News from the 32


‘The ranks of the Ulster Unionist Party's South Antrim Association will be decimated if the leadership and the Conservatives 'conspire to stab Adrian Watson in the back', it was claimed last week.
 The Mayor of Antrim would be forgiven for believing that comments about his reluctance to welcome gay couples to the family-run bed and breakfast first printed in a local paper more than three years ago were dead and buried - but the ghosts have come back to haunt him. Members of the local Association were clearly not perturbed by the skeletons in Watson's closet when they selected him by a landslide majority late last year to take the battle for South Antrim to sitting MP William McCrea.
(Source: The Antrim Guardian)   


Cardinal Seán Brady has expressed support for the concept of a national inquiry into clerical child sex abuse, according to survivors of clerical abuse and their representatives who met him in Armagh city last Wednesday. The victims and the representatives said the meetings were useful, frank, positive and at times “emotional” and “uncomfortable”.
(Source: The Irish Times)


Deputy Mary White was last week appointed a junior minister, becoming the constituency’s first ever female minister and County Carlow’s first government minister in decades.
Shortly after 3pm last Tuesday Taoiseach Brain Cowen rose in the Dáil to announce his cabinet reshuffle, declaring Deputy White among those due for promotion to the role of Minister for State.

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


As the country still comes to terms with the bank collapse and all of its ramifications, the people of the Cavan/Fermanagh border region were last week anxiously evaluating the implications of the recent High Court decision to appoint provisional administrators to Quinn Insurance Ltd. Serious concerns are being expressed for the future of the company and the 600 plus jobs in Quinn Insurance in Cavan town.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)


Two County Clare women have played a key role in the development of a new national strategy for supporting terminally-ill children.
Claire O’Dwyer-Quinn, Ballyea, who works as a palliative care nurse specialist at the Milford Care Centre, Limerick and Dr Siobhán Gallagher, an Ennis consultant pediatrician based at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick were part of a national working party, which drew up a ground-breaking report, Palliative Care for Children with Life-limiting Conditions in Ireland.
Welcoming the publication of the blueprint developed by the Department of Health, Claire pointed out that the majority of children with terminal illnesses end up dying in hospital, even though an assessment of needs undertaken in 2005 revealed most parents wanted their child to die at home.

(Source: The Clare Champion)


A non-national married couple have been charged with a spate of robberies from at least five churches across North Cork, to the relief of the parishioners.

(Source: The Corkman)


The Bishop of Derry has apologized to all victims of child sex abuse by the Catholic church.
Dr. Seamus Hegarty made his remarks during his homily last Thursday’s Mass of the Chrism at St Eugene's Cathedral. He branded the abuse of children and vulnerable adults by priests and other religious figures as 'heinous' and a "source of great shame".
(Source: The Derry Journal)


Fury erupted in Fanad last week when locals awoke to discover that they have become the victims of Donegal's first toll road. Unknown to residents, Donegal County Council erected tollbooths and barriers overnight on the Mulroy Bay Bridge with charges due to come into immediate operation as from last Thursday.

(Source: Donegal Democrat)


It is one of the biggest events in the global music calendar, attracting iconic performers such as Bono, Jay-Z and Madonna — and it could be staged in Belfast. The MTV European Music Awards have been hosted in Berlin, Paris, London and Milan and now an ambitious campaign to have it brought to Northern Ireland for 2012 has been launched. The bid to have the glittering ceremony in the city is part of a major three-year strategy to put Belfast on the map as a “world class music destination” by the City Council and tourism chiefs.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)

Some 1,700 people have applied to join the Garda (Police) Reserve in the past year -- despite calls for it to be scrapped. Rank-and-file gardai debated the purpose of the reserve force last week, with a large number arguing its €3m cost was unjustified and was soaking up resources. The volunteer reserve squad is supposed to offer support to full-time members, but many now say they would rather be provided with better working conditions. However, garda grumbles will not be listened to by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern who has no intention of cutting back on the Reserve. Instead, he intends to push ahead with even more recruitment.
(Source: The Evening Herald)

The Indoor variety market in Enniskillen is no longer selling legal high drugs. A stall-holder who asked not to be named said that once they got confirmation that the Wild Cat drug contained mephedrone, they withdrew all their legal high products as of Saturday, March 20. The decision comes two and a half years after the shop first started selling the legal high drugs. It also comes on the back of heightened media pressure concerning the use of the legal high drugs by young people in the county as well as their potentially lethal side effects.
(Source: The Fermanagh Herald)


A reduced airport facility on the Aran Islands could put lives at risk, warns the local GP. Dr Marian Broderick, who is based on Inis Mór but who serves all three islands, has criticized a decision taken by Roinn na Gaeltachta to reduce staffing hours at the island’s air strip for a few hours every day. “What this means is that we don’t have access to the airport between the hours of 12.30pm and 2pm and because there is no staff cover for those hours, there is no guarantee that they will be available to us when and if we need them for emergency situations.”
(Source: Galway News)


The future of the all Irish girl's boarding school Coláiste Íde, near Dingle, is uncertain since it was handed over to the Government three months ago. Last December it was announced that the Sisters of Mercy Order would hand over property worth more than €100 million as a form of compensation for children who suffered abuse in its care.
(Source: The Kerryman)


A meeting of Athy Town Council had to be abandoned the week before last following a verbal bust up between two members.
The March meeting was brought to a conclusion when Cathaoirleach Aoife Breslin found that she was unable to proceed through the agenda because of interruptions from Councilor Paddy Wright.
Last week Cllr Wright has added fuel to the fire, accusing the cathaoirleach of being ‘overly sensitive’.

(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)

Barack Obama's links with Kilkenny are turning more and more into a sequel to the novel, The De Vinci Code. Having established that Bishop John Kearney, Church of Ireland Bishop of Ossory was a sixth generation uncle of Obama, it was thought the direct line with Kilkenny died with Kearney when he passed away in 1813. However, researchers forgot to look at the female side of the family tree. It has emerged that a direct descendant of Obama is alive and well and living in County Kilkenny, a few miles outside the city. For security reasons, Jane de Montmorency Wright does not want to divulge her exact address but has for the first time gone public on her direct link with the most powerful man in the world.
(Source: The Kilkenny People)


The compulsory purchase of land owned by the Presentation Sisters in the town centre of Portlaoise could pave the way for a new plan that would breathe life back into the once vibrant town centre. In an effort to undue damage caused by shifting the business and shopping to the James Fintan Lalor Avenue area of town, Laois County Council wants to revamp a large part of the town centre large parts of which are derelict or will soon vacated.
(Source: The Leinster Express)


Deputy Frank Feighan is "convinced" the ESB was "negligent regarding water levels at Lough Allen" which he says resulted in the flooding of Leitrim Village last November. Deputy Feighan's comments come following round two of the Joint Oireachtas Committee flood meetings last week.
(Source: The Leitrim Observer)


It was once a day of prayer and fast, but Limerick ate, drank and was merry on Good Friday following the recent landmark, ruling which will allow publicans to open for nearly six hours.
For the 26,000 who attended the sell-out clash at Thomond Park, as well as thousands of others who flooded the city, traditional notions of Good Friday are dead and gone.
(Source: The Limerick Leader)


The clocks may have gone forward to signal the beginning of summer but the weather has not followed suit in County Longford. Last week the county experienced blizzard like conditions leaving many motorists struggling to complete their daily journeys and an astonishing 6,500 houses without power.
(Source: The Longford Leader)


The €20m primary care centre planned for Narrow West Street has been refused by an Bord Pleanála, This has an estimated loss of over 100 jobs to the town, and has been met with disappointment from various sides.
(Source: The Drogheda Independent)


After being picked as the All-Ireland Youth Volunteer of the Year, Davitt College, Castlebar student Shane Walsh has been described by his school principal Bernie Rowland as ‘an inspiration to us all’. The 17-year-old from Rehins, Castlebar was honored at the Pramerica Spirit of the Community Awards two weeks ago in Cork for his selfless work with his friend Cian Muldoon, who is wheelchair bound.
(Source: Mayo News)


The Trim Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, which took place last weekend, resulted in a major boost for the local economy, particularly the tourism and hospitality industries. Meath Tourism Officer Michele Whelan said that accommodation providers in the town were all booked out for the weekend, equating to approximately 1,000 bed nights.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)


The Provisional administrators appointed to Quinn Insurance must prioritize the protection of jobs following the Financial Regulator’s launch of an investigation into the largest Irish-owned insurer, politicians in the Border region have said. One of Fianna Fáil’s three TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Margaret Conlon, said the Quinn group was one of the biggest employers in the region, and she hoped this would continue. “It’s a worrying time for everyone concerned,” she said.
(Source: The Irish Times)


One year on from the murder of Daingean publican Matt Farrell in his pub The Gaelic Bar in the early hours of April 1, 2009, Gardai have renewed their appeal for information on this heinous crime which to date remains unsolved. Gardai are still actively working on the case and they are certain that someone knows the killer's identity.
(Source: The Offaly Express)


A six screen multiplex cinema will open in Roscommon town this summer as part of a €6m entertainment complex earmarked for the Centre Point Retail Park on the Circular road. .
In what is being described as yet another significant economic boost for the county town and surrounding areas, against the backdrop of a number of major developments already taking place locally, this latest project is set to create up to sixty full-time jobs.
(Source: The Roscommon Champion)


Sligo will embrace cutting edge wireless Internet technology to deliver a first for Ireland – free Wi-Fi access for visitors in Sligo Town Centre. The people behind the Save Our Shops meeting are working with local broadband providers Fastcom to introduce the initiative, which will be a great and unique attraction for visitors to Sligo.

(Source: The Sligo Champion)


The newly appointed Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Ms Mary Hanafin last week stated that any day an individual is one of fifteen people running the country it is a "rare privilege". She was speaking following the reshuffle of the Cabinet by Taoiseach, (Prime Minister) Brian Cowan when Ms Hanafin was moved from the Social and Family Affairs portfolio and given a new role in the former Arts, Sport and Tourism Department.
(Source: The Tipperary Star)

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has said he is proud of his association with the IRA, and would be prepared to give an account of his actions “during the war”. But he stops short of admitting membership of the organization. His comments coincide with publication of a new book Voices From The Grave, in which a former Belfast IRA leader Brendan Hughes links Adams to the execution and disappearing of Jean McConville almost 40 years ago.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


Transport Minister, Noel Dempsey, was left in no doubt in Tramore last Saturday that if a single life is lost as a result of a reduction of service of the Coastguard helicopter after 2013 he will be held personally responsible. In a bid to save €1m a year the South East is being held out as the sacrificial lamb for the Minister who has signaled that the service, from Waterford Airport, will be cut back to daylight hours only after 2013.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)

Charities across the country are feeling the pinch since the recession hit, something the Athlone Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is all too aware of as the charity is being forced to shut its Tang-based animal sanctuary after ten years in operation due to lack of funding. The ASPCA's Paul McCormack said he hopes to be in a position to reopen the sanctuary later in the year if the funding situation improves, but for now the animal charity does not have enough funding to continue.
(Source: The Westmeath Independent)


An Underworld of abuse is being examined by Wexford-based immigration officers investigating human trafficking rackets in the area. The Wexford immigration unit in Rosslare Harbor, headed by Sgt. Kevin Foran are investigating several cases where women have been trafficked into the county on bogus marriage scams, and then forced into prostitution.
(Source: The Wexford People)

The Green Party has suffered another hammer blow in the county with the resignation of Cllr. Pat Kavanagh. Her decision follows hot on the heels of Deirdre de Burca's decision to resign from the Green Parliamentary Party and Seanad Eireann and heaps further pressure on John Gormley and his leadership of the party. The only Green representative left now at either county or town council level is Bray's Ciaran O'Brien.
(Source: The Wicklow People)