Pot House Warning

Clare's chief superintendent has issued a warning to landlords to include a clause where they can inspect their rental properties to ensure they are not being used as cannabis grow houses.

Following the detection of two grow houses in Clare in the past two weeks, Chief Superintendent John Kerin said this type crime is on the increase nationally as the Internet is giving criminals the tools to get started.

“Our cultivation detections would be in line with the increases around the country. It’s a fact that more and more people are going into home growing because instructions on how to do it are so readily available on the Internet,” he said.

“The product can be produced and marketed so easily and it’s a factor we are aware of.  It’s common at the moment throughout Europe and these grow houses and self-production units are out there. You find the level of heroin and cocaine sale and supply has reduced because of the prices in the current economy, and so the likes of this product increases as it is cheap to produce.”

Kerin warned those who rent property that they should be conducting checks to ensure it is not being used for this purpose. Gardai (police) in Clare have uncovered grow houses where attics and rooms in houses have been adapted for growing cannabis.

“In order to engage in this activity they have to do serious alterations. They have to put in electricity and the weight of this stuff on attics does affect the structure. It would not necessarily be all attics. We had one recently where two rooms of a bungalow had been converted and, again, this was in rented accommodation,” he said.

Kerin issued a similar warning to those renting warehouses or factory units, and recommended they make it a condition of their leasing contracts that they are allowed to inspect the premises each quarter.

“The financial consequences for them when they get their houses back are frightening because of the alterations that take place to the houses. It’s in their interest and the interest of the community that they check their property physically,” Kerin added.
- Clare Champion

Wrong Number Millionaire

Forgetting his wife's correct age turned a Ballymena couple into millionaires. It was a dream come true as Paddy and Gail Millar were unveiled as the winners of an astounding £1.9 million in the National Lottery EuroMillions draw earlier this month.

The couple, who are both nurses, popped open the champagne and celebrated their windfall at the plush Galgorm Resort last week, stating, "We never thought it would happen to us!"

The couple, who have been married for 21 years and have two daughters, Alex 17, and Julia, 11, are still finding it all very hard to sink in after purchasing their winning ticket, worth £1,994,322.90, at the Newsrack in Ballymoney Street. The couple purchased 10 tickets and one of the numbers Paddy picked was an error, "one of the best mistakes I've ever made!"

"I do the same numbers on my usual tickets but the winning line was a spur of the moment selection -- the girls’ ages, 11 and 17; my age, 50; 21 for our wedding anniversary and 9 for the year we married in 1990 -- I reversed the 90 to 09.

"I decided then to use Gail's age but put the wrong number of 48 down, instead of 49! I don't think she minds though!"

Asked about plans for the future, the couple plans to just take one day at a time. There are no plans to retire from their nursing jobs as Gail said, "We have both been nursing for 30 years, since we were 17. We love our jobs and our work friends.

"We are very fortunate and so grateful. We decided to go public as we didn't want people surmising how much we had won and we didn't want to lie to people. It's a relief to get it out in the open.”
- Ballymena Guardian

Shady Donegal

Though residents of Donegal may have a reputation for being traditional and conservative, ladies here have most definitely been quick to embrace this summer’s hottest craze.

Copies of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy have been flying off the shelves here quicker than you can unlace a bodice.

Booksellers from right across the county confirm that, once word started to spread about the steamy book, never mind its two even steamier sequels, demand quickly became...well, insatiable.

A sales assistant at Eason’s in Letterkenny said, “Demand has been very high. Like most other shops, we ran out of copies and couldn’t get any more for a while.  We had a list of about 100 customers waiting on it, but once we were able to get re-stocked, it’s been fine. There’s still a strong demand for it.

“We have the books on a three for two offer, so a lot of people are buying the whole trilogy at the one time. And there are a lot of copycat books coming out now too that seem to be doing well. People are looking for those as well.”

Rosaleen O’Rourke of The Four Masters Bookshop in Donegal town added, “Sales of the whole trilogy have been very good here. We anticipated the level of interest and so had pre-ordered a good quantity. One day we were sold out but that was the only day. People are still looking for it but the demand doesn’t seem to be just as strong as when it first came out. The first few weeks were huge but it’s settled down a bit now. The majority of people are coming back to buy the second and third books as well.”

PJ Sweeney of Books and Charts in Dungloe admits, with a bit of chagrin, that they were a bit late to get in on the act.

He said: “We only got our hands on the book last week, after much searching for it. There was a huge amount of interest in it, and everyone seems to be very curious about it.”
- Donegal Democrat


When one-year-old Niamh Anne Kerrigan arrived home from Melbourne, Australia with her mother Majella, a very special welcome lay in store in Doughmakone, Louisburgh.

There to see her for the first time were not only her four grandparents but, amazingly, her four great-grandmothers, who between them share 369 years on this planet.

Majella, who is daughter of John and Sheila Tiernan from Doughmakone, is married to Enda Kerrigan, son of Mickey and Rita Kerrigan from Leenane. They moved to Melbourne in November 2008.

“Niamh Anne was born last year so this is her first trip home to Ireland. We had her decked out in a combined Mayo and Galway jersey which has gone down very well with the relations in both counties! The Anne part of her name is taken directly from two of her great-grannies. She also shares her birthday with her great-granny Gretta Tiernan,” said Enda.

For grandparents John and Sheila Tiernan in Doughmakone and Mickey and Rita Kerrigan in Leenane, it has been a special time to see their new granddaughter.

But it has been an exceptional delight for her four great-grannies to see little Niamh and share in this momentous occasion. Annie Kerrigan is 96 and lives in Leenane, Eileen Kelly is 92 years and resides in Carraholly, Westport, and Gretta Tiernan from Doughmakone is 93. Annie Laffey lives in Renvyle and, at 88, is the baby of the great-grannies!
-Mayo News

Leg Amputated

A Talented Irish rugby player was left fighting for his life after a horrific train accident in Australia.

Gavin Owens, 30, suffered head and back injuries and had to have his right leg amputated after he was struck by an express train near his home in New South Wales.

Owens, from Cobh, Co. Cork, was left semi-conscious with leg injuries by the side of the tracks as Australian trains, by law, are not allowed to stop.

The locomotive driver immediately radioed an alert to the emergency services and the injured Irishman was airlifted to hospital.

Such was the damage to his leg that surgeons had no option but to amputate.

Owens is now recovering from his ordeal, and friends have launched a special fundraising appeal to allow him return to Ireland.

He was walking home after celebrating the end of the rugby season with the local team he played for when the tragedy occurred.

He had been working in a meat plant and was just a short distance from his home when the accident happened last weekend.

The young man had been playing rugby for a local team in Scone, a small town north of Sydney in New South Wales.

His grandfather said they are now determined to bring Gavin back to Ireland.

"He grew up here with me here in Cobh. He is my buddy and my friend," he said.

Workmates and friends in Scone raised almost €5,000 in one night, and a series of events is planned in Sydney and other Australian cities over coming weeks.
- Evening Herald


SHIPS AHOY: An overview of the Tall Ships Festival which took place around the Dublin Docklands last week.Irish Voice