Today with Sean O'Rourke

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    Today With Sean O Rourke Tuesday 3 September 2013

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    Today with Seán O'Rourke

    The mid-morning current affairs magazine with the stories of the day, sharp analysis, sports coverage, in-depth features and consumer interest.

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    Phil Hogan

    The government minister sitting opposite Sean this morning clearly wasn’t given a portfolio which would win him any public popularity contest. His name is synonymous with the local property charge, the property tax, water charges and septic tank inspections. But, he’s a highly trusted lieutenant in government and someone who’s well used to the cut and thrust of politics. Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government joined Sean this morning.

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    Banks/Mortgages

    While some high profile builders and business people have left the country to avail of bankruptcy arrangements in the UK and elsewhere there is no escape for tens of thousands of Irish people who are being chased for what they owe the banks. Many of them are under water as a result mortgage debt.

    The latest figures show that nearly 98,000 private residential mortgages were in arrears for over 90 days by the end of June – more than 200 homes were repossessed by the banks.

    As it happens this afternoon (Tues) the Oireachtas Finance Committee will meet AIB chief executive David Duffy as part of the committee's focus on activities within the four main lenders.

    One home-owner who lives in Cork, was shocked when she was phoned by her bank and encouraged to sell up, something which Martina Carroll says she is not prepared to do. She spoke to Sean this morning.

    Also in studio were Brendan Burgess founder of the forum askaboutmoney.com and Senior Council Ross Maguire co-founder New Beginning.

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    Irish Times Abortion Apology

    On page 7 of the Irish Times on Saturday a very small correction was published.

    “It said On August 23rd last, under a story headlined “First abortion carried out under new legislation”, we (the Irish Times) reported on a purported clinical case at the National Maternity Hospital. The Hospital has pointed out that the case described in the article did not happen and the Irish Times accepts this and apologises unreservedly to the hospital for the distress called.”

    This apology seems to raise as many questions as it hopes to answer……did the case ever happen, if it never happened where did the story come from in the first place….and what about the readers, were they not misled?

    Sean was joined on the line by solicitor Simon McGarr who believes the Irish Times has a lot more to explain.

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    Ditchwatch

    Are you a litter bug? A fly tipper? Do you dump your household refuse along the roadside? Valerie Cox went out with a litter warden in county cork to find out what you’ve been up to.

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    MaddAddam

    by Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury)

    Margaret Atwood needs little introduction as the author of over 30 books including the provocative bestseller The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin which won her The Booker Prize in 2000. She is best known for setting her stories in dystopic universes in which the Earth has been ravaged, generally by humans who have pushed the planet to the brink of destruction and beyond.

    She joins us today to discuss her latest novel, MaddAddam, which is the final book of the trilogy first published in 2003 with Oryx and Crake and followed by The Year of the Flood. Set in a world that's been devastated by a pandemic leaving the survivors to fight it out, will they find a way to coexist, or will they self-destruct?

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    Junior Doctors Industrial Action

    A decision is expected later today on the form of industrial action that the country’s so-called ‘junior doctors’ plan to take at the end of the month in protest at their working hours.

    While the Irish Medical Organisation has said emergency services will not be affected, the possibility of up to 4,900 doctors withdrawing from other duties could cause serious disruption to patient care.

    Susan Mitchell is Health Correspondent with The Sunday Business Post.

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    Gardening: Grow Your Own

    As an author, gardener and presenter of numerous BBC gardening programmes, not least the iconic Gardener’s World, Alys Fowler is a firm advocate of the Grow It Yourself movement, an emerging global network of community food growers. She will be in Waterford next week for the Waterford Harvest Festival – the Electric Picnic of foodies which takes place in the week beginning September 9th.

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    Syria and France

    As the number of refugees fleeing Syria tops 2 million people, last night the French government declassified intelligence reports which they say links President Bashar Assad’s government to the apparent use of chemical weapons in Damascus last month.

    John Lichfield is with the London Independent in Paris

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