The top stories in Monday's newspapers:
THE IRISH TIMES
- The paper reports that Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar mounted personalised and direct criticisms of each other in last night's tense final hustings of the Fine Gael leadership battle ahead of the start of voting today. Varadkar accused Coveney of being divisive and dishonest and Coveney suggested that under Varadkar's leadership, the party would drift to the right.
- A comprehensive audit of the emergency removal of children from their families by gardaí has found evidence of serious failings in the state's child protection system. The forensic audit, of more than 5,400 cases over eight years recorded on the Garda Pulse system, found serious failures in Pulse, a dearth of child protection training for gardaí and poor and limited interagency communication, co-operation and co-ordination.
- Europe can no longer completely rely on its allies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday, pointing to bruising meetings of G7 wealthy nations and Nato last week. The paper reports that Merkel did not mention US president Donald Trump by name but she told a political event in Munich that the days when Europe could completely count on others were "over to a certain extent".
- A private school set to open in south Dublin next year is in talks with a range of multinational firms about setting aside places for children of executives, the paper says. The international school, which will cater for up to 800 students, will be based in a €20 million office block formerly used by Microsoft close to the Leopardstown race course.
- British Airways passengers around the world were struck by a second day of cancellations and delays yesterday as the airline struggled to regain control after a computer system failure caused chaos during one of the UK's busiest travel weekends, the paper says. Nearly a third of BA flights departing Heathrow, Britain's busiest airport, had been cancelled by yesterday afternoon.
- It also says that UK business leaders, concerned by what they see as a damaging loss of influence with Theresa May's administration, are aiming to set up a special group to rebuild ties with government. The group would involve ministers and civil servants from four departments -- the Treasury and the trade, business and Brexit departments.
- "Is China turning Japanese?" the paper asks in its Big Read as it reports that it is more than 30 years since Japan began inflating a property and stock market bubble whose implosion scarred the economy for decades. There are growing fears that China faces a similar fate, it says.
- In its Companies & Markets section, the paper reports that farmed fish is poised to overtake the wild harvest by 2019, as global seafood loses its status as the only remaining food sector supplied chiefly by nature while businesses pour investment into fish farming.
- The paper reports that Leo Varadkar turned down an offer from Taoiseach Enda Kenny to remain in the Department of Health. His decision to seek a move elsewhere forced Kenny to offer the job to Simon Harris, who was initially set to take charge of the Department of Social Protection.
- Facebook chief Sheryl Sandberg personally lobbied the Taoiseach on who would be appointed as Ireland's next data protection commissioner, the paper reports. It says the social media giant faces an investigation under new Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon into allegations it used its Irish headquarters to transfer data of millions of EU Facebook users to US spies under the Prism surveillance programme.
- Bus journeys in the capital are taking up to 70 per cent longer at peak times due to growing congestion in the city. Figures from the National Transport Authority show that commuters travelling from Malahide into the city are among the worst affected but there are major delays in the morning and evening peaks across all main bus routes.
- In its business section, the paper reports that a dramatic tightening in the UK general election race has hit the pound with sterling tipped to plunge further if a surge by Labour's Jeremy Corbyn prevents Theresa May securing her expected overall majority. Latest polls show May's Conservatives with 43 per cent support compared to Labour's 36 per cent.
- The paper reports that the Fine Gael leadership contest has risked causing a damaging party rift after Leo Varadkar accused Simon Coveney of "divisive and dishonest" politics with his rival claiming that Varadkar is "spending money we don't have".
- It also says that public holidays are the busiest time for self-harm emergencies with St. Patrick's Day the worst of all, according to the first study of its type in Ireland. The phenomenon has been described as a "paradox" of public holidays with higher rates of traumatic incidents happening on days of celebration.
- Michael Noonan's successor as finance minister will have no option but to effectively sanction huge hikes in local property tax bills and will likely be barred from any further delay in assessing home property values on which the tax is based, a tax expert has warned.
- One of the country's largest trade unions has voiced fears over the ongoing public sector pay talks, claiming that government plans would reduce incomes rather than restore them. As the talks enter their second week, Impact said it was now likely that the process would not be concluded this week, as initially hoped, and that on the basis of what has been heard so far it "doesn't bode well for the prospect of reaching a deal".