Sunday 29th December 2013
Fine Gael rebel Creighton close to establishing new Irish political party
Former Fine Gael Minister Lucinda Creighton (above left & right pic) Stephen Donnelly Ind. TD.
Reform Alliance registers intent with state commission
Fine Gael rebels are close to establishing a new political party led by former Minister Lucinda Creighton and Stephen Donnelly.
Recent reports say that the proposed Reform Alliance party has registered with Ireland’s Standards in Public Office Commission.
The party is to be headed by Creighton and independent deputy Stephen Donnelly according to the report.
The paper believes the Reform Alliance will be launched in September after local and European elections.
The report says that Creighton and Donnelly have held talks on the formation of the new party in recent weeks.
The Reform Alliance has registered as a ‘third party’ with SIPO to allow it to raise funds for political research and policy development.
The steering group reportedly includes Creighton; her husband, Senator Paul Bradford, deputies Billy Timmins, Denis Naughten, Terence Flanagan and Peter Mathews and Senator Fidelma Healy Eames.
Creighton told the paper: “It is early days but it is about being fully compliant with the rules should we fundraise in order to carry out political research and develop new policy. We want to be a vehicle for new thinking in parliament.”
The report says the former Fine Gael Minister also refused to rule out the possibility of ultimately establishing a fully fledged party. She added: “I can’t say what the future holds.
“You have freedom in what you can say as an independent, but there is also strength in numbers. I am a great believer in party politics.”
After falling out with Fine Gael on the abortion issue, Creighton says she shares common ground with economics expert Donnelly.
She said: “In terms of what he wants to achieve, there is a lot of common ground. On reform, I share a lot of Stephen’s views, there is a lot of shared ground.
“In the coming months, I am happy to co-operate with him and definitely there is an opportunity for us to work together.”
Donnelly has welcomed the progress made by the Reform Alliance in the bid to establish a new political party.
He said: “I would entertain a discussion. I am not sitting here waiting, but I’ll listen.
“There is most undoubtedly a need for a new party, the current system is so old, stale and so badly in need of reform.
“There is a political cartel in Ireland and having a new party to challenge the cartel is a good idea.
“The establishment protects itself very well in Ireland, it’s a very closed system in terms of elites, it would be healthy for democracy if a new party challenged our vested interests.
“This cartel had created the scenario where “huge swathes of the public sector and the political system are stuck in a 1970s style time-warp.”
But Donnelly did warn that Fine Gael rebels need to move away from the abortion issue.
He stated; “They are going to have to work hard to get away from the pro-life single issue, but they have some seriously smart people.
Smart cameras planned to catch speeding cars automatically
New ANPR camera system planned to trap speeding motorists on Irish roads.
The Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar is examining legislation for number plate recognition cameras and average speed detection systems.
The ANPR system is already widely used in the UK and can also be used to track down cars without tax and insurance.
The Sunday Times reports that drivers on motorways in particular will be targeted by the new system, with cameras placed above tollbooths and on overhead gantries.
The technology calculates the time it takes to travel between two cameras which take time stamped images and if it’s too fast, the driver faces speeding penalties.
75% of Ireland’s pharmacies hit by crime
Irish Pharmacists call for more visible Garda presence on our streets and tougher sentences
Pharmacists have said that three out of four community pharmacies have been hit by crime in the last year and have called for increased Garda presence and tougher sentences.
The organisation representing community pharmacists, theIrish Pharmacy Union (IPU), said that shoplifting robbery accounted for most crimes at pharmacies.
It said that a nationwide survey of pharmacies had found that 84% had experienced more than one incident of crime.
The IPU said it was concerned that there had been a significant increase in crimes involving the use of a weapon.
The IPU maintained that almost one in every two crimes were perpetrated by criminals brandishing a weapon.
The IPU said that unless there was increased Garda visibility and tougher sentences to deter crime against pharmacies, “the level of crime will continue to increase with serious ramifications for employers, staff and local communities”.
It said that a survey of around 200 pharmacies nationwide conducted earlier this month on the crime issue found:
- 37 per cent of pharmacists who decided not to report a crime did so because they felt the perpetrator would not be charged.
- Cosmetics and perfumes were the most likely items to be stolen from pharmacies, with cash taken from one in six premises.
- 92 per cent of pharmacists had invested in CCTV to protect their staff and businesses.
- Three-quarters of pharmacists had used a Garda crime prevention officer.
- 93 per cent reported that more visible policing would be effective in reducing crimes, with 85 per cent identifying tougher sentencing.
The vice president of the IPU’s community pharmacy committee Daragh Connolly said: “The appalling level of crime experienced by pharmacies should send out a strong message to the authorities that unless immediate action is taken, criminals will continue to see retail businesses, including pharmacies, as an easy target.
The belief that criminals will not be charged and the revolving door scenario in our courts is giving the impression to thieves that their criminal activities will go unpunished. It is imperative that a strong message goes out that criminals will be apprehended and dealt with appropriately by the authorities, including tough mandatory sentencing.”
Mr Connolly maintained that crimes against pharmacies and other businesses should never be seen as so-called “petty” crimes or as victimless crimes.
“There is a perception that crimes against business are ‘victimless’ crimes and consequently are not treated as seriously as they should be. The safety of pharmacists, staff and customers is being put at risk by criminals and this cannot be tolerated. Crime also damages businesses, threatens jobs and negatively impacts on staff morale. These hidden costs can have a far bigger impact on the pharmacy business than the direct costs of damage and loss.”
Man arrested after 4X4 van rams into pub and dole office in Buncrana
A 4 x 4 Van ended up crashing through the recently built labour exchange offices in Buncrana after a high speed chase by Garda.
Gardai have arrested a man after a 4X4 rammed into a pub and a dole office in Co Donegal on Friday evening.
Nobody was hurt during either incident but considerable damage was caused.
The first incident happened at 10.30pm at Ture, Muff, when a 4X4 struck a pub. It is believed gardai became aware of the incident and pursued the white 03 vehicle towards Buncrana.
The 4X4 eventually mounted steps and crashed into the front of the Department of Social Protection offices in Buncrana at about 11pm.
A large amount of structural damage was caused to the offices. The building is next door to Buncrana garda station. A 40-year-old man was initially arrested for road traffic offences and released but then rearrested under the Criminal Justice Act. He is currently being questioned at Buncrana garda station.
A spokesman confirmed that nobody was hurt during the bizarre series of events.
The area is still sealed off and the 4X4 remains at the scene and is being forensically examined by gardai.
Local Buncrana town councillor Ciaran McLaughlin said people in the town were shocked.
“Like most other people in Buncrana, I’m shocked at the incidents. Nobody really knows what happened, we are all just relieved that nobody has been hurt,” he said.
Condoms ‘Too Big’ for Indian Men
Condoms made to international sizes are too big for Indian men
Condoms made to international standard sizes are too large for many Indian men, a survey has found.
A two-year study by the Indian Council of Medical Research found that more than half of the Indian men measured had penises shorter than international standards for condoms.
It has led to a call for condoms of mixed sizes to be made more widely available in India, where over 2 million people are estimated to live with HIV.
Over 1,200 volunteers across the country had their penises measured precisely, down to the last millimetre, according to a BBC report.
“It’s not size, it’s what you do with it that matters”
The scientists concluded that about 60% of Indian men have penises 3-5cm shorter than international standards used in condom manufacture.
Doctor Chander Puri, a specialist in reproductive health at the Indian Council of Medical Research, told the BBC there was an obvious need in India for custom-made condoms, as most of those currently on sale are too large.
Currently around one in every five times a condom is used in India it either falls off or tears, an extremely high failure rate.
Puri said that since Indians would be embarrassed about going to a chemist to ask for smaller condoms there should be vending machines dispensing different sizes all around the country.
He said: “Smaller condoms are on sale in India. But there is a lack of awareness that different sizes are available. There is anxiety talking about the issue. And normally one feels shy to go to a chemist’s shop and ask for a smaller size condom.”
But Sunil Mehra, former editor of the Indian version of Maxim magazine, retorted: “It’s not size, it’s what you do with it that matters.
“From our population, the evidence is Indians are doing pretty well.
Blinding meteor light caught on CCTV shooting across night sky
A flaming meteor hurtling over Earth was spotted by hundreds of residents on Boxing Day as it lit up the dark December sky.
On CCTV footage, the fireball was caught in all its glory as it blazed over shocked onlookers in a short burst into the atmosphere.
The fireball was reported to the American Meteor Society by more than 700 people.
Witnesses from Iowa and Minnesota said they saw the meteor that was ‘as bright as the sun’ cross the state border.
The bright was captured on security footage in the city of North Liberty, northwest of Iowa City.
The tape shows the line of the meteor as it streaked across the sky at around 5.30pm local time.
Many also took to Twitter to show their best view of the blinding light.
The American Meteor Society – a non-organisation which collects information for meteor sightings – wrote on its website: “Witnessed (sic) described a fireball as bright as the Sun that fragmented into many parts.
“Several witnesses reported sonic effects associated with the meteors including at least three reports of delayed booms.”