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In brief: Bord Pleanala chief named

THE director-general of the Environmental Protection Agency has been appointed as the State's top planner.

Dr Mary Kelly succeeds John O'Connor, who was head of the planning appeals board for the past 11 years, and takes up the An Bord Pleanala job at the end of the summer.

Overseas aid to hit €669m this year

THE Government is committed to meeting ambitious overseas aid goals within four years despite the recession, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said in Tanzania yesterday.

Mr Gilmore, who is currently on a three-day tour of the African nation, said the aim was to give 0.7pc of national income by 2015. It is estimated that Ireland will spend €669m on overseas aid this year, about 0.53pc of our income.

Dog ban for man after pets ate pup

A MAN whose dogs killed and ate his girlfriend's nine-month-old puppy has been banned from owning more than one dog.

The ban came after Wesley Rooney, of Carra Vale, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, admitted to six counts of having no licence for the dogs found on his premises on February 26 this year at Mullingar District Court yesterday.

Missing teenager appeal launched

AN appeal for information has been launched to find a missing teenager last seen beside a motorway.

Shannon Cunningham (16), from Cobh, Co Cork, was spotted at 10.45pm on Friday, June 3 on the northbound side of the Cork to Dublin motorway, the M8, at Urlingford, Co Kilkenny. She is of medium build, 5ft 2ins with green eyes and short brown hair which is usually styled with streaks or spiked. She was wearing a black hoodie and black jeans on the night she went missing. Anyone with information has been asked to contact Cobh garda station at (021) 4908530 or the garda confidential line at 1800 666 111.

Number of stray horses soars

THE number of stray and unwanted horses seized by local authorities has increased dramatically in the last two years, new figures show.

Department of Agriculture figures show how 2,249 horses were impounded by councils last year. This is nearly three times the number of horses seized in 2008, when just 931 strays were taken in, and significantly up on the 1,426 figure recorded in 2009.

Irish Independent