Tax jigs and reels and a dancing sun


Reports that "the sun danced in the sky" at Attymass last weekend during the blessing of the Father Patrick Peyton Centre have "caused a certain amount of controversy, amusement, scepticism and some joy in people in the area", said the Western People. The official word was that nothing happened but if people thought something did happen, then that was OK.

Two retired nurses claimed that the sun appeared as at Medjugorje. "It was pink in colour, danced for a few minutes during the blessing and then left in a halo which floated over in the direction of Carracastle, Father Peyton's birthplace," said one of the witnesses.

Just "be thankful there's not a tribunal", said the Connacht Tribune, referring to the controversy concerning the Revenue Commissioners' past approach to unpaid tax in offshore accounts at AIB. "Let's save ourselves an awful lot of money and simply appoint more than seven tax inspectors for the financial institutions sector."

The Nationalist and Leinster Times wanted "jail terms" for tax offenders, while the Kerryman declared that taxpayers had been "betrayed by the system" and that the Revenue Commissioners had been "disingenuous" in their "shock horror at the extent of the money" because it wouldn't have taken "a mathematical genius" to figure it out.

The Kerryman also defended Tralee, declaring that while it was claimed in the media that a colossal £187 million was on deposit in 14,251 non-resident accounts in the town, "in reality Tralee was merely the site of the AIB regional office and the deposits actually covered all AIB banks extending from Newcastlewest to Castle townbere".

Somewhat contradictorily, the Kerryman's front page claimed that "AIB staff in Kerry claim pressure to perform led to bogus accounts".

"Staff contacted by the Kerryman said the practice of using bogus non-resident accounts to attract extra `resources' - namely large cash deposits from big players in the region - was widely practised. And they stressed that similar inducements were being offered by competing financial institutions operating in Kerry."

Said one unnamed official: "Everyone was at it; Killarney was the worst. There was a lot of money going around, much of it generated in the B&B sector and in many cases husbands did not know the extent of their wives' savings."

The Connacht Tribune said that Mr Tommy Casey, an elderly bachelor living alone who was murdered during a suspected robbery at his home in Galway, died without realising the value of his property. Auctioneers are expecting £3 million to be paid for his land.

Ms Sadie Hempenstall, of Kilanerin, near Gorey, has a little less work to do these days, said the Gorey Guardian. "For 21 years, Sadie rose early every morning to ring the bell at the local church to call parishioners to prayer. Now her job has been taken over by a machine." However, old habits die hard. "I still wake up at the same time every morning and have to keep reminding myself that I don't have to go and ring the bell anymore," said Sadie. "When you ring it three times a day for Masses and the Angelus for 21 years, six times on Sundays and Holy Days, and for weddings and funerals too, it takes a bit of time to get used to the idea something else is doing your job now."

A 2,000-year-old body unearthed in a Co Offaly bog may have been the victim of ritual sacrifice, said the Tullamore Tribune.

The Clare Champion said politicians would be battling overtime to save Co Clare's euro millions. These would be lost if Clare was excluded from the disadvantaged Objective 1 region of the State in the expected division of the State into rich and poor.

Longford is set to become the new "curse word" for motorists, said the Longford Leader. "According to the final report of the National Roads Authority, which sets out a plan for major road works for the next quarter century, Longford is likely to become the new `Kinnegad', the curse of long-distance drivers, unless the second phase of the Longford bypass is completed."

A "cheeky thief got more than he expected" when he attempted to steal a Porsche 924 in Carlow town. The reckless thief jumped into the driver's seat to discover the driver's girlfriend waiting in the passenger seat.