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Tax revenues up by €1.05bn

TAX revenues for the first two months of 2012 are more than €1.05bn ahead of the same period last year.

New exchequer returns put overall tax revenue for the end of February at €5.9bn, up nearly 22pc on last year.

The tax take was also €656m or 12.5pc ahead of the department's own budgetary target.

The year-on-year increase was partly due to the late payment of more than €250m in corporation tax, originally due in December.

The figures were also helped by a 32.7pc surge in income tax receipts.

Two arrested over cannabis

TWO men were arrested and €360,000 of cannabis plants seized in a search in Tallaght, south Dublin.

The seizure was made in an operation which searched an industrial unit.

Two men aged 29 and 39 were arrested.

Both were detained at Tallaght Garda Station.

Investigations are continuing.

Farmer fined ¤25k over fort

A FARMER has been fined €25,000 at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee for destroying a 1,000-year-old ring fort which was a protected national monument.

In one of the first prosecutions of its kind, John O'Mahony (64) pleaded guilty to carrying out work on the fort on his farm at Causeway in Co Kerry in February 2008, without notifying the National Monuments Service in advance.

Most of the ring fort was destroyed by heavy machinery, the court heard.

Trade unions pivotal -- Higgins

The trade union movement will play a pivotal role in rebuilding our society, President Michael D Higgins said during his first official visit to Belfast.

Speaking to the Women's Conference of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Mr Higgins said Irish society was at a point when it needed to reaffirm "active citizenship".

He added that women had been central to the Irish trade-union movement, and also paid tribute to Belfast woman and his predecessor in office, Mary McAleese.