March 14: Today’s top stories in 60 seconds
Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.
Joe Biden confirms intention to visit NI and Republic for Good Friday Agreement anniversary
US President Joe Biden said he intends to visit Northern Ireland and the Republic after being invited to mark the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The US president was speaking after British prime minister Rishi Sunak formally invited him to make the trip to the North to mark the 25th anniversary in April as the pair held talks in San Diego. As the pair met in Point Loma naval base, Biden said: “It’s my intention to go to Northern Ireland and the Republic.” Sunak told the president: “I look forward to our conversations and also importantly, to invite you to Northern Ireland, which hopefully you will be able to do and so we can commemorate the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. “I know it’s something very special and personal to you. we’d love to have you over.”
Nearly 27,000 new homes to be delivered this year, BPFI predicts
Nearly 27,000 new housing units will be delivered this year, new figures from Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) suggest. The latest BPFI housing market monitor shows that housing supply recovered significantly last year after lower-than-expected output in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Almost 30,000 new homes were completed last year, up 45% on 2021 and 41% on 2019.
Backlog of 1,500 patients waiting for treatment abroad, report says
Understaffing has been blamed for a 2½-month backlog in processing applications from patients seeking treatment abroad. About 1,500 patients, many of them awaiting urgent procedures, are caught up in the backlog. Health Service Executive officials running the cross-border directive (CBD) scheme say the waiting list is a “cause for concern in relation to delivering a quality patient service”. In 2020, 22 whole-time equivalent staff were approved to operate the scheme, they point out, but only seven have actually been recruited and taken up their posts. As a result, the office handling applications under a number of cross-border treatment schemes suffers high churn rates and relies on agency staff.
The Irish Times
Cork City Council to dispose of second landbank opposite Apple HQ
Cork’s city councillors have approved the disposal to the IDA of a second publicly owned landbank opposite tech giant Apple’s European headquarters to facilitate the company’s ongoing expansion on the northside. The decision, made at Monday’s council meeting, to dispose of ‘lot B’ for €1.89m brings to over €3.1m the total boost to council coffers from the sale of it and an adjoining landbank, lot A, last year, to the IDA for strategic reasons. While the IDA and City Hall have not commented on the long-term plans for the lands, documents show that Apple, which secured planning permission last year for a major expansion of its Hollyhill campus on its existing car park, intends to use the landbanks for the displaced parking.
The Irish Examiner
North Korea launches two missiles to sea as allies hold drills
North Korea test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles a day after the United States and South Korea began military drills that Pyongyang views as an invasion rehearsal. The missiles launched from the southwestern coastal town of Jangyon flew across North Korea before landing in the sea off that country’s east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
‘You can blame him’: Trump shifts responsibility for January 6 on Pence
Donald Trump on Monday responded to Mike Pence’s contention that history will hold him accountable for the January 6 attack on Congress, saying the deadly attack was his former vice-president’s fault. “Had he sent the votes back to the legislatures, they wouldn’t have had a problem with January 6, so in many ways you can blame him for January 6,” Trump told reporters on a flight to Iowa for a campaign appearance. Donald Trump and Mike Pence, seen speaking at different events in Washington in July last year. He was referring to his attempt to have Pence, in his role as Senate president, refuse to certify election results in battleground states, on grounds of supposed electoral fraud, thereby overturning Trump’s conclusive defeat by Joe Biden.
China accuses UK, US and Australia of ‘going further down dangerous road’ with submarine pact
China has hit out at the US, UK and Australia over their pact to create new nuclear-powered submarines, saying they have “gone further down a dangerous road”. It follows Rishi Sunak meeting US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in San Diego to announce the next stage of the Aukus partnership plan. The plan will deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia as it seeks to counter Chinese activities in the Pacific Ocean.
Frosty or icy in parts this morning with spells of sunshine. Blustery showers in northern and western parts, turning wintry in places, will extend to all areas through the late morning or early afternoon with a chance of isolated thunderstorms. Becoming largely fine later this afternoon as the last of the showers clear the southeast. Highest temperatures of only 5 to 9 degrees (north to south), with an added wind chill factor owing to fresh and gusty northwest winds, easing later. Frost and ice will set in quickly after dark under clear skies and easing winds. Cold with lowest temperatures of -3 to +1 degrees, coldest in Ulster. Later in the night, rain will develop in the southwest and across western fringes. A Status Yellow Snow & Ice warning has been issued for counties Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan, all of Connacht, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Antrim, Down, Tyrone and Derry with Met Éireann Weather advising that wintry showers will lead to icy conditions in some areas. Potential impacts include hazardous road conditions and slippery paths. A Status Yellow Snow warning is also in place for Armagh, Fermanagh and Tyrone.