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Students and parents plead case for homework ban

Students And Parents Plead Case For Homework Ban

School children and parents pleaded with the Minister for Education Norma Foley to step in and introduce a homework ban.

In letters to the minister, kids wrote about how they were being forced to give up hobbies because they were given so much work to do after school.

The correspondence followed comments by President Michael D Higgins in January that a ban on homework should be considered.

In one letter, a school child wrote about how seven hours of school each day was “plenty of education” and that more work on top was unnecessary.

“I do not ask for homework to be completely banned but for it to be reduced to a certain limit. Otherwise, if there is a constant build-up of homework daily, it can cause stress and even a lack of exercise which will affect a person’s well-being.”

Another said they felt homework was a “waste of time” and that a ban should be introduced.

They wrote: “Kids should be doing more creative things with their time after school. Many kids have had to stop doing hobbies they have because of it.

“It is a burden to parents, kids, and teachers [and] so for the above reasons, I think you should BAN HOMEWORK!”

Homework annoys teachers

One hand-written letter, decorated with a Minnie Mouse bow, said homework was “annoying for teachers and pupils”.

“I play soccer and love writing stories, but because of homework, I have no time for doing these things. For teachers, it gives them more copies to correct and they have to go through the trouble of deciding what [homework] to give.”

A secondary school student said that if “sleeping isn’t for school” then “work isn’t for home”.

They explained how they did between one and two hours of homework every evening after school and sometimes more.

“When I would finish, there would be barely any time for me to relax before I had to go to bed to get enough sleep to get up in the morning,” said their letter.

“As I’m sure you’re aware, our president Michael D Higgins also thinks that homework should be banned so if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to our President.”

Another suggested there could at least be a compromise so that students would not be given homework for over the weekend.

“[This would relieve] students of mental stress,” they said.

Help parents

One young student said they were left with no time to help their parents, or to learn how to cook or do other activities around the house.

They said: “We all do activities like swimming, dance, and all other sports. It’s hard work and it’s stressful and it’s unfair.”

A single parent also wrote in to explain how one of their children was getting two hours of written homework every day.

They said: “We need time to teach them life skills such as sewing, cooking, how to work the washing machine, change their own bed sheets and personal care.

“These teachings are very hard for parents with zero [time] left in the evenings. There is no time for them to spend with siblings and parents because they are so tired.”

Majority Of Workers In Favour Of Four-Day Work Week

In responses, the Department of Education told the letter writers that homework policy was not within its powers.

In emails, they said: “The Department does not issue direct guidelines relating to homework being given in schools. It is a matter for each school, at local level, to arrive at its own homework policy.

“In keeping with good practice, the process of drafting a homework policy should involve consultation with teachers, parents, and students.

“However, the Department does acknowledge that homework can play an important part in helping pupils prepare for forthcoming class work and in reinforcing work already covered during class time.”

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President of Ireland calls on schools to stop giving pupils homework

Children should be able to use time at home ‘for other creative things’, says michael d higgins, article bookmarked.

Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile

Michael D Higgins says schools should not continue after final bell

Schools should strive not to give pupils homework where possible, the president of Ireland has suggested.

In an utterance likely to be seized upon by children for years to come, in classrooms far beyond the shores of the Emerald Isle, Michael D Higgins argued that school should not extend beyond the final bell.

“Time in school … should get finished in school,” the president told pupils at a school in County Tipperary this week during a broadcast for RTE.

Children should be able to use their time at home “for other creative things”, Mr Higgens continued.

Reiterating his point, the 81-year-old president added: “I think as much as possible that [homework] should happen in the school and I think it’s more relaxed than it used to be.”

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Mr Higgins was asked for his thoughts on homework by pupils at St Kevin’s National School in Littleton, during a broadcast celebrating the 20th anniversary of RTE’s children’s news show – viewers of which sent their questions in for the president.

Asked if he had a message for the children of Ireland, the president, who has been in office since 2011, said: “Stay curious about everything. Make sure you don’t miss the joy of getting information.

“And I think an important thing is friendship, and that nobody is left without friendship.”

Michael D Higgins speaks to children in County Tipperary for an RTE broadcast

Suggesting that children of Ireland place “great value” on friendship, Mr Higgins lamented that this makes it even more tragic when there is an “abuse of phones for bullying”.

Mr Higgins revealed that, having started school himself at the age of seven, his love for reading soon saw him decide that he wanted to be a teacher – and he attended teacher training as an adult before going on to spend 25 years in Ireland’s lower house of parliament Dail Eireann.

It is not the first time that Mr Higgins has offered his thoughts on children’s education. Last year, on his 80th birthday, Mr Higgins suggested that yoga should be taught in schools across Ireland.

Research suggests that Mr Higgins’ is far from alone in his views on homework, at least in the UK.

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A 2018 survey of parents by British education regulator Ofsted found that more than a third did not think homework was helpful for primary school children.

Homework is a “huge cause of stress” for many families – and for children with special educational needs or disabilities it can be detrimental to their health, Ofsted was told.

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President Michael D Higgins says homework should be banned in Ireland

The country’s favourite leader believes that school activities should end at the school gate and students should be encouraged to engage in more creative pursuits

  • 10:39, 21 JAN 2023

President Michael D Higgins

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President Michael D Higgins has called for homework to be banned.

The country’s favourite leader has given hope to a new generation of students that the bane of their afterschool evenings could be scrapped. President Higgins argues that this would make time for young people to engage in more creative pursuits outside school hours.

The former Arts Minister believes that school activities should end at the school gate. He was speaking to RTE’s news2day current affairs and news programme for children on the occasion of the programme’s 20th birthday.

Read more: Children being 'corrupted' by drug dealing situation in Oliver Bond flats, Dail told

When asked what his opinion of homework President Higgins said: “I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things.”

To mark the show’s two decades on air, students from St Kevin’s National School, Littleton, County Tipperary put questions from RTÉ news2day viewers to President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin. In a wide-ranging interview, the children asked the President questions like, what was your favourite sport when you were in school?

When you were nine years old what did you want to be? And when did you decide you wanted to be President?

The students also asked the President about his dogs, his official trips abroad, his favourite subject in school, differences between now and when he was a child and his favourite book. The President also spoke to the children about his love of handball and the importance of friendship in their lives.

RTÉ news2day will broadcast some of the President’s interview as part of Friday afternoon’s birthday celebrations at 4.20pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ News channel and the full interview will be available later on Friday evening on the RTÉ Player. In a message to the children of Ireland and the viewers of RTÉ news2day, President Michael D. Higgins gave this advice: “To stay curious about everything and I think it’s important to make sure you don’t miss the joy of sharing information.

“And I think an important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship and that people belong. And we will all do individual things... but I think friendships that you make will in fact always be great memories and that is so important. And also have the courage to stand your own ground and let other children be allowed the space of standing their ground too because none of us are the same.

“We’re all unique but at the same time we have a lot going for us.” President Higgins also encouraged the children of Ireland to speak the Irish language.

He encouraged them to speak Irish in a fun way and to feel free to use whatever bits of the language that they have.

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Two primary school principals debate a homework ban

Should children use their time at home for "other creative things"?

President Michael D Higgins ignited a national conversation about homework when he told primary school students that he believed schoolwork should be completed in school – and that children should be able to use their time at home for "other creative things".

Simon Lewis, a primary school principal in Carlow, broadly agrees with President Higgins. But Chris Donnelly, a principal in Belfast, staunchly disagrees. In recent days, Mr Lewis and Mr Donnelly debated the issue over WhatsApp, as part of The Conversation from RTÉ's Upfront with Katie Hannon.

Simon Lewis: Hi Chris, great to talk to you. Homework is one of those topics that comes up in the media from time to time as it's an emotive one and it affects family life in a direct way. To give you my own perspective, I broadly agree with President Higgins at primary level.

Chris Donnelly: Hi Simon! I've got to say that, although I’m a great admirer of President Higgins, I’m not with him on this one. I believe that we have to continue to encourage and cultivate parents’ involvement in their children’s education, and the most obvious way of ensuring that is done remains through regular and consistent homework. I do accept that, as teachers, we must constantly review and assess the value and merit of what is included in homework, but in principle I’m in favour of it remaining.

Simon Lewis: Absolutely with you in terms of cultivating parents' involvement in children's education, but I think there are far more effective ways of doing so. Perhaps it might be worth exploring what homework looks like? I think most parents experience homework as finishing off work that wasn't completed or a page or two of a workbook. I think they think every child gets the same work. I think they find it meaningless. I also think, in most cases, they are right. I'm not surprised to hear calls for it to be banned.

Chris Donnelly: We’ve heard so often about the wisdom of the proverb that "it takes a village to raise a child". We can’t nod our heads in agreement with that and yet add the caveat that, when it comes to the 3 Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic – they’re strictly for school alone.

I take the point that some homeworks can be more effective than others, but if we’re serious about promoting parental involvement in kids’ education, then we need to recognise that homework provides the framework and guidance for parents to be involved, and at the appropriate level, for their kids.

Simon Lewis: I don't know if I agree with you completely on that. There are other frameworks that can involve parents without drill and practice exercises in books. I think technology has given us the ability to communicate with families in ways we could have only imagined even 20 years ago. Schools are now equipped with complete communication systems where they can inform and help families with their child's progress in all areas. A teacher can record themselves explaining any concept, they can set individualised tasks and projects, and they can point a family to anything conceivable.

Chris Donnelly: I’ve spent all of my 20-plus years in the vocation as a teacher and school leader in school communities in what might be described as areas of higher socio-economic deprivation, so educational underachievement is an issue very close to my heart.

Children in such communities are statistically much more likely to not realise their full potential, and I have always found that a part of addressing that is to draw parents in closely to their kids’ educational experience. Homework has been integral to that as it provides both a means to guide parents, but also a way of monitoring and essentially holding parents to account, flagging up when intervention may be necessary to ascertain if there were any issues, and to provide suggestions and solutions.

One of the projects I initiated was a "dads and lads" reading initiative in inner-city north Belfast, encouraging fathers to view reading a book with their kid each night as a shared experience akin to taking their child to a football match. For that initiative, Cliftonville Football Club got on board and we were able to hold workshops attended by many, providing ideas and strategies to encourage the fathers to pick up a book each night.

Simon Lewis: That's really interesting. It sounds like we both work in very similar contexts. Funnily enough, we had a very similar programme for reading with children in the evenings as part of a research project on homework at primary level. If homework is to exist, it needs to be meaningful, fun and optional. If possible, it needs to be individualised to a child's needs.

One other point is that if we give homework, we need to focus on the 4Cs – critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication – as well. Again, technology is key here.

Would you think there's such a thing as bad homework?

Chris Donnelly: Oh, absolutely, Simon. I think there’s a real case for rethinking homework for the modern age. Whilst I’m obviously a strong advocate for it, I appreciate that it can come in many forms and not always in a manner that is productive.

I believe, if we perceive its function as being to not simply consolidate pupil understanding of learning themes introduced in class, but also to encourage parental input into children’s learning, then it opens up opportunities to move away from the more mundane worksheet activity and towards encouraging parents to help with, for instance, computer-based activities.

Simon Lewis: What are your thoughts on it being optional?

Chris Donnelly: Not in favour of optional homework. For me, it has to remain a part of what "education" involves for cultural reasons – to ensure buy-in across society.

I’m a great believer that kids learn from what is caught as well as what’s taught. Those incidental chats with the adults in their lives who help with the homework or who see a reference in a homework and take conversation in a different direction, perhaps revisiting a life experience.

We have to keep evaluating what we do as educators and what the impact we are having, in class and at home. That’ll necessitate changing the format and focus of homework as much as it does teaching styles and strategies in class. But getting the parents and grandparents involved in a child’s learning journey on a regular basis can only be a positive development.

Simon Lewis: Completely agree with families being involved in the learning journey. I have to admit I didn't agree with the President when he said that "time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school", because education and learning can and does happen anywhere.

However, whether a school should impose those learning experiences, I would question that. I believe schools can suggest learning activities to families if they feel there would be a benefit, but I believe it is the right of a family not to do it. With so many families much busier than back in our day, with many children spending more and more of their day in childcare, after-school clubs and so on, they have little downtime as it is.

Adding the extra stress of more work seems unjust. I have seen some good examples of schools providing a summary of what is being covered in class and a suggested list of activities on a Monday that can be done any time during the week. I also love the idea of choice boards and the Flipped Classroom concept.

Perhaps we need to reclaim the word "homework?" The mere sound of the word sends shivers down the spines of many people. It was (and probably still is in places) seen as a negative experience? Worse, for me, it is often used as a punishment.

That brings me to the opposite point, which really winds me up. I'm not sure if you ever have this in Northern Ireland. If there's ever a celebrity visitor to a school, often the first thing they will do at an assembly is ask the teachers to give the children the night off from homework! Even our politicians get in on it.

Chris Donnelly: The difficulty I would have with optional homework is that, unfortunately, my experience would lead me to believe that many of the very children who would benefit the most from the additional learning opportunities provided by homework would likely lose out as their parents could be the ones to opt out.

The current understanding and acceptance of what homework entails at least ensures all are aware that input from home is expected and is monitored in the sense that teachers and school leaders will query if and when it is not completed.

I don’t agree about free time for kids. Whilst I get that homework can be a stress point for many parents returning from work at night, the truth is that Irish children have never been more likely to be involved in after-school clubs than they are today, which is a good thing. It’s a question of balance.

Simon Lewis: What happens if a child doesn't do homework and parents are either refusing to do it, or just aren't engaging?

Chris Donnelly: That’s where we, as school leaders, intervene, knowing that their refusal will increase the probability of the child underachieving educationally. We both know there are such cases out there, and identifying the problems and challenges early is key to organising the one-to-one chats with parents, and even possibly seeking to find other ways of supporting the kids.

Simon Lewis: I get that, but for the growing number of families who might be emboldened by the President's call to action, how will you deal with outright opt-out?

Chris Donnelly: The President can speak for himself, of course, but I can’t agree with his central point about educational experiences being confined to school. If we accept that, we are destined to fail in endeavours to close achievement gaps and run the risk of failing to help kids realise their potential.

I think we can agree schools should constantly evaluate the usefulness and value of homework tasks.

Simon Lewis: What would you recommend now as good practice for homework?

Chris Donnelly: Spelling and reading are a given for me – and I’d worry about parents believing they should not have a role in these areas, not least due to how important they are to children’s educational development in the earlier years.

An element of written homework should also be incorporated. We also make use of online maths and reading programmes, which are useful for encouraging adult involvement.

Simon Lewis: It's been great to have this chat. I think, if nothing else, we've made a case that there needs to be more of a conversation about homework and what it looks like in a modern education system. I love how, in the education sector, we can have different views on different things but leave almost every conversation with something new to learn and discover!

Chris Donnelly: Absolutely, Simon. Great to chat with you. Education is always evolving, and we have to keep our minds open to fresh perspectives whilst learning from previous experiences. Thanks again!

Read last week's edition of The Conversation, where we asked Fine Gael Senator and former Government minister, Regina Doherty and People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy to debate whether Irish politicians have high standards in public office, here.

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President Michael D Higgins calls for school homework to be scrapped

President Michael D Higgins stopped by St Kevin's National School in Tipperary where the pupils interviewed him about his dogs, his time in school and his view on homework

  • 15:01, 21 JAN 2023

breaking irish news homework banned

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President of Ireland Michael D Higgins has said he supports the scrapping of homework.

He addressed students of St Kevin's National School, Littleton, Co Tipperary, this week in an episode of RTE's news2day programme.

The President said that schoolwork should be completed in school time so children can use time after school to pursue more creative activities.

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“People should be able to use their time for other creative things,” he said.

"I think as much as possible that [homework] should happen in the school and I think it’s more relaxed than it used to be.”

He said that not all lessons are learned from books, but that the responsible use of phones is something that he hopes the younger generation will be acutely aware of.

The children of Ireland "have a great value of friendships" and this makes it even more tragic when there is an "abuse of phones for bullying", the President said.

The pupils were also curious about some of the other residents of Aras an Uachtaran - dogs Brod and Misneach.

"He's probably a very famous dog now," said President Higgins of Brod. "He will be 11 in February, which is a very good age for a Bernese Mountain dog and Bród is wonderful.

"He came here at six weeks old, so he's lived all of his life at the Áras..

As for Misneach, he said: "He came during Covid and because I couldn't collect him because of the ban on inter-county travel, he didn't come to me until he was five months old.

"He also didn't have a good journey here, so he's actually shy. He's a beautiful dog."

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President Michael D Higgins says he doesn't think children should have homework

In a wide-ranging interview with Irish children, the president was asked for his thoughts on homework

  • 15:35, 20 JAN 2023
  • Updated 11:44, 20 APR 2023

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President Michael D Higgins has called for homework to be banned.

End of homework

Higgins has suggested that school activities should end at the school gates.

A smile is likely to have cross children and teenagers' faces after the president of Ireland suggested that homework should be scrapped.

Higgins argued that getting rid of homework would allow young people more time to engage in creative pursuits outside of school hours.

Speaking on RTÉ's news2day programme for the occasion of its 20th anniversary, children were able to put questions to Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Higgins was asked about his opinion on homework.

The president replied: "I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things."

This isn't the first time a political leader has sought to curry favour with future voters.

In March 2022, when then-Taoiseach Micheál Martin was isolating in the US during his St Patrick's Day visit, told the children of Ireland that they could have the day off homework if they did a kind deed.

breaking irish news homework banned

Other questions for President Higgins

Other questions that the children asked the president included:

  • What was your favourite sport when you were in school?
  • When you were nine years old what did you want to be?
  • When did you decide you wanted to be president?
  • What is your favourite book?

The president was asked about his dogs, his official trips abroad, his favourite subject in school, the difference between his childhood and nowadays.

Higgins told the children he loved handball and spoke about the importance of friendship in their lives.

He encouraged the children to speak the Irish language.

breaking irish news homework banned

A message to the children of Ireland

In a message to the children of Ireland and the viewers of RTÉ news2day, President Michael D. Higgins gave this advice: "Stay curious about everything and I think it's important to make sure you don't miss the joy of sharing information.

"I think an important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship and that people belong.

"And we will all do individual things... but I think friendships that you make will in fact always be great memories and that is so important.

"And also have the courage to stand your own ground and let other children be allowed the space of standing their ground too because none of us are the same.

"We're all unique but at the same time we have a lot going for us."

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President Michael D Higgins says homework should be banned in Ireland

President Michael D Higgins has called for homework to be banned.

The country’s favourite leader has given hope to a new generation of students that the bane of their afterschool evenings could be scrapped. President Higgins argues that this would make time for young people to engage in more creative pursuits outside school hours.

The former Arts Minister believes that school activities should end at the school gate. He was speaking to RTE’s news2day current affairs and news programme for children on the occasion of the programme’s 20th birthday.

Read more: Children being 'corrupted' by drug dealing situation in Oliver Bond flats, Dail told

When asked what his opinion of homework President Higgins said: “I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things.”

To mark the show’s two decades on air, students from St Kevin’s National School, Littleton, County Tipperary put questions from RTÉ news2day viewers to President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin. In a wide-ranging interview, the children asked the President questions like, what was your favourite sport when you were in school?

When you were nine years old what did you want to be? And when did you decide you wanted to be President?

The students also asked the President about his dogs, his official trips abroad, his favourite subject in school, differences between now and when he was a child and his favourite book. The President also spoke to the children about his love of handball and the importance of friendship in their lives.

RTÉ news2day will broadcast some of the President’s interview as part of Friday afternoon’s birthday celebrations at 4.20pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ News channel and the full interview will be available later on Friday evening on the RTÉ Player. In a message to the children of Ireland and the viewers of RTÉ news2day, President Michael D. Higgins gave this advice: “To stay curious about everything and I think it’s important to make sure you don’t miss the joy of sharing information.

“And I think an important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship and that people belong. And we will all do individual things... but I think friendships that you make will in fact always be great memories and that is so important. And also have the courage to stand your own ground and let other children be allowed the space of standing their ground too because none of us are the same.

“We’re all unique but at the same time we have a lot going for us.” President Higgins also encouraged the children of Ireland to speak the Irish language.

He encouraged them to speak Irish in a fun way and to feel free to use whatever bits of the language that they have.

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Taoiseach Simon Harris has announced that the travel restrictions preventing Irish citizen Tori Towey from departing Dubai have now been removed.

The Irish Embassy in the UAE is set to assist her in travelling to the airport for her return home at her earliest convenience.

Activists have argued that Towey, a 28-year-old flight attendant, has been wrongly accused under the strict laws of the Muslim nation, despite being an alleged assault victim in her own residence.

Read more: NI mum's baby and sister killed by drunk driver taking picture driving at 141mph

Read more: Irish air hostess faces jail in Dubai after alleged domestic attack

Human rights advocates report that after being hospitalised with serious bruising and other injuries, she sought to exit the Gulf country but was prevented from doing so.

In the Dail, Mr Harris stated: "I've just been informed that the travel ban has been lifted. The Embassy will take Tori to the airport as soon as she is ready to go. The Embassy of course will continue to follow the case which is still active as of now.", reports the Irish Mirror .

Additionally, the Taoiseach confirmed having conversations with both Tori and her mother, Caroline.

On another note, Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin told RTE's News at One about the "painstaking work" done by Alison Milton, Ireland's Ambassador to the UAE.

He also refuted any suggestion that the media attention and Sinn Fein's involvement had expedited the resolution of the case.

Martin revealed: " I would have known last evening (Tuesday) that there was positive news on the way," and added, "My general view of things is I don't really comment confidently about anything until somebody is on the plane."

"I've had many situations that we've had to deal with in different jurisdictions. But people do things in the best of faith but you know, we tend to have a modus operandi in terms of how we operate, particularly where it involves personal information and cases and so on like that."

No caption

The Tanaiste also remarked on the "twists and turns" in the ongoing situation, yet expressed relief at the recent developments.

Before the update confirming the removal of the travel restriction, the Taoiseach underscored Ms Towey's status saying she is a "victim" and far from a "criminal".

He shared that he had engaged in conversation with both Tori and her mother Caroline in the past few hours.

An emphatic Mr Harris addressed the Dail, detailing the ordeal: "An Irish woman, an Irish citizen, has been a victim of horrific male violence, has been the victim of the most brutal, horrific attack one can imagine,".

He graphically outlined Ms Towey's plight following the assault: "After enduring that horrific brutal attack, Tori Towey didn't wake up in a hospital being supported and cared for and loved. She woke up in a police station. We want Tori Towey back in this country. We want her back home in Roscommon, that's what she wants as well."

The Taoiseach communicated his discussions with Ms Towey and her mother, emphasising that bringing Tori home was "a priority issue".

He confirmed consistent communication with the Ambassador in the United Arab Emirates, commending the proactive efforts of both the Ambassador and the Embassy.

Mr Harris concluded with a firm commitment: "No effort will be spared by us, by Ireland, to make progress on this matter and to get Tori Towey home."

"She doesn't need to come home after a court case because she is not a criminal. She is a victim of gender-based violence. We expect her to be able to return here to Ireland as an Irish citizen without delay."

Speaking under privilege, Ms McDonald told the Dail that Ms Towey had gotten married last March.

"Since then, Tori has been subjected to sustained and brutal domestic violence and abuse," she said.

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"When she went to the authorities to seek help, instead of being protected, she was sent home with her husband. Her husband then destroyed her passport so she couldn't travel and she couldn't work. She couldn't come back to Ireland."

"Tori was, in effect, held captive by her abuser."

"Just over two weeks ago, she endured a particularly vicious beating. Her husband repeatedly slammed doors on her arms trying to break her limbs and he tried to strangle her. "She fled upstairs in a desperate attempt to escape the violence and in desperation, she tried to take her own life.

"When Tori came to, she was surrounded by paramedics but instead of being taken to a hospital, she was taken to a police station."

"There she was charged with attempted suicide and alcohol abuse. Tori was placed in a cell with 50 other women. She wasn't told what she was charged with. She wasn't given any information at all."

"Tori was released on bail but her passport was blocked. She is banned from leaving the state."

Ms McDonald has called on Mr Harris to act swiftly, warning that "once the Dubai court process kicks in, it becomes harder and harder to get Tori back home to Ireland quickly."

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President of Ireland calls for homework to be banned

 President of Ireland Michael D Higgins.

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins. (Source: Getty)

The President of Ireland has made his thoughts known about homework, saying it should be left at the gate and children should be able to use their leisure time for "creative things".

Speaking to RTE’s news2day - a current affairs and news programme for children, Michael D Higgins answered questions on a wide range of topics, the Irish Mirror reports .

When pressed on his views about homework Higgins said: “I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things.”

Higgins, a former arts minister, told children “to stay curious about everything and I think it’s important to make sure you don’t miss the joy of sharing information.

“And I think an important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship and that people belong. And we will all do individual things... but I think friendships that you make will in fact always be great memories and that is so important.

“And also have the courage to stand your own ground and let other children be allowed the space of standing their ground too because none of us are the same.

“We’re all unique but at the same time we have a lot going for us.”

Higgins also encouraged the children of Ireland to speak the Irish language.

While the role of president in Ireland is mainly a ceremonial one, it does have some sway over how the government operates.

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breaking irish news homework banned

Taoiseach confirms Tori Towey Dubai travel ban lifted and Embassy helping her return home

Campaigners claim that the 28-year-old air steward is accused of breaking strict laws in the Muslim country – even though she is the victim of an alleged attack in her home.

  • 12:54, 10 JUL 2024
  • Updated 13:56, 10 JUL 2024

Tori Towey detained in Dubai

Taoiseach Simon Harris has confirmed that the travel ban preventing Irish woman Tori Towey from leaving Dubai has been lifted.

The Embassy in the United Arab Emirates will now take her to the airport to come home when she is ready.

Human rights campaigners said that she wanted to leave the Middle Eastern state after receiving hospital treatment for severe bruising and other injuries – but was detained.

READ MORE: Irish woman charged with attempted suicide in Dubai 'very nervous' and wants to come home, says aunt

Mr Harris told the Dáil: "I've just been informed that the travel ban has been lifted. The Embassy will take Tori to the airport as soon as she is ready to go. The Embassy of course will continue to follow the case which is still active as of now."

The Taoiseach later confirmed that he had spoken to Tori and her mother Caroline.

Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin, meanwhile, told RTÉ's News at One that there had been "painstaking work" by Ireland's Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Alison Milton.

He also denied that the publicity around the case and the intervention of Sinn Féin "helped" the case to be resolved so quickly.

" I would have known last evening (Tuesday) that there was positive news on the way," he stated.

"My general view of things is I don't really comment confidently about anything until somebody is on the plane.

"I've had many situations that we've had to deal with in different jurisdictions. But people do things in the best of faith but you know, we tend to have a modus operandi in terms of how we operate, particularly where it involves personal information and cases and so on like that."

The Tánaiste also said there had been "twists and turns" in the case but welcomed the positive outcome.

Speaking shortly before the announcement that the travel ban was lifted, the Taoiseach stated that Ms Towey is a “victim” and not a “criminal”.

He confirmed that he had spoken to Tori and her mother Caroline over the previous hours.

“An Irish woman, an Irish citizen, has been a victim of horrific male violence, has been the victim of the most brutal, horrific attack one can imagine,” Mr Harris told the Dáil.

“After enduring that horrific brutal attack, Tori Towey didn't wake up in a hospital being supported and cared for and loved. She woke up in a police station. We want Tori Towey back in this country. We want her back home in Roscommon, that's what she wants as well.”

The Taoiseach said he had spoken to Ms Towey and her mother and told them getting her home was “a priority issue”.

He has also been in contact with the Ambassador in the United Arab Emirates and that she and the Embassy are “working extraordinarily hard on this matter”.

Mr Harris added: “No effort will be spared by us, by Ireland, to make progress on this matter and to get Tori Towey home.

“She doesn't need to come home after a court case because she is not a criminal. She is a victim of gender-based violence. We expect her to be able to return here to Ireland as an Irish citizen without delay.”

Speaking under privilege, Ms McDonald told the Dáil that Ms Towey had gotten married last March.

“Since then, Tori has been subjected to sustained and brutal domestic violence and abuse,” she said.

“When she went to the authorities to seek help, instead of being protected, she was sent home with her husband. Her husband then destroyed her passport so she couldn't travel and she couldn't work. She couldn't come back to Ireland.

“Tori was, in effect, held captive by her abuser.

“Just over two weeks ago, she endured a particularly vicious beating. Her husband repeatedly slammed doors on her arms trying to break her limbs and he tried to strangle her. “She fled upstairs in a desperate attempt to escape the violence and in desperation, she tried to take her own life.

“When Tori came to, she was surrounded by paramedics but instead of being taken to a hospital, she was taken to a police station.

“There she was charged with attempted suicide and alcohol abuse. Tori was placed in a cell with 50 other women. She wasn't told what she was charged with. She wasn't given any information at all.

“Tori was released on bail but her passport was blocked. She is banned from leaving the state.”

Ms McDonald urged Mr Harris to act quickly as “once the Dubai court process kicks in, it becomes harder and harder to get Tori back home to Ireland quickly.”

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breaking irish news homework banned

breaking irish news homework banned

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Criminal courts grind to a halt as barristers strike over legal aid fees

Two out of three criminal barristers leave after six years as recession-era pay cuts stay in place.

Criminal court business ground to a halt in many courthouses around the country on Tuesday as barristers went on strike and protested in an escalation of their dispute over fees.

No hearing took place at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin because, due to the advance notice of the barristers’ action, trials already at hearing were adjourned in advance by the judiciary to continue on Wednesday.

The Bar Council had assured the judiciary it would take measures to ensure cases involving vulnerable witnesses and children would not be impacted.

Any trial listed at the Central Criminal Court had also been adjourned in advance.

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Court sources said they did not anticipate the protests would have any significant impact on existing backlogs in the criminal courts.

The Central Criminal Court, which deals with murder cases and cases involving rape and other serious sexual crime, has made progress in reducing its backlogs but waiting times for a trial there can still extend up to a year for reasons including delays in getting expert reports. Cases involving children and vulnerable witnesses are usually heard within six months.

In Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where backlogs extend up to 18 months, five trials involving six defendants listed for hearing on |Tuesday at the Criminal Courts of Justice were adjourned by Judge Patricia Ryan for a day..

It is understood a similar approach of adjourning cases to Wednesday or later this week was followed in other courts around the country affected by the barristers’ protests.

Protests were organised at courthouses in Ennis, Cork, Tralee, Naas, Kilkenny, Limerick, Castlebar, Longford, Trim, Sligo, Clonmel, Bray, Waterford and Wexford.

Criminal business in the Dublin District Courts was also adversely affected as a result of solicitors supporting their barrister colleagues.

Business in the criminal courts is likely to be similarly affected if barristers protests proceed as planned on July 15th and 24th.

Sanctioned by the council of the Bar of Ireland, the protests come in the wake of an unprecedented withdrawal of services by criminal barristers last October.

They want the unwinding of all recession-era cuts still applicable to them and a mechanism to determine fees paid by the Director of Public Prosecutions and under the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Scheme.

Dozens of barristers, many bearing placards with the slogans ‘Fair is Fair’ and ‘’Government, the ball is in your court’ gathered outside the Courts of Criminal Justice in Dublin on Tuesday morning as rain fell heavily.

Bar council chair Sara Phelan said barristers were again protesting “because we still haven’t had a binding mechanism put in place to determine our fees”.

After last October’s protest, there was a 10 per cent fee restoration, she said. That restoration reflected a 10 per cent cut made in 2011 so barristers still have two eight per cuts that have not been restored, plus a 2.5 pay increase which was never implemented in 2008, she said.

On top of that, the link with public sector pay that was unilaterally broken in 2008 has not been restored, she added.

The Government had said it would engage with the council but “has not meaningfully engaged”, she said.

Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik, accompanied by Labour’s Dublin MEP Aodhán Ó Riordáin, were at the CCJ to support the criminal barristers.

“Barristers at the criminal Bar tend to earn much, much less than barristers in other areas of law and what we have seen is the State just not moving as it should have to restore pay rates,” Ms Bacik said. “We’re really concerned to see reports of attrition, people leaving the criminal Bar because of the lack of movement on pay rates, it’s so important that people have access to the best legal representation on criminal legal aid.”

Barrister Simon Donagh, who has practised at the criminal Bar for 12 years, said two out of every three criminal barristers leave within six years and the failure to restore pay rates is contributing to that.

“We’ve already seen trials where the DPP has struggled to get senior counsel to prosecute serious crime, that’s only a taste of what’s to come unless more is done to address this.”

Barrister Jane Murphy, in her ninth year of practice at the criminal Bar, said barristers have in recent years have been “fully co-operative” in terms of efficiencies which have contributed to “huge improvements” in the criminal justice system, including special measures to help vulnerable witnesses, pretrial hearings, implementation of the Victims Directive and electronic briefing.

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Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times

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Senior counsel seán guerin elected bar council chairman, driver who broke red light and knocked down 12-year-old girl avoids jail, psychiatrists disagree on whether insanity verdict open to husband accused of murdering wife, cocaine and scrambler motorcycles seized in dublin during follow-up raids to €3m drugs haul, retired supreme court judge hugh geoghegan remembered at funeral mass as man ‘of boundless curiosity’, dubai drops charges against irish woman as travel ban lifted, man suspected of murdering three women in crossbow attack in uk located by police, ‘i’m dating a previously married man but i feel sad that i will always come second to his children’, latest stories, aer lingus cancels more flights as union decision awaited, tens of thousands of dublin commuters affected as long-awaited proposal to reduce fares is postponed, government’s zero-tolerance approach to gender violence more like ‘zero effort’, says holly cairns.

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Updated: Ukraine strikes ferry crossing, oil depots in Russia's Krasnodar Krai, General Staff says

Ukrainian forces struck a ferry crossing and an oil depot at Port Kavkaz in Russia's Krasnodar Krai with missiles overnight on May 31, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported.

Port Kavkaz lies at the Kerch Strait , which divides Russia from occupied Crimea. Only one day earlier, the Ukrainian military reported a strike against the ferry crossing at the Kerch port on the Crimean side of the strait with ATACMS missiles.

Telegram channels and Russian authorities reported a fire at the oil depot earlier in the day. The General Staff said that the depot was damaged by several Ukrainian-made Neptune missiles but did not elaborate on the extent of the damage.

The military added that explosions at targeted areas were confirmed, but "the accuracy with which they were hit is being investigated."

Russian authorities claim that there are multiple casualties among the employees of the oil depot as a result of the strike. The Kyiv Independent could not verify all the claims.

Another oil depot in Krasnodar Krai was hit in a drone attack, according to the General Staff.

The recent attacks were the result of a "several-days-long operation aimed at destroying the logistics crucial for Russian forces in Crimea," sources in the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) told the Kyiv Independent.

"According to preliminary information, a comprehensive strike targeted substations and power supply grid, as well as oil product supplies in Russia's Krasnodar Krai," a source noted.

The operation was carried out jointly by the SBU and other units of Ukrainian defense forces, the source said.

First, the military launched a missile attack on two ferries traveling to Port Kavkaz, which were used by Russia for military logistics. SBU drones subsequently carried out an attack against substations that supply energy to occupied Crimea and against ports in the Kerch Strait, according to the sources.

The same night, the SBU and the Navy reportedly attacked the oil depot at the Kavkaz Port, which stored oil products destined for Crimea, according to the source.

Read also: Ukraine war latest: Russian ferry crossing, 4 patrol boats struck in Crimea, military says

We’ve been working hard to bring you independent, locally-sourced news from Ukraine. Consider supporting the Kyiv Independent .

COMMENTS

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  12. President Michael D Higgins says homework should be…

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  13. Children back the President on banning homework (Surprise ...

    Irish Daily Mail. Children back the President on banning homework (Surprise, surprise!) 2023-03-14 - By Brian Mahon and Ken Foxe [email protected]. PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins provoked a flurry of letters to the Education Minister's office after suggesting that homework should be banned, documents released under the Freedom of Informatio­n ...

  14. Irish air hostess Tori Towey travel ban to be lifted as Taoiseach

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    The President of Ireland has made his thoughts known about homework, saying it should be left at the gate and children should be able to use their leisure time for "creative things". Speaking to RTE's news2day - a current affairs and news programme for children, Michael D Higgins answered questions on a wide range of topics, the Irish Mirror ...

  17. BREAKING: Travel ban on Irish woman in Dubai lifted

    The Taoiseach has confirmed the travel ban against 28-year-old Tori Towey has just been lifted. A ban preventing an Irish woman from leaving Dubai has been lifted. Tori Towey from Boyle in Roscommon is facing potential jailtime for attempted suicide and drinking alcohol. It's after she allegedly suffered domestic abuse at her home in the UAE.

  18. Taoiseach confirms Tori Towey Dubai travel ban lifted ...

    Taoiseach Simon Harris has confirmed that the travel ban preventing Irish woman Tori Towey from leaving Dubai has been lifted. ... Join the Irish Mirror's breaking news service on WhatsApp.

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  20. Criminal courts grind to a halt as barristers strike ...

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  21. Ukraine hits another oil depot in southwestern Russia near occupied

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  22. Source: SBU hits 2 oil depots in Russia's Krasnodar Krai

    Ukraine's State Security Service (SBU) hit two oil depots in Russia's Krasnodar Krai overnight on May 9, a source privy to the information told the Kyiv Independent.

  23. Updated: Ukraine strikes ferry crossing, oil depots in Russia's ...

    Ukrainian forces struck a ferry crossing and an oil depot at Port Kavkaz in Russia's Krasnodar Krai overnight on May 31, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported.