Louth employers urged to have their say on graduates and future skills needs

Louth employers ranging from SMEs to multinationals are being asked to have their say in a major national survey to gauge their satisfaction with the quality of graduates emerging each year from Irish further and higher education institutions.

The National Employer Survey on Graduates in Ireland is a partnership between the Higher Education Authority (HEA); SOLAS – the Further Education & Training Authority and Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI), with the online survey being conducted on their behalf by Insight Statistical Consulting.

The first to have been undertaken on this scale, the survey will provide a snapshot of employer opinion with the results helping to inform policy direction across further and higher education.

A smaller-scale pilot study conducted two years ago found Irish employers were generally satisfied with graduates’ skills but less so about their written communications, business awareness and entrepreneurship skills. Respondents also expressed concern about graduates having the ‘right attitude’. There was also less satisfaction at the speed at which course content adapts to reflect changes in the external environment.

Encouraging employers to participate in the current survey, Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the HEA, said: “As the economy recovers and a growing number of companies look to recruit additional personnel, it is important that their voice is heard in the debate about how graduates are equipped for work.

“The results of our survey – which we will benchmark over time – will help shape strategy and, in practical terms, ensure that the courses pursued by students are aligned with future job opportunities with relevant curriculum content that will equip graduates for work. This takes nothing away from the broader importance of education for life and we fully recognise that further and higher education is not exclusively about employability.”

Paul O’Toole, CEO, SOLAS, said: “SOLAS welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the HEA and QQI on this important piece of research. It is crucial that the further education and training sector understands employers’ views on the graduates it provides. We, in turn, must use these insights as we continually work to optimise our investment in future skill needs.”

Padraig Walsh, CEO, QQI, added: “Feedback from employers is an essential element of the quality assurance of education and training programmes. We look forward to analysing the results of this survey and continuing to work with employers to promote the enhancement of quality and innovation across both further and higher education and in ensuring that qualifications meet the changing needs of the labour market.”

Six Dundalk players in PFAI team of the year and quartet up for individual awards

The PFAI Premier Division Team of the Year

The PFAI Premier Division Team of the Year

Six Dundalk players have been named in the PFAI’s Premier Division Team of the Year.

The team, announced this afternoon in Abbotstown, includes defenders Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland and Andy Boyle, midfielders Daryl Horgan and Richie Towell and the league’s leading scorer, Pat Hoban.

Hoban and Towell, who were both nominated for personal honours last season are both nominated for the Player of the Year award along with Christy Fagan of St Patrick’s Athletic and Cork City’s Colin Healy.

Meanwhile, Gannon and Horgan are up for the Young Player of the Year with Dylan Connolly of Shelbourne.

The Manager of the Year nominees are released at a later date.

Winners will be announced at an award ceremony in Dublin on November 7th.

This week’s Dundalk Democrat


This week’s Dundalk Democrat leads with the story of local TD Gerry Adams saying he regrets the policing carried out by the IRA during the Troubles. There’s also news of one family’s lucky escape after a car crashed through their front wall at their home in Ashford Crecent in Tom Bellew Avenue last week. There’s also an extensive preview of Friday night’s title decider between Dundalk FC and Cork City.

All that, and more, in this week’s Dundalk Democrat… on sale now!

McCrave named on Nicky Rackard Champion 15 team

Louth crestLouth’s Andrew McCrave has been named on the Nicky Rackard Champion 15 team by the GAA.

The Pearse Óg defender will be honoured at Friday night’s GAA GPA All-Stars banquet sponsored by Opel at the Convention Centre in Dublin.

Speaking at the announcement of the Champions 15 award winners for the 2014 Ring, Rackard and Meagher Hurling Champions, GAA President Liam Ó Néill said: “These awards are recognition of the effort, skill and commitment of each recipient and I congratulate each of you on your selection.  These three competitions continue to go from strength to strength and that is in no small part due to the commitment and dedication, not to mention the skill levels, of the players competing, many of whom are honoured in these selections”.

Adams calls for large turnout at water charges protest in Dundalk at the start of next month

Gerry Adams

Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin president and local TD Gerry Adams last night called for the largest turnout possible at a ‘Right2Water’ mobilisation planned for Dundalk on Saturday November 1st.

Speaking at a public meeting on water charges in the Order of Malta headquarters in Mill Street last night, Deputy Adams said his party vehemently opposed the charges and said they could be defeated if people stuck together.

“Sinn Féin’s message is clear – we are completely opposed to domestic water charges North or South,” he said.

“Sinn Féin government in the North has blocked the introduction of domestic water charges and we will reverse them if in government in this State.

“We will oppose tooth and nail any attempt to privatise water services.

“Irish Water has become synonymous with everything that is wrong with the Fine Gael Labour Government – cronyism, political manipulation of State boards, threats to citizens and ever mounting taxes on struggling families.

“Water charges can be defeated at the ballot box but it is vitally important that citizens throughout the State continue to mobilise and campaign for their abolition.

“Pressure needs to be exerted in communities, on the streets and in the Dáil. With unity of purpose and determined action, water charges can be defeated.”

Volunteers sought in Blackrock and Haggardstown for defibrillator support group

An appeal has been issued to residents in the Blackrock and Haggardstown area to become volunteers in the Community Cardiac Responder scheme.

Spokesperson Joan McAdam stressed the importance of the scheme.

She said: We are a linked group with the National Ambulance Scheme and we are trained to respond to heart attack, stroke, choking and cardiac arrest.

“Training is free if you agree to go on a rota to be free to respond maybe once a week for a day or a night. Otherwise training is €40pp.”

Anyone who wishes to get involved is asked to contact Joan by emailing pjemcadam@gmail.com


Dundalk v Cork City tickets being sold for four times their face value online

One of the coveted match tickets being sold for Friday's game

One of the coveted match tickets being sold for Friday’s game

The demand for tickets to Friday night’s title decider between Dundalk and Cork City at Oriel Park is such that they are now being sold online for four times their their face value.

One user called ‘Boyleski’ has placed four tickets for Friday’s game for sale on adverts.ie. The ground tickets cost just €10 each but he is selling the quartet for €200.

It remains to be seen whether or not he will get what he wants for them.

You can view the ad here.

Earlier today Dundalk FC suspended ticket sales for the game but it is hoped that they will be able to release further shortly.

Ticket sales suspended for Dundalk v Cork City game

DundalkCrest2010Dundalk FC have suspended ticket sales for Friday night’s title deciding clash with Cork City at Oriel Park.

The game is understood to have sold out but the Lilywhites are hopeful of securing a capacity increase that would allow them to put further tickets on sale.

Updates will be provided via www.dundalkfc.com on the situation.

Stephen Kenny’s side must win the game to secure a first league title in 19 years while Cork City need just a point to take the trophy back to Turner’s Cross.

Moran welcomes council decision to repair section of Heynestown Road

Senator Mary Moran

Senator Mary Moran

Local Senator Mary Moran has welcomed Louth County Council’s agreement to repair the steep indent on the Heynestown Road which has become very dangerous for pedestrians and cars alike over the last number of months.

The Labour Party member said: “Following numerous representations from local residents, I contacted Louth County Council regarding the steep indent at the bottom of the Heynestown Road leading to the traffic lights which has grown worse in recent months. I have received confirmation from Louth County Council that it is expected that remedial works will be carried out on the road in the coming weeks. I have asked that these works be carried out with a minimum of disruption to the residents on the road as much as possible.”


Four arrested following drug seizures

A woman and three men were arrested throughout the county late last week after Gardaí seized an estimated €11,000 worth of cannabis plants, heroin and tablets, along with tobacco valued at €5,000.

The discovery was made as part of an ongoing operation into the illegal sale and supply of controlled drugs in Ardee, Drogheda and Dundalk.

A total of 14 premises were searched in the three towns between Thursday and Friday, with a woman in ear early 20s arrested in Dundalk on Friday morning.

A man in his late 30s was also arrested in Drogheda, with both he and the woman released and a file prepared for the DPP.

A further two men in their 20s were arrested on Thursday and appeared before Dundalk District Court in connection with the operation.