Today With Pat Kenny
The mid-morning current affairs magazine with the stories of the day, sharp analysis, in-depth features and consumer interest
Today in Nicosia the President of Cyprus is presenting the leaders of the countrys political parties with a “ plan b” for funding its controversial bailout. Earlier in the week the parliament had voted down proposals which would have levied a once off bank levy on deposits over 20,000 euro. Meanwhile the banks there will stay closed until next Tuesday making day to day living very difficult.
Joining Pat on the line was reporter Maria Kagkelidou ..
It is now accepted by banker, economist and politician alike that the economy will not recover until the issue of distressed mortgages is dealt with. Finance Minister Michael Noonan recently voiced his view that you cannot have a functioning economy with 100,000 people unable to take part in it because they are saddled with debt.
Pat was joined in studio by Vincent P Martin from new beginnings and Noeleen Blackwell from FLAC (the free legal advice service),
Ciaran Lynch Chairman of the Oireachtas Finance Committee on Cyprus Crisis.
In 1960 the Irish people were devastated by news that nine of the soldiers that they had sent to the Congo as part of a U.N. peace mission had been killed by Baluba warriors.
Their funeral cortège in Dublin was watched by thousands of people who knew the men had been killed in an ambush but very little else.
Soon afterwards journalist Tom McCaughren began a two-year search to find out what had happened and in 1966 put the results of that search in entitled The Peacemakers of Niemba.
Now he brings the story up to date as the book is being republished – The Full Story of the Congo Ambush
They’re new and exciting – a must hear band according to Hotpress -Solar Taxi is a five-piece band from Waterford. They have just released their first album ‘Broken Brothers Secret Bells’, they joined Pat in studio for music and chat.
Thu 21st Mar Dublin Whelan's,
Sun 24th Mar Cork Crane Lane
Fri 3rd May lVantastival Festival, Co.Louth
Sun 30th Jun Daytripper Festival Bolton St. (Outdoor), Waterford
Sat 6th JulGroove FestivalThe Groove Festival , Kilruddery Estate, Bray
There so many Apps and people have their own favourites depending on their interests. Tina Leonard joined Pat to discuss what is on offer for free.
Two Apps I have chosen in the ‘rights’ category are information based rather than transaction based, but these are two very useful ones that, in my opinion, everyone should have.
EHIC – This is an information based App about the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Everyone should have an in-date EHIC card in their wallet to enable them access the public healthcare system in any other EU country. The reason why this is useful is that you can click on whatever country you are planning to visit (or more likely are already in), and it lists what services are available to you in that country, and how their public system worked.
I recently heard of a case where an Irish woman was injured in Spain, presented at a clinic and was treated. However, what she didn’t realise was that some clinics in Spain are a mix or private and public (sometimes even with different times for each service) and it is up to you to tell them which service you want. Unwittingly, she ended up using the private service and got a bill for €2,000, which her travel insurance provider is now disputing. Had she read the information on Spain in the App when she realised that she needed treatment, she could have avoided this.
Your Passenger Rights – This is another information based App and comes from the European Commission.
It covers air passenger rights, rail and ferry passenger rights. If your flight is cancelled or delayed, it’s only then you’ll seek information on what you’re entitled to and having this App gives you access to all that in detail.
Climote - This is the time of year when the weather is so erratic (sunny one day and snowing the next!) that whatever your central heating thermostat is set to, you probably need to keep changing it.
Enter an App that allows you to remotely control and change temperatures, turn your heating on or off, and even change your thermostat schedules. It can also tell you what temperature the heat is at a given moment, and basically can do anything that you could do if you were standing beside your thermostat at home.
However, the sting is that this is an App that goes with a device that you must buy. That device is called Climote (made by an Irish company), is distributed by Electric Ireland and costs €299 (you can spread payment across bills).
The device is attached to your mains and essentially becomes your heating control unit instead of your thermostat. It contains a SIM card (€3 per month / first year free) and that means it can be controled either via an ordinary text or through the App.
I spoke to Simon Moynihan from bonkers.ie who has used Climote since December and has reviewed it for that site. He thinks the App is great; quick and easy to use. He has changed the temperature from the sofa and even from bed, and of course when out and about.
Electric Ireland say that in evidence from their trials, customers can save up to 20% on their bills as people can turn the heating off or down easily when not at home or when it’s not needed. However, Simon suggests that he may be spending more as he tends to increase temperatures more often. But, time will tell when he’s had it for longer whether savings have been made. But nonetheless, while he received his Climote free for testing purpose, he says that having used it for several months he likes it so much that he would spend the money on it. This is a luxury though.
Appliance Calculator - Back to free Apps with no stings in the tail, this one comes from Electric Ireland, is very useful and may indeed help you save money, as you’ll find out exactly how much using each household appliance is costing you.
You can choose everything from a toaster to an electric shower, from a DVD player to tumble dryers and TVs (various types listed). You then input the
number of hours you reckon the appliance is on per week and the App calculates the cost.
The cost may be a few cent in some cases but many euro in others. It will show you where your big spend is and may encourage you to change habits to spend less.
If you have a Smartphone and are in a Wifi zone (or are covered by your 3G data allowance), then you don’t have to spend anything on calls or texts, as long as you use an App and that person you are contacting also has that App.
The Apps that I use frequently are Whats App, Viber and Skype.
I use WhatsApp for instant messaging (text). It is very fast and also great for uploading photos. Viber offers texts and calls (although sometimes the call reception isn’t great). For both of these there is no need to register or be a member.
You need to set up an account for Skype but can then make Skype to Skype calls for free or very little if calling Skype to a landline or mobile.
For example, I was in Brussels earlier this week and had free wifi both where I was working and at my hotel. When I needed to make personal contacts, I did it via WhatsApp rather than texting. After all, why bother paying to text when I can do it for free via the App. I also use that particular App a lot here to ensure I don’t use up my allocated monthly text allowance (or using these Aps could mean you can downgrade to a cheaper mobile package with less text and call minutes).
The Dublin Bus App means that standing at bus stops in the rain could be a thing of the past. All you have to do is enter the bus stop number if you know it (you can add most used one to your ‘favourites’ list), or search by route or address and the App will tell you when the next several buses are due to that stop. This is the same real time information that is provided at some bus stops, but with the App you check before leaving the house, office or shop.
Hailo is a taxi App available in six cities, including Dublin (the only Irish one). This is for when you need a taxi immediately (a real-time service) as the App finds your location and can pinpoint where the available taxis are nearest you and how quickly they can arrive. You then simply tap ‘pick me up here’ and the taxi will come for you.
You have to register for this one, and can add a card for payment purposes, which means you don’t even need to have any cash on you (you’ll get an email receipt). The App will tell you when the taxi has arrived and you’ll be given the driver’s details including phone number and registration number.
The Pumps App is a must if who wants to find the cheapest petrol or diesel price near where you are. The information is the same as on their well known website but the beauty of the App is that you need this information when you’re out an about. The App will find your location and list the nearest garages to you and the prices, starting from the cheapest.
Deals / Social
There are many Apps that promise deals and vouchers relating to your social life so here are a few that may help you save.
MyDealPage is the App version on the website and means you can access all daily deals in one location while on the go.
Tempster is a new App that allows you to find offers for restaurants and bars also make a booking from the App.
Voucherpages provides money off vouchers for a range of retail outlets of all kinds, and is location based as is Vouchercloud, which also offers money off vouchers, including exclusive ones.
Beware your children playing games on Apps (or online via social media sites for example). These games often require payment for credits and the account is likely to be linked to your credit card. The user / child should not be able to make further purchases without imputing a pin or password again. However, sometimes this hasn’t happened and bills of thousands of euro have been run up. So make sure your child doesn’t know the pin or password and wait for the 15- minute ‘window’ on iTunes where no new password is required after the initial purchase.
If roaming abroad be aware that in the EU there are download limits of €50 and you will be notified once your usage charges have reached 80% of that. But avoid any charge at all by turning off data roaming on your phone and only use web-based applications if you are logged in to a wifi area. Turning off the data roaming facility will also ensure that any Apps you have that download (update) content from time to time will be unable to do so, so you won’t have unexpected charges there.