The Week: News highlights from Ireland, here, and around the world…
British Army officers guilty of manslaughter
A British Army captain was convicted of the 2012 manslaughter of an Irish member of his regiment during a training exercise. Captain Jonathan Price (32) was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence at the end of the seven-week-long courts martial of three officers for the death of 21-year-old Michael Maguire on a live shooting range in Pembrokeshire, south Wales, in May 2012.
Maguire was shot in the head by machine gun fire during the training exercise. The three officers had organised the training drill.
They stood accused of having “a total disregard for the safety” of their men when they organised the live ammunition training exercise ahead of the unit’s deployment to Kenya.
Two others, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Bell (45) and Warrant Officer Stuart Pankhurst (40), were also found guilty at the hearing in Wiltshire of negligently performing their duty with regard to the exercise.
The three men will be sentenced on 24 July. Maguire, from Cork, had been a member of the army ranger unit since 2010, and served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Healy Raes fail to block drink drive law
Ireland has finally passed a controversial law which imposes strict penalties on drink-drivers. First time drink-driving offenders will now face automatic driving bans.
The same law will also make it an offence for car owners to allow a learner to drive their car unaccompanied. Seventy-five TDs voted in favour of the new law and eight against. Its opponents included Kerry TDs Michael and Danny Healy-Rae who tried to thwart it by talking it out of parliamentary time or filibustering. Ireland’s Transport Minister Shane Ross had pleaded for the legislation to pass through the Dáil saying “the sooner this is passed, the more lives we save”.
The current system of fines and penalty points for those found to be just above the drink driving limit will now be abolished. Irish Road Traffic Victims Association founder Donna Price – who led a vigil outside Leinster House – implored the Healy Raes to end their delaying tactics and said families bereaved by drink driving are “utterly destroyed forever”.
“This year 70 lives have been lost. Last year it was 157. How many of those lives could have been saved if this bill had been in place and drink-drivers had been taken off the road?” she asked.
Green light for €220 million Cork to Ringaskiddy motorway
Ireland’s national planning authority, An Bord Pleanála, granted permission for the construction of the long awaited M28 Cork-to- Ringaskiddy motorway.
The €220 million project will be carried out by Cork County Council and will run south of Cork City via Carrigaline, and then east before terminating at Ringaskiddy, a distance of about 13 miles following the general direction of the current N28. The Cork National Roads Office said the project will have “local, regional and national significance”.
“Regionally, it delivers critical infrastructure for the port and for the industries in the strategic employment area on the Ringaskiddy peninsula. The M28 is the transport infrastructure that can lead to improved capacity in the various industries as they continue to compete within their own sectors,” the office said in a statement.
It believes that after the UK leaves the EU the port of Cork will become increasingly important as the closest port to mainland Europe and to EU markets.