Video: Counting begins in Stormont election, teenager killed in Offaly tractor crash

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Stormont elections

The counting of votes has begun in the North to decide the composition of the next Stormont Assembly.

The first of the 90 MLAs are expected to be returned by Friday afternoon, however the counting is set to continue into the early hours of Saturday. Some 239 candidates are running across 18 constituencies.

The election could provide an historic result, with Sinn Féin on course to become the largest party in the North for the first time according to opinion polls.

Smoky fuel ban

Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has said peat briquettes may be included in the Government's proposed ban on smoky fuels if they are found to be over the excess pollution threshold of 10 micrograms per hour.

The Green Party leader made the comments in the Dáil on Thursday, clarifying that turf may not be the only product to be impacted by the ban, which is expected to come into force next September.

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The ban aims to reduce the use of smoky fuels, such as turf and smoky coal, due to the high emissions they produce and their impact on people's health.

Living conditions

The risk of poverty rate in Ireland fell to 11.6 per cent in 2021, compared to 13.2 per cent in 2020, however, one in four single-parent households were in arrears on utility bills.

The Central Statistics Office's Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) for last year found 38.3 per cent of households with one adult and children under 18 said they made ends meet with either 'difficulty' or 'great difficulty'.

The consistent poverty rate was found to have dropped by 0.7 per cent to 4 per cent over the 12-month period, while the median disposable income of households increased from €43,915 to €46,471.

Tractor crash

A teenager has died after the tractor he was driving left the road and entered a deep drain in Co Offaly last night.

Gardaí and emergency services were alerted to the fatal road collision at Clonmore, Rhode shortly after 11pm.

The tractor left the road and entered a deep drain at the Black Castle Bog, a Garda statement said.

The road was closed at the scene of the incident on Friday morning to allow for an examination by Garda forensic collision investigators to take place.

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