bornoptimistic.com/products/mic-christopher-skylarkin-vinyl

By Killian Dowling

 

The price of peace: statistics from An Garda Síochána reveal the risks members of the force must deal with daily.

It is common knowledge that occupational hazards are very much part and parcel of choosing an occupation with An Garda Síochána. The first half of the 2010s it seems however, were particularly dangerous years for members of the force.

Figures released from An Garda Síochána’s Freedom of Information office have revealed the number of injuries sustained by members of the force since 2008. Most notable of these statistics are the number of assaults on gardaí and the number of road accidents, which have taken place.

2008 as shown below reveals that the number of recorded assaults on members of the force had begun to see a decrease from 2009 onwards, only to skyrocket in 2013. The figures continue to elevate to just under 300 attacks on gardaí in 2015. Interestingly however, the number eases in 2016 and has reached 153 so far this year.

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On duty members of the gardaí throughout 2010 to 2016 have been involved in a large number of road traffic related accidents, with figures of injuries sustained by gardaí reaching almost 100 per year. 2009 saw a drop by about 22%, only to increase again by another 30% the year after. The trend eases in 2011 to 84, but rises until 2013 to 128 accidents, a spike of 35% in the space of two years.

This current year, however, the figures for recorded road accidents stand at 61.

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Figures from the garda appropriation accounts of 2016 have shown that the number of garda vehicles damaged over the past eight years have risen substantially. While 2008 saw 482 recorded vehicles damaged in the year, both attributable and not attributable to gardaí, that figure has not once decreased since then.

The number of damaged vehicles peaks in 2015 at 682, the closest figures to that being 667 damaged vehicles in 2011 and 639 2012. There has however been a somewhat significant decrease in these numbers last year with the number of damaged vehicles totalling 602, an easing of 11.8%.

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By Henry Phipps

Paper Bear trying to crack Irish Christmas card market

A Dublin based greeting card company has come up with a novel approach to producing Christmas cards.

PaperBear.ie, is a pop up card company that makes greeting cards for all occasions including Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, get well cards and even cards depicting famous Irish landmarks … all ideal for sending to loved ones living abroad.

With the busy Christmas period upon us, PaperBear are producing new designs, including Comet the reindeer, Christmas Molly Malone figures and Dublin bridge scenes.

The cards retail between €3.99 and €6.99 and there are also multipack sets available for €11-€20.

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Source: paperbear.ie

 

Set up in 2013, this is PaperBear’s fourth year in business. The company was set up by Katie and Aaron Dowling.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the business, Aaron Dowling said the idea came following a trip to Spain, where they saw a pop up card shop and seeing potential in the idea, they decided to put their business skills together and set up the company.

“The process begins with drawing out a sketch for a card idea. Once we work on the design more and finalise it, we create a 3D sketch. We use Corel Draw do add layers to the picture to bring it to life. Then we cut the layers out and create the objects that will pop out of the card.

“We are aware of the global implications of using our resources like paper but since March 2017, we have worked with One Tree Planted. We plant a tree every day in places like the Amazon and Kenya … so that we can give back.

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Source: paperbear.ie

“We have a stall set up at the Dun Laoghaire Christmas markets this year which we are proud to be a part of.”

The opening days and times for the markets can be found on the Paperbear.ie website under their events calendar.

By Nicole McNelis

Video: Ibrahim Halawa on his time in an Egyptian prison

 

Ibrahim Halawa speaks to Hajar Akl, Mary-Kate Findon & Leanne Salmon about the 4 years he spent in prison in Egypt and how he is adapting to life back home in Dublin.