March 21: Today’s top stories in 60 seconds
Your speedy summary of today's must-read stories.
Cabinet to finalise eviction ban vote counter-motion this morning
The Cabinet meets this morning in Dublin, with ministers expected to finalise a Government counter-motion to a Sinn Féin proposal to extend the eviction ban. Coalition leaders meeting last night are said to have reached broad agreement on the text. It is expected to include details of the measures already under way to assist the rental sector and help to prevent homelessness. The Sinn Féin Private Member’s motion will be debated for two hours this evening in the Dáil, but will not be voted on until tomorrow night. Several Independent TDs have indicated they will reserve judgement on their positions until they see the counter-motion.
‘Quantum leap in climate action’ needed to slow global warming
Choices made on reducing emissions this decade “will reverberate for thousands of years”, as the UN described a new report on climate change as a “survival guide for humanity”. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN-backed body of global climate scientists, including Maynooth University professor Peter Thorne, said there are multiple options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but progress has been marred by the sluggish pace of action in the past five years. UN chief Antonio Guterres said staving off a 1.5C global warming rise — a tipping point that will bring extreme heatwaves and ocean rising — will take a “quantum leap in climate action”.
The Irish Examiner
County council spent millions on road projects without a tender process, report says
Fingal County Council went ahead with work on a number of multi-million euro projects without going through a competitive tender process, an audit has found. The work included a combined €1.245 million for engineering consultants to design an upgrade to a busy road interchange in Blanchardstown, and a more than two-fold increase in the costs for developing cycle lane schemes which were awarded to a company without the usual tender procedure. The audit also criticised the council for a €350,000 land swap it did with a GAA club, which it said the council completed “without an independent valuation” of the cost of the four-hectare site it offloaded. In another project, €1.1 million was paid to a consultant for improvement works for a junction in Donaghmede which the council said was “for all stages of the project”, with “only the preliminary design stage” going through a competitive tender process. Fingal County Council told the auditor that it would review its processes around the works, while outlining its reasoning for the actions it took.
Record number of centenarians as Ireland now has highest life expectancy rate in the EU
The number of Irish people living to 100 or more hit record levels last year and will continue to rise exponentially as our life expectancy at birth is now the highest in the EU. Last year a record 758 Irish citizens got a commemorative coin and letter signed by President Michael D Higgins congratulating them for reaching or surpassing their 101st birthday. Meanwhile, 476 Irish citizens also received a letter from the President and a cheque from the State for €2,540 on their 100th birthday as part of the Centenarian Bounty programme. The number of people living to 100 here has risen steadily over the past decade.
Metropolitan Police is ‘institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic’ and may have more officers like Couzens and Carrick, review finds
The Metropolitan Police is institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic and may have more officers like killer Wayne Couzens and serial rapist David Carrick, a damning report has found. A review by Baroness Louise Casey, who spent a year investigating the Met Police in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by Couzens, said Britain’s largest force needs a “complete overhaul” and may need to be broken up. Among a series of recommendations to “fix” the Met, Baroness Casey said the unit that Carrick – who was unmasked as one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders – and Couzens both served in should be “effectively disbanded”. Her 363-page report found evidence of widespread bullying, racist attitudes and “deep-seated homophobia” in the force.
US urges Xi to press Putin over ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine
Chinese President Xi Jinping should press Vladimir Putin to “halt the war crimes” in Ukraine, the US has urged. The two will meet again on Tuesday for official talks during Mr Xi’s first visit to Moscow since the invasion. The White House’s National Security Council spokesman called on Mr Xi to urge his Russian counterpart to withdraw troops from Ukraine. John Kirby said seeking a ceasefire would not be enough.
Bright or sunny intervals and isolated showers at first today. However, rain will develop in the west and southwest this morning, extending countrywide this afternoon and evening, with some heavy falls in west Connacht and southwest Munster. Becoming windy later too, with south to southwest winds increasing fresh to strong and gusty. Highs of 10 to 13 degrees.Wet and windy tonight, especially early on, with widespread rain and fresh to strong and gusty southwesterly winds, gale force along western, and later, northern coasts. The rain will clear eastwards followed by clear spells and scattered showers. Winds will ease in most places overnight but it will stay windy in the northwest. Lowest temperatures of 3 to 7 degrees.