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


Pot House Warning

Clare's chief superintendent has issued a warning to landlords to include a clause where they can inspect their rental properties to ensure they are not being used as cannabis grow houses.

Following the detection of two grow houses in Clare in the past two weeks, Chief Superintendent John Kerin said this type crime is on the increase nationally as the Internet is giving criminals the tools to get started.

“Our cultivation detections would be in line with the increases around the country. It’s a fact that more and more people are going into home growing because instructions on how to do it are so readily available on the Internet,” he said.

“The product can be produced and marketed so easily and it’s a factor we are aware of.  It’s common at the moment throughout Europe and these grow houses and self-production units are out there. You find the level of heroin and cocaine sale and supply has reduced because of the prices in the current economy, and so the likes of this product increases as it is cheap to produce.”

Kerin warned those who rent property that they should be conducting checks to ensure it is not being used for this purpose. Gardai (police) in Clare have uncovered grow houses where attics and rooms in houses have been adapted for growing cannabis.

“In order to engage in this activity they have to do serious alterations. They have to put in electricity and the weight of this stuff on attics does affect the structure. It would not necessarily be all attics. We had one recently where two rooms of a bungalow had been converted and, again, this was in rented accommodation,” he said.

Kerin issued a similar warning to those renting warehouses or factory units, and recommended they make it a condition of their leasing contracts that they are allowed to inspect the premises each quarter.

“The financial consequences for them when they get their houses back are frightening because of the alterations that take place to the houses. It’s in their interest and the interest of the community that they check their property physically,” Kerin added.
- Clare Champion

Wrong Number Millionaire

Forgetting his wife's correct age turned a Ballymena couple into millionaires. It was a dream come true as Paddy and Gail Millar were unveiled as the winners of an astounding £1.9 million in the National Lottery EuroMillions draw earlier this month.

The couple, who are both nurses, popped open the champagne and celebrated their windfall at the plush Galgorm Resort last week, stating, "We never thought it would happen to us!"

The couple, who have been married for 21 years and have two daughters, Alex 17, and Julia, 11, are still finding it all very hard to sink in after purchasing their winning ticket, worth £1,994,322.90, at the Newsrack in Ballymoney Street. The couple purchased 10 tickets and one of the numbers Paddy picked was an error, "one of the best mistakes I've ever made!"

"I do the same numbers on my usual tickets but the winning line was a spur of the moment selection -- the girls’ ages, 11 and 17; my age, 50; 21 for our wedding anniversary and 9 for the year we married in 1990 -- I reversed the 90 to 09.

"I decided then to use Gail's age but put the wrong number of 48 down, instead of 49! I don't think she minds though!"

Asked about plans for the future, the couple plans to just take one day at a time. There are no plans to retire from their nursing jobs as Gail said, "We have both been nursing for 30 years, since we were 17. We love our jobs and our work friends.

"We are very fortunate and so grateful. We decided to go public as we didn't want people surmising how much we had won and we didn't want to lie to people. It's a relief to get it out in the open.”
- Ballymena Guardian

Shady Donegal

Though residents of Donegal may have a reputation for being traditional and conservative, ladies here have most definitely been quick to embrace this summer’s hottest craze.

Copies of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy have been flying off the shelves here quicker than you can unlace a bodice.

Booksellers from right across the county confirm that, once word started to spread about the steamy book, never mind its two even steamier sequels, demand quickly became...well, insatiable.

A sales assistant at Eason’s in Letterkenny said, “Demand has been very high. Like most other shops, we ran out of copies and couldn’t get any more for a while.  We had a list of about 100 customers waiting on it, but once we were able to get re-stocked, it’s been fine. There’s still a strong demand for it.

“We have the books on a three for two offer, so a lot of people are buying the whole trilogy at the one time. And there are a lot of copycat books coming out now too that seem to be doing well. People are looking for those as well.”