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News from around the 32 counties

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 Antrim

Double murderer Colin Howell has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for indecently assaulting five of his female dental patients.

The assaults took place at his dental implant clinic in Ballymoney, County Antrim.
 
The 52-year-old, who is serving life for gassing his wife and then lover's husband, had previously pleaded guilty to 12 charges of taking advantage of the sedated women over a period of four years in his Co Antrim practice.
 
As Judge Corine Philpott passed the sentence, which will run concurrent with his life murder tariff, she noted that some of his victims did not even know what had happened to them.
 
"These injured parties did not know what was going on, they did not know precisely what happened, but you did," she told him.
 
The judge added: "You are an intelligent man and you had the means to stop yourself from doing this... you did not."
(Source: UTV News)
 
Armagh
 
The Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal of a man convicted of the murder of two teenagers in County Armagh.
 
Stephen Leslie Brown, 30, was found guilty in 2009 of the murders of David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb.
 
The victims' mutilated bodies were found on an isolated country road near Tandragee, in February 2000.
 
Brown's appeal was based on the reliance of the evidence of Mark Burcombe, who admitted a lesser charge over the murders.
 
Counsel for Brown contended that the trial judge erred by not rejecting Burcombe's evidence in light of a number of alleged inconsistencies and falsehoods.
(Source: BBC News)
 
Carlow
 
School childen around Carlow town are coming into contact with “dangerous” and “potentially hazardous” toxic substances every day that could lead to blindness, according to one local man. 


 
TP O’Neill deemed dog owners who allow their pets to foul public pathways “irresponsible”, before adding that children who come in contact with dog’s dirt risk blindness and serious illness.

 

“Just walk around the five schools in the Askea area and you will find the pathways full of dog faeces from infected pets. Parasitic worms infect most dogs at some time in their lives, which is a very dangerous hazard to the local children,” he complained.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)
 
Cavan
 
A Co Cavan business whose subsidiary is building a new hospital in Co Fermanagh now faces three separate winding-up petitions.
 
A division of family-run firm P Elliott is part of consortium the Northern Ireland Health Group, which is building the new South West Hospital in Enniskillen.
 
That firm, P Elliott and Company (Northern Ireland), was served with a winding-up petition by McMullen Architectural Systems in Craigavon for an unpaid bill of more than £100,000.
 
The petition will be heard at Belfast's High Court on June 2.
 
A McMullen spokeswoman said the measure last month was a "last resort" after it had waited for payment for more than a year.
 (Source: Belfast Telegraph)
 
Clare
 
Clare brain injury patients have to travel outside the county for vital residential rehabilitation facilities because of a Health Service Executive (HSE) anomaly, it emerged last week.
 
The Clare Champion has learned that people suffering from brain damage cannot secure admission to a top-quality multi-disciplinary team in St Joseph’s Geriatric Hospital, Ennis, unless they are over the age of 65.

 
Clare patients under 65 years have to try to secure services at St Camillus’ Hospital in Limerick, private facilities that haven’t the necessary rehabilitation services or the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dublin.

 
According to the Health Service Executive (HSE), health services in Clare are conducting a detailed review of this anomaly.
The crisis was highlighted at a HSE West Forum meeting in Galway last Tuesday by Councilor Tom McNamara, who asked the authority to outline the plans it has in place to provide residential rehabilitation for Clare brain injury patients under the age of 65.
(Source: The Clare Champion)
 
Cork
 
A garda (police officer) was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he admitted assaulting a man in Cork city while he was off duty almost two years ago.
 
Garda Dean Foley, who is from Blarney and stationed in Bantry in Co Cork, has become the first garda to receive a custodial sentence since the establishment of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission in 2007.
 
12 months of his 18-month prison sentence were suspended.
 
Dean Foley was on the Grand Parade, Cork city centre, at around 11pm on the night of 12 September, 2009.
 
He was off duty and was with his brother, Travis.
 
Stephen Gerard Murphy from Grenagh, Co Cork, was there too.
Source: (RTE News)
 
Derry
 
Derry’s £56m cancer treatment centre is to be up and running within five years, Health Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed.
 
Last weeks announcement by Mr Poots that the shelved cross-border radiotherapy centre is to go ahead as planned was warmly welcomed in the North West by patients, politicians and health chiefs.
 
There were cheers of joy from cancer campaigners, The Pink Ladies, and medical professionals as they watched the DUP Minister announce his decision on television during a special Stormont address at lunchtime.
 
Mr Poots said that making a decision on the unit for Altnagelvin was his “first priority” after the project was controversially mothballed by his predecessor Michael McGimpsey in his last act as health minister in the previous Assembly. Mr McGimpsey said he believed it would be irresponsible to proceed with the project as revenue was not available to the department to run the facility.
(Source: Derry Journal)
 
Donegal
 
Donegal is recovering from the gale force winds that hit the county late last week. Named Udo by meteorologists, the storm brought winds of up to 80mph to exposed areas of the county bringing down trees, electricity lines and telegraph poles.
 
Members of the public were warned to stay clear of downed electricity cables as ESB crews worked to restore power to around 10,000 customers.
 
While the storm affected most of the country during the day the north west was the worst affected. The ESB said most of the 25,000 customers affected nationally were in Mayo and Donegal.
 
With trees in full leaf they were more prone to falling than during a winter storm.
 
Trees were brought down in most parts of the county and ESB lines and telegraph lines were downed in Letterkenny, Raphoe, Milford, Ballyshannon, Donegal Town, Ardara, Carrick and Inishowen. The Finn Valley was also hit with trees downed in Ballybofey, Doneyloop, and Killygordon.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)
 
Down
 
At just 15 months old little Faith Tilley is waiting for a kidney transplant.
 
Luckily mum Lynsey has proved a match, and the Downpatrick family have been fundraising for a charity they hope will help the toddler sooner rather than later.
 
Faith suffers from the rare Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome, which means her kidneys leak protein. They will eventually have to be removed, but if she waits for surgery in Northern Ireland it could be another six years before she is treated.
 
Lynsey explained that specialist surgeons in London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital could be operating on her daughter in just over a year.
 
“You have to weigh 20 kilos to get an adult’s kidney here,” she said. “At Great Ormond Street it is 10 kilos, and Faith currently weights 9.1 kilos.”
 
From shortly after her birth Faith has endured nightly albumen injections to replace the protein she loses in her urine, been tube fed through her stomach, and having suffered a bleed to the brain has had to have a type of pump called a shunt fitted.
(Source: The Down Recorder)
 
Dublin
 
The murder of a young Dublin man is being linked to two vicious assaults.
 
Dean Johnson (20) was blasted up to six times as he sat in the back of a car just yards from his home in Neilstown last week.
 
The victim was known to gardai (police) mainly for breaches of the public order act and was not considered a member of any gang.
 
A senior source explained: "Mr Johnson was involved in two very bad assaults, one only last weekend at a west Dublin nightclub.
 
"In both instances, a bottle was smashed into someone's face."
 
“At this stage there is nothing to indicate that this murder was part of any gang dispute as the victim was not known to be involved in that type of activity. But all avenues are being explored.
 
“The victim was not considered a major criminal but he was fast building a reputation as a thug in the locality,” the source said.
 
“And all the early indications are that there are people in the local community who have the information that could lead to progress in this investigation.”
 
Last week's shooting is the first gangland murder in Dublin this year as gardai believe a fatal shooting in Inchicore earlier this month was the result of drug-fuelled horseplay.
(Source: The Evening Hearld)
 
Fermanagh
 
Concerns over the future of the Milk Cup have been raised as the countdown to this year’s competition begins. Co Fermanagh take on Tottenham Hotspur in the competition this year.
 
Speaking at the draw for the top international youth football tournament at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena, event driving force Jim Sandford stressed that public funding would be required to keep the Milk Cup on these shores.
 
Addressing an audience of sports people, politicians and the media, Sandford made an impassioned plea for a cash injection to help keep alive one of Northern Ireland’s major annual tourist attractions.
 
“It is about time certain public bodies gave us some support, or the Milk Cup may not be with us in Northern Ireland much longer,” he warned.
 
He later revealed that the competition’s organizing committee had been approached to take the Milk Cup to England – but this is something he and his colleagues are keen to avoid at all costs.
 
He said: “There are people casting envious eyes at the Milk Cup to take it elsewhere, but we are very adamant that we want to keep it in Northern Ireland. 
(Source: Belfat Telegraph)
 
Galway
 
A Galway milliner following in the footsteps of his famous mentor Philip Treacy is building a growing reputation for himself in the fashion world at home and abroad.
 
Mark T. Burke has seen his star rise just twelve months after winning the 2010 Golden Egg Productions’ Accessory Designer of the Year. The Loughrea native now operates his own business out of the spare bedroom of his home, but delivers all over Ireland and the UK.
(Source: GalwayBay Fm)
 
Kerry
 
Some 60 jobs are to be cut from services company Fexco, the firm announced last Friday.
 
The positions at the firm's Cahersiveen facility in Co Kerry will be let go from the end of this month after a contract ended.
 
All affected staff have been informed.
 
"The contract's completion has been known for some time and has been communicated both internally and externally by the company," the company said in a statement.
 
"The Cahersiveen facility continues to operate as an integral part of Fexco's operations and the company is committed to finding a replacement for the contract."
 
The company said the contract was originally due to end in August last year, but was extended to May.
 
Fexco employs 1,060 people in Ireland and more than 1,500 around the world.
 
It is headquartered in Killorglin, Co Kerry and also has offices in Cork and Dublin.
(Source: Corkman)
 
Kildare
 
Kildare Co Council is totting up the bill for the works it carried out in preparation for the visit of Queen Elizabeth ll to the county two weeks ago. But the rate payers of Kildare won’t be left to foot the bill as the works are being funded through a separate allocation from the Department of the Environment.
 
Security chiefs were able to breathe a sigh of relief at the fact that there were no security hiccups en route to and from the two Kildare venues visited by the Queen, the Irish National Stud and Gilltown Stud.
 
Grass verges were trimmed, roads were re-surfaced and speed ramps were removed in readiness for the visit. 
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)
 
Kilkenny
 
A new Traffic plan is to be implemented in the Fair Green area in the centre of Gowran. The new traffic layout is being implemented to improve sight lines for traffic exiting the Fair Green.
 
Residents of the Fair Green had proposed the construction of a new exit but Thomastown Area Engineer, Tony Lauhoff said that this proposed exit wouldn’t meet the sight line requirements laid down by the National Roads Authority.
 
The Fair Green in Gowran joins to the main street through Gowran, the R448. The speed limit on the road is 50kph. In accordance to the NRA the sight line requirement for any road joining a 50kph is a minimum of 70m. The only exit on to the R448 that meets this requirement is the north exit beside Glasrai agus Goodies.
 
To allow access to Harding Fireplaces a full one way system will no be implemented. Instead the south entrance to the Fair Green only will be restricted to a one way system.
(Source: Kilkenny People)
 
Laois
 
A memorial service for John Delaney who died climbing Mount Everest, was held in Ballinakill last Friday.
 
John Delaney, who was originally from Ballinakill but was living in Kilcock, Kildare is believed to have collapsed just 50 meters from the summit last weekend.
 
According to reports, when Mr Delaney got into difficulties, members of his team helped him down the mountainside, but they were unable to resuscitate the 41-year-old.
 
Although Mr Delaney died last Saturday week, his family only learned of his death eary last week, as the team were out of contact.
 
The Ballinkill native, who was married and had two young sons, died without knowing that his wife, Orla, had given birth to a baby girl last Wednesday week.
 
Mr Delaney’s family were well known in Ballinakill, where they used to run Massey Delaney’s pub on Bride Street. His mother, Massey, still lives in the town. Mr Delaney is also survived by his brother Chris and sister Geraldine, who lives in America.
(Source: Leinster Express)
 
Leitrim
 
A night manager at The Landmark Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon saved the day last Sunday morning, May 22 when he rescued a man who fell into the Shannon.
 
Bartosz Teclaw who has been working in The Landmark Hotel for over five years and lives locally became a hero at the weekend when he rescued a man who went down under water in the Shannon last Sunday morning.
 
Daniel Cross a manager at The Landmark Hotel told the paper that the hotel’s receptionist Margaret Nevin was coming in to start her shift at the hotel on Sunday morning at 7am when she noticed a young man staggering and wandering around the hotel’s rear car park.
 
She met Mr Teclaw as he was coming off his night shift and told him about the man.
 
At this stage the intoxicated man was crossing the road in front of the Landmark, Mr Teclaw watched the man as he headed for the Shannon, but when he went out of view he became concerned and decided to follow him.
 
Mr Teclaw ran down to the Shannon to find that the young man had gone under the water at the jetty. Mr Teclaw located the man, grabbed him and pulled him out.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)
 
Limerick
 
A 39 year old postman has died following a collision with a car on the Ennis Road last week.
 
Damien Parker, a married father of five year old twins who was from Oakwood in Singland, died after his delivery bike was struck by a car on the Ennis Road at around 11.30am last Thursday morning last.
 
The postman was exiting a housing estate across from the Greenhills Hotel estate on his bike when a collision occurred with a passing vehicle. The driver of the car was uninjured.
 
Mr Parker was taken to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital following the accident with serious injuries, and died shortly after 2.30pm.
.(Source: Limerick Leader)
 
Longford
 
US President Barack Obama will have a unique present to give to his two children - a book of children’s stories penned by Longford author Padraic Colum.
 
Mr Obama was given a copy of the late Abbey Theatre founder’s ‘Tales and Legends of Hawaii’, charting a series of myths and legends tales from the Longford poet’s time spent in the US state during the early 1920s.
 
Addressing members of the media last Monday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he had been approached by Trinity College lecturer, Dr Padraig Whyte with a view to making a presentation to Mr Obama in the lead-up to his state visit.
 
In one of the day’s more light-hearted moments, Mr Kenny told onlookers he was handing the book over to Mr Obama purely for safekeeping purposes.
 
“In 1922, Padraic Colum was commissioned by the Hawaiian legislature to track down myths and legends of Hawaii and write them as children’s stories. He produced three volumes of children’s stories and I have the honor of presenting the first edition not to the President, not to the First Lady, but to his children,Malia and Sasha.”
(Source: Longford Leader)
 
Louth
 
Kinky couples and singletons who like to have sex outdoors while others watch are using areas such as The Longwalk in Dundalk and local pub and hotel carparks. Members of the sex website www.swing4ireland.com have listed 24 locations in Louth where people can meet in public and engage in casual sex referred to as "dogging".
 
According to the website the expression comes from "walking the dog" and covers everything from "outdoor exihibitionism" to "car fun". One member who uses the website posted the following message: Titled "meet anywhere u want", the 28 year-old wrote: "... looking for female fun any age if u want to meet anywhere in dundalk just let me know mail me at or txt me".
(Source: Dundalk Democrat)
 
Mayo
 
A man who was known to gardaí (police) in Ballina was stopped last week and a large quantity of drugs with a street value of €6,500 were recovered. 
 
After gardaí received confidential information they stopped the man in a van in Ballina town centre. The man’s van was subsequently searched and a quantity of drugs which were believed to be ecstasy tablets were discovered in a concealed container in the back of the van.
 
The substance was sent to the forensic science laboratory for analysis and if the substance is positively identified as an illegal substance a file will be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
 
The man was arrested and conveyed to Ballina Garda Station after the discovery and he was questioned in relation to the incident. Gardaí say the man is not a native of the Ballina area.
(Source: The Mayo News)

Meath
 
Two men charged with criminal damage to a car made the Rubberbandits look like masterminds last week after gardai (police) caught them making their escape on a horse.
 
Gardai in Trim were called to a house at Ballycarn, Enfield, at 9am on Sunday morning, 22nd May, to investigate damage to a 1999.
 
Tipperary-registered red Nissan Micra. The car had its window smashed and there was an apparent attempt to break the steering lock.
 
It is alleged that the two broke into the car but were unable to start it before they fled the scene to a neighboring property where they saw a 'horse outside'.
 
Trim gardai, while at the Ballycarn house, were called to the neighbouring property and were told that a brown mare 15-plus hands high was missing.
 
The horse was spotted shortly afterwards on the old N4 with the two men on its back heading "east, towards Dublin" a garda spokesman said.
 
The men, aged 20 and 21, both with addresses in Ballyfermot, Dublin, were arrested and taken to Trim Garda Station.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)
 
Monaghan
 
ESB ecars and Topaz opened Ireland’s first electric vehicle fast-charge point at a Topaz service station in Coolshannagh, Co Monaghan. By the end of this year, ESB ecars is aiming to install 30 fast charge points across Ireland.
 
Back in April, ESB ecars entered into agreements with Topaz, The Maxol Group and Lidon to roll out fast-charge points in service stations across Ireland from May.
 
ESB says these fast-charge points will enable drivers to ‘power up’ electric cars from zero to 80pc of their capacity in less than 30 minutes, thus making it easier for drivers of electric cars to undertake longer journeys.
 
As well as featuring a fast-charge point, the Topaz service station in Coolshannagh on the N2 motorway in Co Monaghan will also have a standard electric car charge point.
(Source: siliconrepublic.com)
 
Offaly
 
The tourist industry got an unexpected boost even before the visits of Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama, with a 9pc surge in visitors in the first three months of the year.
 
It was the first time in two and a half years that there has been an increase in the number of tourists coming here.
 
But Irish holidaymakers appear to be feeling the pinch with a sharp fall of nearly 12pc in the number of foreign jaunts taken, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.
 
Mr Obama's ancestral village of Moneygall, Co Offaly, has been enjoying a flood of overseas visitors since his visit last Monday.
 
A guest book shows visitors from every corner of the world have been in Ollie Hayes's pub where First Lady Michelle Obama pulled a pint of Guinness last Monday.
 
Henry Healy, who lives on the village's Main Street, is stopped by tourists to pose for photographs every time he leaves his house.
(Source: Irish Independent)
 
Roscommon
 
Chris O’Dowd, 31, is already known to millions as Roy, the hapless tech support guy in the hit comedy series The IT Crowd (written by Father Ted genius comedy writer Graham Linehan).
 
To O’Dowd’s fans in Ireland and the U.K. he’s already a household name, but when he stepped into the rehearsal room in Los Angeles to read for his role as Officer Rhodes, an Irish-born traffic cop working in the U.S. in the new hit comedy Bridesmaids, almost no one else at the table knew who he was.
 
“They didn’t have a clue who I was, just like most of the audience still don’t, you know?” O’Dowd tells the Irish Voice. “And do you know what?  I hope it doesn’t change too much because there’s a huge freedom in no one having a clue who you are.”
 
The Boyle, Co. Roscommon native adds he’s only being slightly flippant.
 
“Creatively, when nobody knows you, there’s no expectation. Nobody is waiting for you to deliver a punch line or to be funny or serious,” O’Dowd feels.
 
“Nobody knows what to expect from you so you can do anything and people will be surprised. It’s really refreshing working here in the U.S. for that reason.”
 
O’Dowd was in Hollywood speaking to the Irish Voice by telephone, and like most Irishmen abroad the weather is the first thing he’s noticed.  “Today it’s lovely and sunny. I like that part about being in LA.”
 
But what about the fact that critics have been feting him all week for his breakout turn as Officer Rhodes in Bridesmaids?
 
“It’s been very exciting hasn’t it?” he laughs, but you hear the self-deprecation in his voice. He sounds like someone who can’t quite believe his luck and has no intention of letting it go to his head.
(Source: Irish Central)
 
Sligo
 
A 28-year-old man who doused his father's house in petrol and threatened to burn it down was jailed for three years when he appeared before Judge Anthony Kennedy at Sligo Circuit Court.
 
The term imposed on Raymond Farrell, Benbulben Terrace, Sligo was backdated to October 18th 2010 when he was taken into custody and the final six months of the sentence was suspended.
 
Farrell had pleaded guilty to damaging 14 Benbulben Terrace, a house rented by his father Tom from the Borough Council, on August 26th 2010. He also admitted a charge of making a threat to Garda (police officer) Matthew Murphy in a way which the defendant knew was likely to endanger the Garda's life.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)
 
Tipperary
 
A well-known independent supermarket which has been operating in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, for almost 40 years is to close with the loss of 70 jobs.
 
O’Connor’s, which opened in 1975, had to cease trading last week following the failure of refinancing and restructuring attempts. “On Tuesday evening we got the word from our advisers that they weren’t optimistic about our chances at refinancing, and really that the plan wasn’t going to work,” Rory O’Connor said.
 
Mr O’Connor, whose father Joseph started the business, said competition, particularly from large German supermarkets, and a fall in spending had led to a drop in trade. “There are now four supermarkets in Nenagh and it’s a small enough town. The German multiples have been taking more of the market, but people’s spending power is just gone. The universal social charge in particular had an instant effect.”
 
The rescue plan hinged on property values and the willingness of banks to “take a longer-term view” in relation to the repayment of loans. But it emerged last week that these issues couldn’t be resolved, Mr O’Connor said.
(Source: Irish Times)

Tyrone
 
Detectives investigating the murder of PSNI officer Ronan Kerr have appealed for anyone with video footage of the Omagh half-marathon to hand it over.
 
The booby-trap bomb which killed the Catholic police recruit was planted yards from the route in the Co Tyrone town by dissident republicans.
 
Tens of thousands of hours of CCTV footage has already been seized by police.
 
Investigating officer Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray said it was going to be a long and protracted investigation.
 
“But we have been encouraged by the co-operation which we have received,” he said.
 
“Anyone who thinks they may have relevant photographic material from the half-marathon, taken between 1.15pm and 1.45pm in the Highfield area, is asked to contact police at Omagh.”
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)
 
Waterford
 
Two kayakers lost their lives at a dangerous weir where lifesaving equipment had been damaged by vandals and was not replaced, a marine casualty investigation revealed.
 
The weir at Portlaw in Co Waterford which claimed the lives of the two men — Connie Smith and Philip Kelly — last year has been described by investigators as "dangerous and unnavigable" and should not be used in its current form. 

The finding was made by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) in its report into the tragedy on April 7 of last year. 

Waterford County Council advised the MCIB signage has been installed warning users about the dangers of the weir, in addition to the provision of safety equipment. 
(Source: Irish Examiner)
 
Westmeath
 
As thousands of Tidy Towns volunteers around the country clean streets and put out flower boxes in preparation for judging, one committee has begun a unique initiative by organizing a hunt for feral mink.
 
Athlone Tidy Towns Committee in Co Westmeath decided to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Services when they noticed a decline in waterfowl in the area.
 
When the non-native mink was identified as a likely cause, the Tidy Towns committee offered to begin culling the predators.
 
The area around Athlone, on the banks of the river Shannon, is home to a range of wild birds including the red-listed corncrake.
(Source: Irish Times)
 
Wexford
 
Sometime in early June, around the time of the Flora Women's Mini Marathon, a baby seal, barking for help, will be found on an Irish beach by a passer-by.
 
After a couple of phone calls, the summer season for the hard-pressed Seal Sanctuary of Ireland in Courttown, Co Wexford, will begin.
 
"We get about 90 seals a year and have around 22 to 25 in the sanctuary at any one time. We tube-feed them and give them medical attention for about three months and then reintroduce them to the sea," says Sarah Harmon.
 
Most of the seal pups are found by members of the public. They phone the gardai (police), who in turn get in touch with the Seal Sanctuary.
 
"Any pup found on a beach is in trouble. The common seals would ride on their mothers' backs when they are born, so if they become separated, something has happened to the mother.
 
"Grey seals are different -- they are happy on a beach on their own with the mothers coming in and out to feed them."
(Source: Hearld.ie)
 
Wicklow
 
Celebrity Lisa Murphy, partner of solicitor Gerald Kean, was the victim of an aggravated burglary at their house in Co Wicklow last Thursday night.
 
The robbery happened shortly after 8pm when four masked men entered the house at Three Mile Water in Brittas Bay.
 
One of the men was carrying a knife and threatened Ms Murphy.
 
Gardaí say they managed to get away with a number of items of jewellery which have a substantial value.
(Source: RTE News)

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