News from the 32

There is mounting speculation in the corridors of Antrim Civic Centre that the Borough may be poised to have its first ever female Mayor.
DUP councilor Pam Lewis has appeared as the front-runner to wrestle the Chain of Office from Ulster Unionist Adrian Watson, but only if she is willing to swallow the 'bitter pill' of a deal with Sinn Fein.

For in an ironic twist, the chamber's three republican reps have been elevated to 'king makers' at the AGM this week - with their support likely to be decisive on the day.
(Source: The Antrim Guardian)   

Natasha McShane, the student left in a coma after being assaulted in Chicago has spoken her first words since the attack.
McShane, from Silverbridge in County Armagh, was attacked as she returned home from a night out with a friend on 23 April.
The family have told local reporters that Natasha can now speak a few words and smile.
But she remains in a serious condition and is still in intensive care.
(Source: BBC news)

R&B superstar Rihanna made a Tullow girl’s dreams come true, when she told her: “You’re a great girl – keep going, believe in what you are doing and you’ll be fine.”

The Umbrella singer met Orla Jackman (13) from Crosslow, Tullow before she went on stage the week before last for her sell-out concert at Dublin’s O2.

Meeting her hero was a huge boost to Orla, who was overcome with excitement as the singing sensation chatted with her and happily posed for photographs.
Orla was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year but her determination throughout has been incredible and, thankfully, the young teenager is doing really well.

Orla, her mother Máire and sister Aine (7) were given the VIP treatment at the concert, thanks to Crumlin Hospital, which organized the surprise night out for the Tullow teen.

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

A new community crèche, which was built at a cost of €1.2m, was officially opened last Friday by the Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith.
The childcare facility, which was funded by the government under the National Childcare Investment Program (NCIP), caters for 70 children and provides Montessori, pre-school and school-age childcare services to young families in Ballyjamesduff and the surrounding area.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)

The Office of the President has confirmed that O’Callaghan’s Mills man Paddy Gleeson, who celebrated his 106th birthday on May 20 last, is Ireland’s oldest man.
Paddy, who resides at Raheen Community Hospital in Tuamgraney, ranks seventh, however, among Ireland’s oldest people, with six women ahead of him on the list, the eldest of whom is 108.
Paddy now boasts six Presidential medals for each birthday he has celebrated since turning 100 in 2004.
He moved to Raheen Community Hospital in 2006 but lived independently there in Knockatullish until 2008 before he was welcomed into the main hospital.
Like many birthdays before, the staff at the hospital rallied around and held a party for Paddy in the day centre for all his family and friends.
(Source: The Clare Champion)

A shocking exposé on a Prime Time Investigation report has revealed that over 70 Cork people accessed horrific images of child pornography on the Internet over the past month, with users in both Mallow and Fermoy showing up in the research.
(Source: The Corkman)

Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle has backed Derry's City of Culture bid.
"I am absolutely delighted to be associated with my home town's bid for UK City of Culture 2013 as it is richly deserved," Nadine said last week.
"Derry is a city where culture and the arts are an integral part of the fabric of the community. It is not something you attend or an event that you witness and then leave. It is something that is part of your everyday life."
(Source: The Derry Journal)

A Vatican probe by senior clergy which will look at questions concerning the handling of sex abuse in four Irish archdioceses could turn it’s attention to the Diocese of Raphoe afterwards.
The investigation by two cardinals and three archbishops was ordered by the Pope Benedict in a letter to parishes in Ireland in March.
The inquires are seen as the Vatican’s reaction to the Murphy and Ryan reports into clerical child abuse.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

The Chief Constable is to examine a delay in the police response to a 999 call made after a family was threatened at gunpoint, Sinn Fein has said.
Three masked and armed men forced their way into a house in the Slievemore Park area of Londonderry last Wednesday and terrorized a family of three.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)

Ivor Callely was last fighting for his political survival as both his Government colleagues and the opposition turned on him.
The senator faces expulsion from the Fianna Fail party unless he can rapidly provide the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) with a satisfactory explanation for his €81,000 traveling expenses.
Callely's short statement to the Seanad in which he said he was "deeply upset and concerned" has done nothing to quell both political and public disquiet.
(Source: The Evening Herald)

The Chairman and chief executive of US insurance giant, Liberty Mutual, met the Financial Regulator last to discuss the company’s interest in buying the beleaguered Quinn Insurance.
Ted Kelly, who runs Liberty Mutual out of Boston, said the joint administrators of Quinn Insurance needed to move quickly to sell the business to retain value.
“The longer a company stays in administration, the more damaged the goods become,” he said.
“What we are concerned about is that the administration process is sufficiently protracted that what is there at the end is not going to be attractive to anybody.”
Liberty – the fifth largest motor, home and general insurer in the US – is interested in buying the firm as a means of significantly expanding its operations in Europe.
(Source: The Fermanagh Herald)

Gardaí (police) have smashed a major organized crime syndicate in Galway, which is suspected of being one of the biggest suppliers of drugs in the West of Ireland.
Arrests are still being made in what is one of the biggest ever criminal investigations in the region.
As well as drugs, the gang is alleged to be involved in protection rackets around Galway and outlying areas.
The seriousness of the alleged offences means those involved could be tried by the non-jury Special Criminal Court – previously reserved for terrorism related trials.
(Source: Galway News)

An 80-year-old taxi driver was beaten to a pulp in a vicious and unprovoked attack in Castlemaine on Friday night last as he dropped customers to a house in the area.
Gardaí in Killorglin are now investigating the sickening attack on 80-year-old Denis Scully, which left him with extensive injuries.
(Source: The Kerryman)

The grandmother of the young Co Kildare jockey seriously injured in a fall on Friday last was actually watching the race on TV and was shocked to realize that it was her grandson who had taken a crashing tumble from his horse.

Francis Lawlor (19) from Ballitore, fell during the race at Down Royal and was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital suffering from head injuries.
He is understood to be gradually improving but remains in the Belfast hospital.
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)
Eleven people who were arrested in relation as part of an investigation into the Tiger kidnapping of former Kilkenny hurler Adrian Ronan and his wife have been released from custody and a file on the matter is being prepared for the DPP.
Four woman and three men were released from custody last week.
Gardai made an application at a special sitting of Kilkenny District Court on Friday evening last to extend time for questioning in relation to the remaining four men who were in custody.
(Source: The Kilkenny People)

Dissident Laois Republicans are suspected of being behind a major cash counterfeiting operation that was being run from a bunker on the outskirts of Borris-in-Ossory.
A Garda investigation is ongoing into the audacious operation, which was discovered in a raid at a disused concrete plant and quarry at the Green Roads.
While the raid was the result of a long running investigation, the extent and sophistication of the operation is understood to have surprised gardaí.
(Source: The Leinster Express)

Ballinamore Community Hospital, which was due to commence construction in December of this year has now been shelved for consideration until 2011.
The decision to delay the progress of Ballinamore Community Hospital which was hoped to provide much needed health services and jobs to the area was announced at a HSE meeting in Galway last week.
(Source: The Leitrim Observer)

Munster star Keith Earls has been ruled out of the Ireland squad for the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.
Earls has been suffering from a persistent groin injury and following his participation in the training camp in Limerick this week he has been ruled out of the tour.
(Source: The Limerick Leader)

Local pet food company C&D Foods is to embark on a major expansion into mainland Europe after purchasing a large-scale production facility in Holland.
The plant, which is 140,000 sq ft in size and located at Ijmuiden Port, close to Amsterdam, will effectively replace the Edgeworthstown manufacturer's canning facility that was lost in a fire over three years ago.
(Source: The Longford Leader)

Drogheda's Civic and Education Quarter at Fair Street, catering for 650plus students and costing between €25 and €30 million could be opened within three years, county manager, Conn Murray has stated.
(Source: The Drogheda Independent)

The East Mayo community of Tooreen and Aghamore and the wider GAA fraternity in the county were left reeling last Saturday morning when news came through of the tragic death of Adrian Freeman (24) in a road traffic accident near Geelong in Australia.
A colleague, Robert Twomey (27) from near Listowel, Co Kerry, also died in the accident.
It is understood that Adrian and Robert, together with two other colleagues, were on their way home from work and heading towards Melbourne when a car being driven by a woman crossed the road and into their path at a notorious bend.
She was seriously injured in the accident and was airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
(Source: Mayo News)

Largo Foods in Ashbourne has taken on a further 36 workers at its Kilbrew plant and expects to create up to another 80 jobs by next summer with its new 'Tayto Fun Park'.
There are currently 562 employed in the plant outside Ashbourne.
The manufacturers of Tayto and Hunky Dory crisps have reported an 11 per cent increase in sales of Hunky Dory crisps following their recent controversial advertising campaign, which featured rugby-playing models and have now introduced new weekend shifts at the Meath plant, increasing the workforce by 36.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)

Water charges should be spread out over a longer period to enable hard-pressed business people to pay, a meeting at the Tullamore Court Hotel heard.
Hotels, pubs and restaurants are particularly badly hit because of the level of water used, speakers stated.
(Source The Offaly Express)

Roscommon’s “Great ambassador” and “superstar”, the popular singer and accordionist Brendan Shine was awarded the freedom of County Roscommon on Monday last.
The entertainer is only the second person to be given the honor, the first being the Defense Forces’ Chief Of Staff, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley.
(Source: The Roscommon Champion)

Special guest An Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, Mary Coughlan, T.D. joined Sr Mairéad, Principal of Ursuline College, Sligo, and Mrs Waters, Deputy Principal, along with the teaching staff to honor and acknowledge the hard work and giftedness of the student body during the academic year 2009/2010.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)

Roscrea is set for a major jobs boost following the announcement last week that construction work is to begin on a €20m shopping complex in the heart of the town.
In June last year, Tiernan Properties was given the green light to develop a new town plaza, supermarket, office unit, roundabout and 344 car spaces on lands east of Main Street, south of Lourdes Road and north of Castle Street.
(Source: The Tipperary Star)

Westlife took time out of their busy tour schedule to officially open ticket sales for the NSPCC Polo Classic, a glamorous polo fundraiser organized by the Northern Ireland Polo Club in Grange, Dungannon on last weekend.
(Source: Tyrone Today)

The daughter of a Waterford man who died after he fell overboard from his fishing trawler has called for a better ‘doctor on call’ system to be put in place in Dunmore East.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)

Most businesses in Westmeath are not being forced to pay water charges to the local authority, a national media report has claimed.
Citing figures from the Local Government Auditor, the report stated that Westmeath County Council had one of the country's lowest collection rates for water charges.
(Source: The Westmeath Independent)

Bishop Denis Brennan celebrated forty years in the priesthood with Mass at St. Aidan's cathedral in Enniscorthy last Sunday.
The head of the Catholic diocese was joined by his fellow priests from all around Ferns.
As the popular priest from Rathnure marked his ruby anniversary, the occasion was marked in song by the Pike choir who joined the singers of the cathedral choir for the occasion.
(Source: The Wexford People)

Wicklow Town and District Chamber hope The Conway Media Round Ireland Yacht Race will give the county's economy a similar boost to that Galway received from the Volvo Ocean Race last summer.
(Source: The Wicklow People)