News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Sunday 31st May 2015

Plans for new Dublin Airport runway ready for take-off


Plans for a €300m second runway at Dublin Airport have gained dramatic new impetus following the IAG takeover of Aer Lingus which includes plans to use Dublin airport to feed traffic from Europe to North America.

Over the next five years IAG plan to boost Aer Lingus feeder traffic through Dublin by an extra 2.4m passengers a year.

But even before the IAG bid for Aer Lingus emerged earlier this year the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) had reignited plans for a new runway on the 2,500 acre site at Collinstown.

New research released last week by the respected aviation website anna aero shows that Dublin is the fastest growing airport in Europe for long-haul traffic this year

Now plans for the construction of a second runway, which first emerged more than 30 years ago, look set to be fast tracked.

Planning permission for a new east-west runway, 1.6 kilometres to the north and parallel to the existing main runway was granted back in 2007 and remains valid for the next two years.

But air industry sources suggest a new planning application may have to be lodged because the original permission contained 31 restrictive conditions including a requirement that no flights operate from the second runway between 11pm and 7am.

The hour between 6am and 7am remains the airport’s busiest time and a ban on flights leaving a new second runway before 7am is considered impractical. Passenger numbers travelling through Dublin leapt by 8% to 21.7 million last year and are already 15% up on that figure in the first four months of 2015.

A DAA spokesperson said “We are currently examining the various options regarding the delivery of a second parallel runway at Dublin Airport, but have not yet made a final decision in relation to this issue.”

“A second parallel runway has been part of the overall development plan for Dublin Airport for several decades and we’re fortunate that land was earmarked for this project many years ago within the overall Dublin Airport campus.”

“The various options relating to its development will be carefully considered before the company makes a final decision on the best way forward and a second runway remains a central element of Dublin Airport’s long-term plans,” the DAA spokesman confirmed

Dublin Airport now has two flights per day to Dubai and Abu Dhabi with Emirates and Etihad both flying twice a day since last year.

Passenger numbers to the Middle East and North Africa doubled between 2011 and 2013.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) has ruled that Dublin Airport will not be allowed to pass on any of the costs associated with the development of a second runway until passenger numbers pass 25 million in a 12 month period.

Between 2010 and 2014, Dublin Airport increased its transatlantic passenger numbers by 42% with seven new transatlantic services during the same period.

This summer, Dublin Airport will be the sixth largest airport in Europe for services to North America with 318 flights per week (159 weekly departures) between Dublin and 15 separate destinations in the United States and Canada.

Fianna Fáil want new law to allow Irish Central Bank to lower mortgage rates


Fianna Fáil has said legislation is needed to force banks to lower their variable mortgage rates.

It comes as Bank of Ireland yesterday announced that it is reducing its fixed-rate mortgages by 0.3%.

It has made no announcement on its variable rate however, which stands at 4.5%.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan recently met with financial institutions to ask that they reduce variable rates in line with falling ECB rates.

Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath said that legislation might be the only way to deal with this problem.

“I firmly believe that legislation is going to be required in the Oireachtas to give the Central Bank power to intervene where a market failure has occurred – and one has occurred in the Irish mortgage market – and to put a cap on the level of rates that the banks are charging variable rate customers,” he said.

“This issue is simply not going to go away.

“The Minister met with the banks a couple of weeks ago and, judging by this reaction from Bank of Ireland, those meetings have simply failed.”

Meanwhile back at the bank of money:

Irish Central Bank spends €55,000 on biscuits last year 2014?

The Irish Central Bank spent €55,000 on biscuits last year?


It looks like bankers have a very sweet tooth judging by figures released of the Central Bank’s food bill for 2014.

The bill was published in The Sunday Business Post today and shows that €55,000 was spent on biscuits alone last year.

The total is part of a sweet deal for staff which sees their food, tea, coffee and refreshments subsidised to the tune of over €1 million.

Banks bosses said the treats are also snapped up at seminars and meetings as well as press conferences and briefings.

Kidney Health could be a better way to predict heart disease risk


Kidney function could be a better gauge of heart attack risk than cholesterol levels and blood pressure, according to a recently conducted study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

According to a JHSPH news release, the researchers reviewed data collected from 637,000 patients in 24 studies who had no history of heart disease and found that results from common kidney function tests, which are used to assess levels creatine in the blood and the amount of albumin leaking out of the kidney into urine, improved the successful prediction rate of heart problems.

The amount of creatinine in the blood reflects how well the kidneys are filtering out waste.  Higher amounts of albumin indicate the presence of kidney damage.  In the study’s participants, the levels of creatinine and albuminuria predicted cardiovascular disease in general, particularly heart failure, heart attack and stroke.

Albuminuria was found to be the strongest predictor, outperforming cholesterol levels and blood pressure as a risk assessor for heart failure and death from heart attack or stroke. The study’s lead author Kunihiro Matsushita, MD, PhD, an assistant scientist at Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology, believes that the study’s findings show that health care providers can use data on kidney damage and kidney function to better understand a patient’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cholesterol levels and blood pressure tests are good indicators of cardiovascular risk, but they are not perfect.  This study tells us we could do even better with information that often times we are already collecting. People with chronic kidney disease are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease as those with healthy kidneys and roughly half of them die from it before they reach kidney failure

While the biological mechanisms linking kidney disease to cardiovascular disease aren’t well understood, Matsushita says that poorly functioning kidneys can lead to a fluid overload that may result in heart failure.

The results of the study were published in The Lancet’s journal Diabetes and Endocrinology on May 29. In other news about heart disease here at Immortal News, treating depression with antidepressants has been shown to lowers rates of death, coronary artery disease and stroke.

ICSA calls for standalone hen harrier compensation scheme


The ICSA has called for a standalone scheme to provide proper compensation for farmers with hen harrier designation

ICSA Rural Development Chairman Billy Gray said that while there is some provision for hen harrier designation in GLAS, this covers a maximum of 19ha and is unsuitable for many farmers with larger designated areas.

“ICSA is adamant that there should be no designation without compensation – farmers must be compensated fully and equally for every designated hectare of their land,” Gray said.

The ICSA Rural Development Chairman was speaking after a meeting in Templeglantine, Co. Limerick recently.

Gray also suggested that it was time to revisit the blanket ban on new afforestation on designated ground.

“The scientific basis for this ban is far from categorical. For example, it is now accepted that the first 12 years of a forestry plantation provide ideal cover for the hen harrier.

“As modern sitka spruce plantations can be brought to clearfell in as little as 25 years, and Christmas trees in a far shorter time.

It is clear that there is at the very minimum scope for staggered plantation mixed in with some open ground.

He said that this is especially pertinent to farmers with large designations in excess of 20ha.

The Rural Development Chairman said that while a more flexible approach to forestry would certainly be helpful, there is no getting away from the fact that there must be a stand-alone scheme covering every hectare of ground affected by hen harrier designation.

“Now that the Government is loosening the purse strings to provide substantial amounts of money for public sector pay rises, there is no good reason why a relatively small amount of money could not be set aside for such a scheme,”

Top gynaecologist warns women to have babies by age thirty.

To avoid the ‘devastation and regret’ of infertility


A new mother holding a sleeping newborn infant in hospital

A top UK fertility specialist has said that women who have children after thirty are placing a huge pressure on the British health system and warned them to start having children in their twenties.

Consultant gynaecologist Professor Geeta Nargund believes the UK faces a ‘fertility time-bomb’ as the average age a woman has her first child continues to rise.

The lead consultant for reproductive medicine at St George’s Hospital in London claims that fertility issues encountered by women who begin trying for a baby in their thirties place “costly and largely unnecessary burden on the NHS” as they opt for IVF and other means of conceiving.

In a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan obtained by The Sunday Mail, Professor Nargund wrote: “I have witnessed all too often the shock and agony on the faces of women who realise they have left it too late to start a family.

“For so many, this news comes as a genuine surprise and the sense of devastation and regret can be overwhelming.

“And so often the cry will be “Why did no one warn me about this?”’

Professor Nargund believes that children should be given ‘age appropriate’ information from primary school to university to highlight the importance of having children when they are at an optimum age.

“Information is power and the best way to empower people to take control of their fertility is through education.”

“Ideally, if a woman is ready for a child, she should start trying by the time she is 30. She should consider having a child early because as a woman gets older, her fertility declines sharply.”

“As women get older, they experience more complex fertility problems, so treatment tends to be less successful and more expensive.

“On average, more [IVF] treatment cycles are required for a successful pregnancy. So educating people about fertility is very important for the public purse, because it will help us to get more babies within the same NHS budget.”

In the UK IVF is funded by the NHS. IVFs success rate remains at just one birth per four cycles of IVF which costs the health system £20,000 (€28,000). In 2013, the NHS funded over 25,500 cycles in England and Wales.

Professor Nargund had her first child at 29 and said: “My biological clock was absolutely on my mind.”

The doctor revealed that many women are badly misinformed about their fertility.

“Educated women are not necessarily educated about their fertility,” she said.

The average age Irish women have their first baby is 30.3.

We are drinking dinosaur pee every day we drink water:


Here’s Why

Do you drink water? If so, how would you react if we told you that all the water you’ve ever drunk and all the water you are ever going to drink in the future comes from the urine of a dinosaur?

The average American drinks four cups of water every day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That is far short of the recommended eight glasses of water every day and is equivalent to around four cups of dinosaur pee.

Whether it is tap, filtered, bottled, sparkling or sourced from the Himalayan glaciers and sparkled with gold dust, you are just actually drinking the liquid wastes of an ancient beast, says science-centric YouTube channel Curious Minds.

A video explaining this theory says a very small percentage of all the water in the world is available for drinking purposes, but it is still a huge amount of water to provide for the needs of every human being that has ever walked on the surface of the Earth for the last 200,000 years.

Every year, around 121,000 cubic miles of water, or about the equivalent of 42 Superior Lakes, falls down on Earth and constantly flows through the rivers, lakes, ground reservoirs and everywhere else it passes through, including inside the guts of people and animals that drink it.

So what do dinosaurs have to do with all this? Unlike humans, who have been on Earth for a tiny fraction of the 186 million years that dinosaurs ruled this planet, the beasts were here far longer than we have ever been. In that long span of time, it is very likely that the dinosaurs have drunk all the water available back then, and all the water available now is simply water that has passed through a dinosaur’s kidneys making its way through the never-ending water cycle.

“Humans consume a lot of water, but our species hasn’t had the numbers or time to process a large portion of the Earth’s water. Dinosaurs on the other hand had a long time to drink water,” the video explains. “The Mesozoic era – the reign of the dinosaurs – lasted for 186 million years.

That gave them time to drink a lot of water. So while most molecules in your eight-ounce glass have never been drunk by another human, almost every single molecule has been drunk by a dinosaur.”

Charles Fisherman, author of “The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water,” says water molecules are extremely resilient, and it’s likely that all water molecules present now were the same water molecules available for billions of years.

“All the water on Earth has been through a dinosaur kidney,” Fishermantells “Every bottle of Evian you drink from is Tyrannosaurus Rex pee. All the water on Earth has been here for 4.5 billion years. It’s all toilet-to-tap at some level.”

Believe it or believe it not?


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