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News from around the 32 counties of Ireland

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ANTRIM

An outspoken County Antrim councilor courted more controversy last week by vowing to fight new proposals that give members of the Traveling Community the right to live in the countryside denied to their “settled” neighbors.

Ulster Unionist Adrian Watson, who is no stranger to making occasional caustic remarks about minority groups, has branded the changes to planning law “discrimination,” adding that they would be a “slap in the face” to young families unable to get permission to set up home in a rural setting – even if they were born and raised there.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]

ARMAGH

The relentless dumping of toxic waste in the south Armagh area is a continuing source of disappointment, Sinn Fein Councilor Terry Hearty has said.

Commenting after the latest incident in which two cubes of toxic sludge were dumped on the Loughhaveeley Road in Glassdrummond, he said: “This is a very remote, rural road.  The cubes were dumped carelessly out of a van, spilling over the road and into a drain.”

Pointing out that from July last year, at least 770 tons of waste have been removed at a cost of approximately $339,000 to the taxpayer, he added, “While 770 tons of sludge may have been cleared, we have no idea how much of this poison has seeped into the ground or made its way to waterways. These people seem intent on poisoning our beautiful countryside and doing as much environmental harm as they can.”
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

CARLOW

The life of murdered Naas woman Deirdre Keenan was much more than the last few minutes before her death, mourners at her funeral mass heard. Death was confusing but a sudden and violent death was particularly confusing, Fr. Declan Thompson told the packed congregation on Saturday, March 2, at the Church of Our Lady and St. David, Naas.

Ms. Keenan (51) was shot dead at a B&B in Carlow Town on Monday, February 25, by John Deegan (53), who then killed himself with a legally-held shotgun. Their bodies were discovered by a member of the family which runs the B&B that afternoon.

Ms. Keenan and Mr. Deegan had been in a relationship after separating from their spouses.

The couple had been staying in Carlow a few days before the incident happened.
[Source: Irish Times]

CAVAN

How would you feel about spending three nights in Mountjoy Prison, three in Wheatfield Prison, and another in Loughan House? Milltown musician Paul McCann and his fellow band-mates can't wait to briefly give up their liberty in order to recreate Johnny Cash's legendary prison concerts.

"It came to me one day," Paul tells the Celt, "what about doing a gig in a prison?"

Conscious that the Johnny Cash tracks went down a treat when his band played them at weddings, Paul added his wife and a few musician pals to the line-up to recreate an authentic Johnny Cash and Carter Family tribute act. Although they had a band, they had nowhere to play.

In 1968 “The Man in Black” played up to his roguish reputation with a concert in San Quentin State Prison and, over the years, continued to play other jails including Folsom Prison, which had already been the subject of one of his biggest hit singles.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]

CLARE

Well-known Clare building firm M. Fitzgibbon (Builders), Ltd. have insisted they are “trading as usual” and not in receivership, despite moving off-site from a $5.5 million development in Tralee. Also work has stopped on a supermarket project in Miltown Malbay.

In a statement to the Clare Champion on Wednesday, the company insisted, “M. Fitzgibbon (Builders), Ltd. [is] trading as usual. Our company at this time is not, as is alleged and [rumored], in receivership.”

The Ennis-based company was awarded the contract for the Integrated Services Centre in the Mitchels area of Tralee, part of the town’s regeneration project.

Work began in October and was expected to take a year to complete. However, on Tuesday, work stopped at the site with a spokesperson for Kerry local authorities describing the disruption as “unfortunate.”
[Source: Clare Champion]

CORK

Staff-members and students are mourning a respected colleague at U.C.C. after a fatal accident killed maintenance worker Frank McGrath on Tuesday evening.

Frank McGrath, a married father-of-one, who had worked at U.C.C. since 1986, was killed at 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday.

Mr. McGrath, who was in his 50s, was hit by a portable motorized platform driven by his colleague as they worked together fixing a lighting problem. A Garda (police) spokesperson said the man driving the scissor-lift was extremely distressed.

The accident occurred outside the Lewis Glucksman Gallery on the U.C.C. campus. An ambulance was called and Mr. McGrath was pronounced dead at the scene.
[Source: Cork Independent]

DERRY

Dissident republicans in Derry have threatened to kill Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Mr. McGuinness said he was contacted by a senior P.S.N.I. officer on Wednesday night who informed his of a “real and active” threat against his life.

The Deputy First Minister said the threat was linked to his condemnation of the attempted mortar attack in the city on Sunday evening, March 3.

“Last night I was visited at home by the P.S.N.I. who informed me of a real and active threat against me from a dissident group in Derry. They linked the threat to my condemnation of the recent attempted mortar attack in the city and other remarks made in support of the P.S.N.I.”
[Source: Derry Journal]

DONEGAL

The Mayor of Letterkenny, Clr. Dessie Larkin, has described the members of Donegal’s All-Ireland winning team as an inspiration to the young people of the county.

Last Wednesday night, Letterkenny Town Council afforded the Donegal G.A.A. team a civic reception in honor of last year’s success at the Ulster and All-Ireland levels.

And leading the tributes to the players, team management and backroom staff, Mayor Larkin said they were a credit to their clubs, their parishes and their towns.

“It’s important for young people to have someone like yourselves to look up to for inspiration,” he added. “What you achieved last year was incredible, and the impact you had on the county and, especially on young people, was unbelievable.”
[Source: Donegal Democrat]

DOWN

A Newry man has pleaded guilty to two counts of serious sexual assault, including penetration of a minor.  The charges brought relate to incidents dating from September 19, 2010 and involve two injured parties.

Thirty-three-year-old Dennis Lancaster of Lisdrum Avenue entered the guilty pleas at his appearance before Newry Crown Court on Tuesday, February 26. The former juvenile boxing coach had previously denied all charges brought against him.

Lancaster was required to sign the sex offenders register before leaving court on bail two weeks ago.  He is scheduled to return for sentencing on March 22.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

DUBLIN

A Dublin man collapsed and died from a heart attack less than an hour after being sent home by a doctor.

A twin brother of the man, Damien Geraghty, has told a Medical Council fitness-to-practice inquiry that his 32-year-old twin Anthony said, "Ma, I'm dizzy,” before falling into his brother's arms.

It happened in their family home in Ballymun, Dublin, in the early hours of October 20, 2009.

Shortly before he died, Anthony Geraghty had attended the North-Doc out-of-hours clinic in Coolock, where he was seen by Dr. Sandor Endredi.

Dr. Endredi, who is originally from Hungary but currently has a practice in Dublin, faces seven allegations of poor professional performance in relation to his treatment of Mr. Geraghty.
[Source: Evening Herald]

FERMANAGH

The community of Enniskillen and the wider student area of Dundee have been left in complete shock after the tragic death of 25-year-old Caoimhe Gault.

Caoimhe, who was brought up in Enniskillen, was found dead at her student flat in Dundee on Friday, March 1.

She had been studying a B.Sc. in mental health at the University of Abertay, where she had previously undertaken a B.Sc. in forensic science.

Caoimhe’s heart-broken family made their way over to identify the body two weekends ago, and a postmortem was being carried out.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]

GALWAY

A Galway City councilor is calling on the E.S.B. to abolish estimated electricity bills.

Councilor Nuala Nolan says estimated electricity bills are causing many householders in the city to struggle financially.

She says St. Vincent de Paul has been inundated with calls from young families who have enormous bills.

Councilor Nolan says that monthly bills with a meter reading should be implemented for every home.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]

KERRY

Kerry forward Brian Looney has backed his club-mate Colm “Gooch” Cooper's decision to take a break from football after Dr. Crokes' exit from the All-Ireland club championship.

Cooper, along with a number of other frontline players, remains absent, despite “the Kingdom” losing their first three league outings, and the very real threat of relegation that now hangs over Eamonn Fitzmaurice's men.

Fitzmaurice hinted recently that Cooper may not feature in this year's league at all, and Looney believes a refreshed Cooper will be of more benefit to Kerry as the season progresses.
[Source: Irish Independent]

KILDARE

An Athy man died tragically on Saturday evening, March 2, after suffering what was described as “a medical seizure” while driving home after playing a football match.

Timmy Kelly (31) died at Portlaoise Hospital after a collision in which the car he was driving crashed into the back of another vehicle in the Blackparks area, on the Kilkenny Road just outside the town.

The accident occurred at around 5:15 p.m. and it is understood Mr. Kelly, originally from Ballyroe and more recently living at Tonlegee Lawns in Athy, was travelling home at the time. He had just played a football match with his home-side, Grangenolvin, and had come off the field 15 minutes prior to the end of the game.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]

KILKENNY

Kilkenny land prices have increased by 25 percent in 2012.

That’s according to a survey in the Farmers Journal, which quotes Kilkenny land prices at $17,177 – making it the second most valuable acre in the country after Dublin.

The number of acres on sale in 2012 was down in 2012 compared to the previous year – bucking the national trend. The most significant sale was conducted by local auctioneer Ed Donohoe of Donohoe Properties when he administered the sale of Pigeon Park House in Danesfort, on 140 acres for $3,340,000.
[Source: Kilkenny People]

LAOIS

Fianna Fáil is on the rise among young people in Laois according to Portlaoise’s David Ryan who was recently elected to Ógra Fianna Fáil’s as National Events Director.

“Ógra Fianna Fáil [was] pretty much wiped out in Laois, it used to be very much university-based,” David explains.

“But along with Thomas Foy, we’ve set it up again and we now have around 45 people on our mailing list. Out of that, we have around 25-35 people who are regularly involved.

“We recruited about 20 people from around Laois and the rest have come from universities. We’re lucky in Laois that it is still one of the most pro-Fianna Fail counties in Ireland.”
[Source: Leinster Express]

LEITRIM

Historic Carrick-on-Shannon is the venue for a unique “living history” experience when 30 individuals voluntarily sign themselves in to The Workhouse to feel firsthand what it was like for the poor, sick and destitute during An Gorta Mór, or “The Great Hunger.”

Celebrating 400 years since its incorporation as a royal borough in 1613 by King James l, heritage-rich Carrick-on-Shannon has one of the few remaining workhouses in Ireland (now a part of St. Patrick’s Community Hospital).

The attic sleeping quarters, which have been sensitively restored to original condition with an added reading room, contains historical documents by the Carrick-on-Shannon Heritage Group that identifies and manages the town’s heritage amenities. The Famine Attic Experience is a joint initiative with the pro-active Carrick-on-Shannon & District Historical Society.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]

LIMERICK

Four traveler families living on lands just off the Dock Road have vowed to fight the council’s plans to remove them from the site.

It is understood the city council has set a date of early April for the Travelers to be off the land, which borders the Bawney’s Bridge halting site, near the Roches Feeds factory.

A city councilor – who did not wish to be identified – said because the caravans do not lie on the halting site themselves, they are illegally parked.

This, they said, is why the council is taking action over an issue that has been a source of contention for a number of years.
[Source: Limerick Leader]

LONGFORD

A delegation from the Mexican town to which Longford will be twinned with within weeks cannot be present on St. Patrick’s Day as planned, due to a change in government in Mexico, the Leader has learned.

Representatives from the town – San Miguel Deallende – will however visit the county town in May when it is expected that the twinning will be signed, sealed and delivered, and new trade and educational links established between the sides.

Speaking to the Leader, Town Clerk Dan Rooney said that the visit had been “rescheduled” and he pointed to a meeting that took place between Longford representatives and the Mexican Ambassador Carlos Eugenio Garcia de Alba on Monday, March 4, at his Excellency’s residence in Dublin.
[Source: Longford Leader]

LOUTH

The tragic death of a Dundalk mother-of-three at Giles Quay on the Cooley Pennisula has been described a “personal tragedy” by local Gardaí (police).

A forensic examination was carried out two weekends ago on the remains of the woman’s body, which was recovered from the burnt-out shell of her father-in-law’s car on Thursday evening, March 28.

A postmortem was carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Dr. Khalid Jabbar the next morning.

The paper understands that a fire that was started in the car led to an explosion that claimed the life of the 50-year-old woman from the O’Hanlon Park area of Dundalk.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]

MAYO

Westport-based snapper Michael McLaughlin left the Irish Professional Photographers Association (I.P.P.A.) National Photographic Awards last Thursday, February 28, in Dublin with three prestigious awards.

McLaughlin won the Best Press and P.R. Image; the Best Open Art and Creativity Image; and the Best Open Art and Creativity Portfolio in the Wood Quay Venue on Thursday.

He told The Mayo News he was especially delighted to scoop the Best Press and P.R. Image, which he won for his iconic image of Joe McNamara’s controversial Achill-henge development on Achill Island.

His image of the huge Stonehenge-esque development juxtaposed with sunlight and dark clouds accompanied coverage of the story nationally and internationally.
[Source: The Mayo News]

MEATH

The roundabout at the junction of Railway Street and Circular Road in Navan is to be named after the late Darren Sutherland following a motion put forward by Clr. Anton McCabe at the local town council meeting.

Clr. McCabe said Darren was a great ambassador for the country and the town and proposed that they name the roundabout in recognition of his contribution to the community.

He told councilors that he had spoken to Darren’s parents, Tony and Linda, over the past weeks and they had discussed September 14 as a possible date, which is the anniversary of his death.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]

MONAGHAN

A Lithuanian man who was involved in a fatal crash near Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, which resulted in the death of cyclist Shane O’Farrell (23) in August 2011, has been given a five-month jail sentence by Judge Seán MacBride at Carrickmacross District Court. He was convicted on a number of insurance offences.

Zigimantas Gridzuiska (39), Ardross Avenue, Carrickmacross, was given an eight-month suspended sentence two weeks ago in the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin when he pleaded guilty to charges of failing to stop, to report or to remain at the scene of the fatal crash.

The sentence was suspended on condition he left Ireland within 21 days.
[Source: Irish Times]

OFFALY

The school bus involved in a fatal crash in Offaly was fitted with a modified suspension system, which was later recalled because of safety issues, a court heard last Wednesday.

The safety recall was made in the U.K. in 1996 after a high number of incidents of the rear springs failing; in one incident, both springs failed and the axle came off the bus.

School boy Michael White (15) died on April 4, 2006 when the rear axle came off the bus and the bus crashed on a bog road just outside Clara, County Offaly.

David O’Reilly, acting on behalf of vehicle testing firm O’Reilly Commercials, Ltd. of Ballinalach, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath has pleaded not guilty to four charges relating to failing to note or verify defects from August 5-6, 2005.
[Source: Offaly Express]

ROSCOMMON

Works from the Boyle Civic Arts Collection will travel to Spain this month to feature in a unique Irish-Catalan arts and cultural festival in Sitges on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. This unique event will be delivered by internationally recognized Irish and Catalan writers, poets, artists, composers and performers through exhibitions, readings, lectures, workshops, film and performances.

The visual arts exhibition will feature works by Trevor Geoghegan, Barbara Warren, Sean McSweeney, William Crozier, Gerald Bruen, Sally Maidment, T.P. Flanagan, Nick Miller, Patsi Dan, Vera Gaffney, Fergus Lyons, Malachy Costello, Naomi Draper and Mark Redden.
[Source: Roscommon Herald]

SLIGO

Declan McCormack (22) and Eoin Kelly (20) were pronounced dead at the scene of the tragedy on the Ballyfarnan to Sligo Road at Sooey, County Sligo, on Saturday night, March 2.

A toddler and a teenager were also killed in two separate car accidents two weekends ago.

Gardaí (police) in Sligo said Mr. McCormack, from Riverstown, and his front seat passenger from nearby Greaghnafarna on the Leitrim/Sligo border died instantly, while a 21-year-old rear seat passenger remains in a stable condition in Sligo General Hospital.
[Source: Irish Examiner]

TYRONE

The Coalisland community has been shocked and saddened by the sudden death of one of its most highly-respected and well-known figures while on holiday.

Dr. Joe Hackett, a popular G.P. who was born and raised in the area, was on holiday in Portugal when he died suddenly last Thursday night, February 28, in the busy tourist destination of Albufeira.

Dr. Hackett had been a G.P. at the Barrack Street Health Centre in the town for many years, and his death has come as a great shock to his colleagues Dr. Damian O'Donnell and Dr. Ronan Brannigan, as well as the practice's nurses and other staff members.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]

WATERFORD

One of Ireland’s largest trade unions has filed a legal challenge against plans by K.P.S. Capital Partners to manufacture Waterford Crystal in Slovenia.

In a lawsuit filed at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market – Europe’s trademark registry – Unite said “Waterford Crystal” contains an implied geographical indication preventing the company from selling any goods it has produced outside Waterford.

Waterford Crystal’s parent company Waterford Wedgwood went into receivership in 2009 following a long struggle with falling sales and rising costs. The company’s business was sold to U.S. investment firm K.P.S. Capital Partners, which moved production to Germany and eastern Europe. K.P.S. says it is committed to manufacturing in Waterford.
[Source: Irish Times]

WESTMEATH

Westmeath County Board is investigating claims that stones were thrown at a linesman during last Wednesday night’s Leinster U-21 football championship quarter-final between Westmeath and Wexford.

It has been alleged that top Longford referee Derek Fahy, who was on the line for the match at Mullingar's Lakepoint Park, was hit by stones as he consulted with referee Fergal Barry prior to the sending off of Westmeath's Kelvin Reilly in extra time.

Westmeath lost the quarter-final by virtue of a late goal by Wexford's Robert Dempsey.
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]

WEXFORD

A Garda (police officer) from County Wexford has been arrested and questioned about an alleged bogus collection for his “seriously ill wife.”

It is understood that the Garda, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had told his local community that his wife was suffering from cancer and urgently needed medical treatment in the United States.

He is alleged to have organized a collection in his area, which raised funds to cover the costs of the trip.
[Source: Wexford Echo}

WICKLOW

A survey by USA Today describes the Bray [McDonald’s] branch as picturesque and historic, naming it number five on the worldwide list.

The building also houses the town hall and dates from the 19th century.

The newspaper said: “McDonald’s has once again found a home in a historic building. The walk-up restaurant looks a tad out of place in such a pastoral location, but with a location right inside the town hall, they’ve certainly figured out the most central location in the city.”
 [Source: Irish Examiner]
 

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