News Blog

The property tax deadline, traffic and weather woes and the best newspaper correction ever

Genevieve Carbery Mon, May 27
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  • 09:08
    Hello, Genevieve Carbery here it's a miserable day out and the news is not much better as the property tax deadline looms and Michael Noonan has more plans for misery after the troika leave
  • 09:15
    Met Eireann's latest rain fall radar - it is moving East!
    Met Eireann's latest rain fall radar - it is moving East!
  • 09:15
    If you're miserable out there here is why (see photo) Darts are also delayed after a car crashed into Merrion Gates. Happy Monday.
  • 09:31

    This morning’s newspaper headlines:

    The Irish Times leads with Mary Minihan’s story of Michael Noonan’s to bring a proposal to cabinet shortly on a stringent new economic plan to replace the troika bailout. Here

    On the fall out of the Apple tax story last week Colm Keena and Mary Minihan write that the Government is planning to write to a US senate committee disputing the plain that Ireland is a tax haven. Read here
    Also the questioning of a man over the stabbing to death of Dean Fitzpatrick, brother of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick, at the weekend. More here. This story provides the leads for most of the other papers.

    The mail also has a story at 500,000 people have yet to sign up for the property tax as well as a deep philosophical question for men "are you BOD brick or a string bean like Tubs".

    The Examiner leads with a story that a Garda report into penalty points fails to look at issues that point to a widdes pread culture for terminating points.

    Also the Examiner has a story on a woman who spent 90 minutes at a Cork private hospital and was charged €1175 for the room.

    The Examiner also looks at a call from Fine Gael back bench TD Catherine Byrne for terminations to be allowed in fatal foetal abnormality cases.
  • 09:35
    While it may not look like a morning to entice you to holiday at home – if you are in the market for it, Loop Head in Co Clare has been named as the best place to holiday in Ireland in an Irish Times competition. Tour guide Steve McPhilemy described it as a “new and radical” tourist destination. More here
  • 09:45
    If you’ve been hiding your head in the sand over the property tax – Revenue is on the warpath for the 500,000 of us who have yet to file!

    The date to register is midnight tomorrow, but if you’re having a lean month, July 1st is the due date to pay. Revenue warns that if you did not receive a letter property owners are still obliged to file.

    Revenue again reiterated mandatory reduction from wages, pensions and government payments for people who do not pay.

    There is an “inevitability” about paying it, Vivienne Dempsey of Revenue told RTE this morning . Contact details are: 1890200255 / . More here
  • 09:52
    Looking through our photo archive this morning I came across this one of then Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern a year before he became taoiseach  launching the campaign to get rid of Residential Property Tax which he did in 1997 after his election as Taoiseach. ..... ah the glory days of cutting taxes and giveaway budgets.....Mr Ahern in 2010 admitted regretting this move because it contributed to the housing bubble.
  • 09:52
    FF leader Bertie Ahern at campaign against property tax, 1996. Photo: Frank Miller
    FF leader Bertie Ahern at campaign against property tax, 1996. Photo: Frank Miller
  • 10:06
  • 10:15
    Interesting development in the UK over so-called lads magazines.

    Campaigners are warning retailers to remove magazines that display naked and near-naked images on their covers or face the risk of legal action.

    The Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign, by pressure groups UK Feminista and Object, says displaying publications in stores or requiring staff to handle such magazines could amount to sex discrimination or sexual harassment.

    The pornography debate always brings cries of PC censorship from one side and objectification of women from the other.... but this sexual harassment angle for shop workers is a whole new twist on the debate.

    Read more here and the guardian letter here
  • 10:18
  • 10:44
    Lots of annoyed road and rail commuters still out there severely delayed and most likely soaked due to Merrion Road gates crash. The latest from AA Roadwatch is that the traffic still extremely heavy on Rock Rd from Temple Hill to Merrion Gates. Gates operating manually. Irish rail says there are still 15 minute delays to Dart and commuter services
  • 10:48
  • 11:01
    We have a report just in about the death of a TV reporter in Syria. Read here.
    The Committee to Protect Journalists has some stark statistics on deaths of journalists, and looking at worldwide figures shows the danger for journalists there.
    So far this year across the world CPD has recorded 19 deaths with motivation confirmed and 11 with motivation unconfirmed. Eight of these were in Syria.
    More here.

    On a related note, at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels today Britain and France will push for the European Union’s arms embargo on Syria to be lifted to enable the potential supply of weapons to forces opposed to Bashar Assad’s regime. Read more here
  • 11:08
    For the last few weeks it’s been all about the unions and their overly confusing acronyms and the deal formerly known as Croke Park II (TDFKACP2 or  Haddington Road deal). But spare a thought for those public service workers who are not part of a union.
    Aoife Carr reports that the Irish Federation of University Teachers  is seeking legal advice on whether legislation to cut public servants’ pay without agreement is constitutional.
    The advice is being sought before a meeting with union members on June 8th where either acceptance or rejection of the Haddington Road agreement will be recommended.
    The union claims the legislation will treat staff who are not members of a trade union as if they had voted against the agreement and force them into taking pay cuts. More here.
  • 11:08
    Anja Murray, BirdWatch Ireland CAP reform this morning - will EU farm ministers throw away last remnants of sustainability in the discussions toward sealing the deal on CAP? In whose interests will the cake be divided?
  • 11:15
  • 11:27
    The evening commute should be easier than morning for southside Dubliners. Irish Rail has just said the Merrion Road gates should be fixed by the afternoon (but 20 minute delays for Dart passengers currently remain). Meanwhile the rain has stopped in Dublin. No sunshine yet but we’ll happily take not getting soaked.
  • 11:36
    It’s almost payday  (yay) ..... if your dwindling bank account balance has recently been squeezed by newly introduced bank charges ( or if you’re an Ulster Bank customer you will feel a little pinch from July 1st), Pricewatch has an interesting comparison of all of the bank charges and how to get around them. Read here 
  • 11:38
  • 11:58
    There's a good level headed piece today  from Jennifer O’Connell on that yet-to-be-aired Prime Time programme on crèches (The most-talked unaired programme I can recall).  
    My favourite point of hers - as in recent days some have used the matter to raise the old children should be at home with their parents argument - is here:  ”We should not allow the fallout from this programme to become another stick with which to beat families in which both parents work.” More here.  
  • 12:07
    100 jobs have beens announced Ireland today by global finance firm Aztec Money. But what do they do you ask? "They specialise in linking investors with corporations and SMEs to provide instant cash flow." All clear then (as mud). More here
  • 12:16
    This New York Times story must have the best correction ever. 
    The story is about volunteers in Kabul handing out 10,000 balloons for a peace project. 
    The correction reads "An earlier version of this article misidentified the "Sesame Street" character with whom Ryan C. Crocker, the former United States ambassador, was photographed in Kabul. It was Grover, not Cookie Monster." Link here.
  • 12:22
  • 12:38
    Last week  BBC presenter  Graham Norton described as a “waste of money” plans to put statue of him in Bandon as part of the Gathering.  But it looks like the chat show host will accept a cap and gown from his native county as UCC has announced it will confer him with an honorary doctorate next month. More here 
    Of course it won’t be the first time he has had a two letters title......remember Fr Noel Furlong? 
  • 12:48
    We may see Tom Cruise back in Ireland sooner than expected with reports that JJ Abrams wants to shoot Star Wars and Mission Impossible scenes here.
    Possible titles: Star Wars the Emerald Isle Strikes (after getting fed up with austerity) or this suggestion from Star Wars: Return to Clones (the town). More here
  • 12:49
  • 12:50
  • 13:03
    There have been some high profile applications for bankruptcy in the UK, including former Minister and bookmaker Ivan Yates and property developer Ray Grehan.

    However it seems it's not just these high profile figures who are increasingly seeking to use the more favourable UK bankruptcy regime.

    New figures show that last year there were 75 bankruptcy cases involving debtors who gave an address in the Republic, compared with 28 in 2011 and just 15 in 2010.More here
  • 13:15
    In Brussels at the European foreign minister’s meeting where the Syrian arms embargo is being discussed Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said Ireland opposes a lifting of the embargo  “We need to secure a political outcome, a peaceful solution”… “Ireland is one of the countries consistently reluctant to change position on arms embargo”, he said. 
    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he “definitely” supported lifting the embargo because it was “the right of self defence” people in the last two years had been attacked by “heavy arms, airplanes, scud missiles and chemical weapons” 
  • 13:25
    Lots of debate on the Seanad this morning as a new "Democracy Matters" campaign has been launched to reform not abolish the upper house. See here  
    Among those involved are former Tanaiste Michael McDowell who says its abolition is a “power grab” by the Dail. He says if elections to the Seanad were changed it could become a melting pot of ideas, a source of scrutiny and challenge to political elite.  
    Interesting opinion piece  from DCU's Dr Eoin O’Malley in today's paper who writes “If Seanad abolition were supplemented by robust measures to strengthen the Dáil then it would be difficult to oppose abolition.” Read here.
  • 13:32
  • 14:15
    The latest on the fatal stabbing of Dean Fitzpatrick at the weekend is that one person has been released from custody without charge. A file is being prepared for the DPP. A man in his 40s presented himself for questioning yesterday. The victim is the 23-year-old brother of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick. More here. 
  • 14:25

    Fascinating video has been released from Le Monde reporters who spent two months among Syrian rebels in Damascus and witnessed use of chemical weapons by Assad's regime. Read the story here  . Worth bearing in mind the context of EU foreign ministers talks ongoing in Brussels and mindful of the risks they must have taken amid reports of the death of a Syrian TV reporter there.

  • 14:34
  • 14:43
    Dad's Army star Bill Pertwee has died. He played air raid warden Hodges in the 1970s sitcom set during WWII. Here's a taste of the show which ran for 80 episodes over nine years:  
  • 14:51
    Met Eireann has used that gloomy euphemism for rotten Irish weather "unsettled" to describe the next few days with "cooler than normal" temperatures for this time of year.

    Those shorts you may have dug out over the weekend won't get much use despite Saturday marking the official start of summer. Aoife Carr reports that the  UK met office (who said much of their predictions could be applied to Ireland) said temperatures will be colder than normal for the month of June. More here.
  • 15:16
    Counterfeit cigarettes, Rolexes, handbags and five euro notes we’re used to hearing about…but a fake postage stamp operation is unusual.
    Police in Istanbul have seized 4 million fake British stamps and detained 11 people who are accused of printing the fake stamps and sending the stamps to Britain  (via first class mail?). More from Reuters here
  • 15:23
    Good news for property buyers and sellers as new mortgage approvals were up almost 23% in April compared with March and up by 11.8% on the previous year. Eoin Burke Kennedy has more on the Irish Bankers’ Federation’s figures here. 
  • 15:27
  • 15:31
  • 15:40
    Finally getting to read the excellent piece by Fiona Reddan today cutting through much of the mythology and overhype about the many "tech jobs" in Ireland. 
    She puts a bit of reality on it and writes  that a lot of the jobs available in these tech giants are focused on sales.

    She looks at Google which has about 2 ,500 workers here. Some 8% of Google’s workforce in Ireland in engineering and 70% in sales with jobs in administration and operations accounting for the remaining roles. Read it here
  • 15:58
    While some homeowners will be forking out on their property tax in the coming days, there is good news for long-suffering owners of over 12,500 of homes damaged by pyritic heave (mineral causing cracks in the structure).
    Dublin Correspondent Olivia Kelly writes that a redress scheme for fixing the damage has been published by the Pyrite Resolution Board.
    “The work, estimated to cost between €40,000 and €50,000 per property will be funded by a mandatory levy on insurance policies and and on the quarry industry,” she writes. 
    A new website has been launched here. The full story can be read here. 

    Incidentally homes affected by pyrite will be exempt for three years from the property tax if the market value of the house is zero. 
  • 16:08
    For anyone who complained about terrible traffic delays this morning, try a three hour  jam 8,800m up a mountain and spare a thought for those stuck in gridlock on top of Everest.
    A controversial new plan has been mooted to install a ladder on the Hillary Step – 15 metres of near vertical rock near the top. “Most of the traffic jams are at the Hillary Step because only one person can go up or down. If you have people waiting two, three or even four hours that means lots of exposure [to risk]” said Dawa  Steven Sherpa, who runs commercial expeditions on Everest. Read more here.
  • 16:15
    Babies are no longer to be born at Merrion Square once a plan announced for Holles Street hospital today is implemented. 
    The hospital is to remain on the south side of the Liffey and relocated to a new purpose built building at St Vincent’s Hospital, Elm Park. 
    Parts of the Holles Street building dates back to the mid-1700s and its master Dr Rhona Mahony said the building was “no longer fit for purpose”. 
    Tim O’Brien has more here.
  • 16:17
  • 16:27
    This Holles Street announcement looks like it has been coming for a while. Last May The Irish Times reported that negotiations on the move of the hospital to Elm Park were underway with Nama. The Elm Park mixed office and residential development was built by developer Bernard MacNamara but controlled by receivers appointed by Nama. Martin Wall’s 2012 story is here.  
  • 16:38
    Dublin Teacher Teachers on fixed term contracts are negatively affected by the unions decision not to ballot members. They may have had the time they had to wait to gain CID contracts reduced from 4 to 3 years. Yet again the vulnerable ignored.
  • 16:39
  • 16:43
    The sound of football echoes through the newsroom's still 0-0 in the Crystal Palace vs Watford championship play off at 80 minutes. Will update later.
  • 16:55
    The Press Council’s report for 2012 is out and with 575 complaints last year there was a “substantial” increase last year.
    One article to attract over a quarter of these complaints was in the Irish Independent following an interview  given to a Polish newspaper by a Polish woman living on welfare payments in Ireland.  
    None of the complaints 161 were formalised. The paper published a fuller version of the interview, acknowledging that some parts of the original interview were inaccurately translated and accompanied by an article from the Polish Ambassador.  The report notes this was “in itself an illustration of the  way in which a publication’s internal complaint-handling system can be effective”.
  • 16:59
    With no score at the full-time whistle there is going to be another 30 mins of play followed possibly by a penalty shoot-out in the championship play-off between C Palace and Watford.
  • 17:03
  • 17:16
    The second jobs announcement of the day also needs a little explaining as to what exactly the company does. 
    Textile firm Mafic is to build a new basalt smelting plant in Kells , Co Meath to create 70 jobs over three years.
    A reach-back to archives of Leaving Cert geography reminds me that basalt is a volcanic rock formed by the  rapid cooling of lava. 
    The company makes basalt fibre – a fireproof textile made from crushed basaltic rock for use in the car and aerospace industry.  The basalt itself will come from Ukraine. 
    The interesting angle on his announcement is it comes from the Succeed in Ireland scheme which gives a finders fee to any person who introduces a company to Ireland. More here. 
  • 17:18

    There's been a goal from penalty for Crystal Palace against Watford in the Championship play off -over half way into 30 mins of extra time.

  • 17:20
  • 17:28
  • 17:39
    While  it’s impossible to choose the time or place you’ll have a heart attack, research looking at almost a million hospital admissions over 14 years has pinpointed the worst times to enter hospital with a heart condition – January, on a Friday or overnight. And the best time?  A Monday.  More here 
  • 17:42
    Crystal Palace promoted to the premier league after Kevin Phillips’ goal against Watford in extra time.
  • 17:50
    Reports of the death toll from a wave of Baghdad car bombs range from 33 to 50. Iraqi officials say several parked cars packed with explosives have detonated in mostly Shia areas.
  • 17:53
    In other news 200 people in Romania have unfurled the largest ever  flag 349.4m x 226.9m. Photograph: Bogdan Cristel/Reuters
    In other news 200 people in Romania have unfurled the largest ever flag 349.4m x 226.9m. Photograph: Bogdan Cristel/Reuters
  • 17:54
    Cork teacher The new Substitution & Supervision arrangements will mean that fixed term contract teachers with small no of hours will not get S&S like they used to. Maybe rejecting reballoting is an attempt to protect them!
  • 18:10
    That's it from the Live Blog for today - when we saw plans for the maternity hospital to leave Holles Street, long delays for southside commuters, a suspension of summer weather, panic set in among head-in-the-sand property owners and plans for a bridge on Everest.