Christening Escape
A LIMERICK man who escaped from custody twice in 12 months absconded to attend his child’s christening, Limerick Court was told.

Christopher O’Donnell, 25, pled guilty to escaping from lawful custody at the Regional hospital on August 29, 2011.

Last month, O’Donnell was sentenced to six months in prison for escaping from custody outside the gates of Limerick Prison on August 20, 2012.

Sergeant Morgan O’Donoghue said that in 2011 while detained in prison, O’Donnell was taken to the Regional to receive medical treatment.

“He made good on his escape from three prison officers. He did not return to Limerick Prison by his own volition,” said O’Donoghue.

O’Donnell’s solicitor, John Herbert, said at the time his client was serving a 13 month sentence.

“While in custody his wife gave birth to his child. He asked to be released but it was not entertained,” said Herbert.

On this occasion O’Donnell’s child was being christened, said the solicitor.

“He was in the Regional undergoing a small operation. He saw an opportunity and made good his escape. He was arrested six days later. He was in Limerick city when he was re-arrested, he hadn’t left,” said Herbert, who added that O’Donnell had been punished within the prison regime.

“For three months he was confined to a strict regime with no privileges,” said Herbert.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly said if a prisoner is taken to hospital it is for medical treatment, and not to afford them an opportunity to attend the christening of their children. He handed down a five-month prison sentence.

Limerick Leader

90-Year-Old Robbed
A 90-YEAR-old woman living alone was robbed in the middle of the night at her home in a Listowel estate in a callous incident that has left the town shocked and disgusted.

The pensioner is in deep shock following her terrifying ordeal at her Ballygologue Park home.

She woke to find a burglar or burglars prowling in her bedroom. They demanded money from the terrified pensioner and then fled with an undisclosed quantity of cash. She had attended bingo in town earlier that night and neighbors fear she may have been watched as she returned home.

The robbery was discovered when the pensioner was found lying in a confused state on the floor of her bedroom.

Residents of the Ballygologue Park estate in which she lives are seething over the callous robbery of their elderly neighbor. Gardai in Listowel have launched a major investigation into the incident.

While the details of the burglary are not clear, it appears she was woken when an intruder or intruders broke in through the window of her downstairs bedroom. It does not appear that she was physically assaulted in the course of the incident.

The pensioner recalls someone repeatedly asking her to “give me the money.” Neighbors say she has been so traumatized by the incident that she has vowed never to leave her home again.

She had been provided with a panic alarm by Community Watch in recent years, but this was not set off during the robbery.

Neighbor Jackie Barrett said people are deeply shocked. "For something like this to happen someone in their own home is shocking. She has said that she will never go out again, the poor woman,” he said.

Gardai described the incident as very alarming. 

The Kerryman

Scum for Rude Tenants

THE government should consider introducing legislation whereby anti-social tenants could be housed in a “scum town,” a Clare local representative has suggested.

The mayor of Amsterdam revealed plans last month to move those engaged in intimidating or violent behavior towards neighbors to new housing units, made in some cases from converted shipping containers. The areas in which these would be located were subsequently dubbed scum villages, where the worst offenders would spend a minimum of six months. Those who remain unreformed would face eviction.

Fine Gael Councilor Joe Arkins mooted the idea of creating scum towns in Ireland at a county council meeting last Monday.

“It sounds drastic but we are at a stage where something drastic must be done in this country,” Arkins said.

“Anti-social behavior in estates, whether private or local authority, is destroying people’s lives and needs also to be addressed by a range of effective legislation including terms of access or withdrawal of state benefits and so on,

Councilor Johnny Flynn said there are people in his constituency who are suffering from “neighbors from hell.”

Arkins suggested the creation of a scum town be considered because “there are landlords not managing their tenants but there are some tenants that neither God nor man could manage,” adding “this is something that the government needs to address.”

Meelick Councilor Cathal Crowe said he believed a “surcharge” on rents should be investigated by the council in the case of people who “breach the code of conduct in local authority housing.” He called on the council to “hit them where it hurts, in the pockets.”

Clare County Council will now contact the Minister for Justice and the Minister for the Environment calling for parts of the Residential Tenancy Act dealing with “bad neighbors and bad tenants” to be strengthened.

Clare Champion

Summer Weather War
THE scorcher of an Irish summer predicted by New Zealand weatherman Ken Ring has been rubbished by Westmeath forecaster Karl Mehlhorn, who says long range weather forecasts are simply "impossible."

Ring, who says he uses the sun, the moon and tidal activity to make his predictions, claimed the summer of 2013 will turn out to be another 1995 (when Ireland enjoyed Mediterranean temperatures) and that the country would bask in a tropical 86 degrees Fahrenheit this July.

However Mehlhorn, whose weather station is based in Killucan, says such long-range forecasts have been tried and tested before and haven't proved true.

"We can't forecast beyond five to 10 days -- the technology simply isn't there," Mehlhorn said.

"It's impossible to predict so far ahead. He's talking about two seasons ahead, which is six months.

At the end of the day, we have one or two chances of it either being a good or a bad summer, and the Irish long for a good summer," he continued.

"I think 2003 was the last decent summer we had, but predictions like these are completely inaccurate. This guy is known for his over-the-top predictions and all these are, in my opinion, are headline grabbers.

"He's using terminology I've never heard of. We stick to the accurates, otherwise the technology simply isn't there."

Westmeath Examiner

Swan Death
A REWARD has been offered up for information leading to the prosecution of whoever was responsible for the recent death of a swan in Ballymun.  The swan was found dead in the pond of the popular Poppintree Park.

It’s believed a gang of youths was drinking in the park the previous night and that a bottle may have been thrown at the swan causing its death.

It’s the second time in the space of a year that a swan has been killed in the park. The first swan died from horrific injuries after it was attacked by a dog last summer.

It's believed that the swan died from a ruptured liver as a result of a trauma. The most recent attack has sparked outrage and disgust in the local community.

Councilor Steve Wrenn was so horrified by the attack that he put up a financial reward for any information that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of those involved.

“Whoever did this should be punished for their actions. It’s absolutely abhorrent. I feel so strongly about this that I’m willing to put up €300 of my own money for information that will be successful in bringing whoever did this to justice,” he said.

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council confirmed that the swan was found dead in the pond of Poppintree Park on Sunday morning, January 6.

“It had no prominent injuries and was sent for examination to the Department of Agriculture laboratory to see how it died,” she stated.

“We are awaiting results and the Gardai (police) have been informed of the incident.”

Dublin People

Sky TV’s new Irish base in Dublin was opened by Taoiseach Enda Kenny last Friday. British broadcaster Sky is currently hiring 800 people for its Irish customer contact centre. Kenny is pictured with SPhotocall Ireland