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News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties

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ANTRIM

After years of delays and broken promises, Parkhall Integrated College in Antrim may finally be on course for its much-needed $14.6 million rebuild.

A whole generation of students has passed through the school since detailed proposals to replace the crumbling campuses were first tabled, but supporters allowed themselves to believe its time had finally come in June when Education Minister John O'Dowd unveiled his spending plans.

Their jubilation was short-lived, however, when it emerged that Antrim's last remaining controlled secondary school was not one of the lucky 18 sharing the $280m pot.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]

ARMAGH

A man was left with life-threatening injuries on September 16 after he was stabbed during an altercation in the early hours of Sunday morning. The horrific assault took place in the Thomas Street area of Bessbrook.

Newry Detectives launched an appeal for information after being called to the scene around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday following reports of a man having been stabbed during an altercation in the street.

The seriously injured man was rushed to hospital in Belfast following the incident.

A 34-year-old man was arrested a short time later and has since been charged with attempted murder.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

CARLOW

The county manager laid bare the true extent of cuts to the local authorities’ coffers two weeks ago as a result, he said, of the shortfall in the collection of the household charge.

Tom Barry stressed that the almost $1.3 million in cuts are “directly linked” to the collection of the controversial charge.

Services such as housing grants, maintenance, roads, waste water treatment, street cleaning, fire services, maintenance of burial grounds, library services and many more are being targeted in an effort to balance the books.

To date, 25 percent has been deducted from the overstretched budget.
[Source: Carlow Nationalist]

CAVAN

A Cavan County Council official has reiterated their policy that “less is more” when it comes to fitting out the county's towns and villages with litter bins.

Last week one of the authority's most senior officers pointed to the results of this year's national Tidy Towns awards as proof that litter bins may not be all that they're made out to be.

Peter Gallagher, Cavan County Council's delegated officer for Cootehill, told town councilors that the success achieved by the people of Abbeyshrule in Co. Longford in winning the premier national Tidy Towns award was notable in more than one aspect.

Mr. Gallagher pointed out that Abbeyshrule's Tidy Towns committee made the decision to remove all the litter bins in their town. "I will say no more," the council official stated at the September monthly meeting of Cootehill Town Council.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]

CLARE

With Clare hurling enjoying unprecedented success with a second All-Ireland U-21 title in four years, County GAA Board chairman Michael O’Neill has appealed to the business community to help prevent a player drain.

He was speaking at the civic welcome by Clare County Council and Ennis Town Council, attended by several thousand supporters in Ennis on Sunday evening (September 16).

Each player received a rousing cheer when introduced. A special cheer was reserved for team captain Conor McGrath when he hoisted the Cross of Cashel Cup at the reception.

O’Neill said, “It’s important for us that these players continue to be available to Clare teams.”
He urged local employers to keep them in mind for any job vacancies.
[Source: Clare Champion]

CORK

A city center pharmacist has told the Cork Independent that there has been an “upsurge” in the sale of decongestants recently. Pharmacists have been warned that some people are buying over-the-counter drugs like Sudafed to manufacture crystal methamphetamine, a highly-addictive class A drug.

Eastern European gangs have been reported as buying large amounts of common decongestants like Sudafed. The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) has issued an alert to its members, after consultation with the Garda (Police) National Drug Unit.

Martin Lynch from the Victory Outreach group in Cork city center which deals with drug addicts and offers them help, is worried that the drug will become common in Cork soon.
[Source: Cork Independent]

DERRY

A campaign against plans to close Magilligan Prison got underway last week with a petition that organizers hope will get 20,000 signatures.

The Prison Officers’ Association launched the campaign on Friday afternoon at the gates of Northern Ireland’s second largest prison, which the prison service plans to replace with a new medium security jail at a location closer to Belfast in six years’ time.

Chairman of the Association Finlay Spratt says the aim is to march to Stormont on November 19 and hand over the petition to Justice Minister, David Ford.

“As far as I am concerned the decision has been made by faceless people in the Department of Justice,” he said last Tuesday (September 18).
[Source: Derry Journal]

DONEGAL

Dan Allen of Muff is a man with great foresight.

He bought a new car number plate from the DVLA the night before Donegal beat Cork. The registration number: DL 12 SAM.

Clever Dan paid $1,600 – his winning bid for the number plate.

The following day, the DVLA phoned him to ask him the significance of the number plate, as they had received over 200 calls enquiring about the purchase of it. So, a delighted Dan explained the background to them.

Since then Dan has turned down $16,000 for this unique plate.
[Source: Donegal Democrat]

DOWN

The funerals had taken place last Wednesday of Ulster rugby starlet Nevin Spence, his father Noel and brother Graham, who all died in slurry tank farm accident on their Northern Ireland farm.

The service was held at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, Co. Down.

Noel (68) and brothers, Graham (30) and Nevin (22) all died trying to save each other on the family farm near Hillsborough.

The sole survivor of the tragedy, Nevin's sister Emma – who tried in vain to save her dad and brothers – told mourners at the funeral "they were gentlemen."
[Source: Belfast Telegraph]

DUBLIN

Murdered Alan Ryan’s gang has drawn up a hit-list of criminals they believe gunned down the Real IRA boss.

Ryan’s pals have been intimidating local drug dealers for information on the killing, the Herald can reveal.

The gang has now compiled a short-list of two prominent names they believe are behind the murder.

“The RIRA boys have been making their own inquiries with local drug dealers – it seems they have received a good level of cooperation there,” a source said.
[Source: Evening Herald]

FERMANAGH

An Ederney man who admitted harassing a woman he met through a community-based course has been told to stay away from the woman and not to attempt to contact her either at home or at her place of work.

Imposing an 18-month probation order and a restraining order on Cyril Albert Irvine (35) from Glassmullagh, Ederney District Judge Liam McNally told the defendant he had no doubt his conduct over a six-month period caused “a great deal of trauma to this lady” but rather than sending him directly to prison the judge said he would like him to address the issues which cause him to act in this manner.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]

GALWAY

Community and social projects in the south Connemara area could be in for a windfall if a wind farm project in the Lettermucu area gets the planning go ahead.
Gaoi an Iarthair Teo is offering a fund totaling over $1.4 million over a 20-year period to organizations within a 10 mile radius of the proposed wind farm – from the time the business comes into operation.
The initial fund would be $320,000 with yearly additions of $65,000 in the two decades following. A spokesman for the company said that an independent group would be set up to assess applications and make payments.
 [Source: Galway Bay FM]

KERRY

The population appears to have fallen dramatically in rural areas in south Kerry in a drift towards the towns of Cahersiveen, Killorglin, Killarney and Kenmare, according to a new draft plan to go before the public for comment.

A substantial number of people still living in the countryside travel for work in Kenmare, Killarney, Killorglin and elsewhere, according to the report covering the section of the Ring of Kerry from Cahersiveen to Sneem.

In the wider rural Waterville area the population has fallen by eight percent in the last five years but some of the surrounding town lands have lost more than 22 percent.
[Source: Irish Times]

KILDARE

Undercover Gardaí (police) are targeting local markets where illegal cigarettes may be sold, according to a senior Garda spokesperson.

This follows the revelation, in a recent survey, that Co. Kildare – and Newbridge, in particular – has one of the highest levels of illegal cigarette sales in the country. Traders throughout the county have expressed frequent concerns about the amount of illegally imported cigarettes being sold on the street and at local markets.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]

KILKENNY

The casual traders of Kilkenny Farmers’ Market have been granted their long-standing wish to move their stalls into the center of the Parade on a trial basis, beginning last Thursday.

Until last week, the traders were based on the gravel walk on the east side of the Parade. However, for two years now, they have been making submissions to the council asserting that the location is not suitable.

Two submissions made during a recent review of the local casual trading by-laws said that the gravel walk was too far away from the main thoroughfare of the town, lacked visibility, was difficult to keep clean, and even posed a health and safety risk.
[Source: Kilkenny People]

LAOIS

A civic reception should be accorded to Mountmellick Paralympic star Ailish Dunne, proposed Clr. Rosemary Whelan at the Town Council’s monthly meeting September 13. Clr. Ollie Payne seconded.

Chairman Clr. Pat Bowe led councilors in extolling Ailish’s achievements.
[Source: Leinster Express]

LEITRIM

Junior Certification celebrations in Carrick-on-Shannon resulted in one youth being knocked down, another receiving serious facial injuries as a result of an assault while a number of others were hospitalized for alcohol-related complaints.

It is understood 24 Gardaí (police) were in operation on the night while seven ambulances were deployed.

Gardaí in Carrick-on-Shannon have also renewed their appeal for a member of the public, believed to be a woman from Leitrim Village, who phoned them on the night of the Junior Certification celebrations, Wednesday (September 12) to make contact with them again.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]

LIMERICK

A British television star has been remanded in custody after he pleaded guilty to robbing more than $6,500 in cash from a MoneyGram outlet in Limerick city center more than three years ago.

Craig Fitzpatrick (25) who previously had an address at Emmet Place, St. Joseph’s Street, Limerick appeared before a special sitting of Limerick District Court last evening following his extradition from the U.K.

He pleaded guilty to robbing $6,700 in cash from Meed Beauty, Parnell Street on August 15, 2009.

A number of staff members were threatened with a knife during the incident although, Limerick District Court heard, Fitzpatrick only acted as a lookout.
[Source: Limerick Leader]

LONGFORD

A man was in stable condition in hospital last Thursday morning after he was knocked down by a car on his way to work outside Ballymahon.

The incident happened at around 6:30 a.m. on the main Ballymahon to Athlone Road. It is believed the man was walking along the road as he made his way to work at the nearby Kepak meat processing facility when the incident occurred.

Gardaí (police) cordoned off the road for a period of time this morning as part of the investigation. So far, details as to what may have caused the accident remain unclear although detectives are working on the belief that a motorist traveling in the Athlone direction had been attempting to overtake a lorry shortly before the incident took place.
[Source: Longford Leader]

LOUTH

The Louth and Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick says that he will not vacate his seat in the Dail (Irish Parliament) if there is further cuts at the Louth County Hospital, the Dundalk Democrat can reveal.

An angry citizen placed a number of posters highlighting the cuts at the hospital in a number of locations around Dundalk, including the Dundalk Democrat’s office.

A point on the posters states “Fitzer, seek to reverse this trend of decision making or vacate your seat in the Dail. Remember, ill health will not simply go away because of political decision making.”
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]

MAYO

Cutbacks in home help hours will lead to premature deaths for those with chronic illnesses, according to Dr. Eleanor Fitzgerald, North Mayo coroner.

Fitzgerald’s comments came following an inquest into the death of an elderly man in Ballina who suffered with Parkinson’s disease and depression.

Although the man was receiving home help at the time of his death, Fitzgerald said if proposed cuts were to be brought in more deaths of this kind would happen.

“The importance of home help cannot be stressed enough. If there were to be reductions in the number of home help hours there would be an increase in the number of deaths among people with chronic illness.

“That’s not to say they would all take their own lives but there would be an increase in depression and certainly other mental health issues and quality of life would be diminished. It would end up with early demise [for those with chronic illness],” she said.
[Source: The Mayo News]

MEATH

Ireland's first electricity link with Great Britain has been officially opened at Batterstown by Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, TD, Irish and British energy ministers and EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger.

The EirGrid East West Interconnector runs between Deeside in north Wales and Woodland, County Meath in Ireland. Approximately 160 miles in length, the underground and undersea link has the capacity to transport 500 megawatts – enough energy to power 300,000 homes.

The EirGrid Interconnector will carry electricity both ways, helping to improve security of supply, increase competitiveness and to encourage the growth of renewable energy generation.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]

MONAGHAN

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains has announced that it has resumed the search for the remains of Columba McVeigh at Bragan Bog.

The 19-year-old from Donaghmore in Co. Tyrone was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1975.

The Commission conducted an earlier search of the bog this year, which ended without success in May.

Head of the Commission's Investigation Team Geoff Knupfer said the resumption of the search is based on a "refinement of information received.”
[Source: RTÉ News]

OFFALY

Tullamore was tuned up and ready to go for the International Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival which came to the town for the first time this year.

The festival ran from Thursday, September 20 to Sunday, September 23 and featured a superb selection of top performers from around the world.

The second decade of the festival celebrated the very best of Irish traditional, American bluegrass and folk music. The weekend consisted of street and pub sessions and jams, nightly seated concerts, master-class workshops, free outdoor concerts, local craft displays, busking competitions and a late night festival club.
[Source: Offaly Express]

ROSCOMMON

Just days after the eagerly awaited comedy “Moone Boy” premiered on Sky 1, the cast and crew of the Boyle-featured series were back in town to film the second series of the show.

With the Irish Times giving the comedy, co-written by Boyle actor and Hollywood star Chris O’Dowd, four out of five stars, there was an air of excitement as filming commenced last Monday close to the Bailey Bridge.

Cast and crew continued filming around Lough Key last week and part of this week’s filming will be a St. Patrick’s Day parade in the town center on Tuesday, September 25.
[Source: Roscommon Herald]

SLIGO

Several drivers who found themselves in court escaped penalty points after offering a variety of excuses.

Judge Kevin Kilrane took a lenient view striking out the cases on the basis the drivers pay sums of money to charities.

Jane Mulrooney of Gortarowey, had been summoned for being on her mobile phone on February 25 at Tully, Rathcormack, but defending solicitor Aine Kilfeather said she had a bad leak in her house and was on the phone to a plumber.

The case was struck out on payment of $130 to charity.
[Source: Sligo Champion]

TIPPERARY

Last Wednesday evening the County rounds of sheep and beef stock judging were held in Moyne. Competitors from both North Tipperary and Offaly competed in their respective county competitions alongside each other as they were co-hosted simultaneously.

The county executive would like to thank the Moyne/Templetuohy club for hosting the event and express our deep appreciation to Francis Cleere for extending his hospitality to all in the use of his farm for the competition.
[Source: Tipperary Star]

TYRONE

A total of 70 schools throughout the Mid-Ulster and South Tyrone area have been revealed to contain some form of asbestos in their buildings.

Two weeks ago, the Courier reported that six schools in the area contained the most dangerous form of asbestos – crocidolite, but there are also 64 more schools throughout the area which contain the potentially lethal substance.

The most common form of asbestos in schools is chrysotile (white asbestos), with some 65 of the 70 schools containing that type of the fibers. Brown asbestos, or amosite, is less common, with about half of the schools (36) affected containing it.

Our story two weeks ago revealed that Ballylifford Primary School, Cookstown, Holy Trinity College, Cookstown, Newmills Primary School, St. Mary's Primary School, Dunamore, St. Brigids's Primary School, Augher and St. John's Primary School, Kingsisland contained crocidolite, which is said to be 500 times more dangerous than chrysotile.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]

WATERFORD

A man in his 30s had appeared before Waterford District Court last Wednesday afternoon charged in relation to a drugs seizure in the city on Monday.

The 32-year-old was charged with three counts of possession, and three counts of the sale and supply of drugs.

The man was arrested after synthetic drugs worth more than $1 million were discovered at an apartment complex in Waterford City.
[Source: Waterford News & Star]

WESTMEATH

There were on average 22,300 unemployed people in the four Midland counties of Westmeath, Offaly, Laois and Longford during the second quarter of the year, new official figures have confirmed.

The CSO quarterly national household survey figures released last week show the region's unemployment rate is now 17.9 percent compared with 16.8 percent in the same quarter of last year. This is the second highest unemployment rate in the State after the Southeast at 17.8 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 14.7 percent in the period April to June 2012.

However, the unemployment rate in the Midlands is slightly down from the 18.1 percent recorded in the first three months of this year.
[Source: Westmeath Independent]

WEXFORD

Wexford Fianna Fail TD John Browne has claimed that thousands of women in Wexford and all around the country will be facing massive cuts to their pensions due to changes that have come into effect under the radar this month.

Deputy Browne said many women in Wexford who are due to retire soon have no idea that their pensions payments will be reduced significantly, while others don’t know that they may no longer qualify at all.
[Source: Wexford Echo]

WICKLOW

A Carnew man who will represent his county at the upcoming National Ploughing Championships is expected to be one of the oldest competitors to take part in the event.

Edward Dowse (80) will compete in the Special Horse Class in New Ross on Thursday, September 27.

The local man who first participated in the competition at the age of 18 in 1950 has been a regular competitor at the championships and has won many classes.

“I competed in the U-21 class for four years from 1950 and won three times. Those are the ones I cherish most because I was only 18. I am looking forward to this year's competition and I would say that I am one of the oldest entering, if not the oldest,” Edward explained.
[Source: Wicklow People]
 

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