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:: News In Brief

Gardaí issue appeal on missing Donegal man 07.12.16
GARDAÍ have appealed for help in tracing the whereabouts of Jim Boyle who has been missing from his home at Rathmullan for four weeks. Mr Boyle is 73 years old and is described as 5’10" in height, of strong build, with short black hair and clean shaven. The missing man lives on his own in Oughterlin a remote area of Rathmullan.
When last seen, he was wearing a grey woollen jumper, black worn suit trousers and black wellingtons. Anyone who has seen Jim or can help in finding him is asked to contact gardaí at Milford on 074-9153060 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111.

Tourism funds for Ards Forest Park 05.12.16
ARDS Forest Park in Donegal is to get a tourism revamp as Fáilte Ireland announces a €550,000 package for Coillte-owned sites. It is the latest in a series of partnerships Fáilte Ireland is developing with key State agencies and bodies which own and manage attractions and sites that are considered "of vital importance to tourism". Capital funding and tourism development and marketing is part of the offering to six projects including the stunning Ards near Creeslough. The other five beneficiaries are Avondale Forest Park Experience, Co Wicklow; Curraghchase Forest Park, Co Limerick; Wild Nephin and Ballycroy, Co Mayo; Coolaney Mountain Bike Centre, Co Sligo as well as the creation of new facilities and services for motorhomes along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Davitt Walsh honoured at 'People of the Year'
DAVITT Walsh has been received another award for his bravery during a drowning tragedy in Buncrana last March. He was named one of Ireland's 'People of the Year' at a gala ceremony in Dublin on Saturday.
The footballer and cafe owner received the award from former Donegal football manager Jim McGuinness. The 30-year old Kerrykeel man saved the life of a four-month-old baby girl as her family's car tragically slid off the slipway in Buncrana on March 20 last, killing five people.

Happy Christmas from The Henry Girls
INISHOWEN band The Henry Girls have issued a festive message to fans and followrs. Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin from Malin said: "We just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has attended our shows, bought our music, or supported us in any way in 2016. It is much appreciated! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy 2017."

Derry expands GP health scheme
DERRY has expanded its GP Referral Scheme following the success of the project re-launch last year. The initiative is funded by the Public Health Agency and aims to reach out to sections of the community who wouldn’t normally take part in physical activity. It is specifically aimed at sufferers of diabetes, obesity and muscular skeletal injuries. The project allows doctors to recommend sufferers to take up regular exercise under the supervision and direction of qualified coaches to help manage their conditions and hopefully alleviate their health problems through regular exercise.

Sligo named European Capital of Volunteering
LONDON will today hand over the title of European Capital of Volunteering to Sligo, according to Independent MEP Marian Harkin who will attend the exchange with representatives of Sligo County Council and Sligo Volunteer Centre. “Personally, today represents the culmination of my initiative which in 2011 saw the creation of the European Year of Volunteering which has led to the designation of a European Capital of Volunteering. Sligo follows in a proud tradition of Barcelona, Lisbon and London and it is gratifying that Sligo is placed on the same platform as those great cities," said a delighted Ms Harkin.

Demolition of listed 'ablutions' block
DERRY City and Strabane District Council has approved full planning permission and listed buildings consent for the refurbishment and extension of a former barracks building to provide office accommodation at Building 104, Ebrington, Derry. The application is for the refurbishment, extension and change of use of an existing listed building to provide 19 offices. The application also includes the removal of an existing ablutions block and replacement with a new two-storey extension forming a new main entrance and toilet facilities.

Artificial Intelligence to detect online abuse
A new toolkit using artificial intelligence will help police identify new images of child sexual abuse online and find offenders who present the highest risk to the public, according to a UCC researcher behind the technology.
The iCOP toolkit will "automatically identify new and previously unseen images of child sexual abuse for police" and will help reduce the volumes of materials specialists have to view in order to find children.
UCC researcher Maggie Brennan said: “It's common to seize computers and collections of child sexual abuse materials containing enormous volumes of illegal materials, terabytes of individual files." The new approach combines automatic filename and media analysis techniques in an intelligent filtering module.

New car sales motoring despite Brexit
NEW car registrations nationally in November numbered 748 - a drop of 192 compared to the same period last year. However, total new car sales for the year so far are up 17% (146,175) on 2015 (124,460).
The figures, from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), also show an increase in sales of light commercial vehicles (667 vehicles, an 8% rise) and heavy goods vehicles (2,844 vehicles, a 33% rise) compared to last year. SIMI director general Alan Nolan said: “2016 has seen the highest levels in new vehicle registrations since 2008, even with the challenges of Brexit in mid-year and the slowing down in the last couple of months. Overall it has been a good year for our industry and all indications look that registration numbers are on track to deliver in the region of 147,000 this year as predicted."

Home Alone hedgehog finds sanctuary
A young hedgehog left behind when his family went into hibernation is now recovering at a wildlife sanctuary. The hoglet was found wandering alone in a Co Tipperary garden a few days ago. It is believed the creature was too weak to make it through its four-month hibernation period. Hedgehogs must weigh about 500g (about a standard loaf of bread) to survive their long winter sleep.
The young mammal was picked up and brought some 95km to Animal Magic Wildlife Rescue in Kilmallock, Co Limerick.

Brexit seminar in Burt tomorrow 05.12.16
THE North West's response to the "challenges and opportunities" of Brexit will be explored tomorrow at a cross-border conference in Inishowen. The seminar will be hosted by Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council at An Grianan Hotel, Burt.
It is the first in a series of regional co-operation events aimed at growing the 'North West Region' with the support of the Irish Government and NI Executive via the North South Ministerial Council. Places are limited so booking is essential. You can email or alternatively 048 71370808.

Shoppers asked to support Barnardos 28.11.16
DONEGAL shoppers have been asked to add the Barnardos Christmas Toy Appeal to their shopping lists this festive season and "help make a child’s Christmas".
For the seventh year running, GLS ParcelShops are supporting the Barnardos Toy Appeal where people can drop in their gift up until Dec 16. Donegal's GLS ParcelShops are located at: Donegal Stationery, 50 Lower Main Street, Letterkenny; Duffy Express Freight, Cottage Farm, Newtowncunningham; Centra, Assaroe Road, Ballyshannon; Ideal Gifts and Flowers, Raphoe; Bolands Centra, Ballybofey and Craft Gallery, Glenties.

"Extortionate" car insurance must be tackled - TD
DONEGAL T.D., Charlie McConalogue says the recommendations of an Oireachtas report on motor insurance "must be acted upon as a matter of urgency". The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance, which was charged with investigating the spiralling costs of motor insurance, accused the insurance industry of “cartel-like” behaviour. It published 71 recommendations to make the process more transparent. “The findings of this report will not come as any surprise to drivers in Donegal who are forking out extortionate amounts for car insurance premiums, which have been rising year on year," said Deputy McConalogue.

Survey shows benefits of gardening
A unique survey has shown that 89% of Irish people believe they experience 'Mindfulness' in their gardens. Mindfulness was defined in the survey as “the non-judgement of oneself and moment-to-moment awareness of one’s thoughts and feelings". The study, carried out by 'The Irish Garden' magazine, had 1,567 respondents. They respresented a wide mix of social status, ages and gardening abilities. Meanwhile, 99.6% of them said that gardening or spending time in their garden "increased well-being in their life".

Vigil held to end violence against females
A vigil was held at the weekend in St Columb's Cathedral, Derry, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign. It was one of around a dozen gatherings in Church of Ireland churches throughout Ireland to demand an end to violence against women and girls. Five female clergy from Derry and Raphoe were among those who led the vigil in the city. It was organised by Mothers’ Union’s local faith and policy Coordinator Jacqui Armstrong and was overseen by the diocesan president, Mary Good. Welcome teams distributed purple and yellow ribbons to people arriving in the cathedral and prayer stations were set up throughout the church. Prayers were also said for the PSNI and Garda Siochana who are "fighting against people trafficking".

NCT in €12,000 Christmas giveaway 25.11.16
THE operators of the National Car Testing Service (NCT) are giving away 12,000 euro in a series of Christmas draws.
Applus said it hopes to make this year's festivities "magical" for 12 lucky drivers bringing their cars for testing between now and December 20.
"Simply get your car tested before the 20th December 2016 and you could be in with a chance of winning one of our 12 days of Christmas prizes of €1,000!" Applus said in a website statement. The offer only applies to vehicles eligible for an NCT and the winners will be picked at random.
Meanwhile, 2016 is set to be the busiest year on record for the NCT with the number of vehicles tested expected to smash the 1.5 million mark for the first time.

Commendation for Wild Atlantic Way
THE Wild Atlantic Way has been awarded a commendation at the Landscape Institute’s Awards 2016 at The Brewery, London. Competing with 43 projects from both the UK and around the world, the Irish tourism initiative received the “Highly Commended” Award for the 'Adding Value Through Landscape' category. It received the award for its branding and interpretation scheme.
This helps the visitor engage with the route through interpretation panels; local stories and customs and encourages them to spend time in the local community.

Derry celebrates people with disabilities
DERRY is to host its first annual conference to celebrate people with disabilities. The European Day of Persons with Disabilities is part of the European Union’s efforts to promote the mainstreaming of disability issues. Mayor of Derry, Hilary McClintock said it was a "real honour" to be able to host the event this year. The celebrations will take place at the Guildhall on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 from 10am until 2pm.

Donegal seaglass to make waves at RDS
DONEGAL-based jewellery maker Helen Haworth is set to bring hidden treasures from Portsalon beach to a national stage when she exhibits her range of Donegal Seaglass jewellery at the National Crafts and Design Fair in Dublin’s RDS. The pieces are made from sea glass and sea pottery collected from the beach at Portsalon, making every piece a unique treasure from the shores of Donegal. “I started collecting sea glass and sea pottery soon after moving here,” said Helen who is originally from Shropshire in England.

Revenue in Christmas shopping crackdown 22.11.16
REVENUE has advised online shoppers to be aware that their Christmas purchases have tax and duty implications. The tax collection agency said that some deals "really are just too good to be true, and what looks like an attractive offer can ultimately be an expensive or even a dangerous, mistake". It said, for example, a case of wine at €60 might look like a great deal. However, excise duty and VAT on an average case of 12 bottles of wine originating in another EU country will add more than €60, bringing the price you actually pay to over €120.

McConalogue calls for NDLS in Inishowen
Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has called for a National Driving Licence Service Centre for Inishowen. He said drivers in the peninsula have had to drive to Letterkenny to the NDLS centre to apply for or renew their licences since a new system came into place in 2013 . “While the NDLS system makes sense, there are only 34 centres in the country and counties like Donegal, which have a huge geographical spread, are at a major disadvantage," he said.

Donegal craft firm to showcase at RDS
DONEGAL'S centuries-old traditional of tweed manufacture will be showcased on the national stage at the National Crafts and Design Fair in Dublin’s RDS from November 30 to December 4. Design firm Orwell and Browne, run by Catriona McGinley, makes "trendy notebooks and diaries" from traditional local tweed. The south west Donegal firm will be among some 600 Irish designers showcasing their work. The annual fair is expected to draw 40,000 visitors and generate more than €1m per day in sales.

"Almost half of farmer payments not paid" - TD
DONEGAL TD., Charlie McConalogue says farmers are facing "increased cash flow problems as a result of serious delays in Rural Development Programme payments". New figures released to the Inishowen deputy reveal that only 52% of this year’s budget allocation has been paid out.
“It’s quite unbelievable that only half of this year’s funding for agri-schemes has been paid to farmers. This will result in serious financial hardship for farmers across the country," he said.
"It’s particularly worrying that less than 4% of GLAS payments have been made. The Government failed to allocate the level of funding that it originally promised for this scheme, and now it’s failing to pay out. This is a completely unacceptable situation," he added.

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