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Áine McMahon Wed, Dec 18
 
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  • 09:04
    The end of austerity may be in sight according to ESRI so we may have turned a corner. It's also just a week to Christmas and the last time I'll say "turned a corner". Good morning and welcome to today's Daily Wire with me, Áine McMahon.
  • 09:10
    Today's weather outlook - Very wet and very windy weather developing by early afternoon, with stormy conditions towards nightfall in western and northwestern coastal counties with very severe and damaging gusts. Doesn't sound great.

    Highest temperatures of 9 to 12 degrees. Heavy rain giving way to colder showery conditions early this evening.
  • 09:12
    "Awesome. Loving. Vibrant. These are the three words Karen Walton and Peter Robinson chose to describe their son, Benjamin. They are carved in stone in a cemetery outside the small town of Carrickfergus. Ben was 14 when he died, from brain injuries inflicted while playing for his school, Carrickfergus Grammar, against Dalriada." Rugby's Dirty Secret is most read on the site this morning, read more here.
  • 09:18
    Two people won last night's Mega Millions jackpot in the US and will share a jackppot of $636m. One winning ticket was sold at Jennifer's Gifts, in San Jose, California, the other in Atlanta, Georgia.  It is the second-largest US lottery jackpot on record. The winning numbers were 8, 14, 17, 20, 39 and the mega ball was 7. 
    Before you boil over with envy, have a look at this article about ten previous US lotto winners who's lives were changed, changed utterly by their win. Nice bit of Schadenfreude for your Wednesday morning.
  • 09:23
    Ronnie Biggs, the British criminal known for his role in the Great Train Robbery of 1963, died today at the age of 84, his spokeswoman said.

    Biggs gained notoriety 50 years ago as one of a gang that stopped a Royal Mail night train and made off with £2.6 million, equivalent to about £40 million (€47.3 million) today.

    He became the most famous of the gang after escaping from London’s Wandsworth Prison, where he was serving a 30-year prison sentence, by scaling a wall with a rope ladder.

    He spent 36 years on the run, mostly living in Brazil. Flaunting his freedom, he once recorded a song ‘No One is Innocent’ with the British punk band the Sex Pistols.
  • 09:27
    An Irish tech firm has let staff go without salaries for December or redundancy entitlements, Barry O'Halloran reports

    Intune, whose backers include Dermot Desmond’s IIU, the State and Bank of Ireland has told workers it is laying off this week that it cannot pay their December salaries or statutory redundancy entitlements.
    The company is letting go about 70 workers from its Dublin and Belfast offices in a round of compulsory redundancies it announced internally in October.

    Yesterday it told staff in Dublin who are losing their jobs this week it would not be able to pay either their wages for this month, or their statutory redundancy entitlements, as the company is insolvent and had to be placed in receivership.
  • 09:44
    Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveny says the below cost selling of fruit and vegetables is a cause for concern. 

    Speaking on Morning Ireland earlier he said "We are seeing at the moment a very aggressive price war where supermarkets and retailers are using vegetables to a certain extent as a loss leader to get people in to shop in their stores." 

    Brussel sprouts,melons and bags of carrots are on sale in some stores for under ten cents a piece.
  • 09:53
    Don't expect Ross O'Carroll Kelly to pick up a hurl any time soon.
  • 10:02
    An evangelical charity which provides residential places for drug addicts has defended its use of cold turkey to treat addicts as well as sending them out to fundraise for it.

    RTÉ’s Prime Time last night reported that addicts attempting recovery at Victory Outreach were working “up to 18 hours a day, for no pay, simply to raise money for a charity organisation”. 

    Genevieve Carbery reports.  
  • 10:04
    The Irish Farmers Journal is running a "Selfie on the Farm" competition. This day has peaked already and it's only 10am. 

     
  • 10:23
  • 10:30

    The HSE service plan has assigned €3.2m for bilateral cochlear implants. The provision of bilateral cochlear implants for profoundly deaf children, was described by the Minister for Health James Reilly as one of his top priorities back in October. 

     

  • 10:38
    A luxury shopping mall is the most instagrammed place of 2013. 

    No, it's not Athlone Town Centre - it's the  Siam Paragon in Bangkok 
    The Siam Paragon mall in Bangkok has shot up to number one from ninth place last year. What may have helped it reach the top spot is the fact that Instagram is hugely popular in Thailand.
    Walt Disney World, New York's High Line and Central Park and the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas are all new to this years list. 
  • 10:38
    Siam Paragon Mall Thailand
    Siam Paragon Mall Thailand
  • 10:44
  • 10:55
    Fianna Fail Senator Darragh O'Brien has said he will  lodge documents regarding reports of improper behaviour by officals at NAMA with Gardai at lunchtime.

    Irish property developer Paddy McKillen is believed to be the person who made a complaint to the Garda recently in relation to  behaviour by officials at the National Asset Management Agency.

    The complaint was made earlier this month and was the subject of media reports this week. A spokeswoman for Mr McKillen confirmed he had made a complaint to the Garda in relation to Nama earlier in the year.  
  • 11:02
    Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid leave the court inLima, Peru yesterday
    Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid leave the court inLima, Peru yesterday
  • 11:02
    The family of Michaella McCollum who was sentenced to almost seven years in jail for trying to smuggle €1.8 million worth of cocaine out of Peru has insisted she is innocent.
    The mother and sister of 20-year-old Michaella McCollum, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, have vowed to mount a legal bid to get her back to the UK to serve her sentence of six years and eight months in a Northern Ireland jail.

    McCollum along with co-accused Melissa Reid, from Lenzie near Glasgow, pleaded guilty to drug smuggling in September.
    McCollum's sister Samantha said the family still believed she had committed no crime. "In our opinion Michaella is innocent, in our opinion she will always be innocent," she told ITV's Daybreak.

    "Michaella has never been in trouble before so this is a very big shock to us and we will all support her." She said the family's lawyers would be working to get her sister home to serve her sentence in the UK.
  • 11:06
  • 11:22
    The Government's six year strategy unveiled yesterday, was a lesson in brevity...or maybe not. 

    Miriam Lord writes - Their 20/20 vison - it wouldn't pass muster in Specsavers."

    Because here’s the plan in a nutshell, as helpfully summarised in the document’s concluding chapter on policy actions: “This strategy provides an overarching, high-level, integrated whole-of-Government framework to drive and facilitate the development of appropriate sectoral and horizontal policies which will be refined over the next few months to take account of this strategy.” 

     
    "This is the sort of waffle to put you right off your pigeon."
  • 11:48
  • 12:00
    The man charged with the murder of Elaine O’Hara has been further remanded in custody until after Christmas when the book of evidence is due to be presented in court.

    “I understand it is quite a large eight-volume tome,” Saran Ceillier barrister for the DPP told Judge Gráinne Malone of Dublin District Court at Cloverhill today.

    Graham Dwyer was charged in October with the murder of Elaine O’Hara (36) whose decomposed remains were found in the Dublin mountains in September.
  • 12:33
    The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) says it has identified a small quantity of counterfeit Smirnoff Red Label vodka (1 litre bottles) on the Irish market.

    This follows information provided to the FSAI from the Food Standards Agency in the UK where an investigation is ongoing into counterfeit alcohol.

    The FSAI states today that whilst laboratory analysis for the Irish counterfeit vodka did not detect harmful ingredients, the alcohol content was 32% rather than the 37.5% in the genuine vodka.

    The FSAI is advising consumers and food businesses to be vigilant when purchasing this product and if they have any doubt about its authenticity not to purchase or consume it.
  • 12:44
    The RPA and the National Transport Authority confirmed that, for the first time ever,
    Luas has carried more than 30 million passengers in a 12 month period.

    Passenger numbers are expected to reach 30.3 million by the end of the year. To mark the occasion, the 30 millionth Luas passenger received an annual ticket for the Red and Green Lines.

    Minister Alan Kelly came under fire last week when he claimed "middle class snobbishness" stopped people using public transport.
  • 12:48
    More than a third of people feeling depressed or suicidal look for help in the middle of the night, the Samaritans have revealed.

    Midnight to 1am on Friday and Saturday nights were the busiest times of the week for the charity's helplines while 37 per cent of all calls in the past year were made from midnight to 6am.

    But the organisation said the number of people looking for help has fallen from a high of just over 400,000 when the recession hit deepest in 2010/11.

    The review of services from November last year to the end of October this year showed 381,128 calls to the Samaritans along with 13,081 emails, 9,853 text messages and 7,911 face to face contacts.
  • 13:05
    European Union diplomats have approved new anti-tobacco legislation today, including larger health warnings on cigarette packets and the bloc’s first ever rules on electronic cigarettes.

    The deal was struck after governments and the European Parliament resolved a dispute over how tightly to regulate the booming market for e-cigarettes, which some analysts predict will eclipse the €509 billion egular cigarette market in 10 years.

    From 2016 when the rules changes will take effect, cigarettes, rolling tobacco and other products will have to carry graphic picture and text warnings covering 65 per cent of the front and back of packet.
  • 13:09
    Vox pops tend to be the bane of most reporters lives but one BBC reporter was lucky to bump into The Fonz while doing a voxer on the expansion of Heathrow airport. 

     
  • 13:12
    Chinese authorities said today that a 73-year-old Chinese woman died after being infected with a bird flu strain that had sickened a human for the first time, a development that the World Health Organization called "worrisome." China's Centre for Disease Control. 

     China's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the woman in the city of Nanchang had been infected by the H10N8 bird flu virus, a strain that had not previously been found in people.

    This is the second new bird flu strain to emerge in humans this year in China. In late March, the H7N9 bird flu virus broke out, infecting 140 people and killing 45, almost all of them on the mainland. The outbreak was controlled after the country closed many of its live animal markets — scientists had assumed the virus was infecting people through exposure to live birds.
  • 14:08
    Three former senior bank officials have appeared in court charged in connection with an alleged €7.2 billion fraud.

    Former chief executive of Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) Denis Casey and the bank’s former finance director Peter Fitzpatrick appeared today in the Dublin District Court along with the former head of treasury at Anglo Irish Bank John Bowe. 
     
    Our Finance Correspondent Ciaran Hancock reports.
  • 14:21
  • 14:40
    Long walk off a short pier - A woman is lucky to be alive after she fell into Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay while browsing on Facebook, according to Australian police. 
    The woman was walking along St Kilda pier engrossed in social media when she walked off the pier into the dark and chilly water on Tuesday night. 
    A quick-thinking witness raised the alarm. Police officers were able to point out the distressed woman floundering in the water to the water police, who rescued her about 20 metres from the pier and she was taken to hospital. 
     
  • 14:52
    Former Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins has been jailed for 35 years for a string of child sex offences including the attempted rape of a baby which “plumbed new depths of depravity”.

    Watkins confessed to 13 offences at Cardiff Crown Court — where he was described as a committed and determined paedophile.

    Trial judge Mr Justice Royce told him and his co-defendants that what they had done “plumbed new depths of depravity”. After sexually touching a groupie’s 11-month-old baby,  Watkins then tried to have penetrative sex with the child.  

    He also encouraged a second fan to abuse her child during a webcam chat. IT is feared the incidents could be just the tip of the iceberg as police are investigating whether  Watkins, 36, committed further abuse in the US and Germany.
  • 15:03
    The organisers of the Heineken Cup have confirmed that Leinster will face an  five-day turnaround in the last two rounds of the pool matches in this year’s competition.

    The three-time champions will travel to France where they take on Castres at 1.35pm local time (12.35pm Irish time) on Sunday, January 12th. More here. 
  • 15:08
    Colin Farrell was on US chat show Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week talking about an Irish Christmas.

    The actor and one time hellraiser said he's enjoying his sober lifestyle but  joked that he felt like a "national letdown" for wanting to give up the gargle. Watch it here below.  

     

  • 15:27
  • 15:29
  • 15:38
    John Bowe, one of three former top bankers who have been charged with conspiracy to defraud linked to 7.2 billion euro of deposit transfers allegedly made to prop up Anglo Irish Bank's books, leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
    John Bowe, one of three former top bankers who have been charged with conspiracy to defraud linked to 7.2 billion euro of deposit transfers allegedly made to prop up Anglo Irish Bank's books, leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
  • 15:43
  • 15:50
  • 15:51
    There are no reports of serious injuries following the canopy collapsing at Kent train station in Cork. More as we get it.
  • 15:54
  • 15:58
  • 16:14
  • 16:28
    Crazy prices - German discount retailers Aldi and Lidl are waging a fruit and veg price war - Will you be purchasing??

     Lidl are selling all these things for 5 cent each until Christmas Eve.
    Carrots, 1kg 
    Sprouts, 500g 
    Onions, 1 kg 
    Parsnips, 500g 
    Turnip (per unit) 
    Baby Potatoes, 1 kg  

    While Aldi are selling these for 6 cent 
    Brussels Sprouts              500g (save €1.23)
    White Potatoes                1.5Kg (save €1.43)
    Carrots                                 1Kg (save 93c)
    Pineapples                        each (save €1.43)
    Honeydew Melons        each (save €1.83)
    Clementines                     / 750g (save €1.43)
    h/t @ConorPope 

  • 16:35
    Former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney ironing his clothes while they're on him. And they say men can't multi task
  • 16:41
    The HSE has yet to decide where €108 million in health cuts, out of a total package of €619 million in spending reductions from next year, will come from. 

    “We can’t say where it’s going, we know where it’s coming from,” Mr O’Brien said, adding the “deliverability” of the target will have to be examined.

    Fiach Kelly has more.
  • 16:47
    Around 15,000 households have been hit by power outages due to the bad weather.

    The ESB said most of the outages are in the midwest and south, but around 1,500 homes around Moate in Co Westmeath are without power.

    Crews are working to restore power in affected areas. 
  • 16:57
  • 17:01
  • 17:08
    Release from Irish Rail  - "Iarnród Éireann is advising customers that Kent Station Cork is closed at present due to the partial collapse of a roof canopy at platform 1, from which commuter trains to Cobh and Midleton operate.

    A limited Bus Eireann bus service will operate from Kent Station to Cobh. This service will not be to the train timetable and buses will be dispatched as soon as they are full. Bus Éireann will honour all rail tickets on their scheduled Midleton services. Dublin/Cork services are operating between Dublin and Mallow only, with bus transfers between Mallow and Cork.

     It is not expected that services will resume this evening to and from the station. A full examination is being undertaken to ensure all structures are secure before the station is reopened. While we hope this will be for tomorrow morning’s (Thursday 19th December) services, the safety of customers and staff will be the priority."
  • 17:15
    Unconfirmed reports of a man being injured in a shooting incident in Castlebar, Co Mayo. More as we get it.
  • 17:23
    Gardai­ at Castlebar are investigating a shooting incident which occurred at a Service Station on the Moneen Road ,Castlebar, Co Mayo at approximately 3.30pm this afternoon.  

    A 26 year old man was shot a number of times. He was taken to Mayo General Hospital where he is being treated for his injuries. The scene of the shooting is preserved pending a full Garda technical examination.  

    A dark coloured estate car was seen leaving the area at the time of the shooting. There have been no arrests at this stage.  
  • 17:29
    That's all from the Daily Wire today. Met Eireann have issued a red weather warning so batten down the hatches and take care while driving. I'll leave you with this tweet. Thanks for following.