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Stars on Central Connacht, Galway, and Belfast

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Freak Galway tornado

While American authorities work to help victims of the Oklahoma disaster, nature struck out again, this time in Galway.

The Examiner newspaper reported that several people were taken to hospital after a freak mini-tornado hit a Galway village, leaving a trail of destruction and almost killing a couple who just managed to escape from their mobile home before it was picked up and torn by the wind.

The freak twister hit Carraroe, near Williamstown, just as the area was on the receiving end of a torrential downpour. The 30-second tornado has left a bill of hundreds of thousands of pounds in damage.

One couple fled for their lives as their mobile home was ripped apart like paper and pieces of it flung in the air for miles around. Norman Keane and Rosemary Quinn taken to Galway’s University College Hospital after they suffered broken ankles and ribs and were peppered with shards of glass from their smashed home.

As they fled to a nearby new cottage, the house was torn apart and three sides of it were thrown to the ground.

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"It is hard to explain. You would want to see the devastation caused by it to understand the ferocity of it," Keane said.

"We were just sitting in the mobile home about to have dinner. There was quite a heavy rainstorm. I looked up in the sky and saw what appeared to be sheets of galvanized metal and slates, just flying around, like pieces of paper

The three gables of his new cottage were demolished and the walls flung around, while trees which had stood there for over 100 years were uprooted and thrown to the ground. The storm also ripped off several roofs around the area.

Early starter

RUC officers were surprised to find a drunk laying inside a local bus stop recently. Surprised because the inebriated individual was only 9 years old.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that the dazed boy was found at the bus station in Ballynahinch. Police officers, who were called by concerned staff, returned the child to his parents.

RUC Superintendent Brendan McGuigan said: "I am shocked, but this is becoming an all too frequent occurrence. Before now, we have heard stories about children as young as this taking drink, but this is probably the youngest case we have had in the system.

"It really is an issue for society in general and is one that needs to be tackled urgently."

The child and his parents are to be interviewed by the RUC’s juvenile liaison officer.

Officers suspect the child may have been given the alcohol by other kids.

Phone fiend

Sheilagh Hoary has a right to be concerned about the misuse of Ireland’s new-fangled technology — especially the beloved mobile phone.

Testifying in a Connacht court recently, she told a judge about the distress she and her children were suffering at the hands of a neighbor.

Not surprising. Hoary had received 580 nuisance calls in a six-week period, at one time she got 56 calls over 12 hours from a man calling from a mobile telephone. The accused man, a neighbor, admitted charges of harassing the victim in 1998 and making use of the telephone system to cause needless anxiety.

The court heard that the two families, who were neighbors, had got along for years until an accident involving a car caused their relations to become strained. Each accused the other of wrongdoing and then the calls started. Music was played down the phone and the family even received calls while they were away on holiday. The caller once stated he was a fire starter and played tapes of children screaming, the court heard.

Hoary and her children were receiving counseling for the calls, which had forced them to move from their homes. The judge fined the man and confiscated his mobile phone.

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