Video: Cost of living subsidy, North's First Minister to resign, Nato concerns grow

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Kenneth Fox

Eurovision special

A special airing of The Late Late Show this Friday will see six Eurovision hopefuls take to the stage live, in the hopes of representing Ireland at the upcoming song contest in Italy this May.

For the first time in several years, viewers at home will have the opportunity to cast their vote for their favourite song and help to decide Ireland’s entry into the 2022 Eurovision.

The winner will be chosen by the combined votes awarded by the public, an international jury and a studio jury, and the winner of Friday night’s Eurosong Special will then go on to perform at the Eurovision in front of an audience of 180 million people.

Climate protests

Youth climate strikers have announced they plan to return to Irish streets with a large-scale demonstration in Dublin city centre in March.

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Fridays For Future Dublin said the demonstration would take place as part of a global climate strike on March 25th.

Fridays for Future is an international youth-led movement that began when Greta Thunberg and other young activists sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks to protest against a lack of action on the climate crisis.

Energy cost subsidies

Additional payments for those who are most pressed as a result of increased energy costs are now required, according to Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty.

Not alone should there be a doubling of the universal €100 energy payment, there should also be targeted measures for social welfare recipients, he said.

“The penny has finally dropped”, he told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

“We’ve been calling for this for six months. This is a symptom of this Government, delay and delay. We can’t be blamed for Government’s inactions.”

First Minister to resign

The North's First Minister Paul Givan is expected to announce his resignation by the end of the week, a senior DUP source has said.

It comes amid the party’s protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol and follows his colleague Edwin Poots’s decision to order a halt to agri-food checks at ports in the North.

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The European Commission has said the decision by DUP Agriculture Minister Mr Poots to stop the checks creates “further uncertainty and unpredictability”.

Nato concerns over Russia

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has expressed concern that Russia is continuing its military build-up around Ukraine, and that it has now deployed more troops and military equipment to Belarus than at any time in the last 30 years.

Russia now has more than 100,000 troops stationed near Ukraine’s northern and eastern borders, raising concern that Moscow might invade again, as it did in 2014, and destabilise the Ukrainian economy.

Russian officials deny that an invasion is planned.

Self-defence classes

A self-defence instructor, who fought for his own life when he was set on fire as a child, says his classes are now in huge demand by young women following the death of Ashling Murphy.

Anthony Cunnane teaches anti-bullying, self-defence and safety awareness programmes in schools and communities and says demand has grown since Ms Murphy's death last month.

As a 10-year-old, Cunnane was walking home in Dundalk to change his clothes after accidentally spilling petrol on himself while helping to clean a garden shed with friends in 1994.

Citywest hotel reopens

Ireland’s largest hotel Citywest has reopened its doors to guests after almost two years of closure amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 764-bedroom hotel shut its doors in March 2020 in line with the entire hospitality sector and was then licensed for use by the HSE until the end of January this year to support the national effort against Covid-19.

Accounts show that the Citywest hotel group returned to an operating profit in 2020 after the initial €21 million deal with the HSE to use the hotel as a Covid-19 isolation centre.

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