Syria has destroyed all of its chemical weapons equipment watchdog


first_imgBut Syria declared those sites as abandoned and that the chemical weapons programme items they contained were moved to other declared sites, which were inspected.“The Joint Mission is now satisfied that it has verified – and seen destroyed – all of Syria’s declared critical production and mixing/filling equipment,” it said.DetailsOPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu has submitted his first monthly report on Syrian disarmament to the organisation’s Executive Council, which is to meet to discuss it on November 5.In it, Uzumcu says that Syria provided information on 41 chemical weapons facilities at 23 sites, including eight mobile filling units, according to a copy of the report.Syria said it had approximately 1,290 tonnes of chemical weapons and 1,230 unfilled chemical munitions, meaning shells, rockets or mortars.“In addition, the Syrian authorities have reported finding two cylinders not belonging to them, which are believed to contain chemical weapons,” the document said, without elaborating.It also said that Syria has named a deputy foreign minister as pointman for the disarmament programme. Syria’s deputy foreign minister is Faisal Muqdad.FinancesThe OPCW said that it had so far received €4 million  in contributions to the destruction programme, from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the US.Other countries have pledged €2.7 million, while President Assad has said the programme will cost around one billion dollars overall.A first monthly report of the inspectors, covering their work on the ground since October 1, has been sent to the UN Security Council by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.The OPCW’s Executive Council will use the Syrian declaration to decide by November 15 on “destruction milestones” for Syria’s arsenal.Syria has also sent in a declaration of its chemical weapons activities and facilities, meeting its obligations as a new state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.- © AFP, 2013Read: How chemical weapons inspectors learn to do their jobs > Read: Syria hands over detailed plan to destroy chemical weapons on time > Read: UN warns of Syria polio outbreak after cluster of cases reported > ALL OF SYRIA’S declared chemical weapons production equipment has been destroyed ahead of a key deadline tomorrow, the world’s chemical weapons watchdog said.“Syria has completed rendering in operable its chemical weapons production and assembly installations,” the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement this morning.Inspectors had until Friday to visit all of Syria’s chemical sites and destroy all production and filling equipment in accordance with a timeline laid down by the Hague-based OPCW and backed by a UN Security Council resolution passed last month.The resolution, which requires Syria’s chemical arsenal completely destroyed by mid-2014, was agreed by the US and Russia to avert military strikes on Syria after deadly chemical weapons attacks outside Damascus in August, which the West blamed on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.“The joint OPCW-UN Mission has inspected 21 of the 23 sites declared by Syria, and 39 of the 41 facilities located at those sites,” the watchdog said, adding that two sites could not be visited for security reasons, saying:last_img read more

ESB says electricity restored after power cuts affect parts of south Dublin


first_imgESB Networks tweeted to say its crews were working hard and hoped to have power restored in time for the 6.1 news…But they did even better than that as they tweeted a short time ago to say that power has been restored in the affected areas:Meanwhile, the outages in Dublin 4 didn’t appear to affect the FAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium where Sligo secured a dramatic victory over Drogheda.First published 4.50pm As it happened: Drogheda United v Sligo Rovers, FAI Cup final This map from the ESB Networks website shows a cluster of power cuts in the south Dublin area.Updated 5.44pm THE ESB HAS said that power has been resorted to parts of south Dublin affected by outages earlier today.Parts of Dublin 2 and Dublin 4 were affected by electricity outages with users taking to Twitter:last_img read more

Movember power rankings the top 10 sporting mos week 3


first_imgTHIS IS WHERE things get serious.Regular readers will know the drill at this stage. Every week we comb (pun very much intended) through all those sport stars taking part in Movember, pick out our favourites, and rank them from 10 to 1.Mathieu Bastareaud was the early front-runner but following a stewards’ enquiry from readers, the French rugby star dropped a couple of places and now he’s out of the running entirely.Newstalk’s Diarmuid ‘Gizzy’ Lyng then took up the charge at the half-way point but he has work to do as well.So who is the man to catch as Movember 2013 enters the home stretch? Here’s the latest — and may the best mo’ win.last_img

Everybody knows Santa sees all – even Dáil debates 5 winners and


first_imgEVERY WEEK, casts its eye over events inside and outside Leinster House that have got people talking.As the saying goes: ‘You win some, you lose some.’So here are our political winners and losers from the past seven days:The 5 winners of the week are…1. LabourUnemployment is down and its poll rating is up. The Labour national conference was a more positive place than might have been expected this weekend.The party has taken some tough hits over the last two-and-a-half years, but as members and delegates gathered in Killarney this weekend there was a justified sense that the corner is being turned.Though as one delegate’s call for Eamon Gilmore to resign shows there is still a long way to go and the key test of sentiment towards Labour will be in next year’s local and European elections. 2. Richard BrutonEven the government was surprised at the scale of the unemployment drop this week with some 58,000 jobs added in the last year, according to CSO figures.It was a good news story that didn’t need spinning and credit where credit is due to the Jobs Minister whose Action Plan for Jobs is heavy on the spin, and not always delivering, but is showing some tangible signs of having had an effect.3. The Technical GroupWhile the deal to abolish the promissory note was heavy on positivity earlier this year, the Technical Group’s motion before the Dáil this week importantly pointed out that we’re still paying back the money and the bondholders are still unburned.There was little coverage of the Dáil debate and apparently little interest among government ministers in the Ballyhea movement but that doesn’t mean it’s not an issue worth raising so credit to those who were part of the motion this week.4. Shane RossIt’s been another good week for the Public Accounts Committee, but the independent TD for Dublin South led the way on the Central Remedial Clinic scandal this week with his probing of HSE director general Tony O’Brien. This eventually led the CRC to admit that it has been using charitable funds to top-up the salaries of senior staff.Just as he and Nick Webb led the way on FÁS, Ross has once again demonstrated his ability to uncover great scandals in State-funded bodies, demonstrating how TDs really can do the State some service.5. The Healy-RaesA one-off special has potentially led to a whole series as TV3 confirmed they are in discussions with Michael and co to expand on the documentary and follow the lives of the famous Kerrymen on a regular basis.… and the 6 losers of the week are…1. Sinn FéinThe party’s two leading lights, Pearse Doherty and Mary Lou McDonald, have spent the latter part of this week defending their leader Gerry Adams in the wake of comments by Micheál Martin about the handling of abuse allegations in the Republican movement.While the Fianna Fáil leader did engage in a degree of political opportunism there is no doubt that Sinn Féin’s ongoing requirement to address claims about its past, and that of its president, will impact on people’s perception of the party.2. University senatorsEnda Kenny has pulled off the remarkable feat of delivering some Seanad reform while at the same time giving two fingers to certain senators who have sought to undermine him in the past.Among them are Trinity senator Sean Barrett who has previously said the Taoiseach should resign and, along with other university senators, faces a battle to retain his seat when the electorate is massively expanded by the extension of the franchise to all third-level degree holders.3. Mary HanafinThe former Fianna Fáil minister gave a revealing interview to TG4 this week about the possibility of a return to politics, but she did herself no favours in being downright mean towards the Green Party, saying her former coalition partners are “not a political party”. Ouch.4. Silvio BerlusconiThis may well be the last we see of the former Italian prime minister as he was booted out of the Italian parliament this week off the back of his conviction for tax fraud. He has vowed to “fight on” but has Italy had enough of the world’s most famous Bunga Bunga practitioner.5. The Scottish GovernmentThere is literally no downside to Scotland gaining independence from the UK, according to the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and his party, the SNP, which this week unveiled a ‘white paper’ fleshing out how independence would work.But the paper, 670 pages of it, was rightfully called out by many for being light on the mechanics of certain issues. Scotland would retain the sterling and would join the European Union, but would the Bank of England and the EU consent to those decisions? No one is certain, except Salmond and the SNP of course.6. Jim DalyThe Fine Gael TD did himself no favours in telling the Dáil that Santa doesn’t exist this week and the government rightfully distanced itself from his comments. Thankfully the Cork South West deputy has withdrawn his remarks in a scramble to ensure he is back on the good list in time for Christmas.Like politics? Then why not ‘Like’’s Politics page?Read: Meet the Congolese native who is running for Sinn Féin in next year’s electionTaoiseach: Name a predecessor of mine who took time to talk to homeless people?last_img read more

Relentless push Government plans special Cabinet meeting on jobs early next year


first_imgTAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said he plans to hold a special Cabinet meeting on the issue of jobs next year as he pushes forward with what he says is a “real relentless push” on the issue of employment.The coalition has been boosted this year by a continuing fall in the numbers of people who are unemployed with the jobless rate now at 12.8 per cent according to the most recent CSO figures.A total of 58,000 jobs have been added in the last year alone and in its medium-term economic strategy published this week, the government set a target to reduce unemployment to below 10 per cent by the next general election in 2016.There has been criticism of the lack of detail about how this target will be met, but Kenny said he expects his Ministers to come forward with specific plans in the New Year.“There will be a special Cabinet meeting on jobs by end of January, early February,” he said. “And I want to drive that on so that we focus on helping Irish business to grow and to export more.”Kenny also said that he expects to see “serious improvement in the construction sector” in 2014 and pointed to the tax breaks announced in October’s Budget as evidence that the sector is beginning to grow again after collapsing in 2007.He said there is a need for up to 25,000 houses to be built every year with a sizeable number of those needed in the greater Dublin region.“There needs to be a facility for builders to actually access credit, develop the sites, building the houses and have a stream of income coming through on those,” the Taoiseach added.Read: ‘The Irish economy has turned the corner’ – ESRI‘Relentless pursuit’: Kenny hopes unemployment will be under 10 per cent by 2016last_img read more

Heres what happens when youre arrested on suspicion of drinkdriving


first_img“If you fail or refuse to give a breath sample it’s a separate penalty, and guess what? The penalty’s exactly the same as if you’d failed the test.“The reality is if you blow into the machine there’s some chance you may be under the limit, but if you refuse, there’s no chance of not getting convicted.” A breathalyser machine at Store Street Station [Image: An Garda Síochána]And what happens when you’re ‘booked’?There must be a 20 minute wait between the last consumed drink and the in-station breath test — so officers observe that waiting period from the time of arrest.Once arrested, suspected drink-drivers arriving at the garda station will be sat down at a ‘booking area’ that looks something like this:[Image: An Garda Síochána]After that, it’s a trip down the hall to the breathalyser test… You’ve to blow into the tube and you’ve to blow a specified volume of air and the machine then processes it.This idea of holding your breath, for instance, all you’ll do is go red — but the machine will tell you there’s no air in there… So yes, it’s a myth. “You’ll be given a tube — you blow into the machine twice, and it averages the two readings and it prints out a cert, which will basically be good news or bad news.“The reading determines if it’s a fixed charge or a court summons immediately — it depends on the concentration.“If you’re over the limit it tells you you’re over and there and then — that’s proof, that’s produced in court if it goes to court.“One copy of that goes to the driver, the other to the garda.” “It’s be to the closest station with an intoxilator [breathalyser] machine. There are 86 machines dotted out around the country — spread out on a national basis.“It may not be the local one, but it will be the closest station with a tester to where you are.” “No, it’s the scientific breath method, but any time a guard stops you we’re always checking to see if your speech is slurred, your eyes are glassy, or you have difficulty coordinating yourself . They’re the tell-tale signs to us.“It’s about observation — you might think, if a garda stops you at a checkpoint and asks ‘where are you going?’ that it’s a stupid question but what he’s really checking is if you can give a coherent answer.“The engagement is purely so the garda can decide ‘is this person fit to drive’.” Here’s a breakdown of the limits, and the penalties applied…In addition to the above, drivers who don’t accept the fixed penalty notice, go to court and lose their appeal can have their driving bans doubled. Those who test above 100mg face an automatic court appearance and a ban of 12 months. The maximum penalty is a fine of up to of €5,000 and/or six months in prison. [Image: National Documentation Centre on Drug Use]Urban myth time… Is it possible to beat the breathalyser?We’ve all heard myths about ways to beat the breath test: the US TV show Mythbusters once ran a series of tests on different substances — including breath mints, onions, mouthwash and batteries — and all failed to fool the machine.And Garda Cloughley’s pretty certain it’s scientifically impossible: [Image: An Garda Síochána]‘Double jeopardy…’What about in cases where a garda has driven the car to the station — has it ever happened that a person’s been processed, failed the breathalyser and then walked out and climbed back into the driver’s seat?“Yes. Has happened, yes.”And what happens then? DRINK DRIVING IS still a major problem on the country’s roads — and although the latest official stats indicate drivers are getting the message, gardaí also confirmed during the week that they’d made 805 drink-drive related arrests over the Christmas period.So what happens if you fail a roadside breath-test? What’s the procedure once you’re taken to the Garda station — and how do people generally react once they’re detained?Garda Derek Cloughley of the National Traffic Bureau sat down with to talk us through the procedure…A Garda MAT checkpoint in Dublin last weekend [Image: An Garda Síochána/Facebook]‘Licence, please…’Cloughley’s first message is a bit of an eye-opener: “The first thing to say is that there’s an obligation to carry your drivers licence with you at all times”.“If for some reason you cannot produce it at the side of the road at a mandatory alcohol testing checkpoint, you as the driver are tested at the lowest limit.”The logic of this is obvious when you think about it —  in the absence of a licence, there’s no way for the garda to know whether or not you’re a learner driver. (The minimum Blood Alcohol Content level for learners is just 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, whereas for full licence holders it’s 50mg).If you can’t produce a licence and fail the lower limit test, “you’re arrested, and you’re conveyed to a garda station where you’re processed by breath, by blood or by urine”.“For what are known as specified drivers [this also includes the newly-qualified, as well as professionals — like bus drivers] the penalties are harsher from the start.”Experienced drivers stopped at an MAT who are carrying their licence are breathalysed at the 50mg limit.Are drivers ever asked to “walk in a straight line”?[Image: Shutterstock]Mostly as a result of over-exposure to US cop shows, we’re all familiar with coordination tests where drivers are asked to walk in a line or touch their nose. But are these ever applied in Ireland?In short, it turns out — no. “There’s no obligation to bring it to the station, no.“What would generally happen is that it’s parked up, locked up and left at a location close to the checkpoint.”center_img Gardaí prepare for checkpoints in Dublin [Image: An Garda Síochána]How do people generally react, once they’re processed? “By and large the vast majority are very remorseful.“It’s a failure to plan their journey home that has brought them here, but by and large they’re fairly remorseful and would cooperate with you — dealing with the public though there’s always exceptions.“Some people cry, some people fight, some say they’re sorry a hundred times… every case is different.“The process is the same, and for most cases they could be there one hour, two hours, two-and-a-half — it depends how busy the station is.” [Image: Shutterstock]Related Gardaí made 805 drink-drive arrests during Christmas clamp-down “A second prosecution… It has happened. Generally speaking though, for most people who go through the process, they collect their car the next day.“The perfect scenario for us though is if we have someone to hand them over to — a friend or family member. People might not be in a state where they’re thinking rationally, so ideally it’s best for us if someone they know comes down.“For most people at this stage, the wind’s very much gone out of their sails — what’s done is done.“As they sober up, the consequences kick in — and there are severe consequences.” [Image: Shutterstock]Hang on — where is the driver’s car while all this is going on?Is it left on the side of the road, or does a friendly garda drive it to the station for you behind the squad car? Generally speaking, the only reason blood or urine tests would be used instead is if a person is medically unable to comply with the breathalyser procedure, Cloughley explains.What if a driver refuses to be tested? Will I be taken to the nearest garda station?Not necessarily, it turns out… Read Senior gardaí “looking closely” at drink-drive ‘loophole’ verdictlast_img read more

22yearold stabbed by masked man in Belfast


first_imgA 22-YEAR-OLD MAN was stabbed in the chest, legs and arms by a masked man in Belfast in the early hours of Sunday morning.The Police Service of Northern Ireland has issued an appeal for information after the man was stabbed as he walked along the Silverstream Road in Belfast at around 6am yesterday morning.The man was taken to hospital for treatment. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.PSNI detectives have called on anyone with information about the stabbing or anyone who witnessed the incident to contact police in Northern Ireland.Location of Silverstream Road in Belfast (Image: Google Maps)last_img

Putin and wife announce divorce after three decades of marriage


first_imgRUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR Putin and his wife Lyudmila have announced their divorce after three decades of marriage, in a stunning revelation that ended years of speculation about their union.The pair, who have two daughters in their late 20s, made the announcement side-by-side in a joint interview with state television after watching a ballet performance inside the Kremlin.Persistent rumours have swirled for years around Putin’s marriage and even alleged mistresses but until now there has been a total taboo over discussing his private life in mainstream Russian media.“It was a joint decision,” Putin said in the interview with Rossia-24 television which appeared to have been carefully choreographed in advance. “We are always going to be very close to each other. I am sure, forever.”“Our marriage is over, really because of the fact that we practically never see each other,” added Lyudmila, who has been almost invisible in public in recent years.“It really was our joint decision. Vladimir Vladimirovich is completely drowned in work, our children have grown up and they are living their own lives,” said Lyudmila.“I really do not like publicity. Flights are difficult for me and we practically do not see each other,” she added.Standing ‘in guard’Putin echoed that, unlike him, Lyudmila deeply disliked publicity and praised her for her devotion in “standing guard” for so many years.“We have very good relations,” said Lyudmila. “I am very grateful to Vladimir Vladimirovich that he still supports me. And the children, he really cares for them. And the children feel this.”“You can say it is a civilised divorce,” she added.Putin also rejected rumours that their daughters Maria and Ekaterina were living abroad. “They received their education in Russia and live in Russia all the time,” he said.The pair made the revelation after together watching the classical ballet “Esmeralda” performed by the State Kremlin Ballet company at the State Kremlin Palace.The ballet, a rarity in the West but popular in Russia, is based on Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and tells the story of the hunchback Quasimodo’s hopeless love for the gypsy Esmeralda.Bizarrely, the state television journalist asked the pair about the ballet before daring to pop the big question about divorce. Putin praised the ballet as “perfect, great music, production, performance.”His spokesman Dmitry Peskov, contacted by AFP, confirmed the divorce. In the interview, neither Putin, 60, nor Lyudmila, believed to be 55, gave any clues over their current private situations.- © AFP, 2013last_img read more

Two charged over topless pictures of Kate Middleton report


first_imgTWO PEOPLE HAVE been charged over the publication of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge last September, AFP is reporting today, citing sources.The head of the publisher of France’s Closer magazine and a photographer are the two people charged, according to the news agency.The photos, which caused international scandal, were printed in the French publication and sparked a criminal probe into how they were obtained.It is understood the Royal Family lodged a criminal complaint in France over the taking and publication of the photographs in September 2012. It claimed the images were a breach of privacy. They were taken while Kate Middleton was on holidays with her husband, Prince William, in a private villa in the south of France.The Irish Daily Star was criticised for republishing the controversial pictures, with St James’s Palace claiming the motivation behind the action was “greed”.-Additional reporting by AFPOh dear! More photos of Kate Middleton in the nip publishedHow the internet freaked out over Kate Middleton’s topless photosRoyal family to lodge criminal complaint over topless photoslast_img read more

91 children known to HSE died in four years one quarter by


first_imgPieta House 01 601 0000 or email – (suicide, self-harm, bereavement) ‘Little appreciation’ from State that Luke was at risk of harm while in care> MORE THAN ONE quarter of the 91 children known to HSE social work services who died in the last four and a half years died by suicide.This figure was revealed by Helen Buckley, Chairperson of the National Review Panel for Tusla, the child and family agency, today after four reports were published into the deaths of children either in State care or known to services.She said that since the panel was established in 2010, 12 children under the direct care of the State died, including a number of people who were assigned aftercare following their 18th birthday.LukeMore than a quarter of the total number of children who were involved with social work services in some way died by suicide and three were in the care of the State at the time. Seven died of drug overdoses and three were killed by other people. Buckley said the majority of the children who died were living with their families.In the case of one child, referred to in the reports as ‘Luke’, serious failings by HSE services were identified. In particular, it was noted that a court directed that he should have a psychiatric evaluation. However “no appropriate mental health services was available to conduct it”. The young man died of a drug overdose while in HSE aftercare.Paul Harrison, Director of Policy and Strategy at Tusla, said today that the agency has entered into a joint protocol working arrangement with HSE mental health services for children and teens.He said children are given priority based on their clinical need and not necessarily the fact that they are known to the agency. However he said child and adolescent psychiatry and psychological services “have to overlap because these affect the children we’re dealing with”.‘Never say never’Helen Buckley said some children are “hostile to formal services” and there is a need for them to be “immediately available and in a form that is acceptable to children”.She said the fact that child and adolescent mental health services are under the remit of the HSE and not the child and family agency should not be a barrier “if proper bridges are built”.Complicated pathways won’t work.When asked if she believed the case of Luke, in which serious failings by HSE services were identified, could happen again, she replied: “I would never say never”.“Because of the pressure on social work services, children who have low visibility who are neglected and are under he radar, may not be getting services they need, even though the structure has improved considerably,” she added.Harrison said the key learning from the reports published today is that “good individual supports are not enough, without a coordinated, multi-agency approach”.He said the agency is committed to reviewing previous failings and ensuring that “the legacy of those failings is a renewed determination not to fail future generations, future individuals”.Helplines:Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.orgConsole 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement) Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19) Aware 1890 303 302 (depression, anxiety)center_img Teen who died ‘allowed remain too long’ in home where drug use was the norm> Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s) More from the reports on children in care:last_img read more

Spain has ghost estates too and jobless families are starting to squat


first_imgUNABLE TO PAY her mortgage, Manoli Herrera turned over her flat to the bank and moved into one of six abandoned buildings occupied by other jobless families in Sanlucar de Barrameda, a seaside town on Spain´s southern coast.“I did not want my two children to experience the violence of an eviction. They have already gone through so much,” she said as her children played in the courtyard of the occupied building.Twenty struggling families, many with children, moved into the building on 30 June.Several days later another 60 families moved into five nearby buildings.The six new buildings belong to a real estate developer that went bankrupt and disappeared.A message written on a white bedsheet that hangs from the courtyard of one of the occupied reads: “Everyone has the right to a home. Fighting for a home.”The occupied buildings have been dubbed “The Courtyards of Dignity”. The name was inspired by the high-profile occupation of another building in May 2012 by about 20 families aided by anti-poverty activists in Seville, about 100km away that was called “Utopia Courtyard”.The authorities evicted those families from that building in April.Herrera, 39, said she lost her job in 2009 when the company she worked for went bankrupt.With her husband also out of work, the couple eventually stopped paying their mortgage.After missing three monthly mortgage payments the bank told the couple they had two options: turn over the home to the lender, or be evicted and be liable for the €86,000 they still owed.They are part of a surge in the number of indebted Spanish families that have lost their homes since a decade-long property bubble burst in 2008, throwing millions of people out of work.While evictions have soared, the collapse of the property bubble has left an estimated 700,000 empty new homes scattered across Spain – which are often the target of squatters.“The ‘courtyards’ are a reflection of the social situation. They highlight the problem of the housing emergency that exists which the authorities try to hide,” said Francisco Cuevas of the CNT union who regularly brings food for the residents of “The Courtyards of Dignity”. Abandoned estate near the city of Zamora. Source: Flickr/SBA73‘It was unbearable’ Sanlucar de Barrameda, a town of whitewashed houses that is now home to around 65,000 people, boasts nearby beaches that are a popular tourist draw. But few holidaymakers are aware of the occupation of the buildings in the city and the residents struggling to make ends meet.Families in the six buildings rely on food donations and share whatever they have.“United we are stronger. What we want are solutions for everyone. Not in drips and drabs,” said Juan Jose Munoz, a spokesman for the squats.Before moving into the occupied buildings, Jenifer Garcia Vidal, 22, and her husband Esteban and two children, aged four and five, lived with her parents.“We were nine people in two rooms, it was unbearable,” she said as he held her daughter in her arms.The occupation of the buildings is a thorn in the side of local authorities.“We can never support kicking down a door” to illegally enter an empty building, said the town’s Socialist mayor, Victor Mora.The left-wing regional government of Andalucia, where the town is located, in April 2013 passed a decree that allowed it to expropriate properties from which people are about to be evicted for up to three years to allow them to continue to live there.But the measure was blocked by the conservative national government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.Last week, the government of Andalucia announced it had reached a deal with a bank to turn 20 empty flats in the lender’s hands into social housing.But “this is a drop of water in the ocean,” said Munoz.© – AFP 2014Read: Property investors still love us – but there could be competition from Spain >Read: “Long live the king!”: Spain says hello to its new head of state >last_img read more

New England Farmers Will Soon Be Harvesting Energy


first_imgFarmers produce all sorts of goods in order to earn money, and soon they may be able to add renewable energy to that list.A new machine called the digester — which look like a giant silo — is able to take waste such as manure and discarded crop material and turn it into energy. The digester turns the waste into biogas, which is then fed into a nearby generator to produce electricity. This electricity is then fed back into the grid, earning the farmer a tidy profit. Up to $20,000 a month, in fact.AdChoices广告And not only does the digester provide additional revenue and a renewable source of energy, it also utilizes materials that would otherwise go to waste. The project is being funded by New Englad Organics, who expect it to cost around $2.5 million before all is said and done. And it sounds like farmers in the region are excited about it.“Milk and power are both livelihoods for us,” farm owner Randy Jordan told CNet. “I want to do it all and I’ll just keep cows as a hobby.”last_img read more

Review Nokia Lumia 900 for ATT


first_imgIt’s been a little while since I’ve taken Windows Phone for a spin. In fact, the last time Windows Phone and I were hanging out it was before the big Mango update. I had spent some serious with T-Mobile’s HTC HD7 and, overall, found the operating system to be fairly limited and without much in the way of developer support. Much has happened to the ecosystem since then, including the Mango update and the partnership with Nokia.Regardless of your thoughts on Microsoft or Nokia, we have two companies that were effectively pushed out of the mobile game by iOS and Android, working together to make a phone to try and win back some users. Their offering is called the Lumia 900 on AT&T’s 4G LTE network, and it’s a pretty big deal.Sweet, sweet hardwareNokia has always had hardware that stands out. Even back in the day when Nokia was cranking out 2G phones, you could spot them from a mile away. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Lumia 900 will differentiate itself from the crowd — in a sea of nearly identical slabs, this phone truly stands out. The polycarbonate monobody casing, available in both blue and black, create a surface that is just textured enough to allow your fingers to grip it, without adding a visual pattern to the finish. There’s no removable battery, making the casing a solid, seamless piece.Nokia’s ClearBlack glass lays on top of the body, almost like the polycarbonate shell is a removable case for the phone. The device is flat on the top and bottom, though the weight on the phone is ever so slightly imbalanced (due to the placement of the screen) so it doesn’t always want to stand up on its own.In a world of 720p screens and Retina displays, the Lumia 900 looks under-qualified to hang out with the big names in the smartphone world. The 4.3-inch 800×480 resolution on the Lumia seems like something we would have seen on phones over a year ago, and is sure to give smartphone power users reason to question the specs of the device. Despite the resolution, everything on this screen looks incredibly crisp and clear. The Windows Phone UI, with its basic colors and sharp shapes across a flat black background looks great. More than that, websites and text render very clearly. This display, underneath Nokia’s ClearBlack glass also shows up much better in direct sunlight than the Super AMOLED Plus display on the Samsung Galaxy Note or that on the iPhone 4S. The phone has an 8MP camera (with Carl Zeiss optics) in the back and a 1MP front facing cameraThe Lumia 900 is a 1.4Ghz single core processor phone with 512MB of RAM. In no way does this phone feel even remotely sluggish, no matter what I did to try and slow the phone down. The device performed exactly the same way no matter what, which is truly a testament to how Windows Phone is able to handle this hardware.The Lumia 900 has an 1830mAh battery inside, which is more than capable of keeping it alive for over a day on 3G. It’s not shocking that, compared to a dual-core phone with 1GB of RAM and a 720p display, you get better battery life. When connected to AT&T’s 4G LTE, the Lumia 900 will give you much closer to 14 hours of battery life. Compared to other 4G LTE devices the Lumia 900 gets great battery life, with the exception being the over-sized Galaxy Note.For more about the specifications, check out our comparison of the Lumia 900, the iPhone 4S, and the Galaxy Nexus.Mango is a huge improvement, but still fairly limitedIn the smartphone market, Microsoft’s Windows Phone is in a distant third place. The biggest downside to having a device in distant third is that, no matter how amazing the hardware is, there’s still not nearly as many apps for Windows Phone as there are for iOS and Android. Common apps like Dropbox are nowhere to be found, and the third party apps that try to offer access to the online storage locker don’t even come close. For users moving from Android, there’s no Google Apps, and for users moving from iOS, most of the popular apps you are used to are nowhere to be found. If you’re not bound to any particular set of services, moving to Windows Phone would be great, but I think those users are few and far between.My favorite parts of Windows Phone — the integration with Microsoft’s other services — are still around, which is great. The Xbox Live app, SkyDrive integration, and the Microsoft Office access are each really great tools that you can’t get anywhere else. For any user who is already enjoying these Microsoft products, the phone is a really pleasant way to complete that experience.The Mango update to Windows Phone brought a huge cache of new features, things like turn-by-turn navigation, multitasking, and more developer support for the LiveTile UI. These were, for the most part, a huge improvement to the Windows Phone user experience. Unfortunately, there’s more than a few things that still make using WP7 a little awkward.The LiveTiles, for example, are one of the cleanest, most polished looking experiences I have ever had on a smartphone. That is, right until you install a third party app. The experience allows you to set a specific color for the entire experience and change that at will. On top of the colors, your apps can display information on the tile like how many emails are unread. Developers have the ability to incorporate the LiveTile experience into their apps, but from what I could find many developers haven’t bothered. Even fairly major apps, like Twitter and Facebook, keep the color scheme to their own default colors and don’t change it in any way.Also, there’s this dedicated search button on the Lumia 900, next to the home and back buttons. When you press it, no matter where you press it, the button launches Bing Search. If you are in the email app, it doesn’t allow you to search through the mail for example. In fact, in most places, there’s a software search button that is to be used completely separate from the search button on the device. This is a new feature as a part of Windows Phone Mango, and a feature that I wish would get fixed because it’s a clunker.All told, however, if you’re not absolutely in love with a different mobile OS, Windows Phone is perfectly capable of delivering a quality experience.Easily the best phone for the priceThe most exciting part of the Nokia Lumia 900 is that it’s a great Windows Phone on AT&T’s crazy fast 4G LTE network. The L900 is the only Windows Phone to date with access to that network, and the only LTE non-Android phone on AT&T. The Lumia 900 is going to be joining the likes of the $299 Samsung Galaxy Note and the $49 Pantech Burst in the 4G LTE world, but it’s coming in at $99 on a two-year agreement. For the price, the Nokia Lumia 900 is absolutely the best phone on AT&T’s 4G LTE network, and a huge boost to the Windows Phone lineup.Nokia Lumia 900 – side standingNokia Lumia 900 – side standingNokia Lumia 900 – sideNokia Lumia 900 – iphoneNokia Lumia 900 – home stackNokia Lumia 900 – home sideNokia Lumia 900 – homeNokia Lumia 900 – frontNokia Lumia 900 – backThe Lumia 900 was loaned to us from AT&T/Nokia.last_img read more

The Witcher 3 dev studio wont be able to play its own


first_imgAs you may have heard by now, Microsoft’s E3 could have gone better, and its policies for the Xbox One could be significantly improved. Though the Xbox One will be releasing in 21 territories at launch, certain territories — like Poland — won’t be one of them.During the E3 conference, amidst the avalanche of space marines and regular marines, Microsoft featured The Witcher 3, the upcoming sequel to one of the PC gaming audience’s most touted, hardcore series. Microsoft clearly felt the game was an important part of the next Xbox, but funnily enough, the developer of the game, CD Projekt Red, wouldn’t be able to play its own game if it were just a normal consumer, thanks to one of Microsoft’s many head-scratching new policies.We know the Xbox One will be region-locked. We also know that certain areas of the world won’t be getting it at launch. Furthermore, you cannot distribute or activate (via the new online activation policy) a game in certain territories at launch. This list from an official Xbox One FAQ shows that Poland is absent from the Xbox Live supported countries. If you can’t log into Xbox Live, you can’t activate a game, which means you can’t play it.CD Projekt Red is a Polish developer, which means the team is from an area where the Xbox One will not release at launch. Thanks to the combination of region-locking, online activation, and limited availability, if CD Projekt even imported a console from another territory, the team wouldn’t be able to activate it online seeing as how — it seems — online functionality will be prohibited if doing so from a country not on the above list.So, unless there’s some kind of loophole (aside from being a developer with access to things), a development studio wouldn’t be able to play its own game on the console that featured that game at E3 as a major selling point. Good policy.last_img read more

Samsung decides printers need mobile docks and speakers


first_imgThe printer I purchased back in 2007 has mostly been gathering dust in a corner for the past few years. I use it occasionally to print or scan a document, but for the most part I just have no reason to print stuff out anymore.Everyone occasionally has a need for a printer, though, and Samsung has decided to try and make them much more useful devices. By useful I mean adding functionality you wouldn’t normally associate with a device that commits ink to paper.At the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin next week, Samsung will show off three concept printers named Wave, Indie, and One & One. None of them look like your typical printer, instead being designed with a much more organic styling so as to not look out of place in any room.The Wave is meant to have minimalist features coupled with that organic design, but the most surprising feature is a smartphone dock. This allows you to print out any documents stored on the device when docked. I have to assume you can also wirelessly hook this up to a PC for more standard printing duties, too.The Indie printer goes a step further by combining that smartphone dock with speakers. Yes, Samsung has realized it can one-up all the speaker docks out there by also making them print things. Another bonus of the Indie is it will charge your smartphone.Finally we have the One & One printer. It looks like a retro cassette player and has none of the docking or audio options of the Wave or Indie. Instead it offers users the choice of enhancing standard black print outs with one additional color. You can choose between cyan, magenta, or yellow, but it’s only one at a time.The One & One is a laser printer, but it’s unclear if the Wave and Indie are laser or inkjet units. Either way, if you want your printer to do more than just print, Samsung may have the answer next year if it decides to actually release any of these devices commercially.last_img read more

GameStop Ireland plans to cash in on popculture hype with a new


first_img 19 Comments VIDEO GAME RETAILER GameStop will open one of the first brick-and-mortar ThinkGeek shops in Europe in a well-known Dublin shopping centre.ThinkGeek is a formerly online-only retailer based in the US that sells accessories and clothing to pop-culture ‘nerds’. It was acquired by GameStop last year for $140 million.The gaming giant already operates a similar concept store called Zing in Ireland and other European markets, but this will be the first physical shop under the ThinkGeek moniker in the country.Michael van den Berg, managing director of GameStop in northern Europe, told Fora that the dual-branded shop will open in “a sought-after mall in Dublin”.“There are already thousands of Irish nationals that are buying from ThinkGeek and having their products shipped from the US to their homes,” he said, describing the brand as “the largest e-commerce player” of its kind.Some of the items for sale are exclusive to ThinkGeek, which van den Berg said will differentiate the brand from its Zing shops and the refurbished GameStop Plus stores that also sell novelty items. ThinkGeek opening in Orlando Source: YouTubeGameStop PlusGameStop has been selling ancillary products like plush toys for 25 years, van den Berg said, but it “always came up incidentally” when a new game or console was released.Now, half of the company’s stores in Ireland will be rebuilt as GameStop Plus shops where “50% of the store space is video games and 50% is collectibles”.Despite the hefty overhaul – van den Berg said each shop was stripped back to “bare concrete” – the company’s revenue model will still rely heavily on traditional game sales.“In a category like this, I think it is clear that you must have a range,” van den Berg said.It doesn’t work if you put in a small fixture that has five caps, two t-shirts and a couple of key rings. In order to be successful and cater to the audience, you have to have a substantial range of products, which changes very often.He said the video games industry is a “cyclical business” that peaks when new consoles are released but plateaus in intervening years. It is hoped sales of quirky toys and apparel will help bridge that gap.Industry threatsOne of the biggest threats to the traditional video game industry is the rise of mobile gaming.Van den Berg said GameStop is competing in that sphere through its mobile game publisher, Kongregate, which it acquired in 2010.The company is also being challenged by publishers that encourage gamers to download games online through the likes of the Xbox Games Store instead of purchasing a disc version from physical stores. Pokemon Go mobile game Source: Hau Dinh/AP/Press Association Images“Gamers are collectors,” van den Berg said. “You have to understand that it’s very much a type of customer who likes to see the collection of games it has.“The physical game has a residual value,” he added. “A very intricate part of our ecosystem is that we not only gladly sell you that new game, but also gladly buy it back from you.”He also argued that brick-and-mortar retailers can offer “discoverability” to players through suggested sales by GameStop floor staff.The time and bandwidth it requires to download a game – which is much larger than a music or video file – is an added benefit to physical retailers.However, he acknowledged that “technology has a way of advancing and that may not always be there as a barrier”.It’s a question of not holding back the tide, but getting into it.Standalone shopsAccording to the most recent accounts from GameStop Ireland, the company reported losses of almost €1.5 million for the financial year ended 31 January 2015, pushing accumulated losses so far to over €11.5 million.When asked about this, van den Berg said:The reality of the situation is very much that GameStop has done an awful lot to get the business right-sized and on track. We have looked at how we can position (the company) and make sure (our) fortunes return.He said if the flagship Gamestop-ThinkGeek store performs well, there was a strong possibility the firm would launch more standalone ThinkGeek shops.“One must do so diligently,” van den Berg noted. “We want to be here and for the hundreds of people that we employ for many years to come.”Written by Conor McMahon and posted on Fora.ieCorrection: This article said the first ThinkGeek shop in Europe will open in Dublin. The brand will launch a store in Stockholm a week beforehand. Get Fora’s NEW daily digest of the morning’s key business news: Share163 Tweet Email1 17,905 Views By Fora Staff Image: Anthony Upton/PA Archive Take me to Fora Friday 28 Oct 2016, 6:30 AMcenter_img Short URL GameStop Ireland plans to cash in on pop-culture hype with a new shop for ‘nerds’ The retailer will open one of the first ThinkGeek-branded store outside the US in Dublin. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Image: Anthony Upton/PA Archive Read: Grand Theft Auto V is part of an exclusive club but who else is in it?Read: Study says that Grand Theft Auto ‘might make the world a worse place for females’ Oct 28th 2016, 6:30 AM last_img read more

Man appears in court charged with the murder of 20yearold man in


first_img 16,782 Views Feb 26th 2018, 11:38 AM Man appears in court charged with the murder of 20-year-old man in Sligo at the weekend 31-year-old Richard McLoughlin was charged at Donegal District Court this morning. Monday 26 Feb 2018, 11:38 AM Share16 Tweet Email Short URL By Gerry McLaughlin center_img A 31-YEAR-OLD SLIGO man has today been charged with the murder of another Sligo man at Donegal District Court.31-year-old Richard McLoughlin of City Gate Apartments, Connolly Street, Sligo was charged with the murder of 20-year-old Jimmy Loughlin at 8 Connolly Street, Sligo on 24 February.Garda Thomas James Gallagher gave evidence of arresting the defendant at O’Connell Street, Ballymote on Sunday and charging him at Ballymote Garda Station.The defendant made no reply to the charge, the court heardDefence counsel Keith O’Grady, instructed by solicitor Gerry McGovern, asked for urgent psychiatric evaluation. He said the defendant was currently on medication.There was no objection from the State.The defendant, who was wearing a short- sleeved green t-shirt during the four minute hearing, was remanded in custody to Friday’s district court sitting in Harristown.Judge Kevin Kilrane directed that the defendant get psychiatric treatment while in custody.Legal aid was granted. Jimmy Loughlin Image: Facebook No Comments Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Jimmy Loughlin Image: Facebooklast_img read more

Trailer Watch Which movie should you go see this weekend


first_img Thursday 8 Dec 2016, 8:30 PM RottenTomatoes: 6.7/10IMDB: 6.2/10Snowden 17 Comments What’s it rated? 14,348 Views Dec 8th 2016, 8:30 PM What’s it rated? Short URL Trailer Watch: Which movie should you go see this weekend? What’s a must-watch, and what’s a miss? We tell you. By Aoife Barry RottenTomatoes: 6.9/10IMDB: 5.8/10Which one would you go see first? Poll Results: RottenTomatoes: 6.3/10IMDB: 7.4/10The Birth of a Nation Source: FoxSearchlight/YouTubeWhat we knowTaking its name from a racist early silent film, this movie looks at the lives of slaves in early America.What the critics say“If “12 Years a Slave” felt like a breakthrough on that score, then Parker’s more conventionally told but still searingly impressive debut feature pushes the conversation further still: A biographical drama steeped equally in grace and horror, it builds to a brutal finale that will stir deep emotion and inevitable unease.” – Variety“We’ll never know how successful it could have been. But put aside the rancour and controversy, and you’ll find an occasionally uneven but always gripping work from a first-time filmmaker with genuine fire in his belly. Even more than 12 Years A Slave, a more clear-eyed and elegant but less visceral experience, The Birth Of A Nationbroils and brims with quiet rage” – Empire  Share Tweet Email Birth Of A Nation (486) I Am Not A Serial Killer (446) Snowden (1084) THE WEEKEND IS coming up, and that means new movies for you to see.But which is a must-watch, and are there any you should avoid?We take a lookI Am Not A Serial Killer Source: IFC Films/YouTubeWhat we knowIrish-produced and directed film that was made in a very cold Midwestern town. Based on a book for young adults of the same name, it’s about a young teen who tries to track down a serial killer in his locality. Stars Christopher Llloyd and Max Records (Where The Wild Things Are).What the critics say“What sets I Am Not A Serial Killer apart from other takes on this “killers hunting killers” concept (Dexter, anyone?) is its naturalistic, character-based approach. Over the course of an hour and 44 minutes, we come to understand and sympathize with John, who, deep down, isn’t a bad kid” – The AV Club“The tale of a likable teenager, raised by a mortician family, whose own nascent sociopathic tendencies make him a perfect amateur sleuth when a serial killer strikes his folksy Midwestern town, director Billy O’Brien’s film adaptation strikes a tone that’s far more unique and endearing than that premise might imply, helped in no small part by a sharp-witted performance from former child star Max Records.” – Variety What’s it rated?  I Am Not A Serial KillerSnowdenBirth Of A NationVote Source: Open Road Films/YouTubeWhat we knowJoseph Gordon Levitt plays the titular Edward Snowden, who famously leaked information from the US’s National Security Agency. Directed by Oliver Stone.What the critics say“In the context of this director’s career, “Snowden” is both a return to form and something of a departure. Mr. Stone circles back to the grand questions of power, war and secrecy that have propelled his most ambitious work, and finds a hero who fits a familiar Oliver Stone mold.” – New York Times““Snowden” is the biopic equivalent of a data dump—more fragments of information, scary factoids and fleeting themes than we or the filmmaker can keep track of, but no surprises or notable insights.” – Wall Street Journal Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Well Leave It There So Erasmus denies Springboks link Leicester back Ranieri


first_img Feb 7th 2017, 7:51 PM 1 Comment We’ll Leave It There So: Erasmus denies Springboks link, Leicester back Ranieri and today’s sport Meanwhile, it’s been a busy day in the Fitzgibbon Cup. Short URL Adam Lallama 😂— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) February 7, 2017 Share4 Tweet Email Home DIT’s John Walsh battles for possession with Eoin Quirke of Mary Immaculate College. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHOReigning Fitzgibbon Cup champions Mary Immaculate made light work of Dublin IT, securing a 32-point victory and ensuring they get a home quarter-final.Ireland’s U20s will be without captain and fullback Jack Kelly for this weekend’s clash with Italy through injury, and possibly for the rest of the competition.UCC, UCD and IT Carlow booked their places in the quarter-finals of the Fitzgibbon Cup with victories today.Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus insists there is no chance of him leaving the province to take over as head coach of his native South Africa any time soon.Clare’s Bobby Duggan and Tipperary’s John McGrath scored 1-20 between them today as University of Limerick cruised home against DCU St Pat’s in Group B of the Fitzgibbon Cup. By Alan Waldron Ireland flanker CJ Stander speaks about the impact the late Joost van der Westhuizen had on his rugby career.The Fixture ListThere are three Sigerson Cup quarter-finals on tomorrow’s calendar: Ulster University v UCD, Jordanstown, 2pm; DCU v St Mary’s (Belfast), DCU Sportsground, 2pm; and IT Carlow v UCC, IT Carlow, 6pm.Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri is hoping his side’s fortunes begin to turn, starting with tomorrow night’s FA Cup fourth-round replay against Derby County (19.45, BBC One).Showbiz, Baby!It seems ‘Adam Lallama’ has come to life on the left leg of a Liverpool fan. The good people over at ‘Tattoo Fixers’ could well have another customer in a few years’ time. Dublin stars Ali Twomey, James McCarthy, Sinéad Aherne and Eoghan O’Donnell at the launch of AIG’s new home insurance offer today. Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILEAway Sweden’s Kajsa Kling clears a gate during the women’s super-G at the Alpine Ski World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Source: Alessandro TrovatiThe All Blacks have expressed surprise over news that one of their security consultants has been charged with bugging their hotel before a Bledisloe Cup match against Australia.The Leicester City board have backed Claudio Ranieri to turn things around at the King Power Stadium, insisting the Italian manager has their full confidence.Two New England Patriots players have said they will boycott a team visit to the White House if the traditional invitation to the NFL champions comes from US president Donald Trump.Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse has called time on his football career and will now focus on his work as a DJ.New Zealand fullback Ben Smith, who had been linked with a move to Munster, has opted to remain at Super Rugby side the Highlanders.The Best Thing We SharedBeing three points down with time almost up isn’t a problem when you’ve got LeBron James on your side. An incredible shot from the Cleveland Cavaliers star tied the game against Washington Wizards last night and ultimately led to an overtime win.On The RecordIt’s tough because for my first professional start with the Bulls, he gave me my jersey, so I’ve got a bit of a connection with him. Everyone knew the time was coming but I think he’s in a better place. He’s going to be missed.center_img Tuesday 7 Feb 2017, 7:51 PM The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add! Source: Empire of the Kop/Twitter 8,659 Views Add us: The42 Rugby Show: how Ireland can get their campaign back on track after Murrayfield defeatJVDF takes disappointment on the chin as he pushes extra hard for starting place in Rome Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

€13 million contract for new IT system and 230 new staff as


first_img By Sean Murray Monday 22 Apr 2019, 6:30 AM Short URL THE DEPARTMENT OF Foreign Affairs (DFA) has issued an invitation to tender worth €13 million for the provision of a new IT system to process passports.This comes alongside the recruitment of 230 temporary clerical workers as the Passport Service expects the number of applications to climb again this year, after a record year in 2019.Last summer, the secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs apologised to people who’d experienced delays in their passport application, while recent data shows the number of complaints about the service has increased almost fivefold since 2016.Minister Simon Coveney has said that he’s satisfied that technology upgrades and increased staff will be sufficient to meet the anticipated demand during the peak season this year.Processing systemThe IT system sought by the DFA is envisaged as a “main back office processing system and system of record for all passport applications and associated passport holder information”. According to the tender documents, this project is “central to the delivery of the vision of the passport reform programme”.It’s a complete overhaul of the existing legacy and systems, and the successful tenderer will have to build, test and deploy the new system as well as providing on-going support.It will have 600 users across the four offices, with the majority of these being permanent workers.The system must also handle the receipt of passport applications through some of the various means you can apply – including online, by post and face-to-face.It’ll also allow workers with a “single view” of a person’s record including their previous application history, their current and previous photos, and correspondence with the person.Peak seasonReplying to a parliamentary question during the week, Minister Coveney said that passport applications last year reached a record high of 860,000, and it is expected this will increase again. “The Passport Service is currently in its peak season for passport demand with the vast majority of applications being received between February and August each year,” he said.He said that – at the end of 2018 – the Passport Service employed the equivalent of 363.2 full time staff, an increase of 40 on 2017.Already this year, a further 60 full-time staff had taken on roles according to Coveney. “The Passport Service has received approval to recruit over 230 Temporary Clerical Officers (TCOs) in 2019 to assist in processing passport applications and to deal with the queries from the general public,” Coveney said. Last year, 29% of all passport applications were online.“It is envisaged that as part of this reform the online application process will be rolled out to first-time applicants by 2021,” Coveney said.  Coveney said technology upgrades and increase staffing will improve the service Image: Sam Boal/ Apr 22nd 2019, 6:31 AM 23 Comments 35,716 Views center_img Image: Sam Boal/ Coveney said technology upgrades and increase staffing will improve the service €13 million contract for new IT system and 230 new staff as Passport Service aims to cope with demand It comes as part of the passport reform programme and, despite the rise in complaints in recent years, Coveney is confident it’ll make a difference. Share Tweet Email6 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more