Video: Varadkar quietly confident of protocol deal, body found in Spain may be missing Irishman

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Varadkar ‘quietly confident’ that protocol deal can be reached within weeks

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said “we’re not there yet” on a Northern Ireland protocol deal but added that he was “quietly confident” there could be an agreement within a fortnight.

The Taoiseach said that such an agreement would be a “big boost” for EU-UK relations, but also would achieve the “amazing prize” of re-establishing the Northern Ireland power-sharing institutions.


It comes as diplomatic efforts have been ramped up to solve problems with the implementation of the protocol; this included hastily-arranged meetings between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the five main Stormont parties on Friday.

Although details of what was on offer were scant, soundings from the parties indicated a deal could be on the horizon.

Mr Varadkar said he would speak with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen at the weekend, and had spoken to some of the Northern Ireland parties on Thursday night and on Friday.

'The pain of losing a child is indescribable': Tragic Menlo Pier victim laid to rest

A rural cemetery was filled with grief as the family and friends of Wojciech Panek laid his ashes to rest, on the edge of the medieval village of Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny on Friday.


Wojeich was one of three teenagers who died when the car they were in went off Menlo Pier located on the River Corrib on the outskirts of Galway city at around 2.40am last Saturday.

Nestled beneath the Blackstairs mountains, his ashes were placed in his final resting place in Calvary Cemetery — just metres from his home in Cois Na Bearu — by his grief-stricken mother Katarzyna, father Grzegoz and younger sister Viktoria.

Up to 300 mourners began to gather in the cemetery for the internment of his ashes from 1.30pm. Many of his friends travelled from nearby Thomastown where his family once lived and was a past pupil at Grennan College Secondary School.

Grennan College students past and present formed a guard of honour as his ashes were carried by his mother Katarzyna into the cemetery.


Wojciech was due to turn 18 just days after his death in the early hours of last Saturday along with two other teenagers. He was in his second year as an apprentice carpenter at GRETB Training Centre Galway.

Mother-of-three with terminal cervical cancer settles High Court action

A mother-of-three with terminal cancer who sued over the misreporting of her smear slide over 18 years ago has settled her High Court action.

The HSE and a hospital have already apologised to the 40-year-old woman who the High Court heard “could die at any time” that the reporting of her smear slide fell below a reasonable standard and for the “devastating consequences” for her.

On the second day of the hearing on Friday after talks between the sides, Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told the case had been settled and could be struck out.


The apology was delivered in a letter to the 40-year-old woman the day before her High Court action kicked off this week, acknowledging the reporting of her smear test taken on November 3rd, 2004 “fell below a reasonable standard.”

Her Counsel Jeremy Maher SC instructed by Cian O’Carroll solicitor at the opening of her action in the Four Courts on Thursday said the woman has six to 18 months to live and won’t see the summer of 2024.

Russia and Belarus discuss closer military and economic ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted neighbouring ally Belarus’s leader on Friday for talks on expanding military and economic cooperation amid the fighting in Ukraine.

Russia used Belarusian territory to send troops into Ukraine nearly a year ago at the start of what the Kremlin calls its “special military operation.”


Russia has maintained troops and weapons in Belarus and the two countries have regularly conducted joint drills as part of their military alliance.

Speaking at the start of his talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Mr Putin proposed to discuss security issues, military cooperation and ways to further bolster economic ties.

Mr Putin noted that Belarus has preserved Soviet-era industrial assets, adding that it offers good opportunities for joint manufacturing programmes.

Body found in Spain may be missing Irishman

A body believed to be that of an Irishman who disappeared last year on the Costa Blanca has been found in Spain.

Spanish police have spoken to Ken Moore’s loved ones to inform them of the discovery and their suspicions it is him. Sources said officers recovered the missing man’s passport at the scene.

Spanish National Police officers made the find on Thursday near the Ibis Hotel in Agua Amarga on the outskirts of Alicante.

Mr Moore, 54, disappeared in October last year. He had been holidaying in the area but didn’t return home as planned on October 7th.

His sister Tanya Foley said after he vanished she had contacted him when he didn’t arrive at the airport as he “wanted to stay a few extra days.”

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