The battle for the hearts and minds of South Antrim intensified dramatically last week, with the unionist heavy hitters trading blows as the fight enters the closing rounds.
 DUP hopeful William McCrea had elected to turn the other cheek early on, opting for repeated calls for unionist unity rather than his usual combative style.
By week's end, however, the gloves were off as he pounded Reg Empey over claims that the Conservatives were poised to slash public sector spending in the province.

(Source: The Antrim Guardian)          


The PSNI is to mount major security operation in the run-up to the forthcoming British general election amid fears of a dissident republican attack. Commanders are concerned that dissidents are planning to try to mar the May 6th poll with a symbolic strike. Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie said today the public should expect more roadside checks and additional patrols across the North in the coming days.

(Source: The Irish Times)


Arlow ladies are streaks ahead in the fashion steaks ... and that’s official!

Our glamorous gals managed to secure a slot among the finalists of the Arnott’s best dressed ladies competition every day last week at the 2010 Punchestown Festival. Top of the crop was Deirdre Kane from Ballinabranna, who went on to be placed third in the overall final last Friday.

 (Source: The Carlow Nationalist)



There appears to be an increase in illegal dumping in various areas. The disgraceful activity that is taking place at the scenic route to the Ballyheady Cairns, just off the Killeshandra Road out of Ballyconnell. This very historic site is an integral part of the geopark and people from the local heritage groups, Ballyconnell Town Development and Cllr. Damien Brady are determined that this activity must stop.

 (Source: The Anglo Celt)



Just one of the 42 IDA-assisted foreign direct investment greenfield projects announced nationally in the past five years came to Clare, while unemployment among young people is now at 30% in the Mid-West, according to figures revealed last week. In February 2008, the IDA announced that Zimmer Medical Technology would be creating 250 jobs for Shannon. (Source: The Clare Champion)


A Duhallow couple whose recording studio was gutted in a fire caused by a mishap with a lawnmower last week are now presenting and producing Sky's new county music channel. Knocknagree based Leo and Noreen Fitzgerald are behind new Sky channel 171, aimed at giving less well known Irish country artists some television coverage.

(Source: The Corkman)


The fallout from the massive Vehicle Registration Tax crackdown in Inishowen a fortnight ago continues to gather heat with Muff based Ryan Stewart, who is spearheading the anti-VRT campaign and now has 6, 000 registered supporters, accused Inishowen Senator Cecilia Keaveney of treating the Donegal public with "contempt and disregard’.

(Source: The Derry Journal)



Gardaí were last week searching two different locations in south and west Donegal after the discovery of what appears to be a human skull at a GAA pitch near Ballintra. The discovery was made at 7.40am at Naomh Bríd GAA Club at Trumman, Ballintra by contractors installing a new training pitch. The skull, which is not of recent origin, was found in a lorry-load of sand which was sourced from a quarry in Gweedore. The football ground was cordoned off as a full investigation was begun by crime scene investigators from Letterkenny.

 (Source: Donegal Democrat)



A secret briefing paper drawn up by the Army has criticized the police force for its “slower than expected” response to the Palace Barracks bombing. The document, circulated to Army personnel within hours of the explosion at MI5 headquarters in Holywood, also raises concerns about the PSNI for being hesitant to evacuate “civilian accommodation” at the military basis.

(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)


Widely panned by critics here, Irish movie Zonad is winning praise at a major US film festival. The movie, starring Bachelors Walk actor Simon Delaney, has received mostly good reviews at the world-famous Tribeca Film Festival. Director John Carney's follow-up to the busker romance Once, Zonad tells the story of an overweight drunk who, in 1950s Ireland, escapes a rehabilitation centre in a red vinyl spaceman outfit. He arrives in a small town whose residents cheerfully accept him as an intergalactic traveler and treat him like a magical hero.

(Source: The Evening Herald)


An Enniskillen mother and her former partner have gone on trial accused of the manslaughter of the woman's eight month old baby daughter, who died following a fire at the house the couple shared. Twenty-six year old Charmaine Irene Agnew from Drumbawn and her former boyfriend William McLaughlin (25) with an address at Florence Square in Belfast both deny the manslaughter of Chelsea Agnew through gross negligence on August 4, 2007 at 50 Drumbawn in Enniskillen, the home the couple shared.

(Source: The Fermanagh Herald)


University Hospital Galway (UHG) had the longest surgical waiting list in the country last year, according to the annual report of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). Almost 2,300 patients were waiting more than three months for treatment at the city hospital at the end of 2009, while 368 were awaiting surgery at Merlin Park Hospital at the same time.

(Source: Galway News)


A Brave angler put his life on the line when he leapt into the river Feale in Listowel on Sunday before last to rescue an elderly woman who had fallen in and was close to drowning. Despite being unable to swim, Mikey Loughnane didn't hesitate when he heard a passerby raising the alarm at around 4pm. An experienced angler with a good knowledge of the river, he raced to the bank and leapt in without a moment's hesitation.

(Source: The Kerryman)


Athy students must go through a lottery system to get a place at the local Árdscoil na Tríonóide because demand exceeds the places available.

So many students are applying to attend the secondary school, which opened three years ago, that the board of management approved a new lottery system. The school was built to hold 800 and there are 820 students.

(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)



Kilkenny County Council needs to come up with 17 million euro  to complete upgrades of the county's water and sewerage schemes over the next three years. The total cost of these works in the Water Services Investment Program is 60 million euro, and under current policy the Government funds about two-thirds of the cost. The council has asked for the Department of the Environment to pay the remainder of the cost as well, and is waiting for an answer in the coming weeks.

(Source: The Kilkenny People)



A Camross bus operator who spotted a business opportunity during the recent airplane flight ban because of the Icelandic volcanic ash fallout travelled over 3,300 miles to get 115 people home from Spain.

 Gerry Wallace, who has been driving buses for over 40 years and operates golf tours to mainland Europe, was contacted by one of his customers asking if he could he arrange to pick up 115 people left stranded in southern Spain because of the airplane lockdown, and he did.

(Source: The Leinster Express)



A couple in their 80s were traumatized after two men broke into their home near Dromahair in the early hours of last Sunday morning last. Gardai in Manorhamilton are investigating the break-in at a private residence in the townland of Sliganagh, Dromahair on the Ballintogher road at approximately, 12.20am on Sunday morning last, April 25.

(Source: The Leitrim Observer)



Fine Gael TD Kieran O'Donnell has said every effort must be made to save jobs at the Irish Cement factory in Limerick, after it emerged last Friday that the company is planning a major restructuring, leading to the loss of 70 jobs in Mungret. The company has met with the group of unions representing workers at the Limerick plant and a second factory in Meath.

(Source: The Limerick Leader)



Two seats for Labour in Longford-Westmeath at the next General Election was the clear aim of the party at their unveiling of independent Cllr Mae Sexton as their latest recruit. Party leader Eamon Gilmore, and Cllr Sexton's future running-mate, Deputy Willie Penrose, were in Backstage Theatre's Atrium Gallery to welcome their newest member to the fold, as they seek to become the country's largest political party in the 31st Dáil Eireann.

(Source: The Longford Leader)



An €800,000 fire engine has been sitting idle at the Rathmullen Road station since its delivery in January because of a training row between Louth Local Authorities and fire fighting staff. Described as ' one of a kind' in Ireland, the Iveco Magirus state-of-the-art tender has been parked at the rear of the station while crews have been using some vehicles up to 10 years old.

(Source: The Irish Times)


Indigenous companies in the Erris region need to be supported in order for them to grow and create employment, according to a local councilor, after confirmation last Friday that 70 jobs will be lost in the area. Monaghan Mushrooms, which is based on a farm in Belmullet, employing 70 people, confirmed that it is to close its plant later this summer and relocate back to Monaghan. While the workers are mostly foreign nationals, the majority are expected to leave the area to work in other Monaghan Mushroom plants, and this is expected to have a negative impact on the local economy.

(Source: Mayo News)


The M3 motorway is due to open on Friday 4th June, according to the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey, who toured the route of the almost completed motorway on Friday morning last, accompanied by local public representatives. The M3 Clonee to North of Kells is approximately 63km long, made up of 49km of motorway from Clonee to Kells, 10km of dual carriageway from Kells to Carnaross, north of Kells; 3.8km of two-lane single carriageway on the N52 Kells bypass and 15km of link roads, both single and dual carriageway.

(Source: The Meath Chronicle)


Members of Offaly VEC were informed that tenders for a design team for Tullamore College were ready to go on E-tenders. The website is designed to be a central facility for all public sector contracting authorities to advertise procurement opportunities and award notices. The issue was raised by Cllr Barry Cowen, who said the matter had come up at this month’s meeting of Offaly County Council.

(Source: The Offaly Express)



County Councilor John Kelly is calling on the people of Roscommon to lobby Eircom if the company fail to respond to letters relating to the erection of a controversial mast at Oran.
The Labor Party councilor said he is going to ask customers of Eircom in Roscommon county to support the people of Oran and threaten to withdraw their custom from Eircom if the construction of the mast goes ahead.

(Source: The Roscommon Champion)



It was a hectic return to their home town of Sligo for Westlife the weekend before last, as they filmed segments for a forthcoming Sky TV documentary and celebrated Kian Egan's 30th birthday party.

(Source: The Sligo Champion)


North Tipperary Deputy Michael Lowry has welcomed an allocation of €121,470 for 18 voluntary and community groups in Co. Tipperary which provide a wide range of marriage, child and bereavement counseling services and supports. The grants are aimed at local voluntary groups who provide much needed services for marriage counseling, marriage preparation, child counseling and bereavement counseling supports.

(Source: The Tipperary Star)



DUP Councilor Maurice Morrow MLA has condemned those responsible for vandalizing Dungannon's War Memorial in Market Square. He said, "This sickening episode has caused revulsion and is to be wholeheartedly condemned. A plaque has been callously ripped off the memorial and it would have taken a degree of force to accomplish this.”

(Source: Tyrone Times)


Waterford’s long association with musical entertainment moves to a new level this November with the rebranding of the widely acclaimed International Festival of Light Opera. A gala extravangza is planned for the 50th anniversary of the festival, which will take place from November 3 to 13. Now known as the Waterford International Festival of Music, the event has already attracted a number of international companies who will be bringing a range of competitive shows. A local musical society will also be involved and a new choral event is being planned to bring even further variety for music lovers.


(Source: Waterford News & Star)



An Athlone man is embarking on a novel around Ireland challenge in an attempt raise €25,000 for a Cystic Fibrosis charity. Harry O'Hanlon, from Assumption Road, started the  Barry Kelly Pitch and Putt Challenge last Thursday, which will see him play the full 18 holes of 111 pitch and putt courses throughout the country. He's raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland in memory of his friend Barry Kelly from Cork, who died last year.

(Source: The Westmeath Independent)



Five County Wexford people have made it onto the Sunday Times Rich List for 2010 including Bert Allen, Sam McCauley, Des Pettitt and Victor Stafford.

(Source: The Wexford People)


Good Samaritans came to the aid of an expectant Newtownmountkennedy mother who gave birth at the side of the road in Ballsbridge while on her way to hospital. A taxi-driver, a passing student midwife and a nearby resident all made sure a healthy baby girl named Isabel was brought into the world early last Thursday morning.

(Source: The Wicklow People)