We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


The 9 at 9 Julian Assange freed, mental health report released and McGrath to be new EU Commissioner.



Here’s all the news that you need to know as you start your day.

1. Assange Free

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been released from prison and left the UK after reaching a plea deal with US authorities.

Court papers filed by the US Justice Department show Assange is scheduled to appear in federal court to plead guilty to an Espionage Act charge of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defence information.

He will then return to his home country of Australia after his plea and sentencing, scheduled for tomorrow morning local time in the Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth in the Western Pacific.

2. Electoral Commission

Cabinet will this morning be asked to approve a section of the Electoral Reform Act 2022 which will give the Electoral Commission powers relating to disinformation and misinformation online.

Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien will seek Cabinet approval to progress Part 5 of the bill, which was delayed as the Government was required to ensure it is in harmony with the EU Digital Services Act. 

3. Water Supply

Cabinet will also be asked to allow Uisce Éireann to proceed with a planning application as part of moves to increase water supply by piping water from the River Shannon to a reservoir in Dublin.

The utility recently raised concerns that the River Liffey is supplying 85% of the water requirements for 1.7 million people across four counties in the Greater Dublin Area. 

4. Stardust Families

The Taoiseach has appointed counsel on behalf of the State to engage with the legal representatives of the families of the victims of the Stardust fire regarding a proposed redress scheme. 

Simon Harris will update Cabinet today on the actions taken by the Government since the verdict in the Stardust inquests was delivered on 18 April. 

The jury in the inquests delivered verdicts of unlawful killing in the case of all 48 victims who died in the nightclub fire on 14 February 1981. 

5. Mental Health

Almost 800 people were physically restrained in mental health facilities in Ireland in 2023, a decrease on previous years, according to a new report.

Some 2,570 episodes of physical restraint involving 884 residents in 53 approved centres were notified to the Mental Health Commission (MHC) last year.

The average episode of physical restraint in 2023 lasted for 4.4 minutes. The shortest episode of physical restraint lasted for less than one minute, while the longest was 30 minutes.

6. New EU Commissioner

Finance Minister Michael McGrath will become Ireland’s new EU commissioner soon after Cabinet sign off on the appointment today.

The nomination of McGrath was discussed at meeting of the three Government coalition leaders yesterday evening.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin will now bring the nomination to Cabinet for approval this morning with the resignation of the minister to follow shortly after. 

7. Problem drug use

A record 13,104 cases were treated for problem drug use in Ireland last year, according to a new report from the Health Research Board (HRB).

This is the highest annual number recorded and an increase of almost 1,100 cases compared with 2022.

Last year saw a continued increase in cocaine use among those seeking treatment, especially among women.

8. Industrial Action

Aer Lingus and the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (IALPA) have both accepted invitations to attend separate meetings at the Labour Court today amid the ongoing pilot pay dispute. 

It comes as pilots are set to begin industrial action from tomorrow until Sunday. Over 35,000 passengers have been disrupted and over 240 flights have been cancelled ahead of the five-day work-to-rule. 

IALPA informed its members this evening that the Labour Court had asked both Aer Lingus and IALPA to separately attend the court tomorrow to update the court on their respective positions.

9. Beach

Gardaí were deployed to Burrow Beach, in Sutton, Fingal, after “reports of disturbances” yesterday evening.

Large crowds went to the popular beach yesterday to enjoy the summer weather, but there were reports of altercations between young people which resulted in gardaí being called.

Crowds had to be dispersed from the beach by gardaí as a result.  

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.