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News from around the 32 counties of Ireland, week of August 24 2013

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ANTRIM

Sinn Fein has roundly condemned the decision to torch several Ulster and Union flags at the recent internment bonfire in Antrim.

The blaze sparked a predictably angry backlash from loyalist leaders, with Ulster Unionist Adrian Watson and members of the Antrim Unionist Forum calling on republican representatives to tie their colors to the mast on the burning issue.

And last week they have – and hardliners from both traditions may be surprised to learn that they share loyalist concerns about the burning of provocative symbols.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]

ARMAGH

A six-hour delay by police in responding to a call regarding two house robberies in the Crossmaglen area has been heavily criticized.   Despite the quick-thinking actions of the burglary victims who had noted the make, description and registration of the perpetrators’ getaway vehicle, the culprits escaped the area after being monitored by locals for some time.

At approximately 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 15, Sinn Féin Councilor Terry Hearty made the call to police after arriving on the scene of one of the incidents within minutes of being alerted to it.

Mr. Hearty said, “Very soon after I had spoken to the victims, I contacted the P.S.N.I. and informed them that local people had recorded the registration of the vehicle used in the robberies and that this vehicle was still in the locality and was being monitored by members of the community.”
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

CARLOW

An “ironman” style competition for chefs is going to take place as part of the upcoming Carlow 800 Festival, with the aim of promoting culinary tourism in the county.

The first ever Irish Chefs World Culinary Challenge has received entries from chefs based in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, alongside Irish and Carlow chefs.

The challenge will take place over two days. Day one involves a “mystery basket” where competitors will have to use the mystery produce supplied (all high-quality Irish ingredients) to create a two-course meal for the judges. The next day, the chefs will be asked to take a classic Irish dish of their choice and produce a modern-day classic.
[Source: Business & Leadership]

CAVAN

G.P.s across the country could be legally prescribing cannabis as early as next year after the Department of Health announced it was to hear people’s view on legalizing the drug on prescription.

Sativex, which is the trading name for the drug, is derived from cannabis and will be made legal to M.S. and palliative care sufferers for pain relief. The drug is already permitted in other E.U. countries.

Doctor Eamonn McDwyer, who has been a G.P. in Cavan for 43 years, said that this will come as welcome pain relief to those patients suffering from M.S. and those in palliative care.

“The illnesses at the moment that medical cannabis used in is multiple sclerosis [M.S.] and patients in palliative care. According to literature the drug provides great pain release, as well as being physically uplifting,” said Dr. McDwyer. “Effectively, by [legalizing] the drug for medical use, it will cause no risk to the public. If people had previously wanted the drug they would have been able to get it and use it anyway.”
[Source: The Anglo Celt]

CLARE

Five separate sheep kills in one rural village this year have prompted calls for the implementation of a database of dogs and their owners.

Dog owners in the county are being urged to keep their pets under control after the latest attack involving a flock of sheep close to the Galway-Clare border.

The sheep were grazing in Boston, Tubber last Friday, when they were attacked by a dog. Two of the sheep were killed on site and a further two were badly injured and had to be put down. Another 18 were injured and six sheep are still missing.

Clare’s I.S.P.C.A. warden Frankie Coote said these attacks are too common.

“I am seeing these types of cases at all times of year. This is the fifth recorded attack in that immediate area this year. There shouldn’t be that number in the county as a whole,” he explained.
[Source: Clare Champion]

CORK

One Cork woman has been on a remarkable quest to discover why her father brought back a samurai sword that from Nagasaki to Castletownbere in 1945.

The sword has been in the famous MacCarthy’s Bar in Castletownbere since then, but the family has not known how it came into their father's possession.

Nicola MacCarthy recently went to Japan to make a documentary for TV3 on the origins of the mysterious sword.

Her father, Dr. Aidan MacCarthy, was interned as a P.O.W. in Nagasaki and is believed to have been given the sword by Second Lieutenant Isao Kusuno. Nicola is trying to trace the family of Kusuno to discover the truth.
[Source: Cork Independent]

DERRY

Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2013 in Derry has been the largest in history with almost 500,000 people joining in the celebrations.

From the official opening by President Michael D. Higgins to the spectacular closing ceremony at Ebrington Square, record-breaking crowds have crammed into the city to enjoy an action-packed program of events.

In all, more than 430,000 people attended Fleadh events over the course of the week, making it the largest in Fleadh history.
[Source: Derry Journal]

DONEGAL

Two local fishermen were rescued after their boat struck rocks near Malin Head last Thursday afternoon.

Ian Scott of Malin Head Coast Guard Rescue said a mayday call was received at around 2 p.m.

“A 22-foot fishing boat, based in Malin Head was fishing in Trawbreaga Bay. The boat struck rocks and was taking on water.

“We sent out a special emergency broadcast to alert any boats in the area and we tasked the Sligo helicopter, Greencastle Coast Guard and both Lough Swilly R.N.L.I. lifeboats to the scene. A local boat was first to arrive and stayed alongside the stricken vessel.”
[Source: Donegal Democrat]

DOWN

Following the unexpected cessation of work on the extension of Daisy Hill hospital’s Accident and Emergency Unit two weeks ago, it is understood that work will soon recommence on the project.

Work on the site came to an abrupt standstill on Wednesday, August 7, after workers downed tools before walking off the site.

The $2.3 million project is in the latter stages of completion, so the news that all work had ceased completely and that staff were not informed of any imminent stoppages was seen as a worrying development. At the time, the Southern Trust seemed to be in the dark as to why work had stopped and had unsuccessfully tried to meet with the building contractors to discuss the matter.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

DUBLIN

A taxi driver was left seriously injured after he was beaten "like a punch-bag" by three hijackers.

The thugs stole his night's takings at knifepoint and bound his hands and feet while punching and kicking him in the head.

It is the second time Mauzam Aziz (32) has been robbed since becoming a taxi driver two years ago.

The assault on Mr. Aziz was carried out after he had been flagged down on the N4 at Palmerstown in west Dublin at around 3:40 a.m. last Wednesday.
[Source: Evening Herald]

FERMANAGH

An 86-year-old man who was told by staff at South West Acute Hospital he needed surgery at Altnagelvin in Derry was also told there was no ambulance available to take him there. The patient, described as being in “extreme pain,” was forced to find his own way from the South West Acute hospital in Enniskillen to Altnagelvin hospital in Derry – in what an M.L.A has described as a “fiasco.”

The pensioner, from Fivemiletown, was taken to the South West Acute Hospital in the town, and, when he was told that, the following day, he would have to undergo surgery – the nurse also told him an ambulance was unavailable and he had to travel up to Altnagelvin himself.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]

GALWAY

Twenty-five new jobs are on the way to Galway with the opening of a new discount store in the city next month.

Discount supermarket Dealz, which has stores in 27 other locations around Ireland, plans to make a make a move to Galway for the first time and is in the process of signing contracts regarding its location.

The company was holding recruitment at the Hotel Meyrick in Eyre Square last Thursday.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]

KERRY

So the fascination and old rivalry of Dublin against Kerry in the football championship has lost none of its appeal as their All-Ireland semi-final next Sunday is set to attract the first full house in Croke Park this summer.

It’s not quite an 82,300 sell-out, not yet anyway, but the G.A.A. have alerted any supporters still considering attending to get their hands on the tickets quick: a limited number of stand tickets have been released for sale to the general public, although the entire Hill 16 allocation has been snapped up, presumably by Dublin.

“What we’re saying effectively is that it will sell out, in the next day or two, so anybody still looking to get a ticket would want to get in quick,” said Gary Finn in the G.A.A. press office, “because there will be a scramble for whatever tickets are left.”
[Source: Irish Times]

KILDARE

Tributes have been pouring in following the death of one of County Kildare’s best-known and longest-established political figures, former Fianna Fáil T.D. and Minister Paddy Power.
Mr. Power, who died at his home in Caragh on Wednesday, August 14, was first elected to Dáil Éireann (Irish Assembly) in 1969, having previously taught at Caragh National School. A native of the Curragh area, he was deeply attached to his home county and took enormous pride in working on behalf of the people of Kildare over very many years.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]

KILKENNY

An African ostrich has been born in Kilkenny for the first time ever.

The hen-sized chick was hatched at Nore Valley Park Open Farm in Bennettsbridge, following weeks of hard work by staff-members. The two resident African ostriches at the park, Oggy and Olivia, have become proud parents for the first time.

Ostriches are notoriously difficult to breed successfully, particularly in a country such as Ireland where the climate is a far cry from their native sub-Saharan Africa. The ostriches have laid fertile eggs before in their eight years here, but unfortunately none of the eggs hatched despite the mother’s best effort.
[Source: Kilkenny People]

LAOIS

Hurling players from Camross and the Harps had a nasty surprise on Thursday, August 15, when they discovered that they had been robbed while playing an intermediate championship hurling match.

The discovery was only made after the match, held at St. Canice’s G.A.A. grounds in Borris in Ossory had finished.

Players returning to change after the match found that someone had broken into the locked dressing rooms and stolen anything there that was of value. Some amounts of money were stolen as well as phones and iPhones. Car keys were also missing as trousers and clothes were taken from the dressing rooms.
[Source: Leinster Express]

LEITRIM

The first Rossinver Heritage and Cultural Festival took place recently over a sunny as well as a warm weekend at Strad Connolly Rossinver and it proved to be a great success with a large community turnout for all events.

The weekend was blessed with beautiful warm weather, which brought out the communities of Rossinver, Garrison, Cashel, Kiltyclogher and beyond, who gave great support and participated in all the activities with great fervor and community spirit.

There was a large attendance at the Heritage and Cultural Day events with visitors able to experience the way we lived in times gone by thanks to the very good demonstrations of traditional crafts, heritage dress, traditional cooking, vintage bicycles and loads more.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]

LIMERICK

Thousands of records of Limerick’s deceased are now available online, thanks to a major partnership between Mary Immaculate College and Limerick City Council.

At a ceremony in No. 1 Pery Square hotel last week, Mayor Kathleen Leddin launched an online, searchable database documenting the more than 70,000 people buried in Mount St. Lawrence between 1850 and 2008.

For the past two years, staff-members at the City Archives and the history department of Mary Immaculate College have been transcribing thousands of handwritten records of those buried in the cemetery.

The records include the name, age, address and grave location of those laid to rest.
[Source: Limerick Leader]

LONGFORD

A man in his early 30s died when the car he was driving hit a bridge wall on a minor road at Esker South, near Ballinalee on Saturday morning, August 17.

The car was discovered around 6 a.m. on Saturday, and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim was a native of Dublin but had been living in North Longford for a number of years. Granard Gardaí (police) are investigating the incident, and forensic collision investigators attended the scene on Saturday morning.
[Source: Longford Leader]

LOUTH

While the cycle-lanes have attracted untold vitriol from the public since they arrived a year-and-a-half ago, one Dundalk cyclist believes there is an anti-cyclist rhetoric to much of the debate.

In fact Nada Williams believes that the public anger has grown disproportionately thanks to rabblerousing by both online and traditional media.

“What else could they have done I ask people,” says Nadia, speaking to the Democrat.

“The town engineer has addressed this, if motorists adhered to the law, there wouldn’t be a difficulty.”
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]

MAYO

The contractor, who is in a dispute with Shell over the delivery of a large consignment of alcohol to Belmullet Garda (Police) Station before Christmas 2007, now claims the multinational oil giant paid it to deliver more “modest” quantities of alcohol to the station in 2005 and 2006.

Shell, however, “unequivocally rejects O.S.S.L.’s allegations regarding delivery at any time of alcohol to An Garda Síochána.” In a statement last Monday, the company said such “actions would constitute a serious breach of the Shell Group’s long established business principles and code of conduct to which [Shell] fully commits in the conduct of its operations.”

It reiterated the fact that it had carried out an inquiry and there was “no evidence” to support such claims and that the only gift-giving practice they engaged in for a time was ”modestly priced Christmas hampers” to locals and business suppliers.
[Source: The Mayo News]

MEATH

An exhibition of the work of Michael Farrell, the Kells native artist, opened in Solstice Arts Centre last Thursday. It was opened by Pat Moylan, chairperson of the Arts Council.

Farrell studied St. Martin’s School of Art, London, and Colchester College of Art from 1956 to 1960. His early work is characterized by a hard-edge abstractionism that combines geometric and organic forms, often in bright, neon colours. The civil unrest particularly the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings of 1972-1974, led Farrell’s work away from abstract formalism, and later figurative works that showcase his skills as a draughtsman are predominately concerned with the impulse to re-establish and redefine an Irish identity through political allegory and comment. His powerful “Madonna Irlanda” series (1976-77) rendered Ireland in the role of a mistress based on Louisa O'Murphy, the 18th-century mistress of Louis XV.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]

MONAGHAN

Last Wednesday night, 25-year old Texas Rose Haley O’Sullivan was crowned the 2013 Rose of Tralee.

The instigator of an outbreak of the “Harlem shake” on the Rose’s tour bus, shown earlier in the evening. In real life she’s the marketing coordinator for an industrial chemical company.

She told Daithí that her Monaghan boyfriend, who she met through Dallas G.A.A. Club, would not be repeating the first night’s public marriage proposal.

“We had a conversation about that,” she said.
[Source: Irish Times]

OFFALY

Rents in Offaly rose by an average of 0.5 percent in Offaly year-on-year according to figures contained in the latest Daft.ie Rental Report for Q2 2013.

The average rent advertised is now $738, and while that represents a small rise from the same time in 2012, it also represents a fall of 28 percent from the peak in 2007.

Commenting on the report, Ronan Lyons, economist with Daft.ie, said: “Demand for accommodation remains strong in urban areas, especially in Dublin. As a result, with properties shifting faster, students may feel more rushed when looking for accommodation for the year ahead. Outside Dublin, though, rents are more or less in line with the levels charged last year. This gap between Dublin and much of the rest of the country is a trend seen consistently over the last 12 to 18 months.”
[Source: Offaly Express]

ROSCOMMON

The head of the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.), John Brennan, was among the guests at a Gathering event in Kilteevan, County Roscommon, on Friday night, August 16.

Along with his 93-year-old father Owen, he attended a special homecoming for people from the village and those who had left it to go elsewhere.

The team organizing the event first wrote to Mr. Brennan in January this year, but heard nothing from him. They assumed he wasn’t coming until they heard from his office on July 24 that he had accepted the invitation.
[Source: Irish Times]

SLIGO

Pressure on Sligo Regional Hospital should have decreased last week following the reopening of an interim emergency department at Letterkenny Hospital.

Two weeks ago, the H.S.E. issued a statement suggesting that emergency and self-referrals from south Leitrim should attend Cavan General Hospital instead of Sligo. Sligo Regional Hospital was providing emergency services following the flooding disaster at Letterkenny Hospital. As a result of this, Sligo Hospital was treating up to 100 extra patients a day.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]

TIPPERARY

Nenagh is to get a new indoor market at Shannon Development Enterprise Centre on Stafford Street, beside Arrabawn Co-Op. The market is set to open on Saturday, September 7.

According to its organizers, it is being set-up to continue the great tradition that Nenagh has as a market town and will enable local traders, food producers and crafts people to have a regular outlet for their products and services, and to provide an opportunity for local start-up businesses.

The aim is to provide a broad mix of professional and amateur traders, who benefit and support each other, and provide the local community with a real opportunity to support the growth of local business and local jobs.
[Source: Tipperary Star]

TYRONE

A teenage girl has died from her injuries following a two-vehicle crash on the main Cookstown to Omagh Road on Wednesday, August 14.

Charly-Jean Thompson (15) was a passenger in a B.M.W. car that was involved in an accident on the Drum Road, near Kildress, shortly after 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday.

A black pick-up vehicle was also involved in the accident, which occurred at the junction of the Lower Kildress and Pomeroy road.

It is believed that Thompson, from Cookstown, suffered serious internal and head injuries. Two young men in the B.M.W. and a man in his 50s driving the pick-up, all from Cookstown, were injured. Two are being treated in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. They include a 17-year-old male who is in a serious condition.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]

WATERFORD

A blaze at South East Port Services was said to have been “largely brought under control.”

Nine crews from Waterford City, Dunmore East, Tramore and Thomastown attended at the scene after they were notified of a fire at a storage facility shortly before 10 a.m. last Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the fire service said a quantity of diesel was involved in the blaze, but most of the materials are organic materials such as plastics. Gardaí (police) evacuated the facility and put a 200-meter exclusion zone in place. The N29 Link Road has been closed to traffic.
[Source: Waterford News & Star]

WESTMEATH

Mullingar doctor Michael Donovan departed for Tanzania two weeks ago as part of a new health volunteering project with international development organization, V.S.O. Ireland.

Michael, who has been a consultant in general medicine and gastroenterology in the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar since 1987, will be working alongside other health volunteers from around the world as an internal medicine specialist in the St. Francis Referral Hospital in Ifakara in south-central Tanzania. He is participating in a new type of V.S.O. placement spending two weeks in Tanzania four times a year for three years.

Michael will play a critical role in training and mentoring student doctors and doctors in training to develop their skill sets with the objective of improving the standard of care they provide.
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]

WEXFORD

The manager of Enniscorthy Greyhound Track has denied claims that a dog was left to rot in one of the kennels there.

His denial came after reports that greyhound racing chiefs launched an investigation into an injured dog that was put down and left in a kennel for a week before being properly disposed.

Welfare officers from the Irish Greyhound Board (I.G.B.) say they are aware of the incident, which is alleged to have occurred at Enniscorthy racetrack in June.
[Source: Wexford Echo]

WICKLOW

The H.S.E. has poured cold water on claims by campaigners in County Wicklow of an imminent go-ahead for their plans to build a hospice for the county.

Oscar-winning actor and Wicklow resident Daniel Day- Lewis, who backs the plans to build the hospice near Brittas Bay, last Wednesday, warned of “armed rebellion” if the H.S.E. did not approve the project.

The actor was making a rare public appearance at the announcement by the Wicklow Hospice Foundation that it had almost reached its fundraising target of $4 million, representing half the building cost of the project. It wants the H.S.E. to fund the remaining $4 million plus the $5.3 million a year operating costs.
[Source: Irish Times]
 

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