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News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties

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ANTRIM

The Northern Trust is putting final arrangements in place ahead of the opening of the new emergency department (E.D.) at the end of June.

The new building will officially open at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26, and will offer state of the art emergency facilities as well as a 24 bedded unit and a new medical records department.

It has been built to facilitate up to 90,000 attendances per year, and at 8,000 square feet, is over twice the size of the current department.

[Source: Antrim Guardian]

ARMAGH

A huge swell of support for a new initiative aimed at boosting tourism and the general economy of Crossmaglen and the Slieve Gullion area was witnessed at the launch of the “Colourful Past Confident Future” strategy in Crossmaglen Community Centre on Friday, June 7.

Led by Newry and Mourne District Council and incorporating local businesses and voluntary sector groups, the scheme is a promotional campaign highlighting the positive programs, activity and efforts being made by local communities and agencies to stimulate development and economic growth of the area.

[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

CARLOW

Carlow senior boss John Meyler says he wasn’t the least bit surprised by the county U-21 hurlers’ sensational win over Dublin on Tuesday night.

Dublin, having reached each of the last two All-Ireland minor finals, were expected to make light work of the Barrowsiders at Parnell Park though, like their football counterparts against Longford earlier this year, slipped to a shock 1-13 to 1-11 loss.

Meyler doesn’t have a direct involvement with the under-21 set up, which is managed by Pat English, though 12 of the players that featured on Tuesday are part of his senior squad.

[Source: Irish Mirror]

CAVAN

The Gathering tourism initiative is having a positive impact on visitors to the county, particularly from America, anecdotal evidence from those in the hospitality industry would suggest. The acting C.E.O. of B&B Ireland, Mary Doogan, told The Anglo-Celt that B&B Ireland online booking figures show a 66 percent increase for Cavan compared to this time last year.

“This is a great achievement, but we have to point out that this figure includes advance bookings for the entire year so it does not mean that the county has seen a huge rise in B&B visitor numbers up to now for 2013. The general trend in the B&B sector this year has seen an increase in visitors from the US and continental Europe, but in Cavan the U.K. remains a strong market because it continues to attract the anglers in particular.”

[Source: The Anglo Celt]

CLARE

Better consultation and planning is needed for festivals to avoid clashes, as has happened with this year’s Feakle Festival and Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

That’s the message from Councilor Pat Hayes, who says this year’s Fleadh Cheoil, which takes place in Derry from August 12 to 18, will have a knock-on effect for other traditional music festivals in Clare.
He believes a shift in the fleadh’s dates over time “has caused difficulties for other festivals, such as the Feakle Festival.”

[Source: Clare Champion]

CORK

Cork comedian Tara Flynn used her talents to take a unique stand against racism recently after her husband was subjected to verbal abuse in her hometown, Kinsale.

Tara and her husband Carl Austin, were visiting Kinsale over Easter when he became the subject of ridicule while out walking his dog.

In response to the racial attack, Tara made a satirical comedy sketch focusing on the issue of Irish racism. The video stars many Kinsale residents, as well as Tara's husband Carl.

The incident occurred when Carl, from Los Angeles, was out walking his dog in Kinsale over the Easter weekend late at night. Passing a pub a group of men began shouting at him and calling him names.

[Source: Cork Independent]

DERRY

Food critics from across the globe have been finding out exactly what the people of the city ate during the Siege of Derry as part of the Feast or Famine Food Tours.

Local chef Emmett McCourt treated a group of American visitors, including a leading food critic from New York, to a real taste of Derry as part of the City of Culture celebrations.

The group of 30 visitors was taken on a tour of the city’s Food Heritage Trail guided by Emmett.

The food tour stems from the research Emmett undertook into the North West’s culinary heritage for his book “Feast or Famine,” which is due to be published later in the year.

[Source: Derry Journal]

DONEGAL

A 70-year-old man living in west Donegal appeared in Dungloe District Court last Tuesday charged with seven alleged sex offences.

One charge relates to the alleged indecent assault of a male on a date in June 1984, while the other charges are of gross indecency against males on dates between February 2001 and June 2006.

Appearing before Judge Mary Devins, the accused was released on continuing bail and the case was adjourned until July 9 for the preparation of a book of evidence.

[Source: Donegal Democrat]

DOWN

Newry’s Tesco store finally opened its doors to the public last Thursday at 8 a.m., welcoming more than 30 eager shoppers who had arrived early to check out the city’s sprawling new superstore.

The 63,000 square feet store, just outside the city center, is the third largest Tesco in Northern Ireland and boasts a vast array of shopping departments all under one roof, including the F&F clothes range, a mobile phone shop, an optician and an electronics department, in addition to grocery, bakery, beers, wines and spirits and health and beauty departments.

The Examiner was there to gauge the opinion of local shoppers and first impressions certainly suggested that Newry’s newest superstore was proving a massive hit with the early morning crowd, with most shoppers telling us they “loved” the bright and airy premises, and others declaring it a beautiful and spacious store which they would definitely shop in again.  The free parking in the 600 space car park also appealed to many shoppers who commended Tesco on providing such a service for its customers.

[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

DUBLIN

There was relief for holidaymakers on Thursday as French air controllers called off their strike.

Thousands were left in limbo last Wednesday as the fallout from the action spread across Europe to Irish airports.

Some passengers in Dublin Airport had been on their planes for more than an hour waiting for take-off when they were told their flights had been canceled.

Long queues of travelers who had to reclaim their baggage were then looking at abandoning their holidays.

[Source: Evening Herald]

FERMANAGH

They have used their land to create a “road to nowhere,” placed an enormous telephone mast in one of their fields and stationed police at every lane, yet for Linda Moore and her family, life inside the “iron curtain” is relatively stress free.

First told about the plans to put up the fence in February, things could have been much worse for the Moore family.

The neighboring farm within the exclusion zone, was originally due to be inside the fence.

“They asked, ‘How did we feel?’ And I said that’s appalling the inconvenience of my husband Charlie having to go in and out through the fence to the farm and the possibility of being surrounded by protesters. To me it was the worst possible scenario.”

[Source: Fermanagh Herald]

GALWAY

Galway City Council is being urged to carry out improvement works at the Ballymoneen/Rahoon road junction in the city.

Councilor Donal Lyons wants the council to widen the road at the junction to allow two-way traffic.

He also wants footpaths and lighting put in at the location to protect pedestrians.

Speaking to Galway Bay FM News, Councilor Lyons, who has tabled a motion on the matter, says there is a safety issue at the junction.

[Source: Galway Bay FM]

KERRY

A national crime league table compiled by the Irish Examiner shows Roscommon and Longford to be the safest counties, while Waterford, Louth, Wicklow, and Limerick recorded some of the highest crime rates.

A breakdown of official crime statistics for 2012 confirms Dublin as Ireland’s crime capital, with an average of 789 offences per 10,000 people compared to the national average of 532. It has the highest rates for robberies, theft, drug, and fraud offenses.

While overall crime rates were down nationally, one in every 18 people was a victim of crime last year, with one in 60 a victim of theft.

The Garda (police) division of Roscommon/Longford narrowly edged Mayo as the region with the lowest crime rate, with an average of just 325 offences per 10,000 population — less than half the rate in Dublin or Limerick. Low crime levels were also recorded in Donegal, Clare, and Tipperary.

Limerick has the highest crime levels for sex offenses and criminal damage to property, while Waterford has the worst crime rate for assaults and weapons and explosives offenses.

Kerry recorded the highest incidence of public order offenses. However, the county has the lowest crime rate for burglary, fraud, and criminal damage.

[Source: Irish Examiner]

KILDARE

An entrepreneur and Trinity College graduate, who organized the importation of one of the largest amounts of cocaine ever seized in Ireland, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Gareth Hopkins (33), with addresses at Carnlough Road in Cabra, Dublin and Leixlip in Co. Kildare, was caught with $39 million worth of cocaine on June 26 last year.

Passing sentence, Judge Mary Ellen Ring said she accepted that Mr. Hopkins had turned to a life of crime after losing his job in 2012, but that many Irish people with similar problems didn't turn to drug dealing.

[Source: Kildare Nationalist]

KILKENNY

Kilkenny City’s new Central Access Scheme will obliterate an historic famine graveyard if it goes ahead, according to the director of Kilkenny Archaeology.

In the latest stunning revelation about the controversial $14.2 million project, Cóilín Ó Drisceoil says that a burial ground is recorded as having been located at the county Fever Hospital, Wolf Tone Street. The graveyard is noted by Tony Patterson in the 1997 Old Kilkenny Review (Famine Fever in Kilkenny), in which he cites the Kilkenny Journal: “In March [1847] the Kilkenny City Relief Committee voted ten pounds for coffins and £10 to buy a plot of land behind the Kilkenny Fever hospital.”

[Source: Kilkenny People]

LAOIS

There is a lot of anxiety in Portlaoise about breast cancer, following the announcement that Hollywood star, Angelina Jolie, had a double mastectomy, according to Councilor Kathleen O’Brien.

At a meeting two weeks ago of Portlaoise Town Council, the Fine Gael councilor called on the H.S.E. to extend the age limit for Breastcheck to 70 years of age.

“There is a lot of anxiety among people following Angelina Jolie’s operation.

“She carries the BRCA1 gene, and although it’s rare it’s genetic so it is in families,” she said.

[Source: Leinster Express]

LEITRIM

A priceless medieval window surround stolen from Church Island over two years ago has been found dumped near the shoreline of Lough Garadice.

The discovery was made by local man, Patrick Bradley, early last week. Mr. Bradley had reversed a piece of farm machinery to the lake shore to wash it down at Keelrin, near Newtowngore, when he noticed the stones lying in the shallow water of the lough. He contacted Gardaí (police) to report the find, and the pieces of hand carved masonry have since been removed.

The medieval masonry was reported stolen just three weeks ago after a regular visitor to Church Island realized that the ruins of an ancient abbey had been desecrated. However, it is clear from photos taken on the island a few years ago that the window surround has been missing for at least two years.

[Source: Leitrim Observer]

LONGFORD

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, the ex-I.R.A. chief-of-staff and Republican Sinn Féin leader, has died.

During his political career, the Longford native also served as a T.D., elected on the abstention ticket.

Ó Brádaigh was raised on the Battery Road in Longford Town, the son of staunchly republican parents. After attending St. Mel’s College, he went on to study at University College Dublin before taking up a teaching post at Roscommon Vocational School.

During his time at U.C.D., Ó Brádaigh joined both Sinn Féin and the I.R.A., eventually progressing to senior positions in both organizations.

[Source: Longford Leader]

LOUTH

County Louth has the fourth highest crime rate in the country, with rapes and sexual assaults up by over 45 percent in 2012, according to the latest Central Statistics Office (C.S.O.) figures.

Only the three major urban centers – Dublin, Limerick and Waterford – recorded more crimes on a per capita basis last year. The C.S.O. report shows that the rate of burglaries in Louth is more than 50 percent above the national average and over four times the rate of burglaries in Kerry – the county with the lowest rate.

The figures reveal that Louth has the worst record for burglaries with over 93 per 10,000 people in 2012. The number of burglaries jumped by 23 percent last year to 1,146 – up 126. Louth also has the second highest rate of robberies and sexual offenses.

[Source: Dundalk Democrat]

MAYO

Gardaí (police) in Westport are still investigating a fatal traffic collision that occurred on Friday, June 7, at Sheeaune, Westport at approximately 9:10 a.m. The collision on the main Westport to Castlebar Road, the N5, involved a rented car and a truck. The collision took place close to a filling station, known locally as Tip Top.

The deceased female passenger, aged 24 years, has been named as Franziska Zeller. She was pronounced dead at the scene and the male driver of the car, aged 33, was taken to Mayo General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and has now left hospital. The couple was on holiday in the area from Ludwigsburg, which is near Stuttgart in Germany. The driver of the truck was not injured but was severely shaken after the crash.

[Source: The Mayo News]

MEATH

Around 400 people gathered at Martry Mill, Kells, for the Kells Tourism Day which saw a number of tourism products being launched, and the opening of the mill by Madame Emmanuel d’Achon, the French Ambassador.

The mill has been in near constant service since 1641 but due to water levels falling in the Boyne River, had to resort to electric powerl however, it now can grind its flour again using the power of the Blackwater River.

Madame d’Achon also launched the French translation of the Kells Tourism Brochure, which was translated voluntarily by Fábienne Melard from Paris, who had visited Kells 40 years before, and edited by Headfort School.

[Source: Meath Chronicle]

MONAGHAN

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources said it has received a further positive mineralogical report as it plans to develop its first operational gold mine at Clontibret in Co. Monaghan.

The company has discovered a 30-mile gold district in Ireland running across Counties Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan.

The new report involved an analysis of the mineralogical characteristics of both the flotation bulk concentrate and rougher tailings, the company said. It shows that gold grade in the bulk concentrate was very high at 32.8 g/t with 3 g/t silver while that contained in the rougher tailing had a much lower gold grade of 0.25 g/t and 1 g/t of silver.

[Source: Sunday Business Post]

OFFALY

To celebrate the year of The Gathering, over 50 international brand representatives of Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey attended a three day “Brand Homecoming” event in the inspirational surroundings of the Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre.

Tullamore D.E.W., the world’s second largest Irish whiskey brand, hosted the brand workshop with representatives from the U.S., Scandinavia, South Africa, Russia and Central and Eastern Europe. Attendees are responsible for the future growth and marketing of the Tullamore D.E.W. brand worldwide and will play a significant role in promoting the Visitor Centre and Tullamore as a tourist destination.

[Source: Offaly Express]

ROSCOMMON

A new exhibition entitled “Landscapes From the History House” by Roscommon artist Lucy Brennan Shiel and poet Kieran Fury opened at the Backstage Theatre’s Atrium Gallery last Thursday.

Inspired by a collection of Furey’s poems called “The History House,” which is set against the backdrop of Strokestown House and the National Famine Museum, Brennan Shiel has produced a series of oil paintings and prints that continue her decade-long study of the Shannon-side landscape.

[Source: Longford Leader]

SLIGO

The Russians are coming to Sligo – but not President Putin.

The northwestern town is celebrating after a Russian delegation block-booked the Clarion Hotel in Sligo.

While the Americans will be using the Slieve Russell in Ballyconnell, County Cavan, and a number of Chinese staff-members have been booked into the Hillgrove Hotel in Co. Monaghan, Sligo and all her charms will be home to the large Russian entourage.

[Source: Irish Independent]

TIPPERARY

Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport Alan Kelly has launched Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail’s new official app. The app is free to download and available now from the Apple and Android app stores.

Deputy Kelly said Kelly the app will be especially beneficial to Tipperary commuters who can have live and real-time access to information at their local station.

“This will greatly enhance the rail experience for Tipperary commuters. Technology has the ability to greatly improve the transport experience and this app represents an advance of those technologies,” he stated.

[Source: Tipperary Star]

TYRONE

The disappearance of life saving rings at a popular local beauty spot has been described as "despicable."

A number of lifesaving rings at Creeve Lough were found to be missing by council staff last Monday and it's not entirely clear whether it was an incident of theft or antisocial behavior.

This incident follows news of a tragedy in Annalong, County Down, where a man and a teenage boy drowned in a quarry.

[Source: Tyrone Courier]

WATERFORD

Postmortems were carried out on the bodies of three brothers who drowned when their fishing vessel overturned at sea.

The tragedy unfolded off the southwest coast of Ireland when the men's 18-foot punt did not return to Dunmore, County Waterford, last Wednesday evening.

The three, named locally as Paul, Shane and Kenny Bolger, have been remembered as hard-working and decent men who will be sorely missed.

All were aged in their 40s and originally from Passage East; two, Paul and Shane, were married with children.

[Source: Irish Independent]

WESTMEATH

The Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar is among the hospitals where abortions may be carried out under the government’s Protection of Human Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013.

As part of the legislation, some “appropriate institutions” are specified for the purposes of the act, including Portiuncula, Mullingar and Portlaoise hospitals. The hospitals listed include public hospitals with obstetric units.

Under the bill, it will now be lawful to carry out a medical procedure, in the course of which, or as a result of which, an unborn human life is ended where the procedure is carried out by an obstetrician at the listed hospitals. This is subject to two medical practitioners having examined the pregnant woman and certified that there is a real and substantial risk of loss of life and that risk can only be averted by carrying out the procedure.

[Source: Westmeath Examiner]

WEXFORD

The cream of Enniscorthy’s art scene went on display two weeks ago, when a special exhibition opened in the Presentation Centre.

Attracting a huge crowd, the opening night for the art show, which runs through this month, received high praise from all visitors who noted the high quality of each of the varied pieces.

The Enniscorthy Showcase Exhibition is a joint project between the Centre and The Denis Collins Gallery in Wexford, and features the work of over 15 artists from or living in the town. It consists of a number of different pieces – over 60 in total – ranging from sculpture, paintings, drawings, ceramics, photographs, prints and illustrations.

[Source: Wexford Echo]

WICKLOW

Wicklow County Council has gone on trial in relation to breaches of health and safety that led to the death of two firefighters in a derelict building almost six years ago.

Brian Murray (46) and Mark O’Shaughnessy (26) died fighting a blaze at a disused ink factory at Adelaide Villas in Bray on September 26, 2007.

Wicklow County Council is the fire authority for the region and runs the fire service in County Wicklow. It is the prosecution’s case that the council failed in its duty to ensure the health and safety of its employees.

[Source: Irish Times]

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