News from around the 32 counties of Ireland



The £370m public spending cuts planned by Stormont for next year will “pale into insignificance” compared to what's coming next, a senior economist has warned. And the looming reductions could even add up to a further £1bn over just three years. The stark assessment came from Victor Hewitt, director of the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland, a Government body that advises the Executive and Assembly. The plans for £370m worth of cuts in 2010/11 were revealed last week in a leaked memo prepared by Stormont Finance Minister Sammy Wilson.

(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)         


History was made in the south Armagh village of Camlough last week when the Guinness World Record  for longest continuous open water relay swim was smashed by a team of intrepid swimmers from across the country. The swimmers not only broke the previous record of 480km but by Saturday last - when the challenge officially ended after 232 hours, 52 minutes and 30 seconds - had added a massive 205.5km to set a new world record distance of 685.5km.

(Source: The Examiner)


Carlow woman has called on the minister for education Batt O’Keeffe to withdraw or clarify his description of women who were sent to work in Magdalene Laundries as ‘employees’. Maureen Sullivan, who was sent to work in a Magdalene laundry at just eleven years of age, says she finds the comment by minister O’Keeffe’s “insulting” and is calling on him to provide proof that the young girls, who were forced to work in what she describes as “hell holes”, were employees. “The minister is a liar. I can’t understand how a child of 12 years of age could be employed to work in a Magdalene laundry. First of all, we got no money for working in these places and, secondly, where is the proof of pay?” fumed Maureen.

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)



The Cavan Vocational Education Committee (VEC) is disappointed with its allocation of VTOS places for the current academic year. The CEO of the VEC, Colm McEvoy, revealed at a meeting of the VEC in Cavan Institute last Friday, that Cavan's allocation of places is the lowest in the country at just 40 places. "I appealed that allocation and we did not get anywhere. I wish to inform you that our allocation of 40, together with the allocation to two other VECs, is the lowest in the country," Mr. McEvoy told committee members.

 (Source: The Anglo Celt)



Clare County Council faces a potential €500,000 fine for allowing water untreated for the parasite, cryptosporidium, into the Ennis public water system over a five-month period last year. At Ennis District Court last Thursday, Judge Joseph Mangan directed that the case being taken by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be dealt with by a higher court. He was told that the council would be pleading guilty in the case. The maximum fine allowed in the District Court is €5,000. However, following Judge Mangan’s ruling, the case will be now heard in the Circuit Court where the maximum fine allowed for the offence is €500,000.

(Source: The Irish Times)


The economic downturn has force the closure of a Mallow travel agency that has been in busines for 20 years, making six staff unemployed. The family run Joe O'Reilly Travel Group which has operated in Mallow since 1985 close down this week, amid assurances that all holidays already booked can go ahead as planned and all staff will receive their full redundancy entitlements. Some bookings made by customers have now been transferred to Mallow Travel. Sisters Sandra and Noelle O'Reilly have been running the travel group since their father, Joe, passed away two years ago.

(Source: The Corkman)


A new inquest is to be opened into the death of a 15 year-old boy shot by the British Army in Derry's Creggan Estate in July 1972. An investigation by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) has found that the RUC investigation at the time was "hopelessly inadequate and dreadful". Daniel Hegarty was shot dead during Operation Motorman - the army operation to retake "no-go" areas in the Bogside, Brandywell and Creggan. Last week, the teenager's family welcomed the move and said it was an opportunity to clear his name "once and for all."

(Source: The Derry Journal)



Gardaí (police) are warning pensioners against so-called confidence crimes after con men using a wheel chair robbed a Donegal pensioner. The warning comes after two such thefts in east Donegal in recent weeks where fraudsters pretending to have disabilities called at the homes of pensioners before distracting them and then stealing cash. The incidents took place in Castlefin and Raphoe. A man using a wheel chair was involved in one incident and in the other incident a man pretended to be disabled, gardaí have said.