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


Baby Saves Family
FIVE weeks and five days old, Baby James Kinlan saved his five family members from a tragic house fire in Leitrim village.

The Kinlan family was woken by their new baby’s screams at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, June 14. While father Dan went to check on baby, mother Emma Norrington sought to find out why the lights were not working.

She went downstairs to check the fuse box only to open the door to a massive blaze in the kitchen. The dryer, which was drying the school uniforms for her three other kids, had caught fire and set the kitchen ablaze.

According to Norrington, the dryer fire “blew the electrics” which included the heat sensor and the smoke alarm. The family did not know that the precautionary battery was not working in the electric smoke alarm, so if it had not been for baby James the story could have had a tragic ending.

“Lucky” baby James, who was born on 5/5/2012 was five weeks, five days old, saved his five family members.

Norrington said James had only just been put down after being fed and changed and was not due to wake up at the time he did. She admits that she and her partner Dan as well as kids Lewis, 13, Kimi, 10, Amy, 9, and James are “very lucky” to have got the wake up call and to get everyone out, with no harm.

The Fire Brigade was out in less than 15 minutes and had the blaze under control in less than an hour, despite the dryer “exploding” in the kitchen.

Norrington said the whole downstairs of their home at 7 Church Road was “completely gutted.”
But despite their losses, the family cannot count their blessings enough. 

Friends and neighbors around Leitrim Village provided them with clothes and beds to sleep in while they were homeless. Neighbors also got out to help clean out what little belongings they could salvage from the fire.

Norrington and her partner Dan, who are due to marry soon, moved from England five years ago to make a better life for their family. 

Norrington said there are lessons to be learned, and the family is asking all Leitrim residents to check their smoke alarm batteries and not to leave dryers on over night.

Leitrim Observer

Pricey Harvard Classes
THE county manager and five other executives at Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council have been criticized for incurring costs of almost 55,000 of taxpayer money by taking part in a course at Harvard University.

County manager Owen Keegan and five other unnamed senior executives at the council are currently participating in a three-week long trip to attend a course for local government employees at Harvard.

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), which is funding the trip, revealed last week that the courses for the six council employees cost approximately 54,750 in total.

The LGMA is a publicly funded body and is currently administering the controversial  household charge.

The course is an intensive, three-week executive management program delivered by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

A spokesperson for the LGMA said, “Participants are mainly drawn from the U.S. public service/local government with a small number of places available to non-U.S. participants.

“The program focuses on a range of public management areas including strategy, policy development, management controls and operations, and management of human resources. The curriculum is designed to build on the skills which experienced executives already possess.”

Councilor Melissa Halpin said it was not appropriate that the LGMA would spend almost 55,000 of public money on the trip at a time when it was also overseeing the collection of the household charge.

“Apparently six senior executives have gone over which would cost the equivalent of 550 household charges,” she said.

“I think it is unacceptable that money that is supposed to be earmarked for public services is being spent on sending senior executives to go to America.”

Dublin People

71 Years of Bliss
A DERRYLECKA woman who met her husband while he was stationed in Newry during World War II have celebrated 71 years of marriage.

Trevor Harris and his wife Mary celebrated the milestone of 71 years of marriage on Tuesday, June 19. Speaking about her husband, Mary said, "Once he met me he wouldn't leave."

Trevor, a soldier in the 1st/5th Welsh Regiment, was stationed in the town during the war when he met his bride-to-be at a social night for the troops at Newry Methodist Church.

The 99-year-old said, "I went to the church hall and Mary was there. We sat down and had a cup of tea and that was it."

After dating for over a year the couple wed in the same church where they met. Mary, 92, said they waited until she was 21 to tie the knot. "We had to wait until I was 21 because Trevor was a stranger in the area, but he was worth the wait.