News Blog

There are musical and Joycean coins galore today. Get in touch at @IrishTimesLive

Pamela Duncan Thu, Apr 11
LIVE: News Blog

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  • 09:50
    It’s my first time doing the live blog and I’m pre-coffee so bear with me. I’m Pamela Duncan and I’ll be blogging this morning about topics ranging from the Dublin driver whose been clamped 63 times in four years to the scrapping of Communion grants while I will also be touching on Rory McIlroy’s Masters preparations (that should be a learning curve – I know nothing about golf).
  • 09:52
    Anyone remember the Dublin Bus ad where the girl asks if there's a clamping loyalty card? Well it sounds like one Dublin driver could do with just that. The unnamed driver clocked up a whopping €5,000 in fines in the past four years. That's more than my car cost! What's worse is that this kind of behaviour has led the Dublin City Council parking appeals officer to question if the clamping release fine should be raised to €130 to deter illegal parking. What do you think? In related news car clamping companies operating on private grounds will soon be regulated.
  • 09:56
    The Central Bank issued collectors’ coin which misquotes a line from Ulysses
    The Central Bank issued collectors’ coin which misquotes a line from Ulysses
  • 10:01
    So you go off and pay €46 for a €10 coin only to find out that the Ulysses quote inscribed on it is wrong. Yes, the Central Bank may be a just tad embarrased today after sharp-Joyce enthusiasts realised that a collectors’ coin contains a misquote from the author’s masterpiece. It should read "Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read . . ." but in fact the coin reads "Signatures of all things that I am here to read". 10,000 coins were minted. 
  • 10:29
    Ah, finally the caffeine is beginning to kick in so it's time for a round up of what's making the headlines in the Irish papers. 
  • 10:32
    The Irish Sun's lead is accompanied by a photo of two homeless men who are using a public toilet in Ennis as a shelter. The report by Gordon Deegan says Ennis District Court heard yesterday that homeless Czech national Joseph Pavelka who was before the court on public order charges has been unable to access help from State agencies and has resorted to living in a public toilet in the town centre. The article quotes Judge Patrick Durcan who said the situation was a scandal: "This is a case of a man who needs help and surely there are caring agencies of some kind in this town who can help him".
  • 10:39
    The Savita Halappanavar inquest continues to dominate the front pages of most papers after coronor Dr Ciarán MacLoughlin said he believed that he had identified a number of systems failures that occurred in her treatment while a midwife manager at Galway University Hospital said she regretted saying Ms Halappanavar could not get an abortion because "Ireland is a Catholic country". 
  • 10:43
    A number of papers carry the story of a teenager who collapsed and died during a school hike in Wicklow yesterday. Neil Quinlan, a transition year student at St Conleth's College in Dublin reportedly collapsed in front of friends having completed a walk in Glendalough. He was rushed to Tallaght Hospital where he later died. A post on St Conleth's College website this morning says their thoughts and prayers are with Neil's family at this time.
  • 10:52
    Meanwhile in the US a hermit dubbed by locals as the North Pond Hermit who lived in a makeshift camp in the woods for decades has been arrested. The Guardian reports that Christopher Knight, 47, was arrested when he tripped a surveillance sensor while allegedly stealing food from a camp for people with special needs in a small town in the far north-eastern state of Maine. It is thought he may be responsible for more than 1,000 burglaries for food and supplies.
  • 11:12

    I know I said there would be golf news but in the meantime here is a reminder that the experts on the Irish Times sports desk will be on hand from around 3pm onwards to provide a putt-by-putt account in their Masters live blog. 

  • 11:27
    Those who are allergic to pop music may be agog at reports that One Direction have managed to amass £5 million EACH in the past year according to the Sunday Times Young Music Rich List. 
    But even collectively the five-member boyband are not worth as much as Adele who tops the list with a £30 million fortune. At number 2 (wow, I feel like a deejay) is Cheryl Cole with £14 million followed by Katie Melua and Leona Lewis who each have a fortune of £12 million and Florence Welch (aka Florence and the Machine) whose worth is rerported to stand at £9 million. 
    However the young ones' fortunes pale in comparison with the likes of Sir Paul McCartney who, along with his wife Nancy Shevell are worth £680 million.

    Other high-value artists include Andrew Lloyd Webber who is worth £620 million; U2 with £520 million; Sir Elton John with £240 million. David and Victoria Beckham who have a collective worth of £200 million as does Mick Jagger. Jealous? Not I. (OK,  maybe just  a little jealous). 
  • 11:42

    Confirmation this morning from the Department of Social Protection that families will no longer receive Government grants to assist with the cost of Holy Communions this year.  

  • 12:16
    Good deeds sometimes do come cheap. The Move4Parkinson’s Voices of Hope Choir has released a charity single to mark World Parkinson’s Awareness Day. The single which has been recorded with singer songwriters Shay Healy and Niamh Kavanagh, the Garda Band and A Glór Gospel Choir is now available on Apple iTunes for just 99 cents.
  • 12:32
  • 13:06
    Finally, a golf-related post! The US Masters is starting now in Augusta – Graeme McDowell is out at 2.50pm Irish time, Padraig Harrington at 3.56pm and Rory McIlroy at 6.41pm.
  • 13:13
    Because I have been talking about my utter lack of golf knowledge all day my newsroom colleagues have kindly furnished me with some golf-related information.

    The first comes from Damian Cullen: "Since the Par Three Tournament that precedes the US Masters started in 1960, nobody has ever won the par-three and Masters in the same week. Bo van Pelt took that superstition very seriously last night when he got his sons to have a putt each on the final hole to ensure he didn’t become Par Three champ. Ernie Els, Nick Watney, Ted Potter, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson all finished tied for the lead, but Els and Watney refused to compete in a play-off to decide the winner (golfers are very superstitious). Potter ultimately won, though that’s not the reason he won’t win at the weekend – he’s not 500/1 for nothing."

  • 13:22
  • 13:27
    Below is a short video of tennis star Caroline Wozniacki teeing off during yesterday's traditional pre-Masters Par 3 Contest. In case you're wondering about the outfit, she acted as caddy for her boyfriend Rory McIlroy yesterday, hence the white jumpsuit.
  • 13:28
    That should read caddie - I warned you I know nothing about golf.
  • 13:31
    For informed coverage of the Masters I strongly encourage golf fans to switch to the Irish Times sports blog at 3pm where the experts will be live blogging on events as they unfold at Augusta.
  • 13:51
    And now for something completely different:

    "Nuisance sheep” which were causing a danger to motorists and irritating gardeners by eating their flowers have been seized by police in the UK.

    Police received more than 40 complaints from members of the public since the start of the year about the animals which were allowed to roam free by their owners.

    A shepherd and two sheepdogs were called in by police to help round up the sheep which will be sold after the owners refused to hand over money to cover the cost of impounding the animals.

    PC Brian Howard said the money the sheep fetched at auction would be used to cover the costs incurred by police in rounding them up.
  • 13:53
  • 14:12
    Four Japanese automakers including Toyota and Nissan are recalling 3.4 million vehicles sold worldwide including 38,000 cars in Ireland because of possible defects in passenger airbags.
  • 14:46
    An update on the commemorative James Joyce coin which contains a misquote: The Central Bank has said it will refund customers who are unhappy that the €10 coin (which actually costs €46) includes a misquoted line from Ulysses. However, it said will keep selling the coin while ensuring that those who purchase it are aware of the mistake.

    Meanwhile, when asked about the error, manager of the James Joyce Centre in Dublin, Mark Traynor fittingly quoted another Ulysses line: "‘A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery’," although he noted that this was also frequently misquoted.
  • 14:52
    The Masters sports blog goes live on shortly (I hear golf fans breathe a sigh of relief). In the meantime you can access the the leader board here
  • 15:20
    Gary Thornton, a Galway national school teacher crosses the line to win the North Pole Marathon
    Gary Thornton, a Galway national school teacher crosses the line to win the North Pole Marathon
  • 15:22
    Galway school teacher Gary Thornton, a novice marathon runner, has withstood temperatures of minus 30 degree temperatures to win the North Pole Marathon. As if running that distance in sub zero temperatures wasn't hardcore enough, the marathon route has to be guarded by armed Russian paratroopers in case of polar bear attacks according to the report from PA.
  • 15:44
  • 15:56
    My knowledge of football is nearly be as pitiful as my knowledge of golf but even I know that the English Premier League has been talking about the introduction of goal-line technology for an absolute age. Well, it appears the times they are a changing as the league has approved the introduction of Hawk Eye, already used in tennis and cricket, to do the job.
  • 16:16
  • 16:35
    In case the words "divisive figure" haven't been bandied about enough following the death of Margaret Thatcher on Monday here is yet another example. The Guardian reported yesterday that the BBC received over 750 complaints about its coverage of the former UK prime minister's death. The complaints fell into three categories: 268 people complained that its coverage was biased in favour of Thatcher; 227 felt it was biased against her and 271 people complained that the station had devoted too much airtime to the former Tory leader's death.
  • 16:50
    I meant to put this up earlier but clean forgot. At just 13 years old of age, Waterford schoolboy Jordan Casey has three games available for download in the Apple iTunes store. Pamela Newenham reports that he himself how to programme when he was just nine-years-old and by age 10 was programming in Java, HTML and CSS.
  • 16:55
  • 16:55
    And now Rosita Boland with the weather:
  • 17:16
    Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn will represent the Government at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher next week but Britain will not invite Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to in a snub likely to deepen a long-running diplomatic dispute over the Falkland Islands.
  • 17:30
    Right, that's me done for the day. Communities editor, David Cochrane will take over in the morning. Until then so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, etc.