News Blog

Why Hollande has the hump, Lotto balls and troika extensions.Get in touch @irishtimeslive

Conor Pope Wed, Apr 10
LIVE: News Blog

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  • 08:34
    It’s Day Two of The Irish Times Live News Blog... I’m Conor Pope and I have just been told “it’s all about finance today”. But before that, there’s other numbers to be dealing with. The Lotto people and their auditors have dropped the ball by confusing their sixes and nines at least eight times while a report published this morning finds that Ireland is the tenth best place IN THE WORLD to be a child. Another report – put together by the Garda Siochana finds that it wasn't a fair cop at all and their members did nothing wrong when quashing penalty points.
  • 08:39

    But the really big breaking news this morning comes from our dear friends in the Troika. They now think both us and  Portugal should get seven more years to repay loans from the European Union to facilitate our  return to full market financing.

  • 08:52
    There's Jennifer O'Connell  writing about the ease with which she found a school for her children. All she  had to do was "unroll our sleeping bags and queue outside the school at dawn, on three separate occasions in the depths of winter, and pay a non-refundable deposit for schoolbooks. Easy."
  • 09:15
    So, what are the other papers saying this morning? The Irish Independent leads today with a story about the CIRA woman who yesterday pleaded guilty at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin to murdering a father-of-two as he sat in a van on the driveway of his Limerick home. The headline tells us that “Woman assassin plotted to kill six in feud”.  The Star has an almost identical headline: “FEMALE ASSASSIN PLANNED SIX MORE HITS. The Sun goes with “LOTTO MAKE BALLS OF DRAW” – we’ll get back to that story in a bit – the Irish Examiner leads with a story from the inquest into Savita Halapannavar, something which is covered extensively in all the papers. It has a nice pic of an English couple who got married for the 41st time (to each other, like) on a beach in Clare. It also has a report on the Free Legal Advice Centre’s call for the banks to cover the legal costs of distressed homeowners – that’d soften their cough – while the Daily Mail is in a rage. “FURY AT PLANS TO GAG OUR TOP BROADCASTERS” it screams. The story is about a new code of conduct from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland which suggests that broadcasters or reporters should “not express his or her views on matters that or either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate”. George Hook is among the furious, according to the Mail. “Ultimately I cannot believe that the BAI would seriously go ahead and muzzle free speech,” he is quoted as saying. "It is extraordinary. It will be an amazing day in this country when free speech is banned on the Irish airwaves.” The Daily Mirror meanwhile leads with a “shock admission” made in a Mullingar court house yesterday. A woman who “viciously assaulted” a man in a “frenzied stab attack” now wants to marry him. Quite.
  • 09:35
    Can you believe it's 15 years since the signing of Good Friday Agreement?
  • 10:02
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  • 10:12
    You've probably seen this but if not Commander Hadfield's view from space last night will gladden your heart.
    You've probably seen this but if not Commander Hadfield's view from space last night will gladden your heart.
  • 10:30
    Was Margaret Thatcher “unabashedly racist”? Australia’s foreign minster Bob Carr thinks so. He gave an interview last night in which he recalled a conversation he had with her “in her retirement where she said something that was unabashedly racist. She warned Australia - talking to me with Helena [his wife] standing not far away - against Asian immigration, saying that if we allowed too much of it we’d see the ’natives’ of the land, the European settlers, overtaken by migrants,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.” The Daily Express, Times (London), Telegraph and Mail will not be pleased...
  • 10:30
    Conor T Commander Hatfield should be Commander Hadfield. Loving the blog!
  • 10:35
    A terrifying RT is coming up. Stand by please.
  • 10:36
  • 10:45
    David McWilliams is asking a lot of big questions in that early morning tweet. But where are the answers David? Have you not scared us enough with your dismal predictions in recent years without lobbing a grenade like this onto our timeline of a morning and then running quickly away?
  • 10:51
    Just got a press release from Corporate Reputations announcing the results of "the world’s largest study of corporate reputation". BMW, Disney, Rolex, and Google have been given the highest marks by consumers. Maybe it's because I'm grumpy but it's the bottom five that I'm interested in. No mention of them in the press release. I'll go find out.
  • 11:08
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  • 11:21
    Okay, so, according to Corporate Reputations, the 97th most reputable company is Zara, Hertz was 98th, Pfizer was 99th and in last place on the list was the Chinese tech company Lenovo.
  • 11:27
    Savita Halappanavar’s consultant obstetrician has been giving evidence at the inquest into her death this morning. Dr Katherine Astbury has agreed with coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin there were systems failure at the hospital in relation to the monitoring of Ms Halappanavar and the processing of blood tests.
    She has also been asked about her decision to refuse Ms Halappanavar’s request for a termination, by pointing out that that under Irish law there had to be a “real and substantial risk” to the life of the patient before this could happen. She said that at the time of the request, Ms Halappanavar was well and a termination was not permitted because of a diagnosis of poor foetal prognosis.
    Dr Astbury said she was not aware of the results of blood tests conducted four days after Ms Halappanavar was admitted, where her condition was deteriorating. She said she was working only on clinical signs and that there was no evidence to suggest she had severe sepsis. “If we had the blood results back sooner we may have considered intervening sooner,” she said.
    Lawyers for Galway University Hospital have also denied tampering or interfering with the medical records of Ms Halappanavar.
  • 11:49
    The Journal reported that Margaret Thatcher had died following a "strike", the FT ran an obit saying she had died "at the age of XX" and CNN led its news on her passing with a picture of the former British prime minister and Jimmy Savile. Not to be outdone in the howler stakes, a Taiwanese television news station aired footage of Queen Elizabeth II while reporting the death. Under a headline saying “Margaret Thatcher Dies of Stroke” the station showed two clips of the Queen shaking hands with commoners It apologised last night after viewers complained. .And there's more. News producers for Thailand’s army-owned Channel 5 have also said sorry after they showedactress Meryl Streep’s picture in a segment . For nearly two minutes, it displayed Baroness Thatcher’s biography alongside a picture of Streep. The production team wrote on Facebook later: “We will improve and develop our work more carefully and are deeply sorry.”
  • 11:52
  • 12:03
    Russell Brand 's take on the death of Margaret Thatcher which appeared in yesterday's Guardian is well worth a read.
  • 12:07
    BREAKING NEWS!!! Brippa (that's Brian Ormond and Pippa O'Connor in case you're wondering) had a baby this morning. A boy. His name's Ollie. That's the last we'll be saying about that.
  • 12:40
    You know who Conor McGregor is, right? No?
    Well he's only the first Irish fighter in the UFC. You don't know what the UFC is? Ah here, keep up.
    The UFC is the largest mixed martial arts promotion company in the world which hosts most of the top-ranked fighters in the sport and produces events worldwide Based in the United States, the UFC has eight weight divisions and enforces the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts... The first UFC event was held in 1993 in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the event was to identify the most effective martial art in a real fight between competitors of different fighting disciplines, including boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, wrestling, Muay Thai, karate and other styles. In subsequent competitions, fighters began adopting effective techniques from more than one discipline, which indirectly helped create an entirely separate style of fighting known as present-day mixed martial arts.
    Sorry, what? You’re not suggesting we copied that last bit directly from Wikipedia are you? We did not.
    Okay, we did. Word for word. Sorry.
    Anyways, back to Conor McGregor... As we said, he is the first Irish fighter in the UFC and we came across this interview... He’s like Roy Keane only harder. If you can imagine such a thing.
  • 13:08
    The Internet is an unforgiving, unforgetful place. We're very grateful to @gavinsblog20m for posting this youtube clip of Donie Cassidy  telling the Seanad that "now is the right time to buy".
    In April 2008.
    Oh dear.
  • 13:11
    Plans to overhaul the Women's Six Nations have been scrapped. If it ain't broke...
    Plans to overhaul the Women's Six Nations have been scrapped. If it ain't broke...
  • 13:15
    Plans to split the Six Nations championship (the one we're good at) in two have been shelved after a meeting of the Six Nations council in Paris this morning.
    The proposal would have seen the creation of two leagues - one with Ireland, France and England and another made up of Wales, Scotland and Italy. The suits in control have decided to maintain the present system, with a statement this morning explaining: “Further to recent press speculations regarding the Women’s Six Nations Championship, the Six Nations Council today confirmed its continued support for the present format.
  • 13:31
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  • 13:43
    The little-known independent body set up two years ago to ensure better management of the public finances – because the people we elected to do just that had proved themselves to be less than brilliant at the job – this morning dashed our hopes of any kind of gentle budgets until at least 2016.  

    The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council said that the government should not reduce the size of the packages of spending cuts and tax increases over the next two budgets. Its chairman Professor John McHale of NUI Galway, said “the Council’s assessment is that the planned adjustments of €3.1 billion in 2014 and €2 billion in 2015 should not be reduced”.

    The council is not entirely gloomy however and says that  as a result of “better than expected Exchequer outturn and higher than forecast level of nominal GDP in 2012, it now appears likely that the 2012 General Government deficit will be significantly below 8 per cent of GDP, which compares with a Budget-day estimate of 8.2 per cent of GDP. This should have some beneficial carryover effects for future years.” 

    Beneficial carryover effects?

    Future years?

    No, we’ve no idea what that means either. 

    It doesn't sound like we should get the Here Come The Good Times bunting down from the attic just yet though. 
  • 13:52
    Bryan O'Brien took some great pics of the winners of the Texaco children's art competition... Then he made it into a slide show.
  • 13:53
  • 14:00
    Watching Munster had Alan Quinlan wishing he was down there on the pitch... 
  • 14:06
    Timbuktu is synonymous with exotic remoteness and is also a renowned centre of Islamic learning. For a "rabble of jihadist groups seeking to conquer northern Mali" it has become a jewel in the crown. Mary Fitzgerald is there now and her report in last Saturday's Irish Times is worth revisiting if you missed it.
  • 14:32

    Tonight at exactly 9.49pm the International Space Station will zoom over us and, as the  brightest object in our sky, will be very hard to miss, clouds permitting.  "We want everyone to go outside  and see for themselves this breathtaking achievement of human technology," says David Moore of Astronomy Ireland magazine. The times it  will pass over Ireland each day can be found here. Astronomy Ireland is also running a text service which will remind you of the times a couple of hours before it passes overhead (hours!!! We'll need to be reminded seconds before it goes over or we'll never remember) . The service costs €1 per message but the proceeds do go towards promoting science and astronomy in Ireland. We're going to be out  taking pictures of the $100bn beast to see how that Hadfield fella likes it when the tables are turned.

  • 14:44
    Sir Mark Thatcher speaking to  the press outside the home of former British Prime Minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher today.  He said that his family had been overwhelmed by the support of the public following his mother's death.
    Sir Mark Thatcher speaking to the press outside the home of former British Prime Minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher today. He said that his family had been overwhelmed by the support of the public following his mother's death.
  • 14:45
    Conor Graham were promised more on lotto story? 'if 6 was 9' as jimi hendrix said 'i don't mind' #lotteriesareataxonstupidity
  • 15:11
  • 15:16
    The Nobel prize-winning IVF pioneer Professor Sir Robert Edwards has died aged 87. He was one of two fertility experts whose work led to the birth of the world’s first test tube baby, Louise Brown, on July 25th 1978. In a fitting tribute Professor Peter Braude of King’s College London few biologists "have so positively and practically impacted on humankind. Bob’s boundless energy, his innovative ideas and his resilience, despite the relentless criticism by naysayers, changed the lives of millions of ordinary people who now rejoice in the gift of their own child. He leaves the world a much better place.”

    Impossible to argue with that.
  • 15:22
    The world's first 'test tube baby'  Louise Brown and Professor Robert  Edwards at a 25th anniversary celebration of the IVF  10 years ago. Prof Edwards died today aged 87.
    The world's first 'test tube baby' Louise Brown and Professor Robert Edwards at a 25th anniversary celebration of the IVF 10 years ago. Prof Edwards died today aged 87.
  • 15:27
    In times of trouble people tend to turn to leaders, past and present, for advice and comfort. So what does former US vice-president Dick Cheney have to say about the current crisis which has engulfed the Korean peninsula? “We’re in deep doo doo,” he told lawmakers, according to a GOP leadership aide. Mr Cheney added the current North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, is unpredictable and doesn't share the United States worldview.

    No, um, doo doo Mr Cheney.
  • 15:57
    "One of the things I learnt on my two visits to North Korea, is that this is an extraordinarily cohesive political entity and society. They are courageously refusing to bow the knee to big power diktat and domination." So said George Galloway on Iranian TV this week. He was more convincing when  purring like  a cat on Celebrity Big Brother. 
  • 16:16

    A midwife manager at Galway University Hospital this afternoon identified herself as the person who told Savita Halappanavar that she couldn’t get a termination “because Ireland is a Catholic country”. At the inquest into Ms Halappanavar’s death Ann Maria Burke said she  regrets the remark but explained it wasn’t meant to be hurtful.

    “It was not said in the context to offend her. I’m sorry how it came across. It does sound very bad now but at the time I didn’t mean it that way,” she said. “It was the law of the land and there was two referendums where the Catholic church was pressing the buttons.” She said it was more to give information and to throw light on Irish culture.

    Coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin said the words “went around the world” and he pointed out that Irish public hospitals do not follow any religious tenets or dogma. Ms Burke said she felt her back was against the wall and that she had to say something. “I shouldn’t have said it but it came out the wrong way.” It was a chat and had nothing to do with the provision of care, she told the inquest today.

  • 16:26
    The female Continuity IRA assassin who shot dead an innocent father-of-two as he prepared to go to work has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Special Criminal Court. Rose Lynch (50) confessed to gardai that she “executed” David Darcy (39) and had “emptied a handgun” during the murder of the van driver, who the non-jury court heard was “wholly blameless” and was not involved in criminality. Passing sentence, presiding judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said the incident could only be described as “a premeditated, calculated and cold-blooded murder”.
  • 16:30
    The monthly press release from is here.

    It really is.

    Excited? Well, how could you not be.

    It shows that hotel prices in Dublin have returned to normal after increases of up to 174 per cent for St Patrick’s Day. A double room in Dublin on March 16th cost an average of €287, but one night in April will cost an average of €95.
  • 17:49
    Right, that's it we're done. Pamela Duncan will be in this chair tomorrow. We're setting it up like The Hunger Games. The weakest Live News Blogger Type Person (LNBTP) at the end of each week will be cast out and left to starve. It's tough. But fair.
  • 09:11