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All the breaking news of the day brought to you by Áine McMahon

Áine McMahon Tue, Dec 10
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  • 08:46
    Tens-of-thousands of South Africans will join scores of heads-of-state and government to honour former president, Nelson Mandela who died last Thursday aged 95.

    World leaders, from US President Barack Obama to Cuba's Raul Castro, will pay homage to Nelson Mandela at a national memorial service at the FNB stadium in Soweto this morning.

    President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina and Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore will represent Team Ireland.

    One of the Dunnes Stores strikers who took a stand against apartheid in 1984, will also form part of the official Irish delegation.

    Good morning, Áine McMahon here on the Live Blog today.
  • 08:50
    You'll not be needing that jacket - the unseasonably warm weather continues. Today will be a dry day in many places, however a few outbreaks of light rain or drizzle will occur in the west and south. Some sunshine will develop also, but overall there will be a good deal of cloud. It will be mild again and breezy; highest temperatures of 11 to 13 degrees.
  • 08:58
    Most read on the site this morning - Ten staff members at a care facility for people with intellectual disabilities have been suspended pending an investigation into allegations over the standard of care provided to residents. Martin Wall and Carl O'Brien report.
  • 08:58
  • 09:08
    Shots have been fired into the entrance of a hotel in Glasnevin in Dublin early this morning.

    Gardaí in Mountjoy Garda station are investigating after a gunman fired a number of shots at the hotel on Botanic Road at 3.30am.

    The gunman then made off on foot along Mobhi Road. No one was injured in the shooting and the gardai have sealed off the scene for investigation. 
  • 09:17
    It looks like the Peru Two may receive shortened jail sentences.  Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum had their hopes of a deal dashed in September after state prosecutors rejected their guilty pleas and demanded they gave more information.

    But a new prosecutor tasked with their case has told the judge who was due to try them he is happy with statements they made in October. The U-turn means Melissa and Michaella, both 20, are now expected to benefit from an early termination process whereby drugs mules are spared a trial and automatically receive a sixth off a minimum eight-year sentence.
  • 09:25
    The audit of how the Christian Brothers responded to abuse claims is contained in a tranche of reports being released today by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.

    The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church  is to publish a tranche of child protection reports later this morning. 

    The Church's own watchdog will release 8 reports later. One of them examines the Christian Brothers system of investigating complaints
    The other reports relate to child protection investigations and compliance levels in several dioceses including Armagh, Kerry, Cashel and  Emly and Down and Connor. The audit draws on church records dating back to 1975. 

    Our religious affairs correspondent Patsy McGarry will have more on that later.  
  • 09:54
    Tulisa denies drug charges
    Tulisa denies drug charges
  • 09:54
    Singer and former XFactor judge Tulisa has issued a statement after being charfed in connection with the sale and supply of class A drugs.

    Her lawyer has issued a statement vigorously denying the charges - - "Tulisa is the latest in a long line of people who have been treated as fodder by greedy newspapers. This was a deliberate attempt to target a young woman who is all the more vulnerable because of her celebrity status."

    Tulisa took to Instragram to further defend herself because nothing says "I'm innocent" like a few cryptic selfies.
  • 10:00
    You can follow live coverage of the Nelson Mandela memorial at this link below 

  • 10:18
    Even the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore is fond of an aul selfie
  • 10:37
    Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip will not be unveiled as new signings in France today despite speculation in the French media that O'Brien was Clermont-bound and Jamie Heaslip, as well as Conor Murray, were destined to be snapped up by Toulouse. 

     "However, separate sources told The Irish Times the IRFU risk losing as many as seven frontline internationals if they do not offer the market value of those currently at the negotiating table."  More here 
  • 10:38
    BREAKING - Conor Murray has just signed a two year deal with the IRFU to stay on with Munster Rugby.
  • 10:40
  • 10:51
    Statement from the Archbishop of Cashel & Emly On behalf of the Diocese of Cashel & Emly : "The report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) on safeguarding practice in Cashel & Emly is generally very positive and complimentary for which we are grateful

    "I welcome this report of the National Board for Safeguarding Children and fully accept its recommendations. The majority of the recommendations have been implemented and the remainder will be completed as speedily as possible.

    Firstly, I re-iterate my sincere apologies to those who have been harmed in this manner by priests of the Diocese. What happened to them was an outrageous betrayal of the priests’ calling and deserves our complete condemnation.

    Their suffering continues and we once again offer them not only our prayers but assistance in any way we can."
  • 11:07
    An audit of how the Catholic order the Christian Brothers dealt with abuse allegations has found only 12 brothers were convicted of crimes between 1975 and today.

    A review of the congregation’s files found that its initial response to the need to report abuse  to the authorities was not systematic and was inadequate.
    It revealed allegations were made against 325 brothers — only 50 of whom are still alive — with 870 complaints of abuse in the 38 year period, all of which have been reported to authorities.
    The audit, carried out by the church’s own watchdog the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, is one of eight being released today.
    The latest and largest tranche of reviews by the oversight body scrutinise both current practice in two religious orders and six dioceses and the handling of all allegations received since January 1975.
    In the Christian Brothers, the inspection board said one brother was returned to ministry after an allegation and only 12 brothers were convicted of offences against children.
    It described the level of abuse from members of the order as substantial.
    And it warned: “The number of convictions by the courts, compared to the numbers accused of child abuse, is significantly small.”
    In the 66 years between 1931 and 1997, the Christian Brothers received 92 allegations of abuse but in the subsequent 15 years, from 1998 to this year, they received 794 allegations.
    Since internal reviews in 2007 and 2009, the safeguarding board said it is now satisfied that reports are made promptly.
    The Christian Brothers said they accepted that a safeguarding deficit existed in the past.
    “We want to learn from the mistakes of the past and to create a safe environment for all children and young adults,” it said.
  • 11:10
  • 11:21
  • 11:33
    The watchdog said "too much tolerance" was given to priests accused of abuse and also cited instances of children who claimed to have been abused by missionaries.
    It  said abuse outside the Irish region was not always met with appropriate and robust action and that children outside of Ireland were not given the same level of priority.
    "Accused priests were afforded too much tolerance and so found it too easy to avoid being held accountable for their actions," the report said.
    "It also appeared to the reviewers that the identification of abuse of a child on the missions did not always evoke the actions that evidence an empathic response to the experiences of victims."
  • 11:36
  • 11:39
    US President Barack Obama hailed Nelson Mandela as a "giant of justice" at his memorial service today but said too many leaders in the world claimed solidarity with his struggle for freedom "but do not tolerate dissent from their own people". 

    Obama, speaking at a memorial in Johannesburg for Mandela, made the comment in front of an audience of leaders that included Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, Cuban President Raul Castro and Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe.
  • 12:05
    More on the shots fired at the Sunny Bank hotel in Glasnevin in the early hours this morning
  • 12:13
    The Chair of the Public Accounts Committee John McGuiness says they will contact Brian Conlon again today to ask him to appear tomorrow.
    The now-former CEO of the  Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) resigned yesterday amid controversy over top ups to salaries using charitable donations.
    He has declined an invitation to answer questions at the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee tomorrow.
    Speaking on newstalk, Mr  McGuinness says if Mr Conlon  refuses again  they will then consider applying to the Dail Committee on Procedure and Privileges to force Mr. Conlon to attend and answer their questions. 
  • 12:16
  • 12:28
  • 12:56
    The Kiltegan fathers religious order has been heavily criticised in the latest reviews of child protection carried out by the Catholic Church, writes Patsy McGarry. 

    The Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) said “abuse that has been identified outside the Irish region has not in every case given rise to an appropriate and robust response.” 

    More here 
  • 13:09
    The Director for Public Prosecutions (DPP) has decided against pursuing Eric Eoin Marques, the 'largest facilitator of child porn on the planet'.
    The decision not to prosecute in Ireland could affect US authorities trying to extradite Mr Marques to America to face charges there.
    The DPP's choice was heard at the High Court in Dublin today.
    Eric Eoin Marques is wanted in the United States on four charges linked to website images described as being extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children.
    If convicted in the US on all four counts he could be jailed for up to 100 years.
  • 13:16
    Spending on credit card accounts used by staff in Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi's household was not scrutinised for several years, Saatchi's accountant has told the fraud trial of the couples' former assistants, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo today. 
    The statements of cards issued  to the Grillos and three other assistants –  were not checked before the bills were settled by Saatchi on direct debit. The court previously heard claims the bills on the cards that were issued for household spending, rose as high as £100,000 per month.
    The Grillo sisters are accused of fraudulently spending £685,000 on the cards and other domestic accounts over a four-year period but the court heard confirmation from Rahul Gajjar, Saatchi's accountant, that "line by line, these statements have never been scrutinised"
  • 13:22
    Chris O'Dowd in Moone Boy
    Chris O'Dowd in Moone Boy
  • 13:22
    Roscommon born actor Chris O'Dowd has signed a publishing deal to write two children's books based on his award-winning TV series Moone Boy.
    The star of The IT Crowd and Girls and has teamed up with the show's co-creator, Nick Vincent Murphy, to write the books - with the first one due out next autumn.
    The Sky 1 comedy about 11-year-old Martin Moone and his imaginary friend Sean, was initially a one-off show before being made into a six-part series with another two to come.
    The pair have signed a six-figure deal with publisher Macmillan for the books which are aimed at children aged eight and over and will include illustrations by Oscar-nominated animators Cartoon Saloon.
  • 13:39
    With just two weeks to go, Republic of Telly have nailed the typical Irish Christmas. Glad to see I'm not the only one who used to "accidentally" open my siblings' presents. Have a look below. 

  • 14:23
    The first same sex weddings in England and Wales can take place from March 29, 2014, equalities minister Maria Miller has announced.

    The date is several months earlier than expected at the time of the passage of the Marriage Same Sex couples act in July, when it was thought that gay couples would have to wait until next summer to tie the knot.

  • 14:28
    Patrick Freyne was on the red carpet for the Anchorman 2 premiere held in Dublin last night. You can watch it here.
  • 14:32
  • 15:06
    Tax dodgers beware - Revenue have published their quarterly list of those who have failed to pay tax. 

    A Cork businessman has had to make a settlement of more than €6.2 million. John Joseph McCarthy, formerly of Flower Lodge, Strawhall in Fermoy, was investigated for underdeclaration of income tax, stamp duty and capital gains tax of  €2.4 million and was hit with interest of €1.5 million and penalties of €2.2 million. 
    The second-highest settlement involved  Galway hotel the Skeffington Arms or 'The Skeff' as it is know to locals, in Eyre Square, which must pay €4.1million.
  • 15:26
    Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has warned that long-term prospects for growth in the eurozone look bleak unless politicians act urgently to tackle youth unemployment.

    With Ireland due to end its painful bailout programme and end its reliance on the IMF this weekend, some European politicians have declared the worst to be over in the EU.

    However, Lagarde isn't going to be breaking out the Chateauneuf du Pape anytime soon. Speaking at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, she said -

    "Can a crisis really be over when 12 per cent of the labour force is without a job? When unemployment among the youth is in very high double digits, reaching more than 50 per cent in Greece and Spain? And when there is no sign that it is becoming easier for people to pay down their debts?"
  • 15:31
    A rocking Christmas via our resident rocker in the Irish Times, Ronan McGreevy.

  • 15:35
  • 15:43
    Hitting a bit of a mid afternoon slump here so here is a story about a pair of feral cats that have been causing a bit of hassle in a Tesco in Limerick. 
  • 16:00
    Is there life on mars? Probably. An enormous crater near the northern plains of Mars once harboured an ancient lake that could have supported microbial life, Nasa scientists claim.

    The freshwater lake stood for more than one hundred thousand years at the base of Gale Crater, a 150km-wide formation that was created when a meteor punched into the red planet around 3.7 billion years ago. More here
  • 16:09
    Cameron and Obama posing for a selfie like a pile of young ones down the back of the 46A after school. Michelle doesn't look too impressed.
  • 16:13
    Ooops! Taoiseach Enda Kenny went to sign a book of condolence for Nelson Mandela  at the South African embassy today and made a bit of a hames of it. Probably being too hard on him, it's been a long few days.
  • 16:13
    Enda Kenny signs book of condolence for Mandela
    Enda Kenny signs book of condolence for Mandela
  • 17:08
    In more Enda Kenny news, the Taoiseach has called on Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams to clarify “for everybody in this country whether or not you were a member of the IRA”.

    Kenny also said repeatedly in the Dáil this afternoon, “Nobody believes you, nobody believes you”.

    Kenny’s comments came in the middle of a discussion on top-ups to senior executives in some State-funded health agencies with Adams calling for a public inquiry into the matter. 
  • 17:18
    Facebook has created a "sympathise" button which could replace the Like button on some posts.
    If a poster chooses a negative emotion from Facebook's list of feelings then the Like button will change to "sympathise". This will come in handy for our overhsaring Facebook friends who post a status about losing their job, leaving their wife or accidentally killing their goldfish of 17 years and a 'like' just isn't appropriate. 
    A Facebook engineer said that the button had been created, but that it will not be hitting the public site yet.
    Dan Muriello, a software engineer at Facebook, said another engineer had worked on a hackathon project "a while back" to change the Like" button to "sympathise".
  • 17:25
  • 17:33
    We'll leave it there today, thanks for following. Back at 9am tomorrow morning.