Stolen Snake
GARDAI are investigating the theft of a six foot long Albino Boa Constrictor from the Duleek area. The snake, named Jenga, was stolen from a log cabin at the rear of the property outside Duleek in the early hours of Saturday, May 4.

Owner Joanna Lynch explained that the snake needs specialist care and handling and must be kept in a hot temperature. “The longer it is away from its tank, the sicker it will get and it won’t be worth anything to anybody,” she said.

Lynch is offering a reward for the safe return of the family pet and has said there will be no questions asked.  She has had the snake for eight years and explained it was the first of its type to be brought into the country.

While there are now other Albino Boa Constrictors in the country, they would still be quite rare and Jenga would be the largest of her kind.

The Meath Chronicle

Stab Instead Of Jail
A CASTLEBAR youth who should have been jailed on Friday, May 3 was the victim of a stabbing attack in broad daylight in Castlebar on Monday, May 6.

The youth’s injuries are not believed to be life threatening. The victim, a 16-year-old male, was stabbed at least once in the hand and Gardai (police) have arrested a young male in connection with the incident.

Controversially the victim should not even have been at liberty as he was due to be jailed three days previous for breach of bail terms.

He had appeared before Westport Children’s Court on April 11 charged with the assault of a retired Garda in Castlebar. He pleaded guilty.

On that date Judge Mary Devins was told that the youth was living with a friend of the family who had taken him in, and the court heard he was making progress.  Devins observed that there was “a chink of light” in the case and adjourned the matter to October to see if he could maintain the improvement in his behavior.

He had also previously appeared on another charge of assault and on public order charges and was remanded on bail, on conditions including that he obey a curfew and refrain from drinking alcohol.

Ballina Children’s Court was told on Friday, May 3 that he had breached the terms of his bail by breaking his curfew. Devins was told he had been drinking and failed to return to where he was residing on two separate nights since his last court appearance on April 11.

The court was also told that the youth was himself at risk, something borne out by the stabbing.
Devins was told he could not be imprisoned as there was no room in any detention centers in the country. She was also told that as the woman who had taken care of the youth was no longer in a position to do so at this point in time and as no detention place was available for the youth, he was effectively homeless. Councilor Michael Kilcoyne said that what happened sends out a frightening message.

“This guy probably thinks he is untouchable. Even when a judge wants to jail you, after you’ve been warned several times, you won’t be sent to jail because there’s no room for you. It raises serious questions -- why should people follow the law?” he said.

The Mayo News

No Suicide Prevention Plan
A DONEGAL coroner has strongly hit out at what he claims is the government’s failure to tackle the “growing epidemic” of suicide.

Coroner John Cannon said the problems are being exacerbated by the culture of “doom and gloom” following the economic downturn, but he said an emphasis on humanities is being “overlooked” by the government.

Cannon, coroner for Donegal North West, made his comments after he heard evidence in the inquests of two men who died by suicide in the county.  One was a 51-year-old farmer while the other was a 19-year-old unemployed man.

Cannon said it angered him that the government “don’t see it important to put an emphasis on suicide.”

He said while they had put resources into helping reduce road deaths, the same focus is not put on suicide prevention which, at times, accounted for almost as many deaths.

“Suicide is not inherent in the young but affects the wider spectrum of society. All too often I have to face the sad and broken families of such deaths,” he said.

He added that much of the government emphasis in the current “doom and gloom” society was on “budget balancing” in Europe and had “very little emphasis on self harm or suicide,” with the exception of President Michael D. Higgins, who recently raised the issue of the human cost of the recession.

“It angers me. Every week I get a call on the suicide of a young person in our society but very little is being done about it,” Cannon said.

The coroner heard that the 19-year-old in question had been suffering from depression and had sought treatment.

His father told the inquest his son had recently completed a computer course and would generally feel better when he was in employment.

“But this is Ireland,” he told the coroner.
Donegal Democrat

Kept Driving
A 38-YEAR-old Lisnaskea man who took a vehicle out for a test drive, but didn’t return with the vehicle, was stopped by police and found to have no insurance.  Paul McDermott, of Newbridge Road pleaded guilty at Fermanagh Magistrates Court to the charge.

The prosecutor told the court that on October 24, 2012 police received a report from the injured party, a used car salesman who had let the defendant take a Mercedes out for a test drive from a petrol station in the area of Main Street, Lisnaskea. He told McDermott to return when he was ready.

The driver was away for a number of hours, and when he did not return the car salesman rang the police.

McDermott was stopped by police in the Wellington Road area of Enniskillen and was arrested and cautioned to which he made no reply. He further failed to produce valid insurance for the vehicle.
Brian Charity, defending, explained that this was a simple and inoffensive course of events. He told the court that McDermott had intended to buy the vehicle and had taken the test drive.

Charity noted that the defendant had been told, “come back when you’re ready,” and said there was never any risk of the car not being returned. He also added that his client thought he was covered to drive the vehicle with commercial insurance, but this had not been the case.

District Judge Liam McNally took into account the defendant’s plea of guilty at the first opportunity and noted that although he had a previous record, this was some 20 years ago. The judge imposed a £300 fine and eight penalty points.

Fermanagh Herald

Military Drop

WHILE Shannon Airport’s assets were valued at €105.5 million when granted separation from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) the airport had a turbulent 2012, with the lucrative U.S. military transits through Shannon down by a whopping 53 percent.

According to the DAA’s annual report, Shannon’s performance was the worst of the three state airports in 2012, with passenger numbers down by 14 percent. Cork is experiencing a year-on-year decline of just under one percent, while Dublin had an increase in passenger numbers of just under two percent.

The report stated that while it had been a difficult year for Shannon, when military traffic is excluded the drop in passenger numbers wasn’t as serious as figures suggest.

“The main reason for the large decline in passenger numbers was a significant reduction in the amount of military transit traffic at the airport.  Terminal traffic – that is passengers who started or ended their journey at Shannon – declined by six percent last year to 1.3 million,” the report said.

The drop in military traffic was significant. “Shannon’s transit business declined by 53 percent to 133,000 last year. The fall came after one of the main companies that routes military transits through Shannon lost part of the business, following a tender process,” it said.

Traffic to all Shannon’s major markets declined, especially to mainland Europe. “Traffic to Britain, which was Shannon Airport’s largest market last year, declined by two percent to 736,000. Trans-Atlantic traffic fell by 10 percent to 288,000, while traffic from Shannon to continental Europe was down 12 percent to 236,000.”

Clare Champion

Brian McCrossan met his six-week-old daughter Saoirse on Friday for the first time when he arrived home from a six month tour in South Lebanon with the rest of the 175 troops from the 107th Battalion.Photocall Ireland