News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties


The figures remain very high, however, with an unemployment rate of 14.3%, and the CSO points out in its latest statement that in the past 12 months, the figures have generally stayed “within a narrow range between 441,600 and 447,900.

At Kildare's three social welfare centres, the slight decline is evident in all cases.

In Newbridge, the total number of people signing on in September amounted to 9,396, as opposed to 9,892 in August. In Athy, 2,740 people were registered in September, down on the previous month's total of 2,903, while in Maynooth, the September total was 5,948, also down from 6,569 in August.

The improved figures give some cause for hope, given that a few months back, Kildare was on the cusp of breaking the 20,000 barrier for the first time ever, in terms of the number of jobless people in the county.

(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)


A Kilkenny roofer who transported cocaine valued over €200,000 in order to repay a “drugs debt” has been given a seven year suspended sentence. Kieran Hickey, (26) of High Street, Ballyragget, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to having cocaine for sale or supply on June 17, 2007.

Judge Rory MacCabe said that given that Hickey “had addressed every aspect of the probation services’ concerns”, was working and had not come to garda attention since the date of the offence, he would take the “unusual step” of suspending the entirety of the sentence for five years.

The court heard that Hickey was observed by a garda surveillance team as he interacted with a taxi they had been monitoring in Dublin city centre on suspicion that it was involved in a drugs operation.
Hickey admitted to gardai he had been paid to transport the 3kg of cocaine, worth €208, 460, by people “he feared” to help relieve his heavy “drugs debt”.
(Source: Kilkenny People)


Two Laois brothers have been jailed for three years for raping a woman in a hotel, despite a prosecution witness’s claim that he was put under pressure by gardaí when making his statement.

Eamonn Flanagan (33) of Dunamaise, Stradbally and Seamie Flanagan (40) of Ashley Gardens, Portlaoise continue to deny the offences and have not shown remorse. Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said because of this he could not impose a non-custodial sentence. 

The judge said that Irish prison conditions are overcrowded and “in some cases an affront to human dignity.”

Despite this, he imposed three-year terms on each man and ordered that they be registered as sex offenders. 

At a hearing last Monday, defense counsel for Seamie, Pauline Walley SC, said a prosecution witness has since claimed that he was put under pressure by gardaí to say he saw the men at the door of the room where the rape occurred.
(Source: Leinster Express)


Little angel, five-year-old Mari Keane Connolly, was laid to rest following a heart-rending funeral service in Boyle last Tuesday.

Tragic Mari died after as fire engulfed her father’s home at Termon Road, Boyle last Monday morning in a blaze which gardai have ‘suspicious’.

Mari’s father, Richard Connolly was severely injured escaping the blaze and although was able to persuade his two eldest daughters to jump to safety, little Mari did not escape.

Mr Connolly had been looking after his daughters while his former partner, Teresa Keane, was in hospital giving birth to twin daughters.

Brave Mr Connolly suffered a broken back and punctured lung after he fell escaping his home. Although in hospital in Dublin, Mr Connolly vowed to be there with his little girl for her final journey.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)


Limerick absence in the Rose of Tralee final over the past four years has prompted the resignation of the local Rose Committee – leaving the county’s future representation in the competition in doubt.
In recent years the organizing committee has been highly critical of the method of selection of Roses for the finals, which has seen Limerick without a representative in Tralee since 2007.

And last week, after an involvement spanning 51 years, the Limerick Rose Committee/Kerry Association in Limerick has announced that it is handing back the running of the Limerick Rose selection to the International Rose of Tralee Festival.

“It was very sad that for the 50th Rose of Tralee in 2009 we had no Rose. There were other centers represented in Tralee for the first time who have not been back sense, I suppose that was very heartbreaking for us,” said Martina Murphy who was involved in the Limerick Rose Committee for 11 years.

Since a new selection structure was introduced in 2005, Limerick Roses have no longer secured an automatic entry to the final in Tralee and have, instead, had to go through regional finals. Limerick qualified at the regional finals in 2005, 2006 and 2007, however, for the last four years Limerick has not had a Rose on stage in Kerry.