News from around the 32 counties of Ireland



A veteran councilor has warned that budget online retailers are driving the final nail into Antrim's coffin.

The economic downturn has ravaged a town center, which has been in steady decline for several years – and Alderman Sam Dunlop fears the worst is yet to come.

Last week it was confirmed that the web had continued to decimate the holiday trade too, with Co-Operative Travel in Antrim in danger of being forced to pack its bags and leave the high street.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


The local man who spearheaded last year’s community campaign to save Bell’s Castle has told the Examiner he and his group of campaigners are “absolutely delighted” that the recent sale of the historical building has led to immediate repairs being carried out.

Killeavy man Deaglan Mulgrew said the group’s interests were always in the preservation of the castle and extended their full support to the new owner, who has indicated that he is keen to return the building and estate to its former glory.

The historic castle, which sits on the slopes of Slieve Gullion, was sold at auction two weeks ago to an overseas bidder for $1.81 million.  Originally put on the market last October with a guide price of $1,480,000, the castle was the initial focus for Mulgrew’s group, who tirelessly lobbied for the grade one listed building to be rescued from its rapid state of deterioration.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


A man who stole an A.T.M. containing $265,000 from a service station has been jailed for six years.

Michael Berry (35), of Hillview, Carnew, County Wicklow, stole the A.T.M. and the cash from Maxol Service Station at Bellefield Road, Enniscorthy, on July 24, 2009.

He was also found guilty, after a trial last November, of stealing a vehicle, a trailer, a set of car keys, and of damaging the service station premises.

Wexford Circuit Criminal Court was told the Ulster Bank A.T.M. had been forcibly removed and taken to premises in Staplestown, Co. Carlow, where the cash was divided between four gang members.
[Source: Irish Independent]


The number of estates exempt from paying the local property tax has fallen by almost 90 percent, according to a new figures published by the Department for the Environment, Community and Local Government. The list shows that in Cavan only 17 local estates are now exempt from paying the charge, down from 149 only 12 months previous.

The new list, the department says, reflects the significant progress made by local authorities in reducing the number of problem estates. Approximately 5,000 households nationwide are eligible for an exemption under section 10 of the Finance Local Property Tax Act 2011.

Of those estates exempt, five are in Mullagh, two in Virginia, Loch Gowna and Cavan Town, and one each in Bawnboy, Ballyjamesduff, Shercock, Bailieborough and Belturbet.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


Unscrupulous landlords in Clare are charging prostitutes exorbitant rent for apartments in order for them to turn a blind eye to their activities, Gardaí (police) have confirmed.

Up to 10 prostitutes are operating from apartments and hotels in Clare in a given week, the Clare Champion can reveal, prompting calls for a change in legislation to criminalize the users to decrease demand.

The Clare Champion found eight prostitutes advertising their services in Clare in one day on a single website. When these women were contacted, it was found that three were available at the time they were contacted; two were offering services from an apartment; while the third was offering services from a hotel. Prices per half-hour varied from $90 to $130.
[Source: Clare Champion]


A Cork doctor has spoken of how she contemplates taking her own life because of the pressure she and her family face from banks to repay her college loans.

The doctor, from north Cork, but now living in North America, trained in University College Cork and is fully-qualified. She initially moved to Canada to complete fellowship training in 2010 but now cannot move home because of costs – primarily the repayments.

“I feel trapped and miserable,” said Sheila, who wished to keep her identity secret.

“I worked so hard for so long and it seems like it's resulted in just more misery. I think of the weddings and funerals I missed, my friend who died before I got to say goodbye and all the people I didn't spend time with because I was working. It was for nothing really.”
[Source: Cork Independent]


Police were justified in publishing a 14-year-old boy’s photograph as part of an investigation into sectarian rioting in Derry, the High Court ruled last Thursday.

Senior judges held that it was a necessary step for the P.S.N.I. to release a series of images of suspects to local newspapers.

Lawyers for the boy claimed the decision was taken after sustained street violence at a city interface in the summer of 2010 breached his right to privacy.