In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king: Donald Trump weaponizes Denis O’Brien and fires a broadside against Hilary Clinton


Anything goes in the high-stakes game of world domination. Presidential hopeful Donald Trump has seen fit to use the name of Ireland’s very own Denis O’Brien in an attempt to discredit his nemesis, Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Trump issued an open letter on his website linking Ms. Clinton with Denis O’Brien’s less-than-diaphanous financial dealings around certain offshore places in Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands, among other high-profile issues.

Trump’s poison letter goes into exquisite detail about the sizeable donations that Mr. O’Brien has made to the Clinton Foundation, the funding for O’Brien-owned Digicel (a mobile phone provider that operates in 33 separate markets around Caribbean, Central America, and Oceania regions) for its Haiti operation, the Esat Digifone controversy, and of course, Siteserv, another of O’Brien’s business ventures that just happened to win the tender for the installation of hundreds of thousands of water meters across Ireland.

The missive, titled ‘Follow the money’ dubs the Irishman ‘another corrupt Clinton friend.’ Given Mr. O’Brien’s propensity to launch legal actions like a child throws tantrums, it’d be interesting to see if he’d take on the likes of Donald Trump.

Mont Blanc rescue: All passengers trapped inside cable cars at 3,800ft are brought to safety


110 people became trapped inside cable cars at an altitude of 3,800ft over the slopes of Mont Blanc yesterday, when guide cables became tangled in high winds.

Three helicopters were dispatched to the location, and crews managed to rescue 65 people before nightfall. However, 45 people were forced to spend the night inside the cars at high altitude, as darkness and deteriorating weather hampered rescue efforts. They were provided with blankets and food, and specialist personnel did remain on board with the stranded passengers.

The rescue operation resumed at first light, and the remaining passengers have now been brought to safety.

The cable car system connects Aiguille du Midi on the French side of the mountains with Pointe Helbronner on the Italian border. About one million people a year take the scenic ride, which takes about 30 minutes to complete.

The Great British schism: Is this the beginning of the end for Europe?


History is often defined by narrow margins, and it was the narrowest of margins that heralded the end of the UK’s membership in the EU project.

Fifty two percent of voters across the UK voted ‘Leave’, meaning that today, the European Union will cease to exist as we know it.

The detonation of Brexit will have repercussions far and wide across the remainder of European countries, particularly those of the periphery of Europe’s ‘core’ members. There have already been calls in Scotland, for instance, for another referendum to whether or not remain in the UK. Scotland always favored EU membership by a majority of 62%. In countries such as Greece, Brexit is likely to further weaken the already tenous European ties, and rumors of a ‘Grexit’ are now afoot. Greece took a severe financial punishment, mostly inflicted by Germany, in the wake of the country’s monetary woes.

In the wake of Brexit’s results, the British Pound has taken a hammering, sinking to a 31-year low. Shortly after the outcome of the referendum became known, the currency’s parity against the dollar was $1.3 -a fall of more than 10%-, something not seen since 1985. Brexit also meant that the FTSE 100 index plunged 500 points, before somewhat recovering later on.

There have been diverse reactions to the UK’s exit from the EU. Politicians in Germany have said that it’s a ‘sad day for Europe, and the UK.’ Donald Trump, however, cheerfully claimed that it’s a ‘great thing that the British have taken back their country.’ Here, a spokesperson for the Government said that Brexit “clearly has very significant implications for Ireland, as well as for Britain and for the European Union”.

The next step in the process is for the UK to submit a formal resignation letter to the European Council. When will this happen is unclear, but once it does, a two-year period of exit negotiations will commence.

The UK’s wilful termination of EU membership signifies a momentous landmark in European history, one that has rocked the very foundations of the continent. We may well be witnessing the beginning of Europe’s disintegration.

Chernobyl: 30 years on


In the early hours of April 26, 1986, an ill-advised and ill-conceived test at the Chernobyl nuclear plant triggered a chain of events that culminated with Reactor 4 blowing up, releasing vast amounts of radioactive material into the Ukrainian night. The radiation poisoned huge expanses of land for generations to come.

Thirty people died within three months of the event, either as a direct result of the explosions and ensuing fires, or due to acute radiation poisoning. Thousands more would be affected in the immediate surroundings and downwind from Chernobyl, as a radioactive cloud drifted down range.

Though the exact number of people affected by the tragedy will never be known, the lives and livelihoods of millions would fundamentally change forever.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in history, and a series of commemorative events will be held in Ukraine and elsewhere.

The construction of a gigantic €1.5bn (£1.2bn) steel-clad arch that will enclose the reactor’s site and prevent further leaks for the next century is nearing completion at the plant.

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.

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.

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.

Election 2016: The rise of the Independents


February 26, 2016, marks a milestone in Irish politics. The country finally begins to steer away from the traditional Fianna Fáil – Fine Gael political combo that has ruled Ireland for decades.

Gone are the days of taking expected turns at the helm for two parties with pretty much identical political goals, goals which did not generally uphold the greater good. Instead, they catered for the wealthier class, the property developers, the sector of society that could put forth hefty political donations in return for favors. For the rest, well, let them eat cake, as the saying goes.

Election 2016 has seen a brand new political force break apart the two-party system of yonder years. The Independents have risen from a relative obscurity, becoming more than a bunch of lads standing on a corner of the high street handing out leaflets from a shabby plastic table. The smaller parties (People Before Profit, Anti-Austerity Alliance, Renua, and others) have now become major players in the Irish political battlefield, and their influence will likely swing seats in many constituencies.

Election 2016: Preliminary results herald fracturing of the status quo, as Coalition crumbles


oday’s a momentous day for Ireland. The people have spoken loud and clear via their power of vote, sending a diaphanous message to Enda Kenny and Joan Burton: Your time is up.

Fine Gael has been thrown into disarray this morning, after its ‘Keep the recovery going’ slogan backfired spectacularly. Enda Kenny didn’t help matters by referring to the people of his constituency as ‘whingers’, not to mention the blatant cronyism that he sported in recent months and years.

The Taoiseach is said to be “deeply disappointed”, after preliminary results seem to rubber-stamp the Coalition’s demise. Yet, it was his own hand that wrought the deed.

Fine Gael has lost support pretty much everywhere in the country, with Fianna Fail and independents making huge gains on the back of Fine Gael’s disastrous performance.

And the Coalition’s junior partner, Labour, has suffered virtual annihilation at the polls. Joan Burton will reportedly lose her seat, along with the rest of her party’s TDs, who will now find themselves without a job come Monday morning.