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Ex-gang teen spared custody

A FORMER teen gang member has been spared a custodial sentence for possessing a stash of ecstasy tablets which he kept stored in his bedroom.

The boy (16) pleaded guilty at the Children's Court to having the 251 tablets, with a street value of €1,255, for sale or supply, at his Dublin home, in late 2008.

Judge Clare Leonard noted that the boy was awaiting sentence in the Circuit Court for possessing a firearm but otherwise he has not come to further gardai attention.

She imposed a three-month probation bond on the boy.

First children's laureate named

An award-winning author was revealed as Ireland's first laureate for children's literature today.

Laureate na nOg Siobhan Parkinson will travel around the country in a bid to reach a new audience of young readers. The fiction writer, who has published more than 20 books for children, was presented with the Laureate na nOg medal by President Mary McAleese.

Ms Parkinson said: "I am thrilled and honoured to be chosen as the first Laureate na nOg."

Shop worker stole €65k

A shop assistant who stole €65,000 from the sports store where he worked has received an 18-month suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Daryl Reid (20) of Rutland Grove, Crumlin, pleaded guilty to trespass and theft at the JD Sports store on Mary Street, Dublin 1 on December 18, 2008.

His co-accused, Daniel Kiely (19), of Clonmacnoise Road, Crumlin, was given the benefit of the Probation Act.

Hitler offence by 999 service

An ambulance service apologised after staff were asked to rate how "cool" Adolf Hitler was in a questionnaire.

The survey was sent out to 4,000 employees at West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) in Britain as part of a £10,000 (€11,653) study to identify what made good leadership. Respondents were asked to rate how "cool" 10 famous leaders were on a scale of one to five.

A WMAS spokesman apologised for any offence caused.