Around 30 officers raided two neighboring houses in Antrim last week after a shot was fired through the rear window of a car in Rathkyle last week.
Witnesses to the police operation told the Antrim Guardian that unmarked police cars 'tore into' Rathglynn last Wednesday night before plain clothes officers used battering rams to gain entry to both properties.
“They had sniffer dogs and were going through bins and lifting floorboards," one witness said. “Two men were lifted and the police left again about 1am and took several large forensic bags with them."
The raids came less than 24 hours after a shot was fired through the rear window of a car in nearby Rathkyle the previous night (Tuesday). A local householder heard a loud bang at around 11.30pm. At 9.45am the following morning, it was discovered that the rear window of a Renault Laguna parked at the address had been smashed. Police recovered what are believed to be shotgun pellets from the vehicle. Local Alliance councilor Neil Kelly said he is 'appalled' by the shooting incident.
He said: "The community is shocked at this incident. I am appalled that anyone could carry out something like this. “Incidents like this have absolutely no place in our society and they cause fear in the community. This is a deeply worrying event and my thoughts are with the person whose car was damaged.
“Anyone who saw anything or who has any other information regarding this matter should contact police immediately.
A police spokeswoman confirmed that a 24-year-old man had been arrested on the night of the raids. She said he was arrested 'in connection' to the shot fired at the car in Rathkyle.
“Two searches were also carried out at two flats in the Rathglynn area," she added.
“The man was questioned in connection with the attack before being released on bail early on Thursday morning."
(Source: Antrim Guardian)
A Newry man recently charged with a string of sex offences against children appeared in a child safety advertising campaign shown in public places locally as recently as last summer, the Examiner has learned.
Dennis Lancaster of Lisdrum Avenue appeared before Newry Magistrates’ Court on 21st December charged with rape, sexual assault and two counts of sexual activity with a child. The charges brought relate to incidents dating from September 19th 2010 and involve two alleged injured parties.
The Examiner has learned that the 32-year-old former juvenile boxing Coach featured in an advertising video clip published to warn parents about child protection. The advert was produced by a UK-based company and featured Lancaster, who previously resided in England. Sickeningly, given the charges against him, the awareness campaign in which Lancaster appeared urged parents to “know where your children are” and was unwittingly shown in a number of public places in the area, including Daisy Hill Hospital.
The material which appeared on the advertising screens is overseen by Newry and Mourne District Council’s Community Safety Partnership (CSP). However, the Examiner understands that this particular clip was streamed to the screens by the UK-based supplier and was not undertaken by the CSP.
Commenting CSP Manager Heather McKee said: “The Community Safety Partnership did not use any individual to make a video of this nature”.
The Council issued a further statement on the matter stating: “Newry and Mourne District Council wishes to confirm that the Council has not filmed any video, in connection with child protection, featuring the individual being referred to”.
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Three masked men threatened a shop assistant with wheelbraces and a knife before making off with the till from a shop in Fenagh last Tuesday week.
The gang, who were wearing balaclavas, entered the Black Cat shop in Fenagh at approximately 7.05pm on Tuesday 3 January.
Two of the men were carrying wheelbraces, while the third man was armed with a knife when they entered the shop, which was manned by a lone female shop assistant at the time.
The trio, who made off with the till and its contents, had a “threatening demeanor”, according to a garda spokesperson.
Gardaí are investigating the possibility that the incident might be linked to a similar crime which took place in Myshall minutes later.
Ten minutes after the men fled the scene at Fenagh, a similar attack took place on a shop in Myshall.
Two masked men entered the shop, located on the main street in Myshall, before fleeing with the till and its contents.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)
A Bailieboro man was handed a suspended sentence for what the presiding judge described as a "vicious assault" on three individuals when he pleaded guilty to the offences at Virginia District Court.
Michael O'Leary, Church Lane, Drumbannon, Bailieboro, was sentenced to nine months suspended for two years for assaulting George Bell at 2 Convent Court, Virginia Road, Bailieboro, on June 10, 2011.
He was directed to complete 150 hours of community service in lieu of six months for assaulting Margaret Connolly on the same occasion and an assault on Michael McArdle was taken into account.
The defendant was further charge with damaging two table lamps to the value of €40 on the same date and was given until February 7 to pay compensation. A charge of failing to appear on bail at Virginia District Court was taken into account.
(Source: The Anglo Celt)
Twenty-three housing developments in Clare are to be exempt from the household charge, according to a list published on the Department of the Environment’s webpage.
At Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council, members of the local authority sought clarification regarding what estates are to be exempt.
At the time, director of services, Nora Kaye, said she wasn’t aware of which estates would be exempt but expected more information to become available.
Councilor Pascal Fitzgerald had put forward a motion asking for details of what estates are to be exempt and said a number of people had come to him asking why they should pay the charge, given that when they had wanted things done in their estates the council had claimed it wasn’t responsible.
With regard to his own motion, Councilor Fitzgerald said that obligation to pay the household charge should be linked to estates being taken in charge.
“If people have to pay, will the council take the estates in charge? We just need proper answers,” he commented.
Councilor Gerry Flynn said it was “absolute lunacy” that the list of exempt estates wasn’t available, given that the charge had already been in place for a number of days.
(Source: The Clare Champion)
Rebel cook Rachel Allen received threatening letters towards her family in the aftermath of the furore that erupted over a photo she posted on Facebook before Christmas.
The picture featured the Ballymaloe chef posing with a shotgun and three dead pheasants on the bonnet of her 4x4, after a “day’s shooting in North Cork” and has attracted over 1,300 comments on her Facebook page.
She revealed on RTÉ's Saturday Night Show that she was sent letters in the aftermath: "I got quite threatening things towards me and my family, strange things". She added that she took the animals home and cooked them.
She drew the ire of animal rights activists who criticized her for killing the game birds. Other posters, including some vegetarians, supported her actions. Ms Allen gave her only interview on ‘The Saturday Night Show’ on RTÉ last weekend saying, “I never meant to offend anyone. I’m not a controversial character”.
“It probably did rub people up the wrong way. It was probably a bit blatant and crude standing there,” she said about the image of her dressed in the hunting gear.
As for the pheasants, they went into the pot. “I brought them home and I cooked them. I made game terrine and pheasant casserole for my family.”
She added that it had sparked a huge debate. "For the most part it has been a very healthy articulate debate for the most part.
"There are people who don't eat meat, and who don't wear leather, who probably don't have duck or goose feathers in their pillows. People that can't bear to see an animal being killed, for any reason, for food, or whatever, and I really didn't mean to offend them," she said.
Source: (Cork Independent)
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Derry drivers are paying up to 70% more for car insurance, a new report has revealed.
An Office of Fair Trading Interim Report has revealed that local motorists are paying much more than drivers in England, Scotland and Wales.
SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan has hit out at “excessive” car insurance premiums which are making it very difficult for Derry drivers to get on the road. Speaking at a Consumer Council event at Stormont, Mr Durkan said he wants to get to the bottom of the high charges. “We must establish why premiums have increased across the North by a reported 40% in the 12 months to March 2011 and why people in Derry continue to be penalised with the highest premiums of any area in our region. Indeed we need not only to assess this, but redress it.” He said that insurers had no reason to impose higher charges as the North road safety record has been vastly improved with “the number of deaths on the road last year being the lowest since records began”.
“Nor can they blame the prevalence of no-win-no-fee lawsuits arising from road accidents – this isn’t a practice we enter into here,” he said. Mr Durkan added: “It is essential for our economic and social wellbeing that people have access to reasonably priced insurance.”
(Source: Derry Journal)
A total of nine people were charged following a melee in Gweedore when four Gardai were surrounded by more than 100 night - clubbers outside a chip shop.
Nine men were accused at Dungloe District Court last Tuesday of 22 offences which included public disorder, obstructing Gardai, intoxication in a public place, threatening, insulting and abusive behavior and assault on three of the Garda on March 6 last at Ardnagappery, Derrybeg.
Two of the men, 22-year-old Michael Curran of Middle Dore, Bunbeg and 24-year-old Cathal Breslin of Bunbeg, are accused of assaults on the three Gardai as well as charges of obstruction, failure to comply with the instructions of a peace officer, intoxication and threatening, insulting and abusive behavior.
The remaining defendants are Matthew Crossan,(21) Bunbeg, Michael McBride,(23) Stranacorka, Derrybeg, Stephen Kissane,(21) Meenakiller, Derrybeg, Shuan Curran,(19) Middle Dore, Derrybeg, Daniel Curran,(21) Ardnagappery, Derrybeg, Patrick Harley,(19) Middle Dore, Bunbeg, Cathal Friel,(19) Lunniagh, Derrybeg.
The defendants were charged with threatening, insulting and abusive behavior, intoxication in a public place with Stephen Kissane and Shaun Curran also facing charges of willful obstruction.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)
On January 10 councilors in North Down took to the streets with a petition against the proposal to close Holywood Police Station that was announced as part of the PSNI’s Estates Strategy in late 2011.
They are urging ratepayers across the Borough to sign the petition, which demands that the PSNI take immediate action to reconsider the proposal and to retain the Police Station in |Holywood.
They say that the closure would have a devastating effect on ‘public confidence, wellbeing and security’.
The petition was proposed by Alderman Gordon Dunne MLA, Councilor Alex Easton, MLA, Councilor Jennifer Gilmour and Councilor Peter Weir MLA and received unanimous support from all members of North Down Borough Council.
Councilor Dunne said: “In conversation with residents from Holywood and the surrounding area, the extent of public opinion against the proposed closure has been impressed upon me.
“There is genuine concern about the impact the closure would have on people’s safety and security.
“This petition gives residents the opportunity to express their concerns and will be presented to the Chief Constable in due course.”
Councilor Andrew Muir said: “The population in Holywood amounts to 12,000 people, sufficient to justify a strong police presence in the town.
“From an operational standpoint it makes no sense to further burden the Bangor Station with providing support to Holywood on top of its current responsibilities.
“Furthermore, Holywood Police Station is a success story, with an incredibly effective community policing team that is fully supported by local people. We do not want to lose this.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)
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This is the first photo of the woman charged with murdering a father-of-two in west Dublin.
David Darcy (39) was shot dead outside his home at Cherry Orchard Avenue in Ballyfermot on the morning of November 28.
Rose Lynch (49) of Oakleigh Wood, Limerick, was charged with Mr Darcy's murder at Dublin District Court on December 20 last.
At that hearing, Detective Inspector Colm O'Malley told Judge William Hamill that he arrested Lynch at Ballyfermot Garda Station a day earlier and she was later charged.
She "had no reply after caution", the court heard.
Friends and family of Mr Darcy were present and sat quietly during the hearing, in which Det Insp O'Malley sought a remand in custody.
Dressed in a navy tracksuit, white top and white runners, with her hair tied back, Lynch looked straight ahead during the brief proceedings.
She spoke once when asked if she wanted to be granted free legal aid and to nominate a solicitor's firm to represent her.
"Yes, Cahir O'Higgins," Lynch said. Judge Hamill granted legal aid and remanded her in custody.
Defending solicitor Stephen O'Mahony asked the judge to recommend medical treatment in custody for his client.
When asked by the judge if that was necessary, Mr O'Mahony replied: "Potentially." The judge agreed to the request.
Lynch's next appearance in court was three days later when she was remanded in custody for a further month.
Cahir O'Higgins, solicitor for Lynch, said that he had no difficulty with the application.
But he requested that she be moved from the Dochas centre to be nearer her family.
He said that his client was a prisoner who would attract "special status," but did not go into details about why.
Mr O'Higgins said that a video link could be set up to deal with any transportation issues.
Judge Denis McLoughlin made a recommendation that Ms Lynch be transported to Limerick Prison to appear via video link.
However the Herald has learned that Lynch is still in custody at the Dochas Centre Women's Prison in north Dublin.
(Source: The Evening Herald)
The last time Julianne Mullin won on the lottery, she blew all the cash before she left the shop.
But the young Fermanagh woman's £56.30 winnings on that occasion pale into insignificance compared to the check she collected last week.
And after scooping the £414,041 on last week's EuroMillions draw she vowed to keep working and spend the cash wisely.
Julianne (28) from Belleek, said that she "could not believe it" when she put her ticket in the scanner and learned what she had won.
It is in stark contrast to her previous, smaller win. "I blew it in the shop that I checked the ticket in," she said.
Champagne flowed as Julianne was toasted at Lotto headquarters in Dublin.
Julianne said: "I checked it on the quick scanner twice and then that was it".
She had gone to get a sandwich for herself and a work colleague - but when she returned to JG Kelly Supplies in Co Monaghan with the news "no work got done".
Speaking about her plans, she said: "I'll probably just spend a bit of it. You know the normal car, maybe a holiday. I had planned to go to Australia."
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)
The shelving of the €800 million plan to create a ‘New Galway’ at Ceannt Station – which was banked on to lift the city out of recession – has been described as a “huge disappointment”.
The National Transport Authority confirmed last week that the project – which would have created hundreds of construction jobs and around 3,000 permanent positions – has fallen victim to the economic downturn.
It’s understood that just two property investment funds in the world had the resources to carry out a project of its scale – one had no interest in the scheme, while the other could not raise funding.
As well as a new railway station, the plan for the 15 acre site was to include around 600,000 square feet of retail space, more than 200 residential units, bars, cafés, restaurants and cultural space.
Martin Whelan, spokesperson for the Construction Industry Federation in Galway said the shelving of the regeneration scheme was a huge disappointment.
“It’s a huge disappointment for Galway, and the entire region would have benefitted too. It would have created significant and good construction jobs for several years, and it’s a lost opportunity in terms of employment.
“This level of investment in Galway would have improved the region’s attractiveness and the country’s attractiveness for further investment. A project like this can very much provide the stimulus we need to create an investment environment,” said Mr Whelan.
(Source: GalwayBay Fm)
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The search is underway to find the 2012 Rose of Tralee. Last week the Rose of Tralee company have officially launched the search for the lucky lady who will succeed reigning Rose Tara Talbot when the finals are held in The Dome next August.
The competition got underway last Monday and selection events will be held in every county from March until June with the Regional Finals of the Rose of Tralee taking place in Portlaoise from June 1 to 3.
The Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee from August 17 to 21.
Each county has a different selection date and application deadline, so anyone interested should log on to www.roseoftralee.ie to download an application form.
Entrants must be aged between 18 and 27.
There are great prizes on offer for the eventual winner including a World Travel Fund of €25,000 from the Pilot Training College, jewellery and homeware from lead-sponsors Newbridge Silverware, the use of a car for the year, free accommodation at any Carlton Hotel in Ireland and much more.
Rose bosses have also launched the search for this year's escorts. One escort will be picked as the Pilot Training College Escort of the Year live on TV when he will be presented with a check for €5,000.
Men aged between 21 and 30 can apply to be an escort by filling in the online-form at
ww.roseoftralee.ie and return it with a non-refundable application fee of €25.
The closing date for all Rose of Tralee escort applications is Friday, April 13.
An Athy family was lucky to escape with their lives after an early-morning fire gutted their home in a matter of minutes last Thursday morning.
The blaze, apparently caused by an electrical fault, struck the house on the Monasterevin Road near Kilberry at around 7am.
Smoke alarms were triggered which enabled the couple, three of their children and a visiting friend to get out just before the flames engulfed their home. Declan Davis told the Kildare Nationalist that he and his wife Margaret had been asleep upstairs and their 15-month-old daughter Tilly was in the room with them. Also in the house were two of the couple’s other children, Marcella (8) and Ellie (9) along with their cousin Alyssa Whelan who was on a sleep over. The couple’s other two children were sleeping over at another friend’s house.
“Marcella actually helped the other two girls to get out the window. She was really great,” said Declan, adding that it was “really lucky” that the two other Davis children were not in the house as “she mightn’t have managed to get them all out on time”.
He also stressed the importance of the smoke alarms, saying simply: “Without the alarms, we would all have been stone dead.” While he and his wife managed to escape down the stairs with the baby, they were horrified to see how rapidly the staircase was overtaken by flames. “It was gone in about five minutes, just unbelievable.”
(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)
Kilkenny Borough Council has been participating in the Urbacht Links project and is hoping to secure EU funding to help renovate St Mary’s Church in an eco-friendly manner as part of the project.
Senior council planner Denis Malone gave a presentation to the councilors at their meeting last Monday night outlining the goals of the project.
Kilkenny, along with eight other historical cities in Europe, is taking part in the links project.
“The cities involved in Links project aim to replace their historical cities into a dynamic of residential attractiveness while preserving the architectural identity cultural heritage and historical values. The challenge is to improve quality of life in old centers and to create a comfortable, affordable and sustainable housing seeking out a good balance between preservation requirement and evolution need,” according to the plans for the project.
Cllr Martin Brett (FG) asked if the project would allow Kilkenny to access EU money independently of the central government. Mr Malone said that funding streams would come online as a result of the project.
Cllr Malcolm Noonan (Green) said the council would have genuine funding opportunities as a result of this. Cllr Noonan called on the council to reconvene the St Mary’s redevelopment committee along the lines of the successful Kilkenny City Walls Steering Committee.
(Source: Kilkenny People)
Councilors at their recent annual budget meeting called on council management to do all it can to keep outdoor staff levels as they are.
After hearing county manager Peter Carey say that 100 jobs have not been replaced in the council over the past few years, cllr John Joe Fennelly said: “We can’t let our outdoor staff numbers be depleted anymore. They are the people who we depend on in rural areas.”
Cllr Paddy Bracken said: “I hope we maintain our outdoor staff. They are critical.”
“I, too, would be concerned about the outdoor staff numbers,” said cllr Michael Lalor. “They are reducing all the time.”
Cllr Kathleen O’Brien said: “I hope we do not lose any more outdoor staff. We need to keep them out there.”
Cllr Willie Aird said: “Outdoor staff are very important to any work carried out around the county.” Cllr John King said: “CE schemes need to be looked at to support the work of our outdoor staff when it comes to street cleaning.”
(Source: Leinster Express)
A number of councilors at last Monday’s Council meeting refused to accept assurances from the ESB that they did not open the gates at Lough Allen during the serious flooding of November 2009.
Hydro Manager with ESB Energy International, Senan Colleran, made a special presentation to the Council’s monthly meeting. Addressing the Chamber he said that not only had ESB records which showed they did not open the gates at Lough Allen until after the flooding had receded, gauges owned and monitored by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Office of Public Works (OPW) also proved that the ESB had not released water from the Lough but had, instead, held back water, acting as a store for millions of additional litres of water following the torrential rain which started in November 2009.
Mr Colleran said that ESB had no financial interest in controlling water levels.
“I don’t know where the surge (experienced in Leitrim Village in November 2009) came from, all I can tell you is it did not come from Lough Allen,” he maintained.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)
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Ten members of the same family are to seek legal advice after a leading bookmaking chain refused to honor what they insist were valid bets.
Ann O’Brien from Ballynanty along with nine members of her extended family each placed €2 bets at the Ladbrokes shop in Thomondgate last Friday week on the outcome of that night’s Euromillions draw.
The wagers, which were placed shortly after 8pm, predicted that the numbers 1, 6 and 12 would be among the five numbers drawn in the main draw which was made in Paris at 8.30 on that Friday night.
Ann and her family had attended an anniversary mass earlier in the day and she said the numbers they chose have a special significance with the family.
According to Ann, the total winnings would have come to €15,000.
“The numbers were significant to us and they came up but when we went to claim the money they would not pay us the money,” said Ann, who was referred to the customer service department.
A spokesperson for Ladbrokes head office in Britain told the Limerick Leader that the company only accepts wagers on the Euromillions draw via its website and does not accept such bets in any of its stores.
The spokesman said the bets should not have been accepted by staff at the Thomondgate store and that they should be declared void.
“If the bets were accepted it was misunderstanding,” said the spokesman.
A disclaimer on the Ladbrokes website would seem to back up the company’s stance but Ann O’Brien says she’s not backing down.
“They have offered us our original stake back but what I’m saying is that they should honor the bet, because a bet is a bet, and we want our bet to be honored,” she said..
(Source: Limerick Leader)
A sister of missing Co Leitrim man Pat Heeran has spoken for the first time about her family’s devastation at facing through Christmas not knowing whether their 48-year-old brother is dead or alive.
In an interview with the Leader last week, Sheila McCrann told of how Mr Heeran’s sudden and unexpected disappearance last October has left a deep void on their lives and that of their distraught mother, Irene.
Speaking openly and candidly about her brother, Ms McCrann said the past four months had been nothing short of a “living nightmare” for both herself and the wider Heeran family.
“Christmas and the New Year was just dreadful,” she confided. “Before you go to bed you are listening for the phone to ring or the door to knock.”
Mr Heeran was last seen alive in Mohill on the afternoon of October 3 wearing brown shoes, blue jeans and possibly a blue zip-up top underneath a brown jacket.
So far, there have been no sightings and little by way of leads for gardai to pursue as the investigation enters a fourth month.
(Source: Longford Leader)
Astronomy experts believe a meteorite may have landed in County Louth.
A large “fireball”, which is a really big meteor, was seen from various parts of the country on Tuesday, January 3rd.
Using calculations basedon various eyewitness reports, Astronomy Ireland now believes the meteorite most likely crashed into the sea off the County Louth coast.
“However, there’s always the chance that some of the meteor broke up and that maybe fragments of it landed somewhere in Louth,” David Moore, Chairman of Astronomy Ireland, told the Democrat.
A large number of reports from various parts of Ireland, from Derry to Clare, helped experts to roughly pinpoint the space rock’s landing place.
But Astronomy Ireland are looking for more reports from the Louth area.
“It was the night of the big storm and it was cloudy so perhaps not many people saw it because most people were indoors.”
(Source: Dundalk Democrat)
Allergan Pharmaceuticals have announced that they will invest $350 million (€275 million) in their Westport site over the next five years, to construct a 135,000 sq ft biologics manufacturing facility. Approximately 200 jobs will be created, along with up to 250 indirect jobs locally, during the construction period.
The news was officially announced by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who called it a ‘huge confidence boost for Westport and the entire region’.
The company have acquired the Technology Park that is adjacent to their manufacturing facility on the Castlebar Road in Westport, and work on the design phase of the project will begin immediately. It is anticipated that the new plant - which is being developed to satisfy the ever-growing global demand for Botox - will be fully operational by 2017. While the construction phase will not take this long, the facility will have to meet strict regulatory and validation requirements before it can begin manufacturing.
Allergan first came to Westport in 1977, and over the last 35 years has been almost constantly expanding. The Westport facility is now the largest manufacturing plant within the company network, and with over 800 employees, also has the largest number of staff in one location, outside of their corporate headquarters in Irvine, California.
(Source: The Mayo News)
A 12-year-old Oldcastle boy who suffers from cerebral palsy cannot go to school because it has banned his assistance dog.
The youngster could be facing two more weeks at home before any decision is made to allow the dog back.
Luke Kelly-Melia, who is in sixth class at Knocktemple National School in Virginia, has to stay at home because of the "ludicrous" decision to not allow his assistance dog, Aidan, to accompany him to lessons.
His parents, Pauline and Brendan, have decided to home-school Luke, who turns 13 this week, and are waiting for the school to make a decision about their request to allow the specially-trained golden retriever back into the school.
Luke's father Brendan says his son's life has been "transformed" since last November, when he got the assistance dog from Cork-based charity Dogs For The Disabled, which helps Luke's mobility.
"He used to fall maybe three times a day," said Brendan, who admits he is struggling to understand the decision.
(Source: Meath Chronicle)
An Irishman who was injured as three of his colleagues were blown up by a bomb in Iraq in 2003, while he was serving with the US army, has died in Boston.
Bernard Shevlin (43) was from Castleblayney, Co Monaghan. He was also a former policeman in the US.
Following his police career, he joined the American army and served as a major with the US forces in Iraq.
He retired following a severe injury received while on duty in Iraq in 2003. He was with a military transport unit, towing a heavy anti-tank gun along the ruins of a war- torn suburb, when three security personnel were killed in a bomb blast.
He is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters, five brothers and two sisters.
(Source: Irish Times)
A five-year development plan for Tayto Park, outside Ashbourne, could see the facility attracting up to 900,000 visitors a year and employing 500 people during peak season, according to Ray Coyle, CEO of Largo Foods, who operates the attraction.
The company is to lodge a new planning application for expansion of the park later this year. Mr Coyle said that with support from the local community and Meath County Council, the facility could be developed into an even bigger visitor attraction in the area.
He explained that the company would be making a planning application by the middle of 2012 for a five-year development plan which would include an extension of the current facility. He said a lot of investment in local infrastructure would be required to deal with the numbers it would attract.
"We hope to continue to have activity-based and educational aspects. We never envisage having the bumper cars type of thing here," he added.
Mr Coyle said that 2011 had been an "amazing year" at Tayto Park. "When we opened, we thought we would be employing up to 60 people at peak time, but we actually had 127 working here during the peak period and we have 44 full-time at the moment," he said.
Tayto Park attracted 300,000 visitors last year, the first full year of its operation and its owner is hoping to increase that by a further 200,000 next summer.
(Source: Offaly Express)
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There were heartbreaking scenes in Carrick-on-Shannon last Friday as thousands turned out to pay their respects to local student Andrew Dolan who was tragically killed in an unprovoked assault in Mullingar.
Parish Priest of Carrick-on-Shannon Fr Frank Garvey described 20-year-old Mr Dolan as a naturally quiet young man who never raised his voice in anger.
“How utterly unthinkable that he should be the victim of such an unprovoked and vicious assault,” Fr Garvey told the thousands of mourners who gathered at St Mary’s Church to support Andrew’s parents Joe and Rosie and his brothers Jack and Gavin.
The priest told the congregation that everyone who respected the “precious, fragile gift of life” was asking why. “Why do so many people think it is no longer safe to walk the towns and cities of our country especially at weekends? Why can young people not go out and enjoy themselves celebrating with their friends, without the menace of an unwarranted attack from those who seem intent on random acts of violence?” he asked.
Mourners heard that the last thing his father said to him when he dropped him to a train on December 22nd last was “mind yourself Andy and be careful”.
Joe Dolan told his 20-year-old son that another young man had recently been assaulted in Carrick-on-Shannon and was fighting for his life in Beaumont Hospital.
(Source: The Roscommon Herald)
Chris O'Dowd returned to his native Boyle to begin filming for a new television series and also to celebrate his recently announced engagement to TV presenter, Dawn Porter with family and friends.
It was Chris's first trip home to Boyle since his St. Stephen's Day proposal to Ms. Porter and the star of British sitcom, The IT Crowd and who also starred in Hollywood films, Gulliver's Travels and Bridesmaids was back at work last week, filming around the streets and roads he grew up in.
The new six-part comedy series 'Moone Boy'' is co-written by Chris and Nick Vincent Murphy and is expected to air on Sky next summer.
Set in the 1980s, 'Moone Boy' tells the story of 11- year- old Martin Moone, who conjures up a 35-yearold bearded man, Sean Murphy, played by O'Dowd, as his imaginary friend.
Ms Porter returned to London last week while Chris threw himself into the project which has been greeted with much excitement in the town. Householders received a letter from the production company during the week, warning them in advance of what to expect during filming and giving them a schedule of the locations that would be used all last week and what traffic restrictions to expect.
'Moone Boy' is based loosely on the actor's own experience of growing up in Boyle and he insisted that part of it would be filmed in the town.
"It was essential really, it wouldn't have made sense for me to do it otherwise," he said.
Mrs Moone will be played by Deirdre O'kane while Dublin actor Peter Mcdonald plays the role of the 11-year-old's dad.
Mr O'Dowd's father, Sean, is an extra in the series, which will feature a lot of local faces. It won't be the first time he has acted, he has previously appeared in local pantomimes and plays.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)
There is good news for residents and business people in Thurles last week with the decision of the Town Council not to increase the commercial rate, parking charges, burial ground charges or any other rates for the coming year.
The annual Estimates of Expenditure and Income were adopted by the elected representatives at the meeting last Monday night and the charges are being maintained at 2011 levels despite the fact that the Local Government Fund has been cut by some 9%, or 70,000 Euro. The Budget as presented by Town Clerk Mr Michael Ryan (pictured), and Town Manager Mr Matt Shortt, got the support of eight of the members with Cllr David Doran deciding not to vote for it in protest at 10,000 Euro being included for members conference expenses.
(Source: Tipperary Star)
A service was held on Sunday to mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre of eight men by the IRA in County Tyrone.
The Protestant workmen died in January 1992 when the IRA blew up their minibus at Teebane crossroads, on the road between Omagh and Cookstown.
Another six were severely injured in the attack. The men's firm had been targeted because they carried out work for the security forces.
The men who died worked for Karl Construction.
(Source: BBC News)
A man was arrested in connection with the death of 83-year-old woman in Killure Bridge Nursing Home last Monday.
Gardaí in Waterford have launched an investigation into the circumstances of the death of the woman, a German lady who had been a resident in the nursing home at the time, but who previously had been living in Tramore.
The man, who is 46-years-old is not an employee at the nursing home and is believed to be a relative. He was arrested at Dublin Airport after family members alerted the Gardaí. At the time of going to press he was being detained under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at Waterford Garda Station.
A post mortem on the woman was due to take place at Waterford Regional Hospital last Monday.
When contacted, Mary Burke, Director of Care at Killure Nursing Home, situated on the Airport Road, said they would not be making any comment on the matter.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)
A Ballinahown native wanted for trial to answer sex abuse allegations could be back in this country this 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.
(Source: Westmeath Independent)
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Wexfored is now the sixth cleanest town in Ireland, according to the IBAL Litter League.
The Irish Business Against Litter League surveyed 53 towns around the country in 2011.
Wexford narrowly missed out on being in the tops five from which the overall winner is chosen.
But the judges congratulated the town on an excellent end-of-year result.
Nine out of the 10 sites surveyed were given a Grade A grade, including all approach roads to the town.
Redmond Park was described as being in 'great condition' and the Loreto School, they said, was 'immaculate'.
Even shut-down premises on the Main Street didn't spoil the judges' positive view of the town.
' Thankfully, the disused premises didn't impact in any negative way on the litter situation. There was a virtual absence of litter throughout.'
(Source: Wexford People)
A South Wicklow woman was one of a number of Twitter users who came together to make a short online film to create awareness about depression and the stigma that surrounds it.
Jillian Godsil from Shillelagh responded to a call for volunteer cast and crew to film Depression Hurts, a seven minute film addressing the issue of depression and suicide through an improvised storyline and featuring a candid interview with contributor Maura Donohoe who lost her sister to suicide.
Jillian was so keen to assist the project that she volunteered as an actor and convinced her mother to open up her home in Templeogue as the set.
She took on the role of Margaret, mother of a young man who commits suicide during the course of the story.
'Through Twitter Norah Bohan (@Talentcoop) sent out a tweet and I, along with a group of people, responded. David O'connor and Patrick Cushe offered their recording studio, voice and mixing skills.
The film was shot in my mum's house in the bedroom where I was born,' explained Jillian.
(Source: The Wicklow People)