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Ryder Cup confirms K Club as 2005 venue

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K Club in Straffan picked to host 2005 Ryder Cup matches in Ireland

STRAFFAN, 15 January 1999: by Trish Whelan and Brian Byrne. The K Club in Straffan is to host the Ryder Cup golf matches to be staged in Ireland in 2005. The decision by the Ryder Cup Committee was announced in Dublin this morning by the tour's European executive director Ken Schofield (pictured left with Michael Smurfit Jr at today's launch) and means that the Arnold Palmer-designed golf course at the K Club will have some 40,000 visitors a day to watch the matches of the 36th encounter of the Ryder Cub. The Kildare venue beat off competition from such prestigious clubs as Druid's Glen in Co Wicklow and Mount Juliet in Co Kilkenny.

In a statement, Dr Michael Smurfit said the importance of the event for Irish sport, tourism and for the country as a whole 'cannot be overstated'. "It will attract large numbers of visitors and will put Ireland at the front of the world sporting stage for an entire week," he said. Michael Smurfit Junior (pictured), in an interview with KNN, said the sheer size of the Ryder Cup will represent a 'great opportunity for everyone' in the surrounding area, particularly in County Kildare. "We like to feel that we have been a good neighbour to everyone here and I think that we can count on their support going forward ... we are going to have many overseas visitors, and I'm sure the local people will make them feel very much welcome." He added that the event will raise the international profile of the K Club and its hinterland to new heights. "There are a lot of added-on benefits, such as house sales, green fees, and a lot more general interest in golf memberships ... it's a terrific event to host and we're looking forward to putting on a Ryder Cup that everyone will be proud of."

Ken Schofield, executive director of the European Tour, told KNN that the reason for bringing the event to Ireland was the pace that was set in the world of Irish golf since the mid-'90s and the level of investment in the sport, particularly at Government level. "The demonstration by those facilities, led by the K Club, of their ability and their wish to have the tour, culminated in us making that decision, and then selecting the K Club for 2005." He said the reasons for the course being selected included ready access to Dublin and accommodation, as well as a course that was perfectly mounded to allow for good viewing of the matches by spectators. He speculated that among the players who could be seen at the event are playing today: "Many of those arriving as tour players of today are very young men, and we will see them along with those who are well-known names on today's circuit, as the history of the event shows that top-class professional golfers have long careers."

Curragh-based golfer Ernie Jones (pictured left) who was PGA Captain in 1991 and 1992 (the only Irishman to hold the position for two consecutive years) said it is a 'marvellous event'. "People don't realise what an effect it has world wide, and it's a marvellous thing to come to Kildare."

RealAudio : Michael Smurfit Junior talks about the Ryder Cup and its potential impact

RealAudio : Ken Schofield talks about why the K Club was chosen

 Specialist travel operators to Cheltenham, Aintree, and other major international racing venues. Phone 01 2958901; Fax 01 2958902; Email

Parking design problems in Newbridge highlighted

NEWBRIDGE, 15 January 1999: The design of urban renewal developments in parts of Newbridge was criticised by Cllr John O'Neill at the monthly meeting of Newbridge Town Commission, when he pointed out difficulties which residents in the Thomas and Francis Street were experiencing over parking. He said the provision of two footpaths in those streets meant that only one car could pass, and that residents had found the exits from their premises blocked by parked cars. He said Kildare County Council should take 'a hard look' at the situation.

In reply, town manager Terry O Niadh pointed out that, in order to encourage development, the urban renewal programme allowed for reduced parking requirements and increased residential density. "We were aware that these matters might cause problems, but to some extent it can be called the price of progress," he added. Cmmr Joe Kearns - who is retiring from the town commission this year after 20 years - quipped that 'we have got it all wrong ... the streets concerned are a pedestrian area - but they haven't told us." Terry O Niadh said the council would investigate the situation.


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ESB work on substation welcomed

NAAS, 15 January 1999: Residents of Esmondale Estate on the Kilcullen Road in Naas have welcomed the fact that the ESB in the process of tidying up its sub station which had become the cause of local anger. UDC Cllr Willie Callaghan told KNN: "For the last 15 years it has been a total eyesore." He has welcomed the start of work on the site and the fact it will now be screened off. The site is situated almost directly across from the entrance to Esmondale Estate where he lives. Cllr Callaghan has also welcomed the commencement of drainage work by Kildare County Council to prevent further flooding at the entrance to the estate.

The Council is also in the process of extending the 30mph speed limit to take in the newly completed Broadfield Heights estate on the Kilcullen Road, following requests from the residents. Cllr Callaghan has been informed that the footpath will be extended from Esmondale to Broadfield View in a matter of weeks. Parents of children from this estate are presently refusing to allow their children walk home along the main road from where the footpath ends at Esmondale.


Are you involved with any Irish organisations or groups abroad? Let us know where you are and what you're at by emailing KNN. And find out about your fellow wild geese.

More areas will have low water pressure next week

KILDARE GENERAL, 15 January 1999: Householders and businsses in several parts of Kildare may experience poor water pressure next week, due to works involved with the second phase of the county's water conservation programme. The areas involved are Naas East and Kilcock (19/1), Naas West and Kilcock (20/1), Punchestown, Kilashee. Straffan and Barbersown (21/1), and Johnstown, Kill, Caragh, Hazelhatch and Celbridge South (22/1). The conservation project is a £32 million capital invetsment programme to meet the needs of Dublin and Kildare and is designed to halve the current rate of leakage by the year 2000.

For Ireland's best motoring news and reviews, visit MotorWeb

Barlo's Ryston move applauded ... but ...

NEWBRIDGE, 14 January 1999: The recent handing over by Barlo plc of the Ryston Social Club to the people of Newbridge was applauded by several town representatives at the January meeting of Newbridge Town Commission. It was a 'day of celebration' said Cmmr Fiona O'Loughlin (pictured) and she added that the move provides a 'great potential' for the future social and community life of Newbridge. Cmmr Colm Feeney said it should be put on record that Barlo 'has a commitment' to the town of Newbridge, as it plans to invest £10 million in a new premises at the Green Road which will provide initially 110 jobs and will increase that number over a period of time to 200.

A downbeat note was sounded by Cmmr Murty Aspell (pictured), who noted that while the social club had been secured, it had been 'at a cost' to the Irish Ropes Football Club, and he called on Barlo to 'pull away' from selling the property where the pitch used by the club was located. Over the weekend he had accused Barlo of 'inexcusable greed' in planning to sell the four acres for residential development.



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Latest Intel chip for Kildare manufacture

LEIXLIP, 14 January 1999: Intel's next generation processor, Pentium III, is to be manufactured at the company's European manufacturing headquarters in Leixlip, North Kildare. The company announced the brand name for the product this week ... it was previously known under the code-name Katmai. Pentium III is scheduled to be introduced later in the first quarter of the year, and according to company bosses will be able to offer enhanced multimedia realism.

The company also announced the Pentium III Xeon, a version which will be targeted at heavy-duty server and workstation market segments. Intel currently supplies around 85% of all computer processors.

Intel this week announced record quarterly revenue for the last quarter of 1998 of $7.6 billion, an increase of 17% on the same period last year, and resulting in a 1998 total revenue of $26.3 billion. The full report is availale at

Check in with for Brendan Burke's top farming news and views

Artist offers workshops

KILDARE, 14 January 1999: Local artist Rosemary Burns is offering two watercolour workshop opportunities in the coming months. The first is a weekend at Roundstone in Co Galway on 19-21 February, fee £65. The second is further afield, with a full week at the village of Camares, outside Malaga, from March 21. It includes five days of painting and a one-day trip to Granada. Tuition is £150. Accommodation at both venues, and travel to Malaga, can be arranged. Contact Rosemary at 045 432104 or email her.


A winter wonderland ... for a short time

KILDARE GENERAL, 14 January 1999: In the early days of the week there was an artist at work in Kildare. It was Nature, in the form of frost decoration of its own creations. Given the non-extreme Irish climate, which unfortunately is middle-wet-boring, it was nice to see a bit of creativity in the grasses and trees that help to keep us green ... but which can look very well in glorious glinting white, with a dash of daylight mist!

Enjoy. We did.




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Ryder Cup for 'K' Club?

STRAFFAN, 13 January 1999: Speculation is rife in golfing circles in County Kildare that the K Club in Straffan has been chosen as the European venue for the 36th series of the Ryder Cup golf classic in the year 2005. Requests for information from the K Club were referred to the European PGA HQ in the UK, who said simply that an announcement will be made in Dublin on Friday by the Ryder Cup European Committee.

The event is the largest in international golf and K Club owner Michael Smurfit has worked strenuously to bring it to Ireland. It is held alternately in the US and Europe, so an Irish location has beaten off the best courses in Europe to stage the event in 2005.


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Asbestos dump move raises concerns of Kilcullen action group

KILCULLEN, 13 January 1999: The Kilcullen Dump Action Group has expressed a deep unease at the decision by Kildare County Council to grant permission for the disposal of 75 tonnes of asbestos cement sheeting in the Silliott Hill Dump (pictured). The asbestos is currently being prepared for disposal on the Irish Ropes facility in Newbridge, where it had been used in storage areas destroyed by last May's fire.

Kildare County Council says there 'is no need for public concern or alarm' as the waste has been deemed 'builder's rubble' by the Environmental Protection Agency, and it is being double wrapped in plastic and will be transported to the disposal site in sealed containers. It will be deposited in a 'specially excavated cavity' and covered with two metres of material, according to the council.

But KDAG chairman Michael McCarthy says there's an inconsistency in the council's statement: "If the material is harmless builder's rubble, then why go to the bother of all this wrapping and sealing?" he told KNN. "And we already know that there are strong chemical reactions taking place in the dump, because of materials which the council itself admits it doesn't know the nature or exent of ... but which have resulted in part of the dump having an extremely hot core. So what happens when this material reaches the plastic covering of the asbestos? And what happens to the asbestos when this extremely volatile material interacts chemically with it? We're very concerned at what appears to be an offhand manner of both dealing with the situation and fully informing the public as to the nature of what is going on."

Kildare's county engineer recently revealed that the Silliott Hill Dump has an expected life of less than 12 months at current rates of landfill. But the council is devising a range of measures to extend that by a further 12 months.



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Athy and Naas libraries now provide internet access

ATHY, 13 January 1999: Athy Library yesterday launched its public internet access service, becoming the latest in the county's library branch system to 'go online' ... Naas already provides the service. The system allows public access to all internet facilities for a £1 nominal charge for 50 minutes. According to county librarian Breda Gleason, the innovation is a logical extension of the service's brief to provide information in book or other form for anyone who wants it. In addition to the £1 charge, those wishing to use the service are asked to become members of the library. (More on this story later.)


Newbridge, Co Kildare

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OAK enterprise course participants to show their businesses

EDENDERRY, 13 January 1999: An exhibition of enterprises in Edenderry next week marks the conclusion of the first of a series of Business Development training programmes organised by the OAK Partnership. There were 14 participants in the programme which began last July and they have been provided with training in such aspects of business development as market research, book-keeping, and personal development. Visiting speakers provided insights into other areas, including insurance, legal issues, health and safety, and sources of finance. All of the participants were unemployed before taking up the course.

The exhibition of their enterprises, which range from landscaping, painting and decorating through motorcycle restoration to bus hire and shopfront design, will be held on Monday 18 January at the Edenderry Credit Union. The next programme begins on 25 January - further details are available from Roberta Sheridan at 0405 33027 or Jimmy Todd at 0405 32688. The OAK Partnership is a community development initiative serving North Offaly and West Kildare.

Council proposes to grant permission for massive Ballymore housing development

BALLYMORE EUSTACE, 12 January 1999: Kildare County Council has recommended the granting of planning permission for 416 houses at Ballymore Eustace to Abbeydrive Developments Ltd, a reduction from the 507 houses originally applied for. The proposed development in the townlands of Ballymore West and Broadleas Commons is subject to 44 conditions, and objectors have until 8 February to make objections to An Bord Pleanala. There has been strong objection from the local community to the proposal from the beginning, with the Ballymore Eustace Community Development spearheading resistance to what they say is a plan that will increase the local population by 800 over the next eight years - the parish has a current population of some 1,300.

In a reaction today, Rose Donoghue of the Association of Ballymore Eustace for Control and Development (ABCD) said committee members were 'absolutely stunned' by the decisions. "Kildare County Council should have saved themselves the bother of writing up a County Development Plan earmarking Ballymore as a 'special village' ... it is so many pages of waffle. The protection of a 'special village' status now has no meaning."

Among the conditions are a reduction in housing density to six houses per acre because the development as proposed is 'considered excessive having regard to the size and location of the site ... and the special status of Ballymore as required in the County Development Plan'. There is also a stipulation than no more than 60 house starts would be undertaken in any calendar year. In addition, six of the proposed two-storey houses are to be replaced by three bungalows 'in the interests of visual amenity'.

The developer is being levied an £8,000 per acre contribution towards the provision of services and is being required to post a bond of £416,000.

The developers must choose a name with local historical connections and will not be allowed to advertise the development without a name to which KCC has given its consent.


Kill Tidy Towns welcomes retail village planning move

KILL, 12 January 1999: The decision by the Kildare county manager to recommend the proposed Kildare Tourist Outlet Village for planning permission has been welcomed by the Kill Tidy Towns Group. The Tidy Towns chairperson Ms Joan Kerr said that the decision represented a positive milestone for Kill, Naas and the County of Kildare.

"The proposed development will bring enormous economic and social benefits to the local area in terms of employment and tourism. It is anticipated that over 400 jobs will be created and significant additional revenues generated each year in terms of expenditure, wages and ancilliary services," said Ms Kerr.

"The proposed development will put the Kill region centre stage in terms of tourism in County Kildare. Currently many tourists are passing through the area on the way to other destinations in the West and South. We believe that this proposal has the approval of the overwhelming majority of people in the area," she added.


Water works will reduce pressure

KILDARE GENERAL, 11 January 1999: Householders and businsses in several parts of Kildare may experience poor water pressure this week, due to works involved with the second phase of the county's water conservation programme. The areas involved are Guidanstown and Thomastown (12/1), Athgarvan, Suncroft and Kildare Town (13/1), Meadow Road, Kildare Town, and the Naas-Newbridge dual carriageway at Buskley's Cross (14/1), and Crockan and Suncroft (15/1). The conservation project is a£32 million capital invetsment programme to meet the needs of Dublin and Kildare and is designed to halve the current rate of leakage by the year 2000.


Burglars active at Celbridge

CELBRIDGE, 10 January 1999: Gardai are investigating a number of burglaries and an attempted burglary in Celbridge last night. Thieves attempted to rob a stationery store in the town, but failed to gain access. There were breakins to two houses in the Abbey Farm estate near the Setanta Hotel. Some property was taken. Neither house was occupied at the time.


Fire at Leixlip school

LEIXLIP, 10 January 1999: A fire last evening in San Carlos School in Leixlip caused damage to a prefab classroom unit. Gardai and fire service experts are examining the damage, but this morning were not yet prepared to comment on the cause of the blaze.


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