News Blog

Follow the day's rolling news events. Contact us at @IrishTimesLive

Genevieve Carbery Thu, Apr 18
LIVE: News Blog

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  • 08:11
    Good morning. My name is Conor Pope and I will be manning the Amazing Live Blog of News (ALBON) today. Sorry, sorry, sorry. We’re looking for a snazzy name that isn’t Live News Blog and that is the best I could come up with this morning. If you have any better ideas please get in touch. Seriously, I mean it. Please get in touch.

  • 08:13
    Speaking of Albon – or Albion (tenuous, I know, but it’s early) – it will be a somber day on the other island as one of the greatest British prime ministers in history, an indomitable force of nature who stood up to – and vanquished - atavistic and destructive socialism in all its most pernicious forms and paved the way for Britain’s rediscovery of its greatness, is laid to rest.

    Hang on! No, no it won’t. It will be the day when the arch Tory who single-handedly destroyed the hopes and dreams of everyone who lived on the wrong part of the island – let’s just say anywhere north of Birmingham and anywhere in the south where buses were popular - is buried at huge expense to an already over-burdened taxpayer still paying the price of her trickle very, very, very slowly down economic policies.

    It really depends on which side are you on, (boys)?

    That will be the solitary Billy Bragg reference on ALBON (Please, help us!) today. Most probably.

    Yes, Margaret Thatcher’s funeral takes place today.
  • 08:26
    Here are some funeral facts your can impress your colleagues with when you get into work. Pay attention, now. There will be questions at the end.

    Over 4,000 police officers are to line the route of the funeral procession and Scotland Yard has promised (or threatened) that police will visible every few yards along the route.

    The riot squad is also primed and ready to go.

    Queen Elizabeth II will be at the funeral. It is the first prime ministerial funeral she has attended in 48 years. That last one she went to was Winston Churchill’s.

    In the intervening period six other prime ministers have died – Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath and James Callaghan.

    If you’re a monarch you get a State funeral as your birthright (deathright, maybe?) but if you’re a commoner you have to be an "exceptionally distinguished person" to be granted one.

    The Duke of Wellington (who was Irish no matter what he said!) and Lord Palmerston (who has a weir in Dublin named after him) were both former prime ministers and both had a state funeral. As did Gladstone.

    The funeral procession from the RAF church of St Clement Danes to St Paul's will take 19 minutes.

    The final bill will be around €13m. Churchill’s state funeral cost €60,000.
  • 08:29
    There's no need to listen to any more Croke Park II collapsing talk on the radio today. Morning Ireland has just nailed it.

    Gavin Jennings: Ingrid, this is a mess isn't it.

    Ingrid Miley: Yes.....

    There you have it.
  • 08:36
    The inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar resumes in Galway this morning after being adjourned last Friday.
  • 08:55
    There is broad consensus on what the most important stories on the front pages today.

    The Irish Examiner leads with the prospect of strikes following the effective collapse of Croke Park II and also has a story on the investigation and the aftermath of the terrible events in Boston. Alan Shatter’s row with judges also makes it onto its front page. The Irish Independent has the same three stories on its front page – as does this newspaper.

    “Labour TDs braced for pay cuts as Croke Park thrown out” is the Indo’s lead. It also has a picture of the “family ripped apart in Boston bloodbath”.

    This newspaper’s lead has Brendan Howlin being adamant that €300m in cuts are needed despite the collapse of Croke Park 2 and also reports on progress being made in the hunt to find those responsible for the Boston bombing. The BP1 (it’s what we call the story on the bottom of page one you see) has the headline: “Lawyers group urges talks between Government and judges”.

    The Sun has a picture of the 8-year-old boy who was one of the three people killed by the bomb and it runs under the headline: So full of life. Taken by evil.

    Hard to argue with those sentiments.
  • 09:06
    The Irish State will be represented at Margaret Thatcher's funeral by the Minister for Education Ruari Quinn. The Labour minister is one of few serving cabinet members who also held office when Baroness Thatcher was prime minister. This makes him the Kylie Minogue of Irish politics having been big in the 80s, 90s, naughties and now.
  • 09:38
    In the immediate aftermath of the terrible bombing of the Boston Marathon news organisations struggled to keep on top of the unfolding story with many letting their readers and/or viewers down on multiple occasions by reporting rumours as fact. The most egregious offender – or certainly one of them – was the New York Post which reported, among other things that at least 12 people had been killed, that multiple explosive devises had been found in Boston and that a man had been arrested and was under armed guard in a city hospital. None of these things were true. Satire is often a better weapon than outrage, as The Onion knows very, very well indeed

  • 10:02
    And speaking of conspiratorial whispers, Peter Mandelson has just been on the BBC talking about Margaret Thatcher. As the keen students of Irish history among you will recall, he was the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for a spell. He said today that he only spoke to the Baroness the once. And what pearls of wisdom did she have for him: "You can't trust the Irish, they are all liars," he says she said.

  • 10:02
    Zoeboey Loving the Albon! Have already impressed several people with my Thatcher funeral stats! :)
  • 10:18
    The Amazing Live Blog of News (ALBON) would never blow its own trumpet or indeed the trumpet of The Irish Times.

    Nope, no siree Bob. Never

    Now, moving on. We have just got news that The Irish Times is the most trusted media company in Ireland and the 20th most trusted company in the whole country according to a MAJOR new study published by Corporate Reputations.

    Over-excited? Us? As if.

    This independent study - based on more than 14,000 consumer ratings - assessed how highly organisations are held in esteem, how much they are admired and trusted, and how good the general public feels about them. It also looked at how organisations were rated across “the key dimensions of reputation” which are leadership, innovation, governance, workplace, performance, citizenship and innovation.

    BMW is the most reputable organisation in Ireland. Apple finished second just ahead of Google while Volkswagen and Toyota were fourth and fifth. Intel, Kerry Group, M&S, Cadbury’s and Superquinn rounded out the top 10.

    RTE finished in 53rd place, just behind Tesco (more about them later), TV3 was 59th.

    Independent News and Media were in 93rd place, just ahead of three banks – Ulster, BoI and PTSB – and Ryanair.

    Last place went to AIB. That's what happens you cost the country a gazillion euro.
  • 10:41
    The bells have tolled and Margaret Thatcher’s funeral is underway. Protesters have joined mourners lining the route of the procession as British prime minister David Cameron urged political opponents to show “respect” during the event. Speaking on the BBC this morning he said Baroness Thatcher had created a new consensus during her time in power.

    He said that ““in a way” the British are “all Thatcherites now”.

    Yes, indeed, David. And in another way, they are not.

  • 11:08
    This is Peter Mandelson's quote in full: “She came up to me and she said, ’I’ve got one thing to say to you, my boy … you can’t trust the Irish, they are all liars’, she said, ’liars, and that’s what you have to remember, so just don’t forget it’. “With that she waltzed off…"
  • 11:14
    US law enforcement officers investigating the Boston Marathon bombs have found traces of black nylon bags at both blast sites and possible home-made “pressure cooker” bombs at one. “The bag would have been heavy because of the components believed to be in it,” said Richard DesLauriers, the FBI chief in Boston. They have also released pics of the bomb components.

  • 11:19
    Vincent Browne Is not a happy man this morning. It is not hard to imagine him sighing heaviliy and frequently as he wrote about the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland "which seems to think, after a year’s deliberation, that impartiality is achievable in the treatment of current affairs and that a mere sanction on presenters expressing their own viewpoints will achieve that or even advance that 

  • 11:29
    The most striking thing about the Thatcher funeral so far has not been the protests but the hymns. There have been a lot of them. And they have been awful solemn.
  • 11:36
    Press release in from Alcohol Action Ireland. It wants a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sports and says a lack of legislation governing alcohol advertising and sponsorship is allowing Irish children to be “groomed” by the alcohol industry.

  • 11:44
    The inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar has resumed in Galway. Both Dr Ikechukwu Uzockwu and midwife Anne Maria Burke returned to the stand at the request of coroner Dr Ciaran Mac Loughlin who is trying to resolve a disparity in their testimonies from last week.

    Ms Burke said this morning she had called Dr Uzockwu at 7.35 pm on the night of Tuesday 23rd October to tell him Ms Halappanavar’s pulse was elevated. Dr Uzocwu, senior house officer on duty that night, said last week he was told in a phone call between 9pm and 11pm her vital signs were “stable”.  She said  she was “100 per cent certain” she had told Dr Uzockwu of the elevated pulse. 

    Dr Uzockwu said this morning he stood by his testimony from last week.  He said he was on the ward at 1am on Wednesday 24th October and did not examine Ms Halappanavar then as she was asleep. At 6 am he examined her and diagnosed an infection of Ms Halappananvar’s foetal membranes.

    Asked about the phone call he says he got between 9pm and 11pm, he said he could not recall which midwife made it. “I was told the observations [of her vital signs] were stable. When I came [to the ward]at 1 am her vital signs were stable.” He said he could “only go by what [he] was told” and that he was told they were normal.
  • 11:47
  • 11:47
  • 11:48
  • 11:50
    Well, it didn't take long for the  Thatcher: ‘The Irish are all liars’ story to become the most read on The Irish Times website did it?
  • 11:59
    It is from yesterday but we are coming back to it out of concern that you may have missed the news that three men have been deported from Saudi Arabia because they were too good looking.  The three, believed to be from the United Arab Emirates,  were asked to leave the Janadriyah Festival  cultural festival when religious police spotted them and apparently decided they were “too handsome”.

    The police feared that female visitors to the event “would fall for them.”

    Sadly the Huffington Post which has the story does not have any pictures of these devilishly handsome chaps.
  • 12:00
    Zoolander: Not asked to leave Saudi Arabia but handsome all the same.
    Zoolander: Not asked to leave Saudi Arabia but handsome all the same.
  • 12:10
    The Irish Times wants the Irish in Britain to be its eyes and ears today. It wants to hear "about the mood where you are. . .  Whether you are observing the cortege pass by on its way or [at] the parties “celebrating” her death, we’d like to hear about it."
  • 12:12
    Reports are coming in that the Dancing Priest, Neil Horan is at Margaret Thatcher's funeral. And yes, he is dancing. 

  • 12:21
    With his new series, Oliver Stone wants to revise the accepted version of American history. It’s controversial, unapologetic and, says the director, the culmination of a lifetime’s work Biased, here, obviously, but Patrick Freyne's Oliver Stone piece today is a great read.
  • 12:39
    A  former Master of Holles Street Peter Boylan has told the inquest into the death Savita Halappanavar in Galway that it is "highly likely she would not have died" had she been granted a termination. However he said such a course of action was not practicable "because of the law".  
  • 12:41
  • 13:05
  • 13:07
  • 13:22
    Spelling Bee From 12:21 - "oboviously" -> "obviously"
  • 13:23
    Spelling Bee? A mistake? What? No way. We know how to spell obviously. Oboviously.
  • 13:37

    A councillor in Castlebar has called for hoodies  to be banned (or at least Michael Kilcoyne wants there to be a debate on the issue) because bad people who are up to no good can take advantage of the garment’s inherent hoodiness to avoid being seen by CCTV cameras.

    Having watched Love/Hate, we can confirm that criminals do wear hoodies. A lot.

    We’re looking at you Darren.

    But why stop at hoodies?

    Most of the problems this country finds itself in today have been caused by people (mostly men, to be honest) wearing similar attire. And we’re not talking about jumpers with hoods.

    The problem clothes are Suits. And ties.

    Let’s ban them as well.  

  • 13:55
  • 14:09
    Sligo is lovely. But is it the loveliest of them all? While there's not long to go before nominations close in our Best Place to Holiday in Ireland competition there is still time to have your say. 
  • 14:15
    Finally. We have just been told that the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter and Lorcan O’Connor, the Director of the Insolvency Service of Ireland will launch the ISI's public information campaign at a press conference tomorrow afternoon. At the long anticipated event we will get first (official) sight of widely leaked income guidelines for people entering insolvency arrangements as well as a look at the ISI's new website. The pair will also outline details of expenses allowed for insolvent debtors and provide us with some information on the authorisation and regulation of Personal Insolvency Practitioners. As we said at the top. Finally.
  • 14:50
    Martyn Turner, isnt he only brilliant?

    Hang on now  and we'll show you why.
  • 14:51
  • 14:51
  • 15:14
  • 15:22
    Stop what you are doing and watch this.  It is what happens when a parliament legislates for marriage equality. And it would bring a tear to the eye.
  • 15:35
    BBSLP Hate the new website, but enjoying ALBON no end. From the Bring Back the Single Letters Page
  • 15:36
  • 15:37
  • 15:40
  • 15:43
  • 16:00

    Summer of discontent anyone? The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) warned today it will resist any move by the Government to impose unilaterally pay cuts across the public service. It made its declaration of not quite war after Enda Kenny insisted that the Government had no choice but to meet its targeted public service payroll savings.

    He told the Dáil that there had to be €300 million extra in savings this year and €1 billion by 2015. “That is the challenge and the issue the Government now has to face,’’ he said.

    Fianna Fáil’s  Micheál Martin said the Government’s strategy was clearly wrong and had misfired while Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the Government had been sent a very clear signal that enough had been taken from public sector workers and they had no more to give.


  • 16:03
  • 16:09
    Some of the Irish runners who took part in the Boston Marathon on Monday returned home this morning. Our @jasonpkennedy was out in Dublin Airport when they touched down.  
  • 17:12
    And so the time has come for ALBON to say goodbye. At least for today.

    We wanted to finish with an upbeat story, something life affirming that would make you all feel good about yourselves. But we can't. We cant find anything so instead we will leave you with  the depressing news that Psy has broken another youtube record by clocking up 122m views of his new song Gentleman since it appeared on the site four days ago.

    That is more than one million views an hour since it went live.

    And it's no Gangnam Style.
  • 17:22
    No! Wait! An upbeat story of unprecedented amazingness has just come in from the Fianna Fail press office. Here it is. "Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White has expressed her delight following the erection of signage on the M7 motorway signifying the ancestral village of 44th US President Barack Obama at Moneygall, County Offaly." Brilliant. The press release goes on to say that Senator White "began campaigning for appropriate signage to be erected in 2012 after visiting Moneygall Village and hearing first-hand accounts of how moved President Obama was as he entered his ancestral home in Moneygall. She won the support of Fáilte Ireland and following negotiations with the National Roads Authority, her work came to fruition as the signage was erected last Sunday. “I am truly delighted that signage has been erected in time for tourism season in Moneygall. As Seanad spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, I am hopeful jobs will be created in Moneygall as a result of this signage,” she said. Right. That's it. We're done. Or - wait for it - we’re signing off. Ha! Sorry.
  • 08:00