Video: Russia relations latest, pharma jobs and appeal over missing mother

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Russia relations

The Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee has issued an invitation to the Russian Embassy for ambassador Yury Filatovasto to appear before it to face questions on planned naval exercises.

Chair of the committee Charlie Flanagan said the ambassador's meeting with the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Sean Clancy, was another matter to be discussed.


Earlier on Thursday, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney expressed "full confidence" in Mr Clancy in the Dáil after having told his Fine Gael colleagues on Wednesday that he was "surprised" to see the meeting referenced on social media.

The subject of Russian naval exercises has also been a source of concern for the Irish fishing industry, with The Irish Times reporting that the Russian embassy has disputed claims by fishermen that the ambassador gave them “an absolute guarantee” on the matter.

It comes as figures released by the Department of Defence show more than 200 personnel have left the Irish Naval Service in the last two years, with current numbers standing below the minimum recommendation of 1,094 fully-trained personnel.

Pharma jobs

More than 800 jobs will be created by Eli Lilly as part of a new €400m investment into Ireland.


The pharmaceutical giant has announced that the funding will be put into building a new facility in Co Limerick.

If it secures planning approval, the facility will need 500 people in the construction phase, and will employ 300 pharma workers when finished.

Planning for the site, at Raheen Business Park near Shannon Airport and just under 5km from Limerick City centre, is due to be submitted in the coming weeks.

Missing mother

Gardaí investigating the disappearance of a 45-year-old woman in Dublin have renewed their appeal.


Bernadette Connolly has been missing from the Swords area since Friday, January 7th.

She is described as being 5ft 6in, of slim build, with hazel eyes and long black hair. Gardaí said Ms Connolly was wearing a black Nike training top, black Nike leggings, black trainers with a white sole and a black woolly hat with black bobble when she went missing.

She was last seen when she was dropped off by a taxi at the car park of the Shoreline Hotel, Donabate, and walked towards the entrance to the beach.

Lisa Smith trial

The trial of former Defence Forces soldier Lisa Smith continues today.

The Co Louth woman, 39, has pleaded not guilty to charges of membership of the illegal organisation, the so-called Islamic State, and of providing funds to benefit the group.

On Thursday, her trial was told Ms Smith married a member of al Qaida and stayed in a “bombed-out” house where militia and rebels held meetings when she was in Syria.

One woman told the court that Ms Smith was “excited” to be in Syria, and that she had told her she was planning to die there and become a martyr.

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