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An NUI Galway student has told SHEmazing! she was removed from an academic conference attended by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny – for wearing a Repeal The 8th jumper.

The female 2nd year student added that she was escorted from the university building by An Garda Síochána and a security guard.

Yesterday evening, a group of 25-30 students was hosting a peaceful protest calling attention to the abortion rights campaign. It is claimed, however, that the removed student was not involved in this activity.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was visiting NUI Galway to open the international academic conference as part of the Irish 2016 Centenary Programme. Called 1916-2016: The Promise And Challenge Of National Sovereignty, it was held in the Bailey Allen Hall and was free and open to the public.

The student, who this morning was in contact with SHEmazing! but has asked not to be named, arrived intending to work on an academic project with a number of other students in a meeting room of the building. She says that she stopped briefly to watch the protest.

A number of protesters began chanting as Mr Kenny arrived, and the student added that at this stage she went to return to the meeting room. 

"Gardaí came upstairs and removed the [protesters] and then came into our room. We told them we were not part of the protest," she revealed. 

"A security guard then pointed to the Repeal jumper and asked 'what's that?'

"I replied saying that I am in fact a student and not a protester. My fellow students defended me saying it was merely a coincidence," she continued. 

She says she was then escorted out by two gardaí and a security guard. 

"I honestly felt very threatened in that room; they were very condescending.I feel that Garda-force was unnecessary and that we would not have been removed if it hadn't been for my jumper.

 

A photo posted by Repeal Project (@repealproject) on

"We were all very upset by the events last night.

"I understand that because of the protest there were worries and tensions surrounding the Taoiseach's well-being but it could have been handled in a much more civil manner, without causing hurt and confusion," the student added. 

Hazel Nolan, who posted a video from the conference to Twitter, said: "I'm auditor of UCD For Choice so it's great to see other colleges taking opportunities like this to protest about the 8th amendment.

"However, escorting someone from their own college, when they weren't even protesting, for wearing a certain jumper is ludicrous."

A Garda spokesperson told SHEmazing! that "an Garda Siochana were present to police this event and ensure there was no breach of the peace. No arrests were made by Gardaí."

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It looks like Taoiseach Enda Kenny is keeping in with the new US President Donald Trump.

According to The Independent, Enda had a ten-minute phone call with Donald last night, where he congratulated him on his win yesterday.

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Both men agreed to working together for the mutual benefit of our country and the United States.

The president elect said that "the spirit of the strong ties" between Ireland and the US will still stand as he takes over, and the annual tradition of the Taoiseach visiting the White House for St Patrick's Day will continue.

Over in America, there have been protests over night all around the country, with people chanting, "You're not our president."

More to follow…

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Enda Kenny will be the man turning on the lights of Dublin this Christmas.

Yay? Nope, sorry Enda, but you're not exactly the man to get the party started.

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However, he's only going to be in one part of the city.

Taking to the north inner-city, which has been riddled with gangland-related crime in recent months, Enda wants to show residents that the Government is by their sides.

He recently visited the closed Garda station on Fitzgibbon Street which has been out of action for some time. Mr Kenny intends to re-open the station in the next year.

Image result for dublin christmas lights

"It will be a very significant demonstration of the intention of the government. It’s just a stone’s throw from the unfortunate incidents in the area," he said.

The Christmas lights are going up in 30 streets around Dublin, and Enda has been the only person confirmed so far to turn the lights on.

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Uh, Enda Kenny thinks Irish people need to talk about pornography… but the public don't seem too happy about it.

According to the Independent, the Taoiseach thinks there needs to be a national conversation about how porn is damaging the minds of the Irish youth.

While at a launch for a free helpline for victims of crime, Enda said: “Our young people are growing up imagining that what they see on the screen might be normal sexual behaviour.

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“There has to be a discussion about this in terms of families and children and the kind of society that is evolving.

“What used to be termed as ‘lads magazines’ have grown to be replaced with pornography that’s as ubiquitous as it is damaging.

“Our young people that are growing up, imagining what they see on a screen is normal sexual behaviour, there has to be a discussion about this.”

However, over on Twitter, the public had a few things to say about Enda's thoughts:

What do you think of this?

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Yes, it's the Budget – and Michael Noonan has now done the honours, standing up in the Oireachtas to announce the financial poa for the nation for 2017.

Wrapping up this afternoon with the words, "it makes sense to avoid the mistakes of the past that could overheat our economy," here, we get to grips with the nitty-gritty detail that will have an impact on your pocket:

Cigarettes: 50c a pack increase

The one-and-only tax increase – a packet is shooting up by 50c from midnight tonight, meaning it will cost €11 for 20 cigarettes.

Alcohol: no tax increase

There has been lots of talk of raising the price of booze recently – but, for now, we can still enjoy €5 bottles of wine.

Property: buyer incentives 

First-time buyers will now get back 5 percent (up to a maximum of €400,000) on the purchase price of their homes until the end of 2019 – but only if they're snapping up new-build residences. 

Kids: affordable scheme

Kicking off in September of next year there will be means-tested subsidies, based on parental income, for children between six months and 15 years –independent.ie says it’ll be worth at least €20 a week.

Teachers: more jobs

An education recruitment drive from next year will aim to establish another 2,400 teaching posts – of which 900 will be resource teachers.

Social welfare: on the up

All welfare payments from the State – dole, pension, carers' allowance, disability allowance etc – will all go up by €5 a week from March.

Universal Social Charge: middle earners rejoice

It's never been a popular one – and now the three lowest rates of USC will be cut; the 5.5 percent, 3 percent, and 1 percent rate bands will be slashed to just 0.5 percent. And medical card holders and those over 70 will now pay a maximum of 2.5 percent USC on their incomes.

Corporate tax rate: holding steady

Despite the recent European Court ruling in relation to Apple's tax affairs in Ireland, the 12.5 percent corporation tax is holding steady for the foreseeable future.

Gardaí: recruitment drive

Some 800 new members of An Garda Síochána will be hired and trained in 2017. Our Defence Forces will furthermore be provided with additional facilities, pensions, housing and equipment.

The Dáil: pay-day

Enda's salary will shoot up by almost €15,000. Travel and subsidies will also increase for TDs.

Sugar tax: introduced

A so-called sugar tax will be applied on high-sugar foods from spring 2018 – in line with similar legislation in the UK. A public consultation process kicks off in January.

Health: more cash

An extra half a billion euro will be handed over health – the largest ever budget applied to the sector.

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Enda Kenny has suggested that Kim Kardashian would not have been robbed if she had been staying in Ireland at the time of her attack.

Speaking at the announcement of 85 new jobs at Carlow security firm Netwatch today, the Taoiseach made light of the attack which saw the mother of two bound and gagged while armed raiders stole over €10 million worth of jewellery from her luxury Parisian apartment.

The leader of our country said: “There was a good lady robbed in Paris the other day of jewellery.  Maybe if they had employed Netwatch they mightn’t have been robbed at all.”

“Send her a message and say ‘over here we’ll mind you,’” he joked.

 

Balenciaga. No make up today.

A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

 

Irish Twitter users have already taken to the site to discuss the comments.

One commentator wrote: “Did @EndaKennyTD really just make a joke about @KimKardashian being tied up, threatened with violence and robbed?  Uh…”

While another said: “Of all the things Enda Kenny has ever said, telling Kim Kardashian to hire an Irish security firm was certainly one of them.”

 

 

 

Feat image: PA Wire

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It'll be three weeks full of posters, flyers and knocks on the door for people in the Republic of Ireland, as Enda Kenny has confirmed the date of the next General Election for February 26.

The Taoiseach this morning visited Áras an Uachtaráin to request that the current Dáil be dissolved, the first step needed to start the process of a General Election.

Speaking to voters via a Twitter video, Kenny noted that the choice Irish people face now is "as stark as it is clear."

He added that the job of rebuilding the Republic of Ireland's post-recession economy was "not yet finished" and urged voters not to hand the country over to "those who wrecked our past or those who would wreck it in the future."

Fine Gael and Labour are seeking re-election as a coalition, with Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin both also vying for seats.

The three-week campaign will take place across 40 constituencies in the Republic of Ireland, with 158 seats available.

After being dissolved today, the Dáil will resume on March 10, once the new government has been voted in.

Check if you are on the register here.

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Half a dozen terrifying coordinated attacks on the city of Paris have left scores of its citizens dead. 

Carried out by eight or more terrorists, it is believed that at least 120 people lost their lives during last night's tragedies, although no official death-toll has been confirmed. Another 200 have also been injured – 80 seriously.

This morning, terror group Isis formally claimed responsibility for the tragedy via its propaganda agency, the al-Hayat Media Centre.

The Department Of Foreign Affairs has said that one Irish citizen is among the injured.

President Francois Hollande has now called a state of emergency – the first declared by France since the end of World War II – in response. Border control has also been stringent in the aftermath and 1,500 soldiers have been deployed onto the capital's streets.

The metro is currently shut, and all schools, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools and food markets in Paris are closed today.

Residents are still being urged to stay inside and a curfew may be issued again this evening. 

The largest single number of fatalities – officially 87 but possibly as many as 118 – took place at the Bataclan concert hall, located just a few hundred metres from the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices.

There, Californian rock band Eagles Of Death Metal (on Monday they performed at the Olympia in Dublin) were playing a gig to an audience of 1,500 when four men stormed the venue, taking more than 100 people hostage.

Although the band themselves survived unharmed, the terrorists subsequently began randomly shooting dozens of others, reloading their weapons three or four times during the attack.

And as armed French authorities surrounded the venue a little after midnight, five bomb blasts were heard: the attackers detonated their explosive vests just as police arrived.

"I found myself inside the concert hall when several armed individuals burst in, in the middle of the concert," Julien Pearce told The Guardian. 

"Two or three men, without masks, came in with Kalashnikov-type automatic weapons and began shooting blindly at the crowd."

Clearly shell-shocked, Mr Pearce went on to describe the attack as "extremely violent".

"They knew what they were doing," he added of the killers. "They were very young."

Another witness at the Bataclan described the situation to The Telegraph as "carnage". They stated that before opening fire, one of the gunmen had asked: "What are you doing in Syria? You're going to pay now."

 

Timeline:

  • The attacks had begun on Friday evening at 9.20pm local time (8.20pm Irish time) at two popular restaurants – Le Petit Cambodge, and Le Carillon – both on trendy Rue Bichat in the 10th arrondissement. Close-to a dozen were believed to have been killed.
  • Within minutes, another shooting then took place at La Casa Nostra, a nearby Italian restaurant – resulting in five fatalities.

 

 

  • Shortly afterwards, there were two suicide attacks and one bombing near the Stade de France where the national team were playing Germany in a friendly soccer match. At least five died.
  • La Belle Équipe, a restaurant on the Rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement was then attacked, with gunmen killing 18.
  • French SWAT forces storm the Bataclan, where dozens of hostages are being held. Although the siege concludes at 1am, at least 87 die – including four policemen. 

 

In January in Paris, a series of attacks that began at the Charlie Hebdo offices saw 17 people lose their lives.

Last night, Facebook kicked-off its Safety Check app, which allowed people in the area to tell their family and friends that they were safe. 

Meanwhile, several landmark buildings around the world – including the Empire State building in New York, the CN Tower in Toronto and Dublin's Conference Centre – lit up in the French colours of blue, red and white in a show of solidarity.

Flags globally are also flying at half mast as a sign of respect.

Most flights to and from Paris were this morning operating normally, although Aer Lingus says it is offering passengers the option to change their flight for free.

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Every year college students around the country are lucky to spend their summers on California beaches or strutting about Manhattan and making everyone very jealous with their Snapchat stories.

However, that might be a thing of the past as today it was announced that new, stricter, rules are being put in place for students. 

As of 2016, all Irish students must obtain work before they travel to America, and have these jobs vetted by the American administration.

The new restrictions come despite Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s attempts to stick with the regulations already in place.

He is said to have spoken to Irish ambassador Kevin O’Malley on a number of occasions about proposed changes to the J-1 Visa programme. 

The new rules will also affect travel within America for students who do get jobs beforehand, limiting their chances to see other parts of the country. Mr Kenny said he feared that the number of students able to avail of the stricter visa rules could drop by up to 80 per cent.

Over 8,000 Irish students travelled to the States in 2015 on the J1 Visa. More students from Ireland than any other country avail of the visa each year. Most of these students choose to look for work once they arrive in America. 

"When the J-1 programme was launched, we saw a surge of Irish students travelling to the USA on a working summer visa," said Kevin Donoghue, president of the Union of Students in Ireland.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for personal development through refining independent skills and experiencing another culture. The recent changed restrictions for the J-1 is disappointing," he added.

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One Irish comedian has sparked a massive global response with her Twitter antics of late.

Gráinne Maguire took to social media in order to draw attention to Ireland’s abortion laws. 

The 35-year old from Navan decide that “since the Irish state thinks my body is their business, I should take it at its word.” 

She decided to live tweet her period. Not only that, but she was directly the messages to Enda Kenny directly.

When her tweets gathered massive attention last week on social media, BuzzFeed News spoke to Gráinne about her Twitter activity. 

“I just thought since the Irish state thinks my body is their business, I should take it at its word. They get to decide what happens inside it, so they should know the full details,” she explained.  

Many other women decided to join in on Twitter and have been using the hashtag #repealthe8th.

“I never thought in a million years so many people would get behind it,” Gráinne added. “I thought it would just be a silly prank I did on my own.” 

The eight amendment bans abortions unless continuing with the pregnancy would result in death.

“I think the tide is changing in Ireland. Women are refusing to be silent and ashamed, they want equal rights.”

The Taoiseach's twitter account has yet to respond and a spokesperson added people tweet the Taoiseach all the time on all sorts of issues and are entitled to do so. 

Speaking to TodayFm, Gráinne said that if it is possible for her to use comedy to draw attention to the issue at hand, she can handle the criticism she receives. 

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With his wife, Nicola, his three young children, Lucy, Alex and Andrew, and a host of dignitaries – including Michael D Higgins and Enda Kenny – in attendance, the funeral of Garda Tony Golden has now taken place. 

The service was held at the small St Oliver Plunkett's church in the parish of Blackrock, Co Louth at 12noon.

©RTE News

 

Prior to the service the funeral cortège, led by Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, had made its way through the locale 

Businesses in the area have shut for the day as a mark of respect, with most residents instead lining the town's streets.

Most impactful of all, however, was the sight of 35-year-old Garda Tony's coffin being escorted by thousands of his serving colleagues, many of them in uniform.

The church itself can only accommodate some 300 people, so most stood in the grounds, where big screens broadcasting the funeral have been erected.

Nicola, wife of the late Tony  ©RTE News

 

Tony was killed on Sunday when he responded to a local 999 call.

He was shot and shortly afterwards died alongside the 24-year-old shooter, Adrian Crevan Mackin, who turned the gun on himself after fatally striking Garda Golden. 

The killer's partner and the mother of his two children, Siobhán Phillips, 22, remains in a critical condition in a Dublin hospital after also being shot in the head by Crevan Mackin.  

©RTE News

 

This afternoon, the dead garda was remembered as a role model for the community; his brother, Patrick, also described him as a "big gentle giant".

And in his homily, chief celebrant Fr Pádraig Keenan told the congregation that the killing of Garda Golden was "cold blooded murder". He reminded the mourners that Co Mayo-native was the 88th garda to die in the line of duty. 

©RTE News

 

He continued: "It is 88 members too many. He like all the others is mourned by the entire nation.

Fr Keenan went on to say that too many hearts have been broken, and too many lives shattered. There is no place for violence in our society, violence is wrong, always wrong, he stated.

Symbols brought to altar by heartbroken family members include photographs; a club jersey and hurley from the Stephanites GAA club in his native Ballina, Co Mayo; as well as a TV remote control, a soft drink, a bar of chocolate and packet of crisps to recall his cherished "time out".

Garda Golden will now be laid to rest at St Paul's Cemetery Heynestown.

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A J1 summer is considered a rite of passage for many Irish students, but new changes could mean far fewer people will be granted a visa.

The J1 programme currently allows full-time third-level students studying in Ireland to travel to the US, where they can legally work for a period of four months.

This year alone, more than 8,000 Irish students applied for the visa, with California, Boston, Chicago and New York among the popular destinations.

Now though, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he fears an "abrupt end" to the system could be ahead, thanks to a new requirement for pre-employment which has been proposed.

If implemented, students would only be granted the visa if they had already had a job lined up in the US.

Though no official reason has been given for this dramatic proposal, it's thought a number of high-profile incidents involving property damage by J1 students to rental accommodation could be the cause.

"Because of a series of issues that have arisen, the authorities that issue J1 visas seem to be bent on introducing a requirement for pre-employment for young people before they go," the Taoiseach said yesterday in the Dáil.

By his estimation, the new pre-employment requirement would mean a 60-80 percent drop in the number of Irish J1 students.

This is not the first threat to the future of the J1 programme, however.

Back in August, US Presidential candidate Donald Trump pledged to scrap the system entirely if he was elected, replacing it with a programme giving jobs to inner city youths in the US.

Following the death of five J1 students and one US citizen after a balcony collapse in Berkeley back in June, the New York Times was roundly criticised for "victim-blaming" in an opinion piece about the accident.

The paper, who later issued an apology, appeared to make links between the deaths and tales of Irish students damaging US property.

Defending the students, former Irish president Mary McAleese said the paper "rushed to judgement" on the victims "without the remotest evidence."

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