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Deep Freeze: The Thomas Davis memorial fountain on College Green in Dublin remained frozen on Monday, after below freezing temperatures gripped Ireland.

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

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Deep Freeze: The Thomas Davis memorial fountain on College Green in Dublin remained frozen on Monday, after below freezing temperatures gripped Ireland.

Pub closure bargain

The Two Mile Inn Hotel and Thady O'Neill’s bar on the Ennis Road have been put up for sale as a "going concern" by receiver Billy O'Riordan of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, at the far lower than expected price of €1.2 million, a reduction of almost €6 million in just 12 months.

Tom Cross of GVM Auctioneers, local agents for the sale, said it was a "giveaway price" for such a property, which stands on a "high-profile site" and boasts function and meeting rooms, a modern bar and restaurant and extensive car parking facilities.

"The receiver is keen to offload it at this point in time, so that is the state of play," said Cross.

"It was on the market originally for ***7 million, that was about a year ago. It has been reduced substantially now and has potential for a number of uses, possibly as a nursing home," he added.

Cross said that there has been "considerable interest" since the property was re-advertised at the lower price.

Tenders for the 13 acre property must be submitted to GVM by Wednesday, December 15.

The Two Mile Inn closed at the end of September with the loss of around 15 jobs.
-Limerick Leader

Clamor for 20 jobs

Retail giants Argos received a staggering 1,300 applications for just 20 part time posts at its Longford town store over the past number of weeks.

It means that for every one of the 20 jobs filled in the Longford Argos, there were 65 CVs dispatched to the company since the middle of October. The Argos Extra store in Longford is based at the N4 Axis centre store and is one of the busiest Argos stores in the region. As such, the firm sought to hire 20 temporary members of staff to cover the busy Christmas period.

At the time of the job announcements last month, a spokesperson for the retailer said there had been "great interest" in the vacancies, but declined to be drawn on the precise numbers of applications.

Six weeks later, new documentation obtained by the Longford Leader from Argos shows that 14,000 applications were received for 700 positions nationwide.  Of that figure, 1,300 applications were made for the posts in the Longford store.

Seamus Butler, president of Longford Chamber of Commerce, said he was not overly surprised by the huge level of interest shown.

"In one way it is encouraging to see," he said. "It shows that people are very much interested in any work that is going. As well as that, it's good for those 20 individuals who were successful as they now have employment."

Asked why Longford, despite its relatively low population, had accounted for such high numbers of applicants, Butler pointed to the county's high unemployment figures.

"It definitely is a big number," he replied. "We probably have a higher percentage of unemployment in Longford because of the over reliance we had in the construction sector."
- Longford Leader

Hospital needs PJs and towels

THINGS are so bad in the Louth County Hospital that staff have been asked to bring in any spare towels or pajamas they have around the home, according to staff, in advance of a visit to the hospital by Health Minister Mary Harney.

News of Harney's visit came as a surprise to many staff in the hospital who are being kept in the dark as to the arrangements of her arrival, with officials in the Department of Health anxious to keep it under wraps after a series of incidents in recent weeks which has seen Harney covered with red paint and her ministerial car pelted with cheese and eggs.

The Dundalk Democrat understands that Harney is coming to Louth on Monday, December 13 with a view to opening a new colorectal screening service.

However, while that would be an undoubted boost for the hospital, which had its acute services removed at the start of July this year, her visit is likely to be controversial, particularly as it is expected to come within a week of the budget.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was briefed on the hospital situation before a meeting with the party in the Fairways Hotel last week. He slammed the Health Service Executive and government for their request for donations of old towels and pajamas from staff.

"It's like being back in a third world country," he said.

"It's absolutely maddening that this should happen, and these problems all pre-date the current economic crisis. This happened during the era of the Celtic Tiger when the country was awash with cash," said Adams.
- Dundalk Democrat

Freezing Kilkenny

Arctic weather conditions have caused chaos in Kilkenny city and county and indeed throughout Ireland, forcing schools to close and creating lethal road conditions.

Temperatures plummeted to minus 9.6 degrees in the city early on Monday morning, the lowest temperature ever officially recorded in the county in November.

Prior to Monday the lowest temperature recorded in November was minus 7.2 degrees which was recorded at Kilkenny Castle in 1887.

According to Niall Dollard of Kilkennyweather.com, who operates a weather station close to Greens Bridge, the cold snap is set to continue at least until next week.

"So far this has been an extremely harsh winter. There is a rain or snow belt coming in on Friday, and depending on how that turns out that might introduce a partial thaw before the frigid weather returns next week,” he said.

"The extreme temperatures are set to continue and although temperatures might rise marginally there will be no real let up. There is a real threat of more snow showers and a lot more show next week," added Dollard.

The AA is also urging people to leave their cars at home and opt for public transport where possible as the cold snap continues to bite throughout Ireland.  Freezing temperatures and ongoing snowfall mean driving conditions remain treacherous.
-Kilkenny People

Stop the violence

Limavady's top cop has issued a stark warning that someone will end up dead if the "mindless violent crime" at the weekends in the town center doesn't stop.

Revealing that 382 officers were deployed in the town center over the past 12 weekends, Chief Inspector Steven Cargin said violent crime is on the increase, with 80 assaults reported during that period.

Cargin said he now has to deploy extra officers not just on Friday and Saturday nights but on Sunday nights as well, which are becoming as busy as Saturday nights.

"The down side to that is that I have less officers to do things outside the Limavady town center so members of the public feel cheated, but unfortunately because people come into the town center and take too much drink and get into fights and I have resource that," he said.

"Some of the incidents that I know of involve people who are knocked to the ground and people sticking the boot in their head, and it's only a matter of time before someone gets killed by this mindless violence."

Cargin appealed to bar owners, who he claims have a huge responsibility.

“They are taking a lot of money off people and feeding them full of drink, and they just push them out the door and expect the police to pick up the pieces and it's time it stopped," he said.

"They need to wake up and take responsibility because they will be responsible for the death of someone as they are the ones feeding people full of drink."

Cargin said Limavady will be given a "bad name" if people continue to act the way they do.

"It's just a matter of time before someone is really seriously injured or murdered as a result of this behavior," he said. "I wouldn't say Limavady is the Wild West but there are a lot of clowns out there, a lot of people fighting."
-Derry Journal

Parent study

A new report suggests that almost one in five mothers smoke or drink at some stage during pregnancy.

The Irish government funded the “Growing Up in Ireland” study.

It followed the progress of more than 11,000 nine-month-old infants and shows that the traditional family unit remains the norm.

The report suggests that 70% of the mothers of nine-month-old infants are married. A further 15% are living with a partner.

Some 27% of mothers and 24% of fathers were not born in Ireland.

Minister for Children Barry Andrews said the figures gave cause for concern and could prompt renewed campaigns on the dangers associated with drinking and smoking during pregnancy.

“There are existing campaigns in this regard, run by the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive, trying to highlight the dangers of drinking and smoking in pregnancy,” he said.
- RTE.ie
 

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