News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



Antrim Council may be poised to enlist reinforcements to battle the worst of the winter's snow, it has emerged.

A fortnight ago the Council resolved, albeit reluctantly, to help keep town centers clear if the weather took a turn for the worse.

The first line of attack would be Council staff unable to continue with their usual duties because of the blanket of snow.

Last week the Civic Centre revealed that there is a plan B - though they accept that ratepayers may have to dig deep in their pockets to pay for it.

Council Director Geraldine Girvan confirmed that a new pilot scheme is in the pipeline which advocates the use of 'contractors' if regular staff are not available.

The legal fine print has yet to be finalized, but it is understood that senior staff will have the power to mobilize the troops if arctic conditions pay an unwelcome return visit.
DUP councilor Trevor Clarke said Antrim deserved credit for taking a lead - though he added that the Department of Regional Development should 'hang their heads in shame'.

“I welcome this," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I still think it's terrible that we have to do it, but at least we're doing something.

“In my opinion Roads Service misled the public about these arrangements. They shirked their responsibilities and forced the Council's hand.”
(Source: Antrim Guardian)


The violent murder of Crossmaglen man, James Hughes, in a shooting incident last week is the second tragedy to befall the local family this year.

Mr Hughes (35) was shot dead while sitting in a taxi outside a house in Cluain Ard in the Lis na Dara estate in Dundalk.  The taxi had just pulled up when a lone gunman approached the vehicle and fired a number of shots, fatally injuring James who was sitting in the back seat.    The front seat passenger – a 21-year-old woman – and the 48-year-old male taxi driver were also injured in the attack, which happened shortly after 4.00am.

Just hours earlier James joined with his family in hosting a fundraising event in memory of his late mother Joan who died suddenly in April this year.  The event was the latest in a series of fundraisers the Hughes family has organized in recent months to raise money for the S.A.D.S. (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome) charity.

The brutal slaying of the father-of-three has shocked the entire community and plunged his family into further grief.  James worked as a farmer and was a popular and valued member of  Crossmaglen Rangers GFC, where he was a playing member of the club’s Seconds team.  His team-mates joined with mentors, club officials, his family and friends at a special prayer service in the Rangers Hall on Sunday evening to share their grief and extend sympathy to his family.


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Farmers staged a protest outside Iceland last week voicing their anger at the chain’s lack of support for Irish produce.

\Armed with placards, up to 60 farmers from across County Carlow picketed the supermarket, which opened on the Tullow Road last month.

Carlow IFA chairperson John Brennan said local farmers were voicing their disagreement at Iceland’s not supporting home-grown produce.

“We had a good turnout,” said Mr Brennan. “It was very peaceful and there was no engagement with anyone; we were just highlighting the facts.”

Mr Brennan said staff from Iceland did not approach the protesters, who stood outside the store for up to two hours.

He added that talks between Irish farmers and Iceland have not taken place as far as he is aware but pointed out that his members “are always open to talks”.

“Other than bread and crisps, we didn’t see any Irish produce on their shelves and we have to fight our corner; we have to keep Irish produce on the shelves.”

Mr Brennan pointed out that the agriculture sector employs more than 300,000 people in Ireland and supporting their jobs is essential.

“We need to get products on the shelves, we’d at least like to get a lookin, and I think the consumer is very aware of that.”

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


The man killed in a suspected gas explosion in Australia, last week, has been named locally as Patrick Bird. 

The 24-year-old, who's originally from Bailieborough  in Cavan  died  when the van he was sitting in outside his house in Darwin, exploded.