Catch-up with what you've missed so far today with our lunchtime briefing

Good afternoon. Here’s all the news you need to know this lunchtime.

Catch-up with what you've missed so far today with our lunchtime briefing


A Syria-linked suicide bomber is believed to be behind a blast in Istanbul that killed 10 people and wounded some 15 others, the Turkish president has said. A government official earlier said the explosion was believed to be “terror-linked”. Follow live updates HERE.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is urging any Irish people caught up in the blast to follow instructions from security personnel.


A man has been jailed for three years for having sex with a 15-year-old girl he met after grooming her using a fake social media profile. Conor O'Keefe, 26, set up a profile as a teenage girl called “Julie” on the website and started chatting with the victim.

Fianna Fáil says it would abolish the 1% Universal Social Charge rate in its first budget after the election. The party says it would also halve the 3% rate, with both measures costing €336m a year.

Gardaí are appealing for information after two truck drivers died in a Monaghan crash. The men lost their lives in an early morning collision on the N2 between Carrickmacross and Castleblayney yesterday.

The amount of water being released from Parteen Weir is being reduced again today. It will be brought down to 370 cubic metres per second this afternoon, down from 405 cubic metres per second yesterday.

Lecturers at the country's Institutes of Technology are going on strike. Their union, the TUI, has said key concerns include chronic underfunding of the sector, a rise in student numbers when the amount of lecturers has dropped and the precarious nature of many lecturers' employment status.

Meanwhile, the Irish National Teachers Organisation is to ballot its members on industrial action. The union representing primary school teachers has said the continued ban on promotion in schools and increasing workload has become "intolerable". Elsewhere, nurses will be balloted on new proposals aimed at tackling overcrowding over the next three weeks.

Lower pay rates for new Garda recruits starting at just over €23,000 a year will “seriously impact on morale”, the biggest staff association has said.


The boyfriend of ex-EastEnders actress Sian Blake has appeared in court in Ghana, facing extradition to the UK where he is accused of murdering her and their two children.

The first strike by UK junior doctors in 40 years is under way as thousands walk out in a row over a new contract. Around 100 picket lines have been put in place, with a large concentration in and around London.


Ireland’s new defence coach Andy Farrell is to take up an ‘advisory’ role with Munster, the province have confirmed this morning. The statement said: “Munster Rugby can confirm that Andy Farrell will join the province in an advisory role with immediate effect. Former player Keith Wood has called for root and branch reform at Munster and has warned it will take his former province “a number of years” to return to their former glories.

GAA bosses moved to prevent London GAA from voting on a motion to remove the Irish Guards from the London junior football championship. The regiment, nicknamed ‘The Micks’, made history in September 2015 when they become the first British Army regiment allowed to field a team in a GAA Championship.


A cost-cutting review at C&C in Tipperary is resulting in the loss of over 100 jobs. The water-bottling plant in Borrisoleigh, which employs 140 staff, is one of two bases that will shut.

Travel company Skyscanner has announced a £128 million investment (€170.25m), taking the website-based firm’s valuation to an estimated £1 billion. Artemis, Baillie Gifford, Khazanah, Vitruvian Partners and Yahoo! Japan will acquire an undisclosed share of the Edinburgh-based travel provider with the funding.


Government will need strong sense of vision about how a stronger economy can contribute to a more equal society, writes Fergus Finlay 


IF YOU'RE looking for ways to earn extra money in 2016 it is worth considering renting a room in your house, writes Gráinne McGuinness.


Plans to prevent companies from using bogus self-employment contracts to abuse workers’ rights for extra profit are being finalised by the Labour Party. In an interview with the Irish Examiner, employment minister Ged Nash pledged that Labour would move to overhaul the law — if returned after the general election.


RTÉ’s Jean Byrne is well-known for her out-there fashion choices and last night’s choice - complete with shoulder spikes - got a lot of people talking.

In interviews from the 70s and 80s, David Bowie gives a fascinating insight into his live shows. He says himself, he loved seeing fans dressed up as the characters at gigs as they paid homage to the Starman's creativity.


GAMING: Think you’re good at Call of Duty? Well, you should tune into the first games of the Call of Duty: World League (CWL) Pro Division to watch the best in the business put their skills to the test.

MOVIES: Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice is coming, with the superhero dust up set for release at the end of March.

TECH: This is the year of virtual reality and by summer 2016, there will be two major headsets on the market.


Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is to marry Sir Mick Jagger’s ex Jerry Hall. Rupert, 84, and the 59-year-old model placed an advert in the Births, Marriages and Deaths section of the Times newspaper, which is owned by Mr Murdoch’s News Corporation.


Enda Kenny’s claim of a 93% success rate in progress terms is insulting to the electorate, says Political Editor Daniel McConnell.

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War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

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Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence