Closed Circuit Confirmation
A North Cork father has strongly criticized a decision that will leave relatives with no alternative but to watch his daughter's Confirmation from a specially erected marquee.
A record 80 children from Glantane, Bweeng and Dromahane will be confirmed this week, spurring a decision to issue each child with just four tickets for family members inside Bweeng church, due to pressure of numbers.
For the added numbers expected at the annual Confirmations a marquee will be positioned outside Bweeng church to accommodate them. It will be linked to the church via CCTV.
Bweeng is the smallest of the three parish churches and does not have the capacity for big numbers.
Dromahane parish priest Father Patrick Buckley has been accused of failing to listen to appeals for alternative arrangements from parents.
However, Buckley said that he believed the majority of parishioners were “rallying” behind the decision to have a marquee outside the church.
Acknowledging that some concerns were raised by parents at a recent meeting, he added that he firmly believes that the marquee is the “way to go this year.”
He said he had not received any request from parents to have two days of Confirmations in Bweeng, or to let the largest parish of Dromahane have their own day.
"I would encourage people to enter into the spirit of the sacrament. The decision has been made," said Buckley for what is the largest ever number of children to be confirmed in the parish.
However, several parents say they are not happy that close relatives will not now be able to attend their child's Confirmation in person.
Angry Dromahane father Pat Taylor said church officials have failed to consider any alternatives.
"I have grown up in Dromahane and I have never come across this before. I would like to see Bweeng get two days of Confirmation rather than this. The grandparents are elderly in our family and they are not prepared to sit in a marquee," said Taylor.
"I will be surprised if the marquee will be more than half full on the day. What should be a happy family day has become a farce.”
Cold Turkey After Crime
Tralee District Court heard how a young man spent a month in an enclosed Buddhist monastery in Thailand to treat his heroin addiction after he threatened pharmacy staff at knife-point, demanding drugs.
Brian Joseph McCarthy of Annagh, Tralee, had engaged in what his solicitor said was an extraordinary amount of effort to reform himself, isolating himself at the Buddhist monastery for four weeks.
Pat Mann said that McCarthy's addiction was so bad that his family paid for the specialist treatment, which involved complete abstinence from drugs without any medical intervention.
He said that his client, who was so affected by drugs that he didn't even remember the plane trip to Thailand, had a terrible first week at the monastery, but thanks to the month-long program he is now recovering well.
The treatment at the monastery, the court was told, came about following an incident on May 5 last year, when McCarthy entered O'Donnell's Pharmacy on Bridge Street and looked for Xanax and Valium tablets. Detective Garda (police officer) Jim Donovan told the court that statements from the three female staff members described how the defendant was “green in the face” and was shaking.
Having been refused service because he did not have a doctor's prescription, the defendant arrived back to the pharmacy 15 minutes later, this time brandishing a knife, telling staff, "I'm back and I want my drugs." He made his way to the back office where he forced the female worker to hand over 150 Valium tablets and 100 Xanax pills.
Donovan told the court that after viewing CCTV and taking statements from the three women in the pharmacy, McCarthy was arrested the following day and immediately admitted the offense.
McCarthy insisted in his interview that he did not want to commit a crime but just needed drugs on the day.
Mann said that his client wanted to stress that if there is anyway he can show some type of practical remorse to the three women in the pharmacy, he would do so. Donovan confirmed that the defendant had asked if he should return to the chemist to apologize, but was advised against it until his case was heard.
Judge James O'Connor said that perhaps a weekend away for the three women might be an idea and that if they did not want to accept it then they could give it to charity.
He ordered that a probation and welfare report be carried out on McCarthy, and adjourned the case to May 12. He warned, however, that the likelihood was he would be spending some time in jail.
Violent Teen in Court
A teenage who struck a man in the face and knocked out his two front teeth because he wouldn't give him a cigarette was in court on Wednesday.
The 16-year-old youth was 14 when he struck the man outside Centra in Carlow on August 23, 2008.
Inspector Martin Walker said the incident occurred at approximately 4 p.m. when the defendant asked the injured party for a cigarette, but he was told he had none.
“He then punched him in the mouth and broke his two front teeth,” said Walker. “It was a totally unprovoked attack.”
“I can't offer a reason as to why he did it,” said the defendant’s solicitor Michelle Treacy. “At the time he was living in the town with his granny but he has now moved home.”
She said her client wants to make amends and put compensation before the court. “The remedial work must be very costly for the injured party,” she said. Judge William Harnett said the actions were that “of a rabid dog rather than that of a human being.” He ordered a psychiatric report and he was told he was waiting on a place in a Youth Reach program.
“He's just sat on his backside and done nothing, waiting for Youth Reach to come to him,” said Harnett.
His mother disagreed and told the court that she had put her son's name down for every youth course available.
The case was adjourned to July 14.
Killer Dogs on the Loose
Roaming packs of dogs are striking fear into the hearts of local parents after a second Alsatian attack in a Wicklow estate in the space of four months.
This time the victim was nine-month-old family pet Rocky, who was killed after a savage attack by a large, un-muzzled Alsatian, allowed to wander the Drumkay Estate in Rathnew.
The pup was left in a lifeless heap on the side of the blood-soaked curb, to the horror of his owners, eight-year-old Dylan and two0year-old Sean.
The boys' aunt, Thomasina Moorehouse, says the number of loose dogs allowed to roam the estate means parents won't let their children outside to play. “If that was a child that had been attacked then they would have been killed,” she says.
In November of last year, a five-year-old child required over 200 staples to his head after he was attacked by an Alsatian wandering around the Hillview Estate in Wicklow town. Two Alsatians, kept as pets by a local family, were put down as a result.
The latest incident occurred at Drumkay in Rathnew, and once again involved an Alsatian. Residents have openly expressed the fear they are forced to live under by packs of dogs openly roaming the estate day and night.
Three to four people witnessed the attack on Rocky, with one woman purposefully setting off her car alarm to try and scare the Alsatian away from attacking its victim. Another women also attempted to fend off the dog with a sweeping brush but was too frightened by its aggressiveness.
Wicklow Mayor Irene Winters now believes a crackdown on all un-muzzled and loose dogs in the area will have to be called for by Wicklow County Council.
Kids Told to Fight
YOUNG children are being bullied into fighting each other by older youths in a Derry play park.
A concerned uncle, who frequently takes his nieces and nephews to Bull Park, said he was shocked to see what he described as "ongoing and extreme bullying of the worst kind.”
The local man, who did not want to be named, said children as young as eight are being goaded by older youngsters into committing violent acts in the park on a regular basis.
"I was in the park on Sunday and was horrified to see 14 and 15-year-olds getting young children to fight with each other. The two children I saw were so embarrassed by the older ones that they felt they had to do it,” the man said.
"I spoke to several other parents who said they saw the same thing happening the previous week. I also spoke to the teenagers involved and they all replied, 'It's nothing to do with us, they are the ones fighting.’”
The concerned Bogside resident said he wanted to highlight the issue so that parents would ensure their children are supervised in the park.
Colm Elliott, assistant director of NSPCC in Derry, urged anyone who witnesses such incidents to contact the authorities.
"This incident must have been very traumatizing for the two young boys and it is important that they get the help and support they need to recover from it,” he said.