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A rolling look at today's news events with Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson Tue, Dec 17
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  • 08:57
    Good morning everybody. My name is Colin Gleeson and my job today is to talk you through the day's news as it happens with some sprinkles of useless but hopefully interesting information.
  • 09:09
    The lead story in today’s Irish Times is by Olivia Kelly who reports that Dublin City Council will be left with hundreds of millions in liabilities and will lose some €2 billion in assets following the transfer of its services to Irish Water next month.

    The story is based on comments made by city manager Owen Keegan to councillors.

    Mr Keegan said the transition was set to result in higher charges for businesses, could damage the council’s ability to respond to severe weather events, and was likely to cause “very significant financial and operational risks to the city council”.

    That’s the last thing the business community in Dublin will want to hear.
  • 09:21
    The picture at the top of this blog is of Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid who are due to be sentenced today for drugs offences after being caught trying to smuggle €1.7 million worth of cocaine out of Peru in August.
  • 09:24
    It's the Pope's birthday today.

    He is 77.

    I wonder will he splash out on something.

    Probably not.
  • 09:29

    The off-lead in today’s Irish Times is by Fiach Kelly who reports that Cabinet is expected to discuss proposals to lower the age of consent from 17 to 16 at its final meeting before Christmas later today.

    Fine Gael opposed the move in 2006, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny expressed reservations about the issue at that time.

    He said it would send a “wrong signal to our children about values and standards”. He has not made any public comments expressing a different view since then.

    Sources said a memo being brought to Cabinet by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter does not come down on either side of the argument.

  • 09:36

    The other story to make the front page relates to the case of the blonde-haired Roma girl who was taken from her parents by gardaí after concerns were raised about her identity.

    Gardaí and social services objected the girl being returned to her family because they feared she was a “flight risk”.

    Details of the case - which attracted international headlines last October - are contained in the latest report of the Child Law Reporting Project, which examines childcare proceedings which typically take place in private.

    Carl O’Brien has the details.

  • 09:48

    Pop star Beyoncé has sold more than 800,000 copies of her self-titled new album despite shocking the world by putting it out for sale last week without any pre-publicity or warning.

    Now there’s confidence.

  • 09:56

    There have been rumblings in some quarters of the British press for awhile now suggesting the SAS was involved in the death of Princess Diana.

    An inquiry by Scotland Yard however has found there is “no credible evidence” of any SAS involvement and there is no evidence on which to open a criminal investigation.

    An official police report into the allegations is due to be published today.

    More here.

  • 10:04

    Taiwan has voted “fake” as its defining word of the year.

    Apparently it garnered the largest margin of victory yet seen in the six years that the poll has been held.

    Time to book the holiday.

  • 10:18

    Kitty Holland has a piece in today’s paper which tells the story of one family’s struggle to make the food budget stretch through the week.

    Jason O’Brien and his partner Audrey Murphy would be “lost” without the weekly free food parcels at the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin.

  • 10:26

    The counting of votes in the Irish Farmers Association’s presidential election will begin in Castleknock, Dublin, this morning, and a result is expected this evening, writes Alison Healy.

    Two candidates are vying to be the 14th IFA president – deputy president Eddie Downey (52) from Slane, Co Meath, and Leinster vice-president Jer Bergin (49) from Ballacolla, Co Laois.

    Both men have travelled thousands of miles to canvass farmers and have attended 13 head-to-head debates, the first of which was held in Limerick in October.

  • 10:36

    Daniel McLaughlin is reporting from Kiev on the strife that has engulfed the Ukraine.

    President Viktor Yanukovich is going to Moscow today to seek financial help for his country’s ailing economy, further angering pro-EU protestors who fear he is ready to “sell-out” their nation to Russia.

  • 10:48

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho likes a mind-game or two.

    Ahead of tonight’s League Cup quarter-final tie against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, he had a piece of advice for opposition manager Gus Poyet.

    “Gus is trying to avoid relegation so he has to play the kids from the academy and keep the guys fresh for the next weekend.”

    What a cheek.

    Poyet just let it wash over him anyway.

    “I don’t try to look too far ahead,” he said.

  • 11:14
  • 11:17

    Angela Merkel has been elected to a third term as chancellor in a vote in the German lower house of parliament today, paving the way for her new “grand coalition” government to be sworn in and formally take power later today.

    Dr Merkel’s conservatives scored their best result in over two decades in a German election on September 22nd but were forced into lengthy coalition talks with the rival Social Democrats (SPD), whose members only approved the deal last weekend.

    More here.

  • 11:26

    A shot was fired by armed gardaí in the early hours of this morning after a man was found pointing what proved to be a replica firearm at gardaí and members of the public.

    Gardaí were called to the Greencastle Road, Coolock, Dublin, at about 2.30am after receiving a report that a man in the area was in possession of a suspicious device.

    When they arrived at the scene the man, who is in his 20s, threatened gardaí and members of the public with the replica firearm.

    Armed members of the force attended the scene and discharged one shot during the incident, in which nobody was injured. The man was arrested.

  • 11:59

    Remember it’s the Pope’s birthday?

    Remember we wondered whether he might break from tradition and abandon the frugality that has been the hallmark of his papacy to date?

    Just for the day that’s in it like.

    Apparently he has marked it by inviting four homeless people to help him celebrate it at the Vatican.

    They were invited to attend the morning mass which Francis celebrates daily at the Vatican hotel where he lives.

    One of the men held his dog as he was presented to the Pope after Mass. The Vatican said Francis invited his household help to join him in a “family-like” atmosphere, and he spoke of them one by one during his homily.

    After Mass, all ate breakfast with him at the hotel.

    He really is great.

    To be fair, he did get a cake. It was given to him by children on Saturday when he blew out the candles.

    And another present awaits him when his favourite Argentine football team, San Lorenzo, will give him a replica of their championship trophy.

    Sounds like that could be a bit extravagant for him but anyway.

  • 12:27

    New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has suggested vitamin supplements nearly always have no health benefits, are a waste of money and could even be harmful.

    That’s pretty annoying.

  • 12:33

    North Korea’s political and military elite have publicly pledged their loyalty to leader Kim Jong Un today.

    It comes less than a week after he ordered the execution of his uncle and powerful family ally.

    I’d say the “political and military elite” were in some rush to organise that public pledge.

  • 12:39

    That reminds me of this BBC documentary from a few years ago called “Life inside the North Korean bubble”.

    There is an article and a video at this link which I would wholeheartedly recommend watching. The video is 15 minutes long but it is pretty incredible stuff.

  • 13:10
    Whistleblower Edward Snowden has offered Brazil his assistance in investigating US spying on its soil in exchange for political asylum. He has made the offer in an open letter to the Brazilian people published by the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper.
  • 13:25

    More kind words about Ireland from US financial bible Forbes.

    The magazine has named Cork-based fraud protection firm Trustev as one of the “hottest global start-ups of 2013”.

    The Irish start-up, founded by Pat Phelan and Chris Kennedy, verifies the identity of online shoppers by generating a digital fingerprint through various social media accounts which prove you are who you claim to be.

  • 13:35

    The Government is about to launch the Medium Term Economic Strategy 2020 at Government Buildings.

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the framework for economic and budget policy to be published today will set out the “main signposts” for the economy until 2020.

    “This is not a time for a change of direction or a change course,” he told reporters in his way into the final Cabinet meeting before Christmas. “This will be based on enterprise.”

    I thought that once we exited the bailout on Sunday, everything would be grand on Monday.

  • 13:40
  • 13:53

    Conor Pope has a round-up of the Google Zeitgeist, which has just been published.

    The top trending music artist was Miley Cyrus while the tenth top trending politician was the Labour Party’s Joan Burton.

    It’s a pretty tenuous link I’m drawing here but I just couldn’t resist bring this video to people’s attention.

  • 13:55
    Might struggle to get a response from Joan Burton's press officer next time I have a query.

    Oh well.

    Worth it.
  • 14:09

    US student Amanda Knox has written to an Italian court to plead her innocence in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

    Ms Knox is not in Italy for her retrial for fear of being convicted.

    "I am innocent. I did not kill, I did not rape, I did not steal, I did not plot or instigate. I did not kill Meredith, I did not take part in her murder.

    "I am not present in court because I am scared. I fear that the prosecution's line will influence the decision and will blind everyone,” she writes.

  • 14:22
    Just got a text message from my mother pointing out that I didn't wish his Holiness a happy birthday this morning.

    Fair enough.

    Happy birthday Pope Francis.
  • 14:30

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny is setting out the State’s economic strategy for the period to 2020.

    Some of the central aspects of the plan are to deliver full employment, expand trade links, and shift the focus of economic strategy from austerity to growth.

    Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan have joined the Taoiseach for the announcement at Government Buildings.

    You can follow the story with Genevieve Carbery here.

  • 14:55

    Tourism Ireland has reported a 7 per cent rise in visitor numbers for the island of Ireland, the best since the global economic crisis began, writes Ronan McGreevy.

    Some eight million visitors came to Ireland this year generating €3.64 billion in revenue. Some 6.8 million people visited the Republic, while 1.7 million visitors visited the North. Some 500,000 people visited both parts of the country.

  • 14:58

    Prominent dissident republican Colin Duffy has been charged with conspiring to murder members of the security forces in Northern Ireland.

    Two other men were separately accused of trying to murder police travelling to the scene of a loyalist protest in Belfast earlier this month. Shots were fired at the officers’ vehicles.

  • 16:18
    Una Mullally denies having had anything to do with Google's top trends for the year.

  • 16:28

    The Dublin Chamber of Commerce has responded to the lead story in today’s Irish Times regarding Dublin City Council manager Owen Keegan’s comments about water services.

    Chief Executive Gina Quin says: “Businesses in Dublin City Council are already paying the full cost of the water they are provided. The City Manager has raised issues which seem to indicate a rise in both water charges and commercial rates. Dublin City Council has a massive shortfall to fund.”

  • 16:32
  • 16:44

    Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid have arrived in court to be sentenced for drugs offences after being caught trying to smuggle €1.7 million worth of cocaine out of Peru in August.

    The press not allowed into the hearing and the pair will be sentenced in private.

  • 16:47

    More on that Dublin water story and Taoiseach Enda Kenny has challenged the remarks made by city manager Owen Keegan.

    He has called them an “unbalanced presentation of the position”.

  • 16:49
  • 17:01

    Social Justice Ireland has responded to the Government’s Medium Term Economic Strategy with Dr Seán Healy saying it “fails to provide an acceptable guiding vision or a sustainable policy framework for the years ahead”.

    “Its approach is lop-sided and most disappointing. The Government’s guiding vision focuses almost exclusively on business and business interests.

    “Social Justice Ireland believes the guiding vision should also envisage an Ireland where everyone would have what they require to live life with dignity and to fulfil their full potential. This would include sufficient income, access to services they need, and active inclusion in a genuinely participatory, democratic and sustainable society.”

  • 17:10

    Young Fine Gael (YFG) has said it supports lowering the age of legal consent to 16 years of age.

    The matter was up for discussion by Cabinet today.

    President Dale McDermott said: “Our laws need to recognise that sexual relations occur among people at a younger age and protect those who participate consensually.

    “In order to avoid inappropriate prosecutions, YFG supports absolving criminal liability where the age difference between both individuals is less than two years.

    “A lower age of consent will bring our laws into line with other EU countries and provide the legal recognition that people are having sex at a younger age.

    “We recognise the importance of protecting childhood, but discretion from prosecution is already exercised by authorities in such cases to ensure the best welfare of the child is the outcome.

    “A two year exemption would recognise the existence of these cases and ensure we focus on family support services and better sex education as a remedy to support young people.”

  • 17:24
    Right we will leave it there on the Daily Wire until tomorrow morning from 9am.

    Keep an eye on our website for news of Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid who are currently being sentenced in Peru for drugs offences.

    Thanks for reading.