RECORD breaking numbers of junior infants started school the county’s two big towns in September but many children were left on waiting lists.
In Portlaoise close to 200 pupils were left on waiting lists due to classroom shortages, while in Portarlington’s Presentation Convent, the school catered for 68 more pupils than they received last year.
The start of the new school year brought chaos to the Borris Road in Portlaoise, where residents were angered at the high numbers of parents parking in their estates, waiting to collect children.
There was also anger at the delay to the completion of roadworks on the Borris Road, which were due to drag on until the end of the month.
Schoolgoers were also faced with the threat of strike action as September saw a dispute between the Laois Branch of the TUI and Laois VEC over teacher transfers. The dispute saw teachers protest outside the VEC monthly meeting while inside teachers and management clashed.
The dispute ran throughout the month.
September saw the first ever mental health week in Laois, called Laois Connects. The week, which was organised by Laois Forum and supported by the Leinster Express, saw a jam packed schedule of events, with a host of celebrity talks, and a number of workshops, film screenings and walks.
Events took place all over Laois and were aimed towards all sectors of society, from young people to old, the faming community and the sports community, and there were demonatrations in cookery, reading, art and meditation.
As well as this, young people in Laois particiapted in iMind, a special one day event which took place in Portlaoise Parish Centre. This event saw over 100 young people participate, and was organised by Youth Work Ireland Laois, Comhairle na nÓg, and supported by the Laois County Development Board. The event was such a success, plans are already in place to organise a similar day next year.
No September would be complete without heading to Electric Picnic and this year revellers were blessed with the Indian summer weather which for a change, had the sun shining down on the tens of thousands who attended. The festival’s big hits included The Cure and The Killers.
It was a lucky month for a mystery winner in Abbeyleix as the whole town was talking about who could possibly have bought the Lotto winning tickets in Moran’s shop. People in the town said that they were inundated with queries as to who the winner might be but people remained tight lipped as to any speculation.
September was a bad month for many in south Laois as a spate of burglaries hit a number of areas, including schools, a creche, private residences and business dwellings in Abbeyleix, Ballinakill, Crettyard and Timahoe. People were urged to be extra vigilant.
Hundreds lined the streets of Abbeyleix this month, to protest against the change of use of Fountain House respite centre in the town. The message was that people will stay protesting until the changes were reversed.