In Short


A round-up of today's other stories in brief

State Solicitor to be queried by committee

The Chief State Solicitor's Office is being called before the Dáil Finance committee today to explain its policy with regard to fighting cases and seeking fees in contentious cases, writes Carol Coulter, Legal Affairs Correspondent.

The committee will discuss the policy of the State with regard to cases taken by the parents of children with special needs who are seeking education rights and resources for these children.

"We as a committee want to specifically know how there are often huge legal costs involved where parents of children with special needs are seeking resources, and often cases are settled before reaching the floor of a courtroom," said Seán Fleming, chair of the committee.

"The question is, has the State been dragging parents and their special needs children through an expensive and time-consuming legal process as a delaying tactic, when there was no real intention by the State to defend these cases in court in the first place. We are looking for answers to these questions, and I feel this is the best avenue to find them."

He said the committee would ask representatives of the Department of Education and Science to appear before it to discuss the same issues.

Farmer appeals removal of cattle

An appeal by Tipperary farmer John Hanrahan against the removal of cattle from his farm by the Department of Agriculture was adjourned yesterday at Clonmel District Court, writes Barry Roche.

Legal teams representing Mr Hanrahan and the department spent the day in discussion before asking Judge Terence Finn to adjourn the matter to Dungarvan District Court today for mention.

Department officials removed almost 400 animals from Mr Hanrahan's farm at Ballydine, Carrick-on-Suir, on March 15th and 16th last on "animal welfare" grounds.

Kenny tribute to the late Pat Codd

The Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny TD last night paid tribute to councillor Pat Codd who has died. His death, he said, was a blow to the Fine Gael party, especially in Co Wexford.

Cllr Codd, he said, was a devoted and talented public servant, "a big man not just in presence, but in understanding, ability and heart. Both as a senator from 1975 to 1977 and councillor from 1979 to 1985, Pat was a proud Fine Gaeler and a true champion of the Wexford people. He was a diligent and painstaking chairman of the Wexford County Council from 1984 to 1985."

Mr Codd, he said, was the third former Fine Gael senator to die recently, the others being John Mannion and Toddy Byrne. Mr Kenny extended sympathy to Mrs Evelyn Codd and their children Mark, John, Mary, Sarah and Joan.

Papal honour for founder of choir

The Order of Knighthood of St Gregory has been conferred by Pope Benedict on Colin Mawby (70), founder of Ireland's National Chamber Choir (NCC). Of the five pontifical orders of knighthood in the Catholic Church, it is the highest honour a layman can attain. Colin Mawby currently holds the title of Conductor Emeritus of the NCC and was its artistic director from 1991 to 2000.

Student plan to celebrate diversity

The Union of Students in Ireland this Easter launches a new poster campaign, One in Ten, aimed at encouraging students to feel relaxed about their sexuality and other people's. People who are gay, lesbian or bisexual make up 10 per cent of the student population, a statement said, and posters to appear in colleges across Ireland, will read "one in ten are born that way". The message is that diversity is something to be celebrated, not feared.