News from around the 32 Irish counties


Dissident Republicans were being blamed for shooting a man during one of two armed raids on legally held weapons in west Belfast last Thursday. Two men are being questioned in police custody after the victim, aged in his 30s, was shot in the leg after refusing to hand over guns when a gang burst into his home.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)    

With many of the county’s roads left in tatters after the recent bout of extreme weather, the cost of putting the damage right is expected to roll into millions of euros. Last week Carlow County Council has sought urgent emergency funding from central Government to offset the spiraling costs of repair and reconstruction of the county’s roads. Businesses and homeowners are also left counting the cost having battled through severe frost, snow and floods over the past month.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

Best wishes and fond farewells were freely expressed to highly respected Chief District Court Clerk, Noel Brennan, at a retirement function in the Cavan Crystal Hotel last week. Noel who has 40 years service as an officer of the District Court was praised for his courtesy and professionalism by members of the judiciary present including Judge Sean MacBride, solicitors, members of the gardaí (police) and the Probation Service.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)

A leading earthquake expert from Derry has described the lack of preparation for an earthquake like Haiti's an "international disgrace" - and he's warned a bigger quake could happen soon, this time in Indonesia. Derry-born Professor John McCloskey, who works at the University of Ulster, said governments must act now to avoid repeating the disastrous scenes witnessed in Haiti recently. A study into Sumatran earthquakes, conducted by Professor McCloskey,  was published in Nature Geoscience, an earth sciences research journal and website. The professor said work must be done now to prevent further scenes of carnage.
(Source: The Derry Journal)

The publishers of the Lonely Planet Travel Guides had good news for tourism in Donegal last week, but Letterkenny’s traffic problems prompted some scathing comments. Launching this year’s Guide to Ireland on Wednesday last, they emphasized that their readers rate rural, traditional Ireland much more highly than our modern, cosmopolitan cities. Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall said: “Ireland needs to draw more on its unique culture and traditions in order to continue to attract tourists from around the world. If our regular polls of departing tourists are to be believed, traditional Ireland still holds the key to Ireland’s draw as a tourist destination.”
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

Panto queen Twink has revealed how her daughter Chloe Agnew wowed the Obamas on a recent visit to the US. The proud mum told the story of how the First Family are huge fans of Chloe's group, Celtic Woman. Michelle even issued Chloe with an open invitation to visit The White House when they next return to Washington. "Michelle actually came over to say hello to Chloe and shake her hand," Twink explained. "She asked her would she come and meet her daughters because they are both enormous fans of Celtic Woman, so naturally Chloe said she would. "She also met the President who said he was very taken with their group and told her they were welcome to come back and perform any time. "That's the third American President she's met since she and the girls started out. She's also met George Bush and Bill Clinton," she added. The Obamas personally requested that the group perform at the annual National Christmas Lights ceremony last month.
(Source: The Evening Herald)

A County Galway native is at the heart of the humanitarian relief effort in Haiti following the catastrophic earthquake that struck two weeks ago, reducing the city of Port-au-Prince to rubble and leaving as many as 200,000 people dead. Paul Conneally, from Ballinasloe, is coordinating the emergency response of the International Red Cross (IFRC) in the wake of what he describes as “the worst disaster in the history of the organization”. With no pre-existing infrastructure in place and the IFRC Haitian headquarters leveled to the ground, the Head of External Communications for the international agency has had to start from scratch as he launches their humanitarian mission on the tiny Caribbean island.
(Source: Galway News)

A Scartaglen man froze to death outside his house after he fell on ice as he struggling to get up the boreen (small road) to his remote home. The body of Thomas Cleary, who was aged in his 50s, was discovered by neighbors Friday before last, less than 30 meters from the front door of his home, in Kilsarcon, Scartaglen. Gardaí and paramedics rushed to the scene but were unable to get vehicles up to the house because of the ice. Gardaí were forced to call in Kerry County Council to grit the boreen linking Mr. Cleary's home to the main Scartaglin/Castleisland road so an ambulance could get to the scene.
(Source: The Kerryman)