Harris denies leak
- Government Minister Simon Harris has denied leaking information from Cabinet and accused the Sinn Féin TD who made the allegation of misusing Dáil privilege.
- The Dáil heard a claim from Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy on Wednesday evening that Mr Harris was the Cabinet member who leaked the proposed appointment of Katherine Zappone as a special envoy to the United Nations.
- Controversy surrounding the failed appointment led Sinn Féin to table a motion of no confidence in Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, which he survived last night 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.
- 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.
Defective housing blocks
- Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has left the door open to a 100 per cent redress scheme for people whose homes have been affected by defective housing blocks containing mica.
- It came as a survey published on Thursday by the Mica Action Group found householders are “suffering a major negative impact to their mental health” due to the issue.
- Speaking later in the Dáil, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the problems caused by bricks containing excessive deposits of the minerals mica and pyrite have broadened across Ireland, beyond the two worst-hit counties of Donegal and Mayo.
Fuel prices to increase
- Fuel prices at the pumps are set to rise from October 13th due to carbon tax increases in next month's budget.
- Papers released by the Government's Tax Strategy Group state that a 60-litre tank of diesel will rise by €1.48 - or 2.5 cent a litre - while a 60-litre tank of petrol will go up by €1.28 - or 2.1 cent a litre.
- The increases are part of the Government's commitment to increasing carbon tax to €100 per tonne by 2030, with €7.50 hikes each year to 2029 and €6.50 in 2030.
- The measure is seen as a cornerstone to the State's efforts to tackle climate change and decrease carbon emissions through discouraging the use of fossil fuels.
The day in courts
- A man who had his murder conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal but admitted to helping the actual murderer by trying to set fire to the deceased has been released from prison after serving seven years in custody.
- Meanwhile, an alleged gunman has been sent forward for trial to the Central Criminal Court accused of attempting to murder two Garda detectives who were injured in a shooting in Dublin.
- Separately, popular Dublin pub Sin É has been fined €1,000 and ordered to pay over €2,600 in legal costs after it was prosecuted for blasting loud music late at night.
- The High Court has meanwhile dismissed a challenge by Green Party TD Patrick Costello over the constitutionality of aspects of the CETA EU-Canada trade deal.
- Finally, the European arm of WhatsApp has launched a High Court challenge aimed at setting aside the Data Protection Commission's decision to impose sanctions on it including a €225 million fine.
- A further 1,413 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the State on Thursday. As of 8am this morning, there were 290 patients hospitalised with the disease, with 67 in intensive care.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.