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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

December 12: Today’s top stories in 60 seconds


By Sarah Finnan
12th Dec 2022
December 12: Today’s top stories in 60 seconds

Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.

Arctic blast sees nation set to freeze at -10C as some schools to close and flights cancelled at Dublin Airport
Ireland is bracing itself for the “great freeze” as temperatures are set to plummet to a bone-chilling -10°C with snow, ice and freezing fog threatening to cause travel chaos. If the mercury does drop to -10°C, it will prove almost two degrees colder than the lowest recorded for the ‘Beast from the East’ in 2018 – and the coldest December temperature logged for almost a decade. Met Éireann said that conditions this morning are “bright and bitterly cold” with wintry showers expected in the northwest. A significant number of schools are set to close as principals are being advised to make safety decisions based on local snow and ice conditions, despite the Government opting not to enforce a blanket national closure order. Meanwhile, 22 flights – 11 departures and 11 arrivals – have been cancelled at Dublin Airport today so far.
Independent.ie

Dublin Airport asks passengers to check flight status in advance after Greater London airport closures
Air passengers have been asked by Dublin Airport to check their flight status in advance after the closure of Stansted and Gatwick Airports last night. Both airports had to close temporarily in order to clear snow from their runways and yellow warnings of ice, fog and snow are in place for much of the UK. Stansted Airport said: “Delays to flights were experienced earlier due to de-icing of aircraft which is a ground handler’s responsibility and safety of aircraft and passengers is paramount. “Passengers are advised to check with their airline for current status of their flights.” Meanwhile, Gatwick posted on Twitter: “Sunday 11/ Monday 12 December: Snow and freezing weather may cause disruption at the airport. Passengers are advised to check flight status with their airline – and also local travel conditions – before departing for the airport.” It resulted in Dublin Airport last night issuing a warning that “further cancellations are now expected” this morning into London airports.
The Journal

Gardaí trying to identify area where man found in Co Meath field was killed
Gardaí are trying to identify the place where a man was killed before his body was found in a field in Co Meath over the weekend. The man, who was in his early 20s, was the victim of a violent assault. An attempt was made to hide his body in the remote rural area of Kilbride. Gardaí at Ashbourne are conducting a murder investigation and have appealed for anyone with information to contact them. They began a murder investigation after a post-mortem examination found that the man, found on Saturday afternoon, had been violently assaulted. The man was attacked and beaten to death before an attempt was made to hide his body. He was wrapped in heavy material, driven to Kilbride, a remote rural area near the Dublin-Meath border and carried on to lands at Belgree Lane where his body was left in a copse of trees. No attempt was made to bury the man’s body.
RTÉ

Solihull lake rescue: Four children critically ill after falling into frozen lake and suffering cardiac arrest
Four children are in critical condition after falling through the ice at a Solihull lake, police have said. A search and rescue operation is under way at Babbs Mill Park after the children fell into the water and suffered cardiac arrest on Sunday afternoon. Police did not confirm how many children were involved in the incident – or if any were still missing – but initial reports suggested there were up to six children in the frozen lake. Supt Richard Harris of West Midlands Police said teams would continue searching the water overnight. “When the fire service arrived at the scene, we were made aware there were up to six people in the water,” Supt Harris said. “So after rescuing the four children, we have continued the search and rescue operation to confirm whether there were any more in the water.” However, he said given the temperature, the age of the children involved, and the time they would have been in the water meant it was “no longer a search and rescue operation”.
Sky News

Private maternity care to end under health service reforms
A new contract for hospital consultants will bring many changes to the public hospital system — among them, an end to private maternity care. Under a new deal for salary and working conditions, private care is being phased out of public and voluntary hospitals as part of the Sláintecare reform programme for the health service. This is a significant change for maternity services — 24.8% of pregnant women opt for private or semi-private maternity care, according to the most recent research. The rate of private care in larger hospitals is estimated to be as high as one in three patients. This is quite different from the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, where just 5% of women opt to give birth in a private hospital or a private wing of a public hospital. At the moment, women in Ireland can pay for a private pathway in public or voluntary hospitals. There is no standalone private maternity hospital since Mount Carmel closed in 2014 following financial difficulties. The new consultants’ contract, announced last week, is to be phased in between now and 2025 as part of an overall change to the health service.
The Irish Examiner

Resident groups to be barred from taking High Court actions against planning decisions
Residents’ associations will be barred from taking High Court actions against planning decisions under a sweeping overhaul of planning laws that will boost the power of public bodies to intervene in the property market. The move to make it more difficult for objectors to challenge planning decisions is part of the biggest shake-up of the planning regime in decades, as Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien pushes to accelerate the delivery of new homes. Draft laws set for Cabinet approval on Tuesday are also understood to impose timelines in law on all planning decisions and appeals, with fines imposed where they are not met. Energy and other strategic infrastructure projects would be the first to face statutory deadlines.
The Irish Times

Today’s forecast
Bright and bitterly cold this morning with a severe frost, icy conditions and freezing fog, all leading to very hazardous travelling conditions. The frost, ice and fog will linger in places through the day. Wintry showers will also continue in the northwest, with a few moving into eastern and southern counties during the afternoon and evening. Temperatures will reach just -2°C to +4°C, highest near coasts and remaining below freezing for much of the north midlands. Light breezes, southeasterly or variable. Remaining very cold tonight, especially towards the north of the country. Lowest temperatures generally ranging from -6°C to 0°C. Generally dry with just isolated wintry showers in some coastal areas. A widespread sharp to severe frost and icy conditions will set in with further patches of freezing fog developing. Light to moderate easterly breezes. A Status Orange Low Temperature/Ice warning has been put in place for all of Ireland until 12noon today,
Met Éireann