PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania THE weather at this year’s Penn Relays has been very good. It’s almost like home and the conditions were perfect for Edwin Allen High’s sprint relay quartet of Kasheika Cameron, Kevona Davis, Shellece Clarke and Patrice Moody. The girls wrote their names in the record books with a superlative performance in the 4×100 metres becoming the first female high school team to go sub-44 seconds as they clocked 43.96 seconds to win the Championship of America sprint relay. The time erased Vere Technical’s 2004 record of 44.32. Jamaican schools swept the top four spots as St Jago 44.53, Hydel 44.55 and St Catherine High 45.26 were second, third and fourth respectively. After seeing their 4x800m team lose earlier to Holmwood Technical it was a pumped up Michael Dyke-coached quartet which turned up for the Championship of America 4x100m final and they delivered in style. At the start it was St. Jago High’s Kimone Shaw, running her best race of the season, who gave the former champions the slight edge but this was wiped out on the second leg by a brilliant Kevona Davis, who is competing at the Penn Relays for the first time. Davis ran one of the fastest ever second legs at this meet by a high school athlete as she clocked an amazing 10.47 seconds split to put her team in front. Despite gallant efforts from St Jago and Hydel the experience of Clarke and Moodie took Edwin Allen to a smashing win. Coach Michael Dyke was not surprised by his team’s record run and had high praise for young Davis. “I am very elated and this victory is very special as with young Kevona in the team I had to take the chance and go for the win and the record because I know without her it would have been difficult to win because St Jago have an awesome team,” said Dyke who stated that he had no regrets in running Davis. “I have no regrets although she could miss her final year of eligibility,” said Dyke. Hydel also shared the spotlight with Edwin Allen as the Corey Bennett-coached team also wrote their names in the record books in great style after removing Holmwood Technical’s 16 years old 4X400 record of 3:34.75 to win the high school Championship of America event in 3:33.90. It was an all the way victory for Hydel in their third year at the Relays as the quartet of Roneisha McGregor, Shian Salmon, Cherokee Young and Gabrielle Young put the icing on the cake for Jamaican teams with an amazing win. Like they did in the 4x100m final St Jago gave it all they had but had to settle for second in an excellent 3:36.54. Olympian Sydney McLaughlin out of Union Catholic High in Maryland ran the fastest ever high school 400m relay split of 50.37 seconds taking her team from sixth to third in 3:38.94. Edwin Allen were fourth in 3:38.96, Holmwood Technical fifth in 3:39.39 and Vere Technical seventh in 3:41.99. Hydel’s Bennett was pleased with his team’s historic win. “Last year we failed to reach the final and we were disappointed but the girls went back and trained very hard and now it is history. We were confident all season that the team was going to win despite what people were saying after the preliminary round. The record wasn’t our focus, we just wanted the win,” said Bennett. In the first relay final of the day, the 4x800m, former champions Holmwood surprised Edwin Allen winning in 8;48.15. Edwin Allen were second in 8:55.41.
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? MOST READ Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra LATEST STORIES Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying Aby Maraño and John Vic de Guzman have been named captains of the national volleyball teams that will compete in front of home fans in the Southeast Asian Games this year.“This is very exciting. I personally feel no pressure. I take this as a challenge,” said the 26-year-old Maraño during the unveiling of national squads by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) and main sponsor Rebisco on Friday. “The only thing is that we have to sustain this all the way to the SEA Games.”ADVERTISEMENT Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title The LVPI decided to forgo the major Asian tournaments to keep the team’s confidence intact.“We don’t want to be playing in the SEA Games coming from bad beatings from these countries,” said Cayco.De Guzman will captain a men’s team that includes former Ateneo star Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, spearhead of reigning UAAP men’s champion National Univerity.The LVPI had earlier predicted its teams would finish on the podium, but refused to forecast the medal. The Philippines last won a gold in the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Pacquiao could find a foe after March 16 Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief Volleyball star Alyssa Valdez, also named to the national pool, praised officials for including youngsters like University of Santo Tomas’ rookie Eya Laure and foreign-born Filipinos like Kalei Mau and Alohi Robins-Handy.“We can learn from them and they from us,” Valdez said. “This is also good because we have so many young players so we can already see the future of Philippine volleyball.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsThe pool will undergo training camps in Japan, China and Korea where the club will go up against multiple club and collegiate teams.“We think this is a lot better than playing in the Asian Women’s and Asian Cup,” said LVPI president Peter Cayco. “And maybe we will have pocket tournaments in the country like the SEA Grand Prix.” Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title View comments
The World Bank Group has released a second report in less than a week forecasting a devastating economic impact of the Ebola virus in West Africa if the international community fails to move quickly to contain the disease in the sub-region.With the latest death toll from Ebola now put at about 3,439 in the three worst-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the Bank’s new economic impact assessment warned that if the epidemic was to significantly infect people in neighboring countries, some of which have much larger economies, the two-year regional financial impact could reach US$32.6 billion by the end of 2015.The report notes,” as it is far from certain that the epidemic will be fully contained by December 2014, and in light of the considerable uncertainty about its future trajectory, two alternative scenarios are used to estimate the medium-term (2015) impact of the epidemic, extending to the end of calendar year 2015.” A “Low Ebola” scenario corresponds to rapid containment within the three most severely affected countries, while “High Ebola” corresponds to slower containment in the three countries, with broader regional contagion.According to the Bank’s new analysis, the economic impacts of Ebola are already very serious in the core three countries, particularly Liberia and Sierra Leone, and could become catastrophic under a slow-containment, High Ebola scenario.Our business desk says the Ebola virus has hit the Liberian economy to the extent that all major sectors of the economy, including agriculture, mining and the service sector have slowed or shut down completely. The hospitality sector is also down amidst less demand. The government says it would need about US$375 million to fight the virus.Atop of the slowdown in major sectors of the economy is huge public spending to contain the virus in the face of dwindling revenue generation. In broader regional terms, the economic impact could be limited if immediate national and international action stop the epidemic and alleviate the “aversion behavior” or fear factor that is causing neighboring countries to close their borders, and airlines and other regional and international companies to suspend their commercial activities in the three worst-affected countries.The successful containment of Ebola in Nigeria and Senegal so far is evidence that this is possible, given some existing health system capacity and a resolute policy response, the Bank said.”With Ebola’s potential to inflict massive economic costs on Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and the rest of their neighbors in West Africa, the international community must find ways to get past logistical roadblocks and bring in more doctors and trained medical staff, more hospital beds, and more health and development support to help stop Ebola in its tracks,” says Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank Group.””The international community now must act on the knowledge that weak public health infrastructure, institutions, and systems in many fragile countries are a threat not only to their own citizens but also to their trading partners and the world at large,” says WBG President Kim.”The enormous economic cost of the current outbreak to the affected countries and the world could have been avoided by prudent ongoing investment in health systems-strengthening,” he added.The World Bank Group is supporting country responses in line with the WHO Roadmap, and is coordinating assistance closely with the United Nations and other international and country partners.As the new report notes, “effort and memory will be required to sustain and continue strengthening this early warning network and the complementary investments in effective and resilient African health systems after the Ebola outbreak has been contained. Taken together, the containment effort, the fiscal support, the restoration of investor confidence, and the expanded disease surveillance, diagnostic and treatment capacity promise to first stem the Ebola epidemic, and then help to reverse as quickly as possible the aversion behavior that is causing so much economic damage. “A key issue looking forward will be to re-establish investor trust so that as the epidemic is contained, domestic and international investment can return. The World Bank Group says urgent policies will be needed to jumpstart the renewed flow of relief and commercial activity (for health, business, and tourism purposes) with the affected countries while also safeguarding other countries from epidemiological contagion. To this end, options should be explored for financing improvements to health security infrastructure and protocols of the seaports and airports of the three core countries and their neighbors.To this end, the World Bank Group is mobilizing $400 million in emergency financing for the three countries hardest-hit by the crisis.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The bodies of two men were discovered brutally stabbed to death by unknown person(s) in the early hours of Wednesday, June 24, in Caldwell.One is thought to be the corpse of a notorious criminal. A third person received injuries from the attackers.At about 6 a.m., a resident identified only as Miatta, told the Daily Observer that she discovered in her yard the two bodies, including that of one Varney Perry, known as Death Row from the Duala community.“I didn’t hear anything last night but awoke this morning and saw the two dead bodies lying here in my yard,” she said.According to Miatta, she and her family have no knowledge of what happened to the men.The LNP forensic team was called to the scene. The lone survivor of the attack, who asked not to be named, identified the victims to the police.“He said Death Row was his friend while the other guy was just someone tagging along,” an LNP source stated.According to the third victim, the three of them were allegedly attacked at around 3 to 4 a.m. by unknown assailants.“He said he brought his two friends to Caldwell that morning,” the LNP source said.Steven Kesselly of Upper Caldwell recalled seeing the group that had allegedly attacked the victims.“I remember passing by the group in my car around 2 a.m. near the Caldwell Bridge. They were more than three and each person held what appeared like a machete, knife or some kind of weapon,” he stated.Police investigation into the killings is ongoing.Last March, a man was stabbed to death about a mile from where the two bodies were found on Wednesday. The murdered man was a suspected rogue, neighbors said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL) is clarifying claims of its refusal to accept offers of electricity from local companies.In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Acting Chief Executive Officer, Renford Homer said that potential Independent Power Producers (IPPs) seeking to supply power to GPL, must fulfil the requirements outlined in the National Grid Code (NGC).Guyana Power and Light’s main power station on the coast, the Kingston power stationThe Guyana Power and Light’s main power station on the coast, the Kingston power station.Homer explained that the GPL is guided by the NGC which was established in 2016 by consultant firm, Siemens.The Acting CEO pointed out that the NGC outlines all the requisite requirements, and is, inclusive of an interconnection policy and a standardised power purchase agreement (PPA) for IPPs to interconnect and integrate into the national grid.“As a company, we have to look at our own generation and expansion plans before we commit to anything, we’re also guided by our recently developed national grid code that sets the guidelines for any interaction with an unsolicited offer or one that GPL puts out for an expression of interest. The expectation is that any individual or company that’s interested in establishing an agreement with GPL, would want to comply with those requirements”, Homer stated.The agreement, Homer added, informs what would be the potential of developing a power purchase agreement and it speaks to what would be the agreed cost to GPL per kilowatt of energy.According to him, in 2016 the Giftland Mall signalled its wish to sell electricity to the power company. As recent as last month the company restated its interest noting that the offer to “press Giftland’s 2×2.5 megawatt MAM Engines into service to provide 3.5 megawatts of power by day and 5 megawatts by night remains unchanged. Also, the company is prepared to sell the power to the state-run company at the same price that it is available from Wartsila.’Currently, the only IPP the power company currently receives electricity supply from is the Skeldon Co-generation Plant.The 2017 Draft National Energy Policy of Guyana report stated that GPL will be encouraged to consider grid-scale wind energy, thermal power plans fuel with light fuel oil (LFO) and Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), grid-scale solar photovoltaics, and a midscale plant using wood residues.It also states that the goal is to work towards the achievement of 100 percent renewable energy penetration in the electric sector by 2025. This is by developing a licensing procedure aimed at IPPs to produce bulk power from renewable energy and feed into the national electric grid.
He took charge of the team during their CAF Champions League preliminary round return tie against Malawi’s Nyasa Big Bullets in Blantyre and was also on the touchline when the side lost to Bandari in Mombasa on Saturday.“We have appointed Hassan Oktay to be the head coach of the team and that means he will replace Dylan Kerr and will be assisted by Zedekiah Otieno. The coach has signed a two-year contract which will be renewable,” chairman Amrose Rachier told the club’s official website.Oktay is expected to turn the team’s fortunes around having started the season on a slow, three losses on the trot dampening the defending champions’ start to the campaign.Gor Mahia will play Zoo Kericho in their second league match on Wednesday in Machakos before switching attention to the CAF Champions League first round tie against Nigeria’s Lobi Stars on Sunday at Kasarani.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Hassan Oktay walks into the stadium during Gor Mahia’s Super Cup match against kariobangi Sharks on December 1, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaNAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – Kenyan premier League champions Gor Mahia have officially appointed Turkish-Cypriot Hassan Oktay as the club’s new head coach on a two-year deal taking over from Briton Dylan Kerr who resigned from the club last month.Oktau has been in the country for the last one and a half weeks and was on the stands during Gor Mahia’s Super Cup clash loss to Kariobangi Sharks.
10. Wayne Rooney (striker) 8. Juan Mata (right wing) Manchester United travel to Crystal Palace in the Premier League tomorrow as they aim to bounce back from their shock League Cup loss to Middlesbrough.Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young missed penalties in the shoot-out, which followed a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes.United’s league form has also slowed in the last month with just one win from three games although they have played Arsenal and Manchester City in that time.Louis van Gaal is facing calls from frustrated fans to drop captain Rooney, who has struggled in front of goal this season, but it is likely he will start at Selhurst Park.However, the Dutchman won’t be able to call upon Antonio Valencia or Memphis Depay, who miss the game through injury.To see who talkSPORT thinks will play, click the yellow arrow above, right. 11 4. Phil Jones (centre back) 5. Marcos Rojo (left back) 11 11 11 36. Matteo Darmian (right back) 11 11 11 28. Morgan Schneiderlin (centre midfield) 11 11 21. Ander Herrera (attacking midfield) 12. Chris Smalling (centre back) 1. David de Gea (goalkeeper): see who else makes the line up by clicking the arrow above 11 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger (centre midfield) 9. Anthony Martial (left wing) 11
Fun After 40 Ballroom Dance Club dance, 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the Palmdale Senior Center, 1002 E. Ave. Q-12, Palmdale. Lessons are available, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. for $2. Admission: $2 for members and $4 for nonmembers. Bring small dessert. Call (661) 943-0210 or (661) 267-5551. The Antelope Valley Weekend column runs weekly. Fax information or updates to (661) 267-5747 by noon Wednesday. Mailing address is 1645 E. Palmdale Blvd., Suite D, Palmdale, CA 93550, Attention: Entertainment. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson Travelogue on western Canada will be presented, 2 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Palmdale Playhouse, 38334 10th St. E. Tickets: $5. Call (661) 267-5684. Tony Molina and Friends perform salsa music and Latin ballads, 8 to 11:30 p.m. Thursdays at Harry’s Place at the Antelope Valley Inn, 44055 Sierra Highway, Lancaster. Salsa dj Wayne Molina performs, 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Call (661) 948-4651. Ranger-led nature hikes are held at 11 a.m. every Sunday at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Road, Agua Dulce. Meet in the first small parking lot by the ranger station. Call (661) 268-0840. Mojave Desert Information Center offers natural history exhibits, videos and a touch-screen computer to find out more information about desert state parks and the surrounding areas. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week at 43779 15th St. W. Call (661) 942-0662. Bingo will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday by the Knights of Columbus, 719 W. Ave. M. 40 and Up Singles dance, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 15, at 240 E. Ave. K, Lancaster. Admission: $7. Club membership: $20. Call Hester at (661) 718-8997. Travelogue on western Canada will be presented, 2 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Palmdale Playhouse, 38334 10th St. E. Tickets: $5. Call (661) 267-5684. Tony Molina and Friends perform salsa music and Latin ballads, 8 to 11:30 p.m. Thursdays at Harry’s Place at the Antelope Valley Inn, 44055 Sierra Highway, Lancaster. Salsa dj Wayne Molina performs, 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Call (661) 948-4651. Ranger-led nature hikes are held at 11 a.m. every Sunday at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Road, Agua Dulce. Meet in the first small parking lot by the ranger station. Call (661) 268-0840. Mojave Desert Information Center offers natural history exhibits, videos and a touch-screen computer to find out more information about desert state parks and the surrounding areas. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week at 43779 15th St. W. Call (661) 942-0662. Bingo will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday by the Knights of Columbus, 719 W. Ave. M. 40 and Up Singles dance, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 15, at 240 E. Ave. K, Lancaster. Admission: $7. Club membership: $20. Call Hester at (661) 718-8997. The local It’s Only Tuesday Productions will present “Jazz It Up,” a tribute to choreographer Bob Fosse, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd. Tickets: $14. Call (661) 723-5950. Palmdale Repertory Theatre will present the Tony-winning comedy-drama “Mornings at Seven,” 8 p.m. Saturday and Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, and 2 p.m. Jan. 15 and Jan. 22 at the Palmdale Playhouse, 38334 10th St. E., Palmdale. Tickets: $12; or $10 for seniors, students and military personnel. Call (661) 267-5684. “Retro Vacation Slide Show,” culled by Charles Phoenix from garage sales and elsewhere, will be shown, 8 p.m. Jan. 21, at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd. Tickets: $15. Call (661) 723-5950. Pianist Jim Wilson will perform with a cinematic multimedia montage, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Palmdale Playhouse, 38334 10th St. E. Tickets: $20; or $15 for students, seniors and military. Call (661) 267-5684. Fun After 40 Ballroom Dance Club dance, 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the Palmdale Senior Center, 1002 E. Ave. Q-12, Palmdale. Lessons are available, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. for $2. Admission: $2 for members and $4 for nonmembers. Bring small dessert. Call (661) 943-0210 or (661) 267-5551. The Antelope Valley Weekend column runs weekly. Fax information or updates to (661) 267-5747 by noon Wednesday. Mailing address is 1645 E. Palmdale Blvd., Suite D, Palmdale, CA 93550, Attention: Entertainment. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!,The local It’s Only Tuesday Productions will present “Jazz It Up,” a tribute to choreographer Bob Fosse, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd. Tickets: $14. Call (661) 723-5950. Palmdale Repertory Theatre will present the Tony-winning comedy-drama “Mornings at Seven,” 8 p.m. Saturday and Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, and 2 p.m. Jan. 15 and Jan. 22 at the Palmdale Playhouse, 38334 10th St. E., Palmdale. Tickets: $12; or $10 for seniors, students and military personnel. Call (661) 267-5684. “Retro Vacation Slide Show,” culled by Charles Phoenix from garage sales and elsewhere, will be shown, 8 p.m. Jan. 21, at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd. Tickets: $15. Call (661) 723-5950. Pianist Jim Wilson will perform with a cinematic multimedia montage, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Palmdale Playhouse, 38334 10th St. E. Tickets: $20; or $15 for students, seniors and military. Call (661) 267-5684.
Dunkineely Christmas Lights with Santa’s grotto and Craft FayreOn Saturday 13th December 2014 – everybody welcome to come and join the fun – Activities begin at 4pm, Santa arrives at 5pm and will be available in his grotto with a team of Storytelling, craft-making and face painting elves.All activities based around the Christmas Tree at the Methodist Church /DCL office. (Event coordinated by DCL (Dunkineely Community Ltd) and the Dunkineely Festival Committee). Anyone wanting to hold a stall at the Craft Fayre should book by phoning the DCL Office on 074 9737678 / 087 3421922 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tir Boghaine – Are you Caring for someone at home? A support group for carers meets on the third Monday of each Month in Killybegs Hospital Day centre at 7:30 pm. If you are coping alone or isolated by your role as a carer, why not come along to the support group. All carers can share their knowledge and support and have opportunities to partake in training sessions. The next meeting will take place on Monday 15th December at 7:30pm in Killybegs Hospital. For more information contact Eileen – Tir Boghaine on 074 9733111 / 074 9733113 or Email: email@example.com.Dunkineely & Bruckless Community Carol Service – Sunday 21st December at 5pm in St.Joseph’s & St.Conal’s Church Bruckless. All are welcome to join this celebration of the whole community from the throughout the Parish. For further information contact the DCL office on 074 9737678 / 087 3421922.DCL Courses in January – DCL Interior Design will run again for those on the waiting list (3 spaces still available) – 6 week course with Sile Kelly, cost €30 (part funded by the ETB Community Education Programme). DCL Calligraphy with Janet Deane will also run for 6 weeks, cost €30 (6 spaces still available). Please contact the DCL office on 074 9737678 / 087 3421922 if you are interested in either of these courses or would like to share with us any other course ideas we might run in the future.Dunkineely Community Ltd (DCL) – Has a library of over 500 books from Children’s Literature, Teenage Fiction (The Fault in our stars), Classics (Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice), Horror, Comedy, Booker-Prize etc. Rent a book from just 20c. Come into the office weekday mornings from 9:30am – 12:30pm and use the Internet (20c per half hour) or print or photocopy documents (20c per page). DD LOCAL: DUNKINEELY SWITCHING ON THEIR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS THIS SATURDAY was last modified: December 12th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:DD LOCAL: Dunkineely Community NewsFeaturesNotices
Donegal is set to see forty post offices closed if the current social welfare contract is lost to An Post, the Irish Postmasters Union has warned this week. This suggests that over 7% of the targeted closures across the country are in Donegal.Despite comments by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte this week that the Government has no plans to close any post office, few in the Donegal postal service are assured in any way by those comments since plans are already in place to farm out a range of services to Tesco and other commercial enterprises. The Postmasters Union says the Govt plan for protecting the service is effectively a recipe for doing nothing.The Union has challenged Pat Rabbitte that if he is serous about the future of the service, he should rescind immediately the contract with Tesco and Supervalue to deliver a “Post and Pay” service at their branches nationwide.The Union and supporters, many from Donegal gathered outside Leinster House on Wednesday when a Dail motion proposed by the 16 members of the Technical Group of TDs was debated.County Donegal now has 77 post offices and the Irish Postmasters Union has told the Tirconail Tribune that at least half of these will close under the proposals now being considered by An Post. The Postmasters Union has challenged this week’s comments in the Dail by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte that the Govt. has no plans to close any post office.Brian McGann, General Secretary the IPU speaking on Sean O’Rourke’s Show on RTE Radio on Wednesday said that while the social welfare contract had been secured by An Post for the next two years, the Government was urging recipients to use the banking service and this would decimate the service.Calling for Govt action Mr. McGann said that no single Department can solve this issue – it needs a combined Government approach, he claimed. He noted the Minister’s comments regarding An Post having to tender for business contracts.However, Mr.McGann pointed out the Government needs to ensure that the network has a level playing field on which to compete.“The driving licence renewal contract was an example of where the network could have been used very effectively. We have experience of passport renewals – we could have offered the service of driving licence renewals using the same model. However, severely restricting the number of locations for the provision the driving licence renewals to 34, effectively prevented Ireland’s network of 1,150 Post Offices from having a fair opportunity to compete for the business” Mr. McGann stated. He says the postmasters are very concerned that no plan is in place that signifies the commitment of the Government on the future of the post office network.The Grant Thornton Report has called on the Government to take action to secure the future of the Post Office network by highlighting the devastating impact, both social and economic, on communities across the country if the network collapses.Mr McGann called on An Post to pull back from establishing an alternative network in partnership with Tesco.“The possible partnership with Tesco is unacceptable to the Union and we have sought an urgent meeting with the company to express our concern and opposition to the development. We will not tolerate the establishment of a network that we believe will ultimately destroy the Irish Postmasters,” Mr McGann stated. Pat Rabbitte has told the Dail this week that An Post was a commercial State company and received no exchequer subsidy.He highlighted issues the network ignored “at its peril” including when business activity moved from the High Street to nearby shopping centres.He also warned that business would suffer without electronic services.“There really isn’t much point in expecting the world to stand still while An Post remains committed to over-the-counter business.”The TD’s along with Pat Rabbitte stand accused of waffling and using flowery language that ignores the reality of the crisis facing half the country’s post office network.The Postmasters Union (IPU) argues that 557 Post Offices nationwide would close down if the contract is lost in the next couple of years.The Grant Thornton Report has found that by 2017 there would be a decline of 557 Post Offices (48%) in the network, which has 1,150 Post Offices at present. Urban and rural communities would be hit by the closures that would follow the loss of the social welfare contract.In recent years many of our towns and villages have been decimated by the loss of the garda station, the post office, creamery office and the sad toll of emigration. In more extreme cases, the pub and the local shop have closed their doors, victims of emigration and changing consumer habits. In many locations across Donegal it is a struggle to find an ATM.This indeed is the rule rather than the exception of life under the new regime of the Enda Kenny led Government where sound bites are the only response to the most serious concerns in our midst. The Government and Sate agencies surely must have a social responsibility towards the entire country.While we need to continue to invest capital expenditure into the larger urban areas, we cannot simply ignore entire counties, communities and constituencies in the West of Ireland.The general secretary of the Irish Postmasters’ Union, Brian McGann, has said that immediate government action is now needed to ensure the viability of the Post Office.Rural Ireland needs as many post offices as can probably be kept viable. The two-year social welfare contract is currently held by An Post with possible extensions for up to four additional years.However the Government is committed to moving to electronic payments as part of its eCommerce strategy and this is causing serious concern to the 1,150 postmasters around the country.Commenting on the report’s findings Irish Postmaster Breid Gallagher, who represents Postmasters in Donegal, said immediate Government action was required to ensure the viability of the Post Office network into the future.She says: “We may have won the contract in theory but the business is being diverted away on a daily basis. We cannot survive if this continues. We know that the Programme for Government contains a commitment to maintain the network of Post Offices but we are in no doubt that the network is under serious threat. There is no plan in place to ensure that that commitment is honoured and we need one urgently.”Breid Gallagher also expressed the Union’s grave concern that An Post is partnering with Tesco to develop an alternative network that will seriously impact on the network.This development, which is a result of Government inaction on maintaining the Post Office network, would destroy the network within two years, she predicted.“The Union will resist this move, by direct action, if necessary,” she warned.DONEGAL COULD LOSE 40 POST OFFICES IN SHAKE-UP WARNS UNION was last modified: February 27th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:An PostBreid GallagherdonegalPostmaster’s Union