Irish election produces an earthquake as Sinn Fein tops poll
Monday, 10 February 2020 DUBLIN — Ireland’s political parties were scrambling to adjust to a new reality Monday, after an earth-shaking election that saw the left-wing nationalist party Sinn Fein win the biggest share of votes. Sinn Fein, the party historically linked to the Irish Republican Army and its violent struggle for a united Ireland, received 24.5% of the first-preference votes in Saturday’s election. That bested Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, the two centrist parties that have governed Ireland since it won independence from Britain a century ago....
A large crowd of mourners has gathered in west Belfast for the funeral service of veteran republican Bobby Storey. The former leading IRA member died earlier this month at the age of 64 following an unsuccessful lung transplant. Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald, vice president Michelle O’Neill and former president Gerry Adams were among hundreds in the Andersonstown Road area on Tuesday morning as the cortege left Mr Storey’s home and travelled to St Agnes’ church.
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Four months of political deadlock in Ireland have been broken with the agreement on a programme for government. The two centre-right parties Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, which emerged from opposing sides of Ireland’s civil war in the 1920s, have held power since the formation of the state. But never at the same time. This will be the first time the two civil war parties will go into coalition together. The move comes after an inconclusive February 8 election, which saw Sinn Fein win the popular vote and its record number of seats in the Dail.
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A mother who believed that newborns were bald recalled her shock when she realised her baby girl already had thick hair in the womb - which was clearly visible at her 34 week scan. After their son, Kadin, five, was born bald - as were she and her office worker boyfriend, Lee Bond, 23 - stay-at-home mum Alexandra Jechorek, 21, was astonished when her daughter, Maya, had a glossy mane before she was even born. Alexandra, of Dublin, Ireland, said: "We'd already found out we were expecting a girl at the previous scan, so at 34 weeks, we were just excited to see how much she'd grown." "When the midwife turned the screen around, I honestly couldn't believe my eyes," she said. "There was this tiny little baby on the scan with a full head of hair. I just thought, 'No way, this cannot be possible'. "To be completely honest, I thought all babies were born bald. My oldest Kadin came out bald, so I just thought that was how babies were when they were born."
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At the start of the lockdown in Ireland, Guinness reduced operations at its St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin to the minimal level required to keep its yeast stocks alive. It was the first time that had happened since the 1916 Easter Rising rebellion in the city. Now production has ramped up once again as pubs and bars across Ireland, the UK and beyond prepare to start welcoming customers back.
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A Dublin barber has joked that he will be operating as a repair shop when he finally gets back to cutting hair after lockdown. John O’Loughlin, who has worked in Tallaght for 35 years, said some of DIY hairdressing efforts he has seen during lockdown have been incredibly bad. A father’s attempt to give his son a Mohican was probably the most shocking sight of the lot, said the well-known local barber. Hairdressers across Ireland are being inundated with booking requests since the Government announced that their reopening date had been moved forward to June 29. “Not only have I heard stories but you get sent all the photographs too,” Mr O’Loughlin said the amateur hatchet jobs. “Children send you photographs of what their fathers have done to them cutting their hair, it’s just incredible. “And then some husbands are sending my photographs of what their wives have done. “It’s going to be a repair shop for the first few weeks I think “One little fella he asked his dad for a Mohican. I’d show you photographs but it just wouldn’t be fair on the young lad.” Mr O’Loughlin, who owns Tallaght Traditional Barber Shop, said he lockdown was a tough experience.
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Eager shoppers have queued for hours as 16 Penneys stores reopened across the Republic of Ireland. Some shops were due to open at 10.30am, but as the queues built up, gardai advised managers to open earlier at 8.45am. Some 150 people were in the queue at Dublin’s Henry Street store when the doors were opened.
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Speaking as the newly-elected Taoiseach of the 33rd Irish parliament, Micheal Martin said to be elected to serve as Taoiseach “is one of the greatest honours which anyone can receive”.Mr Martin will lead a three-party coalition consisting of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party.It is the first time in history that former Civil War rivals Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have governed together.
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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has criticised her political rivals during a visit to flood-hit Athlone in Co Meath. Her comments come ahead of a meeting between the leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna..
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