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:: News In Brief

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.

NUI Galway open night in Letterkenny
NUI Galway are inviting secondary school students and their parents to an information evening in Letterkenny on Thursday, November 27.
The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the university and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The event will run from 7pm to 9pm at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Letterkenny. For more information contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Gráinne Dunne on 087 2440858 or .

Talks needed to avoid teachers' strike
DONEGAL T.D., Charlie McConalogue has called for direct talks between the Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan and the teachers' unions to avert two one-day strikes at thousands of schools across the country. He’s also urging the unions to withdraw the threat of strike action if the talks are facilitated.
The protest will take place on December 2, 2014 with a possible second day of action planned for January. Among the main sticking points is a proposed requirement for teachers to assess 40% of their own students' work for the exam that will replace the Junior Certificate.

Derryman's death not suspicious - Gardaí 11.11.14
GARDAÍ in Inishowen have ruled out foul play in the tragic death of Derryman Stephen McCloskey.
The body of Mr McCloskey (33), who had been missing since October 27, was recovered from a river at Carrowreagh, Bridgend, on Sunday. His 4x4 vehicle had been found in the same vicinity earlier in the week.
A post mortem examination was carried out at Letterkenny General Hospital yesterday following which Gardaí said they are not treating the death as suspicious.

UPC blocks child sex abuse websites 10.11.14
A LEADING Irish internet service provider is to immediately restrict access to domain names containing child sex abuse material.
UPC made the announcement today as it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with An Garda Síochána. Under the agreement, UPC will restrict access to domains or URLs (internet addresses) containing child sexual abuse material based on a list provided by Gardaí. If a user accesses child sexual abuse material, whether deliberately or mistakenly, access will be restricted and an advisory message will be displayed outlining the reasons why. Similar blocks are in place in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, UK, France and Malta. This approach is endorsed by both Interpol and Europol. Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald today said: "The close cooperation with law enforcement which was launched today will reduce the amount of child abuse material which will be available on the internet in Ireland. It will also reinforce the message that the viewing or possession of or indeed the trading in child abuse material is simply not acceptable."

Donegal health policy holders want better deal 07.11.14
HALF of Donegal private health insurance holders who signed up for a better deal are considering giving up their cover, a new survey shows.
The One Big Switch organisation said of the Donegal people who signed up with it, five-in-seven already hold private health insurance.
Its 'Big Health Insurance Switch' is a people power campaign aimed at unlocking more affordable health insurance offers and increasing competition in the Irish market.
Its survey showed that of the people who registered for a better deal nationally, one-in-three would give up their cover if premiums rose by as little as 1% to 10%.
“The best way to keep these people and bring others in, is to make the cost of cover more affordable," said the organistion's director of campaigns, Sarah Ryan.

Maj and Dan’s special Twelfth Night 06.11.14
DANIEL and Majella O'Donnell have celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary in the US.
The popular couple toasted their happy occasion with a special dinner in Branson, Missouri, where Daniel has a three-week residency at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre.
Daniel (52) first met mother-of-two Majella (54) fifteen years ago in Tenerife.
The couple married on November 4, 2002 with the popular crooner describing it as the “happiest day of my life”.
A delighted Majella tweeted her almost 2,300 followers: "Celebrating my 12th wedding anniversary today with my wonderful husband Daniel. Very special dinner planned for this evening in Branson (Missouri)."

Craic is 90 in McGrory's 04.11.14
MCGRORY'S of Culdaff are celebrating their 90th year in business with two special concerts this week. The gigs will take place in McGrory's Backroom music venue which is also celebrating its 21st this year. Music fans can look forward to the Jack Clemons Band - Clemons is a member of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - tonight Tuesday, November 4. Doors open 8pm. Singer songwriter Tom Baxter takes to the stage this Thursday, November 6. Support on Thursday is from Donegal band Little Hours and Vahti from London. For more details call McGrory's on 07493 79104.

Gardaí investigate fatal Redcastle crash 03.11.14
GARDAÍ are investigating Donegal's third fatal road crash in less than a week after a man in his 30s died in Redcastle overnight.
The accident involved one vehicle and occurred about midnight. It is understood the victim is from the local area.
A Garda forensic team will conduct an investigation today but there are no diversions on the main Redcastle to Derry road .
Two motorcyclists have also died in road accidents within the last week - at Burt and Raphoe.

'Sober for October' heroes raise over 3.5m 03.11.14
PEOPLE who went 'Sober for October' including several Donegal participants in have raised the Sterling equivalent of more than 3.5 million euro for cancer patients.
The unique Macmillan Cancer Support fundraiser in the North and UK has been hailed a huge success in its first year with 100,760 people signing up as 'sober heroes'.
Bill Porter from Co Derry was the highest individual fundraiser having raised the Sterling equivalent of more than 15,500 euro for the cause in the past month.
Mr Porter said he felt "great" after his booze-free month "not only because of no alcohol, but so indebted to my many great friends who have supported me and also donated to Macmillan".
The Macmillan Cancer Support charity funds nurses, specialist health care professionals and builds cancer care centres to help patients, carers and their families.

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