News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



Laois County Council has banned gaming machines in a Portlaoise retail/industrial unit development that was recently approved for conditional planning permission.

And should the development near Portlaoise hospital proceed, contribution fees amounting to $24,062 will have to be paid.

Michael Hanley applied on December 21, 2011 for permission to construct three new retail warehousing units and one light industrial unit, and to extend car parking area and all associated works at Ballyroan, Dublin Road, Laois.

Further information was requested from the Planning Department resulting in the proposed development being changed to two new ground-floor retail warehousing units of 92 and 84 square meters as opposed to three.
[Source: Leinster Express]


Bank of America has confirmed plans to cut 15 jobs at its Carrick-on-Shannon office over the next month.

In a statement issued to the Leitrim Observer last week, a spokesperson for the bank said that “following a detailed review of our operations in Carrick, Ireland, we have announced that we are planning a reduction of around 15 full time equivalent positions in the contact centre and call optimisation divisions servicing our U.K. consumer credit card business and we will be in consultation with the employees in scope over the next 30 days.”

The move comes just five months after Apollo Global Management announced it was officially beginning the process of acquiring the Irish loan book of Bank of America/MBNA. The loan books service some 200,000 customers in Ireland with a debt of around $817m.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]


A young man has been arrested in connection with a “tiger kidnapping” on the outskirts of Limerick city two weekends ago.

The 19-year-old was arrested at an address in the city Thursday morning and he is being questioned at Henry Street Garda (police) station under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act.

He is the second person to be arrested in connection with the alleged abduction of Stephen Cusack from a house in the Castletroy area on August 19. Stephen’s family own a post office.
[Source: Limerick Leader]


Community groups likely to be affected by the refusal of over 5,000 Longford homeowners to pay the government’s controversial household charge have warned of the potentially devastating repercussions that funding cuts could have on their day-to-day activities going forward.

Some voluntary organizations like Abbeylara’s Active Retirement Group are nervously awaiting the outcome of cuts to local government spending.

Breda Small, the group’s secretary, said changes to its normal allocation of grant aid would almost inevitably impact on what future activities it could offer locals.

“We have 25 active members so yes it would affect things,” she said bluntly. “To be honest we would be lost without it (council assistance).”
[Source: Longford Leader]


Ben McLaughlin finally put pen to paper on a three-year contract with English Premiership club Everton August 17.

The 17-year-old travelled to Liverpool with his parents to pen the deal and after returning to Dundalk two weekends ago, he started his new career as an Evertonian last week.

Dundalk FC Head of Youth Development Martin Connolly said that the Lilywhites were delighted with the terms of the deal.

“The club are very happy with the way it was dealt with. Everton showed their professionalism in the way they conducted themselves. They have been looking at Ben for a while. Their Chief Scout in Ireland, Paul Hamill, has known about Ben since he was a kid but it is completely different watching somebody as a kid and from watching them in the first-team. When Ben came in to the first-team they really showed interest. There were other clubs looking but Everton followed it through.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]


Irish Rail has apologized to customers who have witnessed anti-social behaviour on the Westport-to-Dublin train and say it is taking steps to curb such behaviour in the future.

The apology came as a result of representations by annoyed and upset customers to Mayo TD John O’Mahony. Mr. O’Mahony wrote to Irish Rail outlining his constituents concerns and in a reply, Richard Fearn, chief executive of Irish Rail, expressed disappointment to hear of anti-social behaviour on the train.

Mr. Fearn said that the company is taking steps to curb such behavior on its trains, including the deployment of security personnel at main stations and training staff to deal with anti-social incidents.
[Source: The Mayo News]


Cardiac patients, diabetics and cancer sufferers across Meath will be among those most severely impacted by proposed cuts in agency staff in the Louth-Meath Hospital Group, according to an internal HSE document.

The HSE memo, seen by the Meath Chronicle, has identified 36 separate areas where cuts would result in the highest possible level of danger to patients.