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The 9 at 9: Monday

Nine things you really need to know this morning: A referendum on scrapping the Seanad, more speculation of a Fianna Fáil heave, and water outages for two more weeks.

Image: jontintinjordan via Flickr

Every morning, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you really need to know with your morning coffee.

1. #SEANAD: The government is considering holding a referendum on the abolition of the Seanad on the same day as the forthcoming general election, it is reported. The Irish Times quotes defence minister Tony Killeen as saying the matter would be discussed at a cabinet meeting this week, acknowledging public appetite to scrap the upper house of the Oireachtas.

2. #FIANNA FAIL: Brian Cowen’s days as leader of Fianna Fáil look increasingly numbered after only one senior party member offered a public defence of Cowen’s leadership following a public attack by his predecessor, Bertie Ahern.

In an interview with the News of the World yesterday, Ahern was highly critical of Cowen’s handling of the economic crisis. Investigating the reaction of current Fianna Fáil TDs, the Irish Independent says it was only able to find one TD who would defend the current Taoiseach.

3. #WATER: The water supply to some parts of Dublin could remain curtailed for a further 12 days, with Dublin City Council saying that supplies from the Stillorgan reservoir are still well below the guideline amount it requires to recommence full services. Water nationwide has been in short supply since the end of the cold snap, when the thaw burst many water pipes.

4. #BUDGET11: The social welfare and child benefit cuts as outlined in last month’s Budget come into effect this morning, affecting over a million Irish people. 891,000 people on allowances for jobseekers, carers, disability or lone parenthood will see cuts, while 600,000 families will be affected by cuts to child benefit, the Irish Times reports.

5. #PUBS: One pub closed every business day for the past five years on average, according to figures compiled by the Revenue Commissioners. The number of licences held by vintners around the country fell by 1,300 in the years from 2006 to 2010. Publicans blame the pricing structure for alcohol licences, which make it far cheaper to sell alcohol in off-licences.

6. #AUSTRALIA: Floodwaters are continuing to rise in Queensland, where an area the size of France and Germany remains affected by torrential rainfall. Some residents in high-lying areas are today being evacuated amid fears that their homes could be destroyed when the height of the floodwaters reaches nine metres later.

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7. #BLATHNAID: The family of missing Blathnaid Timothy has admitted it is losing hope of finding her alive, as the coastguard continues offshore searches for her. “We are not very optimistic,” her brother Ronan told today’s Irish Independent. “At this stage, the possibility is not good.”

8. #PAKISTAN: Pakistan faces a period of political upheaval after one of the regional parties supporting the country’s national coalition withdrew from power, robbing the government of its majority. Prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is now holding talks with opposition leaders in a bid to form another last-minute coalition or establish a voting arrangement to avoid political crisis.

9. #MARRIAGE: The government is considering measures to legalise weddings held in foreign embassies, which are considered invalid under Irish law. The Civil Registration Act requires marriages on Irish soil to be carried out by an authorised registrar, and to have taken place in a publicly-accessible and registered building.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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