News from around the 32 counties of Ireland



Plans for Belfast to host MTV's European Music Awards (EMAs) have been hailed as a major boost for the city. Northern Ireland political leaders welcomed the announcement as further proof that the once troubled location had entered a new era. Belfast's Odyssey Arena, which regularly plays host to international stars, will now be the platform for the major awards ceremony scheduled for early November. The 2011 MTV EMAs will be broadcast live from the venue and will feature A-listers who will perform to a global audience stretching across 160 countries.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


A major regeneration project has been unveiled last Wednesday with news of a £3m town centre public realm scheme in Lurgan. The NI Social Development Minister Alex Attwood said that the project created a high quality, modern urban environment in the heart of the Co Armagh town centre.  He said the public realm improvement work includes new user friendly pedestrian environment; new street furniture and improved ornate lighting; town centre landscaping and planting of lime trees and new stone paving with extensive lifespan.


Swans and ducks in Bagenalstown are being attacked by a gang of youths using stones and catapults, a local woman has told The Nationalist. The woman, who did not wish to be named, said she witnessed a gang of eight or nine teenagers throwing stones at the birds as she made her way home from work on Monday (21 February). “There was quite a group of them, about eight or nine. They were all boys and all over 16 years of age anyway. It’s absolutely disgusting. Some of them were throwing stones and some of them had catapults.”
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


Bailieboro man and his family have survived the 6.3 scale earthquake that almost destroyed the city of Christchurch in New Zealand recently and claimed the life of 41-year-old Owen McKenna from Emyvale, County Monaghan. Martin Kirk, his wife Jackie and their 12-year-old daughter Chloe have been living in Halswell, a suburb of Christchurch, since February 2007. The Kirks only suffered minor damage with a few burst water pipes around the house. Thankfully, they managed to escape what appears to be the worst NZ natural disaster in living memory.
(Source: The Angle Celt)


As emigration continues to hit GAA clubs across Ireland, two Clare clubs have been forced to withdraw teams from this season’s hurling competitions. Both Wolfe Tones and Clooney-Quin have withdrawn from the intermediate hurling grade, citing emigration as the main reason for their drop in numbers.
Last year, Wolfe Tones had three adult hurling teams competing at senior, intermediate and junior grades.
(Source: The Clare Champion)


The way has been cleared for Neil Prendeville’s return to Cork’s 96FM but it is not certain if and how this will happen. What is certain is the broadcaster will not face a criminal prosecution for an alleged lewd act on board an Aer Lingus flight last October. Having interviewed a number of people, including an Irish Examiner journalist, who are alleged to have witnessed the incident, Gardaí (police) forwarded a file to the DPP.
Source: (Cork Independent)


Shots have been fired at police officers by suspected dissident republicans in Londonderry. Police responded to a report that a car had been abandoned in a grassy area off the Glen Road last Wednesday night. After arranging for the stolen car to be recovered, the officers were shot at as they returned to their vehicle. No one was injured. Superintendent Chris Yates said: "I have no doubt this was an attempt to kill a police officer. We are very fortunate that no-one was injured."
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


A group of callous thieves have been targeting unoccupied single dwellings throughout the county in recent days. The majority appear to be taking place between 6pm and 11pm in the evenings. In one 24-hour period, eighteen house burglaries alone were reported in the Donegal Garda (police) Division. They are said to have taken place between 6am on Saturday and 6am on Sunday morning last, February 28.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)


Co Down band Two Door Cinema Club are the winners of this year’s Choice Music Prize. The three-piece band received their award (a check for €10,000 ) at a live event at Dublin’s Vicar Street venue last Thursday night. It was a surprise victory in that Dublin act Villagers were the runaway bookies favorite. The Choice Music Prize is regarded as the Irish album of the year award except that it rewards artistic merit as opposed to the amount of record sales or radio airplay garnered.
(Source: Irish Times)


Dublin’s historic city centre has been allowed to degenerate with "garish" shopfronts dominating streets, it is claimed. Dublin City Council is being asked to respond to criticism of its policy with Westmoreland Street, Dame Street and the South Quays said to be the worst hit in a report by An Taisce. Labour's Dermot Lacey raised the issue at a meeting of the council's economic and planning strategic policy committee (SPC) this week.
(Source: The Evening Hearld)