Minister Heather Humphreys heckled by protesters as she delivers a speech


A group of protesters gathered as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, delivered a speech at Moore St. during today’s 1916 celebrations.

The protesters chanted ‘Shame on you’ and ‘Humphreys out’, among other slogans.

It is understood that the protesters belong to the Save Moore Street group.

The protest stems from the minister’s successful challenge to a government’s decision to buy the site at 14-17 Moore St. because of its historical significance. The Easter Rising’s leader congregated there and decided to surrender.

Humphreys however stepped in and argued that other buildings on the stree, namely 13 and 18 and 19, are not ‘historically significant.’ The Save Moore Street group had been calling for the protection of the entire street due to its heritage.

The minister later claimed to be ‘disappointed’ by the protests, which completely drowned out her speech.

Top 5 movies for Summer ’16


It has been a long, cold winter around the Emerald Island, hasn’t it. The long December evenings were dull and dreary, and every new storm hitting the country added that little bit of misery to already sodden and storm-weary souls.

Evenings are steadily becoming brighter and longer now though, and with a little bit of luck, Summer ’16 will bring some decent heat and lasting sunshine. Here’s hoping anyway.

The arrival of summer always heralds two things; regular runs from the ice cream van, and movie blockbusters. There’s a good few films looming large in the horizon, and this summer promises to yield quite a few big hitters.
Here’s a rundown of five selected summer 16 blockbusters. All these movies will premiere in Ireland between June 1 and July 30 2016.


Opens on: June 10

Are you a gamer? The kind with a pallid complexion, who spends nights on end battling orcs in the world of Azeroth? Even if you’re nothing of the sort, you’re likely to have heard of Warcraft.

Originally released for PC (in DOS version, if you’re old enough to remember what that is) way back in 1994, Warcraft took the gaming world by storm. Over the years, several sequels, expansion packs, novels, and all kinds of Warcraft-related merchandise and memorabilia has flooded the market.

A Warcraft movie was thus inevitable, really, but the technology to bring such epic fantasy world to life just wasn’t there at the time.

Warcraft: The Beginning, as its international release title reads, is based on the conflict between Orcs and humans, two opposing races with very different motivations to fight each other.
As its moniker indicates, it is intended to be the first movie in a new franchise. Whether it’s financially successful enough to warrant it remains to be seen.

Warcraft: The Beginning is one for the younger generation, perhaps, though fans of epic fantasy in general could do a lot worse.

The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Experiment

Opens on: June 10

The first Conjuring movie introduced paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga respectively. In 2013’s The Conjuring, the Warren duo investigate a series of paranormal events taking place at a farmhouse in Rhode Island. It did moderately well at the box office, and was well received critically.

The inevitable sequel is almost upon us. Now, the Warrens travel to the United Kingdom, where a little girl living in a council house in Enfield is being plagued by supernatural occurrences.

The film takes its inspiration from the ‘true’ events of the Enfield case, which took place in the London Borough of Enfield from 1977 to 1979. The alleged haunting involved two young girls, aged 11 and 13, living in their mother’s council house.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Opens on: June 24

One of the big names of the summer, the sequel to the 1996 mega-hit Independence Day promises to deliver more of the same alien whoop-ass action, but probably louder, with a higher alien body count, and a hell of a lot more expensive.
Roland Emmerich takes the helm again, and though Will Smith will not feature this time round (he asked for too big a salary, if the rumours are to be believed), we do get Jeff Goldblum reprising his role of smart and slightly nerdy David Levinson, a satellite expert cum world savior, and Bill Pullman as President Whitmore. Liam Hemsworth of The Hunger Games fame joins the cast.

Independence Day: Resurgence takes place two decades after the original invasion attempt.
In the intervening years, the world has been largely rebuilt, and a brand new Earth Space Defence system, constructed with salvaged alien technology, now protects the planet against any extraterrestrial menace.

However, the invading aliens had been able to send a distress signal to their home planet before their final defeat, and a much larger battle fleet is on its way to finish Earth off.

In the first movie, the alien crafts packed an energy weapon that could devastate entire cities with a single blast. In Resurgence, the newer fleet uses some sort of anti-gravity piece of kit that can uproot a whole city and hurl it upwards into oblivion. How the good guys defend against this new hardware remains unclear.

What it’s pretty clear is that Resurgence will give you more bang for your buck, and if you liked the first one, with its cheesy one-liners, paper thin plot and even thinner characters, you are likely to fall head over heels with its sequel.
The original Independence Day became the first movie ever to make 100m bucks in a single week. Resurgence will likely top that, and then some.

And did I mention that Resurgence is but the middle chapter in a planned trilogy?


Opens on July 15

It was the summer of 1984 when the smash hit Ghostbusters hit the screens worldwide.

A supernatural comedy of sorts, Ghostbusters brought together the talents of comedian Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, a veteran from Saturday Night Live, and fellow comedian Harold Ramis, as a trio of eccentric parapsychology students who get more than their bargained for after starting a ghost-trapping business.

The movie exploded worldwide, going on to make in the region of $600m at the box office. It got nominated for two Oscars, Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song (who could forget such iconic tune?), but lost in both counts.
Ghostbusters kickstarted a franchise, and a sequel, Ghostbusters II, was released in 1989. Two cartoon TV series followed, with video games and other media also launched over the years.

Now, in 2016, we’ll see a reboot of the series with an all-female cast; Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones will pick up the ghost-catching duties in this one, with Chris Hemsworth thrown in for eye-candy.

Plot wise is a rather standard fare. Four women from different backgrounds join forces against a supernatural entity that can exert control over humans. Not the most original or exciting of premises. Slime, the green blobby ghost is sure to put an appearance, if only for nostalgia value.

The trailer, released only three weeks ago, was viewed about 24 million times in 24 hours. It received mixed reviews, however, and it remains to be seen whether the movie simply hopes to cash in on the pull and undisputed charm of the original, or can it stand in its own right.

Jason Bourne

Opens on: July 29

The Bourne franchise kicked off back in 2002, would you believe, with now classic action thriller The Bourne Identity. Matt Damon took up the role of Jason Bourne, an operative working for a shady covert agency called Treadstone. Problem is, Bourne does not remember who he is or why people are trying to kill him, so he is forced to fight his way through assassins and other threats to find out the truth.

Based on material written by American author Robert Ludlum, The Bourne series would go on to meet great commercial success, at least the films with Matt Damon as the eponymous agent. The Bourne Legacy, a misguided reboot attempt with Jeremy Renner playing a Bourne-like operative, did not fare so well.

This summer, a new Bourne movie, succinctly titled Jason Bourne, will hit the screens towards the end of July. Matt Damon is back in the lead role, as is Julia Stiles as CIA worker Nicky Parsons. Veteran actor Tommy Lee Jones also joins the cast as a yet unnamed high ranking CIA boss.

The three Bourne movies with Matt Damon have so far grossed nearly $1 billion worldwide, and this latest sequel is sure not to disappoint fans of the series.

And that’s all she wrote. Something for everybody.


Internal party rift casts further uncertainty on the farce that Irish Water has become


The Irish Water debacle is certainly one for the books, featuring as a test case on ‘How to shove an unwanted utility down a country’s throat.’

Further controversy surrounding the moribund utility has arisen today, as Fianna Fail TD Barry Cowen seems to once again confirm that the issue of Irish Water is ‘red line’, meaning Fianna Fail will no enter into any coalition government unless both the charges and the company itself are put to sleep.

He said “Our position on Irish Water is in our manifesto. We haven’t entered any negotiations yet,”

“Our manifesto contains more pages than the section on water charges.”

Last week, Mr. Cowen said in two occasions that his party will insist on commitments made regarding water charges (i.e., scrapping Irish Water and suspending charges for at least five years.)

However, party leader Micheal Martin later appeared to contradict this, and making a somewhat typical U-turn and saying that the charges were not ‘red-line.’

In the meantime, most people have by now reportedly cancelled their direct debits with Irish Water, in light of its doomed future.

The Candy Bombers – A reflection on one man’s will to give hope


In early 1945, the combined air power of the Allied forces had laid waste to Berlin. Tens of thousands of tons of allied ordnance had fallen on the crippled city, turning the once majestic German capital into a smoldering pile of ruins.

The wrath of RAF Bomber Command first, and the American Eight Air Force during the latter half of the war pounded the city mercilessly, exacting fiery retribution against the Nazi regime.

By May 1945, Nazi Germany had finally capitulated, after a long and costly 6 year struggle for dominance in the continent. Representatives of the decimated German Army sign an unconditional surrender on May 7. The war has officially ended. The arduous task of rebuilding Berlin, and Germany as a whole, would take decades.

In the immediate aftermath of the conflict, few buildings remained standing. Much of the city had been turned into rubble. Well over 600,000 dwellings had been flattened, and from an estimated 4.3 million population, only 2.3 could be accounted for. The rest, either dead, or missing. The entire civilian infrastructure was largely gone. Water, electricity, and other facilities had pretty much been obliterated in an effort to paralyze the German war effort.

The victorious factions soon begin slicing the German capital. Berlin is divided into British, American, French, and Soviet sectors of occupation, effectively establishing an East/West border and sowing the seeds of the Cold War.

In 1946, the Soviet sector of occupation and East Berlin become unified, a move which sparks outrage among the other three nations.

By 1948, Berlin simmers with hostility between the Western powers and the Soviet-controlled territory. A dispute over currency reforms sparks a Soviet blockade of the Western sectors, the first of many major crises of the impending Cold War. The rationale behind this blockade was to deny the Western powers vital rail, canal, and road access, thus granting the Soviet nation effective control over the entire city of Berlin. Food and supplies soon become scarce.

The Allied nations respond by organising Operation Vittles, also known as the Berlin Airlift. Its goal: to supply the Western sectors with food, coal, and other necessities. Aircraft from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand air forces take part in this operation. Over 200,000 sorties take place, and more than 4,700 tons of supplies are airlifted into the Western sectors of the city.

The airport at Tempelhof district would become the logistical hub for Operation Vittles. Pilots soon realized however that the grass runways, typical of German airports at the time, clearly could not handle the heavily laden aircraft landing there. A perforated steel matting runway was built in an attempt to solve the issue, but it soon began crumbling under the weight of the gigantic Allied transport planes. Engineers were forced to build a proper 6,000 feet runway to meet the demand.

During Operation Vittles, USAF Col. Gail Halvorsen would give rise to one of the most poignant and endearing (and also, little known) stories of World War II.

Col. Halvorsen, aged 27 at the time, piloted C-47 and C-54 transport aircraft as part of the Berlin Airlift effort. When landing at Tempelhof, Halvorsen often noticed children lingering at the airport’s perimeter fence, watching the aircraft and all the airport activities. Soon, he came up with an idea, and put it forward to his commanding officer, Lt. General William Tunner. The idea? To drop candy from his airplane to the children below, using parachutes. Tunner approved, and christened it Operation Little Vittles.

Halvorsen was well aware that German kids had next to nothing in the post-war era. The Soviet blockade had severely limited access to supplies, and while the airlift that he and so many others were part of was slowly balancing the situation, the German population -and kids in particular- living in the Western sectors were suffering deprivation. Thus, he hoped his actions would at least help to raise morale a little.

At the height of the airlift, aircraft would land at Templehof every 3 minutes, hence children would have no way of knowing which airplane Halvorsen was piloting. To resolve this problem, he promised the children that he would swing the wings of his aircraft on approach, so they would know candy was about to be parachuted their way. This would earn Halvorsen the nickname “Onkel Wackelflügel” (“Uncle Wiggly Wings”).

The American pilot’s initiative took off. When word of what he was doing got around, other aircrews began imitating him. Soon, candy was landing all over Berlin, thus giving children a very sweet indeed ray of hope. All the participating aircrews became collectively known as The Candy Bombers. School pupils all over the United States also began contributing to the effort by packing candy, rations, and other much needed supplies for the German kids. All in all, over 18 tons of candy would be dropped on Berlin.

Gail Halvorsen, still alive today, would go on to become an iconic figure in post-war Germany, and far beyond. He single-handledly improved the German population’s perception of the American army, and of the United States in general, after the bitter animosity displayed between the two nations only a few years earlier. Even today, the original candy bomber is still dearly remembered and sporadically mentioned in German media as a symbol of American-German relations.

Some of the children who received Halvorsen’s candy gifts appeared numerous times on German TV as adults, along with Halvorsen himself, celebrating the anniversary of the life-changing airlift, and the experience as a whole. Much later, other aircrews airdropped teddy bears and other toys to Iraqi children during the first Gulf War, honouring Halvorsen’s far-reaching legacy.

From the ashes of Boyzone and Westlife, a hybrid monstrosity rises: ‘Boyzlife’


If you are, or were, or would be again, a fan of Irish boy bands, your wildest dreams will become a reality today, as a new, no-girls-allowed hybrid is about to rise from among the dusty vestiges of Boyzone and Westlife.

Boyzlife is the moniker given to this modern Prometheus of musical commercialism, and Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy are reportedly pulling the levers to infuse it with unholy life.

The two will stand on their own as the ‘band’, but are willing to team up with whoever else wishes to stitch Boyzlife up together to perform ‘classic’ hits from the two erstwhile groups.

Initial plans call for 12 perfunctory shows in the UK and Ireland, with a proposed kick-off date of October 16 in London.

The protracted death of a stillborn utility: No refunds for those who have paid their water bills, if Irish Water is scrapped


From day one, the inception and spawning of Irish Water was a calamitous disaster that went from bad to worse. Controversy after controversy, and bill after bill, the grave for the most wretched utility in Irish history has become a blackened pit to swallow it whole, along with millions of taxpayer money.

And in further proof that Enda Kenny sees the Irish population as specks of dirt on the underside of his moccasins, only now that Fine Gael sees itself in a compromised position, ruminations come from the party’s bowels that ‘it’s willing to talk about water’, despite the continuous popular opposition from the very beginning.

And the icing on the cake on Irish Water’s tortuous path to extinction is that those who have paid their bills will get no refund when it all comes crashing down in a short time.

Fianna Fáil have said that the scrapping of water charges is a ‘red line’ issue if the party is to enter into any coalition with Fine Gael.