The University of Ulster Magee campus was a hive of Derry GAA nostalgia last night as personalities from the last eighty years congregated to celebrate the rich and colourful history of Gaelic games in the county.
Two hundred people packed into the university’s Great Hall before the event to view an exhibition of historical artifacts relating to the GAA in Derry. Proceedings began in earnest with a parade of many successful Derry captains from over the decades, including the likes of Jim McKeever of 1958, Henry Downey of 1993 and Mark Lynch of the present day.
While most of the personalities present were chiefly associated with football, the first half of the historical discussion focused on the rich hurling tapestry of Derry City and county. Newly discovered material detailing the playing of hurling in Derry City from the earliest days of the GAA, even before the first county board was formed in 1888, confounded many presumptions.
Republic of Ireland U21 head coach Noel King today (Wednesday) named a 16 man squad to face Denmark in an international friendly in Fredericia Stadium, Fredericia, Denmark at 4pm (local time) on Friday May 31.
The game will form part of Ireland’s final preparations before the start of their UEFA EURO 2015 qualifying campaign on August 14, when they play the Faroe Islands in Torshavn.
King’s selection sees the introduction of Donegal’s Barry McNamee from Derry City, who is the only uncapped and home-based player in the squad. Five Airtricity League players have also been invited to train with the squad in Dublin, along with Selcuk Tidim from Germany. Some may be included in the squad to travel to Denmark.
A Northern Ireland Stormont document on the future of rail services has revealed an ambitious £1bn plan to link Derry to Sligo, through Donegal Town. But it has been dubbed a pipe dream by a leading economist.
Martin Melaugh, from rail lobby group Into the West, has suggested that the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise train should not stop at Belfast but continue on to Derry.
“With new rolling stock and an express service taking three and a quarter hours, this would be an attractive option for passengers travelling between the North West and Dublin,” he said.
But the Sligo link and others to Donegal and Letterkenny have been described by leading economist John Simpson as a pipe dream.
A rail link between Londonderry and Letterkenny would cost £242m; £506m to Donegal town and £924m to Sligo. Read more
Derry PSNI Station, Cork town, Belfast mill join in Voluntary Arts Week initiative
A nationwide art campaign got underway across the island of Ireland over the weekend with everything from police stations to statues “craftbombed” to mark the start of Voluntary Arts Week, an annual celebration of the amateur arts and crafts.
The campaign in the Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom forms part of Voluntary Arts Week, which continues until Sunday 19 May.
Hundreds of ‘craftbombs’ appeared in public areas across the island with locations ranging from a PSNI building in Derry to Crosshaven in Cork and a historic Belfast flax mill given a colourful and creative makeover.
“Voluntary Arts Week provides an opportunity for amateur arts and crafts groups across the UK and the Republic of Ireland to celebrate their activity and encourage others to join in,” explained Kevin Murphy, Chief Officer of Voluntary Arts Ireland. Read more
Search teams looking for missing Dublin teenager Kieran McKeon (18) in the River Foyle in Derry for nearly two months have discovered a body, the BBC is reporting.
“We got a call yesterday at 5pm from a walker to say that they’d seen what looked like a body,” Craig Smyth, from Foyle Search and Rescue, told BBC Northern Ireland.
“Our crews responded straight away, they were actually out on a search for Kieran at the time at low tide and they came across a body and did a recovery.”
“Kieran’s father rang me last night just to say thanks for all the work Foyle Search and Rescue had done. He’s just hoping that it is Kieran.”
Mr McKeon was last seen on CCTV cameras in Derry city where he was accompanied by Alexandra O’Brien (21). Her body was found in the river in mid-March.
Both had been day patients at St John of God’s hospital in Dublin which specialises in treating those with mental health problems.
Foyle MP Mark Durkan supporting this year’s World Aids Day / the Why Stop Now? campaign.
SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has given his full support to World Aids Day (tomorrow 1 December) and has written to the Prime Minister David Cameron urging the government to commit to a blueprint to end AIDS within the next generation.
The idea of a blueprint has already been taken on in the US and Mr Durkan – who is supporting the Why Stop Now? campaign – is hoping the British government will follow suit, mapping out a strategy for how UK resources can be used effectively to combat HIV and AIDS, and how the government will lead the global HIV response. Read more
Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry
SDLP Derry City Councillor Anne Donnelly has condemned those who carried out last night’s shootings against two men in the Bogside. Councillor Donnelly, who represents the Cityside ward, said:
“Attacks like this must stop and the people of Derry are determined to make them stop. Read more
SDLP Environment Spokesperson and East Derry MLA John Dallat has welcomed the announcement that a green energy at Ballyrashane Creamery near Coleraine is to go ahead.
Mr Dallat said: “After a very productive meeting with the management of the co-operative I am satisfied that there is a genuine commitment to develop this green energy project which will help secure 150 jobs at the plant with no adverse impact on the local community or its people. Read more
SDLP Derry City Councillor Shaun Gallagher has called on the PSNI to set up a special unit to tackle car thefts in Derry after two cars were stolen in the Shantallow area of the city over the weekend.
Cllr Gallagher said: “I utterly condemn those responsible for these car thefts at the weekend.
“I have been speaking to one of the victims, who owned a Lexus worth £25,000 which was burnt out. If these people were going into a bank and stealing that amount of money there would be a special unit set up to hunt them down.
SDLP President and Nobel Laureate John Hume has thanked all everyone who voted him ‘Ireland’s Greatest.’
He said: “I am humbled and honoured to be named Ireland’s Greatest.
“I wish to thank all those people who voted for me and express my deepest gratitude to Miriam O’Callaghan for her eloquent representations on my behalf.
“I also wish to thank my colleagues and friends in the SDLP without whose support and encouragement down the years we would not have achieved so much. Read more