Morning top 5: Flood defences in Athlone 'holding steady'; major flooding affects parts of UK

The top stories this morning...

 

Flood defences in Athlone are said to be holding steady - as Westmeath County Council remains on alert.

Almost 30 millimetres of rain fell between Christmas and St Stephen's days, and so far the river Shannon has risen by 8cm in the past few days.

It is predicted that water levels will rise by 10cm in the coming days.

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David Cameron will chair an emergency meeting today on the UK's flooding crisis.

The British prime minister will also visit some of the worst hit areas tomorrow.

More than 400 flood alerts and warnings - 31 of them severe - are in place for England, Scotland and Wales.

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Next year will mark the end of emigration, with more Irish people returning home than leaving the country.

That is the target being unveiled by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who wants to see inward migration of 5,000 Irish citizens next year.

He says €2 million is being invested in the 'Home to Work' campaign which encourages Irish people visiting home for Christmas to consider returning for good.

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Nine people have died on the country's roads since this day last week.

In the latest fatality, a 20-year-old woman died when her car struck a wall at Camblin, New Ross, in County Wexford at about 4.50pm last evening.

Eight of those who lost their lives in crashes around the country were under the age of thirty.

Gardaí are investigating all of the incidents and are appealing to anyone who witnessed the incidents to come forward.

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At least seven people have died in the Dallas area after at least four tornadoes were spawned by severe storms.

Four of the victims were killed in vehicle accidents near the intersection of two major highways in Garland, east of Dallas, police said.

Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said the four were killed in accidents that occurred during the massive storm, but it is unclear if all of them were in the same vehicle.