Four Antrim based solicitors' firms were paid almost $3.2 million (£1.8m) in legal aid in the 2010/11 financial year. The figures were released as the identities of the 100 top-earning solicitors' firms across the province were revealed. Legal Aid is granted to those who meet means-tested eligibility criteria and are deemed unable to afford legal costs. Sheridan and Leonard, who have an office on Fountain Street, received the most legal aid of the four local firms, placing tenth on the list while receiving more than £960,000.
(Source: Antrim Guardian)


An alleged bomb-making factory uncovered in Keady, County Armagh last year was part of a wider terrorist plot, the High Court has heard. Kevin Barry Murphy (41) of Altowen Park, Coalisland, was in court last Monday, where he denied charges of possession of explosives as well as possession of articles for use in terrorism. Police are set to make further arrests as part of their investigations. Murphy was detained last year after searches in Keady led to the discovery of alleged component parts for home-made bombs. Timer power units, fertilizer, icing sugar and a detonator were all seized, while he is also allegedly linked to the crime through fingerprints on a coffee grinder. Murphy was refused compassionate bail to attend his son's confirmation.
(Source: BBC News)


A local man was arrested and charged following the seizure of more than $2.8 million worth of drugs in Rutland, Bennekerry. Forty-seven-year-old Paul McGrath was brought before a special sitting of Carlow District Court last Wednesday where Judge Lucey remanded the defendant on charges of unlawful possession and possession of drugs for sale or supply. The local man hadn’t come to the attention of gardai before this major drugs bust. Gardai from the national drugs unit swooped on Tuesday evening as part of an ongoing operation.  A “huge find” – 250 kilos of cannabis resin and herb – was located in a shed, with a total value of almost $2.8 million.
(Source: Carlow Nationalist)


Two men were charged in connection with the death of a young Mullagh man who was injured following an incident at a house party on St Patrick's Day night. Gary Wright of 40 Headford Grove, Kells, and Sean Smith, St Killian's Park, Mullagh, were both charged with assaulting Ciaran O'Connell, causing him harm at Rosehill, Mullagh, on March 18. The victim passed away last Wednesday, March 21, and gardaí subsequently launched a murder investigation.
(Source: Anglo Celt)


Two young Ennis men have collaborated to develop two new iPhone apps, aimed at preventing heart disease. Neighbors Mike McNamara (23) and James Treanor (20) from Drumcliffe have developed CroíFoodWise and CroíHeartWise, which have just been launched in the app store. Mike is a medical student at NUI, Galway, while James is studying computer science at the University College Cork.
(Source: Clare Champion)


Circus elephants currently based in Cork are undergoing blood and urine tests after a worker was crushed by one of the elephants last weekend. Spanish native Justino Munez was rushed to Cork University Hospital after a 2.5 ton elephant fell on him while he was cleaning out its pen at Courtney Brothers Circus. The owners of the circus believe there is a possibility that the elephant's food may have been tampered with, and tests are being done on the food to see if this is true. The worker was in a critical condition when Irish Central Community News went to press.
(Source: Cork Independent)


The spectacularly refurbished Artillery Chambers building has breathed fresh life into London Street. The process of renovating the 1870s structure, while still retaining its rich heritage, was far from easy. Even a ghost from Derry’s turbulent past turned up to slow down the work when builders made the grisly discovery of a skeleton dating from the time of the Great Siege of Derry.

Nevertheless, the end product is proving to be a catalyst in the regeneration of the historic London Street area, located just yards from the city walls and other key historic buildings such as St. Columbus Cathedral and the Playhouse.
(Source: Derry Journal)


Four of the victims of a deadly influenza outbreak at a nursing home had been vaccinated against the virus. It was revealed after a flu outbreak killed six elderly people at the Nazareth House in Donegal that two-thirds of the cases had received an anti-flu injection. This revelation has raised serious doubts over the effectiveness of the vaccine.  Dr Peter Wright, director of public health at HSE North West, said it is important to bear in mind that the "immune response" among elderly people is not as effective as in younger patients.
(Source: Evening Herald)


A gang of robbers trashed the home of a 71-year-old pensioner and threatened him with an iron bar after they realized he had no money in his house. Eric Moreland said he has been left terrified after the six masked men broke into his Co. Down home and ransacked his bedroom and living room looking for cash. New security alarms, locks and lights have now been fitted to the property after concerned neighbors lobbied the Housing Executive to help the pensioner.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


A laid-off kitchen worker made the "crazy decision" to sell amphetamines and cannabis to get extra money when a man he met at his local gym offered him the drugs, a court heard. Laszlo Zsiros (30) had no previous drugs record when he got involved in the sale and supply of drugs following his gym visit. Zsiros, with an address at New Row Place, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to possession of drugs with intent to sell or supply on May 8, and was given a three-month suspended sentence.
(Source: Evening Herald)


A 3,000-year-old piece of gold jewelry found in a bog in Co. Fermanagh has been declared an item of treasure. At an unusual hearing before the coroner, the gold torc was described as a rare object of extreme importance. Found by Ronnie Johnston using a metal detector in Corrard, near Belle Isle estate in 2009, the torc dates from 1300-1100 BC, and would probably have been worn around the waist.
(Source: BBC News)


Irish is spoken on a daily basis outside the education system by 24 percent of people in Gaeltacht areas, with Galway having the highest level of usage. According to analysis of the census figures carried out by statistician and language activist Donncha Ó hÉalaithe for RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, the percentage of people in Gaeltacht areas of Galway using Irish on a daily basis outside the education system was 31.4 percent in county areas and 4.4 percent in the city.
(Source: Galway Advertiser)


Gardaí in Co. Kerry are investigating an alleged sexual assault on a young man in Killarney last week. The incident took place in Killarney National Park, close to the town center, some time before midnight. The man was later taken to the sexual assault unit in Cork University Hospital for tests. The scene, which is in the Demense area and close to a children’s playground, was cordoned off for forensic examination. There had been no arrests in the case at time of press.
(Source: Irish Times)


Kildare’s single women are probably finding it a bit more difficult to find a mate these days, according to the latest census. The 2011 census findings published last week show that there are now more women (105,654), than men (104,658) in the county. Overall, Kildare’s population has increased, with the current number of residents standing at 210,312 – a significant increase of 12.9 percent on the previous census finding in 2006.
(Source: Kildare Nationalist)


Kilkenny is now officially twinned with Chinese city Suzhou following the signing of a memorandum of understanding at a ceremony in Kilkenny Castle last week. A Chinese delegation, led by Director Aixian Wang, signed the memorandum with Chairperson of Kilkenny County Council Paul Cuddihy and Lord Mayor David Fitzgerald. The ceremony, pairing Kilkenny with what is described as “the Venice of China,” was held in the Great Hall of Kilkenny Castle and attended by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, members of the county and borough councils, local dignitaries and business owners.
(Source: Kilkenny People)


Home owners are being urged to be vigilant following reports of bogus callers attempting to collect the household charge. Last week reports emerged of bogus callers in Stradbally and Mountmellick attempting to con money out of home owners. In Stradbally one man called to a house and talked to a youth, whose parents were away, about the household charge. The youth’s suspicions were raised when the man did not produce identification and he contacted the local neighborhood watch, who were swift to spread the word.
(Source: Laois Nationalist)


The body of a young man who went missing in the River Shannon after an afternoon of swimming with friends has been recovered. Kurdish refugee Jaleel Azizi, 21, disappeared around 1:30 pm on Wednesday, March 28 when swimming in Carrick-on-Shannon. Despite frantic searches by his family and friends, they were unable to locate the young man and gardai and sub aqua teams were called in to comb the river.

Jalal, a twin and a much-loved son and brother, had been born in a refugee camp in Iraq in 1990. He and his family fled the war-torn country into Jordan, and were eventually offered sanctuary in Ireland. The family moved to Carrick-on-Shannon after they were granted refugee status in 2006.
(Source: Leitrim Observer)


For the first time in more than 40 years, production has stopped at the Irish Cement factory in Mungret, as 65 front-line staff went on strike over pay. All day last Tuesday staff at the plant on the outskirts of the city halted production of cement after it was alleged Irish Cement refused to pay wage increments due. The strike – backed by SIPTU, the TEEU Union and Unite – was organized after weeks of work-to-rule action failed to have an impact. It is the first all-out strike in the factory since the 1970s, when there were two strikes over pay and conditions.
(Source: Limerick Leader)


Gardaí in Longford town have launched an investigation after a woman was sexually assaulted in the Ballymahon Street area last Sunday night.  The 24-year-old local woman, who is believed to have been assaulted between 11 pm and 11:45 pm at Bog Lane, Ballymahon Street, was later treated for her injuries at the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar.
(Source: Longford Leader)


Owner of the Fitzpatrick Hotels in New York, John Fitzpatrick, was back in town last Friday. The New York hotelier paid a visit to the O’Hanlon Park Boxing Club to discuss plans for a new $220,000 extension to the center. Fitzpatrick had previously given $2,600 to the center during his previous visit as part of an RTE show called Secret Millionaire last September.

Head coach of the boxing club, Paul Taaffe, spoke to the Dundalk Democrat about the meeting.

“John dropped by to see how we were getting on with plans to extend the club. I was in contact with him just before Christmas and he said he would be coming over to help push forward the plans and also see about organizing grants for us.”

Paul praised the level of interest and the amount of work the Secret Millionaire has put into the project since the original show aired on RTE last year. “He has been a massive push so far. I’ve been trying to get this off the ground for the last seven years. But when John and the show arrived it changed everything.”
(Source: Dundalk Democrat)


Westport native Colm Burns finished in a highly commendable sixth place in his category at the recent Canadian International Sled Dog Championships in Quebec. Representing Ireland in a sport for which we hold no national renown, the man from Mayneen completed 20 miles of sprinting with a sled and pack of dogs in less than two hours. Burns was happy with his outing and admitted that his performance surprised some of the more seasoned campaigners he met at the event.

“I met like-minded people from all over the world and they couldn’t figure out how we train,” he told The Mayo News last week. “Ireland has no major association with sleddog racing so they reckoned we had the luck of the Irish on our side.”
(Source: Mayo News)


Meath's Olympic hopeful, Natalya Coyle, will carry the Olympic Torch through Dublin on June 6. The young Tara woman, who is aiming to qualify for the London Olympics, will be one of three Trinity students who will carry the torch through the city. The modern pentathlete, who has represented Ireland at two World Cups this year, is studying business, economics and social studies at Trinity and is on course to qualify for the pentathlon event at the London Games. She is the currently the 43rd ranked pentathlete in the world.
(Source: Meath Chronicle)


A shop in a recession-hit Border town has started accepting old Irish pounds as payment for goods. Tony Morgan has run Lipton's shop in Clones, Co Monaghan, for 20 years, yet, with the economic downturn hitting home he is hoping his "embrace the punt" initiative will increase footfall at the shop that sells household goods. According to the Central Bank, £362 million is still doing the rounds since the introduction of the euro ten years ago. While it is no longer legal tender, notes and coins can still be exchanged for euro at the Central Bank in Dublin.

"I want people who still have punts to know they can spend them here and they don't have to go to Dublin,” Morgan said. “We are giving a good exchange rate of €1.20.”
(Source: Irish Times)


An Offaly mother has been ordered to bring her son home from abroad so he can go to school. Judge John Coughlan said it was “outlandish” that the 15-year-old boy is in Europe with his older brother, who is working there. Mr. Donal Farrelly said there had been difficulties in the school and the boy didn’t want to go, even though his mother had been working hard to encourage him. The boy had been difficult to control, said Farrelly, but the judge insisted that he come home from Europe to appear before the court with the school principal and class teacher.
(Source: Offaly Express)


A Malaysian missionary is appealing after she was refused entry back into Ireland after a short trip to the UK. Maria Susei Mary Jeyarani, 61, who had lived in Co. Roscommon since 2007, was told at the airport she could be a threat to national security. After two days in prison, the Catholic lay missionary was deported. In her appeal to the High Court, her lawyers say she was never given a reason why she was a threat to national security and that her removal was unlawful. The case has been adjourned until later this month.
(Source: Evening Herald)


A Sligo man has been jailed for 15 years for the repeated rape and sexual abuse of his teenage daughter, which led to him fathering her child. The abuse began in September 2005 when the girl was aged 13 and continued for two years. Before Mr. Justice Patrick McCarthy passed sentence at the Central Criminal Court on Monday, the victim, now aged 19, said her father had been a hero to her when she was growing up. The 48-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, had pleaded not guilty last month to eight counts of sexual assault and seven counts of rape at the family home between September 2005 and September 2007.
(Source: Sligo Champion)


A Cappawhite Parish Priest returned to his duties last Saturday evening with an unblemished record after a complaint of abuse made against him was investigated and dismissed. Fr. Tadhg Furlong (62) returns to his Ministry in the Parish of Cappawhite with the full support of his local superior, Archbishop Dermot Clifford. A statement issued on behalf of Archbishop Clifford stated that he concelebrated Mass with Furlong at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, Cappawhite, on Saturday evening, after Furlong’s name was cleared.
(Source: Tipperary Star)


A man was recently shot in the leg at his home, while his girlfriend and young daughter were in the house. A number of men entered a property at Carlton Drive in Strabane shortly before 10:30 pm on Tuesday last. They assaulted their victim before shooting him. His injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
(Source: BBC News)


A recently retired lollipop lady was chosen as the winner of City Square’s Mother of the Year competition in recognition of her longstanding dedication to her community. Breda Farrell, nominated by her daughter Jennifer Farrell, was chosen because of her 38 years of service as lollipop lady at Presentation Primary School, as well as for the voluntary work she undertakes in her local community.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)


Two Athlone men are facing a lengthy stretch in a Venezuelan prison if found guilty of drug trafficking offences, after being arrested last week. Dermot O'Neill Jr. and Leigh O'Neill, who are originally from Parnell Square and are in their early 20s, are in custody in the country following their arrest.

If they are convicted of the offences they could be jailed for up to ten years. They could also face up to two years on remand before being sentenced. The two men were reported to be accompanying Martin “Butch” Beirne, who died last Wednesday in Venezuela after ingesting drugs.
(Source: Westmeath Independent)


A man died following a crash in Ballycrystal, Bunclody, Co Wexford last week. The incident occurred at around 6 pm last Tuesday when a car traveling from Bunclody towards Doran’s Bridge left the road and collided with a ditch. A 19-year-old male passenger was seriously injured and taken to Wexford General Hospital, where he died as a result of his injuries. Three other males in the car, the 20-year-old driver and two 16-year-old passengers, were also taken to Wexford General Hospital where they were treated for minor injuries.
(Source: Inside Ireland)


A Rathnew company which imported nearly €1m worth of de-icing salt “in anticipation of a terrible winter,” is suing a Limerick firm for breach of contract. Willows Ingredients Ltd. of Broomhall Business Park, Rathnew, claims to have entered into a contract with Galtee Fuels Ltd. of Askeaton, Co. Limerick in July of 2011. The deal called for the Wicklow business to deliver 5,000 metric tons of salt to Galtee. While some 1,600 tons of the salt was delivered, it was never actually paid for. Willows Ingredients Ltd. has had to warehouse the remaining 1,712 tons at a considerable cost.
(Source: Wicklow People)

News from around the country of IrelandGoogle Images