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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C

The 9 at 9 Nine things you need to know this morning…

EVERY MORNING, brings you nine things you need to know with your morning cup of coffee.

1. #GREECE: The leaders of Greece’s political parties will make another last attempt to form a government today, when the leaders of the three biggest parties – the two pro-bailout ones, and the coalition of radical left-wing groups – meet President Karolos Papoulias for talks on forming a unity coalition. If there’s no success there, Papoulias will meet the leaders of the four smaller parties, and then consider calling a second election.

2. #REFERENDUM: Libertas is back – and will be seeking a No vote in the Fiscal Compact referendum. Writing in today’s Sunday Business Post, Declan Ganley says his group – which now openly calls for a united federal Europe – says Ireland should reject the treaty and push for a deal on its banking debts as a quid pro quo for accepting it.

3. #OPINION POLLS: Libertas will have its work cut out for the referendum: a new opinion poll this morning shows the Yes side extending its lead, with 53 per cent of voters planning on approving the fiscal compact, compared to 31 against with 16 undecided. The Red C poll in the SBP shows the popularity of government parties falling, however, while Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein have gained ground.

On a similar theme, today we’ve been looking at the whole psychology behind election posters, why they’re needed, and which parties have the best ones. Check it out.

4. #FAMINE MEMORIAL: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and arts minister Jimmy Deenihan will lead events in Drogheda today, as Ireland marks National Famine Memorial Day. Events will take place in Dublin, Cork, Mayo and Monaghan to mark the famine of the 1840s, in which around one million Irish people died.

5. #AFGHANISTAN: A senior member of Afghanistan’s high peace council has been shot dead by an unknown gunman in Kabul. Arsala Rahmani was a former Taliban official but had become a leading proponent of peace, and was a member of president Hamid Karzai’s committee seeking to find peace with the country’s insurgents. The US has described the shooting as a “tragedy”.

6. #NAMA: The economist who first proposed the idea of the National Asset Management Agency has accused the government of allowing the agency to get out of hand. Peter Bacon told the Sunday Independent that NAMA has become so large that politicians are now “afraid” of going anywhere near it, leaving the agency insufficiently transparent.

7. #APPOINTMENTS: Phil Hogan has appointed a former secretary-general of Fine Gael, and an auctioneer who admitted lobbying councillors for rezoning, to a state board. The Sunday Times points out that Jim Miley and Gerry Leahy were appointed to the Housing Finance Agency, with the latter having admitted to the Mahon Tribunal that he had attempted to influence councillors. A spokeswoman told the paper that the appointments were based on experience and suitability.

8. #CANNABIS: The manufacturer of a spray-on pain relief drug used to treat multiple sclerosis has completed its European Mutual Recognition Procedure, paving the way for the drug to be used in Ireland. GW Pharma says Sativex will now enter national phases to agree wording, packaging and pricing before being launched later this year.

9. #ALARMING: A teenager’s fondness for body spray caused some panic in his school last week – when his overuse of deodorants sent off the fire alarm. Officials deemed the incident – which resulted in the evacuation of the school – a “routine accidental”.

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