March 16: Today’s top stories in 60 seconds
Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.
ECB to discuss interest rate hike
Thee European Central Bank is due to announce its latest interest rate decision today, after a tumultuous week for the banking sector, hit by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the US, which has had a knock-on effect on Credit Suisse this side of the Atlantic.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Washington DC
Leo Varadkar has begun a three-day visit to the United States with a series of events in Washington DC, and will culminate with meetings with President Biden and Congressional leaders on St Patrick’s Day. He will deliver a series of business and science events to promote exports to the US, and deliver a keynote address to the US Chamber of Commerce.
Michael D Higgins’ St Patrick’s Day address
In a speech to mark St Patrick’s Day, President Michael D Higgins has warned that a “poisonous xenophobia” has taken hold in many places, with racism “increasing rather than decreasing”. The climate crisis, human trafficking, and global inequality were also mentioned, but he said that while “points of darkness” present challenges, “let us instead be guided by the points of light”.
St John Ambulance
A independent investigation into the handling of complaints of sexual abuse at the voluntary first aid organisation St John Ambulance has found its Garda vetting system is incomplete, creating the potential for unvetted individuals to gain access to children. It also concludes St John Ambulance does not have a finalised child protection policy, and the 230+ page report also includes testimony of predatory and abusive behaviour in St John Ambulance stretching from the early 1970s.
EU Maritime Security Strategy
A new EU Commission report — entitled, ‘An enhanced EU Maritime Security Strategy for evolving maritime threats’ — has recommended that support, including financial aid, be given to member states’ navies to better protect key infrastructure such as undersea cables and pipelines. The report repeatedly mentions the threat to undersea infrastructure and energy facilities on the surface.