EVERY MORNING,TheJournal.ie brings you the nine things you need to know at 9am.
1. #TREATY The referendum on the fiscal stability treaty is most likely to be held in the middle of the summer, according to RTÉ. It reports that Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton said during a visit to New York, that the ‘two windows’ for the referendum are late May/early June or late June/early July.
2. #DEALS Reactions have been made to the revelations that former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern “struck deals” with a number of Independent TDs in return for their backing of the Fianna Fáil/Green/PD coalition. The Irish Examiner reports that former government chief whip Tom Kitt described elements of the deal as “unsavoury”. Deputy Jackie Healy Rae told the Irish Independent he had “no regrets whatsoever” about signing a deal that meant better roads for his constituency.
3. #SYRIA Damascus was the scene of heavy fighting last night, according to reports. A resident of the Mazzeh district told the AP that automatic rifles and machine guns were used in the two-hour clash that ended at about 4am local time today. On Saturday, 27 people were killed in suicide bombings in the city.
4. #PROPERTY TAX The Irish Independent says today that some homes will face a higher levy of property tax, of €200 or even €300, if they are a three-bed property, and the system will be self-assessed. In the Daily Mail, meanwhile, it is claimed that Environment Minister Phil Hogan said he would collect funds for the household tax by using details from customer’s utility accounts if necessary. However, the Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes told RTE that he was playing catch up on the Government’s plans on this and would be finalising protocol this week. Also speaking on Morning Ireland, Deputy Mick Wallace said people are angry at the government and expressing it by saying they will not pay the charge.
5. #MISSING Searches are to resume today for the body of Mary Boyle, who went missing at the age six in 1977. The Irish Independent says searches will take place in a swamp near her grandparents’ home in Cashelard, Co Donegal, where she went missing 35 years ago today. Margo O’Donnell, a cousin of Boyle’s, said she believes her body could be found this year.
6. #ENDA KENNY Taoiseach Enda Kenny continues his US visit this week. Today, he will ring the opening bell at the start of trading at the New York Stock Exchange. Tomorrow, he will hold a private meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, before attending a belated St Patrick’s Day lunch on Capitol Hill.
7. #IRELAND The Irish Times continues its The New Diaspora survey today, saying that a majority of people who have emigrated in the past few years say they are happier now than when they lived in Ireland, and that their quality of life is better, they have a healthier diet and take more exercise. In naming their biggest challenges after emigrating, most said it was finding somewhere to live, followed by finding employment.
8. #US 2010 Mitt Romney scored an overwhelming win yesterday in Puerto Rico’s Republican presidential primary, gaining 83 per cent of the votes at the most recent count. His chief rival, Rick Santorum, said he was in it for the long haul – and that Romney is a weak front runner.
9. #POOR CLARES The hidden order of nuns called the Poor Clares are celebrating the 800th anniversary of their order’s foundation – and have “dipped their toes” into the world of the internet to help celebrate. Their new website, www.poorclarescork.ie, isn’t to draw attention to them – it is to draw attention to the Lord, Sr Colette Marie told the Irish Examiner.