News from around the 32 Irish counties


More than 180 new jobs are on the cards for Meath this year with the development of two new 'green industries' for the county. A proposed wood briquette production plant at Balrath, Kells, which will also include a small power station, is expected to create up to 140 jobs, 70 jobs on-site and a further 70 in transport to the facility. In the same week that this new project was revealed, work began on Panda Waste's new €21 million plant at Beauparc, which will convert waste into high grade compost and a coal sustitute, while also producing electricity. This plant is expected to employ 40 people. Shamrock Renewable Fuels Ltd, a joint venture between Farrelly Brothers of Carnaross and HDS Energy of Kells Business Park, is currently seeking planning permission for a renewable fuel plant where willow and other wood is converted into carbon neutral fuels, including wood briquettes and wood pellets.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)

Offaly's crime rate has dropped by 11.3% in a year, the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have revealed. The CSO released the crime figures for the final quarter of 2009 last Thursday, which revealed that the crime rate dropped by 11.3% in the Laois/Offaly Garda Division in 2009, when compared to 2008. In total 6,973 crimes were recorded in the Laois/Offaly division last year, compared to 7,866 in 2008, which represents a drop of 893 crimes. The biggest drop for the Garda division was the rate of homicide offences, which dropped by 80% last year, from five murders in Laois/Offaly in 2008 to just one during 2009.
(Source: The Offaly Independent)

Young Oran man, Shane O’Brien has been chosen as the Lions International YoungAmbassador of the 21st Century after a nationwide competition and a grand final at the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin on Sunday night last. The eighteen-year-old was representing Roscommon Leo Club in the final and received the honor for his work on the 4U youth magazine, the 4U radio show on Rosfm and a plethora of other community and civic projects. A Leaving Cert student at Roscommon CBS, Shane is a son of Michéal and Rita O’Brien from Oran. He has worked on the 4U magazine since 2007. The quarterly publication sees 3,000 copies distributed to secondary schools throughout the county. 

(Source: The Roscommon Champion)
Twelve days early and catching his parents by surprise, Shane Filan Junior made the sort of entrance his famous dad would have been proud of. "He certainly didn't keep us waiting. He wasn't due until early February, and up until 8 p.m. last Friday there was no sign he was on his way. But an hour and a half later, he was here," Westlife's Shane said, describing the early arrival of his third child, a brother for Nicole (4) and Patrick (18 months). "There was no panic or anything like that, but we certainly weren't expecting it. Gillian started having pains at about eight o'clock, we went straight to Sligo General, and the baby was born exactly one hour and thirty-four minutes later," he explained.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)

Michelle Gildernew has said she is determined to hold on to her Westminster seat amid new claims of an election pact between rival unionists. It is claimed the DUP is ready to stand aside at the upcoming General Election, allowing the Ulster Unionists' candidate a free run. Reports have claimed a deal could come in return for UUP support for the DUP over any package on policing and justice powers. However Ms Gildernew, the MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone since 2001, is ignoring the speculation and is focusing on securing a third election win. "Our position is quite simple," she said. "Whatever the DUP or UUP choose to do, Sinn Fein will be fighting this election strenuously to keep the seat.
(Source: Tyrone Times)

Recruitment is to begin in March to fill the 80 to 90 jobs to be created with the re-birth of mouth blown, hand cut Waterford Crystal in a new purpose-built 6,500sqm facility being developed at the former ESB premises on The Mall. A €25m investment is being made on the 1.5 acre site to facilitate manufacturing, 1,000sqm of retail space and a Visitor Centre. Waterford Crystal, is going back to its roots with the manufacture of 40,000 ‘high end’ pieces entirely handcrafted and ranging in price from between €250 and €5,000 for specialist pieces for international events,” said Pierre de Villeméjane, Chief Executive of WWRD Ltd., which has signed an agreement with the City Council for the new industry.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)

A Westmeath man has been appointed Honorary Consul of Ireland in Seattle with responsibility for Washington State. John Keane is from the famous Rosemount family of the same name and is uncle of Westmeath dual All-Star John Keane. John arrived in Seattle in 1978 and quickly became involved in the local Irish-American community. As befits a member of the famous footbaling family, he also excelled on the field of play and continued lining out for the Seattle Gaels until his early 50s. The position of Honorary Consul is a non-salaried and is designed to assist the Embassy in Washington DC and the Consulate General in San Francisco in promoting contacts between the two countries, facilitating business and official visitors from Ireland, supplying information on Ireland and in providing consular services to Irish citizens resident in or visiting the area for which you would have jurisdiction.
(Source: The Westmeath Independent)