News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Tuesday 2nd August 2016

Getting deposit back an issue for ‘60% of renters in Ireland’, USI says

Student lobby in campaign to tackle issue of landlords withholding money


UCD campus in Belfield. A campaign to tackle the issue of landlords withholding tenants’ deposits will be launched by the USI.

A campaign to tackle the issue of landlords withholding tenants’ deposits will be launched today by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

The USI said almost 60% of renters experience difficulties getting their deposit back.

As part of its Homes for Study campaign, the union will announce a partnership with deposit management service Deposify.

The company is backed by Bank of Ireland and, according to its founder, John Bayle, “gives landlords and tenants a joint account for rental deposits, and lets them manage and control how and when deposits are paid and resolve deposit-related disputes”.

Deposit management

USI president Annie Hoey said: “Last year, Ireland saw many problems in the accommodation sector, but this year USI is at the forefront of finding solutions to these problems, and a deposit management service with Deposify is a perfect solution for deposit disputes.”

The USI is urging anyone with spare rooms to rent them out to students. It will relaunch its website, which links students with landlords who can lease rooms to students during the college term tax free up to €12,000 annually.

According to, there is 40% less rental space available compared with last year while rents have increased by over 8% nationally.

Trinity College and UCD last week launched an accommodation campaign in Dublin to encourage homeowners to provide student digs.

The project will include blogs of students’ positive experiences in digs which will be posted online as an encouragement for potential landlords.

The universities said they hope to create several hundred new bed spaces for students in a matter of weeks.

About 2,000 accommodation places at DIT’s new Grangegorman site should be in place by 2018, along with 280 beds at Trinity’s Oisín House on-campus accommodation project.

Sharp increase in number of women dying from alcohol related illness

Half of people admitted to hospital with acute alcohol hepatitis die, says Prof Frank Murray


A new trend is emerging of younger women running into problems with alcohol, a liver specialist has said.

Prof Frank Murray of Beaumont Hospital and president of Royal College of Physicians in Ireland has warned that Irish people are underestimating how much they drink and the harm it can cause.

Three Irish people die every day as a result of alcohol abuse. Previously these would have been mostly older men drinking heavily in pubs on a regular basis.

However in recent times there has been a huge increase in the number of women being admitted to hospital and dying from liver failure, Prof Murray says.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Prof Murray said, “Commonly they are in their 40s, less commonly in their 30s and sometimes over 40s as well.

“We’ve seen a big change in deaths due to alcohol from being mainly older men to being much more gender balanced and much younger people.”

He said this change has come about because in Ireland and in the UK, most alcohol is now consumed at home rather than in the pub.

“What happens is people buy wine and in some cases people drink half a bottle a night several times during the week and a bottle each day at the weekends. That’s enough to cause liver failure.

  What is considered a safe level of weekly drinking?

“The awful thing is that people frequently have no premonition or warning that they’re going to develop liver failure, and to die as a result of alcohol because the vast majority of people who develop cirrhosis, develop liver failure, haven’t got symptoms before the crisis, and the life threatening component develops.”

Blood tests not precise?

He said that blood tests are not very precise and can often pick up the effects of alcohol rather than alcohol damage.

“The sad fact is we don’t have a great test of impending liver failure or impending advanced damaged leading to cirrhosis and liver death. Any abnormality should be a very serious warning to patients if they’re drinking substantially.

“Unfortunately many people with advanced liver disease will have relatively normal blood tests of the liver.”

Prof Murray said the single most important treatment is to stop consuming alcohol completely.

“There are two components, cirrhosis and the inflammatory component which will fade away if they stop drinking.

“Unfortunately when people get admitted to hospital with acute alcohol hepatitis – half of them die. Frequently that’s their first presentation. They die during that first admission, that’s the first that they know they’re in trouble.

“That’s part of the problem, people don’t identify any symptoms, they’re not out of breath, running out of energy, there’s nothing that they will recognise as specific. Interestingly people who drink heavily feel terrible all the time, that’s the alcohol, rather than the liver disease component of it.

“The majority of people who present with liver failure have not had antecedent symptoms which are attributable to the liver failure itself.”

“Unfortunately many patients who present will die in their initial presentation, or they are in hospital for a very long time with complex problems related to their liver failure.”

Prof Murray said the patients would not make it to liver transplant stage because the liver disease is too severe to get them over the six month period of abstinence that’s required for liver transplant.

He described it a complex and high mortality illness.

“There is a recklessness to it, most people underestimate how much alcohol they consume, by as much as 61%. There is a huge amount of under estimation of what they drink and of the risk.”

Tesco under pressure from Dunne’s as SuperValu remains Ireland’s top grocer


SuperValu has retained its position as the country’s biggest grocery retailer, with Dunnes Stores continuing to put pressure on Tesco for the number two spot, according to new data this morning from research group Kantar Worldpanel.

The survey also shows that the Euro 2016 championship boosted grocery sales here by 3.3% as fans stocked up on booze, soft drinks and snacks.

SuperValu, the brand owned by Cork’s Musgrave Group, had a 22.5% share of Ireland’s multi-billion euro grocery market in the 12 weeks ended July 17.

That was ahead of the 21.9% share held by Tesco, and the 21.3% share that Dunnes Stores has.

Read more: Tesco planning appeals halt expansion moves by supermarket rivals

Both SuperValu and Dunnes Stores enjoyed a boost to the value of their sales in the latest period, but Tesco’s declined.

Lidl has an 11.9% share of the market, while Aldi has 11.2%. The value of sales at Lidl rose 4.5% in the latest period, compared to a 3.7% rise at Aldi.

“Ireland’s involvement in the Euro 2016 certainly looks to have had a positive impact for the major supermarkets,” said Kantar Worldpanel director David Berry. “Alcohol sales over the past 12 weeks are 11pc higher than the same time last year, as consumers stocked up more often and bought more each time they shopped,” he said. “Soft drinks, confectionery, crisps and snacks all also saw positive sales growth as football fans made the most of the opportunity to treat themselves.”

The probe will then take a sample from the asteroid before heading back to Earth for 2023.

Kenmare Resources first-half production more than doubled first six months this year


Kenmare’s managing director Michael Carvill (left pic), The company says power situation at Moma mine is stable

Dublin-listed Kenmare Resources has reported a big increase in production at its Moma mine in Mozambique in the first half of this year.

The company said this morning that it shipped 309,000 tonnes of finished products from the mine in the second quarter of this year, an increase of 133% compared with the same period last year and a record quarterly figure.

Ilmenite production rose by 18% to 217,900 tonnes and zircon production was up 46% to 16,900 tonnes. The company said market conditions had improved and it had implemented price increases on ilmenite due to be shipped in the third quarter.

The amount of ore mined increased by 5% to just under 7.4 million tonnes.

Kenmare maintained its target of producing 950,000 tonnes of ilmenite this year. It also said production was in the second half of the year was expected to increase further.

Kenmare has also completed a capital restructuring which has reduced its gross debt by 74% to $100m and left it with 75m of additional cash for working capital.

“The strengthening of the balance sheet, allied with falling cash costs and consistent productivity gains at Moma, positions Kenmare to benefit from the improvement in the titanium feedstock market we are currently experiencing as higher ilmenite prices are reflected in revenues for the second half of 2016,” said managing director Michael Carvill.

The company also said that the mine had continued to experience stability in power quality and reliability as a result of the additional transmission capacity commissioned by Electricidade de Mocambique in December.

Last woolly mammoths ‘died of thirst’ some 5,600 years ago


One of the last known groups of woolly mammoths died out because of a lack of drinking water, scientists believe.

The Ice Age beasts were living on a remote island off the coast of Alaska, and scientists have dated their demise to about 5,600 years ago.

They believe that a warming climate caused lakes to become shallower, leaving the animals unable to quench their thirst.

Most of the world’s woolly mammoths had died out by about 10,500 years ago.

Scientists believe that human hunting and environmental changes played a role in their extinction.

But the group living on St Paul Island, which is located in the Bering Sea, managed to cling on for another 5,000 years.

This study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that these animals faced a different threat from their mainland cousins.

The mammoths were contributing to their own demise says Prof Russell Graham, Pennsylvania State University

As the Earth warmed up after the Ice Age, sea levels rose, causing the mammoths’ island home to shrink in size.

This meant that some lakes were lost to the ocean, and as salt water flowed into the remaining reservoirs, freshwater diminished further.

The fur-covered giants were forced to share the ever-scarcer watering holes. But their over-use also caused a major problem.

Lead author Prof Russell Graham, from Pennsylvania State University, said: “As the other lakes dried up, the animals congregated around the water holes.

“They were milling around, which would destroy the vegetation – we see this with modern elephants.

“And this allows for the erosion of sediments to go into the lake, which is creating less and less fresh water.

“The mammoths were contributing to their own demise.”

This study highlights that small populations are very sensitive to changes in the environmentLove Dalen, Swedish Museum of Natural History

He said that if there was not enough rain or melting snow to top the lakes up, the animals may have died very quickly.

“We do know modern elephants require between 70 and 200 litres of water daily,” Prof Graham said.

“We assume mammoths did the same thing. It wouldn’t have taken long if the water hole had dried up. If it had only dried up for a month, it could have been fatal.”

The researchers say climate change happening today could have a similar impact on small islands, with a threat to freshwater putting both animals and humans at risk.

‘Best understood extinction’

Commenting on the study, Love Dalen, professor in evolutionary genetics at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, said: “With this paper, the St Paul Island mammoth population likely represents the most well-described and best understood prehistoric extinction events.

“In a broader perspective, this study highlights that small populations are very sensitive to changes in the environment.”

The very last surviving mammoths lived on Wrangel Island, in the Arctic Ocean. It is thought they died out 4,000 years ago.


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