Articles in Category: National Interest

Irish Everest climber: view from top of world ‘pretty incredible’

Limerick man says financial, emotional, family and work costs are part of the climb. By Vivienne Clarke

The youngest Irish person to climb Everest, Rob Mortell from Limerick, said on Friday he was looking forward to getting back to normality after scaling the world’s highest peak.


The 26-year-old, who has become the youngest Irish person to reach the summit, said after a challenging two months living on the side of a mountain he wanted to get home.

Speaking from Everest base camp shortly after completing his final descent Mr Mortell said: “I’m looking forward to normality. I’ve been here for two months, it’s been a challenging time, and an enjoyable time.”

“I don’t know when we’ll get home We are at the mercy of the Chinese in terms of logistics, a lot of gear is still at base camp. It is going to take another few days before we can get home.”

He said there are many costs associated with such a project, “ a financial, emotional, family cost, work cost.

“It is hard to put together. When putting a plan together you have to assess how much you want this, how much you’re prepared to invest in terms of time and finances ,” he told Newstalk radio. He also thanked his employer, KPMG.

“It’s all about everyone pitching in together.” He said the view from top of the world was “pretty incredible”.

“We could see Nepal and Tibet. It is quite special. But what’s special about Everest is that it dwarfs everything around it. There’s nothing close to it.

“Our summit was delayed so we couldn’t predict it with much accuracy. People have to make the best of what they hope will be the best weather day, to get the best views, to get the best safety, to have a safe climb.

“We were about two days off target when we did eventually [reach the] summit, but we were able to take shelter further down the mountain.

“The big thing about climbing Everest is that it’s a very personal goal. You can’t really be sure that it’s ever going to happen. There are so many things not in your control. You do your best, put the best foot forward, hope the weather plays ball, that your health is good.”

He said they were unaware of other incidents the mountain while they were preparing.

“On the north side where I was, we were unaware of major issues with other teams. All the teams help each other. We have a doctor on our team. You focus on your own climb and watch out for people around you.

On Friday the body of an Indian climber was found on the upper slopes of Mount

Everest, raising the death toll on the world’s tallest mountain since it was re-opened to expeditions this spring to four.

Sherpas have been searching for two Indian climbers missing since last Saturday.

Canadian ambassador tackles protestor at Easter Rising ceremony

A diplomat hailed a hero worldwide for shooting a gunman who stormed the Canadian parliament has wrestled with a protester at a military ceremony in Ireland.

Kevin Vickers helped subdue a demonstrator who began chanting "insult" at the service commemorating more than 100 British soldiers killed trying to suppress the Easter Rising a century ago.

Mr Vickers, 59, was attending the State ceremony as Canada's ambassador to Ireland when a man in his 40s attempted to disrupt it.

Dressed in a suit and raincoat, he grabbed the protester by his black leather jacket before Gardaí moved in, forced the suspect to the ground and arrested him.


The former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms in Ottawa became a household name after confronting rifle-wielding Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on October 22 2014 during a gun fight in the building.

In what was described as a terror attack, Zehaf-Bibeau had earlier gunned down Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, who was assigned to the honour guard at the city's national war memorial.

Mr Vickers, who has a strong Irish-Canadian background, was later appointed ambassador to Dublin.

Gardaí confirmed a man in his mid 40s was arrested at around midday.

The suspect was detained at Cabra Garda station on suspected public order offences.

He was heard shouting "this is an insult" at the start of the invite-only event.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan laid a wreath in memory of up to 125 British soldiers killed during the 1916 rebellion against British rule.


They came from across Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland and further afield.

The ceremony commemorating their deaths is one of a number organised to mark the 100th anniversary of the Rising.

British Ambassador to Dublin Dominick Chilcott also laid a wreath on behalf of the British Government.

Mr Flanagan said the service was about recognising the many different narratives and experiences in one of the most defining episodes of recent Irish history.

"Like those that died a hundred years ago, those of us participating in today's event are a diverse group of individuals, with different backgrounds, beliefs and aspirations," he said.

"Such differences do not divide us and need not hinder us from coming together to reflect upon the moments that have shaped our islands' history.


"In the century since the events of 1916 we have learned, through painful experience, the importance of mutual respect for the different traditions and multiple narratives across these islands."

Members of the Irish Defence Forces, together with members of the British Armed Forces also participated in the ceremony.

A spokeswoman for the Canadian Embassy in Dublin said: "We are not making any comment. The ambassador will not be giving any interviews."


Gardaí called as girl, 11, makes death threats to classmates

An out-of-control 11-year-old girl assaulted her classmates and threatened to have them shot and killed, a court has heard, writes Gordon Deegan.

The girl also assaulted her mother and a sister in front of the principal and the school said it has had to call gardaí on a number of occasions to control her.

A social worker with the Child and Family Agency (CFA) told a District Family Law Court that the girl’s behaviour has deteriorated in the last six months, and in two incidents the school had to call gardaí because it was unable to manage her.


“It was a very, very volatile atmosphere. It is very significant that a school like the one in this case are relying on Garda assistance to deal with the behaviour,” she said.

The social worker said earlier this year the girl took an overdose of her mother’s prescription drugs and was rushed to hospital by ambulance.

An assessment carried out on the girl found that there was no intention to self-harm in the episode.

The girl had another outburst at the hospital, where she was treated for the overdose, resulting in the hospital deploying a security guard.

She said the girl “is completely out of control”.

In the case, the CFA was seeking to put the child into care on an interim basis.

Both the child’s mother and father — who is the girl’s primary carer — opposed the application with the father stating that he was agreeable to the respite care Monday to Friday only and would look after his daughter at weekends.

Solicitor for the mother said there has been no further episode of note at the school in the past two months.

However, after hearing evidence from the senior social worker, mother and father, the judge placed the girl into care for the next 29 days.

After hearing the judge’s ruling the distressed mother began to sob openly and left the court in tears.

The solicitor told the father while he was in the witness box: “This is not a punishment of you or your wife. The sole purpose of this is to safeguard your child from now and into the future.”

The social worker told the court: “I would be very, very concerned for the girl if the current pattern continues and I would be very concerned that she would end up part of the criminal system and out of education and be at the risk of harm — both to herself and others.”

She said an assessment of the girl found that “there isn’t an underlying mental health issue, that her difficulties are an emotional and behavioural response to the environment that she is living in”.

She said: “Her dad is a very committed father and I have no doubt but that he has tried his hardest over the years.

“More recently her needs seem to have changed and her behaviour has become very worrying at times and she has had very, very aggressive outbursts.”

The mother told the court that the girl “is not a very bold child — she is a good child”.

The father admitted that the girl’s behaviour “has deteriorated a small bit and there have been no outbursts at home”.

In his ruling, the judge described the father as “an unsung hero” in bringing up the girl by himself for the last number of years.

However, he said that “it is not usual that a child of her age gives rise to major outbursts of the nature outlined” and it is not usual that a child of her age shows this level of aggression “in terms of assaults and threats so there is a problem”.

The judge said the girl’s issues do not relate to an underlying health problem but are a reaction to the unstable environment in which she lives and the social worker has confirmed that what the girl needs is stability.

The judge said that he would grant an interim care order for the purpose that the girl’s health and welfare is not impaired or neglected.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner .

Jet diverted to Shannon Airport after vibrations detected

A passenger jet was forced to turn around over the Atlantic and divert to Shannon Airport early on Tuesday morning after the crew declared an emergency, writes Patrick Flynn.

American Airlines flight AA-141 had departed London’s Heathrow Airport at 7.40pm bound for JFK airport in New York.

There were 89 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777-200 jet.

The flight was over three hours into its journey when the crew opted to turn around.

The crew reported they had received an indicator light in the cockpit.


Authorities at Shannon implemented the airport's emergency plan which also involved alerting the local authority fire service, HSE National Ambulance Service and An Garda.

Three units of the fire brigade from Shannon town were sent to the airport while two units from Ennis were mobilised to a designated holding point adjacent to the M18 motorway at Dromoland.

Several ambulances from Ennis and Limerick were also dispatched to the airport.

The flight landed safely at 12.26am and was met by almost a dozen emergency vehicles.

The jet taxied to the terminal accompanied by emergency crews.

Engineers were also standing by to investigate the problem.

The airline confirmed: “American Airlines flight 141 diverted to Shannon Airport due to an indicator light in the cockpit reporting a possible mechanical issue. The aircraft landed safely, and taxied to the gate.”

American Airlines said they are working to get the passengers to their destination as soon as possible.

Woman hailed a hero for saving child (3) who slipped into river 'when she was looking at fish'

A FEMALE pedestrian was hailed as a hero today after dramatically rescuing a child which had slipped and fallen into a river in an Irish city centre. By Ralph Riegel

The three year old girl was walking with an au pair at 12 noon in Cork city centre when she suddenly ran forward to gaze at fish swimming in the River Lee.


Scene of the incident on Cork's quays (Photo: Trought)

However, before the au pair could grab her, she had slipped on a wet surface and apparently slid directly beneath safety railings and into the river.

The incident occurred near Brian Ború Bridge with the nearby streets packed with shoppers, commuters and holiday makers.

A female passerby saw what happened and immediately jumped into the water to rescue the child.

The au pair was also about to jump into the water but was urged by other pedestrians to remain on shore to assist with the rescue.

The brave woman, who is in her 30s, grabbed the child in the water and managed to get to the quay wall which she used as a support to keep both afloat until the emergency services arrived.

Fire brigade officials said the woman's actions required remarkable quick-thinking and stamina.

A male pedestrian rang the emergency services and stayed on the quay wall above the stranded pair to offer encouragement.

Cork fire brigade units and Gardaí were at the scene within minutes.

The woman and child were both removed from the river having spent less than five minutes in the water.

Medical treatment was given at the scene to both the woman and little girl.

Both are understood to have avoided serious injury in the incident.

However, as a precautionary measure both were taken by ambulance to the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) for precautionary medical assessment.

The child was uninjured but deeply shocked by her narrow escape.

Both are expected to be discharged this afternoon.

Gardaí and Cork fire brigade paid tribute to the incredible courage of the female passerby and stressed that, but for her quick-thinking and bravery, the incident could have had a tragic outcome.

The major rescue operation triggered after the accident including the launch of RNLI lifeboats.

Brennans family pan 'may contain pieces of laminated paper'

Brennans is recalling it's family pan as a precautionary measure, saying it may contain small pieces of laminated paper.

The 800 gram sliced pan has a best before date of May 20.


In a statement this evening the company says there is no risk to consumers who may have already consumed the product and any potentially affected packs have already been removed from supermarket shelves.

Brennans have been in business for 45 years in Ireland.

Starting out in Fumbally Lane, Dublin, they are now one of the largest bakeries in Ireland.



Sisters have emotional first meeting after 64 years apart

Two sisters living separate lives on opposite sides of the world have had an emotional first meeting after 64 years apart.

Lesley Fagan, 64, who lives in Ballinamallard, County Fermanagh, met her sister Joan Lesley Crawford Murray, at Dublin Airport after she arrived from Australia last week.

She had spent almost 28 years trying to track her down.

Joan is staying with Lesley for three weeks to catch up with one another.

Lesley, who is originally from Lancashire, said it felt like a miracle and she had not slept since meeting her sister.


She began her search for Joan in 1989 after her mother told her she had a half sister.

She found her in October 2015 when she had been on the verge of giving up.

Lesley and Joan's mother belonged to a devout Catholic family.

She decided to hide her pregnancy from her father - Lesley's grandfather - by putting the child into a Catholic mother-and-babies home in Manchester in 1948.

After six weeks she had to sign documents to authorise the adoption.

When the nun left the room, her mother saw the name and address of the prospective parents and she never forgot, telling Lesley the details 40 years later

With that information, Lesley began looking for her sister.

She made an appeal on Facebook that was picked up by two genealogists - Jill Harrington in the UK and Terri O'Neill in Australia.

Lesley made an appeal on an Oz Facebook group.

Terri said she could help and tracked Joan down shortly afterwards, enabling last week's emotional meeting.

MEP calls for investigation into spike in Irish car insurance premiums

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has today demanded action to combat the high cost of motor insurance in Ireland.

She has called on the European Commission to launch an investigation into the Irish motor insurance market in order to ascertain whether any anti-competitive practices are to blame for recent increases in premiums.


"Motor insurance prices in Ireland have spiked, with reports of up to 50% increases last year," she said in Carlow today.

"The signs are that they are increasing again this year.

"The cost of insuring a car is becoming outrageously high, especially for younger drivers.

"Given the dispersed nature of our towns, villages and countryside, and given the inadequate public transport system, an ability to drive is crucially important to so many people.

"Without access to their own car, a large number of our people would be unable to work, to shop, to socialise, to access medical services or to facilitate their children's education.

"The high price of motor insurance is a burden on many Irish families, and it is apparent that competition in the market is not working to reduce prices.

"I am concerned that the high cost of insuring a vehicle, especially for younger people, is a barrier to finding and keeping a job, and accessing education or training.

"I have asked the Commission to launch an investigation into the Irish motor insurance market to examine whether it is operating fairly, and to see if any anti-competitive practices are to blame for the continued high prices of motor premiums."

US police have located Sinead O’Connor

Sinead O’Connor has been found safe after a daylong search.

A police spokesman said: “She was found safe and is no longer listed as missing or in danger.”

Earlier: Police in the US are investigating reports that Irish singer Sinead O'Connor may be missing.

In a statement, officers at Wilmette Police Department in Illinois say they are seeking to "check the wellbeing" of the troubled artist.


She has not been seen since going on a bicycle ride at 6am local time yesterday morning.

A caller to police expressed concern for her well-being.

According to a report on TMZ, she was last seen on a Raleigh motorised bicycle with a pink basket, and is said to be wearing a black parka jacket, black leather pants and a sweatshirt with "Ireland" on the back.


Mark Hamill spotted at Cork Airport

The Star Wars' crew and cast have landed at Cork Airport.

The Star Wars’ Boeing 767-300 aircraft, with some 260 people on board, landed at around 2.30pm yesterday.

Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, was spotted with his dog on arrival.


Production is set to take place in and around Brow Head in West Cork until May 18 and filming there is understood to include Rey undergoing Jedi training.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has enforced a no-fly zone, in a bid to block drones from operating.

Production is expected to move to the Ceann Sibeal headland in Kerry later in the week, where Jedi temple sets have been built.

The IAA is enforcing a 21-day no-fly zone in the Dingle peninsula, banning the operation of craft within an 8km radius of Sybil Head and Dunmore Head.



Young woman is shot after chilling Facebook threats

Chilling online threat was posted by suspect just hours before the shooting took place. By Wayne O'Connor

An innocent woman was blasted in the throat after a chilling threat had been made on Facebook by a man later arrested in connection with the attack.


Ciara Sheehan (inset) was rushed to hospital after being shot

Ciara Sheehan (21) was rushed to hospital after being shot early yesterday. The bullet went through the window of the house she was in at the time and hit her in the neck.

Gardaí believe the attack is linked to an ongoing dispute between two members of different families - but has nothing to do with Ms Sheehan.

She underwent emergency surgery at Cork University Hospital yesterday and is said to be in a serious but stable condition.

A man (29) and a woman (22) were arrested shortly after the incident and were being questioned at Gurranabraher and Bridewell garda stations in Cork last night under section 30 of the Offences Against the State act.

It is understood that the man was previously known to gardaí. Late on Saturday night, he posted on Facebook that he was looking for members of a family from the house that was shot at.

The details of the message cannot be publicised for legal reasons - but he said that it was time for a "war" with the other family and another individual.

The shooting took place less than two hours later.


A smashed porch door window at the front of the house in the Hollywood Estate in Knocknaheeney, Cork. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney

At least one shot was fired at the front of a house in the Hollywood Estate in Knocknaheeney, on the northside of the city.

The bullet hole was visible in the sitting-room window yesterday as gardaí preserved the scene.

Ms Sheehan, who is from Ardcullen in Cork, was in the house, which was first targeted with a rock through a sliding door in the front porch and later the gunshot through a front window.

Locals said they were concerned about the escalation of violence in the row.

One witness said they heard at least one gunshot before gardaí arrived at the scene.

"I was listening to the radio with headphones on but my daughter came in and told me she had heard a gunshot.

"I thought it was a car backfiring but then I saw all the blue lights outside and knew something had happened."

Gardaí spent yesterday examining the scene. They questioned neighbours in the estate and combed the area for clues as children played with parents on the street.

The same house has been the target of attacks in the past.

Another neighbour said that she was worried about things escalating to this level.

She continued: "I heard the shot between midnight and 12.30am. I got up out of bed but only heard one gunshot at the front of the house.

"All the windows were smashed in in that house last year. The victims are a lovely family, so it is terrible to see this go on.

"We have been dealing with this for 15 or 16 years but it has been getting worse and worse for a long time.

"It started off as something small but now it has escalated. It is very unpredictable and you don't know where you stand.

"Another family has been drawn into it now because she has been shot. It is terrible.

"Something will have to be done now because it is going on too long and it will go too far."

Local Sinn Féin councillor Thomas Gould said the community was in shock.

"This is a nice estate, with a lot of young families. People have seen what is happening in Dublin and are worried about a lack of garda resources.

"The gardaí are overworked, under-resourced and underpaid."



Schoolgirl (17) missing for 48 hours is found deceased

Gardaí have said that a teenager missing since Tuesday 'has been located deceased'.

Gardaí have said  that a teenager missing since Tuesday 'has been located deceased'.


Rebeka Lubnika (17) was last seen in Mountjoy Square in Dublin.

She was described as 5ft 8 inches tall, of thin build, with dyed strawberry blond hair and green eyes.

Gardai said that when last seen she was wearing a navy school uniform hoodie with a white crest, navy chequered skirt, navy socks and black runner/shoes.

Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill fights claim he 'fiddled' his expenses

A Fianna Fáil senator has denied breaching ethics laws by claiming expenses for attending conferences and events which took place at the same time in different parts of the country. By Shane Phelan

Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill told a hearing of the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) that the controversy had damaged his political life and been a heavy burden on his family.


Sipo has been investigating allegations that the Donegal senator claimed hundreds of euro in travel and subsistence expenses for attending events taking place simultaneously hundreds of kilometres apart. Mr Ó Domhnaill has denied any wrongdoing.

He claims that he criss-crossed the country, sometimes late at night, so that he could attend different events on the same date.

Lúan Ó Braonáin SC said it was alleged that Mr Ó Domhnaill contravened Section 168 of the Local Government Act 2001 by failing to maintain proper standards of integrity and conduct.

But the senator, who was recently re-elected to the Seanad, claimed that the allegations had been made maliciously.

The ethics breaches are alleged to have occurred in 2006, when Mr Ó Domhnaill was a member of both Donegal County Council and Údaras na Gaeltachta.

At a hearing conducted in both English and Irish, Mr Ó Braonáin said there were three occasions on which there "appeared to be a conflict" between expenses claimed from the council and from Údarás.

The first related to an expenses claim of €641 to the council for attending an Association of County and City Councils conference in Dundalk, which took place on March 9-11, 2006.

The hearing was told that Mr Ó Domhnaill also claimed mileage from Údarás for a 62-mile round trip from his home to attend a meeting of the Donegal Sports Partnership in Letterkenny on March 10.

The second conflict related to a €469 claim from the council for mileage and subsistence for attending a training seminar in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, on April 26 and 27, 2006. Mr O Domhnaill also entered a mileage claim to Údarás for driving from his home to a meeting of the Donegal Sports Partnership on April 27.

The third related to a claim for mileage and subsistence from the council, totalling €680, for attending a Marine Tourism Conference in Carlingford, Co Louth, which ran from May 30 to June 2, 2006.

At the same time, Mr Ó Domhnaill claimed expenses for travelling 54 miles to attend a Donegal Sports Partnership launch in Dungloe on May 31.

Mr Ó Domhnaill claimed that he left the conferences in Dundalk and Carlingford mid-way to return home for sports partnership events and to check his mail, before driving back to those conferences.

His lawyers said a mistake on a claim form was to blame for the apparent overlap involving the conference in Carrickmacross and a meeting in Donegal.

Mr Ó Domhnaill told the hearing there had been "great damage" to his name. "It is not right or just," he said.

The commission is to issue its findings at a later date.

Varicose vein death: Mum could not be admitted to hospital as doctor was away

CONSULTANTS at a private hospital must ensure adequate cover in their absence after a patient died nine days after surgery to remove varicose veins. By Louise Roseingrave

Karen McCabe (46) of Bewley Drive, Lucan, Co Dublin underwent radiofrequency oblation, a procedure to remove varicose veins at the Bons Secours Hospital in Dublin on August 6 2014.


Karen McCabe

Her vascular surgeon, Professor Austin Leahy went on a break to his Co Kerry holiday home two days later. On August 15, Ms McCabe died due to a blood clot in the lung believed to have originated in the lower leg.

An inquest into her death heard that she presented at Beaumont Hospital on August 14 and died the following morning. She had contacted the Bons Secours Hospital three days before her death complaining of pain in her knee and difficulty walking.


Karen McCabe's husband Michael and daughter Shauna, age 13

A resumed inquest at Dublin Coroner’s Court heard from Bons Secours Senior House Officer (SHO) Dr Kingsley Opputeh wanted to admit the patient and carry out a scan on August 13, but only Prof Leahy could authorise Ms McCabe’s admittance to the Bons Secours. Prof Leahy had left specific instructions that he should be contacted via text message if he was needed but network coverage in the area was unreliable, the court heard.

He noticed a missed call from a general Bons Secours number and did not reply because it was not a specific number, the court heard.

Bons Secours Hospital Manager Mike Tonery confirmed it was hospital procedure that consultants must take responsibility for admitting patients but said ‘never again’ would an SHO be prevented from admitting a patient because a consultant was not available. He said he had personally with the hospital’s consultants to ensure adequate cover be organised where appropriate.

“Never again will it happen that a patient won’t be able to be admitted without a consultant,” he said. Mr Tonery said under new measures introduced in the wake of Ms McCabe’s death, the SHO’s first option was to contact the primary consultant, followed by the second consultant and failing that could refer patients to a recently opened medical assessment unit within the hospital that operates within office hours.

“Out of hours, all other options exhausted, they should refer to Accident and Emergency at Beaumont,” Mr Tonery said, adding that transport could be provided.

Barrister for the McCabe family, David Holland said if Dr Oputteh had been able to admit the patient, a scan could have been carried out and treatment such as clexane, a medication to treat Deep Vein Thrombosis in the legs, could have been administered.

“Had Dr Oputteh been able to put his plan into effect an ultrasound would have been performed either that night or the following morning,” Mr Holland said.

“...That fact of (Dr Oputteh’s) inability to put the plan into effect was at least part of the causative sequence that lead to Karen McCabe’s death,” he said. Ms McCabe was given clexane at Beaumont Hospital, where she presented the day before her death.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned a verdict of medical misadventure and endorsed the new arrangements made at the Bons Secours in relation to attendance of patients at the hospital.

A statement from Karen McCabe's family was read by their solicitor Kathrina Bray after the inquest.

“After 18 long and difficult months the family are comforted by the fact the coroner has returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure and that the coroner has identified a number of risk factors that lead to the unfortunate and untimely death of the late Karen McCabe.

"The family is comforted by the fact that learnings have occurred in the Bons Secours hospital and that new cover arrangements when consultants are unavailable have been put in place.

"Unfortunately for Karen’s family nothing can bring her back.”


Concerns grow after rockfall on Skellig Michael

Concern is growing on the monastic site Skellig Michael after another serious rockfall.

The island off the coast of Kerry was scheduled to re-open to visitors for the tourist season in a number of days.

Today a large boulder broke free from a slope and landed directly on the path normally taken by visitors.

The Office of Public Works says it has staff and safety contractors on site assessing the scale of the problem and that the incident may have significant consequences for the planned opening date.

The landmark has recently gained global attention after appearing in the latest Star Wars film.

VIDEO: Star Wars The Force Awakens on Skellig Michael