Five things you need to know today

Kenny seeks approval for Nama inquiry; Syrian ceasefire holds; sex-ed is out of touch

“I am going to continue my ministerial duties and I will continue to do my job with the support of the Independent Alliance,” John Halligan said on Monday night. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

“I am going to continue my ministerial duties and I will continue to do my job with the support of the Independent Alliance,” John Halligan said on Monday night. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

 

1. Enda Kenny seeks approval for Nama inquiry
The Government will move in the coming days to prepare for a judicial inquiry into Project Eagle, the €1.6 billion sale by Nama of more than 800 loans secured on properties in Northern Ireland.

According to sources at the highest level of Government, Taoiseach Enda Kenny will ask the Cabinet to approve an inquiry, headed by a senior legal figure, into the sale.

The Cabinet is to discuss a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General into the sale at its meeting on Wednesday.

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2. Fine Gael dissidents may move against Enda Kenny
The Taoiseach caused surprise at a party meeting on Tuesday by saying he would “of course” consider another ministerial reshuffle at both Cabinet and junior level next year. His remarks at the two-day Fine Gael parliamentary party gathering in Newbridge, Co Kildare, ahead of the new Dáil term were taken as an indication he does not intend to stand down soon as party leader.

Privately, a number of TDs say they may have to instigate a move against him because they believe he is showing no signs of preparing to step aside. One deputy who shares this view estimated about 10 TDs believed a push against the Taoiseach could be necessary, if he does not step aside by Christmas or the new year.

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3. John Halligan says will not resign despite anger at ‘cath lab’ review
Having faced a barrage of criticism from his Fine Gael colleagues after an interview published in the Sunday Independent at the weekend, in which he threatened to “bring all hell down” on the Government if it failed to deliver the catheterisation lab at Waterford University Hospital, Minister of State John Halligan has insisted he will not be resigning from his position over the dispute.

“I am going to continue my ministerial duties and I will continue to do my job with the support of the Independent Alliance,” he said on Monday night.

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4. The Syrian ceasefire is largely holding but violence has been reported in some areas
Calm was widely reported after the ceasefire took effect at 4pm Irish time on Monday, but there were a few notable exceptions.

Less than an hour into the truce, residents in the divided northern city of Aleppo said that a government helicopter had dropped explosive cylinders on a rebel-held district.

And in the southern province of Daraa, a rebel faction said that it had killed four government soldiers. By midnight, opposition factions had reported 10 violations by government forces.

Under the ceasefire deal all attacks are to stop except Syrian government attacks on those two jihadi groups.

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5.School sex education is negative and out of touch, says study
Schools appear to have difficulty accepting that some young people are sexually active, which lead to classes that are out of touch with many young people’s lives, a study of 12-18 year-olds from a number of countries, including Ireland has shown. 

Young people said they dislike their own teachers delivering the classes because it blurs boundaries, and is embarrassing. They also said some teachers have poor training and classes shape student sexuality as a problem to be managed.

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And finally. . . Mojo is back in Taoiseach’s ballroom of romance
Even by the Taoiseach’s high standard, it was a wonderfully cringetastic start to the new political season, writes Miriam Lord, as Enda Kenny casually cemented his unrivalled reputation as Irish politics’ King of Cheese.

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And: From the self employed to Dirt to inheritance tax, Fiona Reddan outlines what you can expect in Budget 2017.

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