31/03/2011

Other NI News In Brief

MI5 Cleared On Death

The UK's Security Service had no role in the death of a Londonderry man murdered Real IRA member. Lord Carlile investigated concerns about the shooting of Kieran Doherty in February 2010 and has now said there was no "misbehaviour or infraction by anybody connected directly or indirectly with the public service" in connection with the murder. However, the victim's family said they were disappointed with the verdict as, in the months before he was killed, Mr Doherty told a local newspaper that MI5 had tried to recruit him as an agent. But, the dissident republican terror group, the Real IRA said it murdered the 31-year-old - a senior member of their organisation - over alleged involvement in drugs. But his family claimed MI5 was involved.

Carrick Drugs' Arrest

The PSNI have said that a man in his 40s has been arrested following a drugs seizure in Carrickfergus. About 35 suspected cannabis plants were also seized during the search of a house at Fairview Terrace on Wednesday. A smaller quantity of suspected cannabis resin and amphetamine was also found. The man has been released pending further enquiries.

Census Success

More than half of all census forms have already been returned. The NI Statistics and Research Agency has said that there has been a great response so far to the 2011 Census. Forms posted back by Monday evening or received through on-line completion already account for more than half of the expected returns. "This is excellent and ahead of expectations at this stage," said Registrar General Norman Caven. "I am grateful to all those who have responded so promptly and would encourage those who have not yet done so to complete their form as soon as possible. The census is important to all of us as it is used to help plan a range of services such as houses, schools and roads. For the first time people have been able to complete their form on-line. It is quick, secure and easy and almost 70,000 householders have already chosen to do so," he said, noting that householders have until next Wednesday, 6 April, to return their forms before census staff will call with those who have not responded. They will also remind people that their census response is required by law.

Robbery Suspects
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A 21-year-old man was arrested yesterday and another three men detained today after an armed robbery at a convenience store in Jordanstown where a car used in the incident fled the scene and crashed into a traffic island. The PSNI said that a number of masked men entered the shop in the Circular Road area just after 1pm on Wednesday and made off with a cash box in a green Citroen Saxo, but collided with a traffic island at Prince Charles Way. A cash box and other items were recovered from the car. Two of them - aged 26 and 21 - were arrested on suspicion of robbery, while a 48-year-old was detained on suspicion of assisting offenders. All four men are in custody helping police with their enquiries.

Benefit Frauds Hit

Several people were convicted at Belfast Magistrates' Court this week for claiming benefits they were not entitled to. Pauline Teggart (36) of St Gerard's Manor, Belfast was given 80 hours community service and ordered to pay court costs of £31 for failure to declare employment while claiming Income Support and Housing Benefit totalling £6,089. Keith McVarnock (39) of Woodside Park, Dunmurry was given 100 hours community service and ordered to pay court costs of £22 for wrongful encashment of Jobseekers Allowance totalling £119. Mark Scott (37) of Glencairn Way, Belfast was fined £400 and ordered to pay court costs of £31 for failure to declare employment while claiming Jobseekers Allowance totalling £3,301. James Pickering (22) of Magowan Park, Hillsborough was fined £400 and ordered to pay court costs of £40 for failure to declare employment while claiming Income Support and Housing Benefit totalling £1,318. Marina Murray (61) of Forthill Park, Newtownabbey was fined £400 and ordered to pay court costs of £61 for failure to declare capital while claiming Income Support, Incapacity Benefit and Rates Rebate totalling £10,060. All are also required to repay any outstanding money they wrongfully obtained to the Social Security Agency.

IFA Backs Clubs

The Irish Football Association (IFA) has held a stakeholder event for the Club Education and Development Programme where it was announced that the IFA has recognised the importance of club education and development by securing £100,000 to support the programme. IFA Board Member Conrad Kirkwood, who presented the event, said: "I am delighted that we have been able to secure such a significant amount of funding. This will allow us to reach out to a broad section of the football family. I am positive that the funding will have a major impact in supporting those volunteers who are the lifeblood of the local game. It is encouraging to see that so many people could attend the event and made a positive contribution." Over 40 people from clubs, leagues, Divisional Associations and local councils were there to represent the game at all levels.

(BMcC/GK)

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