Articles by Sean O'Dowd

Biden to sign executive orders on inauguration day

Joe Biden’s top aide the incoming president would sign about a dozen executive orders on his first day in office, as police fearing violence from Trump supporters staged a nationwide security operation ahead of the inauguration. Authorities in Washington, where Wednesday’s…


Student nurses to have clinical placements suspended

Over 2,000 student nurses and midwives are to have their clinical placements suspended for at least two weeks in order to free up qualified supervisory staff for frontline duties in hospitals. Sources confirmed that the HSE contacted the Department of…


Woman walks one million steps to raise charity funds

Many people are doing a lot more walking during lockdown, but today Mandy Finlay reached her goal of one million steps. The 47-year-old who has Down syndrome is fundraising for the Lakers Social and Recreational Centre in Bray, Co Wicklow….


Covid-19: 60 more deaths, 3,231 further new cases

The Department of Health has announced 60 more Covid-related deaths. Of the notified deaths, 59 deaths occurred in January and one death occurred in December. There has now been a total of 2,595 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland. The median age of those who died…



Concerns hospitality sector will stay shut until Easter

There is growing expectation that the re-opening of the hospitality sector will not begin until after Easter at the very earliest. Representatives from the hospitality sector met a number of Government ministers yesterday and were left with the sense that…


Uganda’s Museveni declared winner of presidential poll

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni won a decisive re-election victory today, elections officials said, but his main rival Bobi Wine alleged widespread fraud and said citizens should reject the result. Mr Museveni won 5.85 million votes, or 58.6%, while main opposition…


Homes report shows Church was ‘complicit’ – McAleese

Former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese, said the report by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes showed the Catholic Church was “most complicit” in what happened. “The Church was most complicit, alongside a subservient State,” she told…


GPs and nurses get Moderna jab at vaccination centres

Around 1,800 frontline medical workers are receiving a Covid-19 vaccine as part of a targeted vaccination programme this weekend. GPs and GP practice nurses are being administered their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. It is the first time it…



Ice cream contaminated with Covid-19 detected in China

Anti-epidemic authorities in north China’s Tianjin Municipality are tracing close contacts with ice cream contaminated with the coronavirus after three samples tested positive for the virus. All of the products produced by Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company has been sealed and…



Stena adds Dublin-Cherbourg route to meet Brexit demand

Ferry operator Stena Line is to further increase its freight capacity direct from Ireland to continental Europe in response to increased post-Brexit demand by adding a new weekend sailing from Dublin to Cherbourg. The new service will start next Saturday…


Warning over Brexit impact on sport horse industry

Transporting horses abroad has become more expensive due to Brexit and could impact on animal comfort and welfare, a leading breeder has warned. Wicklow-based Ronan Rothwell breeds about 20 top showjumping horses a year. Around 70% will end up being…


Merkel pushes for centrist as party picks new leader

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party will elect a new leader, in a key vote kicking off the race for Germany’s top job as a deadly pandemic roils Europe’s biggest economy. The veteran chancellor urged the party to remain rooted…


Two positive Covid-19 tests on Australian Open flights

Forty-seven players competing in the Australian Open will be forced to remain in their hotel rooms for 14 days following three positive Covid-19 tests. Two people on a chartered flight carrying 24 players – travelling from Los Angeles – returned…


US carries out final execution under Trump presidency

The US government early has carried out the 13th and final federal execution under President Donald Trump’s administration, just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office with a promise to try to end the death penalty. Dustin Higgs, 48, was…


Remote working strategy sets out ambitious targets

Louisa Meehan used to be unusual – because for the last seven years, she has operated her mediation business Woodview HRM from her home in Wicklow.  She said this decision transformed her life, allowing her to reduce stress, while combining work, family, community and acting as…


The Brexit Effect: the squall before the storm

Two weeks into Brexit problems are mounting and recriminations are flying in all directions. The reality of Brexit is proving every bit as toxic as the four-and-a-half-year slog that got us to this point. Scottish shellfish exporters are facing bankruptcy because…




Covid-19 and the long road to freedom

The tide is beginning to turn in the fight against coronavirus here. But it may not always feel that way. That’s because this latest tide was a tsunami and given the scale of what the health system has been forced…



Biden promises vaccine blitz during first 100 days

US President-elect Joe Biden has announced he would surge federal resources into making “thousands” of vaccine sites, while also deploying mobile clinics and expanding the public health workforce to accelerate the rollout of Covid-19 shots. Mr Biden has said he…


No agreement to reopen special schools – Fórsa

The union that represents Special Needs Assistants has said agreement to reopen schools for children with special educational needs has not been reached. In a statement issued late last night, hours after the Department of Education told schools that interim…


Podcast: Brexit Republic – Seals of the Apocalypse

Seals of the Apocalypse Listen here: We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept…



The end of the peat briquette as peat milling halted

It’s quintessentially Irish, the peat briquette warmed homes and fired stoves across the country for decades. It even inspired one of the Boomtown Rats, Patrick Cusack, to adapt it as his stage name – he became known worldwide as Pete…


UK to close all travel corridors, Ireland still exempt

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered the closure of all travel corridors from Monday to protect the UK against new coronavirus strains, ending the quarantine exemption for arrivals from selected nations. A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Dublin…



Guidance expected on reopening special schools

Guidance is expected to be issued to schools this evening as to how to manage the return of children with physical and intellectual disabilities to special schools and dedicated classes in mainstream schools. Further talks took place today between Department…


Judge criticises GSOC over garda investigation

A judge has criticised the Garda Ombudsman Commission for prosecuting a garda who was cleared in court of any wrongdoing.  Garda Noel Gibbons was charged with assault, false imprisonment and giving misleading information to GSOC in connection with the arrest…



Irish registered Norwegian Air firm wound up by court

The High Court has wound up an Irish registered company within the Norwegian Air airline group. An examiner was appointed to the airline, which owes its creditors some US$5 billion and several of its subsidiaries last month. Arising out of Norwegian’s decision earlier…


North Korea brings out the big guns in show of strength

Nuclear-armed North Korea unveiled a new submarine-launched ballistic missile at a military parade in Pyongyang, state media showed today in a calculated show of strength days before Joe Biden’s inauguration as US president. The display came after the five-yearly congress…


‘Recruiting kids to commit crime is child abuse’

The actor John Connors has described recruiting children to commit crime as “child abuse.”  He was speaking to RTÉ following the Government’s announcement that it is introducing a new law to prevent adults grooming children to commit crime. The Exploitation of Children in the Commission of Offences…


Pfizer temporarily reduces EU Covid vaccine deliveries

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer is to temporarily reduce deliveries to Europe of its vaccine against Covid-19 while it upgrades its production capacity, with the head of the Irish vaccine taskforce saying that an “accelerated programme planned for this weekend” may have to…


Factory closure warning over NI steel import tariffs

Northern Ireland is facing crippling tariffs on steel imports due to a potential double hit resulting from Brexit, RTÉ News has learned. Industry groups have warned of factories closing as a result. The European Commission is understood to be looking into…



NI woman has sentence increased as appeal fails

A Belfast woman has failed in a bid to overturn her conviction for attempting to murder police officers and has instead had her sentence increased to 25 years. Christine Connor, 35, was convicted last year of attempted murder and causing an…


Dutch government collapses over benefits scandal

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government has resigned  over a child benefits scandal, media reported, threatening political turmoil as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of parents were wrongly accused by Dutch authorities of fraudulently claiming child allowance, with…



AG advises no referendum needed on birth cert access

Attorney General Paul Gallagher has confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that no referendum will be required on the legal right to access birth certificates. A bill will be published shortly on the information and tracing legislation with regard to survivors…




Criticism of fixed penalty charges over Covid breaches

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties have criticised the use of fixed charge penalty notices to enforce Covid-19 guidelines. Executive Director Liam Herrick said that the previous approach, where the Director of Public Prosecutions would be consulted before a fine…


NI statistics agency says Covid death toll over 2,000

The coronavirus-linked death toll in Northern Ireland has passed 2,000, according to the Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra), which provides a broader picture of the impact of Covid-19 than the death toll reported by Stormont’s Department of Health. The department’s statistics…


EMA hopeful of approving AstraZeneca vaccine by 29 Jan

The head of Europe’s medicines regulator has said she is hopeful it will give approval to the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of the month. The biopharmaceutical company, which developed the vaccination with Oxford University in England, formally applied to…


Indonesia quake kills at least 35, injures hundreds

A powerful earthquake has killed at least 35 people and injured hundreds on Indonesia’s island of Sulawesi. People were trapped under rubble and unleashing dozens of aftershocks as authorities warned of more quakes that could trigger a tsunami. Thousands of residents…


Mullins airs relief as VAT concerns are eased

Willie Mullins has expressed relief after it emerged he will not have to make a VAT payment to British Revenue before running a horse in Britain. The trainer had earlier raised concerns that Brexit regulations could see Irish horses liable…


Uganda president in election lead, rival alleges fraud

President Yoweri Museveni took an early lead in Uganda’s presidential election, according to preliminary results released this morning by the electoral commission, as his main rival said he had proof that the poll had been marred by fraud. Yoweri Museveni…


Coronavirus cases in Europe top 30 million

More than 30 million coronavirus cases have been officially recorded in Europe, according to an AFP tally based on official health statistics. The 52 nations, which include Russia, constitute the world’s worst affected zone in terms of the number of…



Kathleen Mattimoe R.I.P.

Kathleen Mattimoe R.I.P. The death has occurred of Kathleen Mattimoe (nee Kearns) on the 14th of January 2021, peacefully in the Plunkett Home, Boyle and late of Smutternagh, Knockvicar, Boyle, Co. Roscommon. Predeceased by her loving husband James (Jim). Deeply…



Doubts cast over origin of headline-grabbing pigeon

A racing pigeon detained by Australian authorities and set to be destroyed over concerns it was an American intruder received a lifeline this morning, when experts revealed its leg tag was probably fake. Originally thought to have flown from Alabama…



Capitol rioters intended to ‘capture and assassinate’

US federal prosecutors said rioters at the US Capitol last week intended “to capture and assassinate elected officials.” Prosecutors offered that view in a filing asking a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man and QAnon conspiracy theorist who was…


US govt executes drug dealer convicted of 7 murders

US federal authorities have executed a former drug trafficker and convicted murderer, and a final execution of Donald Trump’s administration was scheduled for today with just five days left of his presidency. Corey Johnson was part of a gang implicated…



NPHET says incidence of Covid-19 beginning to fall

The National Public Health Emergency Team has said that although the incidence of Covid-19 is exceptionally high, at about 20 times the levels seen in early December, it is starting to fall.  It warned however, that deaths due to the…


Explainer: Why am I being hit with a tax bill?

Over 630,000 people will be hit with tax bills from Revenue today. Taxpayers are due to receive a preliminary end of year statement, which will outline how much tax an individual owes – or in some cases how much tax…


Kathleen Mattimoe R.I.P.

Kathleen Mattimoe R.I.P. The death has occurred of Kathleen Mattimoe (nee Kearns) on the 14th of January 2021, peacefully in the Plunkett Home, Boyle and late of Smutternagh, Knockvicar, Boyle, Co. Roscommon. Predeceased by her loving husband James (Jim). Deeply…


Biden unveils $1.9 tn economic plan to boost economy

US President-elect Joe Biden outlined a $1.9 trillion (€1.6 trillion) stimulus package proposal, saying bold investment was needed to jump-start the economy and accelerate the distribution of vaccines to bring the coronavirus under control. Mr Biden campaigned last year on…


Employees to have right to request remote working

The Government is to legislate to give employees the right to request remote working as part of a National Remote Working Strategy under a permanent framework for after the pandemic ends.  While the employee will not have an automatic right…



Some protest permits granted for Biden inauguration

A small number of protests have been permitted for next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in Washington DC, as officials implement unprecedented security measures amid warnings of possible attacks by groups involved in the 6 January siege of the…


New incentives planned for microgeneration

Homes, schools and businesses are set to receive new incentives later this year to invest in solar panels and other ways to generate their own electricity. A key change is that they will be able to sell any excess generated…



Report expected on mother-and-baby homes in NI

A report by an independent research group later this month is expected to recommend an inquiry into the running of mother-and-baby homes in Northern Ireland. Stormont’s political leaders will meet Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman next week in advance of receiving…




Podcast: Ep.71 Voices From The Christmas Surge

Listen here: We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the…



Podcast: Mother, Babies, Schools & Vaccines

As the Dail returned after the Christmas break politicians dealt with the harrowing Mother and Baby home investigation and heard the Taoiseach Micheál Martin issue a State apology.    This week Labour Party Senator Ivana Bacik joins presenter Mary Regan…


US pigeon in trouble for evading Australian quarantine

An American pigeon believed to have strayed more than 14,000 kilometres from home had Australian authorities in a flap after it turned up in a Melbourne backyard having evaded strict quarantine rules. Kevin Chelli-Bird discovered the emaciated pigeon tagged with…





28 Covid-related deaths and 3,955 more cases reported

There have been 28 Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health. The Department has also reported 3,955 more cases of the coronavirus. There are 169 patients with Covid-19 being treated in intensive care units. Earlier this afternoon there were…



Minister warned jobs plan will collapse without funding

The Minister for Climate Change, Eamon Ryan, has been told the Government’s €100 million Just Transition plan to create thousands of jobs in the midlands will collapse within weeks, unless €6 million of support funding from the ESB is released to employers…


29 people fined for breaching 5km limit since Monday

Twenty-nine people have been fined €100 each for breaching Covid-19 restrictions since the introduction of new enforcement measures on Monday.  Gardaí say the fixed payment notices were issued to people who had travelled more than five kilometres from their homes without…


US court rules murderers with Covid-19 can be executed

A US appeals court ordered that the last two scheduled federal executions under President Donald Trump’s outgoing administration could proceed today and tomorrow, overturning a stay from a lower court delaying them until March to allow the two condemned men to recover…


New study looks at Covid-19 immunity

Previous Covid-19 infection provides some immunity for at least five months, but people may still carry and transmit the virus, according to a new study. Experts have warned that a small number of those with immunity may still be able…


Guatemala authorises use of force against migrants

Guatemala has declared emergency powers as the first groups of migrants headed toward its border ahead of a larger caravan scheduled to depart Honduras tomorrow morning bound for the United States. This week’s caravan would be the first of the year…



What next now that Trump has been impeached again?

The US House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump yesterday for a second time – just days before he is scheduled to leave office – raising questions about what happens next. The House voted 232-197 to impeach the president, with ten members of…


Court hears accused man set pit bull on gardaí

A 22-year-old Dublin man accused of carrying out a string of armed robberies set his pit bull terrier on gardaí when they raided his home, a court has heard. Michael McDonagh, from Emmet Crescent, Inchicore, Dublin 8, was refused bail…





News Headlines 14th January

News Headlines 14th January • MacSharry says Ireland should do side-deals to get more vaccines [here…] • China reports first coronavirus death in eight months [here…] • Donald Trump becomes first US president to be impeached twice [here…] • Man injured in shark…


5 things to know about Uganda

Ugandans go to the polls today to choose a president and lawmakers in the country’s general election. Here are five things to know about the East African nation. 1.Pearl of Africa Uganda is landlocked, straddling the equator roughly 800km inland from the…



NI shoppers urged not to stockpile amid supply issues

Retailers in Northern Ireland are urging shoppers not to stockpile after problems with supplies left many shelves empty. Smaller retailers say they fear months of disruption because of confusion about arrangements for importing food products from Britain following Brexit. Retail…


Referendum on birth cert right would ‘complicate issue’

A senior law lecturer at the University of Limerick has said having a referendum on the legal right to access birth certificates, as recommended by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, would “complicate the issue”. Dr Laura Cahillane said while…



Man injured in shark attack in Perth river

A man swimming in Perth’s Swan River is in a serious condition after he was bitten by a shark. It was the first reported shark attack in the Australian city’s river since 1969. The man was bitten on the leg by…