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IFA Crib at the Mansion House. Children from St Joseph's Nursery, Morning Star Road, Dublin 8, including Abby Fortune (centre) dressed as little angels sing along with the Lucan Gospel Choir on the steps of the Mansion House in Dublin where the annual Irish Farmers Association's Crib was officially opened this morning. Donations go to the Mansion House fuel fund. Photo by: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Ireland's Eye - A round up of top Irish news stories

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IFA Crib at the Mansion House. Children from St Joseph's Nursery, Morning Star Road, Dublin 8, including Abby Fortune (centre) dressed as little angels sing along with the Lucan Gospel Choir on the steps of the Mansion House in Dublin where the annual Irish Farmers Association's Crib was officially opened this morning. Donations go to the Mansion House fuel fund. Photo by: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

12-Year Doctor Wait
A 90-YEAR-old Ennis man has described as “insulting” a letter he received from the Health Service Executive (HSE) asking if he still needs treatment -- 12 years after he was first referred by his doctor.
Kevin Stapleton from College Green had been suffering with his instep when he was referred by his doctor to the Regional Orthopedic Hospital in Croom back in December 2000.

He never got an appointment, but last week he received a letter asking him to confirm if he still needs treatment. The HSE gave him two weeks to respond.

“That letter is a joke. After 12 years I think it’s insulting to get this,” Stapleton said.

“I was suffering with a lump in my instep. I couldn’t get my shoe on, it was awful painful. I was three or four years with it, it was like a little bone sticking up.

“Believe it or not, it’s gone away now. It went away on its own, thankfully. But, of course, I was worried about it.  I still don’t know what caused it.

“I had my medical card and they’re always at the back of the queue but to get a letter in 2012, almost 2013, doesn’t make sense.  They were saying there were long waiting lists but I didn’t think it would be that long.”

A spokesperson for the HSE responded saying, “We apologize for any upset caused and are very happy to hear that Mr. Stapleton’s complaint has gone away. Every acute hospital in the country is engaged in the mammoth task of validating its outpatient waiting lists as part of a national program to improve services to the public. This initiative is underway across the nation for all specialties.

“This means that waiting lists with many hundreds of thousands of names on them have to be checked to eliminate inaccuracies and to establish the facts.”

Clare Champion

Tragic Bus Death
A DIPLOMAT'S son killed under a double decker bus in Dublin died following a dispute over loose change, his family believes.

Eoghan Dudley, whose mother is a senior official at the Department of Foreign Affairs, suffered a horrific death in front of dozens of horrified rush hour commuters in the city center last Thursday.

A 29-year-old man was charged with manslaughter. Edward Connors, who is deaf and mute, was charged due to an altercation that took place before Dudley fell under the bus at the junction of Dawson Street and Nassau Street.

The victim's family says that he was not drinking or taking drugs.  Dudley’s mother is based at an Irish Embassy abroad.

His father Seamus, from Rathfarnham in south Dublin, said his son "had his problems, but he was still human."

It took Gardai considerable time to identify Dudley as he was not carrying any ID when he suffered catastrophic head injuries. Officers eventually released details of his tattoos.
Seamus Dudley said he believes that an altercation occurred when his son had been asked for money as he was walking up the street.

"He would have had no money except a couple of coins in his pocket," Dudley said.

Evening Herald

Jail for the Holidays
A PRISONER received no extension to his jail term for stealing a charity box from a pub when the judge learned the sentence he originally gave him had been extended as a result of prison infractions beyond Christmas.

“Not to worry. There’ll be extra drumsticks on the day,” joked Judge Seamus Hughes with Patrick Conlon, 24, of Grange Meadows, Mullingar.

The judge had originally sentenced Conlon in Mullingar District Court to two months in prison on November 14 for snatching a handbag, but anticipated a release date that would allow Conlon out for Christmas.

However, his prison escorts revealed that Conlon now had an expected release date of December 28, and that this could yet be stretched out even further.

“Were you a bold boy in prison?” asked the judge.

“I was. I didn’t take my medication. Oh, and I gave them [the prison escort officers] abuse on the way here ,” he admitted.

Inspector Nicholas Farrell told the court how Conlon had been in the Fiddlers bar on Connacht Street in Athlone on October 17 when he went behind the counter and took a charity box, with contents estimated at €100.

“I’m trying to get my head together. I’m 24 now and I want to get my act together. I have a drink problem, and my anger is another one,” he admitted.

“I have a certain sympathy for you. I get soft myself over Christmas,” said the judge.

“I’ll try not to come around you again,” said Conlon, as the judge added four more weeks to his sentence, but ruled they run concurrently.

Mullingar Advertiser

Cops and Robbers
LOCKING doors and windows is one of the most basic safety precautions the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) recommends to avoid falling victim to thieves.  But last week opportunistic criminals stole two kit bags from a police vehicle in Antrim after officers failed to take their own advice and secure the car.

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