Leinster Express Year in Review January 2012

The shooting of a wild boars and employment blues gave a kickstart 2012.

The shooting of a wild boars and employment blues gave a kickstart 2012.

Although supposedly extinct in Ireland since prehistoric times, Clonaslee residents were shocked to see the boar roaming in the woods near their homes and a licensed marksman was eventually despatched to kill it.

On a cheerier note for animals, a local calendar featuring old photographs of Travellers’ horses was launched in the county, organised by the the Laois Traveller Action Group.

At the start of the year it was revealed that a quarter of all the people signing on at social welfare offices across the Midlands lived in Laois.

The official figures from the Central Statistics Office showed that there were almost 8,600 people signing on at offices in Portlaoise, Mountmellick and Rathdowney, with Portlaoise the busiest office with 4,000 people signing on.

County Hall defended a €3,500 call out charge to a motorway car fire this month, saying that the bill was needed to cover the cost of running the fire service. The motorist whose car caught fire refused to bill the bill, after two units of the fire service attended the scene of the fire on the M7. A spokesperson for the service said a high administrative charge was included, to cover paperwork, fuel and the wear and tear of machinery.

The victim of a stabbing made a passionate appeal through this very newspaper for financial assitance to cover his medial bills.

Latvian national Elvijs Plugis was stabbed in a violent attack just before Christmas, but he thankfully made a full recovery after being listed as critical in hospital. The cost of his hospital bills was crippling to the young man, who said he hoped to return home after helping the gardaí with their investigation.

It wasn’t a partridge in a pear tree but a blackbird in a Christmas tree that brought a smile to the faces of residents at the Sue Ryder Centre in Portlaoise this month.

A nest containing a mother bird and four eggs was found nestled in the branches of the centre’s Christmas tree, despite the fact that the breeding season for the birds was still another three months off. Staff at the centre monitored the birds’ progress, with the tree left standing until the end of January.

The people of Durrow claimed there had been such a sharp increase in robberies from homes throughout January that one break-in a day was occurring in the area. Gardaí confirmed there had indeed been an increase, but sadly this was not confined to Durrow as there had been more burglaries across all of Laois.

A young Irish dancer from Portarlington who reached the final of the Sky 1 dance show, Got to Dance, was invited back to the new series of the show as a special guest. 10-year-old Siobhan Phelan took the world of Irish dancing by storm and under the stage name, Damhsa Dreams, became a huge hit on the television show.

People showed their opposition to the household tax by attending a protest meeting in the Portlaoise GAA clubhouse at the end of January. One man vowed he would go to jail rather than pay the tax, while another member of the audience said they were ashamed to be Irish.