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The 9 at 9: Thursday

Zappone saga explained and Harrington through to Olympic final.

Image: Shutterstock/Nina Firsova

Updated Aug 5th 2021, 8:54 AM

GOOD MORNING.

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

Zappone saga

1. In our main story today, reporter Céimin Burke outlines how the Katherine Zappone controversy played out over the past week. 

Zappone announced yesterday that she will not take up the role of UN Special Envoy on Freedom of Opinion and Expression. The newly-created role had not been publicly advertised, which raised questions about the process and the job itself. 

Yesterday, calls for the former Children’s Minister to decline the job heightened after the Irish Independent reported that she organised an outdoor event on the grounds of the Merrion Hotel in Dublin on 21 July.

Zappone, the Merrion Hotel, the Attorney General and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who was at the event, all insisted that it was compliant with Covid-19 rules at the time.

Olympic final 

2. Ireland’s Kellie Harrington is through to Sunday’s Olympic boxing final in the lightweight division after today’s semi-final win.

Harrington will fight for gold after defeating her Thai opponent Sudaporn Seesondee on a split decision at the Kokugikan Arena.

She emerged victorious by the narrowest of margins on that split 3-2 decision with three judges scoring 29-28 in Harrington’s favour, while two went 29-28 for Seesondee.

Kanturk tragedy

3. A man who was shot dead by his father and brother in a dispute over inheritance left a note in which he said that he was afraid for the life of himself and his terminally ill mother.

An inquest in Mallow, Co Cork, heard that Mark O’Sullivan (26) sustained seven gunshot wounds in his bedroom on the morning of 26 October 2020 at his home in Raheen, Assolas, Kanturk, Co Cork.

In a letter left behind, presumably to be read in the event of his death, Mark said that he felt like “a caged animal with being constantly prodded by two abusive captors” referencing his father Tadg and his younger brother Diarmuid.

Pubs and restaurants

4. Hospitality representatives asked the government to produce a roadmap on how pandemic restrictions in their sector will be lifted in the next few months.

Industry representatives had publicly called for the 11.30pm curfew to be scrapped by September.

Baby boxes

5. The supply of baby boxes to new parents across the country won’t begin until at least late 2021 as the Department of Children moves to undertake consultation on their design. 

The measure was included in the programme for government a spokesperson for the Department has confirmed the initiative has been delayed due to Covid-19. 

These boxes can act as a cot and they include baby clothes, small toys, baby toothbrushes and books to help them through early development.

Vaccine inequality

6. The United States has rejected an appeal from the WHO for a moratorium on Covid-19 vaccine booster shots and for rich countries to focus instead on supplying poorer nations.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged the countries and companies controlling the supply of doses to change course immediately and prioritise less wealthy states.

The UN health agency has for months raged against the glaring and growing imbalance, branding it a moral outrage.

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Temporary injunction

7. A garda has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing the Commissioner from dispensing with his services.

The court made the order in favour of Shane Kilcoyne, who entered the Garda Training College, Templemore in 2016, and began a BA degree course in Applied Policing.

The court heard that Garda Kilcoyne was told last month that due to his failure to pass a physical fitness test, known as a beep test, which is a part of his degree course, his services were being dispensed with from 9 August next.

Sheep

8. A record-breaking ram turned heads yesterday when it was bought for €44,000 in Wicklow – the largest amount ever paid for a ram at a sale in the Republic of Ireland. 

The seven-month-old Suffolk ram was sold by Richard Thompson, a farmer from Ballybofey in Co Donegal.

He said it was a “dream come true”.

Stormy days

9. Sunshine seems like nothing more than a distant memory at this stage, with a Status Yellow thunderstorm warning issued for Ireland today.

The warning has been in place for the Republic since 6am and will remain until 7pm this evening. In the North, the warning is in place from 1pm to 10pm. 

Met Éireann said there will be thunderstorm activity with a risk of hail which will lead to localised flooding and hazardous driving conditions. 

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