News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Saturday 15th February 2014

Joan Burton puts pressure on hospitals to prove compliance

 

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton has heaped pressure on the bosses of five under-fire hospitals and agencies to prove that they are compliant with the government’s pay rules.

The Irish Independent revealed today that the hospitals, which include St James’s and St Vincent’s in Dublin, face the prospect of having their funding cut by 20% in one weeks time.

St John Of God, Brothers of Charity Southern Services, and Brothers of Charity Services South East have also been told that their funding will be slashed.

In a statement released last night the HSE said the five agencies are deemed non-compliant as they have not made business cases for their pay levels.

They are also required to submit the necessary detailed business cases.

Speaking at the Labour Partyconference in Enfield, Co Meath, Ms Burton heaped pressure on the agencies to become fully compliant with the government-imposed pay rules.

She also expressed concern that vulnerable patients may feel “frightened” as a result of the potential funding cut.

“I think what is important here is that the five organisations, whom I think have been identified by the HSE, as not being in compliance, not giving in the information –  I think it really is incumbent on them to actually go to the HSE, sit down and actually settle it,” she said.

“At the end of the day, government policy in relation to policy is quite clear. And those organisations will have to be accountable to the HSE. And I do not think the issue should be used to frighten people who are particularly vulnerable in terms of medical needs or in terms of disability,” she added.

The HSE said the reduction in cash funding is not a budget cut and therefore should, under no circumstances, impact on the provision of services to patients or clients.

A total of 10 agencies are compliant with pay policy and further 27 have presented 88 business cases for additional allowances to be paid to senior staff.

An internal review panel of senior staff within the HSE has now been appointed to examine the business cases.

The review comes after a detailed audit of Section 38 agencies and whether or not they were in compliance with pay policy began last December.

As a result, some organisations stopped paying top-ups to senior staff while others are in the process of submitting a “business case” to the HSE outlining why they feel they should be maintained.

The cuts in funding for the five hospitals and agencies is the latest development in the top-up scandal which came to a head last year with revelations surrounding details of payments at the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC).

AIB silent on bonus plan for their top executives

Irish Government says policy has not changed

 

AIB declined to comment if they held discussions with government about changing compensation policy for top bankers.

The department of Finance Michael Noonan  said that the government “has not changed its policy position” in relation to compensation of Irish bankers in bailed-out banks.

Bloomberg reported today that the Allied Irish Bank (AIB), which needed a €21 billion bailout from the tax-payer, approached the government in relation to setting up an incentive plan to retain top executives.

Awards for senior staff

It is reported that chairman David Hodgkinson had discussions with officials at the Department of Finance on reintroducing long-term awards for senior staff at the bank when it returns to profit.

When asked about the plans for an “incentive plan” for executives and whether representations were made to government in relation to the proposal, AIB said they had “no comment”.

No change

A spokesperson for the Department of Finance said that “no discussions” are underway about AIB’s idea to incentivise executives to stay in the job.

The salaries of those working in the bank were capped and bonuses scrapped after the bank’s rescue by the State.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said last week that the state may seek to sell a stake in AIB before the next general election in 2016.

Noonan says Irish bank debt deal cannot be actively pursued until 2015

 

The Minister for Finance met with the head of the Eurozone’s permanent bailout fund, Klaus Regling, (pic above right with Michael Noonan) who reiterated his own view that any retrospective deal is not likely at the moment.

Irish Minister Michael Noonan has said that any active pursuit of retroactive re-capitalisation of Ireland’s banking system cannot be done until 2015.

Noonan was speaking after a meeting with the head of the eurozone’s permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Klaus Regling who repeated his beliefthat he currently cannot foresee unanimous consent to Ireland getting a deal on its bank debt.

The government has been pushing for the use of the ESM to retrospectively recapitalise its pillar banks, AIB and Bank of Ireland, which received billions of euro in State funding at the height of the financial crisis.

Regling has previously indicated that such recapitalisation using the fund that he heads “doesn’t seem very likely” and said today: “There is just a general reluctance in a number of countries to provide financing retroactively, because it’s based then on the past.”

Crucial to any retroactive recapitalisation is the establishment of a Single Supervisory Mechanism for the eurozone which is not likely until November of this year.

“We’ll continue to pursue retroactive recapitalisation of the banks and we will do that actively as soon as the instrument is in place, which means 2015, and at all levels in government we will pursue that as an objective,” Noonan said.

‘Something for the medium or long-term’

The Minister reiterated the commitment made by European leaders on 29 June 2012 to break the link between the banking debt and the sovereign and said this had been reinforced by subsequent statements from the French and German leaders.

He said: “Obviously we will continue to explore the possibilities of delivering on these commitments but until the instrument is put in place, to which Mr Regling referred, it doesn’t arise. So it’s something for the medium or long-term.”

Noonan said that the State is “not going to wait around” for a deal and will continue to bring down its cash buffers as well as purse any possibilities to sell its estimated €11-12 billion worth of shares in the banks.

“We’re not flying on one wing and simply waiting for European assistance. We have an active policy for dealing with our debt as well.” he said.

Regling congratulated Ireland on its recent emergence from the Troika programme but said that this successful exit did not mean that it would be more difficult for Ireland to get a bank debt deal.

He said that although he does not see consensus on giving Ireland debt relief there are “many other developments [that are] moving in the right direction and will help reduce the debt burden for the Irish economy and the Irish budget”.

Pre-conception drinking by fathers can damage the foetus

      

Drinking during pregnancy has long been touted as off-limits for mums-to-be but research shows dads who drink pre-conception may jeopardise the health of future offspring.

A study in which male mice were exposed to varying concentrations of alcohol prior to mating showed some of the foetuses they helped conceive suffered abnormal organ development and/or brain development. The male mice in the study not exposed to alcohol sired normal foetuses.

The authors of the study — published in Animal and Cell Systems, the official journal of the Korean Society for Integrative Biology — concluded that alcohol consumption affects genes in sperm which are responsible for normal foetal development.

One group of mice was given normal saline and the mice given alcohol were given a dose twice daily “to minimise the deleterious effects of binge alcohol drinking”.

After seven weeks of alcohol exposure, mice were relaxed for one week and were then mated with non-treated females. Foetal stage analysis was subsequently carried out after the females were euthanised and embryos removed. The number of embryos per mouse was counted and embryo body weights measured. The study’s authors found “severe foetal abnormalities”, including a disorder where the brain is located outside the skull. The researchers said the incidence of developmental abnormalities by alcohol treatment was “statistically significant”.

They concluded that paternal alcohol exposure prior to conception causes developmental defects in the next generation at pre- and post-natal stage.

Also, specific abnormalities such as exencephaly (brain located outside skull) were determined at the foetal stage. Transgenerational toxicity — a health effect that occurs when a pollutant or toxic substance passes from a parent to an offspring — caused by paternal alcohol exposure “is possibly mediated through alcohol-induced changes in sperm at the level of the sperm genome”.

Mums-to-be drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a known risk and cause of foetal alcohol syndrome. These children can suffer retarded intellect, stunted growth and nervous system abnormalities, social problems and isolation.

Until now fathers have not had a causal link to such disabilities. According to this research, it provides the first definitive evidence that fathers’ drinking habits pre-conception can cause significant foetal abnormalities.

Unfair Arm Wrestling Match: Octopus Tries to Grab Diver’s Camera

A pair of scuba divers filming off Carmel, Calif., got a great big surprise when a giant Pacific octopus suddenly put an arm lock on one of their cameras.

NBC affiliate KSBW in Monterey reported that the encounter occurred when Warren Murray and David Malvestuto were diving in Bluefish Cove off of Point Lobos in Carmel. They were in about 80 feet of water when the normally shy cephalopod approached them and took a fancy to Murray’s camera.

As Malvestuto kept his video camera rolling, the octopus wrapped its arms around the camera and tried to pull it away from the diver.

The Octopus Tries to steal the Diver’s Camera

The wrestling match continued for a few tense moments before Murray flashed the camera’s lights, causing the light-sensitive octopus to beat a hasty retreat.

The report did not say when the encounter occurred.

Giant Pacific octopuses, which have powerful suction cups dotting their legs and can grow up to 30 feet in length, are normally extremely shy, but they also are “agile, smart (and) sneaky,” according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

“Octopuses are very intelligent animals that can learn to open jars, play with toys, and interact with their handlers,”the aquarium says on its website. “Giant Pacific octopuses spend most of their lives alone. Scientists long thought that animals were unlikely to evolve intelligence unless they were social, so the octopus’s clever, lonely life is something of a mystery.”

I want to take a Selfie?

As a Octopus tries to grab a Scuba Diver’s camera

 

The Octopus Tries to steal the Diver’s Camera

A pair of scuba divers filming off Carmel, Calif., got a great big surprise when a giant Pacific octopus suddenly put an arm lock on one of their cameras.

NBC affiliate KSBW in Monterey reported that the encounter occurred when Warren Murray and David Malvestuto were diving in Bluefish Cove off of Point Lobos in Carmel. They were in about 80 feet of water when the normally shy cephalopod approached them and took a fancy to Murray’s camera.

As Malvestuto kept his video camera rolling, the octopus wrapped its arms around the camera and tried to pull it away from the diver.

The wrestling match continued for a few tense moments before Murray flashed the camera’s lights, causing the light-sensitive octopus to beat a hasty retreat.

The report did not say when the encounter occurred.

Giant Pacific octopuses, which have powerful suction cups dotting their legs and can grow up to 30 feet in length, are normally extremely shy, but they also are “agile, smart (and) sneaky,” according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

“Octopuses are very intelligent animals that can learn to open jars, play with toys, and interact with their handlers,”the aquarium says on its website. “Giant Pacific octopuses spend most of their lives alone. Scientists long thought that animals were unlikely to evolve intelligence unless they were social, so the octopus’s clever, lonely life is something of a mystery.”

Advertisements

Comments are closed.