Antrim Grammar School took the unusual step of contacting parents last week to warn them of the modern perils facing their children today.

The school recently held two information evenings on the theme of “Safeguarding your Child,” and what emerged was a disturbing picture of young people facing threats completely alien to the experiences of their parents.

Drugs, of course, are nothing new – but the school was keen to highlight that the scene was evolving.

The prevalence of drugs “of all kinds” in the greater Antrim area came as no great surprise, but many parents were unaware of the “increased strength” of cannabis in circulation or the “extraordinary dangers” offered by chemical highs, many of which are adulterated with other substances.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


The trial of a man accused of the attempted murder of Silverbridge student Natasha McShane, has heard harrowing evidence of how the horrific injuries she sustained in the attack, more than three years ago, have left her with limited ability to walk or speak.

Heriberto Viramontes (34) was found guilty of attacking Natasha and her friend, Stacy Jurich, on their way home from a night out in Chicago in April 2010.  The pair was walking under a viaduct when a man emerged from the shadows and attacked them with a baseball bat.

Natasha, a 23-year-old student at the University of Illinois at the time, sustained extensive head injuries and was left fighting for her life.

Her parents, Sheila and Liam, brother Conor and sister Karla were present in Cook County Criminal Court during the trial.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


Short-sighted councilors have left the south of the county vulnerable to new proposals for high-powered overhead lines.

A decision taken over 10 years ago by local councilors to remove high-amenity areas from the Carlow County Development Plan has effectively left the south of the county wide open for EirGrid’s proposed pylons, according to the newly-formed Save Our Heartland (S.O.H.) group.

“Their legacy is that we have no protection now – we are not communicating the value of this landscape to external bodies,” argued Helena Fitzgerald, a Borris resident and member of the group.
[Source: Carlow Nationalist]


If you saw someone out running around in their distinctive red Run D.M.C. 4 C.F. shirt last week, a few words of encouragement helped to boost them on in their way in their final days of preparation before they take on the Dublin marathon on Bank Holiday Monday, October 28.

The request came from local business woman and mother Lorraine O'Neill, whose daughter, Mia, lives with the respiratory disease Cystic Fibrosis. Lorraine, for the second year in a row, is set to lead yet another group of local runners to take part in the Dublin Marathon, which takes place this Bank Holiday Monday, working together to not just raise awareness, but also much-needed funding to assist in improving facilities at Cavan General Hospital for persons with Cystic Fibrosis (P.W.C.F.) in the region.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


Over 6,000 new Clare children aged five or under will be able to benefit from free G.P. care following Budget 2014.

Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy has stated that 10,709 Clare children will be eligible for free G.P. care under a new government family-friendly measure.

The Department of Health estimates that 43 percent of children and adults nationally are already covered by a full medical card or G.P. visit card.
[Source: Clare Champion]


The music scene is mourning the loss of a budding star as West Cork deals with the grief of losing one of their own.

The Calvinists bassist, Taidgh Burke, died tragically last Tuesday from injuries he sustained in a single-car collision in Bantry on Sunday morning.

Following the crash on Sunday, which occurred at 4 a.m. on Bridge St., Taidgh was taken to Bantry General Hospital.
[Source: Cork Independent]


A serial sex offender who admitted making indecent images of children has been jailed for four months at Derry Crown Court sitting in Antrim.

Daniel Martin “Speedy” Carlin, of Ballyarnett Village, pleaded guilty to nine charges of making indecent  images between August 2008 and April 2010.

A previous court hearing was told Carlin’s home had been searched by police on April 8, 2010.

During the search police seized video cassettes, floppy disks, C.D.s and a total of four computer towers and P.C.s.
[Source: Derry Journal]


A 30-year-old botanist who immigrated to Australia seven years ago has told the Democrat of her fears as the wildfires raging across New South Wales edge ever closer to her new home.

Up to 60 fires are burning across the region – 13 of them uncontained.

By last Tuesday morning, the flames had advanced to within 2 km. of Nicola Higgins’ home, leading her to fill every available container with water and watch breaking news bulletins with bated breath.
[Source: Donegal Democrat]


The controversial school funding shake-up has divided schools in the local area, with some faring well from a new School Enhancement Programme for capital investment, while many more face crippling cuts in Minister O’Dowd’s revised funding formula.

Five schools in Newry and Mourne are set to benefit from a Department of Education investment worth a potential $170 million.  Our Lady’s Grammar School Newry, Sacred Heart Grammar School Newry, Rathore Special School Newry, St. Mark’s High School, Warrenpoint and Killean Primary School, are among 50 schools throughout Northern Ireland who learned two weeks ago that their applications under the School Enhancement Programme (S.E.P.) for capital investment have secured approval to proceed.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


At least three older people collapsed during a massive lunchtime rally in central Dublin over savage budget cuts.

The demonstration was interrupted at one stage to secure medical help for one protester.

But not even the poor weather could deter pensioners from getting their message across – that they find the budget measures affecting them totally unacceptable.
[Source: Evening Herald]


People in Fermanagh are the happiest in the United Kingdom, according to recent figures published by the Office for National Statistics.

Fermanagh has the highest score for happiness, while Derry, by contrast, has the lowest.

In its personal wellbeing across the U.K. survey, which measures elements of life satisfaction, more people in Northern Ireland rated their life satisfaction as “very high” than any other part of the U.K.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]


A convicted child abuser has been sentenced to eight years for raping his 10-year-old niece in Galway two decades ago.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty to the rape of the now 29-year-old in Connemara, but was convicted by a jury following his trial last July.

The 64-year-old also denied three charges of sexually assaulting the same female.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]


Organized deer walks took place Saturday, October 19, around Killarney, County Kerry, where at least one red deer stag has died during this year’s rutting or mating season.

The walks, organized by the Kerry Deer Society, have been taking place over the past number of weeks, during daylight and darkness, to hear the roaring and watch the fighting stags – Ireland’s oldest herd of red deer. The walks are now so popular that numbers are being restricted to minimize disturbance to the deer.
[Source: Irish Times]


Kildare’s Chief Superintendent, Michael Byrnes, called for motorists to slow down last Bank Holiday weekend, as part of a major national crack down on speed.

From Monday, October 21, to Sunday, November 3, there will be 24 one-hour checkpoints set up in the Kildare Garda (police) division – 12 high-visibility speed detection check points and 12 general road traffic check points.

Speaking at a special press conference at Naas Garda station last Wednesday afternoon, the Chief Superintendent declared, “Speed is the number one killer on roads in Kildare. We had one fatality last year and this year we’ve had 11 accidents, which resulted in 13 fatalities.”
[Source: Leinster Leader]


A Kilkenny woman struck gold recently when she walked away from the Winning Streak game show with prizes and cash valued at $55,400.

Annette Mahon, from Goresbridge, won $55,400, including a Suzuki Vitara, on the R.T.É. game show which took place on October 19. Five players from Dublin, Carlow, Clare, Kilkenny and Kerry won prizes to the value of $397,000 with John Cronin from Kerry walking away with prizes worth $193,252. The lucky three-star ticket was purchased at Corrigan’s Service Station in Bagenalstown.
[Source: Kilkenny People]


Jerome Stack, who was involved with the Dromcollogher Broadford side, which won the Limerick S.F.C. title on Sunday, October 20, will be on board as a coach. Fergal Byron and Noel Garvan, both Leinster S.F.C. winners with Laois in 2003, have been appointed as selectors.
The former Westmeath and Galway manager met with little resistance from club delegates, who passed through the Kerryman with little debate. He had been nominated for the position four weeks ago, and has already put a backroom team in place.
[Source: Leinster Express]


With Halloween approaching rapidly, Gardaí (police) in Carrick-on-Shannon have issued a warning to the public about precautions that should be taken.

Parents have been warned to be vigilant with regards to fireworks and bangers and the injuries that can be caused.

A reminder has been issued that it is an offense under the Criminal Justice Act 2006 to possess fireworks with the intent to sell or supply, and it is also an offense to throw fireworks or bangers.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]


The death has occurred of sportsman, publican, politician and one of Limerick’s great characters, Mick Crowe.

Mr. Crowe, who was born on Glentworth Street, played senior rugby for Shannon and was also a talented soccer player. After his playing days, he was heavily involved with Ballynanty Rovers and also served as a director for Limerick United.

He was involved in fundraising and organizing tours overseas for many Limerick and Irish sporting teams, and for putting on sports fixtures in the city, such as the visit of former F.A. Cup winners, Spurs, to Thomond Park in 1981.
[Source: Limerick Leader]


A Tegenaria, or giant house spider, which bears an apparent likeness to Jesus Christ, has appeared at a house in Longford.

Edel Sweeney found the spider in her home and noticed the markings on the spider’s back closely resemble the iconic image of the Sacred Heart.

Edel’s boyfriend captured the harmless spider in his hands before taking some photographs.
[Source: Longford Leader]


Louth has been voted the best place to live in Ireland by

The website finds and rates communities in Ireland and, out of nearly 10,000 ratings, Louth has come out on top.

Each county is rated out of five, and Louth topped the poll with a total score of four, along with Donegal.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]


The Garda (police) watchdog was expected to reveal last Tuesday that it will open an investigation into allegations by a former Corrib gas contractor, who claims he supplied a large quantity of alcohol to Belmullet Garda Station before Christmas 2007. This follows G.S.O.C.’s (Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission) receipt of the findings of an investigation into the matter, led by a senior Mayo Garda, Superintendent Thomas Murphy.

A G.S.O.C spokesman said it was “considering the content of that material” while the Garda Press Office confirmed the examination has been completed and “all details passed on” to the Garda watchdog.
[Source: The Mayo News]


Meath County Council has given the green light for a K.F.C. drive-through outlet at Brews Hill in Navan, sparking an angry reaction from a nearby school, local parents, residents and traders.

Outrage has been expressed at the proposal to build a fast food outlet at the gates of two schools, especially at a time when the H.S.E. has mounted a major childhood obesity campaign.

Local traders also warned that it would cause traffic mayhem on an already very busy street and would mean the loss of vital parking spaces, which serve local businesses.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]


A gold mining company, which has discovered a 30-mile gold district in Ireland, says it has completed "a key step" towards bringing in a mine at its gold discovery in County Monaghan.

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources has discovered a gold district running across counties Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan and is planning to develop its first operational gold mine at Clontibret in Monaghan.

The gold exploration company said that work involving mineralogical tests had confirmed “the technical viability” of the technique that would be used to process ore at Clontibret.
[Source: Breaking News]


Offaly G.A.A. great Brian Whelahan is set to take over from Ollie Baker as the county's senior hurling manager, on recommendation of the selection committee.

The Faithfuls have been without a manager since Baker stepped down in August in the aftermath of the 2013 championship.

Whelahan is expected to be ratified as their new boss at the November meeting of the Offaly County Board.
[Source: Irish Examiner]


Two men are due to appear in court this week in relation to the seizure of more than $2.8 million worth of cannabis plants.

The seizures were made as part of Operation Nitrogen, during planned raids in counties Kerry, Cavan and Roscommon.
[Source: Roscommon Herald]


Traditional music is showing a remarkable resistance to the recession. Albums are tumbling from mixing desks, live (though largely unpaid) sessions are thriving, and theatre concerts feature new collaborations, albeit with the same challenges facing many hard-pressed punters whose social diaries are more limited than they might have been a few years ago. This year’s ninth Sligo Live festival continues the Gathering theme with the return of a flock of Irish-American musicians who bring a fresh approach to the music.

Baltimore-born Jesse Smith, Brooklynite Tony DeMarco and Chicago’s Liz Carroll were just three of the musicians who brought fiddles and bows to Sligo Live last bank holiday weekend. Carroll, who won TG4’s Composer of the Year Award in 2010, has breathed fresh life into old tunes and composed almost 200 of her own over the years.
[Source: Irish Times]


The socialist champagne grapes are turning sour for Labour Party, according to David Doran.

“Clr. Kenehan launched a false and bitter attack through the media [two weeks ago]. I take issue with the falsehoods bandied about by Clr. Kenehan in regard to Sinn Fein and I wish to set the record straight.

“Labour go to great lengths to portray themselves as the only political party to vote ‘No’ to the bank bailout. This is absolute rubbish! Sinn Fein voted against the Bank Guarantee Scheme brought forward by Brian Lenihan on October 17, 2008. This can easily be verified through the Dáil (Irish Parliament) records. This is the scheme by which the government is now bailing out the banks and that Labour has supported since becoming members of the government. What Sinn Fein voted for was the Financial Support Bill brought forward by Brian Lenihan on September 30, 2008. Labour did not. That bill said the minister could act when there was a threat to the stability of credit institutions in the State, a need to maintain stability of the financial system in the State and the necessity to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of the State.”
[Source: Tipperary Star]


An expansion of Galbally Community Centre will provide a great service to people in the local area.

That is the view of Fergal O'Donnell, of the Galbally Youth and Community Association.

He was speaking following the visit of Rural Development Minister Michelle O'Neill to announce a $1 million extension to the community center.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]


The political and business life of Waterford City is shocked by the sudden death last Tuesday of Gary Wyse, a Fianna Fail member of the City Council and owner of Classic Carpets, O’Connell Street.

A native of St. John’s Park, he resided at The Village, Ballygunner with his wife Michelle, three sons and a daughter. He was elected to the City Council at his first attempt in 2009 and was the only Fianna Fail member of the council.
[Source: Waterford News & Star]


Fianna Fáil councilor Avril Whitney last Tuesday welcomed the announcement from Westmeath County Council that $116,000 has been approved for much needed restoration works on the N4 in Rathowen and an additional €65,000 for the N4 at Ballinalack.

"I am delighted the Council has finally released this much needed funding as I have been working to ensure these vital restoration works are carried out this year," Clr. Whitney said.
[Source: Westmeath Examiner]


The man accused of murdering Elaine O’Hara was seen in Enniscorthy just two months ago.
Graham Dwyer (41) was identified as the main suspect in the killing of Ms. O’Hara, whose skeletal remains were discovered last month in the Dublin Mountains.

The 36-year-old, whose father Francis (Frank) O’Hara is from Parnell Street, Wexford, was reported missing in August of last year.

Dwyer was charged with her murder in Dun Laoghaire District Court on Friday, October 18.
[Source: Wexford Echo]


Local chef Paul Smith introduced children to the joys of cooking and eating healthier food last Friday, October 25, at Holy Rosary National School, in Wicklow Town. More than 300 children and a number of parents were at the demonstration, which ran from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event was part of the healthy town initiative, and Mr. Smith said the emphasis was on showing that food can be fun.

He said children were given a tray containing carrot, broccoli, celery and a tomato, and asked to try at least one. (The vegetables were cut, of course, in interesting shapes). They were shown how to make a sausage roll and a gluten-free Parmesan biscuit. But are sausage rolls healthy?
[Source: Irish Times]