By Patrick Markey
Kilkenny man Chris Dowling has punched and kicked his way in record books.
The Kilkenny People newspaper reports that the 23-year-old martial arts expert is now in the Guinness Book of Reocrds after taking on 101 opponents in six and a half hours and winning more than 80 percent of his bouts.
Dowling ranks No. 7 in the karate world super heavyweight category and as part of the recent People in Need Telethon appeal, he fought for six hours and 32 minutes. He won all but 14 of the bouts.
Most of the fights were stopped inside the distance and many of his opponents had to be helped from the ring.
"I wasn’t sure that I could do it, but once I got stuck in I knew that I would make the record," Dowling said.
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Some of the fights were extremely difficult — Dowling took on a sixth-degree dan black belt and later he fought fourth-degree dan black belt. Dowling admitted being fairly tired and sore the following day but said it was worth it.
Mayo has become another county to face the realities of creating a more multicultural Ireland.
The Irish Times reports that the nation’s Department of Education recently refused to appoint an Islamic teacher for 34 Muslim children attending two primary schools in the county.
Education officials said the department has no mechanism for appointing a special teacher of Islam even though the children’s parents contacted local politicians.
The parents had hoped that an Islamic teacher would have been allowed to teach their children during the normal religious lessons when other pupils would have learned about communion and confirmation, which are not part of the Islamic faith.
The Times reports that all primary schools have syllabuses based on the religion of the school.
Jim London, the principal of one of the schools, said the children were happy in the school learning subjects such as Irish. London said some parents wanted instruction in Islam, although they were satisfied with other aspects of Irish education.
While the Department of Education said there was no basis for appointing a separate teacher, a Mayo Fine Gael representative was appalled at the denial of the childrens’ constitutional right to be instructed in their own faith.
Local officials in Kilkenny are going to extreme measures to tackle the area’s growing litter crisis.
The Munster Express reported recently that County Council officials have hired private detectives in their campaign to wage war against litter.
Kilkenny pols believe the litter problem has reached crisis point, with plastic bags and sheeting hanging from hedgerows and trees, as well as newspapers and cardboard cartons being blown along country roads.
At a recent council meeting Deputy Liam Aylward said litter was now a national disgrace. Visitors to Kilkenny were getting fed up with litter and the wrecked cars, old fridges and cookers thrown in ditches and left in forest walk ways.
The paper did not specify what role the investigators would play in the litter wars, but other plans include more and bigger trash bins around the region.