News from around the 32 Irish counties


Laois has received over €200,000 from the Arts Council to support theatre, dance, music and other performances across the county. The grant allocations, which total €211,000, will support the multidisciplinary arts program of the Dunamaise Arts Centre, the work of the Association of Irish Stage Technicians, and Laois County Council's arts office.
 (Source: The Leinster Express)

With Minister for Education, Batt O'Keeffe, expected to make an announcement on the amalgamation of several smaller County VECs before the end of February, fears have once again been raised that Co Leitrim will be one of the first to fall victim to such a proposal.
The idea of merging smaller VECs together first arose in the An Bord Snip Nua report.
(Source: The Leitrim Observer)

Fine Gael Deputy Michael Noonan expressed his sympathies to former Defense Minister Willie O'Dea over his shock resignation, acknowledging that this is a very difficult time for the people of Limerick. "At a personal level, I sympathize with him and I feel very sorry for him. It is regrettable that Limerick will be without a Cabinet minister for the foreseeable future," Deputy Noonan said.
(Source: The Limerick Leader)

A county councilor has claimed Longford's housing crisis could take half a century to resolve after a joint meeting of town and county councils two weeks ago showed there are over 1,800 applicants on waiting lists throughout the region. Fine Gael County Councilor Alan Mitchell warned of the grave consequences that awaited housing officials following the disclosure that around 1,000 applications have still to be processed at county council level with a further 870 cases in Longford Town Council
 (Source: The Longford Leader)

Local Green Party councilor Mark Dearey is being widely tipped as a favorite to take a Seanad seat following Déirdre de Búrca's announcement the weekend before last that she is resigning from the party. Having lost out in the last round of appointments to the Seanad by Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen, which saw fellow Louth councilor James Carroll take a seat last November, the Dundalk councilor is now believed to be in prime position for a Seanad nomination. 'It's a Green seat so obviously it will have to go to someone from among our diminished numbers,' said Cllr Dearey. He said that he hadn't spoken to the party leader John Gormley since Déirdre de Búrca's shock resignation.
(Source: The Drogheda Independent)
A man who started his business career in Manchester with three shovels and a wheelbarrow and who went on to become a multi-millionaire was crowned Mayo Person of the Year in City West in Dublin last Friday night. For Joe Kennedy and his family, it was a night to cherish, the further cementing of his close ties with the county and the land that has always had the fondest of places in his heart. Joe spoke of his young days in Doocastle picking spuds and milking cows before leaving for England. He recalled early days over yonder and singing in a band at the Round Tower in Holbury before launching into a rousing rendition of “Moonlight in Mayo” to the delight of the gathering in City West. Around 700 people attended the annual celebration night.
(Source: Mayo News)

Boyle will be represented in style at this year's Academy Awards. 
Paul Young, from Carrick Road, Boyle, is the producer of 'The Secret of Kells', which is one of the films nominated in the Best Animated Film Category for this year's Oscars, which will take place in Los Angeles on Sunday, 7th March. 
Paul (36) will be joined on the trip to LA by his parents Sean - the former Roscommon football team manager - and Ann. Paul has five siblings and is the youngest of the four boys in the Young family.
 Ann is justifiably proud of her son and is looking forward to the awards ceremony. "We are very, very proud of Paul. I used to give out to him when he was young because he was always jotting and scribbling in his copybooks.
(Source: The Roscommon Champion)

Four members of the traveling community have been targeted by a pipe bomb attack in Co Tyrone. The man and three women escaped injury when the device exploded at the back of the house in Coalisland last Thursday morning. They were treated for shock after the incident at Gortgonis Terrace. A number of nearby homes were evacuated as Army bomb disposal officers ensured the area was safe.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)
Half-a-million visitors, from home and abroad, generating a spend of €35m for Waterford and the region in four days, is the expectation from the return of the Tall Ships Race to the city in June of next year. The city will host up to 70 of the world’s most majestic vessels, and a crew of 2,000, in advance of the start of the 2011 race. Already the sailing eyes of the world are on Waterford through a Tall Ships Races website which was formally launched in the city last week with the promise that the event, from June 30 to July 3, 2011, will match and surpass the 2005 event.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)