The top stories in Tuesday's papers:
THE IRISH TIMES
- Up to three-quarters of students in some of the state's colleges are reliant on grant support, according to new figures that highlight the scale of the class divide in Irish higher education. The paper reports that school leavers from more affluent backgrounds are much more likely to have places in universities offering high-points degrees.
- More than a million people who illegally stream films and TV shows from the internet face having their online access cut off or severely reduced if a legal action taken by a group of studios is successful.
- Almost 10,000 patients are not included on national waiting lists even though the dates for their scheduled treatment were missed. The HSE yesterday admitted it has concerns about 9,000 inpatients who were not treated at the scheduled time but whose data is not included in national waiting lists.
- A slew of recent economic indicators point to stronger-than-expected gortwth this year, according to Davy Stockbrokers. It now expects GDP to expand by five per cent this year, above a previous forecast of 3.7 per cent.
- French bond prices fell to their lowest levels in 18 months amid fears that the "fake jobs" scandal engulfing Francois Fillon, the one-time presidential front-runner, could bolster populist candidates in April's elections, particularly far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
- The UK has fired the starting gun on its largest ever sale of student loans to private investors, in an effort to divest public assets and cut the national debt.
- Martin Schulz, Angela Merkel's new Social Democrat challenger, has stirred German politics by helping his party to a lead over the chancellor's conservatives in a national opinion poll, the first in a decade.
- In its Companies & Markets section, the paper reports that a falling pound and a flood of rivals moving into its profitable markets dented Ryanair's performance in the last three months of 2016 with the airline reporting yesterday that fares and profits fell slightly more than expected during the quarter.
- The full extent of the crisis in hospital waiting lists was exposed as it emerged 49,000 public patients have been "hidden" from official figures. The patients are not documented in the monthly in-patient and day case waiting lists which currently stand at 81,015.
- The paper also reports that strike action looms at hospitals across the country after the collapse of talks on the recruitment and retention of nurses. The INMO has warned HSE management that proposals it tabled to deal with the crisis would have to be "radically improved" within 24 hours to form the basis for further talks.
- Almost 15,000 new homes were completed last year, the largest number since 2009, the paper reports, but although the construction industry is slowly getting back to business, the market is still a long way off what is considered normal.
- A new watchdog to clamp down on offensive material being posted on social media websites is to be established. The Digital Safety Commissioner will have the power to compel websites such as Facebook and Twitter to take down material that could be considered distasteful or abusive.
- Two Irishmen, including a senior member of the Kinahan cartel, are among four people being questioned after a suspected botched murder attempt at one of Amsterdam's busiest squares, the paper's front page reports.
- The hacking of the National Treasury Management Agency's website should leave the government "extremely worried", one of Ireland's leading cybersecurity experts has said. The website was defaced yesterday morning and remained down for the rest of the day for maintenance.
- The country's bus and rail services are both on the brink of collapse after Iarnród Éireann revealed it remains "one mis-step away from insolvency". A pay dispute at the company has been referred to the Labour Court after talks with unions failed to make headway yesterday.
- Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned of a possible return to cross-border criminality and even armed conflict if Brexit negotiations fail to take account of the island of Ireland.