Morning top 5: Missing rescue helicopter; Bus Éireann talks; and Brexit trigger

The top stories this Tuesday morning

A search operation is underway for a coastguard helicopter missing off the west coast.

The Dublin based Rescue aircraft had travelled across the country to assist colleagues on a medevac, but contact was lost just before 1.00am this morning.

The Shannon-based helicopter, two lifeboats and a number of fishing vessels have now joined the search operation, several miles out to sea.

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WRC talks to resolve the impasse at Bus Éireann have broken down.

The company issued a statement overnight, saying it is 'extremely disappointed' and will now urgently re-assess what action to take.

The company claims unions have shown no flexibility to engage in efficiency measures.

But SIPTU says a lot of progress has been made.

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Postmasters are staging a protest at the GPO this morning over plans to close post offices around the country.

The Irish Post Masters' Union is calling on the Government to intervene.

It follows reports that up to 200 outlets could be shut as part of cost-saving measures at An Post.

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The British parliament has passed the legislation needed to start the UK exit from the EU.

It means the process to begin negotiations to leave will be triggered by the end of this month.

There was speculation that Theresa May would move immediately to trigger Article 50 today, but a spokesperson now says that is unlikely.

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The US Justice Department has been given more time to look into Donald Trump's claim Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of his skyscraper.

The House intelligence committee said it would give the department until 20 March to provide the information it has requested.

The committee is due to start public hearings into Russian interference in the 2016 election on March 20th.