Five things you need to know today

HSE fury over Harris’s response; possible job losses at HP Inc in Leixlip; Trump's tavel ban

1. Government to allow lenders buy mortgages in bulk for leaseback
Private finance houses will be able to bulk-buy the mortgages of struggling families and lease the properties back to the State, under a new plan to be rolled out by the Government.
The move from Minister for Housing Simon Coveney marks a significant expansion of the "mortgage-to-rent" scheme which has been so far hampered with poor take-up.
The new plan will see increased involvement from private finance houses who will lease the properties back to the State.

2. HSE fury over Simon Harris's response on waiting lists
Serious frictions have arisen between Minister for Health Simon Harris and the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the fallout from the controversy over waiting lists.
Health management are "fuming" over the Minister's response to Monday's RTÉ documentary on waiting lists, in particular his attribution of primary responsibility to the HSE.
One source said officials who took part in the subsequent televised debate on the programme felt they had been "thrown under the bus" by the Minister.

3. Up to 500 jobs could be lost at HP Inc in Leixlip
There are fears that up to 500 jobs could be lost at HP Inc in Leixlip, Co Kildare, with senior US management due to brief staff this morning on the future of the operation.
The company announced a programme of worldwide job-losses in October and it now appears that the Irish plant is at risk of closure as part of a major rationalisation of its global operations.
HP Inc makes ink-jet printer cartridges in its Leixlip plant and is also involved in research and development and business analytics.

4. Whistleblower inquiry: Garda chief will not be asked to stand aside
The Government will not ask Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan to stand aside from her position, despite being the subject of a statutory inquiry.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed she will launch a commission of investigation into allegations that Ms O'Sullivan and former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan engaged in a campaign of harassment against whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.
The allegations were contained in a protected disclosure by Sgt McCabe and former head of the Garda Press Office Supt David Taylor.
Ms Fitzgerald instructed Mr Justice Iarlaith O'Neill to examine the allegations of Supt Taylor and Sgt McCabe last year and he reported to her on December 7th.
A redacted version of the report will be published today with an outline of the terms of reference for the statutory inquiry.


5. Trump's travel ban comes under intense scrutiny at appeals court
President Donald Trump's order temporarily banning US entry to people from seven Muslim-majority countries came under intense scrutiny on Tuesday from a federal appeals court that questioned whether the ban unfairly targeted people over their religion.
The 9th Circuit said at the end of the session it would issue a ruling as soon as possible. Earlier on Tuesday, the court said it would likely rule this week but would not issue a same-day ruling. The matter will ultimately likely go to the US Supreme Court.

And finally: Miriam Lord: Joan Burton's terrifying tale of Brexit horror
Joan, like Podge and Rodge, likes a scare at Dáiltime. By Chrisht, but she managed to scare the Brexshit out of everyone anyway, even if it was in the middle of a sleepy afternoon on Kildare Street.
She told a tale of Enda Kenny, 27 prime ministers, a terrifying future and the José Mourinho protocol.
Imagine them, shivering in the creeping chill, gazing into the smouldering remains as Joan's voice drills through their brittle nerves and into their souls, writes Miriam Lord. . .