Troubled Democratic Unionist leader Peter Robinson has admitted revelations about his wife's affair have left him desolate and struggling to face the outside world. The under-pressure politician said coping with the impact of Iris Robinson's infidelity with a teenage lover had also taken a physical toll on him, losing more than two stone since he learned of her adultery.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)

Two Carlow boxers have proved that they are the top of their game when they scooped two national awards from the IABA Friday two weeks ago.
Both Dylan Carr and Martin Casey picked up the Best Boy Boxers of the year at the awards held in the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel in Dublin. The two promising pugilists have won four national titles in succession at their respective weights and look set for a long and illustrious career in the game. Carr has been capped at international level while Casey who fights in the lower weight’s division looks certain to represent his country shortly. Casey is a member of the Carlow Boxing Club, which is based at St Fiacc’s Hall in Graiguecullen while Carr is a former member but has moved to Ryston in Newbridge.

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

A Cavan man who fled to England for a decade after raping one young daughter and sexually assaulting another has been jailed for ten years at the Central Criminal Court. The 44-year-old man abused his daughters from the ages of six and eight, raping one of them "two to three" times a week when their mother was out of the house. He pleaded guilty.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)

The High Court has reserved judgment on an application by a former doctor to halt his trial on charges of defrauding a number of terminally ill cancer patients. The DPP rejected the claims by Paschal Carmody (61), with an address at Killaloe, Co Clare, that his right to a fair trial has been prejudiced on various grounds, including a witness who has died. Mr. Carmody is charged with obtaining money from terminally ill cancer patients and their families by deception at the East Clinic in Killaloe. Last week, Mr. Justice John Hedigan reserved judgment on Mr. Carmody’s judicial review proceedings.
(Source: The Irish Times)

Insurance brokers across the county are currently snowed under dealing with claims expected to run to several million euro - as the cost of the coldest winter in living memory mounts.
Burst pipes have ruined countless homes. Cars that went off snowy, icy roads are now being repaired or replaced. Medical bills are rolling in from those who slipped and broke legs, ankles or arms. And that's not even taking into account the value of all the failed crops. What it means is that the county's insurance brokers have joined gritters and plumbers on the roster of those working flat out to deal with the chaos caused by 'the big freeze'.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

A young Dublin footballer is hoping to be awarded a contract by Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan as part of a reality TV show. Cherry Orchard player Craig Walsh (17) will be taken on by the Italian giants if he comes out on top in Sky One's Football's Next Star. The midfielder is in the final stages of the show in Italy, making the top 10 from thousands of entrants. Liverpool and England star Jamie Redknapp, who hosts the series, took Craig aside in one recent episode to talk to him about being homesick. Redknapp encouraged the up-and-coming player to make the most of his opportunity. Craig admitted it was "hard dealing with the heat and the homesickness" in Italy, but he got over it and believes the experience has made him a stronger. He described Redknapp as "an amazing person" who helped him off camera as well as on. "He was so helpful," Craig said. Redknapp even described the young Dubliner as the "complete footballer" because of his range of passing.
(Source: The Evening Herald)

An increase of 35 per cent in use was recorded at Listowel town's water reservoir as many in town left taps running to prevent pipes freezing. While the town council is not at the point of restricting the feed from the reservoir at Dromin, the authority is continuing to appeal to users to conserve water. The problem is compounded by exceptionally low water levels in the River Feale — the source of the reservoir — for this time of year, although the river is expected to rise considerably as the thaw progesses. Meanwhile, Listowel Town Council's planned works on its housing stock in the aftermath of the big freeze will be delayed because of major repairs required on four homes in the town where flooding has occurred, Town Engineer Michael McEnery told councilors on Monday night last.
(Source: The Kerryman)

Primary school students have been left without desks to sit at when school began last Thursday, after St John's Senior School in Ballybought Street, which just months ago was the target of mindless vandalism, was dealt another devastating blow last week. Kilkenny's longest cold snap in nearly 50 years caused water pipes at the primary school to freeze and burst on Sunday night/Monday morning last, flooding more than half the school and causing hundreds of thousands of euro worth of damage. Now the school, which has been closed because of the weather, will not be able to open as planned.
(Source: The Kilkenny People)

Durrow woman Julianne Walsh has made it to the final six of the Macra na Feirme/ Bank of Ireland National Leadership Awards. The awards are part of Macra na Feirme’s leadership training program and provide opportunities for young people to develop the skills and attributes necessary for a voluntary leadership position in Macra or in the wider community.

Six finalists in total have been chosen to go through to this year’s national final, and three overall winners will be selected on the day, based upon interviews with a judging panel and the marking of an already-submitted project.

(Source: The Laois Nationalist)

With Leitrim County Council's bill for the recent big freeze already set to top €500,000, councilors are calling on the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, to make special provision to pay for things such as additional supplies of salt and grit and labor during the crisis. A spokesperon for the Council has confirmed that the initial estimates of the cost of the recent icy weather is somewhere in the region of half a million euro, however with the situation still requiring ongoing gritting and other problems arising in terms of greater demands on water supplies and labor costs, this figure looks set to increase.
(Source: The Leitrim Observer)

City coffers may be overdrawn, but the council has confirmed there are no plans to sell Limerick's historic Treaty Stone to a casino in Atlantic City in the United States.
A page on the social networking site Facebook was set up on January 6 to save the Treaty Stone from alleged sale, and now counts over 1,500 supporters.
(Source: The Limerick Leader)

House prices in Louth fell by almost 40% since their peak, according to a new survey. The cost of an average house in Louth dropped by 23.3% in 2009 according to the House Price Report and overall, has dropped 38.3% since the peak in 2007. The average price of a house in Louth in the final quarter of the year was under € 210,000, down from a peak of € 340,000 in 2007 and well below the national average of € 242,000. Prices in the county fell by 10.4% in the last three months of the year, marking a further slowdown in price falls since earlier in the year.
(Source: The Drogheda Independent)

Murrisk is set to host the 2010 National Famine Memorial Day. It is proposed that the national event will take place in the village on May 16 next after Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív outlined the National Famine Commemoration Committee’s plans for the memorial day for 2010. Murrisk is home to the evocative National Famine Monument. The sculpture by John Behan depicts a ‘Coffin Ship’ with skeletal bodies and commemorates the Great Famine of the 1840s and is the largest bronze sculpture in Ireland and will likely form a central part of the Memorial Day.
(Source: Mayo News)

The Minister for Transport, Meath West TD Noel Dempsey has described as the coverage of his holiday to Malta two weeks ago as "tabloid sensationalism", full of inaccuracies. Mr. Dempsey returned from his holiday early on Saturday last as weather forecasts predicted that worse weather, described as Arctic, was to come. However, the anticipated worsening of conditions failed to materialize. The Transport Minister was criticized for being out of the country at a time when roads were impassable due to the big freeze. Meath East TD and Fine Gael road safety spokesperson, Shane McEntee, led the attack on Mr. Dempsey, posing outside Dail Eireann with a cardboard cut-out of the minister, whom he described as 'lost', alongside a cutout of Environment Minister John Gormley, with the moniker 'lost cause'.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)

Two Offaly natives have survived the horrific earthquake in Haiti that occurred last Tuesday while former All-Ireland Birr hurler Darren Hanniffy is heading up the GOAL aid mission to the island. Maeve Bracken, originally from Clara, and Sr Helen Ryder, from Banagher, were among the Irish survivors last week. Maeve is a lay missionary with Viatores Christi and has been working in Haiti for the last two years. A spokesperson for Viatores Christi last Thursday said that both Maeve and a second worker, Gena Heraty from Mayo, are alive and well.
(Source: The Offaly Independent)

Ski-holiday enthusiasts have been advised to keep their money in their pockets --all the thrills and spills of the piste are available for free in South Sligo. That was the advice of Clr. Margaret Gormley, who told last Monday's meeting of Sligo County Council all about the ice skating rinks in her native area. "People are spending fortunes going out on foreign holidays for skiing. Well, they could come out to South Sligo and have it for free, because we have the best of skating rinks there now," she said.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)

The lights are finally set to be extinguished on the glowing chandeliers at the Waterford Crystal visitor centre with confirmation that the last 20 remaining employees are to be let go on February 5. The Visitor Centre closure comes hot on the heels of news that the Receiver appointed 12 months ago has put the 38-acre Kilbarry site on the property market with a value of between €10m and €20m. While the double blow dashes all hope of rekindling the embers of the flagship industry on the outskirts of the city, crystal manufacture in Waterford is far from over. As David Carson of Deloitte Ireland placed the site on the books of estate agents Savills in Cork, another four former Crystal workers were formalizing their own plans to produce colored glass at Henrietta Street, in the city.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)

Athlone is to remain the headquarters of Wolseley Ireland and there is no change at the company in the light of the recent sale of the operation to a group of private investors for €26.5 million. The Irish arm of the massive worldwide plumbing and heating company, which encompasses Brooks, Heat Merchants, Tubs and Tiles and Encon in the Republic of Ireland and the Brooks business in Northern Ireland changed hands officially on Friday last under a share purchase agreement to a group of private investors. However, a company spokesperson has confirmed that business would continue as normal that Athlone remained the headquarters of the company.

(Source: The Westmeath Independent)

Wexford has one just representative in ' The search for Ireland's sexiest female', currently being conducted by the Sunday Independent. RTE newsreader Anne Doyle, a native of Ferns, is one of 20 women nominated for the accolade, with readers invited to text in their favorite female from the list. She is described as 'the ice cool queen of TV', with ' a razor sharp mind with a wicked sense of humor and a bawdy side that her TV persona gives no hint of”.
(Source: The Wexford People)

The annual DEBRA Ireland Wicklow Mountains Half Marathon will take place in March 2010, with all proceeds from the event going to those living with the rare genetic skin condition epidermolysis bullosa (EB). The half marathon will start in Djouce woods and has been designed to test both stamina and fitness and will encompass over 1,000 meters of climbing and 21km of mountain trails. The route will take participants across beautiful valleys and along remote tracks high in the mountains with views stretching along the East Coast, out over the Irish Sea and deep into Ireland's largest upland area.
(Source: The Wicklow People)