IrelandMorning Briefing

Your top stories on Wednesday: Higgins had ‘mild stroke’; more than 80% of asylum applicants coming from North

Here are the stories you need to start your day including: Stardust families welcome belated State apology and US Senate passes $95bn aid package

Michael D Higgins: ‘I’m fine now. What I had was a form of mild stroke’

President Michael D Higgins has confirmed that he had a stroke during the health scare that led to his hospitalisation for the first week of March.

The president was taken to St James’s Hospital in Dublin on February 29th, after falling ill with what was described at the time as a “mild transient weakness”.

Speaking to The Irish Times in Manchester where he received an honorary doctorate on Tuesday, Mr Higgins said he was feeling better after “a form of mild stroke” that has left him with some slight mobility issues.



The Big Read

  • Miriam Lord: Simon Harris acknowledges wrong done to Stardust families. Now he must do right by them: A State apology delivered on the floor of the Dáil by the Taoiseach is a remarkably powerful event. For weary victims – unjustly and cruelly disregarded for so long before finally receiving recognition, it’s hard to imagine how emotionally overwhelming this must feel. The moment belongs to them. It is a day the recipients will remember forever. Being there to watch one is a privilege: a moving, memorable experience.



  • Charities to be exempted from planned gambling advert ban: Charities are set to be exempted from a controversial betting advert ban proposed by the Government’s new gambling legislation. Politicians are due to debate a Bill on Wednesday that aims to create a new licensing regime and authority to oversee the Republic’s betting industry.


  • Seán Moran: If you think this season needs an overhaul, take a glance backwards: This century has seen extraordinary flux in both scheduling and intercounty formats. We are on year two of the current calendar arrangements. The imperative to fix the fixtures for clubs produced an abbreviated intercounty championship season with a greatly expanded club footprint. For all the laments about the loss of autumn weeks and their unopposed opportunities for promotion, the consequence that means most in Croke Park is the sudden clarity of club fixture timetables.

Martyn Turner/Picture of the Day

Martyn Turner Cartoon

Life & Style

  • Laura Kennedy: In Australia, my heart is broken for want of a spice bag: When my editor emailed me urgently in the middle of the night (every email from home is in the middle of the night in Australia but I’m enjoying the drama) and asked, ‘can you find a spice bag in your local area?’, I heeded the call to serve. He had, after all, requested in writing. That constitutes a legal contract, probably.

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