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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 18 January 2022

The 9 at 9: Thursday

Peat extracted from protected bogs, man held over fatal assault in Tullamore and Boris Johnson.

Image: Shutterstock


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

1. Peat cutting

In our main story this morning, Niall Sargent reports that peat was extracted from over 280 plots on EU protected active raised bog sites in 2021 without any consent from State authorities.

The cutting of peat in Ireland’s active raised bog network was banned in 2011 to protect the internationally important sites listed as priority habitat for protection under EU law.

Unlike bogs degraded from decades of peat extraction, drainage and land use change, active raised bog – mainly found in the Midlands – is wet and acts as a carbon sink. They also support a range of rare species and plants, help improve water quality and storage, and offer amenity and tourism options.

From our original 310,000 hectares of active raised bog, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) estimated in 2019 that the entire raised bog network comprised just under 11,000 hectares, of which just 1,195 hectares was active raised bog.

2. Co Offaly

A woman killed in Co Offaly yesterday afternoon while out for a run has been named locally as 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy, who was from the locality.

Ashling was attacked along the canal bank in Cappincur at around 4pm. Minister Simon Harris said that the woman was killed while out for an afternoon run.

The stretch of canal walkway is called ‘Fiona’s Way’ – named after Fiona Pender, a 25-year-old local woman who went missing while pregnant in August 1996.

A man in his 40s has been arrested in connection with the attack on the 23-year-old teacher; he is currently being detained at Tullamore Garda Station for 24 hours.

3. Boris Johnson

In the UK, Boris Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister is increasingly reliant on the outcome of a potentially bombshell report being prepared by a senior official, as he faced brazen calls for his resignation from his own backbenchers.

Johnson apologised yesterday for attending a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, when the rest of the country was in lockdown.

He insisted he thought the party was work-related, but said he recognised “with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside”.

4. Helen McEntee

Back at home, Justice Minister Helen McEntee has confirmed the opening date of 31 January for the long-term undocumented scheme.

The new scheme will see undocumented migrants get a chance to apply for citizenship.

The Department of Justice said studies suggest there could be up to 17,000 undocumented people including up to 3,000 children and that many could be in employment, although likely low paid employment.

5. Prince Andrew

A lawyer for the woman who has accused Prince Andrew of sexually assaulting her has said she wants the matter to be “resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims”.

And the BBC reported David Boies, a lawyer representing Virginia Giuffre, also suggested his client would be unlikely to accept a purely financial settlement.

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6. Novak Djokovic

In Australia, Novak Djokovic drew a first-round clash against a fellow Serb in the Australian Open today, taking a step closer to his dream of a record 21st Grand Slam despite a looming decision on his deportation.

The unvaccinated world number one, top seed and defending champion is looking to clinch a 10th title at Melbourne Park, but his hopes were in peril as Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke pondered whether to revoke his visa for a second time and throw him out of the country.

7. Blanchardstown

Two male youths have been hospitalised following a public order incident in Dublin yesterday.

The incident occurred in the environs of Blanchardstown Shopping Centre at approximately 5.40pm yesterday evening.

8. Spring TV

Virgin Media Television has launched its spring schedule for 2022, with the broadcaster promising brand new Irish content, top drama and premier live sport.

The broadcaster announced the new lineup of shows today, detailing how the station would be home to Graham Norton’s Holding, which is based on his best-selling novel and the crime thriller Redemption.

9. RIP

Ronnie Spector – the cat-eyed rock ‘n’ roll singer who fronted the 1960s group the Ronettes, whose era-defining hits included the classic ‘Be My Baby’ – died yesterday.

She was 78 years old.

About the author:

Jane Moore

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