• Half a million people are now receiving the State's special Covid-19 Unemployment payment.

    507,000 people received the special € 350 per week payment last Friday, which was set up on March 16th to help those who've been laid off temporarily due to the spread of Covid 19.

    The figure is up from 283,000 just a week ago.

    Combined with the 205,000 people on the live register getting the normal jobseekers benefit of just over € 200 per week, it means 712,000 are now receiving welfare payments from the Department of Social Protection.

    All payments are due to land in bank accounts and at post offices from tomorrow.

    46,000 ineligible applications were sent in -  Department officials say they're working on developing the online process to stop people entering the wrong information.

  • A result from Fine Gael's vote on the programme for government is expected in the next hour.

    Counting is continuing to decide whether or not Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens will enter government together.

    While a carve up of which party will get which ministries has already begun.

    A result from Fine Gael's count is expected in the next hour and it's thought it will be largely in favour of entering government.

    The others are going to take a few hours yet as counting continues - closer to 8pm.

    Sources have also said it looks as though Fine Gael will keep the Foreign Affairs, Finance, Business and Justice portfolios.

    While Fianna Fáil will take charge of housing and public expenditure, and possibly education.

    Green leader Eamon Ryan is expected to take charge of a new climate and transport Department.

  • The government's being urged to provide immediate funding to prevent major job losses at Bord na Móna in the midlands.

    Unions claim all 2,000 jobs in the company are under threat because of a financial crisis.

    It's due to peat-harvesting being phased out, and Bord na Móna struggling to find other employment for staff.

    Former environment minister and Roscommon TD Denis Naughten says there are solutions that can prevent job losses.

  • Every school in the country is to reopen its doors to students in just over a month's time.

    The government's confirmed all schools, which has been closed since March 12th, will "fully reopen" by the end of the August.

    Ministers will discuss the plan for schools on Monday, which will outline the measures and resources needed to ensure a safe return to the classroom.

  • A second report into the Cervical Check controversy could take more time to complete.

    It's looking into the standards at laboratories used for cervical screening by Cervical Check.

    The Irish Independent reports the latest Scally report may be delayed due to the breadth and complexity of issues involved.

    The opposition have been calling on the Government to publish the report as soon as possible.

  • gerry murray

    The Government’s National Development Plan and National Planning Framework are expected to be published next week.

    Ministers are still negotiating with the Finance Minister Paschal Donohue ahead of the publication of the 115 billion euro development plan, which will outline capital development plans over the coming years.

    Mayo Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry Murray is calling on Fianna Fail to use their veto to ensure that rural Ireland gets its fair share of infrastructure under the plan – with funding for Knock Airport, the Western Rail Corridor and rural broadband among other projects.

  • Sinn Féin is to seek independent legal advice on whether the Government’s National Planning Framework (NPF) announced on Friday last in Sligo, needs to be voted on in the Oireachtas. That’s according to today’s Irish Times.

    The strategy aims to manage an anticipated population growth of one million people over the next 20 years, and it was launched with an accompanying 10-year infrastructural plan. However, Opposition parties have raised questions over the legal basis for the implementation of the framework.

    Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin said the Taoiseach and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy had sought to mislead the Dáil on the matter. He says an independent legal opinion is required and confirmed  he will be asking the Oireachtas committee on housing to seek such advice.

    The Government has insisted the framework will automatically be placed on a statutory footing when the Planning and the Development Bill, which is in the Seanad, is signed into law.

    Fianna Fáil’s housing spokesman Barry Cowen said the Government was seeking to undermine legitimate questions being posed by members of the Opposition about the framework.

    He said linking the framework to the National Development Plan, which provides funding for capital projects, was an attempt to conflate the two issues.

    Project Ireland 2040 was unveiled with a lot of hype and stage show by the government in Sligo IT on Friday last.

    It’s a document of almost 300 pages and comes with a commitment to invest 116 billion euro across a range of planning and development  programmes. It includes a one billion rural regeneration fund, a 2 billion urban regeneration fund – but does not reveal much detail on how either fund will work.

    Sligo has been designated as a regional centre for the northwest in the plan while with Athlone as the same designation for the midlands.

    In housing, the Government’s aim is to build an average of 25,000 to 30,000 new homes a year. It also says 112,000 social homes will be built by 2027.

    It includes a vision of transport needs over the next twenty years, population growth, climate change and controls.

    On the health front, among the items included is a 25 percent increase in hospital beds, the building of three new elective hospitals including one in Galway.

    A number of the projects outlined in the plan are already underway, some are new, but it will take some time to see if the plans become a reality.

  • The government’s Strategic Communications Unit is “a propaganda unit” that needs to be abolished, according to Sligo based Fianna deputy Marc McSharry.

    In the Dail yesterday the unit’s future was debated under a Sinn Fein’s Private Motion calling for its disbandment.

    The motion received cross party support on the floor of the house from opposition deputies. The vote on the motion takes place tomorrow (Thursday).

    However, Leo Varadkar has urged the Dail to await the outcome of a review of the Strategic Communications Unit.

    Deputy McSharry has been telling Midwest Radio News today why he believes the unit should be disbanded and the 5 million euro per year cost of it, redirected to investment in western counties.

  • Thousands of teachers are set to strike early next month in their ongoing dispute over pay inequality.

    The Teacher’s Union of Ireland (TUI) said under the current system, teachers employed after January 2011 are set to earn around €110,000 less than their longer-serving colleagues over the course of their careers.

    It said they will earn over €50,000 less in the first ten years of their careers, “when key life choices are made.”

    The union’s 19,000 members will down tools on Tuesday February 4th.

    The February 4th strike date comes just four days before the public goes to the polls to choose the next Government of Ireland.

    The following day, Wednesday the 5th, thousands of childcare workers and their parents are expected to join a national protest march over the worsening childcare crisis in Ireland.

  • Tuam Home Survivors' Network, representing survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home and their families have today urged the Government to begin collecting their DNA samples immediately. 

    This work, they say, should proceed in a way that will be of greatest benefit to the greatest number of survivors, victims and families.  For this to be achieved, as much information as possible should be obtained from each sample of human remains. 

    The Networks insists that there is a certain urgency to this process given age profile and health status of the survivors and their families.  

    Results from what they describe as an “ageing and in, some cases, frail membership” should be banked to eliminate any delay in returning human remains to identifiable relatives for dignified burials.

  • We'll find out by this evening whether or not there will be a new government.

    Votes will be counted from the members of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party on whether or not they support the programme for government.

    It's 139 days since the general election, almost double the length of time it took to form the last government.

    Counting of the postal votes will begin around lunchtime with the results expected sometime this evening.

    Fine Gael has the easiest job with just around 700 votes to count from their electoral college system.

    Fianna Fáil will have the most, with more than 14,000 individual members eligible to vote.

    But it's expected both of those parties will approve the deal, and they only need 50 per cent plus one vote.

    The Green Party's count will be subject to the most attention today.

    They need two thirds of members to back the deal, and there's been a vocal campaign against it.

    Sources in the party believe they do have the numbers, but it's expected to be tight.

    If there's three yes votes then Micheál Martin will be elected Taoiseach tomorrow.

    If not, it's back to the drawing board.




  • The World Health Organisation's warning safeguards need to be in place if country's are to resume international travel.

    The government here's drawing up a 'green list' of safe countries for people to visit during the pandemic - that's due on July 20th.

    It comes amid growing concern about a second wave - last night the number of new cases remained above 20 for a third day in a row.

    WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris says international travel should only be advised if country's are confident they can manage any resulting outbreaks.