Maura Harrington jailed for 30 days with recommendation for Psychiatric Assessment

March 12, 2009

Wednesday, 11 March 2009 22:30

Shell to Sea protestor Maura Harrington has been jailed today. She appeared before Belmullet District Court charged with assaulting a member of the Garda Síochána on Mc Grath’s Pier in Poll a Tómáis in north Co Mayo on 11 June 2007.

She was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine of €1,000 and another €1,000 to the garda benevolent fund. Maura Harrington was also found guilty of another public order offence on a separate date and ordered to keep the peace for 12 months.

Harrington refused to sign the bond and was therefore found to be in contempt of court. Judge Mary Devins jailed her for 28 days for the garda assault, and a further two days for being in contempt of court, to run concurrently.
Judge Devins also recommended that Ms Harrington should get a psychiatric assessment.



Minister Dempsey confirms that road funds will be ‘ringfenced’ as Government Expenditure Cutbacks Announced

July 17, 2008

Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey has officially conformed that funds which have previously been allocated for road-building projects has been ringfenced, despite the widespread savings cuts announced by the Government last week as a result of the sudden economic downturn resulting in revised estimates for economic growth.

At the opening yesterday of the new €280 million N6 Kilbeggan- Athlone dual carriageway in Co Westmeath, the Minister said the Government had given a commitment to:

“…finish all the motorways by 2010. That commitment stands and will stand.

“Obviously the economic circumstances have to be taken into account on an annual basis, but we have a programme of works that the National Roads Authority [NRA] has initiated. They have the plans in place and the finances have been made available.”

The NRA claims that motorists travelling between Dublin and Galway will save 45 minutes on due to the opening of the new scheme.

Mr Dempsey made the usual claim that the  completion of the 29km stretch of road on the east-west axis was delivered on budget and on time. It is anticipated that up to 13,000 vehicles a day will use the new route, which has been under construction since May 2006.

The scheme will bypass Kilbeggan, Horseleap and traffic blackspot Moate. It was funded by the Government under the National Development Plan and part-financed by the European Union.

NRA chairman Peter Malone said the additional infrastructure meant drivers could “travel all the way from Dublin to west of Athlone on 114km of continuous motorway or dual carriageway”.

The entire major inter-urban route from Galway to Dublin will be finished by 2010, but will be funded by a toll on the N6 route between Galway and Ballinasloe close to Cappataggle village.

In addition, Minister Dempsey defended the toll system, saying people had an alternative to using tolls and that the money generated was vital for future road projects.

“There is no question of reviewing any toll schemes or reviewing the policy in relation to tolls.”

Westmeath County council cathaoirleach Joe Whelan said the Kilbeggan- Athlone carriageway was another “step in bringing the midlands and the west closer to the capital”.

A  projected current budget surplus (before capital spending is taken into account) of €4.7 billion this year has been revised; it now seems unlikely that there will be a current surplus. It is unlikely that there will be one next year. The tax shortfall is estimated at three billion euro for this year. This will be made up largely from borrowing, though the cuts and savings announced by the Government are expected to save half a billion euro in 2008 and another billion euro in 2009.

The government had intended to spend almost €9 billion on capital expenditure under the National Development Plan in 2009, funded largely by a budget surplus of more than €5 billion. With the disappearing surplus, much of that capital spending is now in doubt.


© 2008 The Irish Times

Evidence of Kale Planting at Rath Maeve and Tractor Damage at Colvonstown, near Hill of Tara

July 5, 2008

” Rath Maeve, M.143, is a large circular rath and a protected national monument close to Tara. It was the mythological home of Maeve, the old earth goddess and consort of successive kings of Tara. As such it has a central place in our heritage and should be afforded all the respect and care it deserves. However yesterday when we visited it we were shocked to see that the entire rath has been planted with Kale. This involved it been ploughed up, planted and it is to be expected, later harvested. Kale is a deep growing vegetable with a long tap root. The harvesting will entail soil disturbance to a dept of at least half a metre. As far as we know no archeologically investigation has taken place on Rath Maeve and no archaeologist was present at the ploughing so priceless items belonging to our history and heritage could have been removed or destroyed. It is known and accepted that this happened in the past and much of what was of value under our soil was destroyed or carried away. That this is again happening today and under a green environment minister beggars belief.
See the rest of this article at:

John Farrelly – Independent Tara Campaigner Wed Jul 02, 2008

New Housing Developments Proposed for Meath when at least 220,000 Houses and Apartments lie vacant across Ireland

May 24, 2008


Central Statistics Office (CSO) statistics reveal that at least 220,000 houses and apartments are lying vacant across Ireland. The figures were published in 2007 and were available last year but only recently mentioned in the national press. With an increase in rent of up to 20% in the last 12 months, 41,600 apartments and 174,900 houses remain unoccupied. These figures do not include the 50,000 vacant holiday homes around Ireland, or the 30,000 other temporarily vacant properties around the country. The 2006 CSO Report states that: Approximately 266,000 residences were vacant at the time of the census while in a further 30,000 cases the household was either enumerated elsewhere or temporarily absent from the State.”

15% of Ireland’s available housing is now vacant. Developers in Ireland are currently building houses and apartments at a rate of 20 units per 1,000/population. This is almost ten times the average European rate, at between two and four housing units per 1,000 people.

The 2006 figures indicate that 11,000 housing units are vacant in the Fingal Co. Council region of Dublin, 10,000 in the Dublin City Council region, 3,000 in South Dublin and nearly 2,400 in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown. In Cork City, 4,000 properties are vacant. Limerick has over 3,000 empty houses and apartments, Galway around 1,300 and Waterford over 1,200 vacant properties.

In total, 174,900 houses, 41,600 apartments and flats, and 50,000 holiday homes: 266,500 properties.

The 2002 census found 104,000 properties vacant, already a substantial number. Comparing the rise in vacancy rates between 2002 and 2006, a spokesman for the CSO told the Sunday Tribune, “In the case of these vacant homes, the (census) enumerator would have gone back to the houses repeatedly to ensure they were actually vacant. . . The vacancy rate has doubled in a four year period. There is evidence that there are a lot of houses out there vacant.”

In a related development, house prices in Dublin have now fallen by 10 per cent on average in 2007 compared with 2006, according to a report by the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers’ Institute (IAVI).

There seems to be evidence that vacancies are steadily climbing since 2006, since second-hand apartments are more difficult to sell than second-hand houses, with falls of up to 17 per cent, and that up to 40,000 apartments are vacant in the capital.



(Irish Auction Info):

(Vacant Housing Doubled in Ireland, Una Mullally, Sunday Tribune, 24th May 2008):

(Irish Census 2006):

(Irish Housing: Watching a Fat Man Dance, August 18th 2007, Conor McCabe). Dublin Opinion Blog

Tara Landowners will reap the benefits of the M3 Highway

May 19, 2008

Developers who are also financial supporters of the Fianna Fáil party are likely to reap a fortune from the completion of the controversial M3 highway through the Tara / Skrene Valley near the Hill of Tara.

A company controlled by multi-millionaire builder Joseph Murphy Jr – whose main business, JMSE, was exposed as corrupt the by Flood tribunal – owns valuable lands along the route.

Multi-millionaire Fianna Fáil contributor Cathal McCarthy, formerly a business partner of Frank Dunlop, the former government press secretary, and of Des Richardson, a former fundraiser for the Fianna Fail party also owns land along the proposed highway.

Both Mr Murphy and Mr McCarthy will make millions from the sale of land needed for the highway.

But Mr Murphy, in particular, stands to make even more substantial profits from the hundreds of acres of land which he owns within a few miles of the highway route and which may well be opened up for development once construction is completed.

Mr. Murphy was under investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau after playing a central role in the Flood / Mahon Tribunal into planning corruption. Mr Murphy and Frank Reynolds, the former managing director of JMSE, are beneficial directors of Newland Properties Ltd with an address at Ashley House, Batterstown, Co Meath. Both individuals were named in the Third Interim Report of the Flood Tribunal as having hindered and obstructed the tribunal; in Joseph Murphy’s case for not revealing the circumstances in which he paid Dublin Corporation planning official George Redmond on two occasions, and in Frank Reynold’s case for failing to acknowledge that he was present at a meeting where a cash payment was made to George Redmond in the presence of Michael Bailey. Read the rest of this entry »