• Coveney sends sharp message over backstop. Tánaiste Simon Coveney plays down suggestion backstop could apply to North only. Mr Coveney directed sharp words at Boris Johnson stating “we cannot have a situation towards the end of Brexit negotiations where a new British prime minister makes demands that are totally contrary to the commitments that a government he has been part has made for the last three years – and at the same time expects to be accommodated by the EU. I mean, that’s just not going to happen”.
• Boyd Barrett calls on Greens not to prop up FG or FF. Richard Boyd Barrett, TD (People Before Profit) said the issues Green Party voters wanted addressed like the climate emergency and crises in housing, health and education, could not be tackled by working with the main establishment parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
• Nearly 50,000 children on out-patient waiting list. There are nearly 50,000 children waiting to see a paediatrician for an outpatient appointment according to the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA). 7,988 children are waiting to see a paediatric ENT specialist; 5,165 children are waiting to see a paediatric cardiologist; 3,735 children are waiting to see a paediatric orthopaedic specialist and 1,989 children are waiting to see a paediatric surgeon. The IHCA said overall the consultant recruitment crises was having a detrimental effect on the Irish public health service system in terms of waiting times, timely treatment and patient safety.
• President praises golfer’s win as ‘historic’. President Michael D Higgins has congratulated Irish golfer Shane Lowry on winning the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Co. Antrim. The President said the Offaly man’s victory was not only a “great personal achievement but a historic win”.
• 11,500 women given out-of-date smear tests. Around 11,500 women were given out-of-date Cervical Check smear tests, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE). Quest Diagnostics, one of the laboratories hired to carry out testing, told the HSE last November that standard HPV tests had been carried out “outside of the manufacturer’s recommended timeframe”. It was believed that the tests were likely to remain accurate even though they had expired, but the HSE said it recalled some women for a second test as a precaution.
• Pay disagreement halts Garda Middle East role. The development of a group of gardaí to the Middle East last week as part of the Government’s refugee protection programme was cancelled following a disagreement over pay. It is understood that eight officers and two sergeants were due to fly to Jordan last Friday for 13 days to interview up to 300 refugees and asylum seekers before sanctioning their relocation to Ireland. The plans were cancelled after gardaí were told they would not be paid overtime for working their days off, the Garda Representative Association (GRA) said.
• Flanagan to consider reforms of tribunal system. Options for reforming the State’s costly tribunal system are to be examined, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said. Mr Flanagan said he would “be considering options for reform in conjunction with the office of the Attorney General” following a speech by Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Peter Charleton at the weekend, which was critical of how the system works.
• Varadkar decision on Bailey splits FG. Fine Gael is split over the Taoiseach’s decision to remove a committee chair from Maria Bailey, with some TDs claiming he “bottled it” in not punishing her further over a controversial compensation claim. Ms Bailey, A Dún Laoghaire TD< was stripped of her position as chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, a post worth €9,500 a year. Leo Varadkar took the action following an internal party report into her claim against Dublin’s Dean Hotel for falling off a swing.
• Varadkar congratulates Johnson and looks forward to early talks. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar congratulated Boris Johnson in a tweet issued shortly after his election as Conservative party leader was announced and said he looked forward to an “early engagement” on Brexit, Northern Ireland and bilateral relations.
• Blow to bid to create Munster technology university. Government plans to award university status to institutes of technology may prove “problematic” due to a lack of clarity over what constitutes research activity according to an international panel of academics.
• Johnson installs hardline Brexiteers after cabinet purge. Boris Johnson has begun his premiership with the most sweeping cabinet purge in recent British political history, appointing hardline Brexiteers to most of the top positions in government. Seventeen ministers more than half the cabinet were sacked or resigned, almost all of them supporters of Jeremy Hunt, in a cull lasting little more than an hour. Among the ministers sacked were Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley and her predecessor James Brokenshire. Former chief whip Julian Smith will succeed Ms Bradley.
• Embassies may not claim immunity on workers’ rights. Embassies in the Republic may no longer claim diplomatic immunity from laws governing the workplace as it applies to their non-diplomatic staff, according to a determination by the Labour court. In what is being described as “a significant evolution in the law of sovereign immunity”, the Labour Court has ruled an academic advisor working in the Kuwaiti Cultural Office in Dublin may bring a case under the Unfair Dismissals Act (1977).
• Citizenship ruling being appealed. An appeal has been initiated over a controversial High Court decision, with far-reaching implications that applicants for citizenship must have “unbroken” residence here for a year prior to their application. The appeal concerns a decision earlier this month by the High Court’s Mr Justice Max Barrett dismissing Mr Roderick Jones (Australian) challenge over being refused citizenship. In 2018, the Minister for Justice dismissed the application because Mr Jones was out of the State for 100 days, 97 days on holiday and three days for work reasons in the year before he applied.
Business and Economy
• Nama seeks partners to develop site with potential to deliver 3,500 homes. The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) is to begin a search for property developers with which to partner in the development of the former Irish Glass Bottle site in Poolbeg, Dublin, which has the potential to deliver 3,500 homes.
• BlackBee announces €250m investment in care homes. Cork-based financial firm BlackBee Investments has announced details of a €250 million healthcare investment fund aimed at creating 1,000 nursing home beds and acquiring a further 750 existing beds. Ireland’s population currently has 637,000 over-65s and 67,000 over-85s. By 2040 it is estimated that this will increase to a staggering 1.2 million over- 65s and 216,000 over-85s.
• Bord na Móna loses €50m as it shifts from ‘brown to green’ businesses. State company Bord na Móna lost almost €50 million in the 12 months to the end of March figures published this week show. The company lost €49.9 million after spending €91.4 million on voluntary redundancies, investing in new businesses and other measures such as closing its coal supply operations. The company is moving into new businesses, such as recycling and generating electricity, to replace the lost of peat harvesting and processing which it has to wind down in coming years.
• Drumm expelled from chartered accountants body. Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm has been expelled from Chartered Accountants of Ireland (CAI) and fined €15,000 after a disciplinary tribunal found that he had “brought discredit” on himself and his profession for actions taken in the run up to the financial crises.