News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



Antrim PSNI top brass are in the dock this week following a controversial decision not to go public about the discovery of a handgun in the grounds of a local primary school.

The potentially deadly weapon had been recklessly dumped in a leafy corner of Parkhall Primary's grounds and there it lay until it was spotted by a 13-year-old boy who, convinced it was a toy, carried it home.

The boy's parents felt that it was more than a frighteningly convincing replica, however, and called the police.

Officers later confirmed that it was not a toy. The weapon concealed yards from where children played had been adapted to fire 9mm rounds.

That was on Saturday but it would be days before the shocking discovery came to light - and even then it had nothing to do with the PSNI.

The wall of silence came crashing down on Tuesday when the school sent home a note to shocked parents. It confirmed that a pistol had been found three days previously and urged parents to remind children to report any 'suspicious objects' they might find.
The school has been widely praised for breaking the media blackout, but amid the political outrage the police have also come under fire for remaining tight-lipped.

Riled reps said the PSNI response was at odds with the very public security alert that followed the discovery of a pipebomb in the grounds of St Comgall's Primary School last year. 

(Source: Antrim Guardian)


The family of the Newry pensioner brutally murdered by her next door neighbor has welcomed the 20-year jail term imposed on the woman convicted of the crime.

On Friday Karen Walsh, a 45-year-old pharmacist who was found guilty earlier this month of murdering Maire Rankin (81), was told she must serve a minimum of twenty years before being considered for parole.

Mrs Rankin was found in her Dublin Road home on Christmas Day in 2008.  She had been beaten with a crucifix and sexually assaulted.  The frail pensioner also suffered 15 broken ribs in the attack.

Sentencing Walsh, Mr Justice Hart said she had inflicted a brutal and sustained assault on a frail and vulnerable pensioner.

“The exceptional vulnerability of Mrs Rankin and the deliberately degrading way in which she was treated after her death mean that the minimum term must be a severe one to reflect the gravity of this truly heinous crime,” he told the court.

He said Walsh had offered no explanation, that her account of her visit to Mrs Rankin had been ‘bizarre’ and one which the jury had clearly not accepted.  He also revealed that in psychiatric reports, one consultant described her as “guarded, suspicious and defensive”.


Traffic around the Askea area has been described as highly dangerous by parents who have repeatedly called for more safety measures. 

A Gaelcholaiste student was hit by a car last Thursday as he made his way to school. 

He was later brought to hospital but his injuries were described as minor.

Parents and school bodies have repeatedly raised safety concerns about traffic in the area, as little as three weeks before the third year pupil was knocked down. 

The student was crossing the road at the pedestrian crossing between Gaelcholaiste Cheatharlach and Presentation College when he was struck by a car. 

High volumes of traffic for the two primary schools, two secondary schools and Askea church regularly converge to cause major delays. 

Hundreds of students going to and from the four schools are in danger every day as they cross O’Brien Road and the inner road around Askea church.

According to John McDarby, part-time road safety officer with Carlow County Council, a number of “lucky near misses” in recent months have caused parents to call for increased road safety.

“People have had concerns about that area. There have been a number of near misses with primary school children over the past while. There is a lot of traffic on O’Brien Road in the mornings and it does need to be looked at,” added Mr McDarby.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


That Kelvin Brady is looking forward to playschool and Santa Claus, like any other four-year-old, are amazing steps in his young life, as he recovers from a rare form of cancer.

His mother Ellen Tinnelly from Collops in Kingscourt told The Anglo-Celt that Kelvin has completed his treatment for Neuroblastoma (a rare and aggressive form of cancer), which was diagnosed back in 2009. The cancer was attached to his adrenal gland beside his left kidney and he has been receiving treatment in Crumlin Hospital for two years. He had to endure intensive chemotherapy for one year and picked up a number of infections including the swine flu. He can now resume life as a four-year-old.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)


The clergy of the county are concerned that parishioners may be afraid to go to church during the day following a substantial number of burglaries and thefts from churches during daylight hours.