Archive | July, 2009

Rathkeal: Fewer Visitors To ‘Apparition’ Tree Stump

31 Jul

By J. P. Anderson:

THE Rathkeale tree stump which some people claim projects the image of Our Lady is losing its drawing powers.

Hundreds began to gather each night at the tree stump in the grounds of St Mary’s Parish church after the apparition claims hit national and international headlines.

But Noel White, chairman of the graveyard committee, which organised the clean up of the church grounds said yesterday, numbers coming have fallen to a trickle.

He said: "You could have anything from 10 to 20 now at night time. There isn’t the huge crowd that were coming at the start. I’d say many of those calling are people on their way to Kerry for the holidays and they stop out of curiosity. It is now a passing trade."

However, Mr White, who is also chairman of the local community council, insisted the tree stump will be retained and some form of covering will be put on it to protect it from the weather and souvenir hunters who have picked part of the bark away.

Mr White said: "Members of the Travelling community have put money together and have offered it to carry out this work. I will be meeting with parish priest, Canon Dempsey, probably after Mass next Sunday to discuss what we feel should be done."

Seamus Hogan, a local businessman, is also pressing to have the tree stump retained.

He said: "It is not as manic as it was. But even the other night a busload passing through Rathkeale pulled up. It is now more local people who are coming there to pray."

Canon Dempsey has stated that he has no problem meeting with members of the community council to discuss the tree stump and what has been done. He has supported the view of his curate, Fr Willie Russell in that there is nothing to see in the tree, other than a stump of a tree.

Mr White, meanwhile, said the main concern is to ensure the area is safe for people to come.

He said: "Where the tree is there is a low wall, behind it there is 20ft fall into the school yard. A builders’ fence has been put up."


Former England Manager Sir Bobby Robson Dies Aged 76

31 Jul

By J. P. Anderson:

Former England and Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson has died aged 76.

Robson was England’s most successful manager since the famous 1966 triumph, guiding England to the World Cup semi final in 1990.

He made his playing debut in 1950s but was better known as a coach, managing Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven, PC Porto and Newcastle United.

He is mourned by his wife Elsie and leaves three sons.


Sir Bobby Robson died in the early hours of the morning following a long struggle with cancer Sir Bobby Robson, was a former international football player and former England, Newcastle and Ipswich manager.

Robson was created a Knight Bachelor in 2002, is a member of the English Football Hall of Fame and is the honorary president of Ipswich Town.

He has, since 1991, had recurrent medical problems with cancer, and in August 2008, he admitted defeat to lung cancer.

He stated: "My condition is described as static and has not altered since my last bout of chemotherapy…I am going to die sooner rather than later.

But then everyone has to go sometime and I have enjoyed every minute."

Dublin: Ringsend Residents Protest Over Closure Of Village Post Office

31 Jul

By J. P. Anderson:

RESIDENTS OF Ringsend and Irishtown in Dublin held a rush-hour protest yesterday evening against the impending closure of their post office.

Services are being moved to Barrow Street, 1km away, following the closure of the Spar convenience store in which the Ringsend office was located.

Residents of the Dublin village say the change will cause inconvenience for locals, especially the elderly, who will have to use a bus to access the new post office.

Lorraine Barry, manager of Ringsend and Irishtown community centre, said she was incensed at the decision by An Post.

“The post office has always remained a focal point in the community situated at the heart of Ringsend. With this new location, locals will struggle to make the journey, especially pensioners, mothers and people with disabilities in the community, as it is a good distance from any bus stop.”

An Post said it regretted the closure of the post office but had no other option now that the lease was up on the premises. “We would rather stay in the village but have to move because we can find no other suitable location,” a spokesman said.

The move was postponed for a time at the request of local people, he said, but now An Post was “at the end of the road”.

One option considered was to open the post office in a Tesco Express store but the refurbishment costs were too high.

An Post said the move would take place in mid-August. However, residents have vowed to continue their protests until the decision is reversed.

A Third Of England’s Coastline Is ‘Inaccesible’ To Public

31 Jul

By J. P. Anderson:

Ramblers looking to enjoy England’s stunning coastline are being hampered by a severe lack of access and coastal erosion, a government agency said Friday.

A third of the nation’s 2,748 mile coastline is not open to the public and walkers can go no more than two miles on average before coming across an inaccessible barrier.

Many of the footpaths which are open to the public are being badly affected by coastal erosion as the sea encroaches upon the land.

The Marine and Coastal Access Bill which is due to be implemented by Natural England, the government’s landscape adviser, this autumn will oversee the creation of a 50-million-pound path all around England’s coast.

"No one in England lives more than 70 miles from the sea, we are a maritime nation and we are an island, and therefore the sea is and always has been extremely important to us," the agency’s acting Chairman Poul Christensen said.

"Millions of us visit it every year so the scheme is visionary and iconic," he added.

Swineflu: Children Are Suffering From Tamiflu Side-Effects

31 Jul

By J. P. Anderson:

More than half of children taking Tamiflu suffer side-effects such as nausea, insomnia and nightmares, researchers have said.

Two studies from experts at the Health Protection Agency (HPA) showed a "high proportion" of British schoolchildren reporting problems after taking the anti-viral drug.

Data was gathered from children at three schools in London and one in the South West who were given Tamiflu earlier this year after classmates became infected.

The researchers behind one study said that, although children may have attributed symptoms that were due to other illnesses to the use of Tamiflu, "this is unlikely to account for all the symptoms experienced".

Their research, published in Eurosurveillance, looked at side-effects reported by 11 and 12-year-old pupils in one school year in a secondary school in South West England. The school was closed for 10 days in response to a pupil being confirmed with swine flu on return from a holiday in Cancun, Mexico.

A total of 248 pupils took part in the study and were given Tamiflu prophylactically. Compliance with prophylaxis was high, with 77% of children taking the full course, the researchers said. But they added: "Fifty-one per cent experienced symptoms such as feeling sick (31.2%), headaches (24.3%) and stomach ache (21.1%).

The researchers said "likely side-effects were common" and the "burden of side-effects needs to be considered" when deciding on giving Tamiflu to children prophylactically. The researchers concluded that a "high proportion of school children may experience side-effects of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) medication".

A spokesman from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it was monitoring reported side-effects by GPs and the public. Between April 1 and July 23, the MHRA received a total of 150 reports of 241 suspected side-effects for Tamiflu and five reports for another anti-viral, Relenza.

Government chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said Tamiflu should still be given to children if they have established symptoms and there are no existing medical reasons not to prescribe the drug.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "All drugs do have side-effects. It is always a case of deciding the balance between benefiting a patient from a treatment and the side-effects. Most of the side-effects are relatively minor – a degree of nausea, a bit of a tummy upset, the sort of thing you get quite often with antibiotics."

Belfast: Festival Will Showcase Cultural Diversity

31 Jul

By J. P. Anderson:

Belfast should celebrate its cultural diversity and prevent racists from hijacking the city’s image, festival organisers said.

The organisers of a new festival in south Belfast said it will be a showcase for the area’s rich diversity and a response to the racist attacks on Romanian families that recently hit the headlines.

Irish cultural arts organisation An Droichead (which means the Bridge) will launch its event, Feile an Droichead 2009, with the help of Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long, the Arts Council and Foras na Gaeilge.

The four-day festival, from August 27-30, will involve musicians and organisations from Chinese, African and European communities.

Coordinator of the Ormeau Road based An Droichead centre, Pol Deeds, said: "South Belfast has a rich and diverse community and we want to play our part in making sure that the negative images seen over the past weeks are not allowed to become the permanent image of our city.

"An Droichead has worked tirelessly over the past years to build our reputation as one of Belfast’s leading exponents of Irish and Celtic culture. We pride ourselves on having the confidence to look beyond our culture and to reach out to the diverse communities that live in south Belfast.

"This festival will be a celebration of all that is good in our city. No one should be afraid to listen and appreciate other traditions whether they are from Belfast or Africa, Asia or other parts of Europe. Our message is loud and clear: we welcome you and we want to learn about your traditions and cultures just as we want you to enjoy and understand our traditions and cultures."

The cross-community festival has involved representatives of unionist and nationalist communities, while ethnic minority groups will also be attending the festival launch to mark their role in the event.

Arts Council chairman Damien Coyle and Foras na Gaeilge deputy chief executive Tomas O Ruairc will be at the launch at the award-winning An Droichead centre.

Highlights of the festival include performances by Irish and Scottish musicians such as Griogair Labhruidh, Sile Denvir, Alan Kelly Quartet, Dermot Byrne, Brid Harper, Tim Edey, The Daoiri Farrell Band as well as a performance by Double Meteor Award Winner John Spillane. Other acts at venues centring around the Ormeau Road will come from

Zimbabwe, Slovakia and Poland.

Huge Reward Offered For Britain’s Most Wanted Fugitive

31 Jul

By J. P. Anderson:

Detectives have offered a reward of £25,000 for help in finding Britain’s most wanted fugitive in Spain.

Kevin Parle, 29, is thought to be in hiding on the Costa Blanca near Alicante among thousands of British ex-pats and holiday-makers.

He is a distinctive figure. He’s 6ft 5in tall, red-haired, with a small scar on the left side of his head and speaks with a strong Liverpool accent.

He is wanted for two murders, including the horrific shooting of young mother Lucy Hargreaves in Liverpool four years ago.

Her father Kenny told me: "If people out there know him they should think of their own families and call the police.

"That man is a monster and should be brought back to Britain to face justice.

"What happened to my daughter was beyond belief. She was a completely innocent young mum who was devoted to her three children."

Lucy, 22, was killed when three men burst into her home looking for her boyfriend Gary Campbell.

They stumbled across her asleep on a sofa downstairs and shot her three times, then doused her body in petrol and set it alight.

Mr. Campbell, who was sleeping upstairs, escaped the blaze with one of the couple’s children.

Parle flew to Spain, with a false passport, soon after the murder and police believe he has been here ever since.

Initially, he lived in the Torrevieja area and frequented the bar of the rather run-down Mi Sol holiday complex.

Staff there remembered him clearly when I showed them a photograph of Parle and described him as a "gentle giant."

Police think he has moved to another part of the coast where it is easy to disappear among the 130,000 British ex-pats who live in the Alicante region.

Scott Blair, of the local Neighbourhood Watch committee, said: "If anyone sees this man they should not be frightened of reporting him to the police. No-one will know that they made the call."

Privately-educated Parle is also suspected of shooting dead Liverpool teenager Liam Kelly a year before Lucy’s murder.

There are two European arrest warrants out for Parle and if he is found he could be extradited and charged within days.

Det Supt Ian Mulcahey, of Merseyside Police, said: "Lucy was a completely innocent victim and her killers must be caught. We would like to trace Kevin Parle and if anyone knows where he is we need to hear from them."

Anyone with information about him is urged to call Merseyside police on 0151-777-8617 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.