News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



The thieves who systematically stripped the lead flashing from the roof of a local school have been accused of depriving local children of a decent education.

Intruders clambered on to the roof of Parkhall Integrated College's senior school at some time between 9:30 p.m. on December 18 and 7:30 a.m. the following morning – and it was clear that they were intent on making it worth their while.

Working under the cover of darkness, they prized lead worth $2,640 from the premises – leaving the school to clear up the mess, and pick up the tab.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


Irish language enthusiasts from south Armagh and County Louth, who gathered to watch the winter solstice in a passage tomb on the top of Slieve Gullion on Sunday, December 23, witnessed an event of an entirely different sort.

The 20 or so people from the group “Gaeltacht Oirdheasceart Uladh” were sitting in the tomb, which is aligned to the setting sun of the winter solstice. They were waiting for the sun to illuminate the tomb, when they were joined by a young American couple. Amid songs, some poetry and chat, as the light began to shine in through the entrance, one in the group observed that it would be a very romantic place for a marriage proposal. With that, the American man, David Whitehead, turned to his girlfriend, Cristin McKee, and said, “It’s funny they should say that because . . .” And with that, he got down on bended knee, produced a ring from his pocket and asked his girlfriend to marry him.

All in the tomb, Ireland’s highest surviving passage tomb that dates to about 3,500 B.C., were quiet as they awaited her response, which, luckily for David, was a resounding “yes.” Her answer was greeted with cheers and a very relieved David slipped a Celtic style diamond ring on her finger.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


Gardaí (police) have seized around 300 cannabis plants from a property on the outskirts of Carlow Town.

It was the second such seizure in the town in less than a week. The haul, worth an estimated $330,000, was discovered as part of a planned search of a house by Garda units. No arrests were made and a Garda spokesman said that investigations were ongoing.
[Source: Irish Independent]


A Cootehill singer is through to round two of R.T.É.'s exciting new music talent show, “The Voice of Ireland.”

Primary school teacher Michelle Cunningham (26) from Middle Chapel, Cootehill, bravely took to the stage in a bid to wow the competition's four judges – The Blizzards frontman Bressie, Sharon Corr of legendary Irish group The Corrs, Westlife's Kian Egan and U.K. songstress Jamelia. It wasn't long after she began singing her acoustic rendition of Emeli Sandé's “Read All About It” that Michelle's dream of progressing in the competition was realized, with Bressie pressing the ”'I want you” button first. Soon after, Kian joined him and the competition as to who would coach the talented local girl commenced.
 [Source: The Anglo Celt]


Students are going without food and some are dropping out of college as a result of financial hardship caused by delays in processing student maintenance grants, according to one students’ union leader.

N.U.I. Galway (N.U.I.G.) Students’ Union president, Paul Curley, has claimed some students “can’t afford rent, food or study materials” as a result of processing delays, since responsibility for new applications was moved from local authorities to the online Student Universal Support Ireland (S.U.S.I.) system.

In December, parliamentary questions revealed that less than half of all students from Clare had their grant applications processed, leaving almost 1,000 students from the county waiting for a decision. More than 2,000 students from Galway were in the same position.
[Source: Clare Champion]


A C.I.T. student says she is “beyond frustrated” after finally being given news that she will receive her grant five months after first applying for it, at half the amount she was originally intended to receive.

Sarah Kelleher, who is studying Early Education, received a letter from Student Universal Support Ireland (S.U.S.I.) last Wednesday stating that she would be awarded her grant. However, the letter said her grant is to be cut in half because the grant was awarded after January 1, when government cuts come into force. Appealing the cut will mean she won't receive any money while the appeal is going through, a situation she is desperate to avoid.

“If the grant is not restored, I’m going to have to drop out,” she says.

Sarah, who is in the final year of studying Early Education in C.I.T., says that she will now not be able to afford her rent for the year and will have no money for food.
[Source: Cork Independent]