Morning top 5: Polls open in French election; 6,000 people rescued in the Mediterranean; Maternity hospital protest in Dublin

The top stories this morning on Newstalk.com

47 million French voters are taking to the polls this morning in what is said to be the most important presidential elections in decades.

8000 French citizens in Ireland are also due to vote in the French embassy in Dublin and in city Hall, Cork.

The presidential campaign was rocked last Friday night when it was revealed that the campaign of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron had been hacked.

The French presidential commission is warning the media not to discuss the content due to strict moratorium rules that apply in the 24 hours before an election.

It is unclear if the last minute leak will have any impact on today's vote.

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Some 6,000 migrants fleeing to Europe have been rescued in the last 48 hours.

However the Libyan coastguard has told AFP that while it rescued 170 people yesterday - it failed to reach others due to a lack of means.

The UN Migration Agency says just over 44,000 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea so far this year.

The organisation says a confirmed death toll for the first part of 2017 of 1,096 should be considered a low estimate as it's working to verify reports of more fatalities on the Mediterranean.

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Women's rights groups will march through Dublin today to protest against the granting of ownership of the National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity.

The various groups including 'Justice for Magdalenes' say the hospital belongs in public not private hands.

Sinead Redmond, speaking for 'Parents for Choice' said the people do not trust the Sisters of Charity to “do what is best with their ownership” of the facility.

The march will gather at 2pm outside the Garden of Remembrance and finish at Merrion Square.

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It has emerged that 82 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 have been released.

The Nigerian presidency says they were exchanged for a number of the group's fighters held by authorities in the country.

A military source said the girls are currently in Banki near the Cameroon border for medical checks.

The girls, who are undergoing medical checks, were among 220 taken from a school in Chibok.

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Gerry Adams has renewed his appeal for anyone with information about the 'Disappeared' to come forward.

The Sinn Féin President has issued a statement welcoming the discovery of human remains in France.

The discovery was made by the team searching for Séamus Ruddy - a teacher who was abducted in Paris over thirty years ago.