Five things you need to know today

Hutch associate killed in shooting; Apollo House; Germany arrests two over suspected shopping centre attack

Sorting Christmas food parcels at the Capuchin Centre in Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Sorting Christmas food parcels at the Capuchin Centre in Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw


1. Gerry Hutch associate killed in shooting in west Dublin
A close associate of Gerry “The Monk” Hutch was shot dead in front of his partner outside his home in west Dublin on Thursday.
Gardaí said it was too early to establish if the killing of 62-year-old Noel Kirwan was linked to the ongoing Kinahan-Hutch gangland feud, which has claimed a number of lives.
Mr Kirwan was murdered in his car as he sat next to his partner at about 5.10pm in the St Ronan’s Drive estate in Ronanstown.
A man approached his car and fired a number of shots into the vehicle before making his getaway in a white Peugeot Partner van, registration 10CE9834, which was later found burned out. A gun was also discovered by gardaí.

2. Apollo House: Some homeless residents leave the property
A number of homeless people who had been staying in Apollo House, a vacant property in Dublin city centre overseen by Nama-appointed receivers, left the building on Thursday after being offered official homeless accommodation.
The move followed a visit to the property by a team from the Peter McVerry Trust, a homelessness charity.
A spokesman for Home Sweet Home, the coalition of activists and homeless people who have occupied Apollo House since last week, said it was a cause for joy that eight people had been offered long-stay homeless accommodation.

3. Compromise likely on Bill to separate alcohol in shops
The Government is set to compromise on proposed legislation that would lead to the separation of alcohol from other goods in shops.
It is believed that the enforcement of the measure, part of the Public Health Alcohol Bill, will ultimately depend on the size of the store and its volume of alcohol sales.
Minister of State for Health Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has faced stiff opposition from within Fine Gael over the proposal, with a number of her party colleagues claiming it would have major cost implications for small businesses.
Their stance has support from members of Fine Gael’s minority Government partners the Independent Alliance.

4. German police arrest two men suspected of planning shopping centre attack
Police special forces arrested two men suspected of planning an attack on a shopping centre in Oberhausen in the west German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, police said on Friday.
The suspects, two brothers aged 28 and 31 who were born in Kosovo, were arrested in the city of Duisburg after information provided by security sources, police said in a statement. Police said it was not clear if there was any connection with Monday’s attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12.
In Australia, police have arrested seven suspects who allegedly planned a series of bomb attacks in the heart of Melbourne, the country’s second largest city, on Christmas Day.

5. Enda Kenny says USC cuts and pension rises still on the cards
The economic uncertainty created by Brexit will not stop the Government from cutting the universal social charge (USC), increasing State pensions and improving social insurance for the self-employed, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.
In an interview ahead of the Oireachtas Christmas recess, Mr Kenny said the Government would not be reversing any of the 600 commitments set out in the programme for partnership agreed with Independent politicians in May.

And finally: Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s son: ‘The truth will be established’
Twenty years after his mother’s death near Schull, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud has not given up on justice.