EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know as you kick off your day.
1. #IN HOCK: A TD, RTÉ presenters, major businessmen, judges – and a former rugby player who took loans of over €50m – were all on a list of what Anglo Irish Bank called “politically exposed” borrowers which the bank compiled after it was nationalised in 2009, the Irish Independent reports. Some were being paid back – but others were not.
2. #THE APPRENTICE: Apprentices in Solas/Fás courses are being hit from this week with registration fees from €540 as a less-trumpeted Budget 2014 cut kicks in.
3. #BRRRR: From flooding to freezing: As the country tries to clean up after the week’s storms – which caused millions of euro of damage – subzero temperatures are being forecast for this evening.
4. #TRADE: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton are off to the Gulf region today to promote trade and investment between Ireland and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. There are 109 people from Irish companies going with them.
5. #EXCHEQUER: Ireland finished the year with a deficit of €11.5bn (although that does seem to be a little improvement on 2012, where we had a deficit of €14.9bn).
6. #SYRIA: There are concerns for five Medecins sans Frontieres aid workers after they were taken in for “questioning” by an unknown group in northern Syria and have been out of contact since Thursday evening, reports Associated Press.
7. #SNOWSTORM: Flying to the the northeast USA this weekend? Airports and other transport hubs are slowly reopening after heavy snowstorms this week. FlightAware shows that there are still hundreds of cancelled flights today.
8. #FUNGUS: Gougane Barra Forest Park, a major natural attraction in Co Cork, has been closed for at least six months says the Irish Times. Coillte experts are trying to control the spread of a virulent tree fungus.
9. #RIP: The younger of the two Everly Brothers singing duo, Phil, has died at age 74. He is survived by his brother Don.