News from around the 32 Irish counties


Police were last week testing suspected component bomb parts found abandoned in a van in south Armagh as speculation grew they have foiled a dissident plot to bring a massive amount of explosives into Northern Ireland.  An unidentified “granular” substance found packed into barrels and drums is being examined by forensic experts following a long-running security alert south of Newry. It is believed the components could potentially have been used to make a 1,000lb bomb or a number of smaller devices.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)  

Three staff at Ong’s Chinese takeaway in Leighlinbridge was forced to brave cooler weather conditions than most of us this Christmas after they were ordered into a walk-in freezer by an armed raider on Monday night last.  The robbery at the popular Leighlinbridge eatery occurred at around 10pm when the lone raider entered the premises through the back door. The man, who is described as being in his early 20s, is of slim build and was wearing a balaclava-type head piece, black hoodie and black jeans. He was also in possession of what gardaí believed was a firearm. After demanding money from the staff, he ordered the three male members of staff into the freezer.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

Killinkere has once again been plunged into grief following the sudden death of 24-year-old Tommie Michael Clarke of Granafarna, Grousehall, Bailieborough. Tommie was taken to Cavan General Hospital after being found on Main Street, Virginia at about 1.30am on December 27. The results of a post mortem have not yet been released, but gardaí in Virginia, who went to the scene on Main Street after receiving a phone call to alert them, said it was being treated as "a sudden death". Tommie, who was a popular member of Killinkere GAA Club, leaves behind his heartbroken parents Philip and Kathleen, brothers James and Pat, sister Ann Marie and other family members including two grandmothers.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)

A 77-year-old man was airlifted to hospital late last Thursday night following a search which was launched after he had been reported missing. The man was feeding livestock on his farm at Ballymacloon near the village of Quin about 13 kilometers from Ennis. The man was found lying in a drain from which he was apparently unable to free himself. A neighbor reported the man missing. Gardaí (police), assisted by members of Clare Civil Defense and locals, went to the scene and began a search for the missing farmer. The crew of the rescue aircraft located the missing man within half an hour using its high-tech forward looking infra-red (FLIR) equipment which can be used to see in total darkness.
(Source: The Irish Times)

Derry City’s new chairman, Philip O'Doherty, has issued an upbeat New Year's message to fans of the "Candy Stripes," insisting that great progress has been made off the pitch since the Board of Directors took office just a few weeks ago. He also expressed his disappointment at the decision of a number of local players who have decided to move on to join other clubs.
Mr. O'Doherty confirmed that Derry City's new kit sponsors for next season would be the international brand, Hummel, who sponsored Cork City last season and he also had good news in relation to a new major sponsor of the Brandywell club.
(Source: The Derry Journal)

The darts fraternity in the north-west will be keeping a close eye on the BDO World Darts Championships with Martin McCloskey taking to the oche this week. McCloskey, who is a native of Carnhill in Derry, has lived in Letterkenny for the last 15 years and throws locally for the Glencar Inn team in the Letterkenny League, Wilkin's of Churchill in the Churchill League and Durkan's from Ramelton in the Farn League. On Monday, in his debut at the Lakeside Center, he will open against 11th seed, Steve West of England. West is currently ranked at the top of the BDO rankings. McCloskey will be the first man who plays out of Donegal to participate in the BDO Championships since Gerard Porter, a native of the Twin Towns, in 2006.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

Dublin’s Lord Mayor is expecting good things for the capital in 2010, despite the challenges that remain.  Emer Costello said that next year will be a "difficult one" but there should be more optimism than in the year gone by.  Ms Costello explained: "When I look back on 2009, it has been a difficult year, but still there have been things worth celebrating.  "There have been two examples in recent weeks -- the opening of the new Luas line in the docklands was a really fabulous day for the city and then the other good news was the Samuel Beckett Bridge," she said.  Ms Costello, who will remain in the Mansion House until next June, says she is "very much aware of the challenges facing everybody".  But she added: "As I've been visiting different areas it has struck me that there's a strong sense of community and Dubliners are very resilient."  The Lord Mayor has had a busy festive period with Christmas Day actually being "one of the busiest working days" she has had yet". The Mansion House has been a hive of activity over the season with a live crib and a concert among other events. Many of the events have been held to collect money for the Lord Mayor's Relief Fund, which normally raises around €20,000 for city charities.
(Source: The Evening Herald)