National News In Brief

DNA samples from survivors and relatives can be used to identify Tuam babies

A new report by Dr. Geoffrey Shannon indicates that DNA samples can be collected from survivors and relatives through a voluntary scheme. “Report on the Collection of Tuam Survivors” indicates that the voluntary collection of DNA samples from survivors and relatives is possible. This could aid in identifying the remains from the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

The report comes after survivors wanted to “bank” their DNA samples to identify remains found in the excavation of the site. The collected DNA samples can be used to compare DNA profiles produced from the remains in Tuam. However, new legislation has to be in place and it has to be proven that DNA profiles can be created from the remains before any DNA profiles are generated.

Private Bus Operator Go-Ahead Avoids Fines from the NTA

Private bus operator Go-Ahead has avoided fines from the National Transport Authority (NTA) to allow it a “short time to bed.” Go-Ahead were to be fined in July for complaints about its unsatisfactory bus service. There were complaints about buses failing to turn up and its punctuality. Pensioners and school children were particularly affected by its bus service. The most frequently complained routes were 59, 66 and 111.

This has drawn criticism from People Before Profit deputy for Dun Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barett, whose constituents were particularly affected by Go-Ahead’s bus service. He called the decision “outrageous” and “totally unacceptable”. Go-Ahead admitted to Mr. Boyd Barett that “the delivery of certain bus services by Go-Ahead during June was below the target set out in the contract.” This was caused by “higher than expected driver resignations.” Go-Ahead won a contract of €125 million over the next five years in exchange for running an essential public service.

Irish Universities Association calls for greater funding in third level education

In light of the upcoming Budget 2020 proposal, the Irish Universities Association (IUA) has called for 377 million euros in funding across core funding, research and innovation. It has demanded that the government take a “decisive step to address the growing funding crisis” in third level education.

The IUA is asking for “real and sustained increase” in core funding. Universities need an investment of €117 million to address growing student numbers, problems related to quality and access and known cost increases in national pay grounds. This is still short of what is recommended by the Cassell’s Report, but it would “signal real intent to fix the funding crisis.”
Other demands from the IUA include an investment of €50 million into research and innovation, increasing to €70 million by 2022 and €80 million by 2025. It has also asked for a total of €210 million in capital funding for new facilities, upgrading equipment and urgent repairs.