Five things you need to know today

David Drumm row; ‘toxic nerve agent’ killed Kim Yong-nam; FG leader contest; €60 bn Brexit bill

Displaced Iraqis flee their homes during a battle between Iraqi forces and Isis in western Mosul. Photograph: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

Displaced Iraqis flee their homes during a battle between Iraqi forces and Isis in western Mosul. Photograph: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

 

Row over whether David Drumm was proposed for Irish pub group role
A disputed claim that former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm was suggested as finance director of one of Dublin’s largest pub and restaurant groups is part of a bitter court battle between shareholders.
Well-known Dublin publican Frank Gleeson made the claim in a solicitor’s letter last week to fellow shareholders in the Mercantile Entertainment Group, which owns Café en Seine, Whelan’s, the Mercantile Bar and Hotel, the Green Hen restaurant, and the George, as well as other pubs and restaurants.
However, in a response three days later, solicitors acting for the other Mercantile shareholders, including Mr Breslin, strongly refuted the claim.

Kim Jong-nam killed by highly toxic nerve agent– Malaysia
Malaysian police say a highly toxic chemical known as VX nerve agent, which is on a UN list of weapons of mass destruction, was used to assassinate the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last week at Kuala Lumpur airport.
Mr Kim (46) died on February 13th after he was attacked by two women, one Vietnamese and the other Indonesian, who smeared the toxic chemical on his face as he awaited a flight to Macau at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Frances Fitzgerald and Richard Bruton refuse to confirm Fine Gael leadership bids
As the campaigns of the two frontrunners to succeed Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader accelerated noticeably yesterday, two other possible candidates indicated it could be weeks before they enter the field.
Minister for Education Richard Bruton, who has twice before contested the leadership, made it clear this was not the time.
“I am focused on my work in education and my planned visit to the UK, which assumes particular importance in the context of Brexit,” he said.
A spokesman for Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said that following Mr Kenny’s address on Wednesday she would ponder the issue further over the course of the weekend.

Britain will not pay €60bn EU bill after Brexit, TDs told
Britain will not pay a so-called divorce settlement that could be as much as €60 billion to the European Union, a group of TDs and Senators have been told.
UK Conservative MP Karl McCartney said the British government would not pay the EU such a sum as part of the final Brexit settlement.
It has been reported the EU may ask Britain to pay for outstanding budget obligations as it leaves the EU, with estimates putting the bill at as much as €60 billion.
Sources said Mr McCartney told TDs and Senators during a Chatham House rules discussion in Dublin yesterday that the British Conservatives would not pay the bill, and said the decision to leave the EU was primarily about sovereignty.

Senior gardaí welcome inquiry into whistleblower controversy
The tribunal of inquiry into the Garda whistleblower controversy will give the force a chance to air its account of events and end the frustration of not being able to comment, some of its most senior officers have said.
In a sign that the Garda sees the creation of a public inquiry as of real value to it, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan told a public hearing of the Policing Authority that the inquiry would “deal in facts, not sides”.
Assistant Commissioner Eugene Corcoran said much of the commentary to date had emerged in an environment where the Garda was “totally restricted” in how it might respond. He said the tribunal would improve that situation as well as boosting confidence and morale.

And finally: Steve Bannon gets conservative conference under way
As Republican congressmen return to their home states to face many angry constituents during this week’s Congressional recess, Suzanne Lynch reports from Maryland on the great and the good of the Republican Party and the conservative movement who have gathered for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington DC.