Elections

Elections special and all the day's rolling news with Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson Fri, May 23
 
LIVE: Elections

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  • 09:20

    Good morning everyone. It’s Friday – and as if that wasn’t enough to put you in a good mood, it’s also polling day in the local and European elections! Yay.

    My name is Colin Gleeson and I will be keeping you updated on all of the day’s news and events as we close in on the weekend.

  • 09:39
    If you’re unclear on how to vote, we have this fairly straightforward guide here, although it’s hardly rocket science to be fair.
  • 09:44

    The lead story in this morning’s Irish Times is all about healthcare and how it seems nobody in the sector knows the meaning of the word budgeting.

     

    The newly appointed head of the State’s acute hospitals has warned hospitals their costs are running at unsustainable levels and must be immediately addressed.

     

    Dr Tony O’Connell, national director of acute hospitals, writing in only his second week in his new position in the HSE, said in a letter to hospitals dated last Wednesday that there was a “lack of visibility of savings”.

     

    He said three-quarters of “cost reductions” that acute hospitals claimed they had made did not stand up to scrutiny.

  • 09:47
    If you would like to comment or get involved in any way, you can tweet me @ColinGleesonIT and I will endeavour to publish it.
  • 09:51

    Also on the front page this morning is a story about the once mighty Tony O’Reilly.

    I say ‘once mighty’ because, yes, you’ve guessed it, he’s fallen.

    Ciaran Hancock and Mark Paul write that Sir Anthony O’Reilly is locked in negotiations with AIB in relation to his multimillion euro debts in advance of the State-controlled bank seeking a summary judgment against him at the High Court next week.

    The one-time billionaire is being represented in the talks by Bernard Somers, a debt restructuring specialist and former non-executive director of AIB. Mr Somers is a close associate of Sir Anthony.

  • 10:06

    The other story that makes the front page relates to the ongoing controversy of the Jackie Kennedy letters.

    It continues to rumble on but the future of the letters is expected to be decided in the coming days.

    Patsy McGarry reports that relations between the Kennedy family, the Vincentian congregation and All Hallows College in Dublin were “absolutely cordial”, with all hoping the future of the Jackie Kennedy letters would be decided “within a couple of days”, a spokeswoman for the college has said.

    Carolanne Henry, director of communications and public relations at the college told The Irish Times yesterday, “I am not aware of any copyright issue at all...I am not aware of any legal issues” over the letters and involving the Kennedys, the college, the Vincentians.

  • 10:07
  • 10:15

    Investigating ineptitude in the Department of Justice, dysfunction in the Garda and the mysterious departure of a commissioner: millions.

    Giving the minister for justice the elbow: €70,000.

    Presenting a sizeable donation to a very deserving charity: €50,000.

    Giving the two fingers to Brendan Howlin and Enda Kenny and bolstering Alan Shatter’s ego: priceless.

    Miriam Lord’s parody of former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter’s performance on the plinth yesterday is the most read article on irishtimes.com this morning.

  • 10:19
    Alan Shatter, Philanthropist of the Plinth, she describes him.
  • 10:28

    A letter to the Irish Times says: Alan Shatter has still taken the severance payment from the Irish taxpayer even though he intends to donate it to charity.

    Well summed-up.

  • 10:31

    Here’s one that made me chuckle.

    A story on page three of this morning’s Irish Times is headlined: “Wexford eco-centre refused permission on pollution grounds”.

    Environmental campaigner Karin Dubsky and her husband Paul have been refused permission to convert part of their home in the seaside resort of Ballymoney, Co Wexford, into an “eco-education centre”.

    Noting the site is located in an area identified by the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) as being at very high risk from domestic sewage pollution, the board said it was “not satisfied” with the proposal.

  • 10:34
    Eh, you put the number one in your first choice. The number two in your second preference. And so forth. Ahem.
  • 10:44

    The main foreign story this morning relates to a developing crisis in Thailand.

    The army’s chief general Prayuth Chan-ocha summoned ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to a meeting today, a day after he seized power in a bloodless coup and said he wanted to restore order following months of turmoil.

    General Prayuth launched his coup after the rival factions refused to give ground in a struggle for power between the royalist establishment and a populist government that had raised fears of serious violence and damaged Thailand’s economy.

    Soldiers detained politicians from both sides when Gen Prayuth announced the military takeover, which drew swift international condemnation, after talks he was presiding over broke down.

  • 10:45
    I will certainly endeavor to bring you any exit poll/turnout data that comes in.
  • 10:50

    Where can you find a quarter of a million delirious screaming teenagers?

    Croke Park for the next three nights would be a good start. The mania that is One Direction descends on Dublin for the next three nights with tonight’s concert kicking off at 8.30pm.

  • 10:55

    There is a story here about how Pope Francis isn’t joining Facebook despite efforts to recruit him.

    It reads: “Facebook representatives recently visited the Vatican to argue that the leader of the world’s largest Christian church should have a profile on the world’s largest social network.”

    The cheek of them. Says who?

    “But the archbishop in charge of the church’s media strategy, Claudio Maria Celli, said Pope Francis will stay off Facebook over concerns about abusive comments.”

    He’s right too.

    “The rejection of Facebook is surprising because the Vatican has otherwise embraced social media. Francis recently called the internet ‘a gift from God.’”

    I wouldn’t say the lads who invented it are thrilled with that description but there you are..

  • 10:59

    In terms of all you need to know about the elections and voting guides etc, irishtimes.com has a special section devoted to the subject here.

    You can find a guide the European elections here.

  • 11:01
    President Michael D.Higgins and his wife Sabina photographed at St.Mary's Hospital Phoenix Park Dublin during voting in the european and local elections.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES
    President Michael D.Higgins and his wife Sabina photographed at St.Mary's Hospital Phoenix Park Dublin during voting in the european and local elections.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES
  • 11:08
    It was on this day in 1998 that the Good Friday Agreement was accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland with 75 per cent voting yes.
  • 11:16

    Simon Carswell is in Boston and he has all the latest from the bankruptcy trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chief David Drumm.

    Mr Drumm said he wanted to avoid bankruptcy in Ireland in 2010 because it was “pretty brutal” involving a 12-year process and “a debtors’ prison-type approach”.

  • 11:36

    The Daily Telegraph is reporting that yesterday’s “scuffle” involving former Manchester United boss David Moyes was instigated by a Manchester United-related “jibe”.

    Poor Moyes.

  • 11:39
    They are also reporting that Chelsea have agreed the sale of defender David Luiz to Paris Saint Germain for £40m.
  • 11:53
    Yes. And when you're finished, you insert your ballot paper into the ballot box.
  • 11:57
  • 12:04

    It never rains but it pours. There is a report here on Rory McIlroy’s bid for a first, and rather unlikely, BMW PGA Championship title.

    He suffered an early blow as the second round got under way at Wentworth as his front nine score of 38 pushed him back down the field.

    McIlroy announced on Wednesday that he had called off his planned November wedding to former world number one tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, even though the invitations had just been sent out.

    I suppose it might have been a bit awkward if he was absolutely class after showing her the door.

  • 12:30
    I can confirm that the Labour Party have gotten at least one vote in today's elections.
  • 12:30
    Labour Party Leader, T‡naiste Eamon Gilmore pictured casting his vote at Scoil Mhuire, Shanganagh Rd, Shankill, Co Dublin this morningÉ Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
    Labour Party Leader, T‡naiste Eamon Gilmore pictured casting his vote at Scoil Mhuire, Shanganagh Rd, Shankill, Co Dublin this morningÉ Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
  • 12:41
  • 12:51
    Giant posters of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid jerseys hang on the facade of Madrid's regional government building at Puerta del Sol in Madrid May 23, 2014. The Champions League final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid takes
    Giant posters of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid jerseys hang on the facade of Madrid's regional government building at Puerta del Sol in Madrid May 23, 2014. The Champions League final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid takes
  • 12:54
  • 12:56
    Did you see what the guards did there? A One Direction pun! Who said they don't have a sense of humour.  
  • 13:17

    Turnout in yesterday’s vote on the island of Inishbofin left something to be desired.

    Just three people bothered to cast their ballot meaning the job of the counters should be fairly straightforward.

  • 13:20

    Patsy McGarry reports that staff at All Hallows College in Dublin are currently attending a meeting where they are to be told that the College is to close down.

    A spokeswoman for the College this morning denied that closure was being considered when asked to confirm reports by The Irish Times.

    She has since clarified that the situation was “too delicate” to do so then.

    A statement is expected from the College on the matter this afternoon.

  • 13:26
    The cars of Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and their guests arrive at the entrance of the Wideville Castle, in Davron, 35 miles west of Paris, Friday, May 23, 2014. The gates of the Chateau de Versailles, once the digs of Louis XIV, will be thrown o
    The cars of Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and their guests arrive at the entrance of the Wideville Castle, in Davron, 35 miles west of Paris, Friday, May 23, 2014. The gates of the Chateau de Versailles, once the digs of Louis XIV, will be thrown o
  • 13:44

    Britain’s Eurosceptic UK Independence Party made strong gains but their Dutch counterparts stumbled as more countries voted on Friday in European Parliament elections expected to produce a widespread anti-EU protest vote on a very low turnout.

    Nigel Farage’s UKIP, which wants to pull Britain out of the European Union and severely restrict immigration, has weakened Labour’s grip on its northern heartlands and caused the Conservatives to lose control of at least eight flagship councils following yesterday’s local election vote in the UK.

  • 13:46
    Polling stations around the country this lunchtime are reporting turnout of about 10 to 15 per cent. In the new electoral area of South and West Kerry, up to 25 per cent have already cast their votes.
  • 13:51

    NASA unveiled its "global selfie" today, a mosaic of more than 36,000 pictures uploaded to social media showing people and places around the world in commemoration of Earth Day, the US space agency said.

    NASA asked people on April 22, Earth Day, to upload pictures tagged with #GlobalSelfie to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    Users on every continent and 113 countries or regions - including Antarctica, Yemen and Peru - joined in. After weeks of collecting and curating the more than 50,000 submissions, the so-called "global selfie" was released.

    I’ll try and find it for you now.

  • 13:54
    NASA's 'Global Selfie' Earth mosaic contains more than 36,000 individual photographs from the more than 50,000 images posted around the world on Earth Day, April 22, 2014, in this handout image courtesy of NASA released May 22, 2014. REUTERS/NASA
    NASA's "Global Selfie" Earth mosaic contains more than 36,000 individual photographs from the more than 50,000 images posted around the world on Earth Day, April 22, 2014, in this handout image courtesy of NASA released May 22, 2014. REUTERS/NASA
  • 13:59

    Roy Keane has distanced himself from speculation that he could be the man to succeed Neil Lennon as Celtic manager.

    The 42-year-old, currently on international duty as assistant to Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill, said: “I’ve got a job — I’ve got two jobs — I can’t have another one.

    “They are a brilliant club, an absolutely fantastic football club, one of the best in the world. But I have got a job.”

    He added with a smile: “I’m not taking a pay cut for anybody.”

  • 14:07

    The Golden Shears World Championships, also known as the World Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships, are still underway in Gorey, Co Wexford.

    The programme for the weekend can be found here.

    Tickets are €10 for children (under 12s are free), while a four day ticket costs €30 on the gate.

    Fleecing people.

  • 14:10
    Polling stations around the country are reporting 10 to 15 per cent turnout so far, so Clare would seem to be on the lower end of that scale if your information is correct.
  • 14:19
    Hundreds of Thai pro-democracy activists hold up papers with protest messages during a demonstration against the army coup in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) in center of Bangkok, Thailand, 23 May 2014. Thailand's ruling junta
    Hundreds of Thai pro-democracy activists hold up papers with protest messages during a demonstration against the army coup in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) in center of Bangkok, Thailand, 23 May 2014. Thailand's ruling junta
  • 14:20

    Protestors in Thailand making their feelings known about the ongoing turmoil there.

    Check out the woman’s sign at the front. Nice and succinct.

  • 14:57

    Gardaí are “extremely keen” to inform the public about a batch of ecstasy tablets currently in circulation containing a dangerous substance not normally part of the drug’s makeup.

    The HSE issued a health alert about the drugs on Thursday after they were linked to the deaths of two people in the previous four days, as well as a number of other deaths and hospitalisations in the last four weeks.

    A statement from the Garda has advised people who are engaged in drug-taking to avoid green pills with the logo of an apple embossed on them, green pills with the logo of a Rolex symbol, and white pills with a Mitsubishi logo.

  • 14:59
  • 15:47

    This is seriously tenuous from the Metro Herald.


    A headline reads: “McIlroy’s ex hits back with sarky Reds tweet”.


    If you read the piece however, you find that the “hitting back” relates to a tweet from tennis star Caroline Wozniacki thanking people who have supported her.


    Part of it said: “Happy I support Liverpool right now because I know I’ll never walk alone.”


    Get this though, apparently McIlroy is a “life-long fan of Liverpool’s arch rivals Manchester United”.


    Oooooh... consider yourself “hit back” at Rory.

  • 15:58

    US peace envoy Richard Haass has ruled out returning to Northern Ireland to broker a deal on parades, flags and the toxic legacy of the Troubles, according to the Press Association.

    A visit by the former diplomat to meet Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore in Dublin provoked speculation that he could chair a fresh round of talks between party chiefs at Stormont after the local and European elections.

    But after his meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs at Iveagh House, Mr Haas said while he remained interested in the process, his formal role has ended.

  • 16:00

    Firefighters are tackling a major blaze at an historic building of one of Europe’s leading art schools.

    The fire at Glasgow School of Art’s Charles Rennie Mackintosh building was reported at about 12.30pm.

    The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said four appliances were immediately sent from Cowcaddens, Yorkhill and Maryhill fire stations, and firefighters were on scene within four minutes.

    Smoke could be seen billowing from the roof of the building and flames coming from some windows on the upper floors.

  • 16:01
    Fire crew tackle a major blaze at the Glasgow School of Art, in Glasgow, Britain 23 May 2014. The school stated that everyone in the building escaped to safety and there have been no reports of any casualties. EPA/Robert Perry
    Fire crew tackle a major blaze at the Glasgow School of Art, in Glasgow, Britain 23 May 2014. The school stated that everyone in the building escaped to safety and there have been no reports of any casualties. EPA/Robert Perry
  • 16:18

    A statement in from the Department of Education and Skills says it has been informed by All Hallows College of its intention to wind down the college.

    “This is no doubt a difficult time for staff and students of the college and our thoughts are with them. The Department welcomes the fact that the college intends to wind down in a phased and orderly manner in order to facilitate as much as possible the completion of students’ studies.

    “All Hallows College receives grant in lieu of tuition fee funding from the Department. This amounted to some €439,000 for 2013/14. While there is a cap on the number of undergraduate students eligible for the free fees scheme, the College has not reached that cap in the previous five years.”

  • 16:19
    Pakistani Sikhs protest in the compound of the Pakistan parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan, 23 May 2014. EPA/SOHAIL SHAHZAD  
    Pakistani Sikhs protest in the compound of the Pakistan parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan, 23 May 2014. EPA/SOHAIL SHAHZAD  
  • 16:19

    Pakistani Sikhs protesting in that photo there.

    They are apparently Sikh-ing an end to attacks on their houses of worship in the southern Sindh province.

  • 16:22
    Robert Corbet has been found guilty of the murder of Aoife Phelan in Portlaoise two years ago.
  • 16:30
    U.S. President Barack Obama poses for a picture with a diner as he makes a breakfast stop at Valois Cafeteria in Chicago, May 23, 2014. Obama will return to Washington on Friday, nominating San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as secretary of housing
    U.S. President Barack Obama poses for a picture with a diner as he makes a breakfast stop at Valois Cafeteria in Chicago, May 23, 2014. Obama will return to Washington on Friday, nominating San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as secretary of housing
  • 16:30
    Even Obama loves a selfie.
  • 16:35
  • 16:45
    Hollywood Star Jonah Hill has been meeting students of Trinity College Dublin while in Ireland promoting his new movie 22 Jump Street in Dublin.
  • 16:47
    Hollywood Star Jonah Hill meets students of Trinity College while in Ireland promoting his new movie 22 Jump Street in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 23, 2014. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
    Hollywood Star Jonah Hill meets students of Trinity College while in Ireland promoting his new movie 22 Jump Street in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 23, 2014. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
  • 17:00

    Turnout in the Northern Ireland council elections could be below 50 per cent, according to early returns, reports Dan Keenan.

    Counting is underway in 11 new council areas following the most extensive reform of local government in the North since 1973.

    However with official turnout figures from just four of these councils now available, only in Belfast and Derry has more than half the electorate cast their vote.

    Turnout in the European Parliament election, held on the same day, could be even lower.

    While the turnout in the new, larger Belfast City Council area was recorded at 51 per cent, the equivalent for Mid and East Antrim was just under 48 per cent. The new council comprising Derry and Strabane has had an election turnout of 53 per cent. The turnout in North Down and Ards was just 42 per cent.

  • 17:05

    Well, I’m off to vote. The elections blog will be back tomorrow though when the moratorium will be lifted and counting begins.

    What’s in store for the Government parties?

    Will Sinn Fein make the gains everyone expects them to make, and how is the electorate to treat the villains of the last election Fianna Fail?

    It promises to be an exciting day and there will be extensive coverage here on irishtimes.com right the way through the day.

    Until then, have a nice Friday evening and thanks for reading.