News Blog

G8 scuffles in London, Snowden employer speaks and battered chip shop raiders

Genevieve Carbery Tue, Jun 11
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  • 08:53
    Good morning, it’s June 11, 2013

    The man who admitted raping and murdering Jill Meagher was on parole at the time of the Irish woman’s death.

    Turkish riot police have stormed Taksim square, using water cannon and tear gas to scatter protesters

    And a law reform report says judges need guidance in sentencing.
  • 08:54
    I'm Dan Griffin and I'll be on the Irish Times live news blog until 5pm.
  • 09:00
    The top stories on this morning:

    Adrian Bayley, who has admitted raping and murdering Irish woman and ABC employee Jill Meagher, has previously been found guilty of more than 20 rape offences and was on parole for attacking five prostitutes at the time of Meagher's death, a court has been told.

    Turkish riot police fired water cannon and teargas at hundreds of protesters in Istanbul's Taksim Square today, entering the square for the first time since demonstrations against plans to develop a park there turned violent.

     A dedicated body should have the power to publish sentencing guidance for judges in order to address the "level of inconsistency" in the system, according to the Law Reform Commission.
  • 09:08
    There were a lot less cyclists on the roads on the way in to work this morning, probably because we're once again in the moist embrace of slanty drizzle. Perhaps Bike Week 2013, which starts on Saturday, will lure them back out.

    Speaking of bikes, here's a piece on bicycle rickshaws in Galway from today's paper.
  • 09:17
    Sen David Norris talking to Miriam O'Callaghan on Radio 1 now. About to discuss the presidential election campaign. I wonder will he discuss Bloomsday, the upcoming celebration of James Joyce's Ulysses. Probably not.
  • 09:26
  • 09:42
    We'll also be here for regular updates of the Lions' progress, as they take on a combined country XV in Hunter Stadium, Newcastle.

    You call that a sentence? This is a sentence:

    "Following on from the white hot intensity generated by an ultra-ambitious Reds and a near capacity Suncorp Stadium, the Lions move on to the more sedate surrounds of the Hunter Stadium, about two hours north of Sydney, near the wine country of Hunter Valley to play a composite of some, if limited, Super Rugby experience."

    Gerry Thornley previews today's game in Australia. 
  • 09:46
    That match kicks off at 10:30, by the way.
  • 09:50

    And after a quick consultation with the news desk, here's our first Lions update: the sports department will be running their own liveblog of the game. So that's me off the hook. It will appear on the site anon.

  • 09:55
    Thanks for pointing out the Bike Week link mixup, Mark Campbell, it's sorted now.
  • 10:04
    And so it appears Edward Snowden, the contractor who leaked details of top-secret US surveillance programs, has gone into hiding. Well, gone further into hiding--he had been hiding out in Hong Kong.

    Snowden provided the inormation for published reports last week that revealed the National Security Agency's broad monitoring of phone call and Internet data from large companies such as Google and Facebook.

    Perhaps, for someone trying to keep a low profile, having a large photo of your face on the front page of the Guardian yesterday was a mistake.

    Reuters reports he checked out of his hotel yesterday. His whereabouts are unknown, but he is believed to be still in Hong Kong.

    He's doing better than Bradley Manning at any rate.
  • 10:14
    TheHurlerOnTheDitch The Dept of Ed must compensate students for the blunder they made in LC Maths II. It really stymied my lad. He wasted a lot of time reworking that question which impacted time available for other q's. Brushing it under the carpet just won't do.
  • 10:17

    Here's more on the errors discovered in the State exams from Dick Ahlstrom.

  • 10:32
    To celebrate their presidency of the Council of the European Union a few years back, the Czech Republic put out a tender for an art installation to be placed in the hall of the council's HQ in Brussels.

    The winning commission was a collaboration by 27 artists and artist groups from all member countries of the European Union. But that was just a cover for the actual project: a huge, satirical, Airfix style installation which played on stereotypes of the EU member states.

    Entropa: the great EU art hoax, from the Guardian.

    Ireland appeared covered in hair, Spain was swamped in concrete, and Italy seemed to be populated by soccer players who fornicated with footballs. France, meanwhile, was depicted draped in a banner that read 'Grève!'.

     French air-traffic strikes to affect thousands of flights
  • 10:46
    Genevieve Carbery here....I'll be taking over the live blog for Dan Griffin for the rest of the day, he's been called away as part of his ongoing mission for world domination.
  • 10:53
    Just when Alan Shatter thought the whole penalty points debacle had crawled quietly away to the place where all news stories eventually go to die….it’s back.

    Leo Varadkar and Gaybo have joined forces to give the justice minister a headache today.

    Varadkar has said the Garda Ombudsman Commission should investigate the cancellation of penalty points by gardaí and there are some elements of the that appeared unusual to a reasonable person.

    RSA chairman Gay Byrne said the board was “unhappy” with the findings of the internal Garda inquiry and will be asking for an independent review.
    More from Jason Kennedy here….
  • 11:02
  • 11:09
    Bad news for Irish men today as the first Irish gender cancer study has been released by the Irish Cancer Society.

    It shows men are at greater risk of getting cancer and dying from it than women with significantly higher rates of bowel, lung, bladder and stomach cancer. Even though they have lower rates of skin cancer than women but are more likely to die from it than women.

    Factors include more drinking, smoking, unhealthy diets, more obesity, less exercise and late diagnosis.
  • 11:10
  • 11:20
  • 11:20
    While the good weather may seem a world away in this rain…. Donegal Weather Watch facebook page has posted this incredible diagram of beautiful Rossnowlagh beach in Donegal turning into a car park on Sunday. It is seeking action from Donegal Co Co to stop this happening again.
    Link to Facebook page
  • 11:34
    Any of you poor unfortunate people who were due to fly to France in the next few days, it’s worth noting an airline's obligations to passengers in the event of a cancellation:   it must offer you the choice between re-routing as soon as possible, re-routing at a later date at your convenience or a refund.

    More advice from the aviation regulator here
    More on the French air traffic control strike story here
  • 11:38
  • 11:59
    Remember outcry over the cutting of the €112 First Communion grant by the State earlier this year?
    A new survey shows average spending on the event is down 4% (€31) to €713.
    Interestingly spending on the little angel's communion outfit is down 9% while spending on outfits for mammies and daddies is up 8%.
    But spare a thought for the bouncy castle renters and the balloon-blowing clowns who appear to have borne the brunt of cuts – with spend on children’s entertainment down 20% to €69.
    215 parents were surveyed for Ulster Bank in this research.
  • 12:08
    Ok folks here’s a piece that will either make you rip off your helmet in rage or clap vigorously in agreement. Fintan O’Toole has taken on the cyclists in an opinion piece just published.

    He starts by saying “cyclists are the spawn of the devil” and ends by saying “cyclists need to get over themselves.”

    Blood boiling through your lyrcra shorts yet? Read more here
  • 12:14
  • 12:22
    Victim impact statements from Jill Meagher's family and friends are intense and emotive reading.

    Her mother said: "I have been shocked to the core of my being. I feel battered and bruised as a mother, never whole again without her. I can no longer live an ordinary life and my heart suffers from the deepest wound from which it will never recover." More here
  • 12:30
    Convincing 0-64 win by the Lions against Country XV. BOD says the Lions plan to keep the Wallabies guessing ahead of the first test. More from our rugby live blog here
  • 12:48
    Hillary Clinton joined twitter yesterday.....has tweeted once, and already  has 337,000 followers. She describes herself as "Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD..."

    How does her first tweet compare to other famous joiners like Charlie Sheen and the Pope? More here
  • 13:01
    One of those great headlines that only ever happens in the world of breaking news has come in on the wires from Press Association

    “Lifeboat hasn’t been stolen” is the   headline on a story in which the RNLI moved to reassure seafarers off the south west coast after reports that a lifeboat has been stolen. “No lifeboat has been stolen,” said RNLI spokeswoman Niamh Stephenson. Ms Stephenson said an RNLI crew member had his personal inflatable boat stolen in the early hours of this morning.

    All clear then. Over and out.
  • 13:14

    Little consensus in this lunchtime’s main headlines.

    RTE Radio

    The country’s Catholic bishops have said every Irish citizen should be deeply concerned about the planned abortion legislation

    The Garda Commissioner has said disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against a number of gardai following penalty points report

    Germany’s constitutional court has begun a hearing to assess whether a policy employed by the ECB to calm the bond markets is contrary to national law.

    I think of her every second of every day, Jill Meagher’s husband tells court.
    Turkish police storm Taksim square
    US spy leaker Edward Snowden ‘missing’ in Hong Kong
    French air-traffic strikes to affect thousands of flights
    It’s not okay to rape and murder my child, Jill’s grief stricken dad tells court
    Threat to shoot Enda Kenny probed by Gardai
    PAC chief, his wife and the €22,000 trip funded by the taxpayer
    Irish men more likely to get cancer than die from it than women
    Large numbers of second generation Irish in far-right group, leader claims
    Explosive device made safe after Rathmines housing estate sealed off

    The Guardian
    Obama under pressure from around world to explain secret NSA surveillance tactics

    Turkish police storm protest square
  • 13:21
    That statement by the Catholic Bishops has recently come in, it’s called “A time to uphold the right to life."

    Among the points made in the lengthy statement are:
    “The Government is under no obligation to legislate for the X case. People are being misled. We challenge repeated statements that this legislation is about saving lives and involves no change to the law or practice on abortion. Legalising the direct and intentional destruction of the life of an unborn baby can never be described as ‘life-saving’ or ‘pro-life’.”
    It also says:

    “It is ethically unacceptable to expect doctors, nurses and others who have conscientious objections to nominate others to take their places.”

    “We ask our public representatives to uphold the equal and inviolable right to life of all human beings, even if this means standing above other pressures and party loyalties.”

    More as we have it.
  • 13:24
  • 13:25
  • 13:33
    FG leader Micheál Martin has hit out at Enda Kenny over his criticism of PAC chairman and FF TD John McGuinness:

    “The Taoiseach in a cheap way on an international setting decided to get involved politically and create innuendo around John McGuinness that was unwarranted in that regard,” Martin said on RTE radio.

    It seems “John McGuinness is being targeted” it seems  there is an “attempt underfoot to undermine the independence of the committee” . He “recognises the FG hand in it”.

    More on Kenny’s statement here
  • 13:34
    Nelson Mandela is still in a “serious but stable condition” according to the latest update from the South African government.
  • 13:35
  • 13:52
    The woman who produced the headline of the week has just spoken on radio.

    The headline? courtesy of the Herald:   Chip Shop Raiders Battered

    The story? Two robbers   armed with knives tried to hold up the Genoa chip shop in Balbriggan left empty handed after the action of the two women behind the counter

    Speaking on RTE Radio Erica Loughran   who runs the shop explained: “I just fired the salt and vinegar at them…I said I would burn them with grease if they didn’t leave….if they didn’t go I was willing to really use the oil”
  • 14:01
    Fran Kane and her son JJ join members of the carers association protesting against cutbacks to respite and mobility allowances at Leinster House. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
    Fran Kane and her son JJ join members of the carers association protesting against cutbacks to respite and mobility allowances at Leinster House. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
  • 14:11
    Reuters reports that the Obama administration has launched an internal review to assess damage to national security from Edward  Snowden's public release of top secret details of National Security Agency eavesdropping programs.
  • 14:15
    In the latest in a growing list of exam errors  RTE reports that the State Examinations Commission has confirmed various errors in LC maths papers, such as in one paper containing  a question  that related to material not on the syllabus. More as we get it.
  • 14:50
    The fallout from the biggest NIMBY announcement in recent times continues.
    Dublin north central Labour TD Aodhan O’Riordan has released a statement describing the plans for a sewage plant in Clonshaugh, north Dublin as “wrong headed” and said he will raise it with Hogan.
  • 14:51
  • 15:07
    The quarterly nosey neighbour’s dream– sorry the Revenue’s latest tax defaulters list - is out for Jan – March 2013. The largest amount to be repaid to Revenue is €1.59m by supermarket proprietor Zheng Ji Rong of 157 Parnell Street for under declaration of VAT & income tax.
    The raw list is here
  • 15:14
  • 15:23
    You’re going to hear a lot more about a company which may sound like the nickname for a drunk friend but is not, it's a US government contractor which employed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    Booz Allen Hamilton has just released a statement. It says Snowden was fired yesterday " for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy " and had a salary of $122,000 .

    "News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm. We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter.”

    Statement here
  • 15:35
    Has a week of sun gone to the heads of Irish businesspeople?
    The former CEO of Bord Gáis has announced the launch of a business to set up a €150m fund for investment in solar energy.
    Don’t worry it’s not a decision made on the back of our brief dalliance with summer – although based in Dublin the fund will initially focus on solar installations in the South of England and France.

  • 15:48
    Tesco has no doubt had its fill of stories about animals not usually found in supermarkets…..being found in the supermarkets. But this time it wasn’t in the freezer, it was on a till (its head) and in the aisles (its innards) and it wasn’t a horse (it was a deer).
    In the most bizarre story of the day, BBC reports that the severed head of a deer was left on a self-service supermarket checkout in Essex. Police are investigating. Tesco apologised for "any distress caused". The full story is here.
  • 16:00
  • 16:01
  • 16:08
    Is this a taste of things to come in Fermanagh next week? Police in London arrested six people after protests in the West End. More here
  • 16:08
    Police form a cordon scuffle with activists after raiding a building used as a base for G8 protesters. Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
    Police form a cordon scuffle with activists after raiding a building used as a base for G8 protesters. Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
  • 16:20
    Sky News is covering the G8 scuffles as only it can. In a new step in newsworker multi-tasking its reporter has just run down the street with a camera following protesters while reporting live. After all his efforts the presenter, sitting comfortably in her studio quips: 'you should go to the gym more'....I  see a Garda-style fitness test on the cards for journalism graduates.
  • 16:21
  • 16:26
    There's a big mass of blue, purple and yellow on the Met Eireann rainfall radar. It's moving across the country west to east. Goodbye summer. Hello fogged up train windows, wet socks and squeaky window wipers.
  • 16:26
  • 16:34
  • 16:42
    So the restructuring  company Hilco which bought HMV has just purchased Xtra-vision according to reliable tweeters. His Master's DVD rentals?

  • 16:48
    Update on London protests ahead of G8 in the north - the Met Police said there have been 32 arrests.
  • 16:55

    Remember spending hours after school stuck doing pointless problem sheets?

    Amazing finding from a new report that primary school children in Ireland receive almost double the amount of homework compared to their international counterparts.

    Where does this need for copious copies and worksheets come from ? 1.  to improve educational outcomes, 2 to suit demands of the Department of Education curriculum  or 3. teachers trying to please parents who perceive homework and corrected copies as the mark of a good teacher.

     I strongly suspect it’s number three.

  • 17:10
    The temporary closure of the Greek State broadcaster ERT is quite incredible. Just imagine if the Irish Government announced the closure of RTE at midnight and suspension of all staff…no more Dobbo, Miriam, Tubs , more Talk to Joe or Nationwide. Where would the country be?

    But seriously, Greece's press freedom ranking by Freedom House changed from free to partly free last month and it was classed 85 out of 197 countries.   And that was before   the decision announced today to close its state broadcaster at midnight. Hard to fathom.
  • 17:11
    Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald is speaking about crèche standards before an Oireachtas committee. Proceedings have just got underway. You can watch here or here on Apple non-flash devices
  • 17:22
    More details from Greece via Bloomberg wires: Greece's government summarily shut down ERT, suspending the jobs of about 2,600 employees and said a new smaller broadcaster would take its place.

    "ERT's broadcasts will end from tonight. In ERT's place we will create a modern, public, not state or party-controlled, radio and television broadcaster." press minister and government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said.

  • 17:33
    Hopefully this move by Cork City Council inspires other councils and Government to follow suit.

  • 17:42