Jellyfish Ashore
ALMOST TWO million stinging jellyfish washed up on Mullaghmore beach recently.
A spring tide and northerly onshore wind were the main reasons behind the stranded jellyfish, according to local ecologist Dr. Don Cotton.

He examined the remains, the size of ping pong balls, at Bunduff Strand.
Cotton, a retired IT Sligo lecturer, said that the jellyfish died once they were stranded.

He said that the species, a Mauve Stinger, has been washing up since the beginning of September.

“Small numbers of these jellyfish have been washing up on Yellow Strand near Raghly with a peak count of 15,000 on October 6,” he said.

"A group of swimmers who crossed Donegal Bay from St. John's Point to Mullaghmore for charity ran into a swarm of jellyfish in late September and were quite badly stung by them."

The numbers in Bunduff beach exceeded these figures.

At least 3,500 square meters of sand was covered by the jellyfish.

The Sligo Champion

Wildman Attack
AN Askeaton man who spat at and “tried to bite” Gardai (police) after he was arrested at a local pub has been likened to “a rabid dog” in court.

Thomas O’Shaughnessy, 25, of Plunkett Road, Askeaton had to be forcibly removed from the Top of the Town bar on Main Street in Askeaton on July 13 after becoming “very abusive.”  As he was being arrested he lashed out at Gardai and had to be restrained.

At a sitting of Newcastle West court, where O’Shaughnessy pleaded guilty to public order offenses arising from the incident, Judge Mary Larkin described the defendant’s behavior as “inconceivable” and “completely unacceptable.”

Paul Reidy told the court that at 12:25 a.m. Gardai were called to the pub after receiving a report that the accused, who was barred from the premises, was refusing to leave.

On arriving at the bar Gardai spoke to O’Shaughnessy, who “became very abusive” and started “shouting obscenities” at them. The accused then had to be forcibly removed from the bar, but continued “shouting and roaring.”

As he was being arrested O’Shaughnessy “spat several times” at the Gardai, and then “tried to bite” them.

The court heard that O’Shaughnessy has 15 previous convictions, and most recently received a one month suspended prison sentence in December 2011 for public order offences.

The accused has other burglary and public order convictions in 2011, while in 2008 he received a two month suspended sentence for possession of a weapon. 

His solicitor Michael O’Donnell said that the Top of the Town “was his favorite watering hole,” but O’Shaughnessy “hasn’t gone there since.”

O’Donnell said that the defendant’s criminal behavior largely dates back to 2011 when his father died, “who he was very close to … a lot of his problems emanate from that.”

The court heard that O’Shaughnessy, who has issues with alcohol and substance abuse, apologized to the Gardai for his behavior the day after the incident. O’Donnell said the accused is a father of one whose partner is pregnant with their second child.

Larkin said that O’Shaughnessy’s conduct was “completely unacceptable,” and likened his attempted biting and spitting to that of “a rabid dog.”

The judge added that she was “seriously considering a prison sentence” but decided instead to refer O’Shaughnessy to the probation service to determine his suitability for 120 hours of community service.

If he does not complete this community service, or is deemed unsuitable to carry it out, O’Shaughnessy will instead have to spend three months in prison, the judge warned. 

The case was adjourned until November 8 for a probation report.

Limerick Leader

Groper’s Reduced Sentence
A 32-YEAR-old man who groped a 14-year-old girl while she slept was given a 12-month suspended sentence at Portlaoise Circuit Court.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was previously given a 10-month sentence for the offense, having been convicted of sexual assault in a home in Portlaoise on June 28, 2011. He was appealing this sentence at the circuit court.

For the defense, Rory Hanniffy said there was now a “fulsome” probation report on his client, which deemed him “a low enough risk.”

Remarking that the injured party had “a disgusting experience inflicted on her,” Judge Tony Hunt imposed a 12-month sentence, suspended for 12 months on condition the man keep the peace, be of good behavior and remain under the supervision of the probation services.  He will also be subject to notification under the Sex Offenders Act for five years.

Facts of the case were outlined at an earlier court sitting, by Garda Ray Demody and state solicitor Donal Dunne.

The court heard that the injured party went to bed at 3:15 a.m., but was woken up to find the defendant with his hand up her top, squeezing her breast.

She screamed and the owner of the house came to the room, where a struggle ensued with the defendant. There were four adults in the house, including the defendant.

The girl had arrived at the house for a sleepover and had been playing cards and Monopoly. Some of the adults were drinking alcohol, but the girl was just drinking Coke. The girl got into bed in her clothes and when she woke up, she felt a hand going up and down under her top, with the defendant’s hand moving from around her belly button up to around her breast.

The defendant wrote a letter of apology to the injured party, but she did not wish to receive it. She was satisfied to accept his offer of €1,000 compensation.

Leinster Express

Americans Rescued
TWO American tourists were airlifted from Fairhead in a dramatic early morning rescue.  The men were plucked to safety from the boulder field at around 4 a.m. on Sunday, October 27 after failing to return from a walking trip.

The alarm was raised by Genevieve McLernon, owner of the Ardaghmore Bed and Breakfast on North Street in Ballycastle where the men had been staying. McLernon said the pair, who serve in the U.S. Air Force, were visiting the north coast as part of a hill walking tour.  She had dropped them off near Torr Head on Sunday morning, and they were expected to reach Ballycastle again, by foot, in the late afternoon.

"I expected them back before 5 p.m. When they weren't back by 6 p.m. I wasn't unduly concerned because they are fit, young men. But the evening wore on and I couldn't settle myself."

After ringing around some local restaurants to check if her guests had went out for dinner, McLernon contacted the police, sparking the start of the major search operation.

Thanks to her concern, Coastguard teams from Ballycastle and Coleraine were quickly on the scene along with the Irish Coastguard helicopter from Sligo.  Facing high winds and rain,

Coastguard sector manager Gordon Munro explained that a search zone was established covering Murlough Bay and Fairhead.

“We set off white powder illuminating flares to attract the men's attention and the helicopter used heat seeking technology,” Munro said.

The men were eventually located when personnel spotted a flashing light shining from an area at the bottom of Fairhead.

“There was relief all round when the men were found, and thankfully they were cold but unhurt. When we left the scene they were being looked after by ambulance personnel, and the message we got was that they were very grateful.

Local Councilor Padraig McShane hailed the local Coastguard crew's actions, and said they were “the unsung heroes of the coastline.” 

Praise also came from SDLP Assembly member John Dallat, who said “the seamless relationship between the Coastguard services on this island is a shining example of cross-border co-operation which saves lives on a regular basis.”

Ballycastle Chronicle

Water Shortage
CURRENT water restrictions for the entire Dublin region will remain in place until at least November 7.  The water restrictions are from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m.

Dublin City Council says it is reviewing the water supply situation on a daily basis.

It says there has been a stabilization in production at the Ballymore Eustace water treatment facility, but production is still well below what is needed to meet demand.

Water reservoirs remain at an unsustainably low level, the council says.

Meanwhile, funding of €12 million has been approved for new water treatment plants in Co. Roscommon.

RTE News