News Blog

A rolling look at today's events

Dan Griffin Wed, Jun 19
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  • 09:08

    The man who raped and murdered Jill Meagher in Melbourne has been jailed for 35 years.

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he is not concerned about the G8 strategy on tax evasion.

    And the chairman of a school board has resigned following a row over anti-abortion leaflets.

  • 09:09
    Good morning, I'm Dan Griffin and I'll be here on the Irish Times live news blog until 5pm.
  • 09:13
    The man who dragged Jill Meagher off a Melbourne street and raped and murdered her has been jailed for at least 35 years.
    Victorian Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Nettle said what happened to Ms Meagher (29) was one of the worst crimes imaginable.

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny has pledged to support moves by world leaders to overhaul the rules of business taxation, an iniative designed to stamp out aggressive avoidance and evasion by multinationals, writes Arthur Beasley.

    The chairman of the Harold School board in Dublin’s Glasthule Eddie Shaw resigned last night.
    It followed controversy over his arranging for leaflets to be distributed to children at the school in advance of the ProLife Campaign’s `Vigil for Life’ in the Dublin on June 8th
  • 09:16

    Jill Meagher's aunt, speaking with Miriam O'Callaghan on Radio 1 at the moment, said the family are pleased with Adrian Bayley's 35 year sentence. "There will never be a chance that he'll do this to another woman or that another family will go through what we've been going through for the last nine months," she said.

  • 09:21
    After two days of pampering in the Lough Erne resort in Co Fermanagh, President Barack Obama is in Berlin. Later today he will unveil plans for a reduction in nuclear warheads at a speech at the Brandenburg Gate that comes 50 years after JFK's 'Ich bin ein Berliner' address.

    Read more
  • 09:25
    Speaking of John F Kennedy, there's a special magazine supplement with today's paper marking 50 years since his visit to Ireland. There are also plenty of videos and features here.
  • 09:46

    So what did the Obama women and the Bonos discuss over lunch? "Everything," according to the singer, and "nothing" also.

    Lots of people gathered outside Finnegan's pub in Dalkey yesterday to greet the high-profile dining party. Four young girls wanted to give the First Lady some posies but weren't allowed next or near her. As a sort of consolation they were given secret service badges instead.

    Alison Healy has a nice report here.

  • 09:52
  • 09:57

    Meanwhile, in Brussels, talks are resuming in an effort to finalise the European Union's seven-year budget, worth a tidy €960 billion. Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore is chairing the negotiations. How much progress has been made so far? "A lot of progress," says Eamon.

    Ciara Kenny has more

  • 10:18
    Manchester United will be unshackled from the Lafayette building in Dublin in 2015. The football club has an "embarrassing involvement" with the property at the junction of Westmoreland Street and D'Olier Street, writes Jack Fagan

    In 2000 it signed a 15-year lease on the landmark building, which it initially used as a merchandise outlet. However that store closed after just two years and the club has been paying an annual rent of €520,000 since.
  • 10:23
    I'd probably vote for someone if they gave me 20 quid. I'd certainly tell them I would.

  • 10:34
    Some more fallout from the appointment of Joe Kinnear as Nescastle United's director of football.

    The club's managing director Derek Llambias has resigned from his position with immediate effect.

    Local media is going nuts, apparently. Here's more from the UK Independent.
  • 10:41
    Japanese prime minster Shinzo Abe is due down in Government Buildings on Merrion Street at 11.00. Rosita Boland is there.

  • 11:02
    Although Abe may have other things on his mind while he's in Dublin:

    High levels of a toxic substance called strontium-90 have been found in groundwater at the devasted Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.

    Strontium-90 is a by-product of the fission of uranium and plutonium in nuclear reactors as well as nuclear weapons, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

    More strontium-90

    It's real comic book superhero stuff, eh readers?
  • 11:13
    Here's more on the spending by parties on the Meath East byelection. Candidates spent a total of €106,653.42 on the campaign, which was won by Fine Gael's Helen McEntee.
  • 11:39

    The two-day G8 summit in Co Fermanagh ended yesterday, leaving the global big shots free to return home and continue their nefarious scheming. Arthur Beasley has some analysis here.

    I was up in Enniskillen over the weekend, filing updates for the website.

    The protest, which took place on Monday evening, was miniscule in comparison to the demonstrations which usually accompany G8 meetings. It got decent enough coverage in the media, though. However, of the more bizarre incidents which took place during the march from the Enniskillen library to the Lough Erne security fence didn't really get picked up on.

    As the protest was approaching Weststreet Bridge, on its way out of town, two men emerged from the side entrance of a pub, each of them wearing only a pair of underpants and, for some reason, a single sheet of newspaper selotaped around their waists. 

    They started remonstrating loudly, first with the marchers, then with the dozen or so police who quickly surrounded them. Despite the odd attire they seemed genuinely pissed off and at one point one of them, wearing just underpants and a piece of newspaper, started squaring up to a policeman who was decked out in full riot gear. Thankfully for him he was eventually restrained by his companion. 

    It was probably one of the more disruptive incidents of the whole weekend which, I suppose, says a good deal about the protest in general.

  • 11:40
  • 11:46

    A Japanese global healthcare company is creating 416 jobs in Northern Ireland.

    And politicians say the advertising value of the G8 summit for the North could not be bought.

  • 11:50
  • 12:03
    Every now and then we need a good, apocalyptic health story to keep us on our toes. This one, from Bloomberg, just landed in the inbox:

    "The new coronavirus that's killed 38 people, most of them in Saudi Arabia, may evolve into a health crisis reminiscent of SARS as a lack of information from the Arab world's largest economy impedes the fight against the outbreak, a European Union agency said."
  • 12:16
    Hairy toes: This image of the hairs on a tarantula's toe is part of a Nanoweek 2013 exhibition. Photo: Brendan O'Dowd
    Hairy toes: This image of the hairs on a tarantula's toe is part of a Nanoweek 2013 exhibition. Photo: Brendan O'Dowd
  • 12:18
    This is Nanoweek 2013, and to mark it an exhibition of 100 ‘nanolandscapes’ (research images, at a scale thousands of times smaller than a grain of salt) is being held at Trinity College Dublin, the Tryskell Arts Centre in Cork and the Tyndall National Institute at UCC. Here is a selection of the images.
  • 12:36
    This could be the solution to the ongoing motorists vs cyclists vs pedestrians debate. The Paravelo flying bicycle combines the traditional folding bicycle with a powerful fan and can reach 4,000ft altitude.  Yours for 10 grand.

    Of course, if, as expected, we're all driving hovercars in the future we'll soon be back to square one as far as cyclist/driver antipathy goes.  

    The Paravelo!
  • 12:49
    Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has joined Richard Bruton in emphasising the need to avoid any further incom tax increases in the Budget, Stephen Collins writes.
  • 13:14
    Independent TD Clare Daly let fly this morning in the Dáil, excoriating the "almost unprecedented slobbering" over the Obama family's visit. She accused the Taoiseach of showcasing Ireland "as a nation of pimps, prostituting ourselves in return for a pat on the head".

    She said there was speculation on "whether you were going to deck the Cabinet out in leprechaun hats decorated with a bit of stars and stripes to really mark abject humiliation".

    There was more: "It's hard to know which is worst, whether it's the outpourings of the Obamas themselves or the sycophantic falling over them by sections of the media and the political establishment."

    Enda wasn't happy. "I think your comments are disgraceful," he told Daly. "I think they do down the pride of Irish people all over the world who are more than happy to see this island being host to the G8."  

    Read more  
  • 13:23
    Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh, talking to the lunchtime news on Radio 1, says he expects about 10 FG parliamentarians will oppose the abortion Bill. Walsh intends to vote against the legislation. He also believes there's still a chance that Enda Kenny will allow a free vote.
  • 13:23
  • 13:37

    It's worth highlighting here the final paragraph from an article by legal affairs correspondent Ruadhán Mac Cormaic on the issue of forced marriage in Ireland, titled 'Vulnerable girls in need of legal protection':

    "Asked if there were plans to legislate on forced marriage, the Department of Justice said it was a matter for the Department of Social Protection which said it was a matter for the Department of Justice or the HSE. The HSE referred queries to the Department of Health, where a spokesman said forced marriage was not a matter for that department." 

  • 13:40
  • 13:46
    Support hours for pupils with special needs are being reduced by 10 per cent due to an increase in demand, the National Council for Special Education has announced today.
  • 14:00

    More than 5,000 suspects have been arrested and almost 3,000 criminally charged as part of a major operation targeting burglaries across the State, writes Conor Lally.

  • 14:12
    This is in from Reuters:

    From Union Jack booties to "Born to Rule" sleepwear, the British royal family has joined retailers in offering baby products to mark the arrival of the royal heir. Analysts estimate the baby fever could boost the economy by £240 million (€280 million).

    The British royal resurgence continues. Just wait until silly season, then you'll know all about that baby.
  • 14:25
  • 14:35
    Yesterday, Peppa Pig, her brother, George Pig, and their parents, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig, found themselves the victim of a hacker with too much time on their hands, the Guardian reports.

    Peppa Pig World--a Hampshire theme park dedicated to the children's television animation--apologised to facebook users after a hacker accessed the site and started posting sexual and racial messages.

    "Regrettably we currently have no ability to remove the posts or the page itself as the hacker has taken complete control by claiming to Facebook that they were authorised to represent us," a spokeswoman said.
  • 14:53
    Now that Ireland's presidency of the European Council is coming to an end, I wonder whether Dublin City Council have thought of what to do with that concrete slab near the entrance to Dublin Castle.  

    Back in March the council said the structure was a temporary measure aimed at increasing pedestrian safety. Whether it achieves this is a moot point, it certainly succeeds in being a large, €15,000 lump of concrete in the middle of the road.

    Mannix Flynn described it as a "carbuncle", which, will tell you, is "a painful localised bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue that usually has several openings through which pus is discharged".
  • 14:57
  • 15:05
    Russell Brand makes mince meat out of MSNBC. From Una Mulally's blog today: "If you, like me, ever feel as though your brain is slowly seeping out your ears watching American ‘news’ programmes, then this one is for you..."
  • 15:22
    Ryanair has said that yes, it is indeed buying more aeroplanes--175 of them, for €11.5 billion.
  • 15:34
    Scientists believe the planet Mars had an oxygen rich atmosphere four billion years ago. Which obviously means there was definitely life there at one point, probably whole civilisations, making amazing technological strides long before Earth even had the capacity to sustain life.
  • 15:49
  • 16:07
    That Clare Daly Ireland slobbering over the Obamas is by far the most popular story on the site today. A large number of readers seem to share her invective.
  • 16:11
    Angela Merkel challenged Barack Obama about American intelligence programs that monitor foreigners' communications today, the New York Times reports.
  • 16:16
    A photo of a door has just come in on the wires. It's the entrance to the hospital wing in which the Duchess of Cambridge will give birth. You're not allowed see it though.
  • 16:22
    A press release from the Peter McVerry trust arrived earlier. 

    A new service for the homeless was officially opened in Tallaght today. The Supported Temporary Accommodation (STA) service is a 16 bed unit that will provide accommodation and support to homeless people from the South Dublin County Council area.

    The CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, Pat Doyle, said: “The opening of this facility is a positive development for the homeless sector because it completes the localisation of supported temporary accommodation services across in Dublin.

    "By providing localised services we are giving homeless people the opportunity to access services as close as possible to their communities and social networks. This is important as it helps them to re-integrate into society once they have exited homelessness.”
  • 16:34

    As the strange 2013 car registration plates tick over into autumn/winter season, Neil Briscoe looks at what impressed in spring/summer.

  • 16:45

    Much of the attention that surrounds Kanye West "comes down to projected personas as celebrity boyfriend or fashion industry player or all-round narcissistic loudmouth, but “Yeezus” reminds us that West is at his best (and occasionally worst) when he’s loose in a recording studio". Jim Carroll on the new album.

  • 17:00
    That's it for today so. I think "slobbering over the Obamas" is a phrase that will endure. We're off to Seapoint now for a swim in the early evening sunshine and maybe to slobber over some ice-cream. Thanks for reading.