July 2016 Review: Vicious assault, gougerism and magnficent festival fun

Councillors theaten to walk the walk, Speedlimit progress, GAA gets green light, Squirrel signs go missing

July 2016 Review: Vicious assault, gougerism and magnficent festival fun
By Conor Ganly news@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

Details of a frighteningly vicious assault near Portlaoise emerged at a sitting of the Portlaoise District court.

Judge Keenan Johnson told a court sitting that Michael Gleeson, Morette, Emo was “an absolute danger to society.”

The court heard that his victim was beaten so badly that he was “slipping around in his own blood.”

“I thought I had lost my husband at the hands of Michael Gleeson. I don't think I will ever feel safe in my home again,” said the wife of the victim, Paul Kelly.

The same judge had a colourful description for a Mountrath man who shouted abuse at gardaí and others a checkpoint.

“This was pure gougerism,” he said on imposing a suspended prison sentence.

On the political front county councillors did a lot of talking about what they were going to do to save Portlaoise hospital.

All 19 councillors backed a motion from Cllr Willie Aird to travel to Dublin and meet the Minster for Health, Simon Harris to make the case.

“It's one thing to talk the talk, we have to walk the walk,” said Chairman Cllr Tom Mulhall who pledged to arrange the meeting to Charlie Flanagan.

In the end, the Councillors did not travel as Minister Harris was not available.

There was plenty of fun in Portlaoise at the inaugural Old Fort Festival in Portlaoise.

“People from all over Laois had a magnificent time. People want more of this,” said Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald.

Apart from celebrating the history and heritage of the county town, more than 1,000 celebrated Ireland playing France in the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.

A special tent was erected on Main Street so people could enjoy the festival in comfort.

Safety in towns was addressed by county hall in July.

As part of a national initiative new byelaws for lower 30kmph in Laois housing estates were passed by county councillors.

The new limits were inroduced two years after the death of little Maria Greene in St Brigid's Place Portlaoise. Her father Stephen ran an election campaign for road safety in the wake of her death.

The GAA got good news also. Laois County Council gave the green light to a centre of excellence at O'Moore Park on the land previously owned by Portlaoise GAA club.

A plea was issued for the return of stolen squirrel crossing' signs in Ballyfin.

The Laois Offaly Wildlife Trust had installed two signposts either side of the gates of Ballyfin house. Six squirrels were killed there.