Does New Alcohol Bill Add Up?

Posted: February 14, 2019 in Uncategorized
Wine

The End of Cheap Wine?

The Irish Government has introduced a Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) Alcohol Bill, but many remain sceptical about both the motives and effectiveness of the new legislation.

Under the Bill, alcohol will have a minimum price of 10c per gram, meaning a bottle of wine will cost a minimum of €7 and a bottle of spirits at least €24.

However, the new law has been greeted with widespread scepticism, with many suggesting the Bill to be merely a cynical ploy by the Vintners Federation (the lobby group representing pub owners) to hobble their supermarket and off-licence competition. The sceptics have noticed that pub prices will not be affected by the new law.

Many are questioning why the new law is being introduced at a time when a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) study showed alcohol consumption in Ireland to have decreased by 25% since 2005.

Others, meanwhile, have voiced doubt as to how effective the Bill will be, with even some pub owners joining the chorus of scepticism.

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Is Dublin Port Brexit-Ready?

Posted: February 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

Dublin Port

With the prospect of a hard Brexit just weeks away now, Dublin Port is bracing itself for an unprecedented increase in activity.

Until now Britain has acted as a ‘land bridge’ for Irish goods and produce travelling to and from mainland Europe, with 862,000 units of freight transferred annually between Ireland and Britain.

After Brexit, this freight would become non-EU freight, increasing by fivefold the number of non-EU freight units moving through Dublin Port. This, in turn, would mean an enormous increase in the workload of customs officials at Dublin Port.

For some companies the ‘land bridge’ is no longer seen as a viable option however. They are worried about potential delays and their associated costs at UK ports such as Holyhead and Dover, as well as the effect the longer transit times would have on perishable products like fruit and veg, and meat.

Many importers and exporters are now looking at the possibility of by-passing Britain and moving their produce directly from Ireland to France, the Netherlands and further afield.

But with these extra routes, comes extra traffic for Dublin Port and its workers.

To that end, the Irish government has announced plans for an extra 1,000 customs staff to work at Dublin and Rosslare ports.

But will this be enough?

Like all things Brexit, nobody knows for sure……..

Michaella

In August 2013, a then 20-year-old Michaella McCollum Connelly and her Scottish accomplice, Melissa Reid, attempted to smuggle eleven kilos of cocaine through Lima International airport. Having being arrested, the pair initially lied about having been kidnapped and coerced, before eventually admitting their guilt and serving more than two years in Peruvian prisons notorious for their hellish conditions.

Had McCollum been caught by Irish customs and not Peruvian, the amount of time she would have spent in a decidedly nicer prison closer to her family would have been roughly the same, with a distinct possibility of not doing any jail time at all. With it being the Tyrone native’s first offence and Irish law making clear distinctions of hierarchy between couriers at the bottom and dealers at the top of the drug offenders list, it would not have been a surprise to see McCollum receive an entirely suspended sentence had she been apprehended at Dublin airport and not Lima. Read the rest of this entry »

Bray

The eleventh annual Bray Air Display entertained record crowds in the Co. Wicklow seaside town over the weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

Sat Night Show

Just when you thought the property tax was as bad as it could get along comes The Saturday Night Show to remind you that the TV Licence fee is still by far and away the most unjust tax in Ireland. That this lamentable attempt at entertainment can be commissioned by any channel is baffling, that it’s commissioned by the state broadcaster at our expense is an injustice worthy of a tribunal. Read the rest of this entry »

airport

Airports are boring. In the best case scenario you catch your flight after a seemingly interminable period spent queuing and being herded through various screenings and checkpoints where the possession of the wrong amount of shaving gell earns you the same level of suspicion as one of Al-Qaeda’s finest. Airports are the departing countries way of saying: “You might be going on a sun-kissed two week holiday to some exotic location, but we’re going to make damn sure you’re miserable by the time you get there.”

Airports are a vortex of fun, a gathering point for the bored and the irritated. But clearly TV3 thought such a Godawful setting would make for quality TV when they came up with the idea for Dublin Airport: Life Stories. They were wrong. So very, very wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

pidgeon

Dick Dastardley was right, pigeons really are the scourge of mankind. Had Dick lived to the present day (and not died of syphilis in 1978 after an ill-advised tryst with Wacky Races harlot, Penelope Pittstop) he would have found a more sympathetic public ear for his pigeon-loathing views. Unfortunately for Dick, his gargoyle looks and sinister laugh never made him the most sympathetic of characters and most viewers took the side of his arch-nemesis, the Yankee Doodle Pigeon. But not me.

I’ve hated pigeons for as long as I’ve had the ability to hate. Perhaps this is down to some long-suppressed traumatic childhood incident involving one of the little gits and an ice cream or something, but whatever the source of my hatred, there isn’t a day that goes by where it doesn’t feel justified. Read the rest of this entry »

Obituary: James Cantwell

Posted: July 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

Last August saw the passing of one-time Waterford News and Star journalist Jim Cantwell at the age of 75. Although best known for being the first Communications Director of the Irish Catholic Church, it was in the offices of the then Waterford Star where Jim’s fledgling media career took flight.

Although educated in Dublin, it was on Suirside that Jim’s family had their roots and to where he returned upon the completion of secondary school in the mid-fifties. A voracious reader with a passion for sport, the teenager had developed a keen eye for prose and soon identified journalism as his career of choice.

Having secured a six month trial at the ‘Star through a family friend, Jim’s vocation began in the time-honoured tradition of all journalism careers – making tea and delivering post. Whether he excelled at either was moot, so short a time did he take to progress to full-fledged reporter, after an act of daring initiative earned him the scoop of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

Despite a £100,000 fine and the promise of more punitive punishment to come, one can’t help but feel Alan Pardew is an extremely lucky man. For at what other institution would the evermore ornery antics of a senior employee be tolerated than at the never-ending punch line that is Newcastle United Football Club?

In fact, so in keeping with the club’s tradition of unedifying buffoonery was Saturday’s head-butt by Pardew on Hull City’s David Meyler, that it’s easy to imagine owner Mike Ashley drunkenly high-fiving the Toon boss when next the pair meet up over a game of BlackJack in the after-hours East End casino where their professional (as it were) relationship was born. Read the rest of this entry »

The term ‘crashed and burned’ may seem quite apposite in describing David Moyes’ disastrous spell at the Manchester United helm, but at least one aspect where Moyes’ tenure differs from airline doom is in the need to locate a black box. For never have the causes of a managerial casualty been so quick-to-hand, with entire forests-worth of paper being sacrificed in the name of the blame game. From the sacking of the coaching staff to the attitude of the players, from Moyes’ inexperience to the Glazers parasitic ownership of the club, for once it is failure, and not success, that has the surfeit of fathers. Read the rest of this entry »