News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



History was quietly made on Sunday, November 11, when for the first time ever a Catholic priest led Antrim's Service of Remembrance in memory of those who paid the ultimate price in wartime.

Elsewhere, however, lives were threatened over the symbol of that solemn sacrifice – the poppy.
The most important day in the Royal British Legion calendar got under way with military precision at 2:15 p.m., and a huge cross-community crowd saluted the sacrifice of local members of the security forces before making their way to the Antrim Forum.

Five years ago around 350 people gathered for the service, but that figure has doubled – and is continuing to rise. Indeed, there was standing room only as Father Sean Emerson led the service, assisted by Protestant churchmen.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


A couple who claim they are the victims of an on-going campaign of harassment and assault by Newry P.S.N.I., were at the center of a heavy-handed policing incident that recently prompted Councilor Michael Ruane to speak out at the unjustified level of force used by police against them.

The chairman of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (P.C.S.P.) voiced his concerns two weeks ago at the very public incident, which occurred on Monaghan Street in Newry, in the early hours of Saturday, October 27, and resulted in the hospitalization of the couple. In the statement, he expressed his concern about the tactics police used.

“This makes the job of the P.C.S.P., whose remit is to build confidence between the public and the P.S.N.I., incredibly difficult. According to witnesses, the level of force used by the policemen involved cannot be justified. Whilst I accept that this case is now with the police ombudsman, this very public incident has, I believe, certainly undermined much of the positive work that we have been involved in creating confidence between the community and the P.S.N.I.”
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


A seizure of drugs worth an estimated $50,000 took place during a Garda (police) search of a house in Kilminchey, Portlaoise, County Laois, on Sunday, November 11.

The drugs included ecstasy tablets, cannabis herb and cannabis resin.

A 30-year-old man was arrested following a second raid.

The man was detained at a property at Graiguecullen, Co. Carlow, where Gardaí also discovered speed and cannabis herb with an estimated street value of $7,500.
[Source: Irish Times]


Liberty Insurance is set to shed 75 jobs in its Cavan offices in a "restructuring" that will see a total of almost 300 jobs axed nationally.

Employees were addressed at briefings in Cavan, Dublin and Enniskillen last Thursday and heard that in addition to the 75 Cavan jobs going, a further 140 redundancies in Dublin, and 70 in Enniskillen will go.

Liberty said that the move comes after a "strategic review of its cost base" and that they are seeking to secure 285 redundancies, "most of which it is hoped will be voluntary.” They say the move is due to the volume of the U.K. business declining sharply over the past few years.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


The average consumer debt in the county has increased five-fold over the last four years with judgment claims filed against Clare debtors jumping from $1,175,701in 2008 to a current figure of $7.234 million.

An indication of the hardship Clare people are experiencing is also reflected in the dramatic rise of credit union’s taking defaulters to court.

Of all the credit unions in the country, Scariff-based Derg Credit Union has registered the highest number of judgments against customers this year, with 46. St. Francis Credit Union, headquartered in Ennis, had the third-highest with 33 judgments over the same period.
[Source: Clare Champion]


Cork City has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, according to preliminary estimates released last week by the C.S.O.

The Mahon-based body found that there were 61 deaths by suicide officially recorded between 2009 and 2011 in Cork City, with a total of 210 in the city and county. However, one expert in the area believes the real figures may be even higher than those reported.

Professor Ella Arensman, director of research, National Suicide Research Foundation, U.C.C. says she wishes that the C.S.O. didn’t release preliminary figures which are almost always an under-representation of true figures. “The actual figures are always higher,” she said. “We have to be careful for 2010 and 2011 with the C.S.O. figures.”

"Anything you get with suicide rates is two years behind,” according to Pat Buckley, founder of Let’s Get Together Foundation, based in Midleton. “You can’t get last year’s stats on suicide, but you can get stats on everything else,” he said.

Mr. Buckley believes suicide figures are hugely underestimated with many deaths listed as accidental poisoning, crashes and accidents that are actually suicides.
[Source: Cork Independent]