News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties


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)


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)


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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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)


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.