Video: Tributes paid to David Trimble, parents worry about back to school costs

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Kenneth Fox

Former journalist jailed

A former RTÉ journalist who sexually assaulted a woman while she was sleeping has been jailed for 15 months.

Mícheál Ó Leidhin (38) of Sunnyside, Malahide Road, Artane was convicted last April of sexual assault at his former home in south Dublin in the early hours of the morning of May 13th, 2018.

Ó Leidhin, a native of Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry, had denied the offence but his lawyers told a sentence hearing earlier this month at the Central Criminal Court that he now accepts the verdict of the jury.

Sentencing him on Tuesday, Ms Justice Karen O’Connor agreed with a defence application to stay the sentence until next Monday, August 1st, when Ó Leidhin is to present himself at Mountjoy Prison.

Speeding fine increases

Fines for speeding, using a phone and not wearing a seatbelt are set to double within weeks in response to a recent spike in road deaths.

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Minister of State with responsibility for road transport, Hildegarde Naughton, will introduce regulations to double the fixed charges for key road safety offences "that put the safety of vulnerable road users at risk".

The regulations will see the fine for speeding increase from €80 to €160, while the fine for using a mobile phone while driving or for not wearing a seatbelt will double to €120.

It comes as five people were killed on Irish roads over the weekend, bringing the total number of lives lost this year to 94.

David Trimble tributes

Political leaders past and present have paid tribute to David Trimble’s contribution to peace in Northern Ireland following his death.

The 77-year-old peer and ex-leader of the Ulster Unionist Party was one of the principal architects of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement that ended decades of conflict in the region.

Mr Trimble, who jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize along with late SDLP leader John Hume, died on Monday following an illness.

Back to school costs

More than two-thirds of primary school parents and three-quarters of secondary school parents are worried about meeting school costs this year, according to a survey carried out by Barnardos.

The basic cost of sending a child to school in 2022 remains substantial across primary and secondary level. The average cost needed for a fourth class pupil is €424, while a first year pupil is €814 and a fifth year pupil is €722, according to the survey.

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Almost half of parents said recent cost of living increases have made it more difficult to meet school costs.

The is despite the Government’s increase of the back to school allowance by €100 to reduce pressures on families.

South Dublin fire

Two firefighters were injured and residents forced to flee their homes during a major wildfire in south Dublin that was brought under control overnight.

Smoke was visible across Dublin city on Monday evening after the gorse fire broke out on Killiney Hill at around 5.30pm.

The blaze came within metres of some properties, prompting the evacuation of a number of houses as a precaution last night.

Pumps, water tankers and an aerial drone to help concentrate firefighting operations were used in the battle against the blaze.

Public sector pay talks

The Government is ready to return to talks with unions at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) over public sector pay, the Minister for Public Expenditure has said.

Michael McGrath told both Newstalk Breakfast and RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the Government had continued to engage with the WRC since talks ended in June and had indicated its willingness to re-enter negotiations.

On Monday, trade union Siptu issued a statement saying preparations were under way for its members to take strike action, after they failed to reach an agreement on a pay review last month.

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Mr McGrath said industrial action was not the way forward for public sector workers seeking a pay rise, adding that negotiation was the only way to achieve "an acceptable outcome".

The Government is "on standby" to re-enter talks, he said. It would be as flexible as possible, but it was not prepared to “chase inflation” which could result in inflation being embedded in the system and harder to control, he added.

Domestic tourism

Irish residents took 2.3 million domestic overnight trips in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 7 per cent when compared with the same period in 2020, the last quarter before the onset of the pandemic.

This is according to the latest figures released from the Central Statistics Office.

The south of the country proved to be the most popular region for domestic travel, with 987,000 people visiting for overnight stays in the first quarter of 2022. While the east of the country was the second most popular, followed by the west.

There were almost 1.1 million outbound overnight trips taken by Irish residents, which represented a decrease of 31 per cent when compared with the first quarter of 2020.

Total expenditure on domestic overnight trips amounted to €471 million with those on holidays spending €292 million of this, while those visiting friends or relatives spent €83 million.

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