One in every five shops in Antrim is currently lying empty, placing the town in the unenviable position of sixth for the highest shop vacancy rate out of a study of 17 towns and cities across Northern Ireland. At 21.6 percent, the statistic is almost one percentage point higher than a year ago, with the Antrim figure now even greater than the Northern Ireland overall total of 19 percent, according to the N.I. Commercial Property report, which was released last week.

Out of the 17 towns ranked, only Ballymena, Bangor, Newry, Lisburn and Portadown had a higher number of vacant shops than Antrim, although it should be noted that the increase in vacancies in the town between last year and this year was amongst the lowest in all of Northern Ireland.

Antrim town, Alliance councilor, and member of the Antrim Town Development Company, Neil Kelly, said that while there was “no magic pill” to solve the current economic ills, he urged people to shop local.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


The response from the P.S.N.I. to the recent shooting in Cullyhanna has prompted local Councilor Terry Hearty to question whether south Armagh actually has a reasonable emergency police service.

During a meeting of the Police and Community Safety Partnership on Monday, November 11, Councilor Hearty took the opportunity to raise issues with policing in the area, with particular reference to the incident where a man was shot in his home.

Insisting that an emergency 999 call is rarely more serious than a person being shot, Councilor Hearty said it is “totally unacceptable” that the police did not visit the victim’s home until the following day.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


R.T.É. analyst Tony Considine believes Carlow and Westmeath should focus on promotion from the lower tiers of the Allianz Hurling League after the G.A.A.'s decision not to change the format.

On Saturday, November 16, Central Council opted to retain the status quo of two graded sections that include six teams in each section, which will not include the two Leinster counties.

Considine said: “I don't think they have any case. The structure of the league now is very good. If you look at the league last year, even the relegation battle between Cork and Clare, both teams ended up in the All-Ireland final.”
[Source: RTE News]


The lawyer for the Cavan nanny accused of the murder of a one-year-old girl in her care has complained of “missing pieces” of information from prosecutors to help fight the charges, writes The Irish Times.

At a pre-trial hearing in a Massachusetts court, Melinda Thompson, attorney for Lavey native Aisling Brady McCarthy, sought further information from prosecutors, says the paper, ranging from data on the hard drive of a laptop used by the family of the child Rehma Sabir to details of the specific allegations against her client.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


Ennis has been excluded in the latest list of 16 primary health care centers, which are being progressed nationwide by the H.S.E., Health Minister James Reilly has confirmed.

Ennis was included as one of the 35 potential locations for primary care centers to be developed by means of a public-private partnership when the government announced details of its multi-million euro stimulus package in July 2012.
[Source: Clare Champion]


The clock on St. Anne's Church in Shandon is currently set to 12 o’clock, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Time hasn't stopped in Cork, but for one of the icons of Cork, it will be for weeks at least, as Cork City Council wait to discover what options they will have to fix the venerable timepiece.

Neil Purkiss, senior executive architect with the City Architects Department, explains that they are “still exploring the options” but that they will receive a “recommendation and report within a week.”

Last week he met with the past and present engineers of the clock from maintenance engineering company, Smiths of Derby.
[Source: Cork Independent]


City of Derry Rugby Club could become the city’s major outdoor concert venue, post-the City of Culture year, it’s been claimed.

In a joint venture with Institute Football Club, City of Derry last week officially launched “Country Comes to City.”

Headlined by Nathan Carter the summer show will bring around 5,000 country fans to Judges Road on June 14 next year.
[Source: Derry Journal]


Two men in their 50s are being questioned in Garda (police) custody following the seizure of a significant quantity of drugs at a house in Bundoran last Thursday morning.

It is understood the arrests come as part of an ongoing operation targeting the sale of illicit drugs in the Bundoran/Ballyshannon area.

Local Gardaí, accompanied by members of Revenue Customs Services, seized Methylone that carried an estimated street value of $155,000.
[Source: Donegal Democrat]


The proposed cross-border bridge at Narrow Water looks to be dead in the water after European funding, vital to the project, was formally withdrawn on Friday, November 15.

Just hours ahead of an all-party convention on the issue held in Louth County Council offices between politicians from both sides of the border, the Special European Union Programmes Body (S.E.U.P.B.) announced it was withdrawing the $23.4 million previously pledged towards the project.

In a statement, the S.E.U.P.B. said: “Following comprehensive discussions on the financial viability of the Narrow Water Bridge with the project’s lead partner (East Border Region Ltd and Louth County Council), the SEUPB has decided to withdraw the letter of offer. The additional funding required to deliver the project has not been secured.”
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


A ruthless Dublin gang who murdered a major crime-lord were paid $67,000 to carry out the hit.

Evil Gintaras Zelvys was shot dead after he ripped off a senior Irish drugs trafficker based in Amsterdam of one million dollars, sources have revealed.

It has now emerged the three man hit-team – including a taxi driver – divided up a bounty of $67,000 after the clinical daylight murder of the Lithuanian gangster.

There has still been no charges in the case of Zelvys (43), who was shot dead in front of his wife in the Greenogue industrial estate in Rathcoole, west Dublin on May 1.
[Source: Evening Herald]


A Belnaleck man whose father was killed in the Enniskillen bomb suffered a 48-hour tirade of abuse on social networking site Twitter, which included taunts that his father “deserved to die.”

On Wednesday, November 13, Stephen Gault was subjected to the abuse on the site by dissident republican supporters who branded him a “poppy-wearing parasite” amongst other sectarian slurs. From 6 p.m. on Wednesday through to Friday evening the abusive comments were made.

Speaking to the Herald, Stephen Gault explained that, despite being the victim of “vile” comments, his Twitter account has been suspended, leaving him “frustrated.”
 [Source: Fermanagh Herald]


Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar says his department can't provide extra funding for a base for Galway Mountain Rescue.

Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames raised the issue in the Seanad {Senate) last week.

She asked Minister Varadkar to liaise with the city and county councils to ensure the mountain rescue team secures a new base and basic funding. 
[Source: Galway Bay FM]


A 42-year-old woman who is several months pregnant and is due a baby shortly after Christmas has lost her attempt not to be evicted from her council house in a village in County Kerry.

Kerry County Council had secured a district court order for repossession of her home in June 2011 on the grounds of antisocial behavior.

The woman has alcohol abuse problems and is dependent on social welfare. She also has mobility problems and shuffles when she walks.

Being evicted from a local authority house on the grounds of antisocial behavior posed particular difficulties, and the council was no longer obliged to house that person, the court also heard.
[Source: Irish Examiner]


An exhibition, which started in Athy, is proving instrumental in the campaign to have Irish Sign Language (I.S.L.) being recognized as Ireland’s third official language.

Maggie Owens, who was trying to raise awareness of Irish Sign Language in the area, began the Signs of Life exhibition, and it was featured in a segment of “Hand s On,” the T.V. show for Ireland’s deaf community last weekend.

“Hands On” production assistant Richard Duffy told the Kildare Nationalist that the exhibition, which was started by Maggie Owens, has led to political momentum for I.S.L. to be made an official language.
[Source: Kildare Nationalist]


Kilkenny Tourism has launched a callout for new members after a great year for visitor numbers.

The “Kilkenny Tourism Social Event” for current members and potential new members will be held by Kilkenny Tourism in Pembroke Hotel – Statham’s Events Bar on Wednesday, November 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Chair of Kilkenny Tourism, Colin Ahern, appealed to businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors to attend the open night to see what Kilkenny Tourism can offer.
[Source: Kilkenny People]


The new library in Portlaoise will represent a major improvement on the services being offered by the existing library, which was constructed in 1994 to serve a population of less than 10,000, according to Laois County Council.

Cathaoirleach (chairman) of Laois County Council, Mary Sweeney, who also works in Portlaoise Library, said the staff were delighted they would finally have the space to do the things they wanted to do.

“The library services has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, and space has been a big problem for us. We always saw it as a temporary measure,” said Clr. Sweeney, who also works for the Library Services.
[Source: Leinster Express]


The funeral of Breege O’Carolan, who died tragically following a road traffic accident two weekends ago, took place in Mohill last Wednesday, November 20.

Breege O’Carolan, of O’Carolan’s Bar, Glebe Street, Mohill, and formerly of Castleblaney, County Monaghan, died shortly after she was struck by a car after 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16.

The collision occurred on the R201 on the outskirts of Mohill on the Carrick-on-Shannon side of the town. Mrs. O’Carolan, who was in her 60s, was known to regularly walk out this particular stretch of road to visit family.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]


Disgust has been expressed at a photograph on Facebook of a teenager after defecating in a County Limerick ball alley.

A photo was posted of the male with his trousers down and what appears to be excrement in the viewing area at Caherline ball alley.

It is understood the incident, which has caused shock and revulsion, occurred on Monday. There were over 20 comments on Facebook before it was taken down.
[Source: Limerick Leader]


Yvonne Gregory from Granard has been shortlisted as one of the leaders for R.T.É.’s hit show “Operation Transformation.” On Wednesday, November 20, Yvonne was one of 20 contestants put through their paces both physically and emotionally to assess their abilities as leaders.

As part of a live R.T.É. Radio One broadcast, John Murray and his team asked participants to share their personal stories, outline why they think they have what it takes to become a leader for “Operation Transformation,” and how their weight has affected their confidence, lifestyle and wardrobe to date.
[Source: Longford Leader]


A Dundalk man has been fined $1,200 and disqualified from driving after being convicted of driving without insurance on two occasions.

Aidan Byrne, Loughantarve, Knockbridge was fined $472 and disqualified from driving for two years on one insurance charge and a further $337 with a similar disqualification for a second offense.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]


The owner of a crèche in Manulla, outside Castlebar, has been ordered by a judge to remove herself from the day-to-day running of her crèche as a result of a series of breaches of childcare regulations.

Marie McGrath of the Sunny Days crèche in Manulla, Castlebar, appeared before Castlebar District Court last Wednesday, charged with 10 breaches of the 2006 Pre-school Child Care Regulations after a series of inspections earlier this year. Eleven other charges were withdrawn by the H.S.E. when Ms. McGrath pleaded guilty to 10 charges.

The case was heard on October 4 and was adjourned to last Wednesday for a decision.

M.s McGrath sat at the back of the courtroom alone, wearing a grey suit. She appeared nervous and tense throughout the court sitting.
[Source: The Mayo News]


Agreement has been reached with Boliden Tara Mines Limited on state mining lease terms that will facilitate mining operations in Navan to continue for another decade with current staffing levels of 650 employees to be retained under the new deal.

During a visit last Thursday to the lead and zinc mine, Minister of State for Natural Resources Fergus O’Dowd, T.D., announced agreement on terms for leases.
The Navan mine is the largest of its kind in Europe and the minister’s visit included an underground tour of mining operations where he was shown the location of the major underground extension.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]


Fianna Fail forced former Fianna Fail Senator Francie O'Brien to resign from the party before he was convicted of attempted extortion.

The Monaghan-born politician (70) was jailed last week for three years for his role in attempting to extort $135,000 from a Department of Agriculture veterinary inspector in what was described by a judge as "an abominable scheme."

Fianna Fail has confirmed that O'Brien resigned as a member of the party – which he had joined at the age of 12 – around a year ago.
[Source: Irish Independent]


Health service management claim there will be no impact on the ambulance service in Portlaoise as a result of an enhanced service in Edenderry.

It was announced two weeks ago that Edenderry would get ambulance cover seven nights a week.

From November 4, the H.S.E. reconfigured staff-members and money throughout the midland region to provide the service, according to Fianna Fail T.D., Brian Cowen.

Deputy Cowen said the move will result in Edenderry gaining ambulance cover seven nights a week, but will also see cover being removed on Saturday.

The Offaly T.D. said that while he welcomed the announcement, he was cautious of the fact that no new positions were created, but rather, staff-members and capital have been reconfigured within the midland region.
[Source: Leinster Express]


The current chief of the Galway-Roscommon Hospital Group, Bill Maher, received a salary of up to $263,000 to facilitate his transfer to the West in 2011.

According The Irish Times, ministers approved the special annual pay deal to facilitate Bill Maher's transfer as chief executive of St. Vincent's in Dublin to the Galway-Roscommon group.

The newspaper reports that at the time, the official pay rate for the C.E.O. post at St. Vincent's Hospital was $197,000.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]


Sebastian Barry’s novel, “The Secret Scripture,” is set to be adapted into a feature film with filming due to take place in Sligo next year.

Hollywood actresses Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Redgrave have both signed on to play young and old versions of the main character, a Sligo woman who keeps a diary of her many years confined to a mental hospital in Roscommon.

The book, shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2008, is set to be adapted into a film by Noel Pearson.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]


There are 12 women working as prostitutes in County Tipperary at the present time, The Tipperary Star can reveal.

And, a move is underway in the county to make it illegal to pay for sex, although it has not gotten the unanimous approval of elected representatives.

Clr. Virginia O’Dowd tabled a notice of motion at last week’s meeting of the County Council, calling on the council to recognize that trafficking, exploitation and abuse of women and girls is taking place in Tipperary as a result of prostitution. And, she called for laws to be introduced to make it illegal to pay for sex, having noted the success of similar laws in other jurisdictions.
[Source: Tipperary Star]


A Dungannon firm has come to the aid of the US Government!

On Thursday, November 14, U.S. federal officials used a Powerscreen impact crusher to pulverize six tons of illegal elephant ivory to discourage poachers and wildlife traffickers.

The "Ivory Crush" event took place at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wildlife Property Repository at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado and was attended by representatives of African nations and other countries, dozens of leading conservationists and international media representatives.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]


The humble Waterford  Blaa has claimed its place among the ranks of internationally-famous brands such as Italy’s Parma Ham, France’s Camembert Cheese and Greece’s Kalamata olive oil.

Traditionally dating back to the arrival of French Huguenots in the late 17th century, the blaa has been awarded the coveted Protected Geographic Indication (P.G.I.) status.

This prestigious designation means it is now illegal to use the name Blaa to describe any other type of bread. It is also the first Irish food product in five years to have successfully registered under the scheme.
[Source: Waterford News & Star]


Westmeath County Board chairman, Sean Sheridan, is crestfallen at the failure of an attempt to create a new 14-county, top-tier structure for the National Hurling League.

The “Super 14” template for the N.H.L., brokered by Westmeath and Carlow, was shot down at a meeting of the G.A.A.’s Central Council on Saturday, November 16 – and by the narrowest of margins.

Mr. Sheridan said that he was “disappointed” to learn that two Leinster counties voted against the proposal, sealing a 19-17 defeat for the motion.
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]


The ongoing controversy surrounding the proposed corridors for EirGrid’s, Grid Link Project has moved fully into New Ross.

On Wednesday, a large group of protesters gathered at EirGrid’s information office in Marsh Lane to voice their concerns about the routes; one of which, if chosen, could come within a few hundred meters of Kent’s Cross on the outskirts of the town.

As part of the protest, those present, who included members and supporters of the New Ross Pylons Action Group, handed in letters to the office addressed to the EirGrid Grid Link Project Manager, John Lowry.
[Source: Wexford Echo]


Are these four the Eddie Jordan's of the future?

Four students from St. David's School in Greystones have earned won the Best Engineered Car Award at the F1 in Schools World Championships in Austin, Texas.

The self-named team of Bardahl Racing is made up of Patrick Flaherty, Conor Darcy, Christopher Lynch and Joseph Moran, and they received their award on Wednesday, November 13.

They are currently the F1 in Schools National Champions, and also won the award for Young I.C.T. Person of the Year award for their achievements in the F1 in Schools competition.
[Source: Irish Independent]