Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.
New public holiday
The new public holiday in February next year could cost the Exchequer between €220 million and €300 million, according to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. The public holiday, which fell on Friday, 18 March this year, will take place at the start of February from 2023 to mark St Brigid’s Day, also the traditional Gaelic festival of Imbolc/Imbolg. While the public holiday does not require businesses to close on the day, it does mean the vast bulk of workers within the State will be entitled to an additional day’s paid leave.
Aircraft crash in Co Down
Two people have died after a light aircraft crashed at Newtownards Airport in Co Down. Emergency services were alerted at 8.21pm yesterday evening. The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service attended and said no patients were taken from the scene on the Portaferry Road in the town.
Fires rage across the UK
Many parts of the UK are today counting the cost of the country’s hottest day on record, with homes and businesses claimed by wildfires as temperatures topped 40°C. Flames ripped through homes as Britain was scorched by extreme heat and the country glimpsed what could be the new reality in the summer months.
US House passes bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage
The US House has passed a bill protecting the right to same-sex and interracial marriages, a vote that comes amid concerns that the supreme court’s overturning of Roe v Wade could jeopardise other rights. Forty-seven House Republicans supported the legislation, called the Respect for Marriage Act, including some who have publicly apologised for their past opposition to gay marriage. But more than three-quarters of House Republicans voted against the bill, with some claiming it was a “political charade”. All 220 House Democrats supported the bill, which is expected to be blocked by Republican opposition in a politically divided Senate.
A mostly cloudy and fresh start to today with some well-scattered showers. However, the cloud will slowly thin out, allowing some sunny spells to develop with mostly dry conditions generally. Temperatures will be around normal with highs ranging 15°C in the northwest to 21°C in the southeast, all in moderate northwest breezes. Most areas will stay dry tonight under broken cloud but with some mist and fog setting in. Lowest temperatures of 9°C to 13°C in just light variable breezes.