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The 5 at 5 5 stories, 5 minutes, 5 o’clock…

EVERY WEEKDAY EVENING, brings you the five stories you need to know about before you head out the door.

1. #ARRIVEDERCI: Pope Benedict XVI has left Rome for the final time as pontiff. After meeting with Cardinals in the Vatican this morning, Benedict took a brief helicopter ride to Castel Gandolfo, his summer retreat just outside the Italian capital, where he will see out the final hours of his papacy. At 7pm Irish time this evening, the gates of the Castel will close and the Swiss Guards will leave – symbolising the end of Benedict’s eight-year reign.

2. #BARROSO: The President of the European Commission has told Ireland there is “light at the end of the tunnel”, saying most of the hard work in restoring balance to the national finances has been completed. Jose Manuel Barroso said Ireland was an example to other countries of how “fiscal consolidation” measures could help to bring back financial security to the government. Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, said he was “deeply impressed” by the way the Irish people had responded to austerity.

3. #CROKE PARK 2: The executive of one of the country’s largest trade unions, IMPACT, has “overwhelmingly” recommended acceptance of the terms of the new ‘Croke Park 2′ public pay deal. General secretary Shay Cody said union leaders believed the proposals were the best that could be secured through negotiations, and has asked its members to vote Yes when they are asked to approve it in the coming weeks.

4. #PROPERTY: The property market might be stabilising – but prices are still falling. Property prices fell 3.3 per cent in the 12 months to January 2013, according to CSO figures out today – though the annual drop is lower than the 4.5 per cent in the twelve months to December 2012. Prices dropped by 0.6 per cent in January alone, but were up by 0.5 per cent in Dublin – meaning a 2.1 per cent increase in the capital in the last year.

5. #MOBILITY: Two days after announcing the abolition of mobility payments to disabled people, James Reilly and Kathleen Lynch had mobility problems of their own today. The two ministers got stuck in a lift while opening a new mental health facility at Grangegorman, and were locked in the elevator for “10 minutes or so”. As it happens, Irish Times photographer Brenda Fitzsimons – who took this photo from inside the offending lift – is now locked into the facility.

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