• Famine commemoration ‘Refugees need our help. The best way we can honour those who suffered and died during the Famine is by showing empathy with those who are suffering today, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar said last Sunday. Mr Varadkar was attending the National Famine Commemoration in Sligo. Addressing a gathering which included 48 ambassadors or their representatives, the Taoiseach described the Famine as “the single most traumatic event in Irish history”.
• Institutions row over roles in university. A row has broken out between Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and IT Tralee on the eve of the arrival of an international panel that is due to assess its joint bid to become a technological university. The merger of CIT and IT Tralee is fraught with difference over division of senior positions.
• More than €220,000 raised for missing Irish Everest climber. A fundraising ‘GoFundMe’ page set up by the family of Séamus Lawless who has been missing on Mount Everest since Thursday, has raised over €220,000 in two days. Mr Lawless (39) is an academic in Trinity College Dublin, working as a professor in the School of Computer Science and Statistics.
• Plans to liberalise drugs laws due before Cabinet. Proposals to liberalise the laws on cannabis and other illegal drugs are expected to be brought before Cabinet within weeks. Proposals will stop short of ‘full-blown’ decriminalisation of personal possession. Separately, an access programme for medicinal cannabis is to be announced by the Department of Health within weeks. This will remove the requirement for doctors to secure a licence from the Minister before prescribing cannabis for patients with certain conditions.
• Royals on charm offensive in Wicklow. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall began their latest official visit in Ireland with a spin around one of Wicklow’s finest beauty spots, Powerscourt Gardens and a peace-themed trip to Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.
General News (continued)
• Flanagan to brief Cabinet on dissident and gang threats. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan will ask the Cabinet this week to approve the annual extension of special policing and justice powers, citing the threat from dissident republicans and the ongoing feuds between organised crime gangs. The Special Powers Acts, first introduced before the Second World War and updated after the Omagh bombing, are intended to combat threats to the security of the State from armed subversive groups.
• Parents of baby who died at birth say way hospital treated them ‘unacceptable’. A Dublin couple whose baby died shortly after birth says the way they were treated by Hospital was “unacceptable”. The couple, Nicola Cox, who is a lawyer and Ross Coughlan, who works for The Irish Times, feel “battered and exhausted” by the experience of trying to get answers from the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street in Dublin as to why their son, Luke, died.
• GMIT confirms president has resigned. Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology has confirmed that its president Dr Fergal Barry has resigned. The move follows what sources in the Institute have described as disagreement within college management over appointments and other issues.
• Threat of no-deal Brexit remains greater than ever, says Coveney. Tánaiste warns Cabinet against relaxing no-deal preparations over coming months.
• New HSE chief orders review of emergency departments. New Health Service Executive Director General Paul Reid has ordered an independent review of the performance of nine emergency departments following another winter of overcrowding in hospitals.
• Theresa May to step down as Tory Leader. Mrs May will officially resign as UK PM on June 7th 2019
• Ambulance staff to hold 24-hour strike next Friday. Ambulance Staff are to hold the first of two 24-hour strikes on Friday next in an escalation of a long-running campaign over trade union representation rights. The National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) said about 500 members including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians would be involved in the stoppage. The Health Service Executive does not recognise NASRA branch as a representative body for ambulance personnel.
Business and Economy
• Ireland facing corporate tax reform – Donohoe. Changes in global corporation tax are on the way and this will bring challenges for Ireland, according to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Speaking at the Irish Tax Institute/Harvard Kennedy Centre tax conference in Dublin, Mr Donohoe said “a minimum effective tax proposal had not previously been part of the discussions at the OECD on addressing the tax challenges of digitalisation and I remain to be convinced of the validity and appropriateness of this proposal.
• Passenger numbers reach 10 year high at Bus Éireann. Passenger numbers at Bus Éireann rose to their highest in more than 10 years, as the Republic’s largest public-transport operator saw growth of 20 per cent across some cities. The group reported a €1.6 million operating profit, although on the back of a series of exceptional items the annual deficit stood at €6.3 million.
• Ryanair may seek compensation from Boeing over lost business. Ryanair could seek compensation from Boeing for business lost from delays in delivering the manufacturer’s new 737 Max aircraft, according to the airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary. The Irish carrier yesterday reported that profit fell 29 per cent to €1.02 billion in the 12 months ended March 31st – the end of its 2019 financial year – from €1.45 billion in 2018.
• AIB to sell more than €1bn of toxic debt. AIB is ramping up preparations for its latest sale of toxic debt, code-naming the process Project Alder, with sources suggesting the value of the loans to be sold is set to top €1 billion.
• Shoppers make 86% of purchases on cards instore. An analysis of €9 billion of retail credit and debit card transactions by AIB Bank found that 86 per cent of the purchases were made in store last year. The remaining 14 per cent occurred online, just a single percentage point increase over 2017 and two percentage points over 2016. Of the in store transactions about 17 per cent was spent on clothing and footwear.
• Only one in nine chief executives in Irish business are female. New survey from the CSO shows gender balance is worst in the construction sector. Women have 31% of senior roles in foreign-owned firms and 26% in Irish.