Five things you need to know today

Unfounded symphysiotomy claims, Obama and Ellen and fears about The Quiet Man

Over 30 per cent of applications to the Government’s symphysiotomy redress scheme were unfounded, as the women were unable to show they had the procedure, according to an official report.

Even some of those women who have been awarded compensation probably never had a symphysiotomy, the assessor of the scheme, Judge Maureen Harding Clark, admits in her report to Government.

She blames this on her “early critical reliance on medical reports” furnished with some applications.

A 13-year-old boy in foster care was unable to find a school place for two years despite applications to 28 schools in surrounding areas, it has emerged.


The case is contained in a special report by the Ombudsman for Children on difficulties young people have in accessing basic education.

The problems are especially prevalent among young people in State care or those with disabilities who run up against inflexible school policies, according to the Ombudsman for Children Dr Niall Muldoon.

The Quiet Man may now be regarded as a classic, but when it was first shown in 1952 the Irish Embassy in Washington feared it would create a false impression of Ireland and provoke protests from Irish-Americans.

Starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara and directed by Irish American John Ford, it was filmed around Cong in Mayo in 1951.

The counsellor at the Washington embassy Joseph D Brennan outlined his concerns about the film in a letter to then Department of External Affairs official Conor Cruise O'Brien on April 17th, 1952.

US President Barack Obama paid tribute to comedian Ellen DeGeneres as he awarded her the nation's highest civilian honour saying she risked her career when she came out as gay almost two decades ago.

He honoured 21 people with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the White House, including actors Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford and Cicely Tyson, and musicians Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross.

Philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates and basketball players Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were also among those honoured.

A New York investment company is to sell its majority stake in the partnership behind three new housing developments in the Dublin suburbs after receiving a number of approaches from prospective buyers.

Centerbridge Partners, a $25 billion private equity firm, has appointed London-based financial advisers Eastdil Secured to handle the sale of its interests in new housing developments at Hollywoodrath in Hollystown, Scholarstown Wood, Rathfarnham, and a site yet to be developed at Station Manor in Portmarnock.

About 100 houses in the first two schemes were sold within days of being launched. The three sites were assembled at a cost of about €60 million and have planning permission for 874 homes.