Caravan family ignored

Sligo County Council have been ignoring a Sligo mother with a special needs son who has been looking for a house for the past six and a half years, it has been claimed.

Mother of two Margaret Ward has been living in a caravan with no running water or inside toilet at Balydrehid for the past six and a half years.  She, her husband Bernard, daughter Winifred, 22, and son John Joe, 23, are desperately looking for a home and ironically are living beside a derelict bungalow.

"All we want is a roof over our heads. I am just so stressed and at the end of my tether.  It would be great to have a clean and warm home for Christmas. No human beings should have to live in conditions like these,” she said.

“We are four adults and there is very little privacy. My son has to go to Cloonamahon every day for special attention but some days he can't go because of the condition of the house."

A distressed Ward said she has been living in caravans for over 20 years.

"I used to live in Connaughton Road years ago and then I lived beside a bottle bank in Cranmore for a period. You can imagine what that was like,” she said.

Ward acknowledged that Sligo Council have made some offers of accommodation. "But these were in places that would not be suitable at all. I can't understand at a time when there are loads of vacant houses all over Sligo that they don't seem to want to really help us,” she said.

"Every time we tell them that we have seen a house that we like, they find some excuse to put us off. This is not the 1950s. Look, I know that we are travelers but that does not mean we have to be treated differently. We are just so tired of the side of the road."

Sligo County Council said it did not comment on individual cases. "However, the council has worked with this family over a number of years and made a significant number of offers of accommodation, all of which were/are unacceptable to the family,” a spokesperson said.
- Sligo Weekender

Sudden death claims teen

A 16-year-old Claremorris girl died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome at an 18th birthday party on February 6, an inquest has ruled.

Nicole Campbell was attending the party in her friend’s home in Ballindine. She had been dancing with friends when she seemed to faint. Efforts to resuscitate her failed.

Niamh Maloney told the inquest that Nicole’s mother had dropped them to Maura Callaghan’s home in Ballindine. Nicole had lots of friends and loved music. When the music started at 10:20 p.m. the pair started dancing, joined by three others.

Maloney turned and saw Nicole fall back, landing on her side. She could not be sure if she hit her head on the way down.

Ruth Campbell was at the party and, as she danced with friends, saw Nicole fall. She had been totally normal prior to this. She rolled her into the recovery position.

Matthew Higgins was at the party. He tried to get a response from Nicole but failed. He checked her pulse and opened her airway.
He rang his father, Gerry, an ambulance driver. They tried to resuscitate her. The doctor and ambulance then arrived.

Dorothy Campbell said her daughter came home from work at 6:30 p.m. and ate her dinner. At 9:40 p.m., she brought Nicole and Niamh to the party. At 10:20 p.m. a neighbor called and told her Nicole had an accident.

Maura Callaghan said her 18th birthday party was at her home, supervised by adults. When Nicole arrived, she gave her a hug and wished her happy birthday.

Dr. Fidel Bennani, consultant pathologist, said all samples sent to the state laboratory were normal.

The cause of death was Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. He consulted a cardiac pathologist in London who confirmed this.

The family thanked everyone for their kind words and sympathy over the past few months months. They would never forget the community of Claremorris for their overwhelming kindness, generosity and support.
- Western People

Tourism hurting

The Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has called on the Irish government to abolish the controversial 10 euro departure tax at Irish airports in order to reverse "a disastrous decline" in visitor numbers.

Kerry IHF branch chairman Sean O’Driscoll said tourism in the county is now at tipping point, with announced reductions in capacity by Ryanair adding to the perilous state of the tourism sector as a whole.

"With seat capacity into Ireland now reduced by 75,000 a week on 2009, the recent decisions by Ryanair to reduce capacity at Shannon, Cork and Dublin airports and the very negative outlook from Aer Lingus, highlight the need to provide greater incentives for airlines to increase capacity," O’Driscoll said.

"We are calling on Minister Mary Hanafin to intervene to ensure the 10 euro departure tax on airlines is abolished, or at the very least, deferred for two years to allow industry and carriers a window of opportunity to achieve growth in visitor numbers," he added.

O’Driscoll said hotels and guesthouses in Kerry are very appreciative of Ryanair's continued support of Kerry Airport but they recognize that if the travel tax remains, it will provide a real disincentive for airlines to continue to develop new routes into the region.

"Given Kerry has not achieved its fair share of investment in the road network, compared to other regions, further development of Kerry Airport is vital for tourism in the region and the travel tax is detrimental to achieving this goal," said O’Driscoll.

"With over 200,000 people employed by the sector across the country, any further decline in the sector will result in significant job losses," he predicted.
- Kerry’s Eye

Priest knows best

A recent public opinion poll which found that 87% of people believe priests should be allowed to marry was dismissed as “modern” and “liberal” by a local priest.

Father Padraic Seery also controversially said that “it’s Christ’s will” that women should not be priests.

Seery gave a sermon at evening Mass on Saturday, September 18 in the Church of the Assumption in Castledermot in which he said he was strongly opposed to the findings of the poll, published in The Irish Times.

When contacted by the Carlow Nationalist, Seery laughed off suggestions that a married priest would have a better understanding of marital problems than an unmarried man of the cloth.

“If you were to open a poultry farm, who would you consult with -- a hen or a poultry consultant? We priests are intimately concerned with people’s marital problems … I would say priests know more about marriage than married people,” he said.

Seery went on to say that he thinks marriage “is more difficult than the priesthood”

“I think married people will get a higher place in heaven than priests,” he added.

The retired Athy curate spoke out about his strong reaction to the poll and said that the majority of people would be “horrified” at the thought of their local priest tying the knot.

“If I was to go around here and ask, the majority of people would be horrified with the idea of me getting married. Devout people wouldn’t like it. A lot of popular ideas are bandied about without people actually looking into them,” he added.

Seery also dismissed the idea of women priests, despite a massive 79% of people surveyed in the poll saying they were in favor of it.

“It’s Christ’s will that it should be only men. Christ apparently wanted only men to be priests -- he ordained only men,” added the outspoken priest.

Notwithstanding his opposition to women priests, Seery admitted that he would “be agreeable” to women becoming cardinals in order “to give them their place in the sun.”

Despite his vehement opposition to the findings of the report, Fr Seery agreed that the church should listen to everybody “but not necessarily agree with them.”
- Carlow Nationalist

Heroin use skyrockets

The number of heroin users in Dublin city has increased hugely, bringing hundreds more addicts into the city centre seeking treatment.

Figures from a leading drug treatment clinic show record levels of heroin users across the country.

New figures from the country's biggest drug treatment charity show that in Dublin alone 642 new drug users sought treatment last year from Merchant's Quay Ireland (MQI).

Homelessness is also rising with a 17% increase in demand for these services from the group so far this year.
MQI Director Tony Geoghegan says the rise in demand has hit the charity at a time when funding had been cut by up to 10% in some areas.

The needle exchange program had 30,000 visits from drug users last year, and the number of prisoners availing of the group's addiction services passed the 1,000 mark for the first time, with 53% of jail inmates naming heroin as their primary drug.

Geoghegan said that addressing the drugs crisis was about reducing human misery and it should not be reduced to economics.
- Evening Herald