There is interesting news this week about an apparent change of plan regarding the supply of urgently needed fresh water to the greater Dublin area. At one stage, the Suir had been seriously considered as a source to serve the capital but that plan was dropped which, perhaps, is just as well.

There was then a controversial proposal to extract millions of gallons of water each day from Lough Ree to supply Dublin’s growing needs but there has been another change of heart and the preferred option for the source of Dublin’s water is no longer the Shannon but rather Lough Derg in Donegal.

Abstraction of water from Lough Ree, coupled with storage in a new, man-made lake, had been the preferred option but, when a new report from Dublin City Council was released last week, the emphasis had shifted to Lough Derg. The Shannon remains the cheapest option but, according to the report, it fell down on two negative environmental ratings and it was also anticipated that it would have a negative impact on socio-economic activities such as angling and tourism. Another possible contender for the extraction of water is the Parteen basin below Ardnacrusha but there is a high cost attached to that option.

A final decision has yet to be taken but the extraction and storage of water from Lough Derg for use in the capital came up trumps on three of the six criteria examined. It is also considered that the infrastructure involved would have no significant impact on habitats in the area. I suspect that local interests might not agree although nobody doubts that water for Dublin and its inhabitants has to be found somewhere.

Postal delivery workers in court?

A much used ‘get-out’ excuse for speeding motorists, who claim they never receive notices of their fines in the post, may soon be a thing of the past.

Last week, over twenty defendants at Dunmore District Court in County Galway had their speeding summonses dismissed when they gave evidence that they did not receive the fixed-charge notice in the post. Urging that something be done about the situation, Judge Geoffrey Browne said he had no choice but to dismiss the cases in question.

However, in two other cases in which the defendants also said they did not receive fixed notices, Gardai Stan O’Grady and Michael Hehir asked for dates to be set for the hearing of their prosecutions. Both gardai informed the court that, in the cases in question, notices had been sent out by SwiftPost and evidence would be brought before the Judge to show that the notices had been delivered by postal staff.

The court was further told that, since April last, all such notices had been sent by SwiftPost and postal workers would be called to give evidence of delivering the letters to individual houses.

I imagine that solicitors’ brains are already whirring like mad working out new defences and I suspect the poor old postmen/women may end up being grilled in the witness box.

Kids being used to ferry drugs

Worrying news from Wexford is that drug dealers in the town are using children and teenagers to move their goods from place to place. The pushers are using youngsters as young as twelve-years-old to ferry their filth around the community and the criminals are being ruthlessly cynical about the situation because they know that children of that age are unlikely to be dealt with harshly if apprehended by the gardai.

And slightly older children, fifteen and sixteen-year-olds, are being used to sell drugs to their classmates inside the town’s schools. Niamh Clancy, a counsellor who works with drug-addicts in County Wexford, said a lot of kids being snared into the net already had older siblings involved in drugs. The dealers began by giving the teenagers cannabis for free and then encouraged them to take it into their schools.

There were consequences for the teenagers if they were caught but, as long as they were under 18, the young ‘mules’ would be dealt with through the juvenile liaison scheme, pointed out Ms. Clancy.

Kerry GAA players to boycott drug-testing?

With the Cork GAA row simmering away with no end in sight, there is news that, in future, Kerry’s senior footballers and hurlers may refuse to comply with the GAA anti-doping code.

The Gaelic Players Association conducted a text-ballot among its 1800 members two weeks ago and there was overwhelming support for a drug-testing boycott if the players’ government grants were not paid next year as has been suggested recently.

However, the Kerry hurlers’ spokesperson, Aidan Healy, said the grants were a welcome bonus but he didn’t think their withdrawal would stop any person from playing the game and he was also not convinced that the players’ grants should be linked to the drug-testing programme.

Mind you, there is also a large sense of grievance among the players over the so-called failure of footballer Aidan O’Mahony to pass a drugs test. It is widely accepted that the level of Salbutamol in Mr. O’Mahony’s sample is directly linked to his asthma medication and Tomas O Se, Kerry’s football GPA representative, told the newspaper that everybody knew the traces of drug found in the player’s sample had absolutely nothing to do with performance enhancement.

Mr. O Se said his own opinion was that drug-testing should not have been introduced in the first place because it was wrong to submit amateur players to such scrutiny.

Beware of little old ladies

Members of the Traffic Corps from Ballybricken Garda Station in Waterford were mounting a speed-check on the Dunmore Road on Friday afternoon last when a Ford Fiesta passed them doing almost 70mph. The officers got into their car, turned on the emergency-lights and siren and gave chase eventually succeeding in getting the driver to pull over just before Beckett’s Pub and Restaurant. Somewhat to their surprise, the gardai discovered that the driver was a little old lady.

“Oh dear, I am sorry. Was I really going that fast?”, she said, smiling sweetly at the officers. “Oh my goodness, aren’t you two handsome young men, I bet your mothers are really proud of you”, she added.

However, the gardai weren’t going to be smooth-talked out of issuing a ticket and they asked the little old lady for her driving licence. “Do you know”, she said, smiling more sweetly than ever, “I haven’t had a licence since the last one was taken away from me about ten years ago.”

“Why was your licence taken away”, asked one the gardai. “Well, young man, to be honest, I was convicted of drunk driving, dangerous driving and the theft of a motorcar.”

At this stage, the gardai were getting wary of their suspect. “Are you the owner of this car”, they asked. “Indeed I am not”, she laughed, “I stole this out of one of the car-parks on the Quay about six months ago and I’ve been driving it ever since. And, before you ask me, I can tell you I don’t have any insurance or road tax either. Worse than that, I murdered my husband three weeks ago and his body is still in the boot.”

Close to panic, the officers radioed details of the situation to Ballybricken and were told to ‘sit tight’ and create a cordon around the car as senior officers would rush to the scene immediately.

“Now madam”, said a very senior garda on arrival at the scene, “my officers here tell me you have stolen this car and that your murdered husband is in the boot. They also tell me you have previous convictions for drunk driving and dangerous driving. What have you to say to that?”

“Well goodness me”, wailed the old lady as tears poured down her cheeks, “these young gardai these days will say anything to get a conviction. I am a respectable married woman. This is my husband’s car and he is at home watching the match on television waiting for me to come and make him his supper.”

“That’s not what my officers are saying”, said the senior officer. “Well”, sniffed the old lady through her tears, “those two blackguards will obviously say anything that comes into their heads. It’s a wonder they didn’t tell you I was speeding as well.”