Every morning, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you really need to know by 9am.
1. #ELECTION 2011: The date of the general election, which had been promised in January, has now inched back to late March – and could be as late as 25 March, the Sunday Times reports. However, Labour’s Eamon Gilmore has signalled his intention to call a motion of no confidence in the government if it is not held by the end of January.
2. #BLATHNAID: Gardaí and the coastguard are now concentrating their search for missing woman Blathnaid Timothy along the east coast, after a taxi driver came forward on Thursday to say he had dropped her off outside the Waterside Bar on Harbour Road at 8.30pm on the night she went missing, 14 December. Large numbers of people were in the area at the time, as emergency services were recovering the body of a woman from the water. The Sunday Times crime correspondent, John Mooney, reports that following an analysis of Blathnaid Timothy’s internet searches, gardaí do not suspect foul play. He adds that media reports suggesting she had been abducted have hampered the garda investigation.
3. #BERTIE: The Sunday Business Post carries the cheering news that former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern stands to gain €60,000 by retiring now. According to figures obtained by Niamh Connolly from the department of finance, an overhaul of the pension system and loss of increments for deputies means he would be €60,000 worse off if he waited to retire til after the election. As it is, he will retire on a package worth €150,000, plus a lump sum of €160,000. Noel Dempsey and Dermot Ahern are each about €40,000 better off retiring now, as opposed to after the election. There is speculation that Michael Woods and Mary Harney may be next to go, the paper adds.
4. #PRESIDENCY: But it’s not all good news for Bertie this morning. The Sunday Independent reveals that he is no longer considering running for the Presidency, after he was forced to accept he would have very little chance of winning the race – or even the Fianna Fáil nomination.
5. #STAND-OFF: The Greens and Fianna Fáil are embroiled in yet another stand-off, following what some Fianna Fáilers described as the “outrageous demands” of their cabinet colleagues on the Climate Change Bill. The Sunday Independent reports that the warring factions had to call in Attorney General Paul Gallagher to mediate in their dispute, as the final meeting of the cabinet before Christmas had to be postponed for several hours – and another “near walkout” by the Greens was narrowly averted. It’s not known if Gallagher was forced to deploy the naughty step.
6.#WATER: Restrictions in the water supplies to most of the country are due to be lifted later today. However, householders in Dublin are being warned that it could be another week before supplies return to normal.
7. #HOTMAIL: Users of hotmail have been reporting that emails have been deleted from their accounts without their knowledge. The BBC reports that a spokeswoman for Microsoft insists the issue of missing e-mails is not a widespread problem.
8. #AUSTRALIA: A woman who was swept away in her car in rising floodwaters in Queensland has become the first victim of the Australian flooding.
9. #MARY MELTDOWN: The Irish Daily Star on Sunday carries news of the latest of what the tabloids call a ‘Mary Meltdown’. The former Tesco worker turned X Factor semi finalist Mary Byrne was left shaken after she was “mobbed by screaming fans in Dublin” and may have to hire a bodyguard. May-By told the paper she doesn’t mind the attention, but her daughter Deborah finds it “a pain in the face”.