Katie Hannon, Prime Time's Political Correspondent, blogs following the Labour Party Conference in Killarney.
Shortly after five o’clock on Saturday evening a small group of Labour Party members huddled among the smokers on the front steps of the conference centre of the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney.
They were aligned with the Campaign for Labour Policies, the grassroots movement of Labour members appalled at the turn party policy has taken since it went into Government with Fine Gael.
The Campaign had put out a clarion call to like-minded members to join them in a symbolic walk out from the ...Read More »
Katie Hannon, Prime Time's Political Correspondent and author of the Naked Politician, writes on the issue of pay top ups for senior health sector employees.
The revelation that senior managers in the health service have been pocketing top up payments from a variety of private sources has caused consternation in political circles. But there are legitimate questions to be asked about just how surprised these politicians are entitled to be. And about the enormous political focus on this issue right now, eight months after the HSE Internal Audit Report was delivered, and a full 17 years after the issue ...Read More »
Last week Dublin-based Filipino priest Father Rene Esoy was in the Prime Time studio, speaking with David McCullagh about the devastation caused by typhoon Haiyan http://bit.ly/1ekiMZv. Here's a short update to that story.
On the programme Father Esoy expressed the difficulty of knowing what had happened to his country but also the difficulty of not knowing what had happened to his own family. Since then he has contacted Prime Time researcher Stephen Wallace from Manila where he travelled late last week to help coordinate relief efforts for Leyte, an area that suffered tremendously during the recent ...Read More »
Robert Shortt blogs ahead of tonight's item on what is currently happening in the Dublin property market:
A cold, dark November night may not the best time to view a house.
An unlived-in room has a lonely feel at the best of times. But when the cold night is pressing in, it can take a leap of imagination to imagine the pitter-patter of little feet inhabiting a new home.
Unless of course, the estate-sale semi is a rare opportunity to escape escalating rents and get a foothold on the property ladder. Unless the last time you saw a house ...
Katie Hannon, Prime Time's Political Correspondent and author of the Naked Politician, blogs ahead of tonight's programme on political and electoral reform:
Labour stalwarts still recall how much the late Frank Cluskey detested what he saw as the pointless tyranny of having to hold regular constituency clinics.
Read More »
The former Labour party leader questioned the motivation of constituents who would present themselves in the poolrooms and lounge bars of Dublin South Central seeking succour, remarking: ‘A third of the people that turn up at clinics want you to do something that’s f**kin’ impossible. Another third want you ...
Prime Time’s George Lee blogs ahead of the Budget 2014 announcements
The fact that budget day comes two months earlier than normal this year meant less time for leaks and political kite flying about what it will contain. Perhaps that was not such a bad thing. Because delivering bad news through dribs and drabs, and snippets, and half truths as we have experienced budget leaks in recent years, is downright demoralising for citizens.
The run in to last year’s budget with all the leaks about property tax seriously undermined consumer confidence, and brought the economy to a standstill ...Read More »
Oonagh Smyth, reporter on RTE’s “Breach of Trust” programme, which looked into standards in crèches, blogs after the launch of ‘Right From the Start’, the Report of the Expert Advisory Group on the Early Years Strategy.
The main highlight is the need for a massive increase in investment in Early Years (ie the 0-6s) almost doubling our current spend from .4% of GDP to .7% within in five years to bring us up to the OECD average. The Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald who was there to launch the report (with Toby Young, Start Strong and Fergus Finlay ...Read More »
Barry Cummins blogs ahead of his report tonight.
The discovery of the skeletal remains of a woman found in a forested area of Killakee in south County Dublin last Friday has focused public attention on the cases of Ireland's missing women.
While it now appears that the woman may have died within recent years, the initial suspicion was that the body might have been one of the women who vanished in Leinster in the 1990s and who may have been the victim of a serial killer.
A total of 10 women vanished across Leinster from 1991 to 1998. The ...
Anyone with information on the Disappeared can get in touch with the Independent Commission. They can be contacted through their website, by phone or post. See below for all details.Read More »
Due to the express wish of the parents of the children involved in last night’s Prime Time, ‘Breach of Trust’ will not be available on RTÉ Player and will not be repeated. It is also the express wish of the parents of the children involved that no screengrabs or audio relating to crèche footage are reproduced in broadcast, print or online.Read More »
Rita O'Reilly blogs ahead of tonight's Prime Time Special from the RTÉ Investigations Unit:
Malaria is a killer disease and it’s no surprise that four anti-malarials medications including Mefloquine (licensed in Ireland as Lariam) are listed as WHO (World Health Organisation) Essential Medicines. But Lariam is controversial, not least because its manufacturer, Roche, says its safety profile is characterised by a predominance of neuropsychiatric adverse reactions.
Roche reports rare cases of suicide associated with the drug but says no causal link has been proven.
Following months of research, the RTÉ Investigations Unit has uncovered evidence of a ...Read More »
For anyone affected by issues raised in tonight’s programme on suicide, there are a number of helplines and websites which can be contacted for both immediate and longer-term help.
The Samaritans offer a 24 hour listening service and can be contacted on 1850 60 90 90 or
0845 790 90 90 in Northern Ireland.
Console offers 24 hour help for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide and can be contacted on
1800 201 890
1Life is a free 24 hour Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1 800 24 7 100
Reach Out is a service dedicated to helping young ...Read More »
Tanya Sillem blogs ahead of tonight's programme from RTÉ's Investigations Unit:
135 children died in less than 10 years while in the care of the Bethany Home in Dublin, in the middle of the last century. Bethany was a protestant run Mother and Baby home. Many of the children who died there are buried in unmarked graves in Dublin’s Mount Jerome Cemetery. Seventy-two year old Derek Leinster was born in Bethany just as the death rate peaked. State Inspectors found neglect, and babies dying from diseases linked to malnutrition. Derek believes it was only a long stretch ...Read More »
The Minister for Justice has said that with effect from tomorrow, people can contact the Department in order to seek benefits and supports from funds which have been allocated to the survivors of the Magdalen Laundries.
People can contact the Department by writing to:
Magdalen Laundry Fund, C/O Department of Justice and Equality, Montague Court, Montague Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 01 4768649
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgRead More »
A done deal, although that was almost lost in translation. The ECB Governing Council, said President Mario Draghi, “took note” and did so unanimously.
Tonight, Prime Time will take stock of what that deal means in an extended programme. The promissory notes are torn up and replaced with a “basket” of government bonds; essentially an interest only loan. Is it the game-changer we were promised?
However, fiscal consolidation will have continue apace – so what difference will it make to us? Minister Noonan says it means a billion less cuts and taxes in the 2014 and 2015 budgets (although that still ...Read More »
Connect counselling: Freephone: 1800 477477/ from NI & UK: 00800 477477
Lines open until midnight tonight
The Samaritans: 1850 609090 or from NI & UK 0845 7909090
Lines open 24 hours
Tonight’s Prime Time, which is live before a studio audience, looks at the big story of the day – the report into the Magdalen Laundries which has found a “significant” level of State involvement in sending women to these “lonely and frightening” places.
More than a quarter of the 11,500 women who passed through ten institutions between 1922 and 1996 were sent there by the state or court order.
The stories of the experiences of the women who lived and worked in these laundries have been well-documented by Prime Time and elsewhere, and the report confirms a harsh environment ...Read More »
Kevin Burns blogs about his report on how unprovoked assaults, and even one punch, can have fatal consequences:
As far as I know David Dorr and Treasa Walsh have never met, but if they did they would find that they share a lot of qualities. They are both very strong parents who have become inspirational figures for others through their own personal pain. But if it wasn’t for the intervention of tragedy only their families and friends would have known about their strength. They are both enduring every parent’s nightmare, their sons went out one night and never ...Read More »
On tonight's programme:
The issue of abortion has, perhaps more than any other subject, divided this country for more than three decades. Recent events have again brought the debate back into sharp focus but one thing is clear; the Fine Gael/Labour Government is committed to making provisions for the X Case Supreme Court ruling through a combination of legislation and regulation.
The last three days have seen medical and legal experts, representatives from churches, faith groups and other interested parties on both sides of the debate make their submissions to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children. Regardless ...Read More »
On tonight’s programme:
Last night saw the fifth consecutive night of rioting in East Belfast, where anger among loyalist communities over the Union flag controversy has refused to subsidise. Barry Cummins has the latest on the disturbances and Miriam O’Callaghan will be presenting live from Belfast, joined by Willie Frazer of the Ulster People’s Forum and (via link from London) Alliance Party MP Naomi Long.
We’ll also be examining the delay that has left thousands of third level students still awaiting their grants. With many now relying on food donations just to get by, is the ...Read More »
Robert Shortt blogs ahead of tonight's coverage of the US Presidential Election:
It’s quiet, cold and the sun is shining. Washington DC is eerily calm. It’s a professional city, full of ambitious people caught up in the cut and thrust of politics and all of its attendant courtiers in the lobbying and policy worlds.
But the two tribes of American politics have migrated to the seven or so battleground states where this closest of elections has been fought. Some think they may even stay there for a while longer, if a close vote leads to challenges over ...Read More »
On tonight’s programme:
With just over a week to go until the Children Referendum, Rita O’Reilly examines the arguments from both the Yes and No campaigns, speaking to both advocates and legal experts, as well as hearing from abuse victims who have strong reason for taking their respective positions. In studio, Richard Crowley will chair the debate, with solicitor Catherine Ghent making the case for the Yes campaign and former MEP Kathy Sinnott putting representing the No side.
Recent high-profile and tragic teen suicides have again brought the issue of online bullying, and bullying in general, back into ...Read More »
Robert Shortt blogs ahead of his report tonight on buy-to-let mortgages:
Our property boom and bust is a saga with many chapters: Anglo, the Bailout, the travails of Family Quinn and the ongoing diplomatic machinations surrounding our legacy of bank debt. One chapter only partially opened is the buy-to-let sector.
Back in the boom, it was hard to hop into a taxi without emerging with information on the property portfolios of a nation in thrall to the wonders of upward only property prices.
At the height of the boom, investors big and small piled into buy-to-let property. Sweetners like interest ...
Paul Maguire blogs ahead of his report tonight examining the controversial and divisive issue of assited suicide and right to die legislation. Also tonight, after a very difficult week for the coalition, Prime Time looks at the aftermath of Róisín Shortall's decision to resign as junior minister, we'll also be joined via satellite link from New York by Tánaiste and Labour Party Leader Eamon Gilmore.
Right To Die/Right To Live
It’s almost 20 years since suicide was decriminalised in Ireland.
However, under the Suicide Act 1993, it is still a criminal act to ...Read More »
Tanya Sillem blogs ahead of her report on the Magdalene Laundries on tonight's Prime Time:
Mary Merritt’s husband sobbed all the way through her interview for Prime Time. Bill Merritt is the sole witness to the years of misery suffered by his wife since leaving the Magdalene laundry at High Park in 1960. Now 81, Mary says that even now she wakes up crying: "My husband will tell you I wake up at night crying, thinking about what my life was. I should have forgotten about it after the years, but I can’t."
It was only after ...