By Patrick Markey
A group of Derry school kids did little to advance their careers recently when they got into a scuffle at a large job fair packed with potential future employers.
The teenagers clashed during a recent career convention at the Magee campus of the University of Ulster.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that cans and stones were thrown and one group of students from the city’s Protestant Waterside area was spat upon. The fighting started after sectarian taunts were exchanged between the schoolchildren from the Waterside and the mainly Catholic Cityside area.
The event’s organizers quickly downplayed the trouble, but one school principal blasted their lack of planning.
"There seems to have been a lack of foresight in bringing so many schoolchildren together in such a small area. Unfortunately, in this day and age there is always the potential for trouble," he said.
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A Leinster man has been charged and fined for assaulting a gárda by biting him in the groin.
The Leinster Leader reports that 22-year-old Philip Swords admitted assaulting Gárda Ian Lackey earlier this year. He was fined £500 at Naas District Court.
Gárda Lackey told the court he was called to a disturbance during the Punchestown festival and while arresting the defendant "he bit me on the inner thigh in the groin." The accused had since apologized.
"Who does he think he is, John Wayne?" asked Judge Michael Connellan. "I don’t go in for fellows assaulting guards or biting them. It’s a nasty kind of assault," the judge added before imposing the fine.
Sydney has the hurdles and javelin.
Ballacolla has plows and blue wellies.
The Examiner newspaper reports that rain did little to dampen the competitive spirit at the National Plowing Championships in County Laois recently.
"I was in for the whiskey tasting. It has knocked the stuffing out of me. We were asked to taste seven different drinks, Powers with a combination of different mixers. I haven’t been drinking in a year and it’s knocked hell out of me," said one young competitor.
But the young competitor was eager for more. "There’s too much of a queue there now, but maybe I’ll go back later on. I might even go back tomorrow for some Dutch courage before my event," he said.
The event expected thousands of spectators and brisk sales at the 700 stands.
Staff at the Equestrian World stand were doing well, particularly in wellies and rain gear.
"Blue is the big color this year. Everyone wants blue wellies," one of the assistants said.
It was President Mary McAleese’s third plowing championship and she proved to be as popular as ever with the masses.
"Australia has the Olympics but we have Ballacolla. The atmosphere here is every bit as wonderful," she said. "Enjoy it, enjoy it well."
County Clare officials say they are under siege after their staff has been threatened with being shot over difficulties about traveler accommodation.
The Clare Champion reports that officials are calling on the government for new legislation to deal with travelers who break the law.
"It’s up to the government to put the proper legislation in place. There has to be laws that are binding, applicable and enforceable. We can talk forever, but it’s up to the government to act," said Council Chairman Sean Hillery.
The growing urgency in Clare over travelers comes in the wake of a Clare County Council admission that staff had been subject to "levels of intimidation from travelers that was totally unacceptable."
"I can’t understand how staff are putting up with it. A situation where someone is threatened with being shot is totally unacceptable. That’s the kind of thing we have to put up with," one staff member said.
He added: "The council was effectively under siege. The council impounded a horse belonging to a particular family and the situation got very serious. The council staff took an amount of abuse and security had to be increased."