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Around Ireland: News from the 32 counties

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Golfing bias in Cork?

Thinking of teeing off at a certain Cork course. If you’re a woman, you might just want to leave the clubs at home.

The Irish Times is reporting that at the Fota Island Corporate Day competition, being played in County Cork, women are not allowed to win any prizes. They can play; they just can’t beat the men.

The reason? The Times reports that the competition is restricted to players with official Golfing Union of Ireland handicap. But women don’t have GUI handicaps; only Ladies Golfing Union of Ireland scores.

An event sub-committee chairman, Liam McGinn, said he told the paper he was not prepared to talk about it and had nothing to say.

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But another request revealed that while women could play, "only men can compete." It seems that as women’s handicaps were generally higher, "the lads wouldn’t play" if women were allowed compete. With the women out of the way, however, the lads would play, according to one Fota member who spoke to the paper.

Pig crimes

One should always expect an apology for drunken pig escapades.

At least that is what local animal rights activists have learned after tackling a U.S. film producer.

The Wicklow People reported recently that the U.S. executive producer of "Animal Farm" has apologized for the behavior of the film’s producer and an animal handler during filming in County Wicklow.

Animal welfare groups were angered after their allegations of cruelty in the training of animals to perform in the film — including a report that a pig ended up drunk — were ignored.

Witness to the alleged cruelty made statements to gardai but claim the reports were ignored by producer Greg Smith and no action was taken about the reported cruelty to the pigs and a raven used in the film.

The paper reports that at the end of filming one of the animal handlers was fired following an incident in which a pig ended up drunk. Now the U.S. executive producer, Robert Halmi of New York’s Hallmark Entertainment, has apologized for producer Smith’s behavior.

A letter to one of the campaigners stated that Halmi was aware of the allegations being made against "Animal Farm" and had ordered Greg Smith to handle the situation with the help of the American Humane Association and the ISPCA.

"The terrible incident about the inebriated pig is true and the handler was fired on the spot. The fact that Greg Smith did not respond to the calls of concern is also regretful and Mr. Halmi personally apologizes for Mr. Smith’s actions," the letter states.

The film has since been completed and screened.

Elder abuse

A Bonniconlon man has gone on trial in Mayo charged with poisoning elderly women with a hypnotic sedative drug which interferes with bodily functions and renders those who take it all but helpless.

The Mayo News reports that John Hope pleaded not guilty to four charges of administering the substance, knowing that they did not consent to what was being done.

John Jordan, speaking for the Director of Prosecutions, informed the jury: "He called on these ladies, gave them something to drink, left them for some time and then in the hours or days after, they felt unwell."

Experts told the paper that the drug Temazepan had a number of trade names including Normazon and was one of a group of sedative/hypnotic drugs that cause sleep.

The drug is used to treat severe insomnia and is a pre-medication before surgery. Misuse can cause unsteadiness and confusion. Side effects could include drowsiness, a type of amnesia in relation to what happened after the drug is taken, depression, disinhibition, loss of restraint in self-injury, suicide and psychotic actions.

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