News from around the 32 counties of Ireland


Motorists in Dun Laoghaire paid out a staggering €6.2m in parking fees and fines last year -- a 50pc increase on 2009. The 2010 figure of €6,225,334 was revealed in Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown County Council documents obtained by Independent Cllr Victor Boyhan. Cllr Boyhan criticised the charges as "nothing but a stealth tax". "Almost all of this was collected in Dun Laoghaire. There has been aggressive targeting of motorists," said Mr Boyhan. "During the snow in December people who had to abandon their cars found tickets on their windscreens the next morning."
(Source: The Evening Hearld)


A Fermanagh man has appeared before the High Court in Dublin in connection with extradition proceedings brought by the Belgian authorities. Cyril McGuinness was convicted and sentenced to jail there in connection with the theft of a number of heavy vehicles and plant machinery subsequently brought to Ireland. Mr McGuinness (45), Teemore Road, Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, is wanted to serve a seven-year prison sentence imposed in Belgium for his role in the machinery theft.
(Source: Irish Times)


Soldiers at Renmore Barracks have been assured that there are no plans to transfer 160 of them to Athlone despite two Irish Army briefings over the past week which indicated a significant downgrading of the facility. Minister for Defence Éamon Ó Cuív told the Galway City Tribune recently that there were no plans in place for a mass transfer of troops from Dun Ui Mhaoiliosa to the Midlands, claiming that members of the Defence Forces may have “misunderstood” the briefings.
(Source: Galway City Tribune)


Priests in a Co. Kerry parish have erected giant banners in local church grounds encouraging parishioners to cast their vote on Election Day. Their move has drawn controversy from parishioners who believe they should stay out of politics. Eight-foot high banners have been put up in the grounds of St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Church of the Resurrection and the Church of the Holy Spirit in Muckross asking locals to exercise their democratic vote on February 25.
(Source: Irish Examiner)


A Co Kildare student has become the Irish winner of a European Union language competition, and is now due to travel to Brussles in April to collect his prize. Fintan McGrath, a student at Confey College in Leixlip in Co Kildare, won the Juvenes Translatores (young translators) contest for his translation of Irish into English. Around 3,000 17-year-old secondary school students participated in the competition last year – record number for the competition. Participants were required to translate a one-page text of the European language of their choice.


Three Kilkenny men died in the space of six days recently, from drug overdoses. Following the re-emergence of the killer drug heroin on the streets of the city, a community worker has called on addicts to stop injecting themselves. Pat Connaughton, a drugs out-reach worker with the South East Drugs Task Force and employed by St Vincent de Paul has said that if the addicts are going to use heroin, they should smoke it, a line at a time to gauge its strength.
(Source: Kilkenny People)


Gardai (police) are appealing for information, following a brazen robbery at a filling station in which a shop assistant was threatened with a blood-filled syringe. The incident happened at around 9.30pm on Saturday, February 5, when a man entered the Campus Filling Station on the Mountmellick Road in Portlaoise. After fixing himself a cup of tea at the dispenser, the man produced a syringe filled with blood and demanded cash and cigarettes from the female assistant behind the counter.
(Source: Leinster Express)


Drumkerrin’s Parish Priest Very Rev Gerard Alwill has come out publicly to state that he feels the new English translation of the liturgy, which is due to be introduced later this year, "could be disastrous." Fr Alwill spoke to the Leitrim Observer last week following the conference of the Association of Catholic Priests which received national attention.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)


Legendary philanthropist JP McManus has been named the 2010 Limerick Person of the Year for his outstanding contribution to charities in the Mid-West region. The announcement was made last week at a gala awards ceremony in the Clarion Hotel, Limerick. Thanks to the 2010 JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am in Adare last July a record breaking €40m was raised for deserving causes in the Mid-West.
(Source: Limerick Leader)


Almost 14 months on from the day of the fire that destroyed St Mel's Cathedral, the project has taken another important step with the appointment of architects to the design team overseeing the restoration of the cathedral. Having ironed out the finer details in relation to the architects, and thereby finalising the core design team, it was fitting therefore that Bishop Colm O'Reilly was able to announce the latest cathedral development on Sunday last during his homily at Mass on the feast day of St. Mel.
(Source: Longford Leader)