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Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod

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Proud streaker

A Garryowen man who streaked on to the pitch during the Ireland-Australia International Rules fixture in Limerick last month said he did so to enliven the dull fare being offered up by the teams at the Gaelic Grounds.

"The crowd were cheering me on. They loved it," Paul Hinchey told reporters after being fined €200 for public order offenses at Limerick District Court.

Hinchey, 22, pleaded guilty to public intoxication and abusive behavior.  A charge of offending modesty and causing scandal that could injure the morals of the community was struck out.

His solicitor Muiris Gavin -- a former Limerick senior footballer -- said the match had not been going well in terms of excitement.
"It was the highlight of the evening and he says he did to get the crowd going," Gavin said, adding, "He got the biggest roar of the night.”

O'Brien suggested that Hinchey, an unemployed electrician, might be able to find a job in Australia where temperatures were much warmer.
- Limerick Leader

Kells under attack

As frightening levels of antisocial behavior continue in the Maudlin Street area of Kells, it has emerged that a local town councilor was attacked in the area in recent weeks and passing motorists have also come under attack.

Residents of a number of estates in the area say they are being terrorized by youths who attack passers-by, throw stones at passing cars, threaten local residents and light fires in local estates.

Councilor Sean Drew was assaulted while walking in the Mauldin area recently, and two passing cars were damaged on Thursday, October 21, by stone-throwing youths.

Gardai (police) and the fire service were called to fires in the area over the weekend, and cars passing along Maudlin Street came under attack from groups of youths.

Drew said there was a serious problem in the area and strong action would have to be taken.

Tommy Grimes said what was happening was an absolute scandal and warned that somebody could be seriously hurt.

“It is out of control. Somebody will be seriously hurt, or people will start taking the law into their own hands,” he warned.

He pointed out that the fire brigade had been called out several times over the weekend, and there was another incident on Monday in which a bonfire was lit in the area.

“People are afraid to open their doors. Elderly people are terrified and are afraid to go to the Gardai but we, as a council, are not afraid and we will take whatever action we have to,” he warned.

The speaker of Kells Town Council, Councilor Conor Ferguson, said elderly people living in the area were taking taxis into town because they were too afraid to walk. He said youngsters as young as 14 were able to get their hands on alcohol and were causing huge problems for local people.
- Meath Chronicle

Horses abandoned

Kevin McGinley, regional inspector for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA), said abandoned or stray horses are becoming an increasing problem in Donegal and around the country.

"It does present serious difficulties when horses have been abandoned or left stray along the side of the road, both for the welfare of the animal and for the general public," he said.

Now that the equine industry has collapsed, he said, "Either people are unable or unwilling to provide adequate veterinary treatment if required, and animals are actually being dumped when they present with veterinary difficulties."

He said the national ISPCA helpline received 453 calls in 2008, 1,140 calls in 2009 and more than 1,000 calls by May of this year.

"You can see a trend there," McGinley said. He said identifying the owner of a stray or abandoned horse can be a problem.

"There is a percentage that you can identify, but unfortunately there are too many that we can't," he said. By law, all equines are to be microchipped, he said, but it becomes an issue of enforcement.

"What we tend to believe is during the boom times excessive numbers of horses were produced in Ireland, however the ensuing recession, combined with the collapse in equine prices, has resulted in large numbers of valueless horses for which owners are unable or unwilling to offer adequate care," he said. "That has been a trend over the last three years."
- Donegal Democrat

Welfare fraudster

A man has appeared in court in Mullingar charged with defrauding the Department of Social Protection of thousands of euro over four years.

It is alleged that Paul Murray of no fixed abode but with an address in Thailand claimed in excess of a quarter of a million euro by making claims under nine different names.

He currently faces a number of sample charges relating to claims at Cavan, Trim, and Mullingar.

Following his arrest as he left the social welfare office in Cavan on October 19, he was interviewed and charged. He replied to those sample charges “I accept this.”

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