News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Saturday 6th June 2015

Eircom ordered to reveal identity of the anonymous Emailer


Letterkenny waste firm plans defamation action over letter sent to media and politicians

The High Court has ordered Eircom to disclose the name and address of an anonymous emailer who distributed an allegedly defamatory letter about a waste collection company.

James Ferry and his company, Ferry’s Refuse Collection Ltd, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, obtained the order for an intended defamation action against a person who, for the moment, is referred to as “John Doe with a username of”.

The order was sought under the 2011 Communications (Retention of Data) Act which allows service providers divulge information on foot of a court order.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said he was satisfied to grant the order after Eircom had said its attitude to the application was neutral. There was no allegation of wrongdoing against Eircom or Google Ireland, the judge said.

The court heard Ferrys has been in the waste business since 2003, and in 2013, a letter containing allegedly defamatory statements against the company was sent toDonegal County Council officials, elected representatives, a government department and national and local media.

The judge was told Eircom will comply with the order within a week.

Lucinda Creighton rules out coalition with just about everybody


None of the four main parties would suit Renua, according to its leader.

Lucinda Creighton has ruled out Renua going into coalition with any of the four main political parties after the next election.

Creighton does not believe her party would be available to support the existing Fine Gael/Labour coalition if it falls short of an overall majority at the next general election.

In an interview with this week, the former Fine Gael minister said that she could not see any circumstances where Renua would be available to “prop-up a government that’s been rejected by the people”.

I just think it’d be very difficult. What we intend to do is publish very clear and very explicit red line issues before the general election and we will only negotiate on that basis and we will only enter government on that basis.

On Fianna Fáil, she said there was no difference between Micheál Martin’s party and her former colleagues in Fine Gael. She described them as “Tweedledum and Tweedledee”.

Creighton added that her party has “nothing in common” with Sinn Féin.

William Butler Yeats silver proof coin launched in Dublin by Central Bank

of Ireland


As a tribute to William Butler Yeats, one of Ireland’s best known poets, playwrights, authors as well as a Nobel Prize winner for literature, the Central Bank of Ireland launched on the 3rd June, their latest collector coin very fittingly at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, which was co-founded by Yeats in 1904. As the portrait of Yeats was seen in the backdrop during the presentation, guests were reminded of the great impact Yeats had on the country’s awareness on national identity and consciousness during the years leading up to an independent Irish state.

William Yeats is credited with making a significant contribution to this achievement through his writings and as the country moves ever close to celebrations marking Ireland’s 100th anniversary of nationhood, the contributions of many of its noteworthy personalities are gaining in importance.

The latest silver proof coin which honors the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great Poet & playwright William B. Yeats.

The coin is pictured along with the previous £20 banknote which was also issued with Yeats’.

Born in 1865 in Dublin, the coin is issued in honor of Yeats’ 150th anniversary of birth and is partly released in tribute to the man whose birth anniversary will not only be celebrated in Ireland but in many countries around the world. Yeats’ plays, poems and stories were translated into many languages not just during his lifetime but almost continuously since their publication, his many works still widely admired internationally.

William B. Yeats was nationally honored in 1980 when his image was included on the £20 banknote. This note remained in circulation until 1992 with the issue of the country’s third and final series. The Punt was replaced with the Euro single currency in 2002.

The launch was opened by Dave Fleming of the Abbey Theatre who welcomed invited guests to the landmark theatre in Dublin. Previously known as the National Theatre, the original structure was badly damaged in a fire in 1951. As a result, the theatre was re-located to another location until 1966 when the Abbey Theatre was rebuilt on its original site and has enjoyed success as one of the city’s premier performance venues since. Mr. Fleming also introduced Des Geraghty, Central Bank Commission Member who hosted the event. Mr. Geraghty spoke admiringly of Yeats by highlighting his many accomplishments in both the literary world as well as service to the Irish state as a new nation.

Mr. Geraghty was happy to remind his audience that Yeats’ special connection with the Bank of Ireland span back to the very early years of Ireland’s independence since Yeats played a significant and influential part on Ireland’s first coinage advisory board and whose recommendation to depict barnyard animals was a suggestion by Yeats himself.

Invited guests were addressed by Simon Harris, Minister of State whose department oversees the issuance of Ireland’s coinage – both circulation and commemorative. Mr. Harris also spoke of Yeats’ contribution to both literature and in service to the nation during the critical early years of statehood. As Yeats was appointed a Senator for two terms in 1923, his connection and contributions to the government were substantial and still remembered.

The coin’s launch was hosted by Central Bank of Ireland Commissioner Des Geratherty who also made presentations of the first three coins produced.

It was pointed out during the evening’s launch that the coin would have not been issued had it not been for the efforts of and a suggestion by current Senator Susan O’Keefe whose constituency includes County Sligo, a part of the country which Yeats had a very close bond with and where his resting place is.

Senator O’Keefe, a great admirer of Yeats and his work highlighted the connection of the Yeats family to County Sligo and also spoke of the influence the region had to both his life and works. Senator O’Keefe was pleased to introduce a short video of poetry verses and short stories entitled “The song of Wandering Aengus” which was narrated by actor Michael Gambon and produced as part of the national celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Yeats’ birth.

Poet Declan Collinge recites some of Yeats’ more well-known works during the launch which delighted his audience.

Included in the evening’s program, was a recital of some of Yeats more well-known and recognizable stories and poems were read by Irish poet Declan Collinge who read both in English and in a very moving moment also in Gaelic much to the sheer delight of invited guests.

Singer Noel O’Grady performs a song synonymous with Yeats’ memory during the launch and receives a rapturous applause from the audience for his rendition of “The stolen Child”

A tribute to Yeats was also performed by award-winning singer Noel O’Grady who performed the song “The stolen Child” composed by Yeats himself while the audience were spell-bound by his emotional and sentimental rendition.

Artist Mary Gregoriy arrives to receive the second strike and describes her latest coin to invited guests.

Commissioner Geraghty then proceeded with presentations of the coin during the event with the first strike being presented to Caitriona Yeats, Granddaughter of William Yeats who accepted the coin on behalf of her family. Ms. Yeats, a concert harpist traveled from Copenhagen, her home to receive the first strike and to represent the Yeats family.

The second strike of the evening was presented to the talented designer of the central Bank’s latest silver coin, the artist Mary Gregoriy, a COTY winner for her James Joyce collector coin who spoke of her inspiration in the design, mentioning his “run-away” poet’s hair which is a feature of the design but also of the birds present on the design and their symbolic meaning to Yeats during his lifetime.

The third strike coin was presented to Fiach MacConghail, the Director of the Abbey Theatre.

The third coin was presented to the Yeats society whose activities include a scholastic program now in its 55th year as well as a comprehensive library where the works of Yeats are read and recited daily. The society is located in county Sligo, where the Yeats has a very close connection with the area.

Simon Harris Minister of State along with Caitriona Yeats and Des Geragherty pose after the presentation with the new silver Yeats coin.

Commissioner Geragherty also took a moment to specially thank the makers of the coin, the Pobjoy Mint and to Taya Pobjoy who was present for the occasion representing the Mint. Ms. Pobjoy took the opportunity to speak with Ms. Yeats as well as meet with Central Bank officials who were present for the presentation. This is the third coin produced by the Pobjoy Mint, the first two are part of the Irish Science and Inventions series introduced last year.

Senator Susan O’Keefe is pictured during the presentation along with Caitroina Yeats, artist Mary Gregoriy and Pobjoy Mint Director Taya Pobjoy with the backdrop of the Yeats promotional placard.

The presentation was concluded with many guests commenting on the jovial approach to Yeats’ portrayal and many in attendance purchasing the coin for their own collection or as a gift. The Central Bank confirmed the very positive reaction from collectors to the coin with an above average level of pre-orders placed. The coin is currently available direct from the Collector coin department of the Central Bank of Ireland.

Dunne’s Stores protest hears calls for a new collective bargaining Bill


Dublin rally attended by about 3,000 hears calls for Government action to help workers

Some people taking part in the protest rally in Dublin on Saturday last in support of a campaign for improved conditions of employment for workers at Dunne’s Stores.

Dunne’s Stores workers have promised to continue their campaign for improved conditions of employment and have called on the Government to introduce planned new legislation on collective bargaining rights without delay.

About 3,000 people took part in a protest rally backed by the trade union movement outside the head office of the retailer in Dublin city centre on Saturday in support of the workers’ campaign.

Staff from more than 100 Dunne’s Stores outlets, who are members of the Mandate trade union, staged a one-day strike just before Easter as part of campaign which seeks secure hours and incomes, job security, fair pay and the right to representation.

Dunne’s Stores has said it does not engage with trade unions. In February it accused Mandate of engineering a row on issues that did not exist to pursue an agenda of securing union representation rights.

Last month Dunne’s Stores granted staff a 3% pay rise. The company has also said that staff has received two other salary increases in recent years.

Mandate said at the time that the retailer would also need to put in place secure, banded hour contracts for staff if the pay rise move was to be “meaningful”.

‘Staff were punished’

Addressing the rally, Dunne’s Stores worker Muireann Dalton said staff had been “punished” for taking part in the recent strike. She said people who had held posts for 20 or 30 years suddenly had been moved to other areas.

She said workers had faced a backlash after the work stoppage and had to hold a march to show Dunne’s Stores management that they were not backing down.

M/s Dalton urged politicians to pass the planned collective bargaining legislation.

“We don’t have to wait on (Dunne’s Stores chief ) Margaret Heffernan to change things for us. We can change the world around Margaret Heffernan,” she said.

“We are not numbers. We are people. We are people who want to earn a decent wage, a living wage. We want to pay our bills. We want to send our children to school. I want to pay for my son to go to college. I want to pay my taxes. I want to work . I want 40-hours per week. I want a wage.”

M/s Dalton urged politicians not to “fob off” workers by delaying the introduction of the collective bargaining legislation until October or November.

“A day in day in Dáil Eireann is a lifetime on a Dunne’s Stores shop floor.”

A shameful low standard.

The general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Patricia King strongly criticised directors of Dunne’s Stores and argued that by any moral measurement, they had descended to a shameful low.

“No human being deserves to be treated in the manner in which you instruct on a regular basis.”

She said Dunne’s Stores used its power to own and control the lives of its workers.

“If those workers do not comply with those demands, they threaten disciplinary action or re-assignment and they deny those workers trade union representation.

Mandate said on Saturday that thousands of workers in Dunne’s Stores “do not know what hours they’ll have on a week-to-week basis and consequently their income can fluctuate from approximately €144 per week to €400 per week. Mandate said workers need certainty of earnings.”

Gerry Light, Mandate assistant general secretary said: “It is totally unacceptable that a local manager in Dunne’s Stores can pick and choose which individual members of staff will be able to provide for their families at the end of a week.

“There are many Dunne’s workers who have been with the company for up to 10 years doing 35 hours per week, only to have their hours slashed overnight and the company then hires new staff on lower wages. This is a complete abuse of power and it must be stopped.”

Healthy profits at Dunne’s?  Mr Light said that Dunne’s Stores generated up to €350 million in profit annually and the owners had accumulated an estimated €1.78 billion in wealth.

“This is not about the inability of Dunne’s to treat their workers fairly; it’s about their unwillingness to do so. Today, Dunne’s workers, members of the wider trade union movement and the public will send a strong message to Dunne’s Stores and all other unscrupulous employers.

“We want decent work and a living wage for all.”

Dunne’s Stores has not commented publicly on its dispute with Mandate. The retailer employs almost 10,000 workers in 114 stores in the Republic of Ireland.

How an escaped lioness in Dublin became world news


Fortune’s Wheel tells the story of a celebrated incident in Fairview Dublin in 1951

Lion tamer Bill Stephens: keep three lions in a cage at the back of a suburban Dublin garage

In our health and safety obsessed age it seems implausible that anybody would keep three lions in a cage at the back of a suburban Dublin garage.

In the early 1950s there was no prohibition in Ireland on keeping wild animals so Bill Stephens kept his lions in a Nissen hut off Merville Avenue, Fairview. He lived in a caravan on site.

Stephens was a lion tamer at a time when they were an integral part of every circus and circuses were big business. Dublin was also world-renowned for breeding lions in captivity especially ones with luxuriant manes – most famously the MGM lion which came from Dublin Zoo.

Stephens would take his lions for a walk on a chain through Fairview Park. At first locals were astonished but they soon became used to it.

On Sunday November 11th, 1951, one of his lionesses escaped from her cage and roamed around Fairview. The incident became world-famous after it was picked up by the Reuters News Agency, the 1950s equivalent of Twitter.

The story of the escaped lioness has been made into a documentary Fortune’s Wheelby filmmaker Joe Lee.

His friend Bill Whelan, who produces the documentary documentary and grew up in the area, was haunted by the folk memory of the incident though he was just a toddler at the time. As a child he dreamt of being eaten by a lion.

The escaped lioness mauled a teenager, Anthony Massey, who was fixing the wheel of a car. “It was a lion,” he told a Radio Éireann reporter. The reporter was puzzled: “I thought it was a lioness?”

Massey replied: “Listen mister, if you were putting up a wheel and something hit you, you wouldn’t care if it was a lion or a lioness.”

Stephens rescued the teenager by hitting the lioness with a lump of horse meat, but she escaped down Merville Avenue. By now news of the incident had spread.

Her owner tried to corner her but the lioness mauled him severely and jumped a high wall just as children were coming out of the local cinema. They had been to see, of all films , Jungle Stampede about a lion mauling a hunter. The children were locked into the cinema.

By this time the Gardaí had arrived. Stephens pleaded with them not to shoot her as “it’s my main source of livelihood”.

He cornered and tried to tame her. She lay down for him, but the lioness was startled by youngsters shouting and jeering. The lioness attacked her trainer and dragged him eight foot with his legs in her mouth. Stephens knew the game was up as the lioness had now scented blood.

She was shot with a Lee Enfield. 303, but it took seven shots to kill her. Later a photograph appeared in the newspapers with dozens of excited children gathered around the dead animal. Many snipped off her hair to take away as souvenirs.

Stephens was taken to Jervis Street Hospital where he was photographed sitting up in bed reading The Irish Times account of the incident.

After he recovered, he was determined to cash in on his fame. He bought himself a notoriously unpredictable lion from Dublin Zoo called Pasha, but Stephens believed the whiff of danger would make his show more popular. His circus act included sticking his head in a lion’s mouth.

He dreamed of making it in the United States. While auditioning for two American visitors, he was killed by Pasha in January 1953. He was just 29. His funeral was attended by the Lord Mayor of Dublin Alfie Byrne and much of the Irish showbiz and circus fraternity at that time.


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