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A rolling look at today's news with Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin Fri, Aug 30
 
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  • 08:55
    The United Kingdom rejects the use of military force in Syria

    Nama says Sean Dunne claims a $44 million debt to his wife

    And no one is more sorry about the Irish financial crisis than Brian Cowen
  • 08:57
    Good morning, it's August 30th, I'm Dan Griffin and I'll be here on the Irish Times live blog for the day.
  • 09:00
    British prime minister David Cameron’s failure to win parliamentary approval for military strikes against Syria complicates a decision by US President Barack Obama on how to hold the Syrian government accountable for an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians.

    The National Asset Management Agency believes that bankrupt developer Seán Dunne is claiming he owes $44 million (€33 million) to his wife Gayle Killilea and a separate sum to his first wife, according to a new court filing made in the US

    Former taoiseach Brian Cowen has said nobody is more sorry than him about what happened to the country in the economic collapse.
  • 09:08
    Elsewhere, a former resident of the priory Hall apartment complex in Dublin has written an open letter to the Taoiseach asking him to intervene in the controversy after her partner took his own life.

    Stephanie Meehan's partner of 17 years, Fiachra daly, died by suicide las July. She said pressure to pay arrears on the apartment - in which they have not been able to live for the past two years - appeared to be a factor in his death.

    Carl O'Brien has more.
  • 09:20
    In Peru a proposed new law could have positive implications for Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid, if they are conviceted of trying to smuggle cocaine worth €1.7 million out of the country.

    The proposed legislation aims to reduce the sentence served by foreign prisoners for for drug trafficking by one third.

    Read more from Martina Hanlon here.
  • 09:34
  • 09:50
    Meteorologists and the public may quibble over the points at which the season begins and ends but for children the carefree days and balmy evenings of summer come to an abrupt and definite stop when the school bells start clanging again.

    Christopher McKinley has a piece here on the youngsters of Sandymount's Star of the Sea NS in Dublin on their very first day of school. For them a mixture of childish curiosity and abject fear ensured the experience was at least an interesting one.

    But this morning, on the way in to work, the unmistakable sight of uniformed teenagers trudging morosely toward their secondary schools was all too apparent on the streets of Dublin. For them, summer has most certainly slipped away and is now just a fading memory.

    But all is not lost and to cheer them up they can look forward to next Thursday (less than a week away!) when The Irish Times will carry a special Study Guide, with top advice on setting goals, study skills, and dealing with stress. Yay.
  • 09:55
    What would be more fun though, arguably, is three days at the Electric Picnic, which starts today. Ronan McGreevy has a preview here.
  • 10:08
  • 10:21
    On the front pages this morning, the Irish Examiner leads with the emigration figures released by the CSO yesterday which showed that more than 40,000 of those who left Ireland in 2012 were under the age of 24.

    The Irish Independent says class sizes are set to soar as the Minister for Education aims for €100 million in cutbacks.

    The Irish Daliy Star covers the death of Dáithí Ó Sé's father. It's the Rolf Harris sex charges for the Mirror and the Sun. The Herald leads with Stephanie Meehan's open letter to Enda Kenny. As does the Mail: 'Killed by the State' is that paper's characteristically restrained headline.
  • 10:29
  • 11:02
    The shooting dead of a man in west Dublin last night is the latest in a series of recent gun attacks, writes Conor Lally.
     
    The victim was shot and wounded in the chest on Cherrywood Drive in Clondalkin - the same suburb where 21-year-old Dean Johnson was shot dead in the early hours of last Saturday morning.
  • 11:11
    It is being reported by both BBC and RTÉ that Irish poet and nobel laureate Seamus Heaney has died, aged 74.
  • 11:21
    We'll have more details on the website shortly on the passing of Seamus Heaney. The news is being being discussed on the Today Show on Radio 1 at the moment.

    Clearances III (In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984)

    When all the others were away at Mass  
    I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.  
    They broke the silence, let fall one by one  
    Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:  
    Cold comforts set between us, things to share  
    Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.  
    And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes  
    From each other's work would bring us to our senses.

    So while the parish priest at her bedside  
    Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying  
    And some were responding and some crying  
    I remembered her head bent towards my head,  
    Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives--  
    Never closer the whole rest of our lives.
  • 11:26
  • 11:41
    Seamus Heaney died this morning at the Blackrock Clinic. He had attended the clinic for a procedure but died prior to the operation. A member of his family said he was in “good form” the night before the operation.
  • 11:57
    There'll be a lot more on Seamus Heaney including archive articles and a gallery going up on the the website soon. Domestically, it pushes most other news off the agenda for today. We'll move away from it for a while now on the blog but will returned to the news later on.
  • 12:08

    Statistics released from the CSO today:

    There were 17,563 births registered in the first quarter of 2013, a decrease of 9% in the number of births registered in the corresponding quarter of 2012.

    Fingal recorded the highest birth rate of 19.6 per 1,000 population, while Donegal recorded the lowest birth rate of 11.4 per 1,000 population.

    There were 8,347 deaths registered in quarter 1 2013, an increase of 4.6% in the number of deaths registered in the first quarter of 2012.

    One third (33.5%) of all deaths in the quarter were attributed to circulatory disease (2,797), while 27.3% were attributed to malignant neoplasms (2,275), 13% to respiratory diseases (1,079) and 4% to external causes (332).

    The natural increase in the population (births minus deaths) for quarter 1 2013 was 9,216. This represents a rate of 8.0 per 1,000 population, 1.9 below quarter 1 2012 and 0.2 above quarter 1 2004. 

  • 12:24
    And elsewhere, fugitive Irish solicitor Michael Lynn has been arrested in Brazil, Conor Lally writes.
  • 12:55
    I've been asked to work on our online coverage of Seamus Heaney so I'm going to sign off on the live blog for the time being. It might be back running in a couple of hours but otherwise thanks for reading.
  • 13:00
  • 15:20
    We're back now with the news that Hodges Figgis bookshop in Dublin has sold out of Seamus Heaney books. A worker at the shop there said they sold out of copies of Opened Ground, Heaney's colected works, "almost immediately" after the news of the poet's death emerged.

    He said about 20 per cent off all their customers today have been looking for Heaney's books and he added that an order to wholesalers Argosy was put in earlier today for everything they've got by Heaney.
  • 15:31
    Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos today ordered the military to make a strong and visible presence in Bogota after violent protests caused havoc across the capital, killing two.

    From Reuters
  • 15:49
    A branch almost took out a Minister of State and a Government whip when it fell from a tree outside Leinster House this afternoon.

    Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Joe Costello and Fine Gael whip in the Seanad, Senator Paul Coghlan, were chatting just inside the gates of Leinster House when the branch was blown down.

    The two men leaped to safety and were unhurt.

    Here's more
  • 16:08
  • 16:32
    We'll leave it there then. A slightly more sporadic offering on the live blog today, I'm afraid, but that's the nature of these things sometimes. Normal service will resume on Monday when Pat Kenny and Sean O'Rourke go head to head on the airwaves.

    So until then enjoy the weekend, and enjoy the Picnic, those of you who are going. Walk on air against your better judgement.