Northern Ireland was transformed into a winter wonderland two weekends ago when arctic weather made its way east – but the Antrim Borough escaped relatively unscathed apart from pockets of snow on higher ground.

Despite that, freezing temperatures and driving winds caused havoc for pedestrians and drivers alike.

With much of County Antrim under an amber warning from the Met Office, there was chaos on the roads on Friday, January 18, as motorists battled through the big freeze to get home for the weekend.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


Two cow carcasses found dumped in Creggan River recently has shocked and angered the local community and prompted Sinn Féin Councilor Terry Hearty to publicly condemn those responsible.

The dead animals were found along a stretch of the river popular with walkers in the Poet’s Glen.

Describing the perpetrators as “mindless individuals,” Councilor Hearty says they are beneath contempt and called on anyone with information on those responsible to contact the police or the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (D.A.R.D.).
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


A family’s beloved pet dog is fighting for its life after it was savagely attacked by hounds on a weekend hunt, it has been claimed.

Gardaí (police) in Graiguenamana, County Kilkenny, have launched an investigation into the alleged incident, which happened at Bahana Wood, north of St. Mullins, in Co. Carlow.

Rene Jaggli said that he and his four sons – aged 10, 13, 16 and 17 – were in the woods with their dog Kas when hounds from the Carlow Farmers Hunt attacked their terrier.

"They just tore him apart. It was unreal, it was like you see in a horror movie," Mr. Jaggli added.
[Source: Irish Independent]


Over $21.5 million has been allocated to Cavan County Council for road improvement and maintenance under the 2013 National Roads Allocation.

Fine Gael T.D. for Cavan and Monaghan, Deputy Joe O'Reilly, has welcomed the grants as announced by the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar.

"I am delighted to have been informed by Minister Varadkar that [$20,804,025] was allocated to nine roads throughout the county for general improvements and [$693,933] was allocated to the council for winter and safety maintenance," said Deputy O'Reilly.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


Up to 54 houses in a West Clare seaside resort have been seriously devalued due to a “malfunctioning” sewage treatment plant, residents have claimed. A house at Westpark, Spanish Point sold for $567,000 during the height of the economic boom in 2007, but the current guide price for a house in the estate is $200,000.
Householders in the mixed residential and holiday home development have claimed their dwellings have been devalued to “next to nothing” because they can’t get certification of compliance due to issues surrounding the planning permission for the sewage treatment plant.

Clare County Council was initially alerted to problems with the treatment plant shortly after its installation in January 1998.

Senior executive chemist Mary Burke expressed a number of concerns about the operation of the plant on April 5, 2000, the Clare Champion has learned.
[Source: Clare Champion]


"Fear, isolation, and a lack of purpose."

These were among the reasons given by Pat Behan of Suicide Aware for an alarming rise in deliberate self-harm by males in Cork since 2007. According to figures released last Wednesday by the Men's Health Forum, there has been a 55 percent increase in deliberate self-harm in Cork City and county by males.

"We are finding," continued Ms. Behan, "that our helplines are becoming [busier]. People are frightened by cutbacks. In one case that we had recently a man was after being hospitalized for drinking paint stripper after finding out that his telephone allowance had been cut off and he could not afford the dispensing charge on his prescription. He did not die but he will suffer the ill-effects for the remainder of his life. People feel ashamed and useless and that they have no prospects because of this recession."

Ms. Behan continued: "The tragedy of suicide is far worse than anything else, particularly the reasons that lead to suicide. To hell with the recession, no matter what the problem is there is a solution. Anyone who is suffering has got to talk to someone about it."
[Source: Cork Independent]


A judge has imposed a restraining order on a teenager that bans him from going near his mother’s home for three years.

District judge Barney McElholm imposed the order on Samuel Murray (18), of Northland Road, Derry, who pleaded guilty to criminal damage.

The court heard Murray arrived at his mother’s Limavady home in the morning. He asked her for money and when she refused she heard the sound of glass breaking.

Murray sped away from the house and his mother noticed that the outer pane of glass was broken. When the teen was arrested he apologized for his actions and offered to pay for the damage.
[Source: Derry Journal]


One Milford mother was trying not to think of the fact that four of her six children left the country in search of work last week.

Last Sunday, three members of the Orr family were among seven people from the town of Milford who boarded a flight and left this country in search of work. Sharon, Ciaran, and Mark Orr travelled to Perth this Monday, while their brother Garrett returned to London to work last Thursday.
[Source: Donegal Democrat]


The ransacking of two local primary schools two weeks ago has been met with widespread disgust, with the principals of both schools condemning the acts as a “violation” and “an attack on children.”

St. Patrick’s Primary School in The Meadow in Newry and St. Malachy’s Primary School in Whitecross became victims to the mindless attacks that took place on Tuesday, January 15.

Entry was forced into both schools and the main offices were completely ransacked, presumably in a search for cash or valuables.  The perpetrators left empty-handed as all schools are now cash-free environments, but not before causing serious damage to the premises.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


The sister of a man shot dead by his friend during a drinking session says she does not accept the killer has no recollection of what happened.

Marie Flanagan, sister of victim Edward Flanagan, was speaking after father-of-four Peter Donnelly (52), of The Green, Larch Hill Apartments, Santry, was sentenced to life imprisonment for her brother's murder.

Donnelly shot father-of-one Edward Flanagan in the back of the neck as the victim watched a film in his apartment while drinking a can of beer. The incident occurred on June 16, 2011.
[Source: Evening Herald]


Fifty people were rescued by the R.N.L.I. in 2012 in local waters, according to figures released last Tuesday.

The figures released by the organization also show that Enniskillen’s station had the second highest number of “launches” – 46 – in which 50 people were rescued, over the whole of Northern Ireland.

Enniskillen operates two bases on Upper and Lower Lough Erne, which is the North’s only inland R.N.L.I. station.

One of the busiest periods here was during August, where the Enniskillen R.N.L.I. rescued 19 sailors in just three days.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]


A woman, who denies murdering her former boyfriend outside her Salthill apartment by stabbing him 18 times with a kitchen knife, rang Gardaí (police) seconds later telling them: "I've stabbed the bastard."

Maura Thornton (31), from Inverin, Connemara, denies the murder of Kevin Joyce (59) at an apartment at 183 Upper Salthill, on July 31, 2011.

On the opening day of the murder trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Galway last Monday, Maura Thornton's mother, Breege Ridge Thornton (59), told the jury she saw her daughter take a black-handled knife from a kitchen drawer and go outside the apartment in a rage to where the deceased had been standing on a flat roof looking in the kitchen window.

Mrs. Ridge Thornton's partner, Brendan Lydon, said he followed the accused outside a few seconds later and while he didn't see her stab Joyce, he did see her standing over his still body with the knife in her hand.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]


The idea of telling the story of Daniel O’Connell, “The Liberator,” on the silver screen was put to leading director Steven Spielberg and actor Daniel Day-Lewis when they attended the premiere of Spielberg’s film Lincoln, in Dublin, two weekends ago.

The pair met Arts and Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan, who made the suggestion.

The Kerry-based minister, a long-time admirer of O’Connell, said afterwards he was hopeful his proposal might come to reality.

Mr. Deenihan also said Spielberg had heard about O’Connell — who was born at Carhan, Caherciveen, and lived in Derrynane House, also on the Ring of Kerry.
[Source: Irish Examiner]


An Athy mother is too terrified to return to her home after it was broken into twice in three days.

Sabrina McMahon claims she has been threatened that her home in Pairc Brid will be firebombed if she returns to live there and says her house is now being used as a “drug den.”

The house was first broken into sometime between midnight and noon on January 8, and, on that occasion, flat-screen televisions and a set of keys were taken.  The burglars are understood to have returned to the property again three days later on January 11, when a radio cassette player and a check-book were stolen. It’s understood that the keys stolen on January 8 were used to access the house on January 11.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]


Local filmmaker Gabriel Murray will showcase his documentary George Clooney’s Irish Roots at Dunamaise Arts Centre on Friday, February 1.

The documentary was shot on location in Counties Kilkenny, Laois and Waterford.

It traces the emigration of George Clooney’s, Irish ancestor, Nicholas Clooney, from Kilkenny to Kentucky, during the Great Famine of 1847.

It also involved an intensive search for his Irish links, as well as the discovery of George’s ancestral home.

The film features Fiona Clooney, who historically made the initial contact with George’s father in 2008, when he came to Ireland in search of his Irish roots.
[Source: Kilkenny People]


A Chinese national convicted of cultivating cannabis plants has been ordered to leave the country in return for a suspended sentence.

Zhe Lin, of no fixed abode, committed the offense at Boherard, Ballacolla, on June 19.

Garda (Police Officer) Robert Foran gave evidence that, acting on a search warrant, he and a number of Gardaí attended the defendant’s rented accommodation on that date. The premises were empty, so the Gardaí gained access via an open window at the rear, where they discovered what Garda Foran described as “a grow-house.” The Garda said that 180 cannabis plants were discovered in the upstairs bedroom of the house, while a bag of cannabis leaves and a box of cuttings to be used for propagation were also found.
[Source: Leinster Express]


The communities of Aughavas and Carrigallen are mourning the death of Eugene Charles, known locally as “Gino,” who was buried two weekends ago.

Mr. Charles was last seen leaving Carrigallen at 12:40 a.m. on Friday, January 11. He was missing for five days, before his body was discovered at Kilahurk, Carrigallen on Wednesday, January 16.

A large number of locals from Aughavas and Carrigallen searched the area around the town with the Gardaí (police), before the body was discovered opposite Carrigallen Church that afternoon.

The Moyne road out of Carrigallen was closed from the afternoon of January 16 until after the body was removed from the scene on Thursday afternoon, January 17.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]


Judge Eugene O’Kelly last Tuesday asked – in respect of a man with 213 previous convictions – whether his reoffending was rooted in his desire to get dental treatment behind bars.

Michael Whelan (34) of Kylefea, Croom, pleaded guilty at Limerick District Court to the theft of a packet of razors valued at $20 from Ballinacurra Pharmacy on January 4.

Before sentencing the accused, Judge O’Kelly asked Whelan’s solicitor, Ted McCarthy, if his client was the same person who had previously abused him because a sentence he imposed “was not of sufficient length.”

Mr. McCarthy said his client had on that occasion sought a longer sentence so he could qualify for dental treatment while in jail.
[Source: Limerick Leader]


He may be renowned for his unique poetry, but Longford man Enda Murray created a stir of a different kind – this time as he tied the knot to fiancée Ann Marie Kerin in the first-ever civil ceremony at Ardee Castle in County Louth.

Now dubbed the “Bard of Ardee,” Enda wed Ann Marie last Thursday. For his fiancée, it is the perfect fairytale wedding. She grew up in the shadow of the historic castle just across the street.

After being made redundant from his job in Sligo about five years ago, Enda set decided to take a new path in life and he started writing poetry. He went on to compile his now famous books including “Back to the Craic” and “Doom and Gloom me Arse.” Then, he took to the roads of Ireland selling his poems.
[Source: Longford Leader]


Dr. Peter Geraghty, who is from Ardee, has been made president of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

The Institute has over 23,000 members and represents professional town planners in the U.K. and Ireland and also has members in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and China.

Peter is the eldest son of P.J. and Breda Geraghty, Ardee. He is married to Caroline Colon, daughter of the late well-known historian Larry Colon.

Peter attended the Monastery National School and Arden Community School before studying at Dundee Institute of Technology and the University of Ulster.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]


A county councilor described a spate of burglaries two weekends ago in his electoral area as “devastating.”

Speaking to The Mayo News last Monday, Clr. Damien Ryan said he did not want to strike fear into communities in South Mayo, but said he believed it was only a matter of time until there was a fatality as people take extra measures in protecting their homes.

Clr. Ryan was speaking after a weekend that saw two homes in South Mayo and a holiday home in East Mayo broken into, while a calf-cage was also stolen from a farmyard in Hollymount.

The councilor said he had seen several cases where legal owners of firearms were “dusting them down in preparation for what may, or may not occur.”
[Source: The Mayo News]


After almost 10 years in temporary accommodation, there was great joy as the sod was finally turned on the new primary school for St. Stephen's National School in Johnstown, Navan last week.

Alex Kiernan Byrne (4), who will start school in St. Stephen's next September, helped school principal Jenny McHugh perform the sod-turning on Tuesday morning, while Fr. Michael Cahill blessed the site.

Local councilors and members of the parents' council joined sixth-class pupils and some of the children due to start school this year for the sod-turning ceremony.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]


Burger King is no longer sourcing burgers from the Irish company at the center of the horsemeat scandal.

The global fast-food giant Burger King confirmed last Wednesday it has switched to an alternative supplier for its Irish and British restaurants because A.B.P.'s Silvercrest plant is under investigation for contamination of supermarket burgers with horsemeat.

Silvercrest in County Monaghan is a burger-making subsidiary of beef tycoon Larry Goodman's A.B.P. Food Group, which has meat processing plants throughout Ireland, Britain and Europe.
[Source: Irish Independent]


A total of 45 events have been confirmed across Offaly during 2013 as part of “The Gathering” Festival.

Events will take place from March right through to November across Offaly ranging from a St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Festival, to parish gatherings, to an Equinox Festival, to an American Festival in Moneygall.

The first event is the St. Patrick’s Day Weekend in Tullamore from March 16 to 18, which will see visitors from all over the world visiting and taking part in the celebrations. Tullamore is linked with Chandler, Arizona, whose impressive 80-person band has been invited to perform at the weekend festival.

The weekend will include art exhibitions, drama performances, street performers and, of course, the extremely popular parade.
[Source: Offaly Express]


Discussions have taken place in recent weeks on the location of the McAleese collection of items at King House in Boyle.

Former president Mary McAleese has donated more than 60 gifts to the State she received during her 14 years in office. Many of those items were presented by heads of state, including Barack Obama and Yasser Arafat.

Deputy Frank Feighan said last week that to have some of these presentations on display at King House in Boyle “would certainly prove to be a major attraction for visitors at home and abroad. The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) is aware of the ambitions locally to house some of the collection in Boyle and is delighted at the enthusiasm being shown to bring to Roscommon what would be a wonderful showcase.”
[Source: Roscommon Herald]


Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson paid tribute to former Celtic and Irish soccer star Sean Fallon at his funeral.

The County Sligo native died at the age of 90 two weeks ago, leaving a legacy which included his time as assistant manager to Jock Stein, when the club became the first British team to lift the European Cup in 1967.

Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral service in Glasgow last Wednesday, including Ferguson and famous Celtic faces, such as current manager Neil Lennon and a number of current and former players.

Ferguson addressed the congregation at the Church of Christ the King in Glasgow, to pay tribute to "a great man.”

He said: "I think it's very difficult for people who are successful to remain humble, it's a touch of greatness.

"Sean always had that greatness. Through his background, his upbringing, his Irishness, that breeds humility and also loyalty, he would never let you down."
[Source: Irish Independent]


North Tipperary V.E.C. and Nenagh V.S. have been complimented by Clr. Seamus Morris for making sports facilities at the school available to the general public and local sports clubs.

“The facilities here are second to none,” he said at the January meeting of North Tipperary V.E.C., at which members were given an update on the school’s building program.

“You should be commended for making them available to the youth of this community,” he said.

Fine Gael’s Clr. Conor Delaney pointed out that Nenagh Town Council had provided $67,000 in its budget to develop the all-weather pitch that will form part of the Nenagh V.S. sports campus.
[Source: Tipperary Star]


A lucky Fermanagh and South Tyrone resident could be in line for a very happy New Year . . . if only they can find their winning million pound lottery ticket in time.

It is a ticket with three letters and six numbers that would mean a New Year-in-a-million for one very lucky person.

The problem is that no one seems to know where it is, and the person only has days to find it.
Camelot has told the Courier they have launched a final search for the mystery winner in the hope of giving them a New Year present to remember.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]


A cyclist will spend months in a body cast after he was catapulted from his bike after cycling into a pothole in Tallow while out for a regular cycle with the Dungarvan Cycling Club.

Experienced cyclist Ollie Sandford from Kilmacthomas suffered multiple injuries including a fractured skull, broken cheek bone, broken shoulder, broken eye socket and three fractured vertebrae, in the incident on January 6. Mr. Sandford remains in hospital in the Southern Infirmary in Cork in a body cast, which he expects to have to wear for three to four months.

Ollie was part of a group of 60 cyclists from the cycling club, who, on Sunday, January 6, set off from Grattan Square in Dungarvan, travelling through Old Parish, Ardmore and Youghal. They were just over a mile from Tallow when the accident occurred.
[Source: Waterford News & Star]


A Mullingar mother of six has started a one-woman crusade to get the powers that be to help the hundreds of thousands of ordinary, hard-working families who are struggling to make ends meet.

For the last two years, Walshestown resident Linda Raeside says that she and her husband Luke – who has a "good job" – have not bought heating oil or used their electric clothes drier in a bid to make Luke's salary last until the end of month.

Linda says her family's income has fallen by at least $800, since the introduction of the Universal Social Charge at the start of 2011 and the cuts to the Children's Allowance over the last two budgets.

"Every month you are always waiting. The last week is always the worst – you are trying to make sure there is enough food on the table, we are trying to make sure there is enough diesel in the car so my husband can go to work in Dublin, and all the bits and pieces that come in from school and you are trying to push it out until you get paid."
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]


A check for $40,000 will be sure to help the “January blues” for former Wexford G.A.A. County Chairman Paddy Wickham, who took part in the Winning Streak program on Saturday, January 19.

The Bloomfield man entered the game-show as the “Dream Player” and spun the Dream Maker Wheel, missing out on the top prize of $67,000 but winning a hefty sum of $40,000.

The lowest prize that he could have scooped on the wheel was $13,000.
[Source: Wexford Echo]


The bail of a convicted sex offender sentenced to 12 years for the rape and indecent assault of his daughter has been revoked.

The judge apologized to Patrick O'Brien's victim, Fiona Doyle, and expressed regret for the stress caused.

O'Brien, from Bray in County Wicklow, admitted the rape and indecent assault of his daughter, over a 10-year period.

He had been released on bail pending appeal, after nine years of the sentence were suspended.
[Source: BBC News]

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