News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Monday 25th August 2014

Irish Politicians of today ‘have forgotten the lessons of Michael Collins’


Modern Irish politicians have totally forgotten the lessons of integrity and probity left by General Michael Collins in their lust for power.

The warning came from Newstalk broadcaster George Hook who delivered the keynote oration at the Beal na mBlath ceremony in west Cork to mark the 92nd anniversary of the death of General Collins (31).

The Free State finance minister and IRA commander was shot and killed in an ambush as he returned to Cork city on August 22, 1922 after completing a tour of inspection in west Cork.

“Michael Collins is best remembered as a military figure – and rightly so,” he said.

“But it is only part of the bigger picture. He was first and foremost a nation builder. He didn’t just have vision, but he was extremely practical and a superb administrator in the Department of Finance.”

Mr Hook said Collins’ renowned integrity was best evidenced from recent archives which revealed the ‘Big Fella’ submitted petrol expenses to WT Cosgrave but only after he had deducted personal mileage.

“It was typical of the man …Ivor Callely obviously did not study Collins,” he added.


George Hook also warned that modern politicians had failed to learn from Collins and his determination to do what was best for the country rather than for his career.

He said Collins readily understood that signing the peace treaty with Britain was best for the country but would most likely cost him his life.

Mr Hook also slated four Fianna Fail leaders for what their economic and financial policies cost Ireland.

“(Eamon) de Valera, (Jack) Lynch, (Charles) Haughey and (Bertie) Ahern, all brought Ireland to the brink of financial implosion in their lust for power,” he said.

Mr Hook warned Ireland had to learn the lessons from Collins that power should never be “up for auction”.

“The seducers with honeyed words promise an easy way to financial sovereignty – taxes can be reduced, we can continue to spend more than we take in and we can borrow indefinitely.

“But Collins told the truth in a simple and unvarnished way…that the Irish people are willing to pay any price, bear any burden to make this country a better place for their children and grandchildren”, he said.

120 water meters destroyed in a ‘suspicious’ Sligo fire


Gardaí are investigating the cause of a blaze which broke out in shed holding water meters and causing some €20,000 of damage. 

Workers install water meters outside houses near Blanchardstown, west Dublin, earlier this year. Gardaí in Sligo are investigating an incident in which 120 meters were destroyed in a fire.

Gardaí in Sligo are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out early yesterday at sheds which were being used to store water meters.

While there were unconfirmed reports that the fire was started deliberately, Gardaí said it was too early to speculate until the results of forensic examinations are known.

It is understood that up to 120 water meters worth an estimated €12,000 were destroyed.

A Garda spokesman refused to comment on reports that arson was suspected or that there was evidence of forced entry at the premises at Union Place in the centre of Sligo.

Irish Water has confirmed that there was a fire in a depot used by one of the contractors working on the company’s metering programme. The company said that the fire had been brought under control by Sligo Fire Department.

A spokeswoman said that, because the matter was currently under investigation by An Garda Síochána and the Fire Department, that Irish Water could not comment further.

Three units of the Fire Service fought the fire which extensively damaged a number of sheds in the depot which is located at the rear of the Railway Hostel. The alarm was raised shortly after 6am.

Gardaí preserved the scene and an examination was carried out by the crime scene unit.

There have been a number of peaceful protests throughout the summer to coincide with efforts to install water meters in a number of Sligo housing estates.

Contractors were forced to withdraw after objections by residents in some estates and it was agreed that talks would take place.

Ireland’s 9% VAT reduction ‘created lots of jobs’


The reduction of the food VAT rate to 9% has led to the creation of 31,584 jobs, according to the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

The group published a report which it said has highlighted the positive impact of the VAT rate, which was introduced in 2011.

It estimated that the jobs were created in the food and accommodation sector.

In July 2011, the VAT rate was reduced from 13.5% to 9% for tourism-related services and goods.

Implant ends need for glasses

Reading glasses could be banished for ever after scientists developed a technique to reverse vision problems in ageing eyes.

As some people age, their ability to switch focus between near and distant objects diminishes, a condition known as presbyopia.

It can skew the perception of depth and makes reading in poor light impossible.

Now scientists have developed a tiny implant, no bigger than a pinhead, which sits inside the cornea and slightly increases its curvature, to allow the eye to focus again.

Scotland could share pound

Westminster could be convinced to share the pound with an independent Scotland but it would leave Holyrood with little control over Scotland’s monetary and fiscal policy, according to a think tank.

All major UK parties have ruled out a currency union, but this has been dismissed as pre-referendum posturing by the SNP, who insist Scotland will keep the pound with the backing of the Bank of England.

Best ever riff to be revealed

The greatest guitar riff of all time, as chosen by BBC Radio 2 listeners, is to be will be revealed today.

A panel of music experts, including music critics, record producers and the station’s presenters, helped produce the top 100, which spans generations.

David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Arctic Monkeys’ Do I Wanna Know?, Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’Mine and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit all feature.

Others include Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi and Pink Floyd’s Money.

First functional organ to be grown inside an animal


University of Edinburgh researchers used reprogrammed cells created in a lab.

Researchers re-programmed cells harvested from the embryos of a genetically engineered mouse and grafted them onto the kidney of a genetically similar adult mouse.

Regenerative medicine made an important step forward today with the announcement of the first successful growth of a well-developed functioning organ inside the body of a living mouse. The potential benefits to medicine of this experiment are all the more impressive that the organ in question was a thymus, an integral part of the immune system.

   The work was carried out in the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. First the researchers “re-programmed” cells harvested from the embryos of a genetically engineered mouse. In this way they obtained functional thymus cells in the lab. Then they accumulated those cells and grafted them onto the kidney of a genetically similar adult mouse.

Four weeks later they recovered well-formed organs with the same shape and immune function as a regular thymus, the research team say in a paper published today in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

The thymus is a small organ situated under the sternum, just above the heart. It is mostly active in childhood, and plays a vital role in building up an active immune system to help protect the body against infections.

Currently the main treatment for a deficient thymus is transplantation, which is limited by donor availability and compatibility.

Being able to engineer a working thymus through cellular reprogramming would change completely the way patients with thymus disorders are treated, the researchers said.

“This is an exciting study but much more work will be needed before this process can be reproduced in a safe and tightly controlled way suitable for use in humans,” said Dr Rob Buckle, head of the research centre.

Hundreds brave the elements for ‘Washout’ Whale watch Ireland


Marine Wildlife – Though the weekend’s miserable wintry weather made this year’s Whale Watch Ireland something of a ‘washout’, according to The, for those who did turn out there was a good chance of seeing some of our bountiful marine wildlife in action.

Despite a number of the 20 organised events being cancelled, it’s thought that some 1,500 people still braved the elements on Sunday afternoon (24 August) and had more than a 50% chance of seeing a whale, dolphin or porpoise off Ireland’s coast.

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) sightings officer Pádraig Whooley says the results of this year’s nationwide whale watch are still being collated.

But it’s already on record that Ireland is one of the vest places on earth for the pastime.

As the Sunday Independent reports, the numbers of humpback whales visiting our waters are estimated at nearly 300 out of a global population of 80,000, following a record summer for sightings off Ireland.

And as previously reported on, Ireland is now considered “one of the best locations in the northern hemisphere” to film cetaceans in action.



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