The Daily Wire

Ryanair gets a makeover, US spying row rumbles on and Roma case fallout. Conor Pope's on the Wire

Conor Pope Fri, Oct 25
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  • 08:44
    Good morning..... It's Friday. AND it's a bank holiday weekend.


    The clocks go back this weekend though and the weather forecast for much of the weekend is not entirely brilliant.


    I am Conor Pope and I will be serving all your news needs today.
  • 08:46
    Some small comfort for the family of Co Armagh woman Natasha McShane today. A man has been found guilty of her attempted murder in Chicago three years ago.

    Heriberto Viramontes (34) was found guilty at Cook Court of the attempted murders of the Irish woman and her friend Stacey Jurich who were beaten and robbed as they returned home from a night out in the Bucktown neighbourhood of Chicago in April 2010.

    He now faces a maximum 120 years in prison when sentenced, likely later this year.

    Natasha’s brother Conor in a statement on behalf of the family, said the crime three and a half years ago brought “great sadness and sorrow to our home.”

    “The verdict provides us with a sense of justice, provides us with a sense of great relief. This crime changed her life forever and has had a devastating impact on our entire family.”

    He said it was a “daily struggle” for his sister and that the the crime had “ruined Natasha’s life and brought great sadness and sorrow to our home”.

    Ms McShane (27) remains unable to walk without support and barely able to talk. She suffered a severe brain injury.
  • 08:47
    They better not have been bugging Enda. 

    Or else.

    They may have been bugging Angela though.

    An row over American spying in Europe has thrown doubt over trade talks and data-sharing arrangements between the European Union and US.
    German claims that the US had bugged Angela Merkel’s phone prompted a storm of protest and other European leaders
    Even our own Taoiseach has got involved. 
    Dr Merkel phoned President Barack Obama and her foreign minister summoned the US ambassador to Germany to an extraordinary meeting, the first time in living memory that such a diplomatic dressing-down has been delivered to one of Berlin’s closest partners.
    “I have, since we have been speaking about the NSA [National Security Agency], made it clear to the president of the United States that spying on friends is not acceptable at all,” the chancellor said. “It’s not just about me but about every German citizen. We need to have trust in our allies and partners and this trust must now be established once again.”
  • 08:49
    The introduction of a minimum price for alcohol will take another 12 months to come into force.
    No hurry lads, in your own time.
  • 08:51
    "Kilbeacanty and neighbouring Ballyturin, home to the Donohue family, quiet rural communities east of Gort were in shock yesterday after news of the sudden death of skilled Galway county hurler Niall Donohue on the eve of his 23rd birthday today.

    “Niall was so involved, so enthusiastic, so gifted, the whole community was so proud of him . . . and hurling was his life,” said retired south Galway school principal Philomena Glynn yesterday, as she expressed her heartbreak.

    It’s an area that is rarely in the news, apart from the landslide in nearby Derrybrien in 2003, the return of Fr Eamon Casey to the parish of Shanaglish in 2006, and flooding in the area in 2009.

    However, Niall Donohue had put Kilbeacanty on the map for all the right reasons, when he won an All-Ireland under-21 title with Galway in 2011 and made it with his county team to last year’s All-Ireland senior championship final, before losing to Kilkenny in the replay.
  • 08:53
    Most read stories on our site right now?

    1. Road works in Poland lead to dead end for Siac and Sisk
    2. ‘So enthusiastic, so gifted. . . hurling was his life’
    3. Unions make concessions in bid for compromise
    4. Man guilty of attempted murder of Natasha McShane
    5. Myth of kidnap of children by particular ethnic groups has a disreputable history
  • 09:31
    Hmmm. It seems as if our promised exit from the bailout on December 15 may well be a false dawn. According to reports this morning the government has refused to rule out the acceptance of an emergency credit line from the good people at the troika.
  • 09:47
    Don't look as if the weather gods are going to be smiling on the people running in the marathon on Monday. While the forecast is not great for most of the weekend is is particularly bad on the day the marathon is being run.
  • 09:56
    Maddest costume of the day?

    Has to be this, really.

  • 10:24
    The Ombudsman for Children is set to launch an independent investigation into the State’s handling of two cases in which Roma children were removed from their families. While Government Ministers yesterday resisted calls for an independent inquiry into the case, ombudsman Emily Logan is likely to announce she will conduct her own inquiry with powers to compel officials to answer questions.

  • 10:39
  • 10:45
    Ryanair customer service improvements!

    This is not a drill people. 

    This is not a drill.

    1.      The “Recaptcha” security code will be removed from the website for individual bookings next week.
    2.      Customers who book directly on the website (i.e. not via travel agents or screenscrapers) will be given a 24 hour grace period from the time of their original booking, to correct any minor errors (i.e. spelling, names, routings) made in their original booking.

    3.      From 1 Nov, Ryanair will operate “quiet flights”, prior to 8am in the mornings and after 9pm in the evenings. During these quiet flight periods no PA’s will be made on board other than required safety announcements. Ryanair will also dim the lights during these quiet flights so that any customers who wish to snooze, can comfortably do so.
    4.      From 1 Dec, Ryanair will allow passengers to bring a 2nd small carry-on bag (small ladies handbag or small airport shopping bag) no bigger than 35 x 20 x 20 cms which will allow a bottle of wine or equivalent to be carried.
    5.      From 1 Dec, Ryanair’s boarding card reissue fee will be cut from €70/£70 to €15/£15 for customers who have already checked in online. Customers who fail to check-in online will continue to pay a €70 airport check-in fee.
     6.      From 5 Jan, Ryanair’s standard airport bag fees will be cut from €60/£60 to €30/£30 at the bag drop desk, and from €60/£60 to €50/£50 at the boarding gate, bringing them into line with competitor airline standard airport bag fees.

    This is what Michael O’Leary said today:
     “We are very excited at these significant improvements in what is already Europe’s No.1 customer service airline. As we implement our plans to grow from 80m to over 110m customer p.a. over the next 5 years, we are actively listening and responding to our customers so that they can continue to expect low fares and on-time flights on Ryanair, but will now enjoy easier website access, 24 hour grace periods, a 2nd small carry-on bag, reduced airport bag fees and quiet flights. We hope that our passengers will enjoy these service improvements, while still enjoying Ryanair’s low fares and on-time flights.”
    Ryanair’s Director of Customer Service, Caroline Green said:
    “These are the first in a series of customer service improvements which Ryanair is actively working on to make our low fare services easier to access and even more enjoyable for our millions of customers. As some of these policy changes will require website changes and handling staff retraining, we will be rolling them out over the next few months as we strive to further improve Europe’s No.1 customer service airline. If customers have any other suggestions or feedback they want us to hear, then please use our customer feedback service “Tell MOL” on the website.”
  • 12:13
    The world’s gender gaps narrowed slightly this year, with Iceland showing the least inequality among men and women, a report by the World Economic Forum found.

    Ireland is in sixth place on the list for a second year.

    The Global Gender Gap Report found “definite if not universal improvements” in economic equality and political participation between the sexes in the ranking of 136 countries.

    Finland was second followed by Norway and Sweden, unchanged from last year. Iceland has held the top spot for five years in a row.
    Generous maternity leave provisions and inexpensive daycare for children are the reason for their success and all the Nordic countries have high labor participation rates for women. There are two female prime ministers and two female finance ministers in that region.
  • 12:59
    The man charged with the murder of Dublin woman Elaine O’ Hara has been further remanded until next month following a brief court hearing . Graham Dwyer (41), with an address at Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, Dublin 18, appeared before Cloverhill District Court this morning.

    The father of two is charged with murdering the 37-year-old woman on August 22nd, 2012.

    Dressed in a black top and dark trousers, Mr Dwyer remained silent during his appearance in court. His solicitor Jonathan Dunphy told Judge Gráinne Malone he had not yet made an application for bail to the High Court on behalf of his client. Mr Dunphy indicated this was likely to be done the week after next.

    On the question of legal aid, Mr Dunphy said a statement of means on behalf of his client had been furnished to the court. Judge Malone again deferred her ruling on legal aid until Mr Dwyer’s next court appearance.
  • 13:06
    Let’s be clear. If it’s not already racist to snatch a child from the bosom of its parents on the basis of ethnic distinctions relating to tint of skin or colour of eyes or hair, then there’s no such thing as racism. We don’t have to wait on tenterhooks wondering if these incidents will “create the conditions” for racism. They are racism. We live in a racist state – rightly disgraced before the world.

    But racism is arguably among the least ominous aspects of what happened this week. Far worse was the denial of due process, the misuse of the law, the trampling on constitutional rights and the cruelty to the children and families involved – all perpetrated by people charged with upholding the Constitution and protecting citizens.
  • 13:29
    A monkey-hunt is ongoing in Belfast after two lion-tailed macaques made a successful break for freedom on Monday. All told, six monkey's managed to get out of their enclosure but four were quickly recaptured.  Jade and Roxy have been seen a number of times since, close to the zoo.
  • 13:32
    Jim Jennings has been appointed as the new Head of Radio 1. He has worked for the State broadcaster for 20 years most recently as the executive producer of the Late Late Show.
  • 13:59
    Paul McCartney has told Rolling Stone that he tries to talk to John Lennon while writing new songs. 

    "If I'm at a point where I go, 'I'm not sure about this,' I'll throw it across the room to John," he says. "He'll say, 'You can't go there, man.' And I'll say, 'You're quite right. How about this?' 'Yeah, that's better.' We'll have a conversation. I don't want to lose that."
    He also talks about Yoko Ono, He calls her a "badass," and says animosity between them is gone. "I thought, 'If John loved her, there's got to be something. He's not stupid,'" McCartney says. "It's like, what are you going to do? Are you going to hold a grudge you never really had?" 
    It is a different story when it comes to Mark Chapman "I think I could pretty much forgive anyone else," he says. "But I don't see why I'd want to forgive him. This is a guy who did something so crazy and terminal. Why should I bless him with forgiveness?"
  • 14:49
    The DNA from Greek Roma girl matches a Bulgarian Roma couple  according to the Bulgarian Interior Ministry.

    So, that's that then.  
  • 15:17
    Police may have jumped the gun after suggesting they had found what could be the UK’s first ever 3D printed firearm. The seizure, initially described as “a really significant discovery”, was part of a much-heralded crackdown on organised crime, Operation Challenger, launched by Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
    But hours later GMP released a second statement about the raid in which Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said: “We need to be absolutely clear that, at this stage, we cannot categorically say we have recovered the component parts for a 3D gun.”
  • 15:59
    Social workers need to be careful not to become overly cautious about intervening in families to protect children in the wake of this week’s two cases involving Roma families, the HSE’s national director of children and family services, Gordon Jeyes, has warned.

    Mr Jeyes was reluctant to comment on the specifics of cases in west Dublin and the midlands where gardaí removed children from their families following consultation with HSE social workers, but he did warn that such high-profile cases can impact on how social workers do their work.

    “I think in these issues there’s always a danger the pendulum swings from too interventionist to too cautious - Ireland operates a very regulated system. We are regulated by Hiqa [Health Information Quality Authority], we are overseen by Ombudsmen and rapporteurs, not to mention scrutiny by the Dáil.

    “As well as that of course, there is also the media, but on top of that, the decisions to which you refer are nearly always taken by the courts looking at an objective view of the evidence, including that presented in a consistently standardised form by social workers,” he said.
  • 16:10
    A DNA test has confirmed a Bulgarian Roma woman is the mother of a mystery girl known as “Maria” found living with a couple in Greece, authorities in Bulgaria have said.

    Sasha Ruseva (35), has reportedly been served with preliminary charges of child selling.

    Ms Ruseva said she gave birth to a baby girl four years ago in Greece while working as an olive picker, and gave the child away because she was too poor to care for her.

    Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry announced the results of the test after matching the woman’s DNA with Maria’s.

  • 16:22
  • 16:48

     A former University of California policeman who stirred public outrage by pepper-spraying peaceful student protesters has been awarded $38,000 in worker's compensation for psychiatric damage he claimed to have suffered from the 2011 incident.
    Then-campus police Lieutenant John Pike came to symbolize law enforcement aggression against anti-Wall Street protests at the time when video footage widely aired on TV and the Internet showed him casually dousing demonstrators in the face with a can of pepper spray as they sat on the ground.
    Pike was suspended from his job at UC Davis and ultimately left the force in July 2012, but university officials did not disclose the circumstances of his departure.
  • 16:53
  • 17:12
    Finish on a high,they say.

    Right so.