Marriage blocked

A Pakistani living in Limerick who wants to marry a Latvian woman has told the High Court that they were "shocked and devastated" when they were told the day before their wedding that they could not marry.

Last week, the couple secured leave to bring a High Court challenge against the Limerick County Registrar's refusal to allow their marriage, following a Garda (police) objection.

The couple, Ina Aksjonova, 23, and Shahid Mahmood, 25, living in Clare Street, Limerick were due to be married last July.

However, they were "shocked and devastated" after being informed the day before their wedding that the ceremony could not go ahead because the Gardai had lodged an objection.

The couple told the court that their marriage is not one of convenience and have argued they should be allowed to marry because no impediment exists to their proposed marriage.

Justice George Birmingham granted the couple leave to bring judicial review proceedings against the registrar for Limerick and the commissioner for an Garda Síochána arising out of the decision to lodge an objection to their marriage.

In their proceedings the couple are seeking a declaration that no impediment exists to their marriage.

They are also seeking a number of orders from the court, including orders quashing the objection lodged by the Gardai, and the decision by the Limerick County Registrar to refer the objection to the Registrar General for consideration.

Sunniva McDonagh, solicitor for the couple, said that Aksjonova is a Latvian national who works in a cafe in Limerick, while Mahmood, from Pakistan, is an information technology student in Ireland. They met on a Latvian social networking website.

Counsel said that an objection can only be lodged in respect of a marriage on the grounds that an impediment exists. In this case there was no such legal impediment. Counsel said the couple are not related, have never been married, are over 18 years of age, are of sound mind and are of the opposite sex.

Counsel added that the decision taken by the respondents in this action amounted to an unlawful interference with their right to marry.
- Limerick Leader

Sleepless in Donegal

Donegal people don’t rest too easily, as the results of a study show that when it comes to healthy sleeping habits residents of the county rank way down the list in Ireland.

The new A. Vogel survey reveals that Donegal ranks 22nd out of the 26 counties in terms of getting a good night’s sleep. Near neighbors Leitrim claimed the title of soundest sleepers in the country.

Commenting on the results, A. Vogel’s herbal advisor Nicola Murphy confirmed, “Unfortunately Donegal appears to have some of the worst sleepers in Ireland.”

The study looked at the sleeping habits of all 26 counties based on the popularity of the herbal sleeping remedy Dormeasn which is used to help relieve sleep disturbances.

“Getting a good night’s rest is really important as sleep is designed to restore our body to full function after wearing ourselves out during the day,” Murphy insisted.

“For many of us, it can be difficult to switch off when our had hits the pillow. When our sleep is disturbed our bodies don’t get time to repair.”

And the county hosting the worst sleepers? That title went to Cavan, closely followed by Waterford and Dublin.
- Donegal Democrat
Craigavon Mayor Stephen Moutray and Upper Bann MP David Simpson are meeting with local health chiefs in the near future after two elderly patients were attacked in their beds in Craigavon Area Hospital.

The assault on the patients -- one of whom is over 90 -- took place in a medical ward and was reported to Moutray, who is angry about the attack and that the assailant was permitted to remain in the same ward as the patients for three days "until he discharged himself."

The Southern Area Health and Social Care Trust has confirmed the incident, but added such incidents were rare and that they operate a zero tolerance policy against violence.

And the charity Aged NI has roundly condemned the incident, with chief executive Anne O'Reilly saying, "It is important to ensure that older people in hospital are well protected and that procedures are in place to make sure that staff are able to observe what is happening and take action."

Moutray said that the 90-year-old sustained head injuries, while the other suffered bruises and cuts.

It happened at the beginning of October and he is seeking an "urgent meeting with the hospital's chief executive and with officials of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust to sort out the problem of violence in hospitals."

He added, "There are great concerns over the safety of patients and staff, and I want to know what the level of security is and whether there have been any prosecutions. I will be asking all these questions at the meeting.

"My information is this was a totally unprovoked attack and many questions have to be answered."

A spokesperson from the Southern Trust said, "Unfortunately sometimes patients can become aggressive due to their underlying conditions.

"The trust can confirm that there was an incident in Craigavon Area Hospital which has been subject to a thorough investigation, and we have reviewed and updated policies and procedures for dealing with aggressive patients to protect themselves, other patients and staff.

"Thankfully such incidents are rare, but the trust takes attacks on staff and patients extremely seriously and we have a number of measures in place to ensure their personal protection.”
- Portadown Times

County Council pulls pulic toilets

Clare County Council has poured cold water over a proposed rebate on water rates for community and voluntary bodies who made their toilet facilities available in places where the authority wasn’t in a position to provide public toilets.

Councilor Martin Conway made this request at a council meeting on Monday where he presented a case to allow businesses in towns where no public toilets were available to receive a small reduction in water rates once people could use their toilets.

He explained there were towns and villages that were not serviced by public toilets where hotels, shops and other businesses made their facilities available to the public.

“I know in Ennistymon there would be 50 people a day coming to a facility in different establishments. I think the council should examine the possibility of providing a small rebate to businesses where it can be proven beyond all doubt that they are making their premises available to the public,” he said.

“I don’t think it is the money, it is a goodwill gesture, and I think they would have no problem in putting a sign telling the public that their toilets are available to be used if this was the case,”

He was supported by Councilor Richard Nagle, while Councilor Joe Arkins stressed there would have to be a sign outside any premises indicating toilet facilities were being made available once they received the rebate.

“I think we could get value for money on a project like this. The council could put a superloo in a place like Ennistymon and it might be paying ***20,000 a year to run a facility which only receives just one offering a week,” he said.

However, finance director of services Noleen Fitzgerald told councilors such a scheme would be difficult to administer as it would be very hard to identify one premises over another when it came to selecting a suitable location for the scheme.

“Under Article 9 of the EU Water Framework directive and the government’s water pricing policy, Clare County Council is required to charge the non-domestic sector the full cost recovery of water services,” she said.
- Clare Champion
High-end brothel bust

Two women have been arrested after Gardai uncovered a brothel operating in a four-star hotel which recently opened for business.

The Spanish and Brazilian women, who are both aged in their early twenties, were arrested in the Limerick Hilton Hotel last week.

It is understood that the brothel, which was operating out of a suite in the hotel, was uncovered after hotel staff noticed an increased amount of male visitors to the hotel, which opened for business last year.

Gardai were contacted and arrested the two women in the hotel after a surveillance operation.

It is believed that the women attracted considerable business since they booked into the hotel. They arrived in the city in recent weeks.

A number of items were seized from their room, including computer hardware and CDs. It is believed the women advertised their services on the Internet and were contacted by punters via mobile phone.

Limerick's Hilton Hotel was the seventh of the franchise to open in Ireland last May. It is located in the heart of Limerick city and has proved to be extremely popular. The venue has played host to major conferences and gala banquets since it first opened.
- Evening Herald