UK defends Ukraine refugee policy amid anger at slow pace
The British government is defending its Ukraine refugee policy despite figures indicating that only 12,000 Ukrainians fleeing the war have arrived in the U.K. The figure from the government includes 10,800 people who came to join family members in Britain, and just 1,200 under the Homes for Ukraine program set up to match refuges with volunteer hosts.
Facebook loses court fight over halting EU-US data transfers
Facebook has lost a legal battle with Ireland’s data privacy watchdog over a European Union privacy decision that could result in the social network being forced to stop transferring data to the U.S. The Irish High Court on Friday rejected Facebook’s bid to block a draft decision by the country’s Data Protection Commission to inquire into, and order the suspension of, the company’s data flows between the European Union and the U.S. The Irish watchdog had launched its inquiry last year...
Portugal, Belgium held in WCup qualifying, Ireland shocked
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the World Cup 2022 group A qualifying soccer match between Serbia and Portugal at the Rajko Mitic stadium in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)Portugal and Belgium were left frustrated by draws in their World Cup qualifying matches. Stéphanie Frappart made more history as the first woman to referee a men's World Cup qualifier as the Netherlands beat Latvia 2-0. TV replays indicated the ball did cross the line, but goal-line technology and video review aren't used in the World Cup qualifiers. Artem Dzyuba scored both of Russia's goals to move within one goal of the Russian team record of 30 held by retired striker Alexander Kerzhakov.
Dance like the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day
San Antonio – The Inishfree School of Irish Dancing is a competitive Irish dance school with locations in San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, New York, Massachusetts and Mexico. The Inishfree School’s objective is to pass on the joy and traditions of Irish dance. This experience isn’t just limited to those of Irish descent; people of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to learn and enjoy the traditions of Irish dance. Inishfree San Antonio offers classes for every ability level, starting at four years old. For more information on The Inishfree School of Irish Dancing and their class schedule head over to their website.
8 popular Irish herbs that grow in SA
SAN ANTONIO – Springtime is the season for planting herbs. Did you know several herbs that are popular in Ireland actually grow in San Antonio? For those of us getting into the Irish spirit this week, Ireland native and storyteller Jane McDaniel, president of the Irish Cultural Society of San Antonio, shares eight popular Irish herbs that grow in the Alamo City. Another popular Irish herb is caraway. For more information about the Irish Cultural Society of San Antonio, click here.
Sound Session: St. James’s Gate performs set of Irish reels
SAN ANTONIO – We’re celebrating the culture of Ireland this week ahead of St. Paddy’s Day with a Sound Session performance by a local Irish folk band, St. James’s Gate. According to the band’s website, it was the first American band to win the All-Ireland Music Competition for Instrumental Group back in 1986. Long-time member Mark Stone joined the group in 1987. Erik Tullberg is the newest member of the group. Watch the band perform a set of Irish reels in the video above.
EU takes legal action vs UK over Brexit deal delays
(AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)The divorce between the U.K. and the EU is turning nastier by the day. AdOn March 3 the U.K. decided to unilaterally extend a grace period until October on checks for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland. “They are lawful and part of a progressive and good faith implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol," the spokesperson said in a statement. AdThe U.K. government said that it saw challenges that businesses like supermarkets faced in Northern Ireland in the first weeks of the year. Only last week, the leaders of the EU and the U.K. went head-to-head in an angry exchange over vaccine exports.
Diplomats: UN fails to approve call to end Tigray violence
A medical clinic that was looted and vandalized in Zana, is seen in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. The United Nations in its latest humanitarian report on the situation in Tigray says the "humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate" as fighting intensifies across the northern region. Three council diplomats said Ireland, which drafted the statement, decided not to push for approval after objections from the three countries. India only wanted a minor change, and Russia reportedly supported its ally China at the last minute, the diplomats said. It called on the U.N. to urgently establish an independent inquiry into war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Tigray.
EU vows to speed vaccine roll out, presses drug makers
European Council President Charles Michel, top of screen, takes part in an EU Summit, via videoconference link, at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The leaders also said that restrictions, including on travel, should remain in place in many parts of the 27-nation bloc. The EU has partly blamed supply delays for lagging far behind nations like Israel, the United States and Britain when it comes to vaccinations. By early this week, 6.5% of the adults living in the EU had been vaccinated, compared to more than 27% in the U.K. He also raised concern about other issues, like the exclusion of those who have not been vaccinated, or cannot be.
Biden orders COVID-19 travel restrictions, adds South Africa
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Monday reinstated COVID-19 travel restrictions on most non-U.S. travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders. “This isn’t the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” Psaki said. “We have concern about the mutation that’s in South Africa," Fauci told "CBS This Morning." Biden's team had announced that he would reimpose the travel restrictions, but the addition of South Africa to the restricted travel list highlights the new administration’s concern about mutations in the virus. The South Africa variant has not been discovered in the United States, but another variant — originating in the United Kingdom — has been detected in several states.
Irish PM sorry for 'profound wrong' of unwed mothers homes
FILE - In this file photo dated Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, Ireland's Prime Minister Micheal Martin speaks as he arrives at the European Council building in Brussels. The inquiry was part of a process of reckoning in overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Ireland, where church-run institutions were often tied to a history of abuse. The report said 15% of all children in the homes died from disease and infections like stomach flu, almost double the nationwide infant mortality rate. The mothers were abandoned by their families and hidden away out of shame, and many of the children were separated from their mothers for adoption. The commission of inquiry said about 56,000 unmarried mothers and about 57,000 children had lived in the homes it investigated.
Irish PM says 'perverse' morality drove unwed mothers' homes
Prime Minister Micheal Martin said young women and their children had paid a heavy price for Ireland’s “perverse religious morality” in past decades. The final report of an inquiry into the mother-and-baby homes said that 9,000 children died in 18 different mother and baby homes during the 20th century. Fifteen percent of all children in the homes died, almost double the nationwide infant mortality rate, the report said. Church-run homes in Ireland housed orphans, unmarried pregnant women and their babies for most of the 20th century. “While mother and baby homes were not a peculiarly Irish phenomenon, the proportion of Irish unmarried mothers who were admitted to mother and baby homes or (state-run) county homes in the 20th century was probably the highest in the world,” the report said.
UK abolishes 'sexist' tax on women's sanitary products
Treasury chief Sunak has committed to ending the widely unpopular tax on womens sanitary products, but the change could only take effect Friday Jan 1, 2021, after Britain had finally left the economic orbit of the EU. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, FILE)LONDON – Britain on Friday became the latest country to abolish the so-called "tampon tax,” eliminating sales taxes on women's sanitary products. “Sanitary products are essential, so it’s right that we do not charge VAT,” said Sunak. They pointed to the abolition of the tampon tax as an early positive change from Brexit. Many other countries have also eliminated the tampon tax, including Australia, Canada and India.
The Latest: Louisiana congressman-elect dies from COVID-19
State health officials said Tuesday that the variant was found in a man in his 20s who is in isolation southeast of Denver and has no travel history. Health officials have said the vaccines being given now are thought to be effective against the variant. — A former Louisiana state lawmaker and his wife died from COVID-19 on the same day. ___OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City fire department says a firefighter, whose nephew became the first department employee to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, died of the virus after being infected while responding to a call. In the Upstate area of the state, COVID-19 infection rates continue to outpace every other part of South Carolina.
Asian stocks gain after Trump criticizes economic aid bill
Asian stock markets rose Wednesday after President Donald Trump suggested he may veto a $900 billion economic aid package. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)Asian stock markets rose Wednesday after President Donald Trump suggested he may veto a $900 billion economic aid package. Overnight, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.2% after Trump criticized the aid plan approved by Congress. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8% to 3,382.08 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.1% to 26,470.94. Tech companies rose.
Biden's ancestral home in Ireland celebrates his victory
A man puts a US flag up in the town of Ballina, the ancestral home of President elect Joe Biden, in North West of Ireland, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. Joe Blewitt, a heating and plumbing engineer and a cousin of Biden’s, said the town of about 10,000 is ecstatic at the prospect of a President Joe Biden. Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather Edward Blewitt emigrated from the town, having worked as a brick-maker and as a civil engineer helping to map Ireland. Biden’s victory was especially sweet for Beryl McCrainey Slevin, a California native who has lived in Ballina for more than 15 years. Irish prime minister Micheal Martin was one of the first leaders to congratulate Biden on his victory, a clear sign of how much Biden’s victory means to the country.
Ireland focuses on Christmas as it enters new lockdown
A man walks past a closed bar in Dublin, Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)DUBLIN – Ireland is already focused on Christmas. Unless the country can get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, there won’t be much Christmas cheer this year in Galway, Cork or Dublin. Cadden, a past president of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said that between corporate events and family gatherings, Christmas can account for 40% of the annual revenue for some establishments. “That makes me feel able to keep going.”Business owners seem to be almost willing the lockdown to work because they, like everyone in Ireland, need a break from the loneliness, suffering and death.
Ryanair blames European 'mismanagement' for winter cuts
LONDON – Ryanair became the latest European airline to announce big reductions in its winter schedule after coronavirus-related travel restrictions were reimposed across the continent. Casting the blame on European governments for “mishandling” air travel during the pandemic, the Ireland-based budget airline said Thursday that it will cut around a third of its flight routes this winter. O'Leary said the cutbacks have been “forced upon us by government mismanagement" of European air travel. “We continue to actively manage our cost base to be prepared for the inevitable rebound and recovery of short-haul air travel in Europe once an effective COVID-19 vaccine is developed,” O'Leary said. Others airlines saw their stocks fall too, including British Airways' parent company, International Airlines Group, which was down 2.8%.
Germany, France call for UK concessions in EU-UK trade talks
This would be very bad news for everyone, for the EU and even more so for the United Kingdom." Speaking after a meeting of EU ministers that he chaired, Roth added that “it's now up to the U.K. to make the decisive steps." He said U.K. negotiator David Frost would brief the prime minister before EU leaders meet about whether recent intensive talks have made a deal possible. Johnson says the EU must shift its position if it wants a deal, and insists the U.K. is quite prepared to walk away without one. France warned, that could cost the U.K. the unfettered access it wants to the huge and wealthy continental market.
Subway bread isn't bread, Irish court says
LONDON – Ireland’s Supreme Court has ruled that bread sold by the fast food chain Subway contains so much sugar that it cannot be legally defined as bread. A panel of judges rejected the appeal Tuesday, ruling that the bread sold by Subway contains too much sugar to be categorized as a “staple food,” which is not taxed. The law makes a distinction between “bread as a staple food” and other baked goods “which are, or approach, confectionery or fancy baked goods,” the judgement said. Subway said it was reviewing the latest tax ruling. It added that the decision was based on an outdated bread exemption set by the Irish government that was updated in 2012.
EU Commission appeals after losing Apple $15B tax case
The EU Commission “respectfully considers that in its judgment the General Court has made a number of errors of law. For this reason, the Commission is bringing this matter before the European Court of Justice," the bloc's highest court, Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said. The EU Commission had ordered Apple to pay for gross underpayment of tax on profits across the European bloc from 2003 to 2014. The commission said Apple used two shell companies in Ireland to report its Europe-wide profits at effective rates well under 1%. Apple said the case was never about how much tax it pays but where it's required to pay.
As Europe faces 2nd wave of virus, tracing apps lack impact
A man shows the contact tracing app Stayaway Covid on his cellphone, in Lisbon, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. Mobile apps tracing new COVID cases were touted as a key part of Europes plan to beat the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)LONDON – Mobile apps tracing new COVID-19 cases were touted as a key part of Europe’s plan to beat the coronavirus outbreak. Public trust in the government helps allay concerns about privacy and government surveillance first raised when some countries launched tracing apps months earlier. We might never know for sure, said Stephen Farrell, a computer scientist at Trinity College Dublin who has studied tracing apps.
EU names Dombrovskis as its new trade chief
BRUSSELS The European Unions executive commission is proposing its experienced Latvian vice president, Valdis Dombrovskis, to take over the post as trade chief of the bloc following the resignation of Ireland's Phil Hogan. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement as she named European Parliament heavyweight Mairead McGuinness as the new financial services commissioner to fill Ireland's seat at the table. Dombrovskis had already been holding the post temporarily since Hogan's resignation on Aug. 26. Dombrovskis now fills a vital post in dealing with the United States, China and post-Brexit Britain, with all three demanding near daily attention. It also means von der Leyen limited her reshuffle in the Commission and with McGuinness she further narrowed the gender gap in the Commission, which now stands at 14 men and 13 women.
Man pleads to 39 manslaughter counts in container case
LONDON A truck driver from Northern Ireland on Friday pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the deaths of 39 people found in the back of a container truck last year in southeastern England. Hughes also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration of non-European Union citizens between May 1, 2018 and October 24, 2019. Harrison pleaded innocent to 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and will face trial Oct. 5 with three others. Another driver Maurice Robinson, 25, of Craigavon in Northern Ireland pleaded guilty to 39 counts of manslaughter in April. In June, Alexandru-Ovidiu Hanga, 28 admitted to one count of conspiring to assist unlawful immigration.
Irish leader forced to defend govt future amid golf scandal
Irelands prime minister has been forced to defend the future of his government as criticism mounted over a golf event attended by senior politicians despite a ban on large gatherings designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)LONDON Irelands prime minister was forced to defend the future of his government Monday as criticism mounted over a golf event attended by senior politicians despite a ban on large gatherings designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. But he sought to focus attention on the Irish governments legislative record, not speculation that his coalition will collapse over the scandal. The scandal erupted last week amid reports that more than 80 people, including senior members of Martins party, Fianna Fael, attended a golf society dinner in Galway on Aug. 19. He said organizers and the hotel had assured him that it would be held in compliance with government guidelines.
EU regulators wrangle over Twitter data privacy penalty
LONDON European Union privacy regulators are wrangling over the penalty Ireland's data privacy watchdog was set to issue Twitter for a data breach, pushing back the case's long awaited conclusion under the bloc's tough new data privacy rules. However, following consultation a number of objections were maintained and the (Irish Data Privacy Commission) has now referred the matter to the European Data Protection Board," the independent body representing the bloc's privacy regulators. Under the EUs General Data Protection Regulation, a single regulator takes the lead role in cross-border data privacy cases as part of a one-stop shop system. The Twitter case stems from a security breach that affected its Android app users and let anyone view protected tweets over more than four years. The Irish regulator said in a June report it was investigating the company for failure to report the breach within 72 hours.
Vatican indicates support to exhume babies at Irish home
The Vatican has indicated its support for a campaign to exhume the bodies of hundreds of babies who were buried on the grounds of a Catholic-run Irish home for unwed mothers to give them a proper Christian burial. The Vaticans ambassador to Ireland, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, said in a July 15 letter to the amateur Irish historian behind the campaign that he shared the views of the archbishop of Tuam, Ireland, Michael Neary. Neary has said it was a priority for him to re-inter the babies' bodies in consecrated ground. If the Irish government refuses to authorize the exhumations, Neary promised to bless the ground where they were originally buried. Seeking to nudge the government to finally honor the Tuam children and bring closure to their relatives, Corless wrote last month to the Vatican ambassador asking his views.
Shane Lowry playing golf this week, but not where he thought
It will go to Royal St. Georges next summer. Its just very strange times for us at the minute, isnt it?Lowry said he has never seen the lunar landscape of Royal St. Georges. Id love if we were playing in front of 40,000 or 50,000 people this week in St. Georges, he said. For the week of the U.S. Open, golf was in its second week of returning from the pandemic, at Harbour Town. So everything that I miss or that I wont get to do this week, Im sure Ill get to do next year.
Kissing of Blarney Stone resumes as Ireland eases lockdown
Customer Angus Fleming poses with a pint of Guinness in Mary Mac's pub, Dublin, Ireland, as Ireland further eases restrictions with pubs that serve food, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and barbers among those allowed to reopen following the coronavirus lockdown, Monday June 29, 2020. And for the first time since March 13, the Blarney Stone was kissed a hugely important moment for anyone looking to get the gift of the gab. Ireland was one of the first European countries to enact strict lockdown provisions after the pandemic took root in Italy. The coronavirus laid siege to almost all aspects of everyday life in Ireland but perhaps the most symbolic in Ireland was the halting of the tradition of kissing the Blarney Stone, for the first time in almost 600 years. The witch told him that he would receive the gift of eloquence if he kissed the stone.
Proud Grandfather Meets His New Grandson Through a Window Due to Social Distancing
Social distancing lead to a proud new grandfather in Ireland recently meeting his newborn grandchild in a unique way -- through a window. “Three generations of social distancing as my dad meets his grandson for the first time 😭😭😭,” Emma captioned the photo. “Also Faolán is my nephew and it is my brother Míchéal holding him. Also Faolán is my nephew and it is my brother Míchéal holding him. See more on how people are coping with social distancing across the globe below.
Can you fathom no St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at pubs in Ireland?
A St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland without celebrations at local pubs? Yes, it is true, and just the latest example of how serious the coronavirus pandemic has become. The Irish government sent a release Sunday asking all pubs be closed from Sunday night until March 29 to help quell the spread of the coronavirus. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations surely will be affected around the world, and it’s hard to imagine you can’t even go to a pub in the heart of Ireland anymore to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. But that once again emphasizes the seriousness of the pandemic and the sacrifices so many are making.
Vote prediction for Sinn Fein puts Irish politics in turmoil
The predicted outcome means some type of coalition government is almost inevitable, with Sinn Fein likely to be a central player in the negotiations to form one. Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have until now refused to work with Sinn Fein because of its links to the Irish Republican Army. The centrist parties say Sinn Fein failed to repudiate the IRA’s role in the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. Early results reported Sunday evening showed Sinn Fein won 13 of the first 14 seats decided. "I want us to have a government for the people,’’ Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said.