News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



Four Antrim based solicitors' firms were paid almost $3.2 million (£1.8m) in legal aid in the 2010/11 financial year. The figures were released as the identities of the 100 top-earning solicitors' firms across the province were revealed. Legal Aid is granted to those who meet means-tested eligibility criteria and are deemed unable to afford legal costs. Sheridan and Leonard, who have an office on Fountain Street, received the most legal aid of the four local firms, placing tenth on the list while receiving more than £960,000.
(Source: Antrim Guardian)


An alleged bomb-making factory uncovered in Keady, County Armagh last year was part of a wider terrorist plot, the High Court has heard. Kevin Barry Murphy (41) of Altowen Park, Coalisland, was in court last Monday, where he denied charges of possession of explosives as well as possession of articles for use in terrorism. Police are set to make further arrests as part of their investigations. Murphy was detained last year after searches in Keady led to the discovery of alleged component parts for home-made bombs. Timer power units, fertilizer, icing sugar and a detonator were all seized, while he is also allegedly linked to the crime through fingerprints on a coffee grinder. Murphy was refused compassionate bail to attend his son's confirmation.
(Source: BBC News)


A local man was arrested and charged following the seizure of more than $2.8 million worth of drugs in Rutland, Bennekerry. Forty-seven-year-old Paul McGrath was brought before a special sitting of Carlow District Court last Wednesday where Judge Lucey remanded the defendant on charges of unlawful possession and possession of drugs for sale or supply. The local man hadn’t come to the attention of gardai before this major drugs bust. Gardai from the national drugs unit swooped on Tuesday evening as part of an ongoing operation.  A “huge find” – 250 kilos of cannabis resin and herb – was located in a shed, with a total value of almost $2.8 million.
(Source: Carlow Nationalist)


Two men were charged in connection with the death of a young Mullagh man who was injured following an incident at a house party on St Patrick's Day night. Gary Wright of 40 Headford Grove, Kells, and Sean Smith, St Killian's Park, Mullagh, were both charged with assaulting Ciaran O'Connell, causing him harm at Rosehill, Mullagh, on March 18. The victim passed away last Wednesday, March 21, and gardaí subsequently launched a murder investigation.
(Source: Anglo Celt)


Two young Ennis men have collaborated to develop two new iPhone apps, aimed at preventing heart disease. Neighbors Mike McNamara (23) and James Treanor (20) from Drumcliffe have developed CroíFoodWise and CroíHeartWise, which have just been launched in the app store. Mike is a medical student at NUI, Galway, while James is studying computer science at the University College Cork.
(Source: Clare Champion)


Circus elephants currently based in Cork are undergoing blood and urine tests after a worker was crushed by one of the elephants last weekend. Spanish native Justino Munez was rushed to Cork University Hospital after a 2.5 ton elephant fell on him while he was cleaning out its pen at Courtney Brothers Circus. The owners of the circus believe there is a possibility that the elephant's food may have been tampered with, and tests are being done on the food to see if this is true. The worker was in a critical condition when Irish Central Community News went to press.
(Source: Cork Independent)


The spectacularly refurbished Artillery Chambers building has breathed fresh life into London Street. The process of renovating the 1870s structure, while still retaining its rich heritage, was far from easy. Even a ghost from Derry’s turbulent past turned up to slow down the work when builders made the grisly discovery of a skeleton dating from the time of the Great Siege of Derry.

Nevertheless, the end product is proving to be a catalyst in the regeneration of the historic London Street area, located just yards from the city walls and other key historic buildings such as St. Columbus Cathedral and the Playhouse.
(Source: Derry Journal)


Four of the victims of a deadly influenza outbreak at a nursing home had been vaccinated against the virus. It was revealed after a flu outbreak killed six elderly people at the Nazareth House in Donegal that two-thirds of the cases had received an anti-flu injection. This revelation has raised serious doubts over the effectiveness of the vaccine.  Dr Peter Wright, director of public health at HSE North West, said it is important to bear in mind that the "immune response" among elderly people is not as effective as in younger patients.
(Source: Evening Herald)