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The 9 at 9 Warning over garda forensics, Taoiseach’s next post and pesticide problems.


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

Garda forensics

1. In our lead story this morning, Niall O’Connor reports that the former head of Ireland’s top forensics lab has warned that the rapid growth and focus on technology in forensics science has increased the risk that innocent people could be blamed for crimes.

Sheila Willis, who was Director General of Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) from 2002 to 2016, told The Journal that forensic science should not work separate to forensically trained gardaí at crime scenes, as is happening.

She says that forensic scientists in Ireland need to have greater involvement in the investigation of crime scenes as technology becomes more advanced.

Cabinet reshuffle

2. All eyes will be on what portfolio Micheál Martin will opt for when he takes over as Tánaiste in December.

Many Fianna Fáilers at the party think-in this week believe if Martin opts for foreign affairs, it will be an indication that he plans to vacate the position as party leader sooner rather than later. 

Given the inflation crisis and the focus on the impending budget, there was no talk of leadership challenges over the two days in Westmeath but it is expected at some point before December. By then, some members will be asking, quite forcefully, what Martin’s intentions are as leader. 

Pesticide problems

3. The vast majority of pesticide retailer and wholesaler inspections in recent years identified issues or actions to be taken, according to records seen by Noteworthy.

Issues with products sold, staff training, record keeping or registration requirements were found in 256 (92%) of the 278 inspections by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine’s (DAFM) .

As part of EU and Irish law, in order to sell pesticides, retailers must apply to be included on the DAFM list of registered stores, and all pesticide distributors, including retailers, suppliers and wholesalers, must train and register with DAFM.

War crimes tribunal

4. The EU presidency has called for the establishment of an international tribunal for war crimes after new mass graves were found in Ukraine.

“In the 21st century, such attacks against the civilian population are unthinkable and abhorrent,” said Jan Lipavsky, foreign minister of the Czech Republic which holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.

Cost-of-living protest

5. Hundreds of people attended a cost-of-living protest in Cork city, during which activists demanded further support from the Government to help people struggling with inflation.

Protesters chanted “the cost of living is rising, so are we” and held signs up with slogans like “rent control now”.

Taoiseach travel

6. The Taoiseach will travel to New York next week to take part in the UN General Assembly High Level Week which will be attended by world leaders, including US President Joe Biden.

While it had been suggested back in March that Martin might get a chance to meet the US president in the White House before the year is out, sources have said it now seems unlikely he’ll make a trip to DC.

The Taoiseach missed out on the annual St Patrick’s Day visit to the Oval Office as he contracted Covid before the head-to-head meeting. 

Queen’s lying-in-state

7. Queen Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren mounted a vigil around her coffin, which is on display in London’s Westminster Hall.

William and his brother Prince Harry led the 15-minute vigil inside parliament’s Westminster Hall, which has hosted tens of thousands of mourners since the late queen began lying in state there on Wednesday.

China’s energy crisis

8. China has stepped up spending on coal in the face of extreme weather, a domestic energy crunch and rising global fuel prices – raising concerns Beijing’s policies may hinder the fight against climate change.

The country is the world’s biggest emitter of the greenhouse gases driving global warming, and President Xi Jinping has vowed to reduce coal use from 2026 as part of a broad set of climate promises.

Japanese typhoon

9. A powerful typhoon approaching southern Japan has pounded the region with strong winds and heavy rain, causing blackouts, paralysing ground and air transportation and resulting in the evacuation of thousands of people.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said Typhoon Nanmadol was near the southern island of Yakushima, packing maximum surface winds of 162 kilometres per hour, as it slowly headed north to the country’s main southern island of Kyushu, where it could make landfall later today.

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