Ireland's Eye – A roundup of top Irish news stories


Stolen Snake
GARDAI are investigating the theft of a six foot long Albino Boa Constrictor from the Duleek area. The snake, named Jenga, was stolen from a log cabin at the rear of the property outside Duleek in the early hours of Saturday, May 4.

Owner Joanna Lynch explained that the snake needs specialist care and handling and must be kept in a hot temperature. “The longer it is away from its tank, the sicker it will get and it won’t be worth anything to anybody,” she said.

Lynch is offering a reward for the safe return of the family pet and has said there will be no questions asked.  She has had the snake for eight years and explained it was the first of its type to be brought into the country.

While there are now other Albino Boa Constrictors in the country, they would still be quite rare and Jenga would be the largest of her kind.

The Meath Chronicle

Stab Instead Of Jail
A CASTLEBAR youth who should have been jailed on Friday, May 3 was the victim of a stabbing attack in broad daylight in Castlebar on Monday, May 6.

The youth’s injuries are not believed to be life threatening. The victim, a 16-year-old male, was stabbed at least once in the hand and Gardai (police) have arrested a young male in connection with the incident.

Controversially the victim should not even have been at liberty as he was due to be jailed three days previous for breach of bail terms.

He had appeared before Westport Children’s Court on April 11 charged with the assault of a retired Garda in Castlebar. He pleaded guilty.

On that date Judge Mary Devins was told that the youth was living with a friend of the family who had taken him in, and the court heard he was making progress.  Devins observed that there was “a chink of light” in the case and adjourned the matter to October to see if he could maintain the improvement in his behavior.

He had also previously appeared on another charge of assault and on public order charges and was remanded on bail, on conditions including that he obey a curfew and refrain from drinking alcohol.

Ballina Children’s Court was told on Friday, May 3 that he had breached the terms of his bail by breaking his curfew. Devins was told he had been drinking and failed to return to where he was residing on two separate nights since his last court appearance on April 11.

The court was also told that the youth was himself at risk, something borne out by the stabbing.
Devins was told he could not be imprisoned as there was no room in any detention centers in the country. She was also told that as the woman who had taken care of the youth was no longer in a position to do so at this point in time and as no detention place was available for the youth, he was effectively homeless. Councilor Michael Kilcoyne said that what happened sends out a frightening message.

“This guy probably thinks he is untouchable. Even when a judge wants to jail you, after you’ve been warned several times, you won’t be sent to jail because there’s no room for you. It raises serious questions -- why should people follow the law?” he said.

The Mayo News

No Suicide Prevention Plan
A DONEGAL coroner has strongly hit out at what he claims is the government’s failure to tackle the “growing epidemic” of suicide.

Coroner John Cannon said the problems are being exacerbated by the culture of “doom and gloom” following the economic downturn, but he said an emphasis on humanities is being “overlooked” by the government.

Cannon, coroner for Donegal North West, made his comments after he heard evidence in the inquests of two men who died by suicide in the county.  One was a 51-year-old farmer while the other was a 19-year-old unemployed man.

Cannon said it angered him that the government “don’t see it important to put an emphasis on suicide.”

He said while they had put resources into helping reduce road deaths, the same focus is not put on suicide prevention which, at times, accounted for almost as many deaths.

“Suicide is not inherent in the young but affects the wider spectrum of society. All too often I have to face the sad and broken families of such deaths,” he said.

He added that much of the government emphasis in the current “doom and gloom” society was on “budget balancing” in Europe and had “very little emphasis on self harm or suicide,” with the exception of President Michael D. Higgins, who recently raised the issue of the human cost of the recession.

“It angers me. Every week I get a call on the suicide of a young person in our society but very little is being done about it,” Cannon said.

The coroner heard that the 19-year-old in question had been suffering from depression and had sought treatment.

His father told the inquest his son had recently completed a computer course and would generally feel better when he was in employment.