The Ireland Institute of
Pittsburgh's Northern Ireland - Pittsburgh Sustainable Leadership Program is
about to launch! Over the last few months we have been in contact with various
employers in the Pittsburgh area. The program centers around the
Green/Renewable energy sector and will see 12 graduates from Northern Ireland
spend a year in our region. We still have a number of placements to fill - so
if you know anyone working in this sector, please have them give us a call.
Thanks to all those employers in Pittsburgh who have already considered this
innovative program. Stay tuned!
Ireland Institute Hosts
a Partnership from Newry, Northern Ireland
Creating Space program, developed and delivered by Sticky Fingers, Newry
and Mourne District Council and Milligan Reside Larkin Architects,
was presented at the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young
Children world conference on May 15th, hosted by the University of
Pittsburgh’s Early Childhood Department and the Council for Culture and the
Arts. The PAEYC conference, “Creativity; Where the Future Begins” was a
great opportunity for the collaborative group to showcase Creating Space to an
international audience as a model of excellence in creative development.
Creating Space Programme
In 2007, Sticky Fingers joined forces with Newry and Mourne District
Council to explore ways of improving access to creative experiences for
Newry communities, especially the city’s children and young people. A
partnership between Sticky Fingers and the Council was formed and the Creating
Space program was developed, not with the traditional department responsible
for the arts but with the Council’s technical team, consisting of engineers,
gardeners and general workers. In combining and sharing the widely varied
skills and knowledge of the Council staff with the vision of our artists as a
creative team, the possibilities have been endless.
The working model of the Creating Space program demonstrates how artists can
work alongside council gardeners, engineers and general workers to build new
parks and creative play areas throughout the city. Together, as a team, they
plan and facilitate creative opportunities for children to engage in the
consultation and design of new spaces. The team engages directly with children
across communities in formal and informal educational settings to transform
derelict land throughout the city. Looking creatively and collectively at
these spaces, they transform them using their imagination and the skills
unique to each partner group.
The Creating Space program is all about play. Play is a crucial element in
supporting children’s health, development and well-being and it is a means
through which they experiment, develop their abilities, get creative and
explore the world around them. The relationship between the facilitators and
the children is constantly centered on the needs of the child and the creative
play process is always much more important than an end product.
Parks and Grounds Officer, Newry and Mourne District Council said “This partnership is an unusual marriage, as we are not artists or
designers, and we are very much set in a way of working from the traditional
perspective of council engineers; working with a very directed outcome in an
environment where the end product is clearly defined and where we measure the
success of a project on that end result. Taking the simple pencil drawings of
young children and using them as planting lines in the town flower beds and
roadsides is something that we would have never considered in the past, but we
now realize that within these simple mark makings are hidden stories,
personalities and an abundance of imagination - something that we now know to
be very valuable, something that can greatly enhance our own work, open our
eyes to new possibility and the ability to think outside the box.”
as a result of the Creating Space program, Newry city has a number of art
parks and living arts exhibition areas both completed and in development. Even
though the program targets areas with high levels of anti-social behavior, the spaces transformed by the children have never been
or disturbed in any way despite having delicate artwork within easy reach.
Like the children who help with design, planting and sculptures, the Creating
Space parks grow with the changing seasons; they become living exhibition
spaces where children continue to bring their artwork and plants, taking
ownership of the space and creating a sense of belonging and pride.
The newly created, transformed spaces are permanent and open to the general
public to enjoy and, through their development, Newry’s children are
introduced to a whole new world of possibility, where their creative thoughts,
dreams, ideas and opinions are acknowledged by their communities.
Creating Change: The Creative Development Team
Following the success of the Creating Space program a positive ripple effect
was carried throughout Newry. Interest was soon expressed from the business
community and in May 2009, Newry and Mourne District Council, Milligan
Reside Larkin Architects and Sticky Fingers collectively established the
Creative Development Team. As a team, artists, horticultural staff and
architects began working under the shared direction of the Parks and Grounds
Officer of the Council, the Artistic Director of Sticky Fingers and a Director
of Milligan Reside Larkin Architects. This team is now made up of an eclectic
mix of people who engage in the Creating Space process by working directly
with children in schools and on site. The Creative Development Team and the
children then work collectively on the development and design of projects,
transforming waste and derelict ground into magical wonderlands. The Creating
Space process soon spread to other aspects of the team leaders’ work and
current projects now include the architectural development of new buildings,
including shopping centers and hospitals.
The Creating Space program demonstrates the potential role of the arts
sector in creative development within local government, business, community
and education. The program has been a positive development in the lives of
children in Newry. It has also been a positive influence on the gardeners,
engineers, architects, teachers and artists involved, providing them with a
unique insight into the value of engaging with our children. Those involved
have gained new confidence in their professional roles, learnt new skills and
seen first hand the creative achievements possible within their communities.
These projects are unique in Northern Ireland and the UK in terms of the
concepts, partnership arrangements and people involved. Right from the start,
the importance of partnership has been paramount. The Creating Space concept
of working together, pooling resources and sharing expertise is a sustainable
way of ensuring that projects can continue and that children can be part of
the dialogue and development of spaces created. Creating Space is an excellent
example of statutory bodies working hand in hand with a local arts company,
but more importantly it is an example of how local government can reach
directly into communities and engage with the community’s most important
members, the children, providing an opportunity for their ideas, their work
and their voice to be used in the regeneration of the city.
EYJAFJALLAJOKULL VOLCANO REDUCES ACTIVITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE UNLIKELY
Icelandic volcano which has been disrupting air traffic for more than a
month is showing a marked drop in activity, new measurements suggest.
say the temperature in Eyjafjallajokull's crater appears to have fallen to
100C, meaning it is now producing steam, not magma.
officials warned that it was too early to say whether the eruption was over
clouds from the volcano grounded thousands of flights last month in Ireland
and the rest of Northern Europe.
Gudmundsson, of Iceland University, flew over the volcano on Sunday and said
evidence from heat cameras indicated the temperatures at the crater had
fallen below 100C.
he also said that nothing was guaranteed and that the
previous eruption at the volcano had lasted 13 months, from 1821-23.
stopped and started again several times with different intervals, so it's
difficult to say, difficult to give a timeline," he said.
also said it was impossible to say whether the neighboring Katla volcano -
a much larger mountain - might also erupt.
the height of its activity, the volcano sent out huge clouds of ash, which
led to airlines grounding their planes for fear it could interfere with jet
It was the biggest shutdown
of airspace in Europe since World War II, and affected at least 10 million
climate change? Not Likely Says Experts
Watching the enormous plumes of
dust and ash rising from Eyjafjallajokull, it is hard to imagine that this
almost week-long eruption would not have any effect on weather and climate.
But that is the likelihood; that
the impact on Irish, Europeans and the citizens of the wider world will be
limited to cancelled flights, with no other effects on the skies.
Volcanoes produce tiny particles
- aerosols - which have a net cooling effect on the world because they
reflect solar energy back into space.
They also produce carbon dioxide,
a greenhouse gas.
Historically, the cooling has
outweighed the warming. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in The
Philippines lowered global temperatures by about 0.4-0.5C - but
Eyjafjallajokull, dramatic as it looks, is simply not in that league.
"Icelandic scientists have
made a first estimate of the volume of material ejected, and it's about 140
million cubic metres," says Mike Burton from Italy's National Institute
of Geophysics and Vulcanology.
"That's a lot in five days;
but Pinatubo ejected 10 cubic kilometres - that's 100 times as much.
"So this is not the big
climate changing eruption that some people seem to think it is."
As well as the sheer volume of
aerosols, the other factor influencing the size of its climatic impact is
the altitude they attain.
If material reaches the
stratosphere, it can remain aloft for several years; but if it stays in the
troposphere, the lowest layer, it tends to come back to Earth in days or
"At the moment, the eruption
cloud reaches around 22,000 feet (7km)," says Anja Schmidt from the
School of Earth and Environment at the UK's Leeds University.
"That's high enough to
affect aviation but is unlikely to be high enough to have a strong effect on
the climate system."
ROBINSON LOSES WESTMINSTER SEAT
Democratic Unionist Party leader
Peter Robinson has lost his Westminster seat to Lord Mayor of Belfast Naomi
Long of the Alliance Party.
Ms. Long received 12,839 votes,
while Mr. Robinson received 11,306 in the Belfast East constituency.
The seismic result, which
represented a 22.9% swing in support, comes in the wake of a series of
damaging revelations about both the DUP leader and his wife Iris.
Mr. Robinson remained in his role as
Northern Ireland First Minister in the wake of the scandals, insisting he had
done nothing wrong.
However, the loss of a seat he has
held since 1979 will cast doubt whether he can survive as First Minister and
leader of the party.
In the wake of the result, which
saw his 6,000 majority turned into a 1,500 vote reverse, he vowed to fight on.
'I have a job to complete with my
mandate at the Assembly and I will continue to carry out that important work.'
Ms. Long, whose win secured
the cross-community Alliance party's first ever Westminster seat, thanked the
voters for backing her.
'I went to the electorate with a
track record of hard work with a passion for east Belfast where I have lived
in my whole life and with a dedication to serve them in an open and
transparent way and give them my best and to build a better future for
everyone in east Belfast.'
She trailed in third in the 2005
poll, more than 11,000 votes behind Mr. Robinson.
Reacting to the East Belfast
result, Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described it
'as a major shock' and a dramatic development.
He said he would work with Mr.
Robinson up until the next Assembly election.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen welcomed
indications that the former East Belfast MP is willing to stay on in the post.
Speaking in Dublin this afternoon,
Mr. Cowen said he had been in touch to commiserate with Mr. Robinson on the loss
of his seat.
He said the formation of a
government was exclusively a matter for the parties at Westminster and he
insisted he would be willing to work with whoever emerged as Prime Minister.
REPUBLICANS REMAIN HIGHLY ACTIVE - IMC REPORT
republicans remain highly active and dangerous, according to the Independent
said the threat was "very serious" but they were not able to mount a
campaign like the Provisional IRA.
latest assessment of paramilitary activity covers from 1 September last year
to the end of February 2010.
reflects recent police warnings that the threat remains severe, and that
dissidents have improved their bomb-making abilities.
have been responsible for a number of attacks in Northern Ireland this year,
including bombs at Newtownhamilton police station and Palace Barracks in
commissioners said the Real and Continuity IRA were continuing to recruit and
train members, acquire weapons and target potential victims, with police
officers the main focus of their activities.
the report added there is no evidence to suggest a reappearance of something
comparable to the Provisional IRA's campaign of violence.
its 23rd report issued to the British and Irish governments, the IMC said
mainstream organizations continued to follow a peaceful path.
commission said dissidents lacked significant local or international support,
and did not have comparable resources in terms of personnel, money,
organization and cohesion, or range of weaponry and expertise.
particular, the range and nature of RIRA's (Real IRA) activities in the six
months under review were, by any yardstick, a very serious matter," said
the IMC report.
it is important to point out that this is in no way a reappearance of
something comparable to the PIRA (Provisional IRA) campaign."
report noted that former members of the Provisional IRA were helping dissident
groups, but said this was on an ad-hoc basis by a small number of people.
IMC said that while members of dissident groups were co-operating, it did not
believe the organizations had managed to come together to form a united front.
its previous report, the IMC said some former members of the Provisional IRA
were assisting dissident groups by providing technical expertise.
on the report, Secretary of State Owen Paterson said that
the report "has acknowledged the very real and serious threat from
Paterson said: "The IMC report that the criminal justice system offers a
potent response to paramilitaries, particularly now it is owned by and
accountable to the people of Northern Ireland."
HIGHEST IN EU IN 2009
Ireland officially recorded the
biggest government deficit in the EU last year.
Revised figures, published today by
the EU's statistical agency, Eurostat, show Ireland's deficit for 2009 at
14.3% of Gross Domestic Product - higher than Greece at 13.6% and Britain's
Public debt stood at 64% of GDP.
Until now, the Government deficit
has been shown at 11.8% of GDP, but Eurostat and the Government have agreed
that the €4bn injected into Anglo Irish Bank can no longer be regarded as a
financial investment, but must be recorded as capital spending.
The €4bn spent on Anglo was
equivalent to 2.5% of GDP.
Today's change is a technical
revision. It does not involve any new borrowing or spending.
Overall the euro zone deficit level
rose to 6.8%, which is more than double the level permitted under the
Maastricht guidelines governing the single currency.
The cost to the State of borrowing
money has risen on international markets to 4.73%.
Responding to the figures, Minister
for Finance Brian Lenihan said Ireland's plan is on track to bring the budget
deficit in line with EU rules by 2014, despite a sharp upward revision of its
2009 budget deficit.
'There is no additional borrowing
associated with this technical reclassification,' he said in a statement.
'This is a once-off impact.'
Fine Gael Finance Spokesperson
Richard Bruton said the revised figures meant Ireland now had the highest
borrowing of any state in the EU.
He described Mr Lenihan's comments
as 'nonsense' and said the measurement showed the Government would have to
raise taxes or cut expenditure in future budgets.
National debt to rise
Meanwhile, the national debt is
expected to rise to €94bn by the end of this year and to €112bn by the end
of 2011, from just over €50bn at the end of 2008, the Oireachtas Public
Accounts Committee has been told today.
Chief Executive of the National
Treasury Management Agency John Corrigan said the cost of servicing the
national debt this year will be about €5bn.
He also confirmed that the State
can borrow money on the international markets at a much lower rate than
countries like Greece.
He said yesterday Ireland only had
to pay 4.6% for funds, compared to the 8% that Greece is paying.
Mr. Corrigan also said about 14% of
all taxes collected this year will go to pay for the national debt.