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The Garda scandal, the Muppets and more in today's Daily Wire

Steven Carroll Fri, Mar 28
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  • 09:25
    Good morning and welcome to the Daily Wire.
  • 09:26
    The Garda recordings fallout continues to dominate the news agenda, and I'll be here to keep you up to date on the latest on that front as well as the day's other breaking news.
  • 09:27
    The weather forecast isn't great for today or tomorrow, but at least it is Friday. Met Eireann says you should expect cool and rather breezy conditions today with scattered heavy showers of rain or hail, and the continuing risk of isolated thunderstorms.
  • 09:28
    Tomorrow will start with some bright or sunny spells but is to become dull with showery rain developing as the day goes on. That rain will obviously turn heavy and persistent in many areas, but especially through the midlands, west and south.
  • 09:33
    The breaking news this morning is that a prominent dissident republican who was shot in the face with a shotgun outside a creche in Dublin last week died from his injuries in hospital this morning.
  • 09:34
    Belfast native Declan Smith (32), who has been living in Coolock in recent years, was approached and shot by a lone gunman at 9.30am in Donaghmede last Friday, after dropping his child off at the creche.

    More on that story here
  • 09:41
    The frontpage headlines in today's Irish Times relate to "Moves to limit legal fallout over Garda recordings" (which can be read here); the latest from the Anglo trial which yesterday heard that Sean FitzPatrick told gardai David Drumm was driving the Anglo deal to unwind Sean Quinn's stake in the bank, and a story about NUI Galway replacing a number of summer exam papers after students gained access to them online.
  • 09:44
    And there's also a photograph of Barack Obama having a laugh during his audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican yesterday.
    And there's also a photograph of Barack Obama having a laugh during his audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican yesterday.
  • 09:49

    The frontpage headlines from elsewhere....

    The Guardian leads with British Labour leader Ed Miliband calling for new curbs on energy bills; The Times leads with "Bank raises alarm over new house price bubble; The Irish Sun leads on "Cops: We did NOT bug Dundon"; The Herald has `Wife-beating muslims' slur by judge;

  • 09:51
    The Irish Daily Mail claims the killer of journalist Veronica Guerin could walk as a result of the garda recordings; The Irish Examiner says "Murder, rape and terrorism cases in doubt over scandal"; The Irish Daily Star says disgraced former TD Patrick Nulty is in the clear with gardai as the teenage girl he sent messages to refused to make a statement to officers.
  • 09:53
    The Irish Daily Mirror reports that "Holed-up gangster John Gilligan's deluded family have slammed the State after he was forced to flee the country"; The Irish Independent reports that Alan Shatter faces a new row "as judge embroiled in penalty points scandal"
  • 09:56
    The Financial Times says Berlin has given David Cameron a boost over his EU stance. In a joint piece, British chancellor George Osborne and Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schauble say that any treaty change must ensure fairness for EU countries outside the eurozone
  • 10:01
    An interesting story from Sean Moran in the sports pages today - The GAA are expected to announce shortly   details of the latest three-year broadcasting rights agreement with the inclusion for the first time of exclusive championship coverage for a subscription channel, Sky Sports.
  • 10:04
  • 10:05
  • 10:06
  • 10:07
  • 10:09

    I spent yesterday morning at a conference on Freedom of Information where Information Commissioner Peter Tyndall said there was work to be done to remove a culture of secrecy form the public sector and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin confirmed he would be bringing his revised FOI proposals to cabinet soon.

    Read about that here

  • 10:21
  • 10:25
    I found this conversation between three people who have twitter names that often draw criticism from football fans quite surreal. Apparently people think @moysey is the daughter of beleagured Manchester United manager David Moyes. RVP and AVB spea
    I found this conversation between three people who have twitter names that often draw criticism from football fans quite surreal. Apparently people think @moysey is the daughter of beleagured Manchester United manager David Moyes. RVP and AVB spea
  • 10:29
    The story of missing Malaysian flight MH370 continues to be a popular one across the web. The latest today is that the air and sea taskforce hunting for the wreckage has been re-directed to an area 1,100 km north of where they have been searching for more than a week, after Australian authorities received new radar information from Malaysia. More here
  • 10:30
  • 10:35

    Mark Paul has an interview with Bill Cullen who is back up and running with a new car dealership.  “Ssangyong – most people can’t even pronounce it,” he says of the Korean car franchise. “But I’m always ready for a challenge . . . ”

    Here's a link to that interview

  • 10:40
  • 10:42
    Jim Carroll has a piece on the value of rarity in reference to the demand for Kate Bush tickets after she announced a long awaited return to the stage. You can read his take here
  • 10:45
    Tickets for Bush’s live comeback, a 22 date run at the Hammersmith Apollo, sold out in less than 15 minutes this morning.
  • 10:48
    Hard to figure what Sky News is going to do to pass the time for the next 10 days as the Oscar Pistorius trial has been adjourned until April 7th. The postponement is due to the illness of one of the legal assistants who has been sitting at  Judge Thokozile Masipa's side throughout the trial. Full story here.
  • 10:49
  • 10:50
    More on that Muppet business here
  • 10:53

    Our resident film critic Donal Clarke has the chance to catch up with Kermit the Frog and Ms Piggy too. Here's his interview with the duo.

    And here's a tip from Ms Piggy on defeating the ageing process: “It’s very easy. I just woke up one morning and said: ‘I am not going to have any of that aging.’ It’s just willpower. I just look in the mirror and stare the wrinkles away.”

  • 10:55

    Moving from one puppet to another, Ukraine’s deposed president Viktor Yanukovich has called today for each of the country’s regions to hold a referendum on its status “within Ukraine”.

  • 10:56
  • 10:58
    The Tate gallery has been told it must return an oil painting by John Constable to Hungary after experts ruled it had been stolen by the Nazis in 1944 or early 1945. Here's a piece from the Telegraph.
  • 11:02
    You'd nearly feel sorry for Rio Ferdinand who has branded Manchester United's season "embarrassing" and admitted he is reluctant to leave his own house due to a dismal title defence. Nearly. Guardian piece here.
  • 11:03
  • 11:07

    A migrant group has urged a district court judge to withdraw or clarify remarks made in court about Muslims yesterday.

    “Muslims think they can actually beat their wives,” Judge Anthony Halpin told Tallaght Court as he was dealing with a Somali man accused of burgling his now divorced wife’s house.

    Here's the article on it

  • 11:09
  • 11:19
  • 11:21
    For those interested in an indie-trad-electro-math-rock-pop progression, here's an interview Jim Carroll did with Daithí Ó Drónaí.
  • 11:28
    News today that 22 people have now been identified as suspects by two ongoing investigations into the Hillsborough disaster, including some who were not police officers.
  • 11:31
    A worker at Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant died on Friday after being buried under gravel while digging a ditch, prompting the operator to suspend cleanup work for safety checks, according to this Reuters story.
  • 11:36

    Bad news for people looking to catch up on sleep (and those of us who have to work on Sunday morning). Alan Shatter's department has issues a press release today reminding us that the clocks go forward at 1am on Sunday morning. If only the Minister could turn back time he might....etc.

  • 11:37
    Also we should prepare for the onslaught of "grand stretch in the evening" comments...
  • 11:46
  • 11:46
    Credit to a group of Newcastle United fans who have almost completed a cycle of more than 300 miles to Southampton (ahead of Newcastle's weekend fixture at St Mary's) to raise money for two cancer charities. They'll be present for arguably the deadest rubber of a football match you're likely to encounter in the Premier League this season as 8th position visits 9th.
  • 11:56
    Anybody with some time to kill as lunch approaches should consider taking the weekly Irish Times news quiz. (I got 2 wrong...)
  • 12:06
    Twenty-one of the world's top-25 news organisations have been the target of likely state-sponsored hacking attacks, according to research by two Google security engineers, Reuters says here.
  • 12:09
    Kathy Sheridan has written a column today on accountability in light of the Garda developments this week. You can find it here.
  • 12:22
  • 12:26
    Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan pulled out of election rallies in central Turkey today in order to rest his voice after weeks of campaigning around the country, his office said. Erdogan had difficulty speaking at rallies in southeast Turkey yesterday ahead of Sunday's local elections.
  • 12:35
  • 12:48
    More from Turkey, where officials have defended their move to block access to YouTube, citing national security concerns.
    The government shut down access to the video-sharing website yesterday after an audio recording of a security meeting was leaked.
    In the recording, senior officials appeared to be discussing a possible military intervention in Syria. Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the telecommunications authority requested that YouTube take down the audio recording but the company did not remove it.
    Turkey last week suspended access to Twitter, which has been a conduit for links to recordings that suggest government corruption.
    “Nothing is more important than Turkey’s security, the well-being of the people or the individual rights of our citizens,” Mr Davutoglu said.
    The ban on Twitter drew international criticism as a restriction on free speech.
  • 12:52

    I know a lot of football fans are happy to see David Moyes at Old Trafford but some Manchester United fans are going to great lengths to show they're unhappy.

    They're hoping he keeps his head up ahead of the game against Aston Villa at Old Trafford tomorrow so he can see the banner they plan to fly overhead calling for his dismissal.

    A supporter group had raised £840 to pay for a light aircraft to trail a banner proclaiming 'Wrong One; Moyes out' around the ground as teams emerge from the tunnel before kickoff.

  • 12:56
    And here's more good news from Old Trafford:
  • 13:08
  • 13:10

    The Garda Representative Association has issued its first comments on developments in the force this week.

     “Our members are aware of recording of telephone calls in control and communications rooms as well as some of the public offices. We understand that the recording is similar to that used by the fire and ambulance control rooms, and is utilised for the same purposes; namely for clarity of what was said – and for accountability.

    “We await the report from the Commission of Inquiry to establish whether or not other lines in garda stations were recorded. In the interim, we do not believe further speculation is helpful. Our members are concerned about the level of recording, but this is an issue we are raising with Garda Management.”
  • 13:11

    The GRA goes on to say “the recent controversies have further undermined the morale of those gardaí working at the frontline of policing. The Garda Representative Association wishes to reassure the public that no member of the garda rank was involved in any decision to record telephone conversations in garda stations.”

    Crime Correspondent Conor Lally will have more on that shortly.

  • 13:14
  • 13:15
  • 13:17

    It has been the subject of theological and historical argument for centuries, but Spanish historians now claim to have tracked down the Holy Chalice, the cup from which Christ was supposed to have drunk during his last supper. They believe the 2,000-year-old vessel is in a church in León, in northern Spain.

    Read Guy Hedgecoe's report here

  • 13:41

    More tension in Afghanistan ahead of next week's presidential elections.

    A group of Afghan Taliban insurgents, who have pledged to disrupt the election, forced their way into a guesthouse used by foreigners in an upscale residential part of the capital Kabul today.

    A gunbattle then erupted and military convoys were dispatched to secure the area.

    "A suicide bomber detonated his car loaded with explosives in front of a guesthouse used by foreign and Afghan citizens and now a number of suicide bombers are apparently inside," said Hashmat Stanikzai, a spokesman for Kabul's police chief.

    "A gunfight is under way. There are no reports of possible casualties."

  • 13:43
    Here's a piece from the Guardian on how Vladimir Putin's actions in Crimea have changed the world.
  • 13:49

    More on the Garda recordings - The Chief Superintendent of the Kerry Garda Division says he is “very confident” no legal case from the division has or will be put at risk as a result of the telephone recording practice, which he confirms took place at the main garda station.

    Anne Lucey reports

  • 13:52

    Ireland's rugby internationals are making their way back into their provincial sides after the Six Nations. Freeman Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Heaslip, Paul O'Connell and Peter O'Mahoney are among those who will be turning out as Leinster face Munster this weekend.

    Johnny Watterson has the team news here ahead of the clash at the Aviva tomorrow night.

  • 13:59

    Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan has accused Fianna Fail of using recent developments in An Garda Siochana as a "political football" after the Opposition party said it was tabling a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Justice.

    “If Micheál Martin and his party cared about the proper administration of justice, they would not waste Dáil time engaging in the pointless motion of no confidence tabled this morning," Flanagan said in a statement. "People should see this charade for what it is; another episode in a politically orchestrated campaign to try and undermine the Government at any cost."

    Flanagan is also taking issue with Micheal Martin saying Alan Shatter is dodging questions on the issues - adding that his colleague was "on his feet for almost seven hours in Dáil Eireann on Wednesday, taking questions on the Garda Inspectorate Report on the Fixed Charge Processing System".

    Mr Shatter hasn't addressed or taken questions form the media on the issues yet though Deputy Flanagan, has he?

  • 14:00
  • 14:04

    Here's a piece featuring the Taoiseach saiying he didn't tell the former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan to resign.

    “The only people I can dismiss from office are Ministers with the consent of Government, or Ministers of State. The Garda Commissioner made his own decision,” he said.

  • 14:18

    Here's an update from the Anglo trial, where evidence of Sean FitzPatrick's interviews with gardai is being heard.

    The court heard that Mr FitzPatrick did not know if the deal to unwind the Quinn holding had helped to increase the share price in the bank.

    More from Fiona Gartland here.

  • 14:33

    HSE chief Tony O'Brien has been responding to criticisms of the national ambulance service raised in recent reports by The Irish Times and RTE's PrimeTime.

    He said the service would not have “optimal capability” until the deployment of the planned national control service happened "within the next 12 months" and that it’s introduction is the “single most important thing that can happen” to improve the service.

    Eanna O Caollai reports here

  • 14:43

    Here's a good news story (for Aer Lingus chief executive Christophe Mueller). He was paid €1.5 million (up 15 per cent) last year as profits at the airline grew 0.6 per cent last year to €34.1 million from €33.9 million.

    "The total package included basic pay of €475,000, an annual performance-related bonus of €420,000 and a special bonus of €400,000. On top of this, there were pension contributions of €175,000 and other benefits amounting to €55,000," reports Barry O'Halloran here.

  • 14:44
  • 14:45
  • 14:47
  • 14:48
    Conor Lally asks here if the garda taping ‘crisis’ has been overplayed for political gain.
  • 14:51
  • 14:56

    Norway’s former premier Jens Stoltenberg is to become the new chief of the   Nato military alliance, reports AP.

    Two officials within the alliance and from a member state said Mr Stoltenberg is expected to be confirmed later today.

    The appointment comes at a critical time for the alliance as the crisis over Ukraine has suddenly made Nato more relevant on the European continent.

    Current secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen is to step down after a Nato summit in Wales later this year, and the past weeks have seen feverish diplomatic activity as some member states sought to push their candidate into the top political job of the 28-nation military alliance.

  • 15:02

    Garda Representative Association president John Parker said there were warning stickers on phones alerting gardaí that the line was being recorded, describing a widespread practice that was not a secret within the Garda.

    More here

  • 15:08
    Press Ombudsman Prof John Horgan has informed the Press Council that he will be retiring from his position on September 1st, 2014.
  • 15:21

    London Editor Mark Hennessy reports from the inquest of student Patrick Halpin who died in the English capital in February.

    "Patrick Halpin, the Galway youth who died tragically in an accident in London in February, was killed in a fall of less than four metres, a coroner’s inquest has been told in London."

  • 15:40

    DJ Dave Lee Travis is to face further charges of indecent assault.

    Travis was previously accused of indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another in alleged incidents dating back to 1976 when he was at the height of his fame, but a jusry found him not guilty.The jury were not able to agree on a charge of alleged indecent assault by Travis against a woman in the early 1990s along with an alleged sexual assault in 2008.

  • 16:02

    Two Dublin men wanted in Holland in connection with the discovery of a dismembered body in an Amsterdam canal will have aspects of their extradition case determined by the Supreme Court.

    Dutch authorities had sought the surrender of Kenneth Brunell (27) from Palmerstown and Barry McArdle (27) from Drimnagh who were arrested by gardaí on foot of extradition warrants issued in 2011.

    More on that case here

  • 16:10
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  • 16:34

    Russian president Vladimir Putin has said Russia's takeover of Crimea showed off its military prowess. His comments came after   his defence minister reported that the Russian flag was now flying over all military sites on the Black Sea peninsula.

    In a Kremlin ceremony with senior security officials, Sergei Shoigu told Mr Putin that all Ukrainian servicemen still loyal to Kiev have left the Crimea region, whose annexation by Moscow has led to the worst stand-off with the West since the Cold War.

    "The recent events in Crimea were a serious test," Mr Putin was shown on state television as saying in an echoing and glided Kremlin hall.

    "They demonstrated both the completely new capabilities of our Armed Forces and the high morale of the personnel."

  • 16:39

    Chris Johns writes today that politics, not economics, underpins the euro.

    "The stakes are high. It may just be a key moment. The events in Ukraine have served as a timely reminder of why the EU exists and what the euro is really for."

  • 16:50
  • 16:52
    The BBC reports here that Facebook has ambitious plans to connect the two-thirds of the world that has no net access, using drones, satellites and lasers.

    It will put it in direct competition with Google, which is planning to deliver net access via balloons.
  • 16:54

    Odd press release in from Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello, who has "hit out" at members of People Before Profit, the Socialist Party, and other Independents "for not bothering to turn up for a debate in Dáil Éireann on the contribution of trade to the Irish economic recovery".

    “I am extremely disappointed that there have been no contributions from the People before Profit, from the Socialist Party, from any other Independent on the other benches."

  • 16:57

    A follow up on the story of Aer Lingus chief executive Christophe Mueller's pay packet. Siptu "has condemned the payment of a bonus of more than €1 million" to him "while at the same time the company is refusing to respect the pension entitlements of its workers".

    “It is also ironic that Aer Lingus has chosen to increase its pension contribution to the Chief Executive from 25% to 40% at a time when it has continually failed to resolve the pension debacle for employees of the company. It would seem to be one rule for the rich and another for the poor at Aer Lingus,” Siptu's Dermot O’Loughlin said.

  • 16:58
    Ok folks. I'm going to leave it there for today. Have a good weekend. The Daily Wire will be back on Monday morning.