Heritage Tours Wexford

Heritage Tours Wexford is proud to announce that it is participating in a new scheme in association with Active Retirement Ireland called Seniors Card.  Participating members offer discounts on a range of goods and services to the over 60s and everyone in Ireland is eligible to receive a card.  So if you and your group fancy a few days sight seeing in the sunny south east county of Wexford why not contact Cathy for more details on 087 3299900.

Innovation rewarded at National Ploughing Championships

Minister Bruton announces winners of Innovation Awards

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today (Tuesday 22 September) announced the winners of the Enterprise Ireland Toplink.ie<http://toplink.ie> Innovation Arena Awards at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co. Laois. With a competition structure that supports Irish innovation and ingenuity at all levels, the Awards recognise and reward outstanding innovation in the agricultural sector.
This year’s competition attracted 170 entries – over double the number of entries submitted last year. 54 were shortlisted as 2015 finalists and invited to exhibit in the Innovation Arena. Organised by Enterprise Ireland in cooperation with the National Ploughing Association and the Irish Farmers Journal, the Innovation Arena is the ideal place to showcase ground-breaking agri-related developments, whether they are backyard inventions or professional innovations, to the thousands of visitors the National Ploughing Championships attract each year.
The overall winner of the Innovation Arena Award is Dairymaster’s Swiftflo Commander.

The category Award winners are:

  • Cross Agri Engineering – Agri Engineering Award winner in established company category
  • Malone Engineering – Agri Engineering Special Merit Award winner in established company category
  • Acres Machinery – Agri Engineering Award winner in start-up company category
  • Reproinfo – Animal Health Award winner in established company category
  • Hydrasure – Animal Health Award winner in start-up company category
  • Remoquip – Safety Award winner in established company category
  • Inspect 4 Hoof Trimming – Safety Award winner in start-up company category
  • Dairymaster – Software Award winner in established company category
  • DIT Hothouse – Software Award Special Merit winner in established company category
  • True North Technologies – Software Award winner in start-up company category
  • AgManor – Software Award Special Merit winner in start-up company category

    Announcing the winners, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Richard Bruton TD said: “The agri-food sector is of huge importance to the Irish economy and a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. In the last four years we have seen major jobs growth across the sector. To sustain and build on this growth we have put in place a range of measures to support more people to start and expand businesses in this area. The range and quality of innovations on display here in the Innovation Arena is hugely encouraging.  The calibre of the award winners is extremely high and bodes well for the future of the agri sector in Ireland. I warmly congratulate the winners of these Awards, and indeed all the companies exhibiting in the Innovation Arena, and wish them success for the future”.
    The 2015 NPA Innovation Arena prize fund now totals over €65,000 in supports. The overall award winner received a top prize worth €15,000 from Enterprise Ireland and The Irish Farmers Journal which includes advertising and PR support, mentoring and a cash prize of €5,000. All finalists received €500 worth of www.toplink.ie advertising vouchers to promote their innovation through the Irish Farmers Journal.

    The winner of the Young Innovator Bursary to visit Agritechnica in Hannover, Germany in November 2015 will be announced on Thursday by EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan.

    Justin McCarthy Editor and CEO of the Irish Farmers Journal said: “The Irish Farmers Journal is thrilled with the response to this year’s competition and there is no doubt the Innovation awards will benefit all the entries, not just the winners. The Irish Farmers Journal is delighted to support our own native talent, and help them realise their full potential”
    Anna May McHugh, the Managing Director of the National Ploughing Championship said: “The NPA are delighted to join forces again with Enterprise Ireland and the Farmers Journal for this year’s Innovation Arena.  This is an excellent initiative as it provides entrepreneurs and innovators with an excellent opportunity to showcase their businesses to the huge crowds that attend the National Ploughing Championships every year”.

    Denis Duggan, Regional Executive with Enterprise Ireland said: “Each year the Innovation Arena is going from strength to strength. This year we had 170 entrants for the Awards, and over 50 finalists exhibiting in the Innovation Arena. This is a clear indication of the level of innovation across the agri sector. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with the Award winners as they grow and develop their businesses”.

National Adult Literacy Agency

“For me it’s more than just learning to read and write,” says Liz Corkish from Wicklow

(DUHALLOW, Block 1, Row 30, Stand 583, Unit 21 & 22)

“For me it’s more than just learning to read and write,” says Liz Corkish from Wicklow

Adults who returned to education encourage others to ‘give it a go’ at the National Ploughing Championships.

Liz Corkish from Wicklow and Tony Moloney from Cork are just some of the students who will be talking to the public about the benefits of returning to education, at the National Adult Literacy Agency’s stand.

Both Liz and Tony returned to education to improve their reading, writing and maths skills and during the three day event, they hope to meet and encourage others who might be thinking about it, to ‘give it a go’.

Liz knows when people can’t read or write. “I can see the signs, the things people do to avoid a situation, like filling out a form, because I’ve been there. I always had an excuse. If I was handed a form I’d say ‘I don’t have my glasses, I’ll get back to you’. But my heart used to skip a beat,” says Liz.

Like many people with poor literacy skills, Liz left school in the mid-1960s when she was only 12. Classes were very large back then and she feels that she ‘just got left behind’.

When the factory Liz worked for closed and she saw an advertisement on television she rang the NALA number. “1800 20 20 65. I still know the number off by heart. I thought about it for a long time and I remember being in my sitting room, seeing that ad, shaking and thinking ‘will I ring that number?’” says Liz.

“Thankfully I did. I was given the option of an Adult Education Centre in Wicklow but I took the Bray number instead because I didn’t want anyone to recognise me. I started in one-to-one classes with my tutor Joan and she was brilliant,” says Liz.

Since then Liz has never looked back. “For me it’s more than just learning to read and write. When I see people on Primetime I can understand what they’re saying, the words they are using. I can lift up a paper and read it now. I listen to lots of current affairs too. I love Vincent Browne and Marian Finucane,” she says.
Like many people with literacy difficulties, Tony Moloney from Cork also thought he was the only one. “I thought I was alone and that it was a shameful thing. If I ever had to deal with anything official, it hung over me like a huge fear in case I’d be asked to read,” he says.

However, since attending adult education classes everything has changed. “Going back to education has inspired and empowered me,” says Tony. “I can’t praise the tutors in Youghal enough, they’ve given me the confidence to try anything,” says Tony.

Tony and Liz are joining Michael Power (Tipperary), Kevin O’Duffy (Offaly), Noel Phelan (Kilkenny) and Olive Phelan (Dublin) at the National Adult Literacy Agency’s stand at the National Ploughing Championships. They are all former literacy students and they attend the event every year in the hope of encouraging other people who want to improve their reading, writing or maths skills to ‘give adult education a go,’ and giving them information about all the free courses available around the country.

For information on courses call 1800 20 20 65 or Freetext ‘LEARN’ to 50050.

Background information:
Literacy in Ireland
How many people have literacy and numeracy difficulties in Ireland?

In the recent OECD Adult Skills Survey, the Central Statistics Office interviewed 6,000 people aged 16 – 65 in Ireland and assessed their literacy, numeracy and ability to use technology to solve problems and accomplish tasks.
The results found that almost 18% or 1 in 6 Irish adults are at or below level 1, the lowest level on a five level literacy scale. At this level a person may be unable to read basic text.

For the first time ever, we have levels for numeracy. The survey shows that 25% or 1 in 4 Irish adults are at or below level 1 for numeracy. At this level a person may be unable to do a simple maths calculation, for example adding up prices.

Why do people have literacy difficulties?
There are many reasons why people have literacy and numeracy difficulties.
– Having to leave school early – Missing school through illness
– Not finding learning relevant to their needs
– Being part of a large class and not having specific needs catered for
– The teaching methods in school didn’t suit the student’s learning style
– Being in a job that did not require using literacy skills – getting out of practice

Literacy is like a muscle. You need to use it regularly or your skills weaken. Learning is a life long process. If you don’t use reading and writing skills every day you can get out of practise. For example, if a person left school before junior cert and didn’t have to practise their reading and writing skills in their work, they could easily get out of practise and lose confidence in their ability to use those skills.

Who does it affect?
It affects people of all ages and from all backgrounds. Within the one in six figure there are people who are not able to write their own name. However most adults with low literacy skills can read something but find it hard to understand official forms and instructions. Some will have left school confident about their numeracy and reading skills but find that changes in their workplace and everyday life make their skills inadequate. The literacy skills demanded by society are changing all the time.

Does it predominately affect older people?
There can be an intergenerational impact – parents who have literacy difficulties may then not be able to support their own children with their reading and writing. This can lead to their children falling behind and in turn having literacy difficulties or a negative experience of school. Research shows that children encouraged to read and learn at home quickly develop better literacy skills.

What stops people from returning to learning?
Sometimes people are not able to see the benefits to returning to learning. They had a negative experience of school in the past and associate returning to learning with that experience.
There is also a stigma attached to low literacy and numeracy skills. Often people feel too embarrassed to return to learning and go to great extremes to hide their difficulties from their friends and family. However, this does not have to be the case. Adult education is a very different experience to school. Adult learning is all about addressing the needs of the learner, working at a pace that suits them and according to their needs and interests.

What are the benefits to returning to learning?
Throughout Ireland, lots of people are returning to learning and brushing up on their reading, writing and maths skills. They are people who want to catch up on the skills they missed at school, parents who want to help children with their homework, workers who would like to go for promotion but don’t have the confidence to sit an exam and there are those who would simply like to write a letter or send an email.
Whatever the reason, the benefits are always the same. Not only do people improve their old skills but they also gain the confidence to go on to learn new ones. Although it requires some hard work, it’s a great experience that opens up a whole new world of opportunities in a friendly and relaxed environment. And it’s not like going back to school. Everyone learns at their own pace and there aren’t any exams at the end.

What options are there for people who wish to return to learning?
Who can they contact?
The important thing to remember is that it is never too late to return to learning and the benefits are great.
There are lots of options. You can study online by yourself, work with our Distance Learning Service or learn in your local adult education centre. Or you can do a combination of these to suit your lifestyle. Everything is free. You decide what you want to learn, where you want to learn and when you want to learn.
If you need to find out more just call the National Adult Literacy Agency support line 1800 20 20 65, free text LEARN to 50050.

Adult literacy provision in Ireland
There are currently 50,000 students in ETB (formerly VEC) Adult Literacy Services

Details of 4 announcements which will take place today at the National Ploughing Championships

1. Seven Trees for Seven Signatories:
Alan Kelly, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, in collaboration with the Tree Council of Ireland, will announce details a new initiative as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. All of the villages, towns and cities who have won the overall TidyTowns award since the competition’s inception in 1958 will be awarded seven Sessile Oak trees, to represent the seven signatories to the Proclamation.

Time: 12:15
Place: DECLG Tent, Row 26, Stand 446

2. Ministers Kelly & Phelan will launch €28 million programme to tackle disadvantage and social exclusion:
Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, Alan Kelly T.D. and Minister of State for Rural Economic Development, Ann Phelan T.D., will launch the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), at the National Ploughing Championships.

The SICAP aim is to address poverty, long term unemployment and social exclusion through local engagement and partnerships between disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies.

Time: 14:00
Place: DECLG Tent, Row 26, Stand 446

3. Rural Policing Announcement:
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Alan Kelly, T.D., and Minister of State Ann Phelan T.D.,will announce funding of €50,000 towards the cost of a pilot rural CCTV initiative.

Time: 14:30
Place: Labour Party Tent, Row 23, Stand 392

4. CEDRA announcement:
Minister for Agriculture & Defence, Simon Coveney TD & Minister for Rural Economic Development, Ann Phelan TD, will make a CEDRA announcement.

Time: 16:00
Place: DECLG Tent, Row 26, Stand 446