News from around the 32 counties of Ireland



Dozens of jobs were dangling by a thread last week after the Planning Service sensationally refused to throw a lifeline to one of the key tenants helping Junction One keep its head above water.

The retail landscape across Antrim has been decimated during the economic downturn, with businesses big and small going to the wall.

Now one of the rare success stories could be facing a similar fate after County Hall controversially decided to enforce arcane planning rules that could prevent them from trading at their current Antrim headquarters.

B&M Retail have been doing brisk business at the retail park since they pulled down the shutters at Castle Mall.

But when it was pointed out that they would require a slight amendment for their planning approval to continue with mixed retailing at their new premises few believed that civil servants would do what the recession had failed to.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


The community in Bessbrook is shocked and saddened by the tragic death of a young woman in the village pond on Thursday evening, January 24. Sheena Robb was out for an evening walk by the pond when she fell into the water. A group of young people discovered the woman shortly after 6:00 p.m. and contacted emergency services who performed C.P.R. at the scene. Despite the attempts by paramedics to revive her, the mother-of-two later died.

Mrs. Robb lived opposite the pond and was a well-known and popular neighbor and friend to many.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


The two firms behind the Shaws department store chain enjoyed contrasting fortunes last year, writes Gordon Deegan.

The firms operate 15 department stores across the country. Accounts recently filed by Shaw & Sons show that the firm's losses soared 54 percent from $1,026,743 to $1.57 million in the year to the end of January 2012.

The increase in losses follows revenues at the firm – which operates seven of the department stores – slipping from $31.6 million to $31.3 million.

Separate figures show a connected Shaw firm, which operates four department stores and Hadden's Shopping Centre in Carlow, returned to profit last year.
[Source: Irish Independent]


A daughter and two sons-in-law of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn were paid sums totaling about $1,195,000 over a year under employment contracts with Russian companies in the family's international property group, the Commercial Court has heard.

Colette Quinn was paid some $460,000, while her brothers-in-law, Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland, were paid about $350,000 and $380,000 respectively. The money was paid into accounts held by the three with Ocean Bank in Moscow and was withdrawn from A.T.M.s here and via Visa cards.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


Donnagh Gregson of the Bunratty Cookery School is the new chair of the Clare Tourism Forum, succeeding Barbara Faulkner in the role.

She says it is important to promote what the “Banner County” has to offer, adding that much work has been done on making The Gathering a success in Clare.

“I suppose that what we would be facing is that everyone is trying very hard to promote their county and we have to try and show that Clare is the county to come to above others. We are handling The Gathering quite well and I think we have the fifth-highest amount of events in the whole country, so we’re doing quite well on that.”
[Source: Clare Champion]


A Cork family faces a move to the U.K. in order to avail of a new wonder drug that will extend the life of their son, Pierce.

The Colemans from Blackrock say that they will have to emigrate if the government does not sanction use of the new lifesaving drug for cystic fibrosis (C.F.) sufferers.

They were devastated when the drug Kalydeco was recently rejected by the National Centre for Pharmaeconomics on the grounds that it was not cost-effective, but if there was a significant cut in price, that could change.

Seven-year-old Pierce suffers from C.F. and the new drug would greatly increase both the length of his life and standard-of-living.

The drug is available in the U.K. under the N.H.S. John and his wife, Linda, are angry that the drug may not be made available to their son.
[Source: Cork Independent]


Advisers to Martin Luther King III – the son of the assassinated civil rights icon – plan to visit Derry next month, the Journal has learned.

The news follows a recent meeting in Washington, D.C. between Mr. King and Derry Presbyterian minister Dr. David Latimer.

The First Derry Minister has invited the American human rights activist to Derry for a major citywide peace-building event planned for May 19.
[Source: Derry Journal]


Lightning struck a house near Laghey last Wednesday morning, setting a kitchen on fire.