The Year in Review: August

AUGUST 2

The case is unlikely to be heard before early 2008 as there is a six-to-eight-month waiting list for appeals.

O’Reilly, 35, of Lambay View, Baldarragh, the Naul, Co Dublin was found guilty of his wife’s murder by a unanimous jury.

The father of two was given a mandatory life sentence by trial judge Mr Justice Barry White.

AUGUST 7

Aer Lingus confirms the company will axe all flights between Heathrow and Shannon Airport.

Airline boss Dermot Mannion announces the company’s decision to transfer the highly prized Heathrow slots from Shannon to Belfast.

The announcement was met with contrasting reactions of despair and anger in the mid-west and delight in the North, where the London flights will form the core of eight new European services from Belfast International Airport.

The Government is accused of telling lies and reneging on a commitment it made to keep the slots.

Although the Government claims it had no prior knowledge of the decision, it later emerges that both officials in the Department of Transport and the Taoiseach’s secretary knew about the move almost six weeks before the move was announced.

AUGUST 15

The tragic and untimely death of Cork woman Julie Hennessy from a blood clot related to her use of the contraceptive pill sparks concern among the thousands of women nationwide who use the popular method of birth control.

An inquest into Ms Hennessy’s death at Dublin County Coroner’s Court heard that the healthy woman in the prime of her life had died of a massive pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis, which was caused by the contraceptive pill.

AUGUST 15

A six-year-old autistic boy Great Agbonlahor, his sister Melissa and their mother Olivia are removed from the state on a commercial flight to Nigeria after a last-ditch attempt to stop a deportation order failed.

The family had pleaded to be allowed to remain in the country due to the fact that six-year-old Great suffers from autism, a condition not widely understood in Nigeria.

It is believed there are risks to the family’s safety because of social stigma there surrounding children who suffer from autism.

The Agbonlahors had lived in Clonakilty in west Cork and then Killarney since their arrival in 2003.

AUGUST 16

Suicide truck bombers in north-west Iraq kill 250 and wound 350 in the war’s deadliest attack on a single area.

Emergency workers and grieving relatives uncover dozens of bodies in the wreckage of clay houses, sending the death toll from suicide truck bombings by a small Kurdish sect to 250.

A US general said the nearly simultaneous strikes against the Yazidis — attacked by Muslim extremists who consider them infidels — was an act of “ethnic cleansing”.

A US military spokesman blamed al-Qaida. Zayan Othman, health minister of the nearby autonomous Kurdish region, said the casualty toll rose to 250 killed, with 350 wounded. That surpassed the death toll of 215 from mortar fire and five car bombs in Baghdad’s Shi’ite Muslim enclave of Sadr City on November 23 2006.

AUGUST 24

Pat Rabbitte surprises colleagues by resigning his position as leader of the Labour Party.

The decision by Mayo-born Mr Rabbitte, 58, to step aside came after Labour failed to make gains on its 20 seats, or to oust Fianna Fáil from government after the general election.

Colleagues said they had expected him to lead the party into a second term.

AUGUST 25

11-year-old Rhys Jones dies after being shot in the neck as he played football with friends outside a pub in Liverpool.

The shooting is thought to have been gang-related and police described the shooting as a case of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Local residents said shots were fired by a teenager who rode past the pub on a BMX.

A witness said Rhys had been to football training on pitches behind the pub and was walking across the car park when he was shot.

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