News Blog

Lions squad named, the Cabinet discusses abortion and a new Dutch king. Contact us @IrishTimesLive

Hugh Linehan Tue, Apr 30
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  • This event has now ended
  • 08:22
    Good morning, I'm Hugh Linehan and I'll be your liveblog driver for today, April 30th, on
  • 08:24
    The lead story on this morning is from Stephen Collins, Arthur Beesley and Harry McGee, who report that the Cabinet  is expected to agree today on a legal framework for abortion in defined circumstances where a woman’s life is in danger, including the threat of suicide. Government sources say that barring any unexpected last minute hitches, both Coalition partners were now confident the heads of the Bill could be approved by Government this morning and published either later today or early tomorrow
  • 08:26
    According to Peter Cluskey in the Netherlands, the new king, Willem-Alexander, faces a struggle for relevance and a tussle over privacy with the country’s media following his coronation today.
  • 08:28
  • 08:38
    Today's big sporting story is the naming of the Lions squad for the 2013 tour to Australia. Gerry Thornley suggests Warren Gatland will choose a squad of hard, straight-running athletic types. He also reports that’ there are clearly rumours about Ian Madigan, backed in from 12/1 to 1/8 with Paddy Power, making the plane.’ We'll be bringing you live updates here when the squad is annonced at 11am.
  • 09:18
    Conor Pope busts some medical myths today in a piece which should be read by all hypochondriacs (you know who you are). Going by the Body Mass Index, for example, Brian O'Driscoll would be categorised as obese. So how come he'll be on Warren gatland's plane with all those hard-running athletic types?
  • 09:39
    DC: Our online editor has been called away so it's David Cochrane here who'll be looking after things for a short time while he's away...
  • 09:43
    DC: It's Willie Nelson's 80th birthday today, which sounds like a perfect excuse to share a song perfomened by the supergroup 'The Highwaymen' comprising Nelson himself, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson.
  • 09:43
  • 10:02
    DC: A small piece in today's Irish Times notes that Roy Keane has admitted that he turns down offers to play charity soccer games with parents at his children's school "because he takes it too seriously and keeps getting injured".

     "I'm not keen to get involved at any sort of level because every time I seem to play I pick up an injury."

    He keeps getting injured? Sounds like the parents haven't forgiven him for Saipan.
  • 10:14
    DC: Also in birthdays (um, sort of) the Internet is kind of twenty years old today. Kind of.

    On this day in 1993 CERN, the organisation that runs the Hadron Collider on the Swiss/French border, but then had just created the technology that powered the world-wide web, put that web technology into the public domain on a royalty-free basis. CERN at the time provided a web server (so anyone could then power websites on the web), a basic browser and lots of code -w hich allowed the internet to become what it is today. 

    This apparently is the first website that was put up on the internet made by Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the web technologies at CERN in 1989.

    CERN's website marking "20 years of a free, open web" is here.
  • 10:28
    Thanks David. This is Hugh Linehan, back in the room. It's not all about rugby today.

  • 10:41
    As we build up to the Lions squad announcement at 11am, received wisdom is Sam Warburton will be the captain. But will he be able to do this?
  • 10:41
  • 10:55
  • 10:58
  • 11:05
    So, the preambles are underway at the Lions press conference.
  • 11:06
    Scottish legend Andy Irvine: 'touring Australia is always a big challenge. A country's whose will to win is almost unsurpassed... there is no reason why Warren Gatland's team can't be successful'.
  • 11:07
    OK, get the sponsors over, and now THE SQUAD IS...
  • 11:08
    Ful backs: Halfpenny, Hogg, Kearney
  • 11:09
    Wings: Bowe, Cuthbert, Maitland, North
  • 11:09
    Centres: Davies, O'Driscoll, Roberts, Tuilagi
  • 11:09
    Outhalves: Farrell, Sexton,
  • 11:10
    Scrumhalves: Murray, Philips, Youngs
  • 11:10
    Props: Cole, Healy, Jenkins, Jones, Stevens, Vunipola
  • 11:11
    Hookers: Hartley, Hibbard, Youngs
  • 11:11
    Second rows: Evans, Gray, Wyn Jones, O'Connell, Parling
  • 11:12
    Back rows: Croft, Faletau, Heaslip, Lydiate, O'Brien, Tipuric, Warburton
  • 11:12
    Captain is Sam Warburton
  • 11:15
    There you have it. From an Irish perspective, Kearney, Bowe, O'Driscoll, Sexton, Murray, Healy, O'Connell, O'Brien and Heslip amounts to a representation of nine, slightly less than anticipated in most quarters.
  • 11:16
    Best and Ross might be the most disappointed Irish contenders.
  • 11:18
    And no place for Jonny Wilkinson despite all the speculation. But Murray will be delighted to get a scrumhalf spot.
  • 11:20
    15 Welshmen, 10 Englishmen, nine Irishmen and three Scots.... sounds like the start of a bad joke.
  • 11:20
    Mark Zebo, Madigan, Ross... next time around. Main controversy will be in Chris Robshaw's absence.
  • 11:22
    Yes, Mark. A bit tough on Robshaw. Four Welsh backrows was always going to make it tough for him.
  • 11:23
    Our esteemed rugby correspondent Gerry Thornley got 36 out of 37 right. Gerry had a different balance to his squad, so had Billy Twelvetress in the centre. Gatland went for an extra forward instead and picked Richie Gray in the second row.
  • 11:25
    Feeling in the sports department here is that the Irishman who can feel most unlucky is Zebo, but Maitland does fitthe Gatland template better (plus, he's Scottish, which helps. Or at least he plays for Scotland).
  • 11:26
  • 11:31
    Shane C RE Mark 11:20 Madigan was never in the frame and doubt he will be in 4 years as both Sexton and Farrell will still be around. Zebo was unlucky and think that injury cost him.
  • 11:31
    Richie I think that Gatland has the bare minimum number of Irish tourists in his panel that he could legit. get away with there, thus confirming my own suspicions of an anti-Irish bias. Did somebody piss him off during his (mediocre) stint here?
  • 11:35
    The squad does look a little thin at outhalf. All that talk about picking Laidlaw to cover numbers nine and ten seems to have come to nothing.
  • 11:35
    jim connell why has the game developed in the style of rugby league --it has lost the skill it used to have watching it is not anything like it used to be .
  • 11:38
    Thanks for the comment Jim. Have to say I'm not convinced, partly due to childhood memories of watching grim 6-3 mudwrestles at the old Lansdowne Road back when men didn't just grow moustaches as a joke for charity.
  • 11:39
    So, just to confirm that squad in full:

    L Halfpenny, S Hogg, R Kearney, G North, A Cuthbert, T Bowe, S Maitland, B O'Driscoll, M Tuilagi, J Roberts, J Davies, J Sexton, O Farrell, C Murray, M Phillips, B Youngs, G Jenkins, C Healy, M Vunipola, A Jones, D Cole, M Stevens, D Hartley, R Hibbard, T Youngs, I Evans, R Gray, AW Jones, P O'Connell, G Parling, T Croft, T Faletau, J Heaslip, D Lydiate, S O'Brien, J Tipuric, S Warburton (capt)

    What would your first 15 be out of that bunch?
  • 11:41
    JW No great shocks there. Stats on injuries from previous tours would be interesting to know and will more than likely provide some scope for call up for the fringe players, Zebo, Best and Ross.
  • 11:41
    Dara Rory Best can feel very hard done by. How on earth can Dylan Hartley or Tom Youngs be considered better options. Matt Stevens...bloody disgrace
  • 11:44
    I think JW is quite right - Zebo, Best and Ross should leave their phones switched on over the next while.

    Dara - I tend to agree, but would it not be fair to say Rory Best is suffering the effects of a downswing in form since mid-season for both Ireland and Ulster? In particular his throwing seemed to go badly awary.
  • 11:44
    richie C 10 'Saxons' & 9 Paddies? Ahem....
  • 11:44
    Liam Maybe Marray a bit lucky, Best & Ryan a bit unlucky. But 5 or 6 could make the test team which shows we have good individuals but lack depth.
  • 11:44
    Shane C Rory Best has played himself out of the squad - was great in 2010/11 but his performances (throwing especially) for both Ireland and Ulster have been woeful in the last 2 years
  • 11:48
  • 11:50
    Shane Test XV: Halfpenny, Bowe, BOD, Roberts, Cuthbert, Sexton, Philips; Healy, Hibbard, Jones, Wyn Jones, O'Connell, Warburton, O'Brien, Faletau. Centres could also be BOD at 12 and Tuilagi at 13
  • 11:50
    Gary The Irish that are going are all in with a shout of Test spots and those not going get to go with a new look Irish squad on tour, it's not all bad. Marginal calls went the way of the English though..
  • 11:54
    Enough of this nationalism! let's get down and dirty and provincial here. Here's the Irish tally:

    Leinster: 6
    Munster: 2
    Ulster: 1

    I think I'm right in saying there were nine Munstermen named in the original Lions squad for the last tour...
  • 11:54
    BBSLP Why can't we just be happy with 9 on the plane? Look what they did this year at international level ......... From Bring Back the Single Letters Page
  • 11:55
    Ray here we go... 1. Healy 2. Youngs 3.Jones 4. Parling 5. O'Connell 6. Croft 7. Warburton 8. O' Brien 9. Phillips 10. Sexton 11. North 12. Tuailagi 13. Roberts 14. Bowe 15. halfpenny
  • 11:55
    Shane C I disagree Gary - I think Heaslip is very lucky to be there and won't have a prayer of a test spot - Midweek pick me thinks
  • 11:55
    W Hartley and Stevens strange calls if you ask me. Best has always got the better of Hartley. I'd have taken Madigan or Hook as the can play a few positions as well as cover 10.
  • 11:59
    Thanks for the first XV Ray. I wonder whether Gatland will see the backrow in quite that way. Otherwise looks quite persuasive.
  • 11:59
    W Halfpenny Bowe BOD Tuilagi North Sexton Philips Healy Hibbard Jones Wynn Jones POC Warburton Tuperic Faletau
  • 12:00
    Gary Shane C - True, the #8 is Faletau's to lose but a few more performances like Saturday you never know. We should be proud of the 9 we have going, they have the chance to be part of the first winning Lions Test Series team in 16 years.
  • 12:00
    Mauriceod1 Don't think Warburton is the right choice as Captain. Might contribute to cliques per nationality. Don't understand that idiot Dylan Hartley being selected. Should have been Ross Ford or Best.
  • 12:00
    lilyput1 Kearney is very lucky.
  • 12:12
    Liam Great to read Ray writing his team 1-15. Mostly teams are listed 15-9 & then 1-8 which I find terrible!!! Does anyone any logic for such listings? Thanks.
  • 12:12
    MY Bear in mind that in South Africa Paul Wallace, Jeremy Davidson and Eric Miller played themselves into test selection from a staring point of being also rans. I reckon with Gatland all positions are very much up for grabs.
  • 12:18
    Shane Kearney was always going by default of there being little alternative for the 3rd spot. Personally, I would have taken that third spot and given it to Madigan as a wild card utility (half) back. He would have been very exciting on hard Ozzy ground
  • 12:18
    Kevin Is it just me or does King Willem-Alexander looka bit like Donald Trump?
  • 12:19
    It's just you, Kevin.
  • 12:19
    Alex Ray, With a dominant pack, would not BOD be a wise option to open up the Wallaby defence?
  • 12:20
    Alex, that presumes a dominant Lions pack. Some Australians beg to differ on that one.
  • 12:26
    Lunchtime is approaching, so it seems appropriate to break into all this rugby chat and draw your attention to the fact that Noma in Copenhagen has lost its position as the Best Restaurant in the World (who decides these things?) and the new official Number One is El Celler De Can Roca in Girona.
  • 12:33
  • 12:52
    Ray Alex, i 've gone for the battering ram approach and workers at the breakdown. That's how we beat them in the world cup .... Regarding BOD i think he would be perfect when players tire in the final 20 mins when the hard work is done....
  • 13:07
    And now, a word from the Irish captain....
  • 13:09
  • 13:27
    RTE is reporting that the Heads of the Protection of Maternal Life Bill 2013 being discussed at Cabinet propose three procedures:

    'One doctor will be required to certify a termination of pregnancy in a medical emergency.

    Two doctors will be required in the case of a non-emergency.

    In the case of suicidal ideation, three doctors will be required to certify that a woman is entitled to a termination of pregnancy.

    The heads of the bill also provide for an appeals process.'

  • 13:56

    Thespian alert! The Tony Awards are the most prestigious theatre awards in the English-speaking world, and this year's nominations were announced in the lst few minutes:
  • 14:01
    And here's the New York Times's round-up of the nominees, who include Tom Hanks, although a host of other Hollywood dtars including Al Pacino and Scarlett Johansson, were ignored.
  • 14:25
  • 14:30
  • 14:37
    Back to rugby. The BBC reports that Jonny Wilkinson did not make himself available for the Lions tour, according to Warren Gatland. But Gatland said Wilkinson might still come into the reckoning in the event of injuries. remember, there's only two outhalves on the plane, and no Hook/Madigan-type cover for multiple positions...
  • 15:16
    gerliz about right..sad for Zebo but his time will come
  • 15:41
  • 16:01
  • 16:03
    For all you insomniacs, dipsomaniacs and politics geeks, here's Derek Flynn's take on the phenomenon that is Tonight With Vincent Browne
  • 16:30
  • 16:51
  • 16:51
    That's it from me for today. The Irish Times News-Live-Blog-Wire-Thingummy will be back tomorrow with more of the same - only probably better because it won't be me doing it. Stay tuned for our Wednesday Special Mystery Guest Star... And to play you out, Muddy Waters died on this day 30 years ago, Here he is: