CCTV cameras hidden in sods of turf!

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.

going to get the papers get the papers

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:

  1. Women Priests
  2. Bye Bye Celibacy
  3. Free the Vat­i­can Six
  4. Mayo for Sam
  5. 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!”

He sure beats the John 3:16 fella

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!”


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