The Evening Top 5: Leaders debate takes place tonight, David Byrne laid to rest amid security operation

The biggest stories of the day on Newstalk

Leaders and Deputy Leaders debates to take place tonight

The leaders of the seven major political parties are making last minute preparations for tonight's major TV debate on RTE. Micheal Martin was widely hailed as the winner of last week's debate between the leaders of the four main parties. Tonight's RTÉ debate will also feature Lucinda Creighton of Renua, Stephen Donnelly of the Social Democrats and the Anti Austerity Alliance - People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

Luas workers have added two more strike dates in March, including St. Patrick's Day

Luas workers are planning two more days of strike action in March. Both Tuesday March 8th and St Patrick’s Day Thursday March 17th have been set for a further two days of striking, on top of Thurs 18th and Fri 19th of this week. Transdev Managing Director Gerry Madden said today: "I am shocked and disappointed to learn that Luas employees plan on stopping the service not just this week, Thursday and Friday, February 18th and 19th, on Tuesday March 8thand St Patrick’s Day March 17th 2016.  All in pursuance of their pay claims."

Murder victim David Byrne laid to rest amid major security operation

The funeral mass of murder victim David Byrne has passed off peacefully, and his cortège then moved to a cemetery in Harold's Cross in Dublin. The 34-year-old father of two was shot dead when an armed gang stormed the Regency hotel in Drumcondra ten days ago. A lone piper broke the silence that befell Francis Street as the funeral cortege snaked its way through the narrow streets of Dublin's south-inner city.

Green Party lose High Court bid to be included in RTÉ leaders' debate

The Green Party has lost its bid to be included in the second general election leaders' debate on RTÉ. The national broadcaster had insisted its decision to exclude Eamon Ryan from tonight's debates was "fair, transparent and independent". Ms Justice Marie Baker said the criteria used by the broadcaster was not unfair or irrational or disproportionate. The Green Party leader was not asked to participate because his party did not meet the criteria, which requires it to have at least three outgoing TDs.

JK Rowling weighs in on five-year-old legally-binding bet between a student and her teacher

JK Rowling, beloved writer of the Harry Potternovels, has weighed in on Twitter to settle a bet made by a school teacher and a student in 2011 that became so heated, a legally-binding contract was drawn up and signed by witnesses. Now five years on, Rowling has revealed who has won. Victoria Green, then a sophomore student in an American high school, got into a war of words with her then chemistry teacher, Robert Hernandez, over whether or not Rowling would ever again return to the magical world of her characters and release a new adventure featuring the grown-up boy wizard, with the teacher believing that Rowling would be unable to resist the temptation.