Subscribe: IrishExaminer.com
http://www.irishexaminer.com/rss/irishexaminer_top_rss.aspx
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
Tags:
cork  court  dublin  euro  family  garda iacute  garda  ldquo  murphy  pay  public  rdquo  told  woman  year  yesterday 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: IrishExaminer.com

Irishexaminer.com



Join us for a refreshing take on the latest news and views from Ireland and around the world



Updated: 2017-01-19T00:45:08+00:00

 



€160k for ex garda forced to retire

2017-01-18

Psychological injuries after head on crash prevented return to work

Psychological injuries after head on crash prevented return to work

A “brave and courageous” garda, who was forced to retire because of psychological injuries suffered when two young burglars collided head-on with his squad car, has been awarded compensation of more than €160,000.

Counsel Bruce Antoniotti said John Sutherland had been patrolling with a colleague in April 2007 when they received a call about two youths who had robbed firearms and ammunitions from a house in Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford.

Mr Sutherland, now 57, told a High Court Compensation hearing that he and his colleague saw the two youths fleeing in a Northern registered Seat Leon.

As the gardaí approached, the Seat sped off and a high-speed chase ensued. Mr Sutherland said the car was being driven aggressively, forcing others out of its way.

He said the Seat suddenly made a handbrake turn and drove towards the Garda car. Mr Sutherland, who was driving the car, said he could not avoid a head-on collision. Both gardaí banged their heads off the windscreen, despite having their seatbelts on.

Mr Sutherland, of Annestown, Co Waterford, told Mr Justice Bernard Barton the two robbers got out of the car and he and his colleague ran after them. The court heard the two youths fled to Annestown beach and swam to a nearby island.

He said he was informed that Garda assistance was on its way when he saw black smoke coming from the collision scene. He went back and saw the two cars on fire.

The court heard that he removed the firearms and cartridges through the rear door of the Seat only minutes before explosions were heard from the cars. “I was worried that members of the public near the scene could be injured and also, if the firearms and ammunitions had burnt in the fire, fingerprints evidence would have been lost,” he told the court.

The court heard he suffered neck and back pain and attended Waterford Regional Hospital the next day.

He said he later developed depression symptoms and post-traumatic stress disorder. He had needed to undergo counselling therapy and take anti-depressant medication.

He had become irritable and had developed an anger management issue. Mr Sutherland said he had not been able to play golf for a year after the incident.

He had lost confidence and had not been able to go back to work. The court heard he was informed in 2010 that he was being retired on medical grounds, by reason of “infirmity of his mind”.

Mr Sutherland, who sued the minister for finance, claimed he did not have the intention to retire early.

He said he had applied for alternative employment but had not been offered any interview.

Judge Barton said he was satisfied the death of his wife was not the cause of Mr Sutherland’s inability to go back to work as a garda. He said Mr Sutherland, “a very courageous and genuine man”, was not likely to pursue employment in the future but would rather develop a kennel business he had started with his late wife.

The judge said Mr Sutherland’s psychological illness had improved and he was in a new relationship. He awarded him €80,000 for pain and suffering, €75,000 for loss of earnings and €7,126 for medical expenses, a total of €162,126 compensation.

(image)



Brendan Howlin aims to double Labour Dáil seats

2017-01-18

Labour is aiming to double its Dáil seats in the next general election and will begin the process of selecting candidates in the coming weeks as it seeks to rebuild the party.

Labour is aiming to double its Dáil seats in the next general election and will begin the process of selecting candidates in the coming weeks as it seeks to rebuild the party.

While Labour faced a near wipeout in last February’s election, its membership has now increased by more than 1,000 in recent months as leader Brendan Howlin aims to secure the party’s future.

Mr Howlin and other senior party figures are moving away from campaigning in middle-class areas and instead focusing on attracting working-class support once again.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Howlin outlined measures to rebuild the party.

“My ambition is to double the size of the Labour Party at every level: To double our number of members from 4,000 to at least 8,000; to double our councillors from 50 to 100; and to double our number of TDs, also.

"In the first instance, we need to focus on places that traditionally voted Labour. Once we win back seats in those areas, we will continue campaigning to rebuild our party in every community across Ireland.”

Labour is battling to regain support after being annihilated during the last election where its TD numbers fell from 37 at one stage in government to just seven in opposition.

The process of selecting election candidates will begin this month, with the intention to pick those who have a strong chance in urban areas, including Dublin and Cork.

Mr Howlin, a former minister, also wants to return ownership of the party to its ordinary members, supporters, and grassroots.

“We are rebuilding the Labour Party as a movement of people, campaigning for justice in our economy, society, and environment. Over the last few months, 1,100 new people have joined our movement, and I hope people from all walks of life will continue to do so during 2017.

"Empowering our members and activists, rebuilding the party as a listening party, a party that is inclusive and welcoming, and that is open to different points of view,” he said.

The party has senior figures planning campaigns and its future, including re-examining Labour’s constitution, but younger faces will contest selection conventions shortly.

Dublin city councillor Rebecca Moynihan is being tipped to run in Dublin South Central.

The former deputy mayor has been involved in regeneration projects and campaigned for more multi-denominational schools.

Former lord mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague, who proposed the capital’s popular Dublin bike scheme in 2004, is also tipped to run in Dublin North West.

Labour also has 32 new local area representatives for the next local elections, including former party press officer Ciaran Garrett in Dublin’s north inner city, former ministerial advisor Peter Horgan in Cork City, and Labour Youth activist Eimear Martin in Dundalk, Co Louth.

Part of Labour’ rebuilding strategy will be to appeal to areas where traditionally they are strong, particularly in Dublin.

This involves competing with PBP-AAA, Sinn Féin, and the Social Democrats.

(image)



Sister of Cork synthetic drug victim offers to help HSE

2017-01-18

The sister of designer-drug victim Alex Ryan has offered to work with the HSE to highlight the dangers of [url=http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/deadly-drug-may-be-circulating-in-cork-439611.html]designer drugs[/url].

The sister of designer-drug victim Alex Ryan has offered to work with the HSE to highlight the dangers of designer drugs.

Nicole Ryan, who delivers drugs awareness talks in her own time to secondary schools, made the offer yesterday as Garda investigations into the suspected drugs-related death of a teenager in Cork City continued.

She said the death of Michael Cornacchia, 16, has convinced her of the need to work full-time on a drugs awareness campaign.

“Nothing I can say, or no amount of sorrys, can make it right for his heartbroken family. I know the pain,” Nicole said.

“I am willing to give this my full commitment, give up everything, and give this my all. This campaign can bring the much-needed education that young people need today. It can help save lives.”

Her brother, Alex, 18, died in Cork University Hospital on January 23 last year after ingesting the synthetic drug, N-Bomb, at a house party five days earlier.

Within months, she launched her own drugs awareness campaign and has visited almost a dozen schools in Cork, Kerry, and Limerick since September, speaking about her family’s tragedy, and warning teenagers of the dangers of designer drugs in particular.

She said Michael’s death brought memories flooding back of her own family’s ordeal this time last year.

“It is just so sad to think that his family have been launched into this now — they are just at the beginning.

“I want to fully commit to this cause so that others out there do not have to go through this again and again,” she said.

“The reaction to my message in schools has been astonishing — they really understand where I’m coming from, they see it’s real,” she said.

“I would like to think that I’ve opened their eyes and that they realise that nobody is invincible. There are real dangers and this can happen to anybody.

“And with Rag week approaching, I would encourage students and young people to think twice about taking these drugs.

Gardaí investigating Michael’s death said it could be several weeks before the results of toxicology tests can identify the substance he may have consumed, and which may have contributed to his death.

READ MORE: Deadly drug may be circulating in Cork

(image)



Residents demand Cork bus lane be scrapped due to accidents

2017-01-18

Residents have called for the scrapping of a bus lane on one of Cork City’s busiest roads after figures show there have been more than 100 accidents in the area since it was installed.

Residents have called for the scrapping of a bus lane on one of Cork City’s busiest roads after figures show there have been more than 100 accidents in the area since it was installed.

Wilton Road Residents Association has asked Local Government Minister Simon Coveney to intervene in a bid to improve road safety on the Wilton road before someone is killed.

“We have been raising these concerns for almost a decade but they have been ignored,” said residents’ spokesman John Leahy.

“Most of the accidents are associated with the dangerous and inappropriate design characteristics of the bus lane and particularly with the junction at Wilton Gardens.

The whole thing is a mess and requires urgent action and that’s why we’ve asked Minister Coveney to intervene.”

Wilton Rd, close to Cork University Hospital (CUH), the Bon Secours Hospital, UCC, and CIT, is one of the city’s busiest access routes, with up to 8m vehicle movements a year.

Despite concerns of gardaí and residents, a city-bound bus lane, for use during peak morning and evening hours, was installed in 2003 between CUH and Dennehy’s Cross.

An analysis by gardaí shows there was an average of 16 accidents on the road reported to them every year since then.

A further analysis of accidents between CUH and Dennehy’s Cross shows that 11 were reported to gardaí in 2012, eight in 2013, and ten in 2012.

The most common reasons were side impacts caused by city-bound vehicles moving from the right lane into the left lane, and glancing off vehicles inside them.

Another common cause was the rear-ending of vehicles at the junction of Wilton Rd and Wilton Gardens, where traffic merges and motorists got confused about the bus lane.

(image)

Gardaí said motorists get confused approaching Dennehy’s Cross, and jump lanes to ensure they are in the correct lane to proceed to the city, or turn left or right.

Several minor accidents have occurred at the junction of Wilton Gardens, as motorists sought to turn right onto Wilton Rd.

Speed has also been cited as a concern, with surveys in 2011 and 2014 showing that more than 20% of the road’s users — 4,000 a day or 1.5m a year — broke the 50km/h speed limit.

Two vehicles were clocked at more than 100km/h; three were over 125km/h; and three broke the 135km/h mark.

Mr Leahy said residents have suggested “simple, cost-effective solutions”, including scrapping the bus lane and installing lights at Wilton Gardens, but nothing has changed.

(image)

He said that, given the 60% increase in road deaths in the Cork area last year, City Hall must act before there is a fatality on the road.

Councillor John Buttimer (FG) said he has facilitated several meetings between residents and city officials over the years, but there has been little progress.

“There is a traffic management issue here. It’s time now to scrap the bus lane on a trial basis and install the lights at Wilton Gardens to see if that can improve the situation,” he said.

(image)



Man raped his daughter 61 times

2017-01-18

A Cork father of nine who brutally raped his teenage daughter on a weekly basis when she was aged between 16 and 17 has been jailed for nine years.A Cork father of nine who brutally raped his teenage daughter on a weekly basis when she was aged between 16 and 17 has been jailed for nine years.Patrick O’Driscoll, aged 42, with an address in Codrum, Macroom, Co Cork, was found guilty by a jury of 61 counts of raping his eldest daughter, Ellen O’Driscoll, between 2008 and 2009. He had denied the charges. In Central Criminal Court yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Butler said O’Driscoll’s abuse of his daughter “tore the family apart”. “Her mother, sisters, grandparents, uncles and aunts all took her father’s side. I hope it is of some small consolation to Ms O’Driscoll that in the teeth of her father’s denial... a jury of 12 citizens have found by unanimous verdict that he was guilty of 61 counts of rape.” Sentencing O’Driscoll to 10 years in prison with the final year suspended, Mr Justice Butler took into account the fact that O’Driscoll has led an otherwise “blameless life”, and “appears to be rearing the rest of his family properly”. He suspended the final year on a number of conditions, including that O’Driscoll have no contact with his daughter. Ms O’Driscoll, 24, who was not in court for the sentence, previously waived her right to anonymity. In a victim impact statement previously handed in to court, she said she continues to serve a life sentence since coming forward with the allegations against her father. Her entire family, including her eight siblings, have turned against her and she is now isolated from her community: “It has torn my family apart. My mam, sisters, brothers, uncles and aunts all took his side. So I have no family now. I don’t blame my brothers and sisters as I know what it’s like to have someone messing inside your head. But I will never forgive my mam.” The week-long trial last November heard that Ms O’Driscoll was the eldest child of a Traveller family that moved around frequently, but was living in Cork City in 2008 and 2009. She told the court her father raped her on a weekly basis from when she turned 16, when her mother was out shopping and she was minding younger siblings. Ms O’Driscoll broke down several times as she told the court that on the first occasion, her father ordered her into her parents’ bedroom, tied her hands behind her back, spread her legs, put a pillow over her face and raped her. “He said, ‘I’ve missed this. I won’t go without it anymore’,” she said. Afterwards, her father acted like nothing had happened: “He just acted like a normal loving father, when he was far from that.” The trial heard Ms O’Driscoll wasn’t allowed go to school: “I had to stay at home, clean, cook, look after the kids, behave like a housewife.” She said he threatened her not to tell anyone about the alleged abuse, telling her he would kill her and kill himself: “He used to threaten that I would never see my brothers and sisters if I told anybody and that’s what happened. To this day, I don’t see them.” In her victim impact statement, Ms O’Driscoll said she missed her brothers and sisters very much: “We were very close siblings but it was taken away by a very sick man. I feel I’m serving a life sentence, even though I didn’t do anything wrong. I will be living half a life for the rest of my life.” Thomas Creed, defending, said O’Driscoll’s family support him and are “shocked and saddened by his conviction”. “They still love him very much and miss him very much,” he said. After he was sentenced, O’Driscoll waved to family members before being led away.[...]



Woman who felt scalpel during C-section settles

2017-01-18

A woman who claimed she felt the scalpel as it cut into her during a caesarean section under local anaesthetic to deliver her baby has settled her High Court action against the National Maternity Hospital, Holles St, Dublin.

A woman who claimed she felt the scalpel as it cut into her during a caesarean section under local anaesthetic to deliver her baby has settled her High Court action against the National Maternity Hospital, Holles St, Dublin.

Ceinwen Doyle claimed when the initial skin incision was made in the C-section, she felt the scalpel slicing through the layers of skin.

She told Mr Justice Kevin Cross: “I could feel the cutting. It scared me.”

Ms Doyle, the court heard, was topped up twice more with anaesthesia but her baby was later delivered under general anaesthetic.

On the third day of the hearing yesterday, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the case had been settled and could be struck out.

Ms Doyle, aged 36, of Prospect Lawn, The Park, Cabinteely, Dublin, had sued the National Maternity Hospital over her care at the time of her daughter Lauren’s birth in September 2013.

She claimed she was asked to take part in a study into the Oxford head elevating laryngoscopy pillow, to which she agreed. However, she claimed the full nature and extent of what her participation entailed and the risks associated were not explained to her adequately or at all, or that the study involved a different method of anaesthesia.

The claims were denied.

(image)



Deadly drug may be circulating in Cork

2017-01-18

The HSE has warned that a potentially deadly new designer drug may be in circulation in Cork City.

The HSE has warned that a potentially deadly new designer drug may be in circulation in Cork City.

The public health warning came after tests on a powder recovered by gardaí investigating the suspected drug- related death of a teenager confirmed the drug U-47700, which is known on the streets as pinky, pink, or U4.

It may be in circulation in the city in white powder form and resembles cocaine.

The super-strong synthetic drug has been linked to up to 90 deaths in the US in the last nine months, including two 13-year-olds in Utah, as well as deaths in Europe.

It hit the headlines after the death of the singer Prince, who took a cocktail of drugs which included U-47700 and fentanyl. It is almost eight times more potent than heroin.

It was added to the list of schedule 1 drugs in the US last November, but can still be bought easily online from underground or street labs, many of which are in China.

An autopsy was conducted yesterday on the body of Michael Cornacchia, 16, following his death on the southside of Cork on Monday but gardaí said it will be some time before the results of toxicology tests can confirm cause of death.

The HSE advises against taking illegal drugs, but said if people decide to take such substances, they should be aware there is no quality control, and they should take certain harm-reduction measures.

“There is no way of telling what is in a powder or pill just by looking at it. It may look like the drug you want to purchase but it may well be something else,” said a HSE public health expert.

  • You can get information by contacting the confidential HSE Drugs and Alcohol Helpline at freephone 1800 459 459 or online at drugs.ie.
(image)



HSE apologises to widow over paramedic’s death

2017-01-18

The HSE has apologised to the family of a paramedic who fell out a side door of a moving ambulance to his death.

The HSE has apologised to the family of a paramedic who fell out a side door of a moving ambulance to his death.

The apology was read out in court as part of the settlement of a High Court action by the widow of paramedic Simon Sexton, who died six years ago.

The father of six from Carricknashoke, Clifferna, Stradone, Co Cavan, died after he fell out the side door of an ambulance and onto the road as a patient was transported from Cavan to Dublin.

The 43-year-old was in the back of the ambulance when he heard the wind coming into the vehicle, indicating that the door was not shut properly. When he put his hand on the lever, the door opened and “wrenched him out”. He suffered serious head injuries and died shortly afterwards.

Three years ago, the HSE pleaded guilty and was fined €500,000 for health and safety breaches as a result of the June 2010 death.

As part of the apology, counsel for the HSE, Micheál Ó Scanaill, read an extract from a letter which the HSE sent to Ms Sexton in March 2013. It said: “This was a tragic accident that should not have occurred.

“All employees of the HSE are entitled to expect a safe system of work, without risk to their life or health. The HSE fell below that duty of care in respect of your husband and for this I sincerely apologise.”

Ms Sexton had sued the HSE over her husband’s death and for nervous shock over the accident on the N3 Cavan to Dublin road on June 3, 2010. She claimed she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since the accident. The court heard that, since the incident, all ambulances have been altered to include front-facing hinges, along with several other safety measures.

(image)



No clarity on financing of €120m public pay hikes

2017-01-18

Government has come under sustained pressure to explain the €120m black hole which will have to be filled to deliver public sector wage increases.

Government has come under sustained pressure to explain the €120m black hole which will have to be filled to deliver public sector wage increases.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe is to bring forward a €1,000 pay rise for workers signed up to the Lansdowne Road agreement who earn up to €65,000.

But a funding black hole appeared to emerge last night as Mr Donohoe could not pinpoint exactly where the money would come from.

The increases had been due to kick in from September but will now be introduced from April in a bid to avoid industrial unrest .

However, just hours after he had announced the sweetener, Mr Donohoe came under a prolonged grilling form opposition TDs, who claimed the figures were a “fairytale” and made a “mockery” of the budgetary system.

Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary said: “Since the budget you have essentially been able to find from nowhere €170m [yesterday’s sum and the €50m for gardaí].

“That’s one very big sofa if it has €170m down the back of it.”

Appearing before the Budgetary Oversight Committee, Mr Donohoe was asked to give exact details of how the pay hike — worth around €416 over five months — will be funded.

Mr Donohoe said the money will come from efficiencies and savings but said: “I am not saying that I have identified savings or efficiencies and I am not giving them to you, that is not the case.”

The latest sum is on top of an additional €100m which was found immediately before the budget.

Committee member Lisa Chambers said nobody was “begrudging” public sector workers a pay increase but said it is “impossible” for the committee and opposition parties to put forward realistic budget proposals if they are not provided with the true figures.

“It makes a mockery of the process because we are not working off the same figures that you are operating from,” she told the minister.

Labour’s Joan Burton asked Mr Donohoe to provide details of where the funds required for the Garda pay deal will come from, dubbing it a “fairytale”.

“You are not a magician but to conjure up an extra €25m out of Justice you would need to be,” she said.

The accelerated pay increase was hammered out with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) during talks to tackle the anomalies presented as a result of the Garda pay deal which was recommended by the Labour Court before Christmas.

But a union source said “no one is exactly doing high fives around the place” while Tom Geraghty, general secretary of the Public Service Executive Union, described it as a “down payment”.

(image)



Fears for jobs as ‘hard Brexit’ looms

2017-01-18

The Government has been urged to give thousands of businesses special funding after Britain confirmed ‘hard Brexit’ plans that could cause widespread job losses across Ireland.The Government has been urged to give thousands of businesses special funding after Britain confirmed ‘hard Brexit’ plans that could cause widespread job losses across Ireland.Opposition parties urged the protectionist move last night amid fears thousands of jobs are at stake after British prime minister Theresa May revealed some details of her Brexit plans. Her admission that Britain will leave the single market, and possibly the EU customs union, has raised the prospect of tariffs being slapped on Irish exports and disruption to Irish trade. While Ms May said there was no desire to return to the frontiers of the past in the North, TDs in border counties expressed the most concern as the consequences of her speech sunk in. Ms May said she wanted the common travel area between Ireland and Britain to remain. She also prioritised delivering a “practical solution” to the question of a border with the North. However, her 12-point plan will see Britain leave the single market, which allows free trade and movement in the EU. Ms May’s confirmation Britain may not remain a full member of the EU customs union after Brexit and instead negotiate its own trade deals with countries also worries businesses. Danny McCoy, CEO of employers group Ibec, said these changes could seriously disrupt Ireland’s trading relationship with the North and Britain. “This is an extremely aggressive move by Britain and Irish business will have to reflect on a new reality,” he said. In the Dáil, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin cited Enterprise Ireland and ESRI research, which warns up to 25,000 jobs could be at risk from a hard Brexit and of a big drop in wages nationally. Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe also admitted that Brexit was “the defining challenge for Government”. While Mr Kenny told the Dáil he welcomed some clarity from Ms May, he pointed to Ireland’s difficult campaign ahead in Europe to get special concessions over Brexit. Small firms called for special financial assistance for businesses and for Brussels to agree to exemptions here. “The uniquely negative implications for Ireland must be heard at EU level,” said Small Firms Association director Patricia Callan. Border county TDs let their “deep concerns” be known, especially given Ms May did not signal the North would be a special case. Former minister and Louth TD Fergus O’Dowd said he was “very worried” for the future of the region, as exiting the customs union would establish a new trading border on the island of Ireland. “We should have a one-island economy, but this profound decision means we have new economic partition here, which could not have come at a worse time, given the instability in the North,” he told the Irish Examiner. The matter is set to dominate tonight’s Fine Gael party meeting, where border TDs will want assurances from Mr Kenny that everything is being done to neutralise the impact of Brexit. However, opposition demands for a Brexit minister were shot down by the government, with Mr Kenny’s spokesman insisting the taoiseach would negotiate. Mr Kenny will travel to the World Economic Forum in Davos today, where he is expected to press EU representatives for Ireland to get a deal from Brussels once Brexit negotiations begin. Mr Kenny has also asked Downing Street if Ms May would speak to the Dáil about Brexit when she visits Dublin this month, following a request by the Greens. European Council president Donald Tusk warned Ms May’s hard-line Brexit plans w[...]



An Post agent charged with stealing pension payments

2017-01-18

An agent for An Post yesterday appeared in court charged with stealing payments from old-age pensioners.

An agent for An Post yesterday appeared in court charged with stealing payments from old-age pensioners.

At Kilrush District Court, Maureen Walsh, aged 56, of the Lighthouse Inn, Kilbaha on the Loop Head peninsula in west Clare, appeared in connection with 36 charges concerning the theft of over €12,400 from An Post and five old-age pensioners.

Ms Walsh’s solicitor, Joseph Chambers, told the court yesterday that his client would be entering a guilty plea to all of the counts.

Insp Kieran Ruane told the court that Ms Walsh operated the Kilbaha Postal Agency for An Post, where it was her job to distribute social welfare payments to social welfare customers in her area.

Insp Ruane said that in relation to two pensioners, Ms Walsh withheld 22 Department of Social Welfare payments of €4,198.

Further sums were with-held from three other pensioners totalling hundreds of euro.

In addition, Ms Walsh is to plead guilty to a separate charge of stealing €8,250 directly from Austin Dunne of An Post over a three year period from May 10, 2013, to March 8, 2016.

Insp Ruane said: “This amount was never returned to An Post and Ms Walsh’s position was terminated.”

The names of the five pensioners are not in the charge sheets.

Insp Ruane said that Ms Walsh has no previous convictions and her role with An Post was terminated when the offences came to light.

After hearing an outline of the facts, Judge Patrick Durcan said that he would hear the case in his own court.

Mr Chambers said his client was anxious for the matter to be disposed of as quickly as possible.

He asked for a three month adjournment to allow him gather full evidence for the sentencing hearing.

Judge Durcan also ordered that a probation report be carried out on Ms Walsh for the sentencing date.

The judge also stated that Ms Walsh explore the issue of compensation.

Judge Durcan adjourned the case to April 11 for sentence and remanded Ms Walsh on continuing bail to that date.

(image)



Ammo trial for Jim Mansfield Jr

2017-01-18

A son of billionaire businessman Jim Mansfield will go on trial in June on ammunition charges.

A son of billionaire businessman Jim Mansfield will go on trial in June on ammunition charges.

Jim Mansfield Jr, aged 48, is accused of having 180 rounds of .22 Walther ammunition without a firearms licence at his home at Tassagart House in Saggart, Dublin on January 29, 2015, a charge he denies.

In an outline of the evidence given earlier, a district court heard gardaí searched his home under warrant and located a legally held Walther pistol as well as 480 rounds of ammunition — 180 rounds in excess of the licence.

His case was listed for mention before Judge Bryan Smyth at Dublin District Court yesterday. Tony McGillicuddy, defending, said equipment for playing video evidence would be needed for the trial, which will take one day to be heard.

Judge Smyth ordered Jim Mansfield Jr, who did not address the court, to appear again for his trial on June 12.

His brother, Patrick James (PJ) Mansfield, aged 38, is accused of possession of 1,252 rounds of Walther ammunition without a firearms licence at his former home at Coldwinters Lake in Saggart. He has pleaded not guilty.

It has been held that his case is too serious to be dealt with at district court level and should be sent forward to the circuit court. Judge Smyth ordered PJ Mansfield, who was excused from attending court yesterday, to appear again next month when it is expected he will be served with a book of evidence and returned for trial.

The district court has heard that he was licensed to have 300 bullets for a legally owned Walther .22 pistol which he kept in a picture frame hanging over his bed. However, it has been alleged he had over 1,550 rounds of ammunition for the gun at his home.

(image)



Courts deliver letters to curb repossession unrest

2017-01-18

The Courts Service in Limerick has begun hand delivering letters to addresses where orders for repossession are to be made by mortgage lenders, as part of new security measures to block courtroom demonstrations by protestors.

The Courts Service in Limerick has begun hand delivering letters to addresses where orders for repossession are to be made by mortgage lenders, as part of new security measures to block courtroom demonstrations by protestors.

It was revealed yesterday that the practice began earlier this month, prior to the first of the new year repossession court hearings in the city on January 6.

It’s understood up to eight letters have been hand delivered by an appointed messenger of the court, to addresses in the Limerick area since the start of 2017.

The decision to contact the defendants was made by County Registrar Pat Wallace, without the knowledge of the Courts Service headquarters in Dublin, reliable sources said.

Last May, the Limerick repossession court was abandoned after 100 anti-evictions protestors interrupted proceedings leading to chaotic scenes in which extra gardaí were called to the court to remove the demonstrators.

Following this, Mr Wallace decided to end the normal practice of publishing the Limerick repossession court list and to instead arrange for defendants to be informed of their cases by the Courts Service.

The decision to hand deliver the letters is seen as a practical solution to a practical problem, sources stated.

(image)



€1k pay hike brought forward for public workers

2017-01-18

The Government has avoided potential industrial action by bringing forward a €1,000 pay increase for public workers.

The Government has avoided potential industrial action by bringing forward a €1,000 pay increase for public workers.

Unions supported the proposal to bring forward the €1,000 pay rise to those earning up to €65,000.

The payment, which had been due to kick in from September, was brought forward to April 1, in a bid to avoid industrial action.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe had entered talks with public sector representatives to address anomalies arising from the €50m Garda pay recommendation made by the Labour Court.

Mr Kenny told the Dáil: “The rationale was to restore the structure to the process and to support industrial peace while allowing more difficult issues such as pension benefits, which are to be on the table as part of the later negotiations in respect of the Lansdowne Road agreement.”

The public services committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said the new arrangement is contingent on maintaining industrial peace.

Mr Kenny said the accelerated increases would allow for the continuation of the Lansdowne Road agreement until a new deal is reached.

The agreement will see around 250,000 public service employees receive an increase in annualised salaries of €1,000 for April to August. it means workers will receive around €420 more than had been expected this year.

The pay deal will not apply to gardaí, who have already received around €3,000 as part of a Labour Court agreement, nor will it apply to teachers who are members of the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland and are outside of the Lansdowne Road agreement.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin told the Dáil he does not argue against the acceleration of pay restoration, but said he would like to know where the money is coming from.

“Bluntly, a trite line that it will come from unspecified efficiencies or savings is not good enough for the House.

“When the Labour Court recommendation relating to An Garda Síochána came through late last year, the Government fudged how it would be paid for.”

Earlier in the day, Mr Donohoe said the money would come from savings and efficiencies, but could not identify exactly where these savings would be made.

He said the total amount would be less than the savings that had been accrued in 2016 and that he expects similar savings this year.

He said it is important to secure “order in how we plan our public expenditure for this year”.

Mr Donohoe said: “The other scenario that I faced into is inexorable pressure building up on those unions and their members who were inside the Lansdowne Road agreement.

“The consequences for that are unpredictable; they would have been unpredictable for the exchequer, they would have been unpredictable for industrial relations within our country.”

(image)



‘Down payment’ welcomed, but unions warn of bigger pay battle

2017-01-18

Public service trade unions have welcomed the €38.33 fortnightly “down payment” for their members as a result of the Government’s decision to bring forward pay increases from April, but have warned that much more will be expected in a new deal later this year.Public service trade unions have welcomed the €38.33 fortnightly “down payment” for their members as a result of the Government’s decision to bring forward pay increases from April, but have warned that much more will be expected in a new deal later this year.The trade union reaction to the deal, which is in light of payments secured by gardaí last November, was one of acceptance, while being far from exuberant. One union source said “no one is exactly doing high-fives around the place”, while Tom Geraghty, general secretary of the Public Service Executive Union (PSEU), described it as a “down payment”. The meeting of the Public Services Committee of ICTU to discuss the terms was short, given there is a general acceptance of the terms and the realisation that union leaders are focused on what is universally expected to be the more difficult job of trying to formulate a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement. Talks on that new deal are expected to begin in May or June after the Public Service Pay Commission makes its initial report by mid-year. Eoin Ronayne, general secretary of the Civil Public and Services Union said he expects the next discussion to fully reverse the pay cuts for those earning less than €50,000; while also rolling back the additional unpaid hours and new entry lower points for a number of public service workers. Impact general secretary Shay Cody said his union will push “for the fastest possible pay recovery in the context of public finances and other calls on the public purse, like investment in infrastructure and public services”. In a Q&A for their members, a number of public service unions, including PSEU and Impact, said the payment to public servants earning under €65,000 is, contrary to media reports, an increase in pay rate, not a lump sum. Those earning more than €65,000 are not included, because this deal is as a result of last November’s Labour Court recommendation for gardaí earning less than €65,000. Gardaí earning over that amount do not benefit. The Q&A highlighted that the amount secured from Government does not match what gardaí received. However, it was noted that the agreement acknowledges that and accepts “that outstanding issues can be pursued as part of the negotiations that will take place after the Public Service Pay Commission makes its initial report”. In short, unions will be demanding that the extra secured by gardaí will be at least matched as soon as possible. “It would not have been possible for unions to win Government and opposition approval for additional public service-wide payments on this scale in 2017,” the unions told their members. “That’s because there are only about 12,630 gardaí in this category, compared to more than 250,000 across the entire public service.” Members of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland rejected the Lansdowne Road Agreement, so are not therefore entitled to the payments secured yesterday. ASTI president Ed Byrne said that, when tax, PRSI, the pension levy, and other taxes are applied, its members are only missing out on €150 over the next five months.[...]



Council accepts accident liability

2017-01-18

Cork County Council withdrew its claim of contributory negligence against a worker in a tree felling fatal accident case.

Cork County Council withdrew its claim of contributory negligence against a worker in a tree felling fatal accident case.

The council also stated it had made efforts to notify the deceased’s family as soon as the accident occurred.

The family of the late Michael O’Donovan, aged 44, a father-of-three from Aghabullogue, Co Cork, and an employee of Cork County Council, has brought a case for compensation to the High Court in Cork arising out of his death while working on a compound off Carr’s Hill, Douglas, in November 2012.

Following discussions between the two legal teams at the High Court in Cork yesterday, Mr Justice Robert Eagar was told the case was now only before the court as an assessment.

Liability was no longer an issue and the local authority’s claim of contributory negligence was withdrawn.

Fergus O’Hagan, for Cork County Council, had on Monday stated the case has been opened in a somewhat defamatory manner.

He said yesterday the local authority could produce evidence showing it had made fervent efforts to inform the family of the late Mr O’Donovan soon after the accident occurred but the efforts had proved unsuccessful.

John O’Mahony, for the plaintiff, had said on Monday: “Cork County Council did not contact the plaintiff. Later she [Mrs Yvonne O’Donovan] received a phone call from the nurse advising her of the situation in hospital.

“Cork County Council in its wisdom never took the basic human step of telling the family that he was badly injured or dead. The family was deeply offended by this, greatly exacerbating the suffering as a result of what happened on that day.”

Mr Justice Eagar will have to determine the amount of damages to be paid to the family now that liability for the accident is no longer an issue.

Mr O’Mahony said the plaintiff’s actuarial evidence put the financial evaluation to the family, arising out of Mr O’Donovan’s death and consequent loss of earnings, at a sum in excess of €800,000. He said the defence’s actuarial assessment was closer to €500,000.

The civil case continues today with both sides making legal submissions on the actuarial evidence.

Mr O’Mahony, instructed by Vincent Toher & Co, said a 50-foot Scots Pine tree was being felled when the fatal accident occurred. He said the work was being done in a manner that was careless and reckless. The tree fell on a cable on a phone line that caused the poll to crack at two points. The pole struck the late Mr O’Donovan on the head causing massive injuries, as a result of which he died that day.

(image)



Bus Éireann to write to unions about cost-saving measures

2017-01-18

Bus Éireann management is to write to unions at the company today in relation to cost-saving measures it is planning which could trigger strikes if earnings are cut without agreement.

Bus Éireann management is to write to unions at the company today in relation to cost-saving measures it is planning which could trigger strikes if earnings are cut without agreement.

Earlier this week, the company informed its staff that, as it is facing a very uncertain future due to the state of its finances and threat of insolvency, it intends to implement cost- saving measures which include overtime changes.

Union sources insisted any cuts to their members’ earnings, including premium payments and overtime payments without agreement would not be accepted and could lead to a strike situation without third-party intervention.

Earlier this week, the National Bus and Rail Union said members at Bus Éireann would not be co-operating with any changes to terms and conditions or work practices “in the absence of an agreed forum being convened to discuss all the issues which have contributed to the crisis at Expressway”.

Meanwhile, under questioning in the Dáil, the Taoiseach said Transport Minister Shane Ross had not received the Grant Thornton report which recommends that Bus Éireann shut down the Expressway service.

“He has not received or had sight of the report and, therefore, he could not have read it,” Enda Kenny said.

He added the commercial arm of Bus Éireann, Expressway, loses approximately €6m per year and that these losses “threaten the company as a whole”.

“It is important to note that these losses are not as a result of Government funding,” Mr Kenny said, stressing that Bus Éireann’s PSO network is performing well, financially and operationally.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he was quite “taken aback” to hear that Mr Ross had not read what he described as a “core report”.

Mick Barry of the AAA-PBP, who initially raised the issue in the Dáil yesterday, asked if the Taoiseach if he could say which 10 bus depots will be closed as part of the recommendations of the report. “I am challenging the Taoiseach to put this information before the House and to say today that he will publish the report,” he said.

He said he found it “quite incredible” that details of the report were published in a national newspaper six days ago and that the Taoiseach’s minister for transport, had not read a copy.

(image)



VIDEO: UCC historian John A Murphy on permanent display

2017-01-18

Almost as old as the state whose history he helped to write, John A Murphy’s work received permanent acknowledgment as University College Cork helped him mark his 90th birthday last night.Almost as old as the state whose history he helped to write, John A Murphy’s work received permanent acknowledgment as University College Cork helped him mark his 90th birthday last night.He wowed wellwishers with a rousing rendition of the satirical ballad, ‘The Bould Thady Quill’. It included a verse of his own composition about ‘the bould Prof Quill’, a thinly veiled likening of the song’s hero to himself as historian of the university. That honorary title’s only perk has been an enviable parking space, but the former independent senator’s birthday was celebrated with the unveiling of a bronze portrait bust. It was commissioned from a cast of a sculpture by his friend Seamus Murphy, the two being among a group of Cork artists and intellectuals who once met in a city pub every Friday night. “The statue is lovely but it also has peculiar connotations because it was done in 1973 and so I feel like Dorian Gray in reverse. It’s a very youthful and elegant statue and I like to think there is some resemblances to the present John A Murphy,” he said. His fellow professor emeritus of history Tom Dunne, who worked alongside him for 20 years, said it might have been Seamus Murphy’s way of marking his friend’s then-recent appointment as professor of Irish History. He described John A as a fearless public intellectual who has made an extraordinary contribution to UCC. “When this bust is on permanent display, it will be a reminder of an exceptional contribution by a great college man, but also of the value of community which he embodied and celebrated,” said Prof Dunne. Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Cork Lord Mayor Des Cahill at the celebrations. UCC president Michael Murphy described the Macroom native as “an institution within our institution” who created much of the college’s history, as well as writing it. “With this bust, his stern look will be experienced by all of my successors in the manner in which many of my predecessors have experienced it in real life,” Dr Murphy said. Writers Conal Creedon and Gerry Murphy at the celebration for John A Murphy. Although he had refrained since retirement from the kind of criticisms that marked him out during his academic career, the historian said it might be time for a couple of parting shots. Before signing off in song, he voiced his concerns about over-emphasis in university life on performance in rankings at the expense of teaching and learning. He also expressed sorrow at what he sees as the return of a kind of clerical censorship, “a new puritanism” in which students and some teachers seek to tell others of their juvenile propensities. Professor emeritus John A Murphy with his wife Cita, son Hugh and daughters Eileen and Cliona at the Aula Maxima, UCC yesterday.[...]



Woman gets suspended sentence for forged passport

2017-01-18

A Ukrainian who obtained an Irish passport by using a forged Estonian passport yesterday pleaded guilty to this offence and got a three-month suspended jail term.

A Ukrainian who obtained an Irish passport by using a forged Estonian passport yesterday pleaded guilty to this offence and got a three-month suspended jail term.

Lubov Shevchenko, aged 70, of Peter O’Donovan Crescent, Ballincollig, Co Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork District Court yesterday to a charge of using a false instrument at the passport office, South Mall, Cork, on July 7, 2014.

Inspector John Deasy said the accused made an application for an Irish passport using an Estonian passport which was forged. The passport had been had been reported as missing in April 2009.

Judge John King said the only reason he was not jailing the woman was because she had no previous convictions of any kind.

Emmet Boyle, defence solicitor, agreed with Judge King’s suggestion that yesterday’s conviction could have implications for the accused in terms of her Irish citizenship, even though she has been living in Ireland for the past 11 years.

Inspector John Deasy said during the case yesterday: “On July 7, 2014, the defendant made an application for an Irish passport. In support of her application, she stated she was Estonian.”

She also produced a passport showing her own photograph and purportedly being an Estonian passport.

The main page of the passport showed biographical data but later on inspection, it was possible to confirm that the page with her photograph had been added to the passport and another page with the original photograph had been removed.

Mr Boyle said the accused accepted that she committed this falsehood. He said her plea of guilty was in ease of the state as proving the case and calling all of the necessary witnesses would have taken up to four hours in court. Judge King said that she made a false representation to his state and also uttered a forged document.

“I propose imposing a suspended sentence because she has no previous convictions — the only reason she is not getting a jail sentence,” said Judge King.

(image)



‘Reckless’ Facebook post costs man €30k

2017-01-18

A couple has been awarded over €30,000 in damages against a neighbour who defamed them on Facebook.A couple has been awarded over €30,000 in damages against a neighbour who defamed them on Facebook.Anthony Downes launched a tirade of insults against Patricia Barnett and her husband Paddy Murphy for no apparent reason. The couple, from Buncrana in Donegal, took a defamation action against Mr Downes which was settled at Letterkenny Circuit Civil Court yesterday. Mr Downes, who did not appear in court, admitted the action and had agreed to apologise unreservedly to the couple. Ms Barnett, a pediatrist, told the court she barely knew Mr Downes and knew of no reason why he would have posted a number of attacks against her on her private and business Facebook pages. The court heard Mr Downes accused Mr Murphy, of The Crescent, Buncrana, of having an affair with another woman and referred to her as being overweight, saying her exercise regime was not working. Ms Barnett said she took screenshots of the Facebook posts, which appeared on February 5 and 6, 2015, and then deleted them before contacting gardaí. She said the posts hurt her personally and professionally and said she later met clients who had not come back to her business because of the embarrassment the postings had caused. Mr Murphy, who is his wife’s office manager and also an active member of the RNLI in Buncrana, said he was horrified by the Facebook posts. “He [Downes] was indicating that I was having an affair. That was totally and utterly untrue,” said Mr Murphy. He said that the post had been shared nine times on Facebook and was also liked a number of times. Mr Murphy said he and his wife had to speak to their 15-year-old twins about the incident and explain to them that it was not true. Patricia McCalum, for the couple, said they were seeking damages on behalf of their clients. Peter Nolan, for Mr Downes, said his client had agreed to give an apology to Ms Barnett and Mr Murphy. The apology read: “I, Anthony Downes, The Bungalow, The Crescent, Buncrana, Co Donegal, am responsible and I accept responsibility for the posting on Facebook of comments and about Patricia Barnett, Patrick Murphy, and Anne Harkin, which comments were irresponsible and false and without doubt took the good name and reputation of the persons mentioned, namely Patricia Barnett, Patrick Murphy, and Anne Harkin. “I fully and sincerely apologise for the harm done, for my unjust attack on their reputation, and for the nasty nature of the comments.” Judge James O’Donoghue described the Facebook posts written by Mr Downes as “scurrilous and reckless”. He awarded Ms Barnett €20,000 in damages and Mr Murphy €12,500 in damages, and ordered that one of them receive their costs. He also issued a general warning that the posting of Facebook comments is sometimes a “highly dangerous activity”. “People, perhaps with alcohol late at night, can post these remarks and injure people’s character,” he said. “It is a highly dangerous activity and can result in long-term hurt to families and people’s good names and this is an example of that.” Anne Harkin, the third plaintiff in the case, is to have her case heard by videolink from Australia in the coming days.[...]



Alleged trafficking victim: I faced ‘voodoo process’ before coming here

2017-01-18

A woman accused of trafficking a Nigerian woman into the country and forcing her into prostitution has gone on trial in Dublin.

A woman accused of trafficking a Nigerian woman into the country and forcing her into prostitution has gone on trial in Dublin.

The alleged victim said she underwent a “voodoo process” in Nigeria before coming to Ireland, during which she swore she would not report the alleged trafficker, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday.

Joy Imasogie, aged 40, of Chapleswood Crescent, Hollystown, Dublin 15, has pleaded not guilty to organising for the woman to enter the country illegally, to compelling or coercing the woman to be a prostitute, and to controlling or directing the activities of prostitution for gain on dates between March 2006 and April 2008.

In his opening to the jury, Kerida Naidoo, prosecuting, said it would hear evidence Ms Imasogie “trafficked” the then 20-year-old into Ireland in March 2006, before forcing her to work as a prostitute to pay back the money she was told she owed to get here.

The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the trial she was living in dire financial circumstances with her grandmother in Benin City, Nigeria, in 2006 when a neighbour told her he knew somebody in Europe who was looking for girls.

The woman said she then spoke on the phone to Ms Imasogie, who told her she owned a hair salon in Ireland and asked her if she was a “good girl”.

“She said I could help out in the salon and mind her children,” the woman told the court.

The woman said a man named Kingsley then arranged for her to visit a village where she swore an oath before a “native doctor”. Her nails and pubic hair were cut and she then swore she would not report Ms Imasogie or Kingsley to the police, she said.

She also swore she would pay back a sum of €50,000, which she was told was the cost of travelling to Ireland. This was some kind of “voodoo process”, said Mr Naidoo.

The woman said she then travelled to Lagos, was provided with a false passport that contained an Irish visa, and boarded a flight to Dublin on March 9, 2006. All her travel arrangements were paid for and she had no money on her, she said.

The woman said that, pon arriving in Ireland, she was taken to a house in Finglas where she met Ms Imasogie.

“She told me I would have to sleep with men for money and that way I’d be able to pay the money quickly,” said the woman. “I was angry and crying, saying this wasn’t what I was told... I didn’t want to do that.”

The woman said she initially thought €50,000 would be “easy” to pay off, before realising it was a “huge” amount. “I was very bitter,” she said.

The woman said Ms Imasogie then cut her nails and her pubic hair.

“I think it was to scare me probably,” she said.

The court heard the woman then travelled to Sligo with another Nigerian woman where she was told she had to have sex with an Irish man she met. She said she tried to just give him a massage but “he was insisting I do it”, she said.

The trial continues.

(image)



Limerick man accused of abusing child neighbour

2017-01-18

The trial opened in Limerick yesterday of a man accused of carrying out sexual acts on a neighbouring child during a three-year period.

The trial opened in Limerick yesterday of a man accused of carrying out sexual acts on a neighbouring child during a three-year period.

The accused, aged 62, has pleaded not guilty to 13 charges alleging that he indecently assaulted the young boy on unknown dates between January 1, 1979, and December 31, 1981, in Limerick City and Kerry.

Opening the case, Lorcan Connolly, prosecuting, said that, at the time of the alleged offences, the accused lived near the alleged victim.

Mr Connolly said there would be unpleasant allegations of “goings on” involving sexual acts over a sustained period and it is alleged these acts were visited on the boy by the accused.

The alleged sexual acts, he said, happened at the home of the accused, at his place of work, and at a holiday location in Kerry.

Sgt David Bourke, crime scene investigation unit at Henry St Garda Station, in evidence said he was asked to take exterior and interior photographs at the home of the accused man.

Det Garda Mark Walton, of the Technial Bureau, gave evidence of maps he made of the home of the accused.

The trial before a jury of seven men and five women continues.

Judge Tom O’Donnell, on the application of Mr Connolly, imposed reporting restrictions on the naming of the accused and the alleged injured party.

(image)



Farmer pleads guilty to breaches

2017-01-18

A farmer has pleaded guilty to 14 sample counts, mainly in relation to bovine tagging and identification, animal movement, and animal health and welfare.

A farmer has pleaded guilty to 14 sample counts, mainly in relation to bovine tagging and identification, animal movement, and animal health and welfare.

Rarely had Department of Agriculture Inspectors come across breaches on such a scale, Killarney District Court heard.

John C Casey, otherwise known as Christy Casey, aged 57, of Crosstown, Killarney, Co Kerry, pleaded guilty to the charges, mainly at Ryefield, Whitechurch, Co Cork, and within the State.

His suckler herd was registered in Cork and he also had leased land, the court was told.

Louis Reardon, veterinary inspector, said the department would regularly come across incidents relating to small numbers of breaches of regulations on animal movement and registration, but “not on the scale of Mr Casey”.

Fifty summonses had been issued by the prosecutor and agriculture minister, and 14 sample counts pleaded to, said the prosecution.

The dates were mainly on August 14 and September 15, 2014.

Mr Reardon said he had failed to produce animal passports, and, when asked where the cattle were, “he would not say”. Only some of the cattle had ever been located and “we don’t know what happened these animals”, Mr Reardon told the judge, regarding 69 animals.

Padraig O’Connell, for Mr Casey, said his client had grown up on a farm in Blackwater and “cattle are his life”.

“Unfortunately he came to a misconceived idea that the department were not co-operating with him… He apologises unreservedly for his lack of engagement.”

Judge James O’Connor told the solicitor his client was “in serious trouble” and would probably be jailed.

The man’s son, John Casey Jr, also of Crosstown, had been issued with summonses for similar alleged breaches. An application by the State was made to adjourn this at the outset.

Judge O’Connor asked Mr Reardon to ascertain further details about the father and son farm ownership and herd numbers.

The matter was adjourned until March 21.

(image)



WIT to mark World Hijab Day with cultural event

2017-01-18

There will be an opportunity for people to try on a hijab and to chat with local Muslim women at Waterford Institute of Technology next month.

There will be an opportunity for people to try on a hijab and to chat with local Muslim women at Waterford Institute of Technology next month.

The Religious Studies and Theology Group at WIT have organised a cultural event to mark World Hijab Day on Wednesday, February 1.

There will be an assortment of hijabs on display, and the Muslim women will be happy to show anyone how to wear a hijab and the different styles available.

WIT student union president, Michelle Byrne, will be among the women invited to visit the stall and try on a headscarf.

World Hijab Day, an annual world event, was established by American Nazma Khan in 2013 to fight prejudice and discrimination against Muslim women.

WIT lecturer in world religions, Colette Colfer, said some students will wear the hijab for the day.

“With increasing anti-immigrant sentiment around the world, it is really important to have an event like this,” she said.

Ms Colfer is not a Muslim but has conducted a lot of research on Islam in Ireland.

“Muslim women are far more likely to experience discrimination and prejudice if they are wearing the hijab. I know Irish women who have been told to go back to ‘their own country’ when they have been wearing a hijab,” said Ms Colfer.

“Their abusers were shocked when they responded in an Irish accent.”

Muslim women choose to wear the hijab for a variety of reasons, including modesty, but most agree it is a woman’s choice whether or not she wears it.

Ms Colfer said some Muslim women believe that although the principles of modesty are clearly outlined in the Quran, they perceive the wearing of the headscarf as a cultural interpretation of the scriptures.

“They would interpret what is said in the Quran as meaning that they should cover and they should be modest.”

(image)

Speakers in the main auditorium on the day will include Muslim feminist and academic, Dr Rachel Woodlock; local Muslim convert Brigid Aylward; and Muslim businesswoman and photographer, Bara Alich.

Dr Woodlock, originally from Australia, is a convert to Islam from the Baha’i faith. She now lives near Clonmel with her Tipperary husband and their daughter.

Ms Aylward is from Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny. She converted to Islam from Catholicism about eight years ago and after two years decided to wear the hijab.

She works as a nurse in the Paediatric Department in Waterford Regional Hospital. Last year she was awarded a master’s degree in nursing from WIT.

Ms Alich, originally from the Czech Republic, converted to Islam eight years ago. She will speak about being a Muslim businesswoman who wears the hijab and some of the challenges she has faced over the years.

(image)



Cork County Council seeks windfarm guidelines

2017-01-18

Cork County Council is to ask the Government to urgently implement promised guidelines for windfarm developments because under current legislation it cannot carry out noise monitoring unless all turbines in a project are fully completed.Cork County Council is to ask the Government to urgently implement promised guidelines for windfarm developments because under current legislation it cannot carry out noise monitoring unless all turbines in a project are fully completed.The issue was raised by Cllr John Paul O’Shea who said that many windfarms could operate for a number of years before they were assessed for noise pollution as it could take that long before all turbines were in place. He pointed out that no county council monitoring can begin until three months after all turbines in a project become operational. Mr O’Shea said he was in favour of renewable energy, but was concerned about guidelines because of the proliferation of so many operational windfarms in north west Cork; the number which have got planning but not yet built and many more which were at the planning application stage. Council officials said there are 12 windfarms currently in operation in North Cork, with a total of 149 turbines generating 350 megawatts of power. The largest of these is at Knockacummer, Newmarket, which has 29 turbines. They are concentrated primarily in the Boggeragh, Derrynasaggart and Mullaghareirk mountains. A further 12 windfarms have received planning approval from the county council but have yet to be commissioned. In total they feature 63 turbines and when all are operational will have an estimated output of 150 mega watts. The largest of these, which has 14 turbines, is earmarked for Castlepook, near Doneraile. “I’ve come across a number of examples of people suffering because of the proximity of the turbines to their houses. The current legislation is 11 years old and allows turbines to be built 500 metres from houses. New guidelines being drawn up state a distance of a minimum of one kilometre and we need clarity on when they are to be introduced,” Mr O’Shea said. “In my own area in recent weeks a family had to move house because of noise and it’s very unfortunate. We’re coming to a position that if we develop further wind turbines without new national guidelines we’re going to have more cases like this. “We don’t have solar or off-shore wind energy guidelines either,” he added. Cllr Frank O’Flynn said that he was concerned as a lot more planning applications were coming in for windfarms in the region. Cllr Tim Collins, who lives in Meelin, which is one of the highest villages in North Cork, said he knew of many people whose television reception hab been interfered with by the turbines. Cllr June Murphy went further and said the local authority should not issue any further permissions until the proposed national guidelines are made law. Cllr Melissa Mullane said she was aware of families who were being put up in other houses or hotels by windfarm companies because of noise complaints. “I accept closeness to residential properties is a problem, but we have to improve our outputs of renewable energy otherwise we will face fines from the European Union,” Cllr Gerard Murphy said. Cllr Ian Doyle, who is chairman of the council’s Northern Division, said they would write to the governme[...]