A police probe is under way in Antrim after blood thirsty thugs tormented, killed and then beheaded one of the tame adult swans that grace the Lough Shore.

The grim discovery was made by green keepers near the 14th hole at Massereene Golf Club on Friday morning, January 3, and at first they thought it may have been attacked by a fox while it slept.

Closer inspection revealed, however, that the long, slender neck had been neatly severed. Worse still, the head was missing – presumably taken as a sick trophy by the killer.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


Two men and a teenager have been charged with the burglary of a pensioner’s home in Bessbrook.

Family members of the victim – an elderly lady – say she has been left traumatized by the incident, which occurred on Monday, December 30.

At approximately 4 a.m., the lady interrupted an intruder in her Cloughreagh Park home, after which the alleged thief made off empty-handed.

Responding to a 999 alert, police subsequently intercepted a suspect vehicle in the Newtownhamilton area and arrested three males.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


One was a stalwart of County Carlow’s political life over four decades; the other the voice of his local area, a gifted historian, who delighted thousands of Nationalist readers weekly.

Two of the county’s most prominent individuals died over the Christmas period, leaving behind a legacy of public service to their communities.

Former councilor Micheál Deering (88), father of Deputy Pat Deering, passed away peacefully at the District Hospital, Carlow on Sunday, December 22, while Nationalist columnist Willie White (93), Clonegal, passed away on Monday, December 23, at St. Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny.
[Source: Carlow Nationalist]


Gardaí (police) have launched an investigation after a bus was driven across the entrance of a former Quinn Group packaging plant in Ballyconnell in the early hours of last Tuesday and set alight.

The incident is the second such attack targeting the renamed Aventas Group in as many months.

Emblazoned with the words “Paul O’Brien Disaster Tours Leaving Soon” on its side, it’s understood the cab of the bus was filled with used tires before being abandoned at the entrance to the thermal insulation and packaging plants at Rathkeelan, Ballyconnell – it was set alight at approximately 5:20 a.m.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


The niece of fashion designer Ralph Lauren, Jennifer Lauren, has been fined $2,700 for being intoxicated on board a Delta Airlines flight from Barcelona to J.F.K. on Monday, where she frightened and upset passengers and crew members.

The 41-year-old was on board a flight that was diverted to Shannon on Monday, was charged with three counts under the Air Navigation and Transport Act 1973.
[Source: Clare Champion]


The ramparts of a medieval fort, which offer unrivalled views over Cork City, will be open to the public within weeks after the State handed the historic building back to the city last Wednesday.

The news was confirmed after the Lord Mayor, Clr. Catherine Clancy, accepted on behalf of the city care of Elizabeth Fort from the minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (O.P.W.).

The city council’s tourism unit, Team, will advertise soon for operators to manage the facility.
[Source: Irish Examiner]


P.S.N.I. officers used C.S. spray during an incident in which a 14-year-old boy was arrested at a Derry school on Tuesday.

The schoolboy was arrested at Oakgrove Integrated College, Gransha Road, on Tuesday afternoon.

The school’s principal, Jill Markham, confirmed the incident took place at the school, but refused to make any further comment.
[Source: Derry Journal]


Eoin McManus, from the Donegal Road in Ballyshannon, has landed the first salmon of 2014.

Eoin, a son of Gerry and Linda McManus, brought the eight-pound fish to shore using a Rapalla. Fishing from the telegraph pole at Lennox’s Bridge, Eoin’s catch confirms the Drowse as the premier fishing river in the country for first salmon of the year.
[Source: Donegal Democrat]


Three armed and masked intruders threatened to shoot a man during a robbery at his Warrenpoint home two weekends ago.

Around 9 p.m. on Friday, January 3, the gang entered the house on the Ryanstown Road.

One of the robbers held the 60-year-old victim down on the floor, while the others ransacked the house looking for cash and valuables.

They tied him up and locked him in a bedroom before escaping in his 4×4 jeep.  The vehicle was later found abandoned on the Upper Burren Road.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


A family who were rescued from their blazing Dublin city flat two weekends ago returned to find their clothes and children's toys had been stolen after the fire.

Malaysian couple Wan Aamani and Norfadilah Bintimohd went back to their wrecked Thomas Court home to salvage their belongings, but found callous thieves had got there before them.

The couple, along with their three young children, had to be rescued from the burning flat by fire crews as the building filled with smoke early on Sunday.
[Source: Evening Herald]


A 49-year-old separated father-of-three-daughters died from injuries he sustained in a suspected “hit-and-run” incident on the Tullychurry Road, near Boa island, at 2:50 a.m. on Sunday. The deceased was Pat John McCafferty, a skilled mechanic, who lived in the area.

The victim has a sister living in Belleek, and his mother and two brothers live in Pettigo. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, the P.S.N.I. issued a statement saying they believed that Mr. McCafferty was struck by a car, which failed to stop at the scene.

It said officers were looking for a blue Ford Focus with front-end damage.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]


A conference is to be held in the city this month examining the extent of the obesity problem in Ireland.

The event is hosted by the Health, Economics and Policy Analysis research group at N.U.I. Galway.

Focus areas will include economic factors and the cost-effectiveness of surgery.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]


Emergency intervention has been called for in Tralee, County Kerry following further storms, which a council meeting has heard “devastated” the Kerry coastline from Tarbert to Cahersiveen.

The county has the longest stretch of coastline in the country and most of it was “soft and vulnerable,” the meeting heard.

The county manager in Kerry is to apply for special funding to the Department of the Environment.

Amongst the damage was the destruction of four blue flag beaches; two fairways on the world famous Ballybunion Golf course have been destroyed; Kells beach had been washed away and Rossbeigh had lost its tennis courts; car parks and playground and the road, too, has been all but destroyed.
[Source: Irish Times]


A man wielding a large kitchen knife terrorized staff-members at an Athy filling station outlet on New Year’s Day.

The incident occurred at Conlon’s, Dublin Road, Athy, at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, January 1, when two men, both wearing balaclavas and gloves, entered the shop. One, described as around five-feet, seven inches in height, was carrying a large knife and demanding cash. He was wearing a black jacket with green trim, a grey top under the jacket and white Adidas runners.

The second man was described around five-feet, six inches, wearing a grey striped hoodie, grey track bottoms and, again, white Adidas runners.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]


Ireland’s leading expert on medieval archaeology has slammed Kilkenny County Council’s denial that a medieval building exists at Vicar Street.

John Bradley is a senior lecturer at the Department of History N.U.I. Maynooth and recognized authority on Kilkenny history. He says that, despite Kilkenny County Council’s public statements to the contrary, the latest Central Access Scheme (C.A.S.) archaeological reports on the two houses to be demolished to make way for the road and the bridge over the Nore emphatically prove that a structure from the medieval period is, in fact, upstanding at No. 22 Vicar Street.

He added that Kilkenny County Council and their consultant archaeologists V.J. Keeley, Ltd. had consistently refused to concede that medieval fabric was present in the buildings, despite multiple expert opinions to the contrary.
[Source: Kilkenny People]


The professionalism of a health care employee in Portlaoise has led to the lid being lifted on rates of caesarean sections at maternity hospitals around the country.

It has emerged that concerns over the rate of a certain procedure at the maternity unit at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise led the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services in Ireland (A.I.M.S.), to seek the big picture on the rate of maternity procedures in the country.

The results published last week show that the C-section rate in Ireland is well above internationally-recommended levels in some hospitals, such as St. Luke’s Kilkenny, which is used by Laois women.
[Source: Leinster Express]


Colin Griffin has not ruled out full retirement from international athletics despite admitting he is looking forward to new challenges as he takes an extended break from sport.

Colin issued the news on Twitter last week that he was taking a break from his International athletics career, but, speaking to the Observer two weekends ago, the double Olympian said he is not walking away from the sport.

“I wouldn’t say it is a full retirement, more of an extended break,” said Colin, “I’d like to think I can make a return to top class athletics in the future but this year, I am not at the level I need to be at to get the sort of results and return I would need.”
[Source: Leitrim Observer]


Coffee lovers in Limerick now have the unique privilege of sampling the most expensive coffee in the world – if they are prepared to hand over $115 for quite an unusual caffeine hit.

Known for its fine coffee, customers in Jack Monday’s on Thomond Bridge can now sample a more exotic – and controversial – brew than the average mocha or hazelnut frappucino.

The former Treaty Bar is offering its customers a sample of a unique blend – made from beans picked from the droppings of the cat-like civet in Indonesia.
[Source: Limerick Leader]


Local authority officials and Garda (police) chiefs are being urged to clamp down on so-called “boy racers” after 56 car enthusiasts brought a Longford town estate to a virtual standstill two weekends ago.

Homeowners living close to Longford’s E.D.I. Centre were left stunned by the incident on Saturday, January 4, Town Councilor Tony Flaherty told at last Wednesday’s meeting of the local authority.

Stopping short of naming the estate concerned, he also revealed some drivers even ventured as far as to physically lift concrete bollards in order to gain access to an open stretch of the otherwise quiet neighborhood.
[Source: Longford Leader]


A groundbreaking new law, which will see Regional Armed Response Units of the Gardaí (police) permanently armed, has been credited as a response to the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe.

The laws means that Gardaí assigned to specialist-armed response units will be enabled to carry assault weapons at all times while on duty.

The law has been introduced just weeks before the anniversary of the killing of Detective Garda Donohoe.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]


A district court judge lashed out at a mother and daughter who she said “used and abused” Gardaí (police) and court time when they withdrew assault complaints they had made.

Judge Mary Devins was speaking at Westport District Court sitting in Castlebar on Thursday, January 2, where mother and daughter Bridie and Elaine Joyce withdrew the charges against Brendan Joyce – Bridie Joyce’s husband and Elaine Joyce’s father – with an address at Drimurla, Newport.

Bridie Joyce told the court she wished to withdraw the charge of assault against her, as the incident “didn’t really involve” her and she had just tried to come between her daughter and her husband.

Judge Devins told her she could not waste court time – the matter had been before two specially convened sittings of the district court over the Christmas period – and she could not “use and abuse” the courts’ and Gardaí’s time.
[Source: The Mayo News]


In a week when up to 26 people have been waiting on hospital beds at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, local campaigners vowed to start a national campaign for improved health services.

The Save Navan Hospital Campaign, which brought thousands of protesters onto the streets of Navan on two occasions in the past three years, is to serve as an anchor for a National Hospital Campaign.

The Navan Group will meet with Minister for Health James Reilly on January 16 to hammer home the depth of this crisis.

However, they are also planning to link up with other hospital campaigns around the country.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]


In a barn that stands like a draughty library near Clontibret, County Monaghan, stand towering shelves of cylindrical rock.

They are a testament to 16 years of optimistic exploration, and the tireless enthusiasm of one man in his quest to find gold.

Professor Richard Conroy, once an Irish senator and the man behind many of Ireland's hugely successful zinc mines, smiles broadly.

"We are very excited. It really is a very major discovery, a 30-mile gold trend," he said.
[Source: BBC News]


An Offaly County Council decision to grant planning permission to a proposed wind farm in Cloghan has been overturned.

On receipt of an appeal, An Bord Pleanála ruled that the 10 wind turbines would impact on the visual landscape of the area.

The planning application outlined a development, which would include 110-meter tall turbines with rotor diameters of up to 120 meters, giving them a maximum tip height of up to 170 meters.
[Source: The Journal]


Thirty jobs are set to be lost with the impending closure of the Fearna Nursing Home in Elphin. The closure is major blow to the locality and marks the beginning of a difficult New Year for workers.

News of the closure was announced to staff-members and residents last Monday morning. It is understood that the nursing home is due to wind-up operations by the end of March. Thirty full-time positions will be lost at the facility. This will be a major blow to the Elphin area, where a number of suppliers will also be hit by the closure.

Speaking to the Roscommon Herald last week, Boyle man Martin O’Dowd, the owner of the Fearna Nursing Home group, said he was left with “little choice” as the old convent building, which housed the Elphin facility, dated to the 1840s and could not meet the new building regulations.
[Source: Roscommon Herald]


There is a wide variation in Caesarean-section rates across the State with St. Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny showing the highest level in public hospitals at 38 percent of all deliveries, according to 2011 data released last Monday.

The lowest C-section rate was at Sligo General Hospital at 19 percent of all births, followed by the National Maternity Holles Street, Dublin at 21.5 percent.

All of the State’s maternity hospitals show a higher rate than the 10 to 15 percent recommended by the World Health Organization.
[Source: Irish Times]


Flooding at the entrance to Coille Bheithe on St. Conlon’s Road was a problem for residents and motorists, Clr. Virginia O’Dowd told the Nenagh/Borrisokane area meeting.

She called for a gully to be installed from Cudville to the entrance to the estate near the Revenue offices, a distance of several hundred meters.

Clr. O’Dowd welcomed dredging work being carried out by North Tipperary County Council last week along the road, pointing out that the flood water was also causing problems for people on the opposite side of the road where the council has a soak way.
[Source: Tipperary Star]


Dungannon traders have hit out against traffic wardens in the town, describing them as being "overzealous" and 'heavy-handed' with shoppers and scaring off their custom over the Christmas period.
One disgruntled trader told the Courier he believes the presence of wardens alone badly affected business and drove people out of the town in the run up to Christmas.

The trader said: "They were hanging around, in groups of three or four, waiting to pounce. I had customers constantly complaining about getting fined or the threat of a fine.

“The wardens were opportunistic and scared people off to other towns such as Lisburn or Belfast."

He believes the geographical layout of the town makes it difficult for motorists and shoppers to abide by the letter of the law all the time and criticized wardens for not showing discretion under the circumstances.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]


Fine Gael Waterford Deputy Paudie Coffey has welcomed news that the I.D.A. have committed to developing a new property that will total 25,000 square feet in the I.D.A. Business and Technology Park in Waterford City

"This is a progressive and positive step by the I.D.A. in Waterford and the South East Region. This development will help to attract Foreign Direct Investment to the region when these state-of-the-art facilities are completed. This project underpins the I.D.A.'s commitment to Waterford as the Regional Capital.

"We have seen a renewed focus on Waterford from the I.D.A. in the last year with increased site visits and the creation of 200 jobs in Nypro.”
[Source: Waterford Today]


Westmeath County Council has defended its road gritting policy, after there were a number of accidents across the county in the first half of Thursday as motorists struggled with the icy conditions and ungritted roads.

In a statement issued to the Westmeath Examiner, the council said that it uses a road monitoring system and this system predicted that “the lowest road surface temperature in Westmeath would be +3 degrees Celsius."
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]


Gardaí (police) at Gorey have arrested a man following a seizure of cannabis plants and herb with an estimated street value of $109,000.

The seizure was made after a planned search at a house in Courtown Harbour last Monday.

The man, who is in early 50s, was arrested at the scene after a follow-up search in the early hours of Wednesday.
[Source: Wexford Echo]


A major Garda (police) investigation is underway after a top G.A.A. player suffered horrific injuries after he was assaulted by a close associate of one of Ireland's most dangerous criminals.

The highly-respected player, who is a father-of-one, is still recovering after the savage assault outside a takeaway in Wicklow Town on the night of December 28.

Sources have revealed that Gardaí have studied C.C.T.V. of the incident, which shows the gang boss's close associate kicking his victim “extremely hard” in the groin area.

The man was rushed to hospital after the incident and required surgery — it is understood that his injury may also affect his ability to play sports.
[Source: Irish Independent]