‘We are failing young people’ — Ballymaloe chef Darina Allen calls for cooking classes in schools
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Kitcher matriarch Darina Allen is on a mission to grill Education Minister Norma Foley over her campaign to get cookery classes on the school curriculum.© Provided by Extra.ie
The Ballymaloe chef has said that she will formally request a meeting after the Department of Education said it had no plans to introduce compulsory cooking lessons. Ms Allen, 73, launched an online petition last week to get the country’s children dishing up simple but delicious meals at home.
‘No Irish child, boy or girl, should leave school without being able to cook for themselves,’ she said. ‘Otherwise, we are undeniably, failing in our duty of care to our young people. When you teach someone how to cook, you give them a gift that will forever enhance their lives.’© Provided by Extra.ie Kitcher matriarch Darina Allen is on a mission to grill Education Minister Norma Foley over her campaign to get cookery classes on the school curriculum. Pic: James Horan/Photocall Ireland
Ms Allen’s call was welcomed by an array of chefs and has since gathered nearly 3,000 signatures on the website MyUplift.
However, the campaign appears to have fallen on deaf ears in some quarters. The Department of Education said yesterday it had ‘no plans to include further cooking areas in schools’.
Joshua Allen jailed for 15 months for drug dealing and possession
A 19-year-old man has been jailed for 15 months with another 15 months suspended, after he was convicted at the Circuit Criminal Court in Cork of drug dealing and drug possession charges.
Joshua Allen is the eldest son of celebrity chef Rachel Allen.
He pleaded guilty to possession for sale or supply of more than €22,000 worth of cannabis at the Ballymaloe Cookery School at Shanagarry in Co Cork in September 2018. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a small amount of cocaine.
The court was told he was arrested after customs officers at the Portlaoise Mail Centre became suspicious about a package from the US addressed to Allen.
A controlled delivery was arranged, and Allen was arrested after he signed for the package and opened it.
The court was told that Allen would have faced a far more “grim” sentence if he had not become a “changed man” since his entry to rehabilitation for drug addiction last November. He had no previous convictions.
Allen of Ballinmona, Shanagarry, Co Cork, spent three weeks in custody last year after Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said that his response to facing serious drug charges was “unimpressive”.
In November he was given the opportunity to become an in-patient at Cuan Mhuire drug rehab centre in Athy, where he was treated for his addiction issues.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told by defence senior counsel barrister Siobhan Lankford that her client had done well in rehab, having seriously addressed his addiction issues for the first time.
She said that his drugs operation was “amateurish” and that he was a “naive” young man who had left school prior to the completion of his Junior Certificate. She said that such was his addiction that he had tested positive for cannabis during the courts process.
Ms Lankford requested that her client be treated like any “other young man in the court before you”. She added that he deserved a chance.
Judge Ó Donnabháin described as “offensive” the idea that he would treat the accused differently from anyone else. He said there was a significant level of culpability.
He set a headline sentence of five years for the charge but, taking his guilty plea, age and lack of previous convictions in to account, he jailed Allen for two and a half years with the final 15 months suspended. He back-dated the sentence to 8 November last, when Allen spent three months on remand.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said that Allen had a “sad background”, having left school without any qualifications before his Junior Cert and having not received any qualifications since. He noted that the defendant had matured since his time in Cuan Mhuire.
“He has done his bit. He has come up to the mark. He has convinced his probation officer that he is a changed man.”
Last year Mr Allen pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to two drugs charges.
He pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis for sale or supply at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Co Cork, on 30 August 2018, when the market value exceeded €13,000 or more. The drugs were subsequently found to be worth over €22,000.
This charge was brought contrary to Section 15 (A) of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Allen pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine on the same occasion. The amount of cocaine involved was €66, the court was told.
Allen was arrested in September of 2018 after the controlled delivery of a parcel containing the cannabis to an address in East Cork.
Customs in Portlaoise Mail Centre had become suspicious of the parcel which had a US postmark.
Det Garda Michael O’Halloran told the court that the package was intercepted by Customs in Portlaoise. It was found to contain cannabis with a street value of €22,694. A controlled delivery was arranged addressed to Joshua Allen at Ballymaloe Cookery School.
The package was signed for and received by Allen. Gardaí observed him opening the package.
Allen was arrested and detained at Cobh Garda Station. He admitted that it was his third or fourth time engaging in such a delivery.
He cooperated fully with gardaí and told investigating officers that he secured the drugs from a female resident in California whom he met in East Cork.
He had travelled to London and paid her €2,000 in cash for the drugs.
In a statement last year Rachel Allen and her husband Isaac said they were “devastated” by the arrest of their son Joshua in relation to the drugs charges.
The couple issued a statement in a bid to “alleviate the frenzy of enquiry and speculation on-going in relation to our son Joshua”.
Mr and Mrs Allen said that Joshua had admitted his guilt and was cooperating with gardaí.
The couple said their son had made a “huge mistake” which would lead to “profound consequences” for him.
Rachel Allen regularly appears on television. She is a chef and author and teaches at Ballymaloe Cookery School.
She is the author of four best-selling cookery books and has appeared in television series for RTÉ and the BBC.
Rachel Allen was not present in court.
Joshua Allen was accompanied by his father, Isaac.
A spokesperson for the department said: ‘In order to allow students choice in the subjects studied by them, and to avoid overload, it is not considered desirable to make it a requirement to study specific additional subjects.’