By Patrick Markey
Ireland is at war with a sticky problem.
According to the Sunday Tribune, chewing gum, or rather how to get rid of it, is now at the top of the hit list for many local authorities. In Dublin, the city council spends £27,000 to deal with it, in Galway they were considering a ban and Cork employs one man full-time to try and keep the problem in hand, the paper reports.
As more cities come under a deluge of discarded gum and gum wrappers, Dublin Corporation is planning a campaign to prevent littering and fine those caught spitting or sticking gum where it doesn’t belong.
"It’s everywhere and makes an awful mess. People don’t realize how serious it is because you don’t notice it all the time, but it is there and when you remove it, more comes along," a corporation spokesman said.
One company, Gumbusters, makes and sells machines capable of removing gum and has just put it’s sophisticated, £15,000 "Mark 3 Gumbuster" machine on the market.
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Busy Roscommon residents who have little time to pay a visit to their local church will soon have a new avenue through which to say a pray — over the phone.
Co. Roscommon will soon get it’s own prayer phone line — the first in the west of Ireland — which will be staffed by volunteers trained to pray with callers on the line, reports the Roscommon Herald.
The service, which will start early next month, has been established by a local lay association to "meet the needs of a modern day society." According to a spokesman for the association, the service is not a help-line, but an outlet through which callers can talk and pray with trained staff. A similar service is already in operation in the Dundalk area.
"It has proven effective in meeting the needs of many people in the Dundalk area and we are sure that the people of Roscommon and beyond who ring the line will find an inner peace from the turmoil of modern society," the spokesman said.
Battered Derry men
A new support group in Derry has set up a counseling service for male victims of domestic abuse and hopes to break stereotypes surrounding violence in the home.
The Derry Journal recently reported that the group, AMEN believes evidence shows many men suffer silently in abusive relationships and that domestic violence against men in the northern city is a major problem.
"The results of a recent survey carried out in Derry regarding domestic violence against men is appalling," a group spokesman said.
"Culturally there has been a denial of the male victim and the invisible barriers such as rejection, ridicule and disbelief."
Using legal advice, counseling and other forms of support, the group hopes to counter reservations of attorneys who may have been called on to deal with domestic violence against men.
Local garda have opened up an investigation into allegations of abuse that may have taken place at an orphanage in Connacht more than half a century ago.
The Connacht Tribune recently reported that Gardai in Clifden have opened an investigation after receiving a letter from a man alleging that he had suffered abuse at the hands of nuns working at the orphanage during the 1940s.
The alleged victim, who is now in his 70s, is believed to have suggested that he was not the only one to suffer at the institution, the paper reported. The orphanage was run by nuns from the beginning of the century and was established to help children whose parents had died or who came from broken homes. The home closed down in the 1970s.
Gardai are now looking to interview former residents and those involved in the administration of the orphanage.
A warning to all would be yuppies: A Cork man was recently held in contempt of a local court after his mobile phone went off during proceedings.
According to the Corkman newspaper, the man, who was not named, had faced up to seven days in prison for letting his mobile phone ring after a Fermoy District judge had ordered all the devices switched off in the courtroom.
The man told the court he thought he had switched off his phone, but had made a call during lunch and left the device on. Accepting the man’s story with a dose of lenience, the judge fined the accused £20 instead of having him locked up.