The Daily Wire

Philomena meets the pope, Panti Bliss, floods - it's all here with Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy Wed, Feb 5
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  • 08:57
    Hi, I'm Ronan McGreevy and I'll be manning The Daily Wire for the day. I hope you are not under water this wild and blustery morning.
  • 09:02
    The country took another battering last night. The storm did not cause as much damageas in previous days, but it is hampering attempts to clean up around the country. Today is going to be another wet and windy day. Fermoy, Rosscarbery, Passage West are among the places where customers have no electricity.
  • 09:03
    The Anglo-Irish trial gets underway this morning and is expected to last four months. There will be huge interest in it. It have a separate blog so will not be covered on The Daily Wire.
  • 09:04
  • 09:06
    Venice is trending on Irish Twitter for no obvious reason. Anybody know why?  
  • 09:11
    Irish fans will be delighted that the redoubtable warrior Paul O'Connell is back in the green jersey for Saturday's clash against Wales which may, even at this early stage, be the decider of this season's RBS Six Nations.  
  • 09:21

    Remember the name: Clifton Hugh Lancelot de Verdon Wrottesley. How could you forget the Irish-born English aristocrat who came close to winning a medal for Ireland at the Winter Olympics in 2002. Malachy Clerkin, who is reporting on the Winter Olympics in Sochi for The Irish Times, caught up with Wrottesley in advance of the opening of the games. There is an old cliché that coming fourth is the worst place to be in an Olympic games but young Rotters has only fond memories of his odyssey. "When I look back on it, fun is all I think of. I had an absolute hoot of a time. I really had such a good time. For those two years, culminating in the Olympics, I’ve never had better experiences outside of getting married and having children. I learned so much about myself, about the world, about other people, about sport. It was the sort of thing that I could never have forgiven myself for if I hadn’t tried it.” You can read the full interview here.  

  • 09:23
    The good economic news continues. The Investec Purchasing Managers' Index of activity in the services sector showed a reading of 61.5 in January, far above the 50 line that divides expansions in activity from contractions. This accounts for 70 per cent of the country's economic output. This is the 18th month of successive growth.  
  • 10:10

    Do 92 per cent of men really know how to change a tyre? That's according to a survey carried out by Aviva which found men claim to be much more proficient in car repairs than women.

    Asked if they knew how to check the engine oil level, 88 per cent of males said yes compared to 62 per cent of females. Almost all males surveyed, (92 per cent) said they could repair a flat or damaged tyre compared to just 44 per cent of female participants.  

    It seems men yield a superior understanding of the car electrics too with 83 per cent of them able to recognise a flat battery and jump start the car compared to only 41 per cent of women.

  • 10:14
    Given the furore over the payout to John Waters and five members of the Iona Institute, it was perhaps inevitable that RTÉ would have to break its usual silence on defamation settlements. Glen Killane has sent an internal email to RTÉ staff explaining why management decided to pay out €85,000 to the six. You can read about it here.
  • 10:16

    Here's the full text of RTÉ Television managing director Glen Killane's email to staff.  


    Over the last week a number of people have approached me questioning RTÉ’s apology to John Waters and members of the Iona Institute following the receipt of six legal complaints and you will, no doubt, have seen the ongoing debate on this subject.

    I want to reassure you that RTÉ explored every option available to it, including right of reply. Legal advice was sought and all avenues were explored, including an offer to make a donation to a neutral charity.

    However, based on the facts of what was broadcast, and having regard for broadcasting compliance issues, the seriousness of the legal complaints, and the decision by the complainants not to accept  RTÉ’s proposed remedies, we decided that a settlement was the most prudent course of action.   Senior counsel was consulted and confirmed that the legal position was far from clear. As a dual-funded public body, RTÉ should not knowingly progress to defend an action when it is advised, internally and externally, that such a defence is unlikely to succeed before a jury.

    RTÉ has not engaged in censorship, but has rather fallen foul of Ireland’s defamation laws. The topic reopened over the weekend and RTÉ will continue to cover this and related issues, as evidenced by last week’s Late Debate,  coverage of the protest in Dublin city centre on Sunday, and today’s item on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 and last weekend’s debate on the subject on The Saturday Night Show.

    Glen Killane

  • 10:39
  • 10:40

    If you are a fan of guitar and a fan of Metallica (and you should be both), you'll enjoy this video (below) of James Hedfield talking about how music saved his life.

  • 10:49

    When it comes to sport, a sense of perspective occasionally helps. The arguments over the decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll from the last Lions' test drags wearily on. No matter that Lions and Wales coach Warren Gatland was ultimately vindicated in his decision when the Lions romped home, there are still some sports journalists who will not let the matter rest. When asked if Bodgate might make for a more hostile atmosphere in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones quipped: “We’re not in Syria, so I don’t think it’s as hostile as you like to make out.”  

  • 10:50
    It's started again.
  • 10:51
  • 11:11

    The winds of change may be blowing through the Vatican with the election of Pope Francis, but the spectre of child abuse has left an appalling legacy.  

    The UN's watchdog for children's rights has denounced the Vatican for "systematically" adopting policies allowing priests to sexually abuse thousands of children.

    The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said the Holy See should open its files on members of the clergy who "concealed their crimes" so that they can be held accountable.

    It must also "immediately remove" all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers.

    The Vatican is expected to respond at a later date.  

  • 11:35
  • 11:40
    It looks like Madonna has got involved in the whole Panti/RTÉ/Iona Institute affair.
  • 13:32
    Philomena Lee met Pope Francis today. The Pope is a fan of the film Philomena despite its portrayal of the heartless nuns who took her son away from her when he was two and a half years old.
  • 13:43
    RTÉ's head of television Glen Killane has been on the News at One defending his decision to pay €85,000 out to John Waters and five members of the Iona Institute over allegations of homophobia. Mr Killane said he was faced with six separate defamation actions from six individuals and took the decision to make the payout rather than face a potentially larger settlement if it went to trial. "It was in the public interest, in terms of spending public money responsibly," he said. Mr Killane said he was told by senior counsel that RTÉ were "very, very unlikely" to win had it gone to courts.
    "The amount of money you could be faced into shelling out potentially from six separate cases would have been a mulitiple for what we settled."
    He said the decision was taken by him in consultation with other members of management,
  • 14:00
  • 14:01
  • 14:02
    Sean Spillane There's only one Madonna and it most cetainly isn't a washed up old degenerate like that!
  • 14:05
    Anybody who has seen the movie Philomena will be delighted that Philomena Lee has got to meet Pope Francis. Far from being an anti-Catholic polemic, Philomena is a faith-affirming picture in which Philomena Lee remains a practicing Catholic despite being the victim of appalling abuse by nuns. That was the intention of lapsed Catholic Steve Coogan too who said he did not want to make a "nasty" anti-Catholic film. Both of them got an audience with the Pope today and well deserved too.  
  • 14:56
  • 15:00

    Ireland's recent experiences in the Eurovision have been the triumph of hope over experience. Every year we send hopefuls to the Eurovision and ever year they flop. Yet they keep coming back for more. Five acts have been chosen for this year's Eurovision.

    The acts are (in the order that they will perform on Eurosong on 28 February): Patricia Roe, Eoghan Quigg (X-Factor finalist), Can-linn, Andrew Mann and Laura O’Neill.

    Last November RTÉ nominated five mentors with experience in the Irish music industry and asked each of them to select an act and a song which they believe has the potential to be a Eurovision winner.

    Valerie Roe chose her sister, Eurosong veteran Patricia Roe and her self-penned song Don’t Hold On;  Mark Murphy selected Eoghan Quigg and The Movie Song, which was written by Karl Broderick; Hazel Kaneswaran chose Can-linn, featuring Kasey Smith, to perform a song called Heartbeat which Hazel composed along with Jonas Gladnikoff, Rasmus Palmgren and Patrizia Helander; mentor Cormac Battle wrote Be Mine for Andrew Mann to perform; and Aslan’s Billy McGuinness chose Laura O’Neill as his act and the song You Don’t Remember Me, which was composed by Don Mescall and Lucie Silvas.

    The public will get the chance to hear the five songs for the first time tomorrow afternoon (Thursday 6 February): on RTÉ 2FM from 2pm when Rick O’Shea will debut the songs, while Derek Mooney will give the songs their first RTÉ Radio 1 airing after 3pm.

    The winning act will be selected on Eurosong 2014 on The Late Late Show on Friday 28 February. As was the case in previous years, Ireland’s Eurovision entry will be selected by a combination of public and regional jury vote.

    This year’s Eurovision will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Ireland competing in the second semi-final on Thursday 8 May. The Eurovision final takes place on Saturday 10 May. Let's hope for better luck this year. Last year Ryan Dolan managed to get into the final, but finished stone last.

  • 15:13
    Yuck ....
  • 16:02

    Garth Brooks was on RTÉ Radio One on Monday and promised that everybody in Limerick who wants a ticket for his fourth concert in Croke Park next summer will get one.  

    Neverthless, and despite assurances from the Great One, a queue has already started to form outside Gleeson's where the gardaí had to be called the last time because the Ticketmaster ticket machine had broken down.  

    This time proprietor Steve Gleeson has urged fans not to queue but to no avail. There's already 50 people camped outside since last night and tickets do not go on sale until tomorrow morning at 9am.  

    A Ticketmaster engineer will be on site to ensure that everything runs smoothly. "The last time we had a queue of 200 people which would have been about 1,200 tickets. We'll be able to cater for that sort of demand tomorrow."  

  • 16:05
    It's deja-vu all over again ...
  • 16:25

    The focus of  flooding  concern has turned to the country’s major rivers, especially those on the south, south-west and west, not least the Shannon.

    The  National Emergency Co-ordination Group, which met today, will tomorrow brief the Government, through Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, on how the various Government department and State agencies are coping and co-operating with what the exceptional rain and tidal surges have been throwing at communities.

    The chairman of the group,  Sean Hogan  of the Department of the Environment, said today that local authorities in affected areas believed that worst of the tidal flooding was past - for the moment.  

  • 17:21
    Remember poor Pluto who was kicked out of the Solar System in 2005 and is no longer a planet? Well, according to Slate magazine, it's about to make a big comeback. You can read it here.
  • 17:24
    RTÉ 2fm has announced that Colm Hayes is moving to the drivetime slot in the latest revamp of the station. He is being replaced in the 11am to 1pm slot by former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne.  
  • 17:34
    2fm Drivetime presenter Will Leahy is moving to weekends and on that note I'll say goodnight and hope you have a good evening.