Yes, you read that right. CCTV Cameras hidden in sods of turf are being used at beauty spots across North Kerry as Kerry County Council step up the war against litter bugs. And I was delighted to learn in this week’s Kerryman newspaper that they are achieving results. Hopefully KCC can prosecute more of these bastards that are ruining the countryside with illegal dumping. Practically every walk I take these days is spoilt by littering and illegally dumped refuse of one kind or another. When working with the Westmeath Examiner I accompanied their litter wardens on dozens of excursions to illegal dumps around the county and whilst the dumping itself was sickening, what was even more sickening was the inability of the Courts to prosecute dumpers who had been identified by the waste but because they had not been caught red handed, it was harder to get a result. For the litter wardens it was heartbreaking,so I hope Kerry’s innovative approach to filming dumpers in the acts gets the right result.
It was the main story for ‘Medium-Sized Town, Fairly Big Story’ on RTE2FM’s Breakfast with Hector Show this Tuesday, March 29th, and we had a right old rant at the illegal dumpers who are causing more damage to the countryside than runaway developers who have left Section 23 ghost estates on the fringes of thousands of medium-sized towns and villages.
Here was the full list of stories that were up for consideration:
Cameras hidden in sods of turf catch litter louts!
Kerry County Council has come up with a brilliant way of catching litter bugs and illegal dumpers. They have taken to hiding spy cameras in sods of turf and rusty tin cans! Several dumpers have been caught red-handed at remote North Kerry locations, and the Council are predicting that many more will be caught in the coming weeks as hidden cameras are deployed at a number of remote spots in the county.
Writing for the Kerryman, reporter Donal Nolan finds that the cameras are inserted into cans and then stuffed into sods of turf. Senior Planning Engineer Tom Sheehy has hailed the new filming method as a triumph, as identifying litter bugs was the biggest obstacle to prosecuting offenders in the past. OF the 583 cases of illegal dumping investigated by Council staff last year, there was just 12 convictions. He expects several to be before the Courts soon.
“St Patrick” has collar felt, banner nicked
We’re all accustomed to the John 3:16 men who stand behind the goals at practically every gaelic football match in Croke Park spreading the word. In the west, and in Mayo to be precise, they do things a little differently, so rather than concentrate on one reading, they have a man dressed as St Patrick spreading all sorts of motivational news. However, last Sunday at Croke Park St Patrick took it a little too far
Colourful Mayo GAA supporter John Durcan had his collar felt and his banner confiscated by a Garda sergeant at last Sunday’s Allianz National Football League match between Mayo and Dublin, which the Dubs won.
The Westport man has been dressing up as St Patrick at major sporting and public events for years, and he had prepared a banner especially for the game, and still doesn’t know why it fell foul of the law.
“He [the Garda sergeant] said it was incitement,” Durcan explained to The Mayo News. “I’m not a fella to really look for the headlines … but what happened was very, very wrong. I pride myself on banners, but I always run them by two or three very intelligent people. And this one was a winner.”
The banner was entitled ‘St Patrick’s Five-Point Plan’. They points were:
- Women Priests
- Bye Bye Celibacy
- Free the Vatican Six
- Mayo for Sam
- Galway for Liam McCarthy
He added that his 36 years in the Defence Forces meant he had great respect for the Garda Siochána, and says he asked people to stop booing the garda after the banner was confiscated. Asked what words were exchanged during the incident, he replied: “It was a battle of wits, and I won’t say I lost!”
Durcan had previously got into trouble at another Mayo-Dublin game, the All-Ireland ladies’ football final of 2003. After the American invasion of Iraq, he dressed up as an Arab with Mayo gear and predicted that Mayo would strike oil. His banner – ‘Bush Invades Iraq; Mayo Arab Invades Hill 16’ – “went down a bomb”, he told The Mayo News, but he was “thrown out” as not everybody saw the funny side.
In 2007, two gardaí put a stop to an impromptu céilí he staged outside Croke Park on the day of the National League final between Mayo and Donegal. In 2008, a wooden spoon belonging to him was thrown at Kerry footballer Kieran Donaghy by an unidentified Mayo fan.
Undaunted, the Cogaula resident is already working on his next banner, which he’ll unveil during the All-Ireland champions’ visit to Castlebar on Sunday week, April 3. And what will it read? “‘St Patrick – The Original Rebel’. I’m going to welcome Cork, the Rebel County, to Mayo. Because I’m the original rebel! Sam will come yet!”
Gardai crack chipmunk case
There was a chipmunk rescue of sorts in Courtown last week when a furry creature was stopped walking along the street and had its pelt confiscated by Gardai.
The Wexford People reports that the drama began when a chipmunk suit went missing before a children’s show that was due to take place at the Amber Springs Hotel at 6.30 on Friday. The theft was reported to the Gardai who were asked to keep an eye out for the costume.
Three hours later, a person was seen in the seaside resort, wearing the full chipmunk costume instead of more usual attire. The costume was confiscated and later returned to its rightful owners. The paper does not mention the fate of the costume-loving thief.
Big Dig woes continue
Tuam’s Big Dig is just a little past the half-way mark, but the works are continuing to cause considerable unrest in the town, according to the official Big Dig newspaper the Tuam Herald. Multiple Big Dig work sites and diversions are all in place and traders who joined together last week as The Tuam Traders Group are this week calling for a clearer route in to and around the town. They met with the main contractors, Coffey Construction, and afterwards their Chairman Seamus Hynes revealed that the best news he could tell his fellow traders was that by August the major town centre digging would be over. They are also working with Coffey on erecting new signage which, in a frankly astonishing development, will warn motorists which roads are open rather than the current system which tells them which ones are closed.
Saw Doctor threatened with knife
An unusual court case from the Tuam Herald involving Leo Moran from the Saw Doctors caught our eye this week.
The Saw Doctor was threatened with a knife when he and his partner confronted a thug vandalising his car outside his Tuam home. Tuam Court heard that on August 28th last Leo saw James Morris with an address in Galway breaking the window of his car. He confronted Morris who produced a knife and threatened him. When Gardai arrive he discarded the knife but it was found and he was arrested.
“Defending solicitor Sean Acton said he knew his client was in difficulty with the knife, but pleased that it wasn;t a very big one.” He also made an unusual statement about the car. “He argues that without meaning any disrespect, the car in question was not the most valuable.”
He said his client has been put up to it by others and €260 worth of damage. Morris was then sentenced to three months for the knife incident and two months for damaging the car. Judge Browne said it was a pity the defendent “didn’t stay in Galway because they had enough problems in Tuam without him.”
Move to make Mullingar the left-handed capital of the world
A unique new idea to put the town of Mullingar forever on the map as the Left Handed Capital of the world is set to launch with a mega festival on August 13 reports the Westmeath Examiner.
Mullingar got its name from the “left hand mill”, and as the town gears up to mark its 1400th anniversary, there is now a move underway to make Mullingar the ultimate destination for left handed people! Famous people who are “lefties” iclude Obama, Churchill, Bertie Aherne, George W Bush, Hitler, Jimi Hendrix and Gary Moore, and who knows — maybe Paul McCartney might come to visit!
The festival will target all Left Hand Associations in Ireland and abroad, and plans to include a left hand Guitar Hero competition, left-handed golf competition and left-handed clay pigeon shooting as well as theatre, markets, street entertainment and screenings of ‘My Left Foot’. Famous celebrities will be invited to dine at restaurants serving special leftover menus and shops will stock left hand merchandise such as scissors and door knobs.
Apparently 13 per cent of the world’s population are citogs, according to Bartle Darcy, who is organising the event. He reckons the event could put Mullingar back on the left-handed map, making the town a year-round destination of choice for left-handed people. He says it’s not right for the town to be left out of international celebrations on August 13th.
You can’t please all the people – Meath Greening ceremony “insulting”
Landmark buildings and monuments all over the world (including Table Mountain, London Eye, Empire State Building and the Sydney Opera House) were turned green by Tourism Ireland to celebrate St Patrick’s Day the other week. It was a move which attracted huge acclaim, but not in Meath where the historic Spiure of Loyd in Kells was turned green. According to the Meath Chronicle, the greening ceremony was branded as an insult by a Meath Councillor, Brian Curran. The ceremony saw the 1791 tower lit up green and many other celebrations take place in the memorial park surrounding it, but Cllr Curren said it was an insult to the dead with “diddly-eye music and young children dancing on a consecrated altar. This is a memorial park, commemorating people who died. It shouldn’t be turned into a funfair. It was cheap, unprofessional and inappropriate,” he says. Another Councillor said an hour after the lights went on they went off and hadn’t been seen on again. However, several Councillors defended the Greening Ceremony, which was attended by the US Deputy Ambassador John Hennessy Niland.
“The atmosphere was great and Kells was put on a par with other places around the world. Let’s not knock a positive thing,” said Cllr Bryan Reilly, whilst Cllr Conor Ferguson said the Ambassador was so impressed he has promised to return to Kells to fish and to play golf.
Also in the Peoples Park in Kells this week, French cosmetics giant Yves Rocher is preparing to invest a quarter of a million euro in the town, planting 30,000 broadleafed Irish trees. It would see the development of 26 acres of woodland and copses with ecological walkways. The company, founded in 1959 and currently employing 13,500 people, has recently undertaken to plant 50 million trees worldwide in unique parklands designed by an architect. The local Councillors welcomed this proposal, saying it could have huge tourism potential, so yes to trees and no to green lights and dancing children.
Danny Boy comes home
The Wexford People has a front page that will be cherished by many for years to come, as it reports on the homecoming of ‘Danny Boy’ aka, All-Ireland Talent Show winner Daniel Furlong. The paper reports that Taghmon in Wexford turned out in its thousands on Monday last to welcome home the 13 year-old who was brought through the town on an open-topped car before being introduced on stage at a huge open air concert. The paper interviews the boy soprano who says his win hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Asked what he was going to do with the €50,000 in prize money he said he would like to put a bit into music and go on a holiday. His siblings Thomas and Roisin could also stand to benefit as Daniel says he promised to buy them a car between them. When reporter Anne Marie O’Connor suggested that a big purchase like that could eat into the prize fund, he was quick to retort: “It won’t be a very expensive car!”