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April, 2018 I


Mal Rogers scans Ireland’s regional media for what’s making news in your county LIMERICK

Teachers left unpaid as language school in Limerick closes TEACHERS have been left without wages owed to them following the closure of an English language school in Limerick, the trade union Unite has said. The Limerick Leader reports that 10 teachers have been left without wages owed to them following the closure of LanLearn after a Department of Justice inspection resulted in withdrawal of accreditation. The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) is working with the 150 international students who have been affected by the school’s closure, ICOS programme officer Brian Hearne said. “Students who are currently studying or are here in Ireland and have paid for courses in LISC will be relocated,” he said. The ICOS is currently working with the school’s insurance company and the Irish immigration services, he added. Teachers at the school who have been assisting students following the school’s closure have been left unpaid since February, according to Unite regional organiser Roy Hassey. KERRY

DPP lashed by Tralee trial judge over fatal car crash A JUDGE has issued a stinging rebuke to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over how it handled the case of a Listowel woman found guilty of dangerous driving causing serious harm. The Kerryman reports that at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court Aine Stack, 23, of Listowel received an 18-month suspended sentence for dangerous driving causing serious harm, arising from a road accident at Clogherbrien, Tralee. An American tourist, John Lenahan, 67, was seriously injured in the collision and died 10 days later. Ms Stack was charged with dangerous driving causing death, even though the post mortem could not definitively state that the man had died as a direct result of the accident. The post mortem report and another medical report on Mr Lenahan – which showed his condition had improved while in hospital after the accident – were only provided to the defence team on the second day of the trial. It also emerged that in November 2014 State Pathologist Margot Bolster had written to gardaí stating that it could not be said “to the criminal standard of proof this collision caused the death of Mr Lenahan”. This written communication also wasn’t seen by the defence until the case was under way.

Subsequently, in a move trial Judge Tom O’Donnell said was highly unusual, the DPP asked that the charge be amended to a lesser count mid-trial. Judge O’Donnell said that as a result the defence could justifiably, and “with a considerable chance of success”, have sought a new trial. This was only avoided by the fact that the accused had agreed to allow her trial proceed on the new, lesser, charge. Judge O’Donnell expressed grave concerns about how the DPP had managed the case, describing the delays in providing the medical and post mortem documents and the request to amend the charge midway through the trial as “an extraordinary turn of events”. Judge O’Donnell said the defendant was a young woman of “excellent character” who had no previous convictions “not even a parking ticket”. He added that speed or alcohol had not been a factor in the crash and that the accident seemed to be the result “of a momentary error with a tragic outcome”. He imposed an 18-month suspended sentence and banned Ms Stack from driving for four years. BELFAST

Foster says antiSemitism has no place in Northern Ireland following library attack DUP leader Arlene Foster has called for the leaders of the North’s political parties to unite in opposition to anti-Semitism. She said the party leaders needed to demonstrate clear opposition to anti-Semitism locally. Her comments come as questions have been raised about anti-Semitism within the Labour Party and the need to tackle such attitudes within political life. This month staff at Belfast’s Linen Hall Library received a number of threatening phone calls following an event planned to mark the birth of Belfast-born former Israeli President Chaim Herzog. A blue plaque marking Chaim Herzog’s birthplace in north Belfast’s Cliftonpark Avenue was removed in 2014 following vandalism. In August 2016 a gang of youths smashed headstones in Belfast City Cemetery’s Jewish plot in what police described as a hate crime. “The debate on anti-Semitism is not remote from Northern Ireland. Too often there have been incidents here where intolerance or hatred of the Jewish community has been in evidence,” Mrs Foster said. Mrs Foster said recent incident provided an opportunity to send a clear message that anti-Semitism would not be tolerated. “Just as there is a focus on this issue nationally, all parties locally must demonstrate that anti-Semitism has no place here in Northern Ireland. “That demonstration should be

BRAVING THE CHILL: A spectator at the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire both through words and actions,” the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said. “When there are examples of clear anti-Semitism, however, we do not always see parties stepping forward to offer clear and unequivocal condemnation. Unfortunately, there are occasions where attempts to hide behind ‘criticism of Israel’ allows hated to be expressed towards the Jewish community in a way that no other racism would be tolerated. “The current focus on this issue can provide an opportunity to take a clear and united stance on this from all sections of our society.” GALWAY

Man charged with €5,000 theft from island pub AN Inis Mór resident has been charged with possession of stolen property after a pub on the island was burgled and vandalised, reports Galway FM. Almost €5,000 worth of damage was caused to Joe Watty’s Pub in Kilronan following a robbery on the morning of St Patrick’s Day. Some €5000 in cash and cigarettes was taken in the raid, during which the pub was badly damaged. Following a search among the population, whch only numbers 900, items were found linking the accused to the burglary. Colm O’Goill, 24, with an address in Kilmurvey was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property. He appeared before Galway District Court, and was remanded on bail to appear before Kilronan district court on June 7. BELFAST

Policewoman breaks down in tears after being acquitted of stealing £3k from evidence A POLICEWOMAN wept in the dock of Belfast Crown Court after being acquitted of stealing money from evidential exhibits. The Belfast Telegraph reports that Yvonne Forte, was also cleared of two counts of misconduct in a public office. Ms Forte denied all the charges. During the course of the prosecution

case, a Crown barrister asked that the court rise to review an issue. The jury of seven men and five women were called back into court on the next working day, and were told by Crown barrister Robin Steer that following a review of the case against Ms Forte, 41, “the prosecution will be offering no further evidence in this case in respect of all charges”. Ms Forte had been charged with four counts of theft and was accused of stealing a total of £3,254 from evidential exhibits, while a serving police constable. After Mr Steer addressed the court, Judge David McFarland told the jury the four theft charges, and the other two levelled against Ms Forte, were no longer being proceeded with. The judge told the foreman of the jury that “in these circumstances, I am going to direct you to acquit her and find her not guilty”. Judge McFarland then spoke to Ms Forte. As she wept, the Judge told her: “Ms Forte, you can leave the dock because you have just been acquitted by the jury. You are free to go.” She replied: “Thank you, your honour.” DUBLIN

Ireland is to get its first official nudist beach. PUBLIC notices are set to go up at Hawk Cliff in Dalkey in Co Dublin next month announcing a section of the beach as nudist, but there has been a mixed reaction to the news. The Irish Examiner reports that some of the concerns include the suitability for children and that it may attract anti-social behaviour. Pat Gallagher from the Irish Naturist Society says they do not intend to cause offence or harm to anybody. “That area has been used for many years, not only with the nudists but also with bathing suit persons, so it has worked very well over the years between the two communities and there has never been any problems,” Mr Gallagher said. “It just indicates to anyone who wouldn’t know approaching the area that might be offended by the sight of nude bodies that they may encounter nude bathers when they go into the area. That’s all.” It will still be open to people who don’t wish to go naked, the signs will tell others not to be alarmed if they do see nudists.

“So for someone reading that, if for any reason they are in fear or distress, at least they will have notification that there may be nude bathers. We have always used the term ‘clothing optional’. “We simply want to go there, lie in the sun, get in the water, have a swim…  but we don’t want to wear anything, that’s all.” DONEGAL

Father of Buncrana tragedy victim has called for backlash against Stephanie Knox to end THE father of one of the victims of the Buncrana pier drowning tragedy has called for an end to a backlash against a woman who helped the family. The Donegal Democrat reports that Noel McGrotty, 86, the father of Sean McGrotty, said he was concerned by the public backlash directed at Stephanie Knox. “I do not know the wee girl but the only thing I’m afraid of now is that the public opinion might be damaging her,” he said. Ms Knox said she has received a number of abusive messages after reports emerged of her lodging a damages claim over the tragedy in March 20016 which claimed the lives of five members of the one family. She said she lodged a claim because she had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder since the tragedy. Sean McGrotty, 48; his sons Mark, 12, and Evan, eight; their maternal grandmother Ruth Daniels, 58, and aunt Jodie-Lee Daniels, 14, died when their car slid into Lough Swilly from Buncrana pier on March 20, 2016. An inquest found they died by misadventure. Knox and her then partner Davitt Walsh came on the scene of the tragedy. Mr Walsh swam out to the submerged car and rescued Sean’s baby daughter Rionaghac-Ann. Noel McGrotty said he received notification of the claim against his son’s estate last week. He said his family does not want Ms Knox to suffer as a result of coverage of the claim. Ms Knox is suing for “loss of earnings and other matters”. She said she knew the claim would be issued against Donegal County Council and the insurance company, but didn’t realise the estate of the deceased family would be included in proceedings.

Irish Echo April 2018  

Irish Echo - Australia's Irish Newspaper Digital Edition Vol 31, No4 - Apr 2018

Irish Echo April 2018  

Irish Echo - Australia's Irish Newspaper Digital Edition Vol 31, No4 - Apr 2018