News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties


According to the draft mid term review, a number of potential sites for group housing have been identified in the Birr and consultation has commenced with the families on Millbrook Park halting site who wish to move to group housing. However, the site selection process has been difficult to date resulting in target for completion being extended to 2013.

It is proposed to reduce the target of 20 units of traveler specific accommodation in the Tullamore environs to seven units due to a number of factors.
(Source: Offaly Express)


Days before he starts filming the new TV series ‘Moone Boy’ in his native Boyle, Co Roscommon, Hollywood actor Chris O’Dowd announced his engagement to Dawn Porter via twitter.

The pair got engaged on December 26 at Havelet Bay, Guernsey but made the announcement on twitter on December 29. Chris O’Dowd whose twitter name is BigBoyler stated “I’m so bored of all this happiness and sex. I’m getting married. #engaged” while his fiance Dawn Porter tweeted “I guess he liked it, coz he put a ring on it #engaged.”

Dawn Porter is a 31 year old broadcast and print journalist from the UK. She has made around 13 documentaries, the author of ‘Diaries of an Internet Lover’ and has written for a number of UK newspapers and magazines.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)


A jet skier and a surfer had a lucky escape amidst the waves off the coast of Lislary, in North Sligo, after the jet drive sucked in the surfer's tow rope.

As the skier and surfer drifted off-shore, they were picked up by a Sligo Bay Lifeboat volunteer crew before noon on Dec. 27th.

According to the Lifeboat service, the two experienced surfers knew the best course of action was to call the Lifeboat instead of accepting assistance from other surfers, who were on the shore.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)


The closely knit communities of Holycross and Ballycahill were given the best possible seasonal present on Christmas Eve when it was announced at High Mass that a relic of the True Cross of Christ would be returned to the parish, in place of the one stolen from the historic Abbey back in October.

Rev Fr Tom Breen, PP of Holycross Ballycahill had to break news of the theft to heartbroken parishioners three months ago after armed and masked raiders cut the relics from the iron casing it was displayed it, beside the Altar in the Abbey. It made for a very disturbing period of time for the people of Holycross Ballycahill and for all those who came to worship in the ancient site of pilgrimage. The relic formed the centrepiece of the Abbey and helped make Holycross Abbey one of the most visited tourist sites in the country -the numbers visiting the Abbey actually increased since the theft with the total expected to top the 250,000 mark for the year.

However, Fr Breen was the bearer of good news on Christmas Eve when he announced that the Ursuline sisters in Blackrock had offered to donate a portion of their Relic of the True Cross to the Abbey as a replacement for what was so coldly and cruelly stolen.
(Source: Tipperary Star)


Residents in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, were evacuated from their homes on Sunday morning following the discovery of a pipe bomb in the area.

The viable device was discovered on Mark Street, Miltown, on Saturday afternoon. Army bomb squad officers were called to the scene and succeeded in making the device safe, RTÉ reports.
Residents have now been allowed to return to their homes and the area has been reopened to traffic, UTV reports.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


A Well city man who lost his life when the vehicle he was driving was involved in a collision with another car at Kilcomb Cross, on the Dunmore Road, last week had been returning home from a funeral in Killea.

Johnny Widger, a 75-year-old pensioner from Summerhill Terrace, in the city, died at the scene of the two-car crash along with his beloved dog Spot who accompanied him everywhere.

Emergency services were summoned to the scene of the crash shortly after lunchtime last Wednesday last and despite their heroic efforts they were unable to save the life of the pensioner who was well known across the city and in particular the Ballybricken area where he walked with his canine companion.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)


A Ballinahown native wanted for trial to answer sex abuse allegations could be back in this country next week after being deported from Brazil to England on St Stephen's Day.

Gardai are expected to bring charges against former priest Peter Kennedy, who originally hails from Bloomhill on the Offaly side of Ballinahown, if and when he is extradited from Britain.

A number of people are believed to have made statements alleging that the ex-priest, previously a Kiltegan Father missionary, sexually abused them, and the Director of Public Prosecutions has ordered that prosecutions be brought against him. A number of the complaints are understood to relate to the Athlone area.