EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know before your morning coffee.
1. #EXPENSES: A new expenses system quietly introduced last month allow independent TDs and Senators to be given two different types of allowances – for exactly the same types of spending. TheJournal.ie can reveal that TDs are now permitted to claim expenses for hiring the likes of PR agencies, a cost which is already covered by their Leaders’ Allowance.
2. #JOBS PLAN: The government will today announce details of its highly anticipated ‘Jobs Plan’, which aims to allow the creation of 100,000 new jobs by proposing hundreds of legal changes and other measures.
3. #SEX: Three quarters of Irish students have had unprotected sex, a new nationwide survey has found – while 70 per cent say they have never been tested for a sexually-transmitted infection.
4. #EDUCATION: New plans published this morning will see small colleges being forced to merge with larger ones – and colleges being grouped by regional clusters – if they are to keep their state funding. The Higher Education Authority plans also contain the criteria for establishing a ‘technological university’.
5. #GREECE: The Greek parliament has backed the government’s tough new austerity measures – including plans to slash the minimum wage by a fifth – in order to secure a second bailout. The vote was marred by major violence and rioting in Athens, where tens of thousands marched to the parliament building to protest. German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble has said Greece must not only approve the austerity, but put it into practice.
6. #MALE MOTHER: A British man has become the country’s first to give birth. The man, who is in his 30s, had undergone a sex change but did not have his womb removed, and the Daily Telegraph advises that he took hormone treatment to ‘reactivate’ his womb.
7. #EMBASSIES: The former senior civil servant at the Department of Foreign Affairs has criticised the government’s decision to close the Irish embassy to the Holy See. Seán Donlon told RTÉ that the financial savings from closing it were very low, while the absence of a resident ambassador meant Ireland could not play a part in shaping Church policy.
8. #DAVID KELLY: The Irish acting world is in mourning following the death of actor David Kelly, who was 82. The beloved actor, who died after a short illness, was a veteran of stage and screen and had played roles from Shakespeare to Beckett. Here you can see him in his final role for the silver screen, in short film ‘The Good Doctor’.
9. #AWARDS: It’s been a busy night for those who work on the maintenance of red carpets. Though slightly overshadowed by the death of Whitney Houston, the Grammy Awards saw Adele take six gongs and the Foo Fighters win five (here’s some photos), while in London ‘The Artist’ took seven awards at the BAFTAs.