All posts by Sasha Wylie

Banning at Dungannon Swifts

DUNGANNON Swifts’ Chairman has rejected claims that a number of supporters have been banned from the ground following Saturday’s game with Cliftonville at Stangmore Park.

It has been confirmed that one supporter has been banned from the club after running on to the pitch in the closing stages of Saturday’s game.

But claims posted on social media, that a number of people have been barred have been rejected by Chairman Keith Boyd.

“Only one supporter has been barred for running on to the pitch,” Keith told the Courier.

“Everyone is welcome apart from the one person who has been barred.”

A large contingent of almost 40 young people have been admitted to games free of charge this season by the club, and have been praised for adding to volume levels at Stangmore Park.

However, the Chairman has stated that issues around the singing of songs and conduct have made life difficult for him, despite all the efforts he has gone to to include the young supporters in the club.

He also confirmed that, while those responsible for the social media post have called themselves the Dungannon Swifts Supporters’ Club, the official Dungannon Swifts Supporters’ Club is an entirely separate entity, headed up by Darren Boyd.

He said: “We’ve done everything we can for them.

“We bought them a drum, we bought them a banner, we got them in free to all the matches ane bent over backwards.

“We had them down at the club last week and I bought them pizzas out of my own money.

“On Saturday I didn’t even get seeing the game.

“People on the outside looking in might say you’re hard on them, but they don’t know the facts.

“There’s older supporters who’ve stopped going because of some of the language being used.

“Some of them have been putting up Union Jacks and singing ‘Rule Britannia’ and what’s that got to do with Dungannon Swifts.”

In a statement on a facebook page under the name, Dungannon swifts supporters club (sic), it was said: “After discussions we’ve come to a final conclusion that we won’t be back at games any more.

“We didn’t hope it would have to end this way because at the end of the day we only went to support the 11 lads on the pitch. But still week upon week we were treated as criminals.

“We wish Rod and the players every success for the coming season and for the future.

The statement also said that “…in reality now the board have got what they wanted…”

Saturday’s clash with Cliftonville was a thrilling affair and Dungannon got a late equaliser through Andrew Mitchell, prompting some fans to run on to the pitch to embrace the goalscorer.

And, contrary to rumours, no supporters were banned for coming on to the ground, the supporter being banned for entering the pitch at a different juncture, said the Chairman.

He also said the vast majority of the young fans will be welcome back at all future games.

Dungannon Swifts Football Club Webpage available here.

Mid Ulster Council Under Fire

Since the new councils where elected, Mid Ulster council have had many highs and lows. The new council has come under heavy criticism over the new traffic system in the town of Dungannon.

The new look Market Square in Dungannon

Several messages of complaint were posted on the Dungannon Life page on Facebook regarding changes to the layout of Market Square which resulted from the first phase of the Public Realm Scheme.

https://www.facebook.com/dungannonlife/?fref=ts

The comments were received after details on traffic management, which will be in place as the second stage of the work continues, were announced by the Council.

The Council took responsibility for the services of 3 former Councils – Cookstown District Council, Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council and Magherafelt District Council – as well as a range of new services, on 1 April 2015.

The Council stated: “Lagan Construction Group are working on Thomas Street and Scotch Street from this week in the second phase of the public realm scheme in the town centre. Thomas Street: One-way traffic will be introduced from Market Square via Thomas Street to the Feeney’s Lane junction, with traffic exiting the Square maintained.”

Details for traffic between Greers Road and Feeney’s Lane were also announced.

The latest traffic arrangements drew some criticism from those using the Dungannon Life web page, with one woman stating: “Dungannon has some great shops only destroyed by the new traffic system its a joke”, while another user added: “Second phase of the public mess scheme I hope the designer of the first phase is proud of his/her disaster.”

Overall ‘masterplan’ of the Dungannon Town Center.

A spokeswoman for Mid Ulster Council responded to the criticism: “We have undertaken extensive consultation in the development and implementation of the public realm scheme in the town centre, and continue to engage with local people at every stage.

“While there have been some concerns expressed about traffic, we have to emphasise that the changes to traffic flows which began this week are temporary and are simply to allow this particular stage of the works to take place. There are no new traffic arrangements in Dungannon as part of this second phase of work.”

However, a leading Dungannon businessman has described the town’s public realm works as “not friendly for pedestrians”.

The comments by Stephen McCammon on Menary’s came as it was revealed that the £7.5million spent on public realm schemes in the Mid-Ulster area is the second lowest in Northern Ireland.

Only the Fermanagh and Omagh area has had less spent on their schemes at £3.7million.

The schemes, which often involve installing natural stone paving, new lighting, new benches, bins and trees, have frustrated shoppers and traders alike due to over-running and projects going over budget.

In Dungannon, some traders are unhappy with the impact the public realm schemes have had so far.

Mr McCammon said: “I’m very much in favour of public realm schemes but the key thing is planning and I think the planning in phase one in Dungannon has been very difficult.

“We’ve now got a town that is quite simply not friendly for pedestrians, it does not enable pedestrians to shop the town, particularly Market Square, easily.”

Adrian McCreesh, from Mid-Ulster District Council, said phase one of the works scheme had been “an interesting challenge”.

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He said the council was “taking a professional assessment of the traffic, the parking and all the issues that our traders have highlighted as part of phase one”.

“If there’s anything we can do to further develop and further enhance the success of phase one, we will do it.

“We will not be found wanting.”

Meanwhile it has been suggested that public realm schemes are unlikely to have a direct positive economic impact for towns.

It was also revealed that Mid-Ulster Council has contributed the least council money at £191,500.

Phase two is now in action and many residents and shop owners hope to see a vast improvement.

Phase two of the new planning scheme

The Jungle Book review

Movie:– The Jungle Book

Release date :- April 15th 2016

Rating:- 4 Stars

As a proclaimed Disney fanatic, I was rather sceptical about the remake of a Disney classical. I thought what on earth is the point of remaking Walt Disney’s great and possibly greatest masterpiece, the glorious animated musical from 1967, based on Kipling’s tales, all about the “man cub” Mowgli, brought up by wolves in the Indian jungle – famously the last film to get Disney’s personal touch? A remake which furthermore leaves old-fashioned animation behind.

Well, no point really, other than simply to create a terrifically enjoyable piece of old-fashioned storytelling and a beautiful-looking film: spectacular, exciting, funny and fun. It handsomely revives the spirit of Disney’s original film, while also having something of old-school family movies about animals like The Incredible Journey (1963).

Perhaps most strikingly of all, it re-imports into the story elements of the Disney classic The Lion King (1994) which The Jungle Book influenced in the first place: there’s a special rock for the animals to gather round, a stampede scene and an evil feline with a facial disfigurement.

http://movies.disney.co.uk/the-jungle-book-1967 –  Click here to find out more about the original movie

Newcomer Neel Sethi plays Mowgli himself; Ben Kingsley voices Bagheera the panther; Idris Elba is the evil tiger Shere Khan; Scarlett Johansson is the hissing snake mesmerist Kaa; Christopher Walken is the voice of King Louie the fire-hungry ape and inevitably – but pleasingly, and very amusingly – Bill Murray is an outstanding vocal turn as the notorious ursine slacker and pleasure-seeker Baloo the bear who teaches Mowgli the importance of kicking back and enjoying the bare necessities of life.

I’ve never seen digital rendering of talking animals look so persuasive and this film also creates witty and ingenious twists on the story we all know, including a new plot development concerning wolf-leader Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) and Shere Khan – and even creates a backstory for Mowgli which explains how he got that modesty-preserving loincloth of his. It’s not a musical and yet the deployment of two famous songs – The Bare Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You – feels easy and natural. 

Interestingly, behind the scene shots show how this movie was made, most of it being shot with a green screen, making young actor Neel Sethi’s role all the more spectacular! It’s still stunning to imagine that computers can turn hand puppets into talking bears and giant orangutans.

But what a tremendous success this is. The Jungle Book 2.0 is the unexpected treat of the week.

Staggering Student: Whats the rush?

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It’s no secret that we students regularly enjoy a drink or three, despite being aware of the damaging effects on our health. Being a student myself I know first hand that the aim of the game when hitting the tiles is to get as drunk as possible before heading out, and even more when you get to the club. But when did drinking to have fun become drinking to get drunk? -Sasha Wylie reports

Health officials and concerned parents advise us not to mix drinks or to drink on an empty stomach. They don’t realise it’s exactly what we’ll do if it means getting very drunk, very quickly. The aim of the game is to get messy – at any student pre-drinks there will be at least someone who says: “I want to get absolutely smashed tonight.”

The NekNominate craze that infiltrated our Facebooks is a prime example of peer pressure among students leading to excessive drinking. While it may be a minority who take it too far by guzzling bottles of spirits, thousands of likes and shares on Facebook of NekNominates validate and actively encourage this behaviour.binge-drinking-photo-2

It’s worth asking why we students feel the need to drink so excessively. Being sick or thrown out of a club is no fun. And the mammoth hangover and loss of dignity the morning after just isn’t worth it. In an article below, student Claire Whittle, 25,  got breast cancer due to her student binge drinking.

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Like many teenagers away from home for the first time, student Claire Whittle threw herself enthusiastically into the heavy drinking university social scene. What happened next, she believes, should serve as a warning to all young women.

At the age of 25 she was diagnosed with breast cancer although there was no family history of the disease. And she is convinced that alcohol was to blame.

Print ad for new alcohol awareness campaign

She says she has not touched alcohol since her diagnosis and is about to begin an MA at Middlesex University studying the effects of drugs and drink in society.

‘My oncologist actually said to me I mustn’t ever have another drink as it could raise the risk of my cancer returning,’ she says. ‘I only hope my story serves as a warning to any other young women who binge drink that it might be affecting your health in a way you might never have imagined.’

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It’s true that we have fewer responsibilities as students, but we owe it to ourselves and our health to know where to draw the line.

A radical new project has been designed to tackle the culture of binge drinking at universities across England and Wales, launched by the government and National Union of Students.alcohol vectors 2 v3

Seven universities have signed up to a 12 month pilot scheme to encourage responsible drinking among students.

Loughborough, Nottingham, Manchester Met, Liverpool John Moores, Swansea, Brighton and Royal Holloway universities are hoping to gain accreditation under the NUS Alcohol Impact Scheme for their work in promoting responsible alcohol policy and practice. They will aim to reduce alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder and prevent health harms.

If you are concerned that alcohol consumption may be affecting your health, ring Drinkline on 0800 917 8282.

Related articles can be found here and here

 

Binging Britain: Who is really suffering?

What constitutes binge drinking, how you can tell if you are binge drinking and where you can go for help. Check this out – you may be in for a bit of a surprise! – Sasha Wylie reports

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• What is binge drinking?

• How is binge drinking different to drinking normally?

• The effects of binge drinking

It’s a potentially fatal consequence of Britain’s binge drinking culture that has so far gone largely unrecognised. Young people in some cases consuming up to 5 litres of alcohol per day, ending up in hospital with liver failure.

What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking usually refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk.

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Researchers define binge drinking as consuming eight or more units in a single session for men and six or more for women.

How is binge drinking different to drinking normally?

Two large glasses of wine may not seem like very much. But drinking six units of alcohol in a short space of time will raise your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and could make you drunk very quickly. Drinking the same amount over several hours, and accompanied by food for example, will not have the same effect on your BAC.

http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/alcohol/pages/bingedrinking.aspx

The effects of binge drinking

Some studies show that drinking a large amount of alcohol over a short period of time may be significantly worse for your health than frequently drinking small quantities.

Getting very drunk can affect your physical and mental health:

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•Accidents and falls are common because being drunk affects your balance and co-ordination. You’re also more likely to suffer head, hand and facial injuries. Binge drinking has also been linked to self-harm .

•In extreme cases, you could die. Overdosing on alcohol can stop you breathing or stop your heart, or you could choke on your vomit.

•Nearly a third (29%) of alcohol related deaths are a result of alcohol related accidents. These deaths are more common among 16–34-year-olds.

•Binge drinking can affect your mood and your memory and in the longer term can lead to serious mental health problems.

One of the main effects of binge drinking is what effect it has on the ambulance service and the NHS.  Waiting time breaches reached record highs, emergency admissions soared, thousands of patients faced long waits on trolleys and there are talks of the NHS collapsing.

Yet alcohol and binge drinking costs the NHS around £2 billion each year according got the department of health. Out of this, most of these costs are borne by the front-line and mainstream NHS. Hospital services (inpatient and outpatient) account for 56% of the total. Ambulance services and accident emergency services, taken together, bear almost a third of these estimated costs, while hospital services account for over a half of the total.

Local Ambulance service-man Patrick Riely, commented on the affects he has seen being on the frontline dealing with binge drinkers:

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“The first thing most of them do as we leave the scene is vomit. That then renders the ambulance off the road for an hour once that call has been finished because it has to be deep cleaned because of infection and so on.”

“Then you will get the ones where the ambulance crews have been assaulted…We have had cases of paramedics being sliced with knives, punched, kicked, ambulances being nicked just as a prank through somebody being drunk and driving it into a row of cars.”

The Police are another frontline service having to deal with the problem of binge drinking and alcohol related arrests. Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has urged reform of the licensing system, suggesting the number of bars and pubs in the country be reduced in order to stem the rising tide of alcohol related violence.

Police now have a growing concern about the number of underage drinkers and those who are now drinking on the street.

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Dozens of bottles of beer, cider and spirits were taken from young people in Portrush and Portstewart. The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s north coast team posted a photograph of the haul on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

They appealed to parents to be aware of the problem of underage drinking:

“Constables Burns and Coyle are pictured with drink seized from under 18s in the Ports on Easter Monday. Too much alcohol impairs judgement and is risky for young people who mightn’t know their limits. The young people didn’t realise it at the time, but police seizing the drink probably saved them from alot of bother. Please also remember it’s an offence to buy drink for under 18s. Police will seize drink all summer long if we need to”.

https://www.facebook.com/PSNI.NorthCoast?fref=ts

Doctor McKay commented on the affects he has seen because of binge drinking. Listen here 

He called for a change in attitudes to drinking.

He said: “The role of the NHS should not just be about treating the consequences of alcohol relatedharm but also about active prevention, early intervention, and working in partnership with services in local communities to raise awareness of alcohol-related harm.”

If you have been affected by anything in this article visit  https://www.drinkaware.co.uk for the facts.

Related articles can be found here and here

 

 

 

The Criminal effects of Alcohol

As a society, most of us enjoy sipping over a few drinks with friends or to unwind, but what happens when your drinking gets out of control, leading to Court Orders and Probation? – Sasha Wylie reports.Cardiff: Police arrest one reveller in the centre of the city in the early hoursProbation Officer Lorraine Cullen has seen first hand what binge drinking and alcoholism can do and how it can destroy not only the persons life, but those around them.

So Lorraine, how many cases would you get that have been alcohol or binge drinking related?

The majority of cases within my caseload would be alcohol related and some would be alcohol and drug related. The majority of my clients would be aged between 18-24 year olds and the offences would normally happen at the weekend outside bars and nightclubs. The offences that they commit can stretch from murders, rape and resisting police and disorderly behaviour. However, in recent years there has also been an increase in older males in drink driving and a significant increase in domestic abuse in relation with alcohol. The number of females now coming through probation doors has increased and they would all be alcohol related.

How does this affect peoples lives?

Younger males will find that having a criminal record will have a long lasting impact on their life as it can sometimes stop them getting into education, work and immigration. The immigration problem at the moment appears to have the most impact on them. Older men suffer from losing their driving  license which affects their employability and sometimes results in them losing their jobs. This can have an impact upon their emotional well-being and can often result in them drinking more often than what they would have previously. The prospects of being before court and the impact of having their names printed in the newspapers can leave people overwhemled and reluctant to seek help, this is were probation provides support, not only to deal with their offending behaviour but to make them look at their alcohol consumption. Young women who drink to access are a particularly vulnerable group, often ending up in domestic abuse relationships, victims of rape and being sexually exploited.

Listen here as Lorraine tells of one case that she will always remember.

What help is out there for people suffering from this addiction? Their is a community addictions team, however this has to be referred through a general practitioner and people are often reluctant to access this service. There can be a six month waiting list prior to people being seen and for someone struggling with a chronic addiction, this can be too long to wait for help. There are in-paitent services, again this requires to be done through GPs and requires the person to be sober. Probation provides instant services and this is usually a requirement of their license conditions or Order. They can get one to one counselling from probation support workers or from a very valuable source, Breakthru.  People can self refer themselves to Breakthru and will receive  the support of highly trained councillors.

Breakthru Breakthru was established in 1995 by Dungannon Development Associaton as a result of what was seen as becoming two major issues in society: Alcohol and Drugs. However, they have also incorporated self-harm and suicide into work over the last few years. Spokeswoman Vicky Boyd stated that: “Breakthru’s mission is to be at the forefront of addressing substance misuse and risk-taking behaviours through the provision of effective education, information, support and interventions to young people and communities, and to support those engaging in risk-taking behaviours to address their problems and fulfill their human potential.”

Listen here to Bernie Devine, Manager of Breakthru in Dungannon, discussing the changes she has seen over the past years.

If you would like to give a donation to this organisation, please follow this link: https://www.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=ffYt7iuxI737OrCtoE9HEPfC4QFBDWYDdccSrMcvp5-C7s0k84w2uq1L36e&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d96f000117187ac9edec8a65b311f447e 

Related articles can be viewed here and here