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Around Ireland Airborne surprise in Longford

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

It certainly wasn’t manna.

Kenagh residents in County Longford got an early-morning surprise recently when a large frosty ball dropped from the sky into a local man’s driveway.

The Longford Leader reports that Pascal Chapman awoke to the sound of loud bang. Outside he discovered a large lump of ice blocking the front of his house.

"I have no idea where it came from," he said. "I heard a loud noise at around 6:30 in the morning, but I went back to bed. I couldn’t believe it when I saw a big lump of ice about the size of a television in my front yard," Chapman said.

A spokesperson from Met Eireann, the country’s meteorological office, could not accurately pinpoint the source of the large block but ventured it had fallen from a passing aircraft.

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"I have never really heard of such a thing before. I know that in severe hailstorms, hailstones may gather to form a piece the size of a golf ball, but never this large," said the spokesperson.

One explanation would be perhaps that a piece of frozen airplane waste accidentally dropped on the people of Kenagh.

Welcome to Ireland

Land of a thousand welcomes? Not for these gentlemen.

Immigration officials imprisoned seven Pakistani businessmen in Dublin’s Mountjoy prison for the weekend after a mix-up over immigration papers.

The business group was refused permission to enter the country and were taken into custody.

The businessmen, including two company directors, claimed they were treated like slaves and had not even been allowed to make a telephone call.

They had their passports, airline tickets and money confiscated and were held throughout the weekend in Mountjoy jail.

"It was a bad shock, really, but it’s a part of life," said Rasheed Akhtar, one of the wronged seven.

David Christie, one of their attorneys, was a little less reserved.

"I know they have a tough job at the airport, but my clients, who were traveling on valid passports and visas, should have been treated with a modicum of respect. I don’t think that was afforded to them," he said.

Immigration authorities at Dublin Airport wrongly believed the men intended traveling on to Northern Ireland without United Kingdom entry visas.

The group flew from Karachi to examine equipment at an Irish block-making firm.

Shop USA

From Barbie dolls to Britney Spears, Dublin is cheaper than London but more expensive than cities in the United States, a new survey finds.

The Irish Times reports that the British Consumer Association team visited nine European cities and Miami, Boston and New York checking the prices of a luxury basket of branded Christmas goodies in cheap, middle-level and expensive stores.

The association found Dublin more expensive than the U.S. cities, while London topped the pricey list.

For instance, the Secret Message Barbie doll costs, in Irish pounds, an average £8.03 in the U.S., £21.93 in London and £20.91 in Dublin.

Britney Spears’s "Oops I Did It Again" CD came in at £15.50 in Dublin, £18.54 in London and £9.88 in the U.S.

The association blames high UK and EU prices on the Trade Mark Directive, which allows brand-owners to control the market and prevent their goods being sold at discount prices.

"This European law is a smokescreen for price-fixing as it is allowing brand-owners to charge consumers high prices in the UK and the rest of Europe," said Sheila McKechnie, the director of the consumers’ association.

Wedding cash

A Moyvane man who was due to marry his girlfriend got the ideal start to married life when he discovered that he scooped the top prize of £20,000 in a draw in his native village.

The Kerryman reports that Thomas Mulvihill has been supporting the monthly Marian Hall Draw since it started up last year, paying in £10 per month.

"It couldn’t have happened to a nicer fellow. I think people were thrilled that it was won by a local and they were really delighted when they heard he was about to get married," said Anne Marie Kennelly, the draw organizer.

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