After decades of neglect, Antrim town centre may finally be standing on the brink of its biggest ever regeneration.

Bold promises have been made before, but after the Castle Centre and Ulster Bar Corner failed to breathe life into the 'ghost town', jaded shoppers could be forgiven a depressing sense of déjà-vu.

But, according to Social Development Minister Alex Attwood, things are about to change - and a town run down by years of low investment could soon be spoiled for choice.

(Source: The Antrim Guardian)


A leading dissident republican was found guilty today of attempting to smuggle weapons and explosives into Northern Ireland from an arms dealer who was an MI5 agent.

Paul McCaugherty (43) from Lurgan, County Armagh, was convicted of a string of offences at Belfast Crown Court related to the elaborate two-year undercover sting operation carried out by the security services.

Ruling in the non-jury trial, judge Mr Justice Hart said the case against the Real IRA member was “extremely compelling”.

(Source: The Irish Times)


They may be on the first rung of the education ladder, but nonetheless the children from Tots to Teens Crèche in Tullow donned their caps and gowns and graduated to the next step of their education journey.

The ceremony had all the pomp and ceremony associated with the great halls of learning, although it was miles apart and years away.

Many of the children have been attending Tots to Teens on the Shillelagh Road since it opened its doors in 2007.

“Throughout the years, the children have reached many developmental milestones. Kathleen O’Neill and Natasha Dowling have guided the children this year in preparing them for another big milestone in their lives by heading off to primary school,” said crèche manager Aisling O’Neill.

(Source: Carlow Nationalist)


EirGrid has sensationally withdrawn its application for the Meath/Tyrone 400KV interconnector development. It follows the revelation during cross examinations in the An Bord Pleanála hearings into the project that the original planning notice, published as part of the public consultation process, had the incorrect height of the pylons to run through Cavan and Monaghan.

As a result, the commercial semi-state company has said that it has no option but to withdraw its application for planning permission. However, EirGrid says it remains committed to the development of this project, which it claims is vital for the region.

It is estimated that EirGrid have already spent up to €20 million on the planning proposal and the latest development could set the project back years.

(Source: The Anglo Celt)


An alarming six dog attacks in the past two weeks are currently under investigation by Clare’s dog warden, Frankie Coote.

Mr Coote said he would normally investigate that amount of attacks in six months, but in the past two weeks, six serious attacks have been brought to his attention. He is investigating with a view to prosecution.

“Last Sunday, a woman was walking her own small dog on a lead in Ennistymon. A stray white sheep dog with brown on his ears attacked her dog. In an effort to protect her dog, she fell over and broke her hand. The dog didn’t actually attack her, but she took a bad fall trying to mind her own dog. She was hospitalised and will have to have surgery on her hand. Her dog was injured badly too. We think he will survive but he was hurt quite badly. The stray dog is still on the loose and I’m looking for him,” Mr Coote explained.

(Source: The Clare Champion)


The  HSE has been accused of "playing Russian Roulette with people’s lives" after proposing to cut night cover at almost half of its 15 ambulance bases in Cork and Kerry.

Under the proposals, only two of the three ambulance stations serving Youghal, Midleton and Fermoy would remain open any weekday night. Each one would close on a rotating basis.

Similar rotating closures would apply in West Cork, with only two of the four stations at Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Bantry and Castletownbere operating at night

(Source: Irish Examiner)


A small family-owned company in Derry has won a $500,000 contract to supply voting booths to Westchester County, New York, in the USA.

The deal with Westchester County Board of Elections means that the Pakflatt Group has won almost $1m worth of new business in the USA within the past nine months.

The booth has been praised for its design which will allow disabled people to use the same voting booths as the rest of the community for the first time in the US.

The latest contract for the supply and delivery of Pakflatt’s unique Benjamin Franklin Voting Booths follows on from a disappointment earlier this year, when they only just missed out on the USA’s largest ever nationwide tender for voting booths after making it to the final three.




County Cllr. Cora Harvey was elected Donegal mayor yesterday by a margin of 18-11, becoming the county's first Sinn Féin mayor since 1921-22 and just the second woman to head the county council.

Her party colleague, Cllr. Pádraig MacLochlainn, was elected deputy mayor by an 18-9 vote.

Fianna Fáil proposed two of their own party's councillors for mayor and deputy mayor, claiming they were still bound by the power-sharing agreement signed in 2009 by representatives of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour and independent Cllr. Seamus Ó Domhnaill. Cllr. Ó Domhnaill voted with Fianna Fáil, saying he too felt bound by the agreement.

(Source: Donegal Democrat)



The Housing Executive is to demolish two blocks of flats in Holywood, County Down and replace them with new townhouses and apartments.

The flats at West Green in the Loughview estate had been plagued by anti-social behaviour and have been vacant for some time.

Thirty five townhouses and 20 apartments will be built at a cost of £6m.

The Housing Executive will now contact all those directly affected by the demolition and redevelopment.

(Source: BBC News)



Rail chiefs have sought permission to press ahead with a 2.5 billion euro Dart Underground in Dublin with work expected to begin within two years.

An application lodged with planning authorities maps out the proposed 7.6km twin tunnels to be bored under the city centre in an attempt to treble the number of rail passengers.

The project will connect the Northern and Kildare rail lines, with underground stations built at Spencer Dock, Pearse Station, St Stephen's Green, Christchurch and Heuston Station. A new overground station would also be built at Inchicore.

(Source: UKPA)



The British Medical Association (BMA) in Northern Ireland has recommended cutting the maximum blood-alcohol level for drivers from 80mg per 100ml to 50mg, in line with plans to introduce similar levels in the Republic.

The limit should also be further reduced to 20mg per 100ml for novice and newly qualified motorists, the BMA added, echoing plans for learner drivers in the South.

“There’s no such thing as a safe limit and doctors across Northern Ireland urge everyone not to drink and drive,” said Fermanagh GP and member of the BMA’s GP Committee Dr John Porteous. “Ensuring the drink-drive limit is the same North and South of the border will greatly assist in enforcing the message.” The BMA also recommends the introduction of random roadside testing without the need for prior suspicion of intoxication

(Source: Irish Medical Times)



As trade slowed down for Galway builder Oisin Concannon in February of last year, a passing conversation with his wife Cora led to the development of Ireland’s first 100% natural weedkiller – a product called Irish Organic Weedkiller which now sits on the shelves of all major garden centres nationwide.

“My wife was looking for a weedkiller that would be safe to use in her friend’s montessori in Ballinvoher, Turloughmore but she couldn’t find one that was safe for children and pets. After a little research, I spotted an opportunity and went for it,” says the father of two.

Starting out as a soldier in 1997 and later moving into the construction industry in 2003, without any chemistry background, Oisin identified a niche in the market and began researching and testing various non-chemical potions.

(Source: The Connaught Tribune)



Domestic travel, between Kerry and Dublin, has fallen sharply in the first six months of this year, the annual general meeting of Kerry Airport plc, one of the country's busiest regional airports, heard yesterday.

In a climate of uncertainty about the future of subsidies for flights to and from Dublin to the regions, Kerry would have to start fighting for the retention of the route which was vital to the economic health of the whole south west, the meeting heard.

The airport company did not know and had not been told about the future of the so-called public service obligation flights, beyond June 2011 when they were due out to tender again.

Volumes had dropped by as much as 40pc on some of the Kerry/Dublin flights this year, with some flights operating at around 20pc capacity.

(Source: Irish Independent)



Gardai in Athy have busted an illegal brothel operating from an apartment in the town.

The early morning raid on Saturday 19 June followed lengthy intelligence and surveillance led by local gardaí based in Athy.

The apartment was searched on foot of a warrant which had been obtained on the basis of activities around the premises which came to light during the surveillance. When the apartment was searched gardaí found two women, both of Brazilian origin, on the premises, along with a quantity of cash and other items which they say was “consistent with brothel keeping”.

(Source: Kildare Nationalist)



Speculation is rife that Deputy Phil Hogan will not be announced as deputy leader at the party reshuffle which will take place later today.

Party members in Carlow/Kilkenny are expecting Deputy Hogan to remain in his position as Enviroment spokesperson where he is 'marking' Environment Minister John Gormley. It has been acknowledged by analysts that he is doing a very good job in this area.

(Source: Kilkenny People)



Thousands of households in Laois will be without their brown bins when the new bye-laws come into force tomorrow (Thursday, July 1).

Householders in the designated towns of Portlaoise, Portarlington, Graiguecullen, Mountmellick, Abbeyleix and Mountrath are legally required to segregate their food waste from other types of waste that they produce. Customers of the waste companies were supposed to provide the bins.

However, a spokesperson for AES, one of the biggest waste companies in Laois has said that some households may not have their brown bins by July 1.

"We are rolling out the new bins in July, but some households might not have them by the first of the month," the spokesperson said.

He was unable to confirm what town had received their new bins.

"If we rolled it out by ourselves, we would give our competitors an advantage," he said, adding that it was logistically a "big thing.

(Source: Leinster Express)



Gardaí will be implementing a traffic management plan on the day to ensure the safety of everyone attending the wedding.

Limited parking will be available at the church grounds in Aughavas with controlled access to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Local residents will be provided with permits and gardai would like to thank them for their assistance over the past few days.

Local Superintendent Noel Carolan acknowledges that the goodwill of the local community has been an important factor in organising the traffic plan for this event and he wished to thank everyone for help and understanding.

"The setting at Aughavas Church is absolutely idyllic but it is one which is not capable of accommodating more than a couple of hundred members of the public," he told the Leitrim Observer.

(Source: Leitrim Observer)



 A High Court judge has reserved making a judgment over whether partners with the legal firm Dermot G. O'Donovan & Partners should be liable for 21.5 million each for personal guarantees they alleged provided for loans received by the Fordmount Property Group.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly this Thursday afternoon deciding against making an immediate judgment in the case, in which legal partner Tommy Dalton has already consented to summary judgment orders of nearly €21.5 million.

Those contesting the action by Anglo Irish Bank are Michael Sherry, 56, of Eden Terrace, North Circular Road; Adrian Frawley, 52, of Hayley, Rhebogue; and Dermot O'Donovan, residing at Lacka House, Castleconnell, all partners in the legal firm

(Source: Limerick Leader)



Over 100 jobs at one of Longford town's largest manufacturing employers are at risk this morning (Thursday) after its managing director announced last night the firm had gone into receivership.

B3 Cable Solutions managing director, Steve Ellis blamed the move on wider economic forces which over the past 18 months has seen its business activity plummet to one fifth of their 2008 levels.

He said attempts to alleviate the problem by reducing staff working hours and implementing other cost cutting measures had merely served to lessen the company's financial losses in the short term.

(Site: Longford Leader)



Customs officers seized 600,000 cigarettes following a search in Co Louth today.

The cigarettes were seized in Dromikin outside Dundalk.

Meanwhile, a PSNI officer remains in a serious but stable condition today after he was hit by a lorry yesterday during a Border operation against tobacco smuggling.

Another officer, who was less seriously injured, was discharged from hospital last night following the operation on the Armagh-Louth border.

The officers, who were supporting a revenue and customs operation, were hurt when a van was driven at them at speed at a commercial warehouse on Low Road, outside the village of Meigh at 12.45pm yesterday.

About seven million cigarettes - worth more than £1 million - have been recovered. Officers are investigating a lorry which was lying on its side a short distance from the scene.

(Source: Irish Times)



The new Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council has called on the county to foster a pro-enterprise and pro-development culture in order to sustain and create jobs in the future.

Ballinrobe-based Fine Gael councillor Michael Burke was yesterday elected to the post of Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council and made the creation and maintenance of jobs his top priority. A self-employed businessman, Cllr Burke said it was imperative that people are given a sense of hope and is looking to meet with the major employers to discuss their requirements.

“Jobs for our people are currently the most pressing issue. Jobs, I have learned, are a bit like votes – they are got in ones and must be cultivated and minded. I come to the post of Cathaoirleach as a self-employed business person with long experience of good times, and not-so-good times. I am acutely aware of the difficulties faced by all businesses in the current difficult economic turmoil.

(Source: Mayo News)



Gardai in Navan investigating the murder of Martin O'Gorman in the town are closing in on his killers and are "very hopeful" that enquiries will yield results in the near future.

Superintendent Michael Devine of Navan Garda Station said that local CCTV and public assistance had yielded "some satisfactory results" in their search for the gang that attacked Mr O'Gorman (63) 10 days ago, in the early hours of Sunday morning, 20th June.

At that early stage, Gardai were looking for a gang of four young people, two of whom were female, but they have since identified individuals from the footage and will be "interviewing them in time".

Supt Devine said that members of the public in Navan had been a huge help. Between incident room set up in Navan Garda Station and door-to-door enquiries around the town, Gardai have spoken to "hundreds" of people about the serious assault on Mr O'Gorman, the likes of which he said he "cannot remember in Navan".

(Source: Meath Chronicle)



Laois/Offaly TD Olwyn Enright has ruled herself out of the running for a place on the reshuffled Fine Gael front bench as she has announced that she and her husband Donegal South-West TD Joe McHugh, are expecting their second child.

The couples first child, Darragh Thomas, was born in November of last year.

Ms Enright was one of the nine front-benchers who publicly pronounced their lack of confidence in party leader Enda Kenny but she was expected to be re-appointed to the shadow cabinet when the announcement is made later today.

(Source: Offaly Express)



Independent councillor Luke 'Ming' Flanagan is the new Mayor of Roscommon after his election at the council's AGM yesterday (Monday). Cllr Flanagan secured the position ahead of Cllr. John Kelly with 14 votes to 12 and was voted in by the new HAC/Independent/Fine Gael/Sinn Fein coalition, who overturned the Fianna Fáil led county council alliance, which had been expected to last another four years.

Speaking yesterday Cllr. Flanagan said it was a great honour for him personally and thanked all the people who voted for him. He said the new alliance will guarantee the future of Roscommon County Hospital and will campaign against the ban on turf cutting

(Source: Roscommon Champion)



Further bed closures and cutbacks to services are on the way for Sligo General Hospital.

The Health Service Executive has confirmed to Sligo Councillor Declan Bree that the 12 million euro deficit budget facing the hospital will have a huge impact on services.

A breakeven plan for the coming year proposes the reconfiguring of services, bed closures and the introduction of five day wards in some departments.

Cllr Bree recieved this response on foot of a question put forward at the recent regional health forum

(Source:Ocean FM)



At least 25 disturbing images of child pornography were downloaded to computers in Tipperary in the first six months of this year, according to information published this week.

Software company TLO, based in Florida, has created a system that can track images of

child pornography being traded or shared on so called peer-to-peer (P2P) systems. A Sunday newspaper showed the scale of the problem in Ireland: over 1,000 computers have been used here in the January to June period to access and share some of the most vile and disgusting images of underage children being abused.

In Tipperary, 25 incidents occurred of such images being downloaded to users based in Cahir, Clonmel, Thurles, and Tipperary. The system shows the individual IP address of each computer

(Source: Tipperary Star)



Teenagers are using an abandoned property - located right beside Dungannon Council's flagship tourism project at Castle Hill - as a "drugs den".

The Tyrone Times has obtained shocking photographs, taken by a nearby resident, which show discarded syringes and needles and even unopened bottles of what he believes are veterinary medicines. Fearful for the safety of the many people of all ages who regularly visit the picturesque Castle Hill walkway - which is to be developed into a major tourism destination by the local council at a cost of around £5 million - the man has called for immediate action by the appropriate authorities to secure the derelict property.

"If anything ever happened to a child or an animal, should they ever happen to venture into this building with the door lying wide to the world, I would never forgive myself for not making this public knowledge"

(Source: Tyrone Times)



Eleven years after her election as a public representative, mother of three, Mary Roche, last night (Monday) received the highest honour the city can bestow when she became mayor in a packed City Council chamber.

A pact arrangement with Fine Gael, Labour and her Independent colleagues guaranteed her election in the presence of family and friends — many of whom travelled from across Europe for the momentous occasion.

She was proposed and seconded for the office of Mayor by her Independent colleagues, Cllr. Cha O’Neill and Davy Daniels. Taking the chain of office the new Mayor, who is only the second ever female to hold the office, pledged to put her “whole heart and soul and effort into this job for the next 12 months”.

(Source: Waterford News and Star)



The jury in the Westmeath cold-case murder trial has seen photographs of bones and teeth found in the victim’s garden years after his death, and heard that his wife dressed him in women’s clothes before telling his doctor he was mad.

The photographs were identified in the Central Criminal Court by a number of gardaí who worked on the search in 1993. They were giving evidence on day seven of the trial of Vera McGrath and Colin Pinder, who deny murdering Bernard Brian McGrath six years earlier.

Vera McGrath (aged 61) has pleaded not guilty to murdering her 43-year-old husband at their home in Lower Coole, Westmeath on a date between March 10 and April 18, 1987.

Colin Pinder (aged 47) of Liverpool, England has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter when he was engaged to Mr and Mrs McGrath’s oldest daughter, Veronica.

Detective Garda James Campbell said the house was vacant when he searched the family’s back garden in November 1993. He said the team dug for half an hour before coming across the charred remains of a fire, covered by six inches of clay.




A now retired garda “aided and abetted” three people in defrauding an insurance company, a court in Wexford heard yesterday.

John Joe Synnott is charged with deceiving his superiors by producing a false traffic accident report; falsely reporting a traffic accident for the purpose of gaining advantage for himself or others and, by deception, inducing Axa Insurances to pay out €23,332 as a result.

Mr Synnott (53) of Camblin Hill, New Ross, pleaded not guilty to all charges arising out of an alleged road traffic accident at Newtown Road, Wexford, on September 9th, 2007.

The case was heard before Judge Alice Doyle in Wexford Circuit Court. Paul McDermott, SC, in his opening address to the jury of eight women and four men, said they would hear evidence regarding the alleged accident between Beverly Redmond and Lorraine Quinlan on the morning in question when Mr Synnott was on patrol in Wexford.

Evidence would be produced to show that Joseph Redmond, who was joint recipient of a cheque from Axa with Ms Redmond, was the former partner of Ms Redmond and subsequently the partner of Ms Quinlan.

(Source: Irish Times)



A group keen to take in some of the fine summer weather have spoken of their shock as three-somes openly cavorted and engaged in sex acts in clear view of everyone on a beach at Brittas Bay.

Holidaymakers have been flocking to the main, south and north beaches in Brittas Bay due to the prolonged spell of sunshine which has been blessing the country recently.

However, both beaches were chocker-block on the day this particular troop of friends visited Brittas Bay, prompting them to head further down the coast.

After noticing a number of cars parked on the side of the road, they decided to park and then proceeded to walk through a nature reserve toward the beach, not realising it was a naturists' beach.

'When we arrived at the beach we discovered it was a naturist beach which didn't really bother us. We just laughed and went for a walk along the beach,' says one of the visitors.

However, they soon realised that the majority of people on the beach appeared to be gay males, some of whom were having sex with one another.

(Source: Wicklow People)