Be careful out there!

(c) Westmeath Independent

We don’t often get snow in Ireland and when we do it’s usually just a dusting.

This snowstorm is a big one and it’s due to get worse tonight! The status red warning is that you should be at home by 4pm today and stay there until the warning is lifted. This is expected to be tomorrow afternoon.

Be careful, don’t go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. Please keep an eye on vulnerable neighbours and make sure that they are safe.

The Westmeath Independent has reports on what events are cancelled over the next few days.

English Classes in Shannon Academy

English classes begin in Shannon Academy on Wednesday February 14th.

A bus will collect participants in the centre at 9.30 a.m. Please be on time. The bus will return at 12.

There will be a meeting in the Education Room on Monday 12th at 12a.m. with Mary to discuss arrangements.

On completion of the classes a Certificate of Attendance will be provided by Shannon Academy.


Lip Service to Right to Work

Some information on the proposed right to work scheme:

If an asylum seeker wants to enter PAYE employment, for example, the job must not be one that an EU citizen or person with full migration permission could take up. It must also, in general, pay more than €30,000 a year, and cannot be in any of well over 70 sectors, including health, retail, hospitality and social care. Given the preponderance of women in these professions, these restrictions represent double discrimination against women who are seeking asylum.

As if all these restrictions were not mean enough, asylum seekers or their potential employers will have to pay between €500 and €1,000 for a six- to 12-month employment permit.

From the Irish Times

If an asylum seeker wants to enter PAYE employment, the job must, in general, pay more than €30,000 a year, and cannot be in health, retail, hospitality or social care


97 complaints to Ombudsman

Ombudsman dealt with 97 direct provision complaints

The Ombudsman Peter Tyndall has published a commentary on his office’s experience of dealing with complaints from refugees and asylum seekers living in direct provision centres.

The Ombudsman’s Office began accepting complaints from people in Direct Provision last April. Since then, it has received 97 formal complaints from residents.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Tyndall said direct provision accommodation is fine for those staying for a couple of weeks, as it was originally intended, but is not suitable for long-term stays.

More about the report  here.


A Big Day!

Thursday 25th January is a very big day.

New Horizon and Athlone Institute of Technology are launching the Refugee OnLine Education (ROLE) program.

This offers online courses in English, Mathematics and Information Technology. Further study opportunities are available in Humanities, Business, Science and Engineering.

For an introduction to online education for refugees see this video.

Any questions? Check out Online Education or send an email to

Open Learning Programme

People have expressed an interest in an open learning programme run by Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT)  and New Horizon. We are now able to announce:


  • The programme will start on Thursday 25th January in AIT
  • It will run each Thursday from 11:00 to 16:30 for a period of thirteen (13) weeks
  • Twenty (20) places are available on the programme on a first come, first served basis
  • Online courses will be offered in English language, Mathematics and Information Technology
  • College lecturers will be available to help as necessary
  • Learners can make use of library and computer access facilities in AIT
  • People who satisfactorily complete the early learning courses can progress to online courses in Engineering, Science, Humanities or Business
  • Funding is available from New Horizon to enable people to do further, certified, courses in Engineering, Science, Humanities or Business
  • AIT will issue a certificate of completion for this programme. Course providers will issue a certificate for satisfactory completion of certified courses.
  • The closing date for applications is 17:00 on Wednesday 17th If you wish to attend please fill out the ‘Online Education’ form sent to you in a separate email
  • A planning meeting will be held in the Education room on site at 12:00 on Wednesday 17th Paper application forms can be submitted then too.

This is a very valuable opportunity and is the first time to be offered in Ireland. We would strongly encourage people to take part.


Online Learning Relaunch

We have now worked out a lot of the problems and are ready to start the online education programme

Meeting Wed 10th Jan. 12:00 in Education Room

Course start time and dates

English, Mathematics and Information Technology Courses

Courses structure and syllabus

Course certification

Course fees

This program is unique in Ireland and we would strongly encourage people to get involved in it.