Evening Top 5: Permanent TSB to press ahead with loan sale; Cabinet backs draft referendum bill; Bradley floats fresh Stormont elections

The top stories of the day on Newstalk.com

Permanent TSB pressing ahead with sale of distressed loans worth €3.7bn

Permanent TSB has insisted that now is the “appropriate time” for it to offload around 18,000 distressed mortgages from its books.

The bank is refusing to back down under significant political pressure, with Fianna Fáil introducing legislation aimed at regulating so-called ‘vulture funds.’

The party has accused the bank of 'outsourcing its dirty work' by selling on the loans - with fears large numbers of evictions could follow.

It has called on the Government to step in and block the sale, arguing that ‘vulture funds’ are not subject to the same Central Bank regulations as banks and may be less likely to work with customers to resolve their difficulties.

Government expects Eighth Amendment referendum by end of May

The Taoiseach has said he is confident a referendum on the Eighth Amendment can be held by the end of May.

The Cabinet this morning approved a draft bill which will form the basis for the referendum.

The draft bill sets out the question which may be asked to voters.

It asks people if they support repealing the 8th amendment and allowing the government to legislate for abortion.

Convicted murderer Catherine Nevin dies aged 67

Convicted murderer Catherine Nevin has died in Dublin following a long illness.

The 67-year-old had been serving a life sentence in prison for orchestrating the murder of her husband Tom in 1996.

She was granted full-time temporary release from prison last August for medical reasons.

Nevin was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 and had been undergoing treatment in the Mater Hospital.

Northern Secretary raises prospect of fresh Stormont elections

The British Secretary for Northern Ireland has raised the prospect of a fresh round of Stormont elections.

Karen Bradley was speaking in Westminster following last week’s collapse of talks aimed at restoring power-sharing.

The North has been without a devolved Government for 13 months since the collapse of the Executive over the DUP’s handling of a botched renewable energy scheme.

Ms Bradley said the British Government’s support for the Good Friday Agreement remains steadfast - and insisted the restoration of the Stormont Executive is in the best interests of everyone in the North.

Ten more bus routes to be diverted from Dublin's College Green

Ten more Dublin Bus routes are to be diverted away from the College Green area.

The changes are due to take effect from March 5th.

Traffic around College Green has become extremely heavy since the Luas Cross City line opened in December.

Transport bosses have said they want to make room for the arrival of an increased number of longer Luas trams and a rise in tourist numbers over summer.