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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

Antrim Council will not be dreaming of a white Christmas after 'reluctantly' signing up to help clear its town centers of ice and snow this winter - even though it could be digging a financial hole for years to come.


It had hoped that Roads Service Chief Jim Campbell would deliver some early festive cheer last week when he came to thrash out a compromise with Civic leaders, but the warm reception soon cooled when it became clear that the early promise of a deal on insurance liability was not on his Christmas list.


But with memories of last year still painfully fresh, the chamber ploughed ahead with a deal of sorts - though this belated show of true grit was almost lost on the people of Antrim after the Council decided to hold the two-hour talks behind closed doors.


It had been an agenda item but, presumably to spare red faces when the gloves came off, all visitors were given the cold shoulder - to the consternation of those forced to mill outside for an hour waiting for the scheduled Planning meeting.


Ulster Unionist Adrian Watson agreed that it was 'absolutely scandalous' that the Council was becoming a cold house for open and accountable debate - and agreed to lift the lid on the heated debate.

(Source: Antrim Guardian)

Armagh

Success in sport in south Armagh, and particularly in Crossmaglen, has often been the envy of many.  Now two local GAA clubs have teamed up with the area’s Chamber of Commerce with the aim of replicating their sporting success in the world of business.

Crossmaglen Rangers GFC and Culloville Blues GFC have joined forces with the Crossmaglen and South Armagh Chamber of Commerce to help raise the profile of the area as a feasible business hub in this new digital era.

Its location, just off the Belfast/Dublin Corridor, together with the plethora of resources, make Crossmaglen a significantly viable option for businesses seeking to gain a foothold in trading both nationally and internationally.
(Source: Crossexmainer.co.uk)

Carlow

Iceland received a frosty welcome to Carlow last week, when just hours after opening, the frozen food supermarket was robbed of their first day’s takings.



Cold-hearted thieves stole a “substantial” sum of cash, believed to have been in excess of €50,000 from the Tullow Road supermarket, by brazenly using a mini digger to rip through a wall at the premises, then making off with two safes.



The incident took place between 5.05am and 6.15am on Friday morning. Iceland had enjoyed a bumper opening day last Thursday, with hundreds of Carlow shoppers rushing to the town’s newest supermarket.



Then hours later, the thieves struck, first gaining entry through the roof of the store room, before using a mini-digger at the premises to smash through the wall and removing both safes.



Tom Keogh, CEO of the AIM Group which holds the Irish franchise for Iceland, confirmed that a large portion of the store’s takings on its opening day was contained within the safes.



“We have been given a great welcome to Carlow – we’ve enjoyed an incredible few days, which thankfully has continued,” he added.



Mr Keogh stated that the robbery did delay opening on Friday morning by a number of hours, as some staff had been “traumatized” by the event, but trade did resume as normal on Friday morning and continued as busy as ever all weekend.



A witness to the robbery described to The Nationalist how he thought it was a dream, as the callous thieves dragged the safes from the new supermarket. 

“I was woken by a loud bang at around 5am but I didn’t think anything of it and went back to sleep but was woken again at about 6.20am,” said the witness, who did not wish to be named.



“I looked out the window and saw two lads dressed in tracksuits, wearing hoodies and balaclavas and I called the gardaí. I kept watching – they had a black car parked behind a truck at the back of Iceland.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

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Cavan

A Blacklion man has become the first ever Irish (if not the world) Parkinson's disease patient to climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain. 54-year-old Hugh Cormack not only overcame the restrictions of his illness but remarkably also overcame his fear of heights to scale the 19,300 foot mountain.

Hugh was just 45-years-old when he first noticed signs of the disease. A former midfield star with the local GAA club, he had just taken up squash, was a non-smoker and a social drinker. He had held down a good job, as a prison officer in Loughan House prison near his home for 27 years and he thought he was in prime condition for his age.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)

Clare

Ennis resident Paudie Sheahan was presented with a national bravery award at a ceremony held in Farmleigh House recently following an incident in the county town where he confronted a dangerous knife-wielding man in 2001.

Paudie was one of 18 recipients at the awards ceremony and was presented with a bronze medal and certificate of bravery for his efforts to rescue a woman being threatened by a man wielding a knife.

He explained how the incident unfolded on Christmas night in 2001 and how he was faced with the split-second decision to go up against an armed man in order to rescue a woman in distress.  

“We were sitting in our sitting room, the DVD player was new and we were trying to figure out how the thing worked. It was around 9pm and we had two children aged two and nine months at that stage.

“My wife, Trofi, heard someone screaming outside. I opened the door. I really thought it was someone who had fallen off a skateboard or something, it was that kind of shouting. Between the door of our house and the gate pillars, there is about 10m so when I opened the door, there was this man holding a woman up to the pillar of our house with a knife that I could clearly see. It was a kitchen devil knife. It wasn’t until when I subsequently saw it in an evidence bag that I thought ‘oh God’,” Paudie recalls.
(Source: The Clare Champion)

Cork

Overcrowding at Cork Prison has resulted in prisoners having nothing more than mattresses on the floor to sleep on. A total of 141 prisoners have also been let out of the prison so far this year on early release, in a bid to alleviate the problem.

Last week, there were 293 prisoners at the Cork facility. However, with a bed capacity of just 272, the remaining 21 inmates had to be given mattresses to sleep on.

A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service confirmed to the Cork Independent that while Cork Prison is currently operating at a level in excess of its official bed capacity, “there are contingency plans in place including the use of mattresses”.

The spokesperson confirmed that prisoners are sleeping on mattresses on the floor.

This practice, said the spokesperson, was only used for a short period of time as prisoners are quickly relocated or dispersed throughout the prison estate, while the prison also relocated inmates to other facilities.

They added that the Irish Prison Service had to accept all prisoners committed by the courts into its custody and did not have the option of refusing committals.
Source: (Cork Independent)

Derry

Facilities for tourists visiting the Bogside area of Derry are set to be greatly enhanced in the next few years, according to one local tourism provider.

Mickey Cooper from Free Derry Tours said the tourism potential of the area, which attracts thousands of visitors each year, has yet to be realized.

Mr Cooper was speaking ahead of the launch of several new projects designed to attract more visitors to the area. These include a number of books explaining the history of the area from the time of St Columba right up to the present day, new signage making it easier for tourists to find places of historical interest, and capital investment in museum facilities in the area.

“We want to improve the tourism project in the area in order to attract more visitors,” Mr Cooper.

The tourism operator said the area has the raw materials to be a major attraction. “We are very fortunate in terms of the product we have on our doorpsteps but we still have a problem in terms of promotion,” he said.

Mr Cooper, also a local councilor, said Triax are preparing to launch a community tourism strategy in the coming weeks. Explaining what will be happening, Mr Cooper said: “There are things that can be done in terms of marketing to promote our product better.

“New signage is going up in the area in the next few weeks that will explain the history of the area to visitors and to show them where the various projects are based. We also have funding for web development which will hopefully help in terms of marketing and promotion,” he said.
(Source: Derry Journal)

Donegal

Following the recent closure of the Gweedore based company, MFG, who were funded to provide insulation to homes across Donegal many elderly people have been left without the necessary insulation and are fearing the worst as the cold weather sets in,

Under the Warmer Homes Scheme hundred’s of homes across South West Donegal were approved to receive free insulation yet with the closure of the company they have been left without having any work carried out to their homes.

Sustainable Energy Ireland are now dealing with the applications from MFG but have indicated that they cannot guarantee that the work will be carried out until next year.

This issue affects hundreds of people across South Donegal who were approved for the insulation work over a year ago.

One elderly women, an 85 year old widow who preferred to remain nameless commented, “I applied for the free insulation scheme last March.

“I am a pensioner and my husband passed away a few years ago. MFG came out to my house to inspect it and told me that my grant had been approved and that the work would be done by Autumn latest.

“After hearing that the company are no longer in business I am worried sick that the work will not now be done this winter.

“My house is extremely cold and I have a lot of health problems including arthritis and my doctor says that I should live in a warm home.”
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

Down

As the big freeze began to thaw last winter thousands of people were left without water as mains and pipes burst across Northern Ireland.

Homes were ruined and the clean-up cost a fortune.

Northern Ireland Water suffered its worst ever crisis as more than a million calls were made to its helpline and people tried to use its website - but it wasn't prepared.

As a result it bore the brunt of public anger and frustration, and it led to the resignation of its chief executive.

"We have very painful memories in NI Water of what happened, especially when we consider the experience of our customers during that time," said Sarah Venning from Northern Ireland Water.

"We have doubled the amount of call handlers we have available. We've taken a website which had a capacity of 20,000 visits per day to a capacity of 200,000 visits per hour and we've almost tripled the stock of bottled water that we're holding now" she added.
(Source: BBC News)

Dublin

A footballer broke an opposing team member's nose with a headbutt following a tackle in the final minutes of a match, it has been alleged.

Jason Byrne (25) is accused of the on-pitch assault on the other player, who needed surgery to realign his nose and still has breathing problems.

Gareth Presch told Dublin District Court the accused struck him with a headbutt after Mr Byrne fell to the ground when they clashed during the match in south Dublin.

Mr Presch, a public servant, said he was awaiting a second surgical procedure to correct the injury to his nose.

Judge Patricia McNamara adjourned the case for continuation on a date next month after hearing prosecution evidence.

Byrne, with an address at Gleanntan, Loughlinstown, denies a charge of assault causing harm at Three Rock Rovers Hockey Grounds, Rathfarnham on February 19, 2010.

The court heard the opposing teams were playing an 11-a-side match in the Nighthawks League. Mr Presch and Byrne were playing midfield. Mr Presch's team was ahead.

Mr Presch said they both went for the ball at the same time and "shouldered each other". He said the defendant fell to the ground, while his own momentum kept him moving forward.

"I turned around and at that stage, the accused walked towards me and headbutted me," he alleged.
(Source: The Evening Herald)

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Fermanagh

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has declared an interest that her Co Fermanagh home may be in the area for a new gas network.

The minister was criticized last week over allegations concerning the possibility of gas being extracted using the controversial fracking process.

Green Party MLA Steven Agnew called on her to quit after accusing her of breaking the ministerial code when a license was granted to explore its potential in the area.

He accused her of a “lack of transparency” for not declaring her husband’s ownership of 54 acres of land within the exploration zone.

Ms Foster said she wanted to see an extension of the natural gas network across Northern Ireland.
She said: “I do have to declare an interest. I do live in a house in Brookeborough which may or may not be on the line of the new gas network.”

Fracking is a controversial technique to extract natural gas by drilling down deep into the earth and creating tiny explosions to shatter the rock.

Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure so the gas flows to the head of the well.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Galway

Three Galway girls are the toast of Western Australia after they helped rescue a man from his burning boat.

The star of the rescue, which took place north of Perth on Tuesday, was Leah Roxby of Menlo, a nurse who is currently backpacking Down Under.

Her nursing skills were put into use when she rushed into the water at Denham, north of Perth, to a boat which had just exploded and was beginning to go up in flames.

She helped pull the skipper off the seven meter aluminium jet boat and applied burn cream and cleaned his wounds as they waited for an ambulance to take him to the Royal Perth Hospital.

Leah (25), a past pupil of the Jes on Sea Road, spoke about the incident saying she was greatly helped by her friends, Tara Shine and Veronica Dick, former schoolmates and their German friend, Veronika Klein.

“We had just driven into Denham for coffee and were parked by the water when we heard a big bang. We saw smoke coming from a boat, but at that stage we didn’t know if anyone was on it. I asked a few builders if everything was alright and told them I was a nurse.

“They got into the water and called me when they saw that the skipper was on board. There was a large cooler on top of him, so the builders got that off him and helped lift him out. At this stage I was in the water, up to my hips, holding onto the boat and directed them so that he was evenly and safely carried to shore. I held up his head as he wasn’t very responsive.

“We could see that there were flames licking his back and we knew we had to get him off the boat quickly. I cleaned up his wounds, the girls got water to put out the flames. I was told he had 40% burns, but I believe that his condition is a lot better than what was said initially. None of the burns I saw were third degree burns.

Leah from Monument Road has been traveling around Western Australia for the past six weeks and is now heading to Melbourne, where she hopes to find a job.
(Source: GalwayBay Fm)

Kerry

A father of three who repeatedly raped a young girl at a house in Co Kerry was given a 10-year jail sentence at the Central Criminal Court last week.

He had pleaded not guilty to eight charges of rape and sexual abuse, which took place at a house in Kerry between December 25th, 2001 and January 31st, 2002.

Defense counsel Anthony Sammon SC told Mr Justice Barry White that his client did not accept the jury’s decision.

The girl was 10 at the time. In her victim impact statement the woman, now 20, said the abuse had “ruined her life”.

She said that as a result of the attacks she had begun drinking and taking drugs at the age of 10.
“It was the only thing that would black out the pain. Now I’m an addict,” she said.

She told the court that her own child has been taken from her because of her addiction issues but that she had been starting to deal with these issues until the trial began.

“I started drinking and taking drugs again when the trial began,” she said. “I hope the nightmares will stop some day. This has ruined my life.”

Det Garda Bill Stack told Karen O’Connor, prosecuting, that the guilty man was 32 when he moved into the home of his brother’s partner, the victim’s mother.

In the five-week period while he stayed there, the man raped the girl three times, orally raped her twice, sexually assaulted her twice and on one occasion attempted anal rape.
(Source: Irish Times)

Kildare

Savage dogs have killed the entire stock of show hens and chickens owned by an Athy breeder.
Alan Davis, from Pairc Bhríde, discovered the devastation last Wednesday morning.

“My father came over to pick up something early in the morning and when I went out to let him in a Boxer or a Mastif ran past me. I opened up the area where the chickens are held and every chicken had been slaughtered. A large terrier type dog also ran past me and scarpered out of the area.”

Alan says that he is worried how the dogs managed to get into a secured area. “I have a fully closed shed so I don’t know how they managed to get in. My back garden is completely enclosed. The side door to the alley is dead bolted from inside. I think someone may have let them in.”

Mr Davis outlined the scale of the devastation. “There were roughly 50 chickens including chicks. The majority of the birds were show birds like Barb u Buncle show hens. I also had Sultans, Yokohamas, White and Balck Silkys, pure-bred peacon chicks and Guinea fowl. I am very annoyed; this was a hobby for me. I have in the past put on shows for autistic kids, which they loved. It was never about the money for me.”
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)

Kilkenny

The developer of MacDonagh Junction shopping centre is seeking retention permission for a car park on the space where permission had been granted for a hotel.

MacDonagh Junction Developments Ltd has applied to Kilkenny Borough Council for “permission for temporary retention of a surface carpark at a previously permitted mixed-use scheme. The temporary surface carpark is on the site of the permitted hotel of approximately 0.1505 ha, forming part of the MacDonagh Junction and adjoining lands of 4.94 ha approximately”.

The development for which MacDonagh Junction is seeking temporary retention permission consists of 45 car spaces, including two disabled spaces, a turning area, drainage, lighting, flagpoles, bollards, pay-and-display machine, and associated works.

“The temporary car park will revert to its permitted hotel use ... once construction of that development commences,” according to the planning application.
(Source: Kilkenny People)

Laois

The HSE confirmed last Tuesday afternoon that St Brigids Hospital, Shaen, Portlaoise is to close within the next six months.

The HSE once again blamed the ongoing budget cuts, the public sector recruitment ban and future HIQA standards, as the reasons to close the hospital.

Last week they began consultation with the residents and their families on their options for alternative care arrangements. The HSE has not provided a timeline for the closure, however, they said that “the orderly wind down of the service will be conducted over a period of approximately of six months.”

Staff at the unit will be redeployed to other services. The HSE said that where possible staff and patients will be transferred to the same location. The HSE claim that Shaen is being close to “optimize the use of the available resources in Laois/Offaly.”

“By so doing the available resource will be consolidated in the remaining four units ensuring the ongoing provision of high quality, safe services in those units,” the statement said.
(Source: Leinster Express)

Leitrim

Gardai in Carrick-on-Shannon are seeking the help of the public in relation to damage to two windows of St Mary’s Church, Main St, Carrick-on-Shannon.

Gardai also reported a money box was interfered with and what was described as “a very small quantity of money” was taken.

St Mary’s Church recently underwent significant refurbishment with the works including the removal of the wooden feature at sanctuary and repositioning of the tabernacle; heating and electrical installations; remodeling of adoration room; re-design of church entrance and provision of new sacristy; refurbishment of church access and forecourt area and the redecoration of walls and ceilings.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)

Limerick

Up to 20 casualties of the Libyan conflict are due to fly into Shannon Airport in the coming days and receive specialist surgery for their war wounds in Barringtons in Limerick, if the private hospital can accommodate their medical requests.

The Limerick Leader understands the wounded, who fought to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, will require surgery as a result of gunshot wounds and grenade blasts, and may also require plastic surgery.

Abdullah Elneihum, of the Libyan Health Office of Ireland, confirmed that the casualties were due to arrive last week, but their travel plans have temporarily been disrupted by “technical issues.”

Denis Cahalane, managing director of Barringtons hospital, said they will welcome the opportunity to look after the wounded, provided they can help them.

The Libyan State is paying for the full cost of medical treatment, which may see patients spending up to six weeks in Limerick, where they will also stay in a city hotel during their recuperation period.
(Source: Limerick Leader)

Longford

Investigations have been launched by gardaí in Longford town last week after two women were assaulted in recent days.

A woman in her thirties was sexually assaulted last Sunday morning, while a woman in her mid sixties was physically attacked outside her home on November 13 last.

Gardaí are also appealing to those with any information in relation to assaults to come forward and members of the public are being advised to exercise vigilance at all times as these latest assaults come in the aftermath of a “very serious” sexual assault on another woman in the town last month.
(Source: Longford Leader)

Louth

A successful farmhouse cheese, craft beer and whiskey night that was held in No. 32 restaurant in Dundalk recently, sponsored by Bord Bia.

Event organizer Peter Thomas spoke to the paper about the night and the locally produce that it showcased: “This was the first of many tastings that we hope to do locally to encourage more people to try locally produced craft food and drink.“The event was a great success, with those attending getting the unusual opportunity totaste and evaluate paired/matched samples of cheese, craft beer and whiskey.”The cheese was supplied by Bellingham Blue, Glebe Brethan, Boyne Valley Blue. These are award winning cheeses all produced in Co. Louth.“

2011 was a particulary successful year for all three cheeses, with Bellingham Blue gaining a Gold medal at the British cheese awards and a Silver medal at the Irish Cheese Awards, (having won Irish Supreme Champion in 2010), Glebe Brethan won Gold at the Irish Cheese Awards and also graced the banquet table for the Queen’s banquet in Dublin Castle during her visit to Ireland in May.” Finally Boyne Valley Blue was awarded two stars from the British Fine Food Guild in its very first year of production. Peter Thomas (Bellingham Blue and Boyne Valley Blue), and David Tiernan (Glebe Brethan) are both members of the Slow Food Organisation’s Irish Raw Milk Cheese Presidia.
(Source: Dundalk Democrat)

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Mayo

Tributes have been paid to the late Paschal Doherty who was killed on Monday of last week when he was struck by a Ballina-bound train just outside Foxford.

A married father of three, Mr Doherty had worked in recent times with Community Radio Castlebar, firstly as a producer and latterly as Head of News at the station.

He lived with his wife Pauline and children Seamus, Paddy and Alice at Tavanaghmore, Foxford and was a native of Bohernasup, Ballina. He is also mourned by his mother Nuala, brothers Alan and Barry, sister Siobhán and extended family.

General Manager at CRC fm, Benen Tierney paid tribute to the late Mr Doherty.

“Paschal joined us here as a volunteer just over one year ago. He started out researching for programs like The Johnny Oosten Radio Show and The Grapevine evening show which I present myself. He had a wonderful way with people and soon got to know all of the organizations and councilors around Castlebar and further afield.

“Although a volunteer, he hardly ever missed a day and soon began taking a great interest in community broadcasting. He put together a series of outside broadcast programs for The Johnny Oosten show and oversaw each of them personally as Series Producer.
(Source: The Mayo News)

Meath

A heartless thief who struck at a fundraiser in Kells has stolen vital funds from local children with Down's Syndrome.

The Louth-Meath branch of Down's Syndrome Ireland has been devastated by the theft of the funding in the run-up to Christmas, saying it cannot believe that someone would sink so low.

"That somebody would steal from children with Down's Syndrome defies belief. This is a major blow to our organization," said Alva Cullen, one of the organizers of the 'Glam Up For Downs' event which took place in the Headfort Arms Hotel, Kells, and which was a fundraiser for the charity. The event raised €1,570 to help finance the branch's early intervention home teacher program in Meath and Louth.

However, an additional €400 to €600, which was raised on the night, was stolen by the cold-hearted thieves.

Ms Cullen, who organized the event with Sarah Butcher, said they have been deeply upset by the theft. "I am particularly upset as I organized this event to help fund the home teacher service which my four year-old daughter uses. This is a service solely funded by the Louth-Meath branch and is key to Sorcha's development," she said.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)

Monaghan

A Co Monaghan man was cleared of having explosives by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin last week.

The court ruled last week that a statement made by the accused, allegedly admitting possession of the explosives, was not admissible in evidence.

The non-jury court ruled that investigating gardaí failed to follow proper procedure when questioning Martin Connolly (aged 26) as to his alleged possession of an explosive substance and that a statement given and interviews conducted on this basis were unlawful.

Mr Connolly, of Mullantimore, Tydavnet, Co Monaghan had pleaded not guilty to knowingly having in his possession a Novital Magnum electric cereal mill and ammonium nitrate at his home between September 8 and 11, 2010.

Prosecuting counsel Mr Tom O' Connell SC said that he was offering no further evidence in the case. Connolly's counsel, Mr Brendan Grehan SC, then applied for his client to be found not guilty.
(Source: Irish Times)

Offaly

The Prison Service Escort Corps and Offaly county council are investigating how a prison truck got stuck under an aqueduct, holding up traffic for almost an hour.

It’s understood there were two passengers on board the vehicle which was coming from Edenderry District Court when it wedged under the aquaduct a mile and a half outside the town on the Rathangan Road as it headed for the Midlands prison.

There is one sign for traffic turning from a dangerous bend onto the Rathangan Road, but it was facing the wrong way last week. There is no sign near or on the aquaduct on the Edenderry side.

As trafffic approaches the aquaduct from Rathangan, there is a sign 200m away and another on the aquaduct itself, showing the 2.8m restriction.

Charlie McCarthy, Offaly County Council’s Senior Engineer says there should be adequate signage but the local area engineer will investigate and any signs that have been removed or tampered with will be replaced.
(Source: Offaly Express)

Roscommon

Campaigners welcomed the unanimous decision of Roscommon County Council calling for a ban on the method of shale gas extraction known as “fracking” in the county.

A motion calling for the ban and urging Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte to accede to the wishes of councilors of all parties was passed following a presentation last week from the north Roscommon-based Ardcarne Community against Fracking group. Mayor of Roscommon Eugene Murphy said he believed Roscommon was the first county council to call for such a ban. He said the council had invited representatives from Tamboran Resources, one of two companies granted licenses to carry out preliminary exploration in the Lough Allen basin, to address its February meeting.

“We hope when they see that 26 members of the council from all parties voted for a ban that they will realize how strongly we feel.”
(Source: Irish Times)

Sligo

A man charged with the theft of two ladies handbags and two scarves from Penneys was said to have suffered skull trauma as a result of a boxing career in his native Poland, Sligo District Court was told.

Summoned for theft of the items, valued at €45 at Penneys, O'connell Street on September 5th last was Robert Detka, 18 Avondale. He had previous convictions for theft, said Inspector Donal Sweeney.

Mr. Mark Mullaney, solicitor (defending), pleaded that Detka had suffered skull trauma from a career in boxing in Poland and a medical report outlining this was handed in to court. The defendant and his wife intended setting up a recycling business and had secured grant aid.

"I would ask that you give him one last chance," pleaded Mr. Mullaney.

Judge Kevin Kilrane imposed a three months sentence, suspended for two years.

"If you steal again you will go to prison," the Judge warned Detka.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)

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Tipperary

As Christmas, the season of goodwill, looms on the horizon, a total of 619 families in North Tipperary are seeking accommodation from North Tipperary County Council, with little or no prospect of any festive joy, The Tipperary Star can reveal.

The realities of the economic downturn are beginning to bite hard on cash strapped families and the local authority is having to bear the brunt of the hit with more and more applicants coming onto the housing list, year on year. A total of 224 applicants have been helped out already this year by the council with 86 having been housed through casual vacancies ( up from 44 in 2010); 25 housed in new or purchased properties; 6 housed in leased properties; 106 transferred to the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and two applicants granted housing loans.
(Source: Tipperary Star)

Tyrone

Janet Devlin has missed out on a place in the X Factor semi-final after her lacklustre performance failed to win her votes.

The Co Tyrone teenager forgot some of the words to 90s hit Mmm Bop last Saturday night's show, later blaming the mistake on feeling like she was "going to throw up" after eating something funny.

Her second song, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Under the Bridge, was marginally more successful but not enough to save her from Sunday's sing-off with Mancunian Misha B.

Janet, 17, hoped singing Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol would be enough to win over the judges, but they preferred her rival's version of Out Here On My Own from the musical Fame.

Mentor Kelly Rowland was unable to choose between her two acts and abstained from voting, having admitted "feeling sick" when both girls ended up in the bottom two.

Louis Walsh had already decided to save Misha B however, saying: "I'm going to pick the person who's going to give the most to this competition."

He was followed by Tulisa, who voted for Misha B after saying she wanted to save the person "who's going to sell records, who's going to sell out arenas".
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Waterford

A male was tied up and threatened with a baseball bat after four males burst into his home at Lower Grange after he opened the front door.

The man in his 40s was taken away in an ambulance on Monday morning at approximately 8.30am following his ordeal at the hands of four men wear wearing balaclavas.

The man was not injured in the incident but a small amount of cash was handed over in the burglary.
Gardaí were notified of the incident after passers-by noticed the front door was open.

One resident in the area was shocked at the turn of events which had befallen the man, saying he didn’t put in or out on anyone.

An occupant of a house in Kilcaragh, Grantstown also endured a terrifying incident at the hands of criminals.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)

Westmeath

A new report into the handling of child abuse allegations in the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois has commended Bishop Colm O'Reilly on his response to such cases.

The report, which was carried about by the Catholic Church's own child protection watchdog, found that the diocese "performed well" by promptly reporting abuse allegations to the statutory authorities, such as the Gardai and HSE.

A total of 13 priests based in the diocese had an abuse allegation, or allegations, made against them between January 1975 and April of this year. Four of the priests were alive and nine were dead at the time the allegations were made.

Just one of the priests who is alleged to have committed abuse was still living at the time of the report's completion. This person is no longer in ministry. Two other priests, who are not of the diocese but are residing within it, are known to be the subject of an allegation arising from their past ministry.
(Source: Westmeath Independent)

Wexford

A Wexford man who constructed a timer for an explosive device months after gardaí uncovered a huge cache of explosive components in a shed at his parent’s home has been jailed for 12 years at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

Nicholas Kendall (aged 21) of Row Street, Wexford, had pleaded guilty to nine counts relating to the unlawful possession of a variety of explosive substances, including chemical components for Semtex, components of fusing systems for mortar bombs, improvised timing power units, explosive propellant powder and clothes pegs adapted to act as electro-mechanical switches.

Gardaí uncovered the cache after simultaneous raids on his parent’s rural home at Springcrest, Keelogues, Barntown, Co Wexford and a house at Cortown, Togher, Dunleer, Co Louth on October 8, 2010.

Kendall also pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a component part of a timing power unit and a 9mm Smith & Wesson semi-automatic model SW 9F pistol at the same address in Co Louth on the same date.
(Source: The Irish Examiner)

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Wicklow

Gardai in Carnew have appealed for witnesses following an attempted raid on a bookmakers' premises in the village.

The incident occurred between 4 and 5 a.m. last Sunday morning at Doran Bookmakers on Main Street.

Telephone lines on the street were cut in an attempt to deactivate the security system before the culprit or culprits attempted to gain entry through the back door. But they were thwarted when an upstairs tenant heard suspicious noise and alerted the Gardaí. The robber or robbers then fled the scene.

Proprietor Eileen Doran said that gardaí are investigating the matter. 'I don't know what they were looking for but no cash is kept on the premises so they wouldn't have found any,' she said.
(Source: The Wicklow People)

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