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News from around the 32 counties of Ireland

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ANTRIM

The trial of a man accused of murdering two soldiers in County Antrim four years ago has heard that crucial D.N.A. evidence in the case may have been “compromised” at the scene.

Brian Patrick Shivers (47) is accused of involvement in the Real I.R.A. attack on Massereene Barracks in which Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey were killed.

Shivers, from Sperrin Mews in Magherafelt, denies murdering the soldiers on March 7, 2009 and also denies six counts of attempted murder and possession of two firearms.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]

ARMAGH

The scourge of toxic waste dumping that plagues the south Armagh region has once again been met with anger and condemnation from local representatives, who are urging all involved agencies to tackle the issue “once and for all.”

Their demands came just as H.M.R.C. officers removed more than one-and-a-half tons of toxic waste from a cattle farm in Cullyhanna, after the discovery of a diesel-laundering plant hidden behind a wall of hay bales. The illegal operation, which used slurry tankers to launder and transport the diesel, was capable of producing 1.8 million liters of illicit fuel, evading almost $1.8 million in taxes and duty a year.

Sinn Fein Councilor Colman Burns, speaking after visiting another diesel sludge dumping site in Mullaghduff, branded the discarding of toxic waste “a disgusting practice” and said it only served to feed the negative publicists who thrive on giving the border area a bad name.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

CARLOW

Farmers and contractors have been taking full advantage of any breaks in the weather in recent weeks, with plenty of ploughing and planting already done in southern counties, in particular.

However, further up the country, some areas with heavier soils need more time before they are ready for the plough.

I was in Carlow last week to meet with Diarmuid Claridge and Derek Delahunty of Lemken Ireland, and Ken Doyle of Templetouhy Farm Machinery, to see how they went about setting up a plough and tractor for optimal performance in the field.
[Source: Irish Independent]

CAVAN

Gardaí (police) have made a “huge” breakthrough in their investigation into the disappearance of Gerry Daly, and have upgraded the case to murder. On Monday morning, March 11, at 8 a.m., Gardaí in Bailieborough arrested a 47-year-old man – not 53, as incorrectly stated in national papers – at his home on suspicion of murder after a search of a property in the area.

The arrest occurred in the Bailieborough area and local detectives were “intensifying” their investigations in light of recent developments in the case.

It is not yet known whether Gardaí have recovered the body of Mr. Daly, who went missing from his home in June 2011, and Gardaí are remaining tight-lipped on the new evidence, which is apparently strong enough to now open a murder investigation.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]

CLARE

More than 300 jobs will be created at three new Supervalu stores and extensions to 40 supermarkets around the country.

A total of 160 of the jobs will be created at three new stores in Celbridge in Kildare, Milltown Malbay in Clare, and another store whose location has not been revealed. The remaining jobs will be on offer at extensions to existing stores in the supermarket chain this year. Supervalu said the positions to be filled include general floor staff-members, cashiers, butchers, specialized fresh food staff-members, managerial staff-members and cooks.
[Source: Irish Independent]

CORK

Wizz Air, the Hungarian airline, is bringing its flights from Cork Airport to a close in the coming weeks.

The airline has been operating in Cork for the past six years after setting up camp in 2006.

Wizz Air will bring its final three services to a close after finishing other flights to Warsaw and Wroclaw in Poland and Vilnius in Lithuania in January.

The airline, which benefited from the immigration route between Poland and Ireland, is suffering as this trend is down by 40 percent since its peak in 2007.
[Source: Cork Independent]

DERRY

A man who subjected his girlfriend to a “prolonged” and “horrendous” attack has been jailed for seven years.

Greg Deyzel Logue, whose address was given on court papers as Duddy’s Court in the Waterside area of the city, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent, common assault, making a threat to kill and possession of a knife.

The 32-year-old also admitted a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on July 13, 2011.

Derry Crown Court heard that during the incident Logue hit the woman with a vodka bottle, punched, kicked and bit her.

He also smashed a television over her head, tied a clothesline around her neck, and threatened to push her downstairs.
[Source: Derry Journal]

DONEGAL

A tugboat service is vital to tourism in Killybegs and south Donegal, a tourism official said last Tuesday.

Henry Coleman of Killybegs Tourism Information Centre was responding to news that the busy shipping port no longer has a tugboat service to safely pilot boats to the pier.

Sinbad Marine Services, Ltd. is a private company that had been operating two tugboats for many years without any government subvention. The company announced last Tuesday that it had hired out both vessels, which are also up for sale.

“Obviously, it’s a bit of a blow,” Mr. Coleman told the Democrat on hearing the news.
[Source: Donegal Democrat]

DOWN

It has emerged that an ambulance took almost 30 minutes to arrive at the scene of a fatal road accident which claimed the life of a cyclist in Newry on Wednesday morning, March 6.

Despite the accident occurring less than two miles from Daisy Hill Hospital, the ambulance service confirmed that it took 21 minutes before a paramedic in a Rapid Response Vehicle attended, and a further eight minutes before an ambulance arrived.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (N.I.A.S.) said it regretted the delayed response time, citing that all available resources were already otherwise engaged.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

DUBLIN

An extraordinary level of financial mismanagement and gross misspending at a public body has been revealed in a damning new report.

Staff-members at The Temple Bar Cultural Trust (T.B.C.T.) were handed salary top-ups, wage advances and bonuses without the knowledge of its board.

An audit, commissioned by Dublin City Council, even found that one employee used the body's credit card to pay their second home property tax.
[Source: Evening Herald]

FERMANAGH

A joint operation between Fermanagh P.S.N.I. and the N.I.E.A. (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) which started last Wednesday has found a quantity of controlled waste on land a few miles outside Enniskillen.

Shortly after 9 a.m., police and a number of officials from the N.I.E.A. arrived at the lands and police served the landowner with the appropriate search warrants. Moments later, the N.I.E.A. arrived with a large mechanical digger and began digging at a number of locations on the lands.

Inspector Roy Robinson, who led the early morning operation for the P.S.N.I., said they were assisting the N.I.E.A. and that the intention was to search three locations on the lands they had identified.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]

GALWAY

New maps identifying areas in the city and county at risk of flooding are expected to be available by early next year.

The Office of Public Works is currently advancing a national flood risk assessment program called C.F.R.A.M., which is examining 300 locations.

The flood risk maps will be made available by next year, and the O.P.W. will then hold public consultation events to garner local advice and information.

A presentation on the project was delivered to Galway City councilors at their meeting last week.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]

KERRY

A Kerry teenager pleaded guilty last Monday to dangerous driving causing the death of a 64-year-old mother-of-10 who had been on her way home from bingo in midsummer of 2011 in Castlemaine, County Kerry.

Gavin Foley (19) of Mounthenry, Firies, Killarney, was arraigned at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee shortly before lunchtime. He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Patricia Clifford on June 21, 2011 at Brackhill, Castlemaine, Co. Kerry.

Mrs. Clifford’s husband, Martin, was in court to attest to the fact that the family did not want the young man jailed, legal representatives of Mr. Foley told the court last Monday.
[Source: Irish Times]

KILDARE

Protesters will be back on Kildare’s streets within the coming weeks as the dreaded property tax bills from revenue drop through the letterboxes of local householders.

A protest and information campaign is planned for Newbridge on Saturday, March 23, with further protests in the following weeks. A spokesperson for the south Kildare anti-household charges action group told the Kildare Nationalist last week that there was “real anger and a lot of fear” as people awaited the arrival of the bills.

Moreover, recent research shows that Kildare residents could wind up paying more than most in property tax. The survey, based on the government’s own property price register, showed that average house prices in the county are $53,000 above the national average home price of $196,000. The highest prices would appear to be in areas like Maynooth, in the north of the county, where proximity to Dublin is a major factor.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]

KILKENNY

Tributes have been paid to the man whose body was found in the city on Thursday night, March 7. While Gardaí (police) are still trying to put together the last movements of Tony Barrett, whose death is being treated as suspicious, a former neighbor has paid tribute to the 42-year-old.

Labour Party councilor, Maurice Shortall, lived on the same estate in Castlecomer as the late Tony Barrett for 17 years. “During this period 1981 to 1998 the majority of the youngsters on Kilkenny Road, Castlecomer were in their formative years and I knew Tony Barrett as a bright, quiet and unassuming person,” Clr. Shortall said.

“My abiding memory of Tony was watching him help his late dad, Jack, and mum, Mary, prepare firewood for sale in the local hinterland. Jack Barrett went to his eternal reward in 2002. Tony has lived away from home for a number of years. The community [is] rallying around Mary on the tragic loss of her only child and all our hearts go out to her,” Clr. Shortall added.
[Source: Kilkenny People]

LAOIS

Laois’ Alison Miller is backing a global campaign for girls’ education fronted by Development Charity Plan Ireland.

Alison and her Triple Crown-winning teammates are supporting Plan Ireland’s “Raise your Hand” campaign, which is striving to make girls’ education an international priority.

Plan is attempting to collect  four million actions (photos of hands raised, likes on our Facebook campaign page), and present them to the United Nations Secretary General and the world donor community to urge them to make girls’ education a top priority.
[Source: Leinster Express]

LEITRIM

Leitrim captain Emlyn Mulligan has called for a lengthy ban for an Offaly player he alleges spat blood in his face during an Allianz League Division 4 clash in Carrick-on-Shannon on Sunday, March 10.

Croke Park is awaiting the referee’s report after Mulligan alleged on Twitter after the crucial encounter that Offaly’s Peter Cunningham spat blood in his face.

The Leitrim captain, who declined to comment further on the incident when contacted by the Observer on Monday, March 11, tweeted after the game: “I’ve seen some dirty acts in Gaa but for a player covered in blood to spit blood on a fellow players face (mine) is disgraceful carry on,” before adding “Fair play to the ref tho, he gave him a straight red for it and only right!! surely deserves more than a one match suspension #gaa#disgusting.”

When contacted by the Observer, a spokesman for the Offaly G.A.A. County Board said that they were awaiting the referee’s report and had no comment to make on the matter.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]

LIMERICK

Over the past five years, independent filmmakers have been recording the oral histories of 32 grandmothers from across Ireland.

The filmmakers have now assembled a landmark film archive which can be viewed online.

Among the grandmothers who took part in the film was Peggy Mee, from County Limerick but currently living in Mitchelstown.

Filmed in beautiful high definition, this unique people’s history shuns politicians, generals and businessmen in favor of a mother’s perspective: the farmer’s wife, the nursemaid or the seamstress.
[Source: Limerick Leader]

LONGFORD

Residents in the Longford area have been advised to be cautious if approached by collectors calling door-to-door looking for charitable donations. The call was made by P.A.W.S. Animal Rescue, who was informed of bogus collectors claiming to be collecting money on their behalf.

“It’s happened to us three times this week,” said Gina Hetherington of P.A.W.S. “We were told by a girl who got in contact with us via Facebook, who said collectors were going around selling lines.

“There are young lads with I.D. cards and hi-vis jackets with our charity’s name on them knocking on doors. We know for certain that they were calling to houses on Bannon Terrace in Longford Town.”
[Source: Longford Leader]

LOUTH

Harvey Norman Ireland has announced that it will close its furniture and bedding clearance outlet in Dundalk Retail Park as of Monday, June 17. The remaining staff-members at the outlet were informed of the company’s decision on Friday evening, March 8.

Up to 13 jobs may be affected by the closure, though the company claims that “some portion of the affected employees can be redeployed within the [organization] which has 12 full format stores around Ireland, employing more than 700 staff between its store network, technical and customer services and headquarters function.”
A statement from the company also stated: “Harvey Norman has already begun the statutory process of consulting with the affected Outlet team on alternatives to the redundancies and a generously enhanced ex-gratia package.”
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]

MAYO

Despite heroic efforts by island neighbors, a 62-year old man tragically died in a house fire on Clare Island late on Sunday night, March 10.

Mr. Jim Biggs, a part-time resident of the Clew Bay outpost, is understood to have died from smoke inhalation as he slept in his bedroom in the family cottage at Lecarrow. The alarm was raised after a young islander, who was passing by, noticed flames. The Mayo News understands that he rushed to his nearby house for a fire extinguisher and then, with the help of others, broke in a bedroom window where they found Mr. Biggs in bed and removed him from the burning house.

Two resident island nurses also attended the scene, as well as island Order of Malta personnel, and attempts to revive him were continued until the arrival of a doctor, by R.N.L.I. boat, from Achill.  Locals believe the fire started in the main room of the house, which was extensively damaged.
[Source: The Mayo News]

MEATH

A large quantity of cash was discovered at two locations that were searched as part of Operation Loft, which included County Meath.  A quantity of business records and computers were also seized and will be now subject to forensic examination by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Gardaí (police) describe the find as a significant laundry, with initial analysis indicating that it has a capability of laundering several hundreds of thousands of liters of diesel.  This would result in a potential throughput of 10 million liters per annum and a consequential loss to the exchequer of $7.1million.  In excess of 40,000 liters of what is believed to be laundered fuel was found on the site as well as over 150 bags of a product known as Bleaching Earth. 
[Source: Meath Chronicle]

MONAGHAN

Police and customs officers from Northern Ireland have taken part in a major cross-border operation against fuel laundering and organized crime.

Searches were carried out in 10 Irish counties.

The operation was led by the Irish Republic's Criminal Assets Bureau and was aimed a south Armagh/north Louth criminal gang with republican links.

A laundering plant in Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan, had the capacity to launder 10 million liters per year.

Irish customs said that was a potential loss to the exchequer of $7.1 million.
[Source: BBC News]

OFFALY

Tullamore Community Arts Centre, Ltd. and A2 Architects have announced that the prequalification process for the construction tender is about to be published and expressions of interested from contractors is being invited.

It is anticipated that by the time the tender documents are issued, returned and evaluated that a contractor will be in place by the summer, with a view to breaking ground this autumn.

This represents significant progress since planning permission was granted, as much time was spent in looking at and testing different materials and finishes to ensure that the construction tender meet the requirements of both the design and budget.
[Source: Offaly Express]

ROSCOMMON

Boyle Garda (Police) Station will no longer be open to members of the public on a 24/7 basis in the future.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has confirmed that following the amalgamation of the Boyle Garda district with Castlerea, the station will only be open to the public during daylight hours.

The Minister told local T.D. Frank Feighan in the Dail on Thursday, March 7, that no date had been set for the proposed amalgamation, but that it was scheduled to happen “in the coming months this year.”
[Source: Roscommon Herald]

SLIGO

Gardaí (police) were appealing for information after a man was seriously injured in a crash in Sligo last Thursday morning.

The single-car collision took place at at Drimroe near Tubbercurry at about 3:40 a.m. The man, who is in his mid-20s, was taken to Sligo General Hospital for treatment.

The stretch of road was temporarily closed until an investigation by Garda forensic collision investigators was completed. Local diversions were in place.
[Source: Irish Times]

TIPPERARY

Nenagh priest Fr. Sean McDonagh has welcomed the election of Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio (76) as the new pope and bishop of Rome. He ascended to the throne of St. Peter last Wednesday, following a two-day conclave by the world’s cardinals in the Vatican.

“I am delighted. He seems to be nice. He seems to be humble. Pope Francis seems to be concerned about the poor. He abandoned his palace in Buenos Aires and he takes public transport,” said Fr. McDonagh, pointing out that the Pope had not taken the limousine outside the Vatican after his election, but had joined his fellow cardinals on the bus.

The Columbian priest said he liked the fact that Pope Francis had asked people to pray for him and had emphasized that he was Bishop of Rome as, Fr. McDonagh pointed out – the title of pope is honorific.
[Source: Tipperary Star]

TYRONE

Wreaths at the Moy Memorial have been damaged in a weekend attack.

Police received reports that the wreaths had been damaged on Saturday morning, March 9, at the War Memorial in the square. The War Memorial has been damaged on multiple occasions over the years.

The attack was condemned by Lord Morrow M.L.A., who branded the actions "shameful and deplorable.”

“The desecration of wreaths laid at Moy War Memorial during the early hours of Saturday morning was nothing short of repugnant," he said.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]

WATERFORD

Fishermen have trawled up an unusual catch in the sea off County Waterford in the form of a red scorpion fish.

The bright coral-colored creature, known for its needle-sharp dorsal spines, is more commonly found in the warmer waters of the Mediterranean.

It was caught in deep water near Dunmore East by the crew of the Eblana, a vessel which supplies ray and cod to Dublin chippers.
[Source: Irish Times]

WESTMEATH

The papal flag has been flying high over a Mullingar business premises since last Thursday morning – hoisted up for businessman Millie Walsh by his daughter’s boyfriend, Argentine national Nahuel Colombo, and his father, Luis Robert Colombo.

Less than 24 hours after news broke that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio – one of their countrymen – has been selected as pope, Nahuel and Luis were over the moon with delight – a joy shared by Nahuel’s girlfriend, Koreen Walsh.

“I’m so happy: I couldn’t believe it,” said Nahuel, who is originally from Ushuaia, in the south of Argentina.
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]

WEXFORD

The friend of a man accused of the Nicola Furlong murder has been handed a three -year sentence for the sexual assault of her best friend.

James Blackston (23), a companion of Nicola Furlong murder accused Richard Hinds, was sentenced to “three years with labor” in a Japanese court last Wednesday.

He will have 150 days deducted from the sentence for time already served in custody.

The conviction related to three separate sexual assaults – two on Nicola’s friend on the night she died and one on a separate woman some weeks previous.
[Source: Wexford Echo]

WICKLOW

Ireland said goodbye to the last of the bitter frosts on Wednesday night, but there was little consolation in the days after, forecasters said.

There were minor snowfalls in several areas of the country on March 13, the worst in County Donegal, where Gardaí (police) dealt with a number of minor traffic accidents.

Snow also fell in Wicklow and Wexford, and falls from previous days continued to lie in many other counties as temperatures remained below zero. Co. Sligo was the coldest place that day, with temperatures falling to 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
[Source: Irish Independent]
 

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