News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



The woman at the centre of an explosive row about using ratepayers' cash to replenish her wardrobe has sensationally claimed that there's no such thing as over spending at Antrim Council.

‘Glam' Pam Lewis hit the headlines back in July after it emerged that she had spent an unprecedented £2,626.20 on clothes during her 12-month stint as Mayor.

Eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that the shock total was six times the combined total of all mayoral clothing since 2005.
The final haul included - among other items - nine jackets, five coats, nine tops, ten dresses and four pairs of shoes.

The embarrassing revelations followed hot on the heels of lurid headlines and candid photographs revealing Councillor Lewis' acrimonious split from childhood sweetheart Ian.
Her spending spree made headlines across the province, but four months on it seems that Councillor Lewis still refuses to accept that almost three thousand pounds was remotely out of hand.

Speaking during a debate on allowances in Antrim Civic Centre last week, jaws dropped when she told the chamber that the members deserved credit for their financial prudence.

“Antrim is a well-behaved Council," said the disgraced DUP rep.
“I think we all know that there is no excessive spending going on.

“We are very thrifty in the way we do business. That should be noted."
(Source: Antrim Guardian)


A man has been arrested in Co Armagh following the discovery of thousands of illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco.

Cigarettes and tobacco with an estimated £9,313 in unpaid excise duty and VAT were seized by HM Revenue & Customs in a shop in the Portadown area last week.

Some 4,500 cigarettes and 9.2 kilos of tobacco found in bags under the counter and in a store room attached to the shop were removed from the premises.

Further searches of two vehicles nearby uncovered over 30,200 cigarettes along with 1.5 kilos of hand rolling tobacco.

John Whiting, assistant director criminal investigation for HMRC, said: “Tobacco smuggling is organized criminality on a global scale and robs the taxpayer of millions each year in unpaid duty and VAT.”

The man is currently being questioned by HMRC and the investigation into the cigarettes, tobacco and two vehicles seized are continuing.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)



More news stories from Ireland on IrishCentral

David Drumm: ‘There is a witch hunt ... I convince myself that this will pass’

Niall O'Dowd: Tragic suicide of head of Irish Democrats Abroad



In less than a week, the Fair Oak Foods factory in Bagenalstown will be no more.

Demolition work on the site began on Friday 4 November and is due for completion in the coming days. The plant, which traded as a meat factory for almost two decades, has been left idle for nearly ten years.

“This demolition is long overdue. I’ve always called it Bagenalstown’s Beirut. It’s an eyesore and there are health and safety issues. It’s great to see it finally going – it’s good news for the area,” said local cllr Denis Foley.

The site is now mooted for potential development, with Irish Sugar and Lidl among those reportedly showing interest in the 15-acre site.

“It’s a big site. People interested in the site wouldn’t go near it when it was a derelict site. Irish Sugar looked at it, Lidl looked at it, maybe they might look at it now that it’s not a derelict site,” added cllr Foley.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


A Gowna man, who assaulted a man requiring him to have his jaw wired, was handed a six-month prison term at Cavan District Court last week.

Derek Hearns, The Dwellings, Aughavaines, Gowna, pleaded guilty to assaulting Aaron Hussey at Main Street, Longford, on August 8, 2009. He was given a concurrent four-month term for assaulting Keith Carberry at 43 Hampton Court, Cavan, on January 27.

Inspector Dermot Drea said in relation to the assault in Longford, Mr Hussey, who is a security man in a night club, flagged down gardaí. He claimed he had been assaulted by the defendant. They spoke to the defendant and he left the area.

However, he returned later and assaulted Mr Hussey again. As a result of the assault Mr Hussey required an operation and a metal wire had to be put into his jaw and he lost two teeth. He had since made a good recovery.

The defendant was also given a concurrent three-month sentence and disqualified from driving for 15 years when he pleaded guilty at Cavan District Court to driving with excess alcohol.