Antrim Council may be poised to enlist reinforcements to battle the worst of the winter's snow, it has emerged.

A fortnight ago the Council resolved, albeit reluctantly, to help keep town centers clear if the weather took a turn for the worse.

The first line of attack would be Council staff unable to continue with their usual duties because of the blanket of snow.

Last week the Civic Centre revealed that there is a plan B - though they accept that ratepayers may have to dig deep in their pockets to pay for it.

Council Director Geraldine Girvan confirmed that a new pilot scheme is in the pipeline which advocates the use of 'contractors' if regular staff are not available.

The legal fine print has yet to be finalized, but it is understood that senior staff will have the power to mobilize the troops if arctic conditions pay an unwelcome return visit.
DUP councilor Trevor Clarke said Antrim deserved credit for taking a lead - though he added that the Department of Regional Development should 'hang their heads in shame'.

“I welcome this," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I still think it's terrible that we have to do it, but at least we're doing something.

“In my opinion Roads Service misled the public about these arrangements. They shirked their responsibilities and forced the Council's hand.”
(Source: Antrim Guardian)


The violent murder of Crossmaglen man, James Hughes, in a shooting incident last week is the second tragedy to befall the local family this year.

Mr Hughes (35) was shot dead while sitting in a taxi outside a house in Cluain Ard in the Lis na Dara estate in Dundalk.  The taxi had just pulled up when a lone gunman approached the vehicle and fired a number of shots, fatally injuring James who was sitting in the back seat.    The front seat passenger – a 21-year-old woman – and the 48-year-old male taxi driver were also injured in the attack, which happened shortly after 4.00am.

Just hours earlier James joined with his family in hosting a fundraising event in memory of his late mother Joan who died suddenly in April this year.  The event was the latest in a series of fundraisers the Hughes family has organized in recent months to raise money for the S.A.D.S. (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome) charity.

The brutal slaying of the father-of-three has shocked the entire community and plunged his family into further grief.  James worked as a farmer and was a popular and valued member of  Crossmaglen Rangers GFC, where he was a playing member of the club’s Seconds team.  His team-mates joined with mentors, club officials, his family and friends at a special prayer service in the Rangers Hall on Sunday evening to share their grief and extend sympathy to his family.


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Farmers staged a protest outside Iceland last week voicing their anger at the chain’s lack of support for Irish produce.

\Armed with placards, up to 60 farmers from across County Carlow picketed the supermarket, which opened on the Tullow Road last month.

Carlow IFA chairperson John Brennan said local farmers were voicing their disagreement at Iceland’s not supporting home-grown produce.

“We had a good turnout,” said Mr Brennan. “It was very peaceful and there was no engagement with anyone; we were just highlighting the facts.”

Mr Brennan said staff from Iceland did not approach the protesters, who stood outside the store for up to two hours.

He added that talks between Irish farmers and Iceland have not taken place as far as he is aware but pointed out that his members “are always open to talks”.

“Other than bread and crisps, we didn’t see any Irish produce on their shelves and we have to fight our corner; we have to keep Irish produce on the shelves.”

Mr Brennan pointed out that the agriculture sector employs more than 300,000 people in Ireland and supporting their jobs is essential.

“We need to get products on the shelves, we’d at least like to get a lookin, and I think the consumer is very aware of that.”

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


The man killed in a suspected gas explosion in Australia, last week, has been named locally as Patrick Bird.

The 24-year-old, who's originally from Bailieborough  in Cavan  died  when the van he was sitting in outside his house in Darwin, exploded. 

It's believed  the blast was caused by an over-heated gas cylinder, which was in the back of his vehicle.

A keen GAA player, Patrick has been living in Australia for some time and worked as a refrigeration mechanic.

A full investigation into the incident is now underway.

Local Area Councillor Niamh Smith says its a very sad day for the family and the local community.

(Source: The Anglo Celt)


The Mid-West HSE has accepted that the level of absenteeism at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Ennis is high, despite the implementation of all of its Managing Attendance Policy. These include referrals to occupational health, return-to-work interviews and certification of absence.

It is estimated that up to 15 nurses out of the hospital’s total complement of 133 nursing staff of all grades were out sick at the end of last September.

According to the HSE’s HealthStat Dashboard, Ennis hospital recorded a 12% absenteeism rate for nurses, about 1% of which is uncertified and about 2% is long-term, based on certified and uncertified leave only at the end of last September.

Overall, absenteeism in the hospital was 8% and it was also high for general support (8%) and other patient and client care (11%). This resulted in a red light for this category under the HealthStat performance indicator.

(Source: The Clare Champion)


The family of a Cork girl, who has severe cerebral palsy, have spoken of their anguish at the effect on her condition of living in a cramped bungalow that cannot even fit her wheelchair.

Chloe O’Reilly (7) was born with cerebral palsy-bilateral spastic, which severely affects her four limbs and significantly limits her movement and mobility. To aid her development and condition, Chloe needs the use of an electric wheelchair and a special standing frame that helps with the straightening of her spine.

The conditions in their two-bedroom bungalow in Mahon are so cramped that her wheelchair cannot be opened out in the house and her standing frame is too big for the living room.
Chloe’s mother Pamela and her partner Michael Moynihan face a daily struggle to provide for Chloe. There is no ramp to the house for the wheelchair and the struggle to get Chloe’s wheelchair inside has resulted in her falling twice from it in recent weeks.

A visibly upset Pamela told the Cork Independent that they have lived in the house for three years, having been promised when they moved in that it would only be a temporary arrangement. Pamela and Michael also have a seven month old baby, Seán, but there is insufficient space for him to move about and they say the situation has become a nightmare.

“Chloe does not sleep, she barely gets a few hours a night. When she is awake, she bounces around in her bed, the walls are so thin that she wakes Seán and because he is in a cot next to our bed we are all awake. Chloe can’t do anything in the house, she can’t do her exercises because there is no room.

“She is still in nappies but she is mad to get potty trained, but the bathroom is not wheelchair accessible and we simply can’t do it. She is doing great at school and progressing well but when she comes home, it is like she loses it all. Chloe even has to do her homework on the floor. We are not asking for much, it’s just so horrible for her.”
Source: (Cork Independent)


The local Rotary Council is on a mercy mission to bring Christmas cheer to Derry families in financial difficulty.

The club, which is made up of business and professional leaders has decided that a substantial amount of the funds raised from this year’s Tree of Remembrance collection is be used to help alleviate the difficulties that many families in the North West are facing by donating Christmas hampers of food and essentials.

Rotary has always used the proceeds of the Tree - which is situated at the Orchard Street entrance to Foyleside shopping centre - to help local charities but this year members have been moved by many of the stories of the plight’s of Derry families.

Rotary Club President, Maurice Brennan, said: “ The current situation facing many families in the North West this year is of great concern to us all. As a result of this our Rotary Council has launched Operation Christmas Aid where we will use a substantial amount of the money raised from the Remembrance Tree to help needy families in the local area.”

Members have already been in contact with various community groups and agencies in the city in order to arrange the distribution of hampers to those most in need.
(Source: Derry Journal)


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The family of a five year-old girl who suffers from a rare bone disorder are facing being made homeless as their benefits have been stopped.

Sarah Morrison was born with brittle bone disease and has only survived due to specialist care received in the UK.

The family moved to Sheffield from Letterkenny so that Sarah could be close to the specialists in the Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The family returned to Letterkenny in October and made claims for benefits.

The Department of Social Welfare has written to the family saying payments will be stopped until information requested has been given. Sarah’s father say he has given all information requested and cannot understand why the payments will be stopped. The family’s landlord has now ordered them to leave their home in Letterkenny by the end of the month because €970 of rent has not been paid. The family were hoping that back payments from the department would cover the rent arrears.

Mr. Morrison says he has stopped social welfare payments he was receiving in the UK, closed his bank account that the payments were being paid to and has sent his tenancy agreement to the department as requested.

Sarah requires 24-hour care and Mr. Morrison had been receiving carer’s allowance while Sarah’s mother has been receiving disability allowance because she suffers from severe epilepsy.

Sarah was born with 30 rib fractures due to the rare bone condition osteogenesis imperfecta she was given just 48 hours to live. But she has defied medical experts by surviving to five
She needs 24 hour care and has a feeding pump and a nasal-gastric tube. She could break bones just by sneezing or coughing.

She attended Letterkenny General Hospital up to 15 times a month and must attend a Dublin hospital every three months for treatment.

“We are going to be homeless at the end of the month. A disabled child is going to be on the street. We do not have nay money to secure another tenancy. The landlord has been very patient.”
(Source: Donegal Democrat)


A Pontzpass man has escaped immediate imprisonment after his elderly victim - described by the judge as "everybody's granny" - said she just wants to be left alone.

District Judge Eamonn King had deferred sentencing Christopher Smith of Aughan Road in order to allow his elderly neighbor, who he admitted assaulting in her home, to give a victim impact statement.

Smith has originally planned to contest the case against him but changed his plea to guilty on the day of the hearing.

The court was told that police were contacted by Smith's neighbor shortly after 9pm on May 21.
She told the officers that the 25-year-old had forced his way into her home demanding money.

Describing his eyes as "bulging and crazed as if he was high", the 69-year-old victim told police Smith had pushed her and ripped her glasses from her face.
Police later found the injured party's glasses in the pocket of Smith's tracksuit bottoms.

The court heard that he denied everything and told police he'd been at a friend's house where he'd drank two bottles of wine.
Describing his neighbor as "a frail lady", Smith claimed that he would call regularly with her and help her out by doing errands. He subsequently claimed to have no memory of the evening in question.

However, on the day of his scheduled contest the court heard that Smith accepted the prosecution's version of events and was thoroughly ashamed.
The court was told that he'd been drinking at a friend's and had taken a taxi home "after a long and heavy day" but didn't have the £3.50 taxi fare and had called to his neighbor's convinced that she owed him money.

(Source: Newry Democrat)


A man who sexually abused his girlfriend's 12-year-old sister after a party in her house has been given community service instead of a jail term.

The Romanian claimed afterwards that he had no recollection of the incident because he was too drunk.

Judge Desmond Hogan said that it was a serious offence but at the lower end of the scale. He sentenced him to two years, suspended in full on condition he completes 240 hours community service.

The man pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually abusing the girl in the bedroom of her Dublin home in the early hours of April 26, 2009.
(Source: The Evening Herald)


A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 27-year-old businessman convicted of selling food that was unsafe to eat.

Members of the public may have unwittingly eaten the chicken and turkey produced by Nigel Desmond Wilson at his slaughterhouse at Newtownbutler in Co Fermanagh.

The prosecution was brought by the Food Standards Agency.

Fermanagh Magistrate's Court heard that when Department of Agriculture and Rural Development officials visited the plant on the Crom Road at Newtownbutler they found decaying animal by-products infested with maggots and blood stains on the floor and clothing and no cleaning process in operation.

Wilson was not present when he was found guilty of nine offences.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


As Christmas approaches, there will be little by way of festive cheer for at least 15 people who will be sleeping rough on the streets of Galway every night.

While a number of charitable organizations will be endeavoring to provide food and shelter for these men, who range in ages from their early 20s to pensioners, the stark reality is that they will have to endure the harsh winter elements over the Christmas season.

Homelessness still remains a major problem in Galway city and a number of those who have been forced onto the streets have been evicted from their homes because they are unable to pay rents or mortgages.

The Galway Simon Community, who provide 16,000 bed nights and 30,000 meals to homeless people, say that they are approached by new faces on a regular basis who find themselves without anywhere to live.

Kerry Mossop, Fundraising and Development Manager with Galway Simon, told the Galway City Tribune that contributing factors to homelessness included drug and drink addiction, relationship break-ups, unemployment and poverty.

But, in recent years, people who find that they are not in a financial position to pay their rents or meet their mortgage repayments are turning to Galway Simon for help.
(Source: GalwayBay Fm)


A Tralee born missionary has volunteered to step down as director of the Columban Order in Chile pending the outcome of an investigation into claims he had a sexual relationship with two young men in the 1980s.

Fr Jeremiah "Derry" Healy stepped down as head of the Columban Fathers missionary society's operation in Chile last May, in line with the standard procedures in the Chilean churches guidelines, after the first of the two men reported the allegation to the society.

In June a second man made similar claims in a declaration presented to the archbishop of Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello.

Originally from Tralee Fr Healy has been a member of the Columban Order since 1969 and has been working as a missionary in Chile since 1981.

The first man Claudio Ramos said that when he was aged 16 in 1985 Fr Healy offered him space in his house to study as he was unable to do so at home due to family problems.

The second alleged victim Jorge Salas, now Mr Ramos's brother-in-law, said in his declaration to Santiago's archbishop that he met Fr Healy in 1983 when he was 19 years old.

Mr Salas said when he was 23 Fr Healy initiated a sexual relationship with him.

Following the complaints Fr Healy immediately stepped down as the Columban's Director in Chile and removed himself from public ministry pending the outcome of an internal church investigation in Chile.

The Columban order told The Kerryman that Fr Healy's decision to step down from his role and to remove himself from public ministry was a standard procedure as outlined in the Chilean churches guidelines on such matters.

Fr Healy said he intended to fully co-operate with any investigation.
(Source: Kerryman)


An axe was brandished by a robber who threatened staff at an Athy newsagents over the past weekend.

The incident occurred last Saturday evening when the man entered the shop on Woodstock Street armed with a hatchet. He demanded that staff remove cash from the till. A small amount of cash was given to the man by the terrified staff and the robber left the scene.

The robber was described as being approximately 6ft in height, skinny and wearing a navy top with white trousers.
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)


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A man who engaged in ‘cannabis sharing among friends’ was fined at Kilkenny court.
Andrius Kavaliacuskas, The Bungalw, Maiden Hill, Kells RoadKilkenny admitted the possession of drugs for sale or supply at College Road on October 13, 2010 and of cultivation of cannabis plants.

The court heard that the 31-year-old Lithuanian has been living in Ireland for seven years and suffered from chronic pancreatitis and had undergone three bouts of surgery and was using the drug for pain relief. The court heard that his medical condition affected his ability to use pain relieving tablets. The defendant also admitted cultivating cannabis at his home on the Kells Road and to sharing cannabis among friends. Judge David Anderson convicted the defendant and fined him €250.
(Source: Kilkenny People)


Ordinary credit union members were burned to the tune of a €600,000 haircut as a result of the Government’s move to bail out the banks.

So it emerged last week at the Portlaoise Credit Union AGM where members were given some details on why they had taken a hit of 58 per cent on investment income.

When a member questioned the directors on the loss at the AGM, the Chairman Philip Coonan said a loss of €600,000 had been suffered on guaranteed bank bonds worth €1million. He said this was caused by a Government removal on a guarantee.

More details were provided after the meeting. Mr Sean Dunne, Portlaoise CU’s manager, told the Leinster Express that the loss was the result of a “burning of bondholders or haircut” facilitated by the Credit Stability Act which came into law in 2011.

The bonds were guaranteed to yield a €1million return from two banks, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB until the Act became law. Once enacted it gave the former Minister for Fianance Brian Lenihan the power to burn bondholders such as the Portlaoise CU as part of the process of bailing out the commercial banks.

When the bonds during the boom were secured they were deemed a wise investments because of the spectacular success of the Irish banks.

Trudy Nealon’s treasurer’s report put the loss down to global problems. The loss contributed to a 27% loss in income to €2.24 m.

“Our investments suffered due to the impact of the global financial turmoil has had on Ireland with investment income decreasing by 58 per cent to €346,253,” said her report.
(Source: Leinster Express)


Although Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Brian Hayes, confirmed the approval of w15,000 in flood relief funding for the Manorhamilton area during his visit to Co Leitrim last Monday, he acknowledged that finding a solution to the ongoing flooding of the Shannon River Basin is a complex issue which will require substantial study and co-operation between all interested groups.

Speaking during his visit to the county, Minister Hayes addressed businesses and residents affected by flooding in Carrick-on-Shannon and Leitrim Village in 2009. He also spokes with local councillors, senators and deputies Frank Feighan and Tony McLoughlin and Senator Michael Comiskey before traveling to Dromahair to speak with local councilors on ongoing flooding concerns in the north of the county.

With water levels on the Shannon River already significantly higher than usual it was obvious that more measures were needed to protect homes and businesses in the area. Issues such as ESB control over water levels and keeping levels high during the closed boating season as well as the need for greater co-operation between the vested bodies along the Shannon were all raised with the Minister. Councilors also noted the impact of silt levels in the Shannon and stressed the devastating impact recent flooding had on communities living along the Shannon in particular.

Director of Services with Leitrim County Council, John McGuinness acknowledged that over w200,000 in minor flood relief funding had been allocated to projects in parts of the county already but said there was a clear need for further investment to prevent further flooding in the future.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)


Solicitor Ted McCarthy, who represented a number of men who were charged last week with soliciting the services of prostitutes, says that naming the men has had a huge effect on their families.

Mr McCarthy, who has more than 30 years experience as a solicitor, has also claimed that some of the men are close to suicide.

“My impression before the cases came to court was that they would not be named and this is what should have happened,” Mr McCarthy said when contacted by the Limerick Leader.

“The people that are really suffering are the families and especially the children with the run up to Christmas, they could have done without this,” he added.

Mr McCarthy - a former president of the BAR Association in Limerick - was critical of newspaper editors who decided to use the names of those who came before the courts. “It was selfish of the papers to name the men, just to sell a few extra copies,” he said.

“This whole episode has had a huge effect on some of the men, some who may even be suicidal,” he added.

Last weeks operation in which 27 men appeared before the local courts after they were arrested by undercover female gardai as part of a major new crackdown on prostitution and sex trafficking.

Outside of Dublin Limerick has recorded the highest number of detections of prostitution and brothel keeping in Ireland.
(Source: Limerick Leader)


Around €3,000 worth of cannabis herb was recovered by drugs officers in north Longford last Tuesday following a planned raid on a house in Granard.

A man in his early 20s was arrested at the scene and brought to Longford Garda Station for questioning.

He has since been released without charge as gardai now begin to prepare a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

It’s believed the man, who is originally from the Granard area but presently residing in Longford, had been using the house as a means of hoarding the drug in recent weeks.

When officers from the Roscommon based divisional drugs unit and Granard Gardai swooped on Tuesday afternoon, they found the man inside a shed with a large quantity of cannabis herb.

According to garda sources, the suspect had been under the surveillance of detectives for several weeks and had only recently been released from prison.

“He was arrested in Longford for a similar thing last month and is someone who is known to us,” said a spokesperson.

Gardai must now await a response from the DPP before learning whether any charges can be brought against the man.
(Source: Longford Leader)


The sister of Irene White, who was brutally stabbed to death at her home in Dundalk in 2005, has made a fresh appeal for information regarding her murder.

Anne Delcassian is making the appeal to coincide with Christmas, and she is hoping in the intervening years someone with information may be better placed to come forward.

As it stands the Garda ‘cold case’ team, known as the Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) are continuing to investigate her murder, while the reward for information regarding the case standing at €45,000.

Despite the best efforts of Anne, who has lead the campaign to find her sister’s killer, no one has yet to be prosecuted for the savage attack. Irene was murdered in a frenzied attack in her kitchen on 6 April, 2005.

“My sister’s murder is still very much in people’s mind. It remains the most brutal murder of a woman in history of the State,” Anne told the Dundalk Democrat last week. “My sister’s killer is still out there, and there are people out there who have information who just need the courage to come forward.

“The cold case team believe that time can help to unlock cases such as these. There are people out who are living with the guilt of this crime.”

Immediately after the attack that claimed the life of Irene, a man was seen running from the scene and getting into a car which sped off, notably avoiding any CCTV camera’s in Dundalk.

“This was cold and calculated murder. These people had been threatening to kill my sister for some time before her death. She writes about it in her diary and is truly chilling. These people would have stalked her for weeks preceeding her death and she knew she was going to be killed.
“Irene was a wonderful mother and a very moral woman, and I believe it is because of this that she was murdered. She knew something about her killer that they didn’t want exposed.

“Irene children are attending school now, I want them to be able to hold their heads up high, knowing what a wonderful mother they had and that she loved them dearly. Nothing she did would warrant what happened to her.”

Irene’s mother found her body, and Anne believes that lead to her death just six months later. “For a mother to see that is truly shocking, and it was planned that way.

“I would say to people, what if that was your wife, your mother or your daughter? How would you feel?”
(Source: Dundalk Democrat)


As high seas lashed the west coast over the weekend, leaving offshore island communities stranded, Co Mayo islanders woke up to the news that their cars parked at a mainland pier had been vandalized.

Nineteen cars, over half those parked at remote Roonagh Pier, near Louisburgh, were broken into and wrecked during the early hours of Tuesday morning. The cars of three sisters, who all work in Dublin, and were home on the island to visit their very ill father were vandalized, while one was stolen and later burnt out.

It has emerged the burnt-out car was stolen after the car used by the vandals got stuck in a ditch. It was discovered some miles away, on the other side of Louisburgh.

Another family who had left all their Christmas presents in the boot of their car had a lucky escape with their vehicle untouched.

Ironically, the islanders had just weeks ago contributed towards a fund – which will be matched by government monies – for the installation of a CCTV footage system at the pier.

One mother of four young children, Gráinne Kelly said this is the third time her car has been broken into at Roonagh pier this year.
(Source: The Mayo News)


Gardaí in Navan are refusing to rule out the return of a mysterious knife raider who targeted shopowners in March and May after an abortive robbery on a shop in Navan last week.

The same threatening manner of attack, a lone, tall male, wearing a balaclava, brandishing a knife, was employed at a newsagents in the town but with one notable difference - this time the shopowner fought back.

On Monday morning 12th December, at around 11am, a man, around six feet tall, carrying a kitchen knife and wearing a balaclava, entered Lynch's at Flower Hill and demanded money.

The shopowner, Michael Lynch, was alone in the shop at the time but refused to give him anything.
During an ensuing scuffle, Mr Lynch overpowered his attacker and took the knife and removed the balaclava.

The would-be raider, however, escaped on foot.

Gardaí say that one of their suspects for the attempted armed robbery has is not the same one who terrorised five shopowners around the county in March - however, they are also reluctant to rule out the serial offender.

Mr Lynch's courage only saw him sustain "just cuts and bruises" while his attacker came off worse and is also thought to have cut his hand.

The would-be raider later burned his jacket nearby in an effort to conceal his identity.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)


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Fired Irish Nationwide branch manager Brendan Beggan could not contain his anger towards his former boss at the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).

In heated scenes following the hearing, Mr Beggan, a former Monaghan inter-county GAA star, confronted Michael Fingleton, the disgraced former chief executive of the now nationalized lender.
Mr Fingleton had tried to leave the building on Dublin's Adelaide Road towards the staff exit at the side.

Confronted with members of the press, and a myriad of cameras pointed in his direction, he turned away from the side exit and waited in a consultation room for around 15 minutes, along with the building society's legal team. He then put on his trademark black hat and bit the bullet, proceeding out the door to the waiting media, but refusing to answer questions.

As he did, he was followed and confronted by an irate Mr Beggan who waved a document at him and made a number of accusations.
 (Source: Irish Independent)


The society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) got a major fuel boost this Christmas as Bord na Móna handed over 20,000 bales of briquettes last week.

The ten truckloads of briquettes were presented to the Society by John Keogh, Bord na Móna at the company’s plant in Derrinlough and will give a massive boost to hard pressed families this Christmas.

John Mark McCaffery, SVP’s Head of Social Justice, and Enda Breslin, SVP Area President for Mullingar, were on hand to receive the delivery.

Mr Keogh, Head of Fuels, Bord na Móna said the company was delighted to be handling over 20,000 bales of briquettes to Saint Vincent de Paul. “If stack up this would be ten times the height of Carrauntoohill. This happened because we are hugely aware of the issue of fuel poverty and the sad fact that people are finding it more and more difficult to heat their homes.

“Having a fire in the hearth is vital for many people and that basic need becomes all the more acute at this time of year.”

Mr McCaffery said this is a very large donation and the Society is hugely appreciative of it. “The bottom line is that Bord na Móna’s generosity will make a great difference to a huge number of people this winter.”
(Source: Offaly Express)


Gardaí are investigating the death of a man who fell from the roof of his Co Roscommon home while putting up Christmas lights. The incident happened outside Scramogue village, a few miles from Strokestown.

The man, named locally as Chris Courtney, was putting up the lights on Tuesday afternoon when he fell.

The 65-year-old was taken by ambulance to the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar and was later transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. He was pronounced dead on Tuesday night.

Mr Courtney was a native of Co Longford but had been living in Scramogue for several years. The mayor of Roscommon, Cllr Eugene Murphy, who was a neighbor of Mr Courtney’s, said he was a very popular member of the community. “There is a terrible sense of grief in the area, especially that this should happen when he was getting ready for Christmas,” said Mr Murphy. Mr Courtney is survived by two sons, his mother and four brothers.
(Source: Irish Times)


The ISPCA is urgently seeking homes for 36 collie-type dogs they took from the house of a "dog hoarder" in Sligo. The ISPCA came across the animals after Inspector Kevin Mcginley responded to a call and discovered the frightened animals living in "sub-standard conditions".

Although none were malnourished, many of the dogs had sarcoptic mange, while none were neutered.

"Essentially they had been allowed to breed freely," said Carmel Murray at the ISPCA Head Office in County Longford, where the dogs were taken.

The ISPCA say animal hoarding is a complex issue and that in most caes hoarders do not intend to cause animals harm. Hoarders find it almost impossible to refuse or release animals and seem incapable of seeing how the welfare of their animals is adversely affected when they have too many.

The dogs, of various ages, have undergone a rehabilitation program with the ISPCA'S care assistants after some showed signs of aggression while others were extremely timid and "emotionally shut down."

They have all received veterinary treatment and been micro-chipped and neutered/spayed.

"Many of the dogs were suffering from sarcoptic mange which is highly contagious so all of the dogs had to be treated but are doing well now. The dogs are just gorgeous and all of them are suitable for rehoming. It's amazing how trusting they have become," Carmel said.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)


Members of North Tipperary County Council from the Thurles area are to maintain pressure on the National Roads Authority and the Governmen t to move along the proposed Thurles by-pass project which has recently selected the preferred route for the roadway.

The by-pass has been shelved for the time being as part of the Governments capital projects cuts, but the feeling at local level is that there is still much to be gained by pressing ahead and arriving at a stage where it would be very easy to progress should money become available. Councillor Seamus Hanafin raised the issue at a recent meeting of the area committee in Thurles and said that a deputation should be arranged to the Minister to establish where exactly the Thurles by-pass project now stands.

“We were late with the route selection process by the bones of a year and the last thing we want now is for this plan to be left lying in a drawer and gathering dust,” Cllr Hanafin said.
(Source: Tipperary Star)


Tyrone GAA secretary Dominic McCaughey has revealed that funding has been secured to complete the county's new gaelic games headquarters in Garvaghey.

The Tyrone board have been waging a campaign to secure government funding for the £6.7m project but those efforts have so far proved unsuccessful.

In his annual report, McCaughey says this is "unfair and unreasonable".

However, he adds that the county has all the "necessary finances in place" to complete the Garvaghey project.

"A large percentage of this funding is a significant loan, that has been made available from the (GAA's) National Finance Committee in Croke Park at a favourable interest rate, which followed an earlier grant award of €2.15M via the Association's National Infrastructure & Safety Committee (NISC)," said McCaughey in his annual report.

"We are sincerely grateful to Peter McKenna and Seamus McCloy of the NISC and to Tom Ryan and Kathy Slattery of (the GAA) Finance Committee for the work done in securing the delivery of both these monies."
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


Families in the community have been left utterly bereft following the deaths of two talented sports stars and a 40-year-old woman in three tragic incidents over the weekend.

The sporting community has been especially hard hit following the death of two young men, Brian Walsh of Collin’s Avenue, Dunmore Road, who died in a single vehicle car accident on Friday last and Johnny Joy of Kilmac, who died in a freak accident, at his Kilmacthomas home, on Saturday. An investigation into the death is ongoing amid speculation that he may have been electrocuted in the shower.

Meanwhile, last Sunday, the body of 42-year-old Susan Myler, from Carn Glas Way, Gracedieu, was recovered from the Passage East side of Woodstown beach after a walker spotted her remains. Her death is not being treated by Gardaí as suspicious.

Tributes have been paid to both Brian, aged 28 and Johnny aged 20, following their untimely deaths, which have rocked their communities to the core.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)


There is growing concern over the future status of Custume Barracks following the announcement by Minister for Defense Alan Shatter last week that the Defense Forces is to lose one of its brigades, moving from a three brigade structure to two brigades.

The 4th Western Brigade is headquartered in Athlone and while Minister Shatter has given assurances that the restructuring will not include any further closures of army barracks, the loss of brigade headquarter status could bring with it the loss of certain specialist units in Athlone.
It's believed the Minister plans to move people from 'administrative and support functions' to frontline service.

Speculation has been mounting that it will be the 4th Western Brigade that loses out as the other two brigades are headquartered in Dublin and Cork and it is unlikely that either of these locations would lose a brigade headquarters.

The Western Brigade last week stressed that no decision has yet been made on where the two brigade headquarters would be located.
(Source: Westmeath Independent)


Wexford Coroner's Court has heard how a major search was launched after a woman jumped from a passenger ferry as it approached Rosslare.

The inquest into the sad death of Eileen Keating (57) of 2 Tamar Road, Cheltenham, UK, first heard evidence from Seán Mccaffrey from Co Monaghan, who was working on the Isle of Inishmore ferry on November 6, 2010.

He described how he went outside for a smoke shortly after 6 a.m. when he saw a woman outside of the ferry railings. She was crouched down and holding on with her right hand. He then saw her jump into the water below.

Seán said he raised the alarm and another Irish Ferries employee who came out threw in a lifebuoy.

Inspector Pat Mcdonald read a statement from Stephen Mcgrath, duty captain of Isle of Inishmore that day. He said there 114 passengers on the ferry when it left Pembroke at 2.31 a.m.

He said that when the alarm was raised the proper procedures were put in place and the rescue services alerted. The ferry was stopped and its two rescue boats launched. The nearby Stena Europe also launched a rescue boat.

Two fishing vessels also became involved with the search, spearheaded by the Coast Guard's helicopter and Rosslare's lifeboat. At 7.27 a.m. the helicopter located Eileen Keating's body and directed the lifeboat to the area.
(Source: Enniscorthy Guardian)


Ambulance personnel and gardai attend the scene of an Arklow lifeboat call out where a fishing trawler was in distress in the Irish sea.

A crew member had locked themselves in the wheelhouse and would not come out. Members of the lifeboat crew broke into the wheel house and towed the Trawler to Arklow port, a second trawler stood by to provide assistance.
(Source: The Wicklow People)


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