News from around the 32 counties of Ireland



House prices in Offaly have fallen by 11 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a fall of 14 percent seen in the year to March 2012. The average house price is now $166,000, 57 percent below peak levels.

That’s according to the 2013-Q1 report published by property website The fall in prices in Offaly is in line with the national trend however asking prices in Dublin in the first quarter of 2013 were up 0.5 percent on a year previously. This is the first time since early 2007 that asking prices increased in a 12-month period. For the country as a whole, the annual rate of falls in asking prices eased to 6.6 percent, down from 15 percent a year ago.
[Source: Offaly Express]


The pride of Ballaghdereen, 12-year-old Ronan Kelly scooped his third international title at the World Irish Dancing Championships in Boston two weeks ago.

Son of John and Brid Kelly, Ronan has been blazing a trail in the Irish dancing world for some time.

Proud dad Senator John Kelly told the Herald on Monday that the family was “absolutely thrilled” for Ronan, who continued to build on past successes to take the world title again this year.
[Source: Roscommon Herald]


Last Wednesday night, Gardaí (police) seized drugs with an estimated street value of $64,000. The find came as part of a planned operation in Sligo Town and also led to the recovery of a firearm.

A statement issued that night said the search was conducted as "part of an ongoing investigation into [organized] criminal activity". It said Gardaí from Sligo assisted by regional units carried out the search operation in the Forthill area of Sligo Town.

"During the searches Gardaí seized a sawn-off shotgun, an imitation firearm and drugs with an estimated street value of [$64,000]."
[Source: Irish Times]


Student wellbeing and education reform impacted negatively by cutbacks

The survey found that in addition to losing classroom subject teachers, many schools have also lost specialist teachers (e.g. resource teachers, home school liaison teachers, etc.). Forty percent of schools have lost learning support/ resource teaching hours, while 37 percent have lost English-language support teaching hours.

Thirty-eight per cent of schools said they had dropped at least one subject at Leaving Cert level as a result of losing subject teachers. The top four subjects to be dropped by schools were accounting, physics, economics and chemistry.
[Source: Tipperary Star]


There are fears the highly controversial gas extraction process, fracking, could soon be taking place in Tyrone!

Large swathes of the county and indeed the country could be the subject of hydraulic fracturing, with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment currently advertising a prospecting license application to "search for, bore for, and get petroleum" in parts of five of the six counties of Northern Ireland.

However, D.E.T.I. has stated the company, CHx, which has brought forward the application "has not stated that it intends to use hydraulic fracturing techniques and nor has it identified shale gas as its primary target." D.E.T.I. has also claimed that "hydraulic fracturing is not relevant to this [license] application."
[Source: Tyrone Courier]


Four residents in Ballybeg will have their daily lives played out on the small screen as part of a new three-part series on TV3, “The Estate,” which starts on Monday.

Filmed over a year, cameras went behind closed doors to watch as residents lived out their everyday lives, coping with the gritty reality of life’s twists and turns and the moments of triumph and despair.

Featured in the show is Shauna (21), a young single mother-of-one, who is struggling to pay the bills. Having missed out on further education due to motherhood, Shauna is coming to terms with the reality of being a single parent and having to stand on her own two feet.
[Source: Waterford News & Star]


Bressie took to his blog last Wednesday to hit back at a tabloid headline which claimed he wanted to make drugs legal.

Excerpts were taken from his Hot Press interview with Stuart Clarke which he says were “taken out of context.”

While he does not “smoke cannabis or take any form of drugs,” he did suggest via his blog that the taxation of cannabis could be a possible stream of income to help pay off Ireland’s sovereign debt, as opposed to the Local Property Tax.

However, he did not call for the legalization of any class A drugs.
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]


Following a recent spate of appalling horse deaths in Enniscorthy, another was found in a harrowing state on Thursday morning, March 28.