By Stephen McKinley
The Sunday Independent made much of documents that allegedly revealed Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s gift-giving while on state business around the world. Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi received a silver dish worth about $450 last April, while British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s new-born son, Leo, received a silver frame and hand-made teddy bear totaling about $120. Other benefactors of Bertie’s generosity included Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Poland’s president, Aleksander Kwasniewski, and Norway’s King Harald. The bills aren’t all in yet, but the cost to the taxpayer, according to the Independent, is about £15,500, or $18,400.
‘Tanks’ very much again
Ardagh in County Longford was the scene of a daring daylight robbery last Thursday. Thieves entered the post office at about 3:30 p.m. and demanded money. They fled toward Carrickboy in a yellow car having netted about £500 Irish, reported the Longford Leader.
Psychics on the case
Concern over a missing person in Kilcormac, Co. Mayo, has increased to the point that psychics have been channeling their powers in an attempt to find him. Recently, more 250 people assisted the police in a physical search for Declan Mooney, and now a Mountmellick psychic who has helped the gardai in other cases has suggested that she is over 80 percent certain that Mooney is still safe and well, according to the Tullamore Tribune.
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From psychic powers to the power of prayer: Micheal Cregg, a stone mason from Oldtown, near Athlone, but in County Westmeath, has carved the world’s largest set of rosary beads. The beads measure 43 feet from end to end and weigh about half a ton. So far, no one has attempted to use the beads, which have been entered in the Guinness Book of records, says the Roscommon Herald.
Work for Tyrone farmers
In Tyrone, Sinn Fein politician Barry McElduff has made an innovative suggestion to help farmers cope with falling income. McElduff, the Tyrone Courier reports, wants farmers to take over maintaining the rural roads network, especially gritting and salting during the winter. He says this will supplement the farmers’ income and increase contact between remote farms and cottages.
Hanniffy there to help
Darren Hanniffy, the Offaly All-Ireland hurling champion, is in El Salvador, coordinating the relief work after the recent earthquake there. Hanniffy, from Birr, has visited the worst affected areas, where plastic sheeting, jerry cans and blankets were distributed, and he told his home county’s newspaper, the Midland Tribune, that one town, Santa Helena, had been 90 percent destroyed. More than 3,000 people have been killed, and another newspaper, Belfast’s Andersonstown News, has teamed up with Irish aid agency Trocaire to help the people of El Salvador as well.