The Bridge Training Unit in Antrim has won an 11th hour reprieve after the Northern Trust finally buckled under pressure and paid their dues in full.

Shell-shocked parents were warned that the unit, which offers a home from home for more than 20 local people with severe learning difficulties, would close May 24 if the Trust failed to settle their account.

Trust Chief Executive Sean Donaghy witnessed the strength of feeling himself last Wednesday night when he took part in private talks with the Council at the Civic Centre.

He and a senior member of his team were confronted by a large group of protesting parents – and passions were running high.

Some were clearly angry, while others wept openly, but they all shared a sense of injustice that the award-winning unit was being sacrificed, leaving them all in limbo.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


There is uncertainty over the apple harvest in County Armagh due to unseasonable weather over the past few months, a leading producer has said.

Armagh Bramley apples secured Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in March and the crop is worth millions to the local economy.

Apple grower Pat McKeever said poor weather in April and early May had "hammered" the orchards.
However, he said there was hope of a second bloom in the recent heat wave.
[Source: BBC News]


A family has last week spoken out about the distress they felt when they visited their “ransacked” family grave at Haroldstown Cemetery to find it destroyed by cow manure and ravaged by weeds.

The Curran family was shocked to discover the condition of the cemetery, with cow manure all over the family grave and a memorial plaque they had erected a month earlier broken into pieces.

Buried in the Curran family plot is Michael Curran from Ballykillduff, who died in 1960, his wife Mary and three of their children.
[Source: Carlow Nationalist]


Father Brendan Smyth's abbot has finally apologized to victims for his inaction over not stopping the country's most notorious pedophile, but survivor groups say his words do more harm than good.

Fr. Kevin Smith, who was the predator's boss as abbot in Kilnacrott Abbey, Ballyjamesduff last Tuesday said: "Having had some time in prayer and reflection in Medugorje on the past when I was Abbot and Superior of Holy Trinity Abbey, Kilnacrott, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, I wish to acknowledge and apologise to all those who were abused in any way, their family, friends and fellow priests for mistakes which happened within the Church and various Institutions from August 1969 - March 1995, when I retired.

"I thank the present Prior and Superior for the counseling help being made available through 'Towards Healing' [the telephone counseling service].

“However, I believe that the real permanent healing comes from inviting Jesus Christ, The greatest Healer of all, into our lives and handing over to him all our hurts. There has been a call for a criminal investigation and or international enquiry - I promise that I would be open to and give all information to either or both of those bodies. The Truth will set us all free.”
[Source: Anglo Celt]


Three out of a total of seven arrests as part of a cross-border garda (police) operation into organized prostitution, brothel-keeping and associated offences were made in Clare last week, The Clare Champion reveals.

Two men, one in his 30s and one in his 20s, and a woman in her 20s were arrested in Ennis town last Tuesday as part of a large number of planned searches in the Republic and in Northern Ireland under Operation Quest, a coordinated operation involving An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
[Source: Clare Champion]


Niamh McCarthy, a 19-year-old student from Ballygrissane, Minane Bridge in Cork tragically lost her life last Wednesday afternoon following a freak sand dune accident on Tuesday in Maharees, near Castlegregory in Co Kerry.

She had been in a critical condition at Kerry General Hospital in Tralee since the accident where her family had gathered at her bedside in the hope of her recovery.

The first-year UCC science student apparently became trapped in the dunes on Tuesday afternoon when the dune suddenly collapsed while she was at the beach with her friends. It is understood that they had been digging holes in the dunes when one of the dunes collapsed.
 [Source: Cork Independent]


World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has warned fans against replicating professional wrestlers’ moves after a late night drunken copycat video filmed in Derry went viral online.

The video – Drunken WWE Derry – has been watched a massive 62,000 times since being posted on video site YouTube on May 20, and features two would be wrestlers enjoying a late night brawl in William Street.

In front of a large and amused crowd of spectators, the two bare-chested grapplers put each other through a series of moves, holds and throws, before a “referee” declares a winner.

YouTube viewers have made scores of comments in reference to the Derry wrestlers, describing the action as “freaking hilarious and awesome,” “hilarious” and “quality entertainment.”
 [Source: Derry Journal]


Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, who signaled that he might meet the Queen during her Diamond Jubilee tour - will have an opportunity to do just that this month.

The Queen will make a two-day visit to Northern Ireland in June as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK, Buckingham Palace announced last Thursday.

A handshake between the Deputy First Minister - and former IRA commander - and the Queen would be a hugely symbolic gesture and comes after her historic visit to the Republic of Ireland last year.
 [Source: Belfast Telegraph]


The cost of repairing ageing garda (police) cars is to hit nearly $25m over a two-year period, the Herald can reveal. Between the beginning of last year and the end of this year, more than $23m will have been spent on fixing up the vehicles.

The news follows recent revelations that only 25% of squad cars taken out of service this year will be replaced.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he had been advised by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan that $14,229,883 was spent on repairs in 2011 and $4,711,136 to date this year.

With six months of the year left, it is expected a further $5m will have been allocated by the end of 2012.

Mr. Shatter told Dublin North East TD Tommy Broughan the cost covers the provision of spare parts, new tires and towing services.
 [Source: Evening Herald]


A police helicopter was used in a search for men who ran off after the car they were travelling in crashed near Boa Island last Wednesday night.

At about 10 p.m., police were in the area of Boa Island Road when they spotted the driver of a blue Vauxhall Vectra talking on his mobile phone.

Police signaled for the car to stop but instead of stopping for officers the car made off at speed out of sight of officers, with the officers giving chase.

A few minutes later police came across the car crashed on a left hand bend, and the four men who were in the car ran off from it across fields.

Three individuals were arrested by police on foot but when the fourth suspect evaded officers police called for assistance and as the police helicopter was available it was scrambled to the scene.

Upon its arrival the police helicopter used thermal imaging equipment to detect the fourth man and he was arrested at about 11 p.m.
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]


Discussions with the European Commission to provide a funding mechanism for the 57 km. Gort to Tuam motorway are at a “critical stage” and the project could be given the green light in the coming weeks.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin said he is keeping hopes high that $214m in funding can be leveraged from the European Structural Fund and European Investment Bank for the motorway, which would create around 2,500 jobs.

If the $214m funding – which has been approved in principle by the Investment Bank – can be secured, it’s understood road-building consortium BAM Balfour Beatty would then be in a position to find private investors.

Galway East Labour TD Colm Keaveney told the Connacht Tribune that the project is topping the list of capital-ready projects in this country at the moment.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]


The mother of an underage Killarney footballer says that constant racist remarks on the field of play are pushing her autistic son to the point of suicide.

Ann Marcus told The Kerryman how 13-year-old Dion, who is of Irish and Egyptian descent, was even racially abused by an adult associated with an opposing team. She says she has kept quiet on the issue until an incident two weeks ago following which she drove to Killarney Garda Station to make a formal complaint.

"We've had a lot of incidents of racism from opposition players and I've reported those to the clubs but this is the first time it has involved an adult," she states.
 [Source: The Kerryman]


Parents terrified by the prospect of a serious accident outside a Newbridge primary school are organizing a meeting this week in a bid to force the council to put a pedestrian crossing in place.

Currently, there is no crossing directly outside St Patrick’s School at Morristown, despite constant requests from parents, the school management and local residents that some action be taken.

Moreover, the nearest pedestrian crossing at the Morristown Road junction is currently viewed as grossly inadequate because of a lack of filter arrows. This is despite the fact that, in addition to pupils attending St Patrick’s, that junction also serves neighboring Scoil Mhuire.
 [Source: Kildare Nationalist]


A football player who assaulted the mentor of the opposing team at a football match was sentenced to five months in prison.

The judge described the incident as “naked violence” and “hooliganism.” Philip Roche, New Road, Moneenroe, Castlecomer was convicted of the assault at the GAA grounds, Grennan, Thomastown on June 1, 2009.

Ann Donnelly, a spectator at the match said that she witnessed a player being sent off. “A man was walking off and the Glenmore mentor was standing on the sideline. He walked over and boxed him in the face and hit him straight into the face. I heard a crack.
 [Source: Kilkenny People]


From a void of information to an 82-page detailed report, the HSE has published a document in which it says it will consult and recommend a decision, but that a Government Minister will have the final say on Abbeyleix and Shaen Hospitals.

Nearly six months after being forced to consult on closure plans, the executive published a document entitled Older Persons Services, HSE Midlands, Information and Consultation two weeks ago.

The report does two things. It sets out the nursing home landscape in the midlands and the position of St Brigid’s Shaen and the Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit. In the information section of the report, the HSE makes clear that it is still “contemplating” closure. The report also publishes the consultation process ordered in the High Court.

The HSE has declined to bring in an independent party in any part of the consultation process.

ithout any reference to outside expertise, the executive will lead the consultation and a senior HSE manager will consider the evidence and make a recommendation to the Minister for Health, James Reilly.
[Source: Leinster Express]


The crisis in youth unemployment has reached alarming levels according to Senator Marc MacSharry. According to the latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) there are 488 people under the age of 25 on the Live Register in Co. Leitrim.

Of these 374 are registered through the south Leitrim office in Carrick-on-Shannon and a further 114 are registered in Manorhamilton.

Speaking to the Leitrim Observer following the launch of Fianna Fáil’s National Strategy to Tackle Youth Unemployment, Senator MacSharry said that unemployment “is the greatest crisis facing the country”.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]


In a rare move, the terms of bail have been lifted for a man charged with indecent assault to allow him to leave the jurisdiction before his trial and spend the summer in his second residence in the south of France.

The Limerick man, who cannot be identified at this time due to reporting restrictions, is alleged to have committed six counts of indecent assault on a relative on unknown dates between 1977 and 1980.

The 58-year-old accused, who resides on the outskirts of the city, took to the stand in Limerick Circuit Court to testify under oath that he would return for a hearing over the summer months and would not be a flight risk.
[Source: Limerick Leader]


A man was being questioned by Gardaí (police) last Thursday afternoon following an alleged stabbing incident in Longford town on May 30.

The incident, which involved two males, occurred at approximately 11:50 p.m. on Wednesday night in the Chapel Street area of Longford town.

The Leader also understands that both parties involved knew each other and that they are from the locality.

The male who was injured in the incident is believed to be in his early 20s and was subsequently taken to the Midlands Regional Hospital, Mullingar where he was treated for his injuries in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Gardaí say that his injuries are not life-threatening and he was later released from the hospital. Gardaí also confirmed that an investigation in to the matter has been launched.
[Source:  Longford Leader]


The latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has revealed that the average age in Louth is 35.2 (lower than the national average of 36.1)

The rural population of Co. Louth was older than in urban areas by 0.3 years on average. The average age of females in the county exceeded that of males by 1.3 years.

Age dependency is a measure of the extent to which the young (aged 0-14) and older (aged 65 and over) populations are dependent on the population of working age people, defined as those aged 15 to 65 years.

The total age dependency for the State overall was 49.3% which means that the number of young and old people together were equal to 49.3% of the total number of working age people.
 [Source: Dundalk Democrat]


A Castlebar man will receive $55,700 for giving a tip-off to the State to bring jobs to the country.

Castlebar native Eddie Horkan’s contacts have led to US engineering firm Intergeo Services creating 30 jobs in Carlow, rather than setting up in Scotland.

The father-of-three and civil engineer (42), who lives in Carlow, discovered that his pal Phil McGoldrick, a Scotsman who lived nearby, was fronting the UK investment.

He suggested that he could avoid having to relocate by bringing the investment to Carlow instead.
[Source: The Mayo News]


The upcoming Eucharistic Congress may have pricked the conscience of a borrower from Navan Library who finally returned a book this week . . . 80 years late!

The book may be 80 years overdue, but the person who returned it won't have to pay $5,149 fine as the Meath Library Service has decided to waive it.

The book The Pictorial Record of the 31st International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin, 1932 was borrowed from Navan Library shortly after it was first published in 1932 but was never returned.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]


A teenage girl was rushed to hospital last week with serious burns after a man threw a petrol bomb into a pub.

The incident occurred at the Master Deery's bar in Monaghan Town at around 8:30 p.m last Wednesday night.

A 56-year-old man was arrested at the scene by gardai (police) and was being held in custody in Monaghan. He was interviewed last Thursday morning.

It is understood the man had earlier been refused entry into the pub and returned a short time later with a petrol bomb.

The 18-year-old victim was transferred to a Dublin hospital where she was treated with second-degree burns.
 [Source: Irish Independent]


An increase of 41% in the number of those arrested for drunk-driving was recorded in Offaly in the first four months of this year.

At last Monday’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee it was revealed by Superintendent David Kavanagh that the figure was up compared to the same period in 2011.

“[Drunk]-driving is a matter of concern. The trend had been down,” outlined Supt. Kavanagh who said more effort of late had been put into [drunk]-driving prevention.

Operation Focus was carried out in the region recently which concentrated on driving and the condition of vehicles. “It is a trend we are watching,” he said.

Theft and related offences were also up 6%.

However, across the board, the report was good for Offaly. Overall crime was down by 22% in the county, down 18% in Birr and 24% in Tullamore.
[Source: Offaly Express]


The search continued last week for a 30-year-old Dysart student missing from Galway City.

NUIG student David Gilligan has been missing since he was last seen walking towards Dangan Heights in the Newcastle area of Galway City on Tuesday night, May 22.

At the time of going to press last Monday land and sea searches were continuing for the missing student, who hails from Dysart. He was living and working part-time while studying in Galway.

The emergency services were joined by large numbers of volunteers last week as the search for the missing student continued.
[Source: Roscommon Herald]


Sligo is all set to arise and go now . . . with an exciting new initiative which will celebrate the county's unique association with poet W. B. Yeats, and which has the potential to become a magnet for visitors from all over the world.

Yeats Day on June 13th, the poet's birthday, will feature an inviting series of wide-ranging events, with a local, national and international flavor, as Sligo pulls out all the stops to celebrate the Yeatsian connection.

With more than 20 events planned “from dawn to dusk,” the organizers say the day will “set the spirit of Yeats free in his spiritual home.”

[Source: Sligo Champion]


Gerard Fogarty is set to become the youngest Fianna Fail public representative in the country, having been nominated by the party to replace Gerard O’Brien on Thurles Town Council.

Gerard (23) is one of the well-known Fogartys of Parnell Street, where his late father Tom and his mother Josie have kept shop since 1956. He has a degree in Law and Taxation. In November Gerard was elected to the Fianna Fail National Executive by Ogra FF.
 [Source: Tipperary Star]


The trial of two men charged with the murder of Michaela McAreavey heard last Monday that no DNA from either of the accused was found in her hotel room in Mauritius or on her body.

Mrs. McAreavey, a 27-year-old teacher, was found dead during her honeymoon at the Legends Hotel in January 2011.

Hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon, 30, and Sandip Moneea, 42, deny murder.

On Monday, the court heard evidence from Oxfordshire-based forensic scientist Susan Woodroffe, who had examined samples from Mrs. McAreavey's body, as well as swabs taken from the hotel room.

The scientist, who is a prosecution witness, said that the results of her tests revealed "no specific indication" of DNA from either of the accused.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]


Good news on the employment front in Waterford with the announcement that Dawn Meats is to create 65 new jobs after securing a $370m contract to process up to 18,000 tons of Irish beef annually for McDonald’s.

The deal has led Dawn Meats to invest $17.9 million in anew purpose built, state of the art, beef processing facility in Carroll’s Cross, Co. Waterford, with a further 100 jobs created during the construction phase of the 40,000 square foot facility. Construction began on the new facility, which includes the very latest energy efficient technology and the longest freezer line of its kind in Europe, in December 2011.
[Source: Waterford News & Star]


Book rental schemes in schools in the Republic of Ireland could reduce family book bills by up to 80%, a report has indicated.

Compiled by the Department of Education, the report suggested that more than three quarters of primary schools operated such a scheme for pupils.

There has been a low response rate for secondary schools to get involved in the rental scheme. This has been criticized by the National Parents Council.

Spokesperson Jackie O'Callaghan said that the book rental scheme in post primary schools was "in operation up to junior cycle" (GCSE).

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland she said that at senior cycle there was a "continuous change" in the books being used and for that reason pupils could not have a store of books.

Ms O'Callaghan said that Athlone Community College in County Westmeath operated a book rental scheme from first year to leaving certificate.
[Source: BBC News]


Tokyo police have launched a major investigation into the death of Wexford woman Nicola Furlong in Japan, believing she was the victim of strangulation and sexual assault in the hotel room where she was found May 24, according to reports in Japanese newspapers.

The 21-year-old from Curracloe was found on the floor of a bedroom at the Keio Plaza Hotel at around 3:30 by a hotel staff member.

A 19-year-old American man was also present in the room.
[Source: Wexford Echo]


Three students had to be rescued from the Wicklow Mountains last week after they suffered injuries to their legs in separate accidents.

The students were part of a large school group and were accompanied by teachers.

The Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team and the Glen of Imaal Red Cross Mountain Rescue team received a request from the Gardaí (police) at about 12:30 p.m. to assist the students.

The group, all of whom were in their early teens, was hiking around the Glendalough valley. The three students hurt their legs in separate accidents on the rough terrain approaching the Glenealo Bridge at the back of the Glendalough valley.
[Source: Irish Examiner]

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