In brief: Insurer VHI should do more to control claims costs, says report
A new report into the VHI says that the State health insurance company "should review all options for controlling claims costs" and should have a "stronger focus" on "avoiding unnecessary care".
The review, carried out by consultants Millman, says that if the VHI pays for healthcare that is inefficient or does not improve patient outcome then the additional costs have to be passed on to customers through price increases.
The VHI could exercise more control over claims costs by agreeing parameters within which consultants would have the freedom to operate. Some information in the report was not released by the Department of Health because it is price sensitive.
Robinson may attend royal wedding
The wife of the North's First Minister could emerge in public again at the British Royal wedding after a year in the shadows.
Sources within the Democratic Unionist Party say Iris Robinson may attend the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey at the end of April.
The Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister at Stormont confirmed last Friday that Peter Robinson had an invitation to the wedding and was entitled to bring a "guest" with him. Party sources say Iris remains mentally fragile but has been seen around the Dundonald and Comber areas near her home in recent weeks following her return from a Christmas holiday in Florida.
Three held after death of teenager
Two men and a woman are being questioned by police about the death of a teenager in the early hours of yesterday morning in Newcastle, Co Down.
The youth was attacked around 1am in the Bryansford Road area of the seaside town and was taken to hospital with a serious head injury.
A PSNI spokesman said that three people detained in the area were helping with their inquiries.
Gardai quiz man over skimming ATMs
GARDAI were last night questioning a man suspected to be behind an international fraud operation based in Limerick which was responsible for skimming both private and business bank accounts.
Following a major investigation by gardai and customs officers, a 33-year-old Moldovan man, who holds an Irish passport, was arrested at a house in the Rhebogue suburb of Limerick city last Friday where evidence of the sophisticated criminal enterprise was recovered.
Bank account details of numerous individuals and businesses, ATM skimming machines, presses for manufacturing bank and credit cards, electrical parts for recording electronic data and pinhole cameras with covers attached that are fitted over ATMs were recovered from the house. Blank bank and credit cards and other cards were also recovered, along with $10,000 (€7,300).
No winner of €5.4m Lottery
THERE was no winner of of last night's €5,415,223 Lotto jackpot. The numbers were 1, 6, 20, 27, 35, 40 (bonus 10).
There were two Match 5+bonus winners who each get €25,000; 66 Match 5s (€1,380); 161 Match 4+bonus (€142); 2,574 Match 4s (€55); 4,431 Match 3+bonus (€21); and 42,672 Match 3s (€5) The Lotto Plus 1 draw numbers were 1, 2, 18, 20, 22, 40 (bonus 25) and the Lotto Plus 2 numbers were 1, 2, 3, 17, 25, 31 (bonus 27).
In the UK draw for stg£4.4m the numbers were 6, 8, 20, 29, 34, 36 (bonus 43).
Council spends €4m on legal fees
A local authority has spent almost €4m on legal fees in just three years despite the fact it employs its own in-house law agent.
Newly released figures from Wicklow County Council reveal the spend at a time when the budgets for local authorities across the State are being slashed and desperate young families join thousands of others on huge housing lists.
Despite employing legal experts in house, the council has continued to spend big on legal fees for each of the last three years. And even though the recession began biting in early 2008, the council actually increased its legal spend in 2009.
A total of €3.9m has been shelled out by the local authority, the figures reveal -- including €1.15 in 2008, €1.57 in 2009 and €1.26m last year.
Explaining the costs, the spokesman said: "The council provides more than 100 different services across a range of divisions including housing, roads, planning, water and the environment. Legal costs are necessarily incurred in the public interest in prosecuting various offences and defending litigation instigated by other parties in relation to various statutory functions and duties."
Insurance firm to create 100 new jobs
Online insurance provider Chill.ie is to create 100 jobs over the next three years at its south Dublin base.
The jobs will be created as the company plans to grow online sales of a range of insurance products.
Chill Insurance was launched as the internet arm of insurance broker Power Lynch and Associates, a 40-year-old business.