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Name-calling in the Seanad, more North violence and horsemeat back in the news

Dan Griffin Tue, Jul 16
LIVE: The Daily Wire

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  • 09:00
    The religious congregations that ran the Magdalene laundries have told the Government they will not make any financial contribution to a compensation fund for former residents.

    The Northern Ireland Assembly will reconvene today to discuss the ongoing street violence in Belfast.

    And a House of Commons inquiry has criticised Irish and British authorities for failing to prosecute those responsible for the horsemeat crisis.

  • 09:03
    Good morning, it's Tuesday July 16th and it's Dan Griffin here on the Irish Times live news blog.
  • 09:19

    The four congregations that ran the Magdalene laundries have told the Government they will not make any financial contribution to the multimullion-euro fund set up to recompence former residents, Harry McGee reports on our front page today. The nuns, it appears, have not yet offered any reason as to why they are refusing to contribute to the fund. They just aren't.

    After four nights of bitter rioting in Belfast, the Northern Ireland Assembly will today reconvene to debate the impact of the parades dispute. Stormont assembly members will meet at noon to discuss a DUP motion which claims attempts to build a shared future have been harmed by the decision to block a controversial Orange Order parade from marching through a predominantely Catholic area in north Belfast on July 12th, Gerry Moriarty writes.

    The failure by the Irish and British authorities to prosecute those responsible for putting horse meat into burgers and ready meals has been sharply criticised by a House of Commons inquiry, which says it is "dismayed at the slow pace of investigations".

  • 09:43
    It's a big week for the Seanad. All eyes are on the upper house as the abortion Bill slithers through it on its way to the Áras. And then, yesterday, the ever-ebullient David Norris directed a torrent of gynaecological invective at Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty, who he accused of "talking through her fanny" in describing the house as "shockingly undemocratic".

    "I object in the strongest possible way," Norris fumed, "to the idea that someone who has spent years in the House should have to listen to the Regina monologue from someone who has not been a wet weekend in the Oireachtas and is talking through her fanny".

    Doherty will make a formal complaint to the Leader of the Seanad over the remarks while, this morning,  Ministers Richard Bruton and Brendan Howlin said the debate should not degenerate into name-calling and personal animosity.
  • 09:45
  • 10:08
    In other news, the Big Mac will land in Vietnam early next year when fast-food giant McDonalds opens its first restaurant in the Southeast Asian country. According to the Financial Times, the US company appointed a Vietnamese businessman, Henry Nguyen, to build the McDonald's brand in the country.

    That done, the first outlet will be in Ho Chi Minh City. McDonald's said the menu will include the Big Mac, cheeseburgers and fries, which, in fairness, doesn't come as much of a surprise.
    The company--which operates in 37 Asian countries--joins Starbucks in Ho Chi Minh. The coffee chain opened its first outlet in the country in February
  • 10:11
  • 10:21
    Mary Mitchell O'Connor speaking to Pat Kenny now says Sen David Norris should "withdraw his comment and apologise immediately" because, among other reasons, "it's not a good message to our young people".

    What do you make of it, readers? Is it worse than the Paul Gogarty saying "f**k you, Deputy Stagg"?
  • 10:38
    Keen Seanad watchers may not have been too shocked by Norris's use of language because, as my colleague Paddy Logue has brought to my attention, it's nothing they haven't seen before.

    A quick search over on for the word 'fanny' reveals the follwing nuggets:

    "Speaker after speaker has said that we all seem to have been supplied with the same statistics but there is no harm in repeating them. There may be no active harm but it is a pain in the fanny," he said during a debate on bowel cancer awareness in 2009.

    On a health Bill in 2009 it was this: "The Minister of State commented that this is a "narrow interpretation" of the term 'staff of the approved centre'. Narrow my fanny: it is perfectly obvious that the interpretation is correct."

    And last week he said the abolition of the Seanad Bill, "is in its fanny  a simple Bill".

    Of course, the context is different. These examples aren't angrily directed at a parliamentary colleague, but they do seem to suggest that he uses the word 'fanny' to describe the buttocks which, I guess, is an important detail as far as the sexism accusations are concerned..
  • 10:38
    johnwilliams Get over it. I have seen and heard the incident a couple of times. Fine Gael is making a big issue in the hope of deflecting the debate away from the proposal to abolish the Seanad.
  • 10:40
    In the last minute Norris has told the Seanad that he is "very happy indeed" to withdraw his comments. Said he accepted his language was "intemperate".

  • 10:57

    The EU: Iceland, you are taking too much mackerel out of the sea.

    Iceland: I think you'll find we aren't.

    Simon Coveney: What we want is a shared management arrangement so that we can protect the stock to ensure that it is being fished sustainably."


  • 11:06

    Elsewhere, a fully qualified female accountant with almost a decade of experience lost out on a job to a man who repeatedly failed his accountancy exams because she was "technically less competent" than him.

    She was awarded €45,000 by the Equality Ttibunal.

  • 11:22

    Read the latest entry in Dan Martin's Tour de France race diary here.

  • 11:29
    After the Irish authorities received a dressing down from a House of Commons inquiry for being slow to prosecute those responsible for the horsemeat scandal, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney defended the Government's reaction to the crisis. 

    "I've made it very clear that I want to secure prosecutions but I'm not going to go to court unless I know I can win," he told Morning Ireland earlier

    And in related news, Tesco has denied claims it plans to introduce new labelling which would read: "Irish born, British finished".
  • 11:43
    According to PA, only one in eight voters would support renaming a bank holiday "Margaret Thatcher Day," after the former prime minister who died earlier this year.  The proposal was contained in a raft of parliamentary bills tabled by a group of Tory backbenchers in their "Alternative Queen's Speech".
  • 11:44

    Here's a link to that Tesco story.

  • 11:55
    The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill is being debated in the Seanad now. Apparently the new legislation will only provide for abortion when the the life of the mother is at risk.
  • 11:56
  • 12:01
    Senator Terry Leyden speaking in the Seanad now. Says he will oppose abortion legislation because of the suicide clause.

    Oh, men speaking at length about the rights and wrongs of abortion, you'd get tired of it.
  • 12:07
    And in good jobs news:
  • 12:13
    The PSNI have updated the number of police officers injured in four nights of rioting in Northern Ireland linked to the banning of a contentious Orange Order parade. They say 71 officers have been injured while 60 rioters have been arrested. PSNI chief constable Matt Baggott urged politicians to use "calming" words ahead of a recall of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
  • 12:21
    The High Court has appointed an examiner to the house and garden centre chain Homebase Ireland, Eoin Burke Kennedy reports.
  • 12:32
  • 12:51
    Unions opposing austerity measures in Greece are staging their fourth general strike this year as the government prepares to start cutting public sector jobs.
  • 13:14
    A "once off processing issue" means thousands of social welfare recipients will have to wait an extra day before receiving their money. About 32,700 people will be affected.
  • 13:17
    In what must have been a tremendous personal challenge, Irish Times scribbler Patrick Freyne attempts to be nice to other people. Read how he got on.  (Ah, he's alright really.)
  • 13:24
    Senator Fidelma Healy Eames confirms she won't be supporting the abortion Bill.
  • 13:40
    American secret-leaking international fugitive Edward Snowden has officially asked for temporary asylum in Russia. Snowden, who has been stuck in Moscow airport for the past month, said he wants eventually to travel to Latin America. One wonders why he didn't just travel to Latin America in the first place and then release all that National Security Agency surveillance information.

    Anyway, president Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of effectively trapping Snowden on Russian territory by strong-arming any countries that might have once considered taking him.

    Putin, who was addressing students while taking a break from a sort of sub-aquatic treasure hunt in Finland, described Snowden as an unwanted Christmas present.
  • 14:02
    A sum of £250,000 loaned by the former Anglo Irish Bank to its bankrupt former chairman Seán Fitzpatrick for property investments in London does not have to be repaid into Mr Fitzpatrick's bankrupt estate by a former Anglo employee, the High Court has ruled.
  • 14:21
  • 14:33
    The coroner in the inquest into the death of model Katy French in 2007 has recorded an open verdict.
  • 14:41
    Thunderbirds are go: Vladimir Putin inspects the Baltic Sea. Photograph: Reuters
    Thunderbirds are go: Vladimir Putin inspects the Baltic Sea. Photograph: Reuters
  • 14:57
    The corruption trial of a businessman and four politicians will resume tomorrow. After a break of five days the trial of Jim Kennedy and the councillors is set to recommence at the Cricuit Criminal Court in Dublin, Fiona Gartland writes.
  • 15:14
    You really do have to search the British news websites to find any mention of the rioting in Belfast. Politicians have voiced concern that the violence has damaged Northern Ireland's good image abroad, earned through the successful G8 meeting in June. It would appear though that the rest of the world doesn't really care either way.
  • 15:34
    Builders in Poland have uncovered what appears to be a 500-year-old vampire burial ground. The skeletons (seven in total) had their heads removed and placed between their legs. Apparently beheading suspected vampires was common practice in medieval times--it stopped them rising from the dead, you see. In this case it seems to have done the trick nicely.

    Check out the UK Independent for more.
  • 15:41
  • 15:53
    Celtic manager Neil Lennon is hoping the team's Champion's League qualifier against Cliftonville in north Belfast tomorrow night goes off without a hitch after four consecutive nights of public disorder... read more.
  • 16:06
    Here's more on the Katy French inquest.
  • 16:23
  • 16:33
    Genevieve Carberry has been bravely following the Seanad abortion debate all day. Read her report here.
  • 16:46
    From the BBC today: "the BBC's new director general Tony Hall complained that actors aren't speaking clearly enough in TV drama. Is it time to cut the mumble, asks Ben Milne."

    And from the Guardian: "In defence of mumbling: there's a poetry in our quietness."

    Oh my, readers, what an absolutely delicious debate.
  • 17:03
    That's all from us for today. We had hoped to sign off with a photo of the newborn royal baby but it has to be born first, so instead we'll leave with another photo of Vladimir Putin sitting in his sub-aquatic incubation pod.
  • 17:03
    Enjoy your evening, folks. Photograph: Reuters.
    Enjoy your evening, folks. Photograph: Reuters.