Family of ten evacuated following fire in Doolargy Avenue

The scene of the blaze last night

The scene of the blaze last night

A family of ten had to be evacuated from their home after a fire broke out in a local housing estate last night.

The blaze broke out in a deserted house in the Doolargy Avenue area of Muirhevnamor around 7pm and took around four hours to be brought under control, with five units of the fire service attending from Dundalk, Dunleer and Drogheda.

Two houses were damaged by smoke during the fire but thankfully there were no injuries, with two dogs also rescued.

Gardaí are investigating the cause of the blaze and are appealing for anyone with information to contact them at Dundalk Garda Station on 042 9335577.

Five units of the fire service spent around four hours battling the blaze

Five units of the fire service spent around four hours battling the blaze

Pictures courtesy of fire-ireland.com

An Bord Pleanála give go ahead for new Maxol filling station on Dublin Road

The site of the former Texaco Southend Service Station on the Dublin Road, which Maxol has been given the go ahead to develop

The site of the former Texaco Southend Service Station on the Dublin Road, which Maxol has been given the go ahead to develop

Maxol have won the right to open up a new filling station at the Southend Services Station on the Dublin Road, opposite Dundalk IT.

Louth County Council initially granted conditional planning permission for the development at the site of the former Texaco station in October last year. However, Niall Clarke Oils Ltd – who also operate a filling station on the Dublin Road – lodged an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

However, the planning authority opted to uphold the council’s decision, deciding that the “proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area, would not adversely affect the character of the area, would be acceptable in terms of parking, traffic safety and convenience and would not, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The opening of the filling station is still subject to 18 conditions being met but none should pose a problem.

Maxol hope to erect a new supermarket on the 0.25 hectare site, including an ATM, deli, ancillary stores and offices and internal and external seating areas.

There would also be a new forecourt canopy, rollover carwash, equipment store, floodlighting and security cameras, a rear compound area, underground fuel tanks, a petrol interceptor, a carwash interceptor, an aluminium clad illuminated gantry sign and associated services including drainage works and alterations to the existing access to the public road.

In January Maxol announced a new partnership with Dundalk IT as part of the institute’s Global Student Project 2015.

The cross college collaboration project will see DKIT students join forces with students from universities in USA and Australia to develop a new mobile app for Moreish, Maxol’s new convenience food and café brand.

Using digital communication facilities and on-line project management software, the teams of students will work together to design the Moreish café app for Maxol. Students will test the app among the student and staff base at DKIT, with the intention to expand its use across the 30 Moreish deli cafés that are expected to be open by the end of 2015. Potential built-in features of the app will include; food ordering, delivery, payment and a loyalty programme.

Millions wasted after officials ignored whistleblowers’ concerns over cross border broadband project

broadband-internetGovernment officials have admitted they failed to follow up on whistleblower concerns about a broadband project that lost €4.3m for taxpayers north and south of the border.

Mark Griffin, the secretary general of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, said an official failed to attend a meeting arranged to discuss the whistleblower’s concerns.

The man raised concerns in 2006 over the operation of the Bytel project, a plan to provide faster internet connections to homes in Belfast, Craigavon, Armagh, Dundalk and Dublin.

“I don’t know why we didn’t attend,” Mr Griffin told the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee. His department lost €2.3m on the venture.

A subsequent auditor general report found an investigation of the whistleblower’s claims by the North’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) was inadequate.

The report found €1.3m was used to buy equipment from a sister company of Belfast firm Bytel, even though it may have been worth just €30,000.

Mr Griffin said his department had accepted assurances from DETI that the whistleblower concerns were the result of an internal dispute within Bytel.

“We took our eye off the ball,” he said.

“If the nature and seriousness of the allegations made in 2006 had been fully appreciated, there may have been an opportunity to step in at that stage.”

Government cash pumped into the project was to be recouped later from an EU fund.

However, the EU pulled out of the deal when a litany of irregularities were found.

Labour TD Derek Nolan said the episode was “shocking for the almost gold standard it sets for management incompetence”.

Source: Irish Independent

Sinn Féin launches Yes campaign in Dundalk

Gerry Adams with Sinn Féin councillors and activists at today's Yes campaign launch in the Market Square

Gerry Adams with Sinn Féin councillors and activists at today’s Yes campaign launch in the Market Square

Local TD Gerry Adams today launched Sinn Féin’s Yes campaign for the two referendums taking place on May 22nd.

The Sinn Féin leader and local County Councillors and activists took to Clanbrassil Street, handing out Yes leaflets.

Commenting at the launch in the Market Square, Deputy Adams said: “In just five weeks’ time two referendums will be held. One is to reduce the eligibility age for a candidate for the Presidential elections. The second is on marriage equality. Sinn Féin is calling for a Yes vote in both referendums.

“We will be running a vigorous campaign. The party will be distributing around half a million leaflets; at least 5,000 posters and the party in every constituency will be carrying out a thorough canvas.

“In respect of the Marriage Equality Referendum, many of us will have a member of our family or extended family who is gay. All of us, whatever age we are or wherever we live or work, know someone who is gay.

“They want what we want – the right to live their lives as full and contributing citizens and to share in the love of a family of their own.

“A Yes vote for same sex-marriage is about recognising people’s right to equality; respecting their right to express their own sense of identity; and is about affirming their right as citizens to be free, equal and happy.

“There is a possibility that some citizens who are so angry at this government will see this as an opportunity to hurt Fine Gael and Labour. I would appeal to them not to do this. This referendum is not about those parties it is about the rights and entitlements of our family members, our friends, our neighbours and workmates.

“Nor should those who support these referendum be lulled by the opinion polls into believing that these referendum will easily succeed. This is not a time for complacency. Every vote will count.

“I would also appeal for everyone to join the campaign for a Yes Vote. If you feel you can’t become part of any of the formal campaigns being organised then become part of the informal campaign. Talk to your friends, to your workmates, to your family and neighbours and ask them to vote Yes. Text them. Facebook them. Use Twitter. Let’s get the biggest vote possible and ensure that on May 22nd both referendums are passed.”

Relatives of the 91 men from Dundalk who fought in 1916 Rising being tracked down

Local man Marcus Howard, whose great, great granduncle Arthur Greene went to Tyrellstown in 1916 from Dundalk, was the first relative tracked down.

Local man Marcus Howard, whose great, great granduncle Arthur Greene (pictured) went to Tyrellstown in 1916 from Dundalk, was the first relative tracked down.

A search has been launched to track down relatives of the Dundalk Irish Volunteers, who took part in the Easter Rising in 1916.

A Facebook page has been set up for the Dundalk 1916 Relatives Committee, who are looking to honour the 91 men from the town that marched to Dublin ahead of next year’s centenary of the rising.

In a post on the site, the committee said: “We are actively seeking relatives of the 91 men of the Dundalk battalion of the Irish Volunteers that mobilised in the fight for Irish freedom on Easter Sunday Morning 1916 in the Dundalk and Co Louth area.

“If you had a relative(s) that was part of the Dundalk Volunteers on Easter Sunday morning 1916 and would like to take part in the local events in the coming year please contact us at: dundalk1916relatives@gmail.com

Anyone emailing the address is asked to include the following:

  • Name of relative
  • Service period
  • Your name
  • Your contact details
  • Your connection to relative(s)
  • Any evidence you may have to support your claim

Two vehicles stolen in test-drive thefts recovered by Gardaí

gardai

Two of the vehicles stolen in the area during separate test-drive thefts have been recovered by Gardaí.

A Mitsubishi Pajero, which was stolen on Wednesday on the Carrick Road, and a Renault Clio were discovered in Ardee around 3pm yesterday.

Both vehicles had been taken after their owners had advertised them for sale online, with thieves stealing them after meeting up with the owner, who believed they were interested in buying them.

Four such incidents have taken place in the area this month, with two stolen vehicles still outstanding. The Mitsubishi Pajero and Renault Clio have both now been returned to their owners.

No arrests have been made as yet in connection with the thefts but Gardaí say they are following a number of lines of enquiry.

They have further advised people selling vehicles online to take precaution when doing so.

One officer advised the public via LMFM to meet in a public area with CCTV and take the key from the ignition when exiting the vehicle after a test-drive.

Sinn Féin to launch Yes campaign in Dundalk this morning

Gerry Adams launching the 'Yes' campaign in Dublin earlier this week

Gerry Adams launching the ‘Yes’ campaign in Dublin earlier this week

Sinn Féin will launch their campaign for a Yes vote in the forthcoming marriage equality and presidential referendums in Dundalk this morning.

Party leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams will be joined by local councillors for the launch at the Market Square at 11.30am before undertaking a canvass of the town.

The party are urging people to vote Yes to marriage equality and to lower the age in which a person can go forward for president to 21.

The referendums will take place on May 22nd.

Sellafield staff vote for industrial action

The Sellafield plant in the UK

The Sellafield plant in the UK

Workers at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, England have voted to take industrial action in a row over health and safety.

The plant has a particular interest to people from Dundalk due to its location across the Irish Sea, with fears of any catastrophes there having a major impact on this area.

Unite said its 1,200 members at the site overwhelmingly backed a campaign of action. A meeting will be held next week to decide what form the action will take.

The union said it had been trying for 10 months to have an official appointed to a health and safety role at Sellafield, adding that talks have now broken down.

“Our members have lost patience with Sellafield management who have steadfastly continued to ignore our very reasonable request,” said regional officer Steve Benson. “All they are asking for is their right for a co-worker to become a union shop steward at the Sellafield site to represent construction workers and keep them safe.

“It makes sense for our members and the company and it will help improve industrial relations and a safety and welfare culture at the site. Unite members have no wish to take action, but are being forced to do so by a company unwilling to take our members’ concerns seriously.

“Unite has a proud track record of working with employers to resolve disputes and is urging Sellafield to get back to serious talks.”

Mitsubishi Pajero stolen in Dundalk after test-drive

gardai

Gardaí in Dundalk are appealing for information after a Mitsubishi Pajero was stolen on the Carrick Road yesterday after the owner went for a test-drive with a man who said he was interested in buying it.

This is the latest such incident to occur in the area after three other similar incidents in recent weeks.

The grey 4×4, which had a registration number 91 C 15296, had been advertised for sale on the internet. Its owner met a supposed interest buyer at lunchtime yesterday but when they returned to their meeting point the man drove off in the vehicle once the owner had got out.

The number plates of the vehicle are said to be distinctive, with a black background and silver writing, as well as a barcode.

Anyone with information on the incident or the vehicle’s whereabouts is asked to contact Dundalk Garda Station at 042 9335577.

Dundalk man who raped 74-year-old aunt dies just weeks before his appeal

Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward

A Dundalk man jailed for raping his 74-year-old aunt has died from a heart attack, just weeks before his appeal was due to be heard.

52-year-old Christopher Ward, whose last address was in Birmingham in England, was convicted by the Central Criminal Court following an eight day trial 12 months ago of the rape and sexual assault of his aunt Kathleen Ward at her home in Dundalk on March 13 2011.

He was then sentenced last May to 14 years in prison by Mr Justice George Birmingham after Ms Ward waived her right to anonymity so that her nephew could be identified.

According to UTV Ireland, Ward was due to appeal his conviction and sentence in the Court of Appeal in less than two weeks’ time.

However, his barrister, Michael O’Higgins SC, told the Court of Appeal on Wednesday that “regrettably Mr Ward had a heart attack on Friday and died”.

That in effect meant the matter will not proceed on that date, Mr O’Higgins said.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who was Ward’s trial judge and would therefore not have heard the appeal, said he was sorry to hear about the news of “Mr Ward’s demise”.

The appeal which was listed for hearing on Tuesday 18 April next will not now proceed.