Sligo House Fall
HOUSE prices in Sligo have fallen sharply with the average price now 52 percent down from the peak, according to the latest House Price Report. The average asking price in Sligo fell by 6.2 percent between June and September.

The average price is now 140,000, a fall of 52% from the peak.
Nationally, the asking price of property in Ireland fell by over three percent in the third quarter of 2012, down 14 percent from the same period last year.

Ronan Lyons, economist at said, "The latest report confirms that policymakers need to stop thinking of one national property market. Conditions vary dramatically between Dublin, where the number of properties for sale is at its lowest point since early 2007, and large parts of Munster and Connacht, where stock for sale remains very high.

"This is seen in activity levels, also, with over half of Dublin listings sold or sale agreed within three months, compared to one quarter in many parts of the country."

Sligo Champion

Warning Against Gays
THERE was uproar in the Newry Council Chamber when Unionist councilor Henry Reilly said signs should have been erected "warning" people that the Pride in Newry parade was a "homosexual event."

Reilly said that several constituents had called him complaining that they were shocked by what they witnessed at the event.

“Numerous people contacted me to say that they were not aware of what exactly the event was when they attended it," he said.  “It was promoted as a family day out and it certainly was not.

“In the future I think the council should put up signs warning people that it is a homosexual event."

The comments prompted uproar from Sinn Fein councilors who branded Reilly as homophobic.

“I saw enough warning signs years ago when I was over in England, such as No Irish Need Apply," said Councilor Pat McGinn.

“I am totally opposed to this and totally opposed to the idea that anyone should be able to veto another human being's right to their choice of lifestyle.”

“If we allow such pronouncements to go unchallenged gay people will end up being treated like lepers, something no civilized society can afford."

Councilor Brendan Curran called for Reilly's remarks to be recorded and referred to the council's solicitor.

“He seems to want gay people to walk around with bells around their necks," he said.  

Reilly said he stood by his comments. “Perhaps warning was the wrong word, perhaps I should have said explaining, but the principal remains the same," he said.

“This was marketed as a Pride in Newry event. People went to it thinking it was about pride in your area or pride in your town but it wasn't, it was a gay pride parade.

“I had numerous families calling me about this. One family in particular were shopping in town with their young son while the parade was on.  The child asked, ‘What's that daddy?’ and when the father turned around he saw a man dressed as a woman on the bonnet of a car.

“When they left the shop there were men kissing each other all over the place. It's just not appropriate. It wouldn't be appropriate if it was a man and woman kissing."

Newry Democrat

Mass Money Thief
A WOMAN admitted taking 15 in change from a collection basket in the middle of Mass in a brazen theft at St. Michael’s Church.

Pamela McNamara, 25, of McGarry House, Alphonsus Street, had gone into the church with her boyfriend as services were ongoing at around 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 4.

Sergeant Donal Cronin told Limerick District Court that as the basket was being passed around, 15 had been taken from it.

Five days later, Gardai (police) went to the neighboring pastoral center on Denmark Street to view CCTV footage. McNamara, somebody Cronin said was well-known to Gardai, was identified and later made admissions.

McNamara also pleaded guilty to a separate offense of handling stolen property -- a passport and a wallet -- after she was approached by Gardai at Clancy Strand on September 9.

The accused has accumulated 61 previous convictions, a record Judge Eugene O’Kelly described as “dreadful.”

“Congregations in churches,” he remarked, “are expected to contribute; the cash flow is not supposed to be going in the other direction.”

The accused’s boyfriend is serving two months in prison.

Ted McCarthy, solicitor, said his client had only lately been given access to her children - all four of whom are in care -- because she has “started to comply with the requests of the social worker to do something about her drug problem.”

Before the court was a recovering heroin addict whose offending “is motivated by the addiction from which she suffers.” But she had been giving samples to a drug treatment agency for the past six weeks and was clean to date, McCarthy said.

She had been “effectively homeless” for much of the past 18 months and the offenses had occurred at a time when she had gone “off the rails.”

McNamara was sentenced to two months in prison for handling. A six-month sentence for theft was suspended for 12 months.

Limerick Leader

Jail Lessons
A TEENAGE boy -- once described by a Garda source as “Athlone’s most troublesome burglar” -- found himself back in jail in an attempt by the judge to kickstart his education.

“He treats prison as a boarding school. That shows an intellect,” said Judge Seamus Hughes, after the boy’s solicitor reminded him that almost a year ago he sought a bigger sentence for his client to allow him sit the Junior Cert in jail, and that he hoped to sit his Leaving Cert.

The boy was in court to hear his sentence after pleading guilty to a dozen burglary charges on an earlier date, but which had been adjourned to allow the Probation Service to update its report on the 16-year-old who now has just under 50 convictions.

Hughes was not impressed by the report, and made this known to Padraig Quinn, solicitor for the boy.
Quinn reminded the judge of his client’s “very dysfunctional background,” and that he “tends to re-offend almost immediately on release.”

Accompanied in court by his mother, she told the court she wished her son “would go back on the medication for ADHD,” but the boy disagreed it was the cause of his behavior.

Noting the school year has just started, Hughes suggested the boy “knuckle down and do something,” and offered to sentence him to two years with one suspended, but Quinn cautioned that “it’s very important that there is some post-release structure put in place.”

“I could send him off for two years,” offered the judge, but accepted Quinn’s advice, and sentenced the boy to nine months detention in Oberstown House, with a further nine months of Probation Service supervision to follow.

Mullingar Advertiser

Jobs Go Unfilled
A THURLES-based company which is seeking to increase its workforce by more than 90 people before Christmas may have to relocate to the U.K. in a bid to keep contracts due to the fact that they simply cannot recruit staff.

ARE Direct Sales Management Ltd., which operates out of the Archerstown Industrial Estate just outside Thurles, is one of the fastest growing companies in the region, having started out less than one year ago. The company currently employs 26 people but has won lucrative contracts from the likes of Pure Telecom, Energia Electricity, and 3 Mobile. These contracts now mean that they must recruit, as a matter of urgency, at least 18 people now, with a further 75 to be added before Christmas.

However, the real story is in the number of people who have failed to turn up for interview, having submitted their CVs and received an invite to meet with the company.  A total of 75 people were called over a four week period but only 18 showed up. Of those 18, 10 were offered jobs, but only seven took them up.

“It is a horrendous situation to be in,” company co-founder Aidan Ryan said.

“We are competing with the social welfare system and even though we are offering a good basic wage, together with commission incentives, company car, mobile phones, fuel allowances, etc. people just don’t want to know.  This is creating huge problems, not just for us, but for many companies across the country.”

Having been hugely frustrated by the recruitment process, the company turned to the Government and made direct contact with Fine Gael Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton, asking him if there was anything he could do to help them recruit staff. He said that he was too busy at the time, but asked them to e-mail him the details.

The company received an acknowledgement of the e-mail from the department, and have not heard from him since.

Tipperary Star

Members of the Irish Anti-War Movement launched a new booklet last week called Shannon Airport, War and Renditions, which claim to outline the legal instruments being violated as a result of U.S. miliSam Boal/Photocall Ireland