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The 9 at 9: Thursday

Nine things you need to know by 9am: five members of the cabinet have now resigned; Fine Gael renews its call for an immediate general election; and the ESRI revises its economic forecast for the coming year.

Image: billsoPHOTO via Creative Commons

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

1. # RESHUFFLE: A total of five members of cabinet have now announced their resignations: as well as the departure of Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin following the vote of confidence in Brian Cowen on Tuesday, Minister for Health Mary Harney announced her resignation last night.

Hot on Harney’s heels were the Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey and Minister for Defence Tony Killeen - who gave their letters of resignation to the Taoiseach late last night. The Green Party believes that the move is designed to enable Cowen to circumvent its efforts to block a cabinet reshuffle, the Irish Times reports.

2. # OPPOSITION: Fine Gael says that the resignation of five members of Fianna Fáil from the cabinet in a matter of days highlights the need for a general election to be held as soon as possible.

3. # ESRI: The Economic and Social Research Institute has revised its forecast concerning Ireland’s economic growth for 2011.

The ESRI believes that the economy will grow more slowly than expected over the next year, at 1.5 per cent of GDP – a revision of last October’s projected figure of 2.25 per cent. While signs are good for exports, which are expected to grow by 6 per cent over the next year, about 25,000 jobs are expected to be lost. Emigration could also increase to 50,000, RTÉ reports.

Due to the downgrade of its economic forecast, the ESRI has come to the conclusion that the budget target for 2011 will not be met.

4. # MICHAELA: A fifth man is due in court in Mauritius next week in connection with the murder of Michaela McAvreavey.

Seenarain Mungoo, a 39-year-old security officer at the Legends Hotel, is suspected of allowing a hotel key card to be copied in order for accomplices to gain entrance to Michaela’s room, the Irish Examiner reports.

5. # JOBSWATCH: A leading US software company is expected to announce later today that it will create 150 new jobs in Cork.

The new investment by Quest Software has the potential to grow to a total of 300 jobs over the next three years, the Irish Examiner reports. Quest will be offering positions in finance, software renewals, inside sales and software development.

6. # AER LINGUS: The dispute between management and trade union staff at Aer Lingus continues today, with the cancellation of 34 scheduled flights.

The cancellations are expected to affect about 2,700 passengers due to travel between Dublin, the UK and continental Europe. Flights from Cork and Shannon have not been affected and flights to the US are also continuing as scheduled. Check the Aer Lingus website for updates.

7. # DISSIDENTS: A seventh man has been arrested in connection with an investigation into the activities of dissident republicans and the murder of a man in Cork last year, the Irish Times reports.

Six people were arrested yesterday in connection with the killing of convicted drug dealer Gerard ‘Topper’ Staunton in Cork in Jan 2010, which occurred in Cork city in front of his wife and two small children.

8. # BARRED: Controversial US Pastor Terry Jones has said that the decision of the British Home Office to bar his entry into the UK is “unfair”.

Jones ignited outrage across the world last year because of his plan to burn copies of the Qu’ran at a rally to mark the 9/11 attacks. The Home Office said that Jones had displayed “ unacceptable behaviour” and would not allow the entry of “extremists” into the country, the BBC reports. Jones had wanted to travel to the UK after being invited to speak to England Is Ours.

He had also been invited to speak at an English Defence League event recently, but this invitation was later withdrawn because of  Jones’ “critical views on homosexuality and race”, a spokesperson said.

9. # iPRIEST: The Benedictine monks of Glenstal Abbey have embraced modern technology – even if they don’t use it themselves – by developing their very own iPhone app.

Fr Simon Sleeman told the Irish Examiner that after an encounter with businessman Dermot Desmond, he decide to develop an app for the abbey. He said: “I don’t have one myself I admit but I’ve had a look at the app and we think it looks very well.”

The Glenstal Abbey app is free to download and keeps users in the loop on the latest news from the abbey. It also includes daily prayers and selection of Gregorian chants to listen to.

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