News in brief: Department of Transport’s ‘value for money’ reports cost State €2m
ONE-QUARTER of the Department of Transport's total expenditure on reports in recent years has been spent on value for money reviews. The department has spent €2m since 2007 on establishing task forces and commissioning reviews. Nearly €500,000 has been spent on just two reports entitled Cost and Efficiency Review of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann and Value for Money Review of the Railway Safety Programme 2004-2008.
The figures were obtained in a parliamentary question by Fine Gael's spokesperson for Arts Sports and Tourism, John O'Mahony. Mr O'Mahony described the practice of spending money to find savings as "ironic".
Hotel jewel thieves 'had inside man'
DETECTIVES believe the thieves who stole almost a million euro worth of diamonds and rubies from an English-based Israeli dealer in north Dublin may have had information from a source known to the man. Noah Stefancki, 64, who is based in Southampton, travels regularly to Ireland to sell jewels to outlets around the country. The three thieves who broke into his room at the Travelodge Hotel in Ballymun just after midnight on Friday were apparently well-informed of his travel arrangements. He had arrived in Dublin earlier that day.
Mr Stefancki told gardai that the men were armed with a handgun and a hammer. He was hit twice on the head and pursued the men out of the hotel but gave up and returned to raise the alarm. Mr Stefancki said the jewels represented his life savings and were not insured. Gardai from Ballymun station can be contacted at (01) 6664400 or to use the Garda Confidential Line at (1800) 666111.
Wednesday's Lotto is €4.5m rollover
THERE was no winner of last night's €4,082,455 Lotto jackpot. The numbers drawn were 3, 4, 13, 29, 34, 36 (bonus 24). Wednesday's prize will top €4.5m.
One Match 5+bonus winner will get €25,000; there were 47 Match 5s (€1,896); 158 Match 4+bonus (€141); 2,760 Match 4s (€50); 4,129 Match 3+bonus (€22); and 45,326 Match 3s (€5). The Lotto Plus 1 numbers were 1, 3, 7, 20, 21, 23 (bonus 12) and the Lotto Plus 2 numbers were 6, 10, 24, 31, 33, 41 (bonus 21).
In the UK draw for £4.5m, the numbers were 2, 3, 4, 19, 23, 40 (bonus 22).
Gunman shoots fleeing victim in legs
A MAN was recovering in hospital last night after he was shot in Limerick city. The incident took place on Carey's Road just around 4.45pm.
The victim, who is aged in his 20s and is believed to be from the Bruff area of Limerick, was attempting to flee his assailant by scaling a wall when he sustained shotgun pellet wounds to the legs.
Gardai believe the gunman is a criminal from the city and the incident may be drug-related. A man was arrested shortly after the incident and can be held for seven days.
The shot man's injuries were said to be not life-threatening. Roxboro gardai are investigating.
Teenager dies after scaffolding fall
A teenager lost his life yesterday following an accident on his family's farm in Co Cork.
The 19-year-old man died when he fell from scaffolding while working on outhouses at the farm on the outskirts of Bantry yesterday afternoon, shortly after 5pm. All efforts to revive him failed and the youth, who has not been named, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Call for State action over water crisis
WRITER Ulick O'Connor has called for a "government decree" to ensure that the water crisis which afflicted Dublin does not happen again.
"The dire circumstances in which Dublin has found itself, as a city starved of water, underlines a major change that must be brought about," he said. "Dublin is the only capital city where the mayor is not elected by the people's vote. It is an out of date, archaic system."
Mr O'Connor said authority in Dublin currently lies with a civil servant who is not accountable to the popular vote. "Change is long overdue," he believes.
Northern talks to resume tomorrow
The Hillsborough Castle talks, aimed at devolving policing powers to the Northern Assembly and dealing with the troublesome issue of parades, adjourned last night without agreement. Talks will resume on Monday.
The week-long talks between the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein are said to be "progressing", and delegates last night said that the mood was more upbeat than it had been during the previous week.
Funeral for aid worker killed in Haiti
THE Irish UN aid worker killed in the Haiti earthquake is to be laid to rest in Co Cavan today, where he attended school and spent much of his youth at the family farm.
Chicago-born Andrew Grene, an Irish citizen, had been serving as an adviser to the head of the UN peacekeeping operation when the UN building in the capital Port-au-Prince collapsed in the quake. The remains of Andrew, 44, who lived in New York, arrived in Dublin yesterday.
The removal will take place today at 1.30pm to Belturbet Church of Ireland for funeral service at 2.30pm, followed by burial in the adjoining churchyard.
Cross-border driving bans in force
THE Government has closed the loophole which meant that disqualified drivers from the North and the UK could drive in the Republic with impunity.
From last Thursday, UK licence disqualifications will be recognised and applied here in Ireland. Similarly, drivers from Britain and Northern Ireland who have been disqualified by the Irish courts will have their disqualifications recognised in their home country.
Transport Minister Noel Dempsey yesterday signed an order that will facilitate the mutual recognition of driving disqualifications between the jurisdictions. The move sent out a "clear message" to dangerous drivers, he said.
Deadline for flooding aid extended
THE deadline for applications under the the Red Cross Flood Relief Scheme has been extended to Friday, February 5. Members of the public whose homes have been affected by flooding since November 2009 are invited to submit an application. Applications will be considered independently of any other payment received, but applicants will be subject to an independent assessment involving a visit from Irish Red Cross assessors.
Application forms can be had at www.redcross.ie or by calling 01-642462. The Red Cross is accepting donations for Haiti at www.redcross.ie or by calling 1850-507070.
Dublin woman leaves €1.6m in will
CECILIA Macken of Balbriggan, Co Dublin, who died on May 28, 2009, has left estate valued at €1,680,686. Mary Rose Reilly, Johnstown Grove, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, left €1,291,196; Margaret Mary O'Connor, housewife, Greenlea Park, Terenure, Dublin, €1,051,313; Brendan Moore, farmer, Ballintlea, Stradbally, Co Laois, €1,043,524; Michael N White, clerical officer, Leinster Place, Harold's Cross, Dublin, €913,734; Peter B McGlynn, Catholic priest, Falcarragh, Co Donegal €222,139.
The value of wills include property, including the family home, and should not be regarded as cash amounts.