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

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News from the 32

Made in China

Councilors have reacted angrily after it emerged that some of the materials used in the new Castlebar town center development are being imported from China instead of being sourced locally.

Independent Councilor Frank Durcan raised the matter at a meeting of Mayo County Council’s Castlebar electoral committee. He asked council engineers if the project was being delayed because the council was waiting on paving blocks to arrive from China.

Councilor Michael Kilcoyne said he couldn’t believe the council is sourcing materials from China given the vast numbers unemployed in Ireland.

He said that the decision to use granite imported from China for part of the paving and curbing to be used on Main Street was “out of touch with reality.”

“It shows a complete disregard for the state of the economy in this country,” he said.

Senior executive engineer with Mayo County Council Patsy Burke said there could be a number of other local authority developments that used a substantial amount of imported materials.

“I’m sure if I investigated there would be other projects where materials would come from China or elsewhere. We just generally don’t need to ask,” said Burke.

The granite for the Main Street project was ordered by Kilcross Construction Ltd, which was awarded the contract for the Castlebar town center development by Mayo County Council.

Burke said that if the granite was sourced from an Irish quarry it would cost three times more than if it was imported from China.

He said that the cost of the tons of granite from China being used for the town centre project is €200,000, while the entire development runs to €2.1 million.

Burke said that it isn’t just council projects where foreign building materials are being used. He pointed to the use of Chinese granite in townland signage and headstones.

As much as 95% of the county’s headstones are made using granite imported from China or India, according to Ballina-based independent councilor and monumental sculptor Gerry Ginty.

“I can understand where the council is coming from. Irish granite is three or even four times the price and the quality isn’t as good. I can get granite from China and India cheaper and quicker than I can locally,” he added.

Ginty said that in his trade the use of imported materials has meant that he has been able to employ more people and that cheaper foreign imports mean more people can afford headstones.
- Western People

Grave layout slammed

A new layout in the extension of Drum Cemetery has been dubbed a "disgrace" by a local person as the graves will not be facing east/west towards the rising sun as he says has been traditional for hundreds years.

The man, a native of Drum Parish, who didn't wish to be named, said he was extremely annoyed the traditional Christian way of burial had been changed by somebody in an office in Roscommon town without consultation with the local people.

"If I'm going to be buried there like that, I'll change my address and be buried elsewhere in the traditional way," the local man fumed. "It's totally wrong what the council is doing.

“It has a lot of people upset and a lot of people are only finding it out about it because the extension is new and only one burial has taken place there two weeks ago."

He claims this grave is facing north-south, while the graves in the adjacent old graveyard and monastic site are all standing facing the usual east-west trajectory.

The objector said whoever drew up the plan in Roscommon County Council should go back and do it the proper way, accusing the local authority of "terrible cheek" and "a lack of respect" changing the traditional form of burial in a rural area.

However, a spokesperson for Roscommon County Council said the new layout was designed to maximize the number of graves in the extended graveyard in Drum, and the direction which they would be facing was not a consideration or an issue highlighted to the local authority during the planning process.

He said this layout will be replicated in any other new graveyards or extensions in the future.
- Westmeath Independent

Sitting for fun

RESTING his posterior on every seat in Thomond Park in one day proved an insurmountable and rear-numbing challenge for Limerick native Dan Mooney for task 91 on his list of 366 things to do in one year.

But a very worthy attempt saw Mooney succeed in sitting on an impressive 12,000 seats out of the stadium's 15,600, before officials politely asked him to stop before the Sunderland vs. Munster XI clash last week.

"I am in absolute ribbons. I'm in shreds, my knees are sore and so are my ribs for some reason. But I'm okay. I can't believe I left 3,000 seats behind me,” Mooney said.

He agreed his Thomond Park trial was equally as painful as the day he ran the Great Limerick Run for an earlier challenge, which he finished in five hours and 12 minutes.

"But I'm going back to Thomond Park next week. I'm giving my muscles a couple of days to rest and then I'm going back to finish off the last 3,000 seats. There's no way I can leave that behind," Mooney added.

Despite labeling his Thomond Park attempt a failure in his online blog, could it be considered a moral victory of sorts?

"I was actually thinking that. I have the whole plucky loser thing going on. Normally my mates would absolutely lacerate me for failing but they've been nice about it this time," he said.

Mooney is delighted with the public response to his adventures so far, which have included fire breathing, meeting a porn star, being a human mannequin, going shopping in his pajamas, cycling through a McDonald’s drive-thru and shaving his chest.
- Limerick Leader

Stolen penguin found

There was a happy reunion last week for Kelli the penguin, who was found waddling the streets of the north inner city having been earlier stolen from Dublin Zoo.

The female penguin was kidnapped from the Phoenix Park by a gang of men before the zoo opened to the public on Thursday, July 8.  The helpless 10-year-old penguin was taken from its pen and bundled into a bag as part of the sick prank.

The men made their getaway in a taxi, told the driver it was a rabbit and were then dropped off in the north inner city. All animals in the zoo are fitted with a microchip so the penguin was found within hours.

Kelli is a Humboldt, a small breed native to parts of South America, mainly Chile. Relieved zoo staff reported the creature was none the worse for her outing after being safely returned to her mate Mick.

Gardai (police) are investigating the kidnapping while a Dublin Zoo spokesperson said it was no laughing matter.
“Dublin Zoo is naturally relieved that the animal is safe and unharmed and back in the zoo,” a spokesperson said.

“However, we wish to underline our annoyance about this incident. The welfare and health of all animals is our primary concern and this kind of incident is not frivolous and is certainly not something amusing.”
- Dublin People

Don’t drop the drawers

Keeping your trousers securely fastened on a night out was the lesson learnt by a young Athlone man who was fined for exposing himself to a patrol car.

Brendan Harney, 21, with an address at Brideswell, Athlone, Co. Roscommon, appeared before Judge Mary Fahy at Galway District Court for a threatening and abusive behavior offense at Shop Street in Galway, on March 11.

Inspector Aidan Foley told the court that at 12:30 a.m. the defendant was on Shop Street when he pulled down his trousers and exposed himself to the patrol car.

Defense solicitor Sarah O’Dowd said that her client had very little recollection of the incident, and that he wished to apologize to Gardai. She added that Harney has never been before the courts and that he suffers from a medical condition which has left him “feeling quite down.”

O’Dowd further explained that Harney experienced an epileptic seizure 18 months ago and has since been advised not to work until doctors can determine what caused the seizure.

Handing in character references into court, O’Dowd then asked Fahy not to record a conviction against her client as this could affect future work prospects.

However, Fahy replied, “He exposed himself to a patrol car in full public view. I’m going to impose a monetary penalty.”

Harney was then convicted and fined €200 which by consent was taken from bail money already lodged.
-Athlone Advertiser

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