March 08: Today’s top stories in 60 seconds
Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.
Referendum on gender equality to take place in November
The Government has confirmed a referendum on gender equality will be held later this year. Proposals for constitutional amendments are to be published by the end of June, with the referendum due to take place in November. The Government’s intention to hold this referendum follows recommendations made by the Citizen’s Assembly on Gender Equality two years ago. The recommended amendments to Articles 40 and 41 of the Constitution included the woman “within the home” reference be deleted and replaced. It was also recommended that the Constitution, which has been in place since 1937, should refer explicitly to gender equality and non-discrimination. A Special Oireachtas Committee was established to consider the recommendations and the Government response and it concluded its work last December. In announcing the planned referendum on gender equality and a timeframe, the Government has said it will establish an inter-departmental group this month to agree on proposals.
Victim seriously injured in Belfast after shooting by masked men
A man has suffered serious injuries after he was shot in the legs by a masked gang in west Belfast. Detectives are appealing for information and witnesses following the incident on Tuesday.
The Irish Examiner
Eviction ban lifted ‘to halt flight of cuckoo fund investors’ from the market
Cabinet ministers were warned that extending the controversial eviction ban would lead to “reluctance” among both small-scale and international investors in the Irish rental market. In a strongly worded confidential memo provided to the Cabinet, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said there was “deep concern” about extending eviction bans. His memo said it would be seen by landlords as a “serious breach of trust by government” and would undermine “their confidence in continuing their participation and growing their investment in the rental market”.
Over half of Ireland’s native plants
More than half of Ireland’s native plants have declined since the 1950s because of agriculture, climate change and non-native invasive species, a new report has found. The 20-year research project, titled Plant Atlas 2020 and published by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI), also found that non-native plant species now outnumber native ones. 2,500 people in Ireland made 2.85 million plant records as part of the project, which the BSBI said gives a “much more complete picture of Irish plant diversity”. The report noted that a “botanical visitor to the present day from the 1950s would see vast changes in Ireland”. For example, “large swathes of dark conifer forest in the uplands having replaced areas of blanket bog and hill pastures”. Changes in agriculture since the 1950s have negatively impacted other habitats on which wild plants depend, the report said.
Thousands protest at Georgian ‘foreign agent’ bill
Protesters have clashed with police in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, after parliament backed a controversial draft law which critics say limits press freedom and suppresses civil society. Riot police used water cannon and pepper spray to disperse the crowds outside the parliament building. Some protesters were seen falling on the ground and coughing, while others waved EU and Georgian flags. The government says several policemen were hurt and police gear was damaged. There has been widespread international condemnation of the bill, which would require non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and independent media who receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad to declare themselves as foreign agents. The opposition described it as a Russian-style law that would stigmatise and clamp down on Georgia’s vibrant civil society and independent media. Further protests outside parliament have been called for Wednesday.
Wegovy: Weight loss injection used by celebrities to be made available on NHS
A “game changer” weight loss injection used by celebrities including Twitter boss Elon Musk is to be made available through the NHS amid warnings that the drug is not a “quick fix”. In a “pivotal moment”, thousands of people living with obesity in England are set to be offered Wegovy, also known as semaglutide, on prescription after health officials approved its use.Billionaire Musk said he used Wegovy to keep in shape, while reality TV star Kim Kardashian has denied rumours that she used the drug.
Very cold this morning with frost and icy stretches, especially over the northern half of the country. Outbreaks of rain, sleet and light snow in Munster this morning and extending into south Leinster this afternoon. It will be brighter and drier further north with just isolated showers. Highest temperatures of 3 to 6 degrees with light to moderate easterly winds, fresher in the southwest. Tonight will be cold and frosty with some icy stretches and lowest temperatures of -2 to 0 degrees. It will start off mainly dry. However, after midnight, rain, sleet and snow will spread northeastwards over Munster and into southern part. A Status Yellow Snow/Ice warning has also been issued for counties Cork and Kerry with Met Éireann warning of patchy sleet or snow overnight and on Wednesday morning along with the potential for hazardous conditions on some roads and footpaths. The warning will remain in place until 12noon today.