In short


A roundup of today's other home news

Ahern to meet TDs over Bill on partnership

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern is due to meet Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators concerned about the Civil Partnership Bill before it is introduced to the Dáil later today, writes Mary Minihan.

The proposed legislation would convey civil status on the registered partnerships of cohabiting heterosexual and same-sex couples.

Attempts have been made to resolve differences within Fianna Fáil on the Bill and this morning’s meeting has been organised by Wexford TD Seán Connick, chairman of the party’s justice policy committee.

The Greens’ justice spokesman, Ciarán Cuffe, has said he was firmly opposed to a “freedom of conscience” amendment, understood to be favoured by some within the party’s Coalition partners, Fianna Fáil.

“I’m aware of calls for a ‘freedom of conscience’ amendment to be stitched into the legislation to give people a religious ‘opt-out’ in providing everyday goods and services to gay couples,” Mr Cuffe said.

Mr Cuffe described the Bill as a key legislative priority for the Greens in Government.

Fianna Fáil Senator Jim Walsh has said “freedom of conscience for people must be recognised and allowed for”, while Dublin South East TD Chris Andrews has said he hoped the Bill would be passed without amendments.

Deal reached with developer Carroll

A Dublin local authority has reached a settlement with developer Liam Carroll following a High Court dispute over a joint venture project in Cherrywood, South Dublin.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s county manager Owen Keegan has informed councillors the deal involves the disposal of some lands currently in the ownership of the council.

In 1997, the council entered a joint venture agreement with two other one-third share parties of Monarch properties, which was taken over by Dunloe Ewart Group. The aim was to jointly develop a science and technology park on a 64-acre site at Cherrywood, off the N11. The council instituted legal proceedings in July this year against Cherrywood Science and Technology Park and seven other joint venture companies to protect its interests in the project.

Mr Carroll’s Zoe group had sought court protection, though it was ultimately refused.

Dioxin levels here within EU limits

Dioxin levels in the Irish environment are well within European Union limits, according to the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessment.

The study, which was based on dioxin levels measured in cows’ milk in a 2008 survey, found all dioxin levels recorded “compared favourably” with those taken from a random selection of similar surveys conducted in other EU countries.

Lecture on art  and illustration

Artist PJ Lynch will this evening deliver a lecture in Dublin, Illustration: the Cinderella Artform.

The lecture takes place at the National Print Museum, Garrison Chapel, Beggars Bush, Haddington Road, at 7.30pm. Admission is free. For further details call (01) 660 3770.