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Fruit importer Begley's sentence is a "grave injustice", says TD McGrath

The sentence on fruit importer Paul Begley was a "grave injustice for a non-violent crime", according to Independent TD Finian McGrath. "For me it is the injustice of the sentence, while bankers and politicians swan around free after wrecking the country," he said.

Mr Begley was sentenced to six years after a €1.6m VAT fraud involving the importation of garlic from China.

Higgins to lead memorial service

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins will today comfort families devastated by a West Cork trawler tragedy as he leads a special memorial to all those lost at sea, writes Ralph Riegel.

Five men drowned when the French-built trawler Tit Bonhomme struck rocks and sank on January 15 off Union Hall in West Cork.

Fire breaks out at apartment complex

A number of people, including a toddler, were treated for smoke inhalation when fire ripped through a third-floor apartment in Dublin yesterday. The blaze broke out at the Belmont Hall apartment complex on Gardiner Street.

Prompt action by Dublin Fire Brigade stopped the fire from spreading. District Officer Shane Somers said it appeared that none of the injuries were serious.

No winner of €2m Lotto jackpot

There was no winner in last night's main Lotto draw worth €2m. The winning numbers were 6, 12, 26, 27, 32, 38 (Bonus 44).

In the Lotto Plus 1 draw, worth €350,000, the winning numbers were 17, 21, 24, 25, 26, 36 (Bonus 29). In the Lotto Plus 2 draw, worth €250,000, the winning numbers were 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 44 (Bonus 1). In the UK Lottery, the winning numbers in the main draw worth £4.2m were 10, 23, 25, 34, 41, 47 (Bonus 30).

Cyclist killed in collision with car

A German cyclist was killed yesterday in Cork after a collision with a car. Gardai in Togher are appealing for witnesses to the incident, which occurred at 5.15pm on the Bandon Road, about 3km from Bishopstown in the city. The 50-year-old woman died at the scene.

Her name was not released last night as authorities were making efforts to inform members of her family.

Wilde first edition sells for $362,500

A rare first edition of Oscar Wilde's masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest has sold for an astonishing $362,500 (€275,000), more than three times its estimate.

The book, unique because it was the one that the Irish writer dedicated to his first gay lover, sparked a huge bidding war before it was snapped up by an anonymous buyer at Sotheby's in New York on Friday. The work was dedicated by Wilde to Robert Ross, a wealthy Canadian art critic.

€969,000 for household tax agency

THE agency responsible for collecting the household charge has been paid €969,000 to date to cover its costs, writes Maeve Sheehan.

The Department of the Environment said the agency wasn't being paid a "fee" but was recouping its costs from revenue generated by the household charge. "Recoupment of costs incurred of some €969,000 has been made from the Local Government Fund to date," a spokesman said.

Kenny to visit Loophead lighthouse

It has been confirmed that Taoiseach Enda Kenny will visit Loophead Lighthouse in Co Clare on May 18 to see where his grandfather served for many years.

The Taoiseach's grandfather, James McGinley, entered the lighthouse service in 1905, aged 25, and took up service at Loophead in 1922.

Fashion fans gear up for top event

Brown Sugar Better Fashion Week starts tomorrow and runs until April 30 at No 6 Castle Market, Dublin 2. It is produced by Re-dress and offers talks and mentoring on every area related to fashion.

The week-long event includes films and lunchtime talks. Fashion editor Constance Harris says she's "thrilled" that the event has secured sponsorship from such a "high-fashion brand" as Brown Sugar. For tickets, visit www.betterfashionweek.com

Sick child to travel for vital surgery

The family of a child who needs vital surgery in the US will make their long-awaited trip to Boston tomorrow.

Sergio O'Connor, from Donnycarney, Dublin, and his family were expected to travel by government jet for the surgery earlier this month but were delayed due to bureaucratic paperwork.

Sergio, a twin, who turned one last month, was born with a rare condition which prevents him from eating, drinking and swallowing because of a 5cm gap between his oesophagus and stomach.

Ann Summers' Irish arm reports loss

There has been a dramatic slowdown in demand for sexy lingerie and sex toys, if accounts filed by the Irish arm of the Ann Summers chain are anything to go by.

"The directors anticipate the future trading to mirror economic conditions," said the company, which operates a flagship store in O'Connell Street, Dublin, and has posted a loss for the first time since arriving in Ireland.

According to accounts filed last week, Ann Summers (Ireland) Ltd lost €167,667, compared with a profit of more than €400,000 last year.

Man appears in court over murder

James Connors, 26, of Rosemount, Drinagh, Co Wexford, appeared before Judge Gerard Haughton in Gorey Court on Friday night, charged with the murder of Jason Ryan, 27, at Hollyville Heights, Francis St, Wexford.

The accused was remanded in custody and is due to re-appear at Cloverhill District Court on Thursday, April 26.

Town to protest over hospital's future

A breakdown in trust between the HSE, Health Minister James Reilly, and the residents of Abbeyleix over the future of the town hospital has sparked plans for a major rally.

Growing fears that the HSE is operating a policy of closure by stealth has led to the rally, planned for Sunday, April 29.

Wilker wins Defence Forces contract

AN Offaly company that builds specialist vehicles for the emergency services has won a contract to supply the Defence Forces with ambulances, which could be worth nearly €250,000. Wilker Auto Conversions of Clara provides vehicles to hospitals, police and emergency services.

Artist Peter Collis is laid to rest

The funeral took place yesterday of the well-known artist Peter Collis, RHA, who died on April 18.

He was buried in Dean's Grange cemetery after a funeral service in the Church of Ireland, Monkstown, Co Dublin.

Company director leaves €11.9m will

Gwendoline Jean Fottrell, a retired company director of Kilnaborris, Banagher, Co Galway, and late of Carpenterstown, Castleknock, Dublin, who died on October 16, 2011, has left €11,949,193 in her will. Other wills: Vincent Browne, a retired dentist of Howth Road, Clontarf, Dublin, left €2,506,888; Carlie Brennan, of Cappaghmore, Clondalkin, Dublin, left €1,602,506; Margaret Cuthbert, a retired principal of Weston Park, Churchtown, Dublin, left €1,033,874; Anthony (Tony) Dixon, a marketing consultant and DJ of Cedar Park, Swords, Dublin, left €9,959,569.

The value of wills includes property, including the family home, and should not be regarded as cash amounts.

Sunday Independent