4th November, 1999
The Noticeboard


A WINNER ALL THE WAY

An independent survey carried out recently, shows that more Douglas based businesses advertise in the Douglas Weekly than in any other journal. With all due respects to the surveyors it didn't take a lot of ingenuity to work that out, but it does go to show that local businesses are giving their support to their local paper. And as much as we would like to believe it we know that this is not out of the goodness of their hearts but it's because they are getting results so it pays them to advertise in the Douglas Weekly. There's a lesson there for all of us; support your own and they will support you. Read the Douglas Weekly it's in your own interest.


HYPERICUM PERFORATUM (St. Johns Wort)

The IBM (Irish Medicines Board) considers that Hypericum perfotatum is a medicinal product, which should be subject to prescription control for two distinct reasons. For these reasons the IBM asked the Department of Health and CHILDREN to consider including Hypericum in the revised regulations. These revised regulations will see Hypericum perforatum and products containing Hypericum perforatum made prescription only from January 1 2000.

Treatment
The data provided in support of applications to the IMB for Product Authorisation for Hypericum perforatum containing products report that it is the treatment of patients with mild to moderate depression. The IMB consider that patients with mild to moderate depression should be under medical supervision and that self-medication (non-prescription sale) are inappropriate.
There are currently no products approved in Ireland for the treatment of mild to moderate depression, which can be purchased without prescription. Consequently, the IMB recommended to the Department of Health and Children that it should consider making products containing this Hypericum perforatum subject to prescription.

Safety Concerns
It has been stated that Hypericum perforatum has been tried and tested for many years. It has also been stated that Hypericum perforatum has no side effects. It is in correct to claim the latter.
How Hypericum perforatum works is unclear. However, it is reported to act as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI ). Prescription MAOIs must be used with care because there is a risk of hypertensive crises when they are taken with over the counter sympsthomimetics (e. g. cough mixtures), antidepressants or food containing tryamine ( e.g. red wine, cheese ). The IMB is concerned that similar interactions may occur with Hypericum perforatum.
Advertising literature used in the promotion of Hypericum perforatum in pharmacies and health food stores states the product can be taken "with no side effects" and the product has been referred to as the "Sunshine Supplement". These statements are not consistent with the published literature, which reports side effects such as photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight), gastro-intestinal disturbances, fatigue and nervousness.


COUNTY COUNCIL NEWS

As an elected representative Councillor Peter Kelly, certainly seems to be earning his votes, he now tells us that at last week's area committee meeting the following was agreed;
1) To advertise for closure the following laneways: Shops to Grangeway(Pinecroft), Pinecroft to Ashford Court, Ashford Court to Cooney's Lane (Subject to provision of footpath from Ashford Court entrance to Pinecroft along Cooney's Lane).
2) Engineers to examine again 'burial of Fingerpost in Douglas.
3) Engineers to check out pedestrian Crossings at Grange Stores and Mario's to ensure that buttons are functioning.
We understand from our readers, that the Pedestrian Crossings mentioned above have already been put in good working order. Well done to all!


DIGITAL T.V.

Last May the government introduced the Broadcasting Bill to provide for Digital TV. The Bill is hoped to be made law by the end of the year. RTE are expecting to transmit their first digital programmes around the middle of next year.
What digital will mean to us is that for every channel we have now in the future we will have ten. There are, or should we say will be, three choices for Irish viewers, a) Digital Satellite (BSkyB) which some already have. b) Digital Cable, it is expected that Irish Multichannel will be making this available shortly. c) Digital Terrestrial (DTT) will be provided by RTE through it’s involvement with a new company DigiCo.
The Benefits; one digital offers a greater choice to viewers by allowing a larger number of channels to be broadcast. Two, Poor picture and reception replaced with greatly enhanced picture quality and sound. This applies to all areas of the country and there are none of the problems associated with remote location and poor terrain. Three, the extra space on the channel allows the broadcaster to transmit additional information or data to accompany the audio and visual signals. Four, ‘set top’ boxes allow a connection to the phone line. This offers viewers the possibility of interacting with the TV programme content, using the phone-link to send messages back to the service providers or advertisers. Five, it is not necessary to buy a new TV set. Six, digital TV offers every home, school, business, and community facility in the country to be included in the information society. Viewers may not only shop and bank using the facility but ultimately access the internet and any other online service from the comfort of their own home.


KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Question

I have a disability and would like to adapt my house to my needs. Is there a grant to help with the cost?

Answer

In the 1999 Budget an extra 3m was provided for the Disabled Person’s Housing Grant Scheme. This grant assists those who require alterations to their homes as a result of physical disability, a mental disability, or a severe mental illness for which they are receiving treatment. Alterations could include making a dwelling wheelchair accessible or installing a ground floor bathroom and toilet. The grant is funded jointly by the Department of the Environment and Local Government, and local authorities.
Application for the grant is made to the local authority which will provide guidelines in relation to procedures and information on works that will be grant aided. The maximum grant available is 12,000 (before 1999 it was 8,000) and the grant will cover up to three quarters of the cost of the works to private houses previously only two thirds of the cost was covered.
The grant is not available to people in rented accommodation or to those living in newly built accommodation. If you live in a local authority house the local authority will meet the full cost of approved alterations. The disabled person must occupy the house as his/her normal place of residence.
The Disabled Persons Housing Grant is not means tested though the local authority may enquire as to how you intend to meet your portion of the cost of the adaption.
Local authorities will consider application for grants in cases where in the opinion of the local authority, the adaption or structural works are reasonably necessary to make a house more suitable for the accommodation of a member of the household who has a physical or mental handicap.
You must not do any of the work until your application is approved. Applications to the local authority must be accompanied by a detailed itemised estimate from the contractor together with specifications of the proposed work. The contractor’s Income Tax Number and VAT number must be included.
When the local authority receives your application it will ask your health board to arrange a call from an Occupational Therapist who will be required to provide a report back to the local authority.
For more information contact your local authority. Information is also available from your nearest Citizens Information Centre (list in Golden Pages).
This column has been compiled by Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public.


DEFEAT SMOKING


This week we deal with the most ridiculous of all excuses to smoke. ‘The cigarette is my friend.’ Anyone who regards cigarettes as a friend must be pitied. As they say, “with friends like that who needs enemies.” A friend is one who is regarded with affection and loyalty. One who supports you in good times and bad times, looking out for your best interests. I believe that
people who have been off cigarettes for years and still claim that they miss them, that these are the same people who would claim that cigarettes were a friend, and so they are still stuck back there in their minds, in their imaginations. The problem is that some people don’t understand the true meaning of friendship. Cigarettes aren’t friends; in fact they’re one of the greatest enemies you will ever encounter. It’s important to understand what an enemy is. An enemy is a hostile person, a person who might even go so far as to harm you physically. An enemy that’s good at deception will even have you believe that you are actually benefiting from the relationship. It’s only an enemy who would penetrate or harm the very hair on your head. It’s only an enemy who would hurt you both mentally and physically subjecting you to the most dreadful of illnesses, robing you of your sense of taste and smell, your confidence, sap your fitness and vitality and set such a terrible example to your children. It’s well known that smoking actually speeds up the ageing process. With all the money spent on cosmetics trying to look younger and then at the same time smoking, and speeding up the whole ageing process the mind just simply boggles. They’re absolutely no benefits to smoking. Cigarettes taste awful, ruin your confidence, your vitality and fitness the list goes on and on. It is now time to view cigarettes as an enemy and get rid of that enemy once and for all. And get on and live a happier more productive and successful life. If you don’t defeat your enemy then your enemy will destroy and ruin your life. Defeat Smoking Now.


TRAINING YOUR DOG

continued from last week ...

“SIT”
I gently pushed D-Fors behind down to the ground. When he was sitting I gave him a treat and some praise. I repeated it a couple of times that day.

“COME HERE!”
When calling D-for I used his name. I tried it out a couple of times without any distractions and rewarded him. I then got one of my family to run around with a ball and play with him. When he was engrossed in the game I called him until he noticed and came, again I rewarded him. Your pet must have the ability to stop anything they’re doing and come when you call - even if they’re chasing a cat!

“STAY”
I held my finger in front of D-Fors face and I said in a slow, deep voice “STAY”. Repeat this a couple of times and he will soon get the message.

“LIE DOWN”
I gently pushed D-For from a sitting to a lying position and said “LIE DOWN”. After he laid still for a couple of minutes I rewarded him.

“HEEL”
I held D-For on a short lead. I had him walk on my left side with his nose just at level with my knee. I told him to “HEEL”. Every time D-For got excited and rushed in front of me I gently pulled him back in place and repeated “HEEL”. Once he had walked in the HEEL position for a couple of metres I stopped and rewarded him.

The most important thing to remember is that your pet needs consistancy. If different people issue different instructions, even we get confused if that happens, imagine what its like for your pet. You must also remember to practice regularly, especially while your pet is growing. It will make a huge difference to your pet for the rest of its life. Don’t forget, some pets learn more quickly than others, so do not be too dejected if your “Johnny” isn’t keeping up with your neighbours “Frankie”!
Good luck with your new puppy training. Next week we’ll discuss D-Fors progress with toilet training.


GARDENING - CONSERVATORIES

If you don’t already have a conservatory it’s worth giving some thought to. For unlike the garden , conservatories can be used whatever the weather. But if you’re thinking about building one you must first decide what you’re going to use it for. You might just want an extension to your living area and use it as part of the house or you might be more interested in growing different plants and also providing a space for overwintering, frost-sensitive pot plants. You must also consider your budget, how you’ll furnish it and what kind of plants to buy or to grow. So plan it out well in advance.
Spend about six months getting quotes from different companies. Then you’ll have to spend another six months working on planning permission, that’s if you need planning permission. The regulations state that if the design increases the floor space of the house by more than 23mxm, or reduces the open space behind the house to less than 25mxm you will need planning permission. There are other specifications, these can be found in a leaflet issued by the Department of Environment and Local Government entitled ‘Doing work around the house - The planning issues’. There is a LoCall number (1890 20 20 21) which is cheaper than contacting the local office.
A conservatory can be expensive, prices start at around 9,000 and can go up to 20,000 or more. Each conservatory has it’s own requirements so the problems will vary. For example you can cut the cost by buying the conservatory and getting your local builder to construct it, but you may also need to hire an electrician to wire it and a plumber for heating and water supply, depending on what your plans are.
The important thing is to shop around, ask as many companies as possible, get plenty of quotes. When you eventually decide on a firm to construct your conservatory and have agreed a price, make sure, in fact make very sure you get all the specifications in writing. This is essential in case you end up dissatisfied with the service of the conservatory company. More next week.


OPERA GALA

As the New Millennium dawns on us the final ‘Opera Gala’ of the Old Millennium takes place at the Rochestown Park Hotel Conference Centre, Cork on Wednesday 17th November. Impresario, Barra O’Tuama, has built up a huge following for what is now considered to be one of the most entertaining opera series ever presented in this country.
Returning to Ireland to head up a marvellous cast will be Alexei Steblianko, Principal Tenor of the Kirov Opera, who first sang in Ireland in 1987 and who is considered to have one of the most exciting tenor voices in the world of opera. Alexei is at present performing as Principal Guest Tenor at the Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg and returns to Ireland to celebrate with music lovers the last performance of the present century. Alexei has sung in all the great opera houses throughout the world and in now also under contract to the Bonn and Munich Operas. In recent years he has been lauded for his performance in Aida with the great Italian soprano, Maria Chiara, and is also renowned for his Othello performances throughout Europe. He has interchanged this role with Placido Domingo in Reggio Emilio in Northern Italy and also the role of II Trovatore in Covent Garden in 1992.
Internationally renowned mezzo-soprano, Sally Burgess, also returns to Ireland for this special occasion. She has also sung in all the great opera houses throughout the world including the Metropolitan Opera House New York, Zurich, Berlin, Carnegie Hall and English National Opera and is renowned for her role as Carmen which she sang at the Bastille in Paris and at the Metropolitan Opera.
Completing this marvellous trio will be the UK baritone, John Rawnsley, who has also performed in the most famous opera houses throughout the world such as Covent Garden, English National Opera, Metropolitan Opera House New York, and other major opera houses in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland and the Far East. John has also had the honour of singing in I Pagliacci in La Scala Milan. He has performed the Principal Baritone roles in operas such as The Masked Ball, La Traviata, The Magic Flute, Nabucco, Falstaff, Macbeth and Attila amongst othersvrt is fortunate that a baritone of John Rawnsley’s calibre has made himself available to replace Jonathan Summers, who was to be the baritone for these performances but, due to circumstances beyond his control, could not come to Ireland on this occasion. Special guests in Cork will be the Carmen String Quartet.
Barra O’Tuama has paid a special tribute to sponsors, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Cork and The Unicorn Restaurant in Dublin together with the support of The Examiner and The Sunday Independent.
Tickets are on sale at Pro-Musica - Tel: (021) 271659 and Rochestown Park Hotel, Tel: (021) 892233.