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Yum yum! A selection of favorite holiday treats got prominent placement at a market stand on Henry Street in Dublin on Monday morning. Photo by: Photocall Ireland

Ireland’s Eye - a round of top Irish news stories

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Yum yum! A selection of favorite holiday treats got prominent placement at a market stand on Henry Street in Dublin on Monday morning. Photo by: Photocall Ireland

Bestiality Man Avoids Jail

A Limerick man has avoided a prison sentence after he admitted arranging a fatal and “tragic” meeting for a local woman to have sex with his Alsatian dog in Patrickswell four years ago.

Sean McDonnell, 58, who now resides in England, was greeted with hugs from his daughter at Limerick Circuit Court after Judge Carroll Moran handed down a three-year suspended sentence.

The former bus driver pleaded guilty to buggery with a German shepherd, under section 61 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, and faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The 43-year-old Limerick mother, whose identity has not been disclosed, died after the act, but the exact cause of her death remains undetermined. The court heard that DNA samples taken from the woman’s vagina matched the accused’s dog.

Moran said, “Even in these tolerant times acts of bestiality are socially repugnant,” but he felt McDonnell would not benefit from a custodial sentence, having already been severely punished through adverse publicity. He also lost his job and is separated from his family, after feeling compelled to move out of Limerick.

The judge said he was “shocked” to be told about the number of hits to pornographic sites on McDonnell’s computer, which the court heard ran to 1.5 million hits in the space of five months.

He said one of the mitigating factors in the case was that the woman went to the house of her own free will and consent, and there was no element of coercion.

The judge said the defendant did not have a role in her death, and “could not have anticipated it.”

McDonnell is due to continue receiving counseling in the U.K., and took an oath in court to this effect.

The defendant, a father of three, called the emergency services and when the ambulance and paramedics arrived they found the woman in an unusual state of dress.

The court heard McDonnell, who has no previous convictions, made no effort made to alter her state of dress or interfere with her in any way before the paramedics arrived.

McDonnell contacted his doctor twice as he realized she was in distress, her color had turned blue, and then she “collapsed as a result of contact with the dog.”

A post-mortem examination was conducted by the state pathologist, and the cause of death remains undetermined.

Limerick Leader

Holiday Drink Warning

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar and An Garda Siochána (police) have given their support to the drinkaware.ie/RSA Morning After campaign.  As the Christmas party season is in full swing, drinkaware.ie is encouraging people to pace their drinking and to remember the morning after.

Drinkaware.ie chief executive Fionnuala Sheehan said, "The reality is it takes your body about one hour to get rid of one standard drink - that's a glass of beer or cider, a small glass of wine, or a pub measure of spirits. So if you are drinking on a night out this Christmas, you might still be over the legal limit the next morning.

"The message from drinkaware.ie is to take responsibility for your drinking. Do the maths and if you suspect that you might not be okay to drive, then make alternative arrangements."  

Drinkaware.ie is encouraging people to pace their drinking over the festive season. "Interspersing alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks will slow down the pace of your drinking and help you to drink moderately. It will also help you to remain well hydrated and you'll be more likely to keep track of how many alcoholic drinks you're consuming," Sheehan added.

Noel Brett, CEO of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) said: "The RSA is delighted to partner with drinkaware.ie again this year to highlight the danger of drink driving the morning after. Drink driving is drink driving no matter what time of the day it is, however it is important to make drivers aware of the fact that they may, unknowingly, be unfit to drive the morning after a night drinking. As the campaign says, if you have been drinking the night before the only cure is time."

Assistant commissioner Gerard Philips said, "We obviously do not wish to hamper anyone's enjoyment over the festive period but we must remind every driver that wherever they socialize and consume alcohol, whether it be in a bar or a house, the same enforcement and now lower drink driving limits apply. We appeal to every driver to ensure they are completely alcohol free before they think about driving any vehicle, no matter what time of the day or night it may be."

Meath Chronicle

Hospital Fleas

A patient rights advocate is calling on University Hospital Galway not to take any “shortcuts” in dealing with an outbreak of fleas at the facility.

Mary Tierney of Patient Focus says a multi-disciplinary approach must be taken to eradicate the problem at the regional hospital’s outpatient department.

The HSE West confirmed that a number of staff had been bitten but said there was no evidence that patients had been affected.

However, Tierney said anything that could have a negative effect on patients is of concern to her organization.

“We have always been worried about hospital acquired infections but to think of the possibility of coming away with a foreign body...I shudder to think of it. People have a horror of creepy crawlies,” she said.

Tierney said she hoped the relevant authorities are dealing with the issue. “While we cannot apportion blame what is important is how this problem is being dealt with. I hope pest control and the environmental health department is involved,” she said.

In a statement the HSE West confirmed that a number of staff working in the hospital’s outpatient department have been bitten by fleas recently.

“The hospital has undertaken a series of actions to deal with the problem and we have communicated with staff in the department who have been affected. There is no sign that this is affecting patients. The hospital is sorry for the discomfort to staff and for any worry this has caused to staff and may cause patients and is grateful for the patience and support of all concerned while we deal with this,” the statement said.

Galway Advertiser

 Pensioner Protest

A NORTHSIDE pensioner has vowed to stop taking his medicine in protest over the prescription charge increase for medical card holders announced in the budget.

Vincent Quinn, 78, criticized the government’s decision to increase the charge from 50 cent to 1.50.

“I am really angry over this,” Quinn said.

“I have to pay 10 for the monthly medication for myself and my wife, now this will be going up to 14. I can’t afford it on my pension.

“They have also cut back on our telephone and ESB allowance. It’s a triple whammy. I’m very annoyed.  I kicked up over the 50 cent charge when it was introduced a few years ago and threatened to stop taking my medication. 

“This time I’m definitely going to come off my medication. As a result of this increase, I’m going to go off it altogether.

“If I take ill, I will have to be taken into hospital and it will cost the government more money in the long run.” 

Quinn has a number of health issues including heart trouble and high blood pressure.

“My wife also suffers from heart trouble and is bad on her feet,” he explained. 

“The reason I’m complaining is not only for myself and my wife -- it’s for every senior citizen in the country. 

“It’s very unfair that senior citizens are hit all the time. We are the most vulnerable group and should not be hit like this.”

Dublin People

Mom Wins Damages

A WOMAN whose baby was delivered stillborn after being sent on a two-hour ambulance journey has been awarded 170,000 damages against the Health Service Executive at the High Court.

Justice Sean Ryan said the case was the stuff of nightmares.

Fiona Ní Chonchubhair, 36, of Countess Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry, was 32 weeks pregnant in May 2009 when she experienced difficulties.

She attended at Kerry General Hospital in Tralee when the hospital decided to send her 110 kilometers away by ambulance to Cork without a blood transfusion on board.

She was bleeding internally and by the time she was operated on at Cork University Hospital, and had a blood transfusion, her baby was delivered stillborn on May 16, 2009.

The HSE apologized for what had happened to her and her husband, Stephen Cotter.

Ní Chonchubair sued for negligence and breach of duty. The HSE admitted liability.

Speaking afterwards, Ní Chonchubhair said they took the case to make sure the same tragedy did not happen to another mother.

RTE.ie

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