Number of shots fired at caravan in suspected Traveller extortion racket
A NUMBER of gunshots were fired at a caravan in Rathkeale, Co Limerick, on Christmas morning.
No one was injured in the incident which happened at 5.50am yesterday and gardai in the west Limerick town are investigating. While investigations are at an early stage, one theory that officers are examining is that the shooting may be connected to a gang who are attempting to extort money from Travellers in the town.
Meanwhile, in the North shots were fired at a house in Clogher, Co Tyrone, on Christmas Eve. Vehicles at the property were damaged in the attack but the occupants of the home were out visiting at the time.
Finance Minister leads by example
Since Budget Day, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has sought to lead by example by abandoning his luxury Mercedes car in favour of a far more modest Ford Mondeo. Budget documentation made it clear that the fleet of ministerial cars is to be replaced because they have reached the "upper limit in terms of mileage deemed safe" and government sources have confirmed that the roll-out of the new fleet will take place in 2011, most likely after the pending General Election.
One winner of €3m Lotto jackpot
There was one winner of Christmas Eve's main Lotto draw valued at €3m. The winning ticket was sold in the south of the country, according to the National Lottery.
The winning Numbers were 8, 39, 21, 38, 2, 43 (bonus 25). There were 2 Match 5 plus Bonus winners who get €25,000 each; 45 Match 5 (€2,020); 131 Match 4 plus bonus (€174); 2304 Match 4 (€61); 3345 Match 3 plus bonus (€28) and 39,056 Match 3 (€5).
The Lotto Plus One winning numbers were 22, 24, 8, 14, 28,40 (bonus 19). The Lotto Plus Two winning numbers were 9, 45, 44, 23, 25, 2, (bonus 42).
Gardai quiz over attack on warden
A MAN who is suspected to have assaulted an animal warden months after he took a dog from him has been arrested and questioned by gardai.
Frankie Coote, who works with the Irish Society Prevention Cruelty to Animals in Clare, was attacked on the outskirts of Ennis on Thursday afternoon.
It is understood that the suspected assailant, who is in his late 30s, approached the animal warden and pulled him from his vehicle. Mr Coote was hit a number of times around the head. It is believed the warden took possession of a dog from the suspected assailant several months ago.
The Sunday Independent has learned that when investigating gardai went to speak to the suspected assailant in Ennis on Friday, he broke a window on the officer's patrol car. He was arrested for criminal damage.
Hospital lifts visitor restrictions
Visitor restrictions at the Rotunda Hospital have been relaxed for the first time in over a week.
The restrictions were imposed on Wednesday of last week after an outbreak of what the hospital said at the time were a small number of cases of swine flu. No babies were infected. The hospital has said that normal visiting arrangements will apply after no new cases presented in the last week. Anyone with flu-like symptoms is asked to stay away from the hospital.
Father of UVF victim remains defiant
A Belfast man whose son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries has sent a defiant Christmas message to the group after it plastered hate posters about him in Protestant areas.
"I accept your surrender and thanks for the free publicity," Raymond McCord said on Christmas Eve. Police have warned the 55-year-old to step up his security after the posters attacking him and former Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan appeared across Northern Ireland last week.
But the man, whose unrelenting demand for justice for the murder of his 27-year-old son Raymond by the UVF's Mount Vernon gang, isn't running scared.
"Some of the posters have been pulled down by local people in areas of Belfast where the UVF's cowardly leadership got kids to put them up, but they don't actually bother me because they're keeping young Raymond's name in the public eye", Mr McCord added..
Officers warned over dissident threat
Police officers across the North have been warned to be on their guard against terrorist attacks at their homes across the holiday period.
The warning follows the discovery of an unexploded hand grenade under the car of an officer in Co Fermanagh on Wednesday.
The device didn't explode but the officer and his wife and young children were evacuated from their Maguiresbridge home because of the danger and are unlikely to return to the house.
Senior PSNI officers fear that dissident republicans will mount further attacks on the homes of officers across the North as they take leave days over the festive period.
Attacks from dissident elements are also feared in London, where the threat status is described as "Priority One", the same level given to the threat from al-Qaeda.
Male and female Catholic officers are considered to be most at risk from expected dissident attacks, with almost 30 per cent of the PSNI now drawn from the Nationalist community across the North.
Butchery opportunity for jobless
Well-known Ballinasloe butcher Joe Hayes is the driving force behind the National Butchery Academy, which is offering 50 places for unemployed people on a new Industrial Meat Processing course starting in January. The National Butchery Academy was officially launched by Eamon O Cuiv TD, Minister for Social Protection.
The FETAC level 5 course will cover all of the butchery skills needed to start a career in the industry. It is being run in conjunction with the Danish Meat Trade College, Roskilda, which gives it Europass status. It is open to anyone over the age of 18 who has a Junior Certificate and has been receiving unemployment benefits for at least three months.
The course is the first of its kind to be delivered in Ireland in an industrial setting and will take place in the Hayes old shop premises in Ballinasloe.
Landlords protest rise in PRTB hike
The Irish Property Owners Association has called on the Government to stop the introduction of a 28 per cent increase on Private Residential Tenancies Board registration fees, effective from January 1.
The organisation says the move is totally unnecessary as the PRTB holds €10m of landlord's subscriptions in unallocated funds for inspections. The fee is increasing from €70 to €90.
Radio special for New Year's Day
A radio special of Whole World Round, the acclaimed stageshow presented by novelist Joseph O'Connor and filmmaker Philip King, will be broadcast at 3pm on RTE Radio One on New Year's Day, featuring live guest performances from Sinead O'Connor, Steve Cooney, Andy Irvine, Scullion, Eimear Quinn, Caoimhin O'Raghallaigh and Ciara Sidine.