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Former Anglo Irish Bank bosses claim media lynch mob ahead of trial


Lawyers for disgraced Anglo Irish Bank chief Sean Fitzpatrick fear a media witch hunt when he finally goes to trial next year.

They have also claimed the Irish media are fuelling a ‘lynch mob’ mentality against Fitzpatrick and other Anglo bosses.

The comments were made as Fitzpatrick’s lawyers sought the early appointment of a trial judge to deal with disclosure.

They claim the appointment is necessary to prevent ‘a media frenzy whipping up a lynch mob mentality’ in relation to the upcoming trial of former Anglo Irish Bank executives according to the Irish Times.

The report says the trial of the bank’s former chairman Seán Fitzpatrick and two former directors was before Judge Martin Nolan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in order to check on the progress of the case.

Fitzpatrick, William McAteer and Pat Whelan have been charged with 16 counts of allegedly providing unlawful financial assistance to individuals to buy shares in the bank.

Judge Nolan said the case would be dealt with in the usual manner.

The Irish Times says that lawyers for the men and for the State all stressed that that they felt it was necessary for the smooth running of the case to appoint a judge now to deal with the large volume of material and issues which may arise leading up to the trial on January 14th next.

Whelan’s lawyer Brendan Grehan said “I don’t think this case can be progressed to trial without a judge taking charge of it now.”

“Applications are going to arise, apart from issues of relevance and privilege in relation to disclosure in the case.

“It would also be appropriate to appoint someone to take charge of the trial now who can give directions not just to the parties but also to the media.

“In the six months leading up to the trial it is vital that an air of calm be restored to the public from which a jury will be drawn.

“We simply cannot have a fair trial take place where a media frenzy is whipping up a lynch mob mentality.”

State lawyer Uná Ní Raifeartaigh admitted: “The issue of publicity is of concern to the DPP. It is important that in the last six months the media would be mindful in matters that may ultimately lead to the postponement of the trial.”

via Former Anglo Irish Bank bosses claim media lynch mob ahead of trial | Irish News | IrishCentral.

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Irish Government to pursue religious orders for €250 million in unpaid compensation to abuse victims


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The Cabinet of the Irish Government agreed this week to pursue religious orders for payment of the remaining €250 million needed to make up their half of the cost of €1.46 billion compensation promised to victims of horrific ill-treatment in orphanages, schools, borstals and other institutions run by Catholic monks and nuns. The amount was revised upwards from €1.36 billion after more victims came forward.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has been given the task of extracting the money from the orders.

The congregations of priests and nuns initially offered just €128 million in cash, property and counselling services as part of a controversial indemnity deal dating back to 2002. Only €106 million of this was ever realised.

Four of the eighteen orders named in the Ryan Commission that investigated the decades of abuse that was perpetrated have said they are willing to consider transferring more school buildings and other educational infrastructure on top of what has been offered.

Mr Quinn said: “The Government is obviously disappointed that the congregations have not agreed to a 50:50 share of the very considerable cost for redress. This decision represents the most pragmatic way to maximise the level of contributions to be made by the congregations and the management bodies so that the taxpayer does not bear an unreasonable burden of the costs.”

via National Secular Society – Irish Government to pursue religious orders for €250 million in unpaid compensation to abuse victims.

Women from Ireland face ‘enormous additional burdens’ in going to UK for abortions


“This is not a good situation to force women into when what they need is care. It is deeply wrong,” says Ann Furedi, of PBAS, the British Pregnancy Advice Service

Women from Ireland having abortions in Britain face “enormous additional burdens” compared to British women, the chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advice Service, said yesterday.

The service is a registered charity and the largest abortion services provider in Britain.

Ann Furedi said she could not comment on the specifics of the case reported in yesterday’s Irish Times.

“The Irish women we see are absolutely the same as the British women we see, apart from the fact the Irish women have these enormous additional burdens,” she said.

“They have travel, transport, accommodation costs and the additional stress of having to travel to a different legal jurisdiction to get the care that they need at a time when they are feeling, frankly, pretty awful. I think people forget that.

Lowest emotional ebb

“To be imposing on women, at a time when they must be feeling at their lowest physical and emotional ebb, the need to organise travel, bundling themselves on to Ryanair flights, shleping about Britain, taking time off work, having to leave their families.

“This is not a good situation to force women into when what they need is care. It is deeply wrong,” she said.

More than 95 per cent of the service’s work is funded by the National Health Service in the UK. Women from outside Britain must pay to avail of its services privately. An abortion costs between £400 (€465) and £1,500 (€1,750) depending on how far the pregnancy has progressed.

She said that in the vast majority of cases her organisation’s abortion services are free to women resident in Britain.

Mara Clarke, the founder of the Abortion Support Network in London which provides support to women from Ireland seeking to access abortion, said the women the organisation helped were in “dire financial straits, making huge sacrifices to get the services they need”.

“Recently we helped a mother who fed her three children toast and sandwiches for a month to save the money to pay for an abortion for her raped 17-year-old daughter.

“We helped a woman who needed her car but sold it and cut off her landline to raise the money.

“These are not women with credit cards or overdrafts. These are women who already have nothing, who are going to loan sharks, who are not eating trying to get the money together.”

‘Well over 400’

Since the network was founded in 2008, she said the number of women seeking its help had grown constantly, from 66 the first year to about 200 the second, and she expected the number this year to be “well over 400”.

While nationally in Britain about 2 per cent of abortions were carried out later than 20 weeks’ gestation, about 8 per cent of the women supported by the network had late-term abortions.

“This is because they are raising the money and, of course, the later they have it the more expensive it is and more traumatic.”

labortionsupport.org.uk

via Women from Ireland face ‘enormous additional burdens’ in going to UK for abortions – Social Affairs & News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times – Tue, Jul 23, 2013.

Outrage as Magdalene Laundry nuns refuse to pay victims compensation


Girls in the grounds of a Magdalene Laundry. The Irish government is set to pay $45 million to the victims of these Catholic institutions.


The four religious congregations that ran the Magdalene Laundries have announced they will not contribute to the compensation fund for victims.

The Mercy Sisters, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters have informed Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in recent days that they will not pay into the fund, the Irish Times reports.

However the religious orders said they were willing to cooperate fully with other recommendations made by Mr Justice John Quirke.

In his recent report Quirke recommended that the Irish government pay at least €34.5 million ($45 million) in restitution to laundry survivors.

A spokesperson for Shatter said he was ‘disappointed’ with the decision of the religious orders.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has called on the four religious orders to “reflect” on their refusal to pay into the. redress scheme.

“I cannot force them to, because the scheme was not designed on that basis,” he said.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said it was “absolutely unacceptable.”

“The bottom line is these four religious orders, and the State, were responsible for the effective wrongful incarceration of girls and women who were forced to work for no pay within a brutal regime.

“Agreeing to merely hand over records and look after elderly residents who gave their lives to the laundries falls far short of what is expected by way of a contribution from the religious orders,” the Sinn Fein Deputy added.

Meanwhile controversial Catholic League president Bill Donohue has argued that the laundries were a myth.

“[T]here was no holocaust, and there was no gulag,” he writes in a special report titled “Myths of the Magdalene Laundries.”

“No one was murdered. No one was imprisoned, nor forced against her will to stay. There was no slave labor. Not a single woman was sexually abused by a nun. Not one. It’s all a lie.”

Donohue agreed that the working conditions in the laundries were “harsh,” and that they included “standing for long hours, constantly washing laundry in cold water, and using heavy irons for many hours.”

However he doesn’t believe that qualifies as slave labor.

“Drudgery? Yes,” he writes. “But if this is ‘torture,’ then it is safe to say that millions have suffered this fate without ever knowing they did.”

via Outrage as Magdalene Laundry nuns refuse to pay victims compensation | Irish News | IrishCentral.

Irish solidarity despite economic conditions that drive societies apart


In the survey, the Irish showed top ratings in the sub-categories of helpfulness and strength of social networks. Photograph: PA

Despite ongoing economic hardship, a new study indicates that social cohesion in Ireland remains stronger than in Britain, Germany or France.

The survey by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation ranked Ireland 11th on a list of 35 countries that was topped by Nordic countries, Australia and New Zealand.

While economic hardship can drive a society apart, the study noted smaller states such as Ireland, Switzerland and Austria demonstrate a more resilient sense of cohesion than larger neighbours. Using data collated over 25 years, the study attempts to quantify the levels of social cohesion, defined as the level of solidarity exhibited by people living and working in a geographical community.

The researchers studied data from 34 countries including 27 members of the EU – before Croatia’s accession – and seven other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. They found the strongest social cohesion in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. After Australia and New Zealand, Ireland belonged to the next-best group.

The Irish showed top ratings in the sub-categories of solidarity, helpfulness and strength of social networks but only average ratings regarding overall fairness and civic participation.

Researchers noted one negative trend: declining trust in Irish institutions. Looking at the data going back 25 years, researchers suggest the idea of solidarity remains strong in Ireland while respect for social rules, having dipped in about 2008, is again on the rise.

Irish solidarity despite economic conditions that drive societies apart – European News | Latest News from Across Europe | The Irish Times – Wed, Jul 17, 2013.

The politics of abortion


The tactical astuteness of Fine Gael TDs opposed to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill is impressive. Rather than confront Taoiseach Enda Kenny in a single, explosive challenge to his leadership, they have eked out their resistance in the hope of securing legislative amendments or, at least, the prospect of early party forgiveness. By staggering their challenge, they have sought to minimise the offence created. Any doubt has been removed by already expelled individuals who insist they are not members of a cabal and who aspire to represent Fine Gael in the future. While the Bill is being debated, the scale of eventual opposition remains uncertain. On the basis of a recent Irish Times opinion poll, which showed general Fine Gael support for legislation at 79 per cent and opposition at 16 per cent, the defecting deputies could number between six and nine. Public opinion, however, is not always reflected in the pattern of Dáil voting. The tyranny of the party whip and the prospect of expulsion and career damage are powerful conditioning factors while, on the other hand, a free vote encourages outside interests to apply pressure and for TDs to engage in vote-poaching at constituency level. How else to explain the Fianna Fáil vote? Party leader Micheál Martin showed a deal of courage when he spoke in favour of the Government Bill and said it would provide necessary protection for the lives of women and fulfil Constitutional and international requirements. Having secured a free vote, however, his colleagues opted for traditional opposition tactics and 13 out of 19 voted against the measure. If opinion within Fianna Fáil is taken as a template, no more than four TDs should have rejected the Bill on the grounds of conscience. Their actions appear to have been an attempt to target unhappy Fine Gael, Labour Party and Sinn Féin voters while, at the same time, signalling concern with Mr Martin’s style of leadership. Willie O’Dea was quick to declare his support for Mr Martin, even as he struggled to explain his position on the legislation. A Second Stage vote is normally regarded as being on the principles of a Bill. Mr O’Dea supported the principles of the Bill but voted against it, explaining that if a review clause was introduced at a later stage he might change his mind. An equally unconvincing approach was adopted by European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton and by a number of her Fine Gael colleagues. They rejected the principles underlying the Bill but voted for it on the grounds that it might be amended. Support for this legislation is remarkably uniform across all political parties. When Catholic Church pressure failed to ramp up Fine Gael defections, a majority of Fianna Fáil TDs went in search of disaffected voters. It’s what drives politics.

Via

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/the-politics-of-abortion-1.1451645

Irish Monsanto company pays no tax


Monsanto Finance Holdings Ltd, an Irish-incorporated company with an address on Lower Hatch Street, Dublin, made a profit of €2.5 million in 2012 but paid no tax, according to accounts just filed.

The firm made a profit of €3.69 million in 2011, when it again paid no tax.

Monsanto Finance Holdings is “exempt from all forms of taxation including income, capital gains and withholding taxes as it is tax resident in Bermuda”, the accounts state.

The firm has no employees and its three directors have addresses in Bermuda.

The firm’s balance sheet shows that at the end of August 2012 it had financial assets of €50.8 million. Accumulated profits at that stage were €53.3 million and shareholders’ funds were €103 million. The firm is owned by a Monsanto company based in Switzerland, and is ultimately owed by Monsanto of St Louis, Missouri, US.

via Irish Monsanto company pays no tax – The Irish Times – Fri, Jul 05, 2013.

Reports of sinkholes on strand above Corrib gas pipe tunnel investigated


The Department of Energy has confirmed that it has been investigating reports of “sinkholes” or “depressions” on a north Mayo tidal estuary where the final section of the Corrib gas pipeline is being laid.

Shell E&P Ireland says it has informed “relevant authorities” of the occurrences during tunnel boring machine maintenance, which it says pose “no risk to public safety”.

The company says they are “not sinkholes” but are “shallow temporary depressions of approximately one to two feet in depth”.

However, residents living along the pipeline tunnel route through Sruwaddacon estuary – a special area of conservation (SAC) – say that some of the holes are up to three metres deep and three metres wide.

Unstable sand

Terence Conway of Inver and Shell to Sea said that when the hole occurs, the surrounding sand bears a “blue tinge” and is unstable.

Mr Conway noticed the first in a series of holes on May 20th, again on June 14th, and each day during this first week of July, at Aughoose.

The areas lies above where the 500 tonne boring machine – named Fionnuala by Shell after one of the Children of Lir – has been deployed to dig a 4.9km sub-sea tunnel.

“The contractors for Shell have staff out at 5am on the strand, raking over these holes, but no caution signs have been erected in spite of our requests,” he said.

Warn people

“This is a public strand, and so at one point we put up our own fence to warn people, but it was taken down,” Mr Conway said.

“Adults might be ok, but these are a risk to children. We were told we wouldn’t feel or see this work on the surface at the Bord Pleanála oral hearing nearly three years ago.

“We argued at the hearing that it was not suitable to try to dig a tunnel through an SAC, and one with the particular fluid subsoil here known as dóib.”

The Department of Energy said that the developer had notified it about “depressions in Sruwaddacon.

The department’s consultant tunnelling expert undertook a site review earlier this week, and the “depressions” were being “considered” in this context, it said.

Shell E&P Ireland said that regular “interventions” for maintenance and inspection of the tunnel-boring machine included changing cutter heads.

“This involves the use of compressed air at the front of the machine to protect the workers and to maintain stability at the tunnel face,” it said in a statement to The Irish Times.

via Reports of sinkholes on strand above Corrib gas pipe tunnel investigated – Irish News, World News & More | The Irish Times – Sat, Jul 06, 2013.

Irish News


Support for new party is growing, claims Ganley

A new political party which will contest local and European elections next year is now a real prospect.read full article

independent.ie

Taxpayers lose millions in Enterprise Ireland failures

A state-of-the-art hub of innovation to hothouse start-ups and create tech clusters was the intention: a big white elephant was the reality. read full article

independent.ie

Guerrilla warfare between consumers and retailers triggers feel-bad factor

MAKING ends meet remains the key task facing many Irish households but it seems like a very long time since the main threat to their spending power was coming from spiralling prices. read full article

independent.ie

CIE, Ibec and the wall of silence

LAST week, I rang CIE in search of its chairman, Vivienne Jupp. I was told that the troubled transport company’s chief was not “due until next week”. read full article

independent.ie

TDs plot to force abortion poll vote

In a dramatic twist in the abortion debate, Fine Gael, Labour and independent TDs and senators are proposing to invoke a little-known constitutional provision to force a referendum on t read full article

independent.ie

Quinn Insurance sets €6.5m aside for litigation costs Irish Times The disastrous business, formerly owned by the now-bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn, has already received more than € 1 billion from the Insurance Compensation Fund to help it meet its losses, and expects to have to receive up to € 600 million more to 

Permanent revolution by facebook is replacing ideology

Why are demos and riots breaking out all over? It’s the economy stupid. But Newsnight’s Paul Mason has a contemporary twist, writing in the Independent to give a taster for his book Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions’ Velocity of information matters as much as action itself. It is striking how badly…

read full article

sluggerotoole.com

 

Irish News


IMF: Over 25pc of Irish bank loans bad, modest economic growth
Irish Independent
JUST over a quarter of loans in Irish banks have gone bad with losses persisting, the International Monetary Fund has said. Related Articles. Hopes fade over eurozone deal on €28bn bailout costs. Also in this section. NTMA to raise €500m this week 

Call for compensation for Magdalene survivors
Irish Times
The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said Martin McAleese‘s investigation into the institutions fell short as he did not draw any conclusions on the human rights obligations of the State. The commission called on the Government to stop caring for 

Bad loans at Irish banks hindering new lending – IMF
RTE.ie
Ireland must deal with the large number bad loans which are hindering new lending as it aims for economic and employment growth, according to the International Monetary Fund. Completing its tenth review of Ireland’s bailout programme, which also saw it 

Irish women entitled to celebrate after a 40-year struggle for gender equality

EqPoster Equal statement

Irish Independent These days, girls outperform boys in state and university exams and professional entry competitions. Women compete energetically with men in the modern Irish workforce. Equality legislation helps protect women from gender discrimination. In theory  See all stories on this topic »

Two US presidents on Irish soil at the same time

Irish Independent Search Go. Independent.ie› Irish News›. Two US presidents on Irish soil at the same time. Comments. Email; Print; Font Size. 18 June 2013. For probably the first time in history, there were two US presidents on Irish soil at the same time on the same day. See all stories on this topic »

images (5)

Wind farm proposed for Irish Sea will be visible from Rush to Wicklow Town
Irish Times
Wind farm proposed for Irish Sea will be visible from Rush to Wicklow Town. 145 wind turbines are included in the plan. A wind farm on the Arklow Bank in the Irish Sea. The latest €2 billion wind farm project would create 600 jobs at construction phase 
See all stories on this topic »

 

Rare vinyl recording of James Joyce reading “Ulysses” goes up for auction in New York


The only known audio recording of James Joyce reading from Ulysses is to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York in June.

Recorded in 1924 and produced as a private venture by Sylvia Beach, who published the book two years earlier, the copies did not go on sale but were given to Joyce for distribution among family and friends. Two copies were also kept by Beach at her Shakespeare & Company bookshop in Paris.

The first mention of the recording seems to be in a 1935 Beach catalogue of Joyce material, where it was recorded with the following note: “Phonograph record of a reading by James Joyce from Ulysses pages 136-137, recorded by His Master’s Voice on one side only….Signed James Joyce, Paris, 17 November 1926 (date of recording). Only remaining copy of the 30 that were made.”

However, it is unknown if there were 30 or 20 copies made as Beach later wrote on the label of another example: “Only 20 copies were made of this record S.B,” writes the Irish Times.

In the recording, Joyce reads from a section of the Aeolus episode which takes place in the offices of the Freeman’s Journal – one of the main nationalist newspapers of the day. Joyce was forced to recite the whole section from memory due to his failing eyesight which led to a number of failed takes before a satisfactory recording was cut.

The 12-inch acoustic recording, signed and dated by Joyce, is being sold as part of an auction of rare books and literary memorabilia on 11 June, with a guide price of $15,000-$20,000. The recording was the first of 20/30 pressings, of which only two others are said to remain, and has apparently never been removed from its sleeve let alone played. It was described by Sotheby’s as a “true Joyce rarity.”

“This copy and the one offered in the Horowitz catalogue are the only examples we have been able to trace being offered in the last 30 years,” the auction house said.

“Our research indicates there are perhaps no more than two or three unbroken copies of this record extant and even shattered examples are almost unheard of in commerce,” reports the Irish Times.

Another Irish literary great represented in this year’s auction is Samuel Beckett, who was greatly influenced by Joyce and became friends with him in Paris in the late 1920s.

According to Reuters, the top estimate for Beckett’s “Murphy” manuscript currently lies at $2.13 million eclipsing even the $1.4 million which was paid for a partial draft of Joyce’s “Ulysses” sold at the start of the 21st century.

via Rare vinyl recording of James Joyce reading “Ulysses” goes up for auction in New York – VIDEO | Irish News | IrishCentral.

Ancient Celtic Knots inspire scientific breakthrough – Science News


Minute knots and chains have industrial and medical uses

Scientists have devised a new molecular technique, inspired by Celtic Knots and trees, which could be used in the treatment of multiple diseases.

Researchers at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) in NUI Galway have discovered a new process that could be used in the industrial and medical fields.

Polymerisation is the adding together of many smaller units,” says research assistant to the project’s leader Doctor Wenxin Wang, Ben Newland. “It is one of the most important processes in industrial manufacturing.”

The new process gives scientists a “simple method to produce large quantities of well-defined material”, which could be used in diagnostic, therapeutic and imaging processes in the body Newland says.

The Celtic Knots are an example of the new technique. A single chain is linked repeatedly, wrapping around itself, creating a very dense structure. These structures are needed to carry DNA, and can be used in gene therapies or new forms of drug treatment.

The tree-inspired hyper-branching, could also be used to produce hydrogels. These hydrogels are composed of a soft jelly, in which cells can be suspended. This could be used to deliver cells to damaged areas of the body, Newland said. In conditions like Epidermolysis Bullosa, where connective tissues of the skin tear, this hydrogel would be applied to the wound, using the Celtic Knot as a skin adhesive. The cells could then repair the broken tissue.

As a topical ointment, it might be approved sooner by the FDA, Newland says. Regarding its use on people, Newland concedes this would be a big step, but estimates we could see this within 5 to 10 years.

Newland believes the polymerisation technique itself “will become widespread”, due to its numerous industrial applications in the manufacturing of elastics or higher strength plastic, for example.

Dr Wang, who has pursued this technology since 2007, notes that “although these are early steps, we are looking forward to seeing the future realisation of these structures in a wide range of applications.”

The NFB is involved in international collaborations with biomaterial groups investigating the use of biomaterials in the body.

The research is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board, DEBRA-Ireland and –Austria, and is published today in Nature Communications .

via Ancient Celtic Knots inspire scientific breakthrough – Science News | Daily News from The Irish Times – Tue, May 21, 2013.

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