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


Dog for Ransom
HEARTLESS thieves have stolen a local woman's dog and threatened to stab it if she doesn't pay a £3,000 ransom.

Armagh councilor Mealla Campbell's pug Moses went missing from her home near Blackwatertown on Wednesday, January 16. Campbell reported Moses missing to the Police Service of Northern Ireland and to various shelters, dog wardens, websites, vets and shops, but still there has never been any trace of him.

“I cried for two weeks when we lost Moses and my three-year old asks for him every day," said Campbell.

To add to the family's pain of losing their pet, they have received three threatening phone calls from people claiming to have Moses.

“The first person to phone told me he has a pug and he would cut his paws off and stab him if we didn't pay £3000," she said.  “I contacted the police who were able to trace the call to a property in Morcambe, Lancashire in England. I have received two further calls and one of these has been traced to a house in Belfast.

“We miss Moses every day and my child asks for him all the time but yet these people have no trouble in phoning us up and threatening us.  It is really hard not knowing where Moses is, if he is being mistreated or even used for baiting with fighting dogs.

“We are absolutely heartbroken, but I want to make sure other people don't go through this as well."
As well as the theft of Moses, there have been reports of dogs going missing in Tandragee, Banbridge and Keady, and on all occasions a white van has been spotted nearby.

“I just want to appeal to other dog owners to remain vigilant, if there is a gang operating in the area then people need to be aware,” Campbell said.

Ulster Gazette

Jailed for Shouting

A BALLYCLARE woman has been sent to prison for three months after shouting and swearing in Antrim Area Hospital while only meters away from the bereaved relatives of another patient.

Karen Maxwell was arrested last week just before she was due to appear at Antrim Magistrate's Court. An arrest warrant had been issued for the 44-year-old after she failed to appear at a previous hearing.  A defense solicitor said that she had got her “dates confused.”

The court heard that police attended Antrim Hospital on January 3 after reports that a female was causing disruption to staff, patients and visitors. She was identified and officers learned that she had arrived at the A&E department earlier in the evening with facial bruising and a head wound.

The prosecution confirmed that a CT scan came back clear and her behavior was due to her “drunkenness” rather than the injury.

“She was aggressive and medical staff had to spend a disproportionate amount of time with her," the lawyer said.  “She was shouting and swearing at staff and patients for around 30-40 minutes.

“A patient in A&E had died earlier in the evening and the bereaved relatives were only around eight meters away from her.  She was arrested and continued to be verbally abusive towards police."

A defense solicitor conceded that Maxwell had a limited record but now knew that her behavior was “utterly unacceptable.”  

“She has suffered with depression throughout her adult life and on the night, she drank a bottle of vodka and made the bad decision to go to the hospital," defense continued.

“She has sought assistance from the Community Addictions Team and while her difficult upbringing is no excuse, it does give a backdrop to the offenses.  There are worse incidents at the hospital and I would ask that Your Worship considers a course of action that will allow her to provide to the community."

Speaking directly to Maxwell, District Judge Robert Alcorn said, “You drank a bottle of vodka and decided to go to the hospital and annoy everyone you could see.   There has been trauma in your life, yes, but the people in hospital have traumas too and you didn't give a toot about them. I am not prepared to wash this to one side."

Ballyclare Gazette

Low Limerick Sales
JUST over 30 properties in Limerick sold in February, the lowest number of sales locally in over a year.

The value of properties sold in Limerick for February amounted to nearly €4 million, with the exclusion of one investment property. The average price for a house in Limerick, according to figures with the Property Price Register, is just over €117,000.

A total of 95 properties across Limerick city and county have sold to date this year, though sales continue to be added to the national register.

By comparison, 1,006 properties sold in Dublin for the same period, 342 sold in Cork, Galway had 168 sales, Kerry had 112, Tipperary had 114, 72 properties sold in Mayo and 70 sold in Clare.
Overall there have been 3,187 sales in the entire country to date this year, with Limerick sales representing less than 3% of the entire lot to date.