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News from around the country of Ireland Photo by: Google Images

News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties

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News from around the country of Ireland Photo by: Google Images

ANTRIM

With the shutters coming down last Thursday, time ran out for the award-winning Bridge Training Unit in Antrim.

A funding dispute with the Northern Trust has left a black hole in their accounts and unable to keep their heads above water, Bridge has no option but to fold.

It is a devastating blow for the trainees who consider it a home from home. Most cannot understand why the center has to close - and neither can their parents.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]

ARMAGH

An independently-led investigation is the only way to get to the bottom of a financial gaffe committed by Newry and Mourne District Council officials which could end up costing ratepayers up to $150,000, Sinn Fein Councilor Terry Hearty has said.

The costly mistake centers on the planned Council Recycling facility earmarked for a site on the Newry Road in Crossmaglen. In 2009 the Council purchased the site and negotiations of the sale included an agreement that the seller would construct an entrance road. However, this never materialized and the company later went into administration. It has recently emerged, however, that the Council handed over $69,000 to the seller without following proper protocol and is now embroiled in a legal battle to have this money returned. Furthermore, the road must still be constructed and recent tenders for the project have indicated it could cost in the region of $100,000. To add insult to injury, when asked, Council officials admitted that an important file documenting the terms of the sale has since disappeared.
 [Source: Examiner Newspaper]

CARLOW

The disused Teagasc building in Bagenalstown should be made available for youth services in the town and not be left lying idle, according to Councilor Jennifer Murnane O’Connor.

Cllr. Murnane O’Connor pleaded with the government to consider this option and expressed her surprise that agriculture minister Simon Coveney is content to let the building remain disused.

“In response to my colleague Dara Calleary’s questions in the Dáil (Irish parliament) [last] week, Minister Coveney refused to answer whether the Teagasc building in Bagenalstown can be used for vital youth services in Carlow,” said Cllr. Murnane O’Connor. “Teagasc is unable to sell the premises and, rather than letting it lie idle, it should be made available to the local regional youth service for youth work and development purposes. Amazingly, Minister Coveney refused to answer the question from Fianna Fáil and, rather than be proactive and look into the proposition, he is content to pass the buck and pretend like it is not an issue,” she added.
[Source: Carlow Nationalist]

CAVAN

Sheep rustling, stolen Guinness kegs, burgled schools and the thefts batteries from a temporary traffic light were amongst the crime figures for the first three months of this year. The figures were revealed at the Cavan County Joint Policing Committee on Monday (May 21) by regional Garda (police) Chief Superintendent James Sheridan. Chief Supt. Sheridan says the figures show a greater need for people to be aware of suspicious activity "at all times of the day".

He added: "I know it's not much of a consolation to people who've suffered, having their houses robbed, but the number of burglaries in the county decreased significantly.

"We are very much focusing on targeting these crimes, we're looking at the where, when and at what times these crimes are being committed and we are having a degree of success in our detection of the people carrying them out."
[Source: Anglo Celt]

CLARE

Clare County Council is to sell off almost 100 acres of land in Drumcliffe in a public auction next month. A guideline price of between $440,000 and $470,000 has been placed on the land, situated four kilometers north of Ennis.

Handling the sale on behalf of the council is Costelloe estate agents. The 37.3 hectares are situated close to the graveyard fronting the north side of Drumcliffe Road.

According to David Costelloe, the land has “enormous potential”. He is expecting a good level of interest at the auction on Friday, June 22 at 3 p.m. in the Old Ground Hotel.

“The land has road frontage of about 120 m, with extensive frontage to Ballyalla Lake, the River Fergus and the River Poulacorry. It is mixed land comprising upland, caucas and a small portion of forested area,” he explained.
[Source: Clare Champion]

CORK

The authors of a new book launched in Cork last week have found that Irish people have been victims of trafficking in Australia.

An estimated six people are being trafficked for the purposes of the sex industry in Cork City at any one time, according to David Lohan and Dr. Jennifer deWan.

However, their research also found that Irish emigrants in Australia have been trafficked in the construction industry, undergoing forced labor, having their travel documents withheld, and being subjected to threats of serious harm.

According to David Lohan and Dr. Jennifer DeWan, co-authors of Open Secrets: An Irish Perspective on Trafficking & Witchcraft, this finding highlights for the first time the "deliberate exploitation of Irish workers".
 [Source: Cork Independent]

DERRY

A 30-year-old man from Derry’s Bogside has appeared in court accused of possessing bomb devices found in a flat in the city earlier last week.

Anthony Thomas Friel, of Gartan Square, is further charged with possessing articles which could be used in an act of terrorism.

The charges relate to the police search of a flat in Maureen Avenue on May 21.

Friel is accused of possessing three improvised explosive devices, three timer power units, timers and batteries.

The 30-year-old is also accused of having tools, sealed work suits and duct tape.

During a brief hearing at Derry Magistrate’s Court last Thursday morning, Friel spoke only to confirm his details and that he understood the charges.
[Source: Derry Journal]

DONEGAL

Still riding on the crest of a wave since his election victory, Irish President Michael D. Higgins is now Bundoran bound this summer for one of the country’s largest surfing events.

The organizers of this year’s surf-and-music festival, Sea Sessions, which takes place in June have confirmed that President Higgins is due to attend this year’s event on Saturday, June 30, and make an address to the concert goers.

His appearance will see him take the same stage as The Happy Monday’s and The Kaiser Chiefs.

The announcement has been welcomed by local tourism officer for Bundoran. Tracey Ferguson, who says he will be a welcome visitor to the town.
[Source: Donegal Democrat]

DOWN

A 14-year jail term handed to a member of a gang that killed a policeman in Northern Ireland has been referred to the Court of Appeal by the region's director of public prosecutions.

This came hours after the judge in Constable Stephen Carroll's murder trial said he would back a review of the sentencing guidelines that he was obliged to follow in the case.

The officer's widow, Kate, had hit out after John Paul Wootton (21), who drove the getaway car, was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years by Lord Justice Paul Girvan, on the basis of factors including that Wootton was under 18 at the time.

The jail term was nine years less than that handed to Brendan McConville, whose coat may have been wrapped around the murder weapon.
[Source: Belfast Telegraph]

DUBLIN

A 16-year old Dublin boy has been spared a custodial sentence after he was twice caught dealing crack cocaine.

The teenager was placed on supervised probation for six months after he pleaded guilty at the Children's Court to possessing drugs for sale or supply in Ballymun in north Dublin.

Judge Bryan Smyth ordered the teenager, as a condition of his probation, to attend addiction counseling, to continue taking part in a training course and not to commit any further crimes.
[Source: Evening Herald]

FERMANAGH

The announcement that up to 100 public sector jobs could be relocated from Belfast to Enniskillen has been universally welcomed locally.

It follows confirmation that the Forestry Service is to move its headquarters from its current base near Stormont to offices in Fermanagh.

Ironically, one of the sites in the reckoning is the now empty Water Service complex on the Killyhevlin Industrial Estate, one of the many public agencies locally from which some 500 jobs were transferred out of the county over a six-year period.

The transfer of public sector jobs to Fermanagh is seen as a massive boost the local economy and evidence of the Stormont government’s determination to decentralize jobs, where possible, to rural locations.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]

GALWAY

The IDA will consider re-designating its 60-acre industrial park in Oranmore for use as a hub for multinational company data centers, with the potential to create hundreds of new jobs.

With a new transatlantic high-speed cable set to deliver huge broadband capacity to Galway, the Science & Technology Park is seen as a key site to attract investment.

And Galway West Deputy Brian Walsh said the foundation is now being laid for Galway to become a “hotbed for high-tech multinationals”.
 [Source: Galway Bay FM]

KERRY

The rent of temporary pre-fab classrooms will cost the State $750,000 in Kerry this year.
However, not one Kerry school has been included in a Department of Education and Skills initiative to replace rented pre-fabs with permanent classrooms.

Data obtained by The Kerryman from the Department of Education and Skills reveals that there are currently 19 schools in Kerry - 18 primary and one post-primary - renting a total of 32 prefab units. One prefab unit may consist of one or more classrooms and/or ancillary accommodation.
[Source: The Kerryman]

KILDARE

JJ Kavanagh’s Bus Company has said that they are going to trial routes which by-pass Athy in the coming weeks and months.

JJ Kavanagh told the Kildare Nationalist that they were forced to take this action due to the traffic hold-ups in the town which, he says, can lead to schedule delays of up to 45 minutes at various times.

Kavanagh’s operate 18 passenger services a day on three routes through Athy. A Clonmel-Kilkenny-Dublin route is operated seven days a week, a Portlaoise-Athy-Carlow route operates six days a week and a Carlow to Maynooth route operates five days a week.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]

KILKENNY

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny announced the first new jobs created by Terry Clune’s Connect Ireland initiative.

Around 30 jobs were announced for Carlow last Thursday afternoon at a launch in Taxback’s headquarters in Kilkenny. Connect Ireland is the company that encourages sharing contacts around the world to facilitate inward investment in Ireland.
[Source: Kilkenny People]

LAOIS

The Abbeyleix Hospital Action Committee says they have had the strongest indication yet that the Community Nursing Home can be saved, following a meeting with the Minister of State in the Department of Health.

In similar fashion to the Minister for Health, Minister Kathleen Lynch’s visit to the hospital was shrouded in secrecy, with no notification to the hospital or local action committee.

“We got no notification of her visit, but we did get to meet with her,” Gary O’Keeffe, PRO explained.

“It was a frank but positive meeting. The Minister said she was highly impressed with what she saw in the hospital and it was a true example of what the hospital is like on any day of the week.
[Source: Leinster Express]

LEITRIM

Three-time Irish Olympian and former 5,000m world champion, Eamon Coughlan is to launch a Leitrim County Council healthy living program as part of a unique initiative aimed at our young people.

With a dramatic rise in the number of young Irish people now being diagnosed as clinically obese and suffering other healthy issues because of poor diet and a lack of exercise, Fine Gael councillor, John McCartin has proposed a special initiative aimed at encouraging young people to take control of their health and their future.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]

LIMERICK

A county Limerick man who has been locked up on the continent for two months while he awaits trial for allegedly smuggling drugs is completely innocent, say his family.

Sean Ryan “Thadger” from the Doon Road, Cappamore was arrested in Bulgaria at the end of March and has been extradited to Lille in France in the past two weeks.

Mr. Ryan’s wife, Joan, says it has been a “nightmare” for her family and friends.

“They have no proof or evidence. I can’t visit him, can’t phone him and have only been allowed to see him once.
[Source: Limerick Leader]

LONGFORD

The National Roads Authority (NRA) and Longford County Council have come under fire for not doing enough to address traffic congestion problems at one of Longford town’s busiest junctions.

Cllr. Paul Connell questioned a recent decision taken by local authority bosses to close off the entrance to St Mel’s Cathedral car park from the Ballinalee Road.

He said the build-up in traffic flow had deteriorated to such an extent that the situation now presented a serious risk to both motorists and pedestrians.
[Source: Longford Leader]

LOUTH

In a bid to cut spending costs it has emerged that four of RTE’s regional offices could face closure including their television and radio suite in Dundalk

The extent of the broadcasters’ financial crisis was revealed last month at a Dáil (Irish parliament) debate about the closure of RTÉ’s London office. RTÉ director General Noel Curran is under immense pressure as he has to make $31 million cuts in the next year. This led to his announcement that there would be cuts in regional spending and decisions about the matter would be made in the next quarter.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]

MAYO

The town of Swinford was last Wednesday night coming to terms with the shocking news that popular local sports star Gary Price had drowned in a tragic accident in South East Asia.

Gary’s body was found on May 21 after a two-day search. He reportedly was swept away by a strong current when part of a group crossing the Nam Song River near the town of Vang Vieng in Laos at the weekend.

The 23-year-old was in South-East Asia for a number of weeks on holiday. He had lived in Australia for almost a year and was due to be home in Swinford this week, before flying to Boston for the summer with friends. Poignantly his 24th birthday would have taken place Tuesday, May 29.

MEATH

As the number of burglaries in Meath rockets, garda (police) analysis has shown that 92% of homes targeted had no alarms, while 31& of burglaries involved the theft of cash and 20% the theft of jewelry.

Crime statistics released last month revealed a 40% increase in incidents of burglary in Meath between 2010 and 2011, with a total of 1,176 burglaries in the county last year.

Now a further analysis of burglaries in Meath from January 2011 to March 2012 has shown that the top items stolen were jewelry, cash, electronics, motor accessories, televisions and tools.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]

MONAGHAN

Fashion luminaries have picked Irish designer Natalie Coleman (32) as one to watch for the future.
The Monaghan-born designer last Tuesday night won the Craft Council's 'Future Makers Award' at Dublin's Sugar Club for her colorful dress designs with quirky hand-drawn and water-colored illustrations based upon a selection of imaginary jewelry.

Lily Allen is among the figures who have bought works created by the young designer, who launched her own label in 2010 with shows at a number of fashion weeks, including New York and Paris.
[Source: Irish Independent]

OFFALY

A Tullamore man has denied charges against him that he had sex in a public place in Dubai, a charge that could bring with it a three year-jail sentence.

Twenty-eight-year old Conor McRedmond is accused of being drunk in a public place and having sex before marriage with British woman Rebecca Blake.

Mr. McRedmond was working for an engineering firm in Dubai and had been at an Irish bar before taking a taxi with Ms. Blake on May 4.
[Source: Offaly Express]

ROSCOMMON

Roscommon Independent TD Luke “Ming” Flanagan has called on Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív to break his silence and resume public opposition to the fiscal treaty.

Appealing to the Galway West TD, who was instructed to refrain from publicly advocating a No vote, Mr. Flanagan said: “He needs to come back out now and do the right thing.” The former deputy leader should “lead the people in Fianna Fáil that listen to him to go out and vote No”.

He said Mr. Ó Cuív “can’t get off the hook on this”.
[Source: Irish Times]

SLIGO

County Sligo and the Strandhill peninsula in particular will receive massive exposure in the United States later this year following a visit from the world famous Martha Stewart magazine and TV channel film crew.

The magazine, owned by the American business magnate, author, publisher and television personality, had intended to do a feature on seaweed and when a researcher simply put in a search for seaweed on the internet, he came up with VOYA seaweed baths in Strandhill.

This gave him the idea to do a piece on the baths and led to the magazine doing a travel piece on Strandhill and much of Sligo as well. The Martha Stewart TV channel also got in on the act and a team of writers, photographers, TV crew and models then spent a total of three days here and got some excellent shots of many of the local tourist attractions.

Sligo will feature in the September issue of the Martha Stewart magazine and the television program is also scheduled to go out in the same month. "This really came out of the blue, but we were delighted with the visit. It will give the baths, Strandhill and Sligo huge exposure in the U.S. later this year and it should help our local tourist industry," said Neil Walton of VOYA seaweed baths.

TIPPERARY

At this month’s Templemore Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting, Cllr. Jim O’Shea raised the issue of a caravan near the Garda (police) grounds which had some “dangerous” cabling attached to it.

“It’s within a mile of a designated halting site,” said Cllr. O’Shea. “It’s going down the road. The number of people complaining about it…it’s a bone of contention.” Cllr. Maura Byrne said it’s “absolutely dangerous. I see children playing on the street. If we had this on our own homes, we’d be in great trouble.”

Cllr. Mick Connell added that the “health and safety people” should have moved in.

“It’s more than a private concern. I think it’s a matter for the County Council and the Gardaí. They should get their heads together.” The caravan is “on a continuous white line.”
[Source: Tipperary Star]

TYRONE

The sudden closure of a Dungannon road for emergency repair work has sparked anger among local residents who claim to have had up to 12 miles added to basic journeys as a result.

According to Councilors Roger and Frances Burton, the Drumaspil Road at Fishponds Bridge over the M1 motorway was closed on Monday (May 14), without warning, at a great inconvenience to residents.
A Roads Service spokesman said that while normally notification of work is given, due to the "emergency nature of the work", this was not possible in this case.

WATERFORD

Gardaí (police) were carrying out investigations last week at an unoccupied building in the city after a body of a male was discovered on the premises which is situated at the junction of New Street and John’s Lane.

The body of the man was discovered around 6 p.m. Wednesday evening and several Gardaí were in attendance at the scene for a number of hours as they worked to establish the nature of the death.
The building, which once housed WIT arts and construction students, has been unoccupied since WIT moved out some years ago.
[Source: Waterford News & Star]

WESTMEATH

The Minister for Defense Alan Shatter has said discussions are on-going on the planned abolition of one of the country's three Defense Forces brigades, amid growing fears this week that Athlone's Custume Barracks will be singled out for the loss of brigade headquarters status.

The remarks come as rumors intensify that up to 500 Defense Force members based in Athlone could be redeployed elsewhere, if Custume Barracks loses its status as 4th Western Brigade headquarters.
The Government announced last year that it would be moving to a two-brigade structure, meaning the loss of brigade HQ status in either Athlone; Dublin (2nd Eastern Brigade); or Cork (1st Southern Brigade).

During a visit to Athlone last Monday, Minister Shatter indicated that there was no possibility the Athlone barracks would close, but he refused to be drawn on the outcome of the brigade reshuffle.

"There's a process of reorganization now under discussion in which both the secretary general of my department, the chief of staff, and those who work with both of them, are engaged," said the Minister. "I'm not going to pre-empt those discussions that are taking place."

He said he would be presented with "a proposed reorganized framework for the Defence Forces," once the discussion process concluded.

The implications for local Army personnel if the 4th Western Brigade is scrapped are not yet clear.

WEXFORD

SIPTU met with Glanbia management last Thursday to discuss the company's plan to close its plant in Inch, Co Wexford.

The move would make 50 workers redundant.

SIPTU, the union which represents the staff, said the focus of the meeting will be on saving the jobs.
Glanbia made the announcement late last Thursday evening that it intended to close the Wexford factory following an agreement to sell the Yoplait Ireland yoghurt business for $23m.

Glanbia has held the Irish franchise for Yoplait for the past 40 years, and introduced the popular French brand to Ireland in the early 1970s.

It is selling the country franchise to Yoplait’s ultimate owner, US food group General Mills, which has recently also bought the regional franchises for Yoplait in Britain and Canada.
[Source: Irish Examiner]

WICKLOW

Wicklow County Council is to go on trial in May of next year in connection with the death of two fire-fighters in Bray.

The council is charged with failing to provide a system of work at Bray Fire Station, which ensured that fire-fighters were not exposed to unnecessary risk. The prosecution is being brought by the Health and Safety Authority.

Forty-six-year-old father of 15 Brian Murray and 26-year-old Mark O'Shaughnessy died fighting a fire at a disused factory at Adelaide Villas, off the Dargle Road, on September 26, 2007.

At a hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, the council’s defense team told Judge Martin Nolan that there was still a large about of pre-trial preparation required. The trial is due to start on May 29, 2013 and will last for at least three weeks.
[Source: Irish Independent]

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