\"News

News from around the 32 counties of Ireland

News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties

\"News

News from around the 32 counties of Ireland

Antrim

A County Londonderry property developer, whose firm collapsed in 2010, has been declared bankrupt.

Colin Fletcher owned CRF Developments which bought property in the Portrush and Portstewart areas.

The firm had planned a major development on Portstewart promenade but the business got into financial difficulties.

Ulster Bank then appointed an administrator to assess the company.

In May, a report from the administrator estimated that at the time CRF Developments failed, it owed the bank almost £16m.

However, the sale of its properties will only raise an estimated £5m - leaving the bank with a loss of more than £10m.

Mr Fletcher, who has an address in Portrush, was declared bankrupt last week after a creditors' petition was lodged at the High Court.

The administrator said none of the property portfolio has yet been sold as it had taken time to resolve "a number of legal and practical issues".

However, he added that a number of parties had expressed interest in particular properties and several offers had been received.

The administrator also said it would not be of benefit to creditors to try to develop the firm's land bank.

The Northern Ireland property sector was badly hit when the property bubble burst.
Several prominent developers have been bankrupted after they were unable to repay huge bank loans.
(Source: BBC News)

Armagh

Shotgun residue was found in the car of a man abducted and murdered by republicans, an inquest has been told.

Charlie Armstrong went missing in 1981 on his way to Mass in Crossmaglen, south Armagh. His remains were found in a bog in County Monaghan in July 2010.

He is one of the Disappeared, 16 people abducted and murdered in the Troubles.

The Republic's state pathologist told the Dublin inquest the cause of death could not be determined but Mr Armstrong's skull was badly damaged.

"The skull was very badly damaged which may suggest there had been some injuries, but I can't prove it," Professor Marie Cassidy said.

A jury at Dublin City Coroner's Court recorded a verdict of death by unlawful killing and found Mr Armstrong suffered an unnatural and violent death at the hands of a paramilitary organisation.

The IRA is believed to have abducted and murdered 57-year-old Mr Armstrong, one of the so-called Disappeared.

His remains - weighed down with stones - were found less than 300 meters away from the bodies of John McClory and Brian McKinney, whose murders were admitted by the IRA.
(Source: BBC News)

Carlow

Bagenalstown is appealing the extraordinary decision by the national Community Games body to ban the entire area from participating for a year. The soccer team is facing a staggering five-year ban, which is also under appeal.

“It’s very unfair,” said under-12 soccer mentor Michael O’Neill. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the children and they did nothing wrong. It’s terrible.”

Hundreds of children from the area look set to lose out as a result of supporters’ behavior at the under-12 soccer final on Sunday 14 August. “I’ve a young lad starting soccer and if the ban comes into effect, he’ll be too old to play when it’s lifted,” said Des Kehoe, a parent who was at the final and believes the punishment is far too severe.

“It’s completely unfair. The reason for entering the pitch was to console our children. Castlebar were on the pitch as well, but they were left alone,” added Mr Kehoe.

Several parents approached the referee, who they believed robbed Bagenalstown of All-Ireland gold. “Parents were very emotional. They went onto the field and people were shouting and screaming at the ref. It was ‘ah, ref you robbed us’; it wasn’t foul language, in fairness,” added Michael Nevin, a parent and mentor in Bagenalstown.

“The area’s being slated for one incident. I know it’s not OK but it happens. The ref played nine minutes extra time. That seems to me that he knew he was wrong,” added Mr Nevin.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

Cavan

Gardaí believe that one gang were behind at least two robberies in the County Cavan region early last week and have appealed for anyone who has any information about a black Mondeo car acting suspiciously to contact them.

In a brazen raid last Monday morning the gang arrived at the home of Tom Rehill near the village of Crosskeys and forced their way into the house where they robbed a gun case and its three shotguns.

Mr Rehill's 18-year-old daughter was on her own in the house when the gang struck at about 9.30am last Monday morning. After the gang forced their way into the house and were ransacking it she had the presence of mind to lock herself in her bedroom before exiting the house through a bedroom window and running to a neighbor's house.

As the gang made off with the gun case containing the shotguns a neighbor of Mr Rehill's happened to arrive on the scene in his car and tried to block them in but they managed to make their getaway.

The same gang are strongly believed to have been involved in another robbery in the Carrigallen area also last Monday. It appears that the raiders now engage in a well-used ploy of ringing the door bell and creating the impression that they are a normal caller. Then once the door is open they burst into the house and carry out their robbery.
(Source: Anglo Celt)

Clare

This month Lahinch, County Clare, a major Irish surf resort, welcomed Ireland’s first national dog surfing championships.

A popular sport among dog owners in the United State dog surfing has arrived in Ireland. Raquel Noboa, organizer of the event, told the Evening Herald dog, Bruce, loves the sport.
She said "My dog surfs -- he's learning a bit at the moment but he's a bit of a giraffe. His legs go everywhere...It's good for sporty dogs -- it gets them off the couch -- and it's good for people too.

The day was free, but there will be voluntary donations to raise funds for the Guide Dogs for the Blind.”

The event took place on September 18.
(Source: Irish Central)

Cork

A Co. Cork doctor has been found guilty of poor professional performance over his inability to perform basic clinical functions when appointed a senior house officer in the maternity unit of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

The hospital was “desperate for junior doctors” when it gave Co Cork-based Dr Alabi Emmanuel Gbaedbo (49) a six-month contract in July 2010 without obtaining any positive references for him, an inquiry by the Medical Council’s fitness-to-practice committee was told by Dr Marie Milner, a consultant obstetrician at the hospital.

Problems became “immediately obvious” and his contract was terminated five weeks later, she said. She wrote to the council saying he was “absolutely unsuitable for work as a doctor”.
No incident arose where a patient came to harm and Dr Alabi was closely supervised from the outset, she stressed.

She later learned Mayo General Hospital, where he worked for two months as a senior house officer in 2009, was “not happy” to provide him with a reference.

Dr Milner said letters were sent to his referees and she would normally check with a previous employer but in this case had to find doctors urgently.

Dr Alabi, who worked at Letterkenny hospital from August 25th to October 12th, 2010, is now unemployed but remains on the general medical register.
(Source: Irish Times)

Derry

A former member of the Church’s Voluntary Trust who stole £500 from an old age pensioner, was told by a District Judge last week that she’s going to jail if she doesn’t repay the money to her victim within the next six weeks.

Single mother-of-two Geraldine Crossan, 45, from Baldrick Crescent in the Rosemount area of Derry pleaded guilty at the local Magistrate’s Court to four charges of stealing £500 from her elderly victim’s Post Office pension savings account in May and June of last year.

A prosecution solicitor told District Judge Mervyn Bates that Crossan, as part of her work, regularly drove the pensioner to the Northside Post Office in Shantallow to collect her pension money.

“The pensioner, who is disabled, was unable to go into the Post Office so she gave the defendant her account number and pin number. The pensioner normally asked the defendant to withdraw £100 from her account each week. Some weeks the defendant gave her a receipt, other weeks she didn’t. In total she made £500 in authorized withdrawals”, the solicitor said.

Defence solicitor Maeloisa Barr said Crossan accepted that her actions were “a breach of trust of her employer and an abuse of trust of a very vulnerable member of society. She has attempted to take her own life as a result of her actions.

“Just yesterday she lodged £500 in her own bank account and she wants to use that money to repay the victim”, he said.
(Source: Derry Journal)

Donegal

An allocation of 1,463,000 euro has been made in the 2011 budget to the controversial N56 Mountcharles to Inver roads scheme it was revealed at last week’s meeting of the Donegal Electoral Area.

The proposed project involves the design and construction of approximately 5km of new National secondary road from the end of the recently completed Mountcharles Bypass to tie-in with the existing pavement at Inver Bridge.

Three advance works contracts are currently underway, a topographical survey, a pavement condition survey and a Ground Penetrating Radar survey.

Further advance works contracts are expected to commence in September/October, including a supplemental ground investigation contract, an asbestos survey, a landscape contract and a demolition contract.

Land negotiations are ongoing on actively progressing land acquisitions. Contract documentation is being prepared and it is anticipated that tender documents will be completed by the end of 2011.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

Down

A 52-year-old County Down woman who had been missing since last Thursday week has turned up safe and well.

Colette Mooney was last seen on the coastal path between Helen's Bay and Holywood.
Police had said they were growing increasingly concerned about her whereabouts, however she was found safe and well on Friday evening.
(Source: BBC News)

Dublin

A garda sergeant appeared in court last week accused of sexually assaulting two female colleagues while on duty at a Dublin Garda station last year.

The officer, who is in his 40s, made his first appearance at Dublin District Court, where he faces three counts of sexual assault on dates in March and June 2010.

Judge Bridget Reilly imposed reporting restrictions to prevent the identification of the complainants.

This included an order prohibiting publication of the defendant’s name, place of work and the location where the incidents allegedly occurred.

One complainant has claimed she was sexually assaulted twice, and the other alleges she was sexually assaulted once.

In a summary of the prosecution evidence, Garda Insp James Flood told Judge Reilly that during the first incident the accused had been on duty when “the injured party was leaning over a desk”.

“While she was doing this, it is alleged the accused pressed his pelvic area into her posterior and at the same time placed his hands on her hips and made a pumping motion saying ‘She likes it this way’.”

About 2½ months later, the defendant allegedly sexually assaulted her again in an office in work.

The court heard that: “The accused came up towards her and pressed his left hand to the side of her left breast while saying ‘Wake up’.”

Two days before that, it is claimed he sexually assaulted the other female officer. She had leaned over to place an object in a locker when the defendant allegedly “grabbed the inside of her right upper thigh at the fleshy part, at which she screamed”.

“It is alleged the accused then said ‘I’d say you are some screamer in bed’,” Insp Flood added.
 (Source: Irish Times)

Fermanagh

The banning of an openly gay man from volunteering for work with youth groups at Methodist and Church of Ireland churches in Ballinamallard, Co Fermanagh, has been criticized by the Church of Ireland pro-gay Changing Attitude Ireland group.

Frankie Dean (49), who has attended the Methodist church in Ballinamallard for 15 years, responded to an appeal to help a new youth minister working between the Methodist and local Church of Ireland churches.

He offered to provide a musical workshop to the youth group. His Minister, Rev Kenneth Lindsay, deemed him, as being openly gay, not suitable as a volunteer and stated: “I feel that such people are inappropriate role models.”

In the current Fermanagh Herald, Rev Lindsay said this was his decision and no one else’s: “I would make it again tomorrow, no matter what it’d cost me. I feel that such people are inappropriate role models and I stand by that.”
(Source: Irish Times)

Galway

A crunch meeting between trade union officials and Aviva management held last week did little to allay fears for jobs throughout the insurance company’s Irish operations, with some jobs in Galway also thought to be at risk.

Speculation was mounting last week that restructuring plans could result in the loss of some 500 jobs throughout the Aviva Group in Ireland which comprises Aviva Insurance Europe SE, Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland Limited, Aviva Health Insurance Ireland Limited, and Aviva Investors Ireland Limited. Aviva employs around 2,000 people in Ireland with some 210 employed in its Galway operations - a call centre in Knocknacarra and a retail branch in Eyre Square.

According to reports the company is said to be considering relocating part of its general insurance business to the UK where its European headquarters is based, but Aviva management has been reluctant to confirm if there is any truth in the speculation regarding potential job losses.

Trade union UNITE which represents 1,300 of the 2,000 employees employed at Aviva branches in Dublin, Galway, Cork, and around the country have warned that morale is extremely low at present as staff have been left in the dark about the future security of their jobs.

Unite press officer Rob Hartnett said: “We have asked for Aviva to deny the rumors of job losses, but they have been unable to do that. They have said that no decision has yet been made on restructuring proposals and that they will communicate with staff when they can. There is no indication as of yet whether any jobs are at risk, either regionally or at the headquarters in Dublin. There is neither good nor bad news and no indication whether jobs in Knocknacarra or at the retail branch in Eyre Square will be affected.

“It is hoped there is no truth to the rumors, but if that was the case they would have said that today [Wednesday]. They were not in a position to do that. Morale is pretty low, this is the latest in a line of incidents where there has been a severe lack of communication. We have asked that high priority be placed on informing staff of their decision.”
(Source: Galway Advertiser)

Kerry

An inquest has heard how a toddler in Co Kerry died after his neck became entangled in the loop cord of a roller window blind.

Dean Regan Russell was two weeks short of his second birthday when the tragic accident occurred at his home in Tralee on January 2 last.

Dublin Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said it was "not the first case of its kind" and said he would again write to the relevant authorities to recommend modifying "this dangerous cord design". 

Dean's grandfather Martin Regan said the family's suffering could have been averted.

He called on all governments to "Please but a ban to loops on blinds. These loops are killing and injuring children all around the world."
(Source: Irish Times)

Kildare

Cars were set ablaze and several premises burgled as Newbridge experienced a disturbing crime spree over the past week.

A woman who left her car, a silver Toyota Yaris, parked in the car park of Newbridge Railway Station last Saturday night returned last Sunday afternoon at around 3pm to discover that it had been completely burnt out.

This was one of two such incidents at the weekend, with another car, a green Volkswagen Polo, spoted ablaze on the Curragh plains shortly after 7am last Sunday morning.

According to Sergeant Seamus Rothwell of Newbridge garda station, the car had been parked outside the Derby Lodge apartments in Brownstown at 11.30pm on the previous night.

Meanwhile, a taxi driver who parked his car at Henry Street, Newbridge at 12.55am last Saturday morning and went to a premises on Edward Street to make his scheduled passenger aware that he was waiting, returned to discover that the car had been stolen.

The gardaí are still looking for the car, a green Toyota Avensis saloon with a 01 KE registration and anyone who has seen the vehicle or knows anything about the incident should contact Newbridge station.

Newbridge gardaí are also investigating several local burglaries, including a break-in at the Milltown Inn pub in the early hours of last Monday morning. The back door was forced and the alarm disabled, and the culprits made away with a safe containing some cash.

Sgt Rothwell said it was believed the thieves may have parked close to Milltown Church and the incident happened sometime between 3am and 10am last Monday morning.

Three premises in the Newbridge Industrial Estate were targeted at the weekend in apparent attempts to steal money.
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)

Kilkenny

A young Kilkenny man was ordained a Dominican priest last Sunday at a special service in Dublin.

Fr Denis Murphy from Grain in the parish of Urlingford told the Kilkenny People that he realized that he had a vocation when he was in his late teens. “I suppose I was always a pious teenager but not overly so. However when I started college in Carlow it became stronger,” he said.

The 31-year old went to Urlingford National School and then to St Kieran’s College. He joined the Dominican Order when he was 23 and underwent a one-year noviciate in Cork. “I was the only one who joined the order that year. After Cork I went to the Dominican Priory and I went to the Miltown Institute where I studied a degree in philosophy. I then went on to spend two years in Oxford and Maynooth where I studied theology,” he said.

His ordination took place at St Saviour’s Church and his parents, Marie and Michael along with other family and friends attended the ceremony. His sister, Marie also flew back from Luxembourg with his husband Shane Mullally from Lisdowney and their two children Jake (3) and Caline (8 months).
(Source: Kilkenny People)

Laois

Weddings in Abbeyleix are still popular, according to the local parish priest, despite recent figures showing a sharp decrease.

Income generated from weddings in Abbeyleix church have halved in the last few years. Income and expenditure reports show that in 2009 €17,901 was received in income for weddings, while in 2010 that figure had decreased to €8,700.

Weddings had gone from a high of 72 in 2009 in the parish to 45 in 2010.

Speaking to the Laois Nationalist, Fr Gerard Ahern said the 2009 figure had been disproportionately high and the numbers fluctuated year-to-year. Fr Ahern added that a lot of couples not from the parish married in Abbeyleix due to the proximity of popular wedding reception venues such as Castle Durrow.

“Maybe part of it is the recession and it is hitting home. People are taking their finances more into consideration. I see that 72 figure as being exceptionally high,” he said.

Fr Ahern said the 2011 figure would be in around the 45 mark, while the parish was being “inundated” with inquiries for 2012.

“The figures go up and down. You certainly could not deduce a trend from one place. There are still a lot of weddings in Abbeyleix,” added Fr Ahern.
(Source: Laois Nationaist)

Leitrim

World Egg Throwing Federation President Andy Dunlop approved the local eggs and Mohill facilities ahead of Ireland’s First Open Egg Throwing Championship in October.

President Dunlop approved all facilities in Mohil and helped map out the area for Ireland’s first Open Egg Throwing Championship as part of the Culchie Festival in Mohill on October 28, 29 and 30.

Gannons Organic Eggs, Carrick-on-Shannon will be used for the Irish event of the world sport.

The President escorted by Culchie Festival Director Paddy Rock started his official visit in Ireland in Mohill, before making a scheduled stop in Carrick-on-Shannon last Tuesday evening.

Andy Dunlop then headed to the capital where they made an appearance on TV3’s morning AM with the 2010 Culchie King Balinaglera’s Shane McKeon.

The President had just enough time to play a game of Egg Roulette with Presidential Candidate Sean Gallagher before he jetted off again.

The World Egg Throwing Federation is recognized in the UK, Holland, Australia and America, they are in the process of setting up a branch in India.

This years inaugural championships will put the Irish team in with a chance of winning a world title at the world games in 2012.

The event in Mohill next month will feature Russian Egg Roulette and Two person Throw and Catch. It will be based upon the World Egg Throwing Federations rules as detailed by the Federation rules (www.eggthrowing.com) and, as appropriate, in accordance with the Council of Europe’s European Sports Charter 1993.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)

Limerick

Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created at Shannon Airport following the announcement that US company Lynx is to develop a new global air freight hub at the airport.

In a statement, the Dublin Airport Authority says Lynxs is planning to construct a new temperature controlled freight logistics facility at Shannon with infrastructural support from DAA.

This new state-of-the-art facility will now be marketed to both existing freight and logistics companies at Shannon and to potential new customers both domestically and internationally.

The signing of heads of agreement confirms the commitment of both parties to the project and enables Lynxs to move to the next phase of its due diligence process.

“We are delighted to have signed heads of agreement with Lynxs, as this enables them to move to the next stage of the project and begin detailed due diligence,” said DAA Chief Executive Declan Collier. “We wish them every success in this process and will continue to work with Lynxs to agree a final binding agreement for the new Shannon cargo facility over the coming months.”

The new cargo hub will provide significantly improved facilities for Shannon’s existing cargo businesses and will radically re-position the airport’s cargo capabilities.

The Lynxs facility will include chilled, frozen and heated areas for cargo which would enable Shannon to bid for more high value, high volume freight business.
(Source: Limerick Leader)

Longford

A man in his 20s is being held at Longford Garda Station as part of a national investigation into alleged dissident republican activities. The suspect, who is believed to be from County Longford, is the ninth person to be arrested as part of this investigation.

Eight other men were arrested last week following searches in counties Longford, Clare, Waterford and Wexford. All nine men remain in custody.

The suspects are being held on suspicion of membership of an unlawful organization and unlawful possession of explosives and firearms.
(Source: Longford Leader)

Louth

A Dundalk man won e27,400 and a holiday to New York on a recent episode of National Lottery Winning Streak TV Gameshow.

Martin Faulkner from Lisdoo, Dundalk is “thrilled” with the win as he has lots of bills he would like to pay. Originally from Bettystown, Martin has lived in Dundalk since 1992.

He married his wife, Sharon, last September. The couple are going on a cruise around Italy this week and they are delighted they won’t have problems when it comes to spending money.

The winning ticket was bought in Pat’s Food Market, Bettystown, Drogheda. It was his Dad, Eamonn, who purchased and sent the Scratch Card to the National Lottery with his son’s name on it.

Martin knew nothing about it until last Saturday night when his Dad rang him with the brilliant and shocking news that his name had been called out on the show.

His mother, Peggy, and four sisters are delighted with Martin’s bit of good luck. Martin says he has no lucky charms. He has never considered himself to be lucky until now.

Martin works for an American Medical company called ICU Medical. In his spare time, he enjoys watching soccer and GAA matches.
(Source: Dundalk Democrat)

Mayo

A Westport man who ‘conned’ his way into getting possession of a firearm from a gun dealer was described by a Garda chief as not being fit to ever hold a gun license.

Superintendent Mick Murray told Westport District Court that John Burns of Lanmore, Liscarney, Westport ‘outwitted’ a gun dealer to obtain the gun but warned the court that Burns was not a suitable man to hold a gun license as he had previously threatened to kill Murray, when he was an inspector, and would regularly ring Westport Garda Station and ask to speak to ‘the tinker guard’, a member of the station who he had several disagreements with.

He had also threatened the previous Westport superintendent, Pat Doyle, the court heard.
Rory O’Connor, solicitor for Burns, said his client was an eccentric and would always speak his mind and that the state were reading more into the threats than they should.

“He has a grudge against the Gardaí which doesn’t endear himself to them but if I had a penny for every time in recent months that I said bankers should be put up against the wall and shot, then I shouldn’t receive a license either,” he told the court.
(Source: The Mayo News)

Meath

Ireland's first municipal waste incinerator outside Duleek will start burning waste for the first time last week.

The Indaver waste-to-energy plant at Carranstown will start combusting waste on a trial basis by the end of this week, nearly 12 years after the controversial project was first mooted.

The plant has been accepting small quantities of municipal waste since 15th August and incineration will commence later this week.

According to a spokesperson for the company, there will be a series of checks carried out when combustion begins, including performance tests and environmental checks under the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EOA) between now and mid-November, including checks on emmissions.

There will also be fine-tuning and various checks before the final handover of the plant from the suppliers to Indaver in mid-November. It is expected that the plant will start exporting electricity to the national grid in the second half of October.

Jackie Keaney of Indaver explained that the furnce will be started up with fuel at first, until it reaches the required temperaturure of 850 degrees, when burning of waste will begin.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)

Monaghan

A lay magistrate, who was stood down from the bench after she and her son and husband were questioned about a kidnap and robbery, has been reinstated.

In August Delia Van Der Lenden was ordered by the Lord Chief Justice (LCJ) not to undertake any further duties.

The LCJ has now withdrawn that order after police confirmed that Mrs Van Der Lenden was not under investigation.

She has now resumed her duties as magistrate.

The part-time management consultant was formerly the chief executive of the Northern Ireland Childline charity.

She was arrested along with her husband Peter and son Ciaran, over an incident involving a £20,000 ransom being handed over after a woman and a teenager were held captive in County Monaghan.

At the time the police said they had "a duty to follow all lines of enquiry in an investigation".

However, speaking about the circumstances surrounding her arrest, Mrs Van Der Lenden was highly critical of the police operation.

"We are such unlikely terrorists that even the most junior PSNI officer would have thought it wise to check their sources," she said.

In a statement released last Tuesday, Mr and Mrs Van Der Lenden said they were "preparing proceedings" against those who "conspired and contrived to subject them to the ordeal of unwarranted and unjustified arrest".

Mrs Van Der Lenden's son, Ciaran Cunningham, is a republican political activist.
In 2004 he was jailed for six years after pleading guilty to five charges of collecting information likely to be useful to terrorists while he working at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Speaking at the time of her arrest, Mrs Van der Lenden said she did not share her son's political views and that he had "paid the price" for what he did.
(Source: BBC News)

Offaly

The President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Jackie Cahill, has described as ‘unacceptably casual’ the arrangements around the buying and selling of valuable scrap metals in the country’s commercial metal recycling centers.

Mr Cahill said that his organization was being bombarded by complaints about ‘wholesale pillaging’ of farms by gangs intent on stealing or stripping any machinery or buildings that they adjudge to contain saleable metals.

“It is literally an epidemic of theft. We’re talking about wholesale pillaging of farms, where we have groups arriving in vans and proceeding to steal whatever they want, or whatever they estimate they’ll be able to sell on. What is causing me such concern is that they seem to be able to convert into cash whatever it is they steal without any bother at all.”

Mr Cahill claimed that the reality was that stolen scrap metal was being taken in by commercial recycling centers that he alledges are simply paying cash over-the-counter.

“The whole country knows that that is what’s happening, and it is leading to huge anxiety and irritation because we see what is effectively a massive black-market seemingly able to operate away with very little hindrance or obstacles being put in its way. This is not just a concern for farmers.

“Local authorities, heritage sites and private companies, as well as ordinary householders, are all being put at huge disadvantage and having property looted because of this hopelessly unregulated and commercial disposal of scrap metal,” said Mr Cahill.
(Source: Offaly Express)

Roscommon

A female manager at Connacht Gold Co-operative has been awarded €50,000 for discrimination and harassment in an equality tribunal ruling.

Eithne McDermott was in her 50s and working as manager of the Castlerea, Co Roscommon, branch for more than 30 years when she was fired in 2007.

Ms McDermott told the tribunal of a change in her treatment after the merger of two co-operatives to form Connacht Gold in 2000.

She believed there was a campaign designed to remove her from her management position and replace her with a man. She also believed the new management wanted to get rid of the older staff members.

Such behavior included repeatedly offering her redundancy, telling her she would be replaced by a male manager and rumors circulating that she was leaving, the tribunal heard.
(Source: Irish Times)

Sligo

A 63-year-old native of Sligo has been has been jailed indefinitely after admitting killing his son in his Salford home.

Michael Skeffington, 64, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Manchester Crown Court. He was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence for public protection and must serve a minimum of two and a half years before being eligible for parole.

On April 6th this year, 29-year-old Daniel Skeffington and his brother visited their father's house on Agnes Street, Salford, to help him pack ahead of his planned return to Ireland.

The three men had been drinking, as they usually did when together like this. An argument however broke out between Michael and Daniel and his father pulled out a kitchen knife. As the pair struggled, Daniel was stabbed once in the chest.

He was taken to hospital but died the next day. Michael Skeffington was arrested at the house. Daniel Skeffington is understood to have grown up in Tubbercurry and attended the local national school, St. John's before moving with his family to Manchester.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)

Tipperary

An appeal by a 13-year-old Traveler against a Circuit Court decision depriving him of admission to a Co Tipperary secondary school has been adjourned by the High Court until September 29th.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, who is hearing an appeal against the lower court’s decision, asked counsel in the case to prepare written legal submissions for him over the weekend.
The High Court has heard that John Stokes failed to gain admission to Clonmel Christian Brothers secondary school because his father was not a former pupil.

His mother, Mary Stokes, had appealed the school’s decision to the Equality Tribunal under the Equal Status Act. Her appeal had been upheld on the grounds John may have been indirectly discriminated against because he is a Traveller.

The tribunal decision was overturned by Judge Tom Teehan in the Circuit Civil Court in Clonmel and that decision has, in turn, been appealed to the High Court.Judge Teehan decided the school’s decision was justified and overturned the ruling of the tribunal.

The court has heard John met two of the three criteria regarding admission – that he was a Catholic and that he had attended a feeder school in the area. He had been rejected on the grounds his father had not been a former pupil.
(Source: Irish Times)

Tyrone

The company which owned the historic Herdman's Mill in County Tyrone owed its creditors more than £10m when it went into receivership earlier this year.

Ulster Bank, the largest creditor, is owed more than £6m.

Invest NI, a secured creditor, is owed £2.5m.

The mill ceased spinning linen in 2004 and the Herdman family had hoped to to redevelop the 60-acre site which dominates the village of Sion Mills.

Receivers were appointed in June when the trustees of Herdmans Pension Scheme issued a winding-up petition against a subsidiary company due to its inability to meet pension contributions.

Unsecured creditors include Monument Property Services, a company associated with Titanic Quarter developer Pat Doherty. It is owed £1.2m, a sum unlikely to be repaid.

The receiver's report notes that the book value of the mill site is £6m but that a current market value is still to be confirmed.

In July, some of the mill buildings were badly damaged in a major fire.

That has had a knock-on effect on a hydroelectric generation business which operates from the site.
(Source: BBC News)

Waterford

A so-called top psychiatrist made life hell for an unknown number of women attending Belmont Park Hospital as he used his position to abuse them from the 1970s up until the 1990s.

Despite numerous complaints, allegations of abuse were brushed under the carpet with the man responsible, Dr Denis Lane O’Kelly, who promoted himself as an expert on alcoholism and sexual abuse, viewed as a high standing member of society. But behind walls this beast was telling patients, many in a vulnerable state of mind, to strip naked before carrying out internal examinations.

The Brother of Charity Service has now described the revelations as “disturbing and shocking” but said those who were informed of the abuse were now either deceased, retired or can’t recollect any allegations of abuse being made.

A helpline has been set up to help victims of the abuse deal with their scars that have haunted them for years, after Dr O’Kelly died two weeks before he was due to stand trial, charged with multiple counts of indecent assault, leaving them without any acknowledgement of the acts he had committed.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)

Westmeath

A fresh chapter in the story of the former Elan facility in Monksland, Athlone, began last Monday as the site where over 400 people work came under the ownership of a new entity, Alkermes plc.

No additional jobs were announced as the $960 million purchase of Athlone-based Elan Drug Technologies by US-based Alkermes was completed. However senior management figures in the new firm said Alkermes plc was committed to the future of the local plant and was well-positioned to grow in the coming years.

"This facility here in Athlone has been a centre of excellence for pharmaceutical innovation as well as a positive business partner for the whole community," said Alkermes CEO Richard Pops during a visit to the site on Monday.

"We plan to continue that tradition. We're building on this impressive legacy and taking it now to the next level."

To coincide with the first day of Alkermes plc's operations, it was announced that the firm had signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar agreement to manufacture a product in Athlone on behalf of one of the world's top ten pharmaceutical companies.

The agreement is expected to generate $15 million to $20 million in annual revenues for Alkermes plc by 2016. When asked what it would mean for the Athlone facility in practical terms, Mr Pops told the Westmeath Independent the site had a very skilled workforce but was capable of manufacturing more than it had to date.
(Source: Westmeath Independent)

Wexford

The Republic of Ireland's oldest citizen has passed away -- just days before her 110th birthday.

Olivia Breen, who died last week, was born on October 3, 1901, and witnessed history in the making over the past century.

She was born in Clonroche, Co Wexford, to an Anglo Irish Protestant family.

Her father was the local Justice of the Peace as well as the owner of a 200-acre farm.
She had vivid memories of being a schoolgirl during the Easter Rising and could recollect the horror of the sinking of the Titantic, said her daughter-in-law Rose Breen.

She lived through both world wars, losing her brother Richard during World War One when he was killed in the Battle of the Somme.

She also bore witness to the massive political and social changes in Ireland since the formation of the State.

Olivia, who was a widow for 47 years after losing her husband Patrick Breen in 1964, was an avid horsewoman and fiercely independent person who "was very strong in her ideas", her daughter-in-law said.

She had a passion for gardening and literature and "was very close to nature as well as a very independent thinker", Rose said.

She attributed her longevity to a strong spirit and carefree attitude.
"She always said she never knew the meaning of the word 'worry'," Rose said.

Although Mrs Breen moved to the Care Choice nursing home in Co Cork in 2000, she was still very active and alert.
(Source: The Irish Times)

Wicklow

Tragedy was averted last Thursday afternoon as a light aircraft with engine trouble looked likely to plunge into the sea off the Wicklow coast. The plane was on its way to Weston Aerodrome in Kildare when the pilot put out a distress call just before 1 p.m. The mayday was picked up by another aircraft, which relayed the message to the coastguard.

The pilot was struggling to keep the plane airbourne due to engine trouble as the aircraft flew over Wicklow Head. Wicklow lifeboat under the command of coxswain Nick Keogh was on its way to Six Mile Point when news broke that the plane was no longer in danger and had landed safely.
(Source: The Wicklow People)

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