News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties


For the first time in more than 40 years, production has stopped at the Irish Cement factory in Mungret, as 65 front-line staff went on strike over pay. All day last Tuesday staff at the plant on the outskirts of the city halted production of cement after it was alleged Irish Cement refused to pay wage increments due. The strike – backed by SIPTU, the TEEU Union and Unite – was organized after weeks of work-to-rule action failed to have an impact. It is the first all-out strike in the factory since the 1970s, when there were two strikes over pay and conditions.
(Source: Limerick Leader)


Gardaí in Longford town have launched an investigation after a woman was sexually assaulted in the Ballymahon Street area last Sunday night.  The 24-year-old local woman, who is believed to have been assaulted between 11 pm and 11:45 pm at Bog Lane, Ballymahon Street, was later treated for her injuries at the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar.
(Source: Longford Leader)


Owner of the Fitzpatrick Hotels in New York, John Fitzpatrick, was back in town last Friday. The New York hotelier paid a visit to the O’Hanlon Park Boxing Club to discuss plans for a new $220,000 extension to the center. Fitzpatrick had previously given $2,600 to the center during his previous visit as part of an RTE show called Secret Millionaire last September.

Head coach of the boxing club, Paul Taaffe, spoke to the Dundalk Democrat about the meeting.

“John dropped by to see how we were getting on with plans to extend the club. I was in contact with him just before Christmas and he said he would be coming over to help push forward the plans and also see about organizing grants for us.”

Paul praised the level of interest and the amount of work the Secret Millionaire has put into the project since the original show aired on RTE last year. “He has been a massive push so far. I’ve been trying to get this off the ground for the last seven years. But when John and the show arrived it changed everything.”
(Source: Dundalk Democrat)


Westport native Colm Burns finished in a highly commendable sixth place in his category at the recent Canadian International Sled Dog Championships in Quebec. Representing Ireland in a sport for which we hold no national renown, the man from Mayneen completed 20 miles of sprinting with a sled and pack of dogs in less than two hours. Burns was happy with his outing and admitted that his performance surprised some of the more seasoned campaigners he met at the event.

“I met like-minded people from all over the world and they couldn’t figure out how we train,” he told The Mayo News last week. “Ireland has no major association with sleddog racing so they reckoned we had the luck of the Irish on our side.”
(Source: Mayo News)


Meath's Olympic hopeful, Natalya Coyle, will carry the Olympic Torch through Dublin on June 6. The young Tara woman, who is aiming to qualify for the London Olympics, will be one of three Trinity students who will carry the torch through the city. The modern pentathlete, who has represented Ireland at two World Cups this year, is studying business, economics and social studies at Trinity and is on course to qualify for the pentathlon event at the London Games. She is the currently the 43rd ranked pentathlete in the world.
(Source: Meath Chronicle)


A shop in a recession-hit Border town has started accepting old Irish pounds as payment for goods. Tony Morgan has run Lipton's shop in Clones, Co Monaghan, for 20 years, yet, with the economic downturn hitting home he is hoping his "embrace the punt" initiative will increase footfall at the shop that sells household goods. According to the Central Bank, £362 million is still doing the rounds since the introduction of the euro ten years ago. While it is no longer legal tender, notes and coins can still be exchanged for euro at the Central Bank in Dublin.

"I want people who still have punts to know they can spend them here and they don't have to go to Dublin,” Morgan said. “We are giving a good exchange rate of €1.20.”
(Source: Irish Times)


An Offaly mother has been ordered to bring her son home from abroad so he can go to school. Judge John Coughlan said it was “outlandish” that the 15-year-old boy is in Europe with his older brother, who is working there. Mr. Donal Farrelly said there had been difficulties in the school and the boy didn’t want to go, even though his mother had been working hard to encourage him. The boy had been difficult to control, said Farrelly, but the judge insisted that he come home from Europe to appear before the court with the school principal and class teacher.
(Source: Offaly Express)