News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Monday 2nd May 2016

Richmond Barracks Dublin becomes the permanent reminder of Irish Rising 100 years on

Courts martial of rebels took place at the Inchicore site


Sarah Morris and Robbie O’Connor performing for Sabina Higgins, Dublin Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh and Joan Burton at the opening of Richmond Barracks.

One hundred years to the day that 1916 rebel leaders were court martialled at Richmond Barracks in Dublin, their relatives attended the reopening of the site as a tourist attraction.

The barracks in Inchicore has been designated one of the nine so-called permanent reminders” of the Rising and has been redeveloped by Dublin City Council as part of the Ireland 2016 centenary programme.

It will open next month as an interactive multimedia centre which will trace the story of the site from military barracks, to housing estate, to school. It also has a tea room and landscaped garden area.

Tours will incorporate the adjacent Goldenbridge cemetery, which will be open to the public for the first time.

More than 3,000 people, including the leaders, were rounded up and taken to the barracks for processing in the days following the Rising. Pádraig Pearse, Thomas McDonagh, and Thomas Clarke were among those court martialled on Tuesday, May 2nd, 1916, in the gymnasium.

Those in attendance at Monday’s reopening included the family of former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave.

Sabina Higgins, wife of President Michael D Higgins, was guest of honour and the event was also attended by Tánaiste Joan Burton and British ambassadorDominick Chilcott.

Relatives of the 77 women who were held at the barracks were also in attendance and their names were recited as part of the Flames Not Flowers performance art project.

Christina McLoughlin, from Dublin, said her uncle Sean McLoughlin and aunt Mary McLoughlin, then aged just 15, had been in the GPO during the Rising.

Their brother Paddy was in the Four Courts although it had proven harder to get information about him.

Deirdre Ní Enruigh, also from Dublin, said both her grandfathers had fought in 1916. Her mother’s father, John “Blimey” O’Connor, had come over from London in January 1916. Her paternal grandfather, Frank Henderson, captain of the F Company, came to the GPO from Fairview on the morning of the Rising.

The executive chair of Richmond Barracks, Eadaoin Ní Chléirigh, said the site had been part of the community in Inchicore for more than 200 years and had “a huge significance in Ireland’s national history”. The redevelopment by the city council, Purcell Construction and conservation architects Blackwood Associates with Margaret Quinlan Architects had been a “labour of love”.

Calls for increase in rent supplement to address the Irish homelessness issues



      An immediate increase of 28% in rent supplement is required in order to prevent more families from becoming homeless, campaigner Fr Peter McVerry (above middle pic.) said.

He was addressing the annual May Day parade, organised by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, in the city centre yesterday.

Several hundred trade unionists and activists marched under their banners from the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square to Liberty Hall, where they were addressed by a number of speakers urging changes to employment legislation to protect workers’ rights.

Fr McVerry told the crowd that when the figures became available, they would show that while the political parties had been trying to form a government, some 200 families and about 300 individuals would have become homeless. “There is no sense of urgency, no sense of priority about dealing with this hugely critical problem at the moment.”

Over the next two weeks another 150 emergency beds would be taken out of the system, he said. “And they don’t know where they are going to go. They may very well end up, many of them, back sleeping on the streets.”

Emergency legislation was also required to prevent banks and financial institutions evicting people from their homes until they had found alternative suitable accommodation.

Fr McVerry said compulsory purchase orders were required for empty buildings to allow them to be used for family accommodation. He urged the incoming government to discuss the barriers to any such policy.

Marching with former employees of Clerys department store, which closed suddenly last year after its sale to a consortium, Siptu organiser Teresa Hannick said their campaign for changes to employment legislation was continuing.

“They are here to make sure no other worker has to go through what they went through,” she said. Chanting ‘justice for the Clerys workers’, the group stopped briefly outside the shuttered store on O’Connell Street.

Gerry Markey, speaking on behalf of the workers at the rally outside Liberty Hall, welcomed reports that the government had opened an investigation into the closure and sale last year which led to the immediate sacking of 460 staff.

Pat Bolger, of the DCTU, spoke about injustices in the healthcare system. He said the Impact union had warned the Government that its proposals for universal healthcare were unworkable. “When will anybody in power listen to the real experts – the staff, the workers, their unions and the patients?”

Former Ictu president John Douglas, speaking on behalf of Tesco workers, said their recent ballot for strike action over planned changes to their pay and conditions, was the answer to any employer who thought it could “roll over” workers without any regard to trade unions.

Activists and trade unionists marched under banners for Mandate, Siptu, the CPSU, Labour Youth, Unite, Anti-Austerity Alliance, People Before Profit, Irish Housing Network, Labour Youth, DCTU, Limerick Soviet, Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Please do not link Irish wage demand rises to housing inflation?

Say’s IBEC

   Comparison of final transaction price to initial list price, 2010-2016  

                                                IBEC boss Danny McCoy

Business employers’ group IBEC has insisted it does not want wage demands linked in any way to house price increases even as unions eye a return to a social partnership pay model.

An IBEC spokesman also told the Irish Independent that the group does not envisage a return to centralised wage agreements, and that for the “foreseeable future” wage agreements will continue to be thrashed out at an enterprise level.

IBEC boss Danny McCoy and the head of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Patricia King, have held meetings in recent weeks amid increasing unrest as workers from companies including Luas operator Transdev, Irish Rail and Tesco push for pay increases.

But while weekend reports suggested that the talks might pre-empt a wider shift towards returning to social partnership, an IBEC spokesman said that the business group has always held talks with unions.

“We don’t always see eye to eye, but it’s never the case that we don’t talk to each other,” he said.

He added that while IBEC is cognisant of the pressure being put on employees as a result of the housing shortage, he said the issue is equally of concern to employers.

He said that any attempt to link wage increases to rising home prices would be a step towards “repeating mistakes of the past”.

“One of the big mistakes of the boom years was the awarding of significant pay increases that did not accurately reflect the underlying health of individual businesses or the economy as a whole,” Mr McCoy told the IBEC CEO conference less than two weeks ago.

Housing starts have remained near record low levels, with the pace of construction significantly short of demand. Builders have had to fund more of construction projects themselves, while the new mortgage rules are also impacting the market.

By the middle of 2014, house prices in Dublin had risen by 40pc since the beginning of 2013. But property group Daft said that house price inflation slowed to 0.9pc in the first quarter of this year as the new mortgage rules bit. However, it said that in Dublin there are just 27 homes for sale for every 10,000 people, compared to 62 for every 10,000 elsewhere in the country.

Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union have threatened possible strike action at Irish Rail if the company refuses to “meaningfully” engage on wage demands.

A new drug called Hsp90 inhibitor could treat resistant prostate cancers

New Drugs May Treat Lethal Resistant Prostate Cancers: Study  

Men with lethal prostate cancer that has stopped responding to conventional treatment could potentially benefit from a new class of medicines designed to overcome drug resistance, a new study suggests.

The drugs, called Hsp90 inhibitors, which are already in clinical trials for several types of cancer, specifically target and inactivate a mechanism commonly used by prostate cancer cells to evade the effects of standard treatment, the findings showed.

The research team found that the drugs countered the effect of malfunctions in the androgen receptor, which often occur in resistance to hormone treatments.

Prostate tumours rely on male hormones called androgens to grow and spread, and blocking androgen receptors can be an effective treatment.

“We have demonstrated for the first time that Hsp90 inhibitors can block the production of the most common abnormal androgen receptors that cause many prostate cancers to stop responding to current treatments,” said study co-leader Johann de Bono, professor at The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

“These drugs are already in clinical trials for several types of cancer, and I am excited that our work suggests they could also benefit men with prostate cancer who have otherwise run out of treatment options,” he noted.

The study was published in the journal Cancer Research. The researchers investigated the effect of the drugs on human cancer cells.

Hsp90 inhibitors are among several innovative new types of treatment designed to attack cancer indirectly, by destabilising multiple different proteins required for the growth and survival of cancer cells.

By destroying several cancer signals at once, they are designed to make it hard for cancers to escape the effects of treatment, giving them promise as potential ‘resistance-busting’ drugs.
“These drugs can hit cancer harder than those targeting only one protein, and look promising for preventing or overcoming drug resistance,” study co-leader Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said.

New opportunities have to be seized in the context of changing our climate.

Humans have managed to change the atmosphere on a global scale, and as a result the planet is warming up


Protesters against climate change pretending to be dead outside a Paris hotel last week where the International Petrol Summit was taking place.

It is hard to imagine there is anyone left who still questions climate change or that the altered weather patterns and global warming we are experiencing are not a consequence of human activity.

Surprisingly the doubters are out there and in considerable numbers unfortunately. They are happy to believe that humans have nothing to do with the changes we see in the seasons and in the shrinking Arctic Sea ice cover or the melting of the Antarctic peninsula.

So how do the climate-change deniers persist in the face of an overwhelming volume of scientific research that shows we are causing climate change?

A study by Trinity College Dublin and University of Exeter of 16,000 publications about climate change by 19 major think tanks over the 15-year period to 2013 showed a marked increase in attacks on research findings.

“Our data suggest that the era of climate-chance denial is not over,” says Trinity’s Prof Constantine Boussalis, who with colleagues published their findings last February in Global Environmental Change.

A recent study from the University of Queensland’s Global Change Instituteand other international colleagues writing in Environmental Research Lettersdescribes assessing tens of thousands of research papers on climate change. This is one of a number of studies that comes to the same conclusion. There is no room left for confusion about this issue; collectively humans have managed to change the atmosphere on a global scale, and as a result the planet is warming up.

The researchers found that 97% of climate scientists agree with this view. There is no uncertainty. There is no doubt. One wonders how the doubters come to their conclusions in the face of such certainty. The Queensland study was conducted to provide yet another proof – as if any more were needed – that scientists have reached a very high level of consensus on this issue.

And it isn’t just the scientists. The UN climate conference in Paris last December got 195 nations to agree to act in the face of global warming, to take action on controlling carbon release into the atmosphere, and to sign a treaty as a binding agreement to respond to the threat.

Why was the study needed given it just repeated what other studies had found?

Because the deniers who would seek to cause confusion over human-induced climate change are doing a better job at getting their message out to the people than the science lobby. They have stirred up enough doubt to make the public believe that disagreement persists amongst scientists.

The deniers claim there are valid, natural reasons for warming other than human activity so there is no need to change anything we are doing.

Theirs is a more comforting message – you don’t have to change anything, you can continue to drive your 5-litre SUV the half kilometre to the supermarket.

The result is widespread scepticism in the US and Australia, the authors say. Only 12% of people in the US are aware of the high level of scientific consensus, and the figure in Australia is 15%.

The door has already closed on this one but only a fraction of people heard the catch click on doubts over climate change.

The shadowy groups determined to keep doubts in place continue their nefarious work so who cares? Irish business innovators should.

It may be a bit of that silver lining in a deeply grey cloud, but companies here will have to adjust to an altered climate reality. This will open up newopportunities for those involved in a wide range of businesses, for example engineering companies, construction, consultants, and agriculture.

People will be looking for help and services that can provide answers for problems that arise, for example dealing with flooding risks, finding ways to guarantee water supplies, being able to cope with a wetter, hotter, stormier or drier climate or all of these depending on how it emerges in Ireland.

Now is the time to be developing ways to respond. Climate change will throw up problems but also advantages. It will come down to research and the work of scientists, technologists, engineers and not to mention meteorologists.

And stop laughing if someone jokes about the notion of Irish wineries. They already exist. We are officially listed as a wine-producing country by theEuropean Commission. We have three vineries in Co Cork, two in Mallow and one in Kinsale. There is a winery in Cappoquin, Co Waterford, and in Lusk, Co Dublin.

With our evolving climate innovation will be needed in many disciplines, with its delivery only a matter of research away.


Comments are closed.