News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



First Minister Peter Robinson visited the home of an Antrim man, who is now accused of explosives offences, when his own property was targeted by a pipe bomb earlier this year. Former DUP election candidate John Smyth junior was comforted by party colleagues, including Mr Robinson and South Antrim MLA Trevor Clarke after a device was thrown through his bedroom window at Seacash Walk in March.

At the time of the attack Mr Robinson said he was 'disgusted at the blatant attempt to endanger his life' and he offered the 'full support of the DUP' to help bring the perpetrators to justice.
Smyth has now been suspended from the party following his arrest just hours after a pipebomb attack on a Polish couple at Seacash Drive last Wednesday (October 12).

At Ballymena Magistrates' Court on Saturday, he was charged with making explosives with intent to endanger life and making explosives under suspicious circumstances.

The 30-year-old, whose address was given in court as Birch Hill Park, was refused bail by Judge Danny McGill.

Smyth's solicitor told the court that the accused 'posed no threat to the Polish community or any other foreign national'.

The court was also told that Smyth was being treated for manic depression and recently tried to take his own life.

Opposing bail, a police officer said it was feared Smyth may interfere with witnesses and the gathering of evidence. 
The officer added that information had been obtained which suggested 'harm may come to him' if released.

Smyth is due to appear in court again on November 8 via videolink from Maghaberry.
(Source: Antrim Guardian)



Former Irish leader made all decisions in a pub as economy collapsed

Irish pubs in crisis as one in eight have now closed down

Top ten locations for that perfect Irish wedding


The former Forkhill Barracks, described as “a blight on Forkhill”, can finally look forward to an ambitious redevelopment as a planning application has now been submitted for 20 social and affordable houses for the Fold Housing Association. Work is expected to begin on the site in the centre of the village before April next year and is hailed as the first stage of major redevelopment plans for the eight acre site.

The two and three bedroom homes being proposed will incorporate the latest in green technology and will be available for those on the housing list.

The plans are a welcome boost to the area as the local community has been angered in the past by the government’s refusal to regenerate the site.  Following the withdrawal of troops from the barracks in 2006, the Forkhill Regeneration Committee initiated plans to redevelop the site but funding was turned down in 2008 by the Finance Minister at the time, Peter Robinson.  That decision sparked protests by the locals who saw the disused barracks as a “blight” on their area and a physical divide in the centre of the village.


A motorist saw yellow – double yellow – when she returned to her parked car last Thursday to find that the council had actually painted double yellow lines on either side of her car! 

And to add to her woes, the young woman had been issued with a parking ticket.

The Carlow Vocational School student, who does not wish to be named, was left stunned by the discovery at Green Road, Carlow. The student had been regularly parking in the same spot for the past three weeks.

“She was 100% adamant that the lines weren’t there that morning,” according to her mother. “The lines were freshly painted all the way up to her car’s tyres, and to the car behind hers too. Both of the cars had parking tickets on them. They can’t do that!” she added.

“There were no signs up to say that painting was going to take place and no traffic cones – nothing – yet she got a ticket,” the angry mother explained. “They should have put signs up and certainly not have given out tickets.”

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


Cavan has the fourth highest proportion of so-called 'ghost estates' with 757 houses vacant in the county. That's according to the figures released by the Department of the Environment. The revelation comes within weeks of Cavan County Council passing a variation to the County Development Plan effectively rezoning thousands of hectares of land across the county to pull back on the level of land zoned for residential and mixed used development.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)