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


Child Sets North Pole Record
AN Irish endurance runner who traveled the globe running seven marathons in five days has secured another record -- his daughter has become the youngest person at the North Pole.

Richard Donovan flew eight-year-old Jaimie to temperatures of -26C to mark the 10th anniversary of a marathon he organizes inside the Arctic.

The youngster has broken a record -- by one day -- set by the daughter of British adventurer David Hempleman-Adams, Alicia, in 1998.

"It was cold and the helicopter was noisy," Jaimie said after arriving back on dry land. "I loved the North Pole and I want to go back."

Jaimie and her teddy bear were standing on the ice at 5:30 a.m. (GMT) on Sunday, April 1.
Donovan, who earlier this year created a new record of seven marathons on seven continents in less than five days, said his daughter took the experience in her stride.

"I decided to bring Jaimie and my wife Caroline this year as it was the 10th year of the race and they were long overdue a trip to see what I've been working hard to achieve for the last decade," he said.

"It was a simple coincidence that she seems to be the youngest to stand up there. I was just proud of her very good behavior and the fact she took the trip in her stride at her age, embracing the adventure."

According to Guinness World Records, Alicia Hempleman-Adams, born on November 8, 1989, stood at the geographic North Pole aged eight years and 173 days on May 1, 1998. She had also flown to the Pole to meet her father.

Based on the same calculations, Donovan's daughter, born on October 17, 2003, beat the record by one day. The Donovan family will have to apply to Guinness World Records to have the feat verified.

Limerick Leader

Fake Cop Alert
GARDAI (police) are warning people to be cautious about allowing strangers into their homes after two complaints in recent weeks.

They are investigating two alleged incidents in North Clare where a person claimed to be a garda detective in order to gain entry into private homes.

“There has been a complaint in the last week and there was a complaint a number of weeks ago where people called to the door pretending to be members of the Gardai. The person claimed to be a detective, dressed in plain clothes. These incidents may be connected,” said Inspector John O’Sullivan.

“We are warning people to be cautious, particularly in light of what has gone on in recent weeks in relation to the household charge where there were claims that people would be going from door to door to collect it.

“That has been knocked on the head but it wouldn’t necessarily stop an unscrupulous person trying it,” O’Sullivan stated.

“People living on their own should be especially wary because people involved in that kind of activity would target their potential victims, so they are less likely to call to where a person is in the company of others or younger people, who might be more alert to the dangers,” he continued.

“If the person calling to the door is a garda, then they would be only too happy to display their identification. All gardai are obliged to carry an identification card, which has a photograph and the garda crest on it, as well as a signature, which is that of the garda commissioner.”

Clare Champion

Kerry Losing People
PARTS of rural Kerry have suffered devastating population declines in the last five years, according to the results of last year's census.

Large areas of south and west Kerry have seen their populations plummet by up to 93% as a result of recession, migration and emigration.

While the population of Kerry as a whole grew marginally since 2006, the census results show that many more isolated areas in south and west Kerry are facing a population crisis, with some small villages turning into veritable ghost towns.

The most shocking fall in population was seen in the Cloghane electoral area of west Kerry where the 2011 census shows the total population fell by 93% since 2006. In 2006 there were 2,127 people living the area, but by the time the last census was completed last April this had plunged to just 152 people.

Local businessman Micheal Dowd says a lack of sustainable employment in the area has had a devastating effect.

"Our core industries of fishing and farming have been neglected and need more support as there is no proper local employment to speak of," he said. "In fact I would say that up to three quarters of households in the Cloghane area are involved in tourism in some way."

"These figures reveal how the very social fabric that we have worked so hard to preserve is being ripped apart."

Other areas of west Kerry have suffered a similar fate.

In the Dún Chaoin and Castlegregory electoral areas the population fell by 71% between the 2006 and 2011 censuses.

Speaking about the population decline in Dún Chaoin, Liam Ó Rocháin of An Ghaeltacht GAA Club said the figures will have a devastating effect on the GAA and the Irish language.