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A look at the day's rolling news with Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin Tue, Feb 18
 
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  • 08:59

    Good Morning.

    We'll start with our top stories:

    Rehab disclosure of chief's salary not enough, says chairman of Dáil group

    An attempt by Rehab to defuse the controversy over its top-level pay polices is facing an immediate challenge from the Public Accounts Committee amid demands for more information from the group.

    Leading trainer charged with possession of anabolic steroids

    Philip Fenton, trainer of the leading Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Last Instalment, is due to appear in Carrick-On-Suir District Court on Thursday charged with possession of unlicensed animal medications, including anabolic steroids.

    Man charged with murder of Sonia Blount in Tallaght

    A man is to appear in court today charged with the murder of a Sonia Blount in Dublin on Sunday.

  • 09:15

    Also coming up today:

    The Cabinet is meeting this morning, we'll have a report later on.

    Matt Moran is due to testify at the Anglo trial, updates from which can be found on our dedicated mini-site.

    We'll take Leader's Questions from the Dáil at 3.15pm.

    It's the last day of London Fashion Week and, closer to home, the national potato conference and trade show has just started in the Red Cow Hotel.

  • 09:29
    Dan Griffin here on the Daily Wire until about 5pm this evening.
  • 09:43

    There's no one story dominating this morning's headlines.

    We're leading with Rehab chief executive Angela Kerins's €240,000 salary.

    The Irish Examiner's main story is President Michael D Higgins describing as "horrific" the situation whereby basic information is denied to adopted people.

    The Indo also leads with the Angela Kerins salary story.

    Meanwhile, among the tabloids, the Sun, the Mirror, and the Herald report on the murder of Sonia Blunt.

    The Daily Mail covers the apparent "FURY AT 'BIG LIE' OF FREE GP CARE".

    And the Irish Daily Star has a story about One Direction singer Niall Horan's ex-girlfriend being cleared of a drugs (possession of cannabis) charge, which, when you think about it, is hardly a story at all.

  • 09:53
    Remember, if you want to comment on our stories, other stories or anything else today, there's a comment button above the main photo.
  • 10:06
  • 10:21
    Shane Ross said it would now be "extraordinary" if members of the Rehab board decides not to discuss details of Angela Kerins's salary when they come before the Public Accounts Committee. He told Pat Kenny on Newstalk that the committee would "push this".  
  • 10:28

    Interesting nugget here in the annual Ministers' St Patrick's Day Trips story.


    Minister for Tourism and Transport Leo Varadkar has said he will not boycott the all-male St Patrick's Dinner of the Hibernian Society in Savannah, Georgia, if he is invited to attend.


    But that could be a big if because perhaps the Hibernian boys are still a little sore after Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore dropped Savannah from his itinerary last year.


    His exact words when he heard about the men-only event were: “Count me out – I’m not doing it.”


    But there seems to have been a recent softening of the stance towards the archaic dinner, with the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach now saying the Government should be represented at all major St Patrick's Day events in the US.


    So Varadkar, while he disagrees with the idea of the whole thing, will attend if asked.


    “The programme is not finalised yet and I have not received any specific invitations. I have never attended any event that was not open to both genders in the past and I think the whole idea of ‘men only dinners’ and ‘ladies only lunches’ belongs to a different age," he said.


    Adding: “The Savannah St Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the largest in the US, and if I am invited to attend the dinner I will certainly make my views known."

  • 10:41
    Now onto Irish cultural matters in Australia, where entrepreneur Eamon Eastwood has signed a deal with Coles which will see the retail giant stock Taytos, Barry's Tea, Club Orange and all the rest of that stuff that no one seems to care too much about at home but all of a sudden loves when they're abroad. What about purple Snacks though, and macaroon bars, and the unyielding despondency of an east Galway childhood? There's no importing that.
  • 10:45
  • 10:58
    Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has reiterated the Government’s intention to cut income tax in this year’s budget, arguing that it would be an important tool for job creation, writes Suzanne Lynch.
  • 11:01
    Is there a Winter Olympics equivalent to the 100m sprint?
  • 11:16

    If it's a cavalcade of Champagne-swilling toffs you're after then this selection of photos from the 22nd St Andrews University Charity Fashion Show from, of course, the Telegraph is just the ticket.


    But further south, the Irish Times's fashion editor Deirdre McQuillan has been sampling the 'chic and unique of London Fashion Week'.

  • 11:24
  • 11:24
    G'wan Travolta. He's 60 today.
  • 11:32
    But to Sochi now where two members of the protest group Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, say they were detained by police while they were walking around Sochi, where Russia is staging the Winter Olympics.
  • 11:55

    What news from the National Potato Conference and Trade Show? Well, I've rooted  out a couple of press releases from the wires:

    "IFA President Eddie Downey warned that potato production is under threat in Ireland because of a falling share of the consumer price for growers and rising input costs. He said, “The current figures are simply unsustainable. Costs of production are running at over €200 per tonne, while the producer is receiving much less than this."

    So bad news. But then, when it comes to the Irish Farmers Association, is there ever any other type of news?

    Government press release news:

    Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Tom Hayes today welcomed the investments made by the potato growers and packers over the years in order to remain competitive and develop market share.

    But he acknowledged potato growers have experienced difficulties marketing this year's crop.

    The solution? Ads.

    "To stimulate demand, the industry needs to invest in a structured promotion campaign to drive increased consumption of potatoes in the long term,” Mr Hayes said.

    He continued: “I look forward to receiving an early potato promotion campaign submission to my Department and its onward transmission to the EU Commission for approval."

  • 12:09
  • 12:20

    PAC member Simon Harris is now calling on the board of the Rehab Group to disclose the salaries of its top staff when it appears before the committee in the coming weeks.

    From a statement:

    "Fine Gael Wicklow TD and member of the Public Accounts Committee, Simon Harris, has today called on the Rehab board to immediately reveal the pay of all of its senior staff. Deputy Harris added that it is completely unacceptable that Rehab has said that it won’t reveal pay details of top managers until its 2015 accounts are published in 2016."

  • 12:35
  • 12:47

    soop (v.) To assist the progress of (a curling-stone) by sweeping the ice in front of it.

    The word soop comes from the Old Norse sópa (compare Norwegian and Swedish sopa), and is related to Old English swāpan , meaning ‘to sweep’. Although the commonly used word now is sweep, the first citation for soop in the OED is from 1805, where the earliest citation for sweep in the context of curling is from 1811, which suggests soop could have been more widely used in curling’s early days.

    This and more interesting curling tid-bits from the OED.

  • 12:55

    A 31-year-old Dublin man has appeared in court  charged with the murder of Sonia Blount in a Tallaght Hotel on Sunday.

    Eric Locke, St John’s Park East, Clondalkin, is charged with murdering Ms Blount (31) at Room 346 of The Plaza Hotel in Tallaght on February 16th, 2014.

    Read more

  • 13:12
  • 13:23

    "In the absence of an independent investigation we're not going to find out what happened," said Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald earlier today ahead of her party's Private Members Business motion on the GSOC bugging allegations, due to be tabled in the Dáil this evening.

    Speaking on the News at One now, Labour Senator Susan O'Keefe, a member of the public services oversight committee which is due to hear from Minister for Justice Alan Shatter this week, said the committee should be allowed to do its work.

    She rejected McDonald's calls for an independent inquiry but said she wanted to know how the Minister arrived at the conclusion that bugging did not take place.

    "The Minster has said certain things and GSOC - their account appears to differ," she said.

  • 14:02

    The UN inquiry findings that North Korea's leadership is committing systematic and appalling human rights abuses against its own citizens on a scale unparalleled in the modern world features prominently again in international media today.

    The UN's commission on human rights in North Korea, which gathered evidence for almost a year, including often harrowing testimony at public hearings worldwide, said there was compelling evidence of torture, execution and arbitrary imprisonment, deliberate starvation and an almost complete lack of free thought and belief, the Guardian reports.

    The chair of the panel wrote to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warning him that he could face trial at the international criminal court.

    "The commission wishes to draw your attention that it will therefore recommend that the United Nations refer the situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the international criminal court to render accountable all those, including possibly yourself, who may be responsible for the crimes against humanity," he wrote.

    Will it worry Kim Jong-un? Probably not. The type of man who obliterates people with mortar rounds as an official method of execution probably doesn't let that sort of thing cause undue concern.

    Remember his poor ex-girlfriend?

    From the Telegraph last August:

    The reports in South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper indicate that Hyon Song-wol [Kim's ex], a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra, was among those arrested on August 17 for violating domestic laws on pornography (apparently they had made a "sex" tape).

    All 12 were machine-gunned three days later, with other members of North Korea's most famous pop groups and their immediate families forced to watch. The onlookers were then sent to prison camps, victims of the regime's assumption of guilt by association, the reports stated.

    But, as the paper pointed out, Hyon was luckier than Kim Chol, vice minister of the army, who was executed with a mortar round in October 2012 for reportedly drinking during the official mourning period after Kim Jong-il's death.

    On the explicit orders of Kim Jong-un to leave "no trace of him behind, down to his hair," according to South Korean media, Kim Chol was forced to stand on a spot that had been zeroed in for a mortar round and "obliterated."

    So with all that in mind, I'd say there are two chances of seeing the young (he's only 31, there could be another 50 years of this stuff in him) North Korean leader in the Hague any time soon.

  • 14:10
    A working party, the make-up of which was agreed at last week’s meeting between all the stakeholders in a new European Cup, will hold a key meeting in London today to further draw up plans for the putative competition. Critical to this will be finding a compromise television agreement given ERC’s and Premiership Rugby’s conflicting deals with Sky and British Telecom, Gerry Thornley writes.
  • 14:15
  • 14:15
    We'll leave it there for lunch. Back in an hour or so with Leaders Questions.
  • 15:18
    Micheal Martin speaking in the Dáil now on the GSOC bugging allegations.
  • 15:19
    Are you satisfied with the Minister for Justice's behaviour in relation to this entire episode? He asks the Taoiseach.
  • 15:24

    The Minister has briefed the cabinet further today and in light of that the cabinet decided to appoint a retired high court judge to "inquire into all matters of relevance there", Kenny says.


    It was decided at Cabinet that the Justice Defence and Equality committee will take public submissions on the law concerning GSOC, Taoiseach says.

  • 15:26
    Micheal Martin says the Minister for Justice should apologise to the house over his behaviour in handling the GSOC controversy.
  • 15:28
    The terms of reference for the inquiry will be set by the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General, says Kenny.
  • 15:30

    Mary Lou McDonald calls for clarity around the inquiry. Asking:

    Will you provide the Dáil with the full terms of reference for this inquiry?

    Why is the Minister for Justice setting the terms of reference?

    Will the judge have a panel of experts to read and interpret technical data around surveillance?

  • 15:32
    Of course the judge will have the opportunity to have experts explain technicalities, Kenny replies.
  • 15:35
    Can you not see how there is a difficulty in letting the Minister for Justice set the terms of reference for the inquiry? McDonald asks. Why would this inquiry report directly back to the Minister and not to the Oireachtas?
  • 15:38
    The Government will not be supporting the Sinn Féin Private Members Bill this evening, Kenny says and rejects claims that Shatter was trying to distract attention away from the main issues around the GSOC bugging allegations.
  • 15:41
    Joan Collins asks whether cuts to income tax will benefit "middle income Ireland". She argues that increases for the lower paid, increase in minimum wage, more affordable childcare and other measures would be more beneficial.
  • 15:42
    These are all part of matters that need to be considered and discussed ahead of Budget 2015, the Taoiseach says.
  • 15:49
    Sin é for Leaders Questions.
  • 16:06
    Apparently there's an "unreal" queue outside the Hole in the Wall pub in Galway for rag week. As you can see from the photo below that would appear to be true. For anyone unfamiliar with Galway city, the pub in question is about another 30 metres or so up the road there on the left. Seems the queue has backed up on to Eglinton Street. We all like to finger wag over the excesses of rag week which, undoubtedly, gets a bit depraved. But the Sodom & Gomorrah spectacle that is Race Week in the city is about as bad and you never hear anyone whinging. Still, bloody students.
  • 16:29
    That's for so-called Donegal Tuesday, by the way, hence all the yellow and green jerseys. Is that a relatively new thing? I don't remember it.
  • 16:37

    SuperAwesome begins expansion into US as it acquires Mobigirl

    Click here if you have no idea what that headline means.

  • 16:40

    Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders were in touch re ongoing violence in the Central African Republic:

    Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has issued a press release this afternoon highlighting the extreme and unprecedented levels of violence against civilians in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the failure of international efforts so far to stop the slaughter. The full release is here http://www.msf.ie/article/car-international-efforts-protect-civilians-failing-stop-slaughter

  • 16:49

    Ukrainian riot police advanced on the heart of 12-week-old protests against President Viktor Yanukovich on Tuesday and security forces set a deadline to end disturbances after at least five protesters were reported killed in a day of clashes.

    Read more

  • 16:59
    We'll leave it there for today. Thanks for reading, the Daily Wire will be back again tomorrow morning.
  • 16:59
    We'll leave it there for today. Thanks for reading, the Daily Wire will be back again tomorrow morning.
  • 17:00
    A camel crosses the path of cyclists during stage one of the Tour of Oman in Muscat today. Photograph: Reuters
    A camel crosses the path of cyclists during stage one of the Tour of Oman in Muscat today. Photograph: Reuters
  • 17:00
    A camel crosses the path of cyclists during stage one of the Tour of Oman in Muscat today. Photograph: Reuters
    A camel crosses the path of cyclists during stage one of the Tour of Oman in Muscat today. Photograph: Reuters