In Short


A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Clegg to examine commitments over £18bn capital funding for NI

British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has pledged to examine arguments made by Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness that the previous British government made commitments of £18 billion in capital funding to help ensure political stability in Northern Ireland.

Dublin aims to honour its commitments but there has been no guarantee from the British government. Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness raised the matter with Mr Clegg. “The First Minister and the Deputy First Minister made representations to me about what they consider to be commitments on capital spending and quite reasonably and rationally I said I will look at the points they have made,” he said.

Giving child biscuit could be 'grooming'

THE Northern Ireland Ombudsman Tom Frawley has called for an official apology for a school employee who was warned that by giving a pupil a biscuit she could be seen to be “grooming” the child, writes Gerry Moriarty.

He said the woman was due a written apology and a consolatory payment from the Western Education and Library Board. In January 2008 the woman, a catering supervisor at St Mary’s primary school in Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh, was asked for a biscuit by a child. She agreed and asked a colleague to hand the biscuit to the pupil. The following day the woman, who is related to the child, was told by a senior teacher that under the Child Protection Act she could be seen to be “grooming” the child. The woman left the school because she felt she was being “grilled”. This week the Impartial Reporter reported a priest was told she was absent due to a “serious child protection issue”.

Hospice care just for children on way

Irish children with terminal illnesses will have access to child-specific hospice care for the first time next year. The first children’s end-of-life care consultant in Ireland is to be appointed in early 2011, the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has announced.

In a €2.5 million investment over five years, the IHF is to introduce eight nurses with specialised training in palliative care for children nationwide.

Firefighters vote for industrial action

Firefighters in Co Offaly have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action following the standing down of three fire stations.

Siptu began balloting their members two weeks ago when Banagher and Daingean Fire Stations were taken off line. Kilcormac Fire Station was stood down in April. The loss of the three stations will affect 11 firefighters and reduce the number of fire engines in the county from 10 to seven.