News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



Antrim has been jointly crowned Northern Ireland's first 'Safe Town' by Justice Minister David Ford.
Antrim and Ballyclare both achieved the impressive status on November 30 for their commitment to tackling domestic violence.

At the launch of the initiative supported by Women's Aid, Mr Ford presented certificates to the mayors of both towns.

The South Antrim MLA commented: "Domestic violence is a horrendous crime that has a devastating impact on victims and their families. 
“The efforts of both Antrim and Ballyclare in securing Safe Town status are to be applauded as this sends out a very clear signal that domestic violence will not be tolerated."

He added: "I am committed to ensuring that Government delivers a joined up approach to better protect victims of domestic violence and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions."
(Source: Antrim Guardian)


A Lithuanian man has been hailed a hero for rescuing three south Armagh men recently from the choppy waters around Sligo Harbour.

Two weeks ago the three men, who are part of a Concrete Repair Specialist team, were carrying out repairs at Sligo Harbour when a freak tidal wave engulfed the pontoon on which they were working. 

The men were thrown overboard and into the treacherous waters.

Although all three were wearing life jackets, they battled to stay afloat as conditions in the ocean were extremely rough at the time.  Only the quick thinking of their fellow colleague, Lithuanian born, Vetas Matkevicute saved the men from almost certain drowning.

Having been working on the same site as the local men, Mr Matkevicute saw them fall into the water from his position on the harbour.  Realising the imminent danger, he immediately ran to their aid and threw ropes down.  Single-handedly he managed to successfully pull all three from the freezing water.

Thankfully, none of the men were seriously hurt or required hospital treatment, but the outcome could have been very different, as the Atlantic waters around Sligo Harbour are known to contain sharks from time to time.

The team’s boss praised Vetas’s intervention and branded him a hero for saving the local lads.
“Thank God he saw what happened and realized they were struggling,” he said.


Masked thieves threatened an elderly couple with a hammer in a terrifying break-in at their Carlow home.

Last Thursday, the thieves broke into a house in Monacurragh, Carlow and threatened the couple in their 70s while trying to remove a large safe from their house. 

They failed to get the safe out of the house and the couple were generally unharmed but left badly shaken by the ordeal.

Gardaí are searching for up to three culprits who may have been driving a dark-colored saloon car with a 05 TN registration.

In a separate case on Saturday, a man claiming to be a tradesman gained entrance to a pensioner’s house in Duggan Avenue.

He claimed he was in the process of repairing a neighbor’s washing machine. While the fake tradesman distracted the pensioner, a second man slipped into the house and ransacked the upstairs, making off with a “substantial” sum of money.

Gardaí are looking for a 5ft 6” male aged around 35 with dirty blond hair and a receding hairline.

He was wearing a white teeshirt with a red trim on the collar and a navy body warmer.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


The government is paying out over €120,000 per year on leasing a property for 15 staff in a Cavan town office. Figures obtained from the OPW show that the government rent three premises for a staff of 60 at a cost to the tax payer of €273,343.30. None of the leases are subject to 'upward only' rent review clauses.

A total of €122,200 per year is paid to landlords Noel and Katherine Elliot for offices at Newcourt Shopping Centre, Cavan town, used by the Revenue Commissioners and Department of Social Protection. In the office, measuring 648 sq mts, the Revenue has nine staff and the Department of Social Protection six.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)


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There was yet more bad news for employment in Shannon, as the closure of Sykes is set to see around another 130 jobs lost.

A spokesperson for the company, speaking from their HQ in Florida last week, refused to say when all the jobs at Shannon would be gone, but said their restructuring should be complete by the end of September. Sykes is also closing a plant in South Africa.