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Irish Prime Minister calls 26 February general election

Enda Kenny's coalition is seeking additional support in the upcoming election Credit: Reuters

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has called a general election for February 26.

His coalition government is seeking to win over the additional support needed for re-election and avoid a possible political deadlock.

Mr Kenny said the new Dail, or lower house of parliament, will sit again on March 10.

"I am going to make my way to Aras an Uachtarain (the president's residence) to ask the President to dissolve Dail Eireann (parliament)," the Irish Prime minister announced.

Ireland name Best as Six Nations captain

Ireland's new captain Rory Best. Credit: PA

Rory Best will captain Ireland for the Six Nations with uncapped quartet CJ Stander, Stuart McCloskey, Ultan Dillane and Josh van der Flier the 35-man squad's newcomers.

Ulster skipper Best takes Ireland's captaincy from legend Paul O'Connell, who retired from Test rugby after the 2015 World Cup.

Check out ITV's Six Nations website for the full story

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Ireland launches purge of one and two cent coins

A scheme to reduce the number of one and two cent coins in circulation in Ireland launches today, with customers having bills rounded to the nearest five cents instead.

If the customer consents, bills ending in one, two, six, or seven cents would be rounded down to the nearest five, while those ending in three, four, eight or nine cents would be rounded up.

Ireland wants to reduce the number of one and two cent coins Credit: PA

The policy has already been tried in Wexford in the Republic of Ireland, and from today will be rolled out across the country in a bid to reduce the number of low-denomination coins, which experts say are often simply "stockpiled" in people's homes.

Dr Ronnie O'Toole, an economist at Ireland's Central Bank, said he believed it would prove successful.

"Consumers may be surprised at first but, judging from the experience in Wexford, they will embrace rounding very quickly," he said.

Since joining the euro in 2001, Ireland has spent some €37 million (£27m) minting the copper coins.

Similar schemes have already been introduced in other eurozone states including the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Hungary.

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Irish Justice Minister 'appalled' by loss of Garda's life

Ireland's Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Credit: PA

The Justice Minister for Ireland has said she is "appalled" over the loss of a Garda's life.

Frances Fitzgerald said: "His death will be mourned by the entire nation.

"While no words at this time can be expected to console his wife and children, his family, his colleagues and all who loved him, they know that he gave his life in the best traditions of An Garda Siochana protecting the community he was so proud to serve."

Garda commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan added her "thoughts and prayers" were with the entire Garda service.

"This incident highlights the unique nature of the job carried out by the men and women of An Garda Siochana, and the dangers they face every day."

Irish President leads tributes to Garda killed in shooting

The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins. Credit: Reuters

The President of Ireland has led tributes to the Garda killed in a shooting during a domestic dispute in County Louth.

Michael D Higgins said in a statement: "This most serious and tragic incident has not only led to the death of a member of An Garda Siochana, while on duty, but tragically has also involved the death of one and the serious injury of another person.

"I want to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the Garda who has so tragically lost his life while responding to this incident.

"My thoughts at this time are also with all others who have been affected by these events."

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