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The 9 at 9: Thursday

Two Green Party TDs suspended, Donnelly retweets and a war crimes trial in Ukraine.

GOOD MORNING.

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

1. National Maternity Hospital

The Green Party has suspended two TDs who supported a Sinn Féin motion on public ownership of NMH.

Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello voted against the government on the motion, which was passed by the Dáil as the other government TDs abstained. The final count was 56 votes in favour, 10 against and 69 abstentions.

A couple of hours after the vote, the Green Party announced that its parliamentary party had agreed to remove the party whip and suspend Costello and Hourigan for six months.

2. Ukraine

A Russian soldier pleaded guilty to killing a Ukrainian civilian in the opening stages of Moscow’s invasion during the first war-crimes trial held since the war began.

The hearing in a packed Kyiv courtroom is the first in a series of proceedings being brought by Ukraine against Russian servicemen who have been accused of carrying out atrocities by Kyiv and its Western allies.

They are also a public test of Ukraine’s judicial system at a time when international institutions are simultaneously investigating abuses allegedly committed by Russian forces.

3. Turkish retweets

Twitter has suspended over 300 accounts for violations of its platform manipulation and spam policy after investigating activity around a post from the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

Donnelly’s tweet this week – which was a video update about the National Maternity Hospital – quickly accumulated over 200 retweets, many of which were from accounts that appeared to be based in Turkey.

The health minister and the Department of Health denied paying for any promotional activity on Donnelly’s Twitter account after the unusual patterns emerged.

4. Brexit

Liz Truss has been accused of saying that the impact of a no-deal Brexit in Ireland would only “affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks”.

The claim comes from a Tweet by Alexandra Hall Hall, a former British ambassador to Georgia who was the lead Brexit envoy for the UK Government in Washington for several years.

Hall Hall alleged that Truss made the comments as part of a speech to a US audience in 2019.

5. Travel

Government ministerial transport emitted over 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent last year, an analysis by The Journal has found.

Data provided by each government department shows that the collective transport emissions of Ireland’s ministers and junior ministers in 2021 equated to more than 220 flights from London to Sydney or one-and-a-half rocket launches into space.

The figure was calculated following a series of requests made under Access to the Environment (AIE) regulations, which sought details of all flights taken by ministers and junior ministers, mileage claimed for car use, and the make and model of those cars.

6. Operation Brookweed

Five men have been held in custody and five have been released without charge by detectives investigating alleged football match-fixing in the League of Ireland.

Several residential properties were searched in a planned Garda operation, which stemmed from an investigation carried out by detectives attached to the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Unit in 2019.

That investigation was prompted by reports of suspected match-fixing received from the Football Association of Ireland and Union of European Football Associations (Uefa).

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7. Cancer research

Teenagers and young adults in Ireland are to get greater access to clinical cancer trials under a new HSE framework for patients aged 16-25.

Cancer is the leading cause of natural death in this population, with approximately 30% due to haematological malignancies such as leukaemia.

The incidence rate of some cancers such as germ cell tumours, sarcomas, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is higher in this age group than in both adults and children and the incidence rate of cancer overall is rising.

8. Vaping

The HSE has urged the public to stop using certain e-cigarettes from the Aroma King range of disposable vapes. 

The health executive said it has warned retailers to stop selling these products as they contain an unauthorised amount of nicotine.

The HSE’s National Tobacco Control Office said it submitted a warning to the EU’s rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products after discovering that certain Aroma King products contain more than the permitted amount of nicotine (20mg/ml or 2%).

9. Brexit

Irish officials are not expecting the European Commission to be “bounced” into a response to UK plans to dispose with some aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol

The response from Brussels to yesterday’s speech by British Foreign Secretary has been best described as a “wait and see approach” despite exasperation at the UK’s decision. 

Speaking this week in the House of Commons, Secretary Liz Truss said that the Conservative government plans to “introduce legislation to make changes to the Protocol.”

 

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