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Support for Coalition plummets after Budget as Kenny, Gilmore take poll hit

Support for the Government parties has crashed in the wake of the Budget. A new opinion poll also shows a significant fall in support for the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

The Government's satisfaction rating has dropped by 10 points to 26 per cent according to the poll in the Sunday Times. Support for Fine Gael is down seven points since the last poll eight weeks ago, to 30 per cent, while Labour loses four points to 11 per cent. Fianna Fail support is up five to 20 per cent, although the party is still behind Sinn Fein, up two points to 21 per cent. Independents and others are the other big winners, up four points, to 18 per cent. Satisfaction with Enda Kenny is down 14 per cent to 44 per cent, while Eamon Gilmore drops 11 to 35 per cent.

Pensioner released after handgun find

A PENSIONER in Limerick city has been released without charge after gardai recovered a handgun and ammunition from a house. The man, who is aged in his 70s, was arrested after Henry Street gardai were called to a disturbance at a home at 7.15am yesterday. A file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

2012 good for fishermen -- Coveney

Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney has said that the negotiations on EU fish allocations that ended in Brussels early yesterday delivered the Government's key priorities "and will allow the Irish fishing fleet to look forward to 2012 with optimism".

He added: "The reopening of Irish Sea prawn fishery and an increase in quotas will push the total value of next year's fishing opportunities to a record level of €250m."

Fingal seeks 2pc reduction in rates

Fingal County Council is proposing to reduce commercial rates for the third year in a row. The county manager said he would be recommending a 2 per cent reduction to the councillors when they meet to adopt the budget this week.

'Pentecost' shortlisted for the Oscars

The light-hearted short film Pentecost, written and directed by Peter McDonald, has been selected as one of 10 short films from all over the world to be shortlisted for Oscar nomination in the Best Live Action Short category.

Funded through the Irish Film Board, the film stars Andrew Bennett, Michael McElhatton and Don Wycherley and tells the story of an altar boy who has to make a difficult choice: conform to the status quo or serve an extended ban from his passion in life -- football.

One winner in South of €4.8m Lotto

TheRE was one winner of last night's €4,817,816 Lotto jackpot. The numbers were were 3, 10, 24, 26, 32, 44 (bonus 6) and the ticket was bought in the South.

There were no match 5+bonus winners but 39 Match 5s each get €2,152; 137 Match 4+bonus (€154); 2,311 Match 4s (€56); 3,847 Match 3+bonus (€22); 40,094 Match 3s (€5).

The Lotto Plus 1 numbers were 13, 17, 25, 28, 31, 38 (bonus 5) and the Lotto Plus 2 numbers were 6, 10, 15, 28, 37, 42 (bonus 2).

In the UK draw for stg£4.1m the numbers were 1, 22, 35, 39, 42, 48 (bonus 12).

Is it the Christmas star -- or planets?

An extremely bright new 'star' has been glowing in the evening skies over the past few weeks, and Astronomy Ireland has been asked if it is the Christmas Star.

It is in fact the planet Jupiter, which will be visible for a few more weeks, along with Venus, which can be spotted just after sunset on the western horizon and Mars rising later in the night, appearing as an orange-tinged star.

Locals join search for missing woman

Almost 200 people, including over 150 family, friends and neighbours, are continuing the search for a 38-year-old Limerick woman who has been missing for over a week. The woman, named locally as Gillian Richardson from Doon, Limerick, hasn't been seen since December 9.

Ms Richardson's car was found on a road in north Clare and gardai quickly initiated a search of the area. They also contacted the Irish Coast Guard marine rescue centre at Valentia Island in Co Kerry and requested their assistance.

Cycle for Down Syndrome is launched

COMEDIAN PJ Gallagher joined NUI Maynooth president Philip Nolan and students of the University in launching their 25th annual cycle in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland.

Thousands of students, former and current, have been cycling the 400km round trip from NUI Maynooth to and from Galway on the last weekend of March every year since 1987. In that time they've raised over €725,000.

Artist's book presents views of Liffey

Artist Tom Byrne has produced a new book, Northside Southside -- 117 Views of the River Liffey. The book is on sale at the Apollo gallery in Dawson Street, Dublin.

Well-known locksmith passes away

The well-known locksmith Michael Brown of Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire and Brown Bros Locksmiths, died peacefully last Thursday, December 15.

Michael is survived by his wife Marie, grandchildren Karen, David, Shona, Michael and Josh, great-granddaughter Jessica and other relatives and friends. Funeral mass is at 11am tomorrow at St Michael's Church, Dun Laoghaire, followed by burial at Shanganagh.

Pharmacist leaves €2m in his will

The Galway-based pharmacist and businessman Matt O'Flaherty, who died on July 13, 2010, left €2,072,658 in his will, which went to probate in Dublin last week. Mr O'Flaherty, who was originally from Four Roads in Roscommon but lived in Barna, Co Galway, established one of the largest pharmacy chains in the west.

Other wills: Thomas Evans, Newgrange Rd, Blackrock, €3,284,230; John MacDonald Broadhead, Ailesbury Road, Dublin, €2,349,851; Simon Ryan, Leixlip, €1,748,795; Ian Leslie Howley, College Road, Castleknock, €1,540,069.

Sunday Independent