January 31: Today’s top stories in 60 seconds
Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.
Thousands of parents may receive childminding subsidies under plans going to Cabinet
Subsidies for thousands of parents using childminders will be a step closer if Cabinet approves plans for legislation aimed at paving the way for the future regulation of the sector. The legislation also includes measures to bolster the enforcement powers of Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate including the ability to immediately close unregistered childcare services and share information with parents. People whose children are in creches are able to avail of subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) but many thousands of parents using childminders are not. Childminders who are not registered with Tusla, the child and family agency, cannot be considered for the NCS.
The Irish Times
Together for Creeslough concert an opportunity to ‘look forward with hope’
The community of Creeslough remembered the victims of the tragedy and thanked the emergency services who responded to the explosion with a concert in Donegal last night. The “Together For Creeslough” at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny featured former Westlife and Boyzone stars Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy, who both performed as “Boyzlife”. Brian Kennedy, Clannad’s Moya Brennan, former Eurovision contestant Mickey Joe Harte, country-pop singer Lisa McHugh and fiddler Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh were among the musical acts. Ten people were killed following an explosion in the Co Donegal village on the afternoon of Friday, 7 October. Last night’s concert was described as an opportunity for Creeslough to “look forward with hope to the future”. The first responders and those who helped in the aftermath of the tragedy were among the special guests. The concert began with a reflection to honour the ten people who died and the names of the deceased were read out.
Legal strategy was in place over nursing home charges
The State has a legal strategy to defend cases taken by those seeking compensation for some nursing home charges dating back several decades. A Government spokesperson last night confirmed the strategy was in place. However, the spokesperson said it pre-dated July 2011 and was pursued by successive governments. Claims by a whistleblower on the issue were published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper. It was claimed that the State had pursued a strategy to curb financial compensation to the families of people who were forced to pay nursing home charges over three decades. Many medical card holders had to pay for this care over a 30-year period, but in 2005 it was found that they had been entitled to it free of charge. This resulted in more than 1,000 patients filing complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Skellig Coast joins Great Barrier Reef as region of global marine importance
Waters off the south-west coast have been declared Ireland’s first “Hope Spot” in recognition of their importance to global biodiversity. The Greater Skellig Coast joins 147 other Hope Spots identified by marine experts around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Galapagos Islands and parts of Antarctica. Stretching from Kenmare Bay to Dingle Bay, Tralee Bay and along the North Kerry coast to Loop Head in Co Clare, the Greater Skellig region covers 7,000 square kilometres of coastal waters. Threatened sharks, birds and whales have found a natural sanctuary in the sea and its islands and inlets. The idea behind Hope Spots is that the designation will reinforce national protections or encourage countries to introduce regulatory safeguards where areas are not protected.
Revealed: How racist Irish YouTube accounts profit by livestreaming protests
Online livestreams by seven Irish YouTube accounts filming anti-migrant protests were viewed over a million times during the first days of 2023 amid warnings that violent rhetoric has ramped up. An analysis of just seven accounts reveals repeated anti-migrant and racist remarks, with livestreamers often referring to “fakeugees”, a “plantation” and “people trafficking”. Some account holders have sought to monetise streams of protests that they themselves have organised, potentially benefitting financially from spreading racism and misinformation about refugees and asylum seekers. The online content creators can keep 70% of the money pledged by viewers in a system called “Super Thanks”. According to Google’s policies, the 70% figure is calculated after taxes and fees are deducted, including App Store fees on iOS.
The Irish Examiner
Chicago prosecutor to drop sex-abuse charges against R Kelly
A Chicago prosecutor said Monday that she’s dropping sex-abuse charges against singer R Kelly, following federal convictions in two courts that ensure the disgraced R&B star will be locked up for decades. Cook county state’s attorney Kim Foxx announced the decision a day ahead of a court hearing related to state charges accusing him of sexually abusing four people, three of whom were minors. Foxx said she would ask a judge to dismiss the charges at Tuesday’s hearing. She acknowledged that the decision “may be disappointing” to women who stepped forward to accuse Kelly of crimes. “Mr Kelly is looking at the possibility of never walking out of prison again…We believe justice has been served,” Foxx said.
UK economy to fare worse than any other country in developed world this year, IMF forecasts
Britain’s economic reputation has been dealt a further blow after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast that this year the UK economy will fare worse than any other country in the developed world – including Russia. In the latest update of its economic forecasts, the IMF said that it expected the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) to contract by 0.6% in 2023.
Cool and breezy today with sunny spells. There will be scattered showers in north Connacht and Ulster and mainly dry conditions elsewhere. Highest temperatures of 8 to 10 degrees and feeling colder in fresh and gusty westerly winds, strong in the north and west. Clear spells and showers tonight, mainly affecting the north and west, merging to longer spells of rain there with a chance of hail. Lowest temperatures of 3 to 7 degrees in fresh and gusty westerly winds, strong in the north and west.