Help Is on the Way

The Ashbourne father who last week made a desperate plea for the life-saving cancer drug Ipilimumab (Ipy) had his wish granted when Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny announced last Thursday that the drug would be made available to cancer patients here.

Martin McMahon, 44, is suffering from advanced malignant melanoma and believes the revolutionary new drug is his only hope to save his life. However, the drug has not been available in Ireland as it had not been licensed, though it is available in the United States.

He made an emotional appeal last week for the drug to be made available, and his family had been launching a fundraising campaign to finance his treatment with Ipy.

However, last Thursday, it was announced that Ipy will be made available to patients in Ireland who have a very aggressive form of malignant melanoma. The Health Service Executive (HSE) has reached agreement with the drug's manufacturers, Bristol-Myers Squibb, following negotiations going back as far as November.

McMahon said it was great news and a compassionate, Christian thing to do. "It has been a rollercoaster week, but it was a victory for common sense," he added.

He has no idea yet when his treatment will begin and said he will discuss that shortly with his oncologist.

"It is on the table now, which is great," he said.

Meath Chronicle

Teen Rampage

A Latvian woman sustained serious facial injuries after a 13-year-old girl threw a piece of glass at her as she walked home from work near the city center.

Limerick Circuit Court heard the girl, who is now 16, was one of a number of young girls who racially taunted the woman and her daughter as they were walking in the John Street area at around 6:30 p.m. on March 2, 2010.

Garda (police officer) Anne Marie O’Shea said the injured party received 14 stitches above her left eye and that she has a permanent scar as a result of the unprovoked attack.

O’Shea said the 47-year-old had lost her job as a result of the incident, and she told the court she is still nervous when out and about.

The woman was not present in court for the sentencing hearing.

The court was told the culprit, who had taken drink and drugs on the date of the offense, was identified on CCTV from a nearby shop.

Prosecutor John O’Sullivan said the defendant had six previous convictions.  “It could have been much worse, it could have been tragic,” he said.

Barrister Mark Nicholas said the incident was a disgrace and should not have happened.
However, he questioned the role of his client’s parents in controlling her.

“Children should be in by a certain time at night. They should not be allowed to run wild, and they certainly should not be drinking and taking drugs,” he said.

Judge Carroll Moran said it was a “very serious offense,” and he said the appropriate sentence for an adult is three years imprisonment.

However, he adjourned the matter until October 2 to facilitate the completion of a probation report.

“Let’s see how she gets on,” he said.
- Limerick Leader

Seeking Pregnant Teen

Sums of money, reported to be as much as ***10,000 were being offered to locals in the Borrisoleigh and Thurles areas by members of the national media in return for the disclosure of the identity of the teenager at the center of a storm with St. Joseph’s College in Borrisoleigh after she was refused entry to the school in 2009 because she was pregnant.

St Joseph’s was at the center of a media storm recently, and although it was made clear by the office of the Ombudsman for Children that the pregnant teenager’s identity was being kept under wraps, the media engaged in the relentless pursuit of the girl, with locals being offered vast sums of money in return for solid information.

However, those who had been asked to reveal all remained tight-lipped, with many of those questioned by the tabloid papers unaware of who the girl is.

There has been much sympathy locally for the teenager, who was advised by St. Joseph’s College that she would not be taken in once it was discovered that she was pregnant.

Furthermore, she was refused entry to the co-ed Catholic school after her baby had been born, with the school telling the Ombudsman, on foot of a complaint from the girl’s mother, that it should not be blamed for “having a moral code.”

Padraig O’Shea, a well known and highly respected educationalist who founded the school back in 1978, and is now patron, manager and owner of the co-ed Catholic school, came under intense media scrutiny with the identity of the school in question having been revealed. He was the principal back in 2009 when the teen was denied admittance.

The Department of Education and Science and Education Minister Ruairi Quinn are to conduct an inspection of the facility renowned for high achievement, which caters for almost 300 pupils drawn from the immediate locality and further afield.
- Tipperary Star

Flasher Jailed

A Ballymoney man with an "extensive criminal record" for indecent exposure spanning over 25 years has been jailed for a further offense.

At Antrim Crown Court last week Samuel Matthew Shannon, 48, was sentenced to nine months in prison and nine months on probation for intentionally exposing his genitals to a woman.
The court heard that Shannon began offending in 1985 and would often frequent local beaches.

On July 2 of last year a woman saw Shannon standing outside the front of her property. She was made aware of his presence by her 11-year-old son who had been playing in the garden.

The injured party spoke to the defendant who made various comments to her which became suggestive such as, "What are you doing tonight?"

The prosecution said Shannon "moved matters to another level" when he removed his genitals from his trousers and carried out a sexual act.

The court heard that the injured party did not know the man and pointed out in her statement that she was "frightened and wanted the matter to be dealt with by police."

The prosecution explained that police "had a reasonably good idea as to who it might have been."
It was pointed out in court that Shannon had an "extremely extensive criminal record" for matters involving indecent exposure and occasions of indecent assault. The first entry in his record dates back to 1985, and the last entry related to two counts of indecent exposure on June 25, 2006.

Shannon's defense said he had been interviewed by police on two occasions and submitted a prepared statement in which he "fully admitted his guilt and apologized for his actions."

The defense solicitor continued, "This was a spontaneous offence, without planning. He was never in any close proximity to the injured party and never made any movement towards her. He does desire to seek help to reduce his risk of further offending."

Judge Corinne Philpott described it as a "disgusting offense."
- Ballymoney Chronicle

Dumb Dump

A man who gave police the wrong name after “taking a dump” outside a shopping centre has been fined.

Robert Browne, of Hollymount Park, pleaded guilty to obstructing police on May 25, 2010.

Derry Magistrates Court heard police were called to the Orchard Street entrance of Foyleside Shopping Center because a man had defecated outside it.

Police stopped the 24-year-old on the Craigavon Bridge and he said, “Sorry for the inconvenience. I did a dump outside Foyleside.”  Browne then gave his brother’s name to police.

Defense solicitor Seamus Quigley said his client is “entirely embarrassed by what he did and that’s why he gave a false name.”

Fining Browne £150, District Judge Barney McElholm said there was “no defense for what he did.”
- Derry Journal

Campaign for the Fiscal Stability Treaty ReferendumMark Stedman/Photocall Ireland