Further concerns over Aran Island air contract

There have been serious concerns expressed after the State air service contract to the Aran Islands was taken away from Aer Arann Islands and awarded to a helicopter company

Inis Meáin Knitting Company's Tarlach de Blacam said a helicopter service was unsuitable for the Islands. 

Up to 40 jobs will be lost at Aer Arann Islands with the loss of contract. 

Mr de Blacam called the Aer Arann Islands plane a "workhorse" and said it was built specifically for the conditions. He said helicopters are notoriously unreliable and unsuitable for the weather conditions. 

Mr de Blacam said Minister for Gaeltacht and Rural Affairs Joe McHugh had never visited the islands and "clearly does not understand what he's dealing with".

Hogan to meet NI's agriculture minister in Brussels next week

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan is to meet Northern Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Michelle O’Neill in Brussels next Tuesday, to discuss what she says is a "crisis" in the dairy sector.

Since the milk quota system ended last April, farmers were encouraged to increase their production.

This has led to an oversupply problem and farmers are finding it difficult to get a good price on world markets due to the strong Sterling to Euro exchange rate in Northern Ireland.

Snowden to be represented by empty chair in prize ceremony

Edward Snowden will be represented by an empty chair next week when he is honoured with a freedom of expression prize in Norway.

Organisers of the event say the former intelligence contractor will not be there because he fears extradition to the US.

Hege Newth Nouri of the Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression said: "It’s final, he won’t come to Norway on 5 September to receive the prize."

She also said prize organisers had not ruled out the possibility of giving him the prize one day at the Norwegian-Russian border in the far north, where he was granted asylum.

Center Parcs to share preview of Longford village

Center Parcs has said it will display a preview of its proposed €200m holiday village at Newcastle Wood in Co Longford on 7 and 8 September.

The village, on a 375 acre site near Ballymahon, is to be called Center Parcs Longford Forest.

Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby said as this will be the final public meeting before the company submit their planning application, all members of the community are encouraged to view the plans, which will be on display in Cooney's Hotel in Ballymahon.

Concern about temporary closure of epilepsy unit

Epilepsy Ireland has said the temporary closure of the epilepsy unit at Beaumont hospital in Dublin is worrying for patients with severe epilepsy. 

The unit deals with patients who have serious epilepsy and who are being considered for surgery. 

The organisation has raised concerns about the impact of the closure on waiting lists, which it says are already very long. 

The organisatiuon says it welcomes Beaumont hospital's commitment to re-open the service on 21 September.

Suspected people-traffickers held in murder probe

Italian police have detained ten people on suspicion of multiple homicide and aiding illegal immigration after 52 migrants were found dead in the hull of a boat this week, a prosecutor's office source told Reuters.
Police in Palermo, Sicily, held the suspects after a Swedish coastguard ship arrived at the port city on Thursday carrying the corpses of the victims and hundreds of survivors.

Student shot dead at US university

A student died early today after being shot at a US university in the state of Georgia, in an altercation that triggered a temporary lockdown of the campus.

Christopher Starks, a junior from the Atlanta metropolitan area, died at a local hospital following an "altercation" late yesterday at Savannah State University's student union building,

No arrests have been made.