Post Date :
Tue 16 Jan 2018 12:22 PM
Treacherous Conditions on Markethill Road

A lorry is stuck due to snow on the Markethill Road which runs between Newry and Armagh. 

The area is treacherous and drivers should avoid it. 

Post Date :
Tue 16 Jan 2018 12:11 PM
Suspected Cannabis Factory in Downpatrick

Following a planned search of a dwelling in the Irish Street area of Downpatrick yesterday, Monday, 15 January, police discovered a suspected cannabis factory. A 42-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a number of drugs offences including cultivating cannabis and possession of class A controlled drug. 

He has been released on bail pending further police enquiries.

Post Date :
Tue 16 Jan 2018 09:43 AM
Paramilitary Crime Taskforce

Officers from the Paramilitary Crime Taskforce have obtained a Property Freezing Order over a Newtownabbey property under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This is the first use of such powers by the Paramilitary Crime Task Force. 
The Police Service of Northern Ireland, HM Revenue & Customs and the National Crime Agency have established the Paramilitary Crime Task Force to tackle criminality linked to paramilitarism as part of the Executive's action plan on Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality, and Organised Crime.
NCA Branch Commander Billy Beattie said: “Civil recovery investigations will play an integral role in the work of the PCTF. These powers are a strong tool in preventing those engaged in criminal activity from benefiting financially or materially from it.”
The PSNI’s Head of Organised Crime, Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton, added: “This shows the strength of the three agencies working together, and is the first of many such actions.”
1. On 11 January 2018, the High Court in Belfast granted an application for a Property Freezing Order (PFO) under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA), made by lawyers for the Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF). The property frozen is subject to a civil recovery investigation and the Order prohibits anyone from dealing with or dissipating the value of the property while the investigation continues. 
2. The PFO was granted at an ex parte hearing and anyone affected by the Order can seek to apply for its discharge or variation.

3. Civil Recovery proceedings under Part 5 of POCA provide for the recovery of property which has been acquired through unlawful conduct and therefore is, or represents the proceeds of crime. Unlike criminal confiscation, civil recovery is not dependent on there having been a criminal conviction and the proceedings are brought in the High Court in the form of a civil action. The civil recovery claim focuses on the property as opposed to the person and whether property is recoverable or not is determined by the High Court on the civil standard of proof namely, the balance of probabilities. 

Post Date :
Tue 16 Jan 2018 09:36 AM
Down Ladies Notes - 14th January 2018

Down Ladies Seniors
The Down Senior Ladies kick off their 2018 NFL campaign on Sunday 28th Jan away to Meath in a reverse of last year’s first fixture where they faced the same opposition at Ballykinlar. The Mourne girls will be hoping for a different result to kick off their new campaign with a new look Management and Panel in place.
Manager Ryan McShane is starting 2018 with a new backroom team in Damien Sherry (An Riocht) and Kyla Trainor (RGU Downpatrick) whilst retaining the services of Kevin Leneghan (Bryansford). The hard appears to have been done since last summer with a new look panel with only 13 of the 2017 panel remaining and 17 players added to the panel, however not all 17 are new to the county scene as the Mourne girls see the return of some of their 2014 All Ireland winners after a break from Inter-county football as well as young members making the step up from minor level.
Down Ladies are very pleased to announce that Pairc Toms Ruiseil (RGU Downpatrick) will play host to the four home fixtures in the National League in 2018 starting with a repeat of last years All Ireland Qualifier V Roscommon on 4th February. On the news of the home venue, manager Ryan McShane said 'We are very thankful to RGU for the use of their facilities for our league campaign, at this time of year it is extremely difficult to secure a venue for home games however you cannot underestimate the importance of having a settled home venue for every game. RGU is Downs second county ground and it is only right that they have the opportunity to host county games and we are very happy they have agreed to do so. RGU is always very accommodating to Down LGFA providing players and facilities at all levels. Last year we had the biggest Home support I have ever seen at our Ladies national league games in Ballykinlar. We hope that this can continue to rise in 2018 as the Home support is helpful to the girls on the field and it’s a great place to take future players to see the stars in their county. We also hope to include half time games involving younger players throughout the league.
The Down Ladies would like to take this opportunity to thank their sponsors. EOS IT solutions, Whitegates, Sunnyholme Caravan Park and Quinn’s bar Newcastle.
The players and Management of Down Senior ladies have a chosen charity, 'The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust (K.B.R.T) which they wear with pride on their jerseys. In the past, the team and the county board have helped to raise £5,500 for the charity and would like to thank their supporters for helping them to make a difference with this very worthy cause.
28th Jan Meath v Down 2pm  (Venue: TBC)
4th Feb Down v Roscommon 2 pm  (Venue: RGU Downpatrick)
Down Ladies senior team have been sponsored new kit bags from Sunnyholme Caravan Park, Newcastle. Pictures include Down Ladies players Natasha Ferris, Aoife Keown and Lauren Cunningham with Amy Nicholson from Sunnyholme Caravan Park Newcastle. Big thanks to Amy. 
Training continues Sunday at the assumption grammar school, Ballynahinch. the time is same meeting at 12 for 12:30 start and finishing for 2 pm. 
U16s started back training on Sunday with a parent/player/management meeting. Plans for forthcoming season outlined. Training continues next Sunday 21st January in Ballykinler GAC 11:20-1 pm.
2018 U16 team:
Annaclone- Maria Fegan
Bredagh- Anna O’Keefe, Caitlin Cunningham, Grainne Sweeney, Maeve o Keefe
Burren- Aine O'Connor, Caoimhe Loughran, Eimer Fitzpatrick, Orla Bradley
Carryduff- Anna Morris, Annie McWilliams, Chloe McHugh-Reid, Emer Mc Kenna, Molly McCrory, Rebecca Laverty
Clonduff- Lauren Kane
Dundrum- Cliodhna Carey
Loughinisland- Jessica O’Hare, Mia Carville
RGU Downpatrick- Ciara Hanna, Eilis Murphy, Olivia Murdock, Paige Smyth
Rostrevor- Maeve Murdock, Tara Brown
Teconnaught- Brooklyn Flannigan
Warrenpoint- Caoimhe Shannon
Great first session of the year for the u15s in a miserably wet Ballynahinch, well done to all girls who braved the weather and put a massive effort in. Training this week will be on Saturday in St Colman’s from 1:30 to 3:00 pm. As always make sure girls have plenty of water, boots and warm dry clothes to change into in case we have a downpour again!!Any issues let Aidy or Donnla know.
U14s hosted Meath on a cold damp Saturday at Abbey Grammar, Newry in their first challenge matches of the new season. The Leinster ladies were a very strong, fit and skilful outfit which proved a real test for the Mourne ladies. However, in both games, the Down sides battled throughout with some excellent passage of play and they all fought hard to the end. This is all about learning to get up to speed with inter-county football at this early stage in the season and the mentors and squad will move forward with great confidence. Thanks to parents for the kind donations of food for the refreshments post-match and those who helped out with teas etc. A big thanks to the following businesses who made kind donations towards the new tops shown in the photos for the U14 ladies: House of Murphy, Paddy McClean Contracts, Bawnless Recruitment, BPF Road Safety Ltd, Lucy Annies Bakery, CM Precision Ltd, PM Boiler Services, Milligan Oil, MR Plumbing & Heating, H&A Rice Holdings Ltd. Check out social media for photos! 


Brilliant effort from all 31 girls that made it to training on Saturday morning. Tough session but brilliant attitude from all girls. #progress Check out social media for photos!  

Post Date :
Mon 15 Jan 2018 09:38 AM
Shane O'Neill's Club Notes - 14th January 2018

Senior Ladies Return from China

Late last Thursday night our senior ladies and their mentors returned from their trip of a lifetime to China. By all accounts, they had a brilliant trip which saw them visit many sights throughout the country - Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Great Wall of China, The Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, The 3 Gorges Dam, a boat trip on the Yangtze River. The trip also saw the girls take part in Chinese lessons and give some basic GAA coaching at the Hubei Normal University and Huangshi Number 8 Middle School.

The club was given a fantastic opportunity to experience China and its incredible history, culture, language, geography and thriving contemporary society and along the way, they made some life-long friendships, unforgettable memories and forged a strong bond between our Irish and Chinese cultures.

The club would like to thank Hubei Normal University, Confucius Institute, Yan, Sean, Michael, Alex, Mary, Nancy, Matilda, Ivan, Jack and Billy for making the trip such a memorable experience for all who travelled.

Before travelling to China, the Confucius Institute based in the Ulster University knew the Shane’s girls would be excellent ambassadors but they surpassed all expectations as magnificent representatives for club, family, community, county and indeed our entire country.

Senior Men
Last Monday night saw our senior men begin their pre-season training under the watchful eye of new manager Kelly O’Rourke. The lads also trained on Friday night with great numbers attending both sessions and the mood is good as everyone looks forward to the new season.
Underage Training Schedule
Our underage training schedule is still to be finalised but hopefully, it should be available from next week onwards.

Best Wishes
Best wishes to our club member and underage manager Bob Mathers who was involved in a nasty road traffic accident recently.

If anyone in the club fancies becoming a referee please contact Yasmin Mackin for further information.

Armagh GAA Club Draw
Have you got your Armagh GAA Club Draw Ticket yet? Why not start your New Year on a winning note by getting your ticket from any of our committee members, priced at £100 which can be paid in four monthly installments of £25 per month if you wish.

There are four monthly first prizes of a Renault Clio and numerous monthly cash prizes on offer – 2nd prize £3,000; 3rd & 4th prize £1,000; 5th & 6th prize £500; 7th – 16th prize £100.

Not only are you in with a chance of winning one of their fantastic prizes on offer but you will also be supporting the Shane O’Neill’s club at the same time.

Last week’s winning lotto numbers were 17, 18, 28 & 30. There were no jackpot winners and 1 x lucky dip winner. The jackpot now stands at a very impressive £7,350.

Community Walkway
If you fancy burning off the turkey after Christmas, want to begin the New Year by getting fit or just want to blow away the cobwebs our community walkway is open to everyone and anyone who wishes to avail of the facility.

Post Date :
Mon 15 Jan 2018 09:31 AM
Shots Fire in Killyleagh - 2 Men Arrested

Police investigating a report of shots being fired at a dwelling in the Castleview area of Killyleagh have arrested two men aged 25 and 39 and a 21-year-old woman.

They are currently in custody.

Two men who were present in the house at the time of the incident were not injured, however, they have been left very badly shaken.

Detective Sergeant Mark Crothers would appeal to anyone who witnessed this incident, which is believed to have occurred shortly before 7.00am this morning, Sunday, 14 January, to contact them. Police would also appeal to anyone who noticed any suspicious persons/activity in the vicinity at approximately 5.30am/6.00am this morning, to also contact them.

Please call detectives at Ardmore on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 378 14/01/18. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.

Post Date :
Mon 15 Jan 2018 09:27 AM
Council Gaming Licence Policy Needs to Be Introduced as a Matter of Urgency

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Ruane has said that it is important the Council as a matter of urgency develop and introduce a Policy on the granting of Gaming Licences. The Sinn Féin Newry Mourne & Down Council Group leader also said that there was also an onus on himself and all elected representatives to be alert to concerns about the growing numbers of people presenting with severe gambling problems.

The Councillor explained
"Recent discussions during a Gaming Licence Application highlighted the fact that we as a Licensing Body had no policy on the granting of these licences.  Myself and my colleague Cllr Charlie Casey proposed that our Council Officers prepare a draft policy to take before the appropriate Committee as soon as practically possible, this has now begun. The existence of a clear and robust statement of policy provides greater scope for licensing authorities to work in partnership with operators, other local businesses, communities and responsible authorities to identify and to proactively mitigate local risks to the licensing objectives".
The Councillor cautioned
"Whilst people over the age of 18yrs should be free to spend their recreation time and money as they deem fit, we as Civic leaders should be very alert to the concerns about the growing numbers of people presenting with severe gambling problems. Whilst just as with a tipple of alcohol, for the majority there is no harm, there is an increasing minority now finding those flurries of fun lurching out of control.
Most recent statistics report a doubling in the rate of people presenting with severe gambling problems, increasing to three-times for those aged 18-24. This can hardly be dismissed as merely coincidental with the surge in popularity of online gambling and smart-phone apps. I would expect our Council to support in an appropriate and practical way highlight the issue and support those working to ensure more education and support services to be put in place to help those struggling with the issue".
 Newry City Councillor Charlie Casey echoing his colleague’s sentiments stated,
"I welcome the development of a Gaming Licence Policy by our Newry Mourne & Down Council. Our Council cannot hide its head in the sand in relation to the regulation of the granting of Gaming Licences. There is a Civic and moral duty to ensure that a balance between allowing licences for gambling purposes and the health, well-being and protection of our communities and sustainability of our local economy. 
I share the deep concern of many local people and families about the growth in gambling and in particular with gaming machines there are now about 33,000 FOBTs in Britain & Ireland, a decade ago there were barely any. FOBTs have been dubbed by critics as the “crack cocaine of gambling” because they allow stakes of £100 to be laid every 20 seconds on casino games".
The Sinn Féin elected representative concluded by stating,
"One key element of our Gaming Licence Policy has to be that of protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling".

Post Date :
Fri 12 Jan 2018 02:05 PM
357 Arrested During Winter Drink Drive Operation

The number of drivers and motorcyclists detected drink driving during the 2017/18 winter anti-drink drive operation has increased by 15.5%, compared to the same period last year.
According to preliminary figures released today, 357 drink drivers were arrested between 1 December 2017 and 1 January 2018, 48 more than during the same period in 2016/17. 
Commenting on the figures, Inspector Rosie Leech said, “When we launched this operation at the start of December, we warned drivers not to take the risk because just one drink can impair your decision making. Just one drink can cause a collision. Just one drink could kill.
“We tested over 13,000 people during the operation – an increase of over 16% in the number of preliminary roadside breath tests compared with the previous operation.
“We arrested 357 people who failed those tests. Each of those people are now facing the stark reality a court appearance where they will most likely lose their driving license for one or more years, be fined, and will have great difficulty in obtaining car insurance in the future. 
“Many also risk losing their jobs or even going to jail. The alternative consequences had they not been caught do not bear thinking about.
“One person was detected at nearly four times the drink drive limit, with a reading of 133 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millimetres of breath while the legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. 
“We shouldn’t be detecting people driving with any alcohol in their system. It’s disappointing that despite our continued warnings, the publicity and media coverage generated by this policing operation, that a minority of people completely disregarded the safety of themselves and others by continuing this shameful and incredibly dangerous practice. 
“Police will continue to use all the powers and legislation at our disposal, including the authorised checkpoints, to detect people who insist on driving after having taken drugs or alcohol. All motorists need to consider the consequences of their actions. Never take the risk of having even one drink if you are driving. The consequences can be catastrophic.
“As we move into a New Year and with the continuing hours of darkness, I want to renew our appeal to all road users and pedestrians to exercise caution and put road safety first. Make extra effort to look out for pedestrians and cyclists particularly along rural roads. Pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright clothing, reflective jackets or armbands where possible to ensure they can be seen. 
“If everyone slowed down, did not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wore a seatbelt and drove with greater care and attention then together we can save lives on our roads.”
The statistical bulletin which contains breakdown of the statistics is available on the police website here:

Post Date :
Fri 12 Jan 2018 10:16 AM
Council Festival Funding Decision Has Disappointed & Angered Many

Newry Mourne & Down Sinn Féin Councillor Willie Clarke has stated that he shares the deep disappointment of many after the recent Council decision in relation to Council funding including protocols, criteria and procedures for Tourism events within the area.
"Those who portray this decision as in effect ensuring the creation of a larger and more accessible funding stream which represents a fair and more practical approach to funding festivals in our district, are purposely misleading all involved with the promotion of Tourism & Community enhancing based events"
The Councillor explained 
"Sinn Féin supported the proposal where the major Council festivals would be protected and able to absorb the extra £30,000 which would be made available for Community / Voluntary tourism festivals, with a proven track record of delivering a high standard tourism festival experience.
In recent Workshops to discuss a Tourism Funding strategy, I along with other colleagues lobbied for and ensured the maximum level of funding for festivals such as Fiddlers Green, Blues in the Bay and the Soma festival, would be raised from £10,000 to £15,000. This I argued would enable the organisers to continue to expand their festivals. 
The remaining £15,000 would be available to increase the funding for other tourism festivals or allow a number of new festivals to make a bid for funding from the tourism funding pot (£135,000). 
The Festival of Flight which was lauded by all including those who voted against our proposal was to be extended as a 2-day festival, however, this because of the Council decision, will now not happen. 
The Sinn Féin elected representative continued 
"Our proposal also oils have seen the major expansion of The Wake the Giant Festival. This would have included a number of extra giants being located throughout the Council area, with a festival bringing them all together which would have involved schools and communities. The Festival would have concluded with a major Parade in Warrenpoint. Again, these expansions will not happen due to the decision made by Council".
His colleague Councillor Roisin Mulgrew expressing her deep regret at the decision by the Council commented,
"The cutting of the tourism budget forced through council by SDLP, UUP and Independent councillors is reckless, short-sighted and flies in the face of our Councils plan to make Newry Mourne & Down area one of the key tourism regions of the island.
Many including myself believe that Community Groups are being deliberately misled by some of those involved in voting against our proposals. The money removed from the council organised tourism events is to be made available to community-led tourism events. However, the vast majority of community events that receive council funding do so from the voluntary contribution funding stream as they are seen as community events and not economic drivers or likely to attract tourists.
There within, lies the problem and it is one that will cause major problems to most. 
The tourism budget comes from the enterprise regeneration and tourism directorate and the criteria for any groups applying for such funds are extremely rigorous, I have no doubt that many groups will find being eligible for such funding very challenging".
The south Armagh Councillor commenting on what she described as the savage cut in particular to the Footsteps in the Forest Festival stated,
"I and all of my fellow Sinn Fein councillors because of prejudices and spiteful opposition had to fight long and hard to ensure substantial funding and investment for south Armagh and in particular Slieve Gullion. The returns for the investment in terms of benefit to the economy and communities has been excellent.
Slieve Gullion is the most visited Forest Park amenity within the entire council area and is to date the only Park with Green Flag Accreditation. Furthermore, it receives more out of district visitors than any other facility.  
Concluding the Slieve Gullion elected representative stated,

"The decision to slice funding for the key Footsteps in the Forest Festival is a disgrace and should be deemed a very personal attack on all Community activists who for years have fought against the grain to get the Gullion Area respected and treated fairly.  

Post Date :
Fri 12 Jan 2018 10:01 AM
Selfish Environmental Criminals Must Be Apprehended

Sinn Féin Councillor Darren McNally has said that people are quite rightly fed up with illegal dumping activities and he has appealed for anyone who might be able to give information which would apprehend these "environmental criminals" to contact him or the Councils Environmental Health Department.
The Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon elected representative explained 
"A large number of tyres and bags of rubbish have been dumped this past few nights on the Rock Road and Ballyrath Road.
I've reported these incidents to our environmental health department requesting for the areas to be cleaned up".
The local Councillor continued 
"Those people involved in this selfish environmental criminal activity often pick areas of outstanding beauty or isolated rural roads as they do not care for the community that live in that area. This was the Ballyrath/Rock Roads, a few weeks ago it was Upper Darkley in the recent past it has been Carrickatuke view point.
Where will they dump next time? 
I appeal to anyone who has information about these incidents or other incidents of fly-tipping/dumping to get in contact with environmental health or myself".
He concluded 
"Our communities are fed up with this behaviour! No one has the right to turn our countryside into a rubbish tip. They must be apprehended and made accountable for their actions 

Photo from latest scene of dumped tyres