Ireland's Eye - A round up of top Irish news stories


Lost Pooch Found, Not Returned
A KEADY family has slammed the council's stray dog re-homing policy after their St. Bernard pet had been given a new home less than a week after it went missing -- and the new owners have refused to give the dog back.

Donagh Nugent's eight-month old dog Bella, bought from a breeder in Carlow, went missing on February 13 outside their home. The distressed family searched for days and eventually came to the assumption their dog had been stolen.

In a last ditch attempt, a phone call was made to the dog kennel on Monday, February 18 but there was no answer. Another call was made the next day, and the family were told there was "good and bad news.”

“The good news was Bella had been found on the Wednesday she had gone missing,” Nugent said.

“The bad news was she had been re-homed the following Tuesday."

The pound explained that they could only hold the dog for five days, but Nugent wasn't aware that the five days included weekends and not five working days.

Despite contacting the new owners to inform them Bella's family had rang the pound, they have declined to return the dog to its original owners.

“To be fair to the pound, they have done everything they can to retrieve our dog.  The new owners had originally said they would return Bella but after speaking with the Citizens Advice, they changed their mind and will not return our dog,” Nugent said.

"We just feel like we have been stolen from. Bella was our dog and we loved her very much. I would like to ask the new owners to reconsider and return the dog to us."

SDLP Councilor Thomas O'Hanlon has called for an urgent review of how long the council's own dog warden service keep dogs before being re-homed.

Ulster Gazette

Dying Dublin?
DUBLIN city center is in danger of "dying" during the day, a councilor has warned.
John O’Hara issued the alert after it emerged the city's retail core -– including Grafton Street on the Southside and Henry Street on the Northside –- is "losing market share.”

"With regard to retail, it has to be said the city center is losing market share not only to shopping centers but to digital media (which is) exemplified by HMV closing," O’Hara said, referring to the U.K. music store chain which recently shuttered its doors.

But on the positive side, the capital's nightlife seems to be thriving.

"There is, according to recent planning applications, a growth in restaurants, eating-out facilities and evening entertainment in the city. Maybe that's something we need to look at in the future -– is that a trend we should be promoting or not?" he said.

Fine Gael's Bill Tormey said foot traffic in the city center "seems to be in decline and the traders seem to be losing profits.”

"It seems to be that there may be a long-term trend evolving here where the city center is in fact dying," he said.

"It's okay to say we're getting more people in for food and entertainment later on, but that means that the city can die in the daytime and suddenly come alive and then die again," he added.

They were speaking after the council released a review of the implementation of the city development plan, one of the aims of which is to strengthen the capital as a national retail destination.

Evening Herald

Negligence Suit
THE Western Health and Social Care Trust and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are being sued over a case in which a convicted sex offender killed himself and his family in a house fire in Omagh six years ago.

Relatives are claiming there was negligence in the supervision and monitoring of Arthur McElhill, who set fire to his house in Lammy. The fire in 2007 claimed the lives of his partner, Lorraine McGovern, 29, and their five young children. The relatives have lodged legal papers at the High Court in Belfast.

A coroner later ruled that McElhill burned the house because McGovern threatened to leave him. She died in the blaze along with children Caroline, 13; Sean, seven; Bellina, four; one-year-old Clodagh and 10-month-old baby James.

McElhill, who was a heavy drinker and suffering from depression, was also killed. He had previously been convicted of sexually assaulting teenage girls and was on the sex offenders register. It also emerged that he had been having sex with a 16-year-old girl in the weeks before the fire.

The action is being brought by Kevin McGovern. The writ claims damages on behalf of the estate of McGovern and her children, saying there was a breach of duty by the health authority and the police.

The papers allege that the loss sustained by the estate of each of the six deceased was due to the negligence and breach of duty by the defendants with regard to the supervision, monitoring, care and control of McElhill, and the care and supervision of the six deceased.

A further review of the case has been listed for October.