Police in Northern Ireland have launched a murder inquiry after a 15-month-old toddler injured in an alleged assault at a house died last week. The girl was under intensive care at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after being hurt in Co Fermanagh. Police arrested a 30-year-old man as part of the investigation. Detectives from the PSNI's serious crime unit are involved and searched a house at Glebe Park in the Chanterhill area of Enniskillen. The child was first admitted to the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen last Wednesday night and then transferred to Belfast. Western Health Trust staff are assisting police.

(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)         


A Capuchin monk has defended the order’s housing of a convicted pedophile in its Carlow premises.

Fr Paul Murphy said that while Fr Dominic Savio, whose real name is John Boland, can leave the premises alone, there is no question of him being a danger to children in the area as was suggested by a tabloid newspaper recently.

Mr. Boland was convicted of nine counts of indecent assault on young boys in 2001.

“Is he out prowling the streets? No,” said Fr Murphy. “There are different kinds of pedophiles and, as was revealed by the Murphy Report, his modus operandi was to befriend a family and move in to groom people.

There is no danger whatsoever to someone walking down the street.


(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


The unique Church of the Holy Family in Lough Gowna is nearing the end of a €200,000 refurbishment and Fr. PJ Fitzpatrick, PP, hopes to celebrate Mass there shortly. Fr. PJ Fitzpatrick points out that the Church of the Holy Family is unique as it belongs to the parish of Gowna/Colmcille East, which is half in Ulster and half in Leinster. "I've heard of parishes being divided by county boundaries but not provincial," said the PP. The church was built in 1906 by Fr. Michael Corcoran from Ardagh. "These are the first major renovations that have taken place since the church was established just over 100 years ago," said Fr. Fitzpatrick.

(Source: The Anglo Celt)


Gardaí In Co Clare were last Thursday night questioning one man and hunting up to two others after an arson attack that destroyed a car and extensively damaged a home. A 19-year-old man was arrested, while two others were still being sought. The man was being questioned at Ennis Garda station last Thursday night. It is believed the men planned to burgle the property, but set the house and the car alight before leaving the scene.

(Source: The Irish Times)


Up to 35 local community groups were braced for cuts last week following news that Avondhu Blackwater Ltd is to close its Mallow office ahead of reopening with reduced services in January However, the chairman of the Avondhu Blackwater leader group cannot give assurances that all of its current community services will continue in Mallow when a relocation takes place this January. The announcement comes amid revelations that three staff at the newly merged Avondhu Blackwater partnership have accepted voluntary redundancy.

Chairman of the group Sean Hegarty said that it is still unclear what degree of services will be provided when the Mallow office at Park Road is relocated to Fair St. According to Mr. Hegarty, the decision to relocate to the new €2.7million Le Cheile Family Resource Center has been spurred by their current lease coming to an end.

(Source: The Corkman)


Derry's university has entered a "new era" after reaching a groundbreaking agreement to expand onto lands currently occupied by Foyle and Londonderry College. The agreement in principal has cleared a path for the University of Ulster's ambitious development plan for Magee Campus which includes a proposal to expand student numbers to 10,000. The 30 acres of Northland Road lands will become available when Foyle College relocates to its new £14 million site at Clooney in 2012. University of Ulster Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett says the agreement is "an important milestone".

(Source: The Derry Journal)



Councilors said they are hopeful their meeting last Wednesday with representatives of the National Roads Authority (NRA) will bring the funds needed to advance the proposed Twin Towns bypass and other national roads projects. The delegation of councilors from all parties and members of senior staff have asked the NRA for €16 million for roads projects around the county, about €6 million more than the council received this year from the roads authority. Of that, the council is looking for €500,000 to redesign aspects of the proposed bypass to try to meet An Bord Pleanála objections. Donegal Mayor, Fianna Fáil Cllr. Brendan Byrne, who led the delegation to Dublin, said Donegal County Council "is certainly pushing on an open door" at the NRA with regard to the bypass. He said the NRA appreciated the strategic importance of the bypass to the county.

(Source: Donegal Democrat)



Nadine Coyle said she is amazed at the generosity of the people of Newry after visiting the city for the first time on Thursday last - then insisted she would love to return next year to perform in concert. The Girls Aloud star was special guest at the Newry Business Christmas Charity Lunch where over £80,000 in cash and donated toys was raised for local charities and disadvantaged children. Boyfriend Jason Bell accompanied the 24-year-old and the New York Giants star was in familiar company as USA Ambassador to Ireland and Pittsburgh Steelers owner, Dan Rooney, was also present for the event’s 10th anniversary. The Derry girl was clearly shocked at the colossal amount of money raised at the lunch and heaped praise on everyone involved. “It really is an amazing event. This is its 10th year and it’s great that so many people take time each year to attend it and raise so much money for such great causes,” she said.

(Source: The Down Democrat)


Westlife spent some time with American President Barack Obama before their performance at the Nobel Peace Prize concert last Wednesday night. Singer Shane Filan told of his delight at getting so close to President Obama, the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The band had the opportunity to meet the President when they flew over to Norway in advance of their performance at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo. Shane, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily were invited by organizers to take part in the ceremony -- an opportunity they wouldn't dream of turning down. However, Shane was determined he would not be giving the US President the Royal treatment by bowing before him. Speaking ahead of the historical meeting, Shane said: "I won't be bowing, I'll just be shaking his hand and saying to him, 'You're doing a great job'. "I've always said that I'd love to meet an American President and I thought some day maybe I would. "But I certainly didn't think it would be President Barack Obama, he's kind of the one everyone wants to meet.

(Source: The Evening Herald)


There will be no risk to the jobs of the 378 people employed at Quinn Glass, and full production at the Derrylin plant will be restored within the next two weeks, the Group has confirmed. The news on the brink of Christmas comes with a sigh of relief for the concerned employees who woke up on Sunday morning last to learn that a major fire, which started accidentally in a ruptured glass furnace, resulted in 400 tons of molten glass causing the blaze to spread over two floors of the building.

(Source: The Fermanagh Herald)


The West of Ireland is to feature prominently in next year’s campaign to reverse the dramatic 12% fall in overseas tourists, with tourism chiefs planning to achieve growth of 3% by focusing on the promotion of value breaks in the British and German markets. Galway and its festivals as well as Connemara are being highlighted in a television campaign to be broadcast across Great Britain next month, part of a €12.8m investment in the market which suffered a devastating 15% drop last year. Tourism Ireland is the first tourist board in Britain to launch a TV campaign focusing on good value offers.

(Source: Galway News)


The slump in the property market has seen Lee Strand wipe over €15 million off the value of its property portfolio, according to financial figures for the co-op seen by The Kerryman. Lee Strand's annual report, presented to shareholders a fortnight ago, shows the co-op had total after-tax losses of €15.044 million in 2008. The main component of this loss was the large-scale writedown of the value of the co-op's property interests, primarily in Tralee and Castleisland, by €15,333,085. These losses were compounded by the massive slump in the property market which the auditors noted the co-op was particularly exposed to.

 (Source: The Kerryman)


Two customers of Eurospar on Claregate Street in Kildare Town are going to have a Happy Christmas but they may not know it yet.

 The store has sold two Christmas Millionaire Raffle early bonus draw winning tickets worth €10,000 each. However, neither of the lucky winners has come forward to claim their prize.

 Ciaran Price of Eurospar in Kildare said that he and his staff were delighted to hear the news that two customers were winners.

(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)



A South Kilkenny toddler has defied all the medical odds and, despite being diagnosed as blind following a bleed to his brain when he was a baby, he will be able to see the Christmas lights on the tree for the first time this year. The little boy is also expecting a bike from Santa this Christmas, and his parents Pamela and Dave are thrilled with the early progress made by Baby Sam following his trip to China.

(Source: The Kilkenny People)


Dog poop is so bad on the footpaths of Mountmellick that one local councilor has called for the introduction of nappies for dogs to catch their droppings, similar to what was introduced for Jarvey’s in Killarney.

According to Cllr Denis O’Mara, who brought the matter up, at the recent town council meeting, the dog excrement problem is so bad along the town’s footpaths that they’re beginning to resemble “skating rinks.”

 He said: “The whole town is destroyed. You just can’t walk the town anymore. It’s a disgrace. Something will have to be done similar to what they did with Jarvey’s in Killarney. The litter warden is now doing Portarlington.

(Source: The Laois Nationalist)


National Irish Bank are "putting their two fingers up to rural Ireland" according to local Deputy Frank Feighan following the news that the Ballinamore branch of NIB will close over the next 18 months as part of a restructuring plan. The branch of NIB in Ballinamore as well as the one in Boyle, Co Roscommon will be merged with the National Irish Bank branch in Carrick-on-Shannon. Ballinamore town councilor Gordon Hughes has been so "disappointed" by the news of the NIB branch closure in the town that he is urging locals to "bank local" in the hope of keeping the last remaining bank in the town, AIB, open and profitable.

(Source: The Leitrim Observer)


Limerick's Drugs Squad has seized almost €80,000 worth of heroin during two separate raids at the same house in Castletroy. The drugs seizure is the fourth major drugs haul in Limerick in the past two weeks. Armed members of the divisional drugs unit assisted by uniformed gardai (police) raided the house in Briarfield and seized a large quantity of heroin with a street value €70,000, days after seizing €8,500 of the drug at the same address.

(Source: The Limerick Leader)


Longford may yet claim a top ten single this Christmas season! The newly formed Drumlish NS Sixth Class Rockers released their first single last Friday and it will be on sale locally, nationally. It will also be available in music shops throughout Longford. The single, which is titled "Christmas is Coming" was written by John Halnon of Halnon Music Distribution, Drumlish, in conjunction with the eleven St Mary's NS students.

(Source: The Longford Leader)


Football fans in Ireland and the UK could soon be familiar with the catchphrase 'another bulge of the onion bag' as Tommy Smyth is set to appear on sports channel ESPN.Smyth joined ESPN in America in 1993 as a football analyst and has called over 2,000 matches in his time, including many at the last World Cup.Now though, the Knockbridge native is set to grace screens in Ireland and the UK when his already popular show 'Press Pass' comes to screens in January.

(Source: The Dundalk Democrat)


Residents of the village of Dooniver on Achill Island were awakened to the sound of hailstones last months which were so big that they caused considerable damage to property.

While Achill is no stranger to hail showers, the hail which fell on Sunday, November 22 last were described as lumps of ice, the ice of golf balls. The shower took place at approximately 8.45am and residents were awoken to the sound of the ice breaking tiles and slates on roofs.

The weight and ferocity of the hail shower was such that it broke tiles on roofs and damaged the bonnets of many cars, some of which looked like they were attacked with a hammer. The chunks of ices were so heavy that they crashed through a perspex roof of a shed owned by a local man. The roof was completely destroyed with the number of holes in it and it had to be replaced. The glass roof of a glass house was also completely destroyed but thankfully nobody was injured by the shower.

 (Source: Mayo News)


Voting in the Irish Farmers Association leadership elections is underway and the national count will be held in Dublin on Monday 21st December. A weighted branch voting system will operate to reflect the strength of turnout by branch members, and Eddie Downey of Slane, Meath's candidate for deputy president, has called on Meath members to ensure that their voice is heard in these elections and asks that his candidacy for deputy president be supported, placing the county at the heart of IFA national decision-making. There are a total of 15 candidates for the top six IFA positions, directly elected by the association's 85,000 members.

(Source: The Meath Chronicle)


Two men were found guilty by the Special Criminal Court last Thursday of having bomb-making equipment at a Dublin apartment last year. Cormac Fitzpatrick (23) of Cathedral Walk, Monaghan, Co Monaghan and Terry McConnell (28) of Tullymore Gardens, Andersonstown, Belfast were found guilty of unlawfully possessing explosive materials at an apartment in The Crescent, Park West Pointe, Clondalkin, Dublin on September 9th, 2008. Both men will be sentenced next month. The 13-day trial heard how enough explosive material to fully construct four pipe bombs was discovered when members of the special detective unit raided the one-bedroom flat in the early hours of September 9th, 2008.

(Source: The Irish Times)



There are unlikely to be large numbers of extra primary school places provided in Offaly in the coming years as the county has been omitted by the Department of Education from a crunch list of over 40 priority areas. The list, provided in the Dáil last week, by the Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe, outlines 42 locations across the country where the requirement for additional primary school places is likely to be greatest up to 2012. Predictions of the future intake of primary schools were taken from Central Statistics Office population projections, birth rate data among other sources.

(Source: The Offaly Independent)


A new canine companion has opened up a whole new world to a five-year-old autistic Strokestown boy. Calum Leyden is enjoying a new lease of life thanks to Juni, an assistance dog for families with children with autism. Calum and his family are one of 100 families across the country to receive an assistance dog under this pioneering program being run by the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. The initiative was launched in 2004 and was the first of its kind to be rolled out in Europe.  Under the program dogs are specially trained by the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind to work with an autistic child and his or her family.

(Source: The Roscommon Herald)


Sligo's Mayor, Clr. Jim McGarry has told how he felt "intimidated, threatened and abused" and had to abandon his role in the official switching on of the town's Christmas lights on Sunday last as the row over the reopening of O'Connell Street erupted into bitter public acrimony. Clr. McGarry has accused some of the town's businessmen, members of the Chamber of Commerce, of "grossly insulting the office of Mayor", claiming that he was "set up" and "ambushed" after being invited by the Chamber to officially switch on the festive lights.

(Source: The Sligo Champion)


North Tipperary Dáil deputy, Michael Lowry has confirmed the delivery of a package of works totaling €2.7 million for Nenagh hospital as part of his ongoing deal with the Fianna Fáil led Government. Deputy Lowry said that all negotiations and contract signings were completed over the weekend in a deal which will lead to the delivery of two projects that are vital for the survival of the hospital in the future. While there has been much criticism of announcements regarding Nenagh hospital in recent months, Deputy Lowry moved to silence the knockers by confirming a completion date for the projects.


 (Source: The Tipperary Star)


One of Dungannon's most successful firms has announced plans to create new jobs in a multi-million pound investment in a processing plant. Linden Foods is pumping £5.6million into the facility which will be located next to its existing plant at Granville Industrial Estate.

A spokesperson for the firm said that the investment was confirmation of the firm's 'commitment to continued investment in people, equipment, technology and development of the business and to ensure the continued employment of all staff and the future development of our commercial operations.'

 (Source: The Tyrone Times)


Waterford Crystal took another step towards total extinction when the entire contents of the factories, stores and sites in the city and Dungarvan went under the internet hammer.  The sale was conducted on the instructions of the receiver and manager, Mr. David Carson of Deloitte & Touche.  One of the many items which went on sale was a full-size replica of the Millennium globe which is lowered on to Times Square in New York every New Year’s Eve.

 (Source: Waterford Today)


Areas of Mullingar town which will benefit from a regeneration project are some of the most deprived in Ireland, according to indices used to "score" underprivileged areas by the government. Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Éamon Ó Cuív who was in town's the Parish Centre last week for an information evening on the project said that Mullingar had been ear-marked for the RAPID (Revitalizing Areas by Planning Investment and Development) because of "it's housing estates".

 (Source: The Westmeath Examiner)


Wexford lost one of its 'best and brightest' ambassadors last week with the death of 38-year-old Emer Lovett. Vivacious Emer lost her courageous struggle against breast cancer in Waterford General Hospital on Monday night last. Up to a few months ago the stylish young Piercestown woman had steered the local business community as CEO of Wexford Chamber until her illness forced her resignation. Endlessly optimistic, however, Emer maintained her trademark cheery disposition and remained a familiar face at all social and cultural events in Wexford, despite grueling cancer treatments. Her unexpected death has greatly saddened those who knew her. Chamber president Dr. Sean Mythen described her as a woman with 'charisma and intelligence'.

(Source: The Wexford People)


Wicklow Harbor has been over-run by gun toting smugglers who are only too eager to pull the trigger without any heed for the safety of the public. The shooting of the Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle starring movie 'The Guard' took over the harbor this week. Explosions ring out day and night, while heavily armed thugs can be seen involved in shootouts with law enforcement agencies – though thankfully only when the cameras are rolling. 'The Guard' is a comedy thriller set in the West of Ireland. Unorthodox small-town Irish policeman Gleeson unites wilt strait-laced FBI agent Cheadle to take on a cocaine smuggling ring. Liam Cunnigham, Pat Shortt, Fionnuala Flanagan, Mark Strong, David Wilmot, Rory Keenan and Katarina Cas also star in the film.

 (Source: The Wicklow People)