A former Antrim man, whose autistic daughter was refused a visa to allow her to move to Australia with her family, has spoken of his delight after receiving official confirmation that their move will go ahead.

Adrian Scott, originally from Brantwood Gardens, lives in Oxfordshire with his wife Julie, son Tevin (19) and Niamh (13). He and his family are thrilled with the early Christmas present.

The couple's twin sons, Stephen and Marc, are both already settled in Australia with their respective families. Julie's parents have also been American citizens for over 20 years.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


Two men were arrested after police stopped a vehicle on the Dundalk Road in Crossmaglen on Thursday, December 20, in connection with a counterfeit cash scam.

The arrests followed a number of reported incidents in Newry, Portadown, Armagh, Fermanagh and Tyrone where counterfeit currency was passed.

In the midst of the busiest shopping week of the year, a number of local businesses reported receiving counterfeit Bank of England £50 notes. Police immediately launched an investigation which resulted in the arrests in Crossmaglen around 3:40 p.m. on Thursday.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper}


A woman who died following a fire at her home in County Carlow has been named locally as 50-year-old Margaret Doyle.

She was pulled from the house by her son James (20) early Sunday morning, December 23.

James had returned home at around 4:30 a.m. when he found his mother in the house at Mountain View in Hacketstown.

Local Fine Gael T.D. Pat Deering said it was a real Christmas tragedy and that the local community had been left reeling.
[Source: Irish Examiner]


Cavan Icebreakers Swimming Club witnessed one of the largest turnouts in recent years for their 45th annual Christmas morning swim. Over 80 men, women, boys and girls took to the waters at Annagh Lake, Butlersbridge shortly after 11:30 a.m. The unusual good weather brought the crowds out for the occasion.

It was a welcome change following three consecutive years of battling the elements. The founder of the swim, Sean Walsh, completed his 45th consecutive swim, which is a national freshwater record and the club are very proud of the fact.

Sean's was not the only record to be recognised as some family and individual records were also achieved. Jacinta Dunleavy completed her 29th swim, while the Anderson girls Michelle, Gayle and Elaine have notched up 25 consecutive swims and Margaret Quinn 16 consecutive swims.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


Clare held its first Lights of Love remembrance service recently. Bereaved parents from the county and surrounding counties joined together in the cathedral to remember their children who passed away. The service was celebrated by Father Fergal O’Neill.

As parents, families, and friends entered the church, they were given a tag in which they wrote their baby’s name and heartbreaking messages of love.

They were then invited to place their tags on the Feileacáin Christmas tree, which stood at the top of the altar and, altogether, the prayer of remembrance was said.

There were symbols brought to the altar, including: the Féileacáin memory box, an angel, butterfly and blankets, which were knitted by bereaved parents.
[Source: Clare Champion]


A woman has been killed in a crash in County Cork.

The woman (32) was killed in a single-car crash at Manch Middle, Ballinneen, Co. Cork. She was a front seat passenger in the car.

The crash happened between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning, December 23.

The driver and the only other occupant, a man in his 30s, were removed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
[Source: Irish Examiner]


A married couple and their five young children are unable to move into a house in Ardnamoyle Park after it was vandalized two weekends ago.

Sinn Fein councilor for the Greater Shantallow area, Tony Hassan, described the actions of vandals as “senseless” and “anti-community.”

“It’s because of the senseless attack on this house that a family have been left without a home for Christmas.

“The family who were due to move into the house in Ardnamoyle Park have five children and I know from talking to them that they were really excited to be moving into the house but now because of the anti-community actions of a few people the family will be left homeless over Christmas.”
[Source: Derry Journal]


The 26-year-old man who died on Christmas night in a single vehicle collision near Stranorlar has been named as Luke Peeks, from Inver.

Mr. Peeks (26) from Carraduffy, Inver, died from injuries sustained around 11 p.m. on Christmas night, when his Renault Clio left the road and came to a stop in a field not far from the landmark St. Joseph’s Hospital in Stranorlar.

Mr. Peeks was on his way from Inver to Castlefin, to visit his girlfriend.

Supt. Vincent O’Brien of an Garda Siochana, told the Democrat: “It is a terrible tragedy occurring, particularly at this time of year when people are trying to be with their loved ones.”
[Source: Donegal Democrat]


A proposed cross-border car ferry linking Down and Louth could provide a $13 million yearly boost for the counties, an economic study has predicted.

The service from Greencastle in Northern Ireland across Carlingford Lough to Greenore in the Republic of Ireland would create 24 direct jobs and create and sustain 300 additional jobs in the wider area, according to consultants who conducted an economic impact assessment.

The research was commissioned by the private sector backers behind the project.

The ferry route, which is close to the mouth of the lough, could be operating before the planned Narrow Water Bridge is opened further up the waterway.
[Source: Irish Examiner]


Mom Candice Gannon said that she cried all Christmas morning for her missing child, who has just turned eight.

Ellie celebrated her birthday on December 25 but has not been returned to her mother since she went on a holiday with her Portuguese father more than five months ago.

Candice (28) hasn't seen her daughter since she waved goodbye at Dublin Airport in July and she now fears something may have happened to her.

Ms. Gannon's former partner, Filipe de Silva (35), failed to return the little girl to her mother after the holiday in the Algarve in July.

She said that the last week has been a "nightmare" for the family without her "Christmas baby."
[Source: Evening Herald]


Environment Minister Alex Attwood has extended the period in which archaeologists can continue excavations at the Crannog in Enniskillen.

Discoveries made during the first ever substantial excavation of a crannog in Northern Ireland – an artificial island in a lake – in County Fermanagh continue to shed new light on life in medieval Ireland. The site was due to close at the end of 2012, but a decision has to be taken to allow for further insight to be gained.

In extending the time period to end of March 2013, Alex Attwood said: “The excavation is a once in a century opportunity. It will reshape national and international thinking on crannogs and the lives of people stretching back 1,300 years at least. A unique moment requires a unique approach. That is why the dig is being extended another three months. This is the first substantial, scientific excavation of a crannog in Northern Ireland. What has been found will ultimately lead to a reassessment of life in Ulster in Early Christian and medieval times. It is of international importance. Given all of that, it is important that we maximize the opportunity to unveil as much of our rich heritage here as possible. That is why I am extending the period in which archaeologists can dig. That is why I held an open day for the public to visit the site, and I hope to hold further open days for the general public and local schools before the end of the excavation.”
[Source: Fermanagh Herald]


A “hermaphrodite puppy” that was abandoned in County Galway by its owners because it had both male and female genitals has been rescued by the Galway Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (G.S.C.P.A.) and spent Christmas in foster care.

The eight-week old lurcher puppy, who has been christened “He-She” by its new foster family, was found shivering under a car near a town in East Galway two weeks ago.

It was rescued, brought to the G.S.P.C.A. animal sanctuary and treated by vets before being rehomed two weekends ago.

The animal welfare group said hermaphrodite dogs are extremely rare. The condition, of having both male and female organs, is considered taboo in some cultures and this is the most likely reason it was discriminated against and abandoned, G.S.P.C.A. said.
[Source: Galway Bay FM]


Kerry Group, the phenomenally successful home-grown company is always a winner, and could even be ranked among the winners of the decade.

But the firm secured another successful P.R. coup this year when it announced that it would house its Global Technology and Innovation Centre in County Kildare, with the creation of 900 jobs.

It couldn’t have asked for better publicity as Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney appeared with Kerry Chief Stan McCarthy at a press conference unveiling the project, and the massive jobs boost.
[Source: Irish Independent]


Kildare hurling was in crisis last week after senior county manager Willie Sunderland and his entire backroom team stepped down.

Sunderland, who took charge in 2011 and guided the team to a Division 2B title earlier this year, announced his decision to resign in the dressing room following training on Friday night, December 21.

"I don't feel too good about it," Sunderland told the Sunday Independent. "I feel really sad and very sorry for the 25-30 players that are putting in a serious effort for me and for Kildare.

"But there have been cracks in the whole link with the county board for the past few months and they have widened to an extent that I feel I'm just not in control of the team anymore.”
[Source: Irish Independent]


Four Kilkenny students were awarded an All-Ireland Scholarship toward their third level education last month.

The awards ceremony took place at University of Limerick where former U.S. President Bill Clinton and sponsor J.P. McManus presented the awards. A total of 125 students from both the north and south of Ireland were presented with a third level scholarship certificate.

This is the fifth year for the scholarships. Sponsored by J.P. McManus, the scheme is set to provide financial assistance to many high achieving students who completed their Leaving Certificate or A Levels in 2012.

The winning students were Luke Kelly, Castlecomer Community School; Kyryll Chulak, C.B.S. Kilkenny; Rebecca Lucey, Presentation Secondary School; Miodrag Ignjatovic, St. Kieran’s College.
[Source: Kilkenny People]


The Abbey Court estate in Portlaoise will soon be completed, with the county council giving a commitment to have all works finished off early in 2013.

In a letter received by Portlaoise Town Council from Carmel McNicholl of the planning and economic development department, it was confirmed that works were due to commence in the estate on December 3. The works are being carried out by a contractor appointed by the bond company, but will be supervised by Laois County Council technical staff. It is expected that the works will take approximately six weeks.

“I’m pleased at long last,” said Clr. Jerry Lodge. “These things are dragged out by all parties involved.”
[Source: Leinster Express]


As the number of unemployed in the county continues to rise, it is interesting to note that the majority of those employed and residing in the county have to travel outside of Leitrim for work.

The Central Statistics Office two weeks ago released the final publication in its series of Census 2011 profile reports, it showed that only 2,886 persons resident in County Leitrim also worked in the county, while 6,532 commuted to work outside the county.

Meanwhile 5,156 people residing outside the county commuted to work in Leitrim, resulting in a net loss in the working population of 1,376.
[Source: Leitrim Observer]


The model who shot to fame in the Rubberbandits’ “Horse Outside” video has revealed that she was “punched in the face” by a man after she rejected him in Limerick city on St. Stephen’s night.

Madeline Mulqueen took to her Twitter account in the early hours of Thursday morning to report the incident.

The Kildimo native who is now based in Dublin tweeted “That’s Limerick City when u reject a boy and then he punches you in the face. Hahaha can’t wait to get back to Dublin!!!”

In reply to tweets from concerned followers, Madeline said: “I’m ok, I hit him harder than he hit me #girlpower.”
[Source: Limerick Leader]


She may be a native of Kilcullen in County Kildare but after over 30 years of service to both Longford and Mostrim G.A.A., Philomena (Phil) Donoghue is dyed in the wool blue and gold.

A volunteer at both Glennon Brothers Pearse Park and Devine Park, Phil’s years of service were honoured recently with her induction into the Longford G.A.A. Hall of Fame at the Team of the Championship Awards night which took place in the Rustic Inn in Abbeyshrule at the beginning of this month.

Married to Abbeylara man and former Longford county player Philip Donoghue, Phil became involved with the Mostrim Minors through clubman Seamus Smith in the early 1980s.

From bringing schoolboy teams the length and breadth of the county to washing kits, the mother of eight has seen and done it all.
[Source: Longford Leader]


A man appeared before Dundalk district court two weeks ago charged in connection with an alleged stabbing incident in the town earlier this year in which a man was seriously injured.

Sean Duffy (31) with an address at Aisling Park, Dundalk is accused of assaulting two men causing them harm at Mullharlin Park, Dundalk on the March 11.

The court heard Thursday, December 20, that the defendant made no reply when the charges were put to him that morning.
[Source: Dundalk Democrat]


A 27-year-old Westport man who sent up to 500 texts of a threatening, abusive and sexually explicit nature to a 14-year-old boy says he cannot explain his actions.

Brian Flynn of Lanmore, Liscarney, Westport, pleaded guilty to the harassment of Harry Langan, now aged 15, over a 10-month period from November, 2011, to August, 2012.

At Westport District Court on Thursday last, Judge Mary Devins described the harassment as an “evil” act.
[Source: The Mayo News]


Thousands of mourners were joined by government ministers, farm leaders and sporting figures for the removal on Sunday night, December 23, of the Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, Shane McEntee, from his home to the Church of St. John the Baptist in his Meath East constituency.

Earlier plans to hold the funeral in his parish church of Castletown were changed to Nobber, where his father Tony's funeral took place last year, to facilitate the huge numbers expected.

The Irish Tricolor, Meath and Nobber flags flew at half-mast outside the church as the cortege arrived at the church to be received by Fr. Martin McErlean, P.P., Castletown, and Fr. Seamus Houlihan, P.P., Nobber, and seven other priests from the diocese.
[Source: Meath Chronicle]


A man has received a three-year sentence at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin for the possession of a car bomb that was left outside Crossmaglen Police Station over two years ago.

Paul Maguire, with a last address at Drumleek South, Castleblayney, County Monaghan, had pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of an improvised explosive device with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property in the State or elsewhere at Culloville, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland, on April 3, 2010.

The court heard that the device was loaded in to a stolen Peugeot 406 car and left outside the Crossmaglen P.S.N.I. station where it failed to detonate.
[Source: Irish Independent]


Connecting cycle lanes are on the way for Portarlington, as part of a shift to environmentally friendly ways of transport.

A strategy for the town has now been completed, paid for by the Department of Transport, including joined-up cycle lanes and walking routes.

The council hopes to get more money next year to start work.

“We are trying to make sure we have enough links for a joined up plan linking schools, shops and the swimming pool. We can apply for funding in 2014 but maybe this will be brought forward to 2013,” says senior council engineer Orla Barrett.
[Source: Offaly Express]


Four men who appeared at Longford District Court on Friday, December 21, charged in connection with a drugs find in Longford and Roscommon, believed to be worth an estimated $2.8 million, were remanded in custody and appear back in Longford last Friday.

The men, three of whom are Chinese and the other a Malaysian national, appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Dai Zhi You (31), Li Cheng Chen (31), Mao Song Yu (25) and Soon Hock Hoo (33), all of whom are of no fixed abode, were charged with possession of cannabis and possession of cannabis for sale or supply, following the execution of a number of search warrants under Operation Nitrogen on Thursday.
[Source: Longford Leader]


Sligo Rovers Chairman Dermot Kelly believes that the awarding of a $390,000 Sports Capital Grant to the League of Ireland champions is a "potential game changer in the history of the club."

The Bit O'Red will use the money to refurbish the all-weather facility at the Showgrounds, install a new grass training pitch and carry out work on their playing surface.

"The work will be completed within months and when it is done, the Showgrounds will have infrastructure and facilities, including the new [$330,000] Railway End stand, to allow Sligo Rovers function and develop as a model community-based club for many years," said Kelly.
[Source: Irish Independent]


A major fire at the Bord na Mona briquette factory in Littleton in the early hours of Sunday morning, December 23, caused extensive damage to the well-known plant that was saved from being burned to the ground by the magnificent efforts of fire-fighters from Thurles, Cashel, Clonmel and Templemore.

It took 31 fire-fighters to bring the blaze under control and they worked from 6:30 a.m. until midday in a bid to ensure that the fire would not spread to the major storage units which contained tons of peat and briquettes. Had those units taken off, the situation would have been much more serious according to emergency personnel.
[Source: Tipperary Star]


A well-known Cookstown footballer has died following a blaze at a house in Cookstown.

David Major, who played for Championship Two side Killymoon Rangers, died in a blaze at his home in Cooke Crescent on Saturday afternoon.

Mr. Major (59) and was unemployed.

The fire, at the house in the Gortalowry end of the town, was reported to police shortly before 1:50 p.m. on Saturday. Fire and ambulance crews also attended the scene.
[Source: Tyrone Courier]


A postmortem is due to be carried out on the body of man found on the banks of the River Suir in Waterford City Sunday morning, December 23.

The remains of the man, believed to be in his 20s, were recovered by emergency services below the Tower Hotel.

His body was then taken to Waterford Regional Hospital where a postmortem took place last Monday.
[Source: Irish Examiner]


Police in the U.K. have reiterated their appeal for information following the disappearance of a retired horse trainer from Ireland.

Owen Brennan (77), who originally hails from Castletown Geoghegan, County Westmeath, has been living in the U.K. for more than 30 years and has trained over 300 race-winning horses. He retired in 2009.

He went missing from his home in Derby on December 17.

A spokesperson for the Derby Police Department said he still had not been found and they were anxious to speak to anyone who may have seen him.
[Source: Irish Independent]


The sad and lonely death of Alan Moore at his Wexford home during the Christmas period last year was a stark reminder of the need to check on our neighbors.

Mr. Moore’s remains were found in his house at Lower John St. three months after he is believed to have died.

An inquest in April concluded he died aged 61 of a massive heart attack at his home at 53 Lower John St., Wexford on a date unknown, but believed to be around December 28, 2011. No family members or friends were in attendance at the inquest at the Talbot Hotel.
[Source: Wexford Echo]


It came just when we needed it most – a genuine Taylor-made Irish victory amid the golden end of summer.

Looking back at it all brings warm memories, with the whole nation getting behind Katie Taylor in a way that had not been witnessed since Italia '90.

It was the sports moment of the year. Or just the moment of the year, plain and simple.

The three bronze, silver and gold parties made possible by her plucky talent at the London Olympics rewrote our year completely after the gutting disappointment of the Euros earlier in the summer.

Her home town of Bray, County Wicklow, was transformed into “Katie Town,” as thousands turned out to watch on the big screen, sick with nerves.
[Source: Irish Independent]

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