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News in brief Teen cleared of raping neighbour A TEENAGER has been found not guilty by the Central Criminal Court of raping a girl when he was 14-years-old and she was three months younger.

The jury took just under two hours to also acquit the now 17-year-old Cork youth of sexually assaulting the neighbouring girl on the same occasion in November 1997. The young man had denied all the charges.

Man charged over police car crash



A MAN was charged yesterday in connection with a fatal crash in West Belfast involving a stolen car and a police land rover.

Gavin Kelly (19), from Britton's Parade, Belfast, appeared at the Magistrates Court as crash victim Raymond Boyle (21) was being buried. Kelly faces charges of allowing himself to be carried in the car and using it without insurance.

FG forced into election rethink



FINE Gael in Kerry south were forced to rethink their strategy for the next general election last night, after the surprise decision by Cllr Michael Gleeson not to join the party.

Mr Gleeson, who enjoys a strong Killarney base, has decided to remain with the South Kerry Independent Alliance despite approaches from Fine Gael over the last year. The party has not won a seat in Kerry south since 1989.

Soothers pose health risks



IRISH children are constantly "sucking and slobbering" on soothers causing serious dental problems, experts say.

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Professor Gill, of the department of paediatrics at the Royal College of Surgeons, said soothers can cause of dental malocclusion (bad bite), impair speech and lead to infection.

Birds find perfect spot for nest



A CUTE Kerry wren has found a foolproof hiding place for its nest in the McCarthy family home in Gortnaminch, Listowel.

Last Sunday the family discovered the nest in the pocket of a camouflage jacket which was hanging in their shed. Six perfect eggs are due to hatch soon in a proper nest of dried moss and wool.

Children to have better facilities



SPORTS and playground facilities are to be made available to every child in the country under the New National Children's Strategy, said Minister of State for Children, Mary Hanafin.

The minister said there is an urgent need for facilities to give young people an alternative to the pub, street corner or amusement arcade.

Village gets new school approved



THE village of Ratoath, Co Meath is to have its own second level school.

The Minister for Education, Dr Michael Woods, has approved a proposal for a community college in the village, whose population is set to grow to 10,000 in the coming years.

Historic building demolished



AN historic Dublin building demolished yesterday is to be rebuilt as soon as possible, Fingal County Council said.

The well known Gatelodge kiosk and Turnstile entrance to the old Phoenix Park racecourse was knocked down under a Dangerous Building order, after a communication breakdown failed to take note of its listed building status.

US marines return to WWII base



MEMBERS of the US Marine Corps arrived in Derry yesterday for the first time since the battalion trained forces in the city in 1942.

"Without this special base the war would have gone on for another two or three years," said Master Chief Joseph Earhart-Sardo, (88).

Resignation over nude paintings



THE chairman of a Donegal arts centre has been asked to resign following his unauthorised removal of two nude paintings from an exhibition last weekend.

Management committee chairman of Tullyarvan Mill, Buncrana, Brian Flanagan removed two 6x6' paintings from the exhibition 'River beneath the River' by Donegal based artist Bernadette Hopkins, claiming they symbolised "a strong disregard for concerns of modesty."

Man found dead in London flat



A MAN in his twenties has been found dead in mysterious circumstances at a flat in central London. Andrew Rolston, of Carrigtwohill, Co Cork was found dead in his flat in Kensington on Thursday.

Mr Rolston's family last heard from him about a month ago. It is believed he went to work in England about two years ago. Police are investigation the matter.

Father guilty of sexual assault



A FATHER has been given a two year sentence for sexually assaulting his daughter almost 10 years ago.

Mr Justice Carney at the Central Criminal Court considered the 40-year-old Co Meath man's guilty plea to three sample charges of sexual assault between 1991 and 1993 when his daughter was around 13-years-old. He had also been attending counselling.

Garda loses fines challenge



AN application by Det-Gda Peter Byrne, Estuary Road, Swords, to quash a Garda disciplinary board's decision was refused by the High Court yesterday.

He challenged fines of £1,600 imposed following a disciplinary hearing into alleged complaints by three neighbours.

More flying from Knock



A NEW early morning Ryanair flight from Knock to London Stanstead increased passenger numbers by 30pc last month, airport chairman Cathal Duffy reported.

Decision due on decentralisation



THE final locations of decentralised government departments will be known in the next six to eight weeks, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern revealed last night.

His comments came during a four-hour tour of Tipperary town where he opened the town's Excel Heritage Centre, presented sports scholarships and opened a new golf course. He could not confirm whether or not a government department would be decentralised to Tipperary. Unemployment is still running at around 12pc.

Couple win holiday refund



A COUPLE yesterday won a compensation claim in the Small Claims Court over the poor conditions they encountered during a holiday last May.

Maureen O'Gorman from Ballinteer in Dublin sued Budget Travel for £768, including refund for the two-week holiday at the Ses Abeurades Apartments in Menorca, car hire and £200 for loss of enjoyment because of the overcrowded swimming facilities and cramped apartment.

Gardai hunt for missing antiques



GARDAI in Mayo are seeking the whereabouts of antique 1950s furniture which has gone missing from a vacant house in Belcarra, Castlebar.

Among the missing items are a three-shelved dresser and a round brown table with drop sides.

Funds boost for technical college



THE Government is to make a multi-million pound investment in Tallaght Institute of Technology with a promise to develop it to world class standards.

Education Minister Michael Woods announced the funding as he opened a £20m extension to the college yesterday, boosting capacity to over 2,500 students.

Six years' jail for drugs courier



A DRUGS courier found in possession of the north's largest haul of Ecstasy tablets - 250,000 was jailed for six years yesterday.

Campbell Lunn (38) from Dromore, Co Down admitted having the drugs and an automatic pistol in his car in January last year.


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