• Councils to get extra funds to develop more on-street charges for electric cars. All councils will be provided with greater capital investment by the end of the year to develop up to 200 on-street chargers for electric vehicles annually.
• Climate action plan promises ‘radical’ change. The Government has outlined a highly ambitious plan to cut Irish carbon emissions on a sustained basis up to 2030 which will be backed up by annual increases in carbon tax. The plan includes major policy shifts to enable a rapid decarbonisation of the State within 12 years, including targets for putting one million electric vehicles on Irish roads, retrofitting of 500,000 homes and achieving 70 per cent renewable energy in power generation.
• ‘Biggest innovation in climate policy for 20 years’ The Government’s long-awaited plan to address the threat of climate breakdown “is the biggest innovation in Irish climate policy in 20 years”, according to Friends of the Earth director Oisín Coghlan.
• Dublin Port investigates credit card spend ‘leak’. Dublin Port is bringing in private investigators in a bid to uncover the source of a “leak” about spending at the semi-State company. The move follows reports of executives running up credit card bills of more than €500,000 last year. The company has claimed the release of the figures appeared to be designed to damage it.
• Perjury easier to prosecute in new law. The extension of a new statutory offence of perjury to include commissions of investigation and tribunals is to be brought to Cabinet for approval. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan is expected to bring forward amendments to a new Bill that would place perjury on a statutory footing. Perjury, intentionally lying in court, is currently a common law offence and is rarely prosecuted. It is expected that by introducing a statutory offence it will make perjury easier to prosecute. And it is hoped that the new provisions will help with cases of insurance fraud.
• Asthma plan could save €102m a year. Ireland has the highest mortality rates from asthma in Western Europe and people are dying needlessly because of poor disease management, it has been claimed. The Asthma Society of Ireland said 63 people died from the condition in Ireland in 2016. It is estimated that 890,000 people in Ireland have suffered from asthma at some stage of their lives and that 380,000 people have it at any one time. In a report entitled Easing the Economic Burden of Asthma – The Impact of a Universal Asthma Self-Management Programme, it is estimated that the total cost to the State in terms of medical care and days lost is €472 million a year, an average of €1,242 per asthmatic person. The society said up to €102 million could be saved every year if proper disease management was put in place.
• Two boys (14) youngest people in history of State to be found guilty of murder. The jury in the case of two 14-year old boys accused of the murder of Ana Kriégel took over 14 hours to return guilty verdicts on all counts. Boy A was convicted of the murder and violent sexual assault of the 14-year-old girl. Boy B was convicted of murder.
• Building height of 25 storeys proposed. Dublin City Council is seeking to increase building heights in the north docklands, including a residential tower of up to 25 storeys which will mirror Capital Docks on the south side and create a “gateway” to the city and the mouth of the Liffey.
• Irish Universities stay outside top 100 in world rankings. Irish universities show little sign of reversing their decade-long decline in new global rankings. The latest QS World University Rankings show Trinity College Dublin has slipped further out of the top 100, down from 104th to 108th place, while UCD climbed eight places to 185th. Of the eight ranked Irish universities, three improved, UCD, NUIG (260 to 259) UCC (338 to 310) three declined, TCD, DCU (422 to 429) and UL (511-520 to 521-530) while two remained stable, Maynooth (701-750) and DIT (751-800).
• Primary school to introduce gender neutral uniform policy. A County Wicklow primary school is introducing a new gender-neutral school uniform policy which will allow boys to wear skirts and girls to wear trousers from next September. St Brigid’s National School in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, said the new approach aims to ensure that any children with gender identity issues feel happy and accepted at school.
Business & Economy
• Coillte and ESB plan joint venture to invest in green electricity. State companies Coillte and the ESB are close to agreeing a joint venture that could spark a €1 billion investment in green electricity. Forestry company Coillte and energy group ESB confirmed in February that they were in talks on establishing a joint venture to develop wind farms that could generate enough electricity to power 500,000 homes. The partnership will build wind farms with the total capacity to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity by 2030, which Coillte estimates is enough to power about half a million homes.
• VHI recruits Alexa to help subscribers sleep better. Health insurer VHI is stepping into the digital assistant and smart speaker market to try to encourage Ireland’s corporate employees to get a better night’s sleep. The company has developed a guided mindfulness skill through Amazon Alexa to improve sleep habits by helping people to wind down and improve their sleep routine. Designed to be used before bed, VHI’s Alexa “skill” comes following a survey that found only 13 per cent of corporate employees get a good night’s sleep on a daily basis.
Business & Economy (continued)
Donohoe moves to empower regulator to fine and disqualify senior bankers. The Central Bank will be able to fine and disqualify senior bankers for failings under their watch without first proving wrongdoing by their employers under planned new laws being drawn up in the wake of the tracker-mortgage scandal. More than a decade after the financial crash and three years after Britain introduced a senior manager regime, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe received the go-ahead from Cabinet to push through similar measures in the Republic. It is expected to come into force from next year. The senior executive accountability regime (Sear), to be introduced under the Central Bank (Amendment) Bill 2019, will make it easier for regulators to fine, reprimand or disqualify top bankers as well as executives of insurance and asset management companies for failings.
• LinkedIn to create 800 jobs in Dublin. LinkedIn is to create 800 jobs in Dublin and hopes to fill a significant number of these roles by encouraging those who have left the workplace to return. LinkedIn said recruitment for the additional jobs has started, with 100 jobs available in areas such as sales, marketing, customer service, finance and analytics. The company intends to fill all the new roles by the middle of next year in a move that will take its Irish headquarters to 2,000 people.