An increase in littering was also highlighted by the Leitrim Observer in December, with fly-tipping reported at Hartley, Carrick-on-Shannon and Mohill.
The adventures of a rather well travelled bear named after a Leitrim footballing legend attracted worldwide attention this month. Packie the Bear has his own website, Instagram account and facebook page and has already visited 51 countries on six continents since he left home in September 2012. This extraordinary ambassador has even caught the attention of the Lonely Planet travel guide franchise!
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) study into the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the island of Ireland, was published this month. The extensive series of reports arising from the Joint Research Programme on Environmental Impacts of Unconventional Gas Exploration, justified the continuing ban on the licensing of the process according to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten.
A huge landslide on the Ballyfarnon side of Kilronan Mountain took the life of 37-year-old Rossinver man, Pat (Paddy) McCaffrey on December 12, 2016. Mr McCaffrey had been working on the site when the landslide occurred shortly after 6pm. Mr McCaffrey was on foot at the time, but a second man had been working alongside him, on a digger. The second man was rescued in a mammoth operation involving emergency services, volunteers and members of Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue, but they were unable to save Mr McCaffrey.
It was the end of an era in Ballinamore this month as the post office service run by the Martin family for 93 years, closed its doors. The post office has been relocated beside Donohoe's SuperValu on Main Street under new Postmaster, Brian Gordon.
There were calls for an investigation into the provision of the Leitrim Cert Applied programme in Co Leitrim after it emerged that no schools in the county were offering the programme as part of their curriculum this year. Statistics show that between 2011 and 2015 only 19 pupils have been recorded as sitting the LCA programme in Co Leitrim. During this period there were four years where no pupils actually sat the programme.
A number of local events were postponed or relocated this month after Ballyconnell's Slieve Russell Hotel was forced to close after an increased incidence of the Norovirus (Winter Vomiting Bug) among patrons, residents and staff. The hotel issued a closure notice on December 19 and will remain closed until the New Year.
The Drumshanbo area was left reeling this month after a number of tragedies. On December 22 well known local woman, Betty McManus (74) died after she was struck by a car while crossing the road at Acres, Drumshanbo at7.15pm.
Just a day later 18-year-old Lorraine Lynch, Creenagh, Drumshanbo died suddenly at Sligo University Hospital while over the Christmas break news came in that father-of-two, Declan Foy, had died while on holidays in Thailand. Mr Foy, a native of Arigna, was a former student of Drumshanbo Vocational School and had recently bought a home in Keshcarrigan.
Rounding off the month An Bord Pleanála published their decision on the proposed development of a new Lidl store in Carrick-on-Shannon. Months of speculation ended on December 29 when An Bord Pleanála confirmed that they had refused permission for the development of a new two-storey licenced food store and off-licence at Attifinlay and Attyrory Townlands, in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.
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