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News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties

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Stephen McLaughlin says he is living the dream after completing his switch from Derry City to Nottingham Forest.

The 22-year-old winger has signed a three-and-a-half year contract after “The Reds” agreed on an undisclosed fee with Derry City.

McLaughlin caught the eye of Forest’s scouts with a string of impressive performances in the League of Ireland and had a week’s trial with the club last month.

“Things are just going better and better each week for me,” he told his new club’s official website. I came here on trial after I won the F.A.I. Cup with Derry City.
[Source: Derry Journal]

DONEGAL

An Astroturf playing field flanked on all sides by Dubai’s desert sand was a sea of green and gold two weekends ago as Donegal supporters from across the United Arab Emirates came to watch the All-Ireland champions play.

The Donegal players, management, backroom team and their partners are currently enjoying a well-deserved break in Dubai. In addition to soaking up the sunshine, Jim McGuinness scheduled training sessions and a match against a team made of the Middle East’s finest players.

The Middle East players had an obvious advantage over the Donegal opposition; these Irish expatriates are now well used to playing in hot, humid conditions, nevertheless Donegal easily won the game.
[Source: Donegal Democrat]

DOWN

Staff-members at local branches of Ulster Bank in Newry and Newtownhamilton face a bleak start to 2013 after learning their jobs are at risk, following Ulster Bank’s announcement that it will close around 20 branches and sub-offices throughout the whole of Ireland this year.

The company revealed two weeks ago that it is reviewing the fate of all 226 of its branches in Ireland and would provide further details on closures within the next few weeks.

The Irish Bank Officials’ Association (I.B.O.A.), the bank workers’ trade union, was informed of the closures during a staff conference two weeks ago.  Larry Broderick, general secretary of the I.B.O.A., warned that half of the closures will be in Northern Ireland, home to 90 Ulster Bank branches.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]

DUBLIN

A Dublin G.A.A. hero's All-Ireland medal is among 18 medals he is auctioning off.

Ray Hazley (53) was sent off in the infamous “Game of Shame” football final between Dublin and Galway in 1983.

Hazley received his medal after Dublin won the final – despite being reduced to just 12 players after a number of sending-offs in the overheated final at Croke Park.

The medals – won by the player during a distinguished career for Dublin and his club St. Vincent's – are being sold by Whyte's auctioneers.

An estimate of $5,000 to $7,000 has been put on the collection. The auction, at Whyte's Galleries in Molesworth Street, takes place on January 26.

The former football star has worked abroad for several years as a high-ranking executive for the Pepsi drinks company. He was president of Pepsi in Spain until 2010, when he was transferred to a senior post in Turkey.
[Source: Evening Herald]

FERMANAGH

Almost half (613) of all crime incidents in Enniskillen Town Center in the last year took place in the Diamond area, according to the annual Enniskillen C.C.T.V. report, which was released last week.

The overall number of incidents has increased from 1,165 to 1,244, while reported crime has increased from 507 to 533.

Now in its fourth year of operation, seven C.C.T.V. cameras cover areas around Enniskillen Town Center, and the report details statistics from April 2011 to March 2012.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]

GALWAY

Galway’s nine Dail (National Assembly) Deputies shared a total of$1.83 million between them in the 12 months to October 2012 – with each T.D. receiving an average of $203,700 in wages and expenses.

The monthly payments, which include a total of $635,734 in expenses for the year, are detailed in official Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) records just published.

The figures reveal that Galway East T.D. Michael Kitt (F.F.) was Galway’s highest paid politician in 2012, netting over $237,380 including expenses.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]

KERRY

One of the country’s premier hotels, the five-star Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare, County Kerry, is to be sold in a deal worth about $6.6 million.

Staff has been told of the change of ownership and the sale is expected to be signed shortly.

It follows the $13 million purchase of another top “Ring of Kerry” hotel, Parknasilla, which was acquired last month by international buyers headed by Swiss-Lebanese billionaire Jacqui Safra. He owns a private island next to Parknasilla’s 400 acres.

As investors continue to eye up Irish trophy hotels — many at bargain prices — Sheen Falls is the latest to be snapped up by U.K. buyers.
[Source: Irish Examiner]

KILDARE

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