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All the day's rolling news with Conor Pope

Conor Pope Wed, Feb 26
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  • 09:36
    The Minister for Giving Statement to the Dáil is back in the chamber today to give a statement on the Government’s response to claims of Garda wrongdoing. Justice minister Alan Shatter's address will come ahead of a full day’s debate on the controversy.

    It should be lively,

    Well, as lively as any address to the Dail by Alan Shatter is ever going to be.
  • 09:37
    Good morning. I am Conor Pope and I will be taking care of your daily news needs until around five (ish).
  • 09:38
    The scammers keep on scamming. Gardai are investigating after hundreds of Bank of Ireland customers in Kilkenny and Carlow had their accounts breached and drained over the weekend. The current accounts were accessed from the US over a three day period in a scamming operation which yielded thousands of euros for fraudsters.
  • 09:38

    Stop the presses. Better qualified nurses – and more of them – leads to less patient deaths.   A major study published this morning suggests that patient-to-nurse ratios and the level of a nurse’s education directly affect the number of deaths after routine surgery.

    The study of almost half a million patients from nine European countries, including  this one found that every one-patient increase in patient-to-nurse ratios is associated with a 7 per cent increase in deaths following surgery. And for every 10 per cent increase in nurses who have attained a bachelor’s degree, there is an associated 7 per cent decline in mortality.

    A survey to be published by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) in the coming weeks will show that no ward in an Irish hospital has a nurse looking after fewer than six patients, with some nurses on night duty responsible for up to twice this number.


  • 09:39

    New powers allowing the Financial Service Ombudsman to name and shame institutions it rules against has led to a significant fall in the number of complaints by consumers, its latest review reveals.

    Avant Card – formerly MBNA – was named as the lender with the most complaints upheld against it since September of last year, when the new powers came into force.

    Most of the problems centred on the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.

  • 09:42

    Listen up northsiders, we have good news.  

    Plans for the redevelopment of Dublin’s Victorian fruit and vegetable market as a continental-style food market are to be lodged by the city council within weeks.

    About 80 pitches, a combination of indoor and outdoor permanent and temporary stalls will be available to traders from September next year, following a €3 million construction project due to begin later this year.

    Not sure how the council is going to get the continental weather installed but sure we'll wait and see.  

  • 09:56

    Not a great night for Man United last night then, Roy?


  • 09:59

    Just noticed a headline in an online publication which reads "Pippa Middleton dropped by Viking".  

    It was a book trade publication.  

    And Viking is/was her publisher.  

    I know, disappointing.  

  • 10:03

    Not entirely sure this is your job Enda

  • 10:14

    Alan Shatter is speaking to the Dail  now.  

    He is setting out his timeline on allegations of malpractice from whistleblower Sergeant McCabe in 2008 and 2009

  • 10:20

    Shatter says McCabe wrote to Dermot Ahern his predecessor as Minister for Justice. He says he is not criticising Ahern but says "it would be helpful" if Michael Martin knew about it. There is some laughter.  "I doubt Deputy Martin would have come into the  Dáil chamber in 2009 or 2010 and made such charges at Minister Dermot Ahern," Shatter says.  

  • 10:28
    "I want to deal with the charge that I misled this House by claiming that Sergeant McCabe had not cooperated with the investigation carried out by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney. It was expected by me that Sergeant McCabe would fully engage as a member of An Garda Siochana with Assistant O’Mahoney’s investigation team and that he would be interviewed. These are, of course, operational matters in which no Minister for Justice should interfere and, of course, any such interference would be rightly subject to public criticism

    I have no interest in continuing contention with Sergeant McCabe about this matter, but the House will appreciate I cannot leave a charge of misleading it stand. I do not think it is disputed that, following furnishing to the O’Mahoney investigation team of formal allegations and documentation which originated from Sergeant McCabe and former Garda Wilson that there was no engagement between either Garda member with the investigation team before Assistant Commissioner O’Mahoney completed his report. What is at issue is an interpretation of events which preceded publication of that report. In what I said to the House I relied on material which I received detailing the content of a direction given to Sergeant McCabe on a related matter which included inviting him to participate in the O’Mahoney investigation and the fact that a letter had been sent from an official of my Department in December 2012 which, specifically, advised Sergeant McCabe that any further information which might be helpful to the investigation should be brought by him to the attention of his authorities within the force. This letter is one of a number of letters exchanged by my Department with Sergeant McCabe."

  • 10:30

    Still more from Shatter.

    "The situation is further complicated by the fact that between the finalisation of the O’Mahoney report and its publication, he declined to take up an offer from Assistant Commissioner O’Mahoney to meet with a member of his investigation team.

    Clearly there is a difference of views and perception between An Garda Síochána and Sergeant McCabe with regard to this issue. I have explained the basis on which I made my statement and I can take it no further. However, I want to make it clear, because of some public comment that has been made, that there is no basis for the suggestion that the Garda Commissioner in any way misled me in relation to this matter. Nor is there any basis for an allegation that I in any way misled the House. I appreciate that different Members of the House may perceive these matters differently. It is unfortunate that perceptions are coloured on occasion by political differences."

  • 10:32

    And more:

    There is one further set of allegations made by Sergeant McCabe which, for completeness, I should mention.

    On 4 September 2012, solicitors for Sergeant McCabe wrote to me enclosing 3 booklets of documentation containing multiple allegations of Garda wrongdoing, and requesting the establishment of a special inquiry under section 42 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005 containing multiple allegations of Garda wrongdoing, and requesting the establishment of a special inquiry under section 42 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005. Some of these allegations related to penalty points and there was a cross-over with some of the earlier allegations which I mentioned.

    The correspondence was marked strictly private and confidential. On 18th October my Office wrote to the solicitors seeking confirmation that they had no objection to the booklets being forwarded to the Garda Commissioner for his observations.

    Clearly I could not decide to establish a statutory inquiry without being aware of all the facts. My office also asked the solicitors to forward copies of PULSE records referred to in the documentation but which had not been enclosed.

    When by 22nd November no response had been received a further reminder was sent to the solicitors by my office. A further reminder was sent by my office on 3rd January 2013. I think it is clear that if I was intent on ignoring allegations by Sergeant McCabe I wouldn’t have been so assiduous in trying to elicit responses from his solicitors."

  • 11:15
    Michael Martin has not taken Alan Shatter's speech kindly. He has just castigated the minister's "obsessive need to justify yourself" - says Mr Shatter can't be trusted to present a "full and balanced picture"
  • 11:15

  • 11:21

    The sale of IBRC loans valued at about €7 billion has been completed, the special liquidators of the former Anglo Irish Bank said today.

    “I am extremely pleased with the progress made by the Special Liquidators to date in relation to the disposal of assets in IBRC,” said Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in a statement.

  • 11:24

    Stories of ordinary people who are “at breaking point” after three years of austerity policies, and up to six years of recession, are told in a report published today.  It documents parents going hungry to feed their children, people unable to heat their homes and a young generation at serious risk of being lost to unemployment, drugs and crime.

  • 11:44

    Stand by for the AMAZING STORY OF THE DAY.



    Over $10m worth of rare Gold Rush-era coins were found in California last year by a couple as they walked their dog.

    The 1,400 gold pieces, dating to the mid- to late 1800s and still in nearly mint condition, were discovered buried in eight decaying metal cans on the couple’s land last April.

  • 11:48
    "Fine Gael used to pride itself on being the party of law and order. How in God's name can they still stand over that?" So says Mick Wallace in the chamber.  
  • 12:23

    Former pope Benedict has branded as “absurd” media speculation that he was forced to quit.  Church law says a pope’s resignation is valid only if he takes the decision in full freedom and without pressure from others. "There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry,” Benedict (86), who now has the title “pope emeritus,” said in a letter to the Italian website Vatican Insider published today. "“The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. Speculation regarding its validity is simply absurd,” he wrote.

  • 12:53

    Prepare to be revolted  

    Just in from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland,

    "Contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported by consumers.   In 2013, these reports included food contaminated with plastic, metal and glass fragments, as well as other foreign objects.   For example, consumers reported the presence of meat inside chocolate yoghurt; a dirty finger nail in baby food; a chicken’s head in frozen chicken wings; a screw in a pasta dish; glass in a ready meal; live insects in a packet of dates; and a human tooth in a Chinese takeaway.   All complaints received by the FSAI were followed up and investigated by environmental health officers throughout the country."


    Is it lunchtime yet?  


  • 13:01

  • 13:03

    Mick Wallace compared Alan Shatter to Robert Mugabe this morning.  

    Seems kind of harsh, no?  

  • 13:19

    What links Victor Hugo, Levi Strauss, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Harvey Kellogg, Fats Domino, Johnny Cash, and, um, Michael Bolton?

    Today is their birthday. Or would have been were they still alive.  

  • 13:25

    Here's Johnny.  


  • 13:28

    President Barack Obama has told the Pentagon to prepare for the possibility that no US troops will be left in Afghanistan over President Hamad Karzai’s refusal to sign a joint security agreement.

    The United States has said that after its formal drawdown of troops from Afghanistan by year’s end, it could leave a contingent of as many as 8,000 for counter-terrorism operations against al-Qaeda targets and to train Afghan forces.

    But Mr Karzai’s refusal to sign a security deal has frustrated the White House, which has been forced to abandon an earlier demand that he sign the deal in weeks, not months.

  • 13:32

  • 13:35

    Minister for Justice Alan Shatter’s statement to the Dáil this morning ran to over 5,700 words but - no surprises here - the word ‘sorry’ was never going to feature in it.

    Ostensibly, Shatter gave a very detailed chronology of how the complaints of Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe were dealt with and handled by the Garda Síochána, by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, and by the Department of Justice and by himself.
    But being Shatter there was always a strong political dimension - it was paradoxical to hear this most partisan of politicians taking umbrage at his opponents for being partisan in their attacks on him.

     Harry McGee on Shatter's speech.  

  • 13:40



  • 13:50
    A tour of the British Isles in accents.... No Cork, though. And nothing from the Wesht.  
  • 14:47

    Peter Robinson has threatened to resign unless a judicial review is ordered into the collapse of the Hyde Park bomb trial. He said today that he was unprepared to be First Minister unless he received answers and he said he had been left in the dark by the British Government.

    The Police Service of Northern Ireland yesterday accepted the blame for telling Donegal man John Downey (62) in 2007 that he was not wanted for prosecution for IRA offences when he was, in fact, still wanted for questioning about the Hyde Park bombing in London in 1982.

    There’s more here.  

  • 14:48

    Visitors to Ireland up last year.  


    Take THAT Gabriel Byrne.  

  • 15:14

  • 15:16

  • 15:41
    River Liffey’s newest bridge to open on May 20th
  • 15:44
    Senators have approved a Bill to abolish upward-only rent reviews. Good man Feargal Quinn.
  • 16:17

  • 16:36


    President Vladimir Putin put Russian combat troops on high alert  today, the Kremlin’s most powerful gesture yet after days of sabre rattling since its ally Viktor Yanukovich was toppled as president in Kiev.

    Thousands of ethnic Russians, who form the majority in Ukraine’s Crimea region, demonstrated for independence for the peninsula that hosts part of Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet.

  • 16:46

    Adidas has agreed to stop selling two racey T-shirts after the Brazillian government complained that they associated the country with sexual tourism.

    One shirt shows a bikini-clad woman with open arms on a sunny Rio de Janeiro beach under the word-play: “Looking to Score.”
    The other has an “I love Brazil” heart resembling the upside-down buttocks of a woman wearing a thong bikini bottom.


  • 17:04
    Okay, there will be more new but for now we're off.