Tag Archives: Mike Pence

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Friday 18th November 2016

Ireland could be facing an even bigger recession,

FF leader Martin says Ireland’s economic model under threat from Brexit and global downturn

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Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin warns of threats to Ireland’s economic model.

Ireland could be facing an even bigger recession than the one it has just come through as a result of Brexit and a potential downturn in the world economy, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has warned.

In an address to the Small Firms Association (SFA), Mr Martin said both threats represented a “defining moment” for the State and its economic model.

“This is not about a conventional economic shock but a direct challenge to our core economic system.”

Mr Martin warned that without a credible response Brexit could result in hundreds of business closures and thousands of jobs losses as well as lower investment in infrastructure and weaker public services.

He highlighted a recent report by the Economic and Social Research Institute and the Department of Finance, which forecast a possible €12 billion loss to national income from a hard Brexit scenario with Britain exiting the single market altogether.

Aside from Brexit, Mr Martin said many countries were now turning their backs on the sort of trade co-operation that smaller countries such as Ireland were reliant upon.

“As for the impact of last week’s US presidential election, it is very brave person indeed who can predict what American policy will be next year let alone in four years’ time,” he told the SFA’s annual lunch event in Dublin’s Mansion House.

Mr Martin said Ireland’s basic economic strategy was no longer sustainable and that Ireland’s economic base needed to be broadened with a particular emphasis on indigenous companies.

In his address, the Fianna Fáil leader also spoke of the threat to public finances from union pay demands. While union leaders had been forthright in sounding the alarm over Brexit they were were less cognisant of the fragile state of the public purse, he said.

“We need to step back before the pay situation gets out of hand. Surely after what we have just been though, an angry, relativities-driven escalation of industrial disputes is that last thing we need?” he said.

Also addressing the event was outgoing SFA chairman AJ Noonan, who warned Ireland may lose out in the race to attract UK businesses here in the wake of Brexit because of the “punitive” tax regime.

“In terms of Brexit, the current message we are sending as a country is ‘relocate to Ireland and pay more tax’ – not a winning formula,” he said.

“Our tax system is not working for owner-managers, our employees and our future prospects,” he said, suggesting some elements of the political system were too obsessed with the redistribution of wealth by taking more from those in work.

Enda Kenny speaks with US Vice President-Elect Mike Pence on electoral success

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny has spoken to US Vice President-Elect Pence on the phone last night Friday.

During a 15-minute phone conversation, Mr Kenny congratulated the Vice President-Elect on his recent electoral success alongside Donald Trump.

According to a Government statement, Mr Kenny also expressed his intention to engage positively with the new administration on a number of issues to the mutual benefit of Ireland and the U.S.

It was said Mr Kenny raised the issue of the undocumented Irish in the U.S and expressed his determination to work with the President and Vice President-Elect in seeking a solution to the issue.

But chances of a resolution appear less likely under a Trump administration.

There is considerable disappointment in the Irish American community that little or no progress was made during President Barack Obama’s two terms.

The Taoiseach is said to have referred to the economic ties between the two countries, including the long standing and productive relationship Ireland has with many US companies, as well as the fact that there are 100,000 Americans employed in Irish companies across America.

“Both men spoke of Vice President-Elect Pence’s strong Irish heritage and the Taoiseach expressed the wish that the Vice President-Elect might visit here again sometime in the future,” the statement added.

Mr Kenny was one of the first leaders to speak to Mr Trump following his election victory earlier this month.

This is despite describing the President-elect as a racist earlier this year.

Vacancies filling rift between the Commissioner and Tánaiste Fitzgerald

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Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald with Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

Major tensions have surfaced between Justice Minister and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan over the filling of a series of key vacancies within the force.

Ms Fitzgerald has held up the promotions of a significant number of officers, including two assistant commissioners, after coming under pressure from the Policing Authority.

The newly established watchdog is understood to have voiced concern over the number of proposed promotions – meaning the jobs could remain unfilled until next year.

Sources say there is major anger within the force over the holding up of the promotions, and that the long-running vacancies weaken An Garda Síochána as a whole.

Some officers believe the decision not to send the list for Cabinet approval is “punishment” for Garda unions securing a special pay deal.

“This led to tensions between the Commissioner and Government and it is damaging to the force as a whole,” said a source.

It now seems likely that the Policing Authority will be given a much greater say over the appointments process within the force.

The ‘right to be forgotten’ and go play is ultimate in the protection of Ireland’s children

The right to play, giving more powers to Gardaí, and the abolition of direct provision centres were also contained in the report.

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A report has recommended over 100 changes the government should make to safeguard children including changing the law so that children’s information can be removed from the Internet (‘right to be forgotten’), and ensuring children’s right to play.

The report, compiled by a Rapporteur on Child Protection, is over 180 pages long, and discusses a range of subjects including the vulnerability of children with disabilities and the gaps in legislation in relation to technological advancements that leave children unprotected.

Other changes recommended include teaching children about consent in child sex abuse cases, and shielding children in court if absolutely necessary.

Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance said that this report was different from others as it focused on children who were “left behind” – such as children in homeless accommodation and children in direct provision centres.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One, she said that although there were some ambitious longterm recommendations, there were also ‘interim ‘ suggestions made in the report.

Here are some of the most important recommendations made by Special Rapporteur Professor Geoffrey Shannon.

Consent education is a must?

In his report, Special Rapporteur raised concerns about and highlights the need for adequate sex education to teach children and young people about consent and to challenge the concept of ‘victim blaming’ or holding the victim responsible for sexual violence or crime committed against them.

Shannon is commenting on provisions in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill which allows for children to give evidence in court behind a screen in certain circumstances.

He states that “this should be avoided whenever possible”, and the bill is currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The report also highlights the fact that gardaí don’t have the power to search and seize mobile phone devices that they suspect of containing images of children if the device is outside the home.

The report also calls for the gardaí to be given better powers when requesting information from companies like Google and Facebook.

Children’s digital rights.

For the first time, Prof. Shannon discusses the right to be forgotten, pinpointing the risks to children’s online identity. Activity on social media may be instant, but the unintended consequences for children when they post something online can last beyond childhood.

The report says:

The relevance for children of the ‘right to be forgotten’ should be acknowledged, children should be educated about the matter, and it should be understood that the age at which an individual posts information online should be considered a very important factor in decisions about whether to remove an individual’s personal information from sites.

Children with disabilities?

Shannon also brings a special focus to children with disabilities in his report.

This is very relevant in the context of the ‘Grace case’ and the attention that it has brought for the treatment of children with intellectual disabilities.

Shannon calls for an examination of the effectiveness of the government’s Stay Safe Programme (a personal safety skills programme for specialised mainstream primary schools) for children with disabilities.

He is also calling for Ireland to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Young People in the Justice System.

There are also some harsh criticisms of the method of judicial punishment for children in trouble with the law detention -the report says that detention centres “should be a measure of last resort”.

Against the backdrop of progress in the youth justice area and difficulties at the Oberstown Detention Campus, the report calls for more “imaginative community sanctions” for children.

While the Garda Diversion Programme has been extremely successful over the years, there are other, new diversion models in operation in other jurisdictions that should now also be explored. It is also calling for further attempts to “avoid the use of force, including restraint, of children in custodial settings”.

The right to play.

The report calls for child protection training and standards for people working in the field of play. He highlights the fact that children from disadvantaged groups lose out the most when it comes to play and recreation.

Children have a right to play, recreation, rest and participation in the arts.

Prof. Shannon highlights the serious and immediate developmental impact this is having on children and calls for a Government-led national strategy to address this and make sure that all children can access this basic right.

Other issues detailed in Prof. Shannon’s report include direct provision for asylum seekers, which he recommends should be abolished. In the interim, he suggests that living standards in direct provision centres should be improved. He also focuses on poverty and calls for national measures to address the nutritional needs of families.

The report is due to be debated before the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming weeks.

Irish Pharmacists warn over drug driving and prescription medicines

An RSA report shows 30% of people killed on roads in Ireland in 2013 were on prescription medication

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The Irish Pharmacy Union said it was urging drivers to be aware of the dangers of driving after taking medicines, particularly those which can cause drowsiness.

Drivers who take prescription medicine should consult their pharmacist about whether it is safe for them to operate a vehicle after doing so, the Irish Pharmacy Union has said.

The union said it was urging drivers to be aware of the dangers of driving after taking medicines, particularly those which can cause drowsiness.

It comes after RTÉ reported a Road Safety Authority (RSA) internal report showed 30% of people who died in road crashes in Ireland in 2013 had taken prescription medicine.

The report examined 109 coroners’ reports and found 31% of those who died in crashes had consumed alcohol, while 30% had taken a prescription medicine.

The report stated that prescription medication includes drugs that legally require a medical prescription to be dispensed and include drugs such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antipsychotics and antiepileptic drugs.

Sedative hypnotic.

“Initial observation would indicate that presence of prescription medications appear to be over-represented in road traffic collision (RTC) fatalities, with 34 (30%) of all RTC fatalities having prescription medication found on toxicology. Benzodiazepine, a sedative hypnotic, was the most common prescription medication on toxicology.”

Irish Pharmacy Union executive committee member Caitriona O’Riordan said the data was very disturbing.

“Neither the Gardaí nor the RSA know if the medications that the unfortunate crash victims concerned were taking had been prescribed or were obtained illegally.

“The key point is that there are possible side-effects from some medications, and it’s vitally important that before driving people should ask their pharmacist if there is any possibility that the medicine may impact on their ability to drive safely,” she said.

“Many medications carry warnings to be aware of the dangers of drowsiness or other side-effects, and those warnings are there for a reason; it is absolutely vital that everyone taking medications discusses possible side-effects with their pharmacist and also reads the advisory notes with the medication,” she said.

CHARITY PLACES 380 PAIRS OF SHOES OUTSIDE DÁIL TO HIGHLIGHT RATE OF MALE SUICIDE

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A total of 380 pairs of shoes were laid outside Dáil Éireann today, symbolising the number of Irish men who die by suicide each year.

The Movember Foundation, which organised the event, said it is aiming to help reduce the rate of male suicide by 25% by 2030.

The protest was replicated in the UK, US, Australia and Canada ahead of International Men’s Day, which happens tomorrow.

Doug Leddin, a Movember participant and mental health advocate from Dublin said: “We need to talk about our mental health more in Ireland and put pressure on our government to prioritise mental health services.

“Unless you spend a day in the shoes of someone who is suffering it’s extremely hard to know what we’re going through. I was in a dark place and I suffered alone for a long time.

“Movember is a brilliant way to spread awareness of men’s health, raising funds and getting guys talking and being more open about mental or physical challenges they might be facing.”

Neil Rooney, Director of The Movember Foundation Ireland, said too many men are dying too young and before their time.

“The Movember Foundation is investing in projects that are having a real impact on the lives of men in Ireland and around the world,” he said.

“By engaging with men where they are, and understanding what works best, we’re helping make change happen sooner, before it’s too late.

“While the state of men’s health has come a long way since Movember started in 2003, there’s still so much work to be done and we won’t stop until men are living healthier, happier and longer lives.”

Three out of every four suicides in Ireland happen to men. On average, 32 men a month take their own life in the country.

Stephen Hawking warns humanity may only have 1,000 years left

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Famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has spent his life pondering big questions about the wider universe. In recent years, he’s turned his attention closer to home, talking about AI, climate change, alien invasion, and other threats to the future of humanity.

Now, he’s put an expiration date on our species if we don’t get into space. He’s giving us just 1,000 years.

Hawking’s latest warning came in a speech delivered at Britain’s Oxford University Union. He noted that Earth is fragile, as is any single planet. The odds of a catastrophic global event wiping out humanity in any given year is slim, but over the course of years the chance becomes quite high. Human activity is only increasing those odds as well.

Hawking noted in the speech that some of the most pressing concerns for the future of humanity could come in the next century, as artificial intelligence is perfected and global climate change continues to affect civilization. When something happens on Earth, we don’t want all of humanity to be here, according to Hawking. The best way to keep the species going is to make sure we’ve got a backup — humans on other planets and maybe even in other star systems.

But where could we go? The easiest way to get humans off of Earth is to colonize Mars, and there are some ambitious plans to make that a reality within our lifetimes. The SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System is designed to shuttle as many as 200 people to Mars in each three month trip. Launches would only happen when the orbit of Mars put it close enough to Earth for such a quick journey. It’s certainly feasible to move people to Mars, but creating a functional society is still an unknown. Mars has no magnetic field to protect people from radiation and its thin atmosphere isn’t breathable.

Mars is a good start, but being in a completely different solar system would be the ultimate backup for humanity. Astronomers are constantly finding potentially habitable exoplanets, but we can’t get to any of them with current technology. The most likely target for further examination is Proxima Centauri, which harbors an exoplanet that may be Earth-like. First, we need to get a closer look at it, which the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope can manage. A few centuries ago, wooden sailing ships were the fastest way to travel, so who know what we’ll have in another couple generations? Proxima Centauri might not seem that distant.

A whole millennium might sound like a lot of time, but humanity has existed in more or less its current form for about 100,000 years. It’d be an awful shame if all this progress we’ve made was for naught in just 1% of that time. We should probably get on this.

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News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Monday 14th November 2016

Construction activity in Irish Republic rose again in October

Building, orders and employment all rose rapidly last month,

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Total construction activity in the Republic increased for the second successive month in October.

The construction sector in the Republic recorded a strong start to the final quarter of the year, with activity, new orders and employment all increasing at faster rates in October, according to the latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

Meanwhile, a similar survey by Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland showed that firms enjoyed a surge in export orders last month on the back of sterling’s continued weakness but their good fortune was mirrored by growing problems for local importers as costs continue to spiral.

In the Republic, the seasonally adjusted index, designed to track changes in total construction activity, increased for the second successive month in October to 62.3, up from 58.7 in September.

This represented a sharp monthly rise in total construction activity, and the fastest in seven months. Construction output has increased continuously since September 2013.

Commenting on the survey results, Simon Barry, chief economist for the Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said: “Importantly, construction firms are continuing to benefit from robust increases in new business levels, with the new orders index rising to its highest level since February following a fifth consecutive monthly acceleration in October.

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“Firms continue to report a strengthening in client demand amid a general improvement in economic conditions as an important contributor to the ongoing uplift in new business volumes. In turn, the healthy expansion of new orders continues to underpin increased demand for construction workers. The employment index rose sharply last month, with the pace of hiring accelerating to its fastest in eight months as almost one-third of firms noted a rise in employment.”

Mr Barry said the mainly domestic-facing construction sector was less directly exposed to adverse Brexit impacts than more heavily trade-dependent areas of the economy.

Northern Ireland figures

In Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank’s PMI survey showed that although businesses are enjoying an export boost following the Brexit vote, the total number of new orders recorded by local firms remained largely unchanged during October.

The PMI survey also highlighted that while business activity demonstrated growth last month in the local economy, the pace of growth was sluggish and weaker compared to nearly every other UK region.

Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank’s chief economist in Northern Ireland, said the survey reveals the stark differences between domestic and export markets.

“Overall, incoming orders stagnated in October and have failed to grow since June. However, export orders expanded at their second-highest rate since the survey began. This implies that domestic orders have been contracting at a significant rate.

“The converse seems to be the case within the construction sector. Given Belfast’s crane-cluttered skyline, it would appear that business conditions within the local construction market are relatively buoyant.

“However, despite this, and perhaps surprisingly, the PMI points to rapid rates of contraction in construction output orders and employment. This is largely due to subdued demand within a major external market, ie GB.”

Mr Ramsey said sterling’s current weakness was a “mixed blessing” for the North as the manufacturing and retail sectors are forced to bear the brunt of the input-cost inflation.

Donald Trump’s temperament will not serve him well as the next president of USA,

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Donald Trump is known for his blunt speaking

President Barack Obama has warned there are “certain elements” of Donald Trump’s temperament that will not serve him well “unless he recognises them and corrects them”.

With just weeks left in office, Mr Obama said the president-elect understands that a candidate being reckless with his words can be less consequential than a president saying the same thing.

Mr Obama noted that markets move and foreign governments take note of a president’s rhetoric and stressed that national security “requires a level of precision” so that deadly mistakes are not made.

He said blunt-spoken Mr Trump “recognises that this is different – and so do the American people”.

In a White House news conference ahead of his final overseas trip as president, Mr Obama made the argument that immigration is good for the American economy.

He acknowledged that many Americans have grown sceptical about the “complex argument” in support of immigration, when they see factories closing at home and jobs going offshore. But he said “immigration is good for our economy” if it is “orderly and lawful”.

Mr Trump campaigned on a promise to limit immigration into the US and bring offshore jobs back home.

But Mr Obama maintained that it is still his “strong belief” that achieving a strong global economy does not mean “shutting people out”.

And he believes Mr Trump will seek to “send some signals of unity” to people alienated by his ferocious campaign.

He said he advised the president-elect “to reach out to minority groups or women or others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign” and “that’s something that he will want to do”.

But he added that Mr Trump is trying to balance commitments he made to “supporters that helped to get him here”.

On the campaign trail, Mr Trump described Mexicans as rapists and criminals. He vowed to build a wall along the US’s southern border and make Mexico pay for it.

He appeared to mock a reporter with a physical disability and threatened to sue several women who accused him of assaulting them. Mr Trump also disparaged the Muslim American parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq, and battled a former Miss America who is Latino about having gained weight.

Mr Obama stressed the need to give Mr Trump the “rope and space” for a “reset” once he takes over the reins of power.

Earlier it emerged that Mr Trump was considering a woman and an openly gay man to fill major positions in his new leadership team.

It would be seen as history-making moves that would inject diversity into a Trump administration already facing questions about its ties to white nationalists.

The incoming president is considering Richard Grenell as United States ambassador to the United Nations.

If picked and ultimately confirmed by the Senate, he would be the first openly gay person to fill a Cabinet-level foreign policy post.

Mr Grenell previously served as US spokesman at the UN under former President George W Bush’s administration.

At the same time, Mr Trump is weighing up whether to select the first woman to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

On his short list of prospective chairs: Michigan GOP chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, the former sister-in-law of Trump rival and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“I’ll be interested in whatever Mr Trump wants,” Ms McDaniel said, adding that she was planning to seek the Michigan GOP chairmanship again

Internal deliberations about staffing come a day after Mr Trump made overtures to warring Republican circles by appointing RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff and Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon as chief strategist and senior counsellor.

Meanwhile:–

Will Mike Pence the US vice-president elect visit Ireland

Image result for Will Mike Pence the US vice-president elect visit Ireland  Image result for Mike Pence grandparent from Doocastle outside Tubbercurry co Sligo  Image result for Tubbercurry town co Sligo

The vice-President elect of the USA Mike Pence will be officially invited to the Co Sligo town of Tubbercurry where his grandfather hails from.

And the Chamber of Commerce in Tubbercurry believes Donald Trump’s running mate could himself end up in the top job in as little as four years’ time.

“Local people are delighted,” said chamber spokesman Roger McCarrick.

“We will be writing to him officially to invite him to the home of his ancestors. Regardless of policies he is still an ex-Tubbercurry man as far as we are concerned.

“There has been a sense of pride that a descendant of here could aspire to such high office. He has been Governor of Indiana since 2013 and it’s possible he could run for President in four or eight years’ time and he could be on the biggest political stage of all for the next 16 years.”

Governor Pence’s grandfather was Richard Michael Cawley, who emigrated in 1923 to Chicago where he became a bus driver.

He is said to have hailed from the Doocastle area outside Tubbercurry.

Pence has spoken in the past on how his views on immigration were shaped by his grandfather’s entry from Ireland through Ellis Island in 1923.

Now, further details of Mr Cawley’s Sligo roots have emerged thanks to research carried out by New York native, Robert Theiss from Arlington, Virginia, a postgraduate in history who has a strong interest in genealogy.

Theiss said: “Passenger arrival records show Richard Cawley, aged 20, a miner, arriving in New York on April 11, 1923, on a ship called the Andania, which had set sail from Liverpool.

“The passenger arrival record shows Richard Cawley’s place of birth as Doocastle. The passenger arrival record shows his last place of residence as having been Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancs., England.”

Pence’s Irish granddad died on Christmas Eve 1980. He was 77. Pence was 21 at the time.

Richard Cawley’s wife, was Mary Elizabeth Maloney. She was born on March 22, 1907, in Chicago, Illinois. She died in Chicago on November 1, 1980, aged 73, just weeks before her husband Richard died.

She was the daughter of Irish immigrants. Her father, James Michael Maloney, was born on February 1, 1872, in Killaloe, Co. Clare, and her mother, Mary Anne Downes, was born on July 16, 1880, in Doonbeg, Co. Clare. James died in Chicago on October 10, 1916, aged 44. Mary Anne died in Chicago on December 23, 1955, aged 75.

Mike Pence and his family visited Ireland three years ago going to Co. Clare and Co. Sligo. Mike Pence met Moloney and Downes distant cousins, in Co. Clare.

Ireland’s Garda reserve membership has fallen 13% from June-Sept this year

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Fianna Fáil has called on the Justice Minister to start recruiting more members onto the reserve force.

The number of Garda reserves across the country has fallen to under 800 in the past four months.

New figures released to Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan showed how there were 1,179 reservists at the beginning of 2014. This number has now fallen a further 13% in the four-month period between June and September to 756.

Depleted reserves?

The biggest drop was in the Dublin South Central district where the number fell by a further 12% since May of this year.

O’Callaghan said: “Concerns have been expressed for some time on not utilising the significant potential of the garda reserve. This poses a much bigger challenge if the numbers continue to fall.

“The Garda Inspectorate report, published last December, indicated that despite receiving considerable training, reserves are not consistently or strategically maximised for operational purposes.

Just last month it was stated that there are plans afoot to more than double the number of Garda reserves nationally. This would bring the strength of the force up to 2,000. I am calling on the minister to kick start this process without delay.

NUIG refutes claims of continued gender discrimination at University

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The five female lecturers (right) who claimed NUIG overlooked them for promotion.

NUI Galway has refuted claims that it’s ‘punishing’ women who highlighted issues surrounding gender discrimination at the university.

In a statement, college authorities said accusations made by the Irish Federation of University Teachers are ‘ill-informed’ and ‘untrue’.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers claims NUI Galway has failed to address outstanding legal cases relating to gender discrimination.

It argues that the university is stalling and prolonging actions taken by four female staff members, which are currently before the Circuit and High Court.

It says the situation amounts to the ‘punishment’ of whistleblowers who have highlighted vital issues on the national stage.

It comes more than two years since the Equality Tribunal ruled against NUI Galway in a case involving Dr. Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington.

NUI Galway says the cases are subject to the remit and rules of the courts and it is actively seeking their progression.

It adds that the contention by the IFUT that the university is delaying or prolonging court cases is ill-informed and simply untrue.

A new search in depression area for life on Mars now being looked at

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Scientists at the University of Texas have zeroed in on a depression that could possibly support life on Mars.

A newly discovered depression may breathe new life into the pursuit to find life on Mars.

A strangely shaped depression—likely formed by a volcano beneath a glacier—could be a warm, chemical-rich environment suited for microbial life, according to a study from the University of Texas at Austin.

“We were drawn to this site because it looked like it could host some of the key ingredients for habitability — water, heat and nutrients,” lead author Joseph Levy, a research associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, a research unit of the Jackson School of Geosciences, said in a statement.

The depression is located inside a crater perched on the rim of the Hellas basin and is surrounded by ancient glacial deposits.

The depression first came to light in 2009 when Levy noticed crack-like features on pictures of depressions taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter looked similar to ice cauldrons formations found in Iceland and Greenland, which were made by volcanos erupting under an ice sheet. Levy and others also discovered another depression in the Galaxias Fossae region of Mars that had a similar appearance.

“These landforms caught our eye because they’re weird looking,” Levy said. “They’re concentrically fractured so they look like a bulls-eye. That can be a very diagnostic pattern you see in Earth materials.”

Earlier this year, Levy and his research team were able to more thoroughly analyze the depressions using stereoscopic images to investigate whether the depressions were made by underground volcanic activity that melted away surface ice or by an impact from an asteroid.

Timothy Goudge, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas- Austin, used pairs of high-resolution images to create digital elevation models of the depressions that enabled in-depth analysis of their shape and structure in 3D.

“The big contribution of the study was that we were able to measure not just their shape and appearance, but also how much material was lost to form the depressions,” Levy added. “That 3D view lets us test this idea of volcanic or impact.”

A closer analysis showed that both depressions shared an unusual funnel shape with a broad perimeter that gradually narrowed with depth.

“That surprised us and led to a lot of thinking about whether it meant there was melting concentrated in the center that removed ice and allowed stuff to pour in from the sides,” Levy said. “Or if you had an impact crater, did you start with a much smaller crater in the past and by sublimating away ice, you’ve expanded the apparent size of the crater.”

After running formation scenarios for the two depressions, researchers concluded that the debris spread around the Galaxias Fossae depression suggests that it was the result of an impact with the possibility it could be formed by a volcano due to the volcanic history of the area. However, the Hellas depression has many signs of volcanic origins, lacks the surrounding debris of an impact and has a fracture pattern associated with concentrated removal of ice by melting or sublimation.

According to Levy, the interaction of lava and ice to form a depression would show that it could create an environment with liquid water and chemical nutrients.