News from around the 32 Irish counties



The battle for the hearts and minds of South Antrim intensified dramatically last week, with the unionist heavy hitters trading blows as the fight enters the closing rounds.
 DUP hopeful William McCrea had elected to turn the other cheek early on, opting for repeated calls for unionist unity rather than his usual combative style. 
By week's end, however, the gloves were off as he pounded Reg Empey over claims that the Conservatives were poised to slash public sector spending in the province.

(Source: The Antrim Guardian)          


The PSNI is to mount major security operation in the run-up to the forthcoming British general election amid fears of a dissident republican attack. Commanders are concerned that dissidents are planning to try to mar the May 6th poll with a symbolic strike. Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie said today the public should expect more roadside checks and additional patrols across the North in the coming days.

(Source: The Irish Times)


Arlow ladies are streaks ahead in the fashion steaks ... and that’s official! 

Our glamorous gals managed to secure a slot among the finalists of the Arnott’s best dressed ladies competition every day last week at the 2010 Punchestown Festival. Top of the crop was Deirdre Kane from Ballinabranna, who went on to be placed third in the overall final last Friday.

 (Source: The Carlow Nationalist)



There appears to be an increase in illegal dumping in various areas. The disgraceful activity that is taking place at the scenic route to the Ballyheady Cairns, just off the Killeshandra Road out of Ballyconnell. This very historic site is an integral part of the geopark and people from the local heritage groups, Ballyconnell Town Development and Cllr. Damien Brady are determined that this activity must stop.

 (Source: The Anglo Celt)



Just one of the 42 IDA-assisted foreign direct investment greenfield projects announced nationally in the past five years came to Clare, while unemployment among young people is now at 30% in the Mid-West, according to figures revealed last week. In February 2008, the IDA announced that Zimmer Medical Technology would be creating 250 jobs for Shannon. (Source: The Clare Champion)


A Duhallow couple whose recording studio was gutted in a fire caused by a mishap with a lawnmower last week are now presenting and producing Sky's new county music channel. Knocknagree based Leo and Noreen Fitzgerald are behind new Sky channel 171, aimed at giving less well known Irish country artists some television coverage.

(Source: The Corkman)


The fallout from the massive Vehicle Registration Tax crackdown in Inishowen a fortnight ago continues to gather heat with Muff based Ryan Stewart, who is spearheading the anti-VRT campaign and now has 6, 000 registered supporters, accused Inishowen Senator Cecilia Keaveney of treating the Donegal public with "contempt and disregard’.

(Source: The Derry Journal)



Gardaí were last week searching two different locations in south and west Donegal after the discovery of what appears to be a human skull at a GAA pitch near Ballintra. The discovery was made at 7.40am at Naomh Bríd GAA Club at Trumman, Ballintra by contractors installing a new training pitch. The skull, which is not of recent origin, was found in a lorry-load of sand which was sourced from a quarry in Gweedore. The football ground was cordoned off as a full investigation was begun by crime scene investigators from Letterkenny.

 (Source: Donegal Democrat)



A secret briefing paper drawn up by the Army has criticized the police force for its “slower than expected” response to the Palace Barracks bombing. The document, circulated to Army personnel within hours of the explosion at MI5 headquarters in Holywood, also raises concerns about the PSNI for being hesitant to evacuate “civilian accommodation” at the military basis.

(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)


Widely panned by critics here, Irish movie Zonad is winning praise at a major US film festival. The movie, starring Bachelors Walk actor Simon Delaney, has received mostly good reviews at the world-famous Tribeca Film Festival. Director John Carney's follow-up to the busker romance Once, Zonad tells the story of an overweight drunk who, in 1950s Ireland, escapes a rehabilitation centre in a red vinyl spaceman outfit. He arrives in a small town whose residents cheerfully accept him as an intergalactic traveler and treat him like a magical hero.

(Source: The Evening Herald)


An Enniskillen mother and her former partner have gone on trial accused of the manslaughter of the woman's eight month old baby daughter, who died following a fire at the house the couple shared. Twenty-six year old Charmaine Irene Agnew from Drumbawn and her former boyfriend William McLaughlin (25) with an address at Florence Square in Belfast both deny the manslaughter of Chelsea Agnew through gross negligence on August 4, 2007 at 50 Drumbawn in Enniskillen, the home the couple shared.