Connect with us

Current

Death of veteran journalist Paddy Murray

Paddy Murray had a remarkable life. A journalist for nearly 50 years, he worked at various times for many newspapers – including the Evening Herald, Irish Daily Star and Sunday World. He was also editor of the Sunday Tribune from 2003 until 2005.

And, for the past two years, Paddy – who died on Thursday morning, aged 68, at St James’ Hospital, Dublin – wrote a regular column in The Irish Times.

In 1998, he was diagnosed with Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare type of cancer. He also had Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and it was this inflammatory lung disease that formed the basis of many columns in The Irish Times – particularly in relation to Covid-19 and the experience, fears and hopes of those living with health difficulties. He was an important, vocal voice for many immunocompromised people, and their families, during the pandemic.

Undoubtedly, over the past couple of decades, he endured some deep lows with illness, but his writing was never about wallowing in self-pity. In fact, he said that it was the most simple things that bothered him the most – such as not being able to kick a football in the park with his daughter Charlotte.

Paddy was, at his core, a family man.

My regular conversations with Paddy would almost always steer quickly away from some minor issue with his column and towards the loves of his life – family, music, sport.

We didn’t talk about music much – he had a refined taste, and quickly realised I didn’t. And so we generally chatted about family and hurling. He always had a story about his wife Connie (former sports editor of the Irish Daily Star) and daughter Charlotte.

His final piece for this newspaper, due to be published next week, now, for obvious reasons, won’t be. It was about being readmitted to hospital. In the final paragraph he wrote: “I want to be near my wife and daughter. That’s number one. Thank God modern technology allows us to see one another every day.”

Paddy Murray.
Paddy Murray.

And, because I was from Tipperary, he loved to talk about Templederry, where his father was born. “I’m half-Tipp” he told me many times, and he rejoiced in the Templederry Kenyons powering their way back to top-flight hurling in Tipperary last November.

Last year he published a memoir, And finally: A journalist’s life in 250 stories. “I got it down to just 250,” he told me proudly. I laughed, though considering the man – his interviews included Maradona, Richard Harris, Elton John and John Wayne – it probably was an achievement.

In his book, he spoke of the cruelness of death, and three aspects in particular.

One, though Paddy was a Christian he didn’t see it as switching instantly from one life to another. Two, that memory dies too. “That I cannot go to my grave with a picture of my daughter etched on my brain for eternity is more heartbreaking than anything else.” The third thing was about how, in death, he believed you don’t get to miss people. “You don’t even get to have the pain of missing them. And that’s the worst thing of all.”

A journalist to the tips of his fingers, his last message to me a few days ago was:

“What’s the deadline for that March 1 piece? I’ve been readmitted!! Paddy.”

He had many achievements during his long career, claiming several awards for his writing. But his biggest achievement? “Charlotte. If I was to pick one moment to describe as the best in my life, it would be around 4.25am on April 6th, 2006. Connie had called me to tell me they were taking her to theatre in the Rotunda Hospital. Half asleep, I asked her what I should do. ‘Get here,’ she said.”

Source link

Current

Britain’s most expensive and cheapest places to buy or rent a home revealed

The most expensive and cheapest places to buy or to rent in Britain have been revealed.

Aberdeen tops the list of the cheapest cities for first-time buyers, while the most expensive is perhaps no surprise, London, where average prices tend to be higher than the rest of the country.

It is a similar picture for the most expensive places to rent, with the capital ranked top of that list too.

On the flipside, tenants are also required to head north if they want to live in the cheapest city to rent, Carlisle, in Cumbria.

The cheapest cities for first-time buyers and tenants have been identified by Rightmove

The cheapest cities for first-time buyers and tenants have been identified by Rightmove

The figures were based on monthly mortgage and rent costs.

Home purchase figures calculated by Rightmove assumed that first-time buyers in Scotland and Wales have a 20 per cent deposit, and first-time buyers in England have a 25 per cent deposit.

The size of deposit was based on averages from UK Finance, which revealed that more first-time buyers are choosing longer repayment terms to improve their affordability.

As such, the repayment term used in the Rightmove calculations was 35 years. Rightmove also assumed that the typical first-time buyer property had two bedrooms or less.

Aberdeen tops the list compiled by Rightmove of the cheapest cities for first-time buyers

Aberdeen tops the list compiled by Rightmove of the cheapest cities for first-time buyers

THE CHEAPEST CITIES TO BUY A TYPICAL FIRST-TIME BUYER PROPERTY
Cities Average asking price for a first-time buyer type property (2 bedrooms and fewer) Average monthly mortgage payment (per month)* Average monthly rental payment (per month) Mortgage versus Rent
Aberdeen £102,601 £406 £775 -£369
Bradford £107,929 £400 £714 -£314
Sunderland £111,263 £413 £648 -£235
Carlisle £111,268 £413 £607 -£194
Preston £112,273 £416 £787 -£371
Hull £113,920 £423 £638 -£215
Dundee £116,191 £460 £821 -£361
Stoke-On-Trent £117,113 £434 £701 -£266
Durham £125,957 £467 £796 -£328
Doncaster £128,062 £475 £707 -£232
Source: Rightmove       
THE MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES TO BUY A TYPICAL FIRST-TIME BUYER PROPERTY
Cities Average asking price for a first-time buyer type property (2 bedrooms and fewer) Average monthly mortgage payment (per month) Average monthly rental payment (per month) Mortgage versus Rent
London £501,934 £1,862 £2,264 -£402
St. Albans £391,964 £1,454 £1,509 -£55
Cambridge £361,429 £1,341 £1,533 -£193
Winchester £344,638 £1,278 £1,332 -£53
Oxford £338,085 £1,254 £1,561 -£307
Brighton £335,402 £1,244 £1,468 -£224
Bristol £280,112 £1,039 £1,336 -£297
Chelmsford £262,522 £974 £1,300 -£326
York £244,834 £908 £1,145 -£237
Edinburgh £239,028 £946 £1,310 -£365
Source: Rightmove       

The average asking price in Aberdeen is £102,601, with the average monthly mortgage payment at £406 a month.

The most expensive city is followed by Bradford with an average asking price of £107,929 and Sunderland, which is ranked third with an asking price of £111,263.

For those in the rental market, the most expensive place to rent outside of London is Oxford, where an average two-bedroom or small home costs £1,561 a month.

At the other end of the scale, the cheapest city for a tenant who is looking for a two-bedroom or smaller property is Carlisle where such rents are £607 a month.

Mortgage rates are slightly higher than a year ago, but have stabilised since the peak in July 2023.

Rightmove explained that this has helped those looking to move at the start of this year.

The average mortgage payment for a typical first-time buyer looking at a property with two bedrooms or less is £53 more than a year ago, compared to £81 for tenants.

It means that those who can afford to save a good sized deposit of at least 20 per cent, it is cheaper to pay a monthly mortgage than rent in each of the largest cities in Britain.

Winchester is among the most expensive cities for first-time buyers looking for a property with two bedrooms or fewer

Winchester is among the most expensive cities for first-time buyers looking for a property with two bedrooms or fewer

Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘We remain a nation of aspirational homeowners, despite higher mortgage rates and the difficulty in raising a deposit. 

‘Renting may give more flexibility but also less security and crucially ends up costing more than buying your own place.

‘However, the high cost of home ownership, particularly in London and the south east means that it’s practically impossible to get on the housing ladder without financial assistance from family members. 

‘Longer mortgage terms are inevitable as borrowers try to make the monthly costs more affordable but of course they will end up making many more payments over an extended period of time. 

‘It is worth opting for a longer term to help with the affordability calculations and then trying to overpay to reduce the term and interest, as and when you can afford to do so.’

Carlisle in the country of Cumbria is the cheapest city for those looking to rent

Carlisle in the country of Cumbria is the cheapest city for those looking to rent

THE CHEAPEST CITIES FOR TENANTS
Cities Average monthly rental payment (per month) Average asking price for a first-time buyer type property (2 bedrooms and fewer) Average monthly mortgage payment (per month)* Rent versus mortgage
Carlisle £607 £111,268 £413 £194
Hull £638 £113,920 £423 £215
Sunderland £648 £111,263 £413 £235
Stoke-On-Trent £701 £117,113 £434 £266
Doncaster £707 £128,062 £475 £232
Bradford £714 £107,929 £400 £314
Wrexham £754 £129,649 £513 £241
Lancaster £764 £152,062 £564 £200
Aberdeen £775 £102,601 £406 £369
Preston £787 £112,273 £416 £371
Source: Rightmove       
THE MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES FOR TENANTS
Cities Average monthly rental payment (per month) Average asking price for a first-time buyer type property (2 bedrooms and fewer) Average monthly mortgage payment (per month)* Rent versus mortgage
London £2,264 £501,934 £1,862 £402
Oxford £1,561 £338,085 £1,254 £307
Cambridge £1,533 £361,429 £1,341 £193
St. Albans £1,509 £391,964 £1,454 £55
Brighton £1,468 £335,402 £1,244 £224
Bristol £1,336 £280,112 £1,039 £297
Winchester £1,332 £344,638 £1,278 £53
Edinburgh £1,310 £239,028 £946 £365
Chelmsford £1,300 £262,522 £974 £326
Milton Keynes £1,239 £233,320 £865 £373
Source: Rightmove       

Meanwhile, soaring rents across Britain mean that the cost of renting a two-bedroom or small home has increased by 39 per cent in the last five years.

This compares to a jump of 19 per cent in the cost of buying a similar type of property.

Rightmove claimed that even if a first-time buyer had a smaller deposit of 15 per cent and sought to repay their mortgage over a shorter mortgage term of 25 years, it would still be cheaper to pay a mortgage than rent in 39 out of Britain’s 50 largest cities outside of London.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: ‘These latest figures highlight why so many people remain determined to get onto the ladder, as the soaring costs of renting has meant buying has remained attractive even with higher mortgage rates.

‘Longer mortgage-terms are becoming more common as a way to improve overall affordability and reduce monthly payments, though first-time buyers should be aware of what they are paying in interest compared with their actual mortgage.

‘Without improvements to the supply of good quality, affordable rental homes in Great Britain, owning your own home is likely to continue to be the end-goal for those that can get their deposit together, and borrow what they need to from a mortgage lender.’

Best mortgage rates and how to find them

Mortgage rates have risen substantially after the Bank of England’s raised base rate rapidly.

The Bank is now holding rates and expected to cut – leading to mortgage costs coming down – but deals remain far more expensive than two or five years ago. 

If you are looking to buy your first home, move or remortgage, or are a buy-to-let landlord, it’s important to get good independent mortgage advice from a broker who can help you find the best deal. 

To help our readers find the best mortgage, This is Money has partnered with independent fee-free broker L&C.

Our mortgage calculator powered by L&C can let you filter deals to see which ones suit your home’s value and level of deposit.

You can also compare different mortgage fixed rate lengths, from two-year fixes, to five-year fixes and ten-year fixes, with monthly and total costs shown.

Use the tool at the link below to compare the best deals, factoring in both fees and rates. You can also start an application online in your own time and save it as you go along.

> Compare the best mortgage deals available now

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Aviation and Telecom Industries Reach Compromise on 5G Deployment

The Voice Of EU | In a significant development, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile network operators in the United States, have agreed to delay the deployment of 5G services following requests from the aviation industry and the Biden administration. This decision marks a crucial compromise in the long-standing dispute between the two industries, which had raised concerns over the potential interference of 5G with flight signals.
The aviation industry, led by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, had been vocal about the risks of 5G deployment, citing concerns over the safety of flight operations. Kirby had urged AT&T and Verizon to delay their plans, warning that proceeding with the deployment would be a “catastrophic failure of government.” The US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue further highlighted the need for a solution.
In response, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson sent a letter to the mobile networks, requesting a two-week delay to reassess the potential risks. Initially, AT&T and Verizon were hesitant, citing the aviation industry’s two-year preparation window. However, they eventually agreed to the short delay, pushing the deployment to January 19.
The crux of the issue lies in the potential interference between 5G signals and flight equipment, particularly radar altimeters. The C-Band spectrum used by 5G networks is close to the frequencies employed by these critical safety devices. The FAA requires accurate and reliable radar altimeters to ensure safe flight operations.

Airlines in the US have been at loggerheads with mobile networks over the deployment of 5G and its potential impact on flight safety.

Despite the concerns, both the FAA and the telecoms industry agree that 5G mobile networks and airline travel can coexist safely. In fact, they already do in nearly 40 countries where US airlines operate regularly. The key lies in reducing power levels around airports and fostering cross-industry collaboration prior to deployment.
The FAA has been working to find a solution in the United States, and the additional two-week delay will allow for further assessment and preparation. AT&T and Verizon have also agreed to not operate 5G base stations along runways for six months, similar to restrictions imposed in France.
President Joe Biden hailed the decision to delay as “a significant step in the right direction.” The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and South Korea have also reported no unsafe interference with radio waves since the deployment of 5G in their regions.
As the aviation and telecom industries continue to work together, it is clear that safe coexistence is possible. The delay in 5G deployment is a crucial step towards finding a solution that prioritizes both safety and innovation. With ongoing collaboration and technical assessments, the United States can join the growing list of countries where 5G and airlines coexist without issue.

Continue Reading

Current

How Much Have House Prices Changed In Your Area?

UK Home Prices

UK homeowners saw the value of their homes rise for the third month in a row, according to analysis by online estate agent Purplebricks.

The North East and North West of England were the biggest winners in average value rises in the UK, the latest figures show.

And now a new online calculator can show how much house prices have changed in your area in the last year.

The interactive tool below has been updated to include the latest House Price Index data, released by the Office for National Statistics today.

To use the Purplebricks calculator, simply search for YOUR local area and find out how house prices have changed over the last 12 months:

UK homeowners saw the value of their homes rise for the third month in a row, according to analysis by online estate agent Purplebricks

UK homeowners saw the value of their homes rise for the third month in a row, according to analysis by online estate agent Purplebricks

This three-bedroom semi flat in Stroud, where prices rose 9.8%, is on the market for £360,000

This three-bedroom semi flat in Stroud, where prices rose 9.8%, is on the market for £360,000

Average UK house prices increased by 0.4% or £1,000 from January to February, making the average property now valued at £281,000, according to today’s House Price Index (HPI).

Over the 12-month period to February, average prices fell just 0.2%, which is an improvement from the 1.3% decline in the 12 months to January this year.

In England, house prices were also on the increase, with a 0.6% monthly rise, making average property now valued at £298,000 – despite a 1.1% fall over the last year.

The North East of England saw the biggest monthly increase, with property prices soaring 3.2%, and 2.9% over the year. Average homes there are now worth £160,000.

And, homeowners in the North West saw the greatest annual price rise, up by 1%, meaning the average property there is now worth £214,000.

London is once again the hardest-hit UK region, with 4.8% annual decline, but a fall of just 0.7% from January to February – pricing the average home in the capital at £503,000 today.

Homeowners in The City of London were the surprise property-price winners, after a six-figure decline last month.

Homes in the capital’s famous banking district rose more than £73,000 or 9.1% – more than anywhere else in the UK – meaning the average property is now worth around £808,000.

But that was far from the picture across the rest of London, which saw six-figure price plunges in four areas and declines in a total of 29 areas.

The City of Westminster was hardest hit by the price drop, with properties shedding an eye-watering £190,000 over the last year.

This three-bed semi in South Hams, where prices rose 7.9%, is on the market for £490,000

This three-bed semi in South Hams, where prices rose 7.9%, is on the market for £490,000

Average UK house prices increased by 0.4% or £1,000 from January to February, making the average property now valued at £281,000

Average UK house prices increased by 0.4% or £1,000 from January to February, making the average property now valued at £281,000

Elsewhere in the capital, the exclusive borough of Kensington and Chelsea saw prices sink by more than £160,000 in a year, with Camden homes losing nearly £130,000 and Hammersmith and Fulham homes losing just over £100,000.

Outside London, the commuter town of St Albans saw nearly a £25,000 year-on-year price rise, making the average home now worth £589,270.

And, the picturesque North East district of Ribble Valley saw house prices increase by just over £20,000 in the last year, making the average property now worth £284,355.

House prices in Wales increased by 0.4% over the last month, despite an annual 1.2% fall – making the average property worth £211,000.

And, property prices continue to climb in Scotland, with the average home now priced at £188,000 after a 5.6% increase over the last year.

And, prices in Northern Ireland increased by 1.4% to £178,000 in the year to Quarter 4 of 2023.

Purplebricks CEO Sam Mitchell said: ‘Britain has now seen its third consecutive month-on-month increase in property prices – fantastic news for homeowners.

‘This three-month increase is evidence of a reinvigorated property market that will continue to go from strength to strength.’

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!