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Around Ireland Bye-Bye dot-dash

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Ireland was one of the countries to say a last good-bye to manually operated maritime Morse code transmitters after more than 100 years of service.

The Examiner newspaper reported that Maritime Minister Michael Wood was at a County Kerry coast guard station recently as Morse was closed down in Ireland. Belgium, Denmark and Iceland also paid their last respects to the signaling system.

Morse will be replaced by the high-tech GMDSS, the international global maritime distress and safety system.

"It’s a sad rather than a bad day. The passing of an era," Wood said.

The Morse system had been in use in Ireland since 1884 when a message was transmitted from between Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, and Rathlin Island.

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Sligo’s spice girls

Call them the Sligo spice girls, or at least nasty spice girls.

Gardai in the Sligo and Leitrim area believe the three teenage girls they recently nabbed are responsible for a string of crimes throughout the region, including school break-ins and robberies, the Sligo Champion reported.

The crimes gardai believe the teenage terrors are responsible for a litany of crimes, including breaking into schools in Strandhill, Ransboro, Carraroe, Rosses Point and Diffreen, and robberies in two other locations. They are also investigating the gang for the theft and burning of four cars and the theft of several computers from a GAA center.

Nuclear livestock

The northwest of Ireland is one of three areas where sheep grazing on mountainsides contain radioactivity above the level suitable for marketing, a science institute has warned.

According to the Western People newspaper, the Radiological Protection Institute issued the warning in its annual report. Sheep monitored at slaughterhouses showed that regular consumption did not pose a significant health hazard, the paper reported.

While no further information was available on what affect radioactivity had on the meat, the paper did report that other areas affected are the northeast and south of Ireland.

Possible reasons why radioactivity levels are elevated were not disclosed.

It’s a dog-eat-dog Derry

Dog fight organizers in Derry are kidnapping family pets to use in canine battles, according to animal welfare activists in the area.

The Derry Journal reported recently that animal welfare campaigners at an area refuge had received a number of animals suffering from serious injuries sustained in dog fights, one of which had been shot through the leg with a crossbow bolt after it had apparently tried to escape.

"I discovered a Labrador lying on the grass verge," one campaigner said. "Its injuries were such that I thought it had been involved in a collision with a car. It had holes on either side of its head. Its face, body and legs were covered with bites."

Another resident who had called said her dog disappeared and she had seen a car full of men speeding off her property. The animal was discovered a week later with horrendous injuries consistent with those suffered in a dog fight, the paper reported.

Grave discovery

Limerick gardai recently made a rather unholy discovery when almost £200,000 worth of drugs were uncovered in a Limerick City cemetery during a search for firearms.

The find was made in the King’s Island cemetery, according to the Limerick Leader newspaper. Sergeant Jim Ryan of the Mary Street garda station said the search was part of an on-going investigation into criminal activities in the St. Mary’s Park area.

"We were actually searching for firearms when some members of the team discovered the drugs," Ryan said.

Buried under some firewood gardai found £180,000 worth of cannabis.

"The drugs were wrapped in plastic and placed in a large coal bag hidden underneath some firewood," Ryan said. Two sawed-off barrels from a shotgun were also found in the old military graveyard.

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