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:: News In Brief

Bishops issue shared Christmas message 18.12.14
THE Church of Ireland and Catholic bishops of Derry urged their congregations to help the poor, the homeless and the lonely this Christmas and beyond.
Bishop Ken Good and Bishop Donal McKeown made their call today in a shared festive message.
"The harsh realities of life for many in today’s world raise big questions about the meaning and purpose of it all. A world in which too many have to contend with poverty, with homelessness and loneliness; where many live with dangerous political uncertainty and where, for large numbers, refugee status far from home is their lot," they said in their message," they stated.
"God’s initiative in Bethlehem - and the human response of those involved - can inspire in us today an understanding of life which is purposeful and loving, and can lead us to play our part in working courageously and compassionately to deal effectively with poverty, hunger, homelessness, loneliness and need of any kind."

Jamie Cullum to headline Derry jazz fest 15.12.14
JAZZ star Jamie Cullum has been announced as the headline act for next year's City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.
The English performer will take to the stage at the Millennium Forum on May 4 for a performance of jazz classics performed in his distinctive contemporary style.
Pupils at St Mary’s School got a sneak preview of Jamie’s talents just last year when he dropped in for a special jamming session with the pupils. The warm welcome he received left such a lasting impression the star "jumped at the chance to stage his first major show in the city during the festival", said a Derry City Council spokesperson. Meanwhile, Jamie Cullum added: “Music is something that clearly lies at the heart of the city and I’m really looking forward to bringing my music to a wider audience there this time round." Tickets will be available from the Forum Box Office this Thursday priced between £35 and £45.

Distress at carehome abuse scenes 11.12.14
THE Carers' Association said it has been receiving "distressed" calls from family carers all over the country who are "extremely upset and shocked" at this week's Prime Time expose at a Co Mayo care home.
The organisation said a huge worry for family carers is what will happen to their loved ones when they can no longer provide care at home for them.
“The fear countrywide among our members is that Áras Attracta is not an isolated case. The inhumane treatment received by residents is absolutely appalling and the footage shocking and very upsetting.
"A constant worry for family carers is the care provision for their loved ones when they are no longer around and this footage was terrifying,” said head of communications Catherine Cox.
"We call on Government to conduct an immediate thorough, fair and transparent investigation to ensure this type of abuse never happens again," she added.
The Carers Association is a national voluntary organisation that provides a range of vital supports and services to Ireland’s 187,000 family carers.

T.D., welcomes funding for Donegal Airport 10.12.14
DINNY McGinley T.D., has today welcomed the announcement that more than €2 million in exchequer funding will be invested in regional airports including Donegal.
“This allocation of €2 million of exchequer funding to regional airports is welcome news for Donegal Airport at Carrickfinn, which should receive a significant percentage. The funding is to be made available under the current Regional Airports Programme," said the Fine Gael deputy.
“This money is crucial for Donegal Airport to develop its business, marketing and promotion potential and enhance the contribution it makes to the regional and local economy." He said today's announcement would bring the total financial supports paid under the Regional Airports Programme to nearly €13 million in 2014.

New penalty point offences from today 08.12.14
FOURTEEN new penalty point offences come into effect today. And tougher sanctions on nine existing penalty point offences are also being introduced.
Learners who drive unaccompanied and/or fail to show an 'L' plate are to be slapped with penalty points for the first time. Other measures include tougher penalties for dangerous overtaking and failing to obey traffic lights.
Motorists who use a vehicle without an NCT and those who park in hazardous positions will now be dealt with via on the spot fines and penalty points rather than through the courts.
Among the other offences attracting penalty points include failure by new licence holders to display a novice 'N' plate; doing a u-turn where prohibited; using a vehicle with unauthorised number plates; flouting the rules that apply to minor roundabouts and ignoring 'no entry' signage. Points will also be slapped on anyone caught overtaking dangerously.
Transport MinisterPaschal Donohoe said penalty points had a major role to play in road safety.

Donegal ambulance response time criticised 03.12.14
CARNDONAGH road accident victim Maura Porter (70) was left waiting on a roadside for almost an hour for an ambulance to arrive due to a five-hour backlog of ambulances at Letterkenny General Hospital last December.
A private HSE investigation, seen by the Irish Times, concluded that there was just one emergency ambulance available in Co Donegal at 5.45pm on December 30 when the emergency call was received. That ambulance was almost two hours away from Mrs Porter's location. To read full Irish Times report click here .

Moville girls reach Ulster semi-final 02.12.14
MOVILLE will proudly cheer on its talented girls minor GAA team as they prepare for their Ulster semi-final showdown on Sunday.
It is the first time the girls have reached this stage in the club's history and everyone is justifiably proud and looking forward to the occasion.
The locals will take on the Eastern Gaels of Cavan in Carrick Field at 2pm.
"It is a great occasion that a Moville GAA team reached an Ulster semi-final and an even bigger occasion to be hosting the game in the parish," said a club spokesman.
"The throw-in is at 2pm and it would be fantastic to get a large number of supporters for such an important game. Remember – nothing beats being there."

Donegal engineers hold AGM 25.11.14
THE AGM of the Donegal branch of Engineers Ireland was held recently in LYIT and a new committee was appointed.
Engineers Ireland represents 400 members in Donegal out of 24,000 nationally in the public and private sector. Stephen Flynn succeeded Rodney McDermott as chairman of the local branch. The organisation represents engineers in various disciplines including civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical, technology and bio-engineers. "The new committee plan to hold a number of events around the county over the coming months on topics of interest to engineers working and living in the county. We also intend to work with schools, with members visiting them to talk to students about the wide variety of career opportunities that exist in engineering,” said Mr Flynn. The new committee will start their term with an open evening on Thursday, December 4, in the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny at 7pm. This is a free event and is open to all engineers or anyone interested in joining or finding out more about the organisation.

'Pay water grants early' - Age Action 24.11.14
THE Age Action charity has urged the Government to bring forward the €100 water charges grant to help reduce the impact the new levy will have on older people. “We are concerned that the revised water charge scheme will create increased financial hardship on some older people on low incomes because they will be required to make the first two quarterly payments in April and July 2015 before they receive their €100 payment in September,” said Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins. “This would amount to upfront payments of €80 for a single person or €130 for a household with more than one adult. The cumulative impact of austerity means that many older people simply cannot afford this.”

Free wi-fi in Derry public buildings
DERRY is to benefit from a new government scheme supporting the creation of free wi-fi zones in public buildings throughout the city centre.
The Public Wi-Fi Scheme is being introduced by Derry City Council’s Business Opportunities team working in partnership with local landlords and is being delivered as part of the national Super Connected Cities programme.
The free service was launched this week in buildings such as the Guildhall and Derry City Council offices. It will be extended to all public buildings and amenity sites including the Brandywell Stadium, City of Derry Airport, Templemore Sports Complex, the new Foyle Arena, Brooke Park, and the Millennium Forum early in the New Year.

Christmas not the same for Daniel
DONEGAL singer Daniel O'Donnell said Christmas will be "very different" this year as it's the first without his late mother Julia.
"She will be greatly missed by all of us, as she loved having all the family home for Christmas," he told fans. He said he was also looking forward to his two upcoming charity gigs in his native county. The first is the The 'Mammy I Want to Walk' fundraiser for little Paul Doherty on December 28 in Ballybofey. Daniel will also play the rescheduled open air concert in aid of Dungloe Community Hospital on May 17, 2015. It will his last concert until August 2016 as he will be on his much-publicised 18-month sabbatical from performing. Tickets will go on sale before Christmas.

UK award for Donegal project
DONEGAL County Council's SPACEial North West project has been highly commended at the UK Association of Geographic Information (AGI) Awards for Geospatial Excellence 2014.
The three-year cross border research project delivers a one-stop-shop for ‘Maps, Stats and Apps’ to guide businesses, investment and location decisions "at the touch of a button". The judging panel said the project was "a very well planned and executed programme with first rate programme management and technical deployment".

MacLochlainn addresses Ramallah event
DEPUTY Pádraig MacLochlainn has outlined how Palestine "can learn lessons from the Irish peace process in terms of international assistance with conflict resolution". The Inishowen T.D., was addressing a major international conference in Palestine on Saturday. Hundreds of delegates from all over the world, including government ministers, city mayors and local authority leaders joined hundreds of Palestinian political leaders and activists for the event in Ramallah.

Derry gets its festive sparkle 17.11.14
DERRY will get its festive sparkle with the annual Christmas Lights Switch On this Thursday, November 20. Guildhall Square will be packed with expectant children as Santa flies in from the North Pole to flick the switch just after 7pm.
The council advised that there may be some traffic restrictions in congested areas.
Derry Mayor Cllr Brenda Stevenson said: “I am really looking forward to the switch on which for me really marks the beginning of the Christmas period. All the local children are writing their Santa lists at the minute so I know they will be turning out in force on the night to give him a wave and a warm LegenDerry welcome." Among the season's highlights this year are a Christmas Village and ice rink in Ebrington Square and the annual market in Guildhall Square.

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