By Patrick Markey
Two young Dublin women were within seconds of plunging to their deaths after an 18-hour ordeal on a Donegal mountainside before they were saved by an army rescue team.
According to the Examiner newspaper, one of the army rescuers claimed Siobháin Ryder and Sarah Meehan, both 20, were thinking of jumping 50 feet onto rocks below a steep cliff face on Sliabh League, Europe’s highest sea cliff, in a bid to escape.
Sgt. Kieran Murphy said the two girls were not experienced climbers and got into difficulties after they fell into a hidden crevice.
"When we found them one of the girls was soaked and suffering from hypothermia, there was a waterfall in the crevice. She had no feeling in her legs.
"But they were thinking about jumping or sliding onto some rocks 50 feet below. If that happened it would have been fatal. They did cry out, but it could have been a farmer calling after sheep as far as the locals were concerned," Murphy said.
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Both women were recovering in Sligo General Hospital yesterday. They were climbing, but got into difficulties as mist descended from the Atlantic. They were trapped on a ledge and began shouting for help. But nobody heard them for 18 hours.
Galway may be more famous for its bay, but the city could soon benefit from an unexpected gold rush — black gold, that is.
The Galway Advertiser reported recently that Galway could get a boost in industry and capital if oil excavations off the shore of nearby Mutton Island prove fruitful.
Primary geophysical analysis under the sea floor in Galway Bay has revealed what scientists believe are traces of oil, and further exploratory probing is continuing at the site, the paper reported.
"Nothing has been confirmed yet, but the signs from the excavations are looking positive," said a spokesman from the Shell company laboratory involved in the tests.
Representatives of the Arabic Kaj Practec Oil (KPO) company were in the city to oversee the continuing explorations.
"This could be biggest thing to ever happen to Galway and Ireland," exclaimed an American engineer with the exploration team.
An Arab sheik from KPO carrying out the exploratory excavations at Mutton Island was in the city, but declined interviews — his assistant pointed out that he does not want to comment until an oil find is confirmed.
Although Kaj Practec Oil is carrying out the initial exploration, intense bargaining will follow for the tender to carry out the full-scale oil exploration if results from prove positive.
Ireland’s high-profile criminal cases could be put on hold as the country’s state solicitors threaten disruptive action to protest working conditions and pay — and defendants could be back on the streets without prosecutors to handle their trials.
The Examiner reports that the State Solicitors Association is complaining that pressures of a heavy workload, a lack of proper support facilities and an ongoing dispute over pay are taking their toll.
The association has warned that members will be forced to resign if negotiations, which have been taking place for the last two months, are not resolved soon.
"There is a growing level of frustration among the country’s 31 members because the talks are not progressing satisfactorily," State Solicitors Association president Michael Murray said.
State solicitors threatened strike action at the end of January, sparking concern that defendants in serious criminal cases would walk free if the criminal system was brought to its knees.
"The discussions have been trundling along since January and various proposals have been made," an association spokesman said. "There is now a real fear that because of the increasing pressure that solicitors are under and the deterioration of working conditions and support services, some state solicitors will resign their post unless these issues are addressed immediately."
Increases in case-loads and gardaí success in bringing the country’s biggest criminals to justice forces state solicitors to subrent their office, staff and equipment to the state to guarantee success in key cases.
"There has been a high level of activity in drugs cases, violent crime and murder in recent months and state solicitors are under increasing pressure to ensure that a complete Book of Evidence is prepared and that no mistakes are made," a spokesman said.
"All this is being done while the support system is under increasing stress and strain."