Tag Archives: The Irish Times

This morning.

A letter to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, signed by more than 1,000 people, has been published on page three of The Irish Times.

In the letter, the signatories are calling for a “new conversation” about the constitutional future of the island of Ireland.

Over 1,000 sign ‘new conversation’ open letter to Taoiseach (The Irish Times)

Independent TD Noel Grealish

This morning in today’s Irish Times.

Solicitor and partner at Abbey Law Wendy Lyon has dissected Independent TD Noel Grealish’s claims about asylum seekers before writing:

If there is to be a debate on how Ireland responds to its international obligations towards people seeking protection, our politicians and media have a duty to ensure it takes place in a context where claims like these will be fact-checked and falsehoods exposed.

It is not enough to merely report what Noel Grealish says or ask him to “clarify” his comments – it must be shown that he is wrong.

In fairness.

Noel Grealish’s views of asylum seekers are based on myth (Wendy Lyon, The Irish Times)


Baby seagulls fed by their mother in Dublin city centre in June

We’ve taken away the herrings from herring gulls, and most of the other fish in the sea, then built on their nesting sites.

We have in fact destroyed their environment. So the gulls have had to come inshore to feed and nest.

Being a raucous and dirty bunch ourselves, we congregate in large numbers, make lots of noise to advertise our presence (particularly in Temple Bar!) and leave lots of “food” (waste) lying around on the ground, in bins and in landfill sites.

We also, conveniently for the gulls, carry it around in our hands as we walk, and lay it out on rugs and tables. The only way to reduce seagull populations in cities is to conduct a major cull of waste bins and outlaw eating outdoors, particularly while on the move.

In other countries, Japan for instance, there are no public waste bins, and eating on the street is considered particularly uncouth.

It is patronising to say that Bird Watch Ireland “has yet to catch up with the fact that […] they have become pests”.

Its role is to protect birds, not humans. Nor are herring gulls “oversized”. Many will die from starvation from a stomach full of plastic, thrown away by humans.

We need to stop the environmental destruction caused by our lifestyles and stop blaming gulls for a problem they didn’t cause.

Elaine Mullan,
Co Waterford.


Seagulls in Dublin (Irish Times letters page)

Related: Why it is time for a cull of seagulls in Dublin (Frank McDonald, The Irish Times)


From IDA magazine Innovation Ireland in 2014

This morning.

In The Irish Times, Karlin Lillington writes:

Let’s call it the San Francisco-fication of Dublin.

…The non-stop expansion of the tech sector, especially of multinationals, is a major (though not the only) engine behind these changes.

In comes yet another company, cornering another area of Dublin’s Docklands; up go pricey apartments to accommodate high-salaried employees.

Developers arrange deals to take social and affordable housing requirements off the table, trading them out to already-saturated communities at the edge of Dublin without adequate transport infrastructure.

Then, in a pincer movement, this limited market is further squeezed by landlords who AirBnB their properties…

How Silicon Docks is killing Dublin (Karlin Lillington, The Irish Times)

Pic: IDA Ireland

Mean while…

Today’s iIish Times

Localisation Girls writes:

Whither the role of Irish media and property supplements and ad revenue in tech g-entrification of Dublin…

Earlier: Dreams of Californication

‘Really geeked’ about growing eBay in Ireland (irish Times)

National Chairperson of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign Fatin Al Tamimi outside RTÉ Studios in Donnybrook, Dublin 4 in March, calling for RTÉ to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in Tel Aviv

I usually find Mark Paul a precise and interesting writer. However, his language in his opinion piece is unusually slipshod.

He describes the call for a boycott of the Israeli-hosted Eurovision song contest as “indiscriminate”, “blunt” and “ill-defined”.

It is none of those things: it is a peaceful, calibrated and proportionate attempt to exert leverage over the Israeli government so that it might change its egregious policies towards Palestinians.

Far from a failure to “communicate fairly” with Israelis, the boycott call is sending a serious and constructive message – that so long as its policies are persisted with, the Israeli government will not be allowed reap the propaganda and other benefits it very consciously seeks to accrue from its sponsorship of cultural events like the Eurovision.

For this mild and measured boycott call to be equated with anti-Semitism is, among other things, an insult to the many Jews (including Israelis) who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign in defence of Palestinian rights.

Andy Storey,
Co Dublin.

Reaction to Eurovision boycott call (The Irish Times letters page)

Eurovision boycott stirs painful memories for Jewish people (Mark Paul, The Irish Times)


Vicky Phelan

In today’s Irish Times,  Health Correspondent Paul Cullen has an interview with Limerick mother-of-two Vicky Phelan – one year on from her High Court case where she settled a case against Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas, for €2.5million.

Ms Phelan, who refused to sign a gagging order about her case, was diagnosed with terminal cancer following a cervical smear test error.

Following her case, it later emerged that more than 200 women diagnosed with cancer were not informed of an audit which revised their earlier, negative smear tests.

Mr Cullen reports:

“…Ms Phelan said the Taoiseach ‘just doesn’t get it’ in relation to fixing the problems that have arisen.

‘The classic example is him going on Six One News saying no woman would ever have to go into court, and look what’s happened. That’s still the case and not only that, the tribunal has not yet been established in order for that not to happen.

I don’t think he gets it at all. And it’s not just because he’s a gay man, I just don’t think he gets it.’

…’I think we got a lot of promises made at the time, not to shut us up but to “give them what they want quickly and get them off the pages”.

‘Until we have a situation in this country where people are held accountable for what they’ve done, these things are just going to keep happening and there’ll be another scandal,’ she said.”

Meanwhile, during an interview with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke this morning, Ms Phelan apologised for and clarified her ‘gay man’ comment (above).

She said:

“I’m critical of the Government in general. I suppose, I think some of what I said was taken out of context and I would like to apologise to the Taoiseach for the comment in today’s article.

“What I said, I was trying to make the point that the issues faced by the women and their families are wide-ranging, they involve input from a wide range of players, from the Department of Health to the HSE, legal profession, the medical profession, and the Attorney General’s office to draft up this legislation.

“And basically any unwillingness or inertia on the part of one player can hold everything up and that is exactly what has happened over the last 12 months.”

Asked specifically what she was trying to say when she made the “gay man” comment, Vicky said:

“This is a women’s issue and it’s always about women, that was the point I was making. It wasn’t anything to do with the Taoiseach being gay, whatsoever. That was totally taken out of context.”

“We’ve seen it on a number of occasions over the last number of years, Miriam, between the different scandals that have happened to women. Bridget McCole, the Hepatitis C scandal…I think we have a very poor record and poor history in this country in dealing with women’s issues.”

Vicky Phelan criticises Varadkar for ‘unacceptable delays’ (Paul Cullen, The Irish Times)

Listen back to interview in full here


Karen McEvoy who died on Christmas Day

Yesterday, in The Irish Times.

Kitty Holland reported that Karen McEvoy, 24, originally from Tallaght in Dublin, died of suspected sepsis on Christmas Day, a week after she had given birth to a healthy baby girl in the Coombe hospital on December 18.

The baby girl was her third child, as Karen already had two boys with her partner Barry Kelly, 26, and she was discharged on December 19.

Ms Holland reported that within two days of giving birth, Karen was “complaining of severe back and abdominal pain, exhaustion, flu-like symptoms and sweating” and that by the time she was back visiting the Coombe on December 23, for her daughter’s heel-prick test, she needed crutches to walk.

Barry told Ms Holland that, while at the Coombe, Karen went to the A&E and was told she may have sciatica and advised that “If it gets worse go to Tallaght [Hospital] for an X-ray”.

On Christmas morning, she woke up swollen and slurring her words. She was brought to Naas hospital where medics decided to sedate and intubate her – with the aim of helping her to breathe. However she went into cardiac arrest and died.

Barry said the staff at Naas Hospital did everything they could and they “were brilliant. It was very hard for them too”.

This morning, Ms Holland is reporting that Barry is calling for an independent investigation into Karen’s death while a GoFundMe page has since been set up to help Barry and Karen’s children.

Those who wish to donate to the fund can do so here

Woman (24) died on Christmas Day one week after giving birth (Kitty Holland, The Irish Times)

Man calls for independent investigation into partner’s death (Kitty Holland, The Irish Times)

Coombe Hospital

Last week in the Dáil.

Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs Ruth Coppinger and Bríd Smith spoke about a pregnant woman, from Clondalkin, Dublin, whom they claimed had been refused a termination at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital in Dublin, despite two consultants certifying that she needed a termination for a fatal foetal abnormality.

Ms Coppinger said the board of the hospital overruled the two consultants’ direction and asked her to wait four weeks to see if she has a spontaneous miscarriage.

After the Dáil debate, the Coombe Hospital denied its board over ruled the decision of the two consultants.

The woman later spoke to Kitty Holland, of The Irish Times, and said she planned to travel to the UK for a termination.

Ms Holland later reported that the couple were told by the Coombe, in a letter, that their unborn baby had a “complex foetal anomaly” and that the hospital did not believe “there is present a condition affecting the foetus that is likely to lead to the death of the foetus either before or within 28 days of birth, as per the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018”.

Ms Holland reported on Saturday:

“The couple reject that they were told their foetus had a “complex anomaly”, saying they were told clearly a week before the letter was issued that the anomaly was fatal.”

Further to this…

This morning.

Paul Cullen, in The Irish Times, reports:

Decisions on whether or not to provide terminations in cases of foetal anomaly should be reached by multidisciplinary teams of doctors on a consensus basis, newly prepared guidelines indicate.

The multidisciplinary team (MDT) should be a formally-constituted committee of the hospital whose decisions are documented in clinical notes, according to the guidelines from the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

One such MDT was constituted at the Coombe hospital in Dublin earlier this month to consider the case of a patient whose foetus had been diagnosed with a foetal anomaly. The case was raised by two Opposition TDs in the Dáil last week after the woman’s request for a termination was refused.

In the Coombe case, treating doctors found that despite the presence of a “complex foetal anomaly” they did not believe the condition affecting the foetus was likely to lead to its death either before, or within 28 days of, birth – as required by legislation on terminations in cases of fatal foetal anomaly.

The MDT recommended a re-evaluation of the clinical condition of the foetus after four weeks.

Foetal anomaly cases require ‘teams of doctors’ (Paul Cullen, The Irish Times)

Previously:  “Her Words To Me Were: ‘This Is Not What I Voted For’”

This morning.

In The Irish Times.

Fiona Reddan reports:

House hacking allows you to live in a home without actually paying for it thanks to the rent provided by other tenants.

And, given our rent-a-room scheme, which allows you to earn €14,000 tax-free from letting rooms in your house, Ireland may actually be a good place to try it out in….

…Unlike just getting a tenant to help you pay your mortgage, the goal of house hacking is to get the tenants to pay all your mortgage, thus allowing you to either live it up in style, reinvest the funds or pay down your mortgage with prompt haste.

Good, greedy times.

How renting out rooms can help pay for your house (The Irish Times)

Previously: Irish Times: The Property Porn Hub

President of the Epidemiology and Public Health section of the Royal Society of Medicine Dr Gabriel Scally; Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene died of cervical cancer;  and Vicky Phelan, who has terminal cancer; a tweet from Mr Teap

This morning.

Further to leaks from Dr Gabriel Scally’s report on CervicalCheck to The Irish Times and RTE – in which it’s reported Dr Scally does not recommend a commission of investigation into the smear test scandal…

Simon Carswell, in The Irish Times, reports:

Minister for Health Simon Harris will seek to bring forward a briefing for those affected by the CervicalCheck controversy by 24 hours after they expressed anger at leak of parts of a report into the affair.

Mr Harris said it was “extremely regrettable” that parts of 200-page scoping report by Dr Gabriel Scally, the public health veteran, were published in The Irish Times and RTÉ ahead of the publication of his report tomorrow.

It was reported today that Dr Scally believed a commission of investigation was not required into the controversy, despite the stated view by Mr Harris that a commission be held into the controversy.

He said the report should be published and the views of “a very eminent expert” asked to investigate the controversy should be considered.

“All along I wanted them to be briefed first.”

…The Scally report, a 200-page document that investigates why women diagnosed with cervical cancer were not told about an audit revealing false negative smear tests, concluded a commission of investigation was not needed.

CervicalCheck: briefings on Scally report may be brought forward (The Irish Times)

Harris still plans to have CervicalCheck commission (RTE)




Minister for Health Simon Harris

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The Minister for Health Simon Harris was interviewed on RTE’s Morning Ireland by Dr Gavin Jennings.

Mr Harris told Dr Jennings he “truthfully” doesn’t know who leaked the report and that he intends to find out who leaked it.

From the interview:

Dr Gavin Jennings: “You made it crystal clear a number of months ago that there would be a Commission of Inquiry. In fact, to quote you, ‘I’m concerned there seems to be a view that there may be a commission or there won’t be a commission. Let me be very clear: there will be a C Commission of Inquiry and I would like to set up that inquiry in September’. are you going to set up a Commission of Inquiry?”

Simon Harris: “Well that is the factual position. The Government made that decision and as I heard [Labour TD] Alan Kelly correctly say the Opposition agreed with that decision and indeed those impacted called for that. So that remains the position. Obviously, when you ask an expert to do a report and remember this wasn’t just one very eminent doctor. It was Dr Scally with three other doctors, a senior counsel, a barrister at law – they’ve reviewed over 12,000 documents, they’ve visited the labs, the labs that have been much talked about and speculated upon, they’ve stood on the floors of those labs. They’ve interviewed all the key people.

“Obviously, he has arrived at  viewpoint, it’s not, as you correctly said earlier, it’s not a recommendation. It’s his personal view. So what I intend to do is let the report be published. Let Dr Scally speak to the report, meet with the Opposition, meet with some of those affected and impacted by this terrible debacle and then decide whether people feel there’s a need for one.

“But, absolutely, if there’s a feeling that there’s a need for one, that will be the case.

“The only people that can change that decision are the Government and the Oireachtas. But obviously, if a very eminent expert has been asked to look at this area and has made a view, I think it’s important that we at least let the report be published and consider why he arrived at that point.”

Jennings: “Just to quote you again. This is from June the 15th: ‘I believe that a Commission of Investigation is needed to get to the bottom of many of the issues – particularly issues in relation to accountability. Who knew what, where and when. That’s not Dr Scally’s job and Dr Scally is very clear on that’.”

Harris:  “Yeah and that’s exactly correct, I mean it wasn’t Dr Scally’s…as I heard Lorraine [Walsh] say very correctly, Dr Scally didn’t have powers of compellability. Having said that, Dr Scally has interviewed everybody that he wished to interview, is my understanding. But let’s, let’s just wait the 24 hours. Let’s see why Dr Scally arrived at that viewpoint. Let’s discuss it and debate it in the Oireachtas, and most importantly, with people impacted. We wouldn’t have a Scally Report tomorrow if it wasn’t for Vicky Phelan and her bravery. So I’ll also take very seriously, their views in relation to this.”

Jennings: “I may be misinterpreting you. When you said you were very clear there will be a  Commission of Inquiry and you were going to set up that inquiry in September, are you saying that’s less clear now. Are you going to wait to see what this report has to say?”

Harris: “Well it was my intention to set up a commission in September. That remains my intention. But we do need to see, I’ve heard, for example, I’ve heard Lorraine say this morning that she wants to see why Dr Scally arrived at that point. So I do think we should wait the 24 hours, let the report speak for itself, let Dr Scally speak to the report, and then lets decide as an Oireachtas and a Government what next steps to take in consultation with the women and their families who’ve been impacted…”

Listen back in full here