Irish water and the rape trial of Coronation Street star Bill Roache dominate the nation’s front pages this morning.
1. The Irish Independent reports on the front page this morning that staff at Irish Water are in line to receive bonuses this year, despite the fact that the state company has paid tens of millions to outside consultants. The Irish Times lead with the fact that Environment Minister Phil Hogan ‘failed’ to track how much Irish Water spent.
2. The Irish Daily Star and the Irish Daily Mirror lead with the historic rape trial of Bill Roache, the actor who plays ‘Ken Barlow’ in Coronation Street. The actor is accused of two rapes and five sex assaults in the studio, his car and at home. The trial is expected to last two weeks.
3. The murder trial of teenager Melanie McCarthy McNamara features on the front page of The Herald. The accused teen allegedly wrote taunts about the shooting on a cell wall after his arrest, the court has heard. “Two in the head, your b**** is dead,” Daniel McDonnell reportedly wrote on the wall while in custody. The story also features on the front pages of the Irish Daily Star and the Irish Daily Mirror.
4. A photo of Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki features on the front page of today’s Irish Independent. The fiance of Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy delighted fans by showing off her engagement ring at the Australian Open.
5. A €12.5bn boost for the agricultural sector is unveiled and will be a ‘massive boost’ for rural jobs and balanced regional development, according to the Taoiseach, the Irish Examiner reports this morning. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has announced that almost $4bn will be spent on the Rural Development Programme which will invest in farms.
6. The Irish Examiner also leads with the story that a high volume of child porn probes causes a 4-year backlog of forensic tests in the allocated Garda department. In one case in particular, computers seized remained at the Garda forensics for almost four years.
7. In business news this morning, the Irish Independent reports that banks and building societies are sitting on a ‘massive portfolio’ of more than 1,5000 repossessed properties that they either can’t or won’t shift on the open market.
8. In sports news this morning, there are seven new faces on the Six Nations squad as Bowe and Zebo miss out on the initial panel as they continue to prove their fitness, the Irish Independent reports.
10. Finally, in world news, all of the papers report on the press conference of French President Francois Hollande. Hollande fended off the tough questions, but admitted ‘pain’ in his private life.