Prince Philip mocked an Army cadet blinded in an IRA attack by poking fun at his dress sense. As the Queen asked 15-year-old Stephen Menary how much he could see Philip said: "Not a lot, judging by that tie. Stephen was wearing the uniform of the Middlesex Cadet Force, which includes a red, blue and yellow tie. Mr. Menary was 14-years-old when he picked up a torch bomb that was thrown at Territorial Army barracks in west London, by the Real IRA in 2001. He was blinded and lost part of his left arm. The comment, made by the Duke of Edinburgh during a tree-planting ceremony in Hyde Park, London seven years ago, was revealed by Stephen's mum Carol.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph) 


There is now widespread speculation that beleaguered Bishop Jim Moriarty will announce his resignation very shortly as grassroots anger at his handling of clerical sex abuse cases continues to grow.

Furious parents in parishes around Carlow are threatening to boycott religious sacraments officiated at by Bishop Moriarty if he does not resign in the wake of criticisms contained in the Murphy Report into clerical abuse in the Dublin diocese.

 One parent said that several families in one parish had decided not to allow their children to receive their Confirmation and will hold them back for a year unless the bishop resigns from his position.

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


When a newly restored 146-year-old cathedral opened last week in Perth, Western Australia, complete with a crypt built to hold the remains of its former bishops, it was missing the remains of three Irish bishops, one of whom is from Cavan. The missing prelates at the €25m revamped St. Mary's Cathedral include Perth's first bishop, who was largely responsible for the building of the cathedral, and another who tried to broker a peace deal with Lloyd George on behalf of the Irish forces in 1920 during the War of Independence. The third figure, an auxiliary bishop, is buried in Ireland.

(Source: The Anglo Celt)


At the Cliffs of Moher last week Coast Guard volunteers abseiled almost half way down the cliff face to recover the body of a woman. After a seven-hour operation the body of the 36-year-old woman from Co Limerick was found on a ledge at the cliffs. The search was launched after her car was found abandoned at the popular tourist site in north Clare. It took over 1½ hours for up to 30 volunteers to prepare their equipment for the recovery operation. Two volunteers abseiled down the cliff face to a dangerously sloped grass ledge where they located the body. They spent an hour securing the body in a stretcher before it could be hoisted to the cliff top.
(Source: The Irish Times)


Donegal GAA officials are awaiting clarification as to what is open to them in relation to the appointment of a new county GAA secretary following the shock resignation of Charlie O'Donnell at the end of last week. Charlie O'Donnell was a full-time official and the board are awaiting clarification from Croke Park, on what to do next and whether or not it is open to them to appoint a new full-time official or not.

(Source: Donegal Democrat)


County Treasurer, Vincent Martin, will stand aside at Monday's Fermanagh AGM after serving his five year term. A rule brought in that county officers could only serve five years means that the popular Derrylin man will have to step down. Croke Park did say that counties could extend this to seven years but this would require a change to Fermanagh bye laws.

(Source: The Fermanagh Herald)


A Galway City businessman has beaten off strong national and international competition to be selected as the preferred developer of one of the country’s biggest ever construction projects – the €1 billion regeneration plan for Ceannt Station. Gerry Barrett of Edward Holdings has been selected as the preferred bidder for the massive project by CIE, where work could begin by the middle of 2011. A spokesperson for Edward Holdings said he had no comment to make when contacted, while a CIE spokesperson said: “It’s still in a process. I can’t confirm that.”

(Source: Galway News)


Kerry should capitalize on its rich football heritage to create jobs and help escape the recession according to Tralee Labour councilor Arthur J Spring. Addressing the December monthly meeting of Tralee Town Council Cllr Spring outlined his vision on how Kerry's GAA pedigree can be harnessed to help ease the county, and especially the local tourism sector, out of recession. Cllr Spring said he'd like to see Kerry promoted as the premier destination for team-building camps for GAA clubs from across the entire country.
(Source: The Kerryman)


A 67-year-old Kilkenny farmer charged with animal cruelty and of failing to dispose of animal carcasses attempted to flee the State, Kilkenny District Court heard last Tuesday.
Inspector Aidan Brennan told the court that the defendant Simon O'Dwyer Snr of Knockmoylan, Mullinavat was stopped trying to cross the border into Northern Ireland on Monday last. The inspector also told the court that he believed O'Dwyer snr had 'abandoned' his farm and was 'attempting to leave the jurisdiction'. A bench warrant was executed and the defendant was brought before Kilkenny District Court.

(Source: The Kilkenny People)


Families of deceased people buried in the lawn cemetery of St Joseph’s Cemetery, Mountmellick have threatened they will exhume the bodies of their loved ones, if Laois County Council does not allow them to place kerbings or flowers around their graves.

 It has also been confirmed that one family has already exhumed the body of their loved one under license from the HSE, and had it reinterred in another part of the cemetery over the issue.

(Source: The Laois Nationalist)


It's been at the forefront of every news report in recent weeks, but only now is the true cost of the recent flooding coming to light. According to estimates, the final bill for the flooding in Co Leitrim will reach well into the millions. At last Monday's Council meeting an initial eight-page report into the crisis the Council said that, to date, in excess of €300,000 had been expended in the relief effort with council staff working round the clock dealing with the flooding.

(Source: The Leitrim Observer)



Gardai (police) are seeking to establish if a pipe bomb seized in the city last week is linked to the criminal gang suspected of carrying out the killing of Daniel Fitzgerald two weeks ago. Two men and a woman were arrested near Baals Bridge last Tuesday night after gardai recovered the incendiary device. They were detained under Section 30 of the Criminal Justice Act at Henry Street Garda Station and released without charge. A file is being prepared for the DPP.

 (Source: The Limerick Leader)


Longford councilors have supported a motion that could end up costing them a quarter-of-a-million euro. They're demanding that works along the Dublin Road on the outskirts of Longford town be prevented from going ahead before Christmas. The fear is, that once again the retail sector in Longford will be badly hit with road works during what should be their busiest time of the year.  Undertakings were given that there would be no work carried out in the Town area in the run up to Christmas, after previous occasions where traffic was brought to a standstill.

(Source: The Longford Leader)


The high rate of stomach cancer recorded in Co Louth has been described as "striking" by the head of the National Cancer Registry. Dr Harry Comber made the comment while speaking at the launch of a new study on the major geographical patterns of cancer in Ireland. The study entitled 'Atlas of Cancer in Ireland from 1994 to 2003' reveals that there is a high rate of stomach cancer the North East. The rate of stomach cancer was around 50 per cent higher than the national average in the majority of this area which includes Louth, Monaghan, Cavan and north Co Dublin. Stomach cancer can be caused by smoking, a bacterial infection or can be diet-related such as consuming too much processed or smoked meat. Dr Comber suggested that one way to reduce the high rate of stomach cancer in the region would be to try and reduce smoking in certain urban areas. He also dismissed a suggestion that radiation from the Sellafield nuclear plant was to blame for the above average rate of stomach cancer.

 (Source: The Dundalk  Democrat)


Nearly one-fifth of all homes in Co Mayo are classified as second homes, with over €1.5 million paid to Mayo County Council since the introduction of the non-principal private residence (NPPR) charge in last April’s budget. Under the charge, people who own NPPR properties (defined as properties that are not their sole or main residence) are charged €200 per such property. To date, Mayo County Council has collected €1,581,560 from the tax – the tax take from 7,907 second homes in Co Mayo. According to the register of electors, there are approximately 40,000 households in the county, which means that nearly one-fifth are classified as second homes.

(Source: Mayo News)


With up to 600 jobs lost in Meath's struggling retail sector alone this year, further job losses have been predicted as hundreds of shoppers leave the county each weekend to shop in Northern Ireland. A survey carried out by the Meath Chronicle found 300 Meath-registered cars parked outside just two Northern Ireland supermarkets last Saturday. A total of 180 cars were parked in the Asda car park at Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, between 9am and 6pm, while 117 were parked outside Sainsburys in Newry, Co Down, during the same period.

 (Source: The Meath Chronicle)


Work is due to commence early in the new year on the construction of a €5 million state-of-the-art nursing home in Sligo Town following the granting of planning permission for the project by Sligo Borough Council. The facility, to be built at Knappagh Road by Shafin Development Ltd, the construction company owned by Westlife singer, Shane Filan and his brother, Finbarr, is expected to create up to 100 jobs. They hope to have the nursing home open for business by June 2011.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)

A bid by North Tipperary county councilor, Michael Smith Jnr to take a Seanad seat after Christmas has the potential to cause a serious rift in the Fianna Fáil party in North Tipperary.
The sitting councilor is hoping to secure a Seanad seat in the coming weeks, but such a move is likely to raise the hackles of certain party members in the constituency and in the party as a whole.

(Source: The Tipperary Star)



Ambitious plans for a health village in Ballygawley have been recommended for refusal by the Planning Service. It had been feared that health care company Primacure’s proposals would have ‘ripped the heart’ out of the Clogher Valley village. The plans were recommended for refusal by the Department of the Environment citing that they would be "detrimental to the character of the surrounding area by reason of its unsympathetic scale, layout, massing and design."

(Source: The Tyrone Times)


The re-appearance of manufacturing of Waterford Crystal in the city centre passed its first hurdle when planning for a temporary site was given the go ahead last Monday. The decision has been described by council members and Gary Breen, General Manager, Fáilte Ireland, South East, as the single most important thing that could happen for Waterford out-side of getting university status. Waterford City Council unanimously supported a plan to locate a workshop and furnace at the former ESB site on the Mall, which aims to open in June, for the 2010 tourist market.

(Source: Waterford Today)


An Post employees in Mullingar and surrounding rural areas will be asked in the coming days if they wish to take part in the voluntary redundancy program announced by An Post last Tuesday. The postal group intends to reduce its 10,000 strong workforce by 1300 over the next three years and are currently inviting expressions of interest for voluntary redundancy, although a spokesperson for Ireland's leading postal company said it was impossible identify what local areas would be affected.

(Source: The Westmeath Examiner)


A young Enniscorthy woman who died tragically on an icy road last week was due to be married next year. 27-year-old Mary Peare, from the Bellefield Road area of the town, died in a crash near Whitemills pub on the road between Bunclody and Carlow while traveling to work on Monday morning last. The popular dental assistant was on her way to Barretts dental surgery in the Pembroke area of Carlow town when her car skidded on black ice on the N80 road near the landmark pub. The devastating news was broken to Gavin Kelly, fiancé of the deceased, at his place of work in Camolin, Co. Wexford.

 (Source: The Wexford People)


An Bord Pleanála has sounded the death knell for a planned major development aimed at revitalizing Wicklow Town's struggling business sector. Lusra Teoranta had lodged an appeal to the planning board after Wicklow County Council refused permission for the Marlton Quarter development. But An Bord Pleanála agreed with the council and turned down the appeal. The mixed retail, commercial and residential development was to include a shopping mall, retail units, multiplex cinema, medical centre, leisure facilities, art centre, youth centre, hotel and leisure centre, bowling alley, pubs, cafes and restaurants. Wicklow's mayor, Irene Winters, had strongly believed the development could have been hugely beneficial to the town.
(Source: The Wicklow People)