News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Sunday 3rd. August 2014

Now one point between Sinn Féin 24% and Fine Gael 25% in latest poll


An Irish voter survey shows a four point fall in support for Enda Kenny’s party to 25%.

Support for Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael is down four percentage points while support for Sinn Fein was up four points.

A new opinion poll has put voter support for Sinn Féin just one point behind Fine Gael.

Sinn Féin is at 24% while Fine Gael is at 25%, when ‘don’t knows’ are excluded, according to the Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll which was published today.

Support for Fine Gael is down four percentage points while support for Sinn Féin is up four points since the last poll was taken in April , before the local and European elections. Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s satisfaction rating remains unchanged at 27% while support for Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is down one point to 25%.

Support for Labour was up by one point to seven per cent. The party has changed leader since the last poll was taken. However the polls shows the party’s new leader Tanaiste Joan Burton is far more popular than her predecessor Eamon Gilmore. Ms Burton’s satisfaction rating is at 27%, 11 points higher than Eamon Gilmore in a previous poll (16%).

Despite this boost for Ms Burton dissatisfaction with the Government is up by three points to 69 per cent while half of voters believe the Government will run its full term.

Fianna Fáil has also seen a rise in support, up by two points to 20%. Its leader Micheál Martin has seen a one percent rise in his satisfaction rating to 27% while The poll shows support for the Greens is down one point to one per cent while Independents and others are up two points to 23%.

Some 2,000 march in Dublin to call for an end to Gaza violence


Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign calls on people to ‘boycott Israel’

A march protesting the Israeli treatment of Gaza, organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) today, which started at the Garden of Remembrance and finished at the Dept of Foreign Affairs on St Stephen’s Green.

At least 2000 people marched from the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin city centre today, to call for an end to the violence in Gaza.

Marchers chanted, “free Palestine, free Gaza,” while protestors carried signs which read ‘Stop the slaughter, end the siege’, ‘boycott Israel’, ‘Obama could stop this with one phone call’, ‘boycott and Israel goods stop the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.’

Sinn Fein Cllr Chris Andrews and Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan were among those who led the march, carrying a banner which read ‘end the siege of Gaza.’

Fliers were handed out calling on people to boycott Israeli goods.

Thousands of people are taking to the streets across Ireland today, to call for an end to the violence in Gaza.

This is the fourth Saturday in a row that the protests have been held.

It is organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and supported by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, SIPTU, Trade Union Friends of Palestine, Gaza Action Ireland, TEEU (The Power Union), Academics for Palestine, Irish Anti-War Movement, Sadaka – The Ireland Palestine Alliance and the Peace and Neutrality Alliance.

Protests will also be held in other towns and cities including Cork, Derry, Limerick, Galway, Armagh, Killarney, Clomel, Nenagh, Bundoran, Ennis and Sligo.

IPSC national coordinator Kevin Squires said: “The Minister for Foreign Affairs has made it clear that Ireland will not support any meaningful concrete action aimed at ending either the Israeli onslaught on Gaza or Israeli impunity in general.

“We find this very disappointing, as Ireland has supported sanctions on other countries in the past, so why not Israel? Therefore we are asking people to join us in bringing our anger to the government and demand they take action that will help end Israel’s occupation and serial violations of international law.”

Mr Squires said the IPSC wants the Government to call for the suspension of Israel from the Euro-Med Agreement, for an international and EU arms embargo on Israel, to enact legislation to ban the importation of Israeli goods, and to expel the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland.

Mr Squires also urged people to join the growing Boycott Israel movement,

“Many businesses, notably The Exchequer bar in Dublin, and the whole town of Kinvara have pledged to boycott Israeli products. The trade union of retail workers, Mandate, has called on shops not to sell Israeli goods and last night Irish rugby legend Gordon D’Arcy tweeted his support for the boycott campaign.”

Since fighting began on July 8th, more than 1,650 Palestinians — mostly civilians – have been killed and more than 8,000 wounded, according to al-Kidra. Israel has lost 63 soldiers and three civilians, its highest death toll since the 2006 Lebanon war.

A march for suicide prevention & mental health held in Dublin


Young people call on Government to re-instate funding for mental health services

Dozens marched in Dublin this afternoon to call for increased funding for mental health services.

More than 40 young people joined a march in Dublin City Centre today calling for increased funding for mental health services.

One of the march organisers, Jamie Harrington (16), said he had been prompted to get involved after two of his friends died by suicide. He volunteers with TeenLine Ireland, a part-time phone service which had its funding cut earlier this year.

“This country has a huge problem with suicide and people taking their own lives unneccessarily. We’re here today to say you’re not alone,” he said.

Luke Clerkin (22) co organiser of the march said Action For Suicide Prevention Dublin will continue to hold protests against cuts to mental health services.

Both Mr Harrington and Mr Clerkin said they have battled with depression in the past but have managed to overcome it.

“We want to make sure the Government know that so many people are suffering with mental health problems and that Teenline is a vital service. Most people will have to deal with mental health issue at some stage in their life so we need to ensure that the funding for mental health services isn’t cut,” Mr Clerkin said.

Linda Arnold, a parent who had come up from Mullingar, said the Governmentis ignoring a “whole generation of young people”.

“Our President Michael Higgins is a patron of Console Ireland and I find it offensive that the adults in our Government are not taking care of our teenagers,” she said.

“All behaviour is learned and if the young people here today have to learn that walking the streets is the only way they can get funding while the Government lines the pockets of bondholders overseas, then there’s something seriously wrong.”

Irish Helplines: Samaritans (, 1850 609090

Pieta House (, centre for prevention of self-harm or suicide, 01- 601 0000

Console (, national suicide prevention and bereavement charity, 1800 201890

Aware (, helping people with depression and concerned family members and friends, 1890 303302 and Teenline (, 1800 833 634



Mayo will open it’s  first whiskey distillery in over 100 years in Lahardane which will become the home of the Nephin Irish Whiskey brand which was created by Paul and Jude Davis a husband and wife team whose aim is to have the distillery up and running in the next year . The Whiskey is described as a distilled Peated Single Malt Whiskey.

Paul explains the reasons for choosing the Lahardane area  as the prefect location to make whiskey and what make this whiskey different to other whiskey’s produced in Ireland ,“The location is one of the best in Mayo and probably in Ireland because it is situated between Nephin and Lough Conn and that is a perfect situation. To me this is the best location, you could not ask for better. What we do differently is that we will produce peated whiskey where in Ireland you would not normally use peat to dry the barley. They would not have used coal or gas 150 years ago but we are going back to that traditional side.

Paul went on to explain that he was been working closely with ex-distillers from alcohol giant Diageo who will advise them on putting in a ‘state of the art distillery’ as paul hasn’t a background in the alcohol industry, their expertise are a vital component to the company success.  The distillery will be located in the heart of the village near Barrett’s shop and as well as distilling whiskey Paul envisages the plant being part of the north Mayo tourist trail which he believes can attract up to 40,000 visitors per year to the area.

He hopes to create 18 full time jobs and believes the business has a huge growth potential. Planning for the distillery has not been approved but Paul explained that investment in the region of €3 to €4 million has been lined up by international investors with links to the county. The project involves the renovation of several vacant buildings in the village, including a stone granary from the 1800s.

Paul says, will be targeted at the international market with an emphasis on the United States and will be a long term venture. “We will be targeting the premium and super premium side of the market but we will look to use the Mayo links abroad with the States being the premium market place. We will be using different flavours such as heather and gorse because we feel that flavour is more important now than before.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny will officially launch Nephin Irish Whiskey  in Murphy’s Bar in Lahardane next Monday at 3pm.

Testosterone levels fell with the emergence of modern-man traits.


A new research has found that the emergence of modern society caused the fall in the levels of male reproductive hormone testosterone.

According to scientists, the first Homo sapiens appeared 200,000 years ago but they picked up traits such as language, cave painting, economic trade and hunting after 500 centuries.

For the study, about 1,400 ancient skulls were examined by the researchers. A total of 13 skulls were more than 80,000 years old, 41 were between the age of 10,000 and 38,000 and 1,367 skulls from various modern groups of people.

The researchers claimed that the reduction of testosterone however proved a blessing a disguise for humans as it allowed them to cooperate more and became less aggressive. This helped the people in developing new tools and arts.

Robert Cieri of the University of Utah says that the cooperation helped in cultural exchange and technological innovation.

The shape and size of the skulls were used by the researchers to estimate the relative levels of testosterone. Human heads get rounder as the eyebrow ridges receded. The researchers, however, failed to explain r whether it was the testosterone levels that decreased or whether the humans had less testosterone receptors as they started to develop.

The researchers observed the levels of the hormone to affect social interactions in primates, our closest cousins. The study showed that testosterone surges in male chimpanzees during puberty while it remained low in bonobos.

Under stress, a chimp releases more testosterone while a bonobo releases the stress hormone cortisol. In chimpanzees, social interaction are estimated to be violent than in bonobos the brow ridges are larger in chimps than in bonobos. The findings of the study are published in the journal Current Anthropology.

Umami ‘could help people to lose weight’


Umami is the chemical glutamate, a protein found in meat and other savoury foods such as Marmite, which gives food its tastiness

Scientists claim the flavour that gives food its “deliciousness” could help with weight loss and regulating appetite.

Umami, which means delicious in Japanese, is recognised as the fifth sense of taste – the others being sweet, salty, sour and bitter – and helps people to fill full, according to new research from the University of Sussex.

It is the chemical glutamate, a protein found in meat and other savoury foods such as Marmite, parmesan and shiitake mushrooms, which gives food its tastiness, a spokeswoman said.

Professor Martin Yeomans, who was involved in the study based on the psychology research of Dr Una Masic, said: “We know from past research, including previous work at Sussex, that foods with a high protein content tend to satisfy your appetite better than carbohydrate and fat-rich foods.

“So if protein is satisfying, and umami signals the presence of protein; in this study we asked whether the presence of the umami taste itself reduced subsequent appetite.”

The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at the effects of two common food additives on levels of hunger: monosodium glutamate (MSG) and inosine monophosphate (IMP), which are known to produce the flavour of umami.

They were added to both a low-energy version of a spiced carrot soup and the same soup with energy added covertly as a mixture of protein and carbohydrate.

Dr Masic then tested how hungry 26 healthy volunteers felt and how much they consumed at a later meal.

The soups enhanced with the umami-taste were found to reduce the amount subsequently eaten by participants when compared to the same soup without added umami, tests suggested.

Those who ate the umami soup also did not feel hungrier as a consequence of eating less, the university spokeswoman said.

The effects of umami proved stronger when consumed in the higher-energy soup which suggested that umami-enriched foods may help people with weight concerns to regulate their appetite.


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