Five things you need to know today
Commuter disruption; Ireland’s trade surplus targeted; FF and the Policing Authority
Activist Joanne O’Riordan lead a protest outside Leinster House on Thursday calling on the Government to guarantee disability rights. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Dart, rail and Dublin Bus passengers are facing “extensive disruption” this morning as Irish Rail and Dublin Bus have announced a series of route closures due picketing associated with the Bus Éireann dispute.
There will be an “extremely limited service” on the Dart, with all but four services cancelled. All Irish Rail Maynooth services are cancelled, as is the Athlone to Dublin commuter line, the Cork commuter and Westport to Dublin lines.
Ireland has been identified by the White House as one of a group of countries running an unfair trade surplus with the United States, as President Donald Trump prepares to take his first steps towards revising American tax and trade policy.
Mr Trump is expected to sign two executive orders on Friday - one announcing a study into unfair trade practices, the second ordering the collection of duties from countries selling products into the United States at low prices.
Five members of a family with strong Irish connections have died after their helicopter crashed in north Wales.
The helicopter was en route to Weston Airport in Dublin when radar contact was lost and it crashed amid poor visibility on Wednesday afternoon.
Police, emergency services and air accident investigators on Thursday reached the site of the crash in the Rhinog mountains in Snowdonia National Park.
The five victims are all adults and part of the same extended family from the Milton Keynes area in Buckinghamshire, police said.
Fianna Fáil is pushing for the Policing Authority to be given more power over the Garda Commissioner as it attempts to avoid supporting a Dáil motion of no confidence in Nóirín O’Sullivan.
The proposals will be taken in the Dáil before a Sinn Féin motion of no confidence in Ms O’Sullivan next month. The Fianna Fáil proposals for the Policing Authority would allow it supervise the office of the commissioner and how the incumbent discharges their duties, among other measures.
Ireland’s unique Brexit concerns will be flagged in the EU’s draft blueprint for negotiations with Britain, to be circulated on Friday to member states.
After forceful lobbying by Irish officials in Brussels, European Council president Donald Tusk’s document is expected to reference Brexit challenges for Ireland – which include cross-Border trade and the peace process.
The draft document will be sent to EU capitals ahead of debate and a vote at a special EU leaders’ summit on April 29th.
And finally: Garda dysfunctionality is nothing new
Vinent Browne writes that the Sallins train robbery and the envoy’s murder in the 1970s, and the Kerry babies case of 1984 were all shrouded in controversy.