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A rolling look at the day's news with Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin Tue, Jun 3
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  • 09:29

    Good morning, it's a sunny (so far) June 3rd. Thankfully, the bank holiday is now behind us, so we can go back to focusing on high healthcare expenditure, excessive legal fees and non-performing SME loans.

    Or at least we ought to, according to recommendations published yesterday by the European Commission, which has put pressure on Ireland to maintain the tight budgetary measures imposed during the bailout.

    Speaking in Brussels yesterday, economics commissioner Olli Rehn had this to say:

    “Many reforms initiated under the programme were of a long-term and structural nature, and it was in fact never expected that the process would stop due to the completion of the programme. Therefore it’s only natural that the recommendations reflect continuity with the efforts undertaken during the programme.”

    It's our main story today

  • 09:48

    One wonders what the new Independent Alliance would make of it all. Plans are being drawn up and discussions are taking place with politicians inside and outside of the Dáil who are considering joining Ireland's newest political party, Stephen Collins writes today.

    Lucinda Creighton is the one behind the whole thing and its intitial core is likely to be made up of those Fine Gael TDs who split with the party over the abortion issue.

    So what does it stand for? Well, a great deal a guff about "affecting change" was spoken by the Reform Alliance, so it's probably safe to say there'll be more of that.

    And what else? Collins writes: "Sources in the movement say the new party will adopt a liberal economic agenda, emphasising budgetary discipline and free market policies, along with a commitment not to apply the party whip on issues of conscience."

  • 10:06

    Meanwhile the contest for the leadership of the Labour Party continues with Kerry TD Arthur Spring confirming he will not be entering the contest for the leadership of the Labour Party.

    Spring said he will, instead, be backing Joan Burton’s bid and he also made clear he will not be running for the deputy leader’s position.

    Read Mary Minihan's report here

  • 10:24
    Elsewhere today, President Michael D Higgins is hosting the president of Mozambique Armando Emilio Guebuza for dinner in Áras an Uachtaráin.  Guebuza is over on a state visit.
  • 10:28
  • 10:47

    Put it there, Brian. Wonderful. Really splendid.

    Something of a coup here for Newstalk as Irish rugby god Brian O'Driscoll joins the station to co-present its Off the Ball sports show.

    “Making the decision to join the Off the Ball team was an easy one for me," says Drico in a press release. "It’s the nation’s leading sports show and best radio station and following a break this summer I’ll be more than ready for it come September.”

    This makes him and Pat Kenny colleagues now of course, a development which is bound to please fans of the Soupy Norman Christmas Special.

  • 11:02
  • 11:34

    Almost two-thirds of invoices paid by cheques are late, according to a new survey.

    You may have figured this out by now, but it's a bit of a slow news day.


  • 11:52

    What fortuitous timing. The day after the European Commission voices concern about non-performing SME loans in Ireland, a press release from the Department of Finance lands in our inbox, titled, 'RED C Survey shows trading conditions are improving for SMEs'.

    The SME Credit Demand Survey covering the period October 2013 – March 2014 was published today. Here's what the Minister for Finance had to say: "“The results of this comprehensive survey show that trading conditions are improving for Irish SMEs with 74 per cent (up 2 per cent) of companies surveyed responding that turnover has increased or remained stable."

    He went on: "Despite the improvement in conditions, demand for credit remains low with 35 per cent of the 1,500 SME’s surveyed applying for credit during the six month period. Importantly however, the approval rate has improved with 81 per cent applications approved when ‘pending applications’ are removed. Small businesses that are refused credit should avail of the services of the Credit Review Office, which is overturning approximately 55% of cases referred to them."

  • 12:10
  • 12:15

    So with the nomination deadline having just passed for those seeking to become leader of the Labour Party, we have Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton slogging it out for the top spot with Minister of State for Primary Care Alex White while four other TDs are aiming for the deputy leadership.

    Mary Minihan has more

  • 12:22

    Here's how that election's going to work:

    Postal ballot papers will be issued to paid up members of the Labour Party on 9th June.

    Ballots to be returned by 12 noon, Friday 4th July with the count to take place immediately thereafter.

    The party's legal adviser Richard Humphreys is the returning officer and the party auditors will be independent observers.

  • 12:39
    America has revealed more details about the attack by a band of hackers who implanted viruses on hundreds of thousands of computers around the world, seized customers’ bank information and stole more than $100 million from businesses and consumers.
  • 12:59
    China has no "so-called dissidents" only law breakers, according to the its foreign ministry. On the eve of the 25th anniversary of  Tiananmen Square, the country is still defending the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
  • 13:32

    Another dubious honour for our capital city:  Dublin is the 10th most congested city (traffic wise) in the world, and the sixth most congested in Europe, according to a report from a sat nav manufacturer.

    The report also found that drivers are likely to increase their travel time by about 50 per cent if they attempt to use a shortcut to avoid congestion in Dublin.

    The global index placed Dublin alongside  cities such as Mexico City, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro (Moscow was found to be the most congested in the world).

    What the index didn't do though is explain why drivers in Dublin are so much more thick, angry and belligerent towards pedestrians than drivers in any other Irish city. Although, the congestion could have something to do with that as well.

  • 13:48
    The seesaw here really gets the point across.
  • 14:05

    Waving photos of their leader and dancing with flags, tens of thousands of Syrians pledged renewed allegiance to president Bashar al-Assad today as they voted across government-controlled parts of the country in a presidential election decried by the opposition as a charade.

    Continue reading here as we pause the blog for lunch.

  • 15:14
  • 15:30

    Uefa president Michel Platini claims attempts are being made to tarnish his image over his support for Qatar 2022’s World Cup bid.

    More here

    In fairness, he's probably doing a good enough job of that himself without the need for any outside assistance.

  • 15:49
    Things are deteriorating over at Aer Lingus with news emerging today that the airline is to withdraw cheap travel privileges from cabin crew who took part in a strike on Friday.
  • 16:01
    A soldier hugs his girlfriend after their oath of allegiance ceremony before departing to eastern Ukraine in Kiev, Ukraine, today. Photograph: EPA  
    A soldier hugs his girlfriend after their oath of allegiance ceremony before departing to eastern Ukraine in Kiev, Ukraine, today. Photograph: EPA  
  • 16:06

    More industrial unrest. This time in the world of fine art:

    Attendant staff at the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI) are planning a one-day strike this Thursday protesting over issues concerning annual leave, writes Sorcha Pollak.

  • 16:22

    Just two Catholic priests in Dublin are under 40, while a further 44 are aged between 70 and 75 and “in the next four or five years will be going into a more retired sort of life”, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said today.

    Patsy McGarry has more

  • 16:39
  • 16:46
    Those Paris Bakery workers are determined not to let this one go. They're really rising to the challenge, like warm dough in an oven.
  • 16:59
    And that's where we'll leave it on this rather quiet Tuesday. Tomorrow, the first day of the Leaving Cert, should be a different affair altogether. Thanks for reading.