Video: Sinn Féin maintains support, Cabinet deciding on tax deal, Irish GDP growth

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Kenneth Fox

Dog shelter closures

The easing of Covid-19 restrictions has led to the closure of two animal shelters who are struggling with all types of breeds - including 'designer' dogs  -now being surrendered as people return to work.

Deel Animal Rescue in Co. Limerick and Coolronan Animal Rescue in Co. Meath have both had to temporarily shut their doors as they cannot cope with the level of surrenders since the reopening of the country.

Some of these surrenders include 'designer' breeds such as Giant Schnauzer Dogs, Cockapoos and Bichon Frises which were in huge demand during lockdown as people started paying thousands to breeders.

Irish language protections

The UK government has confirmed its intent to press ahead with legislating for Irish language protections at Westminster.

It has not provided a definitive timeline for introducing the controversial package of culture laws, however Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has previously said the move would come at some point in October.

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Since Mr Lewis made that pledge in the summer, the UK government has faced calls from the DUP not to press ahead with the legislation while unionist concerns about Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol remain unaddressed.

Sinn Féin support

A sharp fall in support for Fine Gael has opened up a 10-point lead for Sinn Féin over its nearest rival as the party strengthens its position as the most popular party among voters.

The latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll shows that Sinn Féin has the support of almost a third of voters at 32 per cent, far ahead of Fine Gael (22 per cent) and Fianna Fáil (20 per cent).

The poll also shows a drop in the satisfaction rating of the Government from 53 per cent in June to 46 per cent on Wednesday.

Both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also see their personal approval ratings fall, Mr Martin by eight points to 41 per cent and Mr Varadkar by a substantial 13 points, to 43 per cent.

OECD deal

Cabinet is meeting on Thursday afternoon to decide if the State's 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate will be increased to 15 per cent.

Ireland has come under increasing pressure to sign up to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) deal on global tax reform.

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Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has indicated a final decision will be made public after Cabinet meets at 4pm.

Northern Ireland partition

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty has said the Government should not send Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to a service to mark the centenary of partition in Northern Ireland, organised by church leaders.

“President Higgins was absolutely right in deciding not to attend that event,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

There were many ways in which the issues of reconciliation across the island of Ireland could be “forwarded” he said, adding Sinn Féin had already participated in a number of different events such as meeting of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

“But this isn't about reconciliation, this is about commemorating partition, an act that had a devastating impact on our country," Mr Doherty said.

GDP growth

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has warned that the Government risks overheating the economy as it invests in housing, climate change and healthcare post-Covid.

In its quarterly economic commentary for Autumn 2021, the think tank said the Irish economy would register double-digit growth of 12.6 per cent this year and 7.1 per cent next year.

The growth comes on the back of a resurgence in consumer spending and multinational related activities, in particular strong export figures, it said.

The stronger-than-expected performance is set to ease pressure on public finances and reduce unemployment, it said, with unemployment expected to fall to 9 per cent this year, down from a pandemic high of 31 per cent in April 2020.

Afghanistan withdrawal

A further 25 Irish citizens and dependents have been successfully evacuated from Afghanistan, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has announced.

The 15 citizens and 10 dependents travelled from Kabul to Doha late on Wednesday on a specially organised flight with the support of Qatar.

Mr Coveney said: “This is a huge relief and testament to the ability of our consular team in Dublin and the region who have worked tirelessly through diplomatic channels to access last night’s flight.”

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