Elections Live

All of today's rolling news with Colin Gleeson and Fiach Kelly...

Colin Gleeson, Fiach Kelly Wed, May 14
 
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  • 09:23

    Good morning everyone. My name is Colin Gleeson and I will be bringing you all of the day’s news and events as it happens right here on this blog.

    My colleague Fiach Kelly will also be chipping in during the day with any election-related news that comes up. His contributions will be marked FK whereas mine will be marked CG. Clever system eh?

  • 09:29

    The lead story in this morning’s Irish Times details the ongoing situation in the Department of Justice.

    Arthur Beesley reports that Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is withholding support for secretary general Brian Purcell pending a formal review of its operations following criticisms in the Guerin report.

    Ms Fitzgerald said yesterday that her judgment on Mr Purcell must await the outcome of the review, which she expects before the summer recess.

  • 09:36

    The picture at the top of this blog is of a rescuer at the scene of yesterday’s coal mine explosion in western Turkey.

    The death toll is currently at more than 200 and the country’s energy minister Taner Yildiz has this morning said it is likely to be the country's deadliest mining disaster ever.

    Yildiz said the death toll in the mine in the town of Soma, around 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir, has risen to 205. Hundreds more are still believed to be trapped underground, but he declined to provide the exact figures.

  • 09:40

    The off-lead in this morning’s Irish Times is from Carl O’Brien who has the details of a new ESRI study which has found almost a third of children have been deprived of essentials such as food or clothing during the recession.

    While job losses and reduced living standards affected the whole population, young people and children suffered some of the sharpest increases in deprivation.

  • 09:48

    A nice feel-good story now though.

    There is a baby boom under way at Dublin Zoo, with a baby giraffe arriving last week and an elephant calf expected within the next day or two. The as-yet-unnamed giraffe already measures 1.7 metres and weighs about 70kg.

    The Indian elephant will be the first of three expected to arrive within the coming two to four months, said Dublin Zoo director Leo Oosterweghel.

    Ah. That’s nice.

  • 09:50
    If you would like to make a comment or get involved at all, you can tweet me @ColinGleesonIT and I will endeavour to publish it.
  • 09:52
    Good morning. Fiach Kelly here, Political Correspondent of the The Irish Times, keeping the blog upated with political and election tittle-tattle, news and analysis.

    Here’s what’s happening today:

    The Government will launch its much-trailled stimulus plan for the construction sector but it has already come in for serious criticism, with Lucinda Creighton this morning saying an expected mortgage deposit scheme for first-time buyers of new homes will fuel a new boom.

    While acknowledging there is a lack of supply in Dublin particularly, the Reform Alliance TD told Morning Ireland: “Pitching first-time buyers against each other is not the way to deal with that supply issue."

    Ronan Lyons of Daft.ie has also been highly critical of what he’s heard so far. We’ll find out the details later today, so put those breakfast roll orders on hold for a few hours. Fianna Fáil will have Michael McGrath responding to the proposals, and will also outline its own housing plans.

    Before the launch, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will be in Bettystown, Co Meath, at the official opening of Colaiste na hInse.

    My colleague Harry McGee has been out and about shooting video on the campaign trail and we’ll post the results of his travels in around an hour (we’ll give you the link later, don’t worry). Harry also runs the rule over the Midlands North-West Euro constituency.

    And how goes the Battle for Blackrock? Miriam Lord has been out on the canvass with Kate Feeney to find out.

    The justice controversies rumble on, with Brian Purcell, the secretary general of the Department of Justice, telling the Oireachtas Justice Committee he won’t answer questions on the resignation of Martin Callinan.

    Arthur Beesley weighs up Purcell’s prospects of survival, after Frances Fitzgerald again declined to express confidence in her sec gen. Vincent Browne is also writing on the justice controversies today in our print edition.  The election coverage has really  been ramped up in today's paper, there's more on the Jackie Kennedy letters and there's also a free World War I supplement. What more do you want for €2?

    Stay tuned throughout the day for more. FK.
  • 09:54

    A South African court has today ordered Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius to undergo evaluation for mental illness, further delaying a murder trial that has already stretched into its 32nd day.

    The state had asked for the evaluation after a psychiatrist told the court this week that Pistorius, who is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year, suffered from an anxiety disorder.

    CG.

  • 10:01
  • 10:06
    We've all heard that the Dublin MEP candidates are engaged in a real dogfight, but Minister of State Joe Costello, husband of Labour candidate Emer Costello, was bitten by a prickly pooch on the campaign trail, as Sarah Bardon  reports in the Mirror.

    Paws for thought?  I'll get my coat.....FK.      

     
  • 10:12

    The Jackie Kennedy letters continue in today’s Irish Times, with her affection for Ireland shining through in today’s extracts.

    In the very first letter, Jacqueline wrote to Fr Joseph Leonard in August 1950 from Scotland where she – and her stepbrother Yusha (Hugh Dudley Auchincloss III) – had gone after their visit to Dublin.

    She said: “You gave us such a lovely time in Ireland – I can’t really describe what I want to say – but all the other places I’ve travelled to have become a blur and I have to think hard to bring back the memories of things I saw and people I met and places I ate – but with Ireland every second has remained clear and I can remember it down to the last word of every conversation – and because that doesn’t sound very important, I think it is – because it was all because of you, and the way you made the place live for us and the immense kindness you offered us. I have always been glad to move on before, but we were really both miserable at leaving Ireland and though we are having a lovely trip, we are still homesick for it.”

  • 10:17
    Fine Gael TD David Stanton, chair of the  Oireachtas Justice Committee,  is telling  Sean O'Rourke the main concern regarding Brian Purcell is how paperwork around the McCabe allegations were handled in the Department of Justice. Not sure TDs on the committee agree. FK.
  • 10:30

    I can’t imagine what the Road Safety Authority would have to say – but Google has begun the job of making the public more comfortable with driverless cars in advance of its aspirations to launch the technology in a few years time.

    A fleet of Google’s robot cars ferried more than two dozen reporters around Mountain View, California, yesterday in 30-minute ride-alongs that showcased their ability to automatically and safely navigate around city streets packed with cyclists, pedestrians and traffic signs.

    CG.

  • 10:45

    Departing Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic has given an in-depth interview to the BBC about his time at the club, which of course includes a bit of a post-mortem regarding the club’s dismal season that has just ended.

    Some of what he has to say regarding ousted manager David Moyes is interesting. It was widely reported that the former manager had lost the dressing room and that the players had stopped playing for him.

    "People said we lost faith in David Moyes," said Vidic. "We didn't.

    "We knew he was trying to find new players. We knew he was trying to build something.

    "Once we lost the chance to win the title we knew this season was lost. Then it is like resetting a computer and starting again. You want to see lights for the next season."

    CG.

  • 10:51
    As promised, here it is: When Harry Met Enda. McGee has been installed as an early frontrunner for next year's best actor Oscar. FK.
  • 10:57

    Former Aston Villa chairman Sir Doug Ellis has said he has no doubt it would be “ideal” for the club if someone similar to Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour could take them over.

    Haha fair play to him.

    CG.

  • 11:01

    Ellis told Sky Sports News: “He (Owner Randy Lerner) has admitted he would like to sell, we are all waiting to see who it is to, and we have to find someone who has the money - someone equivalent to the Sheikh, who I met at Manchester City the other week.

    “He is a delightful chap, is passionate beyond measure and has billions of pounds of money.”

    As long as he has the right type of personality, that’s all that matters.

    CG.

  • 11:21
    Fine Gael rounded up as many celebs as possible last night at a rally for Senator Eamonn Coghlan, the former athlete standing for the party in the Dublin West by-election. Among those there were former Olympian Ronnie Delaney, ex-Tipperary manager Babs Keating, boxer Kenneth Egan and singer Finbar Furey. Also there was Dublin footballer Bernard Brogan. Little known fact: Fine Gael approached his brother and teammate Alan Brogan about running in the last Dublin West by-election in 2011. It's understood Alan briefly considered but turned the offer down. FK.
  • 11:25

    A former school friend of one of Rolf Harris’s alleged victims has told a court that she confided in her that he had “sexually abused her over many years” since she was 13 or 14.

    The witness said she was “good friends” with the woman from the age of 14 and when they were both aged around 16 she told her that Harris was a “dirty old man” who would make her sit on his lap so he could “feel her up”.

    Harris (84) listened from the dock at London’s Southwark Crown Court where he is on trial for 12 charges of indecent assault between 1968 and 1986 - seven relating to the woman in question. The veteran entertainer denies all the charges.

    CG.

  • 11:36
  • 11:38

    The European Central Bank is preparing a package of policy options for its June meeting, including cuts in all its interest rates and targeted measures aimed at boosting lending to small- and mid-sized firms (SMEs).

    According to Reuters news agency, five people familiar with the measures being prepared detailed plans involving a potential rate cut, including the ECB’s deposit rate going negative for the first time, along with the targeted measures SME measures.

  • 12:00
    If you liked the story earlier on about the baby boom in Dublin Zoo, you should check out the first video of the giraffe calf that has just been born. You can see it here.
  • 12:14

    It appears to be a very windy day in the Vatican.

    There are a number of photos of Pope Francis out and about but struggling to keep his attire in position.

    You’d think people would have more respect than publishing undignified photos of the Pope.

  • 12:16
    A gust of wind blows Pope Francis mantle as he reads his message in St. Peter's Square for the weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
    A gust of wind blows Pope Francis mantle as he reads his message in St. Peter's Square for the weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
  • 12:17
     A gust of wind blows on Pope Francis' cape as he arrives in Saint Peter's Square to lead his weekly Wednesday General Audience at the Vatican City, 14 May 2014. EPA/CLAUDIO PERI
     A gust of wind blows on Pope Francis' cape as he arrives in Saint Peter's Square to lead his weekly Wednesday General Audience at the Vatican City, 14 May 2014. EPA/CLAUDIO PERI
  • 12:17
    Pope Francis' cape flies up as he climbs the Popemobile at the end of his weekly Wednesday General Audience on Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican City, 14 May 2014. EPA/CLAUDIO PERI
    Pope Francis' cape flies up as he climbs the Popemobile at the end of his weekly Wednesday General Audience on Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican City, 14 May 2014. EPA/CLAUDIO PERI
  • 12:27

    The US military is considering options for the detention of transgender soldier Chelsea Manning who is serving 35 years in prison for turning over secret files to WikiLeaks.

    Manning has requested hormone therapy and to be moved to a civilian prison to facilitate that treatment, the Pentagon said today.

    "No decision to transfer Private Manning to a civilian detention facility has been made, and any such decision will, of course, properly balance the soldier's medical needs with our obligation to ensure Private Manning remains behind bars," Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

    CG.

  • 12:34

    The late edition of the Herald is just about to “hit the streets” according to independent.ie

    They are leading with “Aer Lingus strike chaos”.

    Must admit, I don’t see the point of a late edition if you’re going to lead with a story from the night before.

    CG.

  • 12:40

    The UK has offered the Nigerian government a surveillance aircraft to assist in the search for the kidnapped schoolgirls, David Cameron has told MPs.


    CG.

  • 12:44

    Incidentally, it was on this day last year that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa due to the terrorist activities of Boko Haram, who are the group responsible for the abduction of the schoolgirls.

    CG.

  • 12:48

    Today is also Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s birthday. He’s the big 3-0.

    CG.

  • 12:54

    Women are more interested in picking up social media likes at the gym than they are in picking up a man.

    According to a recent survey conducted by sports nutrition company Multipower UK, women are 20 per cent more likely to take and share a selfie at the gym than their male counterparts, but 30 per cent less likely to want to date someone they meet at the gym.

    This is in stark contrast to men, where over 50 per cent described picking up women as “one of the perks of going to the gym”.

    Fascinating stuff.

    CG.

  • 13:02

    The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has been before an Oireachtas Committee on Justice this morning.

    It said the entire system of Garda oversight introduced after the Morris Tribunal needs to be “reset” and believes it should be permitted to subsume the office of confidential recipient into its operations.

    The extra powers now being sought by the Garda watchdog, coupled with its recently introduced unfettered access to the Garda’s PULSE data base, would usher in a radical new system under which the oversight powers of the commission over the Garda force would be total.

    The commission also wants to investigate a wider range of complaints against members of the force.

  • 13:04

    The 19-year-old British cancer charity fundraiser Stephen Sutton died peacefully in his sleep this morning, his mother said on his Facebook page today.

    He was readmitted to hospital with breathing difficulties on Sunday.

    Stephen, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, was in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he was being treated for multiple tumours.

    Stephen raised more than £3.2 million for charity since being diagnosed with bowel cancer, aged 15, in September 2010.

    His fund-raising efforts have attracted support from celebrities including Simon Pegg,Russell Brand and Stephen Fry, as well as music mogul Simon Cowell. More than 135,000 individual donations were been.

  • 13:13

    British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is deeply saddened at news of the death of a Mr Sutton.

    "I am deeply saddened to hear that Stephen Sutton has died. His spirit, bravery and fundraising for cancer research were all an inspiration,” he said on Twitter.

    CG.

  • 13:24
  • 13:32

    Former Westlife singer and reality television star Kian Egan has said he challenged pop mogul Simon Cowell over claims that the Irish group were “the ugliest” boy-band he had worked with.

    Egan, one fifth of the chart-toppers signed by Cowell, said the X Factor judge quickly backtracked on his comments when asked to clarify them - although Egan admitted two of the band were ugly.

    Speaking to Phil Williams on BBC Radio 5 Live, Egan joked that former bandmates Nicky Byrne and Brian McFadden were the least attractive because they were both Dubliners. The rest of the band are from Sligo.

    The 34-year-old, who was crowned king of the jungle in last year’s I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here, said: “I interviewed him (Simon Cowell) a few weeks ago for a television show and I asked him: ‘So come on, you say Westlife was the ugliest band you ever had’, and he said: ‘Well now kiddo, I wasn’t talking about you...’”

    Trust Kian Egan to come out with tripe like that.

    CG.

  • 13:49

    Turkey’s prime minister has said the death toll in the coal mine explosion and fire has increased to 232.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement during a visit to the coal mine in Soma, about 155 miles south of Istanbul.

    Rescuers have been struggling to reach more than 200 miners trapped underground in the mine, and have been pumping oxygen in to keep those trapped by the blaze alive.

    CG.

  • 14:02
  • 14:14

    Residents in a Cork housing estate have welcomed a move by Irish Water to remove a small number of water meters and have hailed the move as “a small victory” in their campaign against the introduction of water charges.

    Some 20 or so residents of Ashbrook Heights in Togher on Cork’s Southside were present this morning when contractors from Irish Water came in and removed all five meters, which had been installed in the estate last month during protests by the residents.

    CG.

  • 14:15

    A 27-year-old man charged with assault and robbery of a pregnant woman during a car-jacking in Dublin on Monday was further remanded in custody today.

    The car was alleged to have been taken in the north inner city, while the mother-to-be was still in it, after her partner stepped out to put money into a parking meter.

    Stephen Comey of Pearse House, Dublin 2, was charged with assault causing harm to Xiao Linh Zhoun (36) in Dublin’s north inner city on May 12th. He is also charged with robbery of a mobile phone worth €500 from the woman.

    CG.

  • 14:23

    GAA fans outside of Ireland and Britain will be able to watch all this summer’s All Ireland Championship matches over the internet if they pay €110 for a new GAAGO streaming service.

    Viewers in England, Scotland and Wales will have to pay €60 for a ‘GB Pass’. This will give them online access to the 25 games broadcast by RTÉ (but not those shown on Sky).

    Customers can also choose to pay-per-game at a price of €10. The cost of individual games increases to €14 for quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final.

    The new online subscription streaming service GAAGO was launched today in RTÉ’s studios. That event itself was also streamed to an online audience.

  • 14:27
    Around 120 workers are still thought to be trapped in a coal mine in western Turkey where 238 miners were killed after a fire in one of the country's worst ever industrial disasters, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said today.
  • 14:33

    Villagers in an area of Nigeria where Boko Haram operates have killed and detained scores of the Islamic militants who were suspected of planning a fresh attack, residents and a security official have said.

    The Press Association reports that locals in Nigeria’s northern states have been forming vigilante groups in various areas to resist the militant group which holds more than 270 schoolgirls captive.

    In Kalabalge, a village about 155 miles from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, residents said they were taking matters into their own hands because the Nigerian military is not doing enough to stem Boko Haram attacks.

    After learning about an impending attack by militants, locals ambushed two trucks with gunmen, a security official said. At least 10 militants were detained, and scores were killed, the official said.

    Kalabalge trader Ajid Musa said that after residents organised the vigilante group: “It is impossible” for militants to successfully stage attacks there.

    “That is why most attacks by the Boko Haram on our village continued (to) fail because they cannot come in here and start shooting and killing people,” he said.

    Earlier this year in other parts of Borno, some extremists launched more attacks in retaliation against the vigilante groups.

  • 14:34
  • 14:45
    If anyone was wondering what deposed Manchester United manager David Moyes has been up to since his sacking, I can tell you that he is today taking part in the Open de Espana Pro Am golf tournament at the PGA Catalunya Resort.
  • 14:45
    GIRONA, SPAIN - MAY 14: Former Manchester United Manager, David Moyes in action during the Open de Espana Pro Am at PGA Catalunya Resort on May 14, 2014 in Girona, Spain. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)  
    GIRONA, SPAIN - MAY 14: Former Manchester United Manager, David Moyes in action during the Open de Espana Pro Am at PGA Catalunya Resort on May 14, 2014 in Girona, Spain. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)  
  • 14:51
  • 14:59

    I’m sure Liverpool players can think of better things to be doing after their end of season heartbreak at the weekend – but many of them are in Dublin today to tog out against Shamrock Rovers in the Aviva Stadium.

    Kick-off is at 5.30pm and Emmet Malone has a preview here.

  • 15:12
  • 15:28
    The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore on their way to the top of a hill, at the launch of Construction 2020: a construction sector strategy, at Abbotstown, Co Dublin, today. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
    The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore on their way to the top of a hill, at the launch of Construction 2020: a construction sector strategy, at Abbotstown, Co Dublin, today. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
  • 15:30
    It looks as though the Taoiseach was on shaky ground getting up that hill. He seems to have had even more trouble getting back down it again though.
  • 15:31
    The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore descend a hill following a photocall, with David Conway, CEO National Sports Campus Development Authority, at the launch of Construction 2020: a construction sector strategy, at Abbotstown, Co D
    The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore descend a hill following a photocall, with David Conway, CEO National Sports Campus Development Authority, at the launch of Construction 2020: a construction sector strategy, at Abbotstown, Co D
  • 15:46

    The Government has announced of a package of measures aimed at stimulating activity in the building industry, reports Eoin Burke-Kennedy.

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the central aim of the strategy was to triple housing output by 2020, and at the same time create 60,000 jobs in the sector.

    The stimulus package provides for new building projects worth up €200 million, including a €50 million allocation for regional and local road projects and a further €50 million for social housing provision.

    Announcing the measures at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown in Dublin this afternoon, Mr Kenny said the construction sector had a key role to play in the county’s future economic development.

    However, he warned the new measures would prevent the mistakes of the past being repeated.

    At the peak of the housing bubble in 2006, over 93,000 housing units were completed across the country. The corresponding figure for last year was 8,301 - a reduction of 91 per cent.

    “The sector has collapsed too far and we are paying the price in jobs and housing options,” Mr Kenny said.

  • 15:47
    Reform Alliance TD Lucinda Creighton was critical of the stimulus plan this morning, saying it reminded her of the sorts of announcements that preceded the property bubble of the Celtic Tiger era.
  • 15:55

    The new picture at the top of this blog relates to the thousands of Vietnamese people who set fire to foreign factories and rampaged in industrial zones in the south of the country in an angry reaction to Chinese oil drilling in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam.

    The brunt of the anti-China violence appears to have been borne by Taiwanese companies in the zones in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces, as rioters mistook the firms to be Chinese-owned. There were no reports of casualties.

    The row over the South China Sea and anti-China violence in tightly-controlled Vietnam have brought relations between Hanoi and Beijing to one of their lowest points since the Communist neighbours fought a brief border war in 1979.

    More here.

  • 16:03
    European candidates Lynn Boylan, Brian Hayes and Eamon Ryan, taking part in a debate broadcast by <a href='http://irishtimes.com' target='_blank' >irishtimes.com</a> today. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
    European candidates Lynn Boylan, Brian Hayes and Eamon Ryan, taking part in a debate broadcast by irishtimes.com today. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
  • 16:11

    Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has called for “a long period of repentant silence” from Fianna Fáil on property matters after it claimed the Government’s new construction plan would inflate prices.

    At a press conference this afternoon announcing a package of measures aimed at stimulating activity in the building industry, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he agreed with Mr Gilmore’s remarks.

    Mr Kenny said Fianna Fáil had “some cheek” to attack the new initiative which includes a proposal to examine special Government support for first-time property buyers.

  • 16:23

    A handful of the world’s best tennis players will show up at tournaments within weeks armed with new technology they hope will give them an advantage at Roland Garrosand Wimbledon.

    Without identifying the players who would be first to use the hi-tech equipment, racquet manufacturer Eric Babolat confirmed “connected racquets”, with sensors feeding back information on the players’ forehands, backhands and much more, would be used for the first time, after a decade in development.

    More here.

  • 16:26

    Uganda has made it a crime to "wilfully and intentionally" transmit the HIV virus and made it legal for medical staff to disclose a patient's HIV status to others without his or her consent, according to Reuters.

    The law was passed on Tuesday, a parliamentary spokeswoman said, in response to a resurgence in HIV infections in a country that was once hailed as a success in the global fight against AIDS. Those convicted face up 10 years in prison.

    But rights activists said the law would deter voluntary testing and further stigmatise infection with HIV, which causes AIDS and is primarily transmitted through unprotected intercourse as well as from mother to child during pregnancy.

    "Evidence from the Ugandan Ministry of Health shows clearly - criminalisation of HIV doesn't work," said Asia Russell, Uganda-based director of international policy at Health GAP, an HIV advocacy group.

    "It drives people away from services, and fuels discrimination and fear."

  • 16:30

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny has made a statement to the Dail on the Motion to establish a Joint Oireachtas Committee to inquire into certain aspects of the banking crisis.


    He said: “The Irish people have suffered great hardship due to the banking crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs. Many more have suffered pay cuts, while more again have been forced to emigrate.


    “A generation of people have suffered the consequences of negative equity and the following collapse of the construction industry. Ireland lost its economic sovereignty and had to be bailed out. The country was placed under the supervision of the Troika while difficult
    decisions were taken to return the public finances to order.


    “In these circumstances, the Government believes that the Irish people are entitled to a full account of the banking crisis.”

  • 16:42

    The former royal editor of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid admitted for the first time at a London court today that he had hacked the voicemails of Britain’s Prince William and Prince Harry, and Duchess of Cambridge Catherine (Kate) Middleton.

    Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007 for illegally accessing the voicemails on the mobiles of royal aides, told the jury at the Old Bailey court he had hacked Queen Elizabeth’s grandsons in search of stories while working at the now-defunct tabloid.

    Ms Middleton’s phone was hacked 155 times, William’s 35 and Harry’s nine times, the court was told.

  • 16:55

    Lionel Messi would trade all his Barcelona success for a World Cup winners' medal with Argentina to sit alongside the game's greats, according to compatriot Ossie Ardiles.

    "That is how important the World Cup is for him," said Ardiles, who was in the Argentina team that won the 1978 World Cup at home in Buenos Aires.

  • 16:59

    The Labour party are to launch their local and European election manifestos tomorrow.

    I wonder will they have learned anything after reneging on the pie in the sky promises of the last General Election.

  • 17:06

    Sinn Fein senator and spokesman on political reform David Cullinane has called for extensive reform of the Seanad and the extension of voting rights to all citizens.

    He said there is something rotten at the core of the Seanad.

    On that cheerful note, we’ll leave it there for today. Thanks for reading and the Elections Live blog, plus all the usual Daily Wire titbits, will be back from 9am tomorrow.