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Crisis in the Crimea worsens and Kenny talks houses but not rows. Conor Pope has all your news

Conor Pope Wed, Mar 19
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  • 09:37
    This just in from the wires.

    "Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk issued an order on Wednesday for the first deputy prime minister and the acting defence minister to fly to Crimea to "resolve the situation" in the region now controlled by Russian forces. Ostap Semerak, a senior minister, told a meeting of the cabinet that Vitaly Yarema and Ihor Tenyukh would be charged with "ensuring the conflict does not become military in nature".

    Seems like a big ask...
  • 09:38
    And then we have this from our man in Crimea Daniel McLaughlin

    Crimea’s self-defence forces have stormed the Ukrainian navy base in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol a day after Russia signed a treaty with local authorities to annex the region.
    A witness saw several hundred self-defence forces take down the gate and make their way on to the headquarters’ premises. They then raised the Russian flag on the square by the headquarters. Ukrainian servicemen were standing guard by the main building.
    Crimean self-defence forces were not armed and seemed to be waiting for the Ukrainian army’s decision whether to let them in. The commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet was seen arriving at the base for talks. Around a dozen Ukrainian servicemen, unarmed and in civilian clothes, walked out of the naval headquarters .
  • 09:41

    The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told reporters in New York that there is a pressing need to build more houses in Dublin to ease pent-up demand that has pushed up the price of some properties in the city by as much as €30,000 in a single weekend.

    “If you had 30,000 three- bedroom detached houses in Dublin you’d sell them all in a week. That’s the pent-up demand that’s there. During the so-called Celtic Tiger years we were building between 80,000 and 100,000 houses, when we only needed 25,000. Now you need 25,000 or 30,000, and you’re building 6,500 or 7,000.”

  • 09:44

    Now, while Enda's comments on the property market are well and good what the Irish reporters on the New York jolly (sorry, important trade mission) wanted to hear about last night was the row between  Secretary general to the Government Martin Fraser out Ambassador to the US Anne Anderson in the lobby of Fitzpatrick’s Hotel just after midnight on Sunday night.

    Sadly the Taoiseach was not playing ball.  

    Asked again about the row he insisted again that he had no idea what anyone was on about. “As far as I’m concerned, every delegation that I go on, we always have healthy conversation about issues of the day so I just don’t know what you’re talking about.”

  • 09:45

    Good morning.  


    I am Conor Pope.  

    And I will be doing the news thingamejig today.  


  • 09:47

    Colm O'Gorman's closing speech to the We need to talk about Ireland event on St Patrick's Day...

    Tis good.  

  • 09:48



  • 09:50

    "They do it all the time. It's to promote some Circus"

    So said our Paddy Logue when I told him about the Tallaght camel.  


    I've got the hump now.  

  • 09:53

    The boy Ronaldo is pretty good with his head.  

    How good?

    This good.  

  • 09:56

    The Electric Picnic line-up is being announced this morning.  

    I was on the Live Blog when it was announced last year.  

    I lost the run of myself, was taken in by a bogus flyer and told the world that David Bowie, Radiohead and Portishead were all headllining .

    I will not do that again.

    I will not do that again

    I will not do that again.  


  • 10:18

    This, from Pamela Duncan, is yesterday's story but it deserves a mention today.

    The Government appointed Censorship of Publications Board has been convened to deal with a complaint about a book written by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter 25 years ago.

    Laura - A Novel You Will Never Forget  - became the only publication to be referred to the board in the last five years.

  • 10:29
    Here is an "alphabetical list of books prohibited on the ground that they were indecent or obscene (correct to 31st December, 2013)."

  • 10:33

    Update from the Anglo trial

    "The former financial regulator says he did not know Sean Quinn controlled over a quarter of Anglo Irish Bank  despite his office receiving “a stream of emails” to that effect.

     Patrick Neary told the trial of three former Anglo executives that nobody in his office told him that Mr Quinn, a former billionaire, had built up a huge stake in the bank through investment tools known as Contracts for Difference (CFDs).

    Evidence was presented to the court showing that at least three people in the Financial Regulator’s office were aware of the extent of Mr Quinn’s CFDs.

     There was also evidence that the issue of CFDs and Anglo was raised during a meeting of senior finance officials which Mr Neary attended.

     During his second day of evidence the former head of the regulator’s office said he only found out on March 21, 2007 that Mr Quinn controlled 28 per cent of Anglo.

     He continued to deny that he was given this information at a meeting with Anglo CEO David Drumm the previous September.

     He also said Mr Quinn told him in February 2008 that he had disposed of all his CFDs and that he believed him.

     Former  Anglo  Director Sean FitzPatrick and fellow ex-directors William  McAteer and Pat Whelan, are accused of providing funding for the  purchase of  Anglo’s own shares in contravention of the 1963 Companies Act."


    The three men have been charged at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court  with 16 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals in July 2008 to buy shares in the bank. The 16 individuals  are six members of the Quinn family and the Maple Ten group of investors.


    Mr Whelan has also been charged with being privy to the fraudulent  alteration of loan facility letters to seven individuals in October  2008.


    Mr FitzPatrick (65) of Greystones, Co Wicklow, Mr McAteer (63) of  Rathgar, Dublin and Mr Whelan (51) of Malahide, Dublin have pleaded not (NOT) guilty to all charges.

  • 10:48

    Investigators investigating the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner have discounted sightings over the Maldives,


  • 10:52

    Dublin Fire Brigade is investigating the breakdown of an ambulance while it was transporting a sick child to hospital on St Patrick's Day. The doors and windows of the vehicle all locked as the electronics shut down and the ocupants were unable to leave for up to 40 minutes. The child was being treated for anaphylactic shock and was stable throughout.  

  • 11:00

    This is pretty shocking stuff.

    The PSNI had referred a video to the police ombudsman which seems to show police lifting an incapicitated woman from the middle of a road in Derry into a bus lane before driving off.

    Assistant chief constable George Hamilton said "at a first view" the police were seriously concerned". He said the behaviour, was "well below the standards we expect from our officers in dealing with vulnerable people whether the vulnerability is due to alcohol or anything else".

  • 11:40

  • 12:01

    ‘That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.’ Take our personality test and find out which Shakespearean swine you most resemble

    Yes, we have a  Shakespearean Villan Test in the paper today.

    You won't get that in the Indo!  


  • 12:04

    At the risk of mortifying myself again it seems as if  Beck, Portishead, Chic and the Pet Shop Boys will all be playing Electtric Picnic this year.  

  • 12:07
    Jim Carroll has all the Electric Picnic skinny here.  
  • 12:07

  • 12:37

    Russian troops and unarmed men stormed Ukraine‘s naval headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol today and raised the Russian flag in a tense but peaceful takeover that signals Moscow‘s intent to neutralise any armed opposition.

    Russian soldiers, and so-called “self-defence“ units of mainly unarmed volunteers who are supporting them across the Black Sea peninsula, moved in early in the morning and quickly took control.

    Shortly after the incident, Ukraine‘s acting defence minister Ihor Tenyukh said in Kiev that the country‘s forces would not withdraw from Crimea even though Russian president  Vladimir Putin  has signed a treaty to make it part of  Russia.

  • 12:40

  • 12:44

  • 12:46

    [Rugby] culture is a dysfunctional one and, ultimately dangerous. It is part of the culture that speaks of “manly”, that admires a male “standing up like a man”, or in the cringe-making lingo of the rugby world, that urges players to “man up”.

    Epic trolling from Vincent Browne.


  • 13:00

    We have an interesting story in our personal finance section right now.

    A scrap metal dealer who bought a golden egg at a US bric-a-brac market discovered it is an ultra-rare Faberge egg worth around £20 million (€24 million).

    No, I have no idea why it's in personal finace either.  

  • 13:07

    Press release just in: Mortgage holders who smoke could be paying over €20,000 more than non-smokers on mandatory life assurance premiums over the lifetime of their policy.   Figures released to mark the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the smoking ban this month, show that on average, smokers pay 70% more in mortgage protection insurance than their non-smoking counterparts."

    And they kill you too.  

  • 13:11

    South African president Jacob Zuma “benefitted unduly“ from a €16m state-funded security upgrade to his private home that included a swimming pool, cattle enclosure and amphitheatre, South Africa's public protector said today.  

    Zuma was accused of conduct “inconsistent with his office” and said he should repay a reasonable part of the cost of the unnecessary renovations.

    Unreasonable? Seriously?

    Who could describe an home-amphitheatre as unreasonable?  

  • 13:29
    53 people were arrested on St Patrick's Day over drink-driving suspicions, Gardai said today.  
  • 13:37

    Stand by for a public service announcement.

    A not for profit group called Foodcloud wants to match businesses dealing in food with charities and community groups in order to distribute surplus food to those who need it most. Foodcloud have developed an app, and have won a Social Entrepreneurs award, worked in NDRC and won an Arthur Guinness Award.

    And since they set up they have redistributed five tonnes of food or 13,000 meals across their network in Dublin and Drogheda  and they have plans to expand. Tesco, Starbucks, Diageo and the EPA are on board, among others.

    Yesterday they announced they want 50,000 people in Ireland to pledge to reduce food waste this year-via their website. They estimate if people reduce waste by 1kilo per week in 2014, it will save €1m - the equivalent of over 5.7million meals.

    They are also hosting a Foodcloud Feast on 2 April, a 3 course meal made of ugly,forgotten food that would otherwise be wasted, with debates and discussions as well as wine and beer included:-) They want to start the discussion about the food waste challenge and opportunity.

    You can sign the pledge here. Sure why wouldn't ya.  

  • 13:44

    Brian O''Driscoll and Fr Peter McVerry will be able to graze their sheep on St Stephen's Green from Saturday.

  • 13:46

    This is what economy class looked like on Pan Am planes ini the sixties...



    All the leg-room would give Michael O'Leary coniptions.  

  • 14:13

    "For nights I sat musing / And musing ... and musing / Whilst burning the midnight oil; / My scratchings seemed futile / My muse seemed quite mute, while / My work proved to be barren toil,. I puzzled and thought and wrestled and fought / 'Till my midnight oil was exhausted, / So I furthered my writing by dim candle lighting, / And found, to my joy, this of course did / The trick."

    "That which had ignited my literary passion, / Was about to ignite what my passion had fashion'd, "And - oh! - all was lost in a great conflagration / And I just sat there and said 'Hell and damnation'."


    The lost poem of 17year-old Douglas Adams has been found


  • 14:14

  • 14:26

    "My ambition is to coach a top team in the Premier League. I want to win the league title in a fourth country. That's my objective and I want to fulfil it. Either that, or I will retire and move with my wife to Portugal." Louis Van Gaal.  

    If only there was a really top team really struggling at the moment.

  • 14:32

    RTE, the Indo and Newstalk are reporting that Brian O'Driscoll and Peter McVerry are to be made freemen of Dublin on Saturday.  

    Here is our story. From last November.  


    Not gloating here, just confused. Honestly.  

  • 15:07
    Weather update? Lovely. At least in Dublin.... And that's all that matters, right? No.
  • 15:18

    Earthquake-prone Co Wexford has been shaken once again, after a minor tremor overnight that reached magnitude 2.2, writes Dick Ahlstrom.

    "  Yet all the seismic activity doesn’t have anything to do with being perched above a geological fault. It is just the Earth’s surface continuing to rebound after the ice melted away after the last Ice Age, according to Tom Blake of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

    But it might as well have been the “big one”given the magnitude of the social media response to the event . “It created a Twitter sensation last night,” said Mr Blake,

  • 15:30

    A new app called Cloak uses information about smartphone users   found on social networks such as Instagram and Foursquare (is that still a thing?) to alert you when selected people are coming close so you can take evasive action.

    The app was created by a chap called Brian Moore and he told The Washington Post that "we’ve seen the crest of the big social network. Things like Twitter and Facebook are packed elevators where we’re all crammed in together ... I think anti-social stuff is on the rise. You’ll be seeing more and more of these types of projects.”

    Can't wait for the Anti-Social Network to hit the big screen.


  • 15:34

  • 16:13

  • 16:39
    There is so much that is apparently “traditional” on offer in Irish supermarkets these days that it really is a wonder sean nós singers can’t be found stacking shelves while comely maidens in Aran jumpers wander the aisles doing the Walls of Limerick to a bodhrán beat provided by Peig Sayers.

    If it’s not traditional that, it’s natural this or hand-carved the other as retailers and their suppliers fall over themselves to flog us products using every underhand trick at their disposal. And there are loads of tricks at their disposal.

    The labelling laws in this country – and indeed in most countries – are so woolly that they allow manufacturers to get away with the most outrageous lies.

    What does natural mean? Or artisan? Or home-made? Or farm fresh? Or hand-cooked? Or hand-crafted? The short answer is absolutely nothing and the reality is that if the maker of a particularly caustic bleach wanted to label their product as a “home-made, natural country-style artisan bleach” and flog it as some class of life-enhancing elixir, there is virtually nothing that can be done to stop them.

    Manufacturers frequently exploit our ignorance to enhance their profits. The word “local” has become increasingly popular in recent years as research has shown consumers like the notion that their food comes from a “local” place. But does local mean within 20km of where you are standing or 200km? Or 2,000km?

    The answer is none of the above.

    It shouldn’t really be like this anymore. And maybe it won’t be soon. A public consultation on the use of food marketing terms in Ireland has been launched by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

    “Marketing terms are designed to resonate with consumers. However, when they are used incorrectly they have the potential to mislead. This is a concern that needs to be addressed so we are encouraging all parties to take part in the consultation process and submit their views,” says Dr Wayne Anderson of the FSAI.

    “In particular, it is important that consumers are confident that the foods they buy are accurately and truthfully described. Food businesses should also be confident that genuine descriptions of their food are not diluted in the marketplace by the spurious use of undefined marketing terms by other food businesses.”

    The consultation is based on a draft code of practice aimed at protecting the integrity of certain marketing terms on food and thereby protecting the interests of consumer and the small food industry. All interested parties including consumers, regulators and the food industry are urged to visit here to communicate their views.

    The consultation will run for eight weeks and the closing date for responses is 14 May 2014.
  • 16:40

  • 16:46

  • 16:48
    Ireland have beaten UAE by 21 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis Method after the lights failed. Ireland 103-3 off 14.2; UAE 123-6 off 20.0

    Cricket? Confusing? Hardly.
  • 16:58
    I started reading about Taco Bell's new breakfast menu in a sneery way. Now I am starving and I want one more than anything in the world.
  • 17:04
    Right so, that's it, we're done for today.... I'm off for a breakfast taco.