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Sellafield, Foxy Knoxy and the Six Nations - read it all with Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy Fri, Jan 31
 
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  • 09:50
    Good morning. I'm Ronan McGreevy and I'll be the captain of the good ship The Live Blog for the day. If you've any suggestions, you can email me here or send a tweet to @rmcgreevy1301
  • 09:54
    It's the start of the RBS Six Nations this weekend and, as ever, hope springs eternal. A new coach in Joe Schmidt and a steller, almost winning performance against New Zealand, has brought an air of optimism to Irish rugby supporters that has not been around for a few seasons.
    Here's our Gerry Thornley previewing the match with the belief that three Ulster players with Luke Marshall, Andrew Trimble and openside flanker Chris Henry will start against Scotland at home on Saturday.
  • 09:57
    Where's Joe Jacob when you need him? The hapless former junior minister who didn't know where the country's store of iodine tablets was might have to be called out of retirement.   A higher than usual radiation rate has been detected at Sellafield and the plant is operating at below a full complement today. Sellafield managers have described it as a "conservative and prudent decision" and there's no need to panic, we're told. Let's just see shall we.

     

  • 10:01
    I'm presuming we're talking about Arctic Monkeys here.
  • 10:04
  • 10:06
    The Kings of Leon have just been announced for Marlay Park. Appropriately enough for the day that is in it, these denizans of the Deep South will play the venue on Friday, July 4th. They will be supported by the hottest Irish band of the moment Kodaline.

     

  • 10:30
    It is 30 years to the day since Ann Lovett died. The 15-year-old teenage died in Granard, Co Longford, having given birth in secret in a grotto. Her death shocked the nation and led to a re-examination of the country's approach to unmarried mothers. It also prompted an avalanche of letters to The Gay Byrne Show, some of which have been reproduced in today's newspaper by Roisin Ingle. You can read them here.
  • 10:35
    TG4 made one of their excellent Scannall programmes about Ann Lovett a few years ago. You can view it above.
  • 10:36
  • 10:38
    Very sad news that two Irish students have been killed in a fire in Belgium. Our European correspondent Suzanne Lyons has more.
  • 10:39
  • 10:43

    Steller reviews for Dublin cuisine in The New York Times. Read it here.

  • 11:11

    Terry McMahon's new film Patrick's Day has been selected to have its world premiere at the prestigious SXSW (South by Southwest) Festival in Texas, from over 6,000 international submissions.
    This is director Terry McMahon’s second film after 2011’s  controversial Charlie Casanova.  
    Charlie Casanova was controversial to say the least and provoked a visceral reaction in a lot of people, some people loved it, some loathed it.      
    It also provoked quite a spat between The Irish Times film critic Donald Clarke and McMahon.
    Our Donald took exception  to a selective  quote being plastered on the side of Dublin Bus to the effect that he believed it was a "pretty jaw-dropping piece of work".
    Clarke didn't mean "jaw-dropping" in a good sense. indeed, he said he would rather "drink dilute caustic soda then sit through Charlie Casanova again". You can read his  response here.  In  fairness McMahon gave as good as he got. Here's his retort.  More of the same will do no harm to McMahon's chances of his films making a splash.    

     

     

  • 11:15
  • 11:18
    The Irish Times offices in Tara Street now has a video wall displaying our internet pages, but today we're devoting it to the winners of our Irish Times amateur photographer of the  year competition. If you are stuck in traffic in Tara Street, take a look  to your right and you'll see some of these wonderful  photographs. You can read  about it here and see some of the photographs.      
  • 11:46

    RTÉ and the BBC will co-produce The Walshes, a three part series co-written by Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd, Father Ted and Count Arthur Strong) and the five-strong comedy troupe Diet of Worms.   This is the first non-audience sitcom that Graham has directed, and Diet of Worms also play the lead roles.

    The Walshes are a warm, tight knit family from the West Dublin suburb of Strollinstown. Tony (Niall Gaffney) and Carmel (Philippa Dunne) are parents to Ciara (Amy Stephenson) and Rory (Rory Connolly), who are both still at home because the state of the Irish economy has forced them all back together.

    Even Ciara’s new boyfriend Graham (Shane Langan) is forced to move in and family friend Martin (Owen Roe) always seems to be hanging around mending bits and pieces, as well as accidentally becoming trapped in the wall cavity.

  • 11:46
  • 12:12

    The opening of Kerry's Dark Sky park is sure to attract more people to astronomy. With that in mind Astronomy Ireland is running beginners classes from next Wednesday in Trinity College Dublin (TCD). More information can be found at www.astronomy.ie.

  • 12:17

    Ireland, as we are often told, is a nation of begrudgers. Blogger Donal Mulligan has taken it a step further by introducing a begrudgery website generator. Here it is.    

  • 12:29

    Obstetricians have today moved to reassure women about maternity services in Ireland following the Prime Time programme yesterday evening.
    Prof. Fionnuala McAuliffe, Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and Spokesperson for the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We would like to extend our sympathies to the parents and families mentioned in last night’s programme, who have suffered greatly. The death of every baby is an absolute tragedy and very traumatic for families.
     
    “There are many pregnant women and their families who may be worried today. We would like to reassure them that they can have confidence in our maternity services. Ireland is a very safe country in which to have a baby. We have low rates of perinatal deaths (still births and death of a baby up to seven days after a child is born) when compared to neighbouring counties such as the UK or France and this rate continues to fall here.”

     

  • 12:30
    Could there be any more bad news for Manchester United fans? Oh yes there could.
  • 12:36

    Three Anglo executive have pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawfully providing funds to buy shares in the bank in 2008. Former chief executive and chairman Sean Fitzpatrick, former head of compliance Willie McAteer and former chief financial officer Pat  Whelan will all go on trial next week.  Expect huge public interest.  

  • 12:42
  • 13:08
    The Irish team for Sunday's Six Nations opener against Scotland has been named. Our Gerry Thornley has called it right. Ulster trio Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall and Chris Henry have all been included. The full team is: Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); D Kearney (Leinster), B O’Driscoll (Leinster), L Marshall (Ulster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Racing Metro 92), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster); P O’Connell (Munster, capt), D Toner (Leinster); P O’Mahony (Munster), C Henry (Ulster), J Heaslip (Leinster). Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), J McGrath (Leinster), M Moore (Leinster), D Tuohy (Ulster), T O’Donnell (Munster), I Boss (Leinster), P Jackson (Ulster), F McFadden (Leinster)
  • 13:12
    Olympic silver medalist Kenny Egan is considering running for Fine Gael. Barry Roche has the story. Read it here.
  • 13:35
    This can't be true, can it?
  • 14:29

    I just spoke to Peter Aiken of Aiken Promotions. Clearly he is as pleased as punch, as well he might be, about the success of the Garth Brooks concerts, but he says there is no more concerts planned, not a fourth one at Croke Park nor ones in Limerick, Belfast or Cork as have been rumoured.  "We didn't even think we would be doing three," he said. "Nobody has sold out in 90 minutes. Everybody is talking about it."

  • 14:33
    Met Eireann has issued a weather warning for the weekend for the whole country. There will be mean speeds of 65-75km/h gusting 110-130km/h countrywide.  There is a risk of coastl flooding with high seas and high tides, and you thought the weather couldn't get any worse.
  • 15:05
    German President Joachim Gauck has made a monumental speech at the 50th annual Munich security conference (MSC). This is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and the country's detractors, most notably Tory politicians Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, are queuing up to blame them all over again.
    In  his speech President Gauck said the present Germany  is a "good Germany, the best we've ever known. And that's not mere  rhetoric".  
    He was born in 1940 and reflected how his country was left in ruins because  of the Nazis.    
    "Just look at where Germany stands today: it’s a stable democracy, free and peace-loving, prosperous and open. It champions human rights. It’s a reliable partner in Europe and the world: an equal partner with equal responsibilities. All of that fills me with gratitude and joy." You can read the full speech here.

     

  • 15:36
    For those who didn't get a ticket to the Garth Brooks concert, here's a version of Unanswered Prayers.
  • 15:37
  • 16:00
  • 16:05
    Bankers: don't you just love 'em. Britain’s financial watchdog fined   State   Street £22.9 million   for deliberately overcharging its clients, and said the custody bank acted with “complete disregard” for the interests of its customers.
    The six clients affected by the overcharging included Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency, the Kuwait Investment Authority and the Royal Mail and Sainsbury pension funds.
    The fine is one of the largest imposed by the watchdog in recent years, and the latest where financial firms have been found to put profit before the interest of their customers.
  • 16:25
    Pat Rabbitte has just made an interesting intervention in the Iona institute/Panti Bliss/RTÉ dispute. While saying he would never use the word "homophobe" to describe those who did not support gay marriage and it was a "loaded term",  he went on to state: "I would also hope that people and institutions that hold themselves out as commentators on, or contributors to, public debate fully appreciate – as most politicians do – that debate can be robust, heated, personal and sometimes even hostile. If you enter the arena, you cannot expect that the Queensbury Rules will always apply." I wonder who  he is  referring to there? He added: "It would be a matter of serious concern if recourse to our defamation laws was to have a chilling effect on the conduct of public debate on this issue, in the lead-in to the forthcoming referendum on gay marriage. "I have no intention of interfering in RTÉ’s management of the litigation claims against it. But I do expect that RTÉ remains fully committed to its chief obligation as a public service broadcaster – to ensure the full and free exchange of information and opinion on all matters of legitimate public interest."
  • 16:47
    Tomorrow is the deadline for CAO applications. Students will have a chance to change their minds at a later date for most courses, but not for the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) course in Dublin.  
    A few weeks ago President Michael D Higgins opened the impressive new BIMM premises in the Liberties.  
    Though the music industry is going through many  vagaries at present,  there are  approximately six  applicants for every one of the 150 place on the BA course in commercial modern music which is  accredited by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).
    It is a restricted course and those involved will not get another chance to  apply. Those who are successful in their initial application will then go through a rehearsal phase.
    The students get a solid  grounding in guitar, bass, songwriting and production, but also in the business of music management.
    This is one generation of artists who will not be ripped off by  record companies, management, promoters etc. The students have had some impressive guest lecturers recently including Guns N'Roses guitar Richard 'Bumblefoot' Thal and Two Door Cinema Club drummer Ben Thompson.    They hope to have Lisa Hannigan in as a guest lecturer in coming weeks.  Those who are interested  should log on to  www.bimm.co.uk/dublin
       
  • 16:53
  • 17:22
    Amanda Knox has been on ABC this morning talking about the shock decision to convict her for a second time of the murder of Meredith Kercher. This has hit my like a train. I wwas not expecting this.
  • 17:22

     

  • 17:23

    Have a great weekend everybody. Lots hope for a win for Ireland in the rugby on Sunday.