News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties


Imagine the surprise when Margaret Jennings from Rookfield, Knock answered a knock on her door last week and found Susan Boyle standing outside! The Scottish lady who sang her way into the hearts of millions through her stirring performances on the Britain‘s Got Talent series two years ago was on a private visit to one of her favourite Marian Shrines.

Taxi driver Michael Jennings, son of Margaret, had earlier in the day brought Susan and a friend to Galway for a few hours shopping. He was bringing them back from Galway to Knock House Hotel when he suggested that his mother would love to meet Susan.

“She was absolutely lovely and chatted about many things on the way to and from Galway. She said she would be delighted to drop in and surprise my mother,” said Michael.

For Margaret, it was the chance of a lifetime to meet and chat with Susan. “Since the first time I heard her sing and saw her on television, there was something different about her. She is so down to earth. We had a great chat and she was asking me all about the turf which we had put into the shed earlier in the day.

“It was hard to believe that here was Susan Boyle in Rookfield standing beside me and the rick of turf. If she had been around earlier in the summer I would have brought her over to the bog!” said Margaret.

Susan has visited Knock on a number of occasions and was in the village on organised pilgrimages from Scotland long before she became an international celebrity. Both her parents were from Donegal.

Last year, Susan also visited Knock and, accompanied by local church organist John Aldridge, rendered two well known hymns, Amazing Grace and Ave Maria to sustained applause from the appreciative congregation in the Basilica.

“Susan has a great fondness for Knock and told me she loved coming over here. No doubt, she will be back again next year. Fame has not gone to her head anyway, you’d swear you knew her all your life. She is one of the best,” said Margaret.
(Source: The Mayo News)


Gardaí in Navan and Trim are investigating three claims that children were almost abducted. On Wednesday afternoon of last week it was reported to gardaí that a 10 year-old girl from Canterbrook estate, Navan, was approached by a man in a car on the estate and offered sweets to get her into the car.

However, the girl refused and told her mother.

Navan gardaí carried out door-to-door inquiries in the area and took statements of up to 20 people but there was little information available. The description from that incident is of a white male with blonde, spiked hair and he was driving a navy car. As yet there is little more on either the vehicle or the man.

A similar description was given for a man who attempted to get a 15-year-old girl into his car the following day (Thursday 4th August) at a similar location and time.

The description of the man at the centre of that incident was given as being late 30s or early 40s and with either blond or reddish spiky hair. Again, a dark blue saloon car was seen in the area between Canterbrook and Balreask Manor on the Trim road between 8pm and 9pm on the night.

Navan gardaí carried out door-to-door inquiries in the area for both incidents and took statements off residents but, again, there was little more information available.

However, it has emerged that Trim gardaí are investigating a similar incident that occurred on Saturday 23rd July in Kilmessan, two weeks previous, where a 10-year-old girl was approached by a man, exposed below the waist, driving a navy blue Nissan Primera or possibly Almera. The car followed the girl to near her home just off the Trim Road.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)


Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has approved the construction of a €35m educational campus in Co Monaghan.

The project, which will be managed by the Monaghan Vocational Education Committee, is the largest building project funded by the Department of Education this year.

The completed campus will include a 16 classroom primary school, a 400 pupil post-primary school and a 700 student Institute of Further Education.

The site being used for the campus is a former army barracks in Monaghan Town.

A state of the art theatre will also be built as part of the project and will act as the new home for The Garage Theatre.

The theatre facility will be grant-aided by the Department of Education and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to the tune of €3.3m.
(Source: Irish Times)


An  investigation by the Health Service Executive is under way into the discovery of the medical files of about 100 patients in a bin outside Roscommon County Hospital.

The files contained names, addresses, details of medical tests and, in some cases, doctors’ comments in relation to patients attending Mullingar General Hospital. The majority of files involve patients from counties Longford and Westmeath.