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PAC's back, so's Rosetta and the DUP is sad. Conor Pope is looking after your news needs today.

Conor Pope Tue, Jan 21
 
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  • 08:52
    Irish consumers’ disposable income climbed by almost €50 in December when compared with 12 months earlier, the latest income-tracking survey from the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) has indicated.

    However, almost half a million adults still have nothing left once all essential bills are paid, the survey shows.

    The league said its research showed consumers were increasingly upbeat in the second half of last year and appeared better able to manage their money, although it said hundreds of thousands of people were still living a hand-to-mouth existence.
  • 08:56

    The DUP is sad this morning. And the cause? The Rev Ian Paisley. The party has said he has harmed his legacy  following last night’s documentary in which he claimed senior party members such as Peter Robinson and Nigel Dodds forced him to step down as DUP leader and first minister in 2008.


    “Rather than return insult for insult, let me bless him with the mercy of my silence and wish him well,” the current DUP leader Peter Robinson said.


    He wasn't entirely silent mind you. “As someone who faithfully served Dr Paisley for many decades I will make one final sacrifice by not responding and causing any further damage to his legacy beyond that which he has done himself. . . This is not the Ian Paisley we knew,”  

     

    Oh.  

  • 08:59

    Last night the European comet-chasing spacecraft which has been in hibernation for almost three years woke up and sent its first signal back to Earth.  The European Space Agency (ESA) received the all-clear message “Hello World!” from its Rosetta spacecraft, 500 million miles away, shortly after 6pm.

    Hello yourself.  

  • 09:00

    Most read story on The Irish Tmes right now?

    The former Montrose Hotel will re-open its doors as a student residence in September.

    Construction to convert the former hotel, located about 1km from the entrance to RTÉ and a short walk from the UCD campus, has begun and, when completed, will consist of 192 en-suite bedrooms.
    The rooms will be clustered into apartments consisting of between five and eight bedrooms, each of which will have a communal kitchen and dining area and a separate living room. The property will have 24-hour security, an on-site management team and car parking and bicycle facilities.
    Its developers say it will offer “three- to four-star hotel-standard” accommodation to its residents with a proposed entry-level price of €175 per week.

     

     

  • 09:01

    The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has expressed confidence in the head of Irish Water John Tierney this morning.

     

    Which is nice.

  • 09:01
    Good morning. I am Conor Pope. I am on the Daily Wire today.  
  • 09:04

    Felix Kjellberg  had the most-watched YouTube channel in the second half of 2013, racking up 1.28 billion views.

    Who?  

    PewDiePie.  


    No, seriously, who?  

    PewDiePie's  channel launched on YouTube in 2009, but its most rapid growth came between 2012 and 2013.  Kjellberg’s videos are a mixture of game walkthroughs, humour and enthusiastic swearing. “I’m just a guy from Sweden who likes to laugh and make other people laugh,” as his YouTube profile puts it

  • 09:07

    It was funny to see all these people getting exited on Twitter yesterday about the appearance of Gareth Brooks in Croke Park this summer.  


    There was even #garethbrooks hashtag.


    If yizzer are such fans ye'd know that's not his name.


    Just saying, like.  

  • 09:09

    Telecom shares? They haven't gone away, you know.

    The Revenue Commissioners have said Ireland’s 400,000 Vodafone shareholders need not face a tax bill from the windfall payment by the company next month.

    The reason? Almost 15 years after their original investment, the shareholders are still operating at a loss.  

  • 09:18

    Garth Brooks irons his jeans.  

    Well, he probably doesn't but someone does.


    They have creases in them.  

    Creases.


    In jeans.


    Seriously?  

  • 09:22

    The director of the Abbey Theatre Fiach Mac Conghail has accused The Irish Times of “cruelty” because it published independent reports critical of the theatre’s productions.


    The assessments commissioned jointly by the Arts Council and the Abbey suggested the Dublin venue was struggling to meet its aim of being a world- class theatre.


    The assessors gave just four of 12 recent productions ratings that were either “very good” or “excellent”, or very close to it. Four productions ranked as “good” and four were judged to be somewhere between “acceptable” and “good”. The reports were obtained by The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.


    Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s arts show Arena last night, Mr Mac Conghail said the publication of the reports was hurtful and cruel and he was deeply upset by it. “I am deeply, deeply dismayed by this because it was a cruel action by the paper and it was insensitive of the Arts Council to release this without duty of care to the artists in question.”


    Mr Mac Conghail told presenter Evelyn O’Rourke he had “pleaded” with the Arts Council not to release the reports and said he had not been aware they would be subject to the FOI Act, nor, he said, had the assessors who made the comments.


    He said he had explained to Fintan O’Toole, who wrote the article, that the process was only half way through because the theatre had not given a response to the assessments. “But that wasn’t heeded,” he said. “The Irish Times published knowing full well that the process wasn’t completed, and they should have made that comment.”


    Speaking later in the programme, O’Toole said he had asked Mr Mac Conghail to comment on the assessors’ reports, but he had declined. The Irish Times had also offered to publish a piece written by Mr Mac Conghail, an offer which still stood, O’Toole said, but this was also declined.

     

  • 09:28

    Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov this morning urged European governments not to interfere in Ukraine’s political crisis and expressed concern that events in Kiev could be spinning out of control.


    “We would prefer that some of our European colleagues refrained from acting unceremoniously over the Ukrainian crisis, when, without any kind of invitation, members of certain European governments rush to the Maidan (central square in Kiev), take part in anti-government demonstrations in a country with which they have diplomatic relations,” Mr Lavrov told a news conference.
    “It is just distasteful.”



  • 09:29

    Haley Cropper died last night.  

    Not much more to be said about that really.  

  • 09:43


  • 10:16

    There are a lot of people wondering how to secure tickets for Garth Brook’s Croke Park concerts this summer when they go on sale at 9am on Thursday January 30th. Well, I have just been speaking to an occasionally reliable source and apparently queuing at a shop with Ticketmaster franchise is a better bet than logging on to the website yourself. Retailers do not get a certain allocation of tickets – as you may have thought but by in real time from a central inventory.  They are, however,given better and faster log-in details to the Ticketmaster servers so if you are in the queue when the tickets go on sale, they should be able to sort you right out – as long as they know what you want beforehand.

    If you don’t fancy queuing and chose instead to buy online make sure to register with Ticketmaster first and give them your credit card details.

    Then a few minutes before they go on sale log on to the site.

    Should you wait patiently or start hitting reload like a mad thing?  Ticketmaster says you are better off to wait. When it anticipates high demand it places people in virtual queues so if you hit refresh repeatedly you will lose you place. Do not open multiple browser windows – this displeases Ticketmaster. If you have multiple devices however you can log them all in to the site to improve you chances of getting the best tickets.  

    Once they go on sale move with the speed of a baby gazelle fleeing a pack of wild dogs.

    Select the number of tickets you want, remembering that the less you buy the better the odds of getting good seats.  Just select “best available” – scrolling through the other options will waste precious seconds.

    If you miss out this time, extra tickets will almost certainly be released closer to the event so do keep trying.

  • 10:42

     

  • 10:47

    The first episode of Amber was watched by an average audience of 656,000 and had 42 per cent of audience share. Last night's second episode was watched by  676,000. It's on again tonight.

     

  • 10:53

    According to a story in today's paper, one car was clamped 63 times in Dublin in 2012. That's more than once a week. Every week. For a year.  

    It cost the victim more than five grand.  

     

     

  • 10:59
    Anything good on at the Film Festival?
  • 11:06

    The State will pay most of the substantial legal costs of the unsuccessful challenge by Marie Fleming to the law making it an offence to assist a suicide, Mary Carolan  

  • 11:10

    Good story by Fiach Kelly just gone up.

    This is it.  

    The Government is set to reopen the Vatican embassy, The Irish Times has learned.


    The Cabinet is this morning considering a request from Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to open eight new embassies and consulates at its weekly meeting.


    The list includes re-opening the Vatican embassy, as well as new embassies in Bangkok, Jakarta, Nairobi and Zagreb and consulates in Austin, Texas, in the US, Hong Kong and Sau Paulo.


    However, it is not yet clear if the Vatican embassy will be housed in the same building it previously occupied, or co-housed in the Irish embassy in Rome.

  • 11:22

    Stand by for some wedding stats from  weddingsonline.

    My favourite one  tells me that "social media has been a useful tool for the modern bride and groom with 50% using Facebook, 53% using Pinterest and 93% using weddingsonline to help them with their preparations".

    Good to see Weddings Onlihne doing so well in a Weddings Online survey although I do wonder what the 7 per cent who don't use weddingsonline were doing filling out a weddingsonline survey.  

    Anyways, here's the rest of it, for what it's worth.  

    • Midweek weddings are on the rise with 54% of couples opting for a wedding during the week

    • August is still the top month to get married (15% of weddings)
    • A significant 63% of all respondents still opted for the more traditional hotel wedding while 20% chose the increasingly popular country house and 8% a castle
    • December engagements down 4% from last year’s high of 26%, however it is still the most popular month to get engaged
    • 22% of couples waited 24+ months between their engagement and their wedding
    • The average total budget for a wedding in 2014 is €21,666 (including honeymoon)
    • The average spend on a wedding dress was €1,494, spend on the venue came in at €9,716, respondents spent an average of €1,750 on a band, €1,438 on a photographer and €3,916 on a honeymoon
    • 89% will choose to honeymoon abroad while the remaining 11% will honeymoon in Ireland
    • 10% of those surveyed got married abroad
    • 6% of those surveyed employed a wedding planner

  • 11:25
    The Thai government  has just imposed a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. It starts tomorrow.
  • 11:26
    Eoin Anything good on at the Film Festival? Dawn Of The Dead with Goblin playing the score live!
  • 12:00
    The  deadline for SEPA in Ireland has just been extended by two months to March 31st.
  • 12:22

    The extradition case against an Irishman described by an FBI Special Agent as “the largest facilitator of child porn in the world” has been put back for another week.  Eric Eoin Marques, who is alleged to be the owner and administrator of an anonymous hosting site known as Freedom Hosting, is wanted by US authorities to face charges relating to conspiring to distribute and advertise child pornography, and advertising and distributing child pornography.

  • 12:24

    Bank of Ireland says it is aware of a number of debits displaying twice on customer accounts. It  did not specify what had caused the glitch but said accounts would be corrected "shortly".


    No, I don't know what "shortly" means either.  



  • 13:29

    Good news.  

     

    Ish.  

     

    Ireland is now the fifth most expensive state in the EU, according to a new report from the CSO.  

    It costs more to live in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Luxembourg  and Irish prices are 15 per cent above the EU average.

    This is a “considerable improvement” on the 2008 figure, when Irish prices were the second highest in the EU, at 30 per cent above the EU average.

     

    Go Team US!  

  • 14:17

    Cheer you your afternoon why don't ya!

     


  • 14:25


  • 14:31

    Lordy. Not for the fainthearted.

    Great though.  



  • 14:31


  • 15:12


  • 15:35

    A private maternity hospital in Dublin and two consultant obstetricians have expressed sincere apologies at the High Court to the parents of a baby boy who died soon after his birth.

     

     



  • 15:57

    The announcement that the Government intends to reopen the Irish Embassy to the Holy See has been greeted with satisfaction by Vatican officials with one senior Vatican figure saying it will mark “the end of a painful period” in Ireland’s relations with the Vatican.

    I carried out a straw poll on Twitter this afternoon. It was admittedly unscientific - very, very unscientific - but I could detect no great love for the idea of an embassy returning to the Vatican any time soon. Of the 80 or so people who took part only three said they would welcome the move.  

     

    For what it's worth.  

     

  • 16:03

    A woman is recovering after her car was swept off a Limerck road by an avalanche of slurry last night. The Doon to Cappamore Road remains closed after 50,000 gallons of slurry poured onto the road from a lorry in a surge which was so powerful it washed the woman's Ford Fiesta into a field. She did not sustain any injuries but is suffering from shock.


    I can only imagine.  

  • 16:38

    A 29.6 carat blue diamond, one of the rarest and most coveted in the world with a possible price tag of tens of millions of dollars, has been discovered at a South African mine by Petra Diamonds.
    The miner said the “exceptional” acorn-sized diamond, small enough to fit into the palm of a hand, was unearthed at the Cullinan mine near Pretoria.
    The mine, owned by the firm since 2008, was also where the Cullinan Diamond was found in 1905 - described as the largest rough gem diamond ever recovered and weighing 3,106 carats.
    Other notable diamonds found in the mine include a 25.5 carat Cullinan blue diamond, found in 2013 and sold for $16.9 million, and a diamond found in 2008, known as the Star of Josephine, which was sold for $9.49 million.

  • 17:03
    22 people were arrested every day over Christmas in connection with drunk driving. 11 people were arrested on Christmas Day.
  • 17:06
    Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, said that by 2035 no nation will be as poor as any of the 35 that the World Bank now classifies as low-income, even adjusting for inflation. Most countries will have higher per-person income by 2035 than China does now, Mr Gates said in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual letter published today.
  • 17:06
    And on that upbeat note, we're off.