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News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties

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ANTRIM

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]

ARMAGH

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]

CARLOW

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]

CAVAN

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]

CLARE

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]

CORK

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]

DERRY

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

The Civil Defence has been called in to provide emergency cover at a number of schools throughout the county as school wardens have fallen victim to the influenza virus that has been rampant over the holiday period.

Kildare Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh said every effort is being made to have cover in as many places as possible but up to 10 schools may not have a full service over the last two weeks.

“But it is not as simple as putting a lay person out onto the road to direct traffic and school children across the road, because of implications such as insurance, legislation and training,” he said.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]

KILKENNY

Kilkenny People journalist Tess Felder is returning home to the good old U.S. of A and taking up a senior management post at the New York Times.

Ms. Felder, who has worked with the Kilkenny People as a senior journalist for seven years, takes a new path on her career as she returns to her home state of Florida to become a leading editor in the production of one of the world’s top newspaper titles.

Her popularity with the people of Kilkenny – particularly among the arts community, local councilors and the business world – means that she will be sorely missed by the newspaper and her colleagues.
[Source: Kilkenny People]

LAOIS

A three-month-old lurcher puppy is in recovery after being found with his throat slashed in Portlaoise. The puppy, who was named Taylor, was found trapped between two high walls with his throat slashed several times from ear to ear near a housing estate in Portlaoise.

It is still unknown if Taylor will make a full recovery; however, Lorraine McEvoy from Cara Resue said that he is looking very bright since his operation.

Cara Rescue, a volunteer-run not-for-profit animal charity based in Portlaoise, responded to a phone call on Friday afternoon, January 4, about the dog trapped between the walls. They took him to Vetcare in Portlaoise where, on initial examination, it appeared his injuries were too severe to treat, with so many muscles severed.

However, his major throat artery, the jugular, was possibly the only thing the culprits had not managed to cut, so he was treated for shock, dehydration, pain and infection overnight and was operated on the following morning.
[Source: Leinster Express]

LEITRIM

The body of a man in his late 20s was removed from Ballinamore Shannon Erne Canal on Tuesday afternoon, January 8, following a local search.

Eugene McDermott (27), originally from Dromahair, had not been seen since the early hours of Monday, January 7. Locals were searching the area Monday night for the man who just became a father in October last year. The search intensified with Gardaí (police) and Civil Defence joining locals at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

The Civil Defence and around 50 locals took to the area around Ballinamore, searching vacant buildings, yards, walkways, and around the town’s canal for clues of Mr. McDermott’s last movements. Gardaí studied C.C.T.V. cameras in the town and traced his movements out towards the Golf Links Roads.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]

LIMERICK

The Continuity I.R.A. (C.I.R.A.) has delivered a chilling message to Limerick men who are considering joining the British Army that it considers them a “legitimate target.”

During a Republican Sinn Fein commemoration of Sean South, on Sunday, January 6, a message was read on behalf of C.I.R.A. prisoners at Portlaoise Prison.

“We have seen in recent years in the city of Limerick that Irish men are considering a career in the British Army – the same British Army that holds six of our counties,” read the statement, which was delivered at the Republican Plot at Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery.
[Source: Limerick Leader]

LONGFORD

The widow of John “Frog” Ward, who shot dead by Padraig Nally two years ago, has married a 24-year-old man from Ghana. The couple married in the Longford registry office two weeks ago.

Ms. Ward has been living in Longford in recent months with six of her 11 children and her new husband. Her husband, Adam Abakker, has been living as a refugee in Longford for the past three years, but now that he is married, he is free to stay in Ireland indefinitely.

Marie Ward left Galway after the death of her husband and is said to be "very happy". Padraig Nally has been released from jail pending a retrial of the case. The Ward family have said that they are "very traumatized" by the decision to release Mr. Nally.
[Source: Longford Leader]

LOUTH

Officers from Revenue and Customs and armed Gardaí (police) stormed a drug-den in Dundalk and have recovered 126 grams of “coke.”

As part of an intelligence-led, joint operation between Revenue’s Customs Service and An Garda Síochána, 126 grams of cocaine with an estimated street value of approximately $11,600 was seized at an address in Dundalk, County Louth.

The seizure was the result of a controlled delivery of a package originating in Brazil.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]

MAYO

A 21-year-old Castlebar man is recovering in hospital after he was shot twice in the back with a pellet gun in an incident believed to be related to a Traveler family feud.

The shooting occurred in a forecourt of a service station at Moneen, Castlear on Sunday evening, January 6, at approximately 5:40 p.m. when a car pulled up alongside him and shots were fired several times from a pellet gun. The Mayo News understands that the 21-year-old received two pellets in the back before a black Volkswagen Golf left the forecourt at speed.
[Source: The Mayo News]

MEATH

K.F.C., the world's largest fried chicken chain, could be on its way to Navan, as a planning application has been made for the construction of a drive-through fast food outlet at Brews Hill.

If passed, it would be located on the former Irish National Forresters Hall site, which had accommodated a petrol filling station in the past decade but which has been used as a car park in recent years by Navan Town Council.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]

MONAGHAN

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources (C.G. & N.R.) has moved a step closer to achieving its plan for a $80 million gold mine at Clontibret in County Monaghan after it received good news from the first in a batch of necessary metallurgical tests.

The rock texture and hardness results from specialists’ goldfields, which were disclosed last Tuesday, showed a lower abrasion index than was expected but a harder ore (moderate) than was initially thought.

This means that the gold in the rock is readily mineable, but indicates that two mills rather than one mill  will be required to crush and grind the extracted material. Both a ball mill and a semi-autogenously grinding (S.A.G.) mill will now be required.
[Source: Irish Independent]

OFFALY

A Mountmellick farming family was faced with devastating scenes over Christmas week when they found two Alsatian dogs maiming and killing some of their sheep flock.

In total six sheep were killed by the dogs and another eight had to be put down after the attack. Many more were treated for injuries including a number of ewes in lamb.

The attack happened on the morning of December 27 at about 8:30 a.m. Speaking to the Express, Claire O’ Brien said that she and her husband Henry Burns saw ewes in their garden that morning and knew something was wrong. When they went to investigate, they saw that two Alsatians had corralled about 10 of their sheep in one small area.
[Source: Offaly Express]

ROSCOMMON

Deprivation in County Roscommon has increased significantly over the past five years. West Roscommon is particular has been found to be more disadvantaged than other areas in the county, while the wider environs of Boyle and Athlone, but excluding the towns themselves, have been found to be the most affluent areas of the county.

Eight electoral divisions in the county fall into the disadvantaged category, with the five most disadvantaged considered to be Boyle Urban, Lough Allen/Altagowlan, Aghafin, Artagh South and Carrowduff, all to the north of the county.

The findings are based on the Pobal H.P. Deprivation Index, which uses the 2011 census to determine how affluent or deprived members of the State are.
[Source: Roscommon Herald]

SLIGO

A doctor accused of touching, kissing and biting a number of women nurses has been found guilty of professional misconduct by the Medical Council’s fitness-to-practice committee.

Dr. Osmanmahir Mahir, with addresses in Leitrim and Sudan, was found guilty of a range of allegations of inappropriate behavior towards nursing staff, one of which amounted to an instance of professional misconduct, the committee ruled.

The charges related to Dr. Mahir’s behavior as a senior house officer at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin, in early 2009.

He was also found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to disclose to Sligo General Hospital in 2009 that he had been dismissed by the Dublin hospital after an inquiry into complaints by nursing staff.
[Source: Irish Times]

TIPPERARY

John Keely, whose father resides in Nenagh, has opened his new Dubliner Irish Pub and Boutique Hotel in Bangkok. The new Dubliner is surely the finest and most authentic Irish pub in Asia – Irish-owned and managed with authentic Irish music and a friendly staff.

There is also a very extensive menu which incorporates excellent contemporary fare as well as many traditional Irish dishes.

The bar on two levels has been a huge success since its opening. The boutique hotel attached to the pub has 18 bedrooms.
[Source: Tipperary Star]

TYRONE

Five families – one with a five-year-old child – were left homeless in Cookstown after arsonists set fire to oil tanks.

A wheelie bin was pushed against property in Ratheen Avenue and set alight in the early hours of Friday morning, January 4, causing substantial damage.

Four flats and a house were affected.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]

WATERFORD

The community of Dunmore East was reeling in shock last Thursday following the tragic drowning of local man John Flynn (43). Mr. Flynn died after a fishing trip with a friend went horribly wrong last Wednesday night, January 9.

The punt, the men were fishing in, capsized just off the Saleens near Dunmore East in the early hours of Thursday morning. Mr. Flynn’s friend, local fisherman James Tait, managed to make it to shore and raise the alarm; however, efforts to revive Mr. Flynn proved unsuccessful.
[Source: Waterford News & Star]

WESTMEATH

Three brothers, one 2000 WH-registered Ford Mondeo, and a 6,200-mile drive to Africa – all the way from Castletown, Geoghegan.

That's Team Roadhoggs and their travel plan for the next three or four weeks.

Richie, Colin and Lorcan Hogg are taking part in this year's Budapest to Bamako rally – a distance of 5,395 miles.

"It'll probably be the only Westmeath-registered car in Africa," laughs Colin Hogg, the middle brother of the trio, who are sons of Martin and Evelyn Hogg.

But before that, the brothers have to transport themselves and their car all the way to Budapest – some 1,550 miles from Castletown.
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]

WEXFORD

An image of a horse being power-washed at a Bunclody garage, which has garnered much attention on the Internet, has been heavily criticized by South East Animal Rescue.

The picture, which shows a horse being washed by a group of men using a device designed for cleaning vehicles, was posted on Facebook by a local man, which was then picked up by site Joe.ie.

It was then shared on their Facebook page with the caption “Only and we mean only in Ireland,” and garnered over 2,500 “likes.”
[Source: Wexford Echo]

WICKLOW

An investigation is continuing in to an aggravated burglary in West Wicklow on Monday morning, January 7.

Two men, armed with a knife and a hatchet, entered Centra in the town at 7:30 a.m., threatened staff and demanded cash.

They made off with a four-figure sum in a waiting 2008-registered Audi, driven by a third man, which was either black or silver.
[Source: Irish Examiner]
 

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