Video: Calls for Higgins to address wife's letter, drivers arrested over bank holiday

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No guideline changes needed for disclosure of political party accounts, says watchdog

The Standard in Public Office Commission (Sipo) has said it will not make changes to its guidelines for the disclosure of accounts by political parties, despite concerns raised about parties operating in multiple jurisdictions.

In its annual report, the ethics watchdog said it has reviewed its guidelines for the preparation of annual audited statements of account by political parties.

The review came after concerns were raised about political parties who work and contest elections in multiple jurisdictions.

A number of concerns were raised with Sipo after a British man left €2 million to Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin was able to accept the windfall in the will in Northern Ireland but was not able to accept it in the Republic.

The gift was made by William E Hampton and was the largest donation given to a political party in the North.

Seven drivers arrested over bank holiday weekend

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Gardaí arrested seven drivers over the August bank holiday weekend, six of which were arrested for drink/drug-driving while one was a disqualified driver.

The arrests were made as part of a national road safety campaign which included an increase in MIT checkpoints and a higher visibility of gardaí on the roads.

An operation in Louth saw approximately 30 high-visibility checkpoints and resulted in more than 325 drivers being tested for drugs and alcohol.

A number of cars were also seized for varying offences over the three-day weekend.

In Dublin, Garda Roads Policing units conducted a large scale MIT checkpoint on the M50 in conjunction with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). As a result, two drivers were arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence.

Demands for President to defend wife's opinion 'ridiculous', says former minister

Former minister for transport Shane Ross has defended the right of Sabina Higgins to express her opinion and said that demands for the President to defend his wife’s position were “ridiculous”.

While he did not agree with Ms Higgins’ comments on the war in Ukraine in a letter to The Irish Times, she was entitled to her opinions and should not have to be defended by the President, he told Newstalk Breakfast.

Mr Ross added that he did not agree with the content of the letter. It was necessary to state “absolutely, categorically” that Ireland was on the side of Ukraine, he said.

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But the right of Sabina Higgins to express her opinion was a different matter. Ms Higgins had “a very, very fine record” as an anti-war activist, he said.

“The idea that the President should now come in and defend his wife's position is to me somewhat ridiculous. She's entitled to, and does, express her opinion on these views - and if they happen to differ from his, and I don't know whether they do or not, I don't think every time they do differ he's going to come in and say 'I do differ on this, that and the other'.”

Rape cases reported to Gardaí up 23% on 2021

Rape cases reported to Gardaí are up by 23 per cent compared to 2021, according to the latest crime data from An Garda Síochána.

Compared to pre-pandemic figures, reports of rape are also up 11 per cent on 2019 figures.

Reported cases of sexual assault were down 5 per cent on 2021, while cases involving child sexual abuse images were down 18 per cent.

Gardaí said sexual offences have been increasing since early 2015 and although they plateaued in 2020, the upward trend resumed in 2021.

Overall, sexual offences were down marginally by 3 per cent for the first half of 2022.

Gardaí said the increase in cases involving sexual offences may relate to a change in reporting behaviour whereby victims are increasingly likely to report sexual crime.

They said ongoing efforts by Gardaí in the improvement of data quality and recording may also be a contributing factor.

HSE sets out winter plan to combat Covid and flu

The acting chief operations officer for the HSE, Damien McCallion has outlined plans by the health service to combat the anticipated increased demand on services this winter from Covid and flu.

The HSE is trying to plan ahead on the basis of “all possible scenarios”, he told RTÉ News at One. In previous years difficulties in Australia have been repeated in Europe and there have been high hospital admissions during the current winter in Australia.

The focus this winter will be on community care and on keeping patients in the community, he explained. An extra 750 staff were being recruited to enhance community care along with other measures.

There were four key measures, he said – vaccination, for Covid-19 and influenza; additional bed capacity; avoidance and increased flow of operations in hospitals from when patients are admitted through to their discharge

 

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