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News from around the 32 counties of Ireland

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Antrim

After decades cloaked in mystery, a local councilor has welcomed Antrim Guardian revelations about the ructions that culminated in the demolition of Antrim Castle.

Environmental crusader Neil Kelly said he was 'very pleased' that the lid was finally lifted on how the late Lord Massereene reacted to the destruction of his ancestral home - even though he accused Antrim Rural Council of having 'no feelings of sentiment, tradition or honor'.

The 13th Viscount added the Council's decision to tumble rather than preserve was 'a wicked thing to do'.

The Alliance rep declined to go that far and instead he has urged local people to celebrate their common heritage by looking to the future - and the multi-million pound regeneration of the Castle Grounds.

“I was very interested in the article regarding the history of Antrim Castle and in particular how it came to be demolished," said Councilor Kelly. “I agree that it is an absolute shame that this piece of Antrim history was taken from us and can never be replaced. It seems this decision was taken back in 1967 by Antrim Rural Council and if that is the case I am sure it was not taken lightly. “Hindsight is a wonderful thing and as I am not fully aware of the context in which the decision was taken I find it hard to be too critical."

While the castle was destroyed, he added that the ongoing restoration of its Grounds were a 'cause for celebration'.

“I walk in the area every day and I must say it is a real pleasure to see the work taking shape. There will be additional gardens and also additional paths - many of which where in the original plans all those years ago.
“There will also be a restoration of the old duck pond which was filled in for many years.

“Clotworthy House will also undergo major work to become an interpretive centre which will show a history of the Grounds and hopefully other elements of local history, including the Battle of Antrim in 1798. ?“I was also delighted to hear that the Irish wolfhound statue currently outside the Forum will be moving to a prominent place back where it belongs in the Castle Grounds."

He added, however, that local people had a duty to help ensure that more historical treasures are not lost.

“I look forward to seeing the work complete and just hope that we can enjoy the outcome without the work being damaged," he said. ?“We have had several acts of vandalism and destruction while the work has been going on and I hope that we can stamp this out. We all have a role to play in this including the public, the PSNI and the Council. ?“Antrim Castle Gardens will be something we can all be proud of."
(Source: Antrim Guardian)

Armagh

A Newry man appeared before the city’s Magistrates Court last Friday to face multiple rape charges.
Sean Heaton (46) is charged with two counts of rape, two of attempted rape and one charge of false imprisonment.  The attacks took place in Newry and Warrenpoint between January 2002 and August 2006.

DNA obtained from the accused following a recent incident of domestic assault linked him to the unsolved attacks, police said.

Heaton, from John Martin Street, was arrested after swabs taken from him following a domestic row at his home on May 13th were checked against a database and linked him to three serious sexual assaults.

The first incident occurred at 3.30am on January 13th 2002 in an alleyway close to Heaton’s home.  An 18-year-old was attacked from behind, dragged into the alleyway and subjected to a prolonged sexual assault and raped.

On April 11th 2004 a 21-year-old was attacked nearby and dragged into the same alleyway.  Following a struggle where the victim pleaded with her attacker to let her go, the attack ended.

Heaton denies any involvement in the crimes. Bail was refused amid fears of interference with witnesses and the personal safety of the accused.  He is due to appear in court again via video link on July 6th.

A High Court bail application is expected to be heard on Wednesday.
(Source: Crossexmainer.co.uk)

Carlow

A local family have been left reeling after their beloved father suffered a heart attack and died during a night out. Eamonn Geoghegan of 28 Doonane Road, Crettyard passed away in the Dinn Rí complex in the early hours last Saturday week after suddenly suffering a fatal heart attack as he left the venue.

Eamonn had been attending his niece’s 21st birthday celebrations with his devastated wife Elizabeth when the tragedy occurred.

Despite the best efforts of a nurse who was nearby, he passed away in t he venue.Aged in his early 50s, Eamonn married his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth almost 35 years ago and the couple have three grown children: Eamon, Stephen and daughter Marie.

A heartbroken Marie, who lives in New York, had to watch her father’s funeral through videolink as she was unable to make the journey home to be with her devastated family.

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