News Blog

A rolling look at today's events

Joe Humphreys Thu, May 30
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  • 09:18
    Good morning. Joe Humphreys driving the live blog day. Look forward to hearing your comments and views on a day when parents' anxieties are again set to feature strongly. Fresh salvos fired in morning papers in the creche vs home childcare debate.
  • 09:20
    But first... Stat of the day: It's 28 years since England beat the Republic of Ireland in football (25th March 1985). Record since: one win and five draws. "You'll never beat the Irish" is alive and well.
  • 09:24
    Meanwhile, in the field of minority sports:

    Only one Irishman in the starting line-up for the Lions’ opening match against the Barbarians in Hong Kong. It is, however, Paul O’Connell and he is captaining the side.

    The full run down for the game:
    British & Irish Lions (v The Barbarians, June 1, Hong Kong)
    15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
    14. Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
    13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/Wales)
    12. Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
    11. Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
    10. Owen Farrell (Saracens/England)
    9. Mike Phillips (Bayonne/Wales)
    1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens/England)
    2. Richard Hibbard (Ospreys/Wales)
    3. Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
    4. Richie Gray (Scotland)
    5. Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland, captain)
    6. Dan Lydiate (Dragons/Wales)
    7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales)
    8. Toby Faletau (Dragons/Wales)
    16. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
    17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Ireland)
    18. Matt Stevens (Saracens/England)
    19. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/wales)
    20. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster/Ireland)
    21. Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland)
    22. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/Ireland)
    23. George North (Scarlets/Wales)
  • 09:29
  • 09:34

    But this is really how I want to start the day: Exactly 100 years ago this piece of music was first performed in Paris. Igor Stravinsky's musically revolutionary The Rite of Spring. On that debut, the music was drowned out by protests over Nijinsky's provocative choreography.

    Now my knowledge of Nijinsky starts and ends with the 1970 Epsom Derby but I can recognise a good tune. This jolts you awake like a tripple espresso.

  • 09:56
    Opinion columns today dominated by parents' - specifically mothers'/women's - anxieties. Where are all the fathers (asks one anxious father who dropped child into creche this morning)?

    Victoria White (Examiner): "The most comprehensive international research makes negative findings for extensive group care before a child is three years old."

    Anna Kenny (Irish Times): "Parents, as well as the HSE, need to be the inspectors of their children's wellbeing."

    Martina Devlin (Independent): "We need to ask how suitable is the training for childcare workers?"

    Meg Walker (The Herald): "Rage, concern, guilt and horror... how else could all caring parents react?"

    Brenda Power (Irish Daily Mail): "How dare HSE chiefs scorn and patronise when it's them who failed children?"

  • 10:03

    Excellent front-page comment piece from Claire O'Sullivan in the Examiner today.

    "What the Prime Time investigation has done," she writes, "is remind us what we've known for years - the inspection and regulation of the (children) system is not fit for purpose..."

    Yes, and it also reminds us that sometimes TV slams newspapers for emotional punch. Well done Prime Time.

  • 10:06
    Here's the link to that Examiner article.
  • 10:14
    The north Cork suburb of Knocknaheeny making international headlines today as the Apple tax avoidance story rumbles on.

    The Guardian today publishes details of its investigation in "the Emerald Isle" (its words), complete with reference to a Traveller's horse called Ginger. It has also posted this natty video "Apple's dirty little tax secret".

  • 10:17
  • 10:39
  • 10:44
    Paul O'Connell will no doubt express delight at his captaincy appointment later today. But earlier he posted this picture from the tour. Aw! So cute.
  • 11:00

    The Phoenix no doubt had difficulty settling on its front page speech-bubbles. So many possibilities.

  • 11:16
    Nama generated €4.5 billion in cash in 2012, according to its annual report, just published.

    Agency reports profit of €228 million. Admin costs fell by 7 per cent, it says, amid ongoing concern about legal and financial costs.

  • 11:19
    Lots of stories about the media in the media today, including €1,200 fine for Mauritian editor for publishing photos of murder victim Michaela McAreavy
  • 11:39
  • 11:45

    Latest CSO figures show an annual increase in employment of 1.1 per cent, or 20,500, in the year to the first quarter of 2013. Good news?

    Not says, ISME, the small business organisation. First to respond to the figures, its ceo Mark Fielding says:

    “The so-called activation measures are not working. Not alone do we have over 180,000 out of work for over a year, the enforced flight of thousands of young people is robbing the country of our future, while our Government prevaricates and dithers over a Jobs Plan, full of fudge, false promise and little else.”
  • 11:57
    "Ireland is not - and has never been - a tax haven", writes Joanne Richardson, chief executive of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland. Cue lively debate.

  • 12:12
    News headlines coming up to lunchtime:

    Irish Times:
    Unemployment falls to 13.7 per cent.
    Women seriously ill after consuming "contaminated" cannabis.
    Government pledge to cut funding to creches in breach of childcare standards. 

    Francis Fitzgerald orders review of HSE inspection reports.
    Complaints against doctors up 12 per cent last year
    Irish Water confirms 400 jobs for Cork firm.

    Irish Independent:
    State to cancel internships for creches accused of mistreating children
    Lethal cannabis mix leaves women in fight for lives
    Unemployment falls below 300,000 for first time in three years

    ... and just to show bad news is not an Irish exclusive. Our sun-kissed exiles in Australia are going to bed with these headlines:

    The Age
    Australia is headed for a flu season to rival 2012, as well as severe gastro outbreaks
    Police are interviewing one of Australia's worst paeophile priests over new abuse allegations
    Coen Brothers deny rumours of sequel to The Big Lebowski...

    ... Ach! Shame!

  • 12:28
  • 12:48

    In latest foreign crime and courts news:

    Mark Bridger found guilty of abduction and murder of April Jones

    Man in court over murder of soldier in Woolwich

    No charges against mother of baby trapped in sewer in China

  • 12:55
    1.5 hour traffic delays reported around Phoenix Park. Motorists aren't happy but, my, aren't the flowers pretty. Photo gallery from Irish Times snappers now online
    1.5 hour traffic delays reported around Phoenix Park. Motorists aren't happy but, my, aren't the flowers pretty. Photo gallery from Irish Times snappers now online
  • 13:08
    RTE News at One features today:

    The job figures, are they the start of a turnaround?
    Michael Noonan welcomes Nama performance in 2012.
    HSE alert over contaminated cannabis.
    Ruairi Quinn's plans for three new technological universities
    Conviction in April Jones case.

  • 13:17
    Frank Daly, chair of Nama, says "confidence and stablity" are returning to the property market.

  • 13:20

    One of the day's best headlines, as pointed out by my colleague Mary Fitzgerald:

    "How do you deal with the English Defence League? Offer them a biscuit."

    And an interesting snapshot too on race relations in Britain.

  • 13:27
  • 13:38
    Gosh! They must have a lot of time on their hands over at the Guardian.
    "Football's 50 top transfer window targets - in pictures"

    I mean, they're not even transfers. Just transfer targets.

    Yes, Luis Suarez is in there - valued at £40m.
    I'd rather Robert Lewandowski at £24.5m.

  • 13:41
    Nice story breaking about Tesco employee in Mullingar who is believed to have won €10.5 million in Lotto. He has gone home to check his ticket - so says RTE's Midlands reporter Ciaran Mullooly who is on the spot.
  • 13:47
    Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak weighs into tax debate. Big corporations should be treated the same as the "little guy" he says, speaking at a business event in Derry.

    “People are not taxed on profit, they are taxed on income, corporations should be taxed the same as people in my mind, that is how it should be, that would make things fair and right,” he said. “That means corporations pay taxes on all of their revenues or people only pay it on a tiny amount called profit and until we rectify that the whole problem is just with us forever."
    Hmm. Methinks Apple could take a lead before rectifying "the whole problem".
  • 13:57
  • 13:59
    Meanwhile, in entertainment news. A comedian makes public plea for assistance.

  • 14:02

    Another titbit for media-watchers:

    BBC accused of ripping off stories from local newspapers without proper accreditation.

  • 14:24

    A record 423 complaints were made against doctors last year, up 12 per cent on 2011, according to the annual report of the Medical Council.

    The main areas of complaint included communication, diagnosis, clinical investigations, follow up care and surgical procedures.
  • 14:26
  • 14:44

    Dick Ahlstrom's analysis of story he broke this morning about the Government's plan to create three new tech universities can be read here.

    Interesting, tangentally-related piece in the New Yorker about the future of college moving online.

  • 14:47

    Gardeners can sprinkle their lawns with impunity. No water charges for at least six months, says Phil Hogan. The Minister says a date for their introduction will be known "within a couple of weeks".

  • 15:03
    What they're debating across the pond.

    Race relations: British Christianity dies while Islam thrives. Why? (Telegraph)

    .... and Football: Why England fans should surrender their traditional chant (Guardian)

    Interesting, if somewhat historically confused, piece by Mark Perryman on England fans' insistance on still singing of "No surrender to the IRA!"

    "Simply banning the chant won't work, nor will demonising those who join in," he writes. "We don't need diktats, but dialogue about what we have surrendered and why some of those surrenders have made sense. A conversation about how a political and peaceful solution to one of the bloodiest terror campaigns of postwar Europe was found. An admission that both sides surrendered and found peace instead."


    He ends with the suggestion that England adopt a new chant on the theme of "peace, love and understanding?" Typical leftie media stuff, I hear you say.

  • 15:06
    Oh, yes, the gender issue is featuring strongly too in the British media today, particularly the grass roots campaign by three Facebook users against offensive and sexist material online. It's not just the Oireachtas communications commmittee that's putting Facebook under pressure over its light touch regulation policy.
  • 15:15
  • 15:17
    With the Venice Biennale opening for previews, there's an opportunity to see Richard Mosse's incredible pictures again. He is getting some attention in the Italian media too.

    As it's in Italian, I don't know if it's good or bad press but I'm guessing good.
  • 15:35
    Back to hard news:
    Life sentence for Mark Bridger over April Jones murder.
  • 15:36
  • 15:42
    News outlets across the land are working up "ice cream sales" stories. Oh, hang on! The Leitrim Observer has got there first.
  • 15:54

    Run down of the mid-afternoon headlines:

    A Cavan childminder has appeared in court charged with causing serious harm to a 10-month-old girl.

    Rise in numbers working part-time sees unemployment fall to 13.7 per cent.

    Syria has received the first shipment of Russian air defence system, says president Bashar al-Assad

    Microsoft restores its 'start' button on Windows 8 after customers' outcry

  • 16:13
    Beer kegs, copper wire, road signs, manhole covers, roofing lead and even goalposts have been stolen by metal thieves. So say gardai who revealed today they'd arrested 25 people as part of a European-wide operation tackling the theft of lead, copper and steel.

    Piece of useless trivia: I once had the metal letter box stolen from my front door. (This was while living in South Africa.)
  • 16:15
  • 16:37

    In other sport: Football's governing body Fifa is set to elect a woman to its executive committee for the first time in its history this week. Former Austrlian international Moya Dodd is in the shake-up, the BBC reports today.

    Gets you thinking, one of our own women's football internationals would make a great administrator. The "Katie Taylor for Fifa president" campaign starts here.

  • 16:55

    The Penalty Points Four - Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and Joan Collins - upped the ante at a press conference in Dublin today. A video can viewed here. The quartet are planning to introduce a private members' bill in July challenging "the unhealthy and incestuous relationship that exists between the Irish Government and the management of An Garda Siochana". Wallace's statement - with a fetching pink trim - can be read here.

  • 16:58
    Fianna Fail TDs and Senators will be allowed a free vote on the Government's Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013, RTE reports.... First major threat to Micheal Martin's leadership?
  • 17:12
    Just when you thought you'd get away without abortion featuring in the news... three stories come along at once. First FF agree free vote on Bill, Oireachtas health committee publishes report on its hearings. Now RTE is picking up on Irish Catholic interview with Vatican official who says TDs should resign rather than support the legislation.

    “If the Prime Minister as a Catholic, doesn’t want to impose his belief and the time has come for a more moderate line on abortion, then he resigns.
    “If you are faithful to your conviction, then you have to get out,” said Msgr Jacques Suaudeau, Scientific Director of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

    The monsignor even gets in a Nazi reference. “Sometimes people forget Nuremberg. You cannot cover yourself with the cover of party discipline,” he told the paper.

    The Irish Catholic article can be read here.
  • 17:22
  • 17:25
    Met Eireann temperature reports at 5pm: 17 degrees in Athenry, 18 degrees in Carlow, 19 degrees in Dunsany, Co Meath and Dublin Airport
  • 17:29
    Micheal Martin says he proposed to FF colleagues that there should be a free vote. "His proposal was accepted by general consensus," says party in a statement.

    So no leadership challenge then?
  • 17:35
    Oireachtas health committee report on Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill runs to 1,600 pages across two volumes. It makes no recommendations.

  • 17:43
    Noel Murphy Hi Joe, You seem to be counting the 95 game as a draw. That game was officially recorded as a 1-0 win for the republic. Regards Noel Murphy
  • 17:51

    Nice try Noel but I'm reliably informed by the Sports Department it didn't count as a win.

  • 17:53
    On that note, I think it's time to wrap up.
    Hope you all got to enjoy some of the sunshine today. I'm off for a 99.