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All the day's rolling news with Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak Tue, Mar 25
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  • 09:39
    Isn't it only gorgeous outside this morning? The perfect start to Tuesday's Daily Wire journey. I'm Sorcha Pollak and I'll be guiding you through today's breaking news and events. I'm on @SorchaPollak if you have any comments or suggestions.
  • 09:45
    Opening today’s blog with the breaking news that the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has resigned. He informed the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter this morning.
  • 09:53

    Queen Elizabeth will host a reception in Buckingham Palace this afternoon to mark the contribution made by Irish people in Britain, with hundreds of Irish representatives expected to attend.

    The event is a warm-up for President Michael D Higgins’ state visit with his wife Sabina to Britain next month. It will be the first state visit to the UK undertaken by a president of Ireland.

    Invitees include fish trader Pat O’Connell of Cork’s English Market, who said he “nearly collapsed” when he opened his invite.

  • 10:05

    We’ll be keeping you up to date throughout the day on all the latest on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s resignation.

    Meanwhile let’s travel to Egypt where Irish citizen Ebraheem Halawa is still waiting to have his case heard, more than seven months after he was detained in Cairo following clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and security forces.

    The 18-year-old student was with three of his sisters, Omaima, Fatima and Soumaia, when they took refuge in Cairo’s Al Fateh mosque during clashes. The three women spent almost four months in detention before being released in November but he remains in detention.

    Soumaia Halawa said the news that an Egyptian court had sentenced to death 529 supporters of Morsi in a mass trial was worrying, particularly as their lawyers were not listened to in court.
    She said her young brother was keeping his spirits up but the delay in having his case heard was affecting him.

    “It’s really getting into him now. At least if there was a hearing he would know but it’s not clear. He doesn’t know what’s going on. He’s just waiting,” she said.

  • 10:07
  • 10:17

    Astronaut Chris Hadfield features in a series Tourism Ireland videos promoting Ireland that are released today. The former International Space Station commander agreed to give his services free of charge to help promote Ireland. He has made four videos featuring the Wild Atlantic Way in the Inishowen peninsula, Co Donegal, hurling, Titanic Belfast and the Guinness Storehouse.

    Click here to watch the video.

  • 10:31

    The death toll from the weekend mudslide in Washington State has climbed to 14 after six more bodies were found. As many as 176 people were reported missing in the massive landslide, and local emergency management officials expressed doubt anyone else would be found alive.

    For more on the story, click here.

  • 10:36
  • 10:36
    Both Aretha Franklin and Elton John celebrate their birthdays today. Here’s a little respect from Aretha.
  • 10:40

    Conor Lally has put a profile together on Martin Callinan’s career as Garda Commissioner.

    “Martin Callinan was appointed to the position of Garda Commissioner in December 2010, having served as deputy to Fachtna Murphy who retired.

    Mr Callinan, a 60-year-old married father of three from Glasnevin, Dublin, took charge of the force on December 28th of that year. He was the first Dubliner in the 86-year history of the force to be appointed Garda Commissioner.”

    To continue reading the profile piece, click here.

  • 10:48
  • 10:49
  • 10:50
  • 10:57

    Conor Lally and Fiach Kelly have filed the latest news on the Callinan resignation.

    They write that in a move not even anticipated by those closest to him in the Gardaí, Mr Callinan tendered his resignation to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter this morning.

    Government sources have said they were “stunned” by the news, and while Mr Callinan notified Mr Shatter of his resignation, sources said the issue of a Garda oversight body had still to be addressed.

    It is understood he has cited family and personal reasons in his letter, based on the increased pressure he has been put under by the deepening rift in Government over his use of the word “disgusting” to describe the Garda whistleblowers when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee.

  • 10:59

    While the Labour Party and Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar had called on Martin Callinan to withdraw the comments, no Minister had called on him to step aside.

    The move is unprecedented since the foundation of the State and the Garda force.

    Mr Callinan had been due to retire on age grounds last August but was offered a two-year extension to his term by the Government, which he accepted.

    He was to retire in August of next year when that two-year period had expired but has decided this morning to tender his resignation to Mr Shatter.

    His departure leaves significant gaps at the head of the force, due to inaction by Mr Shatter in recent years in filling senior posts that many within the force were very surprised have been left vacant.

    Deputy Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan, along with Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney, were regarded as the front runners to be the next garda commissioner when Mr Callinan’s tenure was due to come to an end next August.

  • 11:10
  • 11:18
    Click here to read Fintan O’Toole’s opinion piece on the use of the word “disgusting”. Garda commissioner Martin Callinan described the actions of the two whistleblowers, Sergeant Maurice McCabe and retired garda John Wilson, as "disgusting".
  • 11:32

    A new study released today has found that 42% of young people in Ireland are living with their parents.

    The National Youth Council of Ireland has released a report that shows increases in youth unemployment and cuts in social welfare have made it more difficult for Irish young people to afford to leave home and live independently.

    The report found that 51% of Irish young people see cost as a barrier to healthcare, making it the 4th highest in the EU. It also reveals that 18% of young people in Ireland experience serious deprivation.

    “This means that 18% cannot afford keeping their house warm, buying meat or fish at least every second day (if they wanted to) and/or buying new, rather than second-hand clothes. Young people in large households, such as those living both with their parents and their partner and/or children are the most likely to experience high level of deprivation”, said Marie-Claire McAleer NYCI Senior Research and Policy Officer.

  • 11:38

    Bad weather and rough seas have forced the suspension of the search for any wreckage of the missing Malaysian jetliner that officials are now sure crashed into the remote Indian Ocean with the loss of all 239 people on board.

    Recovery of wreckage of the Boeing 777 could unlock clues about why the plane had diverted so far off course. Theories range from a hijacking to sabotage or a possible suicide by one of the pilots, but investigators have not ruled out technical problems.

    An international air and sea search in the area yesterday spotted several floating objects that might be parts of the plane and an Australian navy ship was close to finding possible debris, Australian prime minister Tony Abbott said.

    But the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said gale-force winds, heavy rain and low cloud meant planes could not fly safely to the zone today and waves of 6 metres or more forced the navy ship from the area.

    Click here to watch the emotional tribute of a young Australian man to his parents who were aboard the missing Malaysian aircraft.

  • 11:39
  • 11:44

    BBC news has reported that a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist leader has been shot dead in what officials describe as a special forces operation.

    Oleksandr Muzychko, better known as Sashko Bily, died in a shoot-out with police in a cafe in Rivne in western Ukraine, the interior ministry said.

    He was a leader of Right Sector, a far-right group which was prominent in the recent anti-government protests.

  • 11:52
  • 11:55
  • 12:05

    Relatives of Chinese passengers from flight MH370 have marched on the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, demanding answers. Dozens of angry relatives have accused Malaysia of delays and deception after more than two weeks of confusing briefings.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping is to send a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur to consult with the Malaysian government over the missing plane, state news agency Xinhua said today.

    The protest followed Monday night’s announcement by the Malaysian prime minister and Malaysia Airlines that all evidence suggested the plane had crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

  • 12:29

    Back to the latest on the Martin Callinan resignation - Fiach Kelly has put together an analysis of the political reaction to the surprise news.

    He writes: Cabinet ministers arrived in Government Buildings and Leinster House for their first meeting back after the St Patrick’s Day break expecting to find a form of words which would allow Mr Callinan withdraw his remarks in which he called the whistleblowers “disgusting”.

    Despite the unrelenting pressure on Mr Callinan in recent weeks - reaching its peak as Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar and the Labour Party called on him to withdraw the remarks - nobody in Government had called on Mr Callinan to step aside.

    However, the reality is Mr Callinan became the faultline in the biggest Coalition split since Fine Gael and Labour took office.

    To continue reading Fiach Kelly’s analysis, click here.

  • 12:36

    Here is Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s statement in full:

    In the best interests of An Garda Síochána and my family, I have decided to retire.

    I felt that recent developments were proving to be a distraction from the important work that is carried out by An Garda Síochána on a daily basis for the citizens of the State in an independent and impartial manner. Having joined An Garda Síochána in May of 1973, it has been a great honour and privilege to have spent nearly 41 years as a member of this tremendous organisation, serving the people of Ireland.

    Those nearly 41 years, though at times challenging, have been enjoyable and fulfilling. This is due to the standard of people I have worked for, worked with, and led during this period of time. The work I carried out throughout my career could not have been done without the support of numerous men and women, and for this I would like to thank all who I have worked with during my service. It also could not have been achieved without the support of the many thousands of members of public who I have come in contact with and who I hope I have helped in some small way during my career.

    Since becoming Commissioner in 2010 I have never failed to be impressed by the dedication of all serving members and civilian staff even when they faced significant professional and personal challenges.

    The last four years have seen major changes in An Garda Síochána, which were always done in the best interest of the community for whom we do our job. Although some of these changes have not always been easy, statistics from the CSO have shown that they have resulted in a reduction in crime throughout the country. This change in delivery of a policing service has, I hope, provided communities and individuals with a sense of safety and security in their daily lives.

    I would like to thank the members of An Garda Síochána who I worked with during my time as Commissioner for their support and willingness to adapt for the benefit of the citizens of the State.

    I have great confidence that the delivery of an excellent policing service by excellent people will continue as it has done since An Garda Síochána’s foundation.

    I wish my successor, current members of An Garda Síochána, and those due to join later this year my continuing best wishes and wholehearted support.

  • 12:42
  • 12:44
    We’ve put together a timeline of the Martin Callinan penalty points controversy. Click here to take a look.
  • 13:03

    Roy Greenslade from the Guardian has written that Martin Callinan’s resignation is a “vindication” for Gemma O’Doherty, the journalist fired by the Irish Independent for her pursuit of the story that “led to his departure.”

    He writes that O’Doherty was made compulsorily redundant by the Independent after door-stepping Mr Callinan about a tip that penalty points had been wiped from his driving record.

    “Stephen Rae, editor-in-chief of the Dublin-based Independent titles (and a former editor of the Garda Review magazine), was furious with O'Doherty. He called her a "rogue reporter" for approaching Mr Callinan without permission,” writes Greenslade.

    Last month, O’Doherty launched a defamation action against Rae and the Irish Independent.

  • 13:03
  • 13:30

    Improved weather conditions have allowed the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight to resume, while Malaysia says it has narrowed the search area down by 80 per cent.

    That still leaves a large area of 622,000 square miles, but is just 20 per cent of the area that was previously being searched.

    Searchers are still faced with the daunting task of combating a vast expanse of choppy seas for the suspected debris of the aircraft. “We’re not searching for a needle in a haystack - we’re still trying to define where the haystack is,” Australia’s deputy defence chief, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, told reporters at a military base in Perth.

  • 13:35

    New figures show that air pollution has become the world’s single biggest environmental health risk, linked to around 7 million – or nearly one in eight deaths in 2012 – says the World Health Organisation.

    Around 80% of the 3.7 million deaths from outdoor pollution came as a result of stroke and heart disease, 11% from lung diseases and 6% from cancers. According to the WHO, the vast majority were in Asia, with 180,000 in the Americas and Europe combined.

    To read the full report, click here.

  • 13:40
  • 14:43

    Breaking News:
    A Government statement expected on the Garda controversy is due to be issued this afternoon after Taoiseach Enda Kenny was made aware of shocking new allegations concerning the force.

    The Government was informed of the details at its meeting this morning and a comprehensive statement is currently being drafted.

    The Taoiseach is meeting the Opposition leaders, Fianna Fail’s Michael Martin and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to brief them on the allegations.

    More to come on this story.

  • 14:49

    Gay Byrne has spoken out about the Callinan resignation saying that Minister for Justice Alan Shatter “should be able to sniff the air” in terms of public opinion about his position.

    There have been several calls from politicians for Mr Shatter to step down.

    Mr Byrne told the Irish Times:
    “I think Alan Shatter must have a politician’s feeling and Enda Kenny must have a politician’s feeling and they should recognise that the vast majority of people in Ireland feel sorry about Martin Callinan but feel it’s right that he should resign because there’s nowhere else for him to go – and they probably feel as strongly about Alan Shatter.”

    Mr Byrne defended Mr Callinan’s character, saying his resignation could have been avoided had he issued an apology for his controversial “disgusting” remark in the Dail Public Accounts Committee.

    “I’m very sad to see a good man brought down – but there you are. I suppose the error in judgment he made was that he might have seen a fortnight ago the best thing and the right thing to do would have been to follow the instincts of the Irish people and apologise to the two boys and try to make amends to them.”

  • 15:05

    The Government has just released a statement saying it has learned a system was in place in a large number of Garda stations whereby incoming and outgoing telephone calls were taped and recorded.  

    It writes that the practice of recording phone conversations was discontinued in November 2013.

    The statement adds that the Government is extremely concerned about this information and has decided to set up a statutory Commission of Investigation into the matter.

    The Government has also agreed to the retirement of Martin Callinan.

  • 15:10

    The Government has set up a Commission of Investigation to examine the widespread recording of phone calls at Garda stations, writes Fiach Kelly.

    A Government statement described the development as “a new and very serious issue relating to An Garda Síochána”.

    The statement said there was a widespread of recording phone calls to and from Garda stations .

    In a statement this afternoon, the Government said: “The practice of making recordings was in place for many years and was discontinued in November of 2013”.

    It added: “It is not yet clear why this practice was in operation.”

    “In the context of ongoing legal proceedings in a particular case, the Government has learned that a system was in place in a large number of Garda stations whereby incoming and outgoing telephone calls were taped and recorded. The Government was informed of this new information at its meeting today.”

    For more on this breaking news, click here.

  • 15:17

    Irish Cancer Society has reported that the #nomakeupselfie viral trend has raised €1 million over the last 6 days. The society has confirmed that “every cent of the €4” donated via text will go towards the Irish Cancer Society.

    Meanwhile, there’s been some confusion in the world of #nomakeupselfies over in the UK. £18,625 was donated by mistake to Unicef by those who texted DONATE rather than BEAT.

    It seems Cancer Research UK and Unicef use the same text number for donations – why that makes sense, I cannot understand.

    Unicef said that it was working to transfer the money back over to Cancer Research UK.

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) also received some stray donations from those who texted BEAR instead of BEAT and in doing so accidently inquired about adopting a polar bear.

    Over £8million has already been donated to Cancer Research UK over the past six days through the #nomakeupselfie trend.

  • 15:26
  • 15:34

    Members of Dáil Éireann have just held a minute’s silence in memory of Fine Gael’s Nicky McFadden who died this afternoon aged 51. The mother of two was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in the summer of 2012.

    The Longford/Westmeath TD came from a well known Fine Gael family. Her father Brendan, who died last year, was a former mayor of Athlone, a position currently held by Ms McFadden’s sister Gabrielle.

  • 15:36
    The Dáil is now suspended for 15 minutes as a mark of respect for Nicky McFadden.
  • 15:37
  • 15:38
  • 15:43
    Four men have been arrested for skydiving from the top of the One World Trade Centre base. If you’re not fazed by vertigo, click here to watch the video.
  • 15:44
  • 15:55
  • 15:58
    Leaders questions - Mícheál Martin has called on Minister Alan Shatter to correct the record regarding whistleblowers and withdraw his remarks in relation to what he said about the whistleblowers.
  • 16:02
    Gerry Adams: Taoiseach, will you ask Minister Shatter to go?
    At every turn he undermined GSOC, he discredited the garda whistleblowers. Arguably none of this would have come to light had these brave officers not spoken out.
    Taoiseach Enda Kenny: No.

  • 16:05
    Taoiseach – This is an opportunity to lead for a new authority which will bring the Garda Síochána right into the modern era where everybody can have completely faith in the transparency and professionalism of the Garda force.
    The inspectorate report is being addressed here in the house on Thursday

  • 16:08
    Taoiseach - The Minister for Justice, on behalf of the government, will continue to reform the justice system.
  • 16:12
    The Taoiseach said he was made aware of the Garda allegations by the attorney general at 6pm on Sunday.
  • 16:27

    We released the news earlier today on the Daily Wire that 42% of young people in Ireland are living with their parents.

    The Guardian has asked six young people what it’s really like living at home.

    Here’s what Maria Farrell (28) from Kells said:

    "I wanted to go back to university as a mature student to study teaching and the only way I could afford to do it was to move back home. The everyday is fine as I get on well with my parents. We both understand it's not a long term thing, it's just until I finish university.

    I think they're happy that they are able to help me achieve my dreams of becoming a teacher. They wouldn't be able to afford the €1000 or more it would cost for myself and my sister to rent near university, and I wouldn't ask them to pay it either, but this way they contribute in a huge way to my education. I know my mother didn't like the house being empty when I was living away as they bought dogs!

    I don't pay rent but I contribute by buying groceries or heating oil for example. I don't really have rules or chores. I guess it's like living with any housemates, where I clean up after myself and try to be quiet when I get in late or leave early. And it hasn't really had any impact on my social life. Although I do miss having people over for dinner and too many bottles of wine. That's hard to do when your Mum might pop in to put on the kettle at any given moment!"

    To read the rest of Maria’s piece and to hear what young people in Italy and the UK think about living with their parents, click here.

  • 16:52
    Click here to see an interactive map of the numbers of young people still living with their parents around Europe.
  • 16:57
    Barack Obama has confirmed that the US plans to end the National Security Agency’s (NSA) systematic collection of American’s telephone data. He admitted today that NSA revelations had shaken the trust in the country’s intelligence services and pledged to address the concerns of privacy advocates.  
  • 16:59
  • 17:05
    That's all from today's Daily Wire. Follow @IrishTimes on Twitter for all the latest on Martin Callinan's resignation and the news of the recording of phone calls at Garda stations. We'll be back tomorrow from 9.30am.   Slán libh.