Three candidates seeking IFA presidency

Three men will battle it out to replace Eddie Downey as president of the Irish Farmer's Association after the deadline for nominations closed.

Henry Burns, the IFA Livestock Chairman from Co Laois, Flor McCarthy, the IFA Rural Development Chairman from Co Kerry and Galway's Joe Healy, a former president of Macra na Feirme and a member of the IFA Farm Business Committee will take part in the election.

Both the organisation's Deputy President Tim O'Leary and Carlow IFA Chairman Derek Deane, who forced the issue of pay at the organisation that led to the resignation of Mr Downey, failed to secure the necessary support to contest the election.

The election will take place over a ten-day period starting in early April

Second Aer Lingus diverted to Dublin today

An Aer Lingus flight from Donegal to Glasgow has diverted to Dublin Airport with a technical issue.

It is the second time today that an Aer Lingus service has diverted to the country's biggest airport with a problem.

Aer Lingus Regional flight EI-3443, operated by Stobart Air, departed Donegal at around 2.45pm and the ATR 42-300 turboprop plane was rerouted to Dublin where it landed safely at 3.35pm.

Earlier, Aer Lingus flight EI-672 from Dublin to Budapest, turned around over The Netherlands after the crew reported a technical issue.

Collisions affect traffic and Luas commuters

Motorists and the Luas were disrupted following two separate minor collisions on Benburb Street in Dublin this evening.

The first incident involved a car and a Luas tram; the second involved two cars. Dublin Fire Brigade has described both collisions as minor and said that no-one was injured.

Benburb Street was closed to traffic between Temple Street West and Parkgate Street, but has now reopened. 

Luas Red Line services are back to normal.

Strike ballot if hospital implements €500 staff parking charge 

SIPTU has said members will ballot for strike action if management at St James's Hospital in Dublin proceed with plans to implement a €500 annual charge for car parking.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, SIPTU's Health Division Organiser Paul Bell said the manner in which the matter was proposed was shabby and insensitive.

"There's been no offer to have a dialogue. There's been no offer to have any kind of discussion in this regard.

"I actually believe that management took the chance in putting this into the system to see what kind of reaction there would be ... the way this matter was handled in the lead up to Christmas was absolutely shabby."

Germany recorded 1.1m asylum seekers in 2015: ministry

Germany registered 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015, the interior ministry said today, with Syrians making up almost 40%.

The number of Syrians seeking refuge in Europe's biggest economy hit 428,468 during the year, with Afghans the second-biggest group at 154.046 applicants.

The annual arrivals were a record and around five times more than 2014.

1,200 unsafe life jackets destined for use by migrants

Turkish police have seized over 1,200 unsafe life jackets destined for use by migrants trying to reach Greece by sea, in a raid on an underground workshop that used Syrian underage labour.

The authorities seized 1,263 life jackets that failed to correspond to safety standards in the raid on the workshop in the centre of Izmir, a city on the Aegean Sea.

Izmir is a major hub for refugees and migrants seeking to make the risky crossing in flimsy boats to EU member Greece.

The news of the seizure comes a day after Turkish authorities announced that the bodies of 36 migrants had been found on its Aegean coast after their boats sank in bad weather while trying to cross to the Greek island of Lesbos.

2,500 jihadists killed in air strikes last month

The US-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes against the so-called Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria killed about 2,500 jihadists last month, a US Pentagon spokesman said. 

"In December, we estimate approximately 2,500 enemy fighters were killed in coalition air strikes across Iraq and Syria," he said.

The Pentagon has previously been wary of giving body counts. Today's figures come as officials are keen to portray the IS group as being on the defensive after the jihadists suffered a series of setbacks.