It started out as a modest family shop in a small Co Antrim town. But now the managing director of the local business — which grew to be the world’s biggest online bike store — has been listed as one of Northern Ireland’s richest people.
The eye-watering profit growth at Ballyclare’s Chain Reaction Cycles has seen the wealth of its managing director Chris Watson and his family rocket up the Sunday Times Irish Rich List.
Their wealth has jumped from $230m to $370m.
The 37-year-old Co Antrim man is now listed behind Lord Ballyedmond — whose cross-border veterinary drugs company, Norbrook, is worth £650m.
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are in second place on the list.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

Local Sinn Fein councilors and residents have united in their condemnation of the treatment of an elderly female resident of Barcroft Park, who was arrested last Wednesday.
A total of five armored police vehicles attended the scene of the arrest before the pensioner was taken to Armagh Police station. Local residents were outraged as they witnessed what one described as “a very over-the-top approach to arrest one old lady!”
One elderly passerby who lives in Barcroft also spoke to The Examiner about the incident and said that when she inquired as to the nature of the operation she was in turn questioned about where she was going.

A Rathvilly woman whose husband was sentenced to 18 years in a Greek prison for crimes she says he didn’t commit is campaigning for his freedom.
Julie Marku (née O’Reilly) from Rathvilly has been trapped in a “nightmare” ever since her husband Mark was arrested in September 2010 and charged with being a member of an armed gang, accused of armed assault, 12 car thefts and seven counts of armed robbery – even though she could prove he was in Ireland when some of the crimes were committed.
“When they took him away, it’s like someone planted a bomb in my life. My whole world was built up around him; my life didn’t function without him,” says Julie, daughter of Bill and Phyl O’Reilly, Rathvilly.

According to Julie, key witnesses in the prosecution’s case, owners of the jewelry stores which were targeted, have changed their stories and there was no DNA evidence linking Mark, an Albanian native, to any of the crimes until a week prior to the trial.
And despite a mountain of evidence in his favor, including the passport stamps that prove Mark was in Carlow at the time of some of the alleged crimes, Julie has been left fighting to clear his name.
(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)

A small housing estate outside Ballyjamesduff sold for $161,000 (€122,500) at auction in Dublin.
These houses sold as part of the Allsop Space auction, held at the Shelbourne Hotel last Thursday.
The group reported that 100 properties sold at the auction, but the sale of this housing estate seems to have garnered most interest.
The three unfinished houses lie on four acres of land outside the town. The lot was bought by a Northern Irish builder, who wishes to remain anonymous. The Irish Independent reports that he intends to finish the houses.
The homes need kitchens and bathrooms. They were auctioned with a reserve price of no more than $52,593 (€40,000).
(Source: IrishCentral)

The Government’s controversial national recruitment embargo should be lifted to ensure staffing shortages don’t undermine new Health Service Executive recommendations concerning acute psychiatric care at Ennis hospital, which were drafted following the tragic death of a patient.
The call was made by Psychiatric Nurses’ Association (PNA) representative, Denis Meehan, who believes Health Minister James Reilly should apply some common sense and flexibility to ensure staff continue adopting best practice in treating patients at the Acute Psychiatric Unit at Ennis hospital.
A jury sitting at an inquest into the death of 60-year-old Shannon man, Kevin Manifold, last week found he died at the acute unit of the Mid-Western Regional Hospital Ennis due to self-inflicted asphyxiation and attached eight recommendations made by the HSE to its verdict.
(Source: The Clare Champion)

It was the record drugs haul that had the drama, twists, characters and stunning setting usually only seen in a fictional Hollywood blockbusters.`
But now plans are underway to bring a film crew to remote Dunlough Bay in Co. Cork to make a movie based on the foiled €440m cocaine smuggling plot.
Cork-born film-maker Colin Carroll has just completed a screenplay based on the infamous 2007 drugs bust, which he says will cost €5m to make.
Mr. Carroll, who also has two films showing at the Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival in west Cork later this month, said he spent four years writing the script, having become inspired after watching events of the subsequent trial unfolding in court.

The family of a Derry woman who died after her x-rays were not followed up at Altnagelvin Hospital have said they have been “failed” by the Western Trust.
Betty Fleming died from cancer in September 2011 after experiencing a seven month delay in reporting an x-ray that was taken in the hospital in January 2010.
Mrs Fleming was the mother of two former mayors of Derry, Paul and Lynn Fleming, and the family is regarded as one of the most prominent republican families in the city.
The family said they decided to speak out after the publication of a report from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) which found that the health of patients was affected when thousands of x-rays went unreported at Altnagelvin and Craigavon hospitals.
(Source: Derry Journal)

There were fears at the weekend that a man injured in a punishment-style shooting near St. Johnston last Tuesday night could lose a limb. The 39-year-old was shot four times in the attack which took place at a house in the townland of Legnatraw, about 4km from the village. Two armed and masked men entered the house and shot the man in the legs and upper arms. He was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital where his injuries were described as not life threatening. He was later transferred to hospital in Dublin.
(Source: Donegal Democrat)

A 37-year-old man has been charged in connection with the seizure of almost $2m of cannabis near Loughbrickland.
It was found after police stopped a van on the main Belfast to Dublin Road on Monday evening.
He faces charges of possession of a class B drug and possession of a class B drug with intent to supply.
(Source: BBC News)

A total of 250 jobs are on the way for Dublin and Galway as the German software firm SAP plans to invest a total of €110m in operations here.
The German multi-national company opened its first facility in Ireland in 1997 and currently employs 1,200 people here.
The majority of the workforce - two-thirds – is located at Citywest in Dublin.
A total of 150 jobs are due to be created in sales and services.
A further 100 new positions are being advertised in Galway for the firm's newly created Cloud Services and Support Centre.
(Source: The Evening Herald)

A GAA player from County Fermanagh remains in hospital five days after he was attacked in Huddersfield, England.
Fearghal Cross, who is studying product design at Huddersfield University, was attacked at Market Street in the town last weekend. 
Cross was shot at with a ball bearing gun and beaten up, according to reports.
He is being treated at Leeds General Infirmary, where his condition is described as stable.
Two men aged 16 and 31 arrested in connection with the attack were granted bail pending further inquiries.
(Source: BBC News)

The former manager of a home heating oil company has been fined €30,000 and given a suspended two-year sentence for being one of the main players in a cartel which fixed the price of home heating oil in Co Galway more than 10 years ago.
Pat Hegarty (40), of Coole, Gort, Co. Galway, had denied two charges of agreeing with other distributors, while manager of Fate Park Ltd (trading as Sweeney Oil/Rabbitte Oil, Galway), the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition in the gas, oil and kerosene trade by directly or indirectly fixing the selling price of both home heating oils, between January 1, 2001, and February 11, 2002.
(Source: Irish Times)

Kerry County Council has said a fly infestation problem in north Kerry last week was most likely caused by work being carried out at its landfill site at Muingnaminnane.
Council workers using tracking machines to cover a cell at the landfill site, accidently disturbed vast numbers of flies, who have multiplied in the rising temperatures of recent days.
Householders in the greater Ballymacelligott and Tralee areas appeared to be worst affected by the infestation.
(Source: Irish Examiner)

The survivor of a gun attack on house in which two men were shot dead has appeared in court on public order charges.
NerijusKelmelis (26) was shot in the leg when he was caught in the crossfire after two gunmen broke into a rented house in Kilcock, Co Kildare, in March.
He has now appeared in court charged with public order offences which allegedly took place two weeks after he escaped death.
Two men, Andy Barry (31), originally from Tallaght, and Lithuanian national ZilvinasVarnauskas, also 31, were killed when gunmen opened fire with a handgun and a shotgun after they rang the doorbell of the house at Rochford Avenue, Kilcock, and walked in.
Kelmelis was in the house at the time of the attack on March 6 and was shot in the leg.
(Source: Evening Herald)

A cannabis cultivation operation discovered in Co Kilkenny contained plants and harvested crops with an estimated street value of some €3 million.
Garda sources said it was being run “on an industrial scale” and was one of the biggest growing operations ever found in the Republic.
The haul was discovered in rented industrial units at Kildalton in the village of Piltown, Co Kilkenny, following an intelligence-led operation involving the Garda National Drugs Unit and local gardaí (police) from Kilkenny and Waterford.
(Source: Irish Times)

Over 20 dogs were rescued from “squalid conditions” where they were being kept by someone hoarding animals in Co Laois, the ISPCA said last week.
The dogs were being kept in unsuitable environments where their accommodation was described as “deplorable”.

A voluntary group in Co Leitrim has been criticized for accepting a donation of €20,000 from a company that proposes to use the controversial method of fracking for gas in the county.
Manorhamilton Enterprise Forum has defended its decision to accept the money from Tamboran Resources.
(Source: RTE News)

More than half the households in County Limerick now have no refuse collection service, despite the introduction of new bye-laws in January according to a report released by the county council. The council believes this is linked to the high incidence of illegal dumping throughout the county. A report describes the county’s litter problem as a “blight” which is contributing to a negative image of the county and calls for an awakening of duty and civic pride amongst all sectors of society.
(Source: Limerick Leader)

Over 3,000 teenagers are expected to descend on the county later this month when the Longford Rugby Club plays host to the inaugural HYPE (Help Young People Everywhere) Festival. On Saturday May 19, the gates will open and from 3pm to 11pm the grounds will come alive as never before.
The line-up features some of the biggest names in Irish music including The Aftermath, UV5, Storyfold, This Club, The Kanyu Tree, Roy Seven and Fergal Darcy. These will be complimented by the Disco Tent, a giant games tent, a chill out tent with all-day movies, a karaoke tent, a zorbing area, a climbing wall, a bungee run, a giant slide, lazertazer, and Gladiators.
“We want to establish a youth center here in Longford. That is why we came up with the idea of a youth festival,” said Jim Maher, Regional Youth Officer (RYO) Foróige.
He added: “We want to raise enough money to renovate a purpose-built youth center. This is the first time that the event has ever taken place.”
(Source: Longford Leader)

A Louth family will be part of a major new probe into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the Herald reveals.
Louth couple Martin and Mary Smith were holidaying in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on the night Madeleine went missing five years ago.
The couple and their children saw a man carrying a child, matching Maddie's description, barefoot through the town on the night of May 3, 2007.
The Herald understands that the launch of a major new probe into the little girl's disappearance will center around the recollections of the Smith family, who live in Drogheda.
Police reports state that Mr and Mrs Smith left Kelly's Bar in the resort at approximately 10pm when they passed a male they said was carrying a young girl who was barefoot.
(Source: Evening Herald)

The Grid West Project will create 300 construction jobs and a connection to the renewable energy providers in the west of the country with the National Grid.
Details were given in Co Mayo this morning of proposals by EirGrid to build new transmission lines linking Bellacorick in Co Mayo to both Casla in Co Galway and Flagfort in Co Roscommon.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny launched details of the plan.
Consultation on the project is now starting with landowners.
(Source: RTE News)

A former army officer who sexually abused his teenage sister-in-law a number of times and once while in the presence of his toddler son has been sentenced to three years.
The 49-year-old Meath resident, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his now 15-year-old victim, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four charges of sexual assault between March 1, 2010 and November 25, 2010 in both his and the teenager's home.
(Source: The Meath Chronicle)

Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has announced the appointment of a new director general to her office. Bernadette McNally has worked as a senior investigator with the Ombudsman’s Office for three years before her appointment.
She will work for the Office of the Ombudsman and Information Commissioner and the Secretariat to the Standards in Public Office Commission.
From Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, Ms McNally has bachelor and masters of science degrees from Trinity College Dublin.
(Source: Irish Times)

A group of up to 100 members of the Irish Traveler community are seeking High Court orders restraining Offaly Co Council from moving them from an unofficial halting site.
The action is brought on behalf of the group by Patrick McInerney his wife Bridget McInerney whom the court heard have been living at the halting site at Kilmucklin, Ashfield, Clara in Co Offaly since 2003 and Mary McInerney, a primary healthcare worker with the Tullamore Travellers Movement, who also resides at the site with her family.
The High court heard today that Offaly Co Council decided to take action, due before Tullamore Circuit Court, under section 160 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 aimed at moving the group from the site, after receiving complaints from the public.

The site itself is an abandoned piece of land, away from the nearest main road and about half a mile from the nearest residence
(Source: Irish Examiner)

Two residents at a nursing home in Co Roscommon have died as a result of an influenza outbreak.
The residents, at Drumderrig Nursing Home in Boyle, had contracted the A H3 strain of the flu virus, along with 40 others at the home.
It was the same strain that was responsible for the deaths of seven residents at Nazareth House nursing home near Buncrana, Co Donegal, earlier this year.
(Source: Irish Times)

Westlife star Shane Filan might be the man with the golden voice but when it comes to property development he does not have the Midas touch.
Last week, the property development career of the Flying Without Wings singer hit a low with the appointment of receivers from KPMG to the building company he set up alongside his brother Finbarr in 2004.
The company, Shafin Developments, has been taken into receivership with bank debts of €5.5m. Ulster Bank appointed Galway-based accountant Patrick Horkan to take control of the company in recent days.
He has taken over assets including four residential properties and a partly developed site at Dromahair, in Co Leitrim, as well as a share of a site in Carraroe, Co Sligo.
(Source: Irish Independent)

A school at the center of a storm over its refusal to enroll a pregnant girl is refusing to apologize.
St Joseph's College in Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary stands by its policy that it will not be "a haven for young pregnant people or for young mothers".
The school declined to comment on the controversy or offer an apology to the young woman whom they turned away twice after separate applications to enroll there.
(Source: Evening Herald)

A Co Tyrone mobile building company has won a deal worth around $2m with a major pharmaceutical company.
The McAvoy Group has hired out a 2,000 sqm two-storey building to Amgen's headquarters in Dun Laoghaire.
Amgen recently announced it would be creating 100 new jobs at the plant.
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

De La Salle College was plunged into crisis last week after it emerged that the school’s board of management is in the process of being dissolved and a manager appointed, following reports of a massive $800,000 debt.
With the operation of the school now running “at a serious deficit” a loan has been drawn down and the lenders and guarantors of that loan have imposed a range of conditions which affect the operation of the school.
(Source: Waterford News & Star)

Jobs, jobs, jobs. That was the recurring theme from a quick survey on Athlone streets last Tuesday to see what the public makes of the news of planning approval for the massive Chinatown development, earmarked for the Creggan area of Athlone.
Of those who spoke to the Westmeath Independent on the day, almost all were positive and new employment was the main reason. A number of people who didn't wish to be named expressed their reservations about the size of the development and whether it will actually ever materialize, while quite a number of others explained that they didn't know much about the massive international trading hub development.
(Source: Westmeath Independent)

A motorist who had consumed 25 drinks before he knocked down and killed a young woman has been jailed for five years.
Paddy Cash (25) pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death of Kelly Gregan (20) in Gorey, Co Wexford, on October 24, 2010.
Cash had consumed six or seven pints of Guinness, 10 bottles of Guinness, and eight drinks of Aftershocks, Vodka, and Guinness over a five-hour period.
(Source: Irish Independent)

A pediatrician has told the trial of a man accused of murdering his ex-fiancée’s baby that injuries on the child were consistent with abusive head trauma.
Philip Doyle (aged 34) of Tinakilly, Aughrim, Co. Wicklow has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering three-and-a-half-month-old Ross Murphy at 3 Creagh Demesne, Gorey, Co. Wexford on April 5, 2005.
The court has heard the baby was initially taken to Wexford General Hospital on March 31, 2005 because he was "lifeless" and getting sick on the bed.
(Source: Irish Examiner)

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