News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



The new Minister for Health has unveiled detailed plans designed to breathe new life into Antrim Area Hospital - and revealed that he is prepared to spend millions to get the service back on its feet.
After years of short-term sticky plaster solutions, Edwin Poots has vowed that his Department will finally diagnose the problems that have left the ailing A&E Department on life support.
Concerns about the strains on Antrim - which was recently compared to pressures at the very height of the Troubles by a top medic - catapulted it to the very top of the political agenda at Stormont last week.
(Source: Antrim Guardian)


It has emerged over the past week that three high-ranking former Provisional IRA men from South Armagh have actively assisted a state enquiry into the deaths of two leading RUC police men. The unprecedented move was made public after the Smithwick Tribunal, established in 2005, had its first hearing of witness evidence after six years of private investigations. The public hearings, which began last Tuesday, aim to establish whether there was Gardaì (police) collusion in the Provisional IRA murders of two senior RUC officers – Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan – near the border in 1989. The legal team for the Tribunal held face-to-face meetings with three former Provisional IRA members in recent weeks, one of whom allegedly had a commanding role in the attack. According to the legal team, the Provisional IRA members gave “detailed accounts” and replied to all questions from the inquiry team.


The Naked Adventurer Keith Whelan has been forced to halt his ambitious bid to sail across the Indian Ocean after sustaining a head injury.
The Athy native, who trained in Carlow before setting out on his challenge to become the youngest Irishman to row across the Indian Ocean, was dogged with bad luck when his boat was hit by a large wave while he slept last Tuesday week.
Keith suffered a laceration to the head and was forced to alert a member of his team in Britain via satellite phone, who then contacted the authorities in Australia.
Keith’s dramatic rescue by the Fujisuka, a Japanese cargo ship, was well documented across the world.
Keith was at sea for just three days before being injured.
Currently, he is still in Australia but is planning his return home soon.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


Thieves are striking homes and businesses across County Cavan with up to five homes hit in one day last week. The Anglo-Celt can reveal that a total of 17 homes and premises were burgled throughout the county over the past two weeks. Gardaí (police) say that burglars are becoming more daring and brazen in their activities recently by targeting houses in broad daylight. Cash and jewelery are the main focus and Gardaí could not rule out that children are being used in some cases to gain entry to homes through fly windows. One home in Kingscourt had some €5,000 in jewellery stolen; while a gym in Virginia had about €4,500 in goods taken in a break-in last week. Other properties hit in the past fortnight include a supermarket in Cootehill and a farm in Mullagh; while one home in Belturbet was hit while the owners were on holiday.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)


Kilrush Town Council is owed  €186,656 in commercial rates to the end of last year. This figure represents 24% of uncollected rates for 2010. 
The town council sought to collect €777,746 of which €591,100 was paid up. The rate collection arrears for 2010 represented an increase of €110,935 on 2009 arrears. Therefore, rate arrears increased by 14% during that 12-month period. 
These details were revealed in Kilrush Town Council’s Audited Financial Statement for the year ended December 31, 2010. The report was presented at last Thursday’s monthly meeting. Acting Kilrush town manager, Nora Kaye said, however, that while several business have closed in Kilrush over the last 12 months, almost as many new ventures have started trading. 
“It was found that while 11 businesses ceased trading in the last 12 months, 10 new businesses opened up in the town,” Ms Kaye said.
(Source: The Clare Champion)


Cork City Council has committed to spending almost €194m on works in the city over the next three years. Among the works to be completed are the long awaited repair of the Quay Walls near the Mercy Hospital, the development of the Carrigrohane Park and Ride, the development of the Fitzgerald Park/Mardyke Gardens and improvement works to City Hall. The investment is to be spread between now and 2013 with City Manager Tim Lucey saying that all the monies promised are in the Council’s coffers or due to be drawn down through central Government grants. A new library is to be constructed in Mahon while repair works will also occur at the central library on Grand Parade while the Shandon area and Blackrock village will receive significant investment.
Source: (Cork Independent)