Well over 5,000 people requested PSNI application forms in just over two weeks. Details of the potential demand for places on the next recruitment-training scheme emerged as Policing Board chairman Barry Gilligan urged young people considering a career in the service not to be deterred by the dissident republican threat.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)  

Teen Actress and Carlow native Saoirse Ronan will take on Hollywood superweight Meryl Streep in the ‘best actress’ category at this year’s BAFTA awards.
Saoirse was announced among the nominees for the awards this week and will be the youngest leading actress winner in BAFTA history if she triumphs for her role in The Lovely Bones. The awards will take place in London on 21 February. However, the 15-yearold is already discovering the downsides of fame: she has walked away from school, alleging ‘negative attitudes’ towards her from teachers and fellow pupils.
 The budding starlet told an English newspaper this week that she had quit her boarding school, blaming some of her teachers for giving her a “hard time” over her movie success.
 (Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

SIPTU is calling on the Labor Relations Commission to intervene in a worsening dispute between the Kingspan plant in Kingscourt and its production workers. As workers threaten to strike in ten days time, the company has warned that if the strike goes ahead, it may be necessary to relocate production elsewhere in the group. The union has served notice of industrial action on Kingspan claiming that the company is unilaterally implementing Labor Court recommendations, which have been overwhelmingly rejected by its members.
 (Source: The Anglo Celt)

A Derry family fears their frail mother may refuse life-saving cancer treatment because she does not want to travel to Belfast. Celine Birtles and Vivienne Johnston say their 77 year-old mother Agnes, who is battling breast cancer, has been told she'll have to take a bus to the cancer centre in Belfast on Monday mornings - and stay there for four nights during the week to receive radiotherapy. The women have now begun a campaign to demand radiotherapy treatment is made available locally as a matter of urgency, claiming the North's second city should not have to put up with "third world health care."
(Source: The Derry Journal)

Gaoth Dobhair singer-songwriter Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh has emerged the clear favorite to pick up the 2009 Donegal Person of the Year title. An announcement will be made by the promoters of the event, the Donegal Association in Dublin on the night at a special function in Foleys' of Merrion Row, but sources say the only lady in the running has pipped seven others to claim the honor.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

The 30kph speed limit zone proposed by Dublin City Council makes "no sense", say critics. The new limit came into effect last Sunday and will now apply from Bolton Street in the north inner city to Kevin Street Lower and St Stephen's Green on the other side of the Liffey. It will also extend from the Church Street and Bridge Street areas in the west to Gardiner Street, Tara Street and Dawson Street on the east. And it will operate 24 hours a day -- taking in periods when there is very little traffic on the roads. The limit is being imposed on busy roads like the North and South Quays, Parnell Street, College Green, Dame Street, Dawson Street and Kildare St. AA director of policy Conor Faughnan said there was " just no sense" in expanding the 30kph area, adding the move would infuriate motorists.
(Source: The Evening Herald)

€500m project to bypass Tuam and Claregalway bottlenecks. Construction work on the long-awaited €500 million new motorway from Gort to Tuam will commence this November. The National Roads Authority has confirmed that two consortia of builders and financial institutions have been shortlisted from a list of around six consortia who had expressed interest in building the road in a Public Private Partnership (PPP). BAM Balfour Beatty and Direct Route will now go ‘head to head’ in a competition to win the tender for the development. BAMBalfour Beatty consists of BAMPPP and Balfour Beatty Capital Ltd and Direct Route consists of AIB plc, Strabag SE, John Sisk & Son (Holdings) Ltd, Roadbridge and Lagan Construction Ltd.
(Source: Galway News)

Kerry fishmongers Quinlans have received a national quality award from Bord Iascaigh Mhara. Quinlan's Fish, who have four fish shops across Kerry in Cahersiveen, Killorglin, Tralee, and Killarney have been named in the BIM seafood circle awards for 2010. "This is a great achievement as our shops in Tralee and Killarney have only opened in the past year and the Killorglin shop was the only fish shop in Ireland to receive a 100 per cent success rate from the BIM judges," said proprietor Fintan Quinlan.
(Source: The Kerryman)

Happythreads, a company set up by Athy man Daniel Plewman, has won a Dublin City Enterprise Board Award.
“It was wonderful” said a delighted Daniel after he was named the winner of the Dublin City Enterprise Board Link! Best Business Plan Award for 2009, for his company, healthcare and beautycare clothing supplier Happythreads. The company is based in Dublin at the moment and Daniel said the win provided him with a nice impetus to keep going, and that he felt vindicated that someone recognized his business. “It’s great to have a little reassurance that it is a viable business,” he said. “When you’re setting up a business on your own you do sometimes have ups and downs. Sometimes you’re on top of the world and other times you’re wondering how you can accept failure!”he joked.
Daniel also has another reason to be happy at the moment as the company has just secured an exclusive distribution agreement for koi uniforms for Ireland and UK and so will be exporting this year. Happythreads specializes in work uniforms and clothing – and offers employees more choice in terms of shape, fit and color. It also provides a personalization service, the embroidery of names and logos, which is carried out in Ireland.
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)

Four local people from the Castlecomer area who were stranded in Peru last Friday morning were evacuated to safety. The group were among 15 Irish tourists who were left isolated in the Machu Picch region of Peru after torrential rain and devastating mudslides in the area.
The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the entire group was airlifted to "the nearest safe place".
(Source: The Kilkenny People)

The Army bomb squad were called into action in Portarlington last Monday after a suspicious electrical device was discovered on the roof, thought to have been left there during a break-in the previous night. The item was discovered when the Supervalu owner, Marcus McLoughlin, went to check upstairs to make sure everything was in order after the break-in and it was then that he noticed the "suspicious object". He contacted gardaí and was told to evacuate the premises until police and members of the army bomb disposal unit arrived. The area was sealed off with a number of gardaí on duty at various locations to ensure no members of the public had access to the supermarket at the Arlington Centre in the town.
(Source: The Leinster Express)

Leitrim County Councilors are calling for the Government to address the large number of empty, unfinished and derelict housing stock now evident throughout the county, with demolition being one of the options proposed. With estimates suggesting that at least one third of all houses in the county are unoccupied, councilors have called for moves both at local and national level to address the situation.
(Source: The Leitrim Observer)

The University of Limerick is coming under intense criticism from a number of political parties for building a "lavish" and "extravagant" residence for its president during a time of economic crisis. The UL president, Prof Don Barry, is due to move into his new home next month, which was built at a cost €1.1 million and funded by philanthropic donations.
(Source: The Limerick Leader)

Former Longford GAA greats of yesteryear have been paying tribute to Leinster winning championship manager and one of life's "perfect gentleman", Mick Higgins who passed away last week at the age of 87. Captain of the last Cavan team to lift the coveted Sam Maguire in 1952, the softly spoken but multi talented centre forward also cemented his name as a manager of outstanding repute during his brief but auspicious spell with Longford during the late 60s.
(Source: The Longford Leader)

Plans are in the offing to replace the Obelisk at the Battle of the Boyne site which was destroyed in 1923. The Boyne Foundation, founded in 2008 by a group of Orangemen, has lodged planning permission with Louth County Council (LCC) to rebuild the monument, which commemorates the Battle of the Boyne. In their application, The Boyne Foundation said they have agreed to purchase the site involved, which is located close to the existing visitor centre, from the legal owners Shaderoe Ltd, c/o Amatino Partners, Cavan. Built in 1736 by Lionel Sackville, at the time the Obelisk was the highest man-made structure on the island.
(Source: The Drogheda Independent)

A ‘renaissance’ in fine food is under way in Mayo with the new Bridgestone Irish Food Guide praising the county’s restaurants and food producers and describing Mayo as the most improved county. The latest edition Bridgestone Irish Food Guide was launched during the week and it made good reading for Mayo with the number of entries rising from 28 in 2007 to 45 in the new edition. The entries range from hotels, restaurants and guest houses to deli’, butchers and cafes with a number of new businesses included for the first time. John McKenna, the co-author of the Bridgestone Irish Food Guide told The Mayo News that there was a ‘stratospheric increase’ in the number of Mayo entries and that was the real success story of the new guide. He explained that Mayo had always sold itself on its landscape and beauty but its cuisine was way ahead of other counties in the region.
(Source: Mayo News)

More than 180 new jobs are on the cards for Meath this year with the development of two new 'green industries' for the county. A proposed wood briquette production plant at Balrath, Kells, which will also include a small power station, is expected to create up to 140 jobs, 70 jobs on-site and a further 70 in transport to the facility. In the same week that this new project was revealed, work began on Panda Waste's new €21 million plant at Beauparc, which will convert waste into high grade compost and a coal sustitute, while also producing electricity. This plant is expected to employ 40 people. Shamrock Renewable Fuels Ltd, a joint venture between Farrelly Brothers of Carnaross and HDS Energy of Kells Business Park, is currently seeking planning permission for a renewable fuel plant where willow and other wood is converted into carbon neutral fuels, including wood briquettes and wood pellets.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)

Offaly's crime rate has dropped by 11.3% in a year, the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have revealed. The CSO released the crime figures for the final quarter of 2009 last Thursday, which revealed that the crime rate dropped by 11.3% in the Laois/Offaly Garda Division in 2009, when compared to 2008. In total 6,973 crimes were recorded in the Laois/Offaly division last year, compared to 7,866 in 2008, which represents a drop of 893 crimes. The biggest drop for the Garda division was the rate of homicide offences, which dropped by 80% last year, from five murders in Laois/Offaly in 2008 to just one during 2009.
(Source: The Offaly Independent)

Young Oran man, Shane O’Brien has been chosen as the Lions International YoungAmbassador of the 21st Century after a nationwide competition and a grand final at the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin on Sunday night last. The eighteen-year-old was representing Roscommon Leo Club in the final and received the honor for his work on the 4U youth magazine, the 4U radio show on Rosfm and a plethora of other community and civic projects. A Leaving Cert student at Roscommon CBS, Shane is a son of Michéal and Rita O’Brien from Oran. He has worked on the 4U magazine since 2007. The quarterly publication sees 3,000 copies distributed to secondary schools throughout the county.

(Source: The Roscommon Champion)
Twelve days early and catching his parents by surprise, Shane Filan Junior made the sort of entrance his famous dad would have been proud of. "He certainly didn't keep us waiting. He wasn't due until early February, and up until 8 p.m. last Friday there was no sign he was on his way. But an hour and a half later, he was here," Westlife's Shane said, describing the early arrival of his third child, a brother for Nicole (4) and Patrick (18 months). "There was no panic or anything like that, but we certainly weren't expecting it. Gillian started having pains at about eight o'clock, we went straight to Sligo General, and the baby was born exactly one hour and thirty-four minutes later," he explained.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)

Michelle Gildernew has said she is determined to hold on to her Westminster seat amid new claims of an election pact between rival unionists. It is claimed the DUP is ready to stand aside at the upcoming General Election, allowing the Ulster Unionists' candidate a free run. Reports have claimed a deal could come in return for UUP support for the DUP over any package on policing and justice powers. However Ms Gildernew, the MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone since 2001, is ignoring the speculation and is focusing on securing a third election win. "Our position is quite simple," she said. "Whatever the DUP or UUP choose to do, Sinn Fein will be fighting this election strenuously to keep the seat.
(Source: Tyrone Times)

Recruitment is to begin in March to fill the 80 to 90 jobs to be created with the re-birth of mouth blown, hand cut Waterford Crystal in a new purpose-built 6,500sqm facility being developed at the former ESB premises on The Mall. A €25m investment is being made on the 1.5 acre site to facilitate manufacturing, 1,000sqm of retail space and a Visitor Centre. Waterford Crystal, is going back to its roots with the manufacture of 40,000 ‘high end’ pieces entirely handcrafted and ranging in price from between €250 and €5,000 for specialist pieces for international events,” said Pierre de Villeméjane, Chief Executive of WWRD Ltd., which has signed an agreement with the City Council for the new industry.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)

A Westmeath man has been appointed Honorary Consul of Ireland in Seattle with responsibility for Washington State. John Keane is from the famous Rosemount family of the same name and is uncle of Westmeath dual All-Star John Keane. John arrived in Seattle in 1978 and quickly became involved in the local Irish-American community. As befits a member of the famous footbaling family, he also excelled on the field of play and continued lining out for the Seattle Gaels until his early 50s. The position of Honorary Consul is a non-salaried and is designed to assist the Embassy in Washington DC and the Consulate General in San Francisco in promoting contacts between the two countries, facilitating business and official visitors from Ireland, supplying information on Ireland and in providing consular services to Irish citizens resident in or visiting the area for which you would have jurisdiction.
(Source: The Westmeath Independent)

Fine Gael councilor has said doesn't that he understand why a HSE hospital manager is 'afraid to talk to the Wexford'. people of The Borough Council wrote a letter to the HSE Network Manager Richard Dooley asking him to outline why he met people to discuss the future of St. Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny when he wouldn't meet a Wexford group. The letter was sent on the suggestion of ClIr. Jim Allen of Fine Gael. Mr. Dooley's reply explained that the meeting he attended in Kilkenny was with the Patient Partnership Forum of St. Luke's Hospital. He attended at their request to inform them about the current project and its progress. 'I intend to meet with and brief the Patient Partnership Groups in all acute hospitals regarding this project', he said. 'I don't understand why he is afraid to talk to the people of Wexford. Our hospital is just as important as any other hospital in the region', commented Cllr. Allen.
(Source: The Wexford People)

Acclaimed film director John Boorman is to be honored next month at the Irish Film and Television Academy Awards (IFTA) when he will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Boorman (77) who has lived in Wicklow for almost 40 years is a celebrated director, producer and writer. Last week Minister of State, Martin Mansergh praised Mr. Boorman's work throughout his expansive career. 'John Boorman has deservedly received many accolades over his long career. However this Lifetime Achievement Award from Ireland will also celebrate John's impact and influence on the early years of our film industry playing a vital role as Chairman of the original Irish Film Board and also as Chairman of Ardmore Studios.' Born in England in 1933 John has had a pivotal influence on the Irish film industry and was an intrinsic force in the development of what the industry has become today. He served as Chairman of the first Irish Film Board and was chairman of the National Film Studios (now Ardmore Studios) until 1982. In these roles John Boorman nurtured the careers of countless Irish directors, writers, producers, actors and crew through encouragement, support and inspiration.
(Source: The Wicklow People)