Santa's e-mail address revealed
It was bound to happen sooner or later. Irish children, too busy to post a letter, can now e-mail Santa. The Clare Champion was able to reveal the "world's best-kept secret", the e-mail address of "The Great Man with the White Beard", thanks to an exhaustive investigation by Michael Byrne, "Boss of Ennis Information Age Town". "Things are a bit slow in the information age in the North Pole," said Mr Byrne. "They have just connected to the Internet and Mrs Claus and Rudolf are doing some familiarisation programmes for the reindeers."
Santa's e-mail is email@example.com and this Christmas he is offering 20 prizes to children with the best e-mails, according to the Clare Champion.
Pronouncements from the pulpit used to concern sex and sin but in the consumer society there are far more important matters - like shopping. Father Denis Nulty, a parish priest at St Mary's Church in Drogheda, has urged his flock to turn away from the temptations of the huge, new, shopping malls around Dublin and to shop locally instead, in order to support local traders and jobs. He reminded his people "where they get their sponsorship cash" and warned that the "massive Dublin-based stores would not support local causes or generate employment in Drogheda". "In simple language, it means turning around. Turning around from a sinful habit that's eating us like woodworm. Turning around from a situation that's swallowing us up," he said.
So if you see cars on the road from Drogheda to Dublin's Blanchardstown Centre suddenly screeching to a halt and turning around, you'll know why.
"Father Nulty asked parishioners if the Jervis Centre would be any addition when they were looking for sponsorship for the football blitz next March or the Blanchardstown Centre to throw its support behind the local drama presentation or charity gig in the Droichead Arts Centre," said the newspaper.
"Will the Liffey Valley Centre offer any assistance to the local Society of St Vincent de Paul or the local Lions Club as they look after those on the margins this Christmas?" he asked.
"I'll answer all three questions. No. Who will? Our local corner shops and supermarkets, our family stores, our local businesses."
BUT will they? The Waterford News & Star said that the local St Vincent de Paul Society has claimed that local business and the corporate sector are not playing their part in the Celtic Tiger era. "Eighty per cent of all funding received by the St Vincent de Paul annual appeal is donated by members of the public with the business sector contribution just 20 per cent," said the newspaper.
"Carlow is sitting on a cancer time bomb," declared the Nationalist and Leinster Times. "A recent study shows that there is a higher radiation level of radon in homes and buildings throughout the county than anywhere else in Ireland," said Michael Godfrey, in an "exclusive". And "according to the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland, almost all of the county is listed as being above the reference level of radon emissions". Radon is a radioactive gas emitted from the earth and those exposed to it have a two per cent increased risk of developing lung cancer in addition to the average lifetime risk of three per cent.
"Clare is set to top European pollution league," said the Clare Champion. "Parts of Clare are fast moving towards the pinnacle of the EU pollution league as the combination of a holiday house boom spiralling out of control and continued claims of the over-development in coastal areas have been cited as major contributing factors to massive environmental problems, "it said.
The Corkman's front-page headline, "Teenager admits he concocted post crash story" was almost too bizarre to be believed. "Judge Mary O'Halloran has asked for a full social inquiry profile on a 19-year-old Kanturk man who, having been involved in a traffic accident, ran six miles down a railway track, mutilated himself, tied himself up and concocted a story about having his car stolen," it said. "It seems to be the height of stupidity, what he did," said the young man's solicitor. "He spoke with the other driver at the scene, he had no logical prospect of getting away with it."