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The 9 at 9: Saturday

Mica-affected families speak out, rivals concede in Iranian election, and search for missing Irish hiker scaled back.

Image: Shutterstock/Marian Weyo

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

Mica Scandal 

After a massive protest in Dublin’s city centre, there was a slight shift in the government’s position this week on homes impacted by the mica scandal and the support required to help them fix their crumbling homes -  but impacted homeowners are not feeling hopeful.

Homeowners are demanding that a government scheme be changed to cover 100% of the costs associated with fixing their homes, and in this morning’s lead story Michelle Hennessy hears from three affected families. 

We built or house ourselves, we started in 2002 and everything was grand, perfect. Then it was that bad winter in 2010 we noticed a lot of cracking and we thought it was the plaster. The following year was bad as well, it seemed to be getting worse.

Loyalist communities council

A group representing loyalist paramilitary organisations have called on the next DUP leader to collapse powersharing if necessary to “stop the constant flow of concessions to Sinn Fein”.

The Loyalist Communities Council – an umbrella group representing the views of the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando – have also said Irish government ministers and officials are “no longer welcome in Northern Ireland”.

It follows the decision of Edwin Poots to resign as DUP leader after internal party fury over his decision to nominate a first minister after Westminster pledged to introduce Irish language legislation.

Cian McLaughlin

The search for a missing 27-year-old Dublin man who was last seen hiking in Wyoming in the US over a week ago is set to be scaled back.

The Grand Teton National Park Service said the search for McLaughlin will shift tactics to a continuous, but limited mode “after days of extensive ground and aerial efforts.”

Coronavirus update 

Canada has been removed from Ireland’s list of designated countries for mandatory hotel quarantine, with Mongolia to be added to the list by Tuesday. 

Separately, hospitalisations have continued to decrease. As of last night, there were 44 patients with Covid-19 in hospitals, of whom 15 are in ICU.

Iran election 

The sole moderate candidate in Iran’s presidential election has conceded he lost to the country’s hard-line judiciary chief.

The move signalled the protege of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has won the vote he dominated after the disqualification of his strongest competition.

Hospital overcrowding 

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has written to the HSE, calling for a meeting with the Health Executive’s Emergency Department Taskforce over unsafe levels of hospital overcrowding.

The INMO said that the number of admitted patients waiting for beds has continued to increase, despite the continued risk of Covid-19 transmissions. The union added that some hospitals are also approaching pre-pandemic levels of overcrowding.

Mother and Baby Home

Mother and Baby Home survivor, Terri Harrison, says that recalling the trauma she suffered when coerced into giving her son up for adoption, and her ongoing search for him, while giving evidence to the Commission was incredibly difficult.

Harrison was among the survivors to give testimony to the Investigation Committee of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

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She told Órla Ryan the way women and girls were treated in Ireland at the time was comparable to the women in Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale

National Maternity Hospital

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that “nothing has been signed off” on, with regards to the proposed new National Maternity Hospital earmarked for Elm Park in Dublin on land that has been owned by the Sisters of Charity.

Martin said the new hospital location and its ownership has been a “long running saga” and that it has always been his view that any new hospital should be owned by the public.

In a statement last night, the Religious Sisters of Charity said it has “never at any point been contacted by Government or the State to discuss purchasing the site”. 

Solving the housing crisis 

How do we find solutions to the housing crisis? The Good Information Project hosted a panel of expert voices last night to discuss what solutions, if any, could help end the crisis.

Panellists were: Ali Grehan, Dublin City Architect, Aidan Regan, associate professor in UCD’s School of Politics and International Relations, Orla Hegarty, architect and assistant professor at UCD and Dr Lorcan Sirr, lecturer in housing at Dublin Institute of Technology and visiting professor of housing at the Universitat Rovira. 

You can watch back the expert panel here.

About the author:

Adam Daly

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