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Fri, 11 Sep 2020 13:04:35 +0100

What do Brexit, Trump, human evolution and the US all have in common? They will all be up for discussion this Saturday, September 12th,  at the Galway International Arts Festival's First Thought Talks series presented in association with NUI Galway as part of the festival’s Autumn Edition programme.  Always a hugely popular part of the Festival, the First Thought Talks series returned last weekend with engaging and enlightening talks from the likes of Professor Luke O’Neill, Fintan O’Toole, RTÉ’s Fergal Bowers and David McCullagh, Dr. Catherine Motherway, Prof Diarmaid Ferriter, Minister Eamon Ryan, Róisín Ingle and many more.  This weekend, you can catch Pulitzer Prize–winning author, Harvard professor and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power discussing the current state of the US; Glenn Paterson, novelist and author of Backstop Land and Claire Hanna, SDLP MP for Belfast South on Brexit and Northern Ireland; author Gaia Vince discusses the influence of culture on human evolution; journalist Marion McKeone of The Sunday Business Post in conversation with NUIG law lecturer Larry Donnelly on the fate of Trump in this year’s election. The Black Box theatre in Galway plays host to the talks this year with all social distancing guidelines adhered to for anyone who wants to watch in-person. All of the talks are also being live-streamed and available to watch later on the Galway International Arts Festival’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.  The Galway International Arts Festival’s Autumn Edition runs until September 26th in the city where visitors can also see Mirror Pavillion, the spectacular outdoor installation by John Gerrard on the Claddagh Quay. It will be moved to Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara in October and is also part of Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture programme.  For more information on Galway International Arts Festival’s Autumn Edition, visit: https://www.giaf.ie/


Mon, 13 May 2019 08:03:00 +0100

This week Susan talks to German researcher and writer Anja Shortland about her fascinating new book 'Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business' published by Oxford University Press.


Thu, 09 May 2019 16:57:12 +0100

This Saturday at 4:15am, thousands of people will gather together at 168 different venues around Ireland to take part in the annual Darkness Into Light walk. And they won’t be alone. Around the globe in 19 countries across 5 continents, more than 200,000 others will be walking with them. Darkness Into Light is organised by Pieta House and proudly supported by Electric Ireland since 2013. Electric Ireland’s support has seen the event grow from 20 venues in 2013 to almost 200 this year, making a huge difference to countless lives along the way. Marguerite Sayers, Executive Director, ESB, commented on the long term partnership between Electric Ireland and Pieta: “Electric Ireland has proudly supported the Darkness Into Light event for the past seven years and over that time we have worked with Pieta to grow Darkness into Light into the global event it is today. Our mission is to help create a brighter future for the customers and communities we serve. Darkness into Light reminds us all to believe in the power of hope. We are looking forward to walking with our colleagues, friends and customers on the 11th May and helping to make this year’s walk the most successful yet.” Through this year’s The Power of Hope campaign, Electric Ireland aim to drive registrations for Darkness into Light to support its partner Pieta House whilst also highlighting the importance of empowering hope in one another. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for the charity while also raising awareness around mental health, suicide and self-harm. The first Darkness Into Light walk took place in 2009 when 400 people gathered in the Phoenix Park with the aim of helping to remove the stigma often associated with suicide and self harm and to raise funds for the vital services provided by Pieta House. The organisation now has fifteen centres around Ireland providing support for people who are suicidal, self harming or those who have been bereaved through suicide. Without the funding from this flagship fundraiser, they simply wouldn’t be able to do the work that they do. Hope As well as helping to raise funds and end the stigma around suicide and self harm, the walk serves as a great symbol for the hope that can be offered to people who may find themselves in a dark place. Speaking to Ciara Kelly on Lunchtime Live, Josephine Kiernan, Bereavement Coordinator and Centre Manager at Pieta House explained: “The symbolism is around where people find themselves. The clients we meet on a daily basis speak to us about being in dark places and feeling alone in their journey… When we leave the venues on Saturday morning in Ireland and across the world, we are walking with those people from the darkness into the sunrise, into light. People are encouraged to share their own messages of hope using #DIL2019 and #ThePowerOfHope in the lead up to and at the walk this Saturday, May 11th. Get involved In 2017, one person a day died by suicide in Ireland and around the globe, 800,000 people die by suicide every year. That is one person every 40 seconds. Pieta House works to offer free support to people feeling suicidal, self harming and those who have been bereaved by suicide. The Darkness Into Light walk is the organisations flagship fundraiser, enabling it to offer its vital care for free. Last year, the participants raised a massive €6 million. So, if you would like to be a part of this global movement of hope and to end the stigma associated with suicide and self harm, you can still sign up to take part in your local Darkness Into Light walk this Saturday, May 11th. All you have to do is head over to www.darknessintolight.ie where you will find details about all of the walks taking place around Ireland and abroad. The new online registration system this year makes it even easier to sign up as well!  Electric Ireland are powering hope throughout the country, encouraging people to experience “The Power of Hope” at Darkness Into Light at 4.15am on Saturday, May 11. Register to walk across venues nationwide on the Darkness Into Light website. If you need help, Pieta are there. Call the 24/7 freephone helpline on 1800 247 247. Text the word ‘Help’ to 51444 (standard text rates apply).


Mon, 25 Mar 2019 08:03:00 +0000

This week Susan talks to British historian of emotions and writer Tiffany Watt Smith about her latest book 'Schadenfreude: The Joy of Another's Misfortune' published by The Wellcome Collection. 


Mon, 11 Mar 2019 08:03:00 +0000

This week Susan talks with British writer and biographer Adam Sisman on his new collection of letters 'More Dashing: Further Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor' published by Bloomsbury. 


Mon, 04 Mar 2019 08:04:00 +0000

This week Patrick looks at the best in Irish and International history publications for March 2019 including books on Michael Collins, Ancient Egypt and Ireland in 1963.


Mon, 04 Mar 2019 08:03:00 +0000

This week Susan talks to British historian, writer and teacher Helen Parr about her new book 'Our Boys: The Story of a Paratrooper' published by Allen Lane.


Mon, 25 Feb 2019 08:03:00 +0000

This week Susan talks to British writer, philosopher and teacher Julian Baggini about his latest book 'How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy' published by Granta Books. 


Mon, 18 Feb 2019 08:03:00 +0000

This week Susan talks to Irish novelist, screenwriter and teacher Eoin Mc Namee about his latest novel 'The Vogue' published by Faber and Faber.


Mon, 18 Feb 2019 08:03:00 +0000

This week Patrick covers the best of Irish and international history publications for February 2019 including books on Thomas Cromwell, Cathal Brugha and the Bible.


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 20:23:13 +0000

This week Patrick and a high profile panel of historians and biographers discuss the life and intellectual legacy of British philosopher and political writer John Stuart Mill.


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 16:32:26 +0000

A number of protesters gathered outside the home of Health Minister Simon Harris earlier today. The demonstration happened at the minister's home in Co Wicklow, where he lives with his wife and three-week-old daughter. Gardaí were called to the scene. In a statement, the force said demonstrators left the scene peacefully and enquiries will now be carried out. A spokesperson for Minister Harris said: "The incident has now concluded. "The Minister would like to thank An Garda Síochana for their assistance and in ensuring his wife and daughter's safety." Minister Harris' Fine Gael colleague Noel Rock criticised the demonstration, insisting everyone is entitled to a private life. Deputy Rock claimed: "This isn’t on and should be condemned by all who favour democracy." Sinn Féin's health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly, meanwhile, wrote on Twitter: "Targeting the minister's private family home is wrong... hope he & his family are safe". Overspend Recent weeks have seen the minister face increasing political pressure over both the ongoing nurses' disputes and the spiralling costs of the new National Children's Hospital. The Irish Times today reports that Minister Harris will apologise in the Dáil in the coming days for not providing additional information about the hospital budget when asked in September. Answering a parliamentary question, Minister Harris told Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen on September 18th that spending to that date was "in line with the expected expenditure profile" and the budget for the project remained just over €1 billion. Deputy Cowen had asked whether there had been an overspend on the project. On Thursday, newly-published memos revealed Minister Harris knew of a likely €191m overrun in August last year - as well as a possible additional €200 million claim from a construction company. Minister Harris ultimately informed the Government of a €450 million overspend in November. It's now believed the project will cost at least €1.7bn. The Taoiseach has insisted he still has 'absolute confidence' in the Health Minister, and defended the minister's approach of not alerting the Government until full details became clear. Leo Varadkar said on Friday: “If Simon Harris had told the Government earlier about the emerging overrun, I would have told him to do exactly what he did."


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 15:20:32 +0000

A British government minister has confirmed MPs in Westminster will have another opportunity to vote on Brexit proposals this month - even if Theresa May has not been able to secure a new deal with the EU. Last month, MPs voted down Mrs May's proposed withdrawal deal amid strong opposition to the 'backstop' guarantee to avoid a hard border in Ireland. The British Prime Minister returned to Brussels this week in a bid to reopen talks - but EU leaders have insisted the backstop is not open for renegotiation. With the planned Brexit date of March 29th only weeks away, the UK's Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay set for fresh talks with European officials this week. MPs in Westminster still need to back any deal with Brussels through a 'meaningful vote'. Labour is pushing for a motion that would force that vote before February 26th in order to avoid the risk of a no-deal Brexit. 'Further opportunity' Speaking on BBC's Andrew Marr Show today, Mrs May's housing secretary James Brokenshire said MPs will get a chance to vote on proposals again shortly even if there's no new deal. He said: "If the meaningful vote has not happened, so in other words things have not concluded, then parliament would have that further opportunity by no later than 27 February. "I think that gives that sense of timetable, clarity and purpose on what we are doing with the EU - taking that work forward and our determination to get a deal - but equally knowing that role that parliament very firmly has." Mr Brokenshire - a former Northern Ireland secretary - also ruled out the prospect of completely removing the backstop. He argued: "There needs to be a backstop arrangement in place... an insurance policy that's there." Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn this week wrote to Theresa May to lay out his party's Brexit plan - including a customs union with the EU. Amid major divisions within Mrs May's Conservative party, Mr Corbyn suggests his party's proposals for the future relationship between the EU and UK could secure a majority in parliament. The proposals have been welcomed by EU officials as a possible avenue for further talks - but there's no indication yet over whether Mrs May will pursue them as an option. Open discussion w/ @theresa_may. Backstop non negotiable. We'll never abandon Ireland. I welcome @jeremycorbyn letter making a cross-party approach for the first time possible. From the hell we're in today, there is at last hope of a heavenly solution even if it won't be Paradise pic.twitter.com/2yEzINJQdb — Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) February 7, 2019


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 14:19:56 +0000

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in New Zealand as a major wildfire continues to spread. The first started near the city of Nelson on the country's south island around a week ago. Authorities have in recent days evacuated more people from their homes in the town of Wakefield due to the 'ongoing risk' from the fire and wind conditions in the area. A state of emergency has been declared as more than 100 firefighters continue to tackle the blaze, with around two dozen helicopters and planes also involved in the operation. Officials said Sunday was a 'productive day with less wind than forecast', allowing them to conduct a controlled burn-off operation to protect some areas. However, local civil defence controller Roger Ball, quoted by the New Zealand Herald, warned that the risk still remains high - and that evacuated residents "should expect to be out of their homes for some days to come". In total, around 3,000 people are reported to have been evacuated from their homes. Farmers and contractors in parts of the region have been banned from using machinery that could generate to sparks or fire. The region's emergency management group also says the usual fees for GP visits and prescriptions are being waived for fire-related appointments. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited the area earlier in the week, saying it was "incredible to see first hand the work going on to protect people, animals, homes and livelihoods".


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 13:27:32 +0000

Irish Rail is introducing new staff who'll help tackle anti-social behaviour such as people playing music too loud on trains. The customer service officers on InterCity services will be backed up by security in a bid to create more "peace and comfort" for passengers. Irish Rail spokesperson Barry Kenny said the complaints they receive about people not using headphones are still only in the 'dozens' every year, but it's something they're starting to see more regularly. Speaking on Newstalk's On The Record, he explained: "I don't think it's a plague just yet... but I suppose the priority is to make sure it doesn't become one. "With trends and with how people are consuming media.... we are seeing more people playing clips out loud, or playing clips for children. That of course can irritate other customers." He said the goal will be to 'take conflict' out of situations on trains, by reminding people to turn down loud music that may be irritating for other passengers. However, he stressed that the new customer service officers will have a 'much broader' role than just tackling loud music. Mr Kenny observed: "We need to move the customer service focus from the few minutes selling a ticket to that service on board. "It's about helping people with seat reservations, helping people with luggage, helping mobility and sensory impaired in boarding and alighting as well. "If there are delays, [they'll make] sure that people who need to make connections [will have] those arrangements made for them before we reach the terminus station. It's a very wide-ranging role." He added that having more staff on board will act as a deterrent for anti-social behaviour, as well as an 'early warning system' for security or gardaí if any situation develops on board a service.


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 12:22:26 +0000

US Senator Elizabeth Warren has officially launched her 2020 presidential bid. The Massachusetts Democrat had previously announced an 'exploratory committee' - a key first step for many presidential candidates. However, with a year to go until the first primary votes, she's now formally announced her plans to run. She joins several of her Senate colleagues who've already announced their own presidential bids - including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand. Amy Klobuchar, another Democratic senator widely expected to join the race, has said she has a 'big announcement' to make later today. Senator Warren is one of the most high-profile members of the upper house in Congress, and a prominent progressive in the Democratic party. She has also been a frequent and outspoken critic of Donald Trump. However, launching her bid yesterday, she stressed that she's running on a much broader platform than simply opposing the current president. I believe in an America of opportunity. My daddy ended up as a janitor, but his little girl got the chance to be a public school teacher, a college professor, a United States Senator – and a candidate for President of the United States. #Warren2020 pic.twitter.com/F6CwKGhK9C — Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 9, 2019 She explained: "[Trump] is just the latest and most extreme symptom of what's gone wrong in America... a product of a rigged system that props up the rich and powerful, and kicks dirt on everyone else." Trump himself has frequently targeted Warren - in particular focusing on her controversial claims of Native American heritage. The US President took to Twitter to again mock the senator as she formally launched her presidential bid: Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2019 Many commentators took to social media to criticise President Trump for the tweet, drawing attention to the 'trail' punchline. They pointed to the Trail of Tears - a 'forced relocation' of Native Americans in the US during the 1800s that left thousands of indigenous people dead. I try to never dignify this man’s tweets, but there is little doubt here that he uses “TRAIL” to evoke the genocidal Trail of Tears, and does so to land a political jab. Warren has taken justifiable heat on this issue—but he used the murders of Indigenous people as a punchline. https://t.co/LiyK2iruDF — Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) February 9, 2019


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 11:38:41 +0000

Chimpanzees at Belfast Zoo have been filmed making an improvised ladder from a fallen branch in order to escape their enclosure. Images shared on social media showed several animals on the wall of the enclosure yesterday afternoon. One of the animals went for a walk about the zoo before going back of its own accord. Families attending the zoo said they were shocked and scared to see the chimpanzee on a path outside its enclosures, but ultimately it wasn't aggressive. Incredible footage has emerged showing how the Chimpanzee’s escaped from Belfast Zoo today - using lose branches left by Storm Erik to get over their enclosure wall. 🐒🙊 pic.twitter.com/8sQf6YIJvo — Stuart Robinson (@stuartrobinson1) February 9, 2019 Belfast Zoo's Alan Cairns told BBC: "We think what has happened is that the trees in their enclosure have been weakened by the storms and so they've been able to break them and use them as a ladder to get out. "They're intelligent primates and know they're not supposed to be out of their enclosure, so got back in themselves." Mr Cairns added that the enclosure currently trees to make it feel more natural for the chimps. He said zoo officials will now 'review' the situation, but they don't want to remove the trees. The incident is the second 'escape attempt' at the zoo recently, after a red panda went missing last month. It was quickly found and returned to the zoo. Belfast Zoo closed for several days in recent weeks for essential maintenance, with the rare closure dates extended due to 'inclement weather'.


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 10:58:08 +0000

Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh is to seek a Fine Gael nomination to contest the upcoming European elections. The businesswoman will seek a nomination in the Midlands / North West constituency when the selection convention is held on February 22nd. In a statement, she said she wants to become an MEP and represent "the interests of a wide constituency that is going through many changes". She explained: “I believe, if elected which I am determined to do, I can make a valuable contribution in that ongoing debate and represent our local and rural concerns at an international level. "I am always first and foremost a proud west of Ireland woman with an unyielding commitment to achieving good progress on behalf of our communities." She added: “I appreciate entering politics and trying to get a seat at the European Parliament is a daunting task but throughout my life, I have constantly faced obstacles and challenges head on and overcome them." Maria was born in Boston, and grew up in Shrule along the Mayo-Galway border. She won the Rose of Tralee in August 2014 as the Rose from Philadelphia, where she'd been living since 2011. In recent years, she has spent time in the Reserve Defence Force - passing out as a two star trooper in 2018.


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 10:06:55 +0000

Talks will get back underway at the Labour Court this afternoon to try and find a breakthrough in the nurses' dispute. The HSE, Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and Government officials held around 10 hours of discussions on pay and working conditions yesterday. Discussions adjourned at around 2am this morning, and are due to resume this lunchtime. Ahead of the talks, Phil Ni Sheaghdha of the INMO said her union was hoping for 'meaningful engagement'. Phil Ni Sheaghdha of @INMO_IRL speaks as she arrives at the Labour Court for the latest talks on the ongoing nurses' dispute: https://t.co/tOI4IvXUwC #nursesstrike pic.twitter.com/ncDFMSkFH7 — Newstalk (@NewstalkFM) February 9, 2019 The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) was also involved in the discussions yesterday, and finished up their talks with officials earlier in the night. Speaking last night, PNA General Secretary Peter Hughes said they made the Labour Court aware of the issues and are now "awaiting developments". Both the INMO and PNA are continuing to plan for three consecutive days of strikes next week. The industrial action by 43,000 nurses and midwives looks set to go ahead on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Up to 80,000 medical appointments could be cancelled as a result of the planned strike. The dispute revolves around what nurses have said is a recruitment and retention crisis in the health sector. They've said that the situation is "compromising safe patient care", and are calling for pay increases to address the staffing issues. The Government, meanwhile, has argued it can't afford to give nurses the pay rise they're demanding as it would lead to further pay claims from elsewhere in the public sector. Thousands of people gathered in Dublin yesterday for a national rally in support of the striking nurses and midwives. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 09:25:40 +0000

Rents have risen by 9.8% across the country, according to a new Daft.ie report. It shows the average monthly rent nationwide during the last three months of 2018 was €1,347. That compares to €1,982 in Dublin - a rise of 8.8% in the year to December. In Limerick and Waterford cities, however, rents were 16% and 16.7% higher than a year previously. Galway rents rose by 13.1%, while in Cork rent prices were up 11.4%. According to the report, there was a 'rare improvement' in availability of rental accommodation at the end of 2018, meaning a slight easing in rental inflation. On January 1st, for example, there were 3,641 properties available to rent nationwide - up 11% on the same date in 2018. Ronan Lyons, author of the report and economist at Trinity College, explained that the rate of rent increases is slowing in places. He observed: "If you look for example in the Dublin rental market, the rate of inflation has fallen from 11% in 2017 to below 9% in 2018. "Across the country there are other examples of the same kind of thing - so, for example, in Donegal the rate of inflation has fallen from above 6% to close to 5.5%. Mr Lyons stressed that there's a continued need for more homes. He noted that current efforts are focused on 'one-offs and estate housing', whereas the overwhelming need is for apartments. He added: "It remains to be seen, therefore, whether the modest improvement in conditions over recent months continues.” Responding to the latest figures, the Simon Communities said stronger tenant protections are needed as many people are continuing to be priced out of the rental market. Spokesperson Paul Sheehan argued: "Enhancing security of tenure has to be an urgent priority so that people already housed can keep a roof over their heads and have greater certainty in their daily lives. "People trapped in emergency accommodation need secure and affordable homes, with support where needed." 


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 08:40:47 +0000

Talks at the Labour Court aimed at averting three days of strikes by nurses next week adjourned overnight. Representatives from the HSE, the INMO and the government held more than 10 hours of discussions, only finishing up in the early hours of the morning. More talks will get underway this afternoon. *** Rents have risen by 9.8% across the country. A new Daft.ie report released today shows the average monthly rent nationwide during the last three months of 2018 was €1,347. That compares to just under €2,000 in Dublin - a rise of 8.8% in the year to December. *** US Senator Elizabeth Warren - one of the fiercest critics of Donald Trump - has officially announced she's running for US President. She's among a number of Democrats in the Senate who've now formally entered the race, ahead of the election in November 2020. Speaking at her campaign launch in Massachusetts, she said she's fighting more than just President Trump - suggesting he's "just the latest and most extreme symptom of what's gone wrong in America". *** The former British prime minister Tony Blair has claimed a no-deal Brexit would lead to "potentially devastating" consequences for the peace process in Northern Ireland. Speaking to Sky News, he also dismissed claims by pro-Brexit politicians that the UK leaving the EU with no deal would not be detrimental to Britain's economy. *** Buckingham Palace has revealed Prince Philip has voluntarily surrendered his driving licence. It comes after the 97-year-old was involved in a car crash while driving near the Queen's Sandringham estate last month. Two women were injured, and a nine-month old baby was also caught up in the collision.


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 08:18:28 +0000

Today Today will start mainly dry and bright with just scattered showers and only light winds. However, during the afternoon and evening heavy showers will spread from Ulster southeastwards across the country, possibly with hail and thunder. It will become windy as well this afternoon in strong and gusty westerly winds with gales on west coasts. Highest temperatures of 5 to 8 degrees. Tonight It will become dry tonight with clear spells and winds will gradually ease. Lowest temperatures of -1 to +4 degrees, coldest over Ulster and Leinster with a widespread frost. Status yellow - Wind warning for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo and Clare Westerly winds reaching mean speeds of 55 to 65 km/h with gusts of up to 90 to 110km/h. Valid: Sunday 10 February 2019 10:00 to Sunday 10 February 2019 19:00.


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 13:41:03 +0000

This week Susan talks to British writer, human rights activist and playwright Justin Butcher about his new book 'Walking to Jerusalem: Blisters, hope and other factors on the ground' published by Hodder.


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 10:42:05 +0000

The SDLP has voted in favour of a partnership with Fianna Fáil. At a conference in Newry, County Down this afternoon, roughly 70 percent of members backed the move (121 votes), with 30 percent in favour of a wider partnership with other parties (53 votes). Speaking after the announcement, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said it's a momentous day: "We had a very good, robust discussion, and we decided with a huge majority to support the leadership proposal to go into policy partnership with Fianna Fáil." He added: "What we have to do now is unite behind this result and deliver for the people that we need to deliver for." When asked what the partnership meant for the SDLP brand, Colum Eastwood said the parties identity would remain the same. "Our identity and legacy remains, but what this is about is building a new legacy for a new generation." The Labour Party has voiced their disappointment at the move. In a statement, they said it "represents a precursor to a full merger." Party spokesperson Ged Nash said it also "narrows the political options and alternatives available to those in the north more concerned about jobs, the economy and social progress rather than narrow nationalism and unionism."


Sat, 09 Feb 2019 15:38:42 +0000

Police in the North have launched a murder investigation after a man's body was discovered in Co Tyrone. The body was found in an alleyway in McCrea Park in Clogher at around 8:15am this morning. PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna said: "A post-mortem examination has yet to take place but I am treating his death as murder." Two people - a 33-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man - have been arrested on suspicion of murder. They remain in custody this afternoon. Detectives are appealing for anyone with information - including those who were in the McCrea Park area last night, or who witnessed any unusual activity - to contact them.  


Sat, 09 Feb 2019 15:13:10 +0000

The Sinn Féin leader in calling on Micheál Martin to state if he has confidence in the Minister for Health. Mary Lou McDonald has claimed the Fianna Fáil leader "is keeping Simon Harris in his job". Her comments come as the controversy around the cost overruns at the National Children's Hospital continues. Reports today suggest a memo is due to be brought before cabinet next week outlining some of the projects that may be postponed as a consequence of the overspend. On Thursday, newly-published memos revealed Minister Harris knew of a likely €191m overrun in August last year - as well as a possible additional €200 million claim from a construction company. He didn't inform the Government of the spiralling costs until November. Minister Harris has defended his approach, saying he wanted a final figure before alerting other ministers. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has stated he still has 'absolute confidence' in the Health Minister. Leo Varadkar said that even if Minister Harris had told him about the overruns earlier, he would have instructed him to do exactly what he did. However, the controversy has led to claims from Sinn Féin that the minister's position is no longer tenable. 'Questions to answer' Deputy McDonald insists the Fianna Fáil leader now needs to clarify whether he has confidence in Minister Harris. Fianna Fáil remains in a confidence and supply arrangement with the Government, and the party hasn't called for the minister's resignation. Speaking today, the Sinn Féin leader argued: "Given the public outcry, given the scandal around the children's hospital... it's only appropriate that Micheál Martin answers that question. "Does he have confidence in Simon Harris - yes or no? Will he place a confidence motion himself in the Minister - yes or no? Will he support any motion that we might bring forward - yes or no?" She said her party has already made clear that they have no confidence in the Health Minister. Deputy McDonald added: "I have no difficulty moving a confidence motion, but we want to know it will succeed. "It's Fianna Fáil not Sinn Féin that's keeping Simon Harris in office".


Sun, 10 Feb 2019 08:41:15 +0000

Updated 15:50 Thousands of striking nurses and their supporters have gathered in Dublin for a national rally today. It comes as the various parties in the dispute are meeting for further talks. Talks between the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association (INMO) and Government officials ended at the Labour Court last night after nine hours of discussions. The dispute centres around issues of pay, recruitment and retention. The Labour Court discussions have resumed this afternoon. Ahead of those talks, a national rally took place in Dublin city centre in support of the striking nurses. #standwithnurses #StandWithNursesAndMidwives Huge numbers out for amazing nurses and midwives!!!! pic.twitter.com/p7cKcQBd39 — Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) February 9, 2019 The demonstration was jointly organised by the INMO and Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA). Supporters gathered at the Garden of Remembrance, before beginning their march through the city centre towards Merrion Square and the Dáil. Thousands of nurses have turned out for a national rally at Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance today to ask for better pay & conditions #NursesStrike #StandWithNursesAndMidwives @NewstalkFM pic.twitter.com/j9OCQsSirF — Derek Ryan (@derekryan) February 9, 2019 Organisers called on "anyone whose lives have been touched by nurses and midwives to stand with us". One nurse, who'd travelled up from Waterford, said: "Today is really important - today we need the public to come out with us, and show the Government that we're serious and we're prepared to do with it takes to get this dispute resolved." Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie Labour Court Phil Ni Sheaghdha of @INMO_IRL speaks as she arrives at the Labour Court for the latest talks on the ongoing nurses' dispute: https://t.co/tOI4IvXUwC #nursesstrike pic.twitter.com/ncDFMSkFH7 — Newstalk (@NewstalkFM) February 9, 2019 Speaking on her way into the Labour Court today, INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said she believes today's demonstration shows "the general public believes the nursing and midwifery issues are just, and they have to be dealt with". She added: "We're very thankful to all who came out and supported us today - I think it bolsters our members." She explained that they've seen nothing so far to avert the upcoming strikes, but they are there to engage. However, she stressed: "Yesterday was exploratory... I'm presuming there's going to be some more of that. "We should have a fair idea at the end of today." Today's demonstration at Merrion Square. Image: Derek Ryan Nurses are due to hold three consecutive strike days next week - on 12th, 13th and 14th February. 43,000 nurses from the INMO and PNA unions will stage the action as part of their continued row with the Government over pay and working conditions. Psychiatric nurses yesterday announced plans for three further days of strikes on February 19th, 20th and 21st.


Sat, 09 Feb 2019 14:24:27 +0000

€30,000 worth of heroin and €9,000 in cash has been seized in Dublin. Gardaí made the discovery in Ballymun. It came as part of an operation targeting the sale and supply of controlled drugs in Ballymun. A man in his 20s was arrested and charged in connection with the seizure, and was due to appear before the courts earlier today.


Sat, 09 Feb 2019 13:00:19 +0000

The former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham has suffered vocal cord damage during heart surgery. The 69-year-old's wife Kristen made the announcement on social media, noting that the musician and his heart are "doing well". She said it's unclear whether the vocal cord damage is permanent but "we are hopeful it is not". Writing on Facebook, Kristen explained: "I am sad to say that late last week Lindsey underwent emergency open heart surgery. "He is now recuperating at home and each day he is stronger than the last." Lindsey Buckingham was a long-time member of Fleetwood Mac, initially joining the band in 1974. While his time in the band was often turbulent - including departing the band in 1987 before a later reunion - he wrote hits such as Go Your Own Way and Tusk. He was dropped from the band last year after an apparent dispute over an upcoming tour. In the Facebook post, Kristen Buckingham adds: "This past year has been a very stressful and difficult year for our family to say the least. "But despite all this, our gratitude for life trumps all obstacles we have faced at this moment. We feel so fortunate he’s alive. As does he. He looks forward to recovery and putting this behind him." She added that "needless to say" all planned shows have been "put on pause" while Lindsey recovers.


Sat, 09 Feb 2019 12:24:21 +0000

Intel has applied for planning permission to expand their site in Co Kildare. The microchip giant has submitted plans proposing to extend its facility in Leixlip. It would see "reconfigured and extended support buildings, water tanks and yards to provide for additional support buildings". According to The Irish Times, the extension could see 3,000 construction jobs and 800 full-time positions created. It's in addition to permission granted in 2017 for a major $4bn expansion at the facility. Local Independent Councillor, Bernard Caldwell, said it would be a huge boost for the area if it goes ahead He explained: "Ever since Intel came to Ireland over 20 years ago, it's been a huge benefit to Kildare... this would only help it more. "We have a lot of highly-educated people in the area. This would all benefit them - it would save a lot of young people having to move out of the country." Intel already employs more than 4,000 workers in Leixlip.

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