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ESB row resolved... Or has it? A post-Mandela world and the West's awake. Conor Pope's on the Wire

Conor Pope Mon, Dec 9
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  • 08:37
    Right well the week is starting with panto-style confusion.

    The row at the ESB has been resolved....

    Oh no it hasn't.

    Oh yes it has.

    Oh no it... etc etc etc.

    More on that in a minute.

    Then Morning Ireland ran with a story saying that the HSE had written to the parents of children who suffered adverse affects after being given the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix saying it would not reimburse medical expenses where legal action is being taken.

    Then the HSE rushed out a statement saying the letter was not authorised by the Director General Tony O'Brien . A spokesman said the first O'Brien heard of the letter was on the RTÉ News headlines.

    Good morning, I am Conor Pope, and I will be attending to your daily news needs today.
  • 08:40
    But first Anchorman 2.

    It has its premiere in Dublin this evening.


  • 08:48
    The threat of widespread electricity blackouts appears to have been averted after ESB management and unions last night resolved their differences over the company’s pension scheme.

    Sort of

    Last night’s agreement says both sides now agree the pension scheme is a defined benefit arrangement and not a defined contribution.

    But the ESB seems to differ significant from the Labour Relations Commission’s (LRC) interpretation of the effect of the settlement on the company’s balance sheet.

    “The resolution of this issue protects the financial strength of ESB – there will be no additional liabilities on ESB’s balance sheet. There will be no change to the accounting treatment of the scheme in the company’s financial statements as a result,” the ESB said.

    No, there will be a deficit of almost €369m said the unions.

    The row will rumble on for much of today.

  • 08:49
    A guesthouse in Dublin City centre was evacuated early this morning after a fire broke out in the basement. Several units of Dublin Fire Brigade attended the fire at the Celtic Lodge Guest House on Talbot Street. It has been brought under control and the road has reopened. There are no reports of any injuries.
  • 08:54
    High drama at a meeting of North Korea's Politburu over the weekend. Kim Jong Un has ousted his uncle and de facto deputy for what was claimed was abuse of power, corruption and gambling away foreign currency.

    Jang Song Thaek was grabbed by the arms by two military officers and removed from the meeting in Pyongyang yesterday, according to a photo released today through North Korean television.

    He was stripped of all his posts and expelled from the party. Two of his aides have been executed.

  • 08:56
    And staying - roughly - in that part of the world: The Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has dissolved parliament and called a snap election.

    Despite the move anti-government protest leaders pressed ahead with mass demonstrations seeking to install an unelected body to run the country.

    Protesters have been on the streets of the capital for weeks, clashing with police and vowing to oust Ms Yingluck and eradicate the influence of her self-exiled brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

    The clashes petered out last week as the nation celebrated the king’s birthday, but political hostilities are set to resume in earnest.

  • 08:57

  • 09:00
    A Sherlock trailer to start the week?

    Don't mind if I do.

  • 09:04
    Hubby bonked our teen lodger at Xmas diner
    I found mum murdered under my Xmas tree
    Xmas horror Sick Dad dressed as SANTA then raped us.

    A ghost gave me triplets 

    The Bumper Christmas special  of That's Life has gone viral on Social Media overnight...
  • 09:08
    That's Vile...
    That's Vile...
  • 09:30
    Blackburn Rovers have confirmed that striker DJ Campbell has been arrested following spot-fixing allegations...
  • 10:12
    A man and woman were shot in front of a seven-year-old boy at their home last night. 

    The 32-year-old man was going into his house on the Cluain Darach estate in Tullamore at about 7pm when the attack took place.

    The child is thought to be the woman’s seven-year-old son.

    A car believed to have been used in the attack was later found burned out in Durrow, Co Offaly.
  • 10:15
    Some of the world's biggest tech companies have urged the US to accept wide-reaching reform of their online surveillance practice.

    Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have all signed a joint letter warning that in many countries the balance between the need for security and the freedom of the individual had tipped too far in favour of the state.

    “We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide.  The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual," the letter said.
  • 10:16
    Blackburn striker DJ Campbell has been arrested as part of a football spot-fixing investigation.

    The 32-year-old is one of six people detained in an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) after it acted on information passed to it by the Sun on Sunday newspaper.

    In a statement, Blackburn said: “Following reports in today’s national media, Blackburn Rovers can confirm that striker DJ Campbell has been arrested. “The club will be making no further comment on what is now an ongoing legal matter.”
  • 10:18
    Two Christmassy things coming up this morning. 

    Dublin's Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn and the head of the IFA John Bryan will open the Live Animal Crib at the  Mansion House at 10.30am.

    Then after 11am up to 150 Christmas carol singers will launch Stars, Choirs And Carols — an attempt to break a Guinness World Record for having the most carol singers under one roof on nearby King Street
  • 10:38

  • 11:09
    Press release from the HSE 

    "OMG: Gonorrhoea…It’s Trending
    New campaign aims to get Gonorrhoea prevention messages trending on Twitter #OMGsti
    The Dublin AIDS Alliance, the Union of Students Ireland,, the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme and Think Contraception, are aiming to tackle the rise in Gonorrhoea cases with a new social media campaign.  Between 2011 and 2012 there was a 33% increase in Gonorrhoea cases, and young men and women aged 17 to 29 years have been identified as a particular at risk group.  The tongue-in-cheek style of key messages for the campaign will help with getting the information across to young adults in both a humorous and factual way.
    Key messages will be promoted primarily using online resources – Facebook, Twitter and websites from Monday 9th December and will continue into 2014. Social media messages will promote safer sex, prevention of sexually transmitted Infections (STIs) including the consistent use of condoms, and STI testing and treatment services.  The use of social media will enable the campaign messages to reach a large national audience.
    The campaign has been funded by the HSE and was prompted by a steady rise in cases of Gonorrhoea over recent years.  Dr Fionnuala Cooney, Public Health Specialist with the HSE, said today that “our ability to test for gonorrhoea has improved in recent years, and more sensitive tests, and more numbers attending for screening may account for some of the increase – however, we know that unsafe sexual behaviour is a significant driver of the increase in cases of Gonorrhoea and other STIs.”
  • 12:01
    Danger times in the east. The Ukrainian government is sending troops into the capital where thousands of protesters are blocking entrances to key administrative buildings and have seized the city administration.  President Viktor Yanukovych has faced weeks of protests after shelving a treaty with the European Union last month to focus on ties with Moscow. A rally yesterday drew hundreds of thousands of protesters calling for his removal. The troop move comes a day after hundreds of thousands joined protests in Kiev and toppled a statute of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. 
  • 12:02
    The head of the CRC has resigned....

    Story will be on our website presently.
  • 12:26
    Attempts by former senior Fianna Fáiler to make a comeback are expected to be firmly resisted by party headquarters, writes Michael O'Regan “We need candidates without baggage,” said a party source yesterday. “Running people associated with the previous government could see public anger towards us reignited.”
    Another source described running former office holders as an “appalling vista”, adding that it would provide the other parties with anti-Fianna Fáil material. This follows the revelation that former tánaiste Mary Coughlan has not ruled out seeking a nomination to contest the next general election in Donegal. Asked if she intended to run again, she replied: “I don’t think so. We need new blood, but the door isn’t closed entirely.”
  • 12:27
    The chief executive of the Central Remedial Clinic has resigned in the wake of controversy over top-up funds for senior executives. Brian Conlon, who was appointed chief executive in controversial circumstances earlier this year, tendered his resignation to the clinic board. Jim Nugent, who is chairman of the clinic’s board, is due take on the role of chief executive on an interim basis.
  • 12:33

    Yesterday marked 13 years since the wet and stormy night when Trevor Deely walked across Baggot Street Bridge in Dublin and disappeared. The bank employee had attended a Christmas party and went back to his office to get an umbrella before heading in the direction of home on December 8th, 2000. The last sighting of him was at 4.15am, when CCTV footage showed him crossing Baggot Street Bridge and heading towards Haddington Road.

    He would be 35 now.   



  • 13:19
    Dart services between Connolly and Grand Canal Dock currently suspended. Dublin Bus honouring tickets.
  • 14:15
    David Moyes has described rumours that Van Persie had requested a transfer as “absolute nonsense,” but you don’t need a dressing-room spy to know that something is up with the player. You just have to look at his appearance record. He’s missed one-third of United’s league matches and they haven’t won in the league when he hasn’t played. Ken Early's tuppence worth on what's happening at Old Trafford
  • 14:16
    Trains services between Connolly station and Grand Canal Dock in Dublin have been suspended because of an incident in the Gardiner Street area.

    Gardaí were earlier called to attend an emergency on the roof of a building in Beresford Place adjacent to the railway line. The incident is ongoing.

    Several units of the Dublin Fire Brigade are also in attendance.

    Irish Rail confirmed that services in both directions had been suspended and that Dublin Bus would be accepting rail tickets for the period of disruption.
  • 14:41
    Roy Keane is not likely to be sending Alex Ferguson a Christmas card this year.

    He says his former manager is still trying to exert “control and power” at Manchester United and he says the Scot has a “massive ego”.

    He also rated his former boss at Nottingham Forest, Brian Clough, as the best manager he had worked with.

    “Everything is about control and power. He’s still striving for it now even though he’s not manager. There’s massive ego involved in that,” he is quoted as saying today. 

    He also said that his relationship with the former United boss is now “non existent”.
  • 15:55
    Garda negotiators have been drafted in to deal with an ongoing situation in Dublin city centre in which a man in his twenties is threatening to jump from the roof of Isaac’s Hostel on Frenchman’s Lane off Store Street near the entrance to Busáras.

    The area around the hostel has been sealed off. Several units of the Dublin Fire Brigade are also in attendance.

    The man is standing near the top of the building with a blanket wrapped around him.

    Earlier a woman was stabbed in an attack which is believed to be connected to the incident at Frenchman’s Lane. Her injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

    Gardaí could not confirm a link between the two incidents.

    Isaac’s Hostel is very close to the train tracks and train services between Connolly station and Grand Canal Dock were suspended for a time this afternoon. They have since resumed with delays of up to 30 minutes.
  • 16:33
    An incident in Dublin city centre where Garda negotiators were drafted in to deal with a man standing at the top of a hostel has ended. It ended shortly after 4pm when the man came down from the roof.
  • 16:45
    Has the world gone mad?

    Ryanair, has cut its excess baggage fee by 50 per cent (from €20 to €10 per kg.
    “Christmas is traditionally a time when people travel with lots of baggage. As an early Christmas present to our customers, Ryanair is cutting excess baggage fees...  We want to say a very sincere thank you to our 81m passengers and wish them all a very happy Christmas,” a spokesman said. 

    Mad, I say. 

  • 16:56
    Celtic have made moves to disband the Green Brigade section at Parkhead after labelling events during Friday night’s match at Fir Park “indefensible”.
    A reported £10,000 worth of damage was caused to seats in the lower section of the South Stand housing away fans – just above where a Green Brigade banner was displayed – during the 5-0 romp for Neil Lennon’s men against Motherwell.
    A flare was let off in the same area before the game while two green smoke bombs were thrown into the goalmouth, one of them landing yards from Hoops goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
  • 16:57
    Right. We're done for the day... unless something major happens in the next three minutes.