Category: Archive

Around Ireland: News from the 32 counties

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Suicide for abuse priest

A New Ross priest accused of sexual abuse died after taking a massive overdose of drugs and alcohol just days before he was due to appear in court.

An recent inquest found that Fr. Sean Fortune died of cardio-respiratory failure following a multiple overdose of drink and prescription drugs, reported the Munster Express.

The 45-year-old priest’s suicide stunned parishioners in the area after he was found dead in bed by his house keeper. Rosary beads were still entwined in his joined hands.

Friends believe pressure over the sexual-abuse allegations was reason the suspended priest installed a surveillance camera, a burglar alarm and security shutters on his doors and windows.

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"I bolted up the stairs and saw him lying on his back on the bed with his rosary beards around his hand. He was fully clothed and there was an empty whiskey bottle beside the bed in a bin with some papers," the priest’s housekeeper said.

A poem lay nearby on the bedside table. It was headed: "A Message from Heaven to my Family" and an envelope addressed to his brother. The body was removed to Waterford Regional Hospital.

The 45-year-old curate and ex-Christian Brother was scheduled to appear in Wexford Circuit Court to face 29 charges of sexual abuse against eight young males between June 1, 1981 and Dec. 31, 1987.

Limerick woes

Limerick may be the city of the McCourt family. But it is having trouble shaking off its less savory image.

The Limerick Leader reports that 66 percent of Irish people have a negative image of the city, according to the two-and-a-half year study on the city’s tourism image carried out by Limerick University.

Most international students only pick up bad vibes about the city when they meet Irish people, the report found.

The study found that litter and traffic congestion were the most displeasing aspects to tourists about the city. Visitors also felt that Limerick did not boast enough attractions to tourists, but instead offered only traffic congestion, a lack of parking, dilapidated buildings and run-down shop fronts, insufficient choice of restaurants, and irregular and infrequent public transport.

Visitors were pleased with the city’s setting on the Shannon, its Georgian architecture, the accommodation base and cultural offerings such as the Hunt Museum and King John’s Castle.

But, according to the study, Limerick does not meet the international required standards for a city break destination and many felt that there is only enough in the city to do for one day.

Jim Kenny, president Limerick Chamber of Commerce said: "No other town or city has an image problem like ours, yet many of them have similar urban problems."

Gas trouble

Ireland’s cattle and sheep are soon to be among Europe’s highest producers — of flatulence that is.

The Irish Times reports that rising levels of methane emissions from cows and sheep will soon exceed European Union and United Nations limits. The paper quotes consultant economist Paddy Walley as calling on the agriculture industry to deal with the issue.

Grass on Irish soil is responsible for the "gaseous condition" of the nation’s livestock and there may well be a need to reduce the number of cows in Ireland. According to the Times, nearly half of the gas pollution in the Irish air is caused by flatulent cattle.

Under UN agreements, each nation is allowed a certain level of gas emissions. Ireland has already reached that mark, and some predictions put the level at 60 percent over the limit within 10 years.

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