A man whose elderly father was robbed in his Townparks home over Christmas has blasted local police for their 'lack of interest or action'.

The attack on the 81-year-old took place sometime on Friday, December 23 or Saturday, December 24 when it is believed two or more men entered his home at Cavalier Court.

They hit the pensioner on the head, rendering him unconscious, and stole £80 to £100 from his pocket.
At the weekend he was still in hospital recovering from head injuries.

Dissatisfied with the police's handling of the case, his family are appealing for help from the public to catch those responsible by dropping leaflets through letterboxes in the area.

The victim's son told the Antrim Guardian: " The incident was reported to the police on Boxing Day and as yet we have seen no action other than my father and my family being interviewed.

“I was advised that house to house enquiries would be carried out but I called to my father's next door neighbors on Thursday, December 29 and it was the first they had heard about it."

He added: "I have been chastised by the police for distributing the leaflets but I am not trying to worry elderly people, just make them aware of the dangers."
(Source: Antrim Guardian)


A young Newry man’s Boxing night celebrations came to an abrupt halt when he became the victim of a hit-and- run incident.  Sources close to the 18 year old victim claim he was callously mown down by the vehicle in the Corn Market area of Newry, as he made his way to meet friends.  The driver then appeared to maliciously reverse back over the man before speeding off leaving her victim for dead.

According to friends of the man, the female driver was from the traveling community and the 18 year old was simply the innocent victim of the aftermath of a scuffle of which he had no part in.  Our source told The Examiner that the injured man was on his way to meet another group of friends when he walked past a heated argument taking place around the vehicle in question.  As he crossed the road in Corn Market he was hit by the dark coloured vehicle driven at speed by the female driver. She then reversed over her victim causing serious injuries and fled in the vehicle.

The 18 year old is now in a stable condition in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital where he is recovering from multiple injuries to his lower body.


Carlow Fire Services were forced to cut the roof off a car after it was involved in a serious two-vehicle collision on Friday.

Gardaí and fire crews rushed to the scene of the accident on the Portlaoise Road late Friday afternoon and the road was closed as they dealt with the smash.

A silver Honda and a van were involved in the accident, which happened on the N90 between Carlow town and Ballickmoyler.

It is believed that the 12-year-old Honda was so badly damaged in the accident that members of the fire brigade had to cut the entire roof off the vehicle to free trapped passengers.

It is unclear the number of people involved and the seriousness of their injuries, but the Honda was completely written off.

Munnelly’s Auto Salvage was called to the scene to remove the remains of the vehicles before the road was finally reopened to traffic.

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


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Gardaí discovered 54 cannabis plants in a house near Ballyconnell Monday of last week. A Czech national appeared before a sitting of Virginia District Court last week (Tuesday) charged with cultivating the cannabis plants with a street value of €22,400. Ladislav Ruc of Old Rectory, Mullaghduff, Cavan, was remanded in custody to appear again in court on Tuesday.

He was charged with cultivating the drug at Old Rectory, Mullaghduff, on January 2, 2012. He was also charged with possessing the drug on the same occasion.

Judge Sean MacBride remanded the defendant in custody to Castlerea on his own bond of €500 to appear at Ballyconnell District Court Tuesday.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)


Clare recorded the second highest drop in asking prices for houses in Munster over the past year, according to detailed analysis conducted by a national property website.

The asking prices index has revealed house prices in Clare dropped by a massive 17.4% to an average of €160,876 at the end of 2011, which represented a 47.5% slump from the peak a few years ago.

In fact, Waterford City was the only region to register a higher drop of 24.5% at the end of 2011 compared to 17.2% in County Cork, 16.9% in Limerick City, 16.4% in Cork City, 16.1% in Tipperary, 11.4% in County Limerick, 10.8% in County Waterford and 8.1% in Kerry.

Just under 33% of properties listed in Munster find a buyer within three months but only a further one in six find a buyer within a year. 
Meanwhile, the average price of a three-bed semi-detached house in Clare rose by 0.63% in the last quarter of 2011 to €160,000.
In its latest report, property website noted Clare was the only county in Munster to record a rise for this house type but the average price of a four-bed semi remained unchanged at €175,000.
Adopting different approaches to the property market situation, the websites provide an interesting perspective on past performance and indicators for the year ahead.

According to, the median price for a four-bedroom semi-detached house didn’t change in the last quarter of 2011 and fell by 13.15% in 2011. This compared to a drop of 7.83% in the last quarter of 2011 in Kerry and an annual drop of 19.68%.
Brian McMahon of Brian McMahon and Daughters Auctioneers, Ennis, expects house prices in Ennis to bottom out by the middle or the third quarter last year.

Stating house sales are now back to similar levels as when he started selling properties about 30 years ago, Mr McMahon doesn’t expect to see a further dramatic drop in prices the year.

Looking back on 2011, he recalled the autumn was relatively busy compared to recent years and felt Clare sellers are becoming much more realistic in terms of asking prices, which helped to explain why the drop was so high in the county last year.
(Source: The Clare Champion)


The group occupying Stapleton House on Oliver Plunkett Street plans to "squat legally" in the building and has set up a limited company in order to achieve this, according to a spokesperson.

Despite a visit last Tuesday from a representative of the building's owner along with the Gardaí, resulting in a confrontation with members of the group, they will remain in situ.

A number of Occupy Cork protesters are among the group squatting in the six-storey 2,300sqm building. They plan to turn it into a community resource centre, says spokesperson Liam Mullaney, who said he hoped it would be "an example to the rest of the country".

However, they may be removed from the property if the owner of the building seeks a court order.
Other members of the original Occupy Cork movement remain at Grand Parade / South Mall and are not part of the new group.

A representative of the owner visited the property last Tuesday accompanied by gardaí, according to Mr Mullaney, who said he acted in “a very rude and aggressive manner”. Gardaí did not attempt to remove the squatters, who say they did not use force to enter the building.

“It’s a crying shame that that they had to get the guards down to this,” he added.
Source: (Cork Independent)


Derry call centre HML has created 39 new jobs since September, it’s been announced.

The financial outsourcer, which is based at Springtown’s Ulster Science and Technology Park, provides mortgage administration services for a range of lenders in the UK and Ireland. The firm says it has taken on staff in its credit management, mortgage administration and euro client arrears support departments to cope with increased workloads.

The new recruits have joined HML from both sides of the border.

The move was welcomed in Derry, especially in light of the fact that in March of last year HML has shed around 40 workers in Derry while in April the ‘Journal’ reported that some workers were fearful the company could soon pull out of the city.

Commenting on the new posts Mel Smith, HML’s Operations Director said: “It feels good to be recruiting again. These new employees will help us deal with an influx of new accounts which have come about through new business wins and because of our restructure in 2011.

“The Derry office is central to HML’s growth strategy and I’m optimistic that continued new business success will result in further jobs being created.”
(Source: Derry Journal)


Following the introduction of the household charge on Jan. 1st, Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay campaigners intend to make January a month of protest with meetings in Ballybofey, Arranmore, Inver, Letterkenny, Newtoncunningham, Fintown, Buncrana, Dungloe, Ballyshannon and Milford.

The first meeting takes place in Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey, at 8 pm on Monday, Jan. 9th, and will be addressed by Thomas Pringle, independent TD for Donegal South West, and Liam Whyte of the campaign steering committee.

Campaigners are urging homeowners not to register for the household charge, arguing that the money will be applied to bank bail-outs and not to local services. Householders have until the end of March to register for the charge.

The government have “put out a lot of suggestions into the media that they can take this money out of people’s benefits, out of wages -- particularly wages of public sector workers. But there’s no legal basis for that,” said Francis McCafferty, a member of the campaign’s steering committee.

“The legislation that they rushed through the Dáil in December didn’t make any kind of provision for that, and unless they bring in further legislation they won’t be able to do that.”

In the same way, he said, the government does not have the authority to attach the charges to ESB bills.

Any legislation that would give the government the authority to dock pay or entitlements “would obviously face huge opposition, so a lot of this is scare tactics,” Mr. McCafferty said.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)


Co Down man Adrian Gregory Cunningham has been told he will spend a minimum of 11 years of his life sentence behind bars for kicking a Polish national to death in 2009.

On Friday a Judge at Newry Crown Court said the brutal murder of Marek Mateusz Musynski would attract "widespread public abhorrence".

Mr Musynski, 40, was left to die alone after being kicked in an alleyway in the border town of Newry following an attack sometime between 6 and 7 July 2009.

Judge David McFarland, sitting in Enniskillen courthouse, told 20-year-old Cunningham, of Lisgullion Park, Newry, that having served the minimum jail term it would be up to the Life Sentence Review Commissioners to decide when, "if at all", he should be released.

The judge also told Cunningham that it "would be impossible to convey" the deep impact the murder has had on Mr Musynski's parents, without treading further on their grief and continuing sense of loss by reporting what each had said.

However, Judge McFarland revealed that in an effort to cope with "the enormity of their loss and the manner of their son's death", they had cut themselves off from family, friends and society in general.

"This personal grief will no doubt be shared by all right-minded members of the public in this country," said Judge McFarland.

"There will be widespread public abhorrence when one considers the nature of Mr Musynski's death - a visitor to this country, trying to better himself in a new country, dying alone, by being kicked to death in an alley in Newry in the early hours of the morning".

The judge said although the only sentence for murder was life, taking into account Cunningham's plea of guilty, co-operation and other mitigating factors, he had determined the minimum period he should serve in jail was 11 years.
(Source: UTV News)


A Christmas Eve pub brawl is being blamed for the emergence of a new feud in Dublin. Since the bar fight, shots have been fired at a house and a pipebomb thrown at another home.

The discovery of a deadly pipebomb outside a west Dublin home on New Year's Eve marked a new escalation in the row.

It was discovered in the ESB box of a house at Kilcronan Avenue, Clondalkin, at around 2pm on the Saturday.

It is understood that the occupants of the house were entirely innocent and the pipe bomb was intended for someone else.

A Defence Forces team was called to the property by gardai and the scene was made safe at 3.15pm. It was the 55th viable explosive made safe last year - the highest number of call-outs the army has dealt with in over 30 years.

Sources say that the discovery of the pipebomb is "directly linked" to a vicious Traveler feud that erupted during the festive season.

"The origin of this is a huge brawl that broke started outside a pub in Rathfarnham on Christmas Eve between two rival Traveler factions," explained a source. Gardai also believe an incident in which shots were fired at a house in Kilcronan Avenue just two days before the pipebomb was discovered -- is also linked to the new feud.

In that incident the shots were also discharged at the home of people who have no involvement in the feud. The new feud is the second Traveler dispute that detectives in Clondlakin are dealing with.

In the nearby Old Castle estate, gardai are desperately trying to keep a lid on a separate row that led to officers seizing two firearms just days before Christmas.

Sources say that this feud centers around a bitter dispute over €30,000 prize money from an illegal bare-knuckle fight.

"One side says that they are entitled to the money while the other say they are not. This is a very entrenched situation between factions that were formerly very close to each other and apart from what has been happening in Clondalkin, there have been other violent incidents linked to it in Tallaght and Navan, Co Meath," explained a source.
(Source: The Evening Herald)


Anglo Irish Bank has "discontinued" its legal action against the Quinn family's Swedish property group - after the group's bankruptcy made an action against it pointless.

The "notice of discontinuance" was filed by the bank two days before Christmas and affects the Irish case dealing with the battle for control of the €500m (£417m) international property empire assembled by the Co Fermanagh family. Sources stressed that the notice only related to Quinn Investments Sweden (QIS), which was originally listed as one of the defendants in the action.

Sean Quinn, his five children and two son-in-laws continue to be listed as defendants.

Anglo, now known as Irish Bank Resolution Corporation , is asking the High Court to prevent the Quinns from interfering with the €500m (£417m) property empire or removing assets from it.

Since the bank is the main creditor of bankrupt Quinn Investments Sweden, continuing to sue QIS would be akin to IBRC suing itself, so QIS has now been excluded from the action.

The Irish case is on hold pending deliberations of the Cypriot courts, which the Quinn family wants to assume responsibility for the case. An outcome in the case, which was expected last October, has not yet been delivered.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


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Galway diners should expect to be asked for deposits when it comes to group bookings at peak times after new figures revealed that an average-sized restaurant is losing €10,000 over December due to no-shows.

Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, said that Christmas 2011 is better than last year due to the favorable weather conditions and all restaurants are reporting increased levels of footfall.

However, the spend by diners is down, which can be attributed to the recession and the December Budget as well as a 30% rise in prices in restaurants over the past 18 months.

“Restaurants are losing 10 to 15% of business per night due to diners not showing up. Our research show that for December, a 60-seater restaurant is losing €10,000 because of that,” Mr Cummins said.

“It’s a particular issue in every county but more so in urban areas like Galway City. We’ve found that 50% of restaurants are insisting on booking deposits for groups of four or more. We’re saying because it’s escalated so much this Christmas that it should continue for all peak times.”

The association believes deposits should be requested for bookings at Christmas, Valentines night, Easter and during festivals or special events.

“I’ve had cases where a group of 20 book and only ten show up – €50 is the average spend per person between food and alcohol, that’s €500 gone down the drain that night. If that happens at 7.30pm it’s harder to refill that table in the likes of Galway where there is less of a critical mass than in Dublin.”
(Source: GalwayBay Fm)


An incredible €6,500 was raised from gate receipts at Dingle's Páirc an Ághsaigh last Friday at the inaugural testimonial match for Brendan 'Bawnie' O'driscoll who died tragically in October.

The match saw Dingle GAA play against a selection of players from the clubs of West Kerry.

Players made a concerted effort to make themselves available for the game, including county panel players such as Marc Ó Sé, Tommy Griffin and Dáithí Geaney.

GAA circles in Kerry were well represented with county board members and representatives from a number of clubs present. Terrace Talk's Weeshie Fogarty was also present, as was legendary GAA broadcaster Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh.

Páirc an Ághsaigh was packed, with supporters from all over Corca Dhuibhne turning out to witness the sides draw even with a final score of 1-10 apiece. Dingle's Daithi Geaney was also named Man of the Match.

The fund has been founded by the GAA Clubs of West Kerry to set up a college scholarship in memory of Brendan 'Bawnie' O'driscoll from Camp. The scholarship will benefit a first year college student who has played underage football with West Kerry.

Brendan (28) collapsed on the pitch as Annascaul took on Lispole on October 23. He was rushed to Cork University Hospital and passed away on Wednesday October 26. During his life he had excelled both in Gaelic football and soccer – with Annascaul GAA, West Kerry and Camp United - and he was even capped as an Irish Junior International.

"We could not be happier after raising €6,500 at the gate," Annascaul GAA'S Sean Barry told The Kerryman. "This will ensure that the scholarship runs for a minimum of seven years."

"There are two significant results; firstly that Bawnie and his legacy will be commemorated properly and secondly that students in West Kerry will get a helping hand in their first year at college," he added.

"We hope to do something like this match on an annual basis. Another idea that we have floating around is that whichever club wins the West Kerry Championship would play a selection of West Kerry clubs at their home ground," he added.
(Source: Irish Times)


The year ahead will see Ireland hosting a week-long event to which an estimated 25,000 people will flock each day, with the organizers hoping to fill Croke Park for the final ceremony.

It’s not a sporting event, or a rock festival, but a very different kind of celebration which nevertheless looks set to draw enormous crowds - the 2012 Eucharistic Congress.

With religion not exactly high on most people’s agendas these days, and the Catholic Church having taken a battering through the series of scandals which have rocked it over recent years, it is surprising to realize that an event like this is likely to attract so many thousands of people, yet all of the signs are that it certainly will prove a massive crowd-puller.

One of those involved in preparing for the congress, to run from 10-17 June, is Newbridge resident Brenda Drumm, who is the Communications Officer with the Kildare and Leighlin Diocese.
As Ireland last hosted a Eucharistic congress back in 1932, Brenda noted that this will be “a once-in-a-lifetime experience” for those who participate.

“I feel it will serve to show people that there is more to the church than the things people have come to associate with it, that it is a vibrant organization which is open to involvement from everybody.”

In preparation for the Congress, which will include a week-long series of Masses, talks, prayers and exhibitions, Brenda added that the organizing team has been in-situ at the RDS (which will serve as the event base) since February of last year.

While there is a large number of staff involved, the Congress will also require the input of up to 3,000 volunteers and she commented that people from Co Kildare might be well situated in serve in that capacity.

“We need volunteers and I would hope that a considerable number of Kildare people get involved. There will be some training given and people will be asked to indicate in what area they would like to help, whether it’s in translation, logistics, hospitality or whatever.”
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)


A Kilkenny-based couple are at the centre of an investigation by the Garda Fraud Squad, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Director of Corporate Enforcement into their handling of what has been described as an Irish Ponzi scheme.

John Mulholland and his wife Ruth Woods live at the Foxes Covert, situated on the exclusive Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown. The couple were heavily involved in the Custom House Capital investment firm. Custom House Capital was placed into liquidation last year and is the subject of a damning 200-page report by the High Court into its corporate practices.

Ms Woods was a 28% share holder in Custom House Capital while her husband John Mulholland was a non-executive director.

It is estimated that €56 million of investors’ money was misused by Custom House Capital in what Mr Justice Gerard Hogan described as “a sort of an Irish Ponzi scheme”.

The true extent to the amount of money lost in Custom House Capital won’t be known until later on this year. The court-appointed liquidator, Kieran Wallace from KPMG accountants told the Kilkenny People: “It will be well into 2012 before we are able to put a final definitive figure on the amount of money misused.”

Ms Woods is mentioned 13 times in the 200-page report completed by two High Court inspectors late last year. Mr Mulholland was a non-executive director and is mentioned 39 times in relation to decisions taken in Custom House Capital. The report found that key Custom House Capital executives misused customers’ funds, misled investors and gave inaccurate information to the Financial Regulator.

The report was sent by Justice Hogan to the Garda Fraud Squad, as well as Justice Minister Alan Shatter, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Director of Corporate Enforcement who are investigating the practices at Custom House Capital. The Gardaí said that they cannot comment in relation to on-going investigations.
(Source: Kilkenny People)


A joint Portlaoise/Monasterevin garda operation was successful in apprehending a man last Friday, who had stolen two cars before burning one out.

The man had been involved in what gardaí describe as three drive offs from petrol stations in the area.

The theft of the two vehicles took place from a housing estate in Monasterevin.

The three cases of theft of petrol involved two of which took place from Downey’s Petrol Station, Portlaoise. The incident unfolded on Tuesday morning, 27 December when a Renault Megane was stolen from the Distillery Court area of Monasterevin.

The 21-year old driver then made his way to Downey’s Garage on the Dublin Road in Portlaoise. CCTV coverage from the garage showed that the car’s driver was the same man, who had driven away previously without paying for petrol.

Liaising with each other gardaí soon discovered the identity of the culprit whom they arrested last Friday morning.

(Source: Laois Nationalist)


Thousands of people, including former president Mary McAleese and her husband Dr Martin McAleese, made their way to Carrick-on-Shannon late last week for the funeral of Andrew Dolan, who passed away on New Year’s Day, 10 days after he was assaulted while on a night out with friends in Mullingar.

At the funeral last Friday in St Mary’s, the crowd spilled out the doors and down the steps, such was the sheer number of people who came to pay their respects. It was obvious that even in his short life, Andrew touched the lives of so many.

The 20-year-old son of local hotelier, Joe Dolan and his wife, Rosie, Andrew was described by Fr Frank Garvey at Friday morning’s funeral as a gentle soul who never even raised his voice in anger.

Fr Garvey questioned why people no longer felt safe on the streets of our towns and cities and he urged all young people to “treat life as a precious thing” and to “live life within its rules and within its cautions”.

“May you all have the will and determination to ensure that (this) won’t happen again to you or to any of your young friends,” he said in his homily.

Speaking on behalf of the Dolan family Andrew’s devastated aunt, Dr Heather Laird, said that their “much loved Andrew was pronounced dead on New Year’s Day, but the real tragedy happened at 2.48am on the 23rd of December” when he was assaulted.

Despite the unimaginable pain the following days had brought to the family, it was of great comfort to the Dolan’s that they had been able to fulfil Andrew’s wish to be an organ donor, changing the lives of three seriously ill people for the better.

“On his behalf, I would like all of you here today to consider carrying a donor card,” she said.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)


Three cancer operations scheduled for last Wednesday were canceled and rearranged for this week as the HSE deals with what it described as “exceptional demand for inpatient beds” this week.

As it struggled to contain costs last year, the HSE pledged that cancer procedures would be protected from any cuts in elective surgery.

But one breast cancer patient who contacted the Limerick Leader described how she had been notified on Tuesday that an operation to remove a lump - scheduled for the following day - had been cancelled.

“Three [cancer] patients have been deferred until Wednesday, January 11 due to an exceptional demand on inpatient beds for the last 48 hours,” a HSE spokesperson explained.

“Acute hospitals in all parts of the country come under particular pressure at this time of year and this entails special attention to emergency admissions. Where procedures have to be deferred, this is always done in accordance with clinical priorities.”

“Cancer surgery will continue to be treated as a priority by the HSE and, as outlined above, due to the exceptional demand three patients have had to be deferred until next week,” the spokesperson added.
(Source: Limerick Leader)


A little girl was thrown around "like a rag doll" by a Rottweiler in a savage mauling while she sang Christmas carols.

Nine-year-old Lauren Kelly is lucky to be alive.

She suffered horrific neck and arm injuries and was hospitalized after the attack in Longford.

Lauren's mother, Marcella (41), was also injured as she threw herself across her daughter's body to try and protect her from the attacking dog.

Marcella said: "All I could hear was her screaming and being thrown around like a rage doll. We're just so thankful she's alive."

Lauren was with her younger sister and a friend when they came across the dog outside a house in the village of Abbeylara on St Stephen's Day.

The girls had been singing Christmas carols. The dog jumped a fence and attacked the young schoolgirl.

Her six-year-old sister Ciara ran home screaming for their mother to come and help.

"I tried to pull the dog off her by kicking him but he just gripped harder," said Marcella. "The only thing I could do was lie down on top of her to protect her but then it sunk its teeth in my arm."

Shortly afterwards, brothers of the children's friend arrived and managed to control the dog.

Marcella and Lauren were rushed to Mullingar Regional Hospital where Marcella received 12 stitches.

Lauren was transferred to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin the following morning.
The dog that attacked Lauren has since been put down.
(Source: Evening Herald)


A Pakistani doctor recruited by the HSE says he is considering leaving Ireland after suffering racist abuse in a nightclub.

Dr Syed Kamran Haider Bukhari has spoken out about his hurt and distress after being kicked and punched in a nightclub by a female reveler who later branded him a 'n*****'.

Dr Bukhari -- one of 100 doctors recruited to Ireland by the HSE -- told the Herald that the incident has caused him to reconsider whether he will remain in Ireland.

"I love this country. I work extremely hard and I have made so many friends and have had so many good experiences here.

"But this is not the first time I have been subject to racism. Somebody has to stand up and stay 'stop'," he said.

"I don't know if I want to remain here any longer.

"I was going to bring my two daughters and wife over from Pakistan but why would I want to have them living among racism?

"I don't want them subjected to the type of attitudes and attacks that I've suffered from," he added.
The 32-year-old junior doctor works in Drogheda for the Louth-Meath Mental Health Services.
He said that he was out socializing with friends last Monday night when he was assaulted by a young female.

"A young girl who was clearly drunk approached me on the dance floor before shouting nasty names at me. She punched and slapped me but she was taken away by her friends who apologized.

"But then she came back. She was shouting racial expressions at me before punching and kicking me. I couldn't defend myself, it's not in my nature to [retaliate].

"I just took the abuse but I couldn't believe the reaction of the nightclub."

Dr Bukhari told the Herald that when he approached the night club staff they "laughed at me and made fun of me because I'm a psychiatric worker".
(Source: Evening Herald)


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Efforts are at an advanced stage for the Castlebar area to host what organizers are describing as a ‘Festival of Football’ and one local councilor believes it could be ‘the start of one of the greatest things for the town’.

The steering committee of the Mayo International Super Cup attended the December meeting of Castlebar Town Council to pitch their idea to councilors and appeal for funding assistance.

Set up in conjunction with the Mayo Association Football League (Mayo AFL) and the Schoolboys League, the concept is based around hosting a schoolboys tournament for elite teams.
(Source: The Mayo News)


The number of deaths on the road in Co Meath has again fallen dramatically - to just four in 2011 - making it one of the safest counties in the country for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians and providing a major boost for road safety campaigners and officials.

The major part of the year was accident-free and three accidents (all single-vehicle incidents) between August and September resulted in four fatalities. However, the reduction in the number of accidents from six in 2010 to four has been welcomed by Meath County Manager Tom Dowling who said that it was a major achievement and those working in road safety in the county would continue to make safety a priority through implementation of the council's Road Safety Plan.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)


Gardaí are investigating an armed robbery at a bookmakers on the Main Street in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan.

Two masked men, one armed with a handgun and the other with a baseball bat, entered the premises at around 7.30pm and demanded cash.

A sum of money was handed over, but the amount taken is not thought to be substantial.
The men are believed to have left the scene in a Northern Ireland-registered blue Nissan car traveling in the direction of the Monaghan Road.

No firearm was discharged during the robbery and no-one was injured.
(Source: RTE News)


Amendments will be made to the Traveler Accommodation program 2009 - 2013 which will see a reduction in the number of accommodation units to be provided in Tullamore.

Dermot Mahon, Offaly County Council, outlined a number of proposed amendments to the Traveler Accommodation Program 2009-2013. It is proposed to amend the target date for the completion of a 4 unit group housing scheme from 2011 to 2013 in Birr.

According to the draft mid term review, a number of potential sites for group housing have been identified in the Birr and consultation has commenced with the families on Millbrook Park halting site who wish to move to group housing. However, the site selection process has been difficult to date resulting in target for completion being extended to 2013.

It is proposed to reduce the target of 20 units of traveler specific accommodation in the Tullamore environs to seven units due to a number of factors.
(Source: Offaly Express)


Days before he starts filming the new TV series ‘Moone Boy’ in his native Boyle, Co Roscommon, Hollywood actor Chris O’Dowd announced his engagement to Dawn Porter via twitter.

The pair got engaged on December 26 at Havelet Bay, Guernsey but made the announcement on twitter on December 29. Chris O’Dowd whose twitter name is BigBoyler stated “I’m so bored of all this happiness and sex. I’m getting married. #engaged” while his fiance Dawn Porter tweeted “I guess he liked it, coz he put a ring on it #engaged.”

Dawn Porter is a 31 year old broadcast and print journalist from the UK. She has made around 13 documentaries, the author of ‘Diaries of an Internet Lover’ and has written for a number of UK newspapers and magazines.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)


A jet skier and a surfer had a lucky escape amidst the waves off the coast of Lislary, in North Sligo, after the jet drive sucked in the surfer's tow rope.

As the skier and surfer drifted off-shore, they were picked up by a Sligo Bay Lifeboat volunteer crew before noon on Dec. 27th.

According to the Lifeboat service, the two experienced surfers knew the best course of action was to call the Lifeboat instead of accepting assistance from other surfers, who were on the shore.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)


The closely knit communities of Holycross and Ballycahill were given the best possible seasonal present on Christmas Eve when it was announced at High Mass that a relic of the True Cross of Christ would be returned to the parish, in place of the one stolen from the historic Abbey back in October.

Rev Fr Tom Breen, PP of Holycross Ballycahill had to break news of the theft to heartbroken parishioners three months ago after armed and masked raiders cut the relics from the iron casing it was displayed it, beside the Altar in the Abbey. It made for a very disturbing period of time for the people of Holycross Ballycahill and for all those who came to worship in the ancient site of pilgrimage. The relic formed the centrepiece of the Abbey and helped make Holycross Abbey one of the most visited tourist sites in the country -the numbers visiting the Abbey actually increased since the theft with the total expected to top the 250,000 mark for the year.

However, Fr Breen was the bearer of good news on Christmas Eve when he announced that the Ursuline sisters in Blackrock had offered to donate a portion of their Relic of the True Cross to the Abbey as a replacement for what was so coldly and cruelly stolen.
(Source: Tipperary Star)


Residents in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, were evacuated from their homes on Sunday morning following the discovery of a pipe bomb in the area.

The viable device was discovered on Mark Street, Miltown, on Saturday afternoon. Army bomb squad officers were called to the scene and succeeded in making the device safe, RTÉ reports.
Residents have now been allowed to return to their homes and the area has been reopened to traffic, UTV reports.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


A Well city man who lost his life when the vehicle he was driving was involved in a collision with another car at Kilcomb Cross, on the Dunmore Road, last week had been returning home from a funeral in Killea.

Johnny Widger, a 75-year-old pensioner from Summerhill Terrace, in the city, died at the scene of the two-car crash along with his beloved dog Spot who accompanied him everywhere.

Emergency services were summoned to the scene of the crash shortly after lunchtime last Wednesday last and despite their heroic efforts they were unable to save the life of the pensioner who was well known across the city and in particular the Ballybricken area where he walked with his canine companion.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)


A Ballinahown native wanted for trial to answer sex abuse allegations could be back in this country next week after being deported from Brazil to England on St Stephen's Day.

Gardai are expected to bring charges against former priest Peter Kennedy, who originally hails from Bloomhill on the Offaly side of Ballinahown, if and when he is extradited from Britain.

A number of people are believed to have made statements alleging that the ex-priest, previously a Kiltegan Father missionary, sexually abused them, and the Director of Public Prosecutions has ordered that prosecutions be brought against him. A number of the complaints are understood to relate to the Athlone area.

It is up to the 72-year-old former cleric as to whether or not he contests the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) made against him or accepts it and comes back to Ireland.
(Source: Westmeath Independent)


A teenager who jumped from Wexford Bridge in the early hours of New Year's Day was saved by quickthinking onlookers.

There were a large number of witnesses to the incident – many of them revelers out celebrating New Year's Eve – which occurred at around 1.15 a.m. on Sunday morning.

A Garda spokesman said the 18year-old youth jumped from the bridge into the freezing water below, but he was quickly thrown a lifebuoy, which he managed to cling on to.

Gardaí, with the help of bouncers, eventually took him from the water to the safety of Wexford's quay.
(Source: The Irish Times)


Teenager Jordan Giannikis was laid to rest last Wednesday as the local community came out in force to say goodbye to the hugely popular 16 year old.

A guard of honor was formed by both St. Patrick's GAA Club and Wicklow Rugby Club as Jordan made his final journey from St. Patrick's Church to Rathnew Cemetery.

Fr. Tim Hannon told mourners that the scenes he witnessed at Jordan's funeral were among the saddest he had ever seen in Wicklow.

The high esteem with which Jordan was regarded by his peers was clear to see by the huge turnout for his funeral, with many of his friends still visibly shaken by his tragic loss.

Two of his pals, Jordan Petticrew and Zack Wizowski, paid tribute to Jordan at the service.
(Source: The Wicklow People)


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