The top stories in Wednesday's newspapers:
THE IRISH TIMES
- Theresa May will promise to represent the interests of everyone in the UK, including European Union nationals, as she starts two years of formal talks to take Britain out of the EU. She will address the House of Commons later today after she notifies European Council president Donald Tusk of Britain's intention to leave the bloc.
- A review of all data held by An Garda Síochána is being considered as some ministers in government believe trust in the force has been "shattered" by the recording of one million breath tests that never happened.
- Local authorities are to spend €226 million on major infrastructure projects to make privately-owned sites ready for large housing developments. Half the money will be spent in Dublin with substantial sums also allocated to the commuter counties of Meath, Louth and Kildare.
- In its business and property supplement, the paper reports that first-time buyers looking to benefit from looser mortgage lending rules and the government's help-to-buy scheme have driven the 42 per cent growth in the number of people who obtained mortgage approval in the year to February.
- The FT also leads with Brexit, reporting that Theresa May last night signed the historic letter that begins Britain's exit from the EU amid new signs that the prime minister is willing to compromise to prevent the UK's 44-year relationship with Europe ending in acrimony.
- Donald Trump vowed during the campaign to hire the "best people" once he became US president but he lags badly behind his predecessor Barack Obama in making nominations for top political appointments.
- The FT's Big Read focuses on carmakers, reporting that as rivals look to a future where electric vehicles lead the way, Toyota believes it has found an alternative. If it is wrong, its is not just the carmaker that will be under pressure, the report says.
- In its Companies & Markets section, the paper says that overseas companies that invest in the UK issued a flurry of warnings yesterday about the threat Brexit poses to their businesses, signalling their growing concern as the UK launches the formal process of leaving the EU.
- The paper leads with the Garda crisis, reporting that Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's position is coming under siege as an independent probe is ordered into the fake breath tests and penalty points scandal and the Dáil heard repeated calls for her to step down following the latest controversy to hit the force.
- A small number of legal firms are responsible for a huge number of personal injuries actions, the Law Society has been warned, amid fears that an unusually high number of spurious claims are clustered around a small number of towns where certain legal firms are based, the paper says.
- A tougher stance taken by the Central Bank has been blamed for companies not relocating here in the wake of Brexit. Insurance giant Lloyd's of London is expected to pick Brussels or Luxembourg over early favourite Dublin for its European base today, informed sources have said.
- Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, has agreed to pay £214 million in fines and compensation for investors to settle a probe over a 2014 accounting fraud that sparked the biggest crisis in its near-100 year history. It will also pay a £129 million fine after an agreement with Britain's Serious Fraud Office.
- The paper reports that Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has become embroiled in the Garda breath test "cover-up" as both she and Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan faced calls to resign their positions in the Dáil.
- The proposed merger between Charleville and Clonmel credit unions has been shelved, the paper says, reporting that the two credit unions issued a joint statement yesterday saying they had failed to reach agreement on "the finer details of a post-merged entity".
- The co-founder of one of Ireland's most successful outsourcing companies, Voxpro, has confirmed they pulled a multi-million dollar, 500-job investment form a US state because of its controversial "bathroom bill". The law, introduced in North Carolina last year, mandates that transgender people use the bathrooms matching the biological sex on their birth certificates.
- BEenergy, which is part of Northern Irish company Budget Energy, has entered the Irish electricity market with its 'Freedom' electricity plan, bringing greater choice of supply for electricity consumers. The company offers no discount rates but has the lowest standard unit rate and standing charge on the market.