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Irish Red Cross Youth Anti-Bullying campaign. Photo by: Photocall Ireland

Ireland's Eye, a roundup of top news stories, Dec 4 2013

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Irish Red Cross Youth Anti-Bullying campaign. Photo by: Photocall Ireland

Pothole Disaster

Massive potholes delayed an anxious family’s urgent dash to hospital with a seriously ill baby when the horrific road conditions in Carlanstown caused a tire to blow out.

The Purfield family of Drakerath, Carlanstown are terrified that their little boy, Charlie, who had a serious heart operation last May, might not get help in time if he needs it.

Ray Purfield says the road outside his house is like a minefield.

“Some of the holes are half way up my shins when I am standing in them,” he said.

“Charlie still has up and downs and we often have to drop everything and rush to Crumlin at any hour of the day.

“It came to a head recently when at 2:30 in the morning.  Charlie took bad and we were advised to head to Crumlin.  As you can imagine, these things happen in a rush and while heading through our minefield I got a blow out and had to swap cars.

“Now, thank God, everything was fine in the end, but what if those few minutes make a difference in getting to hospital in time?  If an ambulance is needed how would they get here in time?” he asked.
Purfield said that cars need to be crawling along the road, which runs in a horseshoe off the N52 near Staholmog, in order to avoid the potholes, and it is difficult to see them at night.

“I am afraid of my life that something will happen and that we will not be able to get out,” he said.

“When a child is sick you don’t want to have to spend 10 minutes traveling just 100 meters.  We live less than half a mile from the main road, but it literally takes us more than 10 minutes to get to it.”

A spokesperson for Meath County Council said they are aware of the problems on the lane, which is on a prioritization list for road restoration works in 2014.

“However, the council will endeavor to carry out some interim repairs to facilitate access,” she said. 
- Meath Chronicle

Thief Scared Of Mother

A teenager who stole his mother’s car in the middle of the night and crashed into two vehicles said, “My mother is going to kill me, I’ve wrecked the car” before fleeing the scene.

The 17-year-old was before Kilmallock Court charged with the unauthorized taking of a vehicle and two counts of criminal damage. A guilty plea was entered to all counts.

Sergeant Michelle Leahy said Gardai (police) responded to a call of a hit and run at Kylefea, Croom in the early hours of Friday morning, October 11.

“Gardai attended the scene and met one of the car’s owners. They said a silver Volkswagen had hit off both of the cars, drove off and was abandoned.

“Gardai checked the vehicle and went to the house of the owner,” said Leahy.

Another witness told Gardai they had seen two young males in dark clothes leaving the car and heard one saying, “My mother is going to kill me, I’ve wrecked the car.”

Gardai called to the home of the teen’s mother, who did know not the car had been taken. They checked his bedroom which was empty.

“Gardai heard a noise and the defendant came in to the house. He was very defensive about his actions,” said Leahy.

The young male’s solicitor, Denis Linehan, said on the night in question his client couldn’t sleep.
“He located his mother’s car keys on a seat and decided to go for a drive. He was driving very fast, hit two cars and abandoned his mother’s car.

“He was defensive and didn’t make a proper admission for another few hours,” said Linehan.

The court heard that in terms of compensation for the damage caused in the crash the mother’s insurance or the injured parties insurance will cover it. Without wishing to sound “elitist,” Linehan said the teenager comes from an excellent background and family.

“He is causing great grief and it is having a devastating effect on the overall family. He is creating mayhem,” said Linehan.

The court heard that he dropped out of school after the Junior Cert and now spends his days at home.

Linehan said his Junior Cert results showed the 17-year-old had “some talent” and “should be in some form of education.”

The teen was convicted by Judge Larkin who ordered a report from the probation and welfare services. She said her views on sentencing will be colored by how he goes about becoming a responsible functioning adult.

“He has to be of good behavior and sober habits,” said Larkin, who added that he now had “two choices.”

“This is either a stepping stone to a life in jail or to living a life,” concluded the judge.
- Limerick Leader

Toilet Trawler

A 57-year-old man who was caught with his trousers down while engaging in a sexual act in a public toilet in Enniskillen has been ordered to serve a two-year probation order.

Thomas James Loughran was caught by a number of police officers in the Head Street public toilets on August 24 following a complaint by a member of the public.

Loughran, of Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone, has a 20-year history of engaging in homosexual activity in public toilets and was previously convicted of similar offenses in Cookstown and Omagh.

He told the officers that he had been visiting the toilets to take part in sexual activity in Enniskillen for two months prior to being caught. A prosecutor explained to the court that a member of the public alerted police to the incident in August. Following a search of the toilets, police found a note stuck to one of the cubicle doors inviting men to engage in sexual activity in the next cubicle.

Officers then noticed the next cubicle door was partially open, and after shouting “police” they opened the door and discovered Loughran with his trousers down while apparently engaged in a sexual act.

Loughran was standing behind the door but not using the toilet and it is believed he was alone at the time. He was escorted out of the toilets and spoken to in the back of the police car where he admitted visiting the toilets to take part in sexual activity and had previously done so with a man.
Defense solicitor John McCaffrey said the accused, whose female partner of 13 years attended court with him, was deeply embarrassed about the incident as were the police officers who found him.

“He has offered no other explanation for why he was there and understands he will suffer the consequences for what he has done,” McCaffrey said.

“Because of his previous record it does cause probation some concern and there is a medium likelihood he will reoffend. He says he is more than happy to work with probation.  He would not be able to do community service as he suffers from depression and health problems.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said he needed to protect the public and ensure this incident doesn’t happen again.

Loughran was handed a two-year probation order and told to engage in any program deemed necessary to help cure his problem.
- Fermanagh Herald

Letterkenny Honored

Failte Ireland honored Letterkenny as one of the top 10 towns in Ireland making a difference to tourism at the 2013 Tourism Towns awards ceremony in Dublin.

The highest accolade went to Kilkenny which won the national title of Ireland’s Tourism Town 2013.  The medieval town was chosen from a shortlist of 10 top tourism towns including Letterkenny.

The Tourism Towns Award was designed by Failte Ireland to promote Irish towns and villages which are working hardest to enhance their appeal to tourists visiting their local area.

Comments from the judging panel on Letterkenny included: “The visitor experience in Letterkenny is excellent in relation to food, accommodation and entertainment. The commitment of the town to present and maintain the streets in a tidy fashion is impressive. This along with the public area improvements has considerably enhanced the appearance of the town center.”
- Donegal News

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