News Blog

Follow the day's rolling news events. Contact us at @IrishTimesLive

Genevieve Carbery Thu, Apr 18
LIVE: News Blog

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  • 08:11
    Good morning this is Genevieve Carbery here on the live blog (yesterday’s blogger Conor Pope christened it ALBON [amazing live blog of news] but I’d like to add a bit of Ross O’Carroll Kelly to this acronym and call it TALBON [Totally amazing live blog of news])

    The insolvency guidelines will be the big story today as we find out if parents will be forced to stay at home with their brood if they don’t earn enough and will sky sports subscribers be forced to take their footie viewing to the pub?

    We’ll have the latest from this overnight explostion at a Texas fertizlizer plant leaving an unknown number dead, more from the Savita inquest which yesterday was told that she would have lived if the law allowed termination and the latest on the GAA-pitch sized headache the unions have created for Government.

    You can contact us @irishtimeslive
  • 08:20
    My favourite story so far this morning is from Elaine Keogh who tells of a  soldier who received a property tax bill for Cathal Brugha Barracks – owned by the Department of Defence! Oh dear. More here.
  • 08:24
    Unverified video of the Waco blast posted on Youtube shows the power of can watch here
  • 08:34
    Our love of aisles lined with cardboard boxes, cheap equipment for hobbies we will never take up and for German packaging is growing even more as Aldi is opening it’s 100th store in Callan, Co Kilkenny today and is to open 20 more Irish stores.

    Among lucky towns with new Albrecht-Discount (AlDi) stores are East Wall Road in Dublin; Greystones, Co Wicklow; Tralee, Co Kerry; Ballybofey, Co Donegal; and Charleville in Co Cork.   Read more here
    And more on its mysterious life of one of the founders Berthold Albrecht and his family split here
  • 08:45
    A round up of this morning’s paper headlines:
    The Irish Daily Mirror : Boston bomber caught on CCTV, also on the front page:  Sharon tells Ozzy: Ditch the Booze or we’re over.
    Irish Independent Shatter denies row as Chief Justice steps in, Savita would have been saved by early termination says expert, and a piece on  a report commissioned by the department of Social Protection “1m of us face paying 15pc of wages into pensions”

    And of course  not to leave out The Irish Times
    Ciaran Hancock has a story on AIB plans to cut €350m in operating costs over the next two years.
    Simon Carswell reporting from Boston says US police believe video may identify bomber
    And more from Paul Cullen and Kitty Holland in Galway with the headline “Expert says Halappanaver likely to have lived if law allowed termination”

    The Herald leads with Woman raped at gunpoint – in a story from Raheny, Dublin.
    Caroline O’Doherty in the Examiner’s lead tells the story of a domestic abuse survivor “I didn’t want to ask. I felt stupid because I thought…I am an educated woman..I wasn’t supposed to let this happen” a quote in the story reads.
    Childcare arrangements still dictated by banks despite last minute tweaking – the paper says ahead of the launch of guidelines.
    The Financial Times lead says “IMF warns on risks of excessive easing – call for reforms to avert credit bubbles” Its coverage of Thatcher’s funeral is headlined: Curious outnumber the loyalists as Thatcher’s funeral revels in pageantry.
    It’s all Thatcher in the British papers. A notable contrast between Telegraph and Guardian headlines. The Guardian shows a close up of her coffin being carried with the healine “Lying here she is one of us” while the Telegraph shows a funeral cortege and crowds lining the street with the headline “Cheered to the End”.
  • 08:47
  • 09:02
    Latest on the wires from Texas, Waco blast are that fatalities are confirmed, toxic fumes have forced the evacuation of half of the town of 2,700 people, deaths expected to rise as search teams comb through the rubble.

    No cause known but interestingly the explosion came two days before the 20th anniversary of a fire in nearby Waco that engulfed a compound inhabited by David Koresh and his followers in the Branch Davidian sect, ending a siege by federal agents.
  • 09:03
    Latest photo from Waco, the remains of a fertiliser plant burns. Photograph: Mike Stone/Reuters
    Latest photo from Waco, the remains of a fertiliser plant burns. Photograph: Mike Stone/Reuters
  • 09:14
  • 09:23
    Anyone else woken last night by the wind? Met Eireann records show the highest gust yesterday was at Roches Point was 61 knots - for those of you who aren't sailors! that means force 11 in Beaufort Scale - just one level under hurricane force 12 or 112km/h!!

    The highest at Dublin Airport was 54 knots or 100 km/h.
    It's calmed a lot out there flights at Dublin Airport back to normal after delays. The sea is still choppy as doubt remains over Jonathan Swift ferry sailings from Dublin.

    So now I know why I thought I was really fit as I flew up Dun Laoghaire pier on my walk yesterday evening but basically did the moon walk all the way back (against the wind).
  • 09:29
  • 09:34
    So the first hints of what is in the insolvency guidelines are is in..... no more "57 channels and nothing on" as satellite tv will be a target, it will be stationwagons all the way for families with dreams of an alternative sporty MG or jag sportscar out the window as second cars are out, while paying thousands for your little darling to wear a blazer to school will no longer be accepted with public school only accepted --- of course all if you can't pay your home loan only of course! More on the guidelines later.
  • 10:18
    Anyone without the time or head space to read the admittedly weighty speech by President Michael D Higgins in Strasbourg which seemed to have quite an impact, Suzanne Lynch sums it up nicely in her analysis piece in today’s paper, writing: For some, Mr Higgins’ speeches may be too abstract, too intellectual. But at times like these, getting behind the ideas and values that have shaped the European project may be a valuable exercise. “What do we mean by Europe. What do we mean by the union?” the President asked yesterday. Never have these questions been more pertinent. Coverage of speech here and speech on Youtube here
  • 10:26
    Back in Boston, president Obama is due to attend a memorial service for victims of the marathon bombing as the manhunt for the suspect seen on video continues.
    The FBI said there was no indication of a link between a ricin letter sent to Mr Obama and two other officials (Mississippi man arrested) and the bombing.
  • 10:42
    As you can see the Dalai Lama is in Derry today and he has tweeted! (although surely he doesn’t do this himself?) . The exiled Tibetan leader has picked Derry over Dublin because it’s the city of culture.
    Perhaps it’s serendipity - last time the Nobel peace laureate was in Dublin (2011) he urged Irish people not to be discouraged or lose hope as they struggle to cope with the financial crisis (will we be hopeful or hopeless after today’s insolvency guidelines are revealed?
    At midday he is due to cross the city’s peace bridge with 300 children in advance of addressing up to 2,500 people at Ebrington as part of a visit for the local charity, Children in Crossfire . He has tweeted a link to his live speech below.

  • 10:52
    The most interesting Garda press office release you’re ever likely to see  has arrived into the newsroom

    Last night Rhino heads and horns worth half a million euro were stolen  from the National Museum Archives in Swords.

    The poor security guard was tied up by three masked men at 10.40pm and were in the building for an hour. Thankfully the security man wasn’t injured and raised the alarm.

    According to Wikipedia Rhino horns are not ivory but are keratin (the same protein as in fingers and hair)

    Where  the heck would you go about selling Rhino horns in Ireland – Moore Street market?
  • 10:58
  • 10:59
  • 11:02
  • 11:03
    Tweeted the wrong Dalai Lama tweet earlier - apols.
  • 11:08
  • 11:16
    Best quote from the Dail today, according to @sarahbardon on Twitter Dara Calleary has accused Eamon Gilmore of being the JK Rowling of fantasy economics……one correction - surely that should be the Shane Hegarty of fantasy economics – if you’ve no idea what I mean read about his recent  book deal here
  • 11:31
    Ok so looks like this  Rhino theft is actually on the rise in this part of the world…..A recent BBC article on a Rhino horn DNA database earlier this month points to an increased trade in stolen rhino horns in the UK where there have been at least 20 criminal incidents – both from museums and believe it or not from live animals in zoos!
    Apparently they get a  very good price in China and Vietnam where it is believed to have powerful medicinal properties. Who knew! More here

  • 11:34
    The latest from Paul Cullen at the Savita Halappanavar inquest in Galway is here
    Praveen is not attending as full post mortem results are today and he would find it upsetting, his solicitor said. He will return tomorrow when a verdict is expected.
  • 11:44
    In entertainment news – Walter White and his new Mexico meth madness  is back on AMC from August 11th  as the date for the second half of the season five of Breaking Bad has just been announced.  More here
  • 12:16
    One of the companies to introduce horse into the staple diet of value-dinner-seeking families has decided to get out of the frozen burger business.

    This sounds slightly different in press release corporate speak:  “The ABP Food Group has taken the strategic decision to exit the frozen burger sector in Ireland and as a consequence we have sold the Silvercrest facility”

    Larry Goodman/s ABP Food Group has sold its Silvercrest plant in Co Monaghan to Kepak – 122 staff will be transferred.
  • 12:20
    And the latest from Paul Cullen in Galway where the last witnesss has given evidence at the Savita Halappanavar. "Prof Grace Callagy of University Hospital Galway gave the causes of Ms Halappanavar’s death last October as septic shock, E Coli ESBL infection and miscarriage at 17 weeks gestation associated with the onset of acute chorioamionitis (infection of the foetal membranes)." More  here
  • 12:21
  • 12:25
  • 12:31
    Photos of the rhino heads stolen from museum storage in Swords, Dublin – this photo was issued by the National Museum of Ireland via PA
    Photos of the rhino heads stolen from museum storage in Swords, Dublin – this photo was issued by the National Museum of Ireland via PA
  • 12:41
    You probably can’t read the writing on the rhino head handout but here’s some facts from it. Most of them date back to before the foundation of the State.

    One is the mounted head of a black rhinoceros from Kenya where it was shot by HHR White in 1913

    A mounted head of a white rhino is from the Nile - to be precise  Mongalla, Upper White Nile, Sudan shot in 1914 and gifted from Major CW Spinks.

    Another black rhino is from east Africa and was a gift of officers of the 2nd battalion Manchester regiment

    The fourth is a black rhino from somewhere in Africa given by Lord Moyne.
  • 12:45
    A suggestion in from one of my colleagues for the name of this unchristened news blog - I like TALBON (Totally amazing live blog of news) but he favours the more risque acronym TALIBON (Totally amazing live Interesting blog of news)
  • 12:52
    The latest from Waco where the death toll at the fertiliser plant in Texas is confirmed at 15 – and this is expected to rise. It’s being treated as a crime scene, but nine hours after the blast police do no know if it is an industrial action or a crime scene.

    This really shows the scale of it –it registered as a magnitude 2.1 seismic tremor and created a jolt felt in Dallas (150km away)
  • 12:56
  • 13:02
    An interesting read today is Fionula Meredith's provocative opinion article on motherhood and feminism : "Increasingly, and absurdly, it seems that the role of a feminist – if she is to be tolerated at all – is enthusiastically to applaud any decision that any woman makes, whether she agrees with it or not. The trouble with such witlessly indiscriminate cheer-leading (you go, girl!) is that it comes at the expense of honesty and authentic debate." Read in full here
  • 13:07
    The lates from the Commercial Court which today heard details of a letter from fugitive Peter Darragh Quinn.

    He asked it not to proceed with IBRC's application to assess damages against him until legal proceedings involving him and his family have been concluded.

    The Court heard that Mr Quinn has appealed the High Court's finding, and subsequent committal to prison for three months, that he was in contempt of Court orders restraining stripping of assets to the European Court of Human Rights.

    Today Mr Justice Peter Kelly refused Mr Quinn's request.
  • 13:14
  • 13:28
    John One vote for TALIBON here!
  • 13:30
  • 13:33
  • 13:34
    Retweets of messages from two religious leaders in one day (Pope Francis and Dalai Lama)! That's a first for me :)
  • 13:44
    Nigel Monaghan keeper at the National Museum tells RTE that the Rhino heads were taken off  display at the Natural History Museum (dead zoo) last year because of violent thefts across Europe in recent years
  • 13:49
    Dalai Lama tells Derry there is no alternative to  peace process & people have to work & live together & refrain from acting like animals. Lorcan Doherty/PA
    Dalai Lama tells Derry there is no alternative to peace process & people have to work & live together & refrain from acting like animals. Lorcan Doherty/PA
  • 14:07
    It’s the calm before the insolvency guideline storm so a little light relief  - this commuter planned “a quiet train journey home - complete with book & coffee” last Friday – but her  train carriage to Galway became a set dancing session. See on Youtube here. Picked up via
  • 14:15
  • 14:39
  • 14:41
    Live stream here of insolvency press conference on now at Govt Bldgs
  • 14:47
    Some details on the insolvency guidelines 
    • Limits on expenditure on items such as food and basic medicine.
    • A single adult with no car will be permitted expenditure of €898.96 in set cost over and above any mortgage or rent payments (rising to €1,030 if that adult has a car).
    • Also included is €126 a month – or €29 a week to cover social inclusion.
    • An allowance of €204.88 is to made for each child of primary school going age. 
  • 14:47
    Minister Alan Shatter tells press conference people cannot have a lifestyle "beyond their means"
  • 14:49
  • 14:50
    Shatter says insolvency service “offers a light at the end of the tunnel”
  • 15:04
    Lorcan O’Connor of the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) tells press conference  The guidelines give debtors a reasonable standard of living to meet individual, physical, social needs : not luxury but not subsistence level
    Takes into account sizes of households, recognise cost of a child varies depending on age  
    Not designed for micro-management of people’s lives
    Not designed to force people out of their jobs.
  • 15:07
    Insolvency service expects to begin accepting applications by the end of June - O'Connor says.
  • 15:07
  • 15:08
  • 15:08
  • 15:13

    On childcare O'Connor says people will not be required to give up their jobs - this would be "counterintuitive" - if people earn less than childcare costs the practitioner will support that position if there is an economic or other rationale. 

  • 15:25
    Page nine of the guidelines is interesting on how the PIA comes into effect – it will be “approved by a qualified majority of your creditors voting at a creditors’ meeting”. This appears to give creditors complete control - a big issue with credit card companies who may prefer people to pay high interest forever.
  • 15:26

    On people not being allowed to keep health insurance O'Connor says there are circumstances it would be reasonable to be maintained such as pre-existing condition or age where it would be difficult to approve again. However he said people are getting a return to solvency - and the appropriate balance needs to be struck.

  • 15:35
    Shatter says if it doesn't work out between debtor and credtior there is a bankruptcy option
  • 15:39
    OK folks time for econ 101 – you’re going to be hearing the moral hazard word ad nauseum the next few days – so in case you don't know it's definition - this is from the Cambridge dictionary: “A situation in which people or organizations do not suffer from the results of their bad decisions, so may increase the risks they take” 
    Now to the Moral Hazard question just asked by Arthur Beesley at the press conference.
    O’Connor says the vast majority of cases will be genuine.
    There are a number of safeguards in place  - the debtor required to sign statutory declaration, PIP has to ensure undertaken necessary checks, ISI has power to make enquiries to the debtor  
  • 15:54
    Pages 29 and 30 of the report are worth checking out. They list the monthly expenditure for a single adult living alone: Food 247, Clothing 35, Personal Care 33, Health: 31, Household Goods: 31, Household Services: 28, Communications: 43, Education 24, Transport 136 (or 240 if car necessary) , Household energy 48 electricity and 57 heating, Insurance 12 for home and 25 for  car, Savings and contingencies - 43 , social inclusion and participation 126, housing (variable)
  • 16:03
    Impressed or distressed by President Michael D Higgins’ speech at Strasbourg yesterday? Think you could write a better one? This may be the job for you: 
    The president’s office has advertised for a head of speech writing.  
    Job requirements are a pretty tall order 
    Ability to skilfully deal with sensitive and complex issues in the public arena, 
    research experience of at least 3 years, 
    a deep understanding of culture, art, history, economy and society and current affairs,
    Excellent drafting skills, coupled with the ability to present material in an engaging way and with credibility, flair and style; 
    An ability to write eloquently and in a manner that is consistent with the high standards expected of a Head of State; 
    Excellent IT skills and a working knowledge of Social Media.
    If after reading that you feel you’re up to the job (and if so let me first congratulate you on either your abilities or self-delusional confidence) details are here.
    Hat tip to for linking to the advert
  • 16:09
    Dalai Lama walks across Derry peace bridge today.Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
    Dalai Lama walks across Derry peace bridge today.Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
  • 16:24
    Pat cannon How about "totally amazing live irish blog about news" TALIBAN
  • 16:37
    Pretty heartwarming video sent to me by @jasonpkennedy of the national anthem sung by fire guard at a Boston game turning into a patriotic singsong of thousands in aftermath of marathon bombing. Can view it here
  • 16:59
  • 17:05
    US President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama attend an interfaith memorial service at Holy Cross Cathedral for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing Photo: Kevin Lamarque /Reuters
    US President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama attend an interfaith memorial service at Holy Cross Cathedral for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing Photo: Kevin Lamarque /Reuters
  • 17:16
  • 17:23

    Really nice images in the National Library's blog  today from Seamus Heaney's literary papers archive - with handwritten and typed drafts of his poems and diary entries. Worth a look here 

  • 17:29
  • 17:33
    Just in from our Washington Correspondent Simon Carswell: Irish nanny Aisling Brady McCarthy pleads not guilty to baby’s murder. She pleaded “not guilty” twice to charges, was tearful
  • 17:39
  • 17:46
  • 17:51

    More breaking news from the US where Mississippi man Paul Kevin Curt has been charged in relation to ricin letters sent to Obama

  • 18:09
    A few key links on insolvency before my fingers seize up from overuse
    The report in its 56-page glory is here
    The cliff notes equivalent  on insolvency guidelines are on page 26 (any English lit grads know what I mean) 
    Government press release on how wonderful this all is can be found here 
    Obligatory Opposition disparaging remarks on the regime are here 
    And if you want to escape/ignore it all there's a whole site of people naming and shaming their cats
  • 18:14

    Signing off on the liveblog in a day full of surprises - the value of Rhino heads, President Higgins' search for a highly skilled speech-writer, and the sale of a factory involved in the horseburger issue -- as well as of course the detailed restrictions of the insolvency guidelines. David Cochrane @davidcochrane is here tomorrow.