News from around the 32 counties of Ireland



A Derry school teacher has taken up a new role at one of France’s most historic Catholic boarding schools.

Welsh native Gareth Usher - who taught at Strabane Convent grammar, Templemore Secondary School and Faughan Valley High School and who was a central figure in the specialised AESOP Project - takes up his new role as Head of Science at Chavagnes International College in September.

Gareth says the school’s ethos and its strong sense of history attracted him to his new position.
“There’s an amazing sense of family and of caring at the school,” he says.

“It is this sense of care and moral leadership that appeals to me. For too long education has become about numbers and grades.”
(Source: Derry Journal)


A mother who drove the car involved in an accident in which her four-year-old daughter was left in a wheelchair has spoken of how she thought she was going to die in the seconds after the impact.

Sonia McGarvey from Bunbeg was speaking last week at the opening day of the trial of a pensioner charged with causing serious injury to her daughter, Noirín.

“The flames were getting higher and higher,” she said. “I expected not to get out of the car, that this was it. We’d had a conversation the week before about death and I thought this was a warning to me. I felt the flames were going to get me.”

William Barr (81) of Middletown, Gweedore has pleaded not guilty to the charge relating to a two vehicle collision at Dunlewey three years ago in which his wife Maggie died.

Noirín McGarvey, now aged seven, was travelling with her two-year-old brother Aodhán in the family car driven by her mother Sonia. The collision occurred in a 50kmph zone on the R251 on the outskirts of Dunlewey at around 5pm on May 27th, 2008. The McGarvey family were travelling from their home in Lower Dore, Bunbeg to visit Mrs. McGarvey’s parents in Kilmacrennan.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)


A Co Down soldier died after his armoured vehicle hit a bomb in Afghanistan, an inquest has been told.
Lance Corporal Stephen McKee, 27, from Banbridge, was driving a Jackal across a dried up river bed when the device went off.

The soldier, of the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, was blown 15 feet from the vehicle during the blast.

The inquest in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, heard he died almost instantly from injuries suffered by the 50kg device.

Three other soldiers inside the Jackal suffered minor injuries.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


Irish police have released images of two Dublin teenagers who have disappeared.

Investigators say that the cases of Mel O'Brien (17) from Clondalkin and Ericka Cullen from Mulhuddart are not related.

Mel was last seen on July 8 at about 7.30 pm in the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Clondalkin, Dublin.
He is 5ft 8ins tall, weighs 11 stone and has bleached blonde, tightly shaved hair. He has a pale complexion and is well built and athletic looking.

Mel is believed to frequent the Ballybrack/Dundrum area.

Information should be given to Ronanstown Garda Station on 01 666 7700.

Gardai are also trying to trace Ericka Cullen (17) who has been missing from the Mulhuddart area since July 7.

Ericka is of slight build and is 5ft tall with dyed red hair and blue eyes.

She was wearing a white-striped hooded top, skinny jeans and white running shoes.
(Source: The Evening Herald)


Co Fermanagh has the slowest broadband speeds in the UK, according to Ofcom.

The communications regulator released its new interactive online map last Wednesday, which shows broadband take-up and connection speeds in all regions.

The map reveals that western parts of Northern Ireland fare poorly, with Fermanagh coming in slowest at 4.3 Mbit/s, followed by Cookstown, Co Tyrone, at 4.4 Mbit/s.

Ofcom says NI has some of the longest average line lengths in the UK and this led to lower speeds.
However, Ofcom says there is "high availability of superfast broadband across Northern Ireland", with 97% homes and business already covered.

"Whilst some areas of Northern Ireland are listed as being 100% covered by superfast enabled telephone exchanges, this does not necessarily mean that superfast services are currently available on every line", its Communications Infrastructure Report 2011 notes.

"Northern Ireland currently has some of the lowest average sync speeds and highest percentages of households achieving speeds of less than 2Mbit/s", it also found.

"We would expect that this situation will change over the coming months as more consumers choose to upgrade to the newly available superfast services."
(Source: UTV News)


A 47-years-old mother was sentenced to 24 years in prison with the final 16 years suspended at Galway Circuit Criminal Court for the cruelty and neglect of eight of her children.