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Monday 29 May 2017

Business as usual as US-based hotel group buys capital's Four Seasons

THE five-star Four Seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge has been bought by the US-based Livingston Group for an undisclosed sum.

For months it was feared the Dublin landmark hotel, the top floors of which are privately owned by wealthy figures such as former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, would be forced to close due to lack of a buyer. Sources said that the guide price of 197-bedroom hotel was around €30m.

Previous owners The Nollaig Syndicate had appointed property consultants CBRE to seek buyers and last week accepted an offer. They will take over running of the hotel on July 31. Staff at the five-star celebrity location were celebrating yesterday when told their jobs were now safe.

Poll: TDs should wear 'business attire'

A MAJORITY of 59 per cent think people like Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and pink-shirted Mick Wallace should turn up to the Dail in "business attire". But a large minority of 41 per cent questioned in a Sunday Independent/Quantum Research Poll believe a dress code should not be imposed on TDs and senators. Under proposed new rules, TDs and senators must wear a jacket, collared shirt and trousers and female politicians are banned from wearing jeans.

"They should show respect for the people of Ireland by wearing business attire. They are representing the country and should be well presented," said one respondent.

"They're not going down to the pub to watch a football match, they should dress properly," said another.

On the other hand, a high percentage of respondents were not concerned with how members dressed in the house as long as they were doing their jobs.

See Gene Kerrigan, page 15

Arson ruled out in tragic house fire

FORENSIC tests on a house fire in Cork that claimed two lives last on Easter Sunday have yielded no proof that a petrol bomb was responsible, amid growing indications the blaze may have been accidental.

Helena O'Dwyer, 25, and her nephew Ryan O'Dwyer Hayes, 5, died in a fire which gutted a house at Nutley Avenue in Mahon, Cork, in which they were staying early last Easter Sunday morning. A Sunday Independent source has now revealed forensic tests have offered no indication a petrol bomb thrown at a ground floor window was responsible, as was initially feared locally.

It is now suspected that the fire was accidental. A young man was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy but was later released without charge. He then fled the area amid fears of vigilante attacks, though he has returned to Cork in recent weeks.

Western winner of €3.9m Lotto draw

THERE was one winner of last night's €3,879,142 Lotto jackpot. The numbers were 2, 9, 11, 20, 33, 36 (bonus 14) and the ticket was sold in the West.

There was no Match 5+bonus winners, but 71 Match 5 winners each get €1,175. There were 135 Match 4+bonus winners (€155); 2,810 Match 4 prizes (€46); 3,780 Match 3+bonus (€23); and 45,576 Match 3s (€5). The Lotto Plus 1 numbers were 7, 18, 23, 29, 42, 45 (bonus 5). And the Lotto Plus 2 numbers were 17, 19, 24, 27, 28, 29 (bonus 9).

And in the UK draw for stg£7m, the numbers were 1, 2, 21, 24, 33, 49 (bonus 39).

Suspected IRA dissidents arrested

TWO suspected IRA dissidents have been arrested on the Portuguese Algarve. Anti-terrorist officers detained the pair during raids over the weekend. A Portuguese man was also held. Ten firearms and some ammunition were found during one of the raids, thought to have been approved after a joint British-Portuguese police operation involving several months of covert surveillance.

The suspected dissidents, aged 38 and 59, were yesterday being held in jail after being quizzed by a local magistrate. Police believe they led a support network for the Real IRA.

One of the men is thought to be an expat living on the Algarve, previously identified by security services as a Real IRA fundraiser involved in drugs, weapons and cigarette smuggling.

The other man is said to have driven to the Algarve from Belfast shortly before his arrest to pick up weapons he planned to smuggle back to Northern Ireland.

Dispute over school transport scheme

COACH operators have complained to the Competition Authority about Bus Eireann getting a €180m contract to run the school transport scheme from September -- without it going out to tender.

Coach Tourism and Transport Council chief executive Gerry Mullins said: "Thousands of children are being forced out of the School Transport Scheme as the Government tries to introduce €17m in cutbacks.

"Most of this money would be saved if school transport contracts were managed by an efficient private company rather than a grossly inefficient state one. It's a simple choice between saving school transport services or throwing money into the bottomless pit of Bus Eireann."

The Council said the high cost of administering the School Transport Scheme could be slashed if the contract were put out to tender. That saving could be used to restore many services due to be cut this September.

Last week Junior Minister Ciaran Cannon maintained only Bus Eireann has the capacity to manage the service, but that is disputed by the coach operators.

The Council told the Competition Authority: "It is only when a contract is tendered -- domestically and internationally -- that we can see who has the competence to take it on."

They said figures released by the Department of Education last week show the administration fee paid to Bus Eireann was €18.7m in 2009, €18.2m in 2010, and is expected to be €16.7m in 2011.

Annual Rose Festival announced

THE Parks and Landscape Services Division of Dublin City Council is delighted to announce details of the annual Rose Festival at St Anne's Rose Garden, St Anne's Park, Raheny next Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17.

Set in the 270-acre historic St Anne's Park, the six-hectare Rose Garden is one of the finest in Europe with over 25,000 plants.

WWII vet's medal sells for €80,000

A GEORGE Cross awarded to an Irish World War Two hero has sold at auction for a world record €80,000.

The medal, which was awarded to Irish corporal James Patrick Scully from Crumlin, in Dublin, was sold to an anonymous bidder and made more than 50 per cent over the guide price.

Celebrated dressmaker dies, age 89

KITTY Beades, who passed away in Dublin on Friday aged 89, was a well-known dressmaker in Drumcondra, Dublin and Ballybunnion, Co Kerry and made dresses for such well-known figures as Miriam Ahern, Elaine McSharry and Helen Cole, wife of musician Paddy Cole. She was mother of Jerry Beades, a member of the executive of the Construction Industry Federation and the Fianna Fail National Executive, and Nicky Beades, ex-Aer Lingus.

A retired company director, Roger G Percival of Hainault Road, Foxrock, Dublin who died on February 3, 2011 has left €3,542,744 in his will. Other Wills: Hubert O'Connor, doctor, Clyde Road, Dublin, €2,728,365; Michael Coogan, businessman, Newtownmoynagh, Trim, Co Meath, €1,737,511; Patrick DF Casey, publican, Woodview, Douglas Road, Cork, €1,542,744; and Patrick Boland, farmer, Corballa, Co Sligo, €1,506,126.

The value of wills include property, including the family home, and should not be regarded as cash amounts

Sunday Independent

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