The girlfriend of one of the soldiers murdered at Massereene Barracks in Antrim last year has thanked local Orangemen for honoring their memory. The Randalstown District sold 12,000 badges they designed in memory of the two soldiers – Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey – who were gunned down outside the base by the Real IRA as they collected pizzas on March 7, 2009.
(Source: The Antrim Times)   

Police fired plastic baton rounds during serious street violence in Co Armagh the weekend before last as rioting broke out in the nationalist Drumbeg and Meadowbrook estates in Craigavon. Three new-style plastic baton rounds were fired when rioters attacked police vehicles with bars and pieces of masonry. Chief Insp Jason Murphy said: “This was an attempt to kill or seriously injure our officers.” He claimed his officers had done everything possible to quell the situation before they resorted to firing rounds.
(Source: The Irish Times)


A large number of Carlovians waving placards and flags welcomed home the triumphant Irish Winter Olympic Bobsleigh team of Aoife Hoey, Claire Bergin and Leona Byrne on their arrival at Dublin Airport last week.

To even qualify for the games was an achievement in itself but coming 17th out of the twenty one teams was more than they could have hoped for.

 Put in context there were over 50 teams initially competing for the final 20 places and Australia’s late inclusion brought this to 21.

After the late objection by the Australians it was particularly satisfying to finish above the southern hemisphere country while teams from Russia, Great Britain and Germany were also left to prop up the field behind the fighting Irish.

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

Despite the huge downturn in the building sector, the performance of Kingspan in central Europe and particularly in Holland, Germany and Belgium held up "pretty strongly", according to Kingspan chief executive, Gene Murtagh. He added that the weaker larger markets are the UK and US. He was speaking after the group reported a fall in profits but said the company was optimistic for the future. Mr. Murtagh said that he sees no reason why the company could not pay a "modest" interim dividend later this year if the group's current performance is maintained.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)

A €14 million upgrading of infrastructure and equipment at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Ennis copperfastens its retention as an acute medical hospital in the future, Deputy Timmy Dooley has claimed.
 A new refurbishment project delivering 50 replacement in-patient beds will be officially announced by Health Minister Mary Harney in the coming weeks.
 While the Mid-West Health Service has declined to confirm the cost of this project before it goes to tender, it is rumored that it will be in the region of €10m.
 (Source: The Clare Champion)

Hotel room rates in Cork fell 31 per cent in 2009 compared to 2008, according to the Hotel Price Index (HPI), a survey of hotel room prices in major destinations in Ireland and across the world. This was the steepest fall experienced by any major Irish destination researched by It cost €77 per night on average to stay in Cork during 2009, compared to €111 the year previous.
(Source: The Corkman)

Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson has said that investment by the international Orana Group in the North West is planned to hit the £600m mark and has the potential to create 3,000 jobs.
She said the group have already spent £150m between Crescent Link and another site at Bridgend. Sainsburys have been signed up as tenants at Crescent Link and negotiations are being finalized with others. Ms Anderson added that Orana plan a multi-million pound project in Strabane.
(Source: The Derry Journal)

Lifford's Shay Given broke the Republic of Ireland's appearance record when he skippered the side the international friendly against Brazil at the Emirates Stadium in London recently.
Thirty-three-year-old Given earned his 103rd international cap against the Brazilians at Arsenal's stadium.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

A brother of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has been released on bail of 15,000 euros after handing himself in to police in the Irish Republic. Liam Adams is wanted by police in Northern Ireland over claims he sexually abused his now grown-up daughter from the age of four. Mr. Adams told the bail hearing at Dublin's High Court "the media have treated my family disgracefully". "I would love to go home, but not under their circumstances." His alleged victim, Aine Tyrell, waived her right to anonymity late last year to allege that her father had molested her, claiming that the abuse included rape. Half of Mr. Adams' bail money was provided by a lifelong friend, while the other half was a cash bond of 7,500 euros paid by another daughter, Claire Smith.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)

A row has ignited over the potential appointment of a former lord mayor to a €10,000 post overseeing the regeneration of the Fatima Mansions area. Fine Gael has attacked officials in Dublin City Council after it emerged that ex-mayor Eibhlin Byrne has been offered the chairmanship of an influential board, responsible for the redevelopment of the former Rialto public housing project.
(Source: The Evening Herald)

It's all go for this year's Novena of Hope at the Graan, which got under way last Saturday. The Novena comes of age this year in that it celebrates the 21st Novena of Hope. The Rector, Fr Brian D'Arcy, CP has asked people for their support 'in this most difficult year for the Catholic Church'. In fact, this year's theme will be, 'Hope in a time of crisis in the Church'. In addition to those who attend, an estimated 5,000 people will partake in the Novena from their homes in Ireland and Britain.
(Source: The Fermanagh Herald)

Galway singer-songwriter Adrian Crowley won the Choice Music Award for the Irish Album of the Year during a live event at Dublin’s Vicar Street venue on Wednesday last. He becomes the second performer from Galway to win the award in the space of five years following the success of Athenry’s Julie Feeney at the inaugural presentation in 2005 when she won the award for the album 13 Songs. The 31-year-old from Barna claimed a €10,000 award after Season of the Sparks was voted the top Irish album of 2009 by a panel of 12 music media professionals.
(Source: Galway News)

A Kerry-based graphic designer is to have his unique design featured on Cadbury's official Dairy Milk wrapper, having claimed the top prize in a national competition. Paul Ruane of Midpoint Creative in Tralee was selected as the overall winner of the Cadbury's/The Apprentice competition when the initial winning design chosen by adjudicators was deemed inadmissible on the grounds of originality. Following a massive public vote, which saw the Tralee designer receive over 23,000 votes. The Kerry-based businessman used the iconic image of the Cliffs of Moher as his inspiration for the competition, which stipulated that the theme had to be 'Irish.'
(Source: The Kerryman)

People involved in the cultural, community, academic and sporting life of Naas were honored at the annual civic awards ceremony Friday before last.

A total of nine awards were presented to the deserving winners on the night.

A community civic award went to Frank Lawlor, who received the honor for his work in the community, especially with Naas Care of the Aged and the Naas Tidy Towns group.

 Declan McGovern received a community award for his successful teaching career and his contribution to St Corban’s school.

A sporting award went to Geordan Murphy, due to his club and international rugby success with Leicester, Ireland and The Lions.
 Another sporting award was given to Jamie Heaslip.

Kilkenny will receive a grant of €11.1 million for improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads according to Deputy John McGuinness. “Kilkenny County Council will receive €10.4 million for the maintenance of local roads including specific improvement grants that includes funding for the Ferrymountgarret Bridge, the Thomastown Relief Road and the Graiguenamanagh Relief Road. Funding will also go towards sign posting of regional roads and local improvement schemes.”
(Source: The Kilkenny People)

The company behind the Rathdowney Shopping Outlet lost another €5.4m in the year to March 2009, bringing the venture's losses to more than €12m over two years. The alarming figures are revealed in accounts just filed for AWG Outlets (Rathdowney), which admitted it had to "revise" letting terms for some of its retail tenants, leading to lower rental income.  The latest losses also include a €4.6m revaluation hit, as the firm wiped 32pc off the book value of its shopping centre asset in keeping "with general market sentiment".
(Source: The Leinster Express)

It has been revealed that only ten percent of planning applications for rural dwellings in Leitrim will be granted permission from now on under the new EPA Code of Practice, which came into force on January 8 this year. Members of Leitrim County Council were shocked and outraged following a motion brought forward by Fine Gael Cllr Enda McGloin at this week's monthly council meeting.
 (Source: The Leitrim Observer)

Parnell Street looks set to be transformed after city planners gave the go-ahead to an international sports museum. The development, set to transform two units between the Charlie St George pub and Luigi's fish and chip shop, will see the construction of a three storey building containing a coffee shop, merchandising retail area, amusement hall, courtyard and putting green, with an international sports museum taking over the second floor.
(Source: The Limerick Leader)

It has been 29 years since the Granard Harp Festival was revived and each year it has gone from strength to strength. Each year local and visiting harpists from Ireland and overseas, head to the north Longford town for the renowned competition, which was officially launched recently in the Greville Arms by Michael Brennan, Vice-President of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.
(Source: The Longford Leader)

The centuries old Muiredach's High Cross in Monasterboice is in severe danger following damage caused by the recent severe weather and local experts fear that the 10th century cross may be ultimately destroyed. Despite plans to save the cross, another hairline fracture has appeared close to the Crucifixion scene on the east face of the cross and was noticed by local guides last week. It is believed it was caused by the cold weather with water seeping into the sandstone, freezing, and then causing the damage.
(Source: The Drogheda Independent)

In the last three years the number of people who have joined the dole queue in Co Mayo has rapidly grown by 8,586 - a staggering 180 per cent rise. In January 2007, during the height of the Celtic Tiger when unemployment was close to an all time low, the number of people on the live register stood at 4,760. However in the intervening three years, the impact of collapse of the Irish economy on Mayo can be clearly seen with the number of unemployed now at 13,346.
(Source: Mayo News)

Commuter trains could be traveling back and forth from Navan in as little as five years' time, as funding has been secured to prepare a railway order for the Navan to Dublin rail line.
As Iarnrod Eireann prepares to open the Dublin to Dunboyne link to commuter traffic next September, work will now begin on preparing the railway order for the extension of the line to Navan.
(Source: The Drogheda Independent)

Bord na Móna has signaled its intention to open a materials recycling and waste transfer facility in a location at Derrygreenagh in North Offaly. The company applied to the Environmental Protection Agency for a waste license last week, for a facility that will accept 99,000 tons of mainly non-hazardous municipal solid waste, construction and demolition waste.
(Source: The Offaly Independent)

Ballaghaderreen Comhaltas Branch announced that it is to host the Roscommon County Fleadh for 2010 on Easter Weekend 3rd, 4th and 5th April, 2010. World-renowned flute player and Ballaghaderreen native Matt Molloy will perform the official opening on Easter Sunday April 4th at 3.30 pm on the Town Square.
(Source: The Roscommon Champion)

Sligo is in line for a €600,000 tourism bonanza following confirmation that a prestigious PGA EuroPro tournament is to be staged in the county. The three-day tournament, which is expected to attract two hundred professional golfers from all over Europe, will be hosted by the Castle Dargan Golf, Hotel and Wellness. Running from June 2nd to 4th, the event will not only generate a timely spin-off for the local economy but will also afford extensive global television exposure for Sligo.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)


A ringfort located just outside Cashel may yet yield some of the most exciting archaeological discoveries yet found in Tipperary following a recent investigation by a team of specialists.
The 'Fairy Fort' at Rathnadrinna, just a few miles outside Cashel on the way to Rosegreen, may have served as an ancient sporting arena, or as a religious ceremonial site when the Kings of Munster were being crowned in nearby Cashel.
(Source: The Tipperary Star)

A husband and wife business team from Eglish, who siphoned off nearly £4 million through false accounting to avoid paying taxes, have been jailed for a total six years, and ordered to pay almost £4 million in a confiscation order. Patrick Gerard 'Gerry' Small, 56, and 50-year-old Mary Elizabeth Small, submitted falsified trading accounts as well as personal tax and VAT returns to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in a deliberate attempt to suppress the extent of their business profits.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Wracked with chronic back pain, city based Minister for Arts Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen is to resign his seat at the Cabinet table. The resignation letter has been written and will be handed to the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, in advance of the much heralded and imminent Cabinet reshuffle. A back complaint that has left the Waterford Minister in permanent excruciating pain is given as the only reason why the Minister “with heavy heart” is tendering his resignation.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)

The future of approximately 170 jobs in Athlone hangs in the balance after the announcement that Postbank Ireland is to close by the end of this year. The bank - a joint venture between An Post and European bank BNP Paribas Fortis - has its Irish headquarters in Dublin but its customer support centre is located at the Athlone Business Park on the Dublin Road.
Approximately 170 staff have been employed there and a spokesperson said there was a substantial crossover of staff working on behalf of both Postbank and its insurance partner, One Direct.
(Source: The Westmeath Independent)


Insurance Companies are due to pay out a staggering €5.5 million to householders and commercial property owners in County Wexford who suffered damage from burst pipes during the big freeze in January. On top of this, almost three quarters of a million Euro has been claimed in the county for damage caused by flooding during the month of November. Nationally, the two weather events have resulted in property insurance claims amounting to €541 million, more than the combined cost of all previous weather events during the past decade which stand at €358 million.
(Source: The Wexford People)

A Wicklow County Council trip to New York for St. Patrick's Day is to go ahead despite allegations that it would be a waste of money at a time of such financial difficulty at home. The decision was taken only after raging debate at the Council meeting on Monday last, as a bid was made to stop the planned visit by Council Chairman Pat Vance, and County Manager Eddie Sheehy.
(Source: The Wicklow People)