“Government must recognise, respect and respond to the needs of Family Carers” says The Carers Association

Ireland’s Unseen Workforce save the state € 4 billion every year

The Carers Association today launches its Pre-Budget Submission 2015, which once again, urges Government to recognise the home as a vital centre of care. The submission titled ‘Make Home Work’ calls on Government to ensure that Family Carers have the resources, services and supports necessary to care with confidence and safety in the home.

2014 has seen Family Carers across the country hit with changes to the Housing Adaptation Grant for people with a disability as well as cuts to the Housing Aid for Older People and the Mobility Aid grants. Now they are facing further hardship through increased household charges and lack of resources on the ground.

Catherine Cox, Head of Communications with The Carers Association explains “At a time when there are already huge demands on Family Carers, such cuts are devastating for the 187,000 people who are a part of Ireland’s unseen workforce. Our Pre-Budget Submission outlines to Government a number of recommendations that will recognise, respect and respond to the needs of Family Carers in the most practical of terms.”

“While The Carers Association has welcomed Government’s shift in policy from institutional/hospital care to care in the community and in the home, this transfer cannot be achieved by simply dumping the responsibility of care onto the shoulders of family carers without proper “transfer of care” protocols. In the absence of a statutory entitlement to home care services the basic supports necessary to sustain people with high dependency care needs in the home must be provided prior to the movement of a patient from a hospital or institutional care to their homes.  Family Carers have played their part in facilitating this shift in policy and we are calling on the Irish Government to do the same.  The bridge between the rhetoric and reality must be crossed to ensure one of Ireland’s must vulnerable section of society are afforded the necessary supports and entitlements.”

Family Carer Catherine Howe will speak at the launch about her role as a carer for her husband who has bi-polar disorder and about the impact that the lack of resources, supports and services has on their daily lives.

The Carers Association’s Pre-Budget Submission 2015, titled ‘Make Home Work’, presents a range of practical recommendations that would support Family Carers and their needs.  ‘Make Home Work’ calls on Government to –

  • Acknowledge Family Carers as an exceptional group within the Department of Social Protection
  • Legislate to ensure a statutory entitlement to homecare community services
  •  Provide adequate supports for carers caring for those with mental health illness
  • Restore the unfair cuts applied to vital Social Protection supports such as the Respite Care Grant and Household Benefits Package.
  • Ensure that the € 100 water allowance applies to all full-time Carers regardless of whether they are in receipt of the household benefit package.
  • Extend local property tax exemptions to include households where high level care is provided.
  • Provide contributory state pension entitlement for lifetime Family Carers.
  • Ensure Implementation of the National Carers Strategy

This is the first time in many years that The Carers Association will not present their submission in The Oireachtas AudioVisual Room of the Dáil following changes last year that now prevents  access to civil and voluntary groups.  The Association and family carers feel aggrieved at this move as we believe that the on-site briefing facility of the AV room at Leinster House was a civil society space that should have been preserved and protected.

Ireland’s family carers contribute €77 million per week, providing 900,000 hours of care daily to the ill, frail and people with disabilities. This is the equivalent to one third of the total annual cost of the HSE (€13.3 billion) and is five times what family carers cost the Department of Social Protection in income support (€878 million). Full time Family carers contribute on average €72,500 a year.


Thurles set for ‘Fleadh agus Fáilte’ as part of Ireland’s First Festival of Gaelic Sport

This summer Gaelic sport teams from across Ireland are set for a trip to Thurles as part of Ireland’s first ever Festival of Gaelic Sport. 2014 marks an important milestone as it is also the first year ever the festival, formally known as ‘The Thurles Sarsfields International Hurling Festival’ will run in conjunction with Tipp FM Radio, Tipperary County Council, and Thurles Chamber of Commerce. The ‘Thurles Sarsfields Festival of Gaelic Sport’ will take place from July 4th – July 12th.

The town of Thurles will showcase the best it has to offer as a sports, tourism and shopping destination to the thousands of visitors who will ascend to the home of hurling. A first for Ireland, the week-long celebration of Gaelic sport, music and fun will see local businesses join forces to offer a wide variety of family friendly events and special discounts to local attractions for visitors to choose from throughout the festive period.

John O’Shaughnessy, President of the Thurles Chamber of Commerce explains “Thurles Chamber of Commerce is delighted to be actively involved in this year’s landmark festival which is a great opportunity to showcase what Thurles, the home of GAA, has to offer as a tourist destination. With over 100 teams set to make the pilgrimage to Thurles throughout the festival, it will be a major benefit to the town and wider regions of Tipperary. We hope that the festival will become a significant annual event for the town of Thurles.”

The feast of Gaelic Sport, which will tie in with the Munster hurling final, will see games such as Hurling, Road-Bowling, Camogie,  Ladies Football, Camán-Abú,  Rounders, Handball, and Target Ball for those with special needs take place. Visitors will have the opportunity to avail of special incentives and explore the sights of Thurles such as the Cabragh Wetlands, St Mary’s Famine Centre, Farney Castle and Pony-trekking with the Tipperary Equestrian Centre.

John Enright, Chairman of the ‘Thurles Sarsfield Festival of Gaelic Sport’ says The festival is evolving each year and we are continually seeking ways to improve it; to make it more attractive for both participants and spectators. We have great teams this year and supplementary events which we hope will make it an even better spectacle than before. The festival has grown steadily over the last three years thanks to the great support of our sponsors and the hard work of our committee and club members. We thank all teams across Ireland who are taking part in what will be a highlight of the sporting calendar.”

Traditional music sessions, a Setanta Sports talk in LIT Tipperary, A ‘Fleadh agus Fáilte’ Run, family events in The Source Theatre, farmers markets, a special ‘Garth Brooks Experience’ concert, Open Golf Competition and a Céíli Mór with The Annaly Céilí Band are just some of the festival highlights. Free entry to Thurles Dog Track on race nights with a festival programme and special dining and accommodation rates will also be available in the Anner Hotel, Templemore Arms, The Horse and Jockey, Watermill and Supermacs Thurles.

The 4th annual ‘Thurles Sarsfield Festival of Gaelic Sport’ takes place from July 4th – July 12th. For more information and a full programme of events see www.thurlessarsfields.gaa.ie / www.thurleschamber.ie


Is there an Old Grey Whistle Test for Writing a Press Release?

PR, Press Release Format

By John Masterson

John Masterson presents The Saturday Brunch and guest hosts The Sue Nunn Show on KCLR96FM. He is also a regular contributor to national radio and a columnist for the Sunday Independent. John is a managing director of Purcell Masterson PR and Communications.

Is there an Old Grey Whistle Test for press releases? Over the years I have written a goodly number of press releases, reviewed ones being developed in Purcell Masterson and been on the receiving end of many when working in television, radio or journalism, all of which form part of my media life.

I always read a press release as if I was about to conduct an interview on the subject, live, and with just a commercial break or long pop song to give me time to decide what to do.

First of all I take in the headline as it directs my thinking and gives a clue as to what my first or last question will be. Then I circle all of the important information. The When, Where, Who, Why etc. and ask myself is there anything crucial I would like to know that is not there.  The one thing you do not want on live radio is to ask a question and get an “I don’t know.”

I look for a quote and think about how to get that quote on air without the person sounding like they are reading it. I check for websites and dates and I know I will probably close the interview with that information.

But most importantly I look for things that will interest the audience, and almost instantly decide that this interview might be worth a few extra minutes, or check what music or other material I have to hand in case it dies.

Everyone in the media thinks of their audience. The most important thing a press release can do is to attract the attention of the appropriate editor / producers who will place the material in the best slot to get your message through to the people who want to know about you.

Read it as if you knew nothing. And ask yourself, would the audience you want to know about the material, be interested. And will the gatekeepers en-route to that audience be sufficiently impressed to pick up the phone to the PR agency rather that use the shredder.

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Kilkenny Man set for D’Big-screen

Kilkenny man, John Masterson, Managing Director of PR and Communications agency Purcell Masterson, is set for the big screen this June. John appears briefly in what is set to be one of the Summer’s biggest blockbusters, Brendan O’Carroll’s ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie’.

TV favorite Brendan O’Carroll arrives onto the big screen in ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie’, which follows matriarch Agnes Brown as she fights to keep her market stall up and running when her livelihood comes under threat as a greedy developer tries to close down her stall. Mrs. Brown teams up with her family and a gang of inept professional help fight for the rights of the Moore Street traders.

John Masterson plays the character of Mack, a ninja tasked with assisting Mrs Brown in the fight to keep her market stall up and running. John attended the premiere of D’Movie in Dublin’s Savoy Theatre on Wednesday, June 25th and the film saw more than 70,000 advance tickets sold throughout the UK and Ireland ahead of its release date, Friday June 27th.

Having filmed in locations throughout Dublin in September 2013, John Masterson is among a host of other well-known names such as Joe Duffy, Simon Delaney and Eamon Holmes to star in the film. John produced the original series of Mrs Brown’s Boy’s.

‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie’ is a spin-off of the hugely popular BBC series, which won the BAFTA award for Best Situation Comedy in 2012. The hilarious sitcom has built up an army of fans around the world and its Christmas Special last year racked up 9.4 million viewers for BBC 1.


Purcell Masterson’s Coffee, Cake and Conversation Morning in support of the Cystinosis Foundation Ireland

On Friday, June 20th  Purcell Masterson hosted a Coffee Morning in aid of the Cystinosis Foundation Ireland.

The morning of coffee, cake and conversation proved to be a resounding success which saw over €600.00 raised for the foundation; an all-volunteer, non-profit organisation dedicated to providing services to those affected by a rare genetic condition called, Cystinosis. Over 60 local business people, members of the public and even Kilkenny’s newly elected Mayor Andrew McGuiness dropped by throughout the morning to enjoy some of the delicious baked goods prepared by the Purcell Masterson Office, the Pembroke Hotel and Newslink of Ormonde Street.

Purcell Masterson would like to extend a sincere thanks to all those who attended and generously supported the Cystinosis Foundation whose pioneering work in the field of rare diseases remains largely under the radar.

For more information see www.cystinosis.ie


Naoise Coogan

By Naoise Coogan

A press release is a good method by which you can inform the public of something new and interesting that is taking place within the company/organisation. It is an effective way to reach out and tell the general public about something that they might like or need, to know. We write press releases when we believe there is something that is deserving of media attention.

In order to attract the media’s attention, we need to ensure that we write concise and interesting press releases that will be enticing to journalists and producers within the print, TV and radio realms. Bearing in mind they receive hundreds of press releases on a weekly basis, there needs to be a good reason in the headline for them to pick it up and consider it. A good PR agent has the expertise to ensure that your press release will reach your target audience and offer a hook to journalists that they will not be able to ignore! Editors are always thinking of their readers, listeners and viewers.

Only issue a press release if you have something interesting to say! There is no point in writing a press release and taking the time to send it out and follow it up, if there is nothing of interest or of use within the pages. The most important point of a press release is the hook that will grab the reader and entice them to read it and then use it in their publication and/or programme. Look at the press release critically – would you read it?

Some reasons to issue a press release are as follows:

  • To alert the public to an event, study results, a campaign, charity event or news story in the area.
  • To inform the public of a new business or service that is now available
  • To build the profile of a business and proprietors of the business within a community
  • To remind the public about a company offering and about the company strengths in this regard
  • To inform about a new product on the market.
  • To give journalists the correct steer on an upcoming issue from the company’s perspective
  • To generally promote the brand and profile of the company within the public eye when there is a good reason to do so.

Bearing in mind that although you think your press release is of utmost importance, many journalists will not. Pitching journalists in an enticing manner is vital.

A good PR agent will choose your audience correctly by targeting journalists who are relevant and will write or speak about the topic in which you are promoting. There is no point in targeting a motoring journalist with a story about property or vice versa. PR professionals will think about the key media targets active on the issue you are discussing and target these people first and foremost from their contact lists.

The world of newspapers in particular has changed dramatically in the last decade. Now more than ever the news pages of the newspapers are dictated by advertising and are extremely commercially driven. Those that pay will get the space. Now more than ever to target your press release in such a way that it is enticing and worthy of space or airtime. PR professionals are the best people to do this in an appropriate manner.

To summarise, it is advisable to seek professional help when deciding to issue a press release about your business. A PR professional will keep your press release relevant and newsworthy and of value to the reader/ listener while also targeting the correct journalist. It is important to only write a press release when it is merited and pitch it at the appropriate time and to the appropriate person.

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Ireland’s Favourite Chef Neven Maguire Receives Best Chef 2014 Award

Neven Maguire of MacNean House & Restaurant and the recently opened Neven Maguire Cookery School has been awarded the prestigious Restaurant Association of Ireland’s Best Chef 2014 award in a special ceremony recently held in Dublin’s Burlington Hotel. The award was presented to the top chef having faced competition from over 40 finalists in the category from some of Ireland’s most talented chefs.

This is the second time Neven has received the top accolade, having previously won in 2009, the award celebrates and recognises the approach, design and execution of dishes of those who are clearly pushing at culinary boundaries in Ireland. Winning the Best Chef award is further recognition to the culinary works and achievements of MacNean House and Restaurant which also received awards in the Ulster regional finals of the RAI awards for ‘Best Wine Experience’ and ‘Best Restaurant’.

Accepting the accolade, Neven Maguire said, “I am extremely honoured to receive this award for the second time. I am dedicating it to my Mother, Vera whose own love of food inspired my passion for cooking. While this is an individual award, it is a reflection of the dedication and support of the team at MacNean House and Restaurant. They are like a family and their on-going commitment to excellence is something I am very grateful for.”

“I would also like to thank my wife Amelda, as being married to a chef is not always an easy task. We are so appreciative and grateful for the support of our loyal customers in Blacklion and across the Ulster region. We are committed to continuing to push the boundaries of culinary excellence in Ireland.”

Pádraic Óg Gallagher, President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland explains, “This year’s awards have been the biggest, brightest- and the best. They are the awards everyone wants to be associated with, and everyone wants to be a winner. As a testament to their success, we’ve seen a huge increase in nominations and votes since last year, with over 19,000 nominations for Ireland’s favourite restaurants, chefs, gastro pubs, hotel restaurants, restaurant managers and ‘foodie towns’ throughout the country. The Irish Restaurant Awards are all about celebrating those who have brought acclaim to the Irish food scene from abroad and who keep the restaurant industry thriving at home.”

Fulfilling a long-held dream, Neven officially opened his ‘Neven Maguire Cookery School’ alongside his award-winning restaurant in Blacklion, Co. Cavan in January 2014. The state-of-the-art cookery school provides a range of exciting culinary classes for all skill levels, tours of Neven’s extensive vegetable and herb collection, as well as an intimate ‘Chef’s Table’ experience. All classes are personally facilitated by Neven and his team.

Neven is one of Ireland’s most popular chefs and has achieved numerous accolades for his skills in the kitchen as well as for his MacNean House & Restaurant. Neven’s eleventh cook book, The Nation’s Favourite Food, was released by Gill & Macmillan in October 2013 and his RTÉ TV series ‘Home Chef’ broke viewing records in 2013 with an average of over 480,000 viewers tuning in to each show. The series was picked up by America’s PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) in the States and has been showing there since November 2013. Home Chef is also broadcast in the UK.

The multiple award-winning MacNean House & Restaurant employs a team of fifty staff and makes a substantial contribution to the local economy of Blacklion and the surrounding areas.

See www.macneanrestaurant.com

The Pembroke Hotel launches Personal Programmes of Fitness with All-Star Hurler, Michael Fennelly

Survey indicates 41% of people say time is a barrier to fitness

The Pembroke Hotel has launched a range of new personal training programmes that will be facilitated by Michael Fennelly. The six-time All-Ireland Hurling Champion, will create flexible personal training programmes tailored to each clients’ needs in affordable one-on-one or small group sessions from the newly developed top floor gym in Kilkenny’s premiere boutique hotel.

According to a recent lifestyle survey, 41% of over 4,500 people surveyed said time was the big barrier to becoming physically active. High gym membership fees along with lack of facilities are also significant factors, when it comes to getting active. The newly developed fitness centre in the Pembroke Hotel will see Michael Fennelly, who has an MSc in Sports Performance from The University of Limerick and experience as a personal fitness instructor with The Sydney Swans in Australia, devise personal training programmes that will suit the schedule, pocket and fitness levels of clients.

Paul Broderick, General Manager of the Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny commented, “We are delighted to launch our new programmes of fitness with Michael Fennelly. Michael has been involved for nine years with the Kilkenny Hurling Team. At the Pembroke Hotel we pride ourselves on our unique and personal service to guests and the addition of Michael’s training programmes is the perfect match for our business.”

Recent studies also show an increase in regular physical exercise amongst Irish people from 34% in 2011, to 47% in 2013 with a shift towards individual sporting activity like personal training, gym based sports and running. “ While there is a much greater appetite for physical fitness, there are still common barriers that prevent people from fully committing to looking after their physical health”, Michael Fennelly explains, “Our new training programmes at the Pembroke Hotel will break these barriers as we create structured exercise plans that will service the individual needs of clients.”

Michael Fennelly’s Fitness Programmes at the Pembroke Hotel include nutritional advice, sports injury treatment, specialised exercise programmes and state of the art dexa scanning available to everyone from athletes to complete novices. June will also see the introduction of running groups which will begin from the Pembroke Hotel and take a scenic route through Kilkenny Castle.

Situated in the heart of Kilkenny City, the Pembroke Hotel is ideally located just minutes from the sights and sounds of the medieval city renowned for its dining and nightlife. Special overnight Fitness and Training Packages will be available until August and can be arranged through contacting the Pembroke Hotel. To arrange a free consultation with Michael Fennelly, call 056 778 3500 or log on to www.kilkennypembroke.com for more information.


The Pembroke Hotel welcomes Korean Ambassador to the launch of Ireland’s First International Taekwondo Institute

[13.06.2014] The Pembroke Hotel and Guy Jones, Chairman of The Irish Lebanese Cultural Foundation along with a host of local representatives welcomed H.E Hae Yun Park the Korean Ambassador to Ireland, on Thursday, June 12th to celebrate the launch of the International Taekwondo Institute.

Guy , founder of The Kilkenny Taekwondo Club and chairman of the new International Taekwondo Institute also celebrated being awarded a 7th Dan Black Belt Kukkiwon in the Korean martial art. Along with Michael Ho, they are now the first Irishmen to receive this prestigious award which was celebrated at the launch in the Pembroke Hotel.

The Pembroke Hotel manager, Paul Broderick said, “We would like to offer our congratulations to Guy Jones on his recent High Dan Award and wish him continued success with the launch of the International Taekwondo Institute. We were especially delighted to welcome our esteemed visitor, Korean Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Hae Yun Park to the Pembroke Hotel and to Kilkenny City.”

Guy Jones, Founder of The Kilkenny Taekwondo Club commented, “I am thrilled to announce the formation of The International Taekwondo Institute in Kilkenny. Taekwondo is a Korean Martial Art that combines physical and mental strength exercises and teaches the values of Respect, Discipline, Self-Confidence and Honesty. Over 10 years the Kilkenny Taekwondo Club has overseen the training of 300 people in this sport. We are looking forward to further sharing the knowledge of this martial art to put it at the service of a better society.”

The International Taekwondo Institute is affiliated to The Irish Taekwondo Chungdokwan Association and will deliver fitness programmes through martial arts under the guidance of Guy Jones, a black belt in Taekwondo with twenty-five years of teaching experience. He will also offer special workshops from visiting instructors and participation in Taekwondo championships.

For more information you can contact Guy Jones on guyjonestaekwondo@yahoo.com or visit the city centre boutique hotel at www.kilkennypembroke.com

70 % of family carers surveyed say diet and nutrition are a concern in dependents

In a recent survey conducted on-line by The Carers Association and Nutricia for ‘National Carers Week’, June 9th – June 14th, it was found that a large percentage of carers are concerned about the nutrition and diet of those they care for and also for their own diet.

Some 70% of the carers surveyed were worried about the nutritional intake of the person they care for and three-quarters of the respondents also admitted that they are too busy to dedicate time to prepare a nutritious diet for themselves because of their intense caring role.

Over 150 carers were surveyed for the report and the findings include:

• Almost 30% of carers reported that the person they care for is thin/underweight/has unintentional weight loss

• 70% of carers are worried about the nutritional intake of the person they care for

• 33% of carers look to the internet for information on nutrition whereas only 29% look to their GP

• Only one in 3 carers consume a good nutritious diet themselves with the main barrier being 70% of them too busy and 46% stating limited finances as another reason for same.

To celebrate National Carers Week, Nutricia is funding 2,500 information booklets for Family carers, which will be distributed during Carers Week in order to inform carers about the importance of taking care of their own diet and nutrition as well as that of the person that they are caring for.

As malnutrition remains a major cause and consequence of poor health, it is vital that both carers and their dependents eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Where malnutrition is identified and managed there are significant benefits to the carer and cared for person including:

• Cared for person is stronger and able to do more for themselves

• Cared for person is more active, more positive which in turn can lift the carers mood and spirit

• Carer is able to trust others to do more with the cared for person which in turn frees up the carer to do other things

Catherine Cox of The Carers Association says, “It is vital that the carer looks after their own physical and mental well-being along with that of their dependent. The person who is being cared for relies on the carer being healthy in both body and mind and if this is not the case, the carer will eventually not be able to continue in a caring role as they will need care themselves. Diet and nutrition are so important and we are very grateful to Nutiricia for this handy reference for carers when considering meals and snacks for themselves and their loved ones”.

Fiona Rafferty, Director of Medical Affairs, Nutricia said, “We at Nutricia are delighted to be working with the Carers Association to highlight the issue of malnutrition and its impact on carers and the people they care for. There are approximately 143,000 adults affected by malnutrition in Ireland. We need to ensure that those at high risk of malnutrition have access to the right nutritional care at the right time. Nutricia believe that advanced nutrition is an integral part of healthcare, and offer an extensive range of products and services with proven benefits and better outcomes for people from birth through to older age.”

A variety of events are taking place across the country to celebrate Carers Week. The Carers Association has launched a number of Pop-Up Care Cafes in Carlow, Dublin and Cahir, Co Tipperary, which are open for carers to pop in and enjoy a cup of tea and a chat with trained staff and volunteers. Advice on caring for dependents and for the carer, on nutrition, entitlements and on legal issues will also be available in each café as well as a range of complimentary therapies on offer. The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland (CPI) will also be on hand to provide information and support for family carers on looking after their mental health and wellbeing.

National Carers Week is organised to highlight the excellent work of the 187, 112 family carers who save the State some €4bn every year, by caring for their loved ones at home. The Carers Association offers respite and support to carers who often experience isolation and loneliness due to the nature of their caring role. The Carers Association cares for the carer by offering an inclusive support network of experts and other carers who in turn support each other in their caring roles.

For further information or to register as a member of The Carers Association see www.carersireland.com or call 1800 24 07 24. For further information on nutrition and Nutricia see www.nutricia.ie