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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
The 9 at 9 Nine things you really need to know by 9am: A race against time for coalition talks, the Queen’s visit is labelled “premature”, and cheaper electricity prices on the way.

Every morning, brings you nine things you need to know with your morning coffee.

1. #COALITION – Fine Gael and Labour will continue their talks on forming a new government today, as the clock begins to run down on the time available before Labour holds its special conference tomorrow to ratify any deal.

Today’s Irish Independent reports that Fine Gael has secured the high-profile Department of Finance in any potential deal, with Labour being given the consolation prize of a new, revamped Department of Public Sector Reform – though it’s not clear whether the minister would be Joan Burton or Pat Rabbitte.

2. #SEANAD: As a new government is finalised, thoughts have turned to the upper house of the Oireachtas – with up to 144 independent politicians meeting today to discuss the potential election of independent candidates to the next Seanad.

Invites to the Athlone meeting, which is being organised by independent MEP Marian Harkin, have been sent to all independent councillors and Oireachtas members, and the meeting will discuss whether the 144 independent votes can be harnessed to stop the Seanad election from being a solely party political affair.

3. #ROYAL VISIT: Politicians from all sides (well, almost) have welcomed the news that Queen Elizabeth is to visit Ireland in the coming months, with Sinn Féin the only party to express its reservations.

A short piece written by SF president Gerry Adams, relayed in today’s Belfast Telegraph, outlined that Sinn Féin was in favour of the “normalisation of relationships between Ireland and the UK” – but that process would require the end of partition.

The visit will “cause offence” to “many Irish citizens”, Adams added, saying the timing of the visit was “premature”.

4. #ANGLO: Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm has failed in a legal attempt to stop a US court from taking possession of a report which apparently condemns his tenure at the head of the bank.

The reported, compiled by the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board, is reported by the Irish Independent to outline five disciplinary charges it hopes to take against him next month.

5. #ESB – The cost of electricity for ESB customers is set to fall after the energy regulator ruled that the company could lower its prices. ESB’s prices had been artificially inflated in the past so as to allow for competition in the market, but with the likes of Airtricity and Bord Gais Energy now also in the domestic market, ESB will now be allowed to set its own prices from next month.

6. #TRIBUNE – The receiver appointed to the Sunday Tribune is to seek fast-tracked legal proceedings against the publishers of the Mail on Sunday over its mocked-up Tribune-style front page published last month. The Independent says the receiver, Jim Luby, will go to the Commercial Court on Monday to ask for expedited hearings on whether the Mail breached the Tribune’s trademarks.

7. #STRIKE: The secretaries of schools and VECs have voted in favour of industrial action, in opposition to pay cuts imposed on them since January. IMPACT’s Brendan McKay said 72 per cent of secretaries had voted in favour of the proposed action, after those earning less than €30,000 a year had their salaries cut by 5 per cent.

8. #LIBYA: Forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi have wrested back control of some of the country’s western towns. The town of Zawiyah, just fifty miles from Tripoli, has been reclaimed by the loyalist military having been previously held by the country’s rebels.

9. #MOURINHO: Real Madrid football coach Jose Mourinho  had a narrow escape after a crazed fan attempted to stab him at a provincial airport. Mourinho had arrived at the Galician city of A Coruña and was signing autographs when he was approached; a bodyguard suffered stab wounds in the incident, which occurred eight days ago but which has only just been reported in the Spanish media.