News Blog

It's all about the G8 and Glendalough today @irishtimeslive. There may be some other news too.

Conor Pope Tue, Jun 18
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  • 08:17
    Good morning. I'm Conor Pope and it's G8 to be here.

  • 08:22
    Yes, it is going to be very hard to ignore the G8 Summit which is in its second and final day today. Last night France, the US and Britain put pressure on Russia to reach an agreement about how to tackle the ongoing crisis in Syria and today world leaders at the Lough Erne Resort near Enniskillen will be talking about tax evasion by big business and aggressive tax avoidance. Enda Kenny will no doubt be hoping all that unpleasantness about Apple's tax affairs which made headlines a couple of weeks back will be forgotten.

    That seems unlikely.
  • 08:29
    Meanwhile, south of the border, Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama will be travelling to Glendalough this morning.

    It's hard not to feel a little sorry for the Obama children. Glendalough is undeniably beautiful and, when it comes to lepping about on a stage, Riverdance is very hard to beat. And, obviously, a visit to the Book of Kells is illuminating (sorry, again) but none of these things could possibly form part of a dream itinerary for a 12 and 14-year old.

    And the poor unfortunates don't even have the luxury of being able to look bored without risking a diplomatic incident.

    Hopefully they'll be allowed visit Penney's before heading home.
  • 08:33
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  • 08:47
    G8 leaders broke bread together at a private dinner without their advisors last night. as part of David Cameron’s wheeze aimed at creating “a meeting where we can look each other in the eye, cut through the obstacles and the opposition and generate the political will to solve the problems we face”.


    What you really want to know is what they ate, right?

    Well for starters there was Kilkeel crab, prawn and avocado salad. The main course was roast fillet and braised shin of Kettyle beef with violet artichokes and Antrim new potatoes. And the meal was rounded off with apple crumble served with Bushmills whiskey custard.

    The eight G8 leaders — David Cameron, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel Francois Hollande, Enrico Letta, Stephen Harper and Shinzo Abe were joined by European Commission and Council presidents Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman van Rompuy.

    In addition to talking about the food and the weather, the great and good also focused on foreign affairs issues including Syria and Libya. They were put in a room which had a traditional Irish hotel bar and fireside seats which was supposed to encourage them to linger over a glass of whiskey or a pint of Guinness - or so the wire copy we've just seen claims.

  • 08:47
    @colmhumphries Well said Conor about the Obama girls. You're lucky to appreciate Glendalough before you're 30 unless you cycle into it of course. The bike transforms everything. I hope they manage to sense the magic all the same. It's a powerful place
  • 08:49
    Oh, yes, one more G8 thing. If anyone would like to send in a caption to go along with the terribly romantic pic on the top of this blog we'd be delighted.
  • 08:58
  • 09:03
    There is a security alert in Strabane. People are being evacuated from their homes and according to the PSNI traffic diversions are in place. We have no more details as yet but we will keep you posted.
  • 09:05
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  • 09:18
    Charles Saatchi yesterday admitted assaulting his wife Nigella Lawson during an argument outside a London restaurant and was cautioned after going to a police station in the city yesterday afternoon.

    In a statement issued last night the Metropolitan Police did not name the art collector and said only that "officers from the Community Safety Unit at Westminster were aware of the Sunday People article which was published on Sunday 16th June and carried out an investigation. This afternoon, Monday 17th June, a 70-year-old man voluntarily attended a central London police station and accepted a caution for assault.”

    The caution came after he had described the pictures which appeared in the Sunday People as part of a “playful tiff”. He had said he was holding the broadcaster and cook by the neck “to emphasise my point” as they discussed family.
  • 09:21
    Primary school teachers have voted to accept the proposed new Haddington Road agreement on reducing the State’s pay and pensions bill with a 63 per cent majority. The union rejected the Croke Park II proposals several weeks ago and last night's decision is major boost for the Government in its plans to reduce the public service pay bill by €300 million this year and €1 billion over three years as part of an agreement with unions.
  • 09:27
    A murder inquiry is set to be launched following the deaths of a mother and daughter in Killorglin, Co Kerry . The bodies of Lithuanian national Jolanta Lubiene (27) and her daughter Enrika (8) were found by gardaí at about 8.30pm on Sunday night. For operational reasons, gardaí did not comment on the results of the postmortems but it is understood both suffered serious stab wounds. There was no sign of forced entry into the house suggesting the possibility that Ms Lubiene may have known and trusted her killer and may have admitted the person to the house in the belief that neither her nor her daughter were at risk. There was no evidence of anything having been stolen.
  • 09:32
    Quick update on the Strabane security alert. A number of homes in the town have been evacuated after a suspect device was found. According to the PSNI bomb disposal experts are at the scene which has been closed to traffic . Springhill Community Centre has been made available for evacuated families.
  • 09:35
    There have been calls for the resignation of Eddie Shaw, a former spokesman for retired archbishop of Dublin Cardinal Desmond Connell, as chairman of a Catholic primary school board in south Co Dublin, writes Patsy McGarry in today's paper. The calls come after his distribution of leaflets to children at the Harold School in Glasthule promoting the Vigil for Life rally in Dublin on June 8th.

    At a stormy meeting last Thursday, Mr Shaw, who is head of public relations at Carr Communications, apologised to the school parents’ association. Minutes of the meeting say that “on Friday the 7th of June, a notice for a pro-life vigil was put in the bags of three classes. The leaflets were intended for every bag in the school but some teachers either chose not to put them in and others forgot.

    “The leaflet highlighted a vigil taking place last weekend for the Pro-Life Campaign against the upcoming legislation on abortion. The parent body were outraged that the children were being used as vehicle to promote a controversial campaign,” it said.

    Parents who spoke to The Irish Times were very angry at their children being used in this way. One parent of a five-year-old was asked by the child what an abortion was and felt deeply annoyed to have been put in that position.
  • 09:43
  • 09:50
    MarleyBonoRock "Caption" What a great woman, pity she's only screwing my country!
  • 09:50
    Bono is most likely going to be in the news at some point today. George Monbiot has been tearing strips off him in the Guardian claiming that because he and others like him "are seen as representatives of the poor, the poor are not invited to speak"... It's pretty tough stuff.

  • 09:52
  • 09:58
    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has taken part in a live Q&A with Guardian readers from a secret location in Hong Kong. He hinted at more disclosures to come and said  their publication could not be prevented by his arrest or his death. He was asked by a reader (or NSA employee!) if he had more secret material and in response he said:  "All I can say right now is the US government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or ­murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped."
  • 10:09
  • 10:47
    Just been outside. It's a glorious day which is good news for Glendalough and Dalkey. Not sure how much it will be picked up in the US though. Just had a quick trawl through the main US newspapers and have struggled to find a mention of the Obama Family's trip to Dublin.
  • 10:53
    Unrest in Brazil is growing and could soon start climbing the news ladder. Up to 200,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of the country's biggest cities yesterday in protest at poor public services, police violence and government corruption. The marches, organized mostly through snowballing social media campaigns, blocked streets and halted traffic in more than a half-dozen cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia, where demonstrators climbed onto the roof of Brazil’s Congress building and then stormed it. Yesterday’s demonstrations were the latest in a flurry of protests in the past two weeks that have added to growing unease over Brazil’s sluggish economy, high inflation and a spurt in violent crime.
  • 11:01
    Is it just me or does anyone else thing the G8 leaders round table is ridiculously small? I mean, seriousy, we've got a bigger table in our editorial conference room and we're not nearly as important as those guys.  Okay, okay, we are nearly as important.
  • 11:05
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  • 11:21
    James spratt Got married in Glendalough 19 yrs ago. One of the most beautiful places in the country of beautiful places.
  • 11:57
    Yesterday on the Ray Darcy Show on Today FM I highlighted the fact that Bank of Ireland charges people who are visualy impaired 40 cent each time they use the bank's over the counter serrvices. I contacted the bank and asked them a couple of simple questions. The response, did not answer the questions, but it speaks volumes about the bank and its attitude. Here it is:

    Does Bank of Ireland impose charges on visually impaired customers who use over the counter services?

    The new personal current account charges which come into effect on 19th August impact all eligible customers.  400,000 of our 1.1m active customers will have both the transaction fees and the maintenance fee waived (Golden Years, Student, Graduate).  As a multichannel provider, there are alternatives to counter services for customers, including those with visual impairments.  Our staff are happy to assist all customers who wish to use alternative methods to over the counter in branch (ATM, LATM, Banking 365 and online).  In addition, our equipment adheres to the Disability standards, such as navigational aids to assist customers who do not have full sight.  Finally, our online services have been designed to ensure that they are full accessible to everyone regardless of technology or ability.

    Does Bank of Ireland believe this is appropriate?

    Bank of Ireland’s new current account pricing model reflects the cost of different transaction types.  As a multi-channel provider, customers can now better control how much they pay for their banking by their transaction behaviour.  Just 4% of all personal current account transactions are counter staff assisted transactions. 95% of all transactions will reduce in cost as automated, electronic and ATM/debit card transactions move from 28c to 20c.  

  • 12:03
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  • 12:07
    It's all so smart casual at the G8. You'd kind of miss the lemon trousers though wouldn't you?


  • 12:37
    The Obamas have been to Glendalough. Michelle Obama was wearing Converse. This news impresses me greatly. She is clearly the coolest First Lady there has ever been!
  • 12:38
  • 13:18
    What is going on over at Good Morning America? First a tweet  appeared suggesting that the Obama children may not be having the most amazing time on their holliers in Ireland - the word boring was used. Then, just as the Irish Twitterati were working up a head of outraged steam, the tweet  disappeared.  

    At least that is what I think has happened.  

    I'll go and find out more. 

    Stand by.
  • 13:22
    The lovely Rick O'Shea has posted a screen grab of the rogue @GMA Tweet.
    The lovely Rick O'Shea has posted a screen grab of the rogue @GMA Tweet.
  • 13:28
  • 13:33
    Um... Don't know whether to laugh or cry.
    Um... Don't know whether to laugh or cry.
  • 13:40
    These kids look like they're having the best time, don't they?  via via @FergalTodayFM
    These kids look like they're having the best time, don't they? via via @FergalTodayFM
  • 13:46
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  • 13:47
    Aisling In fairness the Book of Kells is class, glendalough gorgeous and riverdance amazing no matter what age you are. Kids are always being dumbed down. Bono is probably boring them stupid with his statesman act!
  • 13:47
    Vincent Browne is in Finnegan's with the Obamas... I hope he doesn't sigh at them.
  • 13:58
    "JUSTIN BIEBER CLEARED in Alleged Hit and Run:  Justin Bieber is saying he didn't know he hit anyone as he left the Laugh Factory, and police are clearing him of any wrongdoing ... this time."
    You  can alway rely on TMZ to have the stories that really matter. 
  • 14:21
    G8 leaders have just issued declaration on corporate tax evasion in which they say countries must close tax loopholes.
  • 14:21
    if I type G* one more time today I will cry.
  • 14:22
    @kateholmquist ABC news shows Obama girls being bored senseless
  • 14:39
    Would you like a fact that will make you smile?

    You would? Brilliant.

    Bobby Womack's father's name is Friendly.
  • 14:42
  • 15:38

    Afghanistan is to send a team to Qatar for peace talks with the Taliban, President Hamid Karzai announced today. It is the first possible step forward in the peace process which has struggled to achieve results despite many attempts. "Afghanistan's High Peace Council will travel to Qatar to discuss peace talks with the Taliban," Karzai said. "We hope that our brothers the Taliban also understand that the process will move to our country soon," Karzai said of the fundamentalist Islamic group that ruled the country with an iron fist from 1996 to 2001. There was no immediate comment from the Afghan Taliban.
  • 15:56
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  • 17:01
    Bank of Ireland has been criticised for not making allowances for visually impaired people under its new fee structure which is to be rolled out later this summer.

    Under the new rules current account holders, including the blind or people who are severely vision impaired will be charged 40 cent each time engage in any transaction over the counter in a Bank of Ireland branch.

    The National Sight Loss organisation (NCBI) yesterday wrote to the bank’s chief executive Richie Boucher asking him to take account the particular needs people who are blind or are severely vision impaired and remove charges it imposes on affected people who use the bank’s over the counter services.

    In the letter the NCBI’s chief executive Des Kenny asked Mr Boucher “to look at what it is introducing, by way of new fee structures, to see how modification to the fees structure being proposed could be made to provide for the particular needs” of the visually impaired.

    The organisation pointed out that in the past, “a branch manager could admit blind and severely low vision people to free banking where the manager felt that the customer experience of such individuals could be improved by assistance given by tellers or other bank staff” and .

    Mr Kenny said directing customers to use internet banking through the new fees structure was “unfair on customers who have always had their sight loss accommodated by personal and modified banking arrangements developed for them by the bank”.
  • 17:17
    That's it for the Live Blog for today.....