Prison officers at Northern Ireland’s top security jail last Monday night forcibly removed a group of Republican inmates who barricaded themselves into a dining hall. No one was injured in the hour long operation to end the two-day protest by 28 prisoners at Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim. The inmates blocked the doors of the room on the day the 1916 Easter Rising is commemorated. A suspicious object was thrown out into the corridor at the outset of the incident, but bomb disposal officers later declared that it was not a viable explosive device. The prisoners, who had been attending a Mass in the hall inside the republican Roe House accommodation block, remained there as supporters called for them to be granted political status.
(Source: The Antrim Guardian)   


A pioneering Northern Ireland-based research project could be set to transform the way solar technology is harnessed to provide environmentally friendly energy solutions. The three-year project, spearheaded by Kingspan Renewables in Co Armagh, has resulted in a progressive new product, which could make it easier to adopt solar technology at home and in the workplace.
(Source: The Irish Times)


One of the most mean-spirited thefts to take place in the county in recent times has left the County Carlow Hospice Committee devastated, but all the more determined to plough ahead with their plans to raise the €1 million needed to provide a dedicated cancer hospice for the county.
The theft of hospice money boxes from two collection points in the town has been described as by the founder of the committee, Anne Byrne, as “devastating”. The missing collection boxes were stolen from the Maxol Filling Station on the O’Brien Road and from the Sue Ryder Charity Shop in Castle Hill, Carlow town.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


It has been a dramatic week in this area following on last Tuesday's decision by the financial regulator to seek the High Court appointment of provisional administrators to Quinn Insurance. Politicians from North and South have met representatives of the company and with Quinn workers over recent days, and expectation and anxiety are building in the run-up to next Monday's full high court hearing on the appointment of administrators to Quinn Insurance.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)


The total payout to Clare families under the Mortgage Interest Supplement Scheme (MISS) has increased 10-fold over a five-year period to €1.2 million. This is reflective of the fact that more people are in receipt of social welfare due to growing unemployment. Almost 300 Clare families are now availing of the scheme.
 Clare County Councilor Martin Conway has predicted that the amount of money paid out under the scheme could reach €3m by year end, as the number of applications received by the Health Service Executive (HSE) continues to rise significantly due to spiraling unemployment.
(Source: The Clare Champion)


Cork-born chef Rachel Gaffney of Rachel Gaffney's Authentic Irish Foods, based in Dallas, was on hand to serve up a taste of Ireland during a 'Back in the USA' sales blitz two weeks ago, organized by Tourism Ireland, which took in the cities of Atlanta, Dallas and Houston.
(Source: The Corkman)


In a series of startling revelations at Buncrana District Court last week a man claimed the Gardai (police) stripped him naked and handcuffed him in the cells overnight, Having been arrested for drunk and disorderly behavior, a charge he denies, Derick Mulligan made the allegations before Inishowen Judge Seamus Hughes.
(Source: The Derry Journal)


Letterkenny Garda Station came to a stand still last Wednesday as a minutes' silence was observed to remember heroic Garda Robbie McCallion who was fatally injured in the line of duty one year ago. The silence was held at 2pm in the station where the Swinford-native was based. 29-year-old Garda McCallion died on April 7, 2009, in Beaumont Hospital with his family by his side, ten days after he was seriously injured when he was knocked down while investigating an alleged attempted car theft.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)


The famous Northern Ireland football tournament which starred players like David Beckham is |facing a funding crisis. The Milk Cup is a prestigious international youth event that has attracted teams from across Europe and Great Britain that also brings in valuable tourism revenue each year. But organizers have warned politicians that financial pressures mean it may not survive to 2012. The alert was sounded in a letter to Stormont Ministers seeking a government funding re-think.
(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)


A pregnant woman dubbed Jihad Jamie has entered a plea of not guilty to a series of terrorism charges after traveling from Ireland to hand herself in to US authorities. The Colorado native is alleged to have moved here last September with her six-year-old son and the international terror suspect known as Jihad Jane. On the day she arrived she married Algerian man Ali Charif Damache who is in garda custody charged with sending a menacing text. Jamie Paulin-Ramirez (31) was arrested with Damache (45) and five others last month and voluntarily returned to the United States last week to face charges there.
 (Source: The Evening Herald)


The first full day of the General Election campaign last week was marked by further clashes between unionist parties in Northern Ireland. Despite ongoing efforts to agree a single agreed unionist candidate in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionist/Conservative Party alliance attacked each other, while the hard-line Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) hit out at both groups for their role in the power-sharing Assembly.
(Source: The Fermanagh Herald)


A framework plan for an in-tandem redevelopment of the Ceannt Station and Harbor sites – which could open up the heart of the city to Galway Bay – is to be submitted to the City Council by April 21 next. Councilors received a joint presentation at their meeting on Monday night last, outlining the progress of CIE and the Harbor Board in relation to the two projects which are provisionally costed at €1 billion in total –– €800m for the station and €200m for the Docks.
(Source: Galway News)


Gardaí raided 31 pubs across Kerry on Good Friday in an unexpected clampdown on drinking during the 'black day' for public houses. In all gardaí carried out 96 pub inspections across Kerry over the bank holiday weekend. Almost a third of these raids were carried out on Good Friday. Punters were discovered in many of the bars, which were raided across the county and names and details were taken from all the 'found-ons'.
(Source: The Kerryman)


The multi-million-euro shopping centre in Naas town centre is not likely to open before the end of 2012. According to developers, Marshalsea Property Company, the delay is due to the amount of time taken to secure land under the compulsory purchase order (CPO) process as well as the recession. Company representative Sarah O'Farrell, however, insisted that Marshalsea remains committed to providing a "state-of-the-art shopping centre for Naas".
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)

After just four days in operation, calls are mounting for the city's controversial one-way system to be abolished immediately. Both motorists and businesses have been left frustrated and annoyed at the way the 'trial' has panned out last week.
(Source: The Kilkenny People)


Ratheniska youngster Eoghan Masterson capped off a wonderful season both for him and Portlaoise Rugby Club the weekend before last as he helped the Irish U-18 side to the final of the FIRA championships in Treviso, Italy. Masterson was part of the Irish Club U-18 team which competed in the annual tournament, coming on as a substitute in the quarter final victory over Germany and then starting both the semi-final against Georgia and final against France at number eight.
(Source: The Leinster Express)


Thousands of employees and supporters of Quinn Group took to the streets last week in Dublin and Cavan town to show solidarity to Quinn Insurance following the High Court decision to appoint administrators to the company two weeks ago. It was reported to the paper that over 5,000 angry protestors marched from Buswells Hotel to the office of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and Minister for Finance to hand in a letter of protest.
(Source: The Leitrim Observer)


Gardai at Roxboro recovered a significant amount of heroin during searches on the south side of the city Friday before last. The drugs, which are believed to be worth around €100,000, were found in an area of open ground in the O'Malley Park estate.
(Source: The Limerick Leader)


A 32 year old County Longford man, who died in Columbia recently, has been named as David Thorne by the Department of Foreign Affairs. The young man is believed to have been backpacking in the South American country when he died. His family were informed of his passing at the beginning of last week. 
(Source: The Longford Leader)


Former Irish soccer star Gary Kelly (35) was arrested following an incident at Halpin's Terrace two weeks ago. The former Ireland and Leeds defender was one of a group of men who entered a home on the busy street. A substantial amount of damage was caused to a laptop computer and a flat screen television before paint was thrown at a wall inside the terraced house.
(Source: The Drogheda Independent)


It may not quite have been the complete repatriation that Fr Patrick Lavelle aspired for around 1870 when he stole the Cross of Cong from the Royal Irish Academy with the intention of bringing it home to Cong, where he was Parish Priest. But last week the Cross of Cong was back in Mayo and by entirely legal means. Fr Colm Kilcoyne, former Parish Priest of Cong, and current Parish Priest of Cong, Fr Paddy Gilligan were both present at the National Museum of Country Life at Turlough Park for the unveiling of the priceless 12th century relic, as were a large number of people from the wider Cong area.
(Source: Mayo News)


There was widespread shock and sadness on the passing of former Trim Town Council Chairman Danny O'Brien who died suddenly on Wednesday evening last. A native of Longford, O'Brien lived in Eldergrove and was married to Phil with two children, Donall and Katie. He was elected to Trim Town Council for the Labor Party in 1999 and was re-elected in 2004. He served as chairman on two occasions. O'Brien was a community development worker with the Trim Family Resource Centre.
 (Source: The Meath Chronicle)


Daffodil Day was marked very appropriately by D"chas, the Offaly cancer care support group, when its coordinator Nancy St John was presented with the Midlands 103 Employee of the Month award. Nancy was nominated by Dóchas member Jim Dolan who said, “I would like to nominate Nancy St John for Employee of the Month. Nancy is very good at her job and helps everyone else. She is kind and thorough and would make a very good candidate. Everyone in Dóchas has the same opinion.”
(Source: The Offaly Express)


The Newly-elected Roscommon IFA chairman has vowed to do all in his power to ensure that the farmers of the county receive their full entitlements over the next four years of his term.
 John O'Beirne, who was elected two weeks ago, says that he is "acutely aware" of the situation facing farmers in the county and has urged people to shop local for their produce.
(Source: The Roscommon Champion)


Sligo Races kicked off their 2010 racing season with a launch evening in The Sligo Park Hotel on Monday. With a total of nine meetings from May to September, a mixture of National Hunt, Flat and Mixed Cards with several featured races, the season ahead promises to be one filled with top quality racing on one of the most scenic courses in Ireland. Guest speaker for the event was Noel Meade, one of Ireland's top trainers.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)


A convicted serial rapist reportedly living in Thurles for some time has left the area. Gardai in Thurles last week declined to comment on a newspaper report that a man who was jailed for eighteen years for raping and sexually assaulting six women had been living in an apartment in the town.
(Source: The Tipperary Star)


DUP Mid Ulster MLA Ian McCrea has condemned those who left needles for drugs in the vicinity of the bridge in Coagh. McCrea commented: “I totally condemn those responsible for using drugs and leaving needles in the area of the bridge in Coagh. I am especially concerned that these needles were discovered in such close proximity to the play park and the fact that children could so easily have come in contact with them. “Having raised the problems of drugs in Coagh on many occasions with the police I would urge them to do all within their power to find those responsible for leaving these needles and ensure they receive the full weight of the law for their mindless actions.”
 (Source: Belfast Telegraph)


Ambrose Congreve, CBE, owner of Mount Congreve estate in Kilmeaden, celebrated his 103rd birthday last Sunday. Ambrose is the last in a line of landed gentry that have been based in the city since the early 18th century. The renowned gardens of the estate are thought to be the largest private plant collection in the world. Ambrose began creating his magnificent labor of love at the age of 11 and the gardens are now home to the biggest collection of rhododendrons in Europe as well as countless other rare flower, shrub and tree species.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)


A doctors' group has claimed that a staffing crisis at Ballinasloe's Portiuncula Hospital may force its A&E Department to either close or limit its opening hours. The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM) said last Tuesday that many emergency departments were facing extreme difficulties in recruiting non-consultant hospital doctors to staff them.
Portiuncula was included in its list of five A&E Departments where the problem was particularly severe.
(Source: The Westmeath Independent)


Families with residents at the doomed Carraig Túr nursing home have been paying tribute to the 50-plus staff members who worked there. Nurses, care assistants, cooks and domestics have all been made redundant by the collapse of the home on the Shannon Hill in Enniscorthy amid financial problems.
 (Source: The Wexford People)

Opponents to Wicklow's head shop claim 'People Power' won the day after the premises closed its doors to business after nine months in the town. Last Thursday evening a sign was placed outside Head Candy's front window informing customers that the shop would be 'closed for the foreseeable future.'
 (Source: The Wicklow People)