EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know as you start your day.
1. #JOBSWATCH: Ulster Bank is to close 39 of its branches within the next 18 months in a move which has been described as a “bolt from the blue” by the bank workers’ union IBOA. Ulster Bank has denied reports that hundreds of jobs will be at risk, while the IBOA has said its members are appalled by the scale of the cuts being proposed.
2. #ABORTION: The Master of the Rotunda Hospital has called for the removal of the suicide clause in the abortion legislation, saying that it could “create more problems”. Separately, the Oireachtas Health Committee will begin its meetings today to discuss the 89 proposed amendments to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
3. #EGYPT: Egypt’s president Mohamed Morsi has vowed that he will not step down, despite mass protests demanding his resignation which saw sixteen people shot dead at a rally in Cairo late last night. The Egyptian army has given Morsi until today to meet the “people’s demand” or have a solution imposed on him.
4. #MEATH: A 42-year-old man has died after setting himself on fire in an estate in Meath yesterday evening. Neighbours ran to the aid of the man and threw buckets of water over him to try and extinguish the flames but he died shortly afterwards. Gardaí are treating the death as a personal tragedy.
5. #SNOWDEN: In the latest twist in the Edward Snowden saga, the Bolivian president’s jet was diverted to Austria last night amid suspicion that the US fugitive was on board. Officials in Austria have confirmed that Snowden was not on the plane which had departed from Moscow.
6. #MAGDALENES: Survivors of the Magdalene laundries are to meet President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin today, days after the announcement of the redress scheme which will see women receiving payments of up to €50,000 depending on the length of their detention. The women will spend more than an hour talking to the president this afternoon.
7. #OMBUDSMAN: Ireland’s Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly may be on track to become the next European Ombudsman after she tied for the top position with a Dutch politician in a vote in the European Parliament. A second round of voting will take place this morning to decide on a winner.
8. #BUDGET: MEPs will vote on the next seven-year budget for the European Union today, RTE News reports, with the €960 billion package expected to secure the support of the majority of parliamentarians.
9. #TEAM NEWS: Brian O’Driscoll’s career with the Lions appears to be over after he was dropped by coach Warren Gatland for the final and deciding Test against Australia on Saturday. O’Driscoll tweeted that he was “totally gutted” to be left out of the game.