News Blog

A rolling look at today's events

Steven Carroll Mon, Apr 22
LIVE: News Blog

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  • 09:16
    Welcome to today’s Irish Times live news blog. Or should that be news live blog. My name is Steven Carroll and I’m here to guide you through today’s breaking news like an oversized novelty compass.
  • 09:22
    Luis Suarez's teeth, divisions in the Coalition over abortion, a report that the majority of ATM's may soon begin to dispense lower value denominations and a promise by a unnamned Government minister that middle-income earners could get a "major consession" in the October budget as the era of austerity is coming to an end all make the news today.
  • 09:26
    We're also reporting here that US Federal prosecutors are preparing criminal charges against the remaining Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The 19-year-old has been hospitalised under heavy guard since Friday night and he is apparently struggling to speak as his tongue was injured by a gunshot to the throat prior to his arrest
  • 09:30
    Our colleague Mark Hilliard has the story about banks considering dispensing lower denomination notes from ATMs to facilitate those on lower incomes and social welfare. (As far as I know, Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB do this already?)
  • 09:39
    Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell overcame strong winds and US Open champion Webb Simpson to claim victory in a playoff at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina last night. He banked a nice trophy and a cheque for more than $1 million.
  • 09:40
  • 09:49
    The Kop Cannibal, says The Mirror. Luis biting for his future, says The Star. The Daily Mail explains how the Anfield hierarchy are under pressure to "bite back" and kick the prolific forward out. The (London) Times says Liverpool have been "shamed" by the striker (who added salt to the wound when he scored a late equaliser to dent Chelsea's Champions League qualification hopes after the bite). The Sun gives the story front and back page coverage with "Gnash of the day" and "Same old Suarez always eating"
  • 09:54
    A perinatal psychiatrist has described reports that a new law on abortion could require two obstetricians and four psychiatrists to assess the suicidal risk of pregnant women as "a sick joke" today. Dr Anthony McCarthy of Holles Street maternity hospital told RTE's Morning Ireland that the proposal could only have been thought of by people who do not understand how doctors work.
  • 10:00
    Tánaiste Éamon Gilmore, who is in Luxembourg today, has said the timetable for the introduction of abortion legislation is on-track, but it is important that the content of the legislation is right. He was responding to suggestions that divisions between Fine Gael and Labour could delay the legislation.
  • 10:03
    The US gun control debate is likely to rumble on further after news today that five people have been killed in a shooting in an apartment complex in Federal Way near Seattle. See more on that one here
  • 10:14
    Our columnist Ann Marie Hourihane give her thoughts on the inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar here
  • 10:16
    Also from the opinion pages, Frank J Convery warns that the Government needs to get its water metering right before it is introduced, or else they could face a taxpayer revolt
  • 10:19
    If you want to get in touch with us about any of today's news leave a comment below or get in touch via Twitter, where you can find me at @carrollste
  • 10:23
    Our man Jim Carroll has just dropped a post on his On the Record blog looking at everything from Electric Picnic line-up speculation to fashion to Nile Rodgers to why people hate their jobs.
  • 10:28
    The Associated Press is this morning reporting that federal authorities have asked to speak to the wife of  deceased Boston Marathon bomb suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Katherine Russell Tsarnaev learned her husband was a suspect by seeing it on TV, according to her attorney. We're told Ms Tsarnaev is a young American woman from a comfortable middle-class background who converted to Islam after she met him. Her lawyer says she did not suspect her husband of anything, but had not seen much of him in recent days as she was working long hours while he cared for their toddler daughter.
  • 10:34
    Reuters is this morning reporting that the re-election of Italian president Giorgio Napolitano drove financial markets higher as it suggests parties might be nearer to sealing a deal to form a government after two months of uncertainty. He has said he favours getting the parties to form a coalition as they stand, rather than running fresh elections
  • 10:41
    Following confirmation that Electric Picnic and Oxegen are to run in 2013, Una Mullally takes a look at what the world might be like if people spoke the way festivals are reported.

    Punter: “That illustrates atmosphere. Presumably then you all retired to the campsite to rest your weary heads after a long day of revelry?”

    Reveler: “Not so, many of us partied well into the night.”
  • 10:43
  • 10:48
    Business Editor John McManus gives his take today on the departure of Matthew Elderfield from the Central Bank, and how he may have timed his exit to perfection.

    "He may have put in place a plan to force the banks to work speedily through their non-performing property loans, but it now has to be executed."
  • 10:53
    Gardai in Limerick are investigating after a series of shots were fired at a house in Moyross. The family who live in the house were not injured but the incident is the third such in recent months. More on this here from Kathryn Hayes
  • 10:56
  • 10:56
  • 11:00
    More on Suarez, news today is that the FA is reviewing the incident and he is likely to be charged later today (which as a Newcastle fan is good news looking ahead to next weekend's fixtures).

    Suarez remains a candidate for the PFA Player of the Year award, which is to be announced on Sunday, and PFA chief Gordon Taylor has confirmed that the latest controversy would not affect the position of Suarez on the shortlist.
    Taylor said: “It’s decided on votes and it is a football matter but of course it is embarrassing that it should happen.”
  • 11:03
  • 11:06
    Re that last tweet, Fury did manage to win at Madison Square Garden, despite being knocked down in the second round, and is now one victory away from a potential shot at Wladimir Klitschko.
  • 11:08
  • 11:11
    Reports today that at least 185 people have been killed in fighting in Nigeria.

    According to the Associated Press: "The violence in a fishing community involved an attack that saw insurgents fire rocket-propelled grenades and soldiers spray machine-gun fire into neighbourhoods filled with civilians." Shocking.
  • 11:21
  • 11:21
  • 11:25
    Bloomberg is reporting on the rejection of the revised Croke Park proposals in the context of another looming bailout review.

    Ireland's bailout masters start their tenth review of the rescue tomorrow as a labor-union rejection of public-sector pay cuts complicates the government's plan to regain economic sovereignty.
  • 11:31
  • 11:34
    The Professional Footballers' Association has confirmed Luis Suárez will be offered anger management counselling following the biting incident. Tiredness was what Suarez blamed after his 2010 gnaw at PSV's Otman Bakkal. “No, I do not regret what happened. Normally I always keep calm but I didn’t … I’m a little tired. This week I had to travel a lot,” he said.
  • 11:37
    Is the gesture by Suarez of asking his fine be given to the Hillsborough Family Support Group a sign of genuine remorse, or a PR stunt by a club that has had a series of PR disasters in recent times?
  • 11:40
  • 11:47
    In business news, the board of drugmaker Elan has unanimously rejected a formal bid from Royalty Pharma , saying the US investment firm's offer of $11.25 a share grossly undervalues the company.

    Employer's lobby IBEC says 5,030 jobs were "created" in the first three months of 2013. A report from IBEC says jobs are being created in IT, agri-business and technical and scientific areas but that the numbers in work in transport, industry and construction all fell.
  • 11:50
    Also from the business desk, Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports on the Department of Finance's twice a year Maastricht Returns which show the State's deficit was 1 per cent lower than the troika's target. More on that here
  • 12:04
  • 12:12
    The Progressive Unionist Party has published proposals on Northern Ireland reconciliation and told republicans that Northern Ireland will remain an integral part of the UK for the foreseeable future if the process is to work. Sinn Fein has been making a push for a border poll.

    Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin yesterday used his party's 1916 Easter Rising commemoration to accuse Northern Ireland leaders of creating a dangerous vacuum by failing to fulfil the promise of peace and reconciliation. More on that here.
  • 12:22
    More on the jobs front, the Government has announced a plan this morning to try to employ 20,000 more people in the manufacturing sector by the end of 2016.
  • 12:23
  • 12:25
  • 12:28
    An Eircom survey on household sentiment finds that 28 per cent of respondent are suffering from social media fatigue and have grown tired of networks like Facebook and Twitter

  • 12:32
    The survey found that tablet ownership has doubled in the last six months (you could probably blame Christmas for that), one in four people access their email first thing in the morning (seems low?) and that twice as many of us believe that men are more tech savvy than women, despite higher female smartphone ownership (52% v 48%)
  • 12:33
  • 12:44
    Fresh from rejecting the Croke Park deal, trade union Siptu has waded into the abortion debate and said the Government must "act immediately to vindicate women’s constitutional rights in line with the Supreme Court ruling in relation to the ‘X case’"
  • 12:55
    A study published today suggests Oaklands Community College in Co Offaly is Ireland’s fittest school. The findings were based on a bleep test (bad secondary school memories come flooding back). The least fit school was seemingly not named but Kilkenny had the least fit students on a county by county basis.
  • 12:56
  • 13:04
    More on Boston bombings, Bloomberg reports that Tamerlan Tsarnaev (now deceased) disrupted a service at the Islamic Society of Boston in January, raising concerns among the congregation.

    Anwar Kazmi, a member of the group's board of trustees, said Tsarnaev objected to the idea that both Martin Luther King Jr and the Prophet Muhammad could be mentioned in the same context as sources of inspiration, Kazmi said.

    Meanwhile, school acquaintances have been describing Dzhokar Tsarnaev (who remains in hospital) as a normal kid who liked to hang out with friends, sometimes drinking or smoking marijuana.

    "He was a regular kid," said Zach Bettencourt, 20, a classmate at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. "When I see his picture on the news, I still can't believe it. I just can't believe anything they say he did."
  • 13:15
    Here's the latest from Minister for Health James Reilly on the abortion issue. He says claims women would have to face a panel of six medical professionals are wide of the mark.
  • 13:20
    Reuters is reporting that dozens of schools in the Netherlands were closed today and thousands of students stayed at home after an anonymous poster on social media threatened a shooting spree.

    Police have detained a former student of the British School in the Netherlands in Leiden on suspicion of making the threat, national broadcaster NOS said.

    The poster said he or she intended to "shoot my Dutch teacher and as many students as I can" in a school in Leiden.
  • 13:34
    As mentioned earlier, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is one of three Irish ministers on the job in Luxembourg today. Coveney has been chairing a meeting of EU agriculture ministers and at the end of said meeting he said agreement on a reformed EU common agricultural policy was on target and likely before the end of June (which marks the end of Ireland's EU presidency).

    “I am convinced that we can get a deal by the end of June, however this will require an exceptional effort from all three European institutions," he said. "The positions of the Council and the Parliament are not that far apart and I believe that the Commission will show some flexibility also. It is important that we show that the EU institutions can work efficiently and that the agriculture sector can deliver a CAP that is fit for purpose to help Europe meet its current challenges."
  • 13:40
    Pre-budget kite flying has seemingly begun more than six months before the event. An Irish Times report from this morning by Harry McGee quoted an unnamed Fine Gael minister as saying middle income earners would get a boost in the budget (now moved to October rather than December). Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore told reporters in Luxembourg (among them our very own Suzanne Lynch) that any discussion of the budget at this early stage is "speculative". More on that one here
  • 13:44
    The most read story on today is this one by Frank Dillon on work-life balance. It quotes Gordon Gekko's famous Wall Street line that "lunch is for wimps". And on that note, I'm off to grab some...
  • 13:58
  • 14:02
    The father of the Boston bombing suspects says he will travel from Russia to the United States this week to seek “justice and the truth.”

    Anzor Tsarnaev told The Associated Press that he has “lots of questions for the police” and he wants “to clear up many things.”

    Yesterday he said only that he planned to go in several days, but the suspects’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, told journalists today that the father plans to fly to the US on Wednesday. She said the family would try to bring the body of their elder son back to Russia.
  • 14:09
    Reuters now reporting that  a gunman shot dead five people in the western Russian city of Belgorod  today before speeding away in a car.

    No motive apparent yet and police said one of the victims was a 14-year-old girl and that a sixth person had also been wounded.

    A bad day on the gun violence front having earlier mentioned that five people were killed in a shooting near Seattle, a house in Limerick was shot at, and that a threat of gun violence closed schools in part of the Netherlands.

  • 14:12
    Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has been giving evidence in the trial of his brother Liam, who is facing sexual assault charges.

    Gerry Adams denied in court today that he told lies to a television journalist about his brother and said that he “took exception” to the accusation. More on that here
  • 14:29
    Actress Reese Witherspoon was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after police stopped a car being driven by her husband. A Georgia State Police incident report says a state trooper observed that a car driven by her husband, James Toth, was failing to stay in its lane.

    The officer wrote that Witherspoon disobeyed numerous orders to stay in the car while he checked whether Toth was sober. After she refused to return to the car, she was handcuffed and arrested.

    The officer says that  Witherspoon asked him: “Do you know who I am?” Toth was charged with driving under the influence.

    The Oscar-winning actress released a statement apologising for her “disrespectful” behaviour. She says she was worried about her husband and “clearly had one drink too many” .


  • 14:32
  • 14:41
    Labour Party press office drop two quick fire statements on abortion. TD Anne Ferris welcoming the aforementioned James Reilly comments on the would be "panel of six" abortion review.

    “I agree completely with perinatal Dr Anthony McCarthy when he says that imposition of that type of a regime would amount to an inquisition of women," Ferris said.

    Meanwhile, Senator Ivana Bacik also welcomes clarification on the panel reports and says abortion legislation complying with X Case judgement must be introduced urgently.

    "This proposal has rightly been described by perinatal psychiatrist Professor Anthony McCarthy as idiotic and abusive to pregnant women, and I welcome Minister Reilly’s clarification that reports suggesting that this is a serious proposal, are in fact inaccurate," Bacik said.
  • 14:49
    More on Boston bombings, an aunt of Tamerlan Tsarnaev says her now deceased nephew struggled to find himself while trying to reconnect with his Chechen identity on a trip to Russia last year.

    He “seemed to be more American” than Chechen and “didn’t fit into the Islamic world”, his aunt Patimat Suleimanova told The Associated Press.

    There should be fresh updates on the investigation into the bombing in the next while. A news conference is taking place at a hospital where some of the victims of the attack are being treated.
  • 15:04
    Our expert on all things pensions Dominic Coyle has just filed this on an OECD report which says the Irish pension system has joined the long list of things in this State requiring reform.

    The OECD says the “simplest, less costly, and most effective way to increase coverage” is through the introduction of mandatory pension savings. (That might get late comers such as myself in on the act)
  • 15:07
    More on chompgate - Hillsborough Families Support Group chairman Margaret Aspinall believes Luis Suarez has shown due respect by asking for his fine for biting Branislav Ivanovic to be donated to them.

    “I would rather not be accepting the fine from Luis Suarez because I would rather he had not bitten that player,” Aspinall, who stressed she did not consider turning down the donation, told Press Association Sport. “It is a nice gesture but it is a terrible thing under the circumstances...We can’t say we are grateful because we would rather him not have done that at all."
  • 15:10
  • 15:14
    Following up on an earlier tweet, here's a piece on the European Commission recommending today that negotiations begin with Serbia on membership of the European Union.
  • 15:28
    Former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner and serving Fifa executive committee member Chuck Blazer face possible legal action from soccer's ruling body and probes from the FBI and US Internal Revenue Service after a report found they had committed serious acts of fraud. There's a full report here.

  • 15:53
    Mourners attend the funeral Mass for Krystle Campbell, one of three people killed in the Boston Bombings, at St. Joseph's Church in Medford, Massachusetts.Photograph: Josh Haner/The New York Times.
    Mourners attend the funeral Mass for Krystle Campbell, one of three people killed in the Boston Bombings, at St. Joseph's Church in Medford, Massachusetts.Photograph: Josh Haner/The New York Times.
  • 16:04
    Nice piece by Matt Williams on the IT sports pages today on Joe Schmidt and the dangers of becoming a rugby coach at international level. Buckle up Joe
  • 16:10
  • 16:25
    News from Medford Massachusetts of protests at the funeral of Boston bomb victim Krystle Campbell by the Westboro Baptist Church. The Associated Press is reporting that union members and members of a local motorcycle gang had shown up to try to drown out the protest.

    Teamsters Local 25 president Sean O’Brien says the union members planned to stand in front of protesters to block them from the Campbell family’s view.
    Wallie Hawkins says his motorcycle club will rev their bikes to drown out protesters.
  • 16:38
    Syrian opposition activists saying that at least 109 people have been documented as killed and up to 400 more are likely to have died in an almost week-long offensive by forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad on a rebellious Damascus suburb.

    Syrian state media gave no death toll but confirmed the army had been fighting in Jdeidet al-Fadel. It said it had saved the town from what it described as criminal terrorist groups, killing and wounding an undisclosed number of them.
  • 16:42
  • 17:00
    ChompGate rumbles on with news from London that a reporter decided to ask what action David Cameron thought should be taken against Suarez at a Westminister briefing.

    The prime minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “It is rightly a matter for the football authorities to consider," he said.

    “As part of their consideration, I think it would be very understandable if they took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models.”

    The question seems to have prompted the following tweet from PA's chief sports reporter Martyn Ziegler.
  • 17:00
  • 17:06
    Ok folks. I'm going to draw a line under this one and leave you to await Shane Hegarty's second stint in the liveblog chair, which starts right here tomorrow morning. Thanks for reading.