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Senator calls for former foreign affairs head to be brought before Oireachtas

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A proposal to quiz former Department of Foreign Affairs secretary general Niall Burgess on a champagne celebration of Ireland’s successful bid for a United Nations Security Council seat will be considered by TDs and Senators in the new year.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has confirmed he was not at the department’s Iveagh House headquarters when a picture was taken at the celebration last year showing staff members who were not observing Covid-19 guidelines in place at the time.

A spokesman for the Minister said Mr Coveney was in Government Buildings at the time to watch the live vote for the security council seat and said: “The team in Iveagh House shouldn’t have gathered like that in the moment of celebration and the department has apologised.”

Mr Burgess tweeted a “selfie” photograph on the evening of June 17th, 2020, showing himself and other staff members celebrating Ireland’s success in winning a place on the council after the first round of voting.

Members of the group were not socially distanced and not wearing face masks as many of them raised glasses of champagne.

The tweet was quickly deleted and Mr Burgess said in another post later that the photo was taken “just as the result came in and we momentarily dropped our guard. Shouldn’t have happened.”

Ireland was in Phase Two of its reopening from lockdown at the time of the event. People were confined to their own counties, indoor gatherings of more than seven individuals were prohibited and people were advised to work from home if possible.

Senator Gerard Craughwell has requested that Mr Burgess be asked to appear at the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs to explain how the celebration took place. He made the proposal in an email to committee chairman, Fine Gael’s Charlie Flanagan.

Mr Craughwell said “none of us are immune from making mistakes” but he also claimed the tweet was “offensive” to people that had to bury loved ones alone, faced isolation or cancelled weddings as they “adhered rigorously” to Government restrictions. He said: “I do not believe a simple apology cuts it. An explanation is required.”

Mr Flanagan confirmed that the correspondence from Mr Craughwell would be considered at the committee’s next meeting.

The Department of Foreign Affairs apologised for the incident saying on Wednesday night it did “not meet the standards expected of it”.

A statement added that, since then, it had implemented all Covid-19 guidance and had further briefed staff to ensure rules were followed during the pandemic.

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Lisa Smith travelled to Turkey to study under Isis propagandist, court told

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Lisa Smith, a former Defence Forces member who denies membership of Islamic State (Isis), travelled to Turkey to become a student of a famous Islamic convert who wrote Isis propaganda, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for Ms Smith, read out a message exchange in 2013 between his client and an American Islamic scholar John Georgelas, who was living in Egypt at the time.

Counsel said Mr Georgelas asked Ms Smith to travel to Egypt to study under him and said he would pay her to help his wife, Tania Joya, take care of their children.

Ms Smith replied: “I wouldn’t dream of accepting any money for looking after your children. If I can get the benefit of your knowledge as your student that would be more than enough payment for me.”

Mr Georgelas left Egypt with Ms Joya and arranged to meet Ms Smith in Turkey.

Ms Joya, giving evidence for a second day, told Mr O’Higgins that her husband was clever and manipulative and in 2013 was communicating with Ms Smith every day over the internet.

She said he was a respected scholar who could “overwhelm” people with his knowledge of scripture. She told Sean Gillane SC, for the prosecution, that Georgelas wrote for magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah that publish Isis propaganda

Ms Smith (39), from Dundalk, Co Louth, has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful terrorist group, Islamic State, between October 28th, 2015 and December 1st, 2019. She has also pleaded not guilty to financing terrorism by sending €800 in assistance, via a Western Union money transfer, to a named man on May 6th, 2015.

Her trial is continuing in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Cormac Dunne at the three-judge, non-jury court.

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Rioja Estates and TORG International partner for two outlet village projects

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TORG International has partnered with leading UK outlet developer Rioja Estates for the development of two new outlets in Sweden and the UK, Malmo Designer Village and Grantham Designer Outlet Village. Both schemes have already secured planning consent, with Grantham being under construction with the opening scheduled for Autumn 2023. The Malmo outlet is expected to open in Summer 2025.

 

Conveniently located in close proximity to the Danish border, Malmo Designer Village benefits from a significant catchment area. The scheme is expected to rank in the top 25% of outlet centres in Europe in terms of traffic and is predicted to generate above-average sales density.

 

Grantham Designer Outlet Village is located on the country’s third most travelled motorway, the A1 connecting London with Northern England, and is projected to attract 3.5 million visitors annually. A lack of retail competition in the immediate area means that Grantham Designer Outlet Village will achieve significantly greater penetration of its catchment than the UK outlet industry average of 3%, namely for Phase One 7.7% and for Phase Two 8.5%.

 

Says Robert van den Heuvel, Partner Development & Leasing TORG International: “It was at Mapic 2021 that we established this new collaboration with Giles Membrey and his team at Rioja Estates, whom we have known for many years. We were impressed by the quality of their two latest developments in Sweden and the UK and are therefore delighted to be able to share our enthusiasm with the tenant community and industry at large.“

 

Adds Barbara Horatz, Partner Marketing & Retail TORG International: “We feel that both developments meet all the key criteria for a successful future outlet – the strategic location on a major motorway axis, important catchment, strong tourism potential, significant size, qualitative and sustainable architecture. There are not many strategic spots left in Europe for outlet developments and we definitely consider Malmo and Grantham as two of them.”

 

Concludes Giles Membrey: “We see Malmo and Grantham as the beginning of a great collaboration for our two companies –  there are many more opportunities for joint outlet developments that we see ahead of us and that we are already discussing, be it in Europe or in any of the other major markets globally.”

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What’s the best way of getting rid of black mould in my home?

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I’ve got black mould in my home and don’t know how to remove it properly. 

What’s the best way of getting rid of it and ensuring that it doesn’t return in the future? EA, via email

Experts advise removing black needs quickly as harmful spores can get into the air and lungs

Experts advise removing black needs quickly as harmful spores can get into the air and lungs

MailOnline Property expert Myra Butterworth replies: Some properties suffer from condensation, with walls, ceilings and even floors damp and discoloured, often with mould growing on the surfaces.

Left untreated, black mould can be dangerous – particularly to young children and those with underlying respiratory issues – as the spores released from mould can get into their lungs. 

We outline some of the steps that you can take to help remove any black mould that appears, in a safe and effective way.

Susie Spence, of B&Q, replies: Mould is a problem that affects many of us each year, regardless of our living situation. 

While it is well known that mould can cause respiratory issues, it can actually lead to skin rashes as well.

Leaving it untreated is particularly dangerous for young children and those with underlying respiratory issues, as the spores released from mould can get into our lungs.

To get a better understanding of the prevalence of mould across the UK, we conducted a survey which revealed that 32 per cent of us have to contend with some form of mould, damp or condensation every year, but only 38 per cent of us would feel empowered to tackle it ourselves.

However, getting rid of mould using DIY products is relatively straight forward and shouldn’t leave us in a panic. 

We are working with our charity partner, Shelter, to help educate about how to spot mould, remove it and prevent it from coming back.

First, it is important to know how to spot the problem as mould might not always be obvious.

It thrives in damp and humid environments, and can often be found lurking in corners or dark spaces.

You should regularly check behind your cupboards for any mould that isn’t immediately visible. 

Not only that, but mould can get inside drawers and can even set up shop in your clothes, so make sure to be on the lookout when going through your clothing.

You should ensure your house is well ventilated to help keep mould at bay – including keeping furniture two inches from the wall where possible, to help with air flow.

Regularly opening windows is an easy way to do this, but you could also invest in a moisture trap that will help to draw moisture out of the air and prevent condensation that leads to mould.

Black mould can be removed to help prevent it from returning, using a mould remover spray

Black mould can be removed to help prevent it from returning, using a mould remover spray

Once you have located it, you should act quickly to remove it. However, if you are renting, it is best to alert your landlord straight away to fix any problems that are causing mould and you should not attempt to remove it yourself without checking with them first.

But, if you are a homeowner or a landlord, you can follow some simple steps to remove and prevent it for good.

Ensuring you are well protected when getting rid of mould is incredibly important, as harmful spores can get into the air, so you should make sure that you are wearing the correct equipment before getting started.

This includes using a mask, goggles and gloves to protect your lungs, eyes and skin, as well as some protective clothing as it can be a messy job.

It is also worth putting down an old towel or dust sheet to keep mould and mess off the surrounding area.

To remove the mould, there are several simple steps to follow, using readily available products.

First, you should spray the area with a mould remover spray and leave for 30 minutes so it can really take effect, making sure to open a window when you do this.

Once 30 minutes are up, carefully remove the foam and unsightly mould by wiping the area with a cloth and scrubber.

Next, it is important to keep the area well ventilated and leave it to dry completely.

Once dry, you can help to prevent the mould from coming back by painting the area with an anti-mould paint.

Once you have successfully treated your mould, it is important to continue to provide ventilation to keep it away.

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