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Severe weather, Brussels sprouts wars and all the day's rolling news with Genevieve Carbery

Genevieve Carbery Thu, Dec 19
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  • 08:56
    Snowfall on the M50 near Lucan and Red Cow this morning is not exactly a white Christmas but we'll take it. The wild windy weather still remains in some parts of the country this morning. Met Eireann has wind warnings in place until tonight for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo, Munster, Leinster, Cavan and Monaghan for gusts of up to 110km/ph. Good morning it's Genevieve Carbery on the Daily Wire.
  • 09:00
    The sky is looking ominously dark and grey in Dublin this morning but there was a beautiful sunrise if you were up and about early enough. 
  • 09:04
    Thousands of homes are still without power after last evening’s winds, mainly in Donegal. The saddest consequences of this extreme weather was the death of woman (23) after  a tree fell on her car near Mullingar.
    The latest on the severe weather is here from our reporter Eoin Burke Kennedy. A nifty tool from ESB Networks lets you  checkfaults in your area at the below link.
  • 09:12
    Irish soldiers who fought for the Allies in World War One are being remembered by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British PM David Cameron in Flanders this morning.  It is seen as the latest step “towards deepening British-Irish relations”. You can read about it here. And here’s a picture just in from the scene.  
  • 09:17

     A European Space Agency satellite Gaia that will map and survey precise positions and distances to more than a billion stars is being launched into space right now from French Guiana. You can watch it live here.

  • 09:29
    St Vincent’s University Hospital has refused to tell a HSE audit into top-ups how much it has been paying staff in private allowances, Carl O’Brien and Martin Wall write in today’s lead story for The Irish Times. The top-ups will come back into the spotlight at today’s Dail Public Accounts Committee meeting.
    Reacting to the story on RTE Radio today Minister for Health James Reilly said it was “very unfortunate” and if the hospital did not cooperate there  “would be consequences”
    You can read the story here.  
  • 09:38
    Michael Lowry could face five years in prison of he is found guilty of filing a false tax return. The independent North Tipperary TD has been charged with “knowingly or wilfully” filing an incorrect return in October 2003, Colm Keena writes. 
  • 09:52
    Have you been stocking up on 5 cent a kilo cut-price Brussels sprouts and carrots for your Christmas dinner? This price war between the German discounters and others has left farmers claiming  they are being coerced into selling the vegetables for too lidl (sorry irresistible pun).
    But the supermarkets have told us not to feel guilty  - insisting they are bearing the full cost of the promotion, not farmers or growers. Conor Pope has more here. 

    As I’m preparing to cook Christmas dinner for more than 20 people in less than a week it’s certainly very tempting .....but the prices are eyebrow-raising. 
  • 10:14
    To say the State adopted a laissez-faire approach to the care and maintenance of western Europe’s most spectacular prehistoric monument is an understatement.....For much of the last century, you could wander unannounced into Newgrange. ... Eoin Burke-Kennedy writes here with just two days to go until one of my favourite events of the winter. 
  • 10:23
    The Department of Health is to seek to bring in new rules on top-up payments to senior managers....,Martin Wall writes here as today’s Dail Public Accounts Committee meeting gets underway.  You can watch it here. 
  • 10:30
    With just six more sleeps left, Sean O’Rourke has been using his grilling skills to try and answer the question on everyone’s lips – Will there be a white Christmas?  But even he couldn’t get a straight answer: “You never know with the weather so topsy turvy  ..I wouldn’t rule anything out. At this stage it depends. The charts keep changing and they can’t make up their mind, this stage it looks like it will be a cold enough day on Christmas day,” Pat Clarke of Met Eireann told RTE Radio today.  Oh the suspense...
  • 10:47
    At this very stressful time as we tear our hair out trying to get dinner, presents , decorations ready to enjoy home with our family....This very moving video interview and article from our video team and Kate Holmquist with a is worth watching to remind us of what we have.

    “Becoming homeless as a woman is shameful, degrading, fearful, stressful, emotional,” says Sharon, a 40-year-old mother of three and grandmother of one. Read and watch here.

    Here’s another video that’s worth a look.
  • 10:51
  • 10:55
    Some good jobs news just in. Liberty Mutual is to create 150 new jobs in Blanchardstown. Dublin over the next two years and is to buy the remaining 49 percent stake in the former Quinn Insurance that it doesn't already own from IBRC
  • 11:11
    One million Americans! That’s how many arrived in Ireland this year and the one millionth American landed in Dublin airport this morning! Leonie Higgins from Montgomery,New York flew in with her husband Jim from JFK to spend Christmas in Ireland. As a reward Aer Lingus have given her two return tickets. Tourism Ireland says this year has been a record for US visitors......a rather more glamerous ring to it than yesterday’s story of the Tipperary woman who became the 30 millionth Luas passenger.... surely identifying the actual person is a very imprecise science...

    Meanwhile in Dublin airport - it must be the best place to work at this time of year.
  • 11:15
  • 11:19
    So the man who is giving asylum to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden also saying that NSA surveillance is necessary to fight terrorism. ...Ah darn it Putin you almost had me convinced you were a defender of free speech. 
  • 11:34
    The now infamous signer at Nelson Mandela's memorial has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, according to reports in South Africa. The interpreter who was accused of gesticulating gibberish as world leaders paid tribute had defended himself as a “champion” signer and said he suffered a schizophrenic episode during the event.. BBC has more here. 
  • 11:44
    Speaking of Mandela, this billboard in Chennai India seems to have used a photo of Morgan Freeman instead when honouring him. However this is an unverified photo. Woops. They are not the only ones...the Guardian has analysed the tweets about Mandela's death and 8%  (560,000) of them involved users ridiculing others for confusing his picture with famous actors. Read that here. 
  • 12:08
    Farmers are protesting about Brussels (the sprouted kind not the bureaucratic CAP-controlling kind for once) as the Christmas veggie price-war continues. 
  • 12:19
    What’s life like at the centre of a Twitter storm? Not calm. The woman whose photo of a David Cameron look-alike in a painting went viral has spoken of her accidental fame.  
    “At first it's exciting seeing your thought going around the world. But then after the 100th message saying the same thing even your own joke can start to get a bit boring.,” she has told the Guardian here. Also here’s her tweet in case you missed it. Uncanny!
  • 12:31
    Interesting goings on under privilege at the Seanad where independent senator John Crowne has accused St Vincent's Hospital of fraud. He said the hospital had been "deliberately and fraudulently charging private health insurers in respect of cancer drugs which had been provided to that institution for free". 
  • 12:38
    Farmers have invaded Dunnes on St Stephen's Green as this 6c brussels and carrot war escalates. 
  • 13:00
    Luke Ming Flanagan brought a glass of "glorified p**s"water"  from Castlerea into the Dail today and asked Minister of State Fergus O'Dowd  to drink it during the Water Services Bill debate. People in his town "are forced to drink" this  and "you're going to charge them for it". It's "poison" and has chryptosporidium, he said. Is there any rule about unparliamentary beverages? You can watch here.
  • 13:18
    A review into the case of 23-month old boy who died after falling from an upstairs window in Cork has said that in 999 calls where information is limited or the person speaks poor English , higher levels of priority should be given.

    Hopefully lessons are learned from this very sad case. The boy was taken to hospital by a neighbour after the ambulance was stood down because the control centre believed he has suffered a simple fall in a green area. 
  • 13:22
    Quick, quick, free veggies are being given out in Dublin city centre .....oh wait they're 5c a bag to buy anyway. 
  • 13:31

    Graham Dwyer (41), the man charged with the murder of Elaine O’Hara has been refused bail by the Supreme Court. Dwyer of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock was in the Supreme Court when the three members of the court took just under a half an hour to reject his application for bail.

  • 13:42
    Met Eireann has issued a code orange warning. No not mobs of fake-tanned Christmas party-goers on the loose (although there will be these too) but gusts of 110km – 130km per hour and average speeds of 65 – 80km per hour for tomorrow in Munster, Leinster, Connacht, Donegal , Monaghan and everywhere then. There are still reports of snow and ice on roads in many parts of the country.
  • 14:06
    The long held calories-in-calories-out hypothesis for weight loss and obseity has been called into question by research. "Many factors that conspire to make obesity a hugely complex problem, for example genetics, physical exercise, hunger and satiety centres in the brain..writes William Reville here.  Just a teeny weeny bit of comfort for most of us destined to consume more than we exercise in the coming week.
  • 14:13
    The sale of $2.3bn worth of shares by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to pay a tax bill will just be a blip in his overall holding – reducing it from 56.1% from 58.8%. Before you sit in a corner rocking and wondering why you didn’t think of social media first.....em.....oh you know what I can’t think of a thing to make you feel better. 
  • 14:24
  • 14:37
    Pretty photo-sharing website Pinterest has posted its top pins for 2013 (along with every other social media organisation). It includes this  pretty one from its top travel pins. The full list is here for your perusal. 

    And speaking of travel the Irish Times inaugural travel podcast is out today!
  • 14:48
    “Don’t give an unintended Christmas present of your mobile phone to a thief," that's the message from Minister for Justice Alan Shatter as new figures for 2013 show 6,100 thefts from a person - including mobile phones, 

    The only solution to this is an enforced return to the Nokia 3210. An FT article earlier this month noted it was the choice of many billionaires and powerful men including Enda Kenny. 

    "Beyond the durability and long battery life, there are other advantages to retro phones, especially when you are the boss. Forget the corner office on the 15th floor – a true mark of seniority is the ability to tell human resources where to go when they demand you upgrade your technology." You can read it in full here. 

  • 15:08
    Santy really has come early,first it was free veggies now free high viz vests are being given out on the streets of the capital. 
  • 15:13
    No Christmas cheer at the Public Accounts Committee today as HSE’s officials confirmed they were prepared to withdraw public funds from St Vincent’s Hospital unless it reveals how much it is paying senior managers in unauthorised private allowances. P Pa ru pu pum pum
  • 15:24
    Babykins - that's what Prince William called his future wife Kate in private messages read out at a court hearing into News of the World hacking.  It is the first time the defunct Murdoch tabloid has been accused of illegally intercepting the voicemails of anyone directly related to one of the royals....the only surprising thing about these messages in their mundaneness. Read here.
  • 15:37
    In honour of it being that sentimental time of year....this gorgeous video from India/Pakistan has received over 10 million hits - I'd be shocked if you have a dry eye after watching it. 
  • 15:47
    A puppy farm operating from a house in Dublin 15 has been closed by the DSPCA and nine adult dogs taken into care.  The charity has again warned about buying pups online.  “The message is simple do not buy online. Illicit puppy traders are offering “Ready for Christmas” puppies on popular internet sites trade frequently with only a mobile number, no email and no address,”Brian Gillen CEO said in a statement. 
  • 16:01
    We could see the end of different charger cables for mobile phones – if a provisional deal on a new EU law reached today is passed by the EU parliament and member states. Under the move mobile phone makers will have to provide a standard battery charger that can fit any device. Even smart phones. So that’s no more asking every colleague in the office if they have the same phone as yours as your battery dwindles.....
  • 16:02
  • 16:20
    So we really should have burned those bondholders after all. The Irish bailout shows it is “unfair” to make taxpayers carry the cost of supporting banks while unsecured bondholders get repaid in full, former IMF mission chief Ajai Chopra has said in an interview published by the IMF to mark the end of the bailout. Una McCaffrey has full details here.
    For a little light reading over Christmas the IMF has also issued a 79 page report on Ireland’s successful completion of the EU-IMF programme. It says Ireland continues to face “significant economic challenges” and urged the Government to step up its efforts to address mortgage arrears and high unemployment, while also calling for a greater flow of credit to SMEs. Read a report on it here.  
  • 16:44
    It's snowing! Naas, the M50 near tallaght and Ballymount, according to reports. It only has to last six days for a white Christmas.  Meanwhile Dundrum shopping centre is kinda busy.
  • 16:53
    Looking for a very special last minute Christmas gift without the hassle of shopping centres, traffic and freezing cold? I have just the thing. Martyn Turner's original drawings for sale on eBay. Sorry for the blatant plug but it's for charity. 
  • 16:59
    So Cubans are to be allowed buy new and used vehicles from the state without government permission, for the first time since 1959! Great freedom for the Cubans who can finally buy themselves ugly SUVs and teeny Smart cars but it saddens me if it means the end of classic cars on Havana’s streets.
  • 17:09
    More images of the snow falling in Kildare. Will it stay or will it go? 
  • 17:20
    Breaking - school strikes are off as secondary teacher union (ASTI) members have voted to accept the Haddington road proposals by 57% to 43%. And across the country thousands of students tut in unison - extended Christmas break ruined!  
  • 17:45
  • 17:53
    The documentary about Kerry teenager Donal Walsh who died from cancer earlier this year, will be must-watch television on New Year's Day. In an interview to be aired Donal Walsh says that he has been “handed excuses on a silver plate to do me for the rest of my life and I refuse to use them”. Ronan McGreevy has more here.
    And with that I'm off to battle the elements, snow, traffic and shoppers. Thanks for reading.