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News from around the 32 counties of Ireland

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Antrim
Politicians have condemned a loyalist group which claimed responsibility for a pipe-bomb attack last week. The device, which did not explode, was found in the garden of a house on the Ballymena Road, Carnlough, last Wednesday. Bomb disposal officers were called to the house and removed the object, which police have described as viable. Following the incident, a paramilitary group calling themselves the Loyalist Action Force contacted a Belfast newsroom claiming they were behind the attack. In a separate incident, seven homes were evacuated when a suspicious object was found at The Roddens, Larne. It was later declared a hoax.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Armagh
The Armagh county board formally launched a novel fund-raising scheme to help offset part of the cost of refurbishing the Athletic Grounds last week. A magnificent new 5,600-capacity grandstand is the outstanding feature of the renovations and now the board aims to sell every seat for £100. The buyer will have a seat permanently named after him or her on payment of this sum thus giving them a closer association with the venue. Tickets will then, of course, be sold on a match-by-match basis for all seats, but if the board is successful in its initial marketing operation, then some £560,000 will be raised.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Carlow
Police were forced into using batons and pepper spray when a drink-driving arrest got out of control in Tommy Murphy Park in Graiguecullen last Monday. A spokesperson for the gardaí (police) admitted that members felt threatened during the incident, which unfolded at around 5pm when gardaí on patrol spotted a vehicle being driven erratically by a woman. When they went to stop the vehicle, suspecting the woman of drink riving, it’s claimed that she aimed the car at gardaí and drove straight at them. The driver then attempted to leave the scene.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

Cavan
Shercock’s Battle Of The Bands is a competition to find an original Irish band to play Glastonbury 2011. Last year’s winners, Shouting At Planes from Bailieborough, were back to launch the competition for 2011. Bands from all over the country will battle it out in five heats to take place every Saturday in the Sail Inn, Shercock between Saturday, January 22, and February 28, with the grand final talking place on March 5. Shouting At Planes played at Glastonbury last year following their win, and went on to release their debut single.
(Source: The Angle Celt)


Clare
Clare could establish itself as a major food tourism destination within six months, bringing much-needed employment and revenue to the area, if the relevant agencies work together, according to the head of the local branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan said he believed North Clare was in a particularly strong position to develop its culinary reputation after featuring strongly in The Bridgestone Guide’s Top 100 Places to Stay and it’s Top 100 Restaurants in Ireland. Six Clare establishments featured in the Top 100 Places to Stay, five of which were in North Clare, while three out of the four Clare restaurants in the Top 100 Restaurants are in the north of the county.
(Source: The Clare Champion)

Cork
A Cork charity is facing a Garda (police) investigation after complaints from members of the public about its activities. Glanmire Gardaí have confirmed to the Cork Independent that a complaint has been received from a members of the public into recent activities by Glansillagh Animal Rescue (GAR), the charity based in Sallybrook, Glanmire. The complainant, who also raised their concerns with the Cork Independent, referred to appeals from GAR earlier this month for donations to help it feed horses that had been found in bad conditions, with some deceased, in a field in Cork.
Source: (Cork Independent)

Derry
A Strabane community worker who removed a pipe bomb from the windscreen of a car last week said he did so to avoid the disruption a security alert would have brought. Paul Gallagher was speaking after a man and his two young sons discovered the device in the Springhill park area of the town last Monday morning. Mr Gallagher said he carried the device to waste ground to avoid the street being closed off by the PSNI and British army. "I was contacted after it was found and looked at it and saw that the fuse had been lit but gone out so I carried it to waste ground to prevent, as we have seen in the past, the area being closed off, possibly for days," he said.
(Source: Derry Journal)

Donegal
The remains of hundreds of people who lived in medieval times are providing scientists with vital information on the origins of such diseases as Cystic Fibrosis and Tuberculosis. Researchers at Queens University, Belfast and the Institute of Technology, Sligo, have been collaborating with the University of Wisconsin, USA, in analysing DNA and 'sexing' human remains discovered in a mass burial ground at Ballyhannan near Ballyshannon, Donegal. Work on determining the incidence of cystic fibrosis among the ancient population from DNA analysis of teeth removed from adult remains is at an advanced stage.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Down
A Co Down food firm is celebrating after winning an export deal for its stir-fries. Willowbrook Foods, which makes fresh pre-packed vegetables, salads and potatoes, has been awarded the business to supply a range of eight new stir-fry products to Budgens, part of the Musgrave Group, Willowbrook has been operating for over 40 years, and was established by John McCann on the family farm overlooking Strangford Lough. The firm employs more than 200 people at processing plants in Killinchy and Newtownards in Co Down.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Dublin

A Dublin man who ransacked an elderly nun's room while she was in her bed has been given a six-year jail sentence. The last 18 months were suspended. Detective Garda Garret Lynch revealed that Stephen Wilson (34) and a second intruder ransacked Sr Mary O'Farrell's bedroom before taking items and her handbag. The nun, in her mid-70s, tried to press a buzzer underneath her pillow for help but one of the intruders pulled it from her grasp.
(Source: The Evening Hearld)

Fermanagh
Firefighters in Enniskillen have failed to agree whether a montage commemorating the 1987 bomb should be on display in the town's fire station. The display was taken down in 2007 following an anonymous complaint. Last year, the NI Ombudsman Tom Frawley said taking it down was "ill-considered" and it should be restored. The board of the NI Fire Service said a recent consultation failed to reach a consensus on putting it back or on an alternative solution.
(Source: BBC News Northern Ireland)

Galway
A film shot in Galway in late 2009, which opened this year’s prestigious Sundance Film Festival, is set to get a major distribution deal in America after it wowed critics and executives at America’s largest festival for independent films. The Guard, a black comedy thriller starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, was written and directed by John Michael McDonagh – brother of playwright and film director Martin – is set in Connemara and was shot over a six-week period in Barna, Spiddal, Leitir Móir, and Leitir Mealláin, with some scenes shot in Wicklow.
(Source: GalwayBay Fm)

Kerry
The exclusive five-star hotel operated by RTÉ’s "hotel experts", John and Francis Brennan, returned to profit last year after two years of successive losses totaling over €400,000. The third series of At Your Service is running, with more than 568,000 viewers tuning in recently to watch the Brennans offer tips and advice to struggling hotels and guesthouses. However, John Brennan revealed last week that they were forced to take their own measures at The Park Hotel in Kenmare in Co Kerry after it sustained after-tax losses of €418,000 in 2008.
(Source: Irish Examiner)

Kildare
Kildangan National School has been short-listed for Our World Irish Aid Awards along with 10 other primary schools around Ireland. The Our World Irish Aid Awards encourages students to explore the differences between life in Ireland and and abroad. Fifth classs students of Kildangan NS along with teacher, Maria Casey. spent the months of November and December last year working on their project which was entitled Children are the Future, Children are the present, We can Change the World.
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)

Kilkenny
There has been a significant increase in the number of thefts of home heating oil, petrol and diesel in recent weeks according to gardai (police). Gardai (police) are warning people to secure their oil tanks and to report any suspicious activity to gardai immediately. "We are asking people to be vigilant. In the case of people stealing home heating oil the culprits have to gain access to the rear of the house so we are asking anyone who sees anything suspicious to contact the gardai," a garda spokesman said.
(Source: Kilkenny People)

Laois
Up to 70 jobs will be created when two new supermarkets open this summer in Mountmellick, according to owner Emmett McConville. The SuperValu shopping centre is under construction on the old textile factory site at the Connelly Street and Davitt Road junction and is due to open this summer. SuperValu have invested E5.5million in the shop, which at 20,000sq ft will be marginally smaller than the Portarlington SuperValu.
(Source: Leinster Express)

Leitrim
Carrick on Shannon gardai (police) are looking for information on a white refrigerator truck seen in or around the Butler's Marina area in the early hours of Tuesday, January 18, following the discovery that over 50 boats docked in the facility had been broken into. According to the Garda Press Office the burglary occurred between 1.30am and 5am. There were approximately 70 boats in the Marina at the time and at least 50 of these were targeted by the gang of thieves who stole flat screen televisions, GPS navigation devices, alcohol, medication, ornaments and appliances.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)

Limerick
Tourism to the Mid-West is set to get a boost following the airing of the BBC1 programme, Terry Wogan's Ireland, recently, which attracted over five million viewers. The second part of the documentary series will be screened on BBC1 in the coming weeks, and will focus on his visit to Northern Ireland. Twitter and blog sites were inundated with comments about the programme in the last week, with many saying Failte Ireland would have paid highly for such positive advertising of the green isle.
(Source: Limerick Leader)

Longford
A home-care worker in the north Longford area is at the centre of an investigation amid allegations tens of thousands of euro went missing from the bank account of an old age pensioner, the Leader can reveal. Senior Garda (police) officials told this newspaper a complaint was received from a member of the public in late October, prompting detectives to carry out further inquiries. It's understood the amount of money involved could amount to tens of thousands of euro although so far no charges have been brought against the individual.
(Source: Longford Leader)

Louth

The father of a sick baby girl who shaved off his long hair at a fundraiser in Clan na Gael GFC has raised approximately e5,000 for Our Lady's Childrens' Hospital, Crumlin. Brian Ward from Ashbrook, Dundalk said that shaving off his beloved locks is worth it, if it helps to keep his four-month-old daughter, Brianna, who has a heart condition, alive for longer. "It's a big adjustment because I had been growing my hair for the past eight years. It's quite cold but at least I didn't have to shave it off a few weeks ago when it was snowing," said Brian.
(Source: Dundalk Democrat)

Mayo
Permission for the last section of the Corrib gas pipeline has been finally granted, 14 years after the discovery of the gas field, 80km off the coast of north-west Mayo. In a 689-page report, former Kerry County Manager and An Bord Pleanála (ABP) Inspector, Martin Nolan granted the permission last week, subject to 58 conditions. This third route, proposed by Shell, includes a 4.9km tunnel under Sruwaddacon estuary – a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) – and obviates the need to pass by houses in Rossport.
(Source: The Mayo News)

Meath
Navan man Johnny Finnegan last week set off on his year-long volunteering expedition, after he and Offaly woman Carol Leonard came out on top in the RTE series 'Do the Right Thing’.The voluntary work will bring them to Ghana, India and Thailand, where they will be working on sanitary facilities, working with homeless children and then with endangered turtles.“The first four months will be spent in north and central Ghana,” Johnny, from Ardmulchan, explained. “We will be building latrines, and then showing people how to use them.”
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)

Monaghan
A 29-year-old Co Monaghan publican who was the driver of a car involved in a three-car pile-up outside Carrickmacross in December which killed three people, including a pregnant woman, appeared in court last week charged with dangerous driving causing death, and driving with excess alcohol. Kevin McArdle, of Longfield, Carrickmacross, who was the driver of a silver BMW involved in the crash on the Carrickmacross bypass at Monaltybane, Carrickmacross, appeared before Judge Sean MacBride at a special sitting of Carrickmacross District Court.
(Source: Irish Times)

Offaly
Nine year old Walsh Island girl Siobhan Phelan has danced her way through to the semi-finals of Sky 1's "Got to Dance." Siobhan made a big impact with her performance and her Mum, Sinead wasn't far behind. Siobhan wanted to impress Kimberly but her Mum had her eye on Adam. Siobhan donates every dance prize she wins to a range of charities, including The Shoebox Appeal in Africa, Chernobyl and Haiti. If she won the GTD prize money she says she would definitely donate some of it to charity.
(Source: Offaly Express)

Roscommon

The threat to 24/7 emergency services at Roscommon County Hospital remains unchanged following indications from the Health Service Executive last week that it could not guarantee that services would not be reduced. The HSE provided an update last Thursday to local public representatives last week on reconfiguration proposals for hospital services in counties Galway and Roscommon. During a three and a half hour meeting the HSE indicated that it could not guarantee that emergency services would not be reduced from a 24 hour service to a 12 hour service in the future.
(Source: The Roscommon Champion)

Sligo
Two British airlines have been in contact with Sligo airport management to explore the potential for maintaining the air link to Dublin. This follows last week’s government announcement that the crucial PSO subsidy is to be withdrawn from Sligo and three other regional airports. This threw the future of the twice-daily Aer Arann flight into jeopardy after the mid-July cutoff date. Isle of Man airline Manx2.com has confirmed they wish to talk to the four regional airports hit by the planned scrapping of the PSO contracts.
(Source: The Sligo Weekender)

Tipperary
A planning application is to be lodged with North Tipperary County Council in the coming days for a state-of-the-art recycling centre at Mill Road, Thurles which will contain a much needed Civic Amenity facility for the Mid Tipperary region. Boomerang Recycling Limited will be applying to the planning authority for full permission for the facility in Thurles which will include a recycling and material recovery area, site offices, weigh bridge, revised entrance, sewerage pump station, civic amenity location and ancilliary works at Monakeeba, Mill Road (beside Ryan's Equestrian Centre
(Source: Tipperary Star)

Tyrone
Relatives of those killed in the Omagh bomb should be given increased damages because of the scale of the outrage, the Court of Appeal has heard. Lawyers for the families who successfully sued four dissident republicans over the Real IRA attack which claimed 29 lives argued that the total £1.6m award was not sufficient. Senior judges were told that compensation should be set at a more punitive level.The call for a higher level of payout followed on from appeals by each of the men found liable for the August 1998 atrocity.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Waterford
It’s going to be the biggest party of the decade and everyone is invited - friends, relatives and acquaintances and especially those who have not been on home soil for a number of years.  The event is the city’s staging of the Tall Ships race and the party takes place right across the city from June 30 to July 3. To encourage local people to tempt home their nearest and dearest 150,000 postcards have been distributed to homes, schools, hotels and public offices in Waterford, with an invitation to experience Ireland’s biggest quayside festival.
(Source: Waterford News $ Star)

Westmeath
An illegally held firearm was seized after three searches in the Athlone and Moate area recently following an investigation into organized crime and the distribution of illegal drugs. The searches, two in Moate and one in Athlone area, were carried out recently by up to eight officers in conjunction with the assistance of members of the Armed Regional Response Unit. An illegally held firearm was recovered as a result of the examination of a place in the Athlone.
(Source: Westmeath Independent)

Wexford
The former owner of a number of head shops has been given a jail sentence for possession of more than €70,000 worth of cocaine. Paul Quigley was stopped by gardaí (police) near Enniscorthy, Co Wexford in July 2009 and just over 1kg worth of the drug was found in the boot of his car. Gardaí  said the street value of the drug was estimated at €71,960 at the time. Quigley, 33, who had an address at the time at Castlebridge, Co Wexford, pleaded guilty to having the drugs and was sentenced at Wexford Circuit Court last week.
(Source: RTE news)

Wicklow
World champion boxer and Bray native Katie Taylor was given the freedom of Co Wicklow last Friday. The 25-year-old was only the second recipient of the award. Oscar winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis was the first in 2009. Wicklow County Council said it was bestowing the accolade on Katie because of her outstanding sporting achievements.
(Source: Irish Examiner)

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