EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine things you need to know as you kick off your day…
1. #INSOLVENCY: The Oireachtas has passed the final parts of the Personal Insolvency Bill, a move that will fundamentally reform Ireland’s bankruptcy regime and provide for a legal system which can allow people with substantial personal debts to have them wiped. Amongst the changes is the reduction of the bankruptcy period from 12 to three years.
2. #BIRTHS: Ireland has the highest birth rate in the European Union, according to new figures released by the ESRI. The Perinatal Statistics Report 2011 shows mothers who gave birth in 2011 represent 16.2 of every 1,000 people in the country – significantly higher than the rate in the second-highest country, the UK, where the birth rate was 12.9 per thousand. Ireland’s perinatal mortality rate is also falling.
3. #FISHING: EU ministers have reached a deal concerning fishing quotas for 2013 following all-night talks in Brussels, RTÉ reports. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney described the negotiations as difficult but said that Ireland’s “strong scientific argument” had ensured that a significant number of Irish jobs would no longer be at risk.
4. #BANKERS: Directors from AIB and Bank of Ireland who were appointed to ensure the bailed-out banks act in the public interest will be questioned by TDs and Senators for the first time today at an Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform. The four directors are likely to be asked about the high salaries paid to senior executives at the banks.
5. #BUDGET 2013: The final stages of the Social Welfare Bill to be debated in Seanad later, after the Government won a key vote on the Bill by 31 votes to 28 yesterday. Labour’s James Heffernan voted against the bill and automatically lost the party whip.
6. #SMOKING: The average age of taking up smoking in Ireland is the lowest in the European Union, according to a report by the European Commission. In Ireland the average age of a person starting to smoke is 16.4 years-old compared to the EU average of just under 18.
7. #RIP: A man from Drogheda has died while fighting government forces in Syria. Egyptian-born Hudhaifa ElSayed, 22, moved to Ireland with his family as a young child, the Irish Independent reports. He worked as a coach and trainer.
8. #NORTHERN IRELAND: Leaders of Northern Ireland’s five main political parties will today meet in Stormont to discuss recent unrest in the region, sparked by a decision to reduce the number of days the union flag is flown over Belfast City Hall.
9. #ISRAEL: All countries of the UN Security Council, except for the United States, have condemned Israel’s decision to go ahead with settlement expansions in east Jerusalem and the West Bank and called for an immediate halt to construction, reports the BBC. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the plan “gravely threatens efforts to establish a viable Palestinian state”.
- Over on DailyEdge.ie: Watch Tom Cruise get drinks thrown in his face! It’s The Dredge.