Morning top 5: Country facing potential election; Explosion detected in search for missing submarine; Clean-up continues in Mountmellick

The top stories this morning on Newstalk.com

The country could be on the verge of a general election as the controversy over the garda whistleblower scandal continues.

The Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is accused of failing to act after she received an email indicating a smear campaign against the Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe in 2015.

Sinn Féin has tabled a motion of no confidence in Minister Fitzgerald – with Fianna Fáil likely to follow suit today.

A Fianna Fáil vote of no confidence would break the confidence and supply arrangement that is propping up the minority-led Fine Gael Government.

Should the Tánaiste resign or be removed from her position in the meantime, the crisis could be avoided – however, the Fine Gael parliamentary party voted unanimously last night to support her.

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A humanitarian assistance scheme will continue to help people affected by the flooding in Mountmellick in Co Laois today.

Dozens of families were forced out of their homes in the town on Wednesday when three rivers burst their banks.

Community welfare centres have been set up in the town and at the Maldron hotel in Portlaoise, where many of the displaced families are staying.

The clean-up operation is expected to last several days and is being co-ordinated by The Defence Forces, the local authority and fire services.

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Hopes that the crew of a missing Argentine submarine might still be alive have been dashed after the navy said an explosion had been detected.

The "abnormal, singular, short, violent, non-nuclear event" was recorded in the south Atlantic by a nuclear test watchdog.

44 people were on board the vessel when it disappeared last week.

It was reported yesterday that the search for the missing vessel had entered a “critical phase” with authorities estimating that the crew’s oxygen supplies could be running low.

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Zimbabwe is to swear in a new leader today – for the first time after 37 years under the rule of dictator Robert Mugabe.

The country’s former vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa - who returned from exile on Wednesday - will be inaugurated at a stadium in the capital Harare.

His dismissal from office earlier this month led the army to intervene and force Mr Mugabe to quit.

Dubbed ‘The Crocodile,’ Mr Mnangagwa’s own human rights record is causing concern in Zimbabwe and internationally. 

He was in charge of the country’s internal security in the 1980’s when human rights group say 20,000 civilians were killed.

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A member of the British House of Lords is facing a backlash after he described the Taoiseach as "The Indian" in a tweet.

Former unionist MP John Taylor claims he used the term as shorthand because he didn't know how to spell Leo Varadkar's surname.

However he has been accused of racism by several politicians across the political spectrum.

Mr Taylor later admitted the Taoiseach was "100% Irish," and promised to learn how to spell his surname.