Shocked council staff-members could find themselves in the firing line if they refuse to accept a former male colleague's right to start a new life as a woman, the Antrim Guardian can exclusively reveal.

Back in September the staff member returned from extended leave and dropped the bombshell that he had held a “wake” to mark the passing of his old self, and now “she” was planning to start afresh with a new name – and a new look.

The guidelines suggest that transgender patients should live a year as a member of their new sex before going under the knife, and the council worker obliged, arriving to work dressed as a woman with a wig, high heels, full make-up and false breasts.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


The switching-on of Christmas lights in Camlough last week represented a new pinnacle for the village, marking an investment of $50,000 towards the festive illuminations.

Prompted by a request from local Councilor Turlough Murphy, Newry and Mourne District Council provided the funds to decorate the village for Christmas.

Commenting, Councilor Murphy said: “I put the suggestion to our council officers some time back about the possibility of placing lights in the trees around the village, which will not only brighten Camlough for Christmas, but will look tremendously well throughout the year.”
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


A Carlow woman whose husband is currently in Greek prison for a string of armed robberies, some of which he can present independently verified evidence that he was not in the country for, faces another agonizing five months before his appeal will be heard.

Of the four and a half years that Julie Marku has been married to her husband Mark Marku, an Albanian national whom she met in Crete, less than one third of their married life has been spent together.
[Source: Irish Independent]


Two Cavan sports facilities will enjoy funding of almost $83,000 it was announced last Thursday.

A total of $80,000 has been allocated towards fencing and lighting at Cavan Town Community Bowling Green, and for changing rooms at Cavan Regional Leisure Complex.

Funding to a maximum of $80,000 was available for each project from the Department of Sport and I.P.B. with Local Authorities to contribute a further of at least $40,000.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


Kilrush town councilor Tom Prendeville has revealed that Fianna Fáil has no registered members in the west Clare capital.

“Within Kilrush there is no registered member within five or six mile. We haven’t got the members. People are not coming forward. So don’t be lulled into a false sense of security and say everything is okay. We effectively tonight sent out a message that we are a rural organization. It’s inconceivable that where we have the municipal capital of the new electoral area, we won’t have a Fianna Fáil candidate.”
[Source: Clare Champion]


Toymaster has named Irish board game 30 Seconds, developed by Corkman Greg Dooley, in its top toys list for Christmas 2013.

The game is a fast-talking description game that involves thinking on your feet; the game contains game cards containing names 2,400 names from Irish culture such as Tayto and the T.V. series “Love/Hate,” as well as global celebrities, public figures and landmarks, such as Prince William and Dragon’s Den.

The idea came to Greg Dooley five years ago when he spoke to his friend, Liam Ryan, whom he had worked with as a teacher in Zimbabwe in the late 1980s, about a version of the game, 30 Seconds, in South Africa. Liam and Greg then met with the inventor of the game, Calie Esterhuyse, from Cape Town, before deciding it would be great for Irish board-gamers.
[Source: Cork Independent]


One of the music world’s most iconic bands are coming to Derry.

The Beach Boys will play the city on June 26, 2014 as part of their Good Vibrations Tour. Their Derry show is part of the city’s Foyle International Maritime Festival, which includes the city’s welcome home celebrations for the Clipper fleet.

Derry’s mayor, Martin Reilly, said it was “fantastic” the band – who has sold more than 100 million records since forming in 1961 – were playing in the city.
[Source: Derry Journal]


Letterkenny man Gerard Grant has been elected the new president of Letterkenny Chamber.

Mr. Grant, who has been vice-president of the chamber for the last two years, was elected to the position on Tuesday night, December 10.

He was elected by the chamber’s council immediately following the organization’s A.G.M. and takes over from John Watson, who completed two terms as president.
[Source: Donegal Democrat]


A man accused of robbing two frail and elderly brothers in their Newry home more than four years ago has 12 known aliases allegedly used in a string of crimes across Europe.

Prosecutors made the claim during the Belfast High Court bail hearing of Felix Nolan (24) of Sandy’s Street in Newry on Monday, December 2.

Nolan was arrested in London last month and subsequently charged with robbery and aggravated burglary with intent to steal.  The charges relate to an incident at the home of brothers Jimmy and Patrick Murtagh of Lurganare Cross, Newry in April 2009.  The men, aged in their 80s, were left traumatized after three men forced their way into their home, before ransacking the property and stealing $100 in cash.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


D.A.R.T. trains operating at off-peak times will have a minimum of four carriages between now and Christmas.

This follows a decision by Irish Rail to row back on a major cost-cutting plan that has some trains currently operating with only two carriages.

Angry commuters complained of unnecessary overcrowding and discomfort and warned that passenger safety was at risk. Now Irish Rail has said four-carriage trains will be used during off-peak periods until December 24.

This will cater for the traditional rise in passenger numbers during the festive season.
[Source: Evening Herald]


A 48-year-old Enniskillen woman, who had to be restrained by five members of staff at the South West Acute Hospital, assaulted two police officers at the police station. Anne Scobie of Drumbawn, Drumclay   was convicted of disorderly behavior and two counts of assault on police when she appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court.

 The prosecutor explained that on September 26, 2013 police were called to the South West Acute Hospital about a violent female patient. When they arrived at 7:17 p.m. they observed Scobie being restrained by five hospital staff-members. She was shouting loudly “f*** off” and directing obscenities at staff calling them “f****** c****.”  She was warned by police and told to calm down.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]


Two Galway drug dealers and another from Dublin will be sentenced next March for having a substantial amount of cannabis for supply near Loughrea last year.

Twenty-five-year-old John Martyn of Chapel Road, Monivea, and 25-year-old Jonathan Mannion, from 9 Chestnut Close, Renmore, appeared before Galway Circuit Criminal Court.

Martyn and Mannion pleaded guilty to having cannabis in their possession for supply at Bookeen North, Loughrea on October 9, 2012, which at the time had a market value of $18,000 or more.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]


Hess, the U.S. energy giant, says it is “evaluating its options” over the future of a proposed $1.4 billion investment on the Shannon estuary, after its Irish subsidiary last Wednesday lost a court case against the energy regulator.

Shannon L.N.G. had asked the High Court for a judicial review of a June 2012 decision by the Commission for Energy Regulation (C.E.R.) to impose network charges on all gas suppliers to pay for pipelines between Ireland and Britain.

The court upheld the CER decision last Wednesday.

The company, which wants to ship cheap liquefied gas from the U.S. to a proposed refinery in Kerry, had argued it should not have to pay the charges because it won’t be using the pipelines, also known as interconnectors. It has previously argued that the C.E.R. decision means it could be hit with annual fees of $103 million.
[Source: Irish Times]


Gardaí (police) and a vet are trying to clear animals from the M9 in Kildare after they were involved in a collision.

There were significant a delay last Monday morning for motorists after a trailer towing livestock was hit by another truck.

The road has had to be closed completely northbound on the M9 at the Athy turn-off for J3.
[Source: Carlow Nationalist]


Four candidates – one in each electoral area – have been nominated by the Sinn Fein party to contest next May’s local elections in Kilkenny.

The party chose the candidates – two men and two women – unopposed, and thus without the need for a vote at the Springhill Hotel. Sinn Fein Deputy President Mary Lou McDonald was among those at the top table who spoke and endorsed those selected.

There were no surprises in the electoral area of Kilkenny City West, where sitting borough councilor Kathleen Funchion was selected to contest the election. The popular Clr. Funchion, who grew up in the Callan area, was elected to the borough council in 2009.
[Source: Kilkenny People]


A family home in Portlaoise has been targeted seven times for robberies, according to Sinn Féin Clr. Caroline Dwane at the J.P.C. meeting last Tuesday.

“On one occasion, the house was robbed at 1:30 during the day. The people robbing are bringing the items to the park, then coming back later that night with a car and removing them. This man went out into the park to get back some of his belongings,” she said.

The home is located close to the quiet river Triogue linear park linking Tower Hill with Green Mill Lane.
[Source: Leinster Express]


Carrick-on-Shannon Gardaí (police) are investigating an incident in the county town two weekends ago, which left a man hospitalized with facial injuries.

Gardaí were called to the junction of Main Street and the Leitrim Road shortly after 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 8, after reports of an altercation.

A man sustained facial injuries and was taken to Sligo Regional Hospital but was discharged later that day.

Gardaí cordoned off the scene for a short time as part of their investigation and they are now examining C.C.T.V. footage.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]


New figures show that the value of houses sold across Limerick this October soared to over €18 million, making it the most profitable month for sales for the year.

In all, 97 homes sold across Limerick city and county in October, amounting to total sales of $18,453,000.

By comparison, sales for September amounted to over $10 million from the sale of some 60 houses.

August also had one of the busiest sales periods of the year, resulting in $14.6 million worth of sales from 70 properties.
[Source: Limerick Leader]


A Longford youth will be sentenced this week for raping his former babysitter as she slept in her bed.

The then 17-year-old was at a gathering in the victim’s house at the time. She had gone to sleep beside her boyfriend and woke up to the accused having sex with her.

The youth, who is now 19, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape at the woman’s home in Longford on June 21, 2011. Mr. Justice Paul Carney remanded him in custody for sentencing this Monday.
[Source: Longford Leader]


Gardaí (police) are investigating two callous household raids that occurred on Wednesday, December 11, in two separate incidents, in which two elderly people living alone were robbed in their homes.

The first incident occurred on the Castletown Road at 5:30 p.m.

One man, described as 5’6” and wearing dark clothing and a hoody around his face; and another man, 6’ in height with a slim build, also wearing dark clothes and a hoody; knocked on the door of an 81-year-old man.

He was knocked to the ground, and the pair attempted to search him. They then spent 10 minutes ransacking the house in a search for money and valuables.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]


A house in Ballycroy was robbed of all its contents two weeks ago by a man who claimed he was renting it.

The house, at Gortbrack, Ballcroy, was advertised for renting on popular free ads website, and the unfortunate homeowner fell foul to a scheming con artist.

Gardaí (police) confirmed details of the unusual crime.

On Wednesday, December 4, a man called to the house in Ballycroy. He said his name was “Joseph” and was looking to rent a house for two nights as he was installing stoves in the area. The company for whom he said he was working does work in the area. This may have placated the homeowner, but afterwards, it became apparent he was not working for this company.

He said he would pay for the rent on the Thursday when he got paid. However, when the homeowner returned on Thursday, December 5, he found the house open, the keys in the back door and the house cleaned of its contents.

Furniture, the cooker, the washing machine, fridges and even curtains and curtain poles were swiped. Gardaí estimate the cost of what was taken to be over $14,000.
[Source: The Mayo News]


The death took place last Tuesday of former Meath County Councilor, Mary Sylver, of Piercetown, Dunboyne.

She served as a Fine Gael member of Meath County Council for 14 years and was a relentless campaigner to have the railway line to Dunboyne reinstated.

Meath County Council Cathaoirleach (Chairman) John Farrelly paid tribute to the late Mrs. Sylver, whom he described as an able councilor and colleague.

She died peacefully in the care of the staff of Highfield Hospital in Whitehall.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]


If we are to use penalty points as a measurement of poor driving, then the motorists of Clare, Longford, Kildare, Wicklow, Meath and Roscommon top the league of bad drivers in Ireland.

In comparison, Donegal drivers are the safest, followed by the drivers of Monaghan, Mayo, Kerry and North Tipperary.

This is based on an analysis of penalty points issued to drivers in each local authority area between January 2011 and November of 2013. There are, of course, many other measurements for bad and dangerous driving.
[Source: Irish Independent]


A man in his early 20s who was arrested on Monday, December 9, in connection with a shooting incident in Tullamore on Sunday evening was released without charge.

A file will now be prepared for the information of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Gardaí (police) in Tullamore are continuing their investigation into the shooting incident at Cluain Darach on Sunday. At approximately 7 p.m. a male in his 30s and a female in her 20s were injured following a shooting incident outside a house by a lone gunman. The gunman made good his escape in a waiting car and the injured male and female were taken to the Midland Regional Hospital at Tullamore.
[Source: Offaly Express]


The discovery of archaeological finds linked with Saint Coman was marked last week when they were unveiled to the public for the first time. Anyone with an interest in local history was invited to the unveiling of the archaeological finds last Wednesday at St. Coman’s Church in the heart of Roscommon Town.

The finds include a rediscovered cross-slab and a newly discovered boulder, which may be the base of a high cross. The historic finds were unearthed by a group of local historians during the summer on the grounds of St. Coman’s Church – believed to be the site of St. Coman’s monastery, which dates back to either the sixth or ninth century.

Local historians, who worked with the National Monuments Service to secure the archaeological finds, say that they are significant and provide further links to St. Coman, whom the county is named after.
[Source: Roscommon Herald]


Intercity and D.A.R.T. trains face increased passenger safety inspections in the coming weeks after complaints of overcrowding.

The complaints have come from passengers on urban, Intercity and suburban routes, and stem from reduced numbers of carriages on some services as part of cost-saving measures.

In response to a parliamentary question from Luke “Ming” Flanagan, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said the Railway Safety Commission (R.S.C.) would monitor Intercity trains in the coming weeks.

He also said the chief executive of Irish Rail “has agreed to continuous monitoring of carriage levels on both D.A.R.T. and Intercity services to ensure they match demand”.

Irish Rail was reintroducing larger carriages where they were needed, Mr. Varadkar added.

Wicklow T.D. Simon Harris is one of a number of deputies from around the greater Dublin area who raised the issue of crowding on train services.

Mr. Flanagan, a Roscommon-South Leitrim T.D., specifically raised the Dublin-Sligo service and the “reduction in train carriages [and] the dangers of overcrowding.”
[Source: Irish Times]


Independent T.D. Mattie McGrath has said that, in light of the recent spate of thefts of copper wiring from E.S.B. cables, it is inconceivable why there has been such slow movement by the Minister for Justice in bringing forward his Scrap and Precious Metal Bill.

Deputy McGrath was speaking as Gardaí (police) are investigating 12 thefts of power cables, all of which have taken place in the past four weeks.

“I first introduced my Scrap and Precious Metal Bill in 2011 and I resubmitted a detailed amended version in April of this year. I brought this bill to the House because there was an urgent need to try and put in place a more regulated legislative environment where the theft and unauthorized sale of scrap or precious metal would be seriously diminished and be met with more appropriate legal penalties.”
[Source: Tipperary Star]


The typhoon disaster in the Philippines prompted Dungannon Rotary Club to respond by immediately by donating $1,596 to its partner organization Shelterbox, for the purchase of two boxes.

This was followed up by organizing a display of the Shelterbox and its contents in the Oaks Centre on Thursday, November 21, and at Tesco on November 28.

The public response to these was extremely generous and almost $2,476 was donated. The club has purchased three more boxes and these will be dispatched along with others bought through other rotary clubs In the U.K. and Ireland.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]


Detectives have arrested a woman after seizing illegal drugs believed to worth almost $690,000.

Cannabis plants, valued at $234,000, and cannabis herb, worth an estimated $412,000, were uncovered at a makeshift grow-house in Waterford.

Officers carried out a raid on the property at Coppinger Court in Powerscourt at around 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 8.
[Source: Irish Examiner]


An $80,000 grant has been allocated for a skate-park in Mullingar.

The grant is part of a $4 million fund from the Department of Sport for local recreation facilities around the country.

“I am delighted that Mullingar has received the maximum amount available under the funding. It means the green light can be given for a skate-park for use by young people in the town,” said Deputy Willie Penrose.

“I congratulate those who made the submission for the skate-park to receive funding from the Department of Sport, in partnership with Irish Public Bodies and the local authority.”
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]


A new ferry service that will sail from Ireland to the west of France and northern Spain has been announced.

L.D. Lines Ferries will operate the route between Rosslare in County Wexford to St. Nazaire on the west coast of France and Gijon in northern Spain.

It follows the recent announcement of a new Irish Ferries route from Dublin to Cherbourg.
[Source: Wexford Echo]


Gardaí (police) have launched an investigation after a horse was kicked and beaten to death by a group of men.

The horrific incident, witnessed by children, happened at around 4 p.m. on Sunday in Hill View, next to Ballyguile in Wicklow Town.

The horse was one of eight being unloaded into a field when it refused to cooperate.
[Source: Irish Independent]