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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C

The 5 at 5 5 minutes, 5 stories, 5 o’clock.

Every afternoon, brings you 5 things you really need to know by 5pm.

1. #BAILOUT REPUBLIC?: Roll out the red carpets – the IMF is on its way. Reps from the IMF as well as the European Commission and European Central Bank are to come to Ireland to continue talks with the Department of Finance, though Brian Cowen insists the talks aren’t preparing the way for a bailout.

Europe has insisted, in the meantime, that there remains a grave liquidity crisis affecting Ireland’s banks – something Brian Lenihan denies – and has clarified that while it is willing to offer funding for the banking sector, the only way it can do so is through a sovereign payout.

2. #BY-ELECTION: While Fianna Fáil has been preoccupied with the prospect of handing over the keys to the country, there are child winds blowing from the north. Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty seems all but guaranteed to win the Donegal South-West by-election tomorrow week, with 40% of first-preference support.

Fianna Fáil’s Brian Ó Domhnaill is the second-placed candidate, though his support is back at 19%, less than half of Doherty’s. What’s more, it appears that in a general election, both Ó Domhnaill and Tánaiste Mary Coughlan would poll just 19% between them – meaning the party could end up without any seats at all in the three-seater.

3. #FLOODS: Last night’s bad weather on the east coast got a few ships in hot water – and one of them is still there. The ‘Arklow Raider’ ran aground as it was leaving Drogheda last night in gale-force winds, and the Coast Guard says the ship – which is carrying a cargo of cement – is still stuck in the port.

It had been hoped to tow it away at high tide this morning, but there wasn’t a tug boat big enough available at the time to help move it.

4. #MARY HARNEY: RTÉ has been forced to issue a clarification after one of its TV shows earlier spread rumours that health minister Mary Harney had resigned.

As a result of the gag, which was a stunt for the ‘Republic of Telly’ show, RTÉ was forced to clarify that the item for the “satirical show” was a “prank” and that the rumour was untrue. As newsreader Seán O’Rourke commented, “it just goes to show: you can make it up.”

5. #METEORS: No, not the music awards. Astronomy Ireland’s David Moore has told that the skies will be putting on a dazzling light show tonight above Ireland.

Earth is currently passing through a cloud of dust and debris left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle, Moore says, meaning there’ll be something to look up to this evening. So, depending on your disposition, it’s either something to distract us from impending financial doom, or the sky is falling in.