Tuesday 21st July 2015
We have files on suspected jihadis in Ireland
says Charlie Flanagan
He warns Ireland must remain vigilant against terror attacks
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan
Ireland needs to “remain vigilant” against Islamic State says Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan, who admitted files were being kept on suspected jihadis in this country. The senior Fine Gael politician made the comments a week after gardaí released a man on suspicion of attempting to travel to Syria to join ISIS.
The man, who is a Syrian national living in Dublin, was sent back to Ireland by Turkish officials after he landed in Instanbul.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Flanagan said while Ireland was “very low in terms of threat”, the country needed to remain on “alert and be vigilant against threats.”
“There are files on jihadis in Ireland, of course there are… [but] I work closely with my colleagues in the Justice Department to ensure that any information we have is shared.”
Mr Flanagan was speaking a day after attending a meeting of EU foreign ministers, where recent terror developments, including the deadly attacks in Tunisia that left three Irish people died, were discussed.
It comes as the Turkish government has promised to increase security on its Syria border after 30 people were killed and over 100 wounded in a bombing yesterday linked to ISIS.
The Foreign Affairs Minister told Newstalk Breakfast that the Radicalisation Awareness Network – part of the European Commission – and the sharing of airline passenger data was an important part of the process of preventing any jihad-inspired attack in Ireland.
He also voiced support for the United Kingdom’s new anti-terror legalisation saying that “it was key that we remain in close contact with communities in order to prevent what we call radicalisation”.
“We need to remove the glamour that many of these groups have… and that involves the promotion of the rule of law and democracy… something I think we take for granted here in Ireland.”
Value of court judgments against consumers rises by 41% on 2014
Irish courts award more than €200 million in judgments against bad debtors
More than €200 million was awarded in court judgments against consumers in the first half of this year, according to figures from business and credit risk analyst vision-net.ie.
The value of consumer judgments awarded amounted to €202.8 million, which is a 41% increase compared to the same period in 2014.
The average value of consumer judgments during the first six months of 2015 was €119,879, an increase of 33% or €29,925, on the same period in 2014.
In total, 1,692 judgments were awarded against consumers in the first six months of 2015, a 6% increase on the same period in 2014. More than half (52%) of all consumer judgments were awarded to the Revenue Commissioners.
The value of judgments against commercial entities declined, down 25%, from €22.9 million to €17.2 million.The average value of commercial judgments awarded for the first half of 2015 was €27,911, a decrease of 23% or €8,428 reduction, on 2014’s equivalent figure of €36,339.
Of the 616 commercial judgments awarded in the first half of 2015, 256 were awarded to local authorities.
Leitrim nursing home residents forced to go without bath/shower for weeks
Says a HIQA report
Residents in HSE-run nursing home were forced to go without a bath or shower for a month or more because of staff shortages, a damning inspection report has revealed.
St Patrick’s Community Hospital in Summerhill, Carrick-on-Shannon in Leitrim is home to eighty two residents over the age of 65 years, some of whom have dementia or are receiving palliative care.
However, shocked inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) found a litany of risks and poor standards of care when they visited over two days in March.
Residents were only offered a shower once every two weeks but on occasions when they declined a bath or shower , or if there were no staff available on that particular day, they had to go for a month or longer without a proper wash.
The report revealed:
* Fire safety equipment had not been installed as per HSE’s response to previous actions.
* There were a significant number of falls in this centre and some residents had fallen repeatedly and were not adequately protected from further injury.
* In one unit the fire, doors were not connected to the fire alarm system and there was no magnetic door release them to ensure they closed and compartmentalised in the event of a fire. In addition; there were gaps in-between some fire doors that had existed since previous inspection, despite assurances that they would be addressed.
* Risks such as fire evacuation and personal evacuation plans were not in place
* Fire safety equipment had not been installed as per provider’s response to previous actions.
The inspectors found that since the last inspection some improvements had been made.For example; in two of the units staffing levels had been increased so that adequate staffing was available at the high support need times
But there was no activities coordinator available to organise activities for residents.There were not sufficient staff with the right skills, qualifications and experience to meet the assessed needs of residents.
They also found that medication practices were not adequately supervised to ensure they were done safety.
More women in Irish politics is long overdue
says Tánaiste Burton
The Tánaiste has said that the day Ireland has more women in politics is ‘long overdue’.
Joan Burton was responding to former senior Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery, who told MacGill Summer School it’s ‘difficult’ for young men in the political arena who are ‘pushed aside’ in favour of female candidates.
Mr Flannery said some male candidates feel ‘aggrieved’ by the quotas – but he said that he does support them.
Tánaiste Joan Burton said that the quotas benefit both men and women, and they should not be regarded as anything other than positive.
“I think it’s good for everybody to have a critical mass of both women and men involved in politics. I think the day is long overdue in Ireland when we have more women in politics, and I’m sure Frank Flannery is very strongly in favour of that,” said the Tánaiste.
Divers recover four Spanish Armada cannons from Streedagh sea in Grange
Three more guns off Sligo coast to be brought ashore after lying submerged for 400 years.
One of the newly discovered cannon from the Spanish Armada shipwrecks in Streedagh is brought ashore and set down for a brief public viewing in Mullaghmore Co Sligo,
Two hundred locals gathered at Mullaghmore harbour in Co Sligo on Monday as four bronze cannons that had lain for more than 400 years in a Spanish Armada wreck at Streedagh were transferred to the National Museum.
As onlookers marveled at the detail on the artefacts, including one cannon apparently depicting a bearded St Peter holding the keys to heaven, it emerged that three more will be removed on Wednesday by divers from the underwater archaeology unit of the Department of Arts and Heritage.
One of these cannons is still in situ on the seabed at Streedagh where three Spanish Armada galleons were shipwrecked in 1588. Two others were recovered by divers in recent days from the wreck of La Julianaat Streedagh. They were placed in underwater storage in Mullaghmore pending transfer to the National Museum.
A campaign to establish a permanent Armada museum in Grange village close to Streedagh is gathering momentum. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys, who visited the site of the wrecks in June said she was very much aware that the Grange Armada Development Association would like to see the material returned to the community to be exhibited locally when the conservation work was done.
“I know that the National Museum would not stand in the way of such a proposal,” added the Minister, who pointed out that it could take up to two years for the conservation process to be completed.
Donal Gilroy, a member of the local association, pointed out that as well as the canons, recently recovered artefacts included a bronze cauldron and a wheel from a siege gun. He said local people were acutely aware of the link with the 1,100 Spanish sailors who had lost their lives at Streedagh in 1588. “This is their graveyard,” he said.
The expert divers who were called in after local people recovered timbers from La Juliana following a violent storm last February, say the variety of artefacts illustrates its history.
Built as a trading vessel in 1570, it was later used as a warship during the ill-fated Spanish Armada campaign of 1588. The 860-ton La Juliana , which carried 325 soldiers and a crew of 70, was one of 26 ships from the Spanish fleet of 130 vessels that were lost around the coast of Ireland.
Two other Armada ships, La Lavia and Santa Maria de Vison are submerged in sand at Streedagh, but locals have expressed concern about the security of La Juliana, which has been partly exposed by storms .
Ms Humphreys described the quality of material being recovered as remarkable. “The gun carriage wheels, designed for siege warfare on land, paint a very clear picture of the scale and intent of the planned invasion ofEngland by King Phillip II of Spain, ” she said.
The most elaborate of the recovered cannon depicting St Peter has two ornate lifting handles in the form of dolphins with looped tails.
The Minister thanked the local development association and Sligo Sub-Aqua Club for maintaining a watch over the site at Streedagh.
Donal Gilroy pointed out that just 12 of the 32 cannon on La Juliana had been recovered so far – three in 1985, two last June, four on Monday, with three more due to be removed from the sea on Wednesday.
Making the case for a permanent museum in Grange, Mr Gilroy added: “If you wanted a centre for the Cliffs of Moher, there would be no point having it in Merrion Square.”
Stephen Hawking backs new initiative to find life beyond Earth
A new $100 million initiative, backed by a Russian entrepreneur and endorsed by physicist Stephen Hawking, has been launched in search of intelligent life beyond planet Earth.
Billionaire Yuri Milner announced his plans on Monday to fund the “Breakthrough Initiatives” project, a 10-year mission using powerful telescopes to examine nearly 100 galaxies for signals of intelligent life forms.
“Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps intelligent life may be watching these lights of ours, aware of what they mean,” Hawking said at the launch. “It’s time to commit to finding the answer to search for life beyond earth.”
The primary goal of “Breakthrough Listen” is banking on another potential civilization to send a signal that can be retrieved by the high-powered telescopes.
Some are saying this type of search for extraterrestrial life forms is not an entirely new venture. “I don’t think it’s all that big of a deal,” NBC contributor Jay Barbree said on Tuesday’s Rundown. “$100 million dollars isn’t all that much money when they’re already spending billions on it now.”
Barabree added that there are a slew of educational institutions and nationally-funded organizations, including NASA, dedicated to the same mission that Milner and Hawking are backing: finding life beyond Earth.
The push for the program from Hawking and the “Breakthrough Initiatives” team aims to reinvigorate that search by not only combing the galaxies, but by creating an international dialogue. Another aspect of the project, called “Breakthrough Message,” will launch an international competition with a $1 million prize to do just that—to create messages that best represent life on Earth to one day be used as a signal to other potential civilizations.
Barbree worries that the biggest factor is time, given that it could take years to send and receive signals from far away galaxies. Still, he acknowledges the importance of exploration.
“We have to get off this planet. When? That’s the big question,” Barbree said.
All data generated by “Breakthrough Initiatives” will be made available to the public.