Red-faced council chiefs have confirmed that they are putting their controversial clampdown on burning coal and logs on the back burner following howls of protest from residents.

The prospect of fining cash-strapped residents $1,635 for heating their homes this Christmas inevitably became a burning issue at the Civic Centre, after the issue was highlighted in the Antrim Guardian two weeks ago.

Riled reps urged ratepayers to treat fliers warning legal action “with the contempt they deserved” and toss them on the fire, too – but still, some residents living in fear of that dreaded knock on the door were reluctant to take that advice.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


Self-styled victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer has been hit with a $2,290 legal bill over his attempt to sue south Armagh republican, Thomas “Slab” Murphy.

Frazer claims he has received the bill for Murphy’s legal aid costs in the civil case he brought in an attempt to sue Murphy for damages for the alleged I.R.A. murder of his father, Bertie.

The case was struck out as Mr. Frazer failed to provide the court with information, which would advance the case.  However, the Markethill loyalist has vowed not to pay the bill, saying he would rather “rot in hell.”
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


St. Laurence O’Toole A.C. gathered recently to honor those club athletes who competed at international level in 2013.

The club regularly produces athletes who earn the honor to wear the green singlet, but 2013 was an unprecedented year for the club with seven club members representing Ireland across Europe in track-and-field.

Club Chairman Billy Delaney presented an award to each athlete along with a voucher for the Talbot Hotel Leisure Centre; Billy also acted as the M.C. for the evening and gladly outlined the achievements of each individual to the enthusiastic gathering.
[Source: Carlow Nationalist]


The Sinn Fein comhairle (council) for the Ballyjamesduff area met last Monday, when the co-option of a candidate to the County Council seat recently vacated by Grainne Brady, and the intention to firm up interest in potential candidates in the area ahead of the 2014 local election were discussed.

While the selection in either case were not expected to take place until the new year, potential nominations were sought as the party seeks to clarify what names voters will see on the ballot next year.

The newly-realigned Ballyjamesduff electoral area for the forthcoming local elections will take in areas from Arvagh to Kilnaleck, Springfield and Virginia.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


Clare County Council has written to Kilrush Town Councilor Tome Prendeville on six occasions in an effort to elicit an apology for a comment passed to a member of their staff at a traffic management meeting in Kilrush in February.

However, Councilor Prendeville insists that he did apologize in February and claims his apology is written into the minutes of that meeting. While he described the apology as “contrite and sincere,” Councilor Prendeville claims he was contacted six weeks later and told that the apology wasn’t sufficient.

The comment was made during a debate on the placement of double yellow lines on both sides of the Back Road, outside St. Senan’s National School in Kilrush. Councilor Prendeville opposed this development, which has led to parents having to park illegally when dropping and collecting their children from school.
[Source: Clare Champion]


The seven-year-old Carrigaline boy, whose letter to Santa went viral after it was posted on the Cork Independent Facebook page, has been rewarded for his generosity.

Last Tuesday, Niall Christian O'Farrell and his sister, Nathalia, were delighted to pick out a truck from Bandon Co-op retail store in Bandon, which was the first to offer him a toy as a reward for his lovely offer.

The mother of the seven-year-old has been "overwhelmed" at the reaction to her son's generous request to send most of his toys to the Philippines.

Niall's mother, Novie, said: "We are so proud of him and we love him dearly."
[Source: Cork Independent]


Almost $1.6 million has been pledged to a Legacy Fund to build on Derry’s year as the City of Culture.

Both Derry City Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland will give $737,000 to the fund that is designed to ensure continued investment in the arts in the city.

Derry’ Mayor Martin Reilly said the fund would allow the city’s transition to continue.

“Derry City Council’s legacy promises are about providing cultural sustainability and encouraging communities and visitors to continue their connections with culture and the city. We are a proud and ambitious city with many talented and creative people.”
[Source: Derry Journal]


Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has named a very strong Donegal squad for the forthcoming Dr. McKenna Cup campaign.

In all, McGuinness had named 16 of the 2012 All-Ireland winning squad, including: Paul Durcan, Frank McGlynn, Eamon and Neil McGee, Karl Lacey, Anthony Thompson, Leo McLoone, Rory Kavanagh, Neil Gallagher, Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden, who were ever-present right through the All-Ireland run.

Michael Murphy will once again captain the team.

“We have included everybody except for the boys that are involved with the colleges in their respective competitions,” McGuinness told the Democrat.
[Source: Donegal Democrat]


There was much festive cheer at the 14th Newry Chamber Christmas Charity Dinner on Thursday evening, December 5, 2013 at the Canal Court Hotel, Newry.

Guests, who brought along toys to be distributed locally by the Saint Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army, were welcomed by Deborah Loughran, president of Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade, and Master of Ceremonies Orla Jackson.

The guest speaker at the event was Ulster, Ireland and Lions Rugby Captain Rory Best. After a fascinating informative dual interview with Radio and T.V. personality Gerry Kelly, Deboragh Loughran presented Rory Best with a special gift with the inscription “To Rory Best in recognition of your tremendous achievements in the world of sport and your contribution to the voluntary sector in the Greater Newry area, December 5, 2013.”
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


The two biggest stars of Irish breakfast radio have claimed R.T.É. are utterly clueless when it comes to figuring out breakfast radio.

D.J. Ian Dempsey has outlasted 11 different 2fm breakfast teams and is confident he will see out a few more.

Commenting after Hector O hEochagain became the latest casualty of the breakfast slot, the Today FM host claimed the fault was not with Hector, but elsewhere in R.T.É.

"Once again it appears that R.T.É. Radio has forgotten the fact that 95 percent of every great show comes from behind the scenes," Dempsey said.
[Source: Evening Herald]


A road accident that left her car wrote off, and herself shaken, has prompted Kinawley woman Lisa Curry to offer a stern warning to drivers as winter road conditions worsen.

The 31-year-old describes herself as “lucky to only be suffering with aches pains and bruising” after she was involved in a serious collision at a crossroads near Kinawley on Monday evening, December 16.

“The car is a write-off. When it happened I actually thought we were dead, I thought my boyfriend was dead. Things could have been a lot worse but we were lucky someone was watching over us to be honest.”
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]


John Griffin and his wife, Josephine, from Cloghans Hill, Tuam, on the Galway-Mayo border, are searching for accommodation after their house burnt down last Wednesday night

The Griffins lost their family home and its contents when fire ripped through the building.

John and Josephine Griffin were left with little more than the clothes on their backs as flames engulfed their home during the storm

Their grandchildren are lucky to have Christmas presents as these were rescued from beneath the tree in the blazing building by brave firefighters.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]


A County Kerry hospital is looking to entice surgeons in Britain and the U.S. to work in Ireland.

As part of the expansion program at the Bon Secours Hospital Tralee, a number of experienced consultant general surgeons are being recruited.

With over 500 staff-members and more than 40 consultants, phase-two of a $9.5 million development is due to commence in the new year at the Kerry hospital.

Hospital Manager Donna Roche said the new consultants will replace some of its long-serving surgeons who are due to retire.
[Source: Irish Post]


Staff-members at a service station shop in Athy were subjected to a terrifying ordeal on Thursday night, December 12, when an armed raider wielding a shotgun, and with his face covered by a ski-mask, jumped onto the counter and demanded that the safe be emptied.

The incident occurred at Tougher’s, Kilkenny Road, Athy, at around 8:40 p.m.

The lone male raider was described as around 5 ft.-9 ins. in height, of stocky build and with what seemed to be a local accent. He was wearing a black hoodie and dark track suit bottoms, a black peaked cap and a green ski mask on his face.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]


A 32-year-old man with schizophrenia has been found not guilty of murdering his mother by reason of insanity.

Niall Stapleton, of Glebe Lodge, Kilfane, Thomastown, County Kilkenny, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Siobhan Stapleton (51) at that address on May 25, 2012. She died from blunt force trauma to the head, after being beaten with the handle of a garden implement.

The college graduate admitted causing his mother’s death, but a four-day trial at the Central Criminal Court heard that he believed she had been replaced by an impostor when he killed her.
[Source: Kilkenny People]


A 19-year-old man described as a “habitual burglar” appeared before Portlaoise District Court two weeks ago, charged with handling stolen property.

Sean Kemp, Apt. 1 Elm Crescent, Ballacollig, Mountmellick, faced two charges of handling stolen property, at Laois Shopping Centre, on October 21.

Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that a burglary took place in Mountmellick. On October 21, two rings valued at $682 and $205 stolen in the burglary were exchanged at a Cash for Gold shop and Kemp was identified. A search of Kemp’s apartment on October 22 revealed a watch worth $273 that had been stolen.
[Source: Leinster Express]


At least 20 percent of Leitrim people are expect to do some Christmas shopping across the border this year.

A survey by the A.A. found Leitrim people and those who live in the border area are more likely to do some shopping in Northern Ireland over the festive season for food and alcohol items.

In the survey, 40 percent of Donegal people said they would cross the border for shopping, with 32 percent in Cavan, 23 percent in Louth, 22 percent in Monaghan and 20 percent in Leitrim.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]


Gardaí (police) have launched an investigation after a man was found with stab wounds on a public street in Kilmallock last Monday morning.

The man, who is aged in his 20s and from Limerick City, was discovered with serious injuries by a passerby at Sarsfield Street at around 8 a.m.

He was taken to University Hospital, Limerick for treatment. However, his injuries are not believed to be life threatening,

The scene where the injured man was found was sealed off and Gardaí began house-to-house inquiries in the area.
[Source: Limerick Leader]


A 23-year-old woman from Ballymore on the Longford-Westmeath border died last Wednesday afternoon after her car was struck by a tree brought down by high winds.

Aisling Maguire died following the accident, which was caused by storm force winds in the area.

The incident occurred on the Ballymahon Road in Mullingar at around 4 p.m. Emergency services cut the woman from the vehicle and she was rushed to the town’s regional hospital with severe head injuries. However, she passed away at the hospital that evening.
[Source: Longford Leader]


A global audience of 250 million viewers will see the Giro d’Italia make its way through the Dundalk Town Centre on May 11, 2014, as it has been confirmed that the town will be a major T.V. hub for the Irish leg of the internationally-renowned cycling race.

There is further cause for celebration with the news that Dundalk will also host the only southern sprint of the Giro.

Dundalk’s major involvement in the Irish leg of the race was confirmed by Giro organizers at a special meeting held in Dublin two weeks ago.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]


A 26-year-old man, who was shot in broad daylight at a filling station in Castlebar earlier Wednesday, died from his injuries.

The Mayo News understands the man died sometime after 8 p.m. at Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar.

The brazen shooting, believed to be connected to an ongoing Traveler feud, took place at the Top Oil filling station at Moneen in the town at approximately 3:30 p.m. The scene was sealed off for a technical examination.
[Source: The Mayo News]


Navan man Emmet Casey featured on a new television show that aired last Thursday at 10 p.m. on R.T.É. Two. 

“My Best Shot” is the new comedy dating show presented by Bernard O’Shea in which singles rate each other’s awkward family photos in an attempt to find a life partner.

Emmet, who is originally from Abbey Grove but now living in Johnstown, was one of the four guys chosen to take part in the show.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]


Gregory McGonigle is the new manager of the Dublin senior ladies football team.

The Derry native has spent the last three years in charge of Monaghan, leading them to two All-Ireland finals.

Cork beat them on both occasions – in 2011 by two points and by one point this season.
[Source: Evening Herald]


A judge has directed that renegade bishop Michael Cox be investigated by Gardaí (police) concerning a marriage he allegedly performed that involved a “naïve” 17-year-old juvenile.

At Ennis District Children's Court last Thursday, Judge Patrick Durcan ordered that Gardaí investigate Bishop Cox concerning a marriage certificate that was handed into court that contained Bishop Cox's seal relating to the marriage of the 17-year-old County Clare boy to a Co. Cork girl.

The teenager – who is currently on bail relating to alleged offenses before the court – got married to the girl at a ceremony officiated by Bishop Cox in Birr in Co. Offaly on November 23.
[Source: Irish Independent]


A 22-year-old Roscommon man has been charged with the murder of a mother-of-two in County Mayo two weekends ago.

Ray Gralton of Mount Prospect, Roscommon appeared before a special sitting of Ballina District Court last Monday charged with the murder of mother-of-two Sara Staunton. The 28-year-old was found dead in a house close to the village of Balla on Saturday afternoon, December 14.

Mr. Gralton did not speak during the two-minute hearing before Judge Mary Devins. Detective Sergeant Gary Walsh gave evidence that he arrested Mr. Gralton at Castlebar Garda (Police) Station on Monday and charged him with the murder. He has been remanded in custody to a sitting of Harristown Court on December 20 .
[Source: Roscommon Herald]


A County Sligo stretch of the main Dublin-Sligo road, which is often described as the most dangerous section of roadway in the country on account of 30 deaths on it in recent years, is set to be replaced by almost 15 kms. of dual carriageway.

Campaigners who have erected 30 white crosses on the verges of the existing 12 km. stretch of road, each one marking the scene of a fatality, have welcomed the “major breakthrough.”

Sligo County Council last Thursday confirmed that it had submitted the N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin proposed road development to An Bord Pleanála for planning approval.
[Source: Irish Times]


An unscheduled visit by the Health Inspection Quality Agency at University Hospital Limerick has been welcomed by Clr. Seamus Morris. The visit was carried out two weeks ago and concentrated on hygiene standards at the former Mid Western Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle.

Clr. Morris, through Nenagh Town Council, North Tipperary County Council and the H.S.E. West Forum, had been calling for such an inspection for a number of months.

“I welcome, after much pressure from me from different angles, to see H.I.Q.A. investigating this dangerous hospital, albeit a hygiene inspection,” he told the Tipperary Star.
[Source: Tipperary Star]


A Killyman firm, which is one of Northern Ireland's largest designers and manufacturers of specialist, large-scale recycling plant equipment, has delivered on its first big order to Africa.

E.M.S. Recycle sent the order after securing a major contract with a key Nigerian buyer.

The company, which supplies and installs turnkey recycling solutions to the public and private sector in the U.K., Ireland, Europe and further afield, said it had just completed on a deal to supply
[Source: Tyrone Courier]


Two men and two women, all aged in their 20s, have been arrested following a raid on a service station in Waterford City in which a customer was stabbed.

Two men entered the Mace Service Station at about 7:15 p.m. last Tuesday.

The men, who were armed with a knife, threatened a female member of staff. A customer came to her aid and was stabbed during the robbery.

The injured man was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital.
[Source: RTE News]


The 23-year-old woman, who died from injuries incurred when her car was hit by a tree on the Ballymahon Road, Mullingar last Wednesday, has been named as Aisling Maguire.

She was taken to Mullingar Hospital at around 4 p.m., and Gardaí (police) said she later died from her injuries.
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]


Gardaí (police) at Gorey are appealing for assistance from the public after a man in his early 40s sustained serious leg injuries after a number of shots were fired outside a house at Clonganny, a few miles from Ballygarrett around 2 p.m.

An intensive house-to-house search was launched immediately, and a Garda spokesman said they were waiting to question the injured man and to try and establish a motive for the serious incident.
[Source: Wexford Echo]


A Wicklow man who admitted sexually abusing his step-daughter has been acquitted of raping, but has been convicted of further charges of molesting her.

The 43-year-old man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 33 charges of sexual assault on dates between June 2002 and January 2004.

He had pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of sexual assault on dates between January 2005 and June 2006, 13 charges of rape between June 2003 and June 2004 and 22 charges of anal rape on dates between August 2004 and June 2006.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]