• Threat of loyalist violence ‘not an argument’ against united Ireland. The threat of violence must not be an argument against any future referendum on a united Ireland being decided by a simple majority vote, even if it is 50 per cent plus one, a Belfast academic has said. Prof Colin Harvey said the 50 per cent plus one majority rule, as contained in the Belfast Agreement, must apply in any future Border poll. Some people, including former SDLP deputy first minister Seamus Mallon, have expressed concerns that a narrow majority for a united Ireland could lead to loyalist violence.
• McAleese to receive major theology award. Germany’s University of Tübingen, Faculty of Catholic Theology, will pay tribute to former president Mary McAleese for her work supporting women’s rights and moral renewal of the Catholic Church. Prof McAleese will be presented with the 2019 Alfons Auer Ethics Award “for her involvement as a Christian and as an academic in the implementation of ethics in politics”. The €25,000 prize is sponsored by entrepreneur Siegfried Weishaupt and is a tribute to late moral theologian Alfons Auer.
• Extra 240 gardaí for Border region due to Brexit. Almost 240 additional Garda members will have been deployed to the Border region by the end of next month, primarily to deal with any policing and security challenges posed by Brexit. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said the policing demands that arise from Brexit will not become clear until the manner of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union is settled.
• Investigation to get under way into Border Garda station fire. A Garda station in Co Monaghan was extensively damaged in a fire on October 28th. Gardaí will be unable to ascertain if the cause of the fire, which gutted Emyvale Garda station in Co Monaghan, was malicious until it can be examined by a team from the Garda Technical Bureau.
• Britain to hold election on December 12th. The UK faces a general election on December 12th that will determine the future of Brexit and could set the country on a radical new economic course. After MPs voted by 438 to 20 to trigger an election, Boris Johnson said it was time for the UK to come together to get things done. “It’s going to be a tough election but we will do the best we can,” he said. The Parliament will be dissolved just after midnight on Tuesday, November 5th, 25 working days before the date of the UK’s first December general election for almost a century.
• New law aims to help families of people presumed dead. The families of missing people who are presumed to have died will no longer have to wait seven years to deal with their estates under a law set to come into effect on November 1st. Legislation was passed by the Oireachtas in July allowing families to apply to the courts for a presumption of death order, the approval of which means a death certificate can be issued.
• Trinity to shelve Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is to be removed from public display in Trinity College Dublin for four months, due to conservation works required on the famous manuscript’s display area. The ninth-century manuscript will be removed from November 4th until the start of March 2020.
• Varadkar says 2019 election ‘not the right thing’ for Ireland. Mr Varadkar ruled out calling an election until there is clarity on Brexit, and restated his preference for a May 2020 poll.
• Survey finds Irish waterways damaged by pollutants. An extensive survey of Irish rivers, lakes and canals has found a third of locations were littered, while significant pollution was being caused by nitrates, phosphates and algae. Almost a fifth of Irish rivers tested had high levels of nitrates caused mainly by fertilisers washed off land, according to the WaterBlitz survey, carried out under the direction of Dublin City University’s Water Institute and the environmental group Earthwatch.
• Minister introduces changes to auto-enrolment pension scheme. A key change has been made to the auto-enrolment pension scheme for private sector workers which involves a more modest timescale for increasing the contributions of employees and employers. In an important change born out of feedback received during the consultation period, the ambition of the scheme has been scaled back. Instead of the employee reaching the 6 per cent contribution of salary within six years (with a 1 per cent increment each year) the plan has been varied to reach it within ten years. The new proposal is an initial 1.5 per cent contribution to be increased by 1.5 per cent every three years to bring it to 6 per cent in nine years rather than six.
• Number of homeless children at highest level. The number of homeless people in the State continues to increase. Official figures show 10.397 people are living in emergency accommodation. The figures show an increase of 59 people for September compared to statistics from August, an average increase of about two people every day. Some 3,873 children are living without a home, according to the Department of Housing homeless statistics for September. This is the highest number of children in emergency accommodation. It surpasses a previous peak of 3,867 children in July 2018.
• Water plant for 600,000 is still not managing risks. EPA criticises Irish Water and council for failures to respond to critical alarms. Enhanced filtration system will not be ready until mid 2020, State utility says.
• Tributes paid to poet and playwright Tom MacIntyre on his death aged 87. Cavan writer was best known for theatre work, including The Great Hunger.
• McAleese elected chancellor of Trinity College Dublin. Former president Mary McAleese has been elected unopposed as the new chancellor of Trinity College Dublin. She succeeds her predecessor in Áras an Uachtaráin, Mary Robinson, who was elected first woman chancellor of TCD in 1998 and has held the post since.
Business and Economy
• Number of Irish start-ups continues to grow. The number of new company registrations in the Republic is running more than 5,000 ahead of this time last year, according to new figures from business and credit risk analyst CRIF Vision-net. Despite Brexit uncertainty, the company’s data shows an average of 55 new companies were formed every day in the last nine months. The total number of start-ups in the first three quarters of the year was 17,160. Some 7,127 of these were based in Dublin, or 41.5 per cent of the total. In Cork, 1,498 new companies were registered, while in Galway there were 602 start-ups, in Limerick there were 514 and in Kildare there were 489.
• Vacant office availability in Dublin falls to levels not seen since 2002. The amount of vacant office space available in Dublin is at its lowest since mid-2002, according to new figures. Data from Cushman & Wakefield shows the level of “immediately available” office space fell 31 per cent annually in the third quarter to 329,450 sq m, a level not seen since the early 2000s. Tech firms continue to be most active sector in terms of office take up locally.
• Google in talks for new docklands office block. Google has entered into talks in relation to the rental of all 18,766 sq m of space at the Sorting Office, the seven-storey office block being developed in the Dublin docklands by Pat Crean’s Marlet Property Group. Should a deal be agreed, the accommodation at the Sorting Office would provide Google with enough room to grow its existing 8,000 strong Dublin-based workforce by up to 2,000 employees.