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Monday 30 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
The 9 at 9 Irish aid in Haiti, service remembers Vicky Phelan, and Mary Lou McDonald rejects allegations of using Hutch family for votes.

LAST UPDATE | Nov 28th 2022, 8:58 AM


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

Irish aid

1. In this morning’s lead story, Niall O’Connor interviews workers at Irish aid agency Goal about its fight against a major cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Paul d’Anglejan, Goal, Country Director in Haiti, explained that gang violence has made it very difficult but teams are working with local groups to bring aid to the most affected areas.

Sinn Féin

2. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald rejected allegations of using the Hutch family for money and votes, claims which emerged in a trial in Dublin.

Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall was secretly recorded making the claims and criticising McDonald for not attending the funeral of the brother of murder accused Gerry “The Monk” Hutch, which were heard in the Special Criminal Court.

“That is absolutely not true. Let me further say that that case is ongoing in Dublin,” McDonald said in response on BBC NI Sunday Politics.

“This case is as a result of incredible, sterling work by the gardaí over many years, and I’m certainly not going to say anything that would in any way jeopardise or undermine or influence the outcome of that important trial.”

Vicky Phelan

3. A service to celebrate Vicky Phelan’s life in Co Kilkenny yesterday remembered how she “captivated everyone and was the nation’s treasure”.

Large numbers gathered at the Church of the Assumption in Mooncoin to pay tribute to the campaigner after her death earlier this month.

The church, which could hold 300 people, was filled while several dozen gathered outside to watch the service on a screen and thousands more watched it on a livestream.

Blood ban

4. New blood donation changes come into effect today that remove the blanket rules based on sexual orientation, moving to a system of individualised risk-based assessment for all potential donors. 

Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men previously had to abstain from sexual contact for a minimum of 12 months before meeting the criteria for donating blood, which was reduced to four months earlier this year.

Now, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service will assess each donor’s eligibility to donate on a person-by-person basis in relation to sexual history and risk, rather than a blanket ban on certain demographics. 

Defence Forces

5. The Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (RACO) is set to hold its annual conference this week, with the retention of personnel crisis at the centre of many discussions.

Raco will host Minister for Defence Simon Coveney and military top brass tomorrow and Wednesday in Naas, Co Kildare.

Military officers are expected to tell the conference that the Defence Forces is “moving in the wrong direction” on workers’ rights and staffing levels.

Northern Ireland

6. Ireland’s productivity levels have grown to 40% above Northern Ireland’s in the last 20 years, according to a new report.

The Economic and Social Research Institute think tank examined trends in productivity across both regions, finding that productivity levels in the two regions were similar in 2000 but diverged in the past 20 years. 

In 17 sectors with comparable data, productivity levels in Ireland “noticeably exceed” Northern Ireland’s in 14 of them.


7. Italian search times have recovered the bodies of seven people, including a three-week-old baby and a pair of young siblings, who were buried in mud and debris that hurtled down a mountainside and through a city on the resort island of Ischia.

The Naples prefect confirmed that five people remained missing and are feared buried under the debris of the enormous landslide that struck Casamicciola before dawn on Saturday.

Its force collapsed buildings and pushed vehicles into the sea.


8. British police have arrested a teenager over the fatal stabbings of two 16-year-old boys just a mile apart in south-east London.

Kearne Solanke was found with stab wounds in Titmuss Avenue, Thamesmead and Charlie Bartolo was discovered in Sewell Road, Abbey Wood, on Saturday afternoon.

Metropolitan Police said late on yesterday evening that another 16-year-old boy had been arrested on suspicion of their murders, with the two incidents being treated by police as linked. 


9. Hundreds of people protested in China’s major cities yesterday against the country’s zero-Covid policy.

China is still imposing snap lockdowns, lengthy quarantines and mass testing campaigns.

A deadly fire on Thursday in Urumqi, the capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang region, has become a fresh catalyst for public anger, with many blaming Covid lockdowns for hampering rescue efforts. Authorities deny the claims.