Video: Westmeath car fire; Taoiseach to attend queen's funeral

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Criminal investigation into Westmeath car fire

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has confirmed gardaí have launched a criminal investigation into a car fire in Co Westmeath which resulted in the deaths of two children.

The children's mother also sustained serious injuries during the incident.

Earlier, it was reported that investigating officers strongly suspect the blaze was started maliciously.

Lynn Egar (40s) and her son Michael (two) and daughter Thelma (five) were in their car on a rural road near Multyfarnham last Friday afternoon when the vehicle was engulfed by flames.

Speaking to RTÉ's News At One, Mr Harris confirmed the investigation, which is being carried out by detectives based at Mullingar Garda station, is being treated as a criminal matter.

"This is now a crime investigation. We're investigating this as suspicious circumstances around these deaths and we're regarding it now as a crime investigation," he said.

Taoiseach to attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral

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The Taoiseach has confirmed he will travel to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in London next week.

Micheál Martin also confirmed he will attend a memorial service for the late British monarch in Belfast on Tuesday alongside President Michael D Higgins.

Mr Martin said: “I will be going to Belfast tomorrow, the President and I we have been invited to the memorial service and we will go to that tomorrow.”

Mr Martin was speaking at the Fianna Fáil party think-in in Mullingar.

His confirmation came as a special sitting of the Stormont Assembly took place to hear tributes from both unionist and nationalist parties.

Speaking first, Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill said the queen’s life and legacy will be “fondly remembered by many people around the world”.

Fianna Fáil think-in

There is "no appetite" in Government to reduce the inheritance tax threshold, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.

Speaking at the Fianna Fáil think-in being held in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Mr Martin said he believed many families would be "disadvantaged" if the thresholds were reduced.

His comments come after reports suggested the Commission on Taxation and Welfare has proposed to drastically reduce the amount of money parents can leave to their children tax-free.

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A report by the Commission is set to be published on Wednesday.

"I don’t believe there’s an appetite in Government to reduce that threshold. Many, many families and family homes, I think, would be disadvantaged by that," the Taoiseach said.

"Our taxation system is very progressive. Those on the highest earnings, pay the highest amount of tax. I think the top 20 per cent pay up to 80 per cent of income tax for example."

Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has said he will run in the next general election despite resigning as a junior minister over his property dealings.

The Longford-Westmeath TD reiterated his apology over his “unintentional errors”, adding that he was willing to answer further questions on the matter.

Mr Troy resigned as minister of state at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment last month for failing to correctly declare properties on the Dáil’s register of members’ interests and also failing to register a rental property with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

Mr Troy said: “For my own part, I dealt with the unintentional errors that I made.

“I issued a fulsome apology, and I do so again today. And I’ve taken a direct decision in that regard in terms of stepping down as a minister. But today, it’s not about that.

“Today and tomorrow is about focusing on the issues that are affecting the people who have given us the honour to represent them.”

Survey finds 70% of young people considering emigrating

More than seven in 10 young people aged 18-24 are considering moving abroad because they think they would enjoy a better quality of life elsewhere, according to a new survey.

The research was carried out by RED C on behalf of the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), and was published on Monday.

NYCI, the representative body for voluntary youth organisations in Ireland, has expressed concern at the findings of the survey which "show the severe impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on young people in Ireland," and is calling for action from the Government to prevent young people from moving abroad.

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