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News from around the 32 counties of Ireland

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20-year-old Derry man died after falling from the second floor of a Donegal hotel on a night out with work colleagues, an inquest has heard.

The inquest into the death of Conor Duddy found that he had a high level of alcohol and some cannabis in his system when he fell from an open window of the Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town on June 20, 2010.

Coroner John Cannon said the reason Conor fell out the window will probably never be known. Mr Duddy died in Letterkenny General Hospital the day after the fall. The accident happened on a night out for staff from the Iceland store in Derry. About 20 staff from the store set off from Derry on a bus as part of a so-called mystery tour.

Mr Duddy’s father Noel told Letterkenny Coroner’s Court that his son - the youngest of three children - was in good form when he gave him a lift to the bus from their Lecky Road home. He said his son had drank two cans of beer in the house and had a bag with him which he later found out contained six bottles of beer. Mr Duddy said his son had suffered occasionally from depression and he had been aware that he had used cannabis. He said his son loved his job and was just a normal person “who had friends and went out just like everyone else”.

Passer-by Grace Harrington said Mr Duddy appeared to be very drunk when he get off a bus close to the hotel supported by two women.

Off-duty nurse Dawn Hannah had just left a nearby bar with a group of friends and family when she saw something fall from the hotel. She said at first she did not think it was a person. She said the man hit a sign on the way down and his head, neck and shoulder hit the ground first. She and a colleague who she was with, ran to carry out first aid on the man who was bleeding from the nose and mouth. An ambulance crew arrived quickly on the scene and he was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

Down

Two young girls have been rescued after getting into difficulties at Groomsport beach in Co Down last Friday night.

The Bangor lifeboat was called in shortly after 10pm when a passer-by noticed one of them in the water and the other stranded on rocks after playing on the shoreline.

The children, believed to be aged around 10 or 11, were not injured but have been left shocked.

"We got a 999 call from a member of the public reporting that two young girls were in difficulties, one was in the water the other on the rocks", Bangor Coastguard Watch Manager Rob Stevenson told UTV.
"We tasked Bangor lifeboat and out local Bangor coastguard team who went to offer assistance.

"The lifeboat managed to get the females back to shore to be assessed by an ambulance crew waiting at the scene.

"They were not hurt but were sock up and very cold".

The rescue has sparked warnings for people to be vigilant about their safety on beaches over the holiday period.

"If you are going to the beach enjoy it but be safe, if you are using a lilo make sure someone is holding it with a rope because they can soon drift off", Mr Stevenson added.

"If anyone needs assistance they can call us to ask for weather details of information on the tides."
(Source: UTV News)

Dublin

A homeless man who saved his pet rabbit from drowning in the Liffey is to be officially honoured by an animal charity.

Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) says it has been 'inundated' with calls of support for John Byrne since the Herald's story last Monday.

John dived off O'Connell bridge to rescue his pet rabbit Barney, after a passer-by had flung him off the bridge into the River Liffey.

He told the Herald that he "cannot believe" he is going to be presented with the award on Tuesday.
"Ever since the Herald wrote about what happened, myself and Barney have been getting so much support.

"But to be given an award is unbelievable. It's nice to know that despite living on the street, people still care and want to do a nice thing for me,"
(Source: The Evening Hearld)

Fermanagh

A canoeist who will become the first local woman to kayak singlehandedly around the entire island will wrap up her bid in Whitehead this week.

It is expected to take Elaine Alexander another four days for her to reach the finish line at the Co Antrim Yacht Club on Wednesday, where she will receive a heroine’s welcome after her epic voyage.

Elaine left the club on May 3 to undertake the strenuous solo 1,000-mile circumnavigation of Ireland in a bid to raise money for charity.

The changing tides, headlands and cliffs and unpredictable weather have all been barriers to the attempt.

The courageous kayaker’s skills were tested to the limit on several occasions and over the past 71 days the journey has been a struggle.

A severe bout of sea sickness, brought on by large swell during a 12-mile crossing near Brandon Bay on the Dingle Peninsula, was also a difficult time.

She said: “I was fully committed with a cliff face on one side and a long paddle to America on the other, so I had to continue despite being severely ill – I had no choice.

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