News from around the 32 counties of Ireland



As a professional sportsman Antrim's Mark Allen spends a lot of time away from his nearest and dearest.

The 26-year-old is due to tie the knot with local woman Kyla McGuigan in a lavish ceremony surrounded by family and friends.

The world’s number eight, who has a daughter Lauren from a previous relationship, will also become a proud step-father to Kyla's son.

Due to his work commitments the couple is regularly separated for days at a time. Already this year, Allen has traveled to Blackpool for the Snooker Shoot-Out and to Berlin for the German Masters.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


Speculation is rife that a lucky couple who scooped $670,000 on the Euromillions lottery draw may be from the south Armagh area.

The winning jackpot was sold in Watters shop at Annavackey, close to the border with Crossmaglen, and a popular lottery stop with locals.

The National Lottery confirmed that a young couple from County Armagh won the draw and has already come forward to claim their winnings.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


The shamrock is the familiar emblem of Ireland, but these days the snowdrop might be a better one.

In full bloom by early February, the white flower offers a defiantly cheerful face in the bleak winter landscape. For a people still waking with anger, pain and regret from a ride on the Celtic Tiger, the snowdrop offers a lesson in humility, hardiness and hope.

Robert Millar, a 37-year-old plant geek, snowdrop lover and nurseryman in Carlow, refuses to let Ireland’s slow economic recovery dampen his spirits. Earlier this month, he held a festival — a “gala” — that drew more than 100 other snowdrop fanciers from across the country to revel in a craze known as galanthomania, after the plant’s botanic name, Galanthus.
[Source: Washington Post]


A man who received a 14-year sentence for possession of $8.7 million worth of cannabis more than seven years ago claims he is being wrongly denied a chance to get temporary release from prison.

Shane O'Rourke (34), New Inn, Enfield, County Meath, received a mandatory 10 years with another four years suspended in Naas Circuit Court in March 2007 arising out of the 1,500 pounds of drugs found in a container parked at the rear of a house between Enfield and Carbury in Co. Kildare, on August 23, 2005.

O'Rourke, a father-of-two who formerly operated a plant and tool hire business, has served his sentence in a number of prisons and is currently held in Loughan House in Cavan, which is a recognition that he has been of good behavior, his counsel John Fitzgerald told the High Court last Monday.
[Source: Irish Independent]


The West Clare Economic Task Force, which was formally established five years ago, is to be disbanded due to lack of interest from the agencies involved.

Last Monday’s Kilrush Electoral Area meeting of West Clare’s six county councilors heard claims that the task force didn’t manage to create a single job since it was set up.

Electoral area chairman Bill Chambers told the meeting that a recent letter sent to the stakeholders, establishing their interest in remaining involved in the task force, had not elicited a single response.

“That’s sad,” Councilor Christy Curtin replied. “We had a full day of a task force review on September 14, 2012. I don’t know what has happened, the report, it hasn’t been made public. We all got a copy of it but I think it should be made public and I think we should join with the community and get on with phase two of the project,” he urged.
[Source: Clare Champion]


A fight that took place between two teenage girls is being investigated by Gardaí (police) in Cork. The fight, which was prearranged, took place in Kinvara Estate in Ballyvolane on Friday, February 15, between two girls who are believed to be from both the north and south sides of the city.

Several videos of the fight were uploaded to video sharing site YouTube, although they have all since been deleted as such content contravenes YouTube’s terms and conditions. The videos show the two girls fighting and surrounded by a large group of about 200 teenagers. The disturbing footage shows the two girls pulling each other’s hair, as well as one of them kicking the other in the head.
[Source: Cork Independent]


The grieving family of a Derry man who died just hours after he was assaulted in the city center has appealed for the public’s help in tracing his final movements.

Terry McCartney’s body was discovered at his John Street flat at 10 a.m. on February 5.

Earlier that morning, at 2:50 a.m., Mr. McCartney was involved in an altercation with a group of men at Shipquay Gate, during which he was punched to the ground.