Video: No cap on Ukraine refugees; call for general election this year

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No cap on Ukraine refugees

The State will not put a cap on the number of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland, Micheál Martin has said after a tour of Green Glens Arena in Millstreet, Co Cork, where he met with families living onsite.

He said he was moved by the feedback he received from the refugees, but conceded that the crisis was proving challenging for the Government to handle.

As part of Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien's plan to house refugees, vacant social homes will be brought back into use and local authorities will have greater flexibilities to acquire certain homes under an expanded acquisition programme.

Mr O'Brien is set to bring a memo to Cabinet on Tuesday which outlines medium and longer-term housing options for addressing to Ukrainian refugee crisis.

Ibec downgrades growth forecasts

Ibec has downgraded its growth forecasts for the Irish economy amid the rising cost of living and global supply chain issues accelerated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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According to the latest Economic Outlook report published by Ibec, economic growth is forecast to be 4.3 per cent in the year ahead, a reduction from the 6.1 per cent which was predicted for 2022 in Q4 2021.

The group has forecast that rising energy prices will force consumers to cut back on consumption elsewhere, which will have an impact on sectors of the economy that rely on discretionary spending.

It comes as Irish business sentiment is still above pre-pandemic levels according to a Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse survey, despite soaring inflation.

General election call

Leo Varadkar should not return to the role of taoiseach at the end of this year and a general election should be held to decide Ireland’s leader, according to Sinn Féin.

The Fine Gael leader is due to return to the role in December, replacing Micheál Martin, as part of the coalition deal that saw Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party form a government in 2020.

However, he is currently under investigation for disclosing a confidential document to a friend while he was taoiseach in 2019, and a decision on whether he should face charges may not be made before his reinstatement as taoiseach.

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson Pearse Doherty said on Monday that the “very serious matter” must be resolved before Mr Varadkar returns to the head of the Government.

Ashling Murphy murder-accused

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A 31-year-old man accused of murdering school teacher Ashling Murphy in Tullamore will go on trial at the Central Criminal Court in June next year.

Jozef Puska, with an address at Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly is charged with murdering the 23-year-old primary school teacher at Cappincur, Tullamore on the afternoon of January 12th, 2022.

Ms Murphy was fatally assaulted while she was out jogging along the Grand Canal in Tullamore.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott set June 6th, 2023 as the date for Mr Puska's trial before a jury at the Central Criminal Court. The case is expected to last between three and four weeks.

Turf scaremongering

Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has criticised what he described as scaremongering over new proposals regarding the sale and distribution of turf.

Regulations to ban the fuel’s sale and distribution – but not its burning – are due to come into force from September. The Minister has always maintained that the controversial regulations will not impact historic turbary rights, which involve the right to dig, cut and carry away turf from bogland to use as fuel for one's house.

On Monday, he told the Irish Independent that small rural communities of under 500 people will furthermore be exempt from the ban on the selling and gifting of the fuel, with the proposals to focus on commercial activities.

The Minister said there had misinformation that the State would “arrest your granny for burning the wrong fuel.”

Launch of 24/7 speed cameras

Speeding drivers face fines and penalty points from today as a new speed safety camera system launches on a stretch of the M7 in Tipperary.

Garda Superintendent Tom Murphy said in March that current speeds on the M7 were “totally unacceptable” and it was hoped that 24/7 monitoring would ensure greater speed limit compliance.

The mainline Motorway Average Speed Safety Camera system monitors a driver’s average speed as they drive between Junction 26 (Nenagh West) and Junction 27 (Birdhill) of the motorway, in both directions.

The system became fully operational at 7am this morning and drivers detected travelling in excess of the 120 km/h speed limit became subject to prosecution from the same time.

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