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GOOD MORNING

The 9 at 9 UK asylum legislation, Triple Lock and newborn killed in Gaza.

LAST UPDATE | 30 Apr

GOOD MORNING.

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

Safe country

1. Minister for Justice Helen McEntee will today seek Cabinet approval to “rapidly” draft legislation to designate the UK as a safe country again in order to return asylum seekers who have crossed the border into the Republic from Northern Ireland.

Shootout

2. Three police officers in North Carolina were killed in a shootout while attempting to serve a warrant for possession of a firearm.

One man was shot and killed by authorities in the front garden of the home, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief Johnny Jennings said.

Triple Lock

3. Tánaiste Micheál Martin will seek Government approval today to draft legislation to get rid of the triple lock for Irish military involvement in operations abroad.

If approved by Cabinet, the bill will change how Ireland deploys the Defence Forces on peacekeeping missions overseas and will essentially remove the veto power of UN Security Council members over Ireland’s overseas engagements.

Children asylum seekers

4. Ireland has experienced a 500% increase in the number of children arriving alone to claim asylum.

Tusla figures reveal that in the last 15 months, 607 unaccompanied boys and girls were referred to the child agency’s Separated Children Seeking International Protection (SCSIP) service.

Of those, 243 minors arrived in the first three months of 2024 – more than half of the combined total for 2023.

Cash for Ash

5. Ministers will seek Cabinet approval for a nearly €80 million package to support landowners whose forests have been impacted by ash dieback, a deadly fungal disease that is wiping out many of the country’s ash trees.

The scheme would offer €5,000 per hectare to farmers who clear ash sites and re-establish new forests in their place.

Mixed Schools

6. Secondary-level students in both mixed and single-sex schools would prefer to be taught in a mixed setting, according to new research by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). 

The report focused on “voluntary” secondary schools – those that were originally or are still under religious patronage, as opposed to community colleges.

US campus protests

7. Columbia University, the epicenter of pro-Palestinian protests that have upended college campuses across the United States, began suspending student demonstrators on Monday after they defied an ultimatum to disperse.

The move follows almost two weeks of protests against Israel’s war in Gaza that have swept through higher education institutions from coast to coast, after around 100 protesters were first arrested at Columbia on 18 April.

Israeli Army

8. The United States has concluded that five Israeli security force units committed serious human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank before the Hamas attack in October, the State Department has said.

Israel has taken remedial measures with four of these units, making US sanctions less likely. Consultations are under way with Israel over the fifth unit, State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

Covid Inquiry 

9. Legislation to ensure people are never restricted from visiting dying loved ones is needed, campaigners have said ahead of the first UK Covid-19 Inquiry sitting in Belfast.

The UK-wide inquiry’s hearings in Belfast begin on Tuesday and will run for three weeks and are designed to provide an opportunity to look in “depth” at the decisions taken in Northern Ireland.

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