Dec 4, 2014

Top Secondary Schools in Ireland 2014

There are no official statistics published by the Irish government about the performance of secondary schools in Ireland.
It is hard to compare schools without any data to use . The Sunday Times (Irish Edition) usually compile a League Table of schools based on the numbers of pupils getting into Third Level courses.
It's not an ideal method of comparison - but until teachers and the government agree on publishing exam results it's all we have.

Here are the top 20 "Best" Schools in Ireland - based on the percentage of final year pupils getting a place at University.  The figure on the right is the percentage of students getting a place at Universty in 2014

1 Laurel Hill Colaiste FCJ, Sth Circular Rd., Limerick     Girls 88.7 %
2 Glenstal Abbey School, Murroe, Co. Limerick      Fee Paying (Boys) 88.3%
3 Colaiste Iosagain, Booterstown, Co. Dublin  Girls 88.2%
4 Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin 6      Fee Paying (Boys)  87.4%
5 Mount Anville Secondary School, Goatstown, Dublin 14  Fee Paying (Girls)  84.7%
6 Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin Fee Paying (Girls)  84.6%
7 Presentation Brothers College, Mardyke, Cork   Fee Paying (Boys)  84.6%
8 Colaiste na Coirbe, Tuam Road, Galway     Mixed 81.8%
9 Scoil Mhuire, Sydney Place, Cork  Fee Paying (Girls) 81.6%
10 Holy Child School, Killiney, Co. Dublin  Fee Paying (Girls)  80.6%
11 Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Rd., Cork  Girls 79.0%
12 Colaiste Ide, Dingle, Co. Kerry  Girls 78.9%
13 Colaiste an Phiarsaigh, Glanmire, Co. Cork     Mixed 77.7%
14 Loreto College, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2 Fee Paying (Girls) 77.6%
15 Colaiste Ailigh, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal Mixed 77.3%
16 Rathdown School, Glenageary, Co. Dublin  Fee Paying (Girls) 76.7%
17 The Teresian School, Donnybrook, Dublin  Fee Paying (Girls) 76.5%
18  Christian Brothers College, Sidney Hill, Cork  Fee Paying (Boys) 76.4%
19 Castleknock College, Castleknock, Dublin 15  Fee Paying (Boys) 76.1%
20 Colaiste Eoin, Booterstown, Co. Dublin Boys 76.1%

Twelve of the top 20 schools are private (fee paying) schools.
The best "free" schools are  highlighted in Bold.

Jul 29, 2014

Quality of Life in Ireland

    The results of a recent survey  of all EU countries  found that most Irish people are happy with their quality of life.

    The survey results showed that 94% of Irish respondents were satisfied with the quality of life in their area (EU average 85%).

    Accommodation:  95% of Irish respondents were  satisfied with their house or flat (EU average 89%).
    Health :  92% of the Irish surveyed were satisfied with their state of health (EU average 82%).

    Irish respondents were also more positive about their personal job situation (60%) than the EU average (56%), and also more positive about the quality of life in Ireland (68%) than the EU average  (56%).

    43% of Irish respondents thought that  the economic situation in Ireland will be better twelve months from now compared to just 24% of people across the EU as a whole (when asked about the country they lived in)  ;

    The survey was called the Eurobarometer and was carried out in May / June 2014

      Jun 1, 2014

      Top 20 Towns in Ireland - according to Retail Excellence

      The results of a survey organised by "Retail Excellence" - ended up with this list of the top 20 towns and cities in Ireland. The survey was based on answers to questiona about things such as facilities, shops, restaurants,

      Westport  County Mayo   score 85.61%
      Killarney  - Kerry 84.58%
      Swords  - Dublin 83.92%
      Ashbourne  - Meath 82.28%
      Dungarvan - Waterford 80.40%
      Carrickmacross  - Monaghan 80.10%
      Clonakilty  - Cork 79.31%
      Malahide  - Dublin 78.07%
      Skerries  - Dublin 78.06%
      Listowel  - Kerry 77.55%
      Kilkenny City  - Kilkenny 76.54%
      Castleknock -  Dublin 76.50%
      Tramore  - Waterford 75.06%
      Galway City  - Galway 75.02%
      Tullamore  - Offaly 74.48%
      Wexford  - Wexford 74.04%
      Ratoath -  Meath 73.99%
      Carrick on Shannon. -  Leitrim 73.00%
      Cobh  - Cork 71.80%
      Kinsale  - Cork 71.45%

      The top 2 towns - Westport and Killarney are major tourist destinations.  The survey results may be biased because many of the respondents will be involved in the tourist business  and are probably more likely to give positive results

      The key questions in the survey were :

      1. Is there an abundant number of car parking spaces available?
      2 Is car parking competitively priced?
      3 Has the town/city a unique and attractive streetscape?
      4 Is this town/city well presented and maintained?
      5 Has this town/city a large number of quality retail stores to choose from?
      6 Has this town/city a large number of quality restaurants & pubs to choose from?
      7 Is there a lot to do and see in this town/city?
      8 Do you feel safe and secure when you visit this town/city?
      9 Is this town/city family friendly?
      10 Is this town/city my first choice destination for shopping?
      11 Is this town/city my first choice destination for dining & entertainment?
      12 Are there many events and promotions being run in this town/city?
      13 Does this town/city have a unique and positive image?

      The bottom 10  towns in the survey were
      Limerick City(91st)
      Tipperary (100th)

      Charges for Water in Ireland

      From October 2014 all households in Ireland will be charged for water. The average charge is supposed to be €240 a year - but the charges could range from €0.00 to €700 a year.
      Eventually - the plan is - that most homes will have water meters and charges will be based on usage.
      There will be a certain amount of water that will be "free" - this is expected to be the first 7500 litres each quarter (30000 litres a year) per household.
      Meters will not be installed in all homes that are due to have them until 2016. Some homes will never have meters installed. Unmetered homes will still have to pay for water  - but the charge will be "assessed" based on average/estimated  usage for similar households.

      Water charges will be made up of a charge for water used and wastewater processed (sewage).
      Many rural homes are not connected to the mains sewage - and therefore will not be charged for their wastewater . We expect the water bills to be about 55% for wastewater and 45% for water usage.

      If a home has it's own well or private water supply - they will not be charged for water supply. 

      There are some estimates of how much the water charges will be here.

      Currently the expenditure on domestic water services in Ireland is covered by government (From taxation).
      The 34 local authorites were responsible for water services -  but now a new semi-state body called Irish Water has taken on responsibility and they will be issuing the bills.

      First water bills are due in Jan 2015 - with charges for Oct Nov and Dec 2014 .

      Jan 6, 2014

      Thousands of People are Still Moving to Ireland

      Moving to Ireland is still a choice made by many thousands of people.

      Ireland’s non-Irish population makes up 12% of the total population (about  544,000 people.) The majority are from EU countries.

      In 2013, approximately 166,000 new applications (i.e. visa, residence, protection and citizenship) were received by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

      The 2013 year end estimate of non-EEA nationals with permission to remain in Ireland is approximately 120,000. The majority of persons with permission to remain in the State are here for work or study purposes.
      The current top 6 registered nationalities  are India (11%), Brazil (10%), China (9%), Nigeria (8%), USA (6%) and Philippines (6%).

       Approximately 95,000 entry visa applications were received in 2013, an increase of 8% on 2012 and a cumulative increase of 14% on 2011. The approval rate for entry visa applications was 91%.

      The top 5 nationalities applying for visas for Ireland  in 2013 were India (16%), Russia (15%), China (11%), Nigeria (6%) and Turkey (5%).

      The total number of non-EEA students registered to study or train in Ireland at the end of 2013 was approximately 39,600. This is one third of all the non-EEA nationals with permission to remain in the Ireland.

      Of these students - 39% of students are in  Higher Education (Degree Programmes) , 21% are engaged in further education (non Degree) courses, 27% are taking language courses and 13% other (e.g. secondary school).

      International Protection and Asylum
      Provisional figures indicate that 946 applications for asylum were submitted in 2013. The equivalent figure for 2012 was 956. The comparative figure in 2002, when the volume of asylum applications was at a peak, was 11,600.

      Oct 22, 2013

      LPT - Property Tax for 2014

      Property Tax for 2014 will soon be due for payment by hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland.

      Yes - you're probably thinking I've got my dates mixed up - but it's true. The 2014 liability date for the LPT is Nov 1st 2013.
      The tax is due by Jan 1st 2014 - but for the majority of people who paid by debit card or credit card  or cheque - the payment will need to be made in November 2013. That's a full years payment for 2014 before Christmas 2013 !. They moved the Budget - and retailers hoped that would help boost the Christmas shopping sales - but now the extra cost of the LPT will mean the Christmas retail spending could be way down this year.

      What happens if I don't pay on time ?
      . You will get a reminder sometime in the first few months of 2014. There are no penalties for late payment - just for non payment - and Revenue will give you chance to respond to reminders.
      They have the option to dedcut the LPT from wages / pensions - so they might do that after a few months if you still haven't paid up.

      You may as well set up a direct debit - it will then be spread over 2014 in smaller even payments which won't be such a shock to you bank balance just befor Christmas.

      See the dates and more details about the Property Tax Due in 2014 Here

      Sep 3, 2013

      Budget 2014 On the Way

      Irish people have had 3 years of Austerity Budgets - with cuts in welfare, increases in taxation and loss of public services.  The 2014 Budget is going to be the last one under the EU/IMF bailout program - and we can expect more of the same stuff.  It is expected that another €3.1 billion will be found by making more cuts in spending, more cuts in welfare and more increases to taxation.

      In previous budgets - pensioners have been protected from cuts to the state pension - whilst childbenefit has been cut along with most other welfare payments.  With negative inflation in recent years - it could be argued that the state pension is due to be cut - but will the government be able to cope with a pensioner backlash?

      The Budget date is Oct 15th this year instead of December - this is to fit in with EU timetables. The leaks and  rumours will be flying about all over the place in September as the politicians try to scaremonger the population.  By "leaking" false cuts or tax increases - the ploy is to get the general public to feel relieved when they find out the reality is a smaller cut or tax increase. It happens every year.

      Later in 2014 we will have the new water charges in Ireland - which could average out at €300 to €400 a house. On top of the property tax - this coul be the final straw for many people. Emigration might become more popular.