Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Oireachtas News 15 April 2013
The Dáil resumes this week after the Easter break where the Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) (Amendment) Bill 2012 (Seanad) will go to second stage.  The purpose of the Bill is to extend the remit of Science Foundation Ireland to enable it to fund applied research in addition to its existing remit to fund oriented basic research.  Oriented basic research is defined as research that is ‘‘carried out with the expectation that it will produce a broad base of knowledge likely to form the basis of the solution to recognised or expected current or future problems or possibilities’’.  Applied research on the other hand is research directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective.

This Bill coincides with a new appointment to the Board of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) of Mr Liam Madden, Corporate Vice President of engineering at Xilinx, an American technology company.

On Wednesday 17th April in the Seanad the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Bill 2013 – Second Stage will be discussed led by  spokesperson Senator Colm Burke.

On Thursday 18th April the Health and Children Committee will meet to discuss Personal and Advocacy Perspectives of Organ Donation.  The meeting will include representation from the Irish Kidney Association, Irish Heart and Lung Transplant Association and the National Organ Procurement Service (NOPS).
UK Measels Outbreak
The recent outbreak of measles in the UK has led to a surge of interest in vaccination.  Mr. Maurice Kelly of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has warned that ‘measles outbreaks in any country to which there is substantial travel back and forth between Ireland is a concern'.  There is a significant outbreak in Swansea in Wales with health officials working around the clock to get as many people immunised as possible.  Children can be immunised against the disease via the MMR (measles mumps rubella) vaccine.  The MMR vaccine is given twice at 12 months and again at four-to-five years. The latest figures from the HPSC show that uptake in Ireland for the first vaccine is approximately 92%, while uptake at four-to five years of age is approximately 84%.  Mr Kelly of the HPSC reminded parents that the vaccination is provided free of charge to all children.  Children who have missed vaccines can avail of the vaccine from their GP or the HSE depending on the age of the child.

Bicycle Helmet Wearing in a Sample of Urban Disadvantaged Primary School Children
Authors (Quirke et al)  of a new study published in the Irish Medical Journal have reported that there are 7 deaths and 263 hospital admissions among cyclists involved in RTAs. Children under 15 years are at greatest risk. In this study the authors found that helmet wearing was not common practice and 50% of children didn’t wear a helmet. Two thirds of 12/13 year olds never wore a helmet. There was a gender difference, 61% of girls wore a helmet but only 39% of boys.
The authors say the findings of the study add to the debate around the mandatory introduction of protective headgear for cyclists.  However they also advocate further research to establish how parental-perceived awareness and acceptance of legally enforced versus voluntary practices, affects their children’s overall awareness and adherence to cycle safety.  At present, the wearing of cycle helmets is not legally enforced in Ireland.

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