News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Monday 29th December 2014

President Higgins signs Water Services Bill into law


Áras an Uachtaráin says requests were received to refer legislation to the people

President Michael D Higgins signed the Water Services Bill into law after giving it careful consideration, a statement said.

President Higgins has today signed into law the Water Services Bill which will allow the water charges to come into effect from next week.

A statement issued from Áras an Uachtaráin today said:

“President Michael D Higgins, having given careful consideration to all aspects of the Bill and the submissions he received, today signed the Water Services Bill 2014.”

The statement added that the President had received a number of submissions about the Bill including a number of requests to refer the Bill to the people for decision under Article 27 of Bunreacht na hÉireann.

However, the statement added: “Article 27 of Bunreacht na hÉireann applies only where Bills have been deemed by virtue of Article 23 of Bunreacht na hÉireann to have been passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas.

“Article 27 of Bunreacht na hÉireann therefore did not apply in this case. The President gave consideration to the Bill, taking into account Bunreacht na hÉireann including Article 26 and the submissions received.”

Unions say- Nurses will be struck off register if €150 fee is not paid


Nurses must pay the new €150 registration fee.

Nurses and midwives have been warned they will be working illegally if they fail to pay a new €150 registration fee, due on January 1.

A row between the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland and nursing unions over a 50% hike in the annual charge that allows them to practice has deepened, after the board accused unions of “misleading” their members.

In a strongly-worded statement, the board said nurses who refuse to pay the tariff will be struck off its register in February or March after receiving a 28-day reminder notice.

It said employers, including the HSE, have confirmed they will not employ nurses and midwives who were removed from the register.

The board said unions were misleading members by advising them that it was still acceptable to pay last year’s rate of €100.

It said a badge unions were distributing in relation to the €100 payment had no legal standing, and was not an alternative to the registration certificate they were legally obliged to obtain.

More than 1,000 nurses hold protest over registration fee00:00 / 02:11

The board denied the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s claim that talks were under way between it, the unions and Department of Health on the charge, known as the Annual Retention Fee.

“The board would like to unequivocally state that the board has to be self-funding, which means that registration fees for 2015, due on January 1, must remain €150,” it said. “For unions to advise otherwise to registrants is misleading.”

It said it confirmed at its last meeting this year that full payment of the €150 fee was required for registrants to get a valid 2015 certificate.

In a letter to directors of nursing, INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said the annual retention fee did not have to be paid by January 1.

He said a further reminder would be sent around February 2, allowing another 28 days for payment, and no employer could interfere with nurses’ employment arrangements during this period. Mr Doran advised members to pay the existing fee of €100 after January 5, or when their “personal circumstances allow”, and claimed the board would accept it as an interim payment.

Nurses say they cannot afford the fee hike, which the board says is necessary mainly due to a rise in its legal costs. More than a thousand nurses and midwives protested at the fee hike outside its Blackrock office during a meeting of the nursing board last month.

More people die in Ireland from heart and stroke related illness

Than any other cause of death


The Irish Heart Foundation has launched a new On The Dry initiative

More people die in Ireland today from heart and stroke related illnesses than from any other cause of death.

That’s despte the fact that 80% of cardiovascualr disease is preventable.

The Irish Heart Foundation has launched a new On The Dry initiative aimed at encouraging people to give up alcohol for the month of January.

Barry Dempsey is CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation. 

He says the idea is to help people have a healthier start to the New Year while also raising funds for the charity.


Irish Heart Foundation urging adults to learn how to take their own pulse


Accordingly more than 40,000 people over 50 years old in Ireland suffer from Atrial Fibrillation

This winter the Irish Heart Foundation is urging adults to learn how to take their own pulse regularly to detect the most common heart rhythm disorder, Atrial Fibrillation, which carries a five-fold additional risk of stroke.

According to the charity, more than 40,000 people over 50 years old in Ireland suffer from Atrial Fibrillation, but the vast majority are unaware of it. In fact, just 26% of the population have heard of the condition.

Atrial Fibrillation often has no symptoms, so most people don’t know they have it. However, there can be warning signs, including: palpitations, tiredness, shortness of breath, dizziness, or feeling faint.

According to the Foundation, the causes of Atrial Fibrillation are not always clear, but the chance of developing it can go up if a person has one or more medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Atrial Fibrillation can affect adults of any age, but it is more common as people get older.

Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation, said: “Although Atrial Fibrillation is generally not life-threatening, it is a serious condition and can lead to serious complications such as stroke and other heart problems.

“By knowing how to take your own pulse or by having it regularly checked, you can detect the condition. The recommended normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 heartbeats per minute, but some people can have heart rates over 100. You should see your doctor if you have a persistent heart rate above 120 beats per minute or below 40 beats.”

“Atrial Fibrillation is a very common cause of disabling stroke in Ireland and by raising awareness of a condition that affects tens of thousands of people in Ireland, and the need for checking your heart rate; we can prevent more strokes and ultimately save lives.”

According to the Foundation, about 10,000 people suffer strokes in Ireland annually and around 2,000 die as a result. Atrial Fibrillation is a major factor in one third of strokes. The average stroke destroys two million brain cells every minute and it can result in death or disability if people don’t Act F.A.S.T. and call 999.

 F.A.S.T. warning signs:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side?  Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time – time to call 999 if you see any one of these signs.

Cut price pub Wetherspoon’s to open 200 new bars across Ireland and UK


The company will shortly open new pubs in Cork City and Swords, Blanchardstown and Camden St in Dublin

UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon plans to open 200 new pubs across Ireland and the UK over the next five years.

The company, which will shortly open new pubs in Cork City and Swords, Blanchardstown and Camden St in Dublin, said it will invest £400m (€510m) in developing the new pubs.

“We are looking forward to opening the new pubs, many of which will be in areas where Wetherspoon is not yet represented,” Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said.

Wetherspoon currently operates 931 pubs and employs more than 34,000 staff.

First Irish Wetherspoon pub opens its doors00:00 / 02:20

It recently made headlines for dropping Heineken products from its offering after a dispute over supply for its Irish pubs.

Wetherspoons opened its new pub, the Forty Foot, overlooking Dun Laoghaire Harbour, with neither Guinness or Murphy’s stout on tap nor Heineken or Foster’s lager.

Kegs of two English-brewed stouts were on sale at the rock bottom price of €2.50 a pint – undercutting average Dublin prices by at least €2 a pint. A selection of Irish craft beers were also on sale, including the highly rated O’Hara’s.

A selection of Irish, Czech, American and English lagers were also on offer at either €2.50 or €2.95 a pint – again a €2 or €2.50 discount on standard city prices.

And in a further blow to the established pub trade, Wetherspoons’ two Irish pubs, the Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire and the Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock, have slashed the price of vodka, gin, whiskey and other spirits.

Premium brand Absolut vodka is selling at €3.95 with a free mixer. An extra measure costs €2 so a double vodka and tonic costs €5.95 at the Forty Foot.

Even in the notably cheap Pavillion bar at Trinity a single vodka and tonic costs €5.60. In a trendy Temple Bar pub, admittedly among the most expensive pubs in the country, a standard spirit and baby mixer costs just shy of €10.

The pub chain insisted that the decision not to sell Guinness and other Diageo-supplied beers including Budweiser, Smithwick’s and Carlsberg at the Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock, which opened in July, has not had a negative impact.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover spots alien coffin on Mars


NASA’s Curiosity Rover has found an alien coffin on Mars. The stone picture object above looks like a coffin,

The ‘coffin’ was discovered by Will Farrar from WhatsUpintheSky37 as he trawled through a library of pictures sent back by the Mars rover Curiosity.

The hunters of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) have spotted an object that looks strangely like a coffin on the Martian surface.

It looks to be about 3.2 ft (one metre) across and 1.5ft (0.4 metres) wide and high, reported Daily Mail.

“This stone object looks like a coffin,” researcher Scott Waring of the UFO Sightings Daily was quoted as saying.

According to Waring, the object may simply be a stone formation but wonders if NASA could turn the Curiosity rover around and take a closer look at the “coffin”.

The object that looks like a coffin can be a figment of imagination of the UFO watchers but if not, science will take another leap into the unknown, getting much closer this time.


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