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Around Ireland Get me to the church

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

For one Castleisland man, getting to the church on time took a criminal twist for the worse.

Thomas Coffey, who stole two cars to get to a wedding reception in Castlemaine, was sentenced recently to nine months in prison at Castleisland court and disqualified from driving for 15 years, the Kerryman newspaper reported.

Gárda superintendent Mick O’Neill told the court that the accused had gone to Garvey’s Car Park and broke into a car and hot-wired it. Supt. O’Neill said he then drove toward Firies with two others, but the vehicle ran out of gas.

The men then stole another car, which had the key in the ignition, and went to Castlemaine, where they abandoned it before going to what Coffey’s attorney described as a "post-wedding reception."

"He was only borrowing it for a short period to go about 15 miles,” the attorney said.

Supt. O’Neill said there was £1,234.48 in damage caused to the first car. He said the accused, aged 32, had eight previous convictions for driving without insurance.

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Leitrim’s presidential day

President Mary McAleese is to officially open celebrations for the Leitrim National School Reunion this August. The school, on the Drumshanbo-Carrick on Shannon road, opened in 1835 and is one of the oldest in Ireland. It is planning four days of celebrations from Aug. 5-8. President McAleese will attend on Aug. 7.

Past pupils of the school in the U.S. who are interested in attending should contact Joe Earley c/o Leitrim National School Reunion, Leitrim Village, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.

Earley’s phone number is 011-353-78-20826 and the fax is 011-353-78-20189.

Have computers but . . .

When it comes to some elementary schools in rural Ireland, the much-vaunted Celtic Tiger is nowhere to be seen.

According to a survey in County Roscommon, details of which were published in the Roscommon Herald, 21 schools had no hot water, 10 schools had no staff bathroom, 52 had no caretaker and 38 had no cleaner.

However, all schools had at least one computer as well as a telephone and photocopier, but only one had a fax machine. Forty-one schools had no overhead projector, and five schools had no video.

Ninety-one percent of the schools that participated in the Roscommon school described themselves as rural.

Dingle hospital

Construction of a hospital in Dingle, Co. Kerry, is expected to start next year. The chief executive of the local health board, Sean Hurley, said Dingle’s elderly population was rising rapidly and the new community hospital is needed to care for them.

Heroin in provincial towns

The chief superintendent of the Gárda Síochána in Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Joe Shelly, has rejected claims that there are 60 heroin addicts in the town. Speaking to the Westmeath Independent, he said: "To state that there are 60 or so heroin addicts in the Athlone area is simply not the case. . . . While almost every provincial town has a drug problem, it is totally irresponsible in my opinion to hype out of all proportion a situation which clearly is not the case."

However, the superintendent said he was not saying a drug problem does not exist in Athlone.

Death on the roads

Speed is certainly a contribution the incidences of road accidents and traffic deaths in Ireland. An undercover gárda van in the Louth-Meath area is detecting an average of 100 speeders every day. In the first two months of this year, 10 people were killed on roads in Louth and Meath. Almost 100 have already been killed on Irish roads this year.

Corruption in Clare?

Claims and hints of corruption in the Clare planning process through the existence of alleged special relationships between building interests and planning officials have been rejected this week by Clare County Council officials. Said Clare County Manager Willie Moloney: "No builder, developer or architect has a special relationship with the planning office so as to give them preferential treatment. Anyone who gives that impression is wrong because it is not true."

However, Fianna Fail’s Tom Prendeville claimed there were professional lobbyists at work in all counties to try to influence planning decisions.

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