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

ELECTION 2016 

LATEST... A senior cabinet minister, Fine Gael's Simon Coveney,  says he would have an issue with going into government with Fianna Fáil.

LATEST... Up to 300,000 homeowners are paying rates that are double the European average  in paying their mortgages, Fianna Fáil has said.

LATEST... All eyes will be on the University of Limerick tonight where the second television debate  of the General Election will take place.

ANALYSIS... Disillusion with politics has never been as intense, and anything that offers serious change should be on a winner,  writes Michael Clifford

SOCIAL... Fire & Water, an Irish duo, have posted a new song ’Austerity’.  "We wrote this song on the day in an attempt to encourage people to get out and vote for this year’s election," they said. The lyrics aim to rally reluctant voters to, "stand up" and "be heard".

SOCIAL... There is little doubt that Twitter has become a key 'weapon' in #GE16 with all of the political parties and groupings availing of its unique potential. Keep track of the Twitter action from the parties, leaders and main players HERE

Visit our #GE16 SECTION for the latest General Election news, views and social content.

IRELAND 

Brian Sherry, a retired Garda Detective Inspector, says gardaí will have a very significant policing operation  in place ahead of David Byrne's funeral, which takes place today.

Pregnant women attending one of the country’s largest maternity hospitals are exposed to “an unacceptable level of risk”  because of failure to routinely offer a scan designed to detect foetal abnormalities, according to the head of foetal medicine.

A motorist banned from driving for two years for  drink-driving  has been behind the wheel throughout his ban due to a loophole.

An initiative is being launched to combat alarming drop-out rates across Ireland’s third-level institutions, as figures reveal that more than half of students on at least 12 leading courses nationwide fail to complete their first year.

Hiqa Inspectors say hygiene standards at the National Maternity Hospital's  delivery ward are very poor.

WORLD 

A makeshift clinic supported by Doctors Without Borders has been destroyed  by an air strike in northern Syria, a spokeswoman for an international aid agency has said.

Civilian casualties of the war in Afghanistan rose to record levels for the seventh year in a row in 2015,  as violence spread across the country in the wake of the withdrawal of most international troops, the United Nations reported yesterday.

SPORT

Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard has reignited speculation over his future  by saying it would be difficult to rebuff an approach from Tuesday night's Champions League opponents Paris St Germain.

Joe Schmidt has admitted Ireland have only a "very, very outside chance"  of now retaining their Six Nations title.

Last week, any possibility of a Grand Slam or Triple Crown was eliminated on the first outing. This week the potential for a historic third championship on the bounce has also gone west. With England next up in Twickenham, and the casualty rate rising by the day,  Ireland are struggling, writes Donal Lenihan

BUSINESS

It seems people are continuing to increase their spend on groceries.  According to Kantar Worldpanel, supermarkets have recorded a growth of 3.8% in the last 12 weeks up to the end of January.

Apple is to issue replacement USB-C charge cables that were included with the MacBook line of laptops  in 2015 after a “limited number” were found to be faulty.

VIEWPOINTS

Body language has its limitations as a predictor and as a qualifier for high public office,  writes Terry Prone

LIFESTYLE

Communities and business can get help to become more sustainable  says Ailin Quinlan

VIDEO

Cork County Council management has promised to look at plans for major housing projects  on land which was flooded during Storm Frank.

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VIRAL

Are you more of a stout fan or would you go for a cheeky alcopop? How about both?  At the same time...

A new video has been released by The Oliver Plunkett to celebrate Cork’s recent successes.  Paul Montgomery of The Oliver Plunkett said: "We’ve had so much great news in Cork recently from job announcements to Oliver Plunkett street winning an international award.

Thousands of sharks were spotted from a plane by researchers  hoping to capture a glimpse of their migrating patterns.

TECHNOW

GAMING: Roll7's Not a Hero comes crashing onto PlayStation 4 after being released on PC last year,  bringing its mix of gun-toting violence and wacky humour with it.

MOVIES: Deadpool has only just arrived in cinemas and it's already become one of the biggest X-Men movies ever  and smashed R-rated flick records.

TECH: It was unlikely that you'd ever attempt it, but this destruction video makes it crystal clear  that it's a very bad idea to boil your iPhone 6S in crayons.

SHOWBIZ

Some people may say that making it in showbiz is all about who you know  – but that’s certainly not the case on The Voice of Ireland.

Irish ladies Laura Whitmore and Saoirse Ronan completely stole the limelight  on the BAFTA red carpet.

MOST READ RIGHT NOW

Last week, any possibility of a Grand Slam or Triple Crown was eliminated on the first outing. This week the potential for a historic third championship on the bounce has also gone west. With England next up in Twickenham, and the casualty rate rising by the day,  Ireland are struggling, writes Donal Lenihan

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