EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you need to know as you kick off your day.
1. #FISHING: The European Union have agreed to ban fishing trawlers from discarding fish overboard. Agreement was reached overnight after 21 hours of talks. An ‘obligation to land’ clause is set to be phased in across Europe between 2014 and 2019.
2. #MOBILITY: The decision by government to scrap both the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant has been heavily criticised. The decision was made after the grants were found to be in breach of equality laws due to the fact that entrants over 65 were barred from applying. Responding to the news, the Disability Federation of Ireland called the Department of Health a “sick bureaucratic monster”.
3. #NORTHERN IRELAND: The PSNI have uncovered a rocket launcher and a warhead during the search of a house in West Belfast. The weapons, which are now undergoing a forensic examination, were “clearly intended to kill”, according to a police spokesman.
4. #POPE BENEDICT: Pope Benedict XVI is to deliver his last public address today. The address, which is being held in St Peter’s Square, is expected to draw crowds in excess of the 50,000 tickets that have been requested ahead of the event, with city authorities preparing for up to 200,000 people. The address is expected to start at 9.30am Irish time.
5. #ULSTER BANK: More than 1,000 Ulster Bank customers whose mortgage accounts were under-charged over a number of years have been contacted to repay the monies owed, according to the Irish Independent. It is believed that up to €41 million was not collected as a result of the mistake, leaving customers having to pay back approximately €30,000 each.
6. #CROKE PARK: The Association of High Civil and Public Servants is to recommend a no vote on the proposals outlined in the new Croke Park agreement. The association represents more than 2,700 public servants. The proposed public sector pay deal can be read in full here.
7. #WATER CHARGES: Amendments to The Water Services Bill 2013 are to be considered during a meeting of the Environment sub-committee today. Sinn Féin are proposing that the bill should be altered so that it does not commit the country to having to pay water charges. For a full rundown of all that is happening today, click here.
8. #JOBSWATCH: 130 jobs are to be created in two separate jobs announcements, according to RTÉ News. Guidewire Software in Blanchardstown is to create 75 jobs, while Cement company Ecocem is to create a further 25 jobs, with another 36 jobs being created indirectly.
9. #ALCOHOL: Ireland is to get its first Alcohol Awareness Week. Launching next month, the national charity Alcohol Forum will attempt to raise public awareness of the country’s “harmful drinking culture”. The campaign is to run from 18 to 22 March.