Video: Zappone role revelations, Taoiseach defends Varadkar and today's courts

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Kenneth Fox

Daily Covid cases

A further 1,144 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in the State today.

There are 384 coronavirus patients in Irish hospitals, with 59 people in ICU.

Senior Government figures and health chiefs are optimistic that Ireland’s level of Covid-19 infection is on a downward trajectory, linked to the impact of vaccination among younger people.

Migrant crisis

A baby and several young children were among a large group of migrants brought ashore on Monday after trying to cross the English Channel.

A packed lifeboat was pictured arriving on a beach in Dungeness in Kent.

While officials led passengers away, one woman was seen clutching a small baby who was strapped to her.

Images show other young boys and girls being carried or escorted to safety among several men and women.

UN Envoy role

Former Children's Minister Katherine Zappone thanked Simon Coveney back as early as March for offering her a role to represent Ireland, according text messages released by Government.

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On Thursday, March 4th, a text message from Katherine Zappone to Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney shows her thanking him for the privilege of being able to serve Ireland again.

“Hi Simon. Thank you so, so much for offering me this incredible opportunity. It will be such a privilege, and I will be so proud to serve Ireland again.

“I think the time is really ripe for a change to. Could you let me know time period appointment is for, and what are the next steps. And you know, I am working with UN FPA until mid or end of June.”

Taoiseach defends Tánaiste

The Taoiseach has defended Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s attendance at a UK music festival, saying he is “entitled” to his private time.

Mr Varadkar faced criticism from the live entertainment industry after he was pictured attending the Mighty Hoopla festival in London at the weekend, at the same time the Electric Picnic was scheduled to take place.

Last week, organisers of Electric Picnic confirmed the festival will not go ahead this year despite the planned easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Varadkar’s attendance was described as “tone deaf” by Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon.

Body recovered

The body of a person has been recovered from the water off the coast of Co Donegal.

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It was taken from the water at Ballywhoriskey in Fanad earlier today. It is not known how long the body was in the water for.

The remains were taken to Letterkenny University Hospital where a full post-mortem is expected to be carried out.

The identity of the person recovered has not been disclosed at this time.

Women reprimanded

A judge has reprimanded a woman for circulating a “humiliating” video of her husband’s “bin-bag” eviction from the family home.

At the Family Law Court, Judge Mary Larkin told the woman “I don’t want to be hearing that you are sending videos to his family to humiliate him before his parents as a man and his position in the marriage”.

Judge Larkin told the woman: “You are in Ireland now, and you play by the rules that exist here and not by whatever rules are out there.”

Judge Larkin made her comments after the man told the court in evidence that his wife put all his clothes in big bags and threw them outside the front door after finding a message he had received on his smart-watch.

Paschal Donohoe denies being lobbied by Katherine Zappone for UN role

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has denied he was lobbied by Katherine Zappone for the role of UN envoy.

The former children’s minister referenced a conversation with Mr Donohoe in WhatsApp messages she exchanged with Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney about the role, in documents released by his department on Monday.

Mr Donohoe has insisted this was part of a “general discussion” he had with Ms Zappone about her future, and that he was not lobbied for the role at any time.

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