Morning top 5: Taoiseach attending Pride event in Belfast; Thomas Martens takes to the stand; Charities issue warning over homelessness crisis

The top stories of the day on Newstalk.com

The Taoiseach continues his two day visit to Northern Ireland today.

He is attending a Gay Pride breakfast in Belfast this morning – warning that he will make no compromises on equality for anyone.

His support of the event has divided political opinion in the North - and comes as he warns that Brexit is the challenge of this generation.

In a speech yesterday, he also called for leadership to bring an end to the stalemate over power-sharing at Stormont.

***

The US State Department has officially informed the United Nations that it will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

According to the written notification, the US will continue to participate in UN climate change meetings during the withdrawal process – with the door left open to re-engaging if the terms improve for America.

President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the deal in June, claiming the accord would have cost America trillions of dollars.

The earliest date for complete withdrawal from the agreement is 2020, around the time of the next U.S. presidential election.

***

Retired FBI agent Thomas Michael Martens has wept in court describing how he repeatedly struck his Irish son-in-law with a metal baseball bat over the head.

Mr Martens said he feared for his life and the life of his daughter Molly Martens Corbett.

Both deny the second degree murder of Limerick man Jason Corbett in North Carolina two years ago.

Mr Martens said he continued to hit Mr Corbett until he was sure he could not kill him or his daughter Molly.

***

The Government is being warned that the homelessness crisis is showing no sign of abating. 

Almost 8,000 people were recorded as homeless in June - 2895 of them children.

The Department of housing says progress has been made in moving families out of hotel and B&B accommodation.

However charities, including Barnardos, have warned that the situation is simply getting worse.

***

166 people were arrested for drink driving over the August Bank Holiday weekend last year.

Gardaí and road safety campaigners are calling on drivers to take extra care as roads become busier this weekend.

It comes as a new poll revealed that 10% of drivers have gotten behind the wheel after drinking in the past 12 months.

The figures - released by the RSA - become more concerning when it comes to younger drivers - with 16% of motorists under the age of 24 admitting to drink driving over the past 12 months.