A MEMORIAL to two children killed by an IRA bomb in Warrington, England in 1993 has been stolen.
A plaque that formed part of the River of Life, a memorial for victims of the Warrington blast, was taken from a wall in Bridge Street in a suspected metal theft.
Three-year-old Johnathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry were both killed by two small bombs placed in litter bins on the street, while 54 others were injured in the Cheshire town.
The Bishop of Warrington, the Right Reverend Richard Blackburn, said his prayers were with both families.
He said, "This is senseless vandalism, grieving not only the families but the whole community. I appeal to all who have any information to assist the police and help take this investigation forward.”
Tim Parry's father, Colin, said there had been a spate of war memorial thefts around the U.K.
"Anyone with a conscience or any sense of decency would know that there might be other things that might be less emotionally damaging to take,” he said.
His son was killed when two bombs exploded within a minute of each other on March 20, 1993, in an area crowded with shoppers.
Johnathan died at the scene, while Tim was gravely wounded. He died on March 25 when doctors switched off his life support machine.
The memorial was stolen some time between April 20 and May 5.
Heroin Easier Than Milk
DROGHEDA'S ongoing drugs problem is being ignored by local politicians, it has been claimed, with not one elected representative turning up to a recent debate on the issue.
The Drogheda Drugs and Alcohol Forum held a meeting featuring a drug busting detective and a counselor from the Aislinn Center, who outlined the ongoing issues with abuse and addiction, but only a handful of people turned out to listen to them.
“It's easier to get heroin than a pint of milk in Drogheda. We have a huge problem here with alcohol and drug use and an increasing dependency on prescription drugs. We wanted people to hear those stories tonight, but they didn't turn up,” Kieran Traynor from the forum stated as he looked around the room, which had barely 20 people in it.
The group posted out over 178 invitations and contacted over 200 more people.
“We invited all the politicians . . . we invited schools to come and hear what's going on, first hand.
But they are not here,” he continued.
It was revealed that drug deals take place on a regular basis on West Street and much more needs to be done to alert the public about the problems out there.
The gathering heard detailed information from Detective Sergeant Brian Mohan, who admitted that his unit is “flat out” in the war on drugs.
He maintains the biggest problem facing society is alcohol, because that's where addiction begins, and he feels there must be a two-fold campaign to tackle drugs, via education and supply reduction.
“The Internet is a huge issue now and that is where parents must be vigilant. Children from as young as 10 are on tablets. The whole thing has exploded,” he stated.
“You must also be aware that your child's best friend could be their drug dealer. They don't hide down alleyways. They are out there in the community and you must make sure you know your children's friends.”
A DRUGGED driver who managed to drive his car on three wheels while sparks flew off the front rim at 50 mph was banned from driving for 10 years.
At Mallow court, Superintendent Pat McCarthy said Garda (police officer) John Horgan observed the driver, John Casey, driving "with the front tire missing while the car drove on the rim with sparks coming off the wheel," at 6:50 a.m. at Kilnockan in Mallow.
Horgan signaled for the silver Honda Accord to stop and the driver pulled into a petrol forecourt.
The court heard Casey had 52 previous convictions and was already banned from driving.
Casey, of Fairhill, Cork, was arrested and taken to Mallow Garda station where a sample tested positive for cannabis.
Solicitor Cathal Lombard said his 37-year-old client was married with four children and was unemployed. He said Casey had gone through some severe difficulties in his life, but is taking steps to improve.
Judge Brian Sheridan issued a four month suspended sentence. "If he follows the routine which he now wants to take then he will do well," said Sheridan.
Daughter Refuses School
THE father of a 14-year-old girl who attended just eight days of school during her first year at secondary school has been told he will face a custodial sentence if his daughter does not attend school for the remainder of the year.
The man, who cannot be named, appeared before Balbriggan District Court as a result of a prosecution taken by the National Education Board.
Solicitor for the defense Fiona D'Arcy said her client was entering a plea of guilty. She said he admitted his daughter was not attending school but this was through no fault of his own.
Senior education officer Brian Mooney from the National Education Welfare Board said the case had been referred to them last year from the Fingal school the girl is attending. Mooney said the girl, who will turn 15 this year, had attended eight days of school during first year and had not attended school on one single occasion this year.
He said there had been numerous home visits and the father had been quite cooperative, but the board felt there were parenting issues.
Mooney said numerous arguments between the father and daughter had been witnessed, and said the father had found it very difficult to get the teenager to attend school. A number of appointments had been made for both the father and daughter with a family services center, but the father and daughter only attended once.
He agreed with D'Arcy that the girl had very little respect for authority and frequently shouted at her father. He said very often, she would not get out of bed when the home visits were taking place.
Mooney said the father and the teenage girl's mother were separated and the schoolgirl spent long periods of time in England with her mother, even though she is only supposed to go for school holidays.
“Her father has even driven her to school in an attempt to get her to attend but she refused to go in,” said Mooney.
“It is very rare for us to bring people to court but I have spoken to the girl on several occasions and she has promised to attend school and then failed to do so.”
Mooney agreed to give the girl one more chance, but said it was important that both parties engage with the family center and attend all of their appointments.
The girl's father told the court his daughter was “just too lazy” to get up and go to school and “screams and shouts” at him when he attempts to get her out of bed.
In her evidence, the 14-year-old said she did not want to see her father go to prison and undertook to attend school every day if the judge agreed to put the matter back. When asked by D'Arcy if she was aware that her father could be liable to spend time in prison if she did not adhere to this, the teenager said she was aware.
Judge Dermot Dempsey adjourned the case to May 24, but warned the girl she must attend school every day in the interim.
Doggie Doo Downer
IT seems that the dogs in Abbeyfeale are being given free rein over the town's footpaths, much to the disgust of locals who are encountering unsightly dog poop at ever corner.
The problem has become such an issue that Limerick County Council's dog warden is expected to make a number of visits to the town to address the issue in the coming weeks.
According to a local woman, the problem is evident on most streets, with the Killarney Road area of the town being among the worst affected.
"It has become a huge problem at the moment, and we are literally walking around with our heads down watching out for it," she said.
Locals feel that the problem is continuing because, aside from the county council, there is no local body such as a tidy towns group to keep an eye out for offending dogs, and to have a quiet word with their owners.
For that reason, locals are appealing to dog owners in the town to be more responsible and scoop up the mess when and where it happens.
Limerick County Council has said that the issue has been brought to their attention and the authority will be deploying the dog warden, who has the power to issue on the spot fines.