Digging for gold and a convent conman


GUNMEN, conmen, casinos and digging for gold . . . the first local newspapers of 1996 gave the impression that they had misplaced their Christmas/New Year's TV film schedules on the front page.

Dumb And Plumber could be the film title for this story. A "convent conman", as the Nationalist and Munster Advertiser called him, invaded nuns bedrooms and stole £2,000 on December 27th. When one bedridden sister challenged him he said he was "checking the taps" and walked out, it said.

Posing as a plumber, the 23 year old, brown haired, 5'9" conman was apparently able to pilfer the bedrooms at will in broad daylight. A Garda spokesman told the Nationalist that the thief "must have gone through every room in the place" to come up with the £2,000 he stole from the St Anne's Sisters.

The thief used the same ruse to pilfer the bedrooms of a Carrick on Suir convent before Christmas. The nuns may have their own choice of film title, such as the 1986 Russian film, Plumbum perhaps? Or even Taps?

What the Connacht Tribune called a "Bonnie and Clyde" pair were chased by gardai after a robbery spree in which they terrorised seven elderly people living alone in Galway, Longford and Roscommon on January 4th

The Gold Rush might be the film title on the Kerryman`s front page report that wealthy Irish emigrants to Canada are to finance gold prospecting in a 10 square mile area of Ballyferriter which could see a gold mine by the summer.

The emigrants believe there may be gold in Kerry "on the theory that gold deposits similar to known gold fields in Nova Scotia, separated over millions of years from Ireland through continental drift, might also exist in Kerry."

Casino Roy ale would be a suitable film title for the Munster Express's story, which claims that Tram ore could host the one of the first legalised casinos outside Dublin.

"Informed sources said investors were waiting in the wings and, should it materialise, a casino venture in Tramore would need to be supported by large new hotel catering to the highest international standards, while the nearby regional airport would be a major factor in its favour.

Similarly, gold digging in tone was the Westmeath Independent's headline, "Athlone's Golden Island" which isn't a film title but sounds like one. The £20 million project is a shopping development, granted permission by Athlone UDC, which will require the developers to construct a number of new roads and a roundabout.

Two unfortunate families must have felt like they had woken up in the middle of traumatic film scenes from Die Hard On Christmas Eve a south Galway family suddenly found themselves being shot at through the bedroom window of their house where two young children were sleeping, reported the Connacht Tribune.

And in the early morning of new year's day a family in Thurles were held hostage at gunpoint in their own home, reported the Tipperary Star.

Raiders held Ms Ann Marie McGovern at gunpoint in her own bedroom while her children slept nearby at 4 a.m. on new year's day. The raiders waited for her husband, Mr Gerry McGovern, to return home from working at the new year's eve "Hangover Ball", then forced him to hand over his keys to the hotel safe.

Leitrim, you will be glad to hear, has retained its first salmon of the year record, said the Leitrim Observer. Patsy Tracey of Enniskillen wasn't drowsing when he caught a nine and a half pounder in the River Drowse on new year's day.

The latest scenes in the sex wars were being played out on the front pages of the Kilkenny People and the Laois Nationalist. "Girls win 3-1?" asked the Kilkenny newspaper, reporting on the sex of the first babies born in the new year. But the Laois newspaper had the answer "Boys beat girls 4-1".