News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Saturday/Sunday 11th & 12th June 2016.

Why ‘Brexit’ really matters to the half a million Irish living in Britain


Irish people ‘have a good thing going’ in London and are ‘better off in a connected world’, according to a Dubliner who was recently voted Chef of The Year and runs four of the hottest restaurants in the British capital.

Chef Robin Gill and his wife Sarah – who works with him in their restaurants – believe a ‘Leave’ vote in Brexit could seriously affect their business.

‘Why we’re voting to remain’ – ‘Chef of The Year’ Irishman and owner of four London restaurants

“It looks like the economy could take a big hit if the vote is for leave. But more importantly for us, we employ over 60 people and a lot of them are from all over the EU,” Robin told

“What happens if Britain votes to leave? Will they need work visas? Will they have to go home? London needs talented people to come here from all over the world, I really hope the vote is for staying in.

“We’ve lost really good people with the visa situation in Australia and Canada. I can’t imagine what it would do to our business,” he continued.

“We’re doing well, the economy is doing well, we’re better off in a connected, globalised world. We’re voting Remain”.

Brexit is the biggest political decision to face the UK in four decades – should they stay or should they go?

Upwards of half a million Irish citizens could have a big say on the referendum – on whether Britain should remain in the European Union – on June 23rd.

The Irish living in the UK are in a virtually unique position – they are the second biggest migrant group, standing at around 500,000 and only outnumbered by the 800,000 Poles.

And, due to the historical quirk which sees us still counted amongst former commonwealth or Empire dominions, only the Irish, Cypriots and Maltese get to vote in the referendum.

Irish economists, businessmen and politicians have already had their say, with Enda Kenny causing a bit of a stir when he arrived in London for a Mayo GAA game recently and took the chance to remind the Irish in the UK to vote ‘Remain’.

Bob Geldof and Michael O’Leary of Ryanair have also been loud pro-EU voices.

‘We don’t have a negative view of the EU like the Brits do’ – Irishman and owner of London pop-up bar Six Yard Box5

The Irish in London today are different from their parents and grandparents generation, those who came in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, often with low skills and low expectations.

The New London Irish are typically young, very well-educated and making the most of the city’s booming, globalised economy.

For Irish entrepreneurs like Seb O’Driscoll, a 35-year-old Corkman who runs The Six Yard Box, a hip, pop-up sports bar in Elephant & Castle, there’s no doubt how most Irish will vote.

“The Irish are everywhere in London, and most love it for being a multi-cultural city with huge diversity and a real international feel,” says Seb.

“The sense I get, from guys coming into the bar here, from my friends and the Irish you meet, they’ll all be voting remain. We don’t have a negative view of the EU in the way a lot of Brits do. And we don’t know what’s going to the happen to the economy if we leave”.

UK Chef of The Year Robin reiterated Seb’s comments and said the opportunities for Irish in London are endless.

“I’ve tried to leave eight or nine times and then another opportunity comes across. From that point, it’s just uncontrollable,” he said.

Brexit: The issues Ireland faces if Britain leaves the EU

If Brexit is the result of the referendum, there will be many unknowns for Ireland both economic and geopolitical.

One of the big issues for Ireland will be how the Republic and North of the country interact with the re-establishment of borders a possibility that has already been highlighted by British chancellor George Osborne.

Not since the long-fought for peace process has this issue arisen and we don’t know what the outcome would be.

From an economic perspective, while Ireland’s dependence on the UK as a trade partner has waned in the most recent past, depending on what kind of trade deal Britain would establish with the EU then that could have repercussions here.

Currently the UK, like other member states, has access to 500m people through the single market.

However, the remain side argues that there’s no guarantees that any kind of free trade agreement between the UK and the EU would be an option if Brexit were the outcome.

One of the upsides of a Brexit, of course, would be a likely influx of foreign direct investment with our low 12.5pc corporation tax rate already attractive for multinationals.

On the flip side, the spotlight is on Ireland’s tax treatment of many of these firms and if, for example, Donald Trump was elected US president he has already warned that countries like Ireland are outsmarting the US and taking jobs by attracting American firms here and he has vowed to stop this.

Investigation under way into discovery of ‘angel dust’ in cattle

Department of Agriculture confirms positive test result for illegal growth hormone clenbuterol


The Department of Agriculture is investigating a case of alleged unauthorised use of the illegal growth-promoting drug clenbuterol, or angel dust, in cattle.

The Department of Agriculture is investigating a case of alleged unauthorised use of the illegal growth-promoting drug clenbuterol, or angel dust, in cattle.

It confirmed the investigation followed a positive test result for one animal in a random sample but would not identify the location of the farm from which it had come.

The Sunday Times reported that a farm in Monaghan was under investigation and that the animal had been slaughtered at a meat processing plant.

Investigators are understood to be attempting to identify and trace products in which meat from the animal had been used.

In a statement, the department said the random sample was taken as part of the National Residue Control Programme, which tests sheep, pigs, cattle and poultry across the State to ensure they have not been given drugs that may be dangerous if consumed.

The department said it had placed all animals on the farm under restriction pending the completion of the investigation.

“The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is fully aware of the case and has concluded that there is no risk to public health from meat that is on the market.”


A single isolated incidence of the use of clenbuterol was uncovered during sampling in 2011 – the first time it had been found since 1999.

On that occasion, two beef cattle tested positive for the banned hormone during an investigation on a farm in Co Monaghan.

The farm was being investigated by customs officials looking into alleged diesel laundering when evidence of the substance was discovered.

The National Residue Control Programme is a component of the State’s food safety controls and is implemented under a service contract with the FSAI.

More than 19,000 samples were tested in 2014, across all eight food-producing species as well as milk, eggs and honey.

Just 42 (0.2%) out of 19,095 samples tested in 2014 were positive. The results were comparable to those returned in 2013, 2012 and 2011.

Last year the department said the “consistently low levels” of positive samples reflected the responsible approach adopted by the vast majority of farmers.

“The extensive testing under the NRCP indicates the absence of illegal administration of banned growth promoting hormones and other banned substances to food-producing animals in Ireland, ” it said publishing figures for the NRCP last year.

“Overall the small number of positives detected related mainly to residues of authorised medicines.”

Big upsurge in judgments and repossessions feared as ‘vulture funds’ close in on debtors


More than €4bn worth of court-ordered debts have been registered against 3,243 borrowers since 2010, with Danske Bank obtaining the largest value in judgments once non-bank entities such as Nama and the former Anglo Irish Bank are excluded.

Danske tops the league of banks pursuing Irish debtors in the courts.

Danske obtained almost €56m in registered judgments against 110 debtors in the first five months of the year alone according to credit agency Stubbs Gazette.

Danske was followed by Allied Irish Bank which obtained judgments valued at just over €38m against 34 debtors in the same period.

Since 2010, toxic loans agency Nama, which last week reported profits of €1.8bn in 2015, obtained just under €1bn judgments against 34 borrowers.

The agency’s annual report shows that it generated €9.1bn in cash during 2015, with €8.5bn coming from asset disposals.

It has registered judgments of almost €682m against 814 borrowers since 2010.

Bank of Ireland has pursued a larger number of borrowers (957) during that time, although the value of judgments is significantly less, at some €377.42m

State-owned AIB has pursued 523 borrowers since 2010, securing judgments valued at €422.43m, followed by Ulster Bank which secured judgments valued at some €344m against 211 debtors.

James Treacy, CEO of Stubbs Gazette, said that he anticipates a “huge upsurge” in judgments and repossessions over the coming years as vulture funds move on distressed borrowers whose loans it has bought.

The so-called “vulture funds” own over 40,000 principal homes and investment properties here in Ireland.

It is understood that a fifth of mortgages sold to ‘non-bank’entities are in arrears.

To date, only two judgments valued at 1.8m were secured by one such fund, Goldman Sachs, through Ennis Property Finance, one of its special purpose vehicles, according to Stubbs data.

However, this is expected to rise now that loans are being actively managed.

“The funds have a reputation for being very tough but pragmatic when it comes to doing deals,” said Mr Treacy.

“Presently it would appear that their preferred approach is to negotiate deals outside the courts but that is not to say that this will not change if they are not achieving their forecasted return on investment.

“If their pre-legal strategies are not profitable I would expect to see a huge upsurge in both judgments and repossessions over the coming years.”

David Hall, Director of the Irish Mortgage Holders Association, said that borrowers including professionals such as lawyers, doctors and accountants whose loans have been transferred to vulture funds have been operating under a “false sense of security” for the last 18 months.

“It will be carnage,” said Mr Hall, who said dealing with vulture funds will be a “nightmare” for many borrowers.

“It’s like fighting with Conor McGregor with your hands tied behind your back”.

As much as 4,500 diagnosed with diabetes every week, warns a charity


Every week 4,500 people are diagnosed with diabetes across the UK, the charity Diabetes UK has said.  it said that in the last year 235,000 people have been diagnosed with the condition.

The figures, released to mark Diabetes Week, highlight the scale of the “crisis” surrounding the illness, charity chief executive Chris Askew said.

He warned that many people are not aware of the seriousness of the condition.

“This Diabetes Week we are setting the record straight and focusing on the realities of living with the condition,” said Mr Askew.

“There is still a lack of understanding when it comes to people being aware of the seriousness of diabetes and this worries us at Diabetes UK.

“There are over four million people living with the condition in the UK. The fact that 4,500 people will discover they have diabetes over the next seven days is deeply concerning, and highlights the current scale of the crisis.

“Diabetes Week is a time to share our concerns about the scale and seriousness of diabetes, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to highlight that with the right healthcare, support and management, diabetes doesn’t have to hold anyone back.”

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. There are two forms of the condition – Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce insulin. Around one in 10 people with diabetes have Type 1 and it usually affects children or young adults.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin produced does not work properly. Type 2 diabetes is linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight.

If diabetes is not properly managed it can lead to serious consequences such as sight loss, limb amputation , kidney failure and stroke.

This is how Nasa thought we would be living in 2100


IF you believe that dreams of moving to another planet to escape to impending doom of our dying Earth is something knew, then you’re wrong.

Nasa thought we would be living in outer space by 2100

Recently resurfaced images shows how in 1975, space agency Nasa thought we would be living in 2100.

Illustrations commissioned by the US agency, and carried out by Don Davis and Rick Guidiceto, show several different concepts of how humans might live in the now-near future.

Following 10 weeks of research, led by Princeton professor Gerard O’Neill, the team came up with three possible scenarios as to how we might be living at the end of the century.

One idea is the Cylindrical Colony which would be similar to that shown in the 2014 Christopher Nolan movie Interstellar could be home for up to one million people.

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Another idea is the Bernal Sphere which would be a structure rotating around a large spacecraft and finally the Toroidal Colony.

All three of the designs had artificial gravity that was created from centrifugal force, and powered by solar energy.

Professor O’Neill had hoped that work on these structures would begin in the 1990s, but that time has passed without it happening, and he has since passed away.

  1. Artificial greenery was also a concept
  2. The colony might have looked cylindrical
  3. A circular tunnel may have revolved around Earth

However, Nasa contractor and space settlement expert Dr Al Globus said that it will be possible to do so in the future.

He said: “Whether it will happen or not is really hard to say. Whether it can happen, absolutely.

“If we as a people decide to do it, we can do it. We have the scientific capability, financial capability, there is simply no question we can do it.

“In two or three decades we might have a couple of small hotels [in orbit], and people moving in on a regular basis.

“All that is on a time scale measured in decades, or in the worst case centuries.”


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