Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell has been made an MBE in the New Year honors, and he hailed the accolade as "truly special". It is just the latest in a string of proud achievements for the 31-year-old, from Portrush in County Antrim, who has had a sensational golfing year. In June he became the first European winner of the US Open since 1970, and the first Northern Irishman to win a major since Fred Daly in 1947. In October he sank a spectacular putt to clinch the Ryder Cup for Europe in a heart-stopping final match at Celtic Manor in Wales.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


Northern Ireland business figures from civil servants to captains of industry have been recognized in the 2010 New Years Honors list. Bruce Robinson, a former head of the Industrial Development Board - the predecessor of business development agency Invest NI - is to be knighted by the Queen. The Co Armagh man is currently head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


A mindless thug broke into St Patrick’s Church, Rathvilly on Christmas Day, while the remains of the late parish priest lay in a coffin in front of the altar. Fr Edward Flood passed away on Wednesday, 22 December, and his remains were being waked in the church over Christmas when the sickening incident occurred.  The window of the church toilet was forced open and the culprit made his way inside, while Fr Flood peacefully reposed in front of the altar.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


Heather McArdle from Dairybrae, Cootehill has had an amazing year since being crowned as the Face of Ireland at a gala weekend in Ballybofey, where Martin King was the compare. Heather has travelled the world during her reign and has regularly modeled clothes on Ireland AM on TV3. Blessed with a radiant smile, the Cootehill lady told The Anglo-Celt that she was brought up on a dairy farm and among her great passions are showjumping and horses.
(Source: The Angle Celt)


Numbers visiting the Cliffs of Moher have dipped dramatically in the last three years but it will be close to break-even in 2011, Clare County Council’s annual budget meeting heard. Declining numbers of visitors, coupled with the high cost of loan repayments, have posed a problem but director of services, Ger Dollard, said losses aren’t set to be too severe next year. “There are loan charges of €1.1 million next year but we are coming very close to covering both the charges and the operating costs,” he explained.
(Source: The Clare Champion)


A British male in his twenties was arrested at Cork Airport during Christmas week after Customs seized cannabis with an estimated street value of €60,000. The officers from the Revenue’s Customs Service in Cork Airport found approximately 10 kg of cannabis resin with the estimated street value. The drugs were found during routine profiling and the British male in his twenties, who was travelling from Malaga, was arrested and is being held at Togher Garda Station.
(Source: Cork Independent)


Despite the sub-zero temperatures and arctic conditions tourists are still visiting the city making the most of their holiday. With temperatures over the holiday season barely getting above freezing point, it would have been tempting to stay at home in front of the fire but a number of visitors braved the elements to take walking tours around the city centre.
(Source: Derry Journal)


An alleged fraudulent investment scheme which is being investigated by gardai and the Revenue could involve between €10million and €20million. The Donegal business man at the centre of the scheme is believed to have fled the country. Gardai investigating the investment scheme are working with colleagues in police forces across Europe. Up to three investigations into the legitimacy of the scheme are underway following raids on business premises in the county in November in which documents and computer files were removed.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)


The chief executive of George Best Belfast City airport has received a New Year Honour.  Brian Ambrose, 51, from Newtownards, Co Down, has overseen rapid expansion at the east Belfast airfield but has also angered some residents opposed to a runway extension which they fear would create extra disturbance. He was recognized with an OBE for services to the aviation industry.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


Massive potholes on the main road through the Phoenix Park are damaging its image to visiting diplomats and tourists, a councillor has warned. The potholes -- some of which are four to five feet wide -- on Chesterfield Avenue, are creating ongoing problems for distinguished guests to the Aras an Uachtaran and Farmleigh House -- as well as for city commuters. Cllr Seamus McGrattan said the poor condition of the road is spoiling the image of Europe's largest park, and is making the scenic journey difficult for visitors.
(Source: The Evening Hearld)


Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott, under fire for comments on the GAA and gay rights, has claimed he has been backed by sections of both communities despite the controversy. The Co Fermanagh Orangeman, who took over the party's top job earlier this year, is marking his first 100 days in office. But he denied his tenure had been overshadowed by his controversial declaration that he would not attend a Gaelic football match or a gay pride event.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


Provisional crime figures for the Galway Garda Division show that overall crime is down across the city and county by 11% compared to 2009 in what has been a successful year in the battle against the drug trade. The latest figures from An Garda Síochána until the end of last month show that targeted programs directing resources at particular areas within the division have come up trumps with significant falls across all the major offences apart from drugs.
(Source: GalwayBay Fm)


A raid on a supermarket in Castledermot on Christmas Eve left the owner shocked and injured while thieves fled with a quantity of cash and cigarettes. Cope’s Londis supermarket on the town’s Main Street, was just opening for the day, at 8am last Friday week, when two armed and masked raiders burst into the shop. The shop owner, David Cope, grappled with one of the men, who had a shotgun, and suffered a broken wrist in the struggle. The other thief wielded a boning knife, while their accomplice waited outside in the getaway car.
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)


A Kilkenny man who helped to provide the solution to the volcanic ash cloud air space shutdown earlier this year has been recognized by his air industry peers.The International Federation of Airworthiness (IFA) presented the 2010 Whittle Safety Award to Padhraic Kelleher, currently Head of Airworthiness for the UK Civil Aviation Authority at a ceremony at the 'Flying through an era of Volcanic Ash' conference held at the Royal Aeronautical Society Headquarters, London. Padhraic is a son of Pat Kelleher and his late wife Kay of Newpark Lawn, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny, he was educated at St Kieran's College, Kilkenny and NUI Galway.
(Source: Kilkenny People)


The HSE is planning to shut down two regional ambulance control centers as it centralizes the countrywide service. Documents obtained by the Irish Independent show that the centers will be closed by the end of February. The HSE plans to close the Tralee, Co Kerry, centre by January 12 and another in Castlebar, Co Mayo, before February 28.The move is part of a plan to close 12 regional facilities and provide two super centers in Dublin and Ballyshannon in Co Donegal.
(Source: Irish Independent )


An on-call emergency phone line advertised by Laois County Council to assist people experiencing difficulties with services over the holiday season has remained unanswered. That was a claim by one disgruntled Portlaoise woman who said she had attempted to phone Laois County Council last week. The woman who lives on her own said she had been away for a few days over the Christmas period visiting family members.
(Source: Leinster Express)


The number of farmers in the North West receiving payments from the Farm Assist Scheme has significantly increased since this time last year.Figures given by Minister for Social Protection Eamon O'Cuiv to Labour's Spokesman on agriculture Sean Sherlock revealed that 309 farmers are currently availing of Farm Assist in the county. This is an increase from 231 in 2009 and 209 in 2008, one of the highest increases in the North West.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)


Southhill’s boxing supremo Willie 'Big Bang' Casey has been named the Limerick Person of the Month for his magnificent dedication to his sport which culminated in him winning the European super bantamweight title at the UL Arena.The O'Malley Park resident now has his sights set firmly on a world title and his lifelong dream could come true in March when he takes on Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux at Dublin's CityWest complex.
(Source: Limerick Leader)


The sound of bells ringing out from St Mel's Cathedral has returned to Longford town. The familiar sound was lost when the cathedral was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day last year. But now as plans progress to restore the building to its former glory, a new automated bell system has been installed and the hourly chimes are once again a feature of Longford life.
(Source: Longford Leader)


A border area of the Irish Republic has come to the aid of water-depleted neighbors in Northern Ireland. Louth Council is to deliver at least 100,000 litres of drinking water per day by tanker to the Newry area on the northern side of the Irish border. It comes as Scotland promised to send further supplies of bottled water while the region's water crisis is dealt with. Drogheda Mayor Paul Bell welcomed the decision by Louth County Council to assist its neighboring local authority.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


Gardai in Ballina have reported a decrease in general crime rates throughout the district.Outlining the garda statistics over the last year to date at a recent Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Inspector Joe Doherty said drug related crime, incidence of assault and theft were on greatly reduced when compared to the comparative period last year.
(Source: The Mayo News)


Christmas shopping trends in Navan during December showed a marked improvement on last year, despite the sharp downturn in the economy, according to retailers in the centre of the town. Some people might say an improvement would not be hard to achieve because of the chaotic scenes on Christmas Eve 2009 when the town was hit by treacherous ice, leaving intending shoppers floundering to survive the Arctic conditions
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)


Gardaí have appealed for witnesses to a three-car crash in Co Monaghan last week in which three people, including a pregnant woman, died. The three-car collision happened on the N2 near Carrickmacross at around 6.30pm last Monday the 27th of December. Paul Carroll, 27, of Dunheeda, Co Meath, and Glenn Curtis, 28, of Dunroe, Nobber, Co Meath, were killed in the crash.Róisín Connolly, 39, of Grace Park Road, Drumcondra, Dublin, who was five months pregnant, died in hospital following the accident.
(Source:RTE News )


"Three strikes and you're out," is the warning Judge Gerard Haughton gave to the Court Services as he apologized for the second time for cold conditions at Tullamore District Court. "It's not fair that you should have to attend court in conditions such as this," he told those present at a recent sitting. However, he added that the cold was not quite as bad as the last time two weeks earlier in the main courtroom downstairs.
(Source: Offaly Express)


Gardai have launched a fresh appeal for information concerning the whereabouts of a Glenamaddy woman who has been missing since mid December. Blathnaid Timothy (33), originally from Glenamaddy, but now living in Dublin, has not been seen since December 14th. CCTV footage shows Blathnaid getting into a black Mercedes taxi on St. John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin after withdrawing €60 from a nearby ATM at approximately 8 p.m..
(Source: The Roscommon Herald)


2011 will be a "critical" year for a number of major road works schemes in the county with a stark warning from officials that the Tubbercurry by pass, the N17 Collooney-Tubbercurry Scheme and the N4 realignment at Collooney-Castlebaldwin will have to be revised if Compulsory Purchase Orders and Environmental Impact Statements in respect of the projects are not published within a relatively short time.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)


The Manager of North Tipperary County Council Mr Joe MacGrath has told members that the Budget adopted for 2011 for the county has been framed against the backdrop of the four year National Recovery Plan which provides for a return to sustainable growth in our economy. And, all services have been cut to the very bone with the council just about able to provide necessary finances to run operations for the coming year.
(Source: Tipperary Star)


Remains of a 410-year-old fort have been discovered on the banks of the River Foyle. The bastion fortification was built by Sir Henry Docwra in 1600 at Dunnalong, near Strabane in Co Tyrone, as part of his efforts to gain control over the Irish chieftains. University of Ulster researchers used aerial laser technology to reveal the Plantation-era settlement, which even included a brewhouse to provide beer to the settlement downstream at Derry.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


A new documentary on Lismore travel writer Dervla Murphy is to be brooadcast by TG4 as part of its Christmas and New Year schedule. The film, entitled ‘Who is Dervla Murphy?’, is produced and commissioned by Mixed Bag Media Ltd in association with Waterford County Council’s Arts Office. The documentary features exclusive footage of Dervla Murphy, Ireland’s most prolific travel writer, both at her home in Lismore and with her family abroad, and provides a new insight into her home life.
(Source: Waterford News $ Star)


The family of a Westmeath  woman who died after being misdiagnosed at two hospitals has received an apology from the HSE and damages of €65,000, RTÉ reports. 65-year-old Esther Galvin from Horseleap, Moate, Co Westmeath, died in August 2006, two years after she became unwell. Consultants at Tullamore and Portlaoise hospitals subsequently incorrectly diagnosed their patient as having depression, and Galvin’s lung cancer was not detected until she underwent tests in December 2005 in Dublin.
(Source: RTE News)


A woman who is terminally ill has claimed she was forced to travel to Britain for an abortion earlier this year. She was advised by her doctors to terminate her pregnancy because of the risks to her health. However, an ethics forum at Cork University Hospital decided against sanctioning an abortion for her in Ireland. Michelle Harte of Co. Wexford said that doctors at the hospital where she was being treated for cancer had advised her to terminate her pregnancy because of the risks to her health.


Two tourists have been rescued after becoming stranded in the Sally Gap in Co Wicklow. The pair had followed a SAT-NAV system which directed them to drive through the Sally Gap after leaving Glendalough en route for Dublin. The couple were unaware of the dangers of snow and ice in the area and had to phone for help. The Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team received a call from the couple shortly after 7.30pm after their rented car got stuck in the snow.
(Source: RTE News)