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News from around the 32 counties of Ireland

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Antrim

Residents in Antrim were forced to leave their homes for more than six hours last Monday as police and army technical officers dealt with a security alert, which was later declared a hoax.

People living in Tower Way were woken by police officers knocking on their doors shortly after 7am and those living nearby were evacuated for their own safety.

It took army technical officers hours to secure what was believed to be a suspect device as residents were moved even further back amid concerns that a controlled explosion would have to be carried out.?
One woman told the Antrim Guardian that she had been evacuated just after 7am and she had left her dog in the house while she went to her mother's.

“I got the knock on the door and I just had to leave. I heard it was pipe bomb that had been left at a man's house but that's all I know," she said. As a bomb squad expert worked at the scene a police officer said: "We have moved people back while the ATO guys are working.

“Sometimes you just can't be sure what will happen and we needed to make sure everyone is safe."

After the device was investigated by the expert with an army robot, forensics moved in to examine the scene.

A PSNI spokesman said: "The security alert in the Tower Way area ended at 1.33pm. ATO finished at the scene and nothing untoward was found."
(Source: Antrim Guardian)

Armagh

A senior police officer has reminded parents of their responsibility to make sure their children do not get involved in rioting after more disorder in Northern Ireland.

The 100-strong crowd of loyalists that attacked police in Portadown was predominantly made up of teenagers, police said.

Three men were arrested during the disturbances in the Corcraine area of the Co Armagh town which was sparked after loyalist flags were allegedly removed at an interface with a nationalist area. Officers fired 19 baton rounds at the rioters during the violence.

The disorder came at the end of a week which saw violence erupt across Northern Ireland during the height of the Orange Order marching season.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Superintendent Jason Murphy said a peaceful loyalist protest had been hijacked by those intent on trouble.

He said officers had been attacked with petrol bombs, stones, bricks, fireworks and other missiles. The commander said a number of Land Rovers sustained substantial damage during the disorder but no officers were injured.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Carlow

Accounts at Carlow Post Office are now being examined following revelations that local man Tony O’Reilly is at the heart of a missing €1.76 million from Gorey Post Office.

The 36-year-old from Carlow town found himself at the centre of a media storm last week when it emerged that he was being sought in connection to the missing funds, which were revealed following an audit at An Post, Gorey.

Mr O’Reilly, who lives in Sandhills, Hacketstown Road, is understood to have worked for up to ten years at Carlow Post Office and was a well-known face in the local branch.

The Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation are now looking into whether O’Reilly, who is married with one child, could have stolen money from the Carlow branch of An Post to feed his crippling gambling addiction.

“They are looking into everything he did, absolutely everything,” said a source. “And that includes Carlow Post Office.” ??It is believed that Mr O’Reilly, who played football locally for Hanover Harps, gambled away the astonishing sum of money online and may have been addicted for many years.

His story hit national headlines when he was reported missing by his family after leaving to go to work on a Wednesday morning.

Mr O’Reilly’s wife received a text message to say he had been involved in an accident outside of Tullow but was then unable to contact her husband. He was found in Belfast after he placed a €40,000 bet.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

Cavan

Sean Cassidy from Swanlinbar, who emigrated to London in 1970 and whose son Ciaran was a 7/7 bomb victim, is irate and shocked that his landline phone details have been discovered in the documents of the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. Sean and his wife Veronica and daughter Lisa were endeavoring to get over the sixth anniversary of Ciaran's death when they got a phone call from the police, informing them that Sean's telephone number and address is on one of the documents connected to the illegal hacking, which is now at the centre of the police investigations and has rocked the British establishment to its core.

Sean Cassidy could not believe what he was hearing and simply did not know why a "humble, law-abiding postman" would be of any interest to the hackers. He was shocked when told by the police that his phone may have been hacked and stated that he "never thought a man of my standing would now be quoted by the world's media".

Sean Cassidy told The Anglo Celt that he was even more amazed that this had happened in view of the fact that he was open and frank with all the media, including the News of the World.

His son Ciaran (22) was killed on a packed London Underground train on the Piccadilly Line together with 26 other people. At the time of his death he had been working for a printing and stationery company.

Mr Cassidy revealed that the police said they would be back in touch with him in a few weeks time, but in the interim the hacking list saga remains a total mystery to him.

He confirmed that he does not know for sure yet if his land line phone was hacked but it has been found on the list under investigation.

"We have great support here from the public and people at work even ask me why they would want to target me, of all people," he said.

When asked if he was a News of the World reader over the years, he replied "sometimes I do and sometimes I don't".
(Source: The Anglo Celt)

Clare

The Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Ennis will not be further downgraded as part of a new policy being developed in relation to small hospitals, it emerged last Wednesday.

According to Deputy Joe Carey, he and fellow Clare TD Pat Breen, have met with Minister for Health Dr James Reilly informally on a number of occasions since the formation of the new government and have brought up issues in relation to the reduction of services in small hospitals.

“What he said in relation to the future of Ennis hospital is that we have come through the HIQA process, there are no patient-safety issues and there will be no change to the services that are currently given at the hospital,” Deputy Carey told The Clare Champion.

According to Deputy Carey, “A policy in relation to smaller hospitals will be developed but Ennis is already there”.

A meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party called to discuss the controversy over hospital closures took place last Wednesday and continued into the night.

“The HIQA report in relation to Ennis was published in 2009. Minister Reilly said Ennis has come through the HIQA process and there is no patient-risk fears now. We have a dramatically reduced service introduced by the last Government and we lost surgical services, we lost 24-hour A&E and all major trauma cases are brought directly to Limerick,” Deputy Carey said.

“The hospital is working well at the present and we are committed to developing the new 50-bed ward block and works are ongoing. When fully completed, it will be the first Strategy for the Control of Antimicrobial Resistance in Ireland (SARI) compliant hospital facility in the country, public or private, which will help to combat hospital acquired infections, such as MRSA and C difficile. We are also committed to the development of an endoscopy unit, which is nearing completion,” he went on.
(Source: The Clare Champion)

Cork

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) warned that “further procrastination and delay is not acceptable and can put patients’ lives and safety at risk”, following confirmation that it will close it’s A&E in November.

HSE Chief Executive, Cathal Magee, confirmed last week that Mallow General Hospital’s emergency department is to be replaced in November with an urgent care centre, which will be open 12 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week and will result in all major trauma incidents being referred to Cork University Hospital (CUH). A Medical Assessment Unit is also expected to be established there in April 2012.

Management and staff at the Mallow hospital will discover more this week following negotiations with the HSE.

He stated that Roscommon, Loughlinstown and Bantry hospitals would also lose their A&E departments.

Last Wednesday the HIQA published its background narrative and update on developments arising from HIQA’s reports into patient safety issues.

It also warned that it believed that change for safety was long overdue in many aspects of the health system.

“The Authority recognizes and understands the difficulties in bringing about these changes. However, further procrastination and delay is not acceptable and can put patients’ lives at risk. The Authority will continue to highlight patient safety concerns as they arise and evaluate and monitor the HSE’s implementation of our recommendations and future compliance with national standards,” HIQA said.

In August 2010, HIQA investigated the provision of services at Mallow General Hospital, following information received about the care of a patient with complex clinical needs who subsequently died at another hospital.

“In September 2010, subsequent to the launching of the Mallow Hospital investigation, the Authority received for the first time a national HSE report setting out, by HSE region, issues raised in the Ennis report recommendations as they related to acute clinical services in similarly sized hospitals to MWRH Ennis.”
Source: (Cork Independent)

Derry

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)

Donegal

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)

Down

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)

Dublin

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)

Fermanagh

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)

Galway

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.

The woman, who may not be named in order to protect the identity of the children, pleaded guilty to eight sample charges of assaulting, ill-treating and neglecting the children in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to their health over a seven-year period from May, 2002 to June, 2009, contrary to Section 246 (1) and (2) of the Children’s Act, 2001. The charges relate to two of the woman’s sons and six of her daughters.

Detective Sergeant Kieran McNamara outlined a litany of physical abuse which the woman subjected her young children to.

On one occasion, she watched when her 14-years-old daughter was stabbed through the arm and then helped stitch the wound at home with a needle and thread so that the girl, who was regularly beaten and tortured along with her seven siblings, could not make a complaint to the authorities. The wound and stitches became infected, but she was not taken to hospital.

A doctor who examined the girl’s arm in 2009, when the children were eventually taken into care, “cringed” at the thought that the child was stitched without anaesthetic, Det Sgt McNamara said.
The mother regularly attached vicegrips to her children’s noses, ears and lips to punish them and on one occasion tied another daughter to a horse, whipping both the child and the horse so that it would bolt and hurt the child.

Another daughter was tied to a tree and whipped. Her mother laughed at her when she was eventually set free.

She regularly beat one of her sons very badly with whips and sticks in a bid to make him look disabled so that she could claim benefit for him.

In victim impact statements read to the court, one daughter said of her mother, “she was not a mother to me. She was an evil bitch.”

Imposing sentence, Judge Raymond Groarke said it was incredible that the abuse could go on for so many years with little or no intervention.
(Source: GalwayBay Fm)

Kerry

Two men are due to be sentenced this month for their parts in what was described as a sophisticated operation to steal a bank ATM containing more than €250,000.

The Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee, Co Kerry, was told that the ATM was ripped from the wall of an AIB bank using an excavator during the early-morning raid.

At 5am on 13 November 2010, a number of residents of Castleisland's Main Street in Co Kerry were awoken by the noise of an excavator being used to rip an ATM from the wall of the town's AIB bank branch.

The operation was meticulously planned, with the raiders identifying and stealing a €100,000 excavator and even conducting a dummy run in the weeks before the raid itself.

The ATM contained more than €234,000 in cash, and the raiders caused an additional €100,000 in damage when they ripped the machine from the wall of the bank.

But they were forced to flee empty-handed when they failed to lift the ATM with the cash onto the back of a waiting truck.

Two men who were arrested half an hour later after a high-speed chase were before the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee last week.

Construction worker Christopher Murney, 25, from Mayobridge, Co Down, and 30-year-old mechanic Thomas Wilson from Banbridge, Co Down, pleaded guilty to four counts each arising out of the raid, including the theft of the ATM and cash, and criminal damage to the bank.
(Source: RTE News)

Kildare

Police in Newbridge unearthed a cache of stolen property when they searched an apartment in the town following a number of weekend incidents.

Sergeant James O’Sullivan said that that on Friday week last 8 July, there were three separate incidents of mobile phones being stolen from people walking in the town. Cache of stolen goods found in Newbridge flat “Two of the incidents happened on Athgarvan Road and the other at Canning Place.

"In each case, the victims were teenage girls who had their mobile phones snatched by two other girls.”

Cache of stolen goods found in Newbridge flat Sgt O’Sullivan added that on the following day (Saturday) a handbag was stolen from a premises at Naas Road, while in the early hours of last Sunday morning, at around Cache of stolen goods found in Newbridge flat 5am, two premises at Henry Street – one a hairdressing salon, the other a shop – were broken into and a large amount of goods taken.

As a result of investigations, local gardaí searched an apartment at Charlotte Street, in the town centre, where they discovered a considerable amount of the stolen property, including goods from the shop, the mobile phones and the contents of the stolen handbag.

Three people (two females and a male) were arrested and detained at Newbridge garda station and were later brought before the special court sitting held in Naas last Tuesday morning.
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)

Kilkenny

Fifty anti-skate park protesters took over City Hall armed with placards and a petition of 170 signatures in objection to the development of a skate park at the Closh, opposite the cinema, last Monday night.

Bill Bergin, leader of the community group from the Walkin Street and Gaol Road area, said that the area was unsuitable because of the number of elderly people living up there. “The area we are talking about is a residential area occupied by elderly people,” he said. “We are afraid that putting a skate park in here will bring a lot of anti-social behavior. The skate park should be built in a more appropriate area, up in the Castle Park or Scanlon Park, where they have the facilities.”

Mr Bergin said the residents weren’t impressed by the response of the councilors and that was why they were taking to the streets. “The neighboring residents are adamant that they don’t want a skate park in the Closh. We’ve had to come out in the streets with placards and we’ll continue if we don’t get the respect that we residents deserve.”
(Source: Kilkenny People)

Laois

A chalice dating back to the 1700s was among items snatched when shameless raiders broke into St John’s Church, Killenard.

The church was burgled last Friday morning.

After gaining entry to the sacristy, the men made off with a heavy duty safe, which contained the period church piece.

Gardaí believe there was no money in the safe, only some church documents, along with the chalice.

The theft is believed to have taken place some time between 9.30am and 12.30pm, although gardaí say there is a possibility it could have taken place sometime later in the afternoon.

While the chalice holds immense historical value, it’s not deemed to hold a signifi cant monetary value.

Fr Thomas Dooley, PP, addressed congregations last weekend informing them of the senseless theft.

Of particular concern for the parish, he said, is the fear that the chalice will end up being melted down.??A parish spokesperson told the Laois Nationalist: “It’s not so much the monetary value, but the value of it in terms of history.”
(Source: Leinster Express)

Leitrim

There was a strong reaction to this emotive topic with the finger of blame being pointed at the HSE, Fine Gael, the emergency services and air support.

The shock of the news of Meadhbh McGivern’s unsuccessful attempt to get to England for a liver transplant was expressed over the past week on the Leitrim Observer Facebook page where the question was asked, ‘Where does responsibility lie in relation to the blunder that prevented Meadhbh McGivern being transported to London for a liver transplant?’
(Source: Leitrim Observer)

Limerick

JP McManus has put up a prize fund of €50,000 for a unique competition aimed at improving the appearance of neighborhoods all around Limerick city and its environs.

But Limerick’s richest man says the initiative is about more than prize money: he hopes the competition will be the first step in making the city a cleaner and better environment.

The Limerick Leader, along with our sister paper the Limerick Chronicle and Live 95FM, is fully behind the initiative and we are encouraging all our readers to embrace the idea and do their bit to help make Limerick Ireland’s cleanest city.

Twelve areas within Limerick city have entered the Tidy Towns 2011 with the help of Limerick City Council. They will now be competing for the prize money put up by the JP McManus Foundation in a competition that will involve a panel of judges as well as votes from readers of the Limerick Leader and Limerick Chronicle and listeners to Limerick’s Live 95FM.

Dozens of other areas who are not in the Tidy Towns event this year are being offered some financial support to play their part in the big clean-up.

The idea for the competition was the result of discussions between Limerick City Council and the JP McManus Foundation and Mr McManus was at City Hall last week to meet some of the residents who will be competing for the prize money.

“We want to start small and work up,” said JP. “This is about tidying up the neighbourhoods and the city generally and giving people a bit of help and encouragement to make good things happen. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I hope we’ll get there with this over time. Have a look again in 12 months’ time and tell us if things are better.
(Source: Limerick Leader)

Longford

At present 89 local authority houses are lying empty in County Longford despite the fact that 1,322 people are currently on the waiting list, according to figures released by Longford Co Council. The Council attributed the discrepancy between the figures to “reduced funding being available to Longford County Council”.

Currently, it is taking an average of seven weeks to rehouse local authority housing tenants in County Longford. This is significantly lower than the national average which shows that some local authorities are taking up to five months to re-let council houses even though there are over 100,000 people on the list nationwide.

A major report into the state’s spending on local authority housing says that people are refusing offers of a home because they feel that an area is “undesirable”. The report went on to suggest that people who refuse two ‘reasonable’ offers of a home should be forced to suffer “substantial penalties” including moving further down the waiting list.
(Source: Longford Leader)

Louth

A new map of who lies in each grave in Castletown Graveyard has been erected in the last few weeks.
The facility was installed at the entrance to the graveyard by Dundalk Tidy Towns committee after local youth group High Voltage carried out refurbishment works at the graveyard to make it more presentable.

Dundalk Tidy Towns committee chairman, Willie Duffy, heaped praise on High Voltage for the work they did in tidying up the graveyard.

He said: “The idea for the map came about after High Voltage approached the Tidy Towns committee looking for help to do the work.

“We agreed to give them some money towards the clean up and they strimmed down the high grass, cleaned the gravestones and overall did a hell of a job in cleaning the place up. Before then there had been bushes that were waist high.

“When we seen the good work they were doing we started to try and put information together on who all were buried in the graveyard. We drew up the map as best we could and put it on display.”

Willie said he was hopeful that the new map could help people track down their ancestors.

“There’s an old saying that if you don’t have a relative in Castletown then you’re only a runner so it’s a good way for people to track their local heritage.

“If any of the information is not correct though then we’ll be happy to change it.”

Willie admitted that the project would never have got off the ground though were it not for High Voltage.
“They worked so hard on it and it’s a credit to them.

“Young people can get bad publicity at times but they were superb. You can walk around all the graves now and it’s as clean as can be and now that it’s like that they will ensure that it’s kept like that,” he said.

(Source: Dundalk Democrat)

Mayo

A 30-year Straide man has revealed how he was ‘terrorised’ by a ‘bully’ sent by ACC Bank to seize his five-year-old Toyota Hiace after he missed three repayments on the van, totaling €843.

Asset Recovery Agent Aidan Faulkner, a retired Defense Forces officer, is charged with trespassing on the property of Patrick Ruane and head-butting Ruane after Ruane tried to remove him from the property. The attack left Ruane with a broken nose, split his lip and loosened some of his teeth.

Cases of such attacks are reported to be common in Mayo and one area expert has said there is a ‘huge volume’ of cases of banks sending debt recovery agents to seize assets on their behalf, often with just three monthly payments outstanding. Meanwhile a Mayo councilor spoke about how he has encountered suicide cases arising out of difficulties with financial institutions.

A Garda superintendent lambasted ACC Bank for their ‘haphazard and unprofessional’ conduct in the Faulkner-Ruane episode while, when challenged by a district court judge, an ACC official conceded that they had no right to try to seize the vehicle on the day in question.

Faulkner appeared before Castlebar District Court last week charged with assault and trespassing. Judge Mary Devins said that the prosecution had proven both charges but postponed her decision to a later date.
(Source: The Mayo News)

Meath

The body of missing Wilkinstown, Navan, resident Garvan (Robert) Milligan has been found in Roscommon, gardaí said last Wednesday 13th July.

Mr Milligan (35) went missing on 15th November of last year, and was last seen in a Longwood pub and captured on CCTV in a nearby shop.

Mr Milligan was a native of Carrigans, Co Donegal, and had been living in Wilkinstown for four years.
It is thought that a mobile mast picked up Mr Milligan's signal shortly after his disappearance.

Mr Milligan, who was living with his sister at the time of his disappearance, worked at the Department of Agriculture in Duleek, where he was an official.

The tragic news is a devastating blow to Mr Milligan's family, mother and sisters, Andrena and Aisling, who made numerous appeals to the public for information over the past eight months, and were aided in searches by Meath River Rescue, An Garda Síochána and concerned volunteers.

Post-mortem tests confirmed Mr Milligan's identity and gardaí have informed his family and say they are not treating his death as suspicious.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)

Monaghan

A pedestrian died after being struck by a car in Co Monaghan last Wednesday night. The incident happened on the R183 Castleblayney to Ballybay road at about 11.40pm at Killycrum, Castleblayney.

The victim, a man in his late 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car, a man in his 20s, was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
(Source: Irish Times)

Offaly

“It’s a disgrace that over 2,500 people are waiting for operations at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore,” declared Sinn Fein’s Cllr Brendan Killeavy last week.

He said the waiting lists for orthopaedic services, ENT and in particular Children’s Surgery have been lengthened due to budget cutbacks at the hospital.

Cllr Killeavy outlined, “The HSE has recently closed down two theatres and reduced its services in the day hospital, elective surgery is postponed at the hospital until September. If the hospital budget is not corrected by September, my fear is that these arrangements will be extended until the end of the year.”

He said this is simply not good enough as he has met people in Tullamore and around the county who are waiting for appointments and operations and some are waiting in pain.

Cllr Killeavy indicated he is going to pursue the issue vigorously, “I have being requesting a meeting for several months now with Hospital Management, so far no date has been set for such a meeting. It’s not fair particularly for elderly patients who are waiting for knee or hip operations to be left in pain.

Those with private insurance seem to be directed to the private hospitals in Dublin while those on the public health service are left in limbo and in pain. There are too many layers of management in the hospital and the moratorium is having a devastating effect on front line staff at the hospital.”
(Source: Offaly Express)

Roscommon

The emergency department at Roscommon County Hospital closed at last Monday morning and was replaced with a minor injuries unit for adults only.

150 people are protesting outside Roscommon Hospital last week.

After consultation with local doctors, The out of hours GP clinic was moved from the County Hopsital to HSE offices on Lanesborough Road.

Earlier, 400 people gathered to protest the Roscommon closure outside the hospital. The protesters are marching around the hospital carrying flags, white crosses and signs.

Services for patients requiring urgent treatment are being transferred to hospitals elsewhere in Connacht.

The move has been criticised by GPs and community groups in Roscommon who claim there is widespread confusion about the new arrangements in place.

People in Co Roscommon requiring an ambulance will be brought to University College Hospital Galway, Sligo General Hospital or hospitals in Ballinasloe and Castlebar.
(Source: The Roscommon Champion)

Sligo

Because of intimidation, people had to leave the Tower Hill Estate in Ballymote, it was claimed at the July monthly meeting of Sligo County Council.

Clr. Pat McGrath said there were two vacant houses in the estate in which there were tenants up to a few months ago but because of intimidation they had left the estate. The problem was getting people on the social housing list to move into this estate. There was a lot of anti-social behaviour, a lot of issues being raised as well as questions going forward "about how we control this estate".

"There are people in that estate who feel intimidated, and are being intimidated, and they have issues," Clr. McGrath insisted. He thought it was important that the residents, Travellers and the county council worked together and "that we set boundaries and guidelines for this estate".

Said Clr. Martin Baker: "A lot of good people live in these estates and it's wrong if a few can pull them down. I am not discriminating against anyone." He pointed out that there were huge housing lists and when people got a house they should respect it. "You cannot put up with people ruining their neighbors," Clr. Baker said.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)

Tipperary

Litterbugs at bring banks in North Tipperary have been targeted by CCTV cameras and given on the spot fines by litter wardens.

In a bid to make North Tipperary a cleaner county, North Tipperary County Council announced a crack down on people littering at bring banks. With the use of the latest state of the art CCTV, 32 litter fines were issued at bring bank sites throughout North Tipperary since February.

Bring banks are provided for members of the public to recycle glass bottles, aluminium cans and textiles.  North Tipperary has one of the highest recycling rates in the country but at some bring bank sites illegal dumping has caused issues with access and has made these sites very unattractive.

Joe MacGrath, county manager, said “North Tipperary County Council believes that these fines will act as a warning to others that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. We believe that the fines will result in a significant reduction in dumping at bring bank sites thanks to CCTV, warning signs and publicity following the issuing of fines. We want to send a clear message that people should not leave their recyclables in bags next to bottle banks. This is considered dumping, it makes the area look unattractive and offenders will be prosecuted!”
(Source: Tipperary Star)

Tyrone

A derelict building has been destroyed in an early morning arson attack in Sion Mills, County Tyrone.
The blaze on the Melmount Road was discovered early on Saturday.

The Fire and Rescue Service believe it was started deliberately.

Enniskillen district station commander Robbie Bryson said: "The first crew there realised it was a pretty big fire so they requested more appliances and in the end we had five appliances there."

"There was nobody about at the time the fire was discovered and no injuries or damage to adjacent properties."
(Source: UTV News)

Waterford

A Co Waterford guesthouse owner is suing RTÉ for defamation over a 'Nob Nation' broadcast in which he claims his premises was described as a brothel.

Vincent O'Toole, 84, who owns the Maryland House at the Mall in Waterford, took a successful libel action against the Sunday World newspaper in 2007 over a similar claim.

Mr O'Toole, a former shipsmaster, and racehorse breeder, who was described as a 'leading light' in the local Waterford community, is suing over an episode of Nob Nation broadcast on the Gerry Ryan Show on 2FM 18 months later in August 2008.

His Senior Counsel, John Gordon said Mr O'Toole was extremely distressed and deeply frustrated by the broadcast.

Even as recently as last week, he said, a tourist turned up at his guesthouse, expecting that he was arriving at a brothel.

He said Mr O'Toole and his wife had been abused and had had to call gardaí on occasions.

Mr Gordon said RTÉ had published programme standards and guidelines in June 2008, but were in complete dereliction of those standards when they broadcast the Nob Nation sketch.
(Source: RTE News)

Westmeath

A male pedestrian died late last week after he was hit by a lorry in Co Westmeath.
The incident happened at about 5.45pm on the N4 Mullingar bypass.

The victim was a man aged in his 20s. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The westbound carriageways of the N4 are currently closed to traffic and diversions are in place while a forensic examination takes place.

The victim is the 102nd person to die on Irish roads so far this year and the 24th pedestrian.
(Source: RTE News)

Wexford

A 21-year-old Wexford man has appeared before the Special Criminal Court charged with 11 counts of unlawful possession of explosives, firearms and ammunition.

Nicholas Kendall, of Springcrest, Keelogues, Barntown in Co Wexford, was brought before a special sitting of the three-judge court last week where Detective Garda Eileen Keogh gave evidence of caution and charge.

She said Kendall made no reply to the charges.

Kendall, wearing a white t-shirt, stood in court as the 11 charges were then read out to him.

These included nine charges of unlawful possession of explosives, including TIme Power Unit, a partially constructed improvised detonator and shotgun cartridge propellant powder, on October 8, 2010 at Springcrest.
 (Source: The Irish Times)

Wicklow

A polish national is due before Arklow District Court last Wednesday in connection with the discovery of an estimated €102,000 worth of cannabis resin and herbal cannabis last week.

Father-of-two Pavel Seik (26), pictured, was arrested after the Wicklow Drugs Unit uncovered the drugs during a planned search of the woods at Garnagowlan, Woodenbridge, Avoca, last Tuesday afternoon.
After being detained overnight at Arklow Garda Station under section four of the Criminal Justice Act, Seik was brought before Bray District Court last Wednesday week, July 6, where he was charged with possession of drugs for sale or supply.

Seik, who resides in Arklow, and has been in Ireland for five years, was granted bail on his own bond of €1,000 under a number of conditions.
(Source: The Wicklow People)

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