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  • Election 2016: Majority want change of government, poll shows

    The scale of the electoral challenge facing the Coalition is revealed by the finding in the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll that 63 per cent of voters want to see a change of government. Asked if they would like to see the Government re-elected or have a change in government, 63 per cent opted for a change, with 30 per cent saying they would like to see the Coalition re-elected. There was a huge variation across the party spectrum, with 84 per cent of Fine Gael supporters wanting to see the Government re-elected but only 57 per cent of Labour voters wanting it to continue. There was a significant difference in class terms, with a majority of those in the AB category wanting the Government to be re-elected.

    The Irish Times q
  • Second Wetherspoons pub omit Irish rugby team from display

    A SECOND Wetherspoons pub in Co Antrim has omitted any reference to the Irish rugby team from a display promoting the Six Nations Championship. Wetherspoons in Ballymena, known as the Spinning Mill, currently displays national flag bunting for England, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy behind the bar, but has omitted the Irish rugby flag and said it will not be amending its bunting. Wetherspoons spokesman Eddie Gershon said: "The bunting (currently on display) will remain in the pub." Last week, a Wetherspoons pub in Lisburn, said it had removed a tricolour from its display after both the pub and staff were threatened. However, in contrast to the Ballymena bar, it said it would fly an Irish rugby q
  • Man alleged to be Shankill bomb IRA agent breaks silence

    THE republican allegedly identified as agent 'AA' in police files stolen by the IRA has broken his silence almost two weeks after it was claimed he was a high-level informer at the time of the Shankill bomb. The former commander of the IRA in Ardoyne denied the allegations and said he has had to flee his home after receiving death threats. Despite not being named by the Irish News, the man said he believes the claims "have been directed at me". "I deny the allegation that I am or ever was a state agent," he said. "The allegations made in the Irish News article and related articles are entirely without foundation. I always have been and remain a committed republican. Any suggestion that I was q
  • Election 2016 – voters have their say

    Sir, – What is so difficult to understand about “No junk mail, please”? This request on my letter box was ignored by many candidates when posting unsolicited election literature last time round. When challenged, the reply was that head office had instructed them to ignore such signs. My petty but understandable response this time will be to eliminate their candidates from my preference voting. – Yours, etc, W ARTHUR TANNER, Dublin 14. Sir, – Now that we know the date of the general election, it may be appropriate to recall that the late Christopher Hitchens said that the only people truly bound by campaign promises were the voters who believed them. – Yours, etc, CORMAC MEEHAN, Bundoran, Co Donegal.

    The Irish Times q
  • Death certificate does not end mystery of Lord Lucan

    This week’s High Court decision to issue a death certificate for Lord Lucan is the latest punctuation mark in a murder mystery that has fascinated the British public for more than 40 years. Debonair and dissolute in equal measure, Richard John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, has been missing since November 7th, 1974. That was the night when his children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett (29), was found bludgeoned to death at his house in Belgravia. Lucan’s wife was also attacked but escaped, covered in blood, to a nearby pub. “Help me, help me,” she screamed. “I have just escaped from a murderer. He’s in my house. He’s murdered the nanny.” Lady Lucan later claimed that the man who tried to strangle her

    The Irish Times q
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  • I don't like David Cameron but I expect him to win on EU

    I DON'T like David Cameron. There, I’ve said it. I’ve no idea what he stands for. I’ve no idea what motivates him. I’ve never understood his song-and-dance about ‘negotiating a better deal for the UK within the EU’ when it’s always been blindingly obvious that he would sell any deal they presented him with. Indeed, the so-called deal had barely tumbled out of the printer before he was promoting it. So, let’s be frank, he’s more likely to leave his daughter in the pub again than leave the EU. At this point it looks as if the biggest beasts in the Tory jungle — Michael Gove, Theresa May and Boris Johnson—are staying on board; and that will make the next few months much easier for him. He will certainly q
  • From Russia with love – An Irishman’s Diary about Igor Stravinsky and Ireland

    It’s mostly forgotten now, more than half a century on, but John F Kennedy was not the only international celebrity to visit Ireland in June 1963. The great composer Igor Stravinsky was here too, just ahead of him. And although his fame may not have been quite so widespread, the event made a huge impression on aficionados, including The Irish Times music critic, who likened it to the visit of George Frederic Handel in 1742. Stravinsky’s week-long stay was marred by the imminent demise of his friend, Pope John XXIII, who died within 24 hours of the former’s arrival. But between conducting rehearsals, the devout composer nevertheless took time out for some sightseeing. When the unnamed Irishman’s

    The Irish Times q
  • CJ Stander’s Ireland debut may be sooner than expected

    CJ Stander could be set for a surprisingly swift full debut for Ireland against Wales on Sunday. The South African-born backrower is likely to be named at blindside flanker when Joe Schmidt unveils his hand at 2pm today for Ireland’s opening defence of their Six Nations title. Furthermore, amid growing concerns about the hamstring injury that has sidelined Seán O’Brien from training since last Tuesday, there appears to be every chance that Stander’s Munster team-mate Tommy O’Donnell will be recalled at openside. The inclusion of Stander and O’Donnell would give some ball-carrying ballast to a pack that has been deprived of the retired Paul O’Connell and the injured Cian Healy, Iain Henderson and Peter O’Mahony, as well as, potentially, O’Brien.

    The Irish Times q
  • Frostbit Boy unveiled as Sinn Fein's secret electoral weapon

    SINN Féin has unleashed its secret weapon in the Republic's general election - with 'Frostbit Boy' Ruairi McSorley seemingly throwing his weight behind the party. The teenager, who became an internet hit for his description of freezing weather last year, made an appearance at the election launch for Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh in Carraroe, Co Galway. Mr Ó Clochartaigh, a former member of the Labour party, is seeking election to the Dáil in the crowded Galway West constituency, where 18 candidates will contest five seats. Sporting a Sinn Féin sticker, Mr McSorley spoke from the stage and posed for photographs with party leader Gerry Adams. The teenager, from Park in Co Derry, has been busy launching q
  • Isuzu centenary plans pick up for 2016

    JAPANESE pick-up purveyor Isuzu is marking its centenary this year, buoyed by its best ever annual sales performance in the UK last year, writes William Scholes. Isuzu UK will be celebrating the milestone with a range of model upgrades and special events to reflect its heritage and status as one of the world's leading manufacturers of diesel engines, pick-ups and light commercial vehicles. In 2015, Isuzu sold 6,220 D-Max pick-ups in Britain and Northern Ireland, representing a 478 per cent increase over the 1,076 models registered in 2009. In spring, a UK-only special edition will join the Isuzu D-Max line-up complete with premium accessories and extensive upgrades to further widen its appeal. q
  • Scrap airport's seat-sales limit says independent inquiry

    A RESTRICTION on the number of seats for sale at George Best Belfast City Airport should be removed, an independent inquiry said. The airport is proposing to replace the cap with noise controls. The Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) found that residents living more than 5km from the airport should not face high volumes. The airport wants to change its planning agreement, removing a restriction on the number of departure seats it can sell in a year, currently capped at two million. Residents' groups claim if the change is approved it will create a busier and noisier airport. The PAC said: "Restriction 3, in respect of a seats for sale limitation, should be removed." It said the area affected by q
  • Michael O’Flynn prepares to start a new chapter

    “I’m a complete fusspot,” says Michael O’Flynn, standing in the hallway of one of the well-appointed detached houses in his latest housing scheme, Rokeby Park near Lucan village in west Dublin. “Attention to detail is something we’re known for. Building is an imperfect science and if someone has an issue we’ll deal with it.” Rokeby Park is a high-end scheme, comprising 71 detached four- and five-bedroom houses at just four to the acre. The spacious showhouse is tastefully kitted out and the sizeable gardens already have an impressive sward of grass. “The farming background helps, you know,” O’Flynn jokes. This is one of a small number of schemes O’Flynn has on the go in Dublin and Cork as he

    The Irish Times q
  • 1916/2016 Diary: Irish soldiers encouraged to join German brigade

    February 5th, 1916 A Times reporter who interviewed exchanged prisoners of war found that many Irish among them had been induced to join the “German Irish Brigade”. The reporter was on hand to meet 104 British prisoners who had been freed by the Germans in return for some of their own men being released. The Irishmen had been told to “strike a blow for Old Ireland”. The invitation to join the German Irish Brigade was received “with indignation”, according to one returning Irishman who was interviewed. The reporter stated: “His reply was that this had nothing to do with things as they were today, that he had taken an oath to serve his King and country, and that he would rather die than break it.

    The Irish Times q
  • Election 2016: Abolition of USC to cost net €2.7bn, says Fine Gael

    Fine Gael says abolition of the universal social charge (USC) will cost €3.7 billion but this will be partly offset by raising more than €1.2 billion in revenue through a number of other measures. The abolition of the USC has been one of the central issues of the opening phases of the general election campaign, with other parties saying Fine Gael’s plans are not affordable and would damage public services. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan insisted the Fine Gael policy was affordable as he published the party’s “long-term economic plan” with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton and Simon Harris, Minister of State at the Department of Finance. The party said the plan sets the

    The Irish Times q
  • Westport House talks are at a ‘delicate’ stage, Ring says

    Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring has said negotiations between the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) and Mayo County Council on the future of Westport House remain at an “advanced” and “delicate” stage. Mr Ring expressed “surprise” at the decision of the owners, the Browne family, to put it up for sale this week with a guide price of €10 million. The 18th-century mansion and its 183 hectares (455 acres) comprise one of the most important tourist sites in the west, offering a wide range of visitor attractions. Mr Ring said the State had a “hold” on the house valued at €2 million through the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht. This relates to Heritage Council grants paid

    The Irish Times q
  • Mickey Harte defends McCann over Rogers incident

    MICKEY Harte has angrily rejected claims Tyrone defender Tiernan McCann deliberately caused a horrific injury to Derry’s Brendan Rogers. The Oak Leaf star needed 14 stitches to a facial wound following a clash with McCann in the opening moments of last month’s Dr McKenna Cup final. Derry manager Damian Barton said he would “prefer not to say too much about it”, but added: “People can make their own minds up about it, but it was shocking”. However, Red Hand boss Harte insisted no malice was involved in the incident, claiming it was totally accidental: “What happened to Brendan Rogers, the injury was horrific, but the incident wasn’t horrific. The incident was very much accidental,” he said. “I’d q
  • Chernobyl disaster ‘left imprint across Europe’, Mayor says

    The Chernobyl nuclear disaster nearly 30 years ago “left its imprint right across Europe”, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Chris O’Leary, has said on a visit to the site of the incident in Ukraine. A delegation from Cork visited the Chernobyl power station and toured surrounding areas in Ukraine and neighbouring Belarus that were heavily contaminated after the accident. Mr O’Leary and Ann Doherty, chief executive of Cork City Council, were travelling with Adi Roche, founder of the charity Chernobyl Children International (CCI). The charity has raised more than €100 million to help those most affected by the world’s worst nuclear accident, which took place on April 26th, 1986. The delegation on Thursday

    The Irish Times q
  • Election 2016: Website allows voters to compare views of 500 candidates

    A new website will give voters the ability to compare the views of more than 500 candidates in the election. The site is a collaboration between the University of Limerick (UL) and The Irish Times, with funding from the Irish Research Council. With a dozen parties in the running and so many candidates already declared, voters will be faced with an unprecedented level of choice. Navigating this menu of options to make an informed voting decision will not be easy, particularly for those voters who want to decide based on policy. The idea behind the website is to compare all the candidates in a constituency. A voter can easily find out which candidate agrees with his or her views

    The Irish Times q
  • Eamon Zayed taking opportunity to break America

    Having spent time in Iran and Malaysia, there is something surprisingly mainstream about the news that former Derry City, Drogheda United and Shamrock Rovers striker Eamon Zayed is following the likes of Richie Ryan, Derek Foran and Tommy Stewart to the United States where he is about to join up with Indiana club Indy Eleven. Zayed, now 32, says that he enjoyed his previous, more exotic excursions but “America has been on my mind. I’ve travelled there on holidays and loved it. It was something that I thought if the offer came along at the right time, I take it and I’ve just turned 32. If I turn it down now, I’m not going to get it next year or the year after. I felt that I had to take it now

    The Irish Times q
  • Miriam Lord: Martin escapes behind the counter to avoid ‘coalition-ology’ talk

    Don’t talk to Micheál Martin about polls. The man has no time for them. No time whatsoever. This isn’t a new thing for the leader of Fianna Fáil. He couldn’t have made himself any clearer on the way into the butcher’s. “I’ve question marks over polling” he declared emphatically. “I’m consistent in terms of polling.” Been banging on about their general uselessness for years, apparently. Ben the butcher was working away inside O’Flynns when the Fianna Fáil gang dropped in during their leader’s walkabout in Waterford city. Martin went behind the counter immediately, because this is what politicians do during elections. If anyone else tried this, the guards would be called. They take liberties, insinuating

    The Irish Times q