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


Prostitutes Return

A gang of “aggressive” prostitutes has been driven from the streets of Limerick in recent days following another Garda (police) crackdown.

Following the recent impact of Operation Freewheel, which saw a number of men from Limerick charged with soliciting prostitutes, the vice trade had taken a hammering in the city.

But the last week saw a new and more overt group of prostitutes returning to the city’s streets, being more aggressive, “bolder and more forward” than ever before, according to business owners in the area.

Shop owner Shane Gleeson said, “There is definitely a group of them back.

“They reappeared in the last week, that is when they have been most visible. They seem to be a completely different gang and if anything, they are more aggressive than the previous crowd. They are hassling people.”

He added that the group of prostitutes, including one who was brazenly parading in bright orange boots, is “a completely different gang than before, bolder, noisier, more forward -- they are exceptionally forward.”

However, Gleeson, whose family have operated Gleeson’s Shop in the city for four generations, paid tribute to the quick actions of local Gardai, who he said “have been fantastic” in dealing with the problem.

Superintendent Frank O’Brien of Henry Street station recently said in the aftermath of Operation Freewheel that the issue of tackling prostitution in Limerick would remain an ongoing one and was a priority of Gardai, despite not having “the luxury” of a unit dedicated specifically to tackling it.
- Limerick Leader

Cork Pub Crisis

New figures have revealed the scale of the crisis facing rural pubs across the country, with Cork bearing the brunt of pub closures over the past four years.

The figures, compiled by the Revenue Commissioners, revealed that more than 800 pubs -- an average of one in 10 -- have closed their doors since the start of the recession, with rural businesses the worst affected.

Cork was the worst affected with 12% of its pubs closing over the four-year period. In 2011 Cork had the largest single number of pub licenses at 1,010, with 146 pubs having closed since 2007.

Changes to drunk driving laws are believed to be one of the largest single factors behind the closures, amid increasing concerns that the closure of country pubs is leading to more isolation among elderly people living in country areas.

Junior Minister for Sport and Tourism Michael Ring admitted that the situation has been exacerbated by recent changes to drunk driving legislation.

"There is no doubt but that it is a rural problem and that is shown in the figures. Recent drink driving regulations probably haven't helped the situation either," he said.

Meanwhile, the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) has welcomed comments by coroners across the country regarding the link between rural isolation and suicide, and stricter drunk driving laws.

VFI president Gerry Mellett has led calls for a national debate on the issue, saying that many older men living alone in rural areas are being turned into "prisoners in their own homes."

"I am not saying the pub is the only social outlet, but for many it is a vital one. The impact of these drunk driving rules has been to rip the heart out of rural Ireland and as more pubs close every day, this will only get worse," said Mellett.

"We are not in favor of drunk driving and we feel this stricter legislation will only lead to fear and more rural isolation," he added.
- The Corkman

Shocking Dog Abuse

A dog found in Bray with its tongue ripped out and other severe wounds had to be put to sleep last week after being discovered in the town.

“Our inspector collected this dog in Bray and the animal was immediately brought to the vet,” said a spokesman for Wicklow SPCA, Sharpeshill.

“On veterinary inspection the dog had severe wounds and was without his tongue.  The poor dog was beyond help and he was relieved of his suffering.”

SPCA inspector TJ Myron said that the wounded animal had more than likely been attacked by another dog, but that this would never have happened if he had been properly looked after in the first place.
“He was probably a stray, he was pretty thin,” said Myron. “It doesn't take much to feed and look after a dog.”

The dog was found in the DART station area of Bray and staff helped the inspector to rescue him.  However, there was nothing that could be done to save the stricken dog.

“I can't believe what I am seeing,” said one local animal lover. “Who the hell could do this to a poor defenseless animal? Thank God this poor dog won't suffer any more. I just hope whoever did this is caught and pays for what they have done.”
- Bray People

Pot Grower Busted