Articles in Category: Local News

Second day of volunteer foot search gets underway for missing man John Concannon

A second day of a volunteer foot search for missing Derry man John Concanon got underway yesterday.

johnconcannon.jpgThe 71 year old has been missing since Tuesday 10th November.

Mr John Concannon was last seen on the Lenamore Road getting off a bus. It’s believed Mr. Concannon, who suffers from dementia, took the wrong bus from Derry City Centre.

Yesterday, it was estimated that approximately 100 people took part in the search. Both Gardai in Donegal and the PSNI in Derry with and an underwater search team along with volunteers have already carried out extensive searches on both sides of the border. So far, there have been no sightings of John Concannon. Police are once again  asking anyone who has seen Mr Concannon to get in touch with them at Strand Road station, or call Gardaí if he has been seen in Donegal.

He is described as being about 5’6″ tall, of medium build and with grey hair. He was wearing a black and grey beanie hat, a black coat, checked shirt and navy trousers.

Donegal man fined for illegally docking puppy’s tail

A Donegal man was ordered to pay a total of €605, after pleading guilty to illegally docking the tail of a puppy

Cathal Crawford of Ballyarrell, Killygordon, Co Donegal was ordered to pay €355 in costs and a further donation of €250 to the ISPCA at Letterkenny District Court today.


Judge Paul Kelly said he would consider imposing the probation act if both costs are paid by January 21st 2016.

The case related to an investigation in March 2015, when Crawford attempted to place an advert to sell the puppy online.

The ISPCA was alerted and subsequent enquiries led to a visit to Mr Crawford’s home by ISPCA Inspector Kevin McGinley and Garda Sinead McLaughlin.

There they found a three-month-old German Pointer puppy with a docked tail.

The puppy was later given into the care of the ISPCA and subsequently re-homed.

It was established the docking of the puppy’s tail had been carried out without the involvement of a veterinary surgeon, which is contrary to the Prohibition on Tail Docking and Dew Claw Removal Regulations from March 2014.

ISPCA Inspector Kevin McGinley said: “The law has changed and people need to respect that fact. What may have been standard practice in the past is no longer permissible now”.

Since March 2014 it has been illegal for a lay-person to perform any procedure involving interference with the sensitive tissue or bone structure of an animal, including docking of tails and removal of dew claws.

HSE pledges to end “wage discrimination” against home helps in Donegal

Donegal Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn today called for an end to what he described as wage disrimination by the H.S.E.

In June of this year it emerged that the H.S.E. in the county have been witholding unsocial hours premium payments from around 500 home helps in Donegal.

Deputy MacLochlainn says he has now received a commitment from senior H.S.E management at national and local level that all monies owed would be paid by Christmas.


33 year old man charged with Natalie McGuinness’s murder in Sligo

Oisin Conroy, of The Mews, Mail Coach Road in Sligo, appeared in Sligo District Court this morning with a heavily bandaged head and wearing a blue hoody

Sergeant Patrick Harney gave evidence that Mr Conroy made no reply when he was charged with murder in the early hours of this morning. Defence barrister Keith O’Grady requested that his client get all the appropriate medical attention in custody, and said that this is a case where the defendant will require psychiatric evaluation as a matter of urgency.

Judge Kevin Kilraine asked whether Mr Conroy was a suicide risk. Inspector Paul Kilcoyne said that Oisin Conroy’s injuries were self-inflicted and that he s a threat to himself. Judge Kilraine remanded Mr Conroy in custody to Castlerea Prison on two conditions; that he have psychiatric care in custody and that he is placed on suicide watch.


Suspended sentences for couple who fraudulently claimed over €44,000 in welfare benefits

Couple who defrauded State of more than €44,000 given suspended jail sentences

Martin Stokes, 26, and his 25-year-old wife Margaret, who were arrested on EU warrants, yesterday admitted dozens of benefit fraud charges at Donegal Circuit Court.

Judge John Aylmer was told the fraudulent claims were made in Ballybofey and Letterkenny.


Martin Stokes admitted 39 charges between 2007 and 2010 and his wife pleaded guilty to 20 offences spread over two years, after she moved from England to marry him in 2008.

The investigation into their offences was led by Det. Paul Lynch and Social Welfare Inspector Kathleen Stewart.

Most of the offences were committed when the couple shared at an address at Convoy before moving to their latest address at Lagan Court, Manorcunningham.

Judge Aylmer said he regarded the offences as “a very serious fraud” on the State in which Margaret Stokes was pressured into her crimes because her husband was feeding a drugs habit.

When their marriage faced breakdown Martin Stokes “took the necessary steps to wean himself off drugs.”

The court heard that the couple were repaying a small amount per week off their debt to the State and money put up by their family, including €20,000 cash for Martin Stokes’ bail, was available to repay most of the rest.

The judge said a total of €9,900 was outstanding. He ruled that this be repaid in eight quarterly sessions over two years.

He imposed a jail term of three years, suspended for three years, on Martin Stokes.

Margaret Stokes was given 18 months, suspended for 18 months.

Roaming charges will now not be abolished until 2017

The abolition of roaming charges in border areas of the EU has been postponed until June 2017

This announcement will come as big blow to people in areas like Donegal who are regularly hit by the higher charges, sometimes incurred without realising it.

The issue has also been topical in the North. Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has expressed frustration as the decision. She said: "Roaming charges are a thorn in the side of the thousands of individuals living along the border corridor and who commute across the border to work.

"Whilst we welcome the commitment that the charges will be removed eventually, it is regrettable that they will continue until June 2017.

"For those commuting regularly across the border, this results in a further penalty of an increased phone bill. It is also places a barrier for start-ups and cross border co-operation."


Mary Boyle’s sister to meet with MPs in Westminster

The twin sister of Mary Boyle who went missing in 1977 will visit Westminster Tuesday next for a series of meetings let by MP Jeffrey Donaldson to address Garda failure and cross-border crime.


A number of families have been invited to London to discuss the issues.

It’s believed Ann Doherty will also reiterate her claim to know the identity of Mary Boyles alleged killer during this meeting.

Mary Boyle went missing from her grandparents farm at Cashelard near Ballyshannon on the 18th of March 1977.


Almost €24 million paid out to community organisations in Donegal

Ninety four community organisations and childcare providers across County Donegal shared in more than €23.7 million in grants administered by Pobal on behalf of Government, the EU and other bodies according to a new report.


Pobal’s annual report launched this week by Minister Anne Phelan TD outlines how total funding of nearly 340 million euro was allocated on projects across the country.

The funding provided additional supports to enhance social inclusion and equality for those individuals, groups and communities most marginalised.

In Donegal, the report shows that over €8 million was spent on the Rural Social Scheme which enables low income farmers and fishing families to engage in part-time work; more than €7.7 million was allocated to the county under the Tús programme; an initiative which provides long term unemployed with a 12 month work placement while Donegal workers were paid almost €3 million in wages under the Community Service Programme.


Letterkenny General Hospital gets the highest bill in the country for employing temporary staff

The HSE paid 2.4 million euro to employ temporary staff at Letterkenny General Hospital in the first six months of this year, the highest bill in the country.

Nationally, the bill is 14 million euro across the 18 hospitals to the end of July.

A shortage of nurses and trying to keep on medical staff have been cited as the main causes for the high bill for Letterkenny General Hospital.


Gardai issue crime alert warning

Gardai have issued a crime alert warning for the Ballyare / Ramelton area.

A white transit van has been reported to be acting suspiciously in the area earlier this afternoon.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Milford Garda Station on 07491 53048.


Over 500 disqualified drivers involved in serious collisions since 2013

New figures from the Road Safety Authority show more than 500 disqualified drivers were involved in collisions causing serious injury or death in recent years.

Data from between January 2013 and March of this year in today’s Irish Times, shows there were 521 such incidents.


However the RSA says new measures giving Gardai powers to arrest dangerous drivers on the spot are helping to make roads safer.

The numbers come just days after it was revealed that just 40 percent of drink driving cases in the District Courts resulted in convictions nationally, with that figure falling to 35% in Donegal.