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A child takes part in Sam's Potatoes world record attempt for the largest ever potato sack race in conjunction with potato.ie. Over 400 people took part in the race at Tullamore Show on Sunday, which aimed to raise awareness for National Potato Day on Friday, August 23. Photo by: Photocall Ireland

Ireland’s Eye, a roundup of top news stories August 14th, 2013

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A child takes part in Sam's Potatoes world record attempt for the largest ever potato sack race in conjunction with potato.ie. Over 400 people took part in the race at Tullamore Show on Sunday, which aimed to raise awareness for National Potato Day on Friday, August 23. Photo by: Photocall Ireland

Fox on the Loose
THREE dogs have been killed by a fox in Ennis, sparking fears for the safety not only of pets but also of young infants.

Efforts are being made to trap the animal that attacked dogs in two separate incidents in the Tobarteascain area of Ennis.

County dog warden Frankie Coote warned this week the animal is a “danger.”

“I would say to anyone with very small children that they shouldn’t leave them unattended outside until we get this sorted. Foxes can come out in daytime, as well as night.  Anyone with small dogs in that area would be advised to bring them in at night,” he said.

In recent days, a woman living in Tobarteascain came out of her home after dusk to find her dog being attacked by the fox. The owner tried to fight the animal off. However, the fox broke the neck of her pet, killing it.

This is the second incident believed to involve the same fox. The first attack occurred a number of weeks ago and involved two dogs that were in a run at their owner’s home, also in Tobarteascain.

However, due to the unusual nature of fox attacks on dogs, it was not believed at the time that the wild creature was responsible for the act.

One of the dogs was killed inside the run, while the other dog was taken to the woods, where its remains were later found by Coote.

“The dog in the run was killed and three-quarters of it were eaten. I found the remains of the second dog in the woods. When it was first reported, I didn’t believe that it was a fox because that is so unusual. I thought it was another dog that did this,” Coote said.

“I’ve only seen a rogue fox once before where it chased a woman in her own house in Tulla and we had to remove it. This is really unusual. This has stunned me.” 

The eyewitness account of the latest attack has led to valuable information that could lead to the capture of the animal.

“She identified that the tail was like a wire brush, like it has mange and is not bushy. That gives us something to go on in identifying the fox. It’s small and it sounds like it is probably a female,” said Coote, who has obtained a trap for the animal. Contact is being made with the National Parks and Wildlife Service in relation to the matter.

Clare Champion

Judgment Against Postman
THE Newcastle West postmaster whose employment was terminated following the theft of €105,000 in a “tiger” kidnapping in 2011 was “negligent” and oversaw “a serious failure” in security at the time, according to court documents.

Thomas Kelleher, who earlier this summer lost a High Court challenge to prevent An Post from stripping him of a contract he held for 19 years, failed to train staff in how to deal with hostage situations and misused post office money by giving himself a €12,000 cash advance when going on holiday the day before the kidnapping, according to information provided during the case.

As part of their decision to cease his contract, An Post has demanded that Kelleher come up with €52,500 – 50 percent of money stolen in the theft -- after claiming that “security failures” and his negligence had contributed the success of the kidnapping.

Kelleher was this week finalizing a Supreme Court appeal against the decision by Justice Michael Peart in May to dismiss his application for an injunction against An Post. The company has since restarted the process of seeking a new operator for the Newcastle West post office, but it may now have to put this on hold -- possibly for several years -- if the Supreme Court appeal goes ahead.

Peart’s written ruling, published last month following the finalization of the High Court case, provides a detailed timeline of the behind-the-scenes cycle of accusation and recrimination between Kelleher and An Post in the aftermath of the kidnapping on June 28, 2011.

Limerick Leader

Broke Leitrim
LEITRIM is one of the three most debt-laden counties in the country with an average debt of between €20,000 to €31,000 per average consumer.

The figures found that the average consumer now owes more than four times what they did in 2008.

In 2008 the average consumer debt was only €2,442 but since then consumer debt has soared nationally. Last year, figures from the Stubbs Gazette found that the average debt in Leitrim was eight times the 2008 figure and this year the figure has again risen leaving Leitrim, along with counties Waterford and Cavan, among the most debt laden in the country.

James Treacy, managing director of Stubbs Gazette, said the high debt recorded for Leitrim and Cavan was linked to the number of ghost estates in those counties. These estates are being sold off for a fraction of their original price and some developers involved in these estates have defaulted on loans to NAMA, which has impacted on figures.

Meanwhile, council housing list in Leitrim has dropped 82 percent in two years, completely bucking the rising trend seen nationally.  Some 1,622 people were on a waiting list for a council house in Leitrim in 2011, but this year that figure has been dramatically reduced to just 284.

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