Five things you need to know today

Kenny to stay as leader in coming weeks; Trump job offer rejected; drug-driving tests

President Michael D Higgins on a walking tour in Havana, Cuba, on the second day of his state visit to the country. Photograph: Maxwell’s

President Michael D Higgins on a walking tour in Havana, Cuba, on the second day of his state visit to the country. Photograph: Maxwell’s

 

Enda Kenny to stay as Fine Gael leader in coming weeks
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has indicated he will not be standing aside as leader of Fine Gael in the coming weeks despite facing increasing pressure to outline his departure date.
As another senior figure entered the race to replace him, Mr Kenny last night said he would fulfil commitments he has made as head of Government in the next few weeks.
Sources close to Minister for Housing Simon Coveney suggested a 12-week timeframe for Mr Kenny’s departure, which would mean a successor taking over by mid-May

2. Trump’s choice for national security adviser ‘turns down offer’
President Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser, retired Vice-Admiral Robert Harward, has turned down the offer, a senior White House official said on Thursday.
Mr Harward was offered the job after Michael Flynn was fired by Trump on Monday for misleading vice-president Mike Pence over his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
The White House official said Mr Harward cited family and financial reasons for opting not to take the job. Two sources familiar with the decision said Mr Harward turned down the job in part because he wanted to bring in his own team, putting him at odds with Mr Trump, who had told Mr Flynn’s deputy, KT McFarland, that she could stay.

3. Collision injuries in GAA now similar to rugby, says surgeon
One of Donegal’s top surgeons has said injuries sustained in high-impact collisions on the GAA field are now similar to those sustained in a road traffic accident.
Dr Kevin Moran, Donegal’s team doctor, said intercounty footballers are getting bigger and stronger and, as a result, the GAA is now seeing collision injuries that you would associate with rugby.
Dr Moran, a consultant surgeon, is concussion expert on the GAA’s medical, scientific and welfare committee. He said it was also necessary to be aware that other collision injuries, if undetected, can have equally catastrophic results – like chest and abdominal injuries.

4. Drug-driving to be tested for from Easter, Minister says
Testing motorists for drug-driving will begin on the Easter bank holiday weekend, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed in the Dáil.
The Road Traffic Bill, passed in the Dáil and Seanad in December 2016, will be commenced or implemented at Easter in mid-April.
The legislation makes it illegal for motorists to drive while under the influence of cannabis, cocaine or heroin. 

5. ASTI schools to lose out on hundreds of extra teachers
The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland’s rejection of recent settlement proposals means the country’s 500 voluntary secondary schools are now in real danger of being left behind by other post-primary schools.
Voluntary secondary schools – where the ASTI is the dominant union – are due to miss out on hundreds of additional teaching posts from next autumn meaning higher pupil/teacher ratios.
They will also lose out on their share of up to 1,000 middle-management posts – crucial for planning and administration – due to be restored across the education sector. Then there are the 40,000 or so students taking part in the new junior cycle this year, which is replacing the Junior Cert with teachers in voluntary secondary schools delivering the curriculum without any training.

And finally: ‘Eamonn McCann’s your daddy? God love you’
Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland hits the campaign trail with her father who is running as the People Before Profit candidate in Derry.