Video: Cabinet leak, Irishman jailed for 27 years and Ryanair rebounds

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Cabinet leak

  • Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has survived a motion of no confidence after the Dáil voted confidence by 92 votes to 59.
  • Debate over the motion began just minutes after TD Marc MacSharry resigned from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, saying he intended to vote no confidence in Mr Coveney.
  • Controversy surrounding the failed appointment of former government minister Katherine Zappone as a special envoy to the United Nations led to the motion of no confidence in Mr Coveney being tabled by Sinn Féin.
  • Amid lengthy debate on Wednesday evening, the Dáil heard a claim from Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy that Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris was the Cabinet member who leaked the proposed appointment of Ms Zappone.
  • A Fine Gael Minister said on Thursday morning that Sinn Féin should go to the gardaí if they believe there has been a leak at Cabinet.

Covid latest

  • Nphet meets today to discuss the ongoing pressure with Ireland's Covid-19 test and trace system. Despite the falling positivity rate of infection, demand for testing remains close to the peak. Almost 30,000 swabs were taken on Wednesday.
  • The HSE has meanwhile vowed to fight for an outstanding €23 million owed in ventilator refunds. Amid the pandemic, it ordered 2,200 ventilators at a cost of €81 million. Only 465 were delivered from China and none were put to clinical use.
  • A further 1,185 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the State on Wednesday, along with an additional 24 deaths over the past week.
  • Nphet has indicated Ireland may be past the peak of its fourth wave of infection driven by the Delta variant, with case numbers potentially declining "from here on in".

Irishman jailed for 27 years

  • A Dublin man, described as the world's largest facilitator of child abuse imagery, has been sentenced to 27 years in prison in the US.
  • Eric Eoin Marques was handed down the sentence on Wednesday in a court in Maryland, after pleading guilty to conspiring to advertise child abuse images on the dark web between 2008 and 2013.
  • The 36-year-old was extradited to the US by Irish authorities two years ago to face the criminal charges. Prosecutors said his anonymous service contained more than 8.5 million images of child abuse.

Ryanair rebounds

  • Ryanair is set to create 5,000 jobs over the next five years as the budget airline plans its recovery.
  • Chief executive Michael O’Leary said the airline expects to recover strongly from the Covid pandemic and deliver higher-than-expected growth in both traffic and jobs over the next five years.
  • Ryanair is now seeking to take up slot opportunities that are being vacated by competitor airlines who have collapsed or significantly reduced their fleet sizes.

Education investment

  • Ireland ranks last out of 36 developed countries for investment in education as a measure of national wealth or gross domestic product (GDP), according to new data.
  • The data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s annual Education At A Glance 2021 report shows spending on education in Ireland accounted for 3.3 per cent of GDP in 2018, compared to an EU average of 4.4 per cent.
  • The OECD data also indicates that Ireland has the lowest proportion of under-performing pupils in disadvantaged areas. Ireland has fewer children from lower socio-economic groups performing at the lowest level in standardised tests, at 16 per cent compared to the OECD average of 29 per cent.

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