Pensioner Swindled

Men masquerading as Gardai (police) swindled an 82-year-old Foulksmills man out of his savings, claiming his pension had been paid in counterfeit notes.

Tom Reville, 82, lost a “substantial” amount of money after being tricked into allowing two men into his home last Thursday.
The retired farmer was on his way to visit his niece Pauline Keating, who lives nearby, when two men stopped him in the laneway beside his home.

“They came up to me and told me they were Guards. They said if I didn't believe them they would show me proof, and they took out a Garda badge and showed it to me,” said the shook-up pensioner.

Reville was told by the men that counterfeit notes were being circulated through Foulksmills Post Office where he collected his pension, and all of the cash he had in his house should be inspected.

The men, one of whom was in his fifties and the other in his early twenties, then suggested that they also examine Reville’s home to ensure it was secure and safe from intruders.

“They came in and said that they would measure the door and get new locks for it,” he said.

One of them then asked to see all of the cash Reville had in his cottage. He produced a “substantial” amount of cash, which the men said was mainly “counterfeit.” They took the money and quickly left the premises.

“I brought them into the house, that was my big mistake,” he said. “I'd really like to warn other people living on their own about this kind of thing. It's terrible to think someone would do this.” 

Reville added that he did become suspicious of the men when they came into the house but decided to give them the money. “I decided to go along with them. I didn't want them to harm me,” he said.

New Ross Gardai warned people that they were aware of people pretending to be Gardai were operating in the area.
“People should know that a real member of the Gardai would never ask to see your money. If anyone becomes suspicious they should ring their local Garda station,” he said.

New Ross Standard

Child Mauled By Dog

A FIVE-year-old child who was savaged by a dog at the Hillview playground required 200 staples to the top and back of his head to treat his injuries.

He will now require further plastic surgery in an effort to try and prevent the wounds from scarring him for the rest of his young life.
Two Alsatian dogs were loose at the time from a household in the estate, though Gardai believe only one of the animals was involved in the horrific attack. Both dogs were seized by Wicklow Gardai and destroyed by a vet.

A Garda spokesperson said, 'Both the boy and his family are very distressed by the whole incident. He was left with serious facial injuries which required immediate treatment.” 

The child was playing with a group of friends when the vicious attack took place. Eyewitnesses say one of the dogs attempted to jump on to the merry-go-around the boys were playing on, but only succeeded in bumping its head off one of the safety bars.

This enraged the animal, which first made an unsuccessful lunge at one of the boys before turning its attention to its victim. There are also reports that the other dog joined in with the attack.

The screaming and bloody infant was raced by ambulance to Tallaght Hospital and later transferred to Crumlin Hospital where he received 200 staples to the top and back of his head. He is expected to be released back into the care of his parents later this week but will still require further treatment over the next 12 months to try and limit the amount of scarring involved.

Both dogs had escaped from a nearby garden.

Mayor Irene Winters has described the incident as “horrific” and has warned dog owners to behave responsibly with their pets.

“I can only imagine how terrible it must be for that little boy and his family. It's a horrific thing for anyone to have to go through or witness.

“People need to act responsibly with their dogs. People regard their pet as a lovely, friendly dog and don't realize the dangers these dogs can present to strangers. That's why there are laws whereby your pet must be leashed at all time when out in public and certain dogs have to be muzzled.”

Wicklow People

Northern Bargains

A Duhallow coach tour operator said that he has been inundated with requests to run a bus trip to Newry in the North for Christmas shopping and that the demand has been such that he will probably have to make on a second trip.

Kealy's Coaches, based in Kanturk, is an extremely popular and long-standing local service provider, running tours for numerous groups to venues all around the country.

Darren Kealy said, "I got numerous calls from people asking if I would run a coach to Newry. The calls came from all around Duhallow, Newmarket, Millstreet, Kanturk, everywhere."

The impetus behind the venture came firmly from his customers.

"I have never been for taking business out of Duhallow -- I'm a businessman myself. But the demand is there.  There are people roaring for it,” he said.

He continued, "People are under a lot of pressure to meet the cost of Christmas. They feel it's a lot cheaper in the North, and it is a lot cheaper in the North."

As the requests built up, Kealy decided to put together a package for a two-day shopping trip, incorporating overnight accommodation in a four-star hotel.

People were saying they'd get a train, or hire a mini-bus themselves. If I don't carry them another operator will carry them," added Kealy.
The Consumer Association of Ireland has estimated that consumer goods average at 18% dearer in the south, taking the currency differentiation into account.

That difference is having a phenomenal impact. Recent figures from research group TNS Worldpanel indicate that 250,000 households in the Republic are now crossing the border for shopping, an increase of 25% on last year.

The Corkman

Kiss Their Behinds!

A couple involved in a dispute with neighbors over plans to demolish an Edwardian home in England got their own back by naming the new development Pogue Muhone Court.

About 40 people objected to the plans put forward by Kevin and Susan O'Gorman to demolish the large house in Cheltenham, England and replace it with six new homes.

But the couple won permission for the plans and took revenge on their disgruntled neighbors by giving the new development a rude name -- Pogue Muhone Court, which the O'Gormans said referred to their family village in Tipperary.

But neighbors were shocked to discover it translates into “kiss my arse.”

Caroline Donnelly, who has lived next door to the O'Gorman family for 13 years said, "We found out what it meant when my husband and I were on the internet trying to find this village. We were shocked. This is just completely rude."

The council said that the developers can choose to name the building as they wish, but that Pogue Muhone Court will not be officially recognized because it is not registered, and that the council has had no registration application.

Evening Herald

False Claim Tragedy

A Derry man falsely accused of raping a 14-year-old boy says his life has been a "living hell" while he waited for his name to be cleared.
The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, says the allegations led to the breakdown of his marriage, the loss of his home, his job, his child and has had serious implications for his health.

"I've lost four stone with the stress of it,” he said. "I was subjected to verbal abuse and physical abuse. I've lost my friends and my family -- no one wanted to know, and worst of all I lost my son.

"I now get just one hour a week with him. What kind of a relationship is that? I've missed out on so much. I've missed his first steps, his first words. I've missed it all."

Two years ago, the man was questioned by police regarding the rape allegation which was alleged to have happened at Halloween 2006. He said he was “stunned” by the accusations leveled at him.

"I never did it," he says. "It's just ridiculous. I told them that. I told them I had nothing to hide, but my life was turned absolutely upside down."

With the break-up of his marriage, the man was left homeless and ended up spending time living in a shelter before being re-housed in another part of the city.

"It's no exaggeration to say I lost everything and I was never even charged with the offense. It took until last week for me to be told there was no evidence to prosecute me.

"Until then, I was living with these vile accusations over my head while the person who made them was just getting on with his life."
The man says he does not understand why it took so long for him to be informed there was insufficient evidence for a prosecution -- and why, in that time, there was no support for him.

"If you are accused of something in the wrong there is nothing there for you," he says. "Nothing at all. You are just left to your own devices to get on with things and no one seems to care if your life has crumbled around your ears."

Derry Journal