By Patrick Markey
Tokens of young lives marked the funerals of two of the three County Sligo teenagers who drowned last week. Footballs, sports shirts and a CD of the British band Oasis were among the symbols at the funeral masses on Wednesday, reports The Irish Times.
Massive crowds watched as the bodies of Michael Higgins, 17, and Bobby Taylor, 16, were buried in the southern Sligo villages of Culfadda and Gurteen.
A third victim in the horrific drowning accident, Tommy Coyle, 18, was to be buried a day after. A fourth teen, Lawrence Cooke remains in Sligo General Hospital, where doctors said he was making “good progress.”
The four youths were swimming and playing on the beach at Strandhill on Sunday, May 17, when three of them were swept out into the sea. The area is known for its rip tides and shifting sands. Cooke was rescued by local surfers.
A local bishop described the accident as a tragedy for the area and a blow to the county football teams. At the funeral for Higgins, the teen’s GAA jersey was draped over the coffin. The village was closed down as residents came to give their support to the Higgins family.
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Just a hour later, in the ceremony for Taylor, a local priest described the victim as a “fun-loving teenager and a rising star in Sligo football.” Taylor would have turned 17 on Tuesday and a birthday card laid on his coffin accompanied football jerseys, an Oasis CD and a hammer to symbolize his work in construction with his father and brothers.
Searching for skinny stars
If you’re living in Limerick and appear on the skinny side, stardom might be coming your way.
According to the Limerick Leader, the casting company for the $50 million production of Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes” was on the hunt recently for young local talent to appear in the film. And scrawny, starved looking kids were definitely in demand.
Said casting director Ros Hubbard, who was carrying out casting spots in Muintir Na Tire hall, “We particularly want to meet children who look skinny, hungry, or sick, with faces full of character, interesting personalities and some acting ability.”
Filming for the production is set to start in September, and the film’s director Alan Parker has already visited Limerick. How much of the film will be shot locally is still unclear, the paper reports.
Smuggling in Kilkenny
Kilkenny has become a central drop-off point for an international criminal ring which smuggles illegal aliens from the European mainland into the Irish Republic.
The Kilkenny People reports that Intel, a large freight company, has been duped by a French smuggling syndicate into bringing in the illegal immigrants. Recently, dockworkers at the Intel depot in Knocktopher opened up container from France only to find 11 men inside. The stowaways walked out of the docks and into Thomastown, where they were later arrested.
In another smuggling incident at Rosslare, nine other illegals, including one woman, were caught inside an Intel truck in the port area.
Each had _40 and a contact number for a Dublin-based refugee agency. Most of the men were Romanians and one of them was able to speak just a little English. Officials from Intel called on French authorities to investigate breaches of security at Cherbourg port, where it is believed the men were first stowed away in trucks and containers.
Heated debate has erupted in Letterkenny over where the local council should position the town’s latest acquisition – the superloo.
Letterkenny’s new toilet, equipped with everything from piped music to plush design, became the center of a row over where the modern “jacks” should be placed, the Courthouse or the Markets area, reports the Donegal Democrat.
The solution, it appears, was simple: buy two toilets.
Originally, the council had ordered just one of the self-cleaning facilities, but a dispute broke out between councilors over where it should go. Now council officials believe they have negotiated a deal of two toilets for the price of one and a half. But there’s a catch: one of the loos is secondhand.
At _23,200 for two, the council says the facilities will probably cost about 20 pence a go. Figuring in the running costs, says the paper, that means more than 22 people an hour to break even.
The town’s old public toilets were closed and bulldozed because of “anti-social” behavior. No details were available about that.