Northern Ireland’s blossoming arts sector is enjoying an unprecedented financial bonanza, which has seen world-class cultural facilities built and improved across the province. With the new look Ulster Museum set to open its doors to the public this week, the massive £150 million investment injection has transformed our arts infrastructure from a dilapidated state into something to be proud of.

(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)


The widow of a Crossmaglen councilor who died almost two years ago says she is ‘overjoyed’ and feels ‘truly blessed’ at the birth of their twin sons. Collette Fee gave birth to the babies in Daisy Hill Hospital on Tuesday last.  The twins are the only children of her and her late husband, John, who tragically died from a brain tumor in November, 2007 at the age of just 43. Named after his father, John Fitzgerald was born first at 3.45am, weighing in at 5lb 7oz.  He was followed thirteen minutes later by his brother, Aaron Patrick, who tipped the scales at 6lb. Collette says the birth of her sons is a joyous occasion, albeit one tinged with sadness. She revealed that prior to beginning treatment for his illness, she and John pursued the option of planning for future children. She says she is delighted to fulfill their dream of having children and adds that her new family will help replace the sense of loss she has felt since her husband’s death.

(Source: The Examiner)


The search is on in Carlow to find two beneficiaries of a will that is believed to be worth a six-figure sum. Despite exhaustive searches to track down two of the beneficiaries who were bequeathed a substantial sum of money following the death of pharmacist Michael O’Connor, the lucky pair has yet to come forward to claim their legacy. In his last will and testament, the well-known Waterford-based businessman who once practiced on Carlow’s Tullow St, left Septa and Marian Stephens - believed to be a mother and daughter, who could originally be from Carlow - a large portion of his substantial estate. Mr. O’Connor operated a successful pharmacy business at The Quay, Waterford for a number of years. He died on 12 May 2005.

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


Local politicians, traders and community interests in Cootehill and Bailieboro are gearing themselves up for a battle with higher authority following last week's revelation that the Courts Service is planning to terminate district court sittings in both east Cavan towns virtually with immediate effect. The Courts Service confirmed that following consultation with the presiding judge (Sean MacBride), it's proposed to merge the district court area of Cootehill with Cavan and the Bailieboro district court area with Virginia.

(Source: The Anglo Celt)


Clare County Council is set to “freeze” more than 4,000 acres from development in response to Department of Environment concerns on “unjustified and unsustainable” over zoning. The move means that during the lifetime of the current development plan to 2014, no housing development would take place on 4,171 acres of land zoned for housing around Ennis. The local authority was given a deadline of Friday, October 16th, to address the over zoning in the Ennis Development Plan only months after it was adopted.

(Source: The Irish Times)


Gardai (police) are investigating an incident in Mallow two weeks ago where a man is alleged to have fled with a young baby while holding a knife to fend off concerned onlookers. It is believed that the matter began inside the local Tesco supermarket in what has been described as a 'domestic' type incident. An argument is thought to have started between the man and his partner. It is believed the man then got involved in an altercation with his partner and subsequently attempted to leave the supermarket with the baby. Mr. Jean Almeiba, a security guard at the Tesco store in Mallow, spoke of his terror, claiming that the man pulled out a knife when he (Almeida) followed the man from the store. Mr. Almeida said the man then got into a car with the baby and drove off. It is believed Gardai later succeeded in getting the man to surrender the baby. The baby is now believed to be safe and the matter is being investigated.

(Source: The Corkman)


Foyle View Special School in Derry is coming under increasing pressure to close after the death of a second pupil from swine flu. 14 years-old Ashleigh Lynch died last Wednesday at Altnagelvin Hospital where she had been receiving treatment for the condition. Her death came ten days after Orla O'Kane, who was also 14, died from complications arising from swine flu.

(Source: The Derry Journal)


A number of leading Austrian journalists from both newspapers and lifestyle magazines were in the north-west region last week to experience all that the beautiful region has to offer. The reporters, who were carefully selected and invited by Tourism Ireland, visited the Glencolmcille area, the Glenveagh National Park and also enjoyed a walking tour of the historic walls in Derry. The visit of these influential journalists is part of Tourism Ireland’s press visit program, which aims to increase awareness of the north west and the island of Ireland among key journalists and opinion-formers overseas, and ultimately potential holidaymakers.

(Source: Donegal Democrat)


Turnover at a Newry computer Software Company has increased by 66 per cent - ringing in at an impressive £11.4m. Crediting investment in its products for the impressive results revealed last Monday, David Anderson, chairman of First Derivatives, believes the firm will continue to buck the recession and ‘trade strongly’ over the next six months. Two hundred people are employed at First Derivatives, based at Canal Quay, working to provide software and support services to the global financial services market. Operating profit stands at £3m, up by almost 22 per cent from 2008, and net assets are £12.5m. Commenting on the interim results for six months ending on August 31, Mr. Anderson said: “During the period, we have committed substantial investment into First Derivatives and its structure to increase our global coverage and develop our range of in-house Delta software products”.

(Source: The Down Democrat)


Stephen Gately's favorite charity has seen an amazing increase in donations since the star's tragic death. Big-hearted Stephen was actively involved with the Caudwell Children charity for the past several years. Following his sudden death, Stephen's heartbroken partner, Andrew Cowles, announced them as the charity of choice for donations, resulting in the charity receiving more than £2,100 (nearly €2,300) in just four hours. Last Tuesday, they received a staggering number of phone calls from fans wanting to give money, with one individual making a donation of £1,000. A spokesperson for Caudwell Children spoke of how the offers had been pouring in from grief-stricken fans wanting to help their cause.

(Source: The Evening Herald)


A 54 year old senior civil servant from near Enniskillen who was awarded an out of court settlement by an industrial tribunal in September 2007, is now taking a high court case for harassment against the Cross Border Body Waterways Ireland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. Brian McTeggart had been seconded from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to a post with Waterways Ireland at its Enniskillen All-Ireland headquarters and later became its director of corporate services. The tribunal award arose from an action Mr. McTeggart took against his former employers after lifting the lid on alleged mismanagement and malpractices in relation to the way senior posts had been allocated. Waterways Ireland agreed to the settlement without an admission of liability.

(Source: The Fermanagh Herald)


Galway's public hospitals top a national poll for the number of cases of the superbug MRSA last year, according to a report. University College Hospital Galway and Merlin Park combined had 47 cases of MRSA last year. This figure came in marginally ahead of Dublin's Beaumont Hospital, with 45 cases, the Mater Hospital, with 34 cases and St James's Hospital, with 31 cases. But the report warned against comparing hospitals because of the differences in hospital activity, patient numbers and other effects. Nationally last year, 419 cases of MRSA were reported by acute public hospitals, down over 20 per cent on the previous year, when 526 cases were reported.

(Source: Galway Independent)


Deputy Jackie Healy Rae has defended the right to drive after drinking a pint and a half — or two on occasion — even if his stance means bringing down the government. Arguing that rural life would be obliterated, the Kilgarvan publican lambasted efforts last week by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey to lower the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit from 80 mg per 100ml to 50mg per 100ml, part of the forthcoming Road Traffic Bill. This lowering of the limit is set to bring Ireland to a level in line with the vast majority of other EU countries. He added that he would vote against his government on the matter, even if it caused it to collapse.

(Source: The Kerryman)


Pupils attending a Newbridge school were being bussed to and from Naas last week after flooding extensively damaged their own school buildings. Students and teachers from St Conleth’s Vocational School on Station Road are being temporarily accommodated in the former St Patrick’s VEC school at Newbridge Road, Naas, following the flooding incident. Work had been in progress to repair leaks in the flat roof of the building in recent weeks but in the wake of a torrential downpour on Tuesday morning two weeks ago, the school authorities were informed that under health and safety guidelines, the building was unfit for use. It is understood that further rain has added to the problem, with a number of rooms at the school having suffered considerable damage.

(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)


Householders growing cannabis in their homes, greenhouses, patios, back gardens, attics or elsewhere had better be prepared for a visit from the gardai. This follows the latest round of seizures in the city last week. In one house in the city, 40 cannabis plants were found by uniformed gardai and detectives. There were other substantial finds as well as they “weed” out those who are growing the illegal drugs for their own use and for their friends.

(Source: The Kilkenny People)


A Portlaoise businessman has criticized Laois County Council for sending out menacing letters threatening legal action if rates were not paid.
Letters threatening legal action if rates were not paid in seven days were dispatched to a number of Portlaoise businesses last month.
This has provoked fury among local businesses who believe the letters were completely unwarranted and unnecessary.
One local business person, who did not wish to be named, called the letter “disgraceful.”

The businessman, who has a longstanding business in the town, said: “It was unwarranted. They should know better. It’s absolutely disgraceful. If they checked their records before they sent out notices it wouldn’t have happened; they would see I always paid in December. It would be our busiest time and would be the best time to pay it,” he said.

(Source: The Laois Nationalist)


One lucky lotto punter who bought his Euromillions plus ticket in Scollans Gala Supermarket, Drumshanbo the Friday before last picked up his winning check of €500,000 from the National Lotto Headquarters last Tuesday. The man, who wishes his win to remain a private one, bought his €6 QuickPick ticket in Scollans Gala Supermarket, Church Street, Drumshanbo.

(Source: The Leitrim Observer)


Cranberries' guitarist Noel Hogan has spoken about the band's reunion and has given a strong indication that the band might be set for a Thomond Park gig next summer, saying "to play somewhere like Thomond Park would be amazing for us". Speaking on Live 95FM's Limerick Today show to publicize a new charity album that the he has contributed a song to, Hogan claimed that there were "no plans" at the moment for a gig in the newly developed stadium, but said he hoped it might happen.

(Source: The Limerick Leader)



Gardai have begun an investigation after a suspected pipe bomb was discovered in a Co Longford housing estate last Tuesday. A team of army bomb disposal experts removed and made safe the potentially hazardous homemade device on the outskirts of Edgeworthstown after Gardai were notified that a suspicious device had been left outside a house in the Shannon Park area of the town.

(Source: The Longford Leader)


Drogheda's tourism economy has taken a €7 million hit after it was announced that the 3 Irish Open will not be returning to Baltray Golf Club in 2010. The four day event will be held over the August bank holiday at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club. Michael Delany, Baltray club secretary/manager said that while the club is 'mindful' of the local economy and the definite loss to the area, 'it is outside our control'. He added that the Tour had approached Baltray on two occasions. 'We were willing to oblige then and if the situation arise again we would be willing to oblige. Tournaments move on and very few stay in the same place. If they come back to us in 2011 and say 'Are you interested?', we will look it again'.

(Source: The Drogheda Independent)


In an incident with similarities to the New York incident where a plane had to crash land on the Hudson River, an outbound flight from Knock had to divert after also having a flock of birds get caught up in its propellers last week. The flight to Manchester had to divert to Shannon, thankfully for all concerned it was the airport and not the river. The ‘freak’ incident occurred last Monday afternoon with the plane crashing into a flock of birds after take-off. With a ‘chugging’ noise from the engines audible to the passengers, the flight was diverted to Shannon as a precaution. It landed there for inspection by an aeronautical engineer and the BMI Baby group sent another plane from Manchester to Shannon to bring the passengers across.

(Source: Mayo News)


Gardai are investigating whether a major fire at a landmark east Meath hotel last week was started maliciously. The owner of the former Europa Hotel at Colpe Cross, between Julianstown and Drogheda, Mr. Hugh Curran, confirmed he expected it to have to be demolished as a result of the blaze. In 1987 the hotel, then known as the Rossnaree Hotel, made national headlines when two men were shot dead there as part of a feud between the INLA and IPLO. At one point, 20 firefighters from Louth and Meath were fighting the major outbreak, which was spotted at around 9.20pm on Sunday night last.

(Source: The Meath Chronicle)


The new US ambassador, Mr. Dan Rooney, is to be invited to visit Offaly. Last week’s meeting of Offaly County Council heard Councilor Molly Buckley refer to media reports quoting him as saying he wanted to visit every county. She suggested he be invited, given local links with the USA. The Cathaoirleach (Chairman), Cllr Noel Bourke, said they would do so.

(Source: The Offaly Express)


Homes in the general Ballintubber area have been found to have the highest levels of the cancer causing radon gas in County Roscommon. The Carrowkeel, Ballyfinegan, Corrastoona Beg and Rabradagh townlands are all within a high radon area, which is estimated to have more than 20% of homes above the reference level of the cancer causing radon gas. A study by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) has revealed that families in Ireland continue to be exposed to cancer-causing radon gas.

(Source: The Roscommon Herald)


The closure of O'Connell Street to traffic three years ago created an expectation among the people of Sligo that could not be delivered upon, North Ward councilor, Veronica Cawley has said. In a statement outlining her reasons for supporting expenditure of €125,000 to re-open the town's main street, the former Mayor said while she supported the principle of pedestrianization she felt the decision to close O'Connell Street was taken prematurely.

(Source: The Sligo Champion)



The prospects of a financial break for people seeking planning permission in North Tipperary seems bleak at the present time with the local authority facing massive bills for water and sewerage infrastructure. And, while the principle source of potential income comes from development contribution levies, a report to the monthly meeting last week has stated that the only other alternative is to increase the water and wastewater charges to the non-domestic users from their current levels, otherwise North Tipperary's infrastructure will be stagnated.

(Source: The Tipperary Star)


More money has been spent to repair acts of vandalism on Southern Area schools than anywhere else in N. Ireland, new figures have revealed. £892,000 has been spent by the Department of Education to clean up or repair acts of vandalism on school estates in each of the last five years in this area alone. This is over £20,000 more than the next highest repair work bill in the North Eastern Board. The lowest amount was in the Western area where just £239,000 was footed for repairs.

 (Source: The Tyrone Times)



Close on half a century after a second river crossing was mooted for Waterford city the dream finally became a reality just after 1p.m. last Monday when the longest Cable Stayed Bridge in the State was formally declared open. Soaring 100 meters over the River Suir, the iconic structure and 23 kilometers of dual carriageway linking Slieverue in Co. Kilkenny and Kilmeaden in Co. Waterford has been delivered 10 months ahead of schedule and at a cost in excess of €500m.

(Source: Waterford News & Star)


Belvedere House and Gardens has been heralded as a possible venue for a Bruce Springsteen concert by the Cathaoirleach of Mullingar Town Council, Cllr. Ruth Illingworth, after it was discovered last week that the American rock musician has ancestral roots in Mullingar. "There has been talk of a concert in the Market Square, though that might be a tight squeeze," said Cllr. Illingworth, "But Belvedere could be a very possible location for a concert. However if he just wants to come for a holiday here we would be very happy with that also." The Cathaoirleach also said there are plans underway to issue a formal invitation to "The Boss" to visit Mullingar some time in 2010.

(Source: The Westmeath Examiner)


There is widespread sadness following the death of the retired professional golfer Austin Skerritt, who worked at Rosslare Golf Club for many years. Austin of Rosslare Strand and formerly of Lahinch, County Clare, died at his home on Tuesday morning last. He was in his late seventies.

(Source: The Wexford People)


Blessington's Russborough House has been included on a list of 93 heritage sites around the world considered to be endangered. The 18th century demesne now finds itself placed on the World Monument Funds 2010 watch list, alongside 92 other cultural heritage sites from 46 countries such as Gaudi's Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona and the Peruvian city of Machu Pichu. The house was designed by Richard Cassells and was donated to the State in 1978 by owners Sir Alfred and Lady Beit. It is open to the public and is managed by the Alfred Beit Foundation. However, Russborough's inclusion on the list is due to worries over its designed and natural landscape rather than the Palladian mansion itself. Considered one of the most intact and important designed landscapes ever created in Ireland, it hasn't been accessible to the public in the 30 years Russborough has been open to the public for visitation.

(Source: The Wicklow People)