Leinster Express Year in Review March 2012 Farmer becomes McDonalds star

A beef farmer from Portlaoise became a local celebrity in Marcy thanks to a Big Mac and fries.

A beef farmer from Portlaoise became a local celebrity in Marcy thanks to a Big Mac and fries.

Liam Delaney, who runs a 190 acre family farm at Derrygarron, appeared in adverts for fast food outlet McDonalds this month, as part of the company’s campaign to show that all the beef used in their restaurants is sourced from Bord Bia Quality Assured Farms. Liam went on to appear on national television, radio and newspapers.

The St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Portlaoise where somewhat marred by a violent disorder in the town’s Top Square, which involved groups from two licensed premises.

In the wake of the ruckus, Laois/Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan called for a clampdown on the “drink fuelled violence and thuggery” plaguing Portlaoise. Fortunately, those responsible for the row were arrested and are due to appear before a future sitting of the circuit court.

A lone robber made off with around €3,000 from Abbeyleix Bank of Ireland this month. The man in his late teens or early 20s was armed with what appeared to be a handgun, although fortunately there were no casualties.

It was confirmed that construction would begin on the new almagated primary school for Portlaoise. The amalgamation of St Paul’s, the Sacred Heart and Scoil Mhuire was given the greenlight, while new locations for Portlaoise Educate Together, the Gaelscoil and Maryborough NS were also agreed.

Portarlington native, Niamh Bracken was crowned as this year’s Laois Rose, at a gala night in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel. Sponsored by Portarlington Pharmacy, Niamh wowed the judges and went on to represent her county in style at the regional heats later in the year.

The Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise lost one of its most prized staff members, when Louise Donlon retired as centre director at the end of March.

Louise was with the Dunamaise since it opened and she left for a fresh start, taking up a position with the new Lime Tree Theatre in Limerick.

A brave little baby from Portlaoise flew out with her family to the Dominican Republic in March, to receive the first round of stem cell treatment for an extremely rare medical condition.

Baby Ellen Barron McGee suffered with a rare mintochondrial disorder and her parents, Tom Barron and Lisa McGee did everything they could to raise the neccessary funds for the treatment. An extremely generous donation of €30,000 from an anonymous donor in Laois helped the family realise their goal, but more fundraising was needed for the next round of Ellen’s treatment.

And it was revealed that text messages from community alert schemes led gardaí to make a number of arrests in Portlaoise. A garda spokesperson confirmed that seven arrests had been made in one week as a result of the text messaging service.

A LAOIS TD called for a moratorium on issuing new taxi licences in March.

Brian Stanley said that local drivers can not get onto the ranks at peak times due to an oversupply of taxis, in a situation that Deputy Stanley described as being “completely out of control”. Some local drivers agreed, with one man claiming he had to work three times as long as he did a few years ago just to make the same money.