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News from around the 32 counties of Ireland

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ANTRIM

The local district judge once again has blasted those responsible for “disgraceful” behavior in Antrim Area Hospital.

His most recent comments came after he sentenced a 51-year-old woman to three months in prison for “interfering” with the treatment of an elderly woman by “trying to hug and kiss her.”

District Judge Robert Alcorn was told her behavior was disturbing patients in nearby wards and, before granting her bail for appeal, he said: "I can't turn my back on this. Patients are entitled to be treated in peace."

Mr. Alcorn is renowned for his intolerance of criminal behavior at the hospital, with solicitors regularly warning clients to “pack a bag” if appearing before him.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]

ARMAGH

Local councilor Terry Hearty is delighted to announce that, following an extensive community campaign, the Community Centre in Crossmaglen has been successful in its bid for renovations.

“Newry & Mourne District Council received confirmation from funding body S.O.A.R. that the Department of Rural Development would be making 75 [percent] of the necessary funds available for this project.

“I am delighted with this news, especially given the fact that myself and others have been lobbying for this scheme for the past five years” Councilor Hearty said.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

CARLOW

The Eigse Festival held in Carlow recently announced Irish singer Bronagh Gallagher as one of their headlining acts for this year’s festival. She will be performing in the G.B. Shaw Theatre on Friday, June 7.

Bronagh Gallagher is described as a deeply soulful artist with a unique gift for singing and storytelling. Bronagh is already well known for her parts in Pulp Fiction, Star Wars and most famously for The Commitments, but her first love is singing.
[Source: Leinster Express]

CAVAN

A body was recovered from the River Blackwater last Tuesday afternoon, behind the courthouse in Virginia. At the time of going to print, the body was thought to be that of missing teenager, Ricky McDermott.

Earlier that day, his father made an emotional plea for information regarding his missing son. Ricky McDermott (17) from Clonabreany, Crossakiel, Oldcastle, County Meath, was reported missing after a night out in Virginia on Easter Sunday. He was last seen on Church St. in the town around 12:30 a.m. on Bank Holiday Monday.

Father Richie McDermott said the time since has been a “complete nightmare.”
[Source: The Anglo Celt]

CLARE

Dolphins were spotted in muddy waters in the River Shannon.
At the time of writing, the dolphins are still at the same place and while there had been some fears for their safety in shallow water, it’s now understood that they are not at risk at this location and have been feeding.

Speaking to The Clare Champion, the sightings coordinator with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Pádraig Whooley, said concerns dissipated after it was established that they were bottlenose dolphins, rather than common dolphins.

“Up to yesterday, we didn’t know what type of dolphins they were, but they’re bottlenose, so it’s perfectly normal to have them in the Shannon, it’s unusual that they’d go into a tributary of the Shannon, but it’s not hugely unusual,” he commented.
[Source: Clare Champion]

CORK

The family of a six-year-old Cobh girl family are “absolutely delighted” that she will get the chance to have a life-changing operation in the U.S., but they are asking for Cork's help in paying the $60,000 Katie's chance at walking will cost.

Antoinette Byrne only found out on Friday, March 29, when she and her husband Robert received a letter from the Missouri hospital that carries out this life-changing operation, and already the family has been blown away by the number of people offering to help fundraise for them.

The operation would change her daughter’s life utterly. Katie is the youngest of five children.
[Source: Cork Independent]

DERRY

One of the biggest names in Hollywood, Brad Pitt has said that a delay in the release of his zombie film World War Z could put in doubt plans for the Derry sequel, Ebrington Y.

The actor told “Entertainment News” that script-writing for World War Z has become “bogged down,” meaning that plans for the Irish phase of the project are on hold.

The actor confirmed reports that he and his partner, Angelina Jolie, have already paid a “quiet” visit to the city. It’s been said that Jolie, born in .L.A, has links with the city through her stepfather Bill Day, whose family lived at Springtown Camp for a time during WW2.
[Source: Derry Journal]

DONEGAL

A town council meeting was suspended before it actually started last Tuesday afternoon, when a councilor demanded the tricolor be raised above the building.

Prior to the start of the monthly town council meeting in Bundoran, Clr. Dermot Doherty (Sinn Féin) demanded that the meeting be suspended until the tricolor was raised on the building.

Clr. Doherty said, “I object to this meeting starting until the [tricolor] is flying over this building and propose that the meeting be suspended for 10 minutes until the [tricolor] is flown.”
[Source: Donegal Democrat]

DOWN

A Newry mother has spoken to the Examiner of her relief that the man who sexually assaulted her teenage daughter and her 16-year-old niece has been convicted of his hideous crimes against the two frightened young girls.

Denis Lancaster is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to serious sexual assault with penetration on a minor and another sexual assault on the sixteen year old without consent.  Since carrying out the attacks on the night of October 19, 2010 at a family party, Lancaster has protested his innocence and further compounded the trauma of his victims and their families by attempting to tarnish their reputations with scurrilous lies and insisting that the teenagers instigated the incidents.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

DUBLIN

Mothers and young children screamed and fled in terror after a gang of armed raiders held up a busy Dublin post office.

Some 60 customers were in the premise at the time – many of them mothers and their young children, who were off school for the Easter break.

The robbery happened as the women collected their children's allowance money at the Finglas village branch of the post office on Tuesday afternoon.
[Source: Evening Herald]

FERMANAGH

A vital community facility is to get an extensive refurbishment, thanks to $629,000 worth of funding announced for the Kilmacormick Resource Centre in Enniskillen.

Two weeks ago, the Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, said the funding boost would be used to cover the capital costs of an extension and refurbishment at the Yoan Road site, and the cost of professional fees for an outside consultant to supervise the building works to completion stage.

The award has been made to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in Enniskillen who will manage the delivery of the entire project.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]

GALWAY

Management at Galway City Council has tabled a motion for last week's council meeting asking the members to approve the appointment of Brendan McGrath as the new city manager.

The Public Appointments Service had recommended Mr. McGrath, who is currently Meath County Manager.

Prior to his role as Meath County Manager, Brendan McGrath held positions in Kildare, Roscommon, and Wexford County Councils as well as Ballinasloe Town Council.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]

KERRY

Irish adventurers Clare O’Leary and Mike O’Shea have pledged to traverse all of the world’s major ice caps following their successful trek along the length of the frozen Lake Baikal in southeastern Siberia.

The pair from Cork and Kerry, respectively, completed the trek of the 25 million-year-old lake, known as the “Galapagos of Russia,” two weeks ago, and is preparing to return home via Mongolia.

Baikal, which extends over 3.15 million hectares to a depth of 5,500 feet, is the world’s oldest and deepest lake and it holds 20 percent of the planet’s fresh running water.
[Source: Irish Times]

KILDARE

Rumors are rife in Athy that Tegral is to create 30 new jobs thanks to the closure of a sister plant in the U.K.

But the company has moved to dampen the reports and say any suggestion about new jobs is “pure speculation.”

Over the past two weeks, reports have been circulating that the closure of a sister plant in the U.K. would spell good news for Athy and bring the new jobs on stream.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]

KILKENNY

A Kilkenny activist has already collected 2,000 signatures from members of the public in support of rank and file Gardaí (police), having maintained a solo demonstration and petition on High Street since Saturday, March 30.

Jim Delaney, from Loreto Avenue in the city, has been standing opposite City Hall for hours every day since the weekend. Armed with nothing more than a sign, a pen, two journals, and a copy of the Kilkenny People, he has seen an almost universal support for his cause.

His message is simple: allow the Gardaí to represent and defend their interests, lift the recruitment embargo, and let more Gardaí get back on the beat. He also says that a number of Gardaí have privately expressed support for his campaign.
[Source: Kilkenny People]

LAOIS

A Laois county councilor is calling for one of the worst areas of dumping in the county to be cleaned up.

The Rushes Inn, a derelict pub on the N78, has been a hotspot for dumping over the last number of years.

But the problem has become a lot worse in the last few months when loads of tires were dumped at the site.

“The Rushes Inn has become an awful dumping ground over the last few years, the council have previously tried to clean it up but the problem still continues,” Councilor Padraig Fleming said.
[Source: Leinster Express]

LEITRIM

Did you see One Direction’s Niall Horan in Mohill two weeks ago? Well if you didn’t, you may be the only one.

Social media was on fire last Wednesday, March 27, as fans posted on Facebook, tweeted and stalked Mohill and Lough Rynn Castle Hotel for a glimpse of the handsome pop-star who was best man at his brother’s wedding.

Greg Horan married Denise Kelly at St. Michael’s Church in Castletown Geoghegan, Mullingar with their reception in Lough Rynn Castle Hotel.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]

LIMERICK

A well-known Limerick priest has stepped aside from his ministry while an alleged incident of a sexual nature, officially described as a “historical child protection matter,” is dealt with by the Diocese of Limerick.

The priest is currently based in County Limerick, but was in a parish in the city when the alleged incident occurred in the mid-1990s.

Gardaí (police) are aware of the allegation, but it is unclear at the moment whether they are investigating a formal complaint.

“The Diocese of Limerick can confirm that a priest of the diocese, in accordance with the recommendations of Church policy on safeguarding children, has asked to step aside from ministry while an alleged historical child protection matter is being dealt with,” said a spokesperson in the statement.
[Source: Limerick Leader]

LONGFORD

Two members from a notorious Traveler crime gang believed to be behind a string of daring petrol station raids were stopped in their tracks last week by Gardaí (police) following a high speed chase across counties Cavan and Longford.

The men, both of whom are in their early 30s, were arrested on the outskirts of Edgeworthstown during the early hours of Tuesday, March 26, by officers from Granard Garda Station.

Both suspects had earlier been seen acting suspiciously behind the wheel of a silver-colored Volvo estate outside The Hideout Pub in Bailieboro. Responding to those calls, Cavan Gardaí went in search of the car only to be given the slip by the men who sped off at speed.
[Source: Longford Leader]

MAYO

From July 1, 2013, those who own a property must pay a property tax on the home according to its market value. For five-year-old Cian Parsons and his family, the arrival of the brown envelope from the revenue commissioner on Tuesday, March 26, raised a few eyebrows in relation to the commission’s system for collecting the tax.

The letter demanded the junior-infant pupil in St. Joseph’s N.S., Ballinrobe, pay $144 on a property in Tralee, County Kerry – 152 miles from where he lives with his mother, Liz Parsons, in Ballinrobe.

Speaking to The Mayo News, Liz said her mother, Ann Reid, opened the letter knowing that it had to be a mistake. On showing the letter to Cian, he recognized his name and recognized the brown envelope as being a bill. The five-year-old started laughing when he was told he owned a house.
[Source: The Mayo News]

MEATH

Hollywood star Tom Cruise could be a Meath man! Genealogical research shows that he is a fifth-generation descendant of a Cruise family from Cruicetown in Meath. The most prominent Cruicetown in Meath is in the Nobber area.

Cruise was in Dublin last Wednesday to promote the Universal Pictures film Oblivion. Set on a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, the film tells the story of one man’s (Cruise's) confrontation of the past, leading him on a journey to redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]

MONAGHAN

The G.A.A. has become accustomed to seeing its players tempted away from home to the A.F.L., but there could soon be a second front opening up for Gaelic footballers looking for some international experience. At this year’s N.F.L. draft there will be one player looking to make it to the pro ranks of American football, with skills firmly rooted in Monaghan G.A.A.

Patrick Murray of New Jersey, and now studying and playing football at Fordham University, is tipped to go in one of the later rounds of this month’s N.F.L. draft and he spoke to Ger Gilroy, on last night’s “Off the Ball,” about the G.A.A. roots of his kicking skill.

Murray’s father, Aidan, was an inter-county player with Monaghan before moving to the United States a little over 20 years ago. His young son was soon playing for his local G.A.A. club and learning the kicking skills, which he credits with bringing him to the verge of an N.F.L. career.
[Source: Newstalk]

OFFALY

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 Daft.ie. 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]

ROSCOMMON

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]

SLIGO

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]

TIPPERARY

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]

TYRONE

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]

WATERFORD

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]

WESTMEATH

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]

WEXFORD

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

South East Animal Rescue shared an image on their Facebook page, which depicts a young horse after it suffered from unimaginable cruelty in the Cherryorchard area.

According to the organization, the animal was put to sleep after writhing in agony for many hours. Two other horses had also been in the area but were promptly taken away.
[Source: Wexford Echo]

WICKLOW

Two students arrested for their "disgraceful" behavior when they got drunk on a night out meeting old school friends have been told to make charity donations to avoid convictions.

Luke Cowhig (20) and Stephen Lowe (21) "mimicked" a shopkeeper, then hurled abuse at Gardaí (police) on a night of "drunken bravado" when they met up in Dublin city center.

Cowhig, a Trinity College student, and Lowe, who is studying abroad on an Erasmus program, were shocked at their own behavior, a court heard.

Judge William Early said he would apply the Probation Act on payment of the charity contributions and adjourned the cases.

Cowhig, of Kylebeg, Dublin Road, Blessington, County Wicklow, and Lowe, from Aranleigh Vale, Rathfarnham, admitted public drunkenness and causing a breach of the peace in the incident at St. Stephen's Green North on January 10. Lowe also admitted urinating in public and refusing to give his name and address to Gardaí.
[Source: Evening Herald]
 

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