Video: Childcare providers protest over funding; Harry Styles fans queue for Aviva gig

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Childcare protest

A protest by childcare providers is taking place outside Leinster House over “chronic underfunding” in the sector.

The Tánaiste has said the Government wants to “significantly” lower childcare fees for parents as well as addressing rising costs for those working in the sector.

The Government is said to be looking at options on how to reduce the cost of childcare, including examining whether to increase the number of free hours available under the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme.

Public sector pay

Thousands of the State’s highest-paid public servants will soon receive salary increases as part of the restoration of pre-austerity wage rates.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he realised the move would prove controversial amid the cost-of-living crisis, but legal advice received by ministers was “very clear” that an intervention would be hard to defend in the courts.

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Wages across public services were cut following the financial crash of 2008 and the vast majority have been restored since legislation was passed in 2017 to reinstate the original pay rates.

The group earning above €150,000, which includes hospital consultants, judges and top-grade civil servants, is the final cohort to receive the pay rise.

Church land 'underutilised' for housing

The Minister for Housing said there is a “scourge” of vacant sites across Ireland that could be used for housing.

Darragh O’Brien also highlighted the significant amount of church-owned land that he said is underutilised.

The minister made the comments as he launched the next phase of a housing programme in Finglas, Dublin, where 100 social homes will be built for senior citizens.

Tipperary deaths

A couple whose bodies may have lain undiscovered in their Co Tipperary house for more than a year could have died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Named locally as Nicholas and Hilary Smith, the couple were originally from England. Post-mortem examinations on the couple took place on Tuesday.

Harry Styles in Dublin

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Harry Styles visits popular Dublin swimming spot a...
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Singer Harry Styles has been seen out and about in Dublin ahead of his sold-out Aviva Stadium gig on Wednesday night.

The former One Direction star was spotted in Dublin city centre on Monday night. He was accompanied by his actor and director girlfriend Olivia Wilde, with the pair searching for a place to eat on South William Street.

Styles was also spotted at the Vico Baths in Dalkey on Tuesday.

Fans have been queuing for the gig at the Aviva since early this morning. Those travelling are asked to take public transport where they can with trains from Cork and Limerick sold out.

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