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


“My brother was reading the paper and recognized the card as like the ones the staff at New Hope had made,” said Sonia.

Fermanagh Herald

New Bag Charge

SHOPPERS in Northern Ireland will soon have to fork out at least 5p for each plastic shopping bag they use.

The charge, which takes effect on April 8, will affect all new single use bags, including those which are biodegradable.

"The levy, a first for Northern Ireland, will apply to the majority of new single use carrier bags, regardless of the material from which the bag is made," said Environment Minister Alex Attwood.

"It is not just on plastic bags but other single use bags from other natural materials.  There are still some occasions when a bag will be provided free of charge."
Bags for medication, meat and hot food will be exempt from the 5p levy, as will some small bags.

"At the moment we are using around 250 million carrier bags each year in Northern Ireland and we need to cut that number dramatically to reduce environmental damage. The evidence from other countries shows that a bag levy is a very effective way of doing this. Bring your own bag and you will not have to pay the levy," the minister added.

Belfast Telegraph

No Mansion Takers

HE was offered €10 million for it at the height of the boom, and perhaps he should have taken it.
Because a month after going on the market for just €990,000, former Westlife singer Shane Filan has still not found a buyer for his home.

Set in five acres at Carraroe, outside Sligo town, estate agents had described the five-bedroom detached home as a "modern-day mansion with no expense spared" when the property first went on the market in February.

But despite several viewings, a buyer has yet to be found.

Now it looks as if another price-cut might be needed to shift the house, which cost Filan an estimated €3 million to complete in 2004.

"The property is still on the market and a viewing can be arranged," estate agents Sherry Fitzgerald Draper said.

Initially, there had been huge interest when the house first came on the market. But like so many other luxury properties for sale nationwide, it has struggled to find a buyer.

However an insider remained confident one would be found for the home, which has been described as "exceptional by any standards." Features include a gym, a snooker room, two living rooms, a music room and a study.

All this is behind electronically controlled gates on landscaped grounds with a lake, patio and terraces as well as a golfing area.

In 2006, a Japanese businessman offered Filan €10 million for the house.

The 32-year-old, who sold 43 million records worldwide with Westlife, was declared bankrupt in the U.K. last June where he now lives. More than €18 million is owed to creditors from the building company owned by Shane Filan and his brother Finbarr.

Evening Herald