News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties


It started out as a modest family shop in a small Co Antrim town. But now the managing director of the local business — which grew to be the world’s biggest online bike store — has been listed as one of Northern Ireland’s richest people.
The eye-watering profit growth at Ballyclare’s Chain Reaction Cycles has seen the wealth of its managing director Chris Watson and his family rocket up the Sunday Times Irish Rich List.
Their wealth has jumped from $230m to $370m.
The 37-year-old Co Antrim man is now listed behind Lord Ballyedmond — whose cross-border veterinary drugs company, Norbrook, is worth £650m.
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are in second place on the list.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Local Sinn Fein councilors and residents have united in their condemnation of the treatment of an elderly female resident of Barcroft Park, who was arrested last Wednesday.
A total of five armored police vehicles attended the scene of the arrest before the pensioner was taken to Armagh Police station. Local residents were outraged as they witnessed what one described as “a very over-the-top approach to arrest one old lady!”
One elderly passerby who lives in Barcroft also spoke to The Examiner about the incident and said that when she inquired as to the nature of the operation she was in turn questioned about where she was going.

A Rathvilly woman whose husband was sentenced to 18 years in a Greek prison for crimes she says he didn’t commit is campaigning for his freedom.
Julie Marku (née O’Reilly) from Rathvilly has been trapped in a “nightmare” ever since her husband Mark was arrested in September 2010 and charged with being a member of an armed gang, accused of armed assault, 12 car thefts and seven counts of armed robbery – even though she could prove he was in Ireland when some of the crimes were committed.
“When they took him away, it’s like someone planted a bomb in my life. My whole world was built up around him; my life didn’t function without him,” says Julie, daughter of Bill and Phyl O’Reilly, Rathvilly.

According to Julie, key witnesses in the prosecution’s case, owners of the jewelry stores which were targeted, have changed their stories and there was no DNA evidence linking Mark, an Albanian native, to any of the crimes until a week prior to the trial.
And despite a mountain of evidence in his favor, including the passport stamps that prove Mark was in Carlow at the time of some of the alleged crimes, Julie has been left fighting to clear his name.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

A small housing estate outside Ballyjamesduff sold for $161,000 (€122,500) at auction in Dublin.
These houses sold as part of the Allsop Space auction, held at the Shelbourne Hotel last Thursday.
The group reported that 100 properties sold at the auction, but the sale of this housing estate seems to have garnered most interest.
The three unfinished houses lie on four acres of land outside the town. The lot was bought by a Northern Irish builder, who wishes to remain anonymous. The Irish Independent reports that he intends to finish the houses.
The homes need kitchens and bathrooms. They were auctioned with a reserve price of no more than $52,593 (€40,000).
(Source: IrishCentral)

The Government’s controversial national recruitment embargo should be lifted to ensure staffing shortages don’t undermine new Health Service Executive recommendations concerning acute psychiatric care at Ennis hospital, which were drafted following the tragic death of a patient.
The call was made by Psychiatric Nurses’ Association (PNA) representative, Denis Meehan, who believes Health Minister James Reilly should apply some common sense and flexibility to ensure staff continue adopting best practice in treating patients at the Acute Psychiatric Unit at Ennis hospital.
A jury sitting at an inquest into the death of 60-year-old Shannon man, Kevin Manifold, last week found he died at the acute unit of the Mid-Western Regional Hospital Ennis due to self-inflicted asphyxiation and attached eight recommendations made by the HSE to its verdict.
(Source: The Clare Champion)

It was the record drugs haul that had the drama, twists, characters and stunning setting usually only seen in a fictional Hollywood blockbusters.`
But now plans are underway to bring a film crew to remote Dunlough Bay in Co. Cork to make a movie based on the foiled €440m cocaine smuggling plot.
Cork-born film-maker Colin Carroll has just completed a screenplay based on the infamous 2007 drugs bust, which he says will cost €5m to make.
Mr. Carroll, who also has two films showing at the Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival in west Cork later this month, said he spent four years writing the script, having become inspired after watching events of the subsequent trial unfolding in court.