Five things you need to know today

Sessions new attorney general, nurses to take industrial action, O’Sullivan rejects claims

1. Jeff Sessions confirmed as Donald Trump's attorney general

Alabama senator Jeff Sessions has been confirmed as the new US attorney general, despite fierce Democratic opposition over his record on civil rights and immigration.

The Senate's virtually party-line 52-47 vote ended weeks of divisive battles over Alabama Republican Mr Sessions, an early supporter of President Donald Trump and one of the upper house's most conservative members.

After the vote was announced, Mr Sessions’ Republican colleagues applauded the outcome, as opposed to barely a handful of Democrats.


Nurses are to take industrial action from March 7th in a dispute over staff recruitment and retention which is likely to lead to hospital bed closures and cuts to hospital services .

From that day, members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) will no longer work overtime, will not cross-cover for other absent staff and will not redeploy to other parts of their hospitals.

If the dispute remains unresolved, the planned action will escalate a week later to involve rolling work stoppages in hospitals and community services.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan faces an unprecedented commission of investigation following allegations that she attempted to blacken the name of whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Ms O'Sullivan, who has always denied the accusations, faces an examination of her mobile phones and phone records over a period of two years, as the commission headed by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton investigates her contacts with the media.

The Government decided to set up the commission, which has legal powers to compel witnesses to attend and to order the discovery of documents, following an initial inquiry by retired judge Iarfhlaith O'Neill into allegations by another Garda whistleblower, Supt David Taylor.

Every day staff at the Rotunda hospital in Dublin are carrying out scans or using surgical equipment that has gone past its replacement date.

Frequently technicians are salvaging parts from one machine to keep another in operation as replacement items are not available.

Manufacturers in some instances will not service equipment given its age.

The State continues to fail women and girls in health, employment and education, the United Nations has been told.

A report from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission says austerity has disproportionately affected women, while women who were in Magdalene laundries or subject to symphysiotomies have been denied access to justice.

The report has been published in advance of the State’s appearance before a UN committee on women’s rights next week. It says the State must take action as a priority to reverse the unfair impact austerity has had on women.