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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C

The 9 at 9 Nine things you really need to know by 9am: We have an agreement on a coalition, a poll on gay marriage, Libya latest, and speculation on the Queen’s visit to Ireland.

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

1. #COALITION An agreement has been reached on a programme for government by Fine Gael and Labour. The two party leaders Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore emerged from government buildings in the small hours but were tight lipped on what the agreement contains.

The Sunday Independent reports this morning that the coalition agreement will prompt “uproar” when it is published with the economic plan little different from that of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party and keeping with the current measures laid down by the EU/IMF bailout.

The Sunday Times says (subscription) that the programme will include a new property tax on family homes, a freeze on income tax, and a review of the universal social charge.

2. #GAY MARRIAGE A Sunday Times/Red C poll (subscription) has found that almost three quarters of Irish people are in favour of gay marriage and three in five believe gay couples should be allowed to adopt children.

The poll found that 73 per cent of people agreed that gay couples should be allowed to marry with a massive 88 per cent of young people (18-24) believing they would support it as compared to 49 per cent of those over 65.

3. #LIBYA The UK Ministry of Defence has refused to comment on speculation in today’s British media that members of the SAS have been seized by rebel forces in Libya as chaos and violence continues to engulf the country.

Forces loyal to embattled leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi have claimed to have made major gains in the country but the BBC says that this goes against all the evidence on the ground. Gunfire was heard across the capital of Tripoli in the early hours of this morning with seemingly no end in sight.

4. #MORTGAGE RELIEF TDs have won the right to 100 per cent mortgage interest relief on their constituency offices, reports The Sunday Times (subscription). It follows a lobbying of the Department of Finance last year according to the paper’s Freedom of Information request.

However the agreement, which allows TDs to claim mortgage interest relief on their Oireachtas expenses, only applies to the 25 members of the last Dáil who actually owned their headquarters including Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

5. #ROYAL VISIT The Irish Mail on Sunday speculates as to where the Queen might go in Ireland when she visits later this year. Her majesty, a well known admirer of the horses, reportedly wants to visit Coolmore Stud. However, Irish diplomats want her to visit the National Stud.

The paper also reports that the visit will cost the state €500,000 with hundreds of Gardaí to be deployed as part of an “unprecedented security detail.”

6. #ROS NA RÚN The TG4 soap may be on a high after this week’s much publicised guest appearance by Stephen Fry but the Irish Mail on Sunday reports that the programme may be running out of Gaeilgeoirs.

Producers apparently believe the level of competency among actors in our national language is so poor they are reluctant to kill off existing characters. However one of the shows producers says he plans to introduce web-only dramas with Irish speaking teenagers, which will start filming later this year.

7. #FRANCE The leader of the country’s far right national party is more popular than president Nicolas Sarkozy according to an opinion poll today. The Observer reports that Marine Le Pen would be elected president if a poll were held today.

France is due to go to the polls in May 2012 but the latest opinion poll carried in Le Parisien comes at a time when Sarkozy’s popularity continues to nose dive as he attempts to implement unpopular reforms to the public sector.

8. #CHE GUEVARA The man who accompanied Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara on his journey across Latin America, which was immortalised in the book The Motorcycle Diaries, has died.

The Observer reports that Alberto Granado was 88-years-old and died in Cuba. He had travelled with Guevara across Latin America prior to the Cuban revolution in 1959. The pair documented the continent’s deep poverty in a bestselling book which was later turned in to an equally successful film.

9. #GEORGE MICHAEL The singer has said he deserved to go to jail last year in an interview with BBC Radio 2 today. The former Wham frontman said he was “ashamed” of his behaviour after he crashed his Range Rover whilst under the influence of cannabis.

He was fined and jailed for eight weeks which he describes as paying “my bill” for being “the poster boy of cannabis”. Michael has since recorded a cover of New Order’s True Faith for charity and has recently joined Twitter.

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