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Around Ireland: Westward ho!

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Stephen McKinley

Westlife are Sligo-bound, according to the Sligo Champion newspaper. The ace pop group will play there on Sunday, June 23. Representatives suggested that if the show is a sellout, a second date will be organized, possibly for the day before.

The Sligo members of the record-breaking group, Shane Filan, Mark Feehily and Kian Egan, who are currently bidding for their 10th No. 1 hit single, have never made any secret of their burning desire to play a concert in their home town.

HEAD FOR THE HILLS

Leitrim hillwalkers celebrated the all-clear after last year’s foot-and-mouth disease scare forced the cancellation of trekking through the north Leitrim hills.

The annual Easter Hillwalking Festival, which focuses on walks in Manorhamilton and the surrounding countryside, will resume on March 29 and run through April 1.

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The North Leitrim Glens Tourism officer, Katherine O’Keeffe, said the resumption of the annual hillwalking event is welcome news for the region, which is still trying to recover from tourism lost through the foot-and-mouth crisis.

“Starting the Easter walk is not only important for the hillwalkers but also for the people of north Leitrim,” she said.

FROM FERMANAGH TO NEW YORK

A Fermanagh firefighter was in New York last week as part of a Northern Ireland Fire Brigade delegation visiting some of the fire stations that lost men in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Niall Hamilton is part of a seven-man fund-raising committee that raised _188,000 at fire stations throughout Northern Ireland for the families of the firefighters who lost their lives.

The seven men on the committee were invited to stay in a station in Manhattan. They visited some of those involved in the mammoth cleanup operation, as well as Ground Zero itself, and attended a memorial service.

Hamilton told the Impartial Reporter newspaper that the money was further evidence of the close ties between Ireland and America, made closer by the tragedy of Sept. 11.

IRELAND-EGYPT ENTENTE

According to Inside Cork, a deal has been signed between Ireland and Egypt to encourage the training of Egyptian medical personnel in Ireland.

Health Minister Micheal Martin signed the deal in Cairo and spoke of a new era of trade between the two countries.

Martin also published new guidelines on the training and employing of overseas medical staff.

The guidelines set out five guiding principles: quality, ethical recruitment, equity, inclusiveness, and promotion of nursing and midwifery. Minister Martin said that the full adoption of these principles “is essential to the successful recruitment of high-caliber nursing and midwifery staff from overseas.” The new guidelines are being circulated to all health service employers.

Ireland has already been recruiting in Berlin for medical staff to augment the hard-pressed Irish staff members in the health service.

FARNHAM AUCTION

Farnham House, a stately home in County Cavan, had most of its contents sold at auction last Sunday.

The auction has been occasioned by the death of the 12th Baron Farnham. Although reduced in size, the present house is a large and elegant building designed by the renowned Francis Johnston in about 1810.

Among the artifacts auctioned were a fine library bookcase, sideboards, dining table and an imposing four poster bed. There was a good collection of leather-bound books from the celebrated library.

The Anglo Celt newspaper noted that the sports section included a lake boat, fishing rods, shotguns, shooting equipment and a three-quarters-size billiard table. The wine cellar offered up its vintage clarets and ports. There was also a large quantity of household ornaments, equipment, linen, prints and oil paintings, as well as glass, brass and plated ware.

JOB GLOOM IN DONEGAL

Job trouble continues in Donegal. The McNutt’s Textile Company laid off 14 staff members last week in Downings, although owner John McNutt said that he hoped the staff would be taken back on board by the company within a month. The layoffs were due to what he called a “short-term lapse” in the firm’s order books.

The area was previously devastated by the loss of 180 jobs with the closure of the Fruit of the Loom textile factory.

STATUE RAGE

Councilors in Ardee, near Drogheda, were enraged by the erection of a new sculpture called the “Fallen Warrior” in the town, at a cost of about euro 150,000.

The sculpture is a 21-foot-tall helmet made of metal. Councilors have said that none of them were consulted about the piece, nor have any of them been invited to the opening. A further concern was raised that the sculpture would obscure the view of motorists at its location.

Fintan Malone pointed out the fact that no consideration had been given to people trying to get in to the Board of Works.

“It would be nice in the middle of a 10-acre field, where it could be viewed in full, but it is totally out of proportion with the space available for it,” he said.

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