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Vote on Abortion Bill looms, Irish 'among most carefree in Europe' and more sizzling weather

Joanne Hunt Wed, Jul 10
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  • This event has now ended
  • 08:56
    Feeling a bit hot under the collar today? Why not check out one of Ireland's naturist beaches? From Corballis to Inch, there's something for everyone. Togs optional.
  • 08:58
    Good morning, Joanne Hunt here on The Daily Wire, with you until 5pm. Bet there's a lot of sunburnt bodies in Mount Dillon, Co. Roscommon today. It was 29.5 degrees there yesterday. I can smell the Calamine lotion from here. Can Ireland go one higher today?
  • 08:59

    The top stories in today's Irish Times: State should stick with Austerity, says ESRI. Government to hold referendum on reducing voting age to 16. Coalition under Troika pressure on safety net extension. And the front page pic is of two boys mucking about in the surf in Tramore.

  • 09:08
    Conor Pope is modeling a 'suitcase coat' around the office. It can hold up to 10kgs of clothes. Wear it on your next flight to thwart the check-in bag police and inspire envy amongst fellow passengers. Beautiful as well as functional.
  • 09:19
    Right, so according to Met Eireann, this  exceptionally warm sunny weather is set to end on Saturday, when temperatures will drop to a freezing 21 - 24 degrees, cooler again in Connacht and Ulster.

    You've got three more days people!
  • 09:25
    “It is easier to relax fiscal policy if things turn out better than expected rather than to tighten it if things turn out worse,” says the ESRI.

    The think tank has this morning called on the Government to go ahead with the planned €3.1 billion in spending cuts and tax increases in Budget 2014. Read Dan O'Brien's  report.
  • 09:27
  • 09:35
    The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill is expected to be discussed between 11am and 1.30pm today. We'll keep you up to date on that. It returns to the chamber again at 4.30pm, 7.30pm and 9pm. The final vote is scheduled for 10pm tonight.

    Enda and James Reilly have been on a charm offensive to get FG defectors on side. Read Harry McGee and Mary Minihan's report.
  • 09:37
    "The only one that has been written off is Lucinda," says one senior Fine Gael figure.
  • 09:40
  • 09:50
    Genevieve Carbery has just returned from the Dail. Four anti-abortion protesters are kneeling at the gates. They are surrounded by about 60 others, saying the fifth sorrowful mystery of the rosary.
  • 09:56
    "Thou shalt not mess with women's reproductive rights" - Fallopians, 4:28.

    A picture of this pro-choice poster features in  CNN's coverage of the abortion debate today.
  • 10:01

    Some clarification on that AA update earlier - Gardaí are investigating the deaths of two men after their bodies were discovered in a house in Co Mayo this morning.

    Gardaí said the bodies were found at a house on New Antrim Street, Castlebar, at about 7am. The men were aged in their sixties.

  • 10:11

    The sun isn't for everyone. Why not curl up on the sofa with a cup of cocoa and watch Oireachtas TV? That's what I'll be doing. But at a desk. Here's what's on today. Drama guaranteed.

  • 10:13

    Or head to the beach and keep tabs on what's happening through this blog.

  • 10:29

    Germans are Europe’s biggest worriers, a new survey shows, while the Irish and Swedes are the most carefree.

    Asked to name the most pressing problems facing their country, Germans cited 2.5 problems, the Irish and Swedes just 1.2 concerns.

    One in five Irish people worry about unemployment (our jobless rate is 13.7 %) while in Germany, where unemployment  runs at  6.8 per cent, one in three people worry about it.

    Maybe they are worried about our unemployment.

  • 10:33

    99 problems and Fitch ain't one.

  • 10:35
  • 10:41
    Leaders' Questions in the Dail is kicking off with questions on defined benefit pension schemes.

    The big guns are  in today. The  Taoiseach is flanked by Ruairi Quinn, Frances Fitzgerald, Richard Bruton, Michael Noonan nand Alan Shatter to his left. Beside Michael Martin  is Willy O'Dea.
  • 10:43
    Elsewhere in Leinster House, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton is briefing the Education & Social Protection Committee on Budget 2014.
  • 10:46
  • 10:53

    Gerry Adams is on his feet to talk about symphysiotomy. He wants to know what process is being put in place to compensate victims for what he describes as a 'barbaric procedure'.

    Women who underwent symphysiotomies had their pelvises unnecessarily broken during childbirth. The majority took place at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda which is in Mr Adams' constituency.

    The Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SoS) group has called on the Government to pass legislation before the summer which would allow women affected by the procedure to seek legal redress. It has proposed damages ranging from €250,000 for victims at the lower end of injuries up to €450,000 for women who were most grieviously injured.

    Mr Adams wants the issue dealt with before the Dail hits the summer recess.

  • 11:01
    Independent TD Clare  Daily is looking  very  summery today. Rare to see bare shoulders in the Dail. (We commented on Alan Shatter's 'Man from Delmonte' jacket last week, so the clothes comment is not just 'cause Clare is a girl).

    Deputy  Daly  wants the Taoiseach to ignore the ESRI's advice to continue with austerity.
  • 11:05
    Clare Daly says there are more people unemployed now than when the Government came to power. She says continuing austerity will only condemn more young people to unemployment.
  • 11:07
  • 11:09
    The sitting of the Dail has been extended to midnight to provide for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
  • 11:10
    Some 165 ammendments to the Bill have been proposed.
  • 11:16
  • 11:29
    The Order of Business in the Dail includes questions about the Groceries Bill, anti-social behaviour by social housing tenants and the lowering of the voting age  - but you just get the sense that all minds are elsewhere.
  • 11:32
    Pro-choice and anti-abortion protesters outside the Dail take note:
  • 11:33
    The Dail is now suspended until 11.50am when it will deal with the abortion Bill.
  • 11:51
  • 11:52
    A rare manuscript of Samuel Beckett’s novel Murphy sold for £962,500 (€1.13 million) at auction today. Read more.
  • 11:54
    Reporter Dan Griffin has just returned from Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport where a crowd of about 70 welcomed home members of the victorious Lions squad.
  • 11:56

    Mininster for Health James Reilly, flanked by Minister of State Alex White take their seats in the Dail to hear amendments to the abortion Bill. Amendments 1,2,4 and 5 will be heard together.

  • 11:58
    Independent Richard Boyd Barrett says the Bill 'has become a sham'. He says it was intended the Bill would prevent deaths like that of Savita Halallapanvar and deal with cases like the rape of a 14-year-old girl, but it won't.
  • 12:00
    Boyd-Barrett says the Bill has become about 'the internal politics of Fine Gael' and about 'holding this government together'  - he says it's a sham where the lives of women have become secondary to proctecting the Government.
  • 12:03
    The Ceann Comhairle chastises the deputy Boyd Barrett, saying he must focus on the amendments to hand.
  • 12:05
    Deputy Boyd Barrett says politicians will be "back here, faced with other tragedies because of the political failure of the Government to deal properly with this issue".
  • 12:10

    Socialist party TD Joe Higgins says the definition of life in the Bill is hugely problematic.

    He says the Bill is 'a cowardly piece of legistlation' and the health and wellbeing of women in crisis pregnancies is ignored.  He says women needing a termination are still forced to go abroad.

  • 12:11
    He says the definition of 'unborn' in the Bill will cause 'a chilling effect'.
  • 12:12
    Amendments 1,2,4,5,18,33,36,48,60 and 109 are now being dealt with.
  • 12:14
    Joe Higgins says the Government is 'way behind' the attitudes of the people, saying polls showed 82 per cent were in favour of taking action when the health of the woman, rather than the life of the woman, was at stake. He says the Bill is an English solution to an Irish problem.
  • 12:15
     Kildare North TD Catherine Murphy is speaking about amendment 18. She says the Bill is 'the bare minimum' of what could be done and calls it 'highly restrictive'.
  • 12:16

    Murphy questions where the money funding groups like Youth Defence has come from. 

  • 12:18
    She says Youth Defence has  been parking billboards mounted on vehicles in inappropriate places and questions whether such groups should be allowed charitable status.
  • 12:21
    Dublin South Central TD Joan Collins speaks in relation to amendment 60. She says children in care are traveling to Britain for termination - now they will be subjected to inspection by three doctors. She says they should be granted termination here.
  • 12:24
    Independent TD for Dublin North Clare Daly says the Bill demonstrates the disconnect between the Dail and the people.  She says the Bill couldn't be any more restrictive.  She says the  constitutional provision that equates the life of a woman to the life of an unborn is 'ludacris'.

    She calls the export of the problem as 'rancid hypocrisy'.
  • 12:27
    Clare Daly says the Bill does nothing to prevent a situation like the death of Savita Halappanavar from happening again.

    She says she respects peoples private views but there has been 'a concerted effort to enforce a Catholic viewpoint' on the issue. She says those who don't agree with abortion are already catered for  -  'We don't live in a country that compels people to have an abortion against their will'.
  • 12:29

    She says the amendments tabled attempt to address some of the worst aspects of the Bill.

  • 12:33
    Richard Boyd Barrett is concerned that Dail microphones are not working and that contributions can't be broadcast. But we can hear it perfectly on the Oireachtas media player.
  • 12:34

    Though the lip sync is a bit off.

  • 12:36

    Independent TD for Wexford Mick Wallace (wearing a pink, V-neck t-shirt), asks if there will be an decrease in the number of women traveling to England for an abortion - 'I don't think so', he says.

  • 12:36
    The Leas Ceann Comhairle asks Mick Wallace to hurry up.
  • 12:38

    Referring to his only daughter, Mick Wallace says: 'If she's ever pregnant and she has suicidal ideation, I won't be asking her to hop through the system here, she'll be going outside the country'.

  • 12:40
    Tipperary South TD Mattie McGrath says 'unborn life is unborn life'. Of criticism of Youth Defence billboards, he says TDs are not shy about using billboards themselves at election time.
  • 12:41
    Kerry South TD Michael Healy Rae says Dail microphones not working "is an omen'. He says today is a 'monumentous' day.
  • 12:49
    Cavan Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin says he wants to fully support amendment 18. You can read all the proposed amendments here.
  • 12:50
  • 12:52
    Minister for Health James Reilly is now on his feet.
  • 12:53

    Minister Reilly says the Bill would have brought clarity to the Halappanavars and to doctors.

  • 12:56

    James Reilly says it's the life as opposed to the health of the woman that the Constitution references. He agrees the Bill is restrictive but he says  he can't ignore the Constitution.

    He says  Ireland is  a republic that values all life, including the life of the unborn.

  • 12:59
    Minister Reilly  says he can't accept the amendments  thus far spoken of -  amendments 1,2,4,5,18,33,36,48,60 and 109, because they are 'unnecessary'.
  • 13:02
    Richard Boyd Barret says he wants to shift the focus of the Bill to the protection of women's lives which has not been the focus so far.
  • 13:06

    Fine Gael TD for Dublin South  Peter Matthews  says life begins at conception. He says he doesn't want to be part of any party or any Dail that doesn't understand that. He tells Minister Reilly it's 'shocking' that  his  younger party members are under such pressure to conform to FG's stance on the Bill.

  • 13:10
    Kerry South TD Michael Healy Rae says life begins at conception and only God can take a person's right to life away.
  • 13:12

    Deputy Catherine Murphy says we have a duty to legistlate if we call ourselves democrats.  Referring to Peter Matthew's comments on the gift of life, she says Savita Halappanavar also had the gift of life, 'a gift cut short because of a failure to provide certainty'. She says the Bill is too restrictive in its scope.

  • 13:13
    Clare Daly is critical that the Bill doesn't allow for the abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities. Those women will continue to travel.
  • 13:14

    Clare Daly says the Bill doesn't give clarity to women or their doctors.

  • 13:17
    FF TD for Galway West Eamon O'Cuiv says the insinutation that a woman's life shouldn't be protected at all times is totally objectionable
  • 13:17
    'I care about protecting all human life,' says O'Cuiv.
  • 13:19
  • 13:24

    Deputy Mattie McGrath criticises the Minister for Health for fleeing from a Health Committee convened to discuss the Bill. He says Savita Halappanavar's death, 'caused by neglect,' had been 'hijacked' for other aims.

  • 13:25
    Mattie McGrath says Savita Halappanavar's death has been hijacked in a push for more liberal laws.
  • 13:27
    Oddly, it's hard to follow Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin's contribution because he speaks so slowly.
  • 13:29

    Mick Wallace is back. He says he doesn't understand how the right to life for the unborn and the mother can be separated. On the issue of the gift of life, he says it's a pity we weren't as worried about the one million people that died in Iraq, deaths he says Ireland facilitated by the Shannon stopover.

  • 13:31
    In response, Minister James Reilly says he believes the Bill gives clarity to both women and their doctors. He thanks SF Health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin for his support of the Bill.
  • 13:33
    The first set of abortion Bill amendments have been voted down. The Dail will resume at about 2.30pm.
  • 13:36
  • 13:46

    Is Apple's dominance on the wane?

    Samsung has overtaken Apple as the handset brand most regularly used for mobile web access, according to web analytics firm StatCounter.

    In its global report for the year to June, StatCounter says Samsung (with a 25.47 per cent share) has taken a narrow lead over Apple (25.09 per cent) and the once dominant Nokia (21.96 per cent). Apple still holds a healthy lead in the British and US markets.  Read Steven Carroll's report.


  • 13:53
    Is anyone watching the cricket?
  • 14:12
    A fire caused serious damage to a 17th century palace in central Paris early today, burning away a huge portion of its rooftop just as a costly renovation was near completion. Quelle dommage.
  • 14:16

    Meanwhile the restoration of our own St Patrick's Cathedral is complete. Watch a video.

  • 14:21
    Doesn't the stock sod-turning pic get a bit old?
  • 14:27
  • 14:36
    Discussion on amendments to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill are expected to resume in the Dail at 4.30pm. Rumour has it that debate might run until 2am.
  • 14:44

    The Catholic Church is engaged in a final round of contacts with TDs urging them to vote against the abortion Bill in tonight’s critical vote.

    “Knowingly and willingly and intentionally voting to promote abortion is co-operation in evil and can’t be reconciled with your faith," Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said.

    He told RTE he found it “really weird” that TDs are being told they cannot vote with their conscience and that they are in danger of being excluded from the party when the Constitution provides for freedom of belief.

  • 14:48
  • 14:53
    Just when we hadn't heard about the Quinns in awhile -

    A High Court judge has said it is “simply incredible” to accept claims by several members of Sean Quinn’s family they cannot produce documents concerning their alleged contracts of employment with Russian companies from which they were paid “very large” sums totalling almost €2m in a “very strange way”. Mary Carolan was at the High Court.
  • 15:05
  • 15:10
    Royal baby: to breastfeed or not to breastfeed? All (and probably more than) you ever wanted to know here.
  • 15:11
  • 15:21

    Has your husband asked a tall, bearded man to move in upstairs? This woman's husband did. His name was Bin Laden.

  • 15:24
    The two men found dead in Castlebar, Co. Mayo this morning appear to have died violently, Gardai say. Crime correspondent Conor Lally reports.
  • 15:34

    James Connolly, WB Yeats and the Abbey Theatre Bridge have been dropped as contenders for the name of Dublin's newest bridge.

    The final shortlist includes founder of Alone, Willie Bermingham, founder of the Legion of Mary, Frank Duff, Irish Citizen Army activist Rosie Hackett, camogie player Kay Mills and novelist Bram Stoker.

    Dublin City councillors will vote on the matter in September. My money's on Stoker. Just in time for Halloween.

  • 15:42
    Singer Morrissey  has settled a  beef (ahem) with Channel 4 over its  use of a Smiths song to promote a Gordon Ramsey cooking show.

    Morrissey has donated the compensation to animal rights group Peta, reports Rolling Stone.

    "Ramsey may well stick his head in his microwave when he hears the money I received from Channel being donated to PETA to fight foie gras," said Morrissey. "Fois gras is so cruelly produced that he'd be against if he had an ethical bone in his body."
  • 15:58
    Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said he is “fundamentally comfortable” with the fact that most of the members of his party will vote tonight against the Government’s abortion legislation, even though he supports it. Health correspondent Paul Cullen reports.
  • 16:19

    And another Quinn story today (they'd gone kinda quiet for ages hadn't they?) - The administrators of Quinn Insurance have been given the go ahead to serve a summons on PricewaterhouseCoopers, the former auditors to the collapsed insurance group. Colm Keena reports from the High Court.

  • 16:20
  • 16:29
    Debate on Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 resumes...
  • 16:32
    Independent TD Mattie McGrath unhappy that Amendment number 3, which he has submitted, has been ruled out of order. He claims the name of the Bill is "false and erroneous in the extreme" and it should in fact be called the "Termination of Pregnancy Bill" because it involves the "deliberate killing of unborn children".
  • 16:33
    Minister of State for primary care Alex White on his feet in the Dail chamber now...
  • 16:35
    One of the Fine Gael rebels Billy Timmins asks Minister White if there will be any changes to physical structures of hospitals where abortions will take placed. Mr White says no. Also rejects claim from Mattie McGrath that the Bill has been "rushed".
  • 16:40
    Joanne Hunt signing off now. Mary Minihan is taking over on The Daily Wire with updates from the Dail on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
  • 16:44
    "What the hell is the requirement for an obstetrician when dealing with the threat of suicide?" asks People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett. He says they are not qualified to assess suicide ideation and tells Minister of State for primary care anyone in the Dail would be as qualified as an obstetrician. "One would have to draw the conclusion that it is a blocking requirement," Boyd-Barrett adds. Amendments 7, 72 and 97 have been bundled together for discussion.
  • 16:47
    As my colleague Joanne says, its Mary Minihan here. I'll be live blogging this evening's debate on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013. Minister of State for primary care Alex White has just said he will reject amendments 7, 72 and 97 which have been put down by TDs Joan Collins, Clare Daly, Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd-Barrett.
  • 17:01
    That group of amendments has been lost. Now Sinn Fein rebel Peadar Tóibín's amendment number 8 is being discussed.