An Comhdhail World Irish Dance Championships. Irish Dancers perform for President Michael D Higgins who attended the An Comhdhail World Irish Dance Championships at the City West Hotel in Dublin. TheLaura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Fake Priest Nabbed
A FRAUDSTER who dressed up as a priest and preyed on local residents, telling them that he was collecting funds for the parish, was finally picked up by the Garda after visiting hundreds of homes in the Newbridge area.

The man, who obtained cash from a large number of people in various housing areas, may have also visited some homes in the Kilcullen area.

Dressed as a priest, Sergeant Seamus Rothwell noted that the man was carrying “some kind of headed paper” which bore the name of St. Conleth's parish, and also produced what he claimed was “some type of Papal certificate” when trying to persuade people to hand over their cash. The certificate was fake.

In some instances, Rothwell added, there may also have been a claim that the so-called priest was going to undertake a fast as a charity fundraiser.

The Sunday newsletter handed out to Mass-goers in Newbridge had a special notice on the front stating: “It has come to our notice that over the last couple of weeks, a collector has called to housing estates in Newbridge, pretending to be collecting on behalf of Trócaire and the parish.  We wish to inform the parishioners of St. Conleth's parish that we have no association with this collector whatsoever.”

The man was found and interviewed by Garda, and a file will now be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.  Cash found in his possession was also seized. He is said to be from the Midlands area.

Kildare Nationalist

Dad Rapist Jailed
A SLIGO MAN has been jailed for 15 years for the repeated rape and sexual abuse of his teenage daughter which led to him fathering her child.

The abuse began in September 2005 when the girl was aged 13 and continued for two years.

Before Justice Patrick McCarthy passed sentence at the Central Criminal Court on Monday, March 26, the victim, now aged 19, said her father had been a hero to her when she was growing up.

The 48-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, had pleaded not guilty last month of eight counts of sexual assault and seven counts of rape at the family home between September 2005 and September 2007.

Within two years of the abuse beginning in the family home in Sligo the victim was pregnant with her father's child.

Reading her own victim impact report to the court, the woman said she blamed herself for the abuse when it was taking place.

She said, "I trusted my dad. He was my hero growing up. I never knew what he was doing to me, I always felt it was my fault and I was ashamed of myself.

"He stole my trust and stole my innocence. I wanted my dad to feel proud of me, but he physically and mentally abused me."

She said when social services and school liaison officers came to the house in her head she was screaming “he is abusing me, help me,” but that there was always an emotional ball and chain keeping her quiet.

She said, "I was suffering in silence and begging for that silence to be broken."

"I never knew when the abuse would start. I was constantly on edge. I had no one to protect me. I was petrified of him. I couldn't stop him. It was always a losing battle.

"He blamed me and shamed me in front of other people. He humiliated me by calling me “pricktease” and made out I was the one who wanted it."

She told the court that she didn't want her dad to be dead or alive but wished he had never existed.

She added that she has waited so long to see him found guilty of the abuse and that his lack of remorse during the trial had left her "deeply traumatized."

Detective Garda (police officer) Pauline McDonagh told Anne Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting that the victim told Gardai that her father sexually abused her once every two to three weeks from when she was 13.

During the trial the victim gave evidence that after the first incident of rape her father smiled at her and told her she was no longer a virgin.

The Sligo Champion

X-Ray Bust
THE Health Service Executive (HSE) says it hasn’t the money to use or move an x-ray machine worth over 500,000 which has been lying idle in a local health center for six years.

The hi-tech radiology system has been gathering dust in Ballymun Primary Health Center since it opened in 2006 because the HSE can’t afford to pay for staff to operate it.

The unused scanner is not only a shocking waste of money, but a shameful waste of medical equipment which could be used to diagnose breaks and fractures in patients who are being referred to A&E departments.

The Ballymun facility, which cost 56 million to build and a further 9 million to fit out, was opened with the intention of reducing the need for local people to go to hospital for diagnosis and certain treatments.

The facility, which was designed as a “center of excellence” with primary functions of physiotherapy and x-ray, doesn’t have a radiographer or the additional staff required to operate the expensive radiology machine.

A spokesperson for the HSE explained that it is not financially viable to use the expensive scanner at present.

“Following wide consultation with relevant clinicians regarding the x-ray machine … it has been decided that in the current economic climate and with reduced resources, it would not be prudent to invest further in the x-ray facility,” said the spokesperson.

“It was decided that alternative venues would be explored. The costs associated with relocating an x-ray machine in the current climate have been prohibitive.”

Minister of state at the Department of Health Roisin Shortall said she was “disappointed” with the response from the HSE on the matter.

“Unfortunately, there have been umpteen examples such as this where facilities were built and paid for without the available resources to run them,” she said.

Dublin People

Pregnant Killer
A PREGNANT Newry woman responsible for the brutal killing of a homeless Polish national in Newry three years ago must serve a minimum of 14 years in prison.

Judge David McFarland said Lindsey White had shown "little remorse and limited regret."

The 23-year-old was sentenced to life imprisonment last month after claiming she played no part in the murder, while her accomplice Adrian Cunningham, 20, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a minimum of 11 years in January.

After luring the victim down The Line, in an unprovoked attack the pair kicked Marek Muszynski to death while he lay defenseless on the ground. The court heard White stood on his throat with her "full, not inconsiderable weight."

CCTV released by police last week shows White and Cunningham casually walking away from The Line after the attack to buy drink and a Chinese takeaway, while their victim lay dying. White also went through the pockets of Muszynski after the attack, taking his last 70p.

Defense lawyer Turlough Montague claimed White, who is expected to give birth in Hydebank in September, did not get pregnant deliberately to obtain a reduced tariff.

McFarland he would take her pregnancy into account, adding that it is uncertain whether she will be able to keep her baby which will have "adverse consequences for both."

When sentencing the emotionless White, McFarland said he would take into consideration the onslaught of kicks to a defenseless and drunk man lying on the ground, and the degradation of the victim after the attack by pulling down his jeans, but added, "It would be unjust to punish her to the same extent as Adrian Cunningham."

Cunningham's life sentence was reduced due to his guilty plea and testifying against the co-accused White.

Cunningham had admitted his larger role in the attack, saying he lost control but said he witnessed White standing of the throat of Muszynski "with her full weight bearing down on him."

Jerome Mullen, honorary consul to Poland, who was speaking on behalf of the family, said he believes the attack was racially motivated.

“The Irish should be the last race on this planet to engage in such racism considering its history of emigration for generations to all parts of the world,” she said.

Following the sentencing detective chief inspector Gareth Talbot said Muszynski was a 40-year-old Polish national who came to Northern Ireland in search of a better life.

Newry Democrat