News from around the 32 counties of Ireland


Public transport workers have been hailed for going beyond the call of duty during the Big Freeze. Bus, train and Luas staff were praised for helping commuters get home in the Arctic conditions. One Iarnrod Eireann train driver offered to drive an elderly couple from Armagh to Monaghan when it appeared they would be stranded. Luas drivers got out of their trams to push cars, while Dublin Bus staff have managed to struggle into work in all types of conditions.
(Source: The Herald)


A Fermanagh club wants the GAA to act as a private bank for its membership.
Derrygonnelly Harps have submitted a motion to the Fermanagh convention next week asking that the GAA set aside money from its "healthy net current assets" to fund start-up businesses by GAA members. The exact text of the motion asks that "our association, the Gaelic Athletic Association, set aside part of its healthy net current assets to a revolving loan fund, which will be used to assist association members with business start-up loans, repayable over a fixed term at preferential interest rates".
(Source: Irish Independent)


For the first time in its long history as a prime tourism destination, Connemara industry operators are banding together to market and develop the region in a concerted bid to entice more overseas and domestic visitors to stay longer and broaden their experience once they get there. A steering group made up of 14 local operators and representatives from Fáilte Ireland, Galway County County and Údaras na Gaeltachta, led by chairman George Finnegan has drawn up a dynamic action plan for the whole of Connemara.
(Source: GalwayBay Fm)


Good examples of traditional Irish furniture were now very rare, a conservator has told the official opening of a Co Kerry exhibition on the traditional Irish dwelling. Furniture adviser to the Office of Public Works, Sven Habermann, said there was a healthy trade in settle beds between this country and the US in the 1970s and 1980s when there was demand for stripped pine. Very good examples of meal bins, beds and such were now very rare and the exhibition, at the entrance building to Muckross folk farms, contained some of the finest.
(Source: Irish Times)


Kildare is represented by a Newbridge woman on this year’s Operation Transformation the RTÉ One television programme which helps people to change their lifestyle, become fitter and lose weight. The programme will not be screened until 5 January, but meanwhile the five leaders were chosen from hundreds of applicants and the news was delivered to each of the five, in person on the John Murray Show on RTÉ radio recently.
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)


Arctic weather conditions caused chaos in the city and county forcing schools to close and created lethal road conditions recently. Temperatures plummeted to minus 9.6 degrees in the city early on Monday morning last, the lowest temperature ever officially recorded in the country in November. Prior to last Monday the lowest temperature recorded in November was minus 7.2 degrees which was recorded at Kilkenny Castle in 1887.
(Source: Kilkenny People)


More than 600 people work in Portlaoise's jails, according to the latest figures.
There are more than 270 prison officers working at Portlaoise Prison, and a further 336 officers based at the adjacent Midlands Prison on the Dublin Road. Releasing the figures in the Dáil, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said that the go ahead had been given to recruit 80 more prison officers, despite the ban on recruitment to the public service.
(Source: Leinster Express)


The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is still considering a file prepared by local gardai following an investigation into an assault on pensioner, Jonny Goolden in his home in early September. Mr Goolden, who lived alone in his home in Ned/Doogarry near the Cavan/Leitrim border, died four weeks after the attack.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)


A YouTube video featuring students falling on a frozen path near the University of Limerick is proving to be an internet sensation. Almost 170,000 people have already viewed the three minute video which was posted on the popular website last weekend.
Accompanied by John Lennon's Slippin and Slidin, the video was recorded last week at the height of the cold snap.The amateur footage, which was recorded from a parked car near the entrance to the pathway, which links the College Court estate and the University.
(Source: Limerick Leader)


Co Longford Social Services Meals on Wheels Service defied the terrible weather conditions in past weeks to get out to homes across the county. The army assisted the local volunteers on Monday last as conditions in some parts of the county were particularly treacherous. "At the moment we are delivering over 200 meals daily. The meal consists of hot soup, main meal and dessert and the total dinners delivered for 2009 was 59,767," a spokesperson for the service told the Leader.
(Source: Longford Leader)