- Irish Examiner
Leo Varadkar personally signed off on a plan to give former taoisigh perks - including VIP airport facilities, increased use of state cars, and the salary for a full-time secretary - just four months after he took office. The move took place in October 2017 while Mr Varadkar had only taken up office in June. In Britain, former leaders can draw down a “public duties cost allowance” worth around €130,000 per year to help fund an office and secretarial support. In Australia, office space, phones, printing services, a car, and limousine travel for official events are available; while in New Zealand, ex-prime ministers are entitled to “unlimited free domestic flights, a chauffeur-driven limousine or a self-drive car, with a new car provided every 60,000km”.
- The Irish Times
An unusually unpredictable Northern Ireland election returned surprising, heartening results. Though not for the DUP or even Sinn Féin, despite the latter's success in unseating the DUP's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds. Both big parties lost ground. The cheer is for Alliance, which took a seat the DUP coveted. For the third successive election the North's fledgling centre ground showed well. This fits with the other big electoral shift. Belfast, a majority Remainer city three of whose four seats had been held by Brexiteer DUP MPs, now has three nationalist representatives. For the first time, nationalists hold more seats than unionists in both Westminster and the non-sitting Assembly at Stormont.
A bitter weekend lies ahead. Met Éireann has issued a status yellow snow/ice weather for six counties ahead of what is set to be a pretty bitter weekend on the weather front. The warning applies to Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo and comes into effect at a minute after midnight tonight, remaining in place until just before midnight on Saturday night. Met Éireann has warned that wintry showers will give localised accumulations of hail and snow, compacting to ice in some areas and leading to hazardous driving conditions. The warning comes after a status yellow wind warning was issued for Donegal earlier on Friday. Gusts of 90 to 110 km/h have been forecast, with the risk of even
- The Huffington Post UK
Colin Firth has split from his wife, the Italian film producer Livia Giuggioli, after 22 years of marriage. The pair share two sons, Luca and Matteo, who were both born in Rome, and lived together between London and Italy. A joint statement from their publicists confirmed the news on Friday. It said: “Colin and Livia Firth have separated. They maintain a close friendship and remain united in their love for their children. “They kindly ask for privacy. There will be no further comment.” The Academy Award, Golden Globe and Bafta winner shares a son with former partner Meg Tilly, his co-star in the film Valmont. After they split Colin married Livia in 1997. Colin and Livia were often seen together
- Irish Examiner
The Child and Family Agency is seeking High Court orders which would permit the continued secure care detention, of a "deeply vulnerable" girl regarded as a "very serious" risk to certain people and certain "categories" of people. The orders are being sought pending proceedings aimed at having the girl who will be 18 shortly made an adult ward of court. Barry O'Donnell SC, for the CFA, obtained various orders from the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, on Friday, including permitting the agency to bring an application next week for temporary orders to continue the girl's secure detention beyond her 18th birthday and pending the outcome of the wardship proceedings. Mr Justice
A familiar face who starred in the likes of Leon, Do The Right Thing and The Godfather Part II. American actor Danny Aiello has passed away at the age of 86. Aiello was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards for his performance as pizza parlour owner Salvatore "Sal" Frangione in Spike Lee's incendiary 1989 drama Do The Right Thing. The New York actor also provided memorable support in films such as Leon, Moonstruck, Jacob's Ladder and The Godfather Part II. He also starred in the music video for Madonna's 'Papa Don't Preach' in which he played the singer's father. Aiello's literary agent Jennifer De Chiara confirmed to USA Today that he passed away on Thursday night, 12 December.
GARDAÍ HAVE APPEALED for members of the public to contact them if they suspect someone they know is “living on the proceeds of crime”. An Garda Síochána has also urged anyone who has been subjected to or has knowledge of any form of intimidation or extortion to report the matter so it can be fully investigated. The appeal comes amid an ongoing investigation by gardaí in Dublin and the Criminal Assets Bureau. Gardaí yesterday arrested a man in his 60s after receiving evidence from CAB in October. They said this case is linked to a CAB investigation of a number of individuals in 2016. The man was detained at Clondalkin Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984. He has since