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


Santa no show

It reads like something out of a fairytale, but the weekend snow fall will go into the history books as the first time that Santa Claus failed to arrive in Enniscorthy.
How could such a terrible event happen?

Santa Claus was expected to arrive in Market Square to watch the traditional switching on of the Christmas lights, but the center of Enniscorthy was covered in a blanket of snow and a weekend of turmoil and disruption was underway.

While the official function of switching on the Christmas lights did not take place, the lights did come on and against the backdrop of snow, the white Christmas image has come to Enniscorthy a month early.

Life was a struggle in the town as heavy falls of snow covered the streets and footpaths, causing a loss of business and reduced opportunities for customers.

Many shoppers had to resort to traveling on foot as they went in search of the essentials.

All business premises were open on Monday and a number of traders said that business was brisk, for a Monday, although the town was deserted before dusk fell and another night’s frosty air descended.

Vital electricity and telecommunications services were maintained and there were no reports of falls or injuries. Schools were closed.

Public transport, rail and bus services were maintained and provided an important link between Enniscorthy and other towns in the county, and to Dublin and Waterford.
- Enniscorthy Echo

Cowen dodges protest

A crowd of around 80 protestors intent on directing their anger at under fire Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen last Friday evening were left as bitter as the freezing temperatures outside following a last minute decision to replace the Fianna Fail leader with one of his ministers.

Cowen had been expected to take his place as the Longford Chamber of Commerce's keynote speaker, an invitation which attracted a sizeable crowd of protestors to assemble outside the Longford Arms Hotel.

Instead, many were left disappointed as news began to spread that Cowen would not be attending, a development confirmed by the arrival of Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht affairs Pat Carey, via a back door.

"The taoiseach is involved in meetings in Government Buildings," a composed-looking Carey said.

"He wouldn't have been here in time and he apologizes for that so he asked me if I could come down and I am very pleased to be here."

Carey dismissed a suggestion that Cowen had consciously side-stepped the event to avoid awaiting demonstrators outside.

"To be honest with you, we are well used to protests being outside and that's part of democracy. Genuinely, the taoiseach would have wished to have been here but he simply couldn't guarantee that he would have been here on time," he said.

Flanked by Deputy Peter Kelly, Carey conceded Fianna Fail were "not the flavor of the month" with an increasingly alienated electorate.
- Longford Leader

Plea for sex offender

Local TD (member of Parliament) Brendan Kenneally requested the temporary release of a man awaiting sentencing for a sexual assault charge, so that the man could attend his daughter’s wedding.

The man was in custody awaiting sentence for the sexual assault of his niece, and his family asked Kenneally to make representations on behalf of the man so that he could attend the event.

The Fianna Fail TD has defended the move and said he acted on humanitarian grounds after the man’s relatives pleaded for his help.

“All that was asked for was that the man be left out for a day on humanitarian grounds. I was not seeking to interfere with sentencing,” he told the Irish Independent.

When contacted by the Waterford News & Star Kenneally said he was unable to comment any further due to a bereavement in his family.

The prison service has not revealed if the request was granted.

In total 10 politicians made representations in relation to prisoners since the start of 2010.
- Waterford News & Star

Elderly couple robbed

An elderly Kildangan couple endured a terrifying ordeal when they were held at knifepoint for 90 minutes during a robbery in their home.

The ordeal began for the couple, both of whom are in their sixties, when the front door of their home was kicked in by two armed and masked raiders at approximately 8:40 p.m. on Thursday, November 25.

The husband and wife were held at knifepoint and the man was also physically assaulted by the raiders who demanded money from the couple.

The raiders also smashed mobile phones belonging to the couple and disabled the landline phone in the house before they made their escape with a substantial amount of cash.

They left the scene in the couple’s green Volkswagen Golf van which was found three days later in a secluded area in Kildangan.

The couple suffered from shock and were very traumatized by the ordeal. They were both taken to the Midlands Hospital in Portlaoise where they were detained overnight and treated for minor cuts and bruises.