A 'deeply shocked' member of Antrim District Policing Partnership has accused the police of 'abusing their powers' to harass young people. Councilor Annemarie Logue believes that the authority to stop and search is being routinely exploited to hound innocent teens, inadvertently fomenting a deep mistrust in the powers of law and order. The Sinn Fein rep has revealed that the powers enshrined in Article 44 of the Terrorism Act have been used scores of times across Antrim in recent months - though startling new figures suggest that they have led to few convictions. Instead, said Councilor Logue, they have been used to 'bludgeon young people into submission' - and trust is 'evaporating fast'.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)    

Despite being home in Carlow for a few weeks with the sole intention of taking a break from the limelight, Saoirse Ronan was still busy working out in the gym with trainer, martial arts expert and stunt man extraordinaire John Koyama, who has been sent over to Tullow for a month from LA to prepare the Carlow starlet for her next role as Hannah, a teenage assassin.
John Koyama’s CV is pretty impressive, too: he’s worked on everything from The Last Samurai, a few of the Bond films, Tropic Thunder, Balls of Fury, Pirates of the Caribbean, Fool’s Gold and Lethal Weapon 4 to Spider-Man.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

Keep fit fanatics in and those who want to get in shape for the coming year in Cavan town and the surrounding area have no excuses following the unveiling of a new €900,000 extension and refurbishment of the Cavan Sports and Leisure Complex in Drumalee last Monday afternoon last. Work was completed last month thanks to funding from Cavan County and Town Councils, as well as Cavan Regional Health Sport and Leisure Company Ltd. The new facilities include the development of a new kiddies pool, two state-of-the-art slides, including additional leisure space on the first floor level. There is a new fitness gym and new astro turf pitch. The contractor who carried out the construction works on the Cavan Sports Complex was Adston Ltd.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)

Video images of a meteor which may have fallen to earth somewhere over the north of the State are being sought by Astronomy Ireland. Shortly before 6pm on Wednesday last reports started coming into Garda stations, the Coast Guard, the Irish Aviation Authority and media outlets, detailing bright lights which people claimed to have seen traveling mainly at low altitudes across the sky. It was spotted in Co Clare by communications officer with the Irish Aviation Authority, Lillian Cassin who was driving close to Dromoland at the time. “I saw what looked like a flare or a single firework, it was green and it lasted only about six or seven seconds,” she said. Ms Cassin said she thought the trajectory was quite low and did not understand how the same object could have been seen still traveling by people in the north of the country. Ms Cassin added there had been no sightings by aircraft reported to the authority. Near Ballyconnell in Co Cavan a care worker Helen Boyle of Killawilly was out walking with her dog when she saw a light she thought was close by. Astronomy Ireland’s David Moore asked that owners of closed circuit television systems would examine their footage for about two minutes before 6pm last Wednesday.
(Source: The Irish Times)

Police found a stolen Garda officer's uniform and more than 60,000 euros in cash during searches of a house in Derry, the High Court heard last Friday. A man suspected of money laundering offences in connection with the discovery was only charged after he was stopped for alleged motoring offences two months later, prosecutors said. Aymen Shebani, a Dublin man with an address at Clarendon Manor, Derry, is accused of driving without insurance and while disqualified, and attempting to pervert the course of justice. The court heard that, following his arrest near Warrenpoint, Co Down two weeks ago, it emerged he was wanted in connection with the discovery of 61,000 euros and nearly 3,000 US Dollars.
(Source: The Derry Journal)

An estimated crowd of more than 1,000 people filled St. Mary's Church in Ramelton and the surrounding churchyard on Tuesday last for the funeral mass of John Gallagher and his son, Sean Gallagher, who were killed in the former Saturday's road accident at Burt. "We gather as a broken people with very heavy hearts," said Father Michael Carney, parish priest, at the start of the mass.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

The cost of slowing Dublin city down to 30kph could amount to as much as €1m, it was claimed last week. City officials are again in the firing line over the new restrictions, which have received a hugely negative reaction from motorists. Fianna Fail TD Cyprian Brady argues that the money used to introduce the new law would have been better spent funding community services and youth facilities, which were cut dramatically this year. The Dublin Central representative says that the “estimated cost of implementing and managing the introduction of the unnecessary 19mph speed limit could be up to €1 million and should be used to save jobs and lives in the city”. A figure of €1m has been supplied to him by experts – but even this does not take into account the loss to business in terms of actual sales. The standalone figure includes the cost of purchasing new signs and labor associated with putting them up and taking down the old ones, along with the garda time taken to enforce the limit and process the fines. On the first day of the 30kph limit, last Monday, gardai set up speed checks.
(Source: The Evening Herald)

Lady Gaga's eye-catching outfit at the Grammys was handcrafted by Irish designer Philip Treacy. The superstar's kooky style has become as talked about as her music, and talented Galway native Treacy is being credited with her latest fashion hit. "I suppose he's done quite a few items for her before, but he's just started doing a number of hats for her for big events," a spokesperson for the designer said. "She has quite a different style, and she likes what Philip creates. The designs are time-consuming, but Philip can do anything." Treacy collaborated with Giorgio Armani, who handcrafted the rest of her outfit. "Armani designed the outfit and sent it to Philip, who then designed the hat to match," explained the spokesperson. While she walked the red carpet in a lightbulb inspired ensemble, she was later seen sporting the Philip Treacy lightning bolt hat -- which appeared to be at least one foot tall -- paired with the Armani sequined bottoms.
(Source: The Evening Herald)

Over 1,400 years after Christians first began spreading the gospel in Kerry a Ballylongford family has made the startling find of a bronze brooch in the peat ashes of their range, bridging the time gap in an instant and stunning archaeologists. The brooch, which is embossed with a cross, has been described as a national treasure and is dated to earliest Christian times in Kerry over 1,400 years ago. Buried deep in the bog of Tullahinell for a millenium and a half, the brooch found itself in human fingers once again as Pat Joe and Sheila Edgeworth, of Mortara, Ballylongford, went to inspect a puzzling item stuck in their range grate.
 (Source: The Kerryman)

Athy is to finally have a direct link to the M9 motorway this year, following the latest announcement of government funding for the national roads network. The investment will total €1.115bn, with the funding going to major projects during the year ahead. The projects will involve the completion of 292 kilometers of new roads, including the N78 Athy link road, which is part of the N9 Kilcullen to Carlow route. That link road will provide Athy with a long-awaited direct connection to the motorway. The N9 project is now eleven months ahead of schedule, with the Castledermot by-pass having opened just before Christmas. The funding was announced by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey under the annual National Roads Program. It is being provided under the Transport 21 Program and the National Development Plan (NDP).
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)

A new €2 million facility in Callan, which was officially opened last Thursday by Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith, is part of an ongoing expansion program for a groundbreaking Kilkenny company which has a strong presence on four continents and has established itself as one of Ireland's leading exporters. Hermitage Pedigree Pigs Ltd's new state-of-the-art porcine semen collection station at Whitesland, Callan is the latest addition to the armoury of Hermitage, the internationally recognized name in the global pig genetic sector, with production bases
established in key markets, exporting to over 35 different countries worldwide. With a work force of over 100 people in 13 countries and growing, Hermitage is now a world leader in pig genetics and in the production of pig meat all over the world.
(Source: The Kilkenny People)

Community endeavor, sporting prowess and artistic achievement all make up the 2009 Leinster Express/Laois Credit Unions/Portlaoise Heritage Hotel People of the Year awards, the winners of which were announced last week. Fifteen recipients from throughout Laois will receive their awards at a gala function in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel on Saturday, February 20. The evening, which will have RTE's Eileen Dunne once again as its MC, will pay tribute to the many and varied achievements of Laois people throughout 2009. In the Community Awards section there is recognition for the Cuisle Centre, Portlaoise and the work it has undertaken in the provision of support and care to cancer patients and their families, throughout the county and beyond.
(Source: The Leinster Express)

There has a been a buzz of excitement in the Aughavas area recently following rumors that the 'Wedding of the Year' between Irish Rugby Captain Brian O'Driscoll and actor Amy Huberman will be celebrated in St Joseph's Church, Aughavas this summer. The Irish celebrity couple have already confirmed that they will hold their wedding reception in Lough Rynn Castle Hotel, but the location of their wedding mass has been hotly debated in the area. There are rumors that St Joseph's Church, Aughavas has been approached to hold the wedding ceremony but no personal contact from the engaged couple to the Parish Priest has been made yet.
(Source: The Leitrim Observer)

Limerick tennis star Conor Niland has qualified for the quarter final of the $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Kazan, Russia. Niland defeated Ukraine's Sergei Bubka 6-3 6-3 in the second round to enter the quarterfinal of the Russian tournament. Bubka had been considered the favorite above the 277 ranked Irishman, having beaten Russia's No 4 seed Alexandre Kudryavtsev in the first round, but Niland held his nerve and was by far the more aggressive player. A break of serve in each set was enough for Niland to enter the quarter finals of the tournament, where he will face the 7th seed, Russian Konstantin Kravchuk, who is ranked 33 places higher than Niland in the world, at 244.
(Source: The Limerick Leader)

Star of the Apprentice TV show and millionaire businessman Bill Cullen was in Longford last Thursday to give a 'pep talk' to local business people. His presentation focused on how to cope in these recessionary times. The event, which was organized by Longford County Enterprise Board, also featured a talk for local school children. They were treated to an insight into Bill Cullen's early days growing up in Dublin; how he turned down a contract to play for Manchester United; how he gets up at 4am every day and exercises; and how getting thrown out of O'Connell's Boys school in Dublin didn't do his chances of success in life any harm at all. In an interview with Fintan Duffy, Bill Cullen said there was no substitute for hard work, either in business, or in life.
(Source: The Longford Leader)

A Drogheda school was awarded a highly commended award at the Our World Irish Aid Awards, which took place at Dublin Castle two weeks ago. St Mary's Boys NS traveled up for the awards and Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power TD, presented the award to the teachers and pupils from the school for the project entitled Hunger In Our World. The Our World Irish Aid awards encourage primary school pupils across Ireland to explore the lives of children in developing countries and learn more about the Millennium Development Goals. Eleven schools w1ere short-listed for the top prize from over 600 schools that entered.
(Source: The Drogheda Independent)

It will certainly be a case of bringing it all back home as the county’s newly-appointed State Solicitor, Mr. Vincent Deane, packs his files and his law books at his DPP’s office in Dublin and soon returns to his native county. Vincent Deane may be still on the right side of 40 but reportedly he has out-wigged over 30 local applicants for the coveted job, vacated by Judge Seamus Hughes last August. Within weeks he will work on behalf of the State in the prosecution of cases taken by the Garda Síochána, in their role of our society’s legal guardians.
Vincent Deane is a native of Bangor Erris where his parents Eamonn and Bridget still reside and once ran a grocery shop. He first attended the Regional Technical College (RTC) in Galway before completing a B Comm at University College Galway (UCG). He later undertook legal studies and received an LLB at UCG in the mid-1990s.
(Source: Mayo News)

The 'Save Newgrange' campaign, set up because of a perceived threat to the ancient tomb complex through the building of a proposed bypass of Slane village, was roundly condemned at a meeting of Meath County Council last week when a number of councilors declared its message as "misinformation". The councilors were adamant that the bypass poses no threat to the tomb complex and want the Save Newgrange organizers to stop their campaign now. Campaigner Vincent Salafia, who was closely involved with the Save Tara group in protests over the building of the M3 motorway, has said that the Bru na Boinne site around Newgrange may lose its World Heritage status if the proposed "motorway" at Slane goes ahead. The National Roads Authority (NRA) has said the proposed route of the Slane bypass would pass some 500 metes from the perimeter of the buffer zone of the Bru na Boinne site. It added that the 3.5km road, which will be a dual carriageway, would have "the least impact", taking all factors into consideration, including the archaeology and heritage of the area.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)

Gardaí in Co Monaghan are seeking the public’s help in tracing the whereabouts of a teenager girl missing from her home since the start of the weekend before last. Sandra Schultz (15) was last seen in Castleblaney, Co Monaghan on Friday two weeks ago. She is a Polish national but speaks fluent English. A Garda spokesman said they are “very concerned” for her safety and said they have information which would indicate that Sandra may frequent the Dublin area.
(Source: The Irish Times)

 The homicide rate in the Laois/Offaly Garda Division dropped by 80% in the last year, the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have revealed. The CSO released its figures for the final quarter of 2009 last Thursday, which revealed that in total last year only one homicide offence was recorded in Laois/Offaly, compared to five during 2008. Last year's homicide offence of murder occurred in the second quarter of the year. In 2008, while five homicide offences were recorded in the Garda division, only one of these was murder, which was recorded in the final three months of the year. All of the other four offences were dangerous driving leading to death.
(Source: The Offaly Independent)

President Mary McAleese opened a new respite center for people with a visual impairment in Cootehall, on Tuesday last. The new Centre, Oakport Haven, is Ireland’s first holiday centre providing high quality accommodation and care provision for families of children with additional needs, in particular children with a visual impairment. The facility was built and is run by the National Association of Housing for Visually Impaired (NAHVI), a national charity for blind and vision impaired young people, which seeks to provide them with housing in the community fostering independence and self-reliance. Oakport Haven offers short-term breaks incorporating social opportunities to families of visually impaired people from Ireland and all over the world. The Centre can accommodate up to 30 people, six en-suite bedrooms can each accommodate a family of five. The main library and games room has high ceilings and a feature fireplace with a 42’ plasma screen TV. The dining area boasts a state-of-the-art kitchen, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the expansive patio area, which leads directly down onto Oakport Lough. There are many more impressive features in addition to these.
(Source: The Roscommon Champion)
Sligo North Leitrim Deputy, John Perry who, came second in a table published for claiming most expenses in 2009 in the Dail says he's only taking home €30,000 a year. "My net income after salary, allowances and all expenses are accounted for is €30,000 per year. I am a middle income earner," Deputy Perry said in an exclusive interview. He said that a recent national Sunday newspaper carried an analysis of Oireachtas member expenses and in his case, presented "a simplistic presentation of the total expenses paid in a particular twelve month calendar period gave a very misleading picture." "I wish to take this opportunity to explain to the people of Sligo North Leitrim that my Dail salary, allowances and expenses are fully and clearly in accordance with standard arrangements as applied to each and every TD in Dail Eireann.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)

Arlene Foster has given her congratulations to Ballygawley company Sandvik as their 2,000th machine rolled off the production line. Three years ago, the Sandvik Group (Sweden) acquired the Fintec Crushing and Screening facility. Working with Invest NI, Sandvik has continued to develop the capability of Fintec’s world class manufacturing site and maintain its position as a world leader in the design and manufacture of mobile crushing machinery. Speaking at a celebration event hosted by the company the Minister said: "We cannot underestimate how much the global economic downturn has impacted on the construction sector and its supply chain.
(Source: Tyrone Times)

The family of a 21-year-old man who was stabbed to death in Waterford city over two years ago, has criticized the 10-year sentence handed down to his killer and said it was not enough. Joseph Cummins Snr was speaking outside the Central Criminal Court after father of three, Robert Devine, from Wheatfields in Clonmel, was jailed for 10 years for the manslaughter of his son, Joseph Cummins. The deceased was stabbed in the leg and fatally in the chest on November 24, 2007, after he spent the night drinking with his older brother and Mr Devine, at the accused’s rented house in Lower Grange, Waterford city. Mr. Devine (33), who has over 70 previous convictions, was originally charged with Mr Cummins’ murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter before the trial was due to get underway last December.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)

Athlone's unkempt and increasingly down-at-heel relief road is to be revamped, following an unexected€€7m windfall from the National Roads Authority. It's part of a whopping€€7.6m to be spent on roads in and around Athlone this year, a major improvement on the paltry€€10,000 allocated last year. The 2010 funding allocations were announced last Monday, revealing that some €€7,650,000 will be spent on Athlone roads, with a total of €€21.3m allocated for the entire county. The majority of the money, or just over €20m is to be spent on improvement works, while the remainder will be spent on maintenance program. The NRA has allocated €7m to be spent on the Athlone bypass this year, while a further €€50,000 will be spent on the N55 Cornamaddy to N6 road and €€300,000 allocated to fund pavement works on the N55 Cornamaddy to Cornamagh Road. The council will also receive €€300,000 to be spent on traffic calming measures in Glasson. The €7m for Athlone bypass is to be spent on overlay and rehabilitation.
 (Source: The Westmeath Independent)

Wexford lad Ryan Furlong got to meet his sporting hero two weeks ago when he was a mascot at a Premiership soccer match. Ryan (9) from Mount Prospect, Clonard, was a mascot at the Wolves-Liverpool clash at Molineux, where he met the Wolves manager, Mick McCarthy, and the team, including his favourite player, Kevin Doyle. The sports-mad Kennedy Park pupil, who lines out with Wexford Albion, was entered for the chance to be a Wolves mascot by his uncle Casey Whelan, a supporter of the club from the English midlands. Ryan, also a keen footballer, hurler and athlete, was then one of the lucky winners, with Casey informing his delighted nephew on Christmas Day.
(Source: The Wexford People)

Rathdrum-based fashion designer Sophie Rieu was awarded Best Product last week at Showcase, Ireland's creative expo. The awards took place in the RDS, Dublin and Sophie of Unicorn Design picked up the Best Product award in the category of Fashion, Knitwear and Accessories. Her winning creation was an A-line dress in wool, gabardine and silk. She received her reward from Laura Magahy, Chairperson of the Crafts Council of Ireland. Four hundred Irish designers and craftspeople at Showcase met more than 5,000 buyers from the domestic and 50 overseas markets, including North America, continental Europe and Japan and generated up to € 22 million in sales orders.
(Source: The Wicklow People)