Criminal activity, an attempt to regain sentimental watches, Garth and a pensioner forced to cycle a great distance from raiders all in today's national newspapers.
1.The Irish Independent reports that Independents TDs are turning down invites to the Reform Alliance's "Monster Rally", which is set to take place this weekend. The group has registered close to 1,000 members of the public to attend the rally in the RDS. The only non-alliance TD to indicate he would attend is Independent TD Mattie McGrath. Stephen Donnelly, Shane Ross, Finian McGrath, Roisin Shortall, Noel Grealish, John Crown and Katherine Zappone all said they will not be in attendance.
2.''Please leave them back', family beg thieves who took watches left by dying dad (38) to his sons' reads page six in the Independent. Father Stephen Carroll passed away in November after a fight with cancer. He left the watches behind for his two sons' 21st and 30th birthdays. One is engraved with 'To Senan love Daddy x', while the other reads 'To Keelan love Daddy x'.
3. 'Hotels hike prices ahead of Brooks' return to Croker' it reads in the Herald. Garth Brooks (51) flew to Dublin yesterday to officially announce the gigs. The Gresham hotel will charge €600 a night for a standard double room, as opposed to the usual €160, while the Croke Park Hotel is already fully booked. The Belvedere Hotel, which usually costs €129 for a room, will charge €299 when Garth comes back to town. Tickets for the Comeback Special will go on sale on January 30.
4. Also in the Herald 'Hardy Bucks denies attacking bouncers at pub', as actor Martin Maloney pleads not guilty to attacking two bouncers after a row broke out about a queue, while he was making an appearance at a popular Dublin pub. Yesterday was Mr Maloney's third court appearance to face three assault charges. He succeeded in getting one charge dropped.
5. 'RTE chief angered by €5m cut going to welfare' according to the Irish Times. Minister Joan Burton's budget announcement of a €5 million cut in the payment to RTE for pensioners' free TV licences created extraordinary difficulties to the broadcaster. "RTE is being asked to bear the cost of national welfare policy," RTE chairman Tom Savage said in a letter to Minister Pat Rabbitte not long after October's budget. "In such circumstances and with the continuing very difficult commercial environment, this new reduction in public funding will be extraordinarily difficult to manage."
6. 'It's all kicking off for United' claims the back page of the Irish Daily Mirror. In addition to a poor form on the field, the team could have red faces by cutting their glamorous pre-season US tour to play in a Europa League qualifier. They are currently set to take place in a three-week tour of North America from mid-July to mark the start of a £53 million-a-year deal with Chevrolet, but they may have to change if they miss out on the Champions League and find themselves in UEFA's second competition.
7. 'I apologise to anyone I've hurt...It's not in my character to behave badly, but with alcohol I have made mistakes' actor Gerard McSorley reportedly said in today's Mirror. The actor, best known from his festive role in Father Ted, revealed his battle with alcohol to a judge who fined him €200 over a early morning hotel bust-up. "I#m going to AA meetings and I apologise to anybody I've hurt," he said in court.
8. 'Man, 68, abandoned home at 1am to cycle to nursing home after robberies', it states in the Irish Examiner. The man cycled 30 miles to check himself into the home after thieves terrorised his home in Clare twice. Michael McMahon remains in the nursing home today after robbers threatened they would return for a third time. His rural home had neither electricity nor running water.
9. The Irish Times also states 'Germany to lend €100m to Irish SMEs', as Minister of State for Finance Brian Hayes states Germany's state-owned KfW bank will be offering the credit by the end of the year. "It will be €100 million-plus and I think that will make a significant difference," said Mr Hayes. "I don't want to be too prescriptive about the timeline, but it would be great to see it before June."