In Short


A round-up of today's other stories in brief

'Star Sunday' fined 40,000 for contempt of court over libel case

He ordered the newspaper to carry a fair summary of the judgment in which he found that Mr Watters had been defamed and that it be given equal half-page prominence as given to the initial defamatory article.

Hugh Mohan SC told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that Star Sunday, having libelled Mr Watters, committed contempt of court by repeating the slander. It had stated in headline print beside a picture of Mr Watters: “We may have to apologise to this revolting pervert. Will we mean it? Hell No.”

Judge Mathews said he accepted the apology delivered by Eoin McCullough SC for Star Sunday. He felt it appropriate that a summary of his judgment be published next Sunday with equal prominence to the layout of the original defamatory article.

He imposed a fine of €40,000 to be paid by Independent Star Ltd within a month.

Kelly 'very wrong' on mortgage loss

Economist Morgan Kelly was “very wrong” on the extent of the mortgage default problems facing Irish banks in his opinion piece in The Irish Times, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has said, writes Harry McGee.

Mr Lenihan said last night Prof Kelly was right in forecasting a lot of what was occurring in Ireland. “He was very wrong in the recent article he wrote about the scope of Irish mortgage losses.” Mr Lenihan said it did not correlate with data produced by the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator.

The mortgage losses story had “obtained traction abroad” though the IMF, EU Commission and ECB teams “could not find much evidence for it”.

FF TD Nolan to retire at election

Fianna Fáil Carlow TD MJ Nolan is to retire at the next general election after 24 years as a Dáil deputy.

In a statement last night Mr Nolan said he would turn 60 next month and felt the time was right to step down.

“Since first putting my name on a ballot paper in 1974, I have contested 14 elections. To put your name before the people and be entrusted with their support has been a gratifying experience,” he said.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen wished Mr Nolan well. “MJ and I have served together through some tumultuous times in Irish politics and I know him as a politician who has always been committed to the common good,” said Mr Cowen.

Lifeboat crew rescues woman who fell from pier

The Dún Laoghaire lifeboat crew rescued a woman last night after she fell into the sea from the East Pier lighthouse.

It is believed the woman stumbled while walking and fell into the harbour.

Her cries for help were heard by people walking on the pier, who in turn contacted the Coast Guard.

Passersby threw a lifebuoy into the water to keep her afloat until help arrived.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institute inshore lifeboat recovered the woman from the water and brought her alongside the pier.

She was then winched on board the Coast Guard helicopter and transferred to hospital for medical treatment.

Stephen Wynne, operations manager for the Dún Laoghaire Royal National Lifeboat Institute, paid tribute to the members of the public who had raised the alarm and who gave assistance, as well as to the volunteer lifeboat crew.

Dublin city councillor appears in court over Harney paint incident

A Dublin city councillor who allegedly threw paint over Minister for Health Mary Harney has appeared at Dublin District Court. Louise Minihan, Knockriada, Chapelizod, Dublin, was charged yesterday with criminal damage to the Minister’s clothes, assault and with causing a breach of the peace on November 1st.

The latter charge was struck out and Ms Minihan was required to reappear at the court on January 10th. She was granted free legal aid by Judge Denis McLoughlin.

Ms Minihan was elected to Dublin City Council for the Ballyfermot ward as a member of Sinn Féin but is now a member of socialist republican group Éirígí.

Cabinet to consider Garda appointment

The appointment of a new Garda Commissioner is expected to be considered at today’s Cabinet meeting with the identity of the appointee likely to be announced immediately.

Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy has already indicated his intention to retire on December 31st. However, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern has not yet brought the issue of his successor to Cabinet.

Man found guilty of raping partner

A Kildare man has been found guilty at the Central Criminal Court of raping his teenage partner in their apartment last year.

The man (20) had pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape and one count of oral rape on February 24th or February 25th.

Mr Justice Barry White remanded him on bail until his sentence date on January 14th and ordered that his name be placed on the sex offenders register.