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Tuesday 6 June 2023 Dublin: 16°C
The 9 at 9 The Four Year Plan comes to the Dáil, the state considers a second bad bank, and North Korea finds an unlikely ally.

Every morning, brings you nine things you really, really need to know before you start the day.

1. #FOUR YEAR PLAN: The Dáil is today set to discuss the contents of yesterday’s four year budget plan, after clearing the day’s schedule to discuss its details – but there’ll be no vote to approve it, with the government insisting that each voting on each individual Budget is enough.

The Department of Finance, meanwhile, has admitted that the EU and IMF retain the power to seek changes to the four-year plan, while Fine Gael say Brussels has given it permission to renegotiate the plan if it gets into power – thereby undermining the power or effectiveness of the plan.

2. #BANKS: The recovery division of Anglo Irish Bank may be merged with the remains of Irish Nationwide Building Society to form a second state-owned ‘bad bank’ after NAMA, the Irish Times reports.

NAMA’s moderate downsizing after the move to restrict its remaining loan purchases from €5m to €20m means that the banks are likely to be left with a “rump” of impaired loans, and the two most impaired banks could be used to help cleanse healthier institutions.

3. #WORK FOR WELFARE: Social protection minister Éamon Ó Cuív has said he has given further consideration to new policies that would require some people in receipt of social welfare to perform various community service roles, or face cuts to their benefits, RTÉ News reports.

4. #BY-ELECTIONS: Voters in Donegal South-West go to the polls today to elect a new TD, who will succeed Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher who left the seat 17 months ago. The Irish Examiner reports that enthusiasm has waned for the “redundant” vote – given the apparent onset of a full general election – though there could still be a shock in store.

Local newspaper the Donegal Times this week said that Fine Gael councillor Barry O’Neill would likely top the poll on the first count – despite an opinion poll last week putting him in third place on 16%, while Sinn Féin’s senator Pearse Doherty enjoyed 40% support.

5. #SHOOTING: Gardaí now believe that the two men shot dead at a petrol station forecourt in Finglas on Tuesday night may have been set up. CCTV footage showed the car carrying two gunmen and a driver pulling up to the forecourt minutes before the two victims did; the car had the opportunity to move and re-park four times to allow the assailants the best point of attack.

6. #BAILOUT: The security of the negotiations between Ireland and the EU, ECB and IMF over the bailout may have hit a snag. The Financial Times says in an editorial that the IMF has fallen out with the other parties, having disagreed over what the FT claims is the extension of Ireland’s bank guarantee for five years.

The president of the European Parliament, meanwhile, has said that the impasse over the new EU budget – on which MEPs are deadlocked, refusing to agree on an overall seven-year plan – means Ireland will not receive the usual structural funds it gets from Brussels. It’s not thought, though, that the EU budget will risk the passage of the bailout, with both Brian Lenihan and Olli Rehn saying the bailout is a separate matter.

7. #COURTS: Disgraced swimming coach Derry O’Rourke has been given yet another prison term for indecently assaulting a former student. O’Rourke was yesterday convicted of assaulting a 14-year-old student on dates between September 1971 and March 1972 – probably the first offences committed by the coach, who was jailed for 12 years in 1998 for sexual assault and statutory rape.

O’Rourke’s entire three-year sentence, however, was suspended for six years.

8. #KOREA: North Korea has warned that it may continue its armed assault on South Korea, in spite of the United States’ move to join the South in its military exercises this weekend as the peninsula prepares for what could be an all-out armed conflict.

Barack Obama is expected to call his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao later, in an attempt to prompt China to intervene in the dispute. The US believes China – one of North Korea’s few international allies – is the only state that could convince the North to stand down.

9. #ALLIES: Speaking of North Korea, Pyongyang appears to have found an unlikely ally… in Sarah Palin. The Tea Party figurehead and likely 2012 US presidential candidate told American radio on Tuesday that the Korean conflict was a worrying development, but said that the US had to “come out with a strong enough policy to sanction what North Korea’s going to do.”

She added that the US had to “stand with our North Korean allies” – and when prompted to correct herself, offered a curt ‘Yeah’, before continuing that the US was “bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies”.