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Aer Lingus Strike, the Labour leadership and all the day's rolling news with Colin Gleeson...

Colin Gleeson Fri, May 30
 
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  • 09:28
    Good morning everyone. It's Friday and the bank holiday weekend is almost upon us. My name is Colin Gleeson and I will be bringing you all the day's news at it happens here on this blog.
  • 09:34

    More than 200 Aer Lingus flights are cancelled today as cabin crew begin a 24 hour strike due to a dispute over rostering.

    Some 26,500 passengers out of the 28,000 who had bookings with the airline today have either been refunded or rebooked, the airline said last night.

  • 09:39

    The lead story in this morning’s Irish Times is health-related.

    Paul Cullen writes that the Government has insisted its plans to introduce free GP care for all are still on track, despite an embarrassing climbdown yesterday over discretionary medical cards.

    Patients who lost discretionary cards over the past year have been promised their early return once legislation promised by the Government to allow for cards to be granted on the basis of designated medical conditions is implemented.

    The decision to extend eligibility on the basis of medical condition, rather than financial means alone, marks a major reversal of policy. Only two years ago, the Government abandoned plans to extend free GP care to people with long-term illnesses because of legal difficulties.

  • 09:47

    Also on the front page this morning is a story headlined “Nama chief says bonus payments may be needed to retain staff”.

    The National Asset Management Agency intends to ask Minister for Finance Michael Noonan about the possibility of offering “retention payments” to staff in order to prevent them from leaving for the private sector.

    Nama chairman Frank Daly told the Public Accounts Committee that nobody in the agency was currently in receipt of a bonus but that a payment, deferred until the agency completed its work, was something that might need to be considered to incentivise staff to remain.

  • 09:53

    Recriminations and soul-searching in the wake of last weekend’s Local and European election wipe-out continues today for the Labour Party.

    Party leader Eamon Gilmore has resigned and the race to succeed him is expected to gather momentum today.

    They need a Great White Hope.

    For now though, they will have to make do with Junior Minister in the Department of Health Alex White who is to announce his intentions to stand for the leadership against Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton.

  • 10:07

    Also on the front of the Irish Times today is another garda story.

    There is a dispute between the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and the force about the handling of a road traffic fatality which occurred during a Garda pursuit in north Dublin yesterday morning.

    Senior officers in GSOC claim the incident was not formally referred to the organisation until 7.30am yesterday, some 5½ hours after it happened in Fairview, even though GSOC has 24-hour on-call arrangements for such referrals.

  • 10:14

    Emmet Malone has written a feature on Roy Keane’s recently rediscovered marketability this morning as the Corkman is installed as the booikies favourite to succeed Neil Lennon as Manager of Celtic.

    The move follows a flurry of bets on the former Manchester United captain.

    I have to say, as someone who was firmly in the Keane camp in terms of that fallacy that he “walked out on his country”, I would be most disappointed in him if he were to walk away from his position in the Ireland set-up so soon after his appointment.

  • 10:19
    If you would like to get involved in the discussion today or simply make a comment, you can tweet me @ColinGleesonIT and I will publish your contributions here.
  • 10:21
  • 10:25

    In what seems like a throwback to darker times, a bomb was thrown into the reception of the Everglades Hotel in the Prehen area of Derry by a masked man last night.

    It detonated a short time later as British army bomb disposal officers were working to defuse it.

    No-one was injured in the explosion.

    Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process are thought to be behind the attack.

  • 10:35

    If the onset of a bank holiday weekend wasn’t enough to lift your spirits, it also meant to be a pretty nice day weather-wise tomorrow.

    Met Eireann say it will be a warm day, with a mixture of sunny spells and cloudy periods.

    A few showers may develop near western and eastern coasts late in the afternoon or evening, but most places will be dry. Top temperatures 16 to 18 C, generally, but 20 or 21 C, locally in sunshine.

    20 or 21? Cue the Bermuda shorts and flip flops brigade.

  • 10:36
    Unfortunately it's going to lash rain the rest of the weekend so enjoy it while it lasts.
  • 10:39

    Celtic have confirmed their interest in Roy Keane. Apparently he is one of 5-10 candidates on a shortlist.

    Not happy about this at all.

    Pretty unprofessional stuff from Celtic to be talking about Keane if they’re not certainly going to offer him the job.

  • 10:53

    Another gem here from Michael O’Leary.

    He has been quoted this morning as having said in relation to the Aer Lingus strike: “Aer Lingus cabin crew workers are not Siberian salt miners”.

    Any excuse to have a pop at Aer Lingus.

    Although maybe I’m being unfair on him. He did rally behind the airline’s chief executive Christoph Mueller back in March before the proposed St Patrick’s Day strike.

    Mr O’Leary said at the time Aer Lingus should tell unions to “go f**k themselves” over the strike.

    Mr O’Leary said he had sympathy for Mr Mueller, who, he said, was trying to manage a company while being dragged into “more talks and more f***ing talks”.

    Addressing workers, he said: “There’s a deficit in your pension scheme – get over it. There’s a deficit in most people’s pension schemes.”

    Now. That told them.

  • 11:02

    BREAKING: In the closest thing to the real embodiment of Father Ted’s Lovely Girls Competition, this morning saw the identity of the inaugural 2fm’s Miss Personality finally revealed to the country.

    The lucky girl, Laura McCormack from Offaly took the crown, and will now be heading to the final of the Miss Ireland competition in July.

    Laura is the “first girl to be solely judged on personality, wit and intelligence” rather than any assessment of physical beauty to ever enter as a Miss Ireland finalist in the 67 year history of the pageant.

    Of course, they’re all lovely girls.

  • 11:20

    The Irish Times is carrying an analysis of how last weekend’s Local Election results were translated into a General Election.

    Apparently the Labour Party would win six seats.

    It really does seem like there is something wrong with politics these days if a major political party (or two) is getting absolutely annihilated every time there’s an election.

  • 11:22
    Junior Minister at the Department of Health Alex White has just announced his intention to challenge Joan Burton for the leadership of the Labour Party.
  • 11:33

    Controversy over preparations for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil rumbles on with many taking to the streets to protest the country’s pumping of massive resources into preparations for the competition.

    At the same time of course it seems there is little chance of Brazil being ready for the showpiece with several stadiums unfinished.

    I think I can dig up a picture of one of them here...

  • 11:34
  • 11:45

    Women’s tennis really has seen better days.

    The top three seeds are all out of the French Open after Agnieszka Radwanska lost to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round.

    She follows Serena Williams and Li Na out of the Grand Slam event.

  • 11:54

    “A form of torture,” is how life for asylum seekers in direct provision is described in a feature today that humanises an issue often bogged down with numbers and statistics.

    Sorcha Pollak writes how the plan was that asylum seekers would live in these institutions for no more than six months, but some have been there for over seven years, in cramped conditions, with no privacy, little for children to do, and deteriorating mental health.

  • 12:00

    The most popular baby names for 2013 have been announced this morning.

    Once again, Jack is the most popular boy’s name. That’s six years in a row. We’ve enough of them at this stage.

    Emily was the most popular girl’s name.

  • 12:06

    North Korea has agreed to reopen an investigation into the fate of Japanese citizens it kidnapped decades ago, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday.

    The investigation will no doubt be honest, open and objective.

  • 12:13
    Here is a video of Alex White announcing his candidacy for the Labour leadership:
  • 12:29

    Lending to Irish households is continuing to decline, falling by 3.7 per cent in April, according to new figures from the Central Bank.

    Loans for house purchase, which account for 78 per cent of total household loans, fell at an annual rate of 3.1 per cent. Lending for consumption and other purposes declined by 5.8 per cent.

  • 12:43

    Rory McIlroy’s resurgence since his break-up with fiancée Caroline Wozniacki is continuing at the Memorial tournament at Muirfield Village.

    He shot a first round of nine-under-par 63 to lead overnight by three.

    Poor Caroline has already been knocked out of the French Open in Round One.

    Awkward.

  • 12:49
    Aer Lingus pilots and cabin crew on strike over their rosters photographed marching at Dublin Airport.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times
    Aer Lingus pilots and cabin crew on strike over their rosters photographed marching at Dublin Airport.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times
  • 13:03

    Unidentified informants have told the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation they have information on substantial assets owned by the family of Sean Quinn which they have not been disclosed, the High Court was told today.

    The bank, which is now in liquidation, did a deal with the two informants last year whereby they are to get 3 per cent of any cash recovered as a result of their information, reports Colm Keena.

    Mr Justice Kelly was told today “gagging orders” that applied to orders sought earlier this year in London and Delaware, in the US, have now been lifted and the bank was informing the court. It would be informing the Quinn family about the development later today, the court heard.

  • 13:12
    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has agree a new three year deal with the club, putting an end to speculation that he may leave the Emirates this summer.
  • 13:13
    Just what we need. Another boy-band.
  • 13:27

    Beam me up Scotty.

    The most read story on irishtimes.com at the moment relates to scientists who say human teleportation is possible.

    What’s next?

  • 13:29
    Don't really care to be honest.
  • 13:53
    In what might be interest to any former or current UCD students, the running track at Belfield is being formally dug up today.
  • 14:05
    It's Steven Gerrard's birthday today. He's 34.
  • 14:13
  • 14:35
    The new PSNI Chief Constable designate George Hamilton has outlined his policing vision, which you can read about here.
  • 14:52
  • 14:57

    There is a video of the protesting Aer Lingus workers here.

  • 15:23
    Ever wondered what a picnic in the sky might look like? No? Me neither but have a look at this anyway!
  • 15:24

    IDA Ireland chief executive Barry O’Leary has called on workers at the Bausch & Lomb plant in Waterford to weigh up their options carefully before deciding on the management’s cost-cutting proposals.

    The company’s new owners are threatening to close the operation with the loss of all 1,100 jobs unless they get union agreement on plans for 200 redundancies and a 20 per cent pay cut for remaining staff.

    The contact lens maker claims staff at its headquarters in Rochester, New York are paid nearly a third less than their Irish counterparts.

  • 15:38

    Oh dear.

    Supermarket Asda has defended a “wearable England flag” it launched for the World Cup after claims it resembles a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

    The #3 St George’s Cross, with the word “England” on the red cross, features a hood which Asda said was to allow fans to wear it and stay dry despite the unpredictable British weather.

    But some fans took to Twitter to point out what they believes were similarities with the hoods worn by the racist US organisation, also known by its initials “KKK”.

    I’ll get a picture of it now and you can judge for yourself.

  • 15:39
    Carmel Wilkinson/PA Wire
    Carmel Wilkinson/PA Wire
  • 16:20

    Alex White, the new candidate for the Labour leadership, has, shockingly, found his voice.

    He was speaking about the discretionary medical card fiasco earlier on and said decisions in relation to them were made at Cabinet and that the Government had to take responsibility for mistakes made.

    Amazing how the rhetoric changes when there’s a different agenda on the table.

    Reminds me of the Labour TDs calling for front bench resignations after the Local Elections when they supported and voted for every policy that suddenly became unacceptable to them when their seats looked in jeopardy.

  • 16:26
     A Buddhist monk walks past Thai soldiers patrolling the area to prevent protesters from rallying against the military coup near the Victory Monument, in Bangkok, Thailand.  EPA/DIEGO AZUBEL
     A Buddhist monk walks past Thai soldiers patrolling the area to prevent protesters from rallying against the military coup near the Victory Monument, in Bangkok, Thailand.  EPA/DIEGO AZUBEL
  • 16:38

    I have may have spoken too soon about rory McIlroy’s resurgence.


    Three double-bogeys in a row and seven dropped shots in nine holes at Muirfield Village have brought him firmly back down to earth.

  • 16:46

    You may remember during the week we photographed and interviewed 100 year old Madge Fanning, the fifth of her family to reach that great age.

    As a result of our piece she received some great birthday cards from around the country but one especially nice home-made card came from Co Laois and was just signed Grace Miller.

    Madge would love to make contact with Grace to send her a thank-you note. The contact point if anyone knows who Grace Miller is Madge’s son Joe at fanningjoe3122@gmail.com

  • 16:49
    Madge Fanning who turned 100 years of age on Wednesday, at her home in Skerries. One of thirteen chuildren , she is the fifth sibling to reach the age of 100. Her mother also was a centenarian. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times
    Madge Fanning who turned 100 years of age on Wednesday, at her home in Skerries. One of thirteen chuildren , she is the fifth sibling to reach the age of 100. Her mother also was a centenarian. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times
  • 17:01

    “Economist Morgan Kelly among new members of RIA” is the headline on this story about the man who called the property crash being admited to the Royal Irish Academy.

    Had to do a double take when I saw the headline initially – I thought it said: “Economist Morgan Kelly among new members of RIRA”.

  • 17:01

    On that note, we will leave it there for this week. Enjoy the sunshine and the bank holiday weekend.

    The Daily Wire will be back up and running on Monday from 9am.

    Thanks for reading.