17 September 2021

The President isn’t supposed to be drawn into controversy. But President Michael D Higgins has sparked a cross-border debate over his decision not to attend a church commemoration of the centenary of partition. The debate over his decision has drawn diverse views from north and south with opinions divided about whether he should attend, especially as the Queen will be present. The decision is taken now but the argument continues.

Here’s a selection of the best coverage you can trust from Independent.ie, Ireland and across the world.

Fionnán Sheahan
Ireland Editor

Presidential criticism
A former Taoiseach and the DUP leader are among those who have criticised President Michael D Higgins for declining to attend a church commemoration of the centenary of Northern Ireland. However, the leader of the SDLP hit out at what he described as “cynical criticism” in the debate.

Unionist relationship
Martina Devlin backs up the President’s decision. She says sooner or later, unionist leaders must form a new and constructive relationship with the Republic. There is an important role here for the Republic’s Protestant community, in no doubts about its Irish identity, to help allay unionist fears. (Premium)

Managing the speed
Variable speed limits will be introduced on the M50. This means that according to where you are along the road, your speed limit may change depending on variables such as congestion or other factors. It will mean the M50 will be Ireland’s first “managed motorway”.

Two charged
Two men charged with the murder of Belfast journalist Lyra McKee have been granted bail. The 29-year-old was shot dead by dissident republicans in Londonderry in April 2019 as she observed rioting in the Creggan area of the city.

Amazon flood
The arrival of the Amazon’s first Irish warehouse and the promise of next-day deliveries has prompted fears for traditional stores. John Meagher hears from leading retailers about what sets them apart from the online giant. (Premium)

Outbreak trial
A civil trial has opened in Austria over the government's handling of a coronavirus outbreak at the popular Ischgl ski resort in March 2020 that led to thousands of people getting infected. The outbreak is considered one of Europe's earliest "super-spreader" events of the pandemic.

Oz passports
Australia will include people's Covid-19 vaccination status in their check-in apps, meaning the apps will act as vaccine passports. Sydney will also allow some returning international travellers to quarantine at home on their return to the city.

US boosters
The US Food and Drug Administration will meet today to review the latest data submitted by Pfizer and discuss whether a booster dose is safe enough for widespread use and whether it's necessary and effective at improving protection levels against Covid-19.

Galway frustration
Limerick celebrate, the rest cogitate. And all of the hurling counties have lots of cogitating to do. Maybe Cyril Farrell is overstating it because it’s personal, but he wonder is there any other county with more reason to be frustrated than Galway right now? (Premium)

Billboard fine
A French court sentenced a billboard owner to a €10,000 fine after he depicted President Emmanuel Macron as Adolf Hitler on a poster to protest COVID measures. Michel-Ange Flori said on Twitter after the ruling by the court in Toulon, southern France, that he will appeal.

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