The top stories in Wednesday's newspapers:
THE IRISH TIMES
- The paper reports that the process of former attorney general Máire Whelan's nomination as a judge on the Court of Appeal drew criticism from ministers at yesterday's cabinet meeting. It was the first substantive cabinet meeting chaired by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is understood to have warned his ministers about the need for confidentiality.
- It also says that a senior Garda official sought charitable status for Templemore Garda College from Revenue in an attempt to "muddy things up", the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee has been told. The Garda Commissioner faced seven hours of questioning from committee members yesterday surrounding the financial irregularities uncovered in Templemore.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs has urged undocumented Irish in the US "to remain calm" after a prominent Donegal man living illegally for 18 years in Boston was arrested for immigration violations. John Cunningham, who has been undocumented in the US since 1999, was arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials at a private residence in Boston on Friday.
- In its business section, the paper says that the government has narrowed the price range at which it expects to float AIB on the stock market this week, reducing the maximum it could achieve for an initial stake sale to almost €3.6 billion. The state's stake is now set to be priced between €4.20 and €4.60 per share compared to an initial range of €3.90 to €4.90, valuing the bank at between €11.4 billion and €12.5 billion.
- The paper reports that Barclays, its former chief executive and three other ex-senior executives have been charged with fraud related to the emergency cash injections that saved the bank from a government bailout at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.
- It also says that UK prime minister Theresa May will go into today's Queen's Speech without a guaranteed parliamentary majority after talks with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist party on supporting her dragged on with no accord. But the DUP has indicated it will vote in favour of the Queen's Speech, which is set to be dominated by Brexit legislation.
- Offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands have assets in excess of $1.5 trillion, more than twice the sum estimated in 2010, the paper says. More than 140 listed businesses in London, New York and Hong Kong have a unit there, according to a new report.
- In its Companies & Markets section, the paper reports that 11 leading international companies, including General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, ExxonMobil and BP, have joined a campaign backing a revenue-neutral carbon tax in the US as a way of tackling the threat of climate change that "embodies the conservative principles of free markets and limited government".
- The paper reports that the average annual cost of private health cover is set to double to €2,400 in the next decade, insurance bosses have said. More than 540,000 people in Ireland are now over the age of 65 and this is one of the main factors pushing health insurance costs skywards, it says.
- Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin has been warned the party's grassroots are "champing at the bit" to bring down the Fine Gael-led government, the paper says, reporting that senior deputies in the party have voiced serious concerns over its response to the controversial appointment of former attorney general Máire Whelan to the Court of Appeal.
- Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has been accused of tax fraud by Spanish prosecutors who are investigating his time in charge at Real Madrid. He is alleged to owe tax authorities €3.3 million for failing to declare revenues from his image rights "with the aim of obtaining illicit profits", a prosecutor said in a statement.
- In its business section, the paper reports that Irish poultry giant Moy Park is back on the market just two years after it was bought by its current Brazilian owner. Based in Craigavon, Moy Park was bought in 2015 for $1.5 billion and employs 6,300 people in Northern Ireland.
- The paper reports that fresh controversy has enveloped Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan after she was criticised by the state's financial watchdog for failing to mention possible financial irregularities at Temple Garda College in a formal accounting notification to him.
- A national housing co-operative described as "a Nama for the wee guy" should be set up to alleviate the distressed mortgage crisis, according to an anti-repossession group. The Rigth2Homes group has proposed that its drafted National Housing Co-op Bill become law, saying the co-op could buy all home and buy-to-let loans in arrears of more than 360 days.
- Deeply-disappointed Fine Gael TDs have questioned Leo Varadkar's junior ministerial reshuffle as he faces a backlash over the lack of female appointments, the paper says. Varadkar made five new appointments to the junior ministerial ranks while two were demoted and a number elevated to more prominent roles.
- A vaccine jab that prevents heart attacks could be on the cards after promising early research showing how the immune system can be directed to lower cholesterol, the paper says. Patients have already been enrolled into a Phase 1 trial to see if the approach, so far tested on mice, will work in humans.