Evening top 5: Coveney determined to fight on; US agrees massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia; Man arrested in connection with Kilkenny death

The top stories of the day on Newstalk.com ...

Fine Gael officially confirms leadership candidates

Fine Gael has officially announced the two candidates that will face off to become the party’s next leader.

There was no surprise as it was confirmed that the Housing Minster Simon Coveney and the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar have been nominated for the position.

Minister Varadkar has opened up a powerful early lead in terms of enlisting the support of party members, leading some commentators to suggest the race could be over before it has begun.

 

US agrees massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia

The US has agreed the “largest single arms deal in American history” with Saudi Arabia, according to a White House official.

It comes as US President Donald Trump arrives in the Middle East for his first foreign trip since he took office.

This afternoon, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud presented Mr Trump with the kingdom's top civilian honour during a meeting at the royal court in Riyadh.

Thousands turn out for Irish language rally in Belfast

Thousands have taken part in a rally in Belfast today calling for the introduction of new laws to protect the Irish language in the North.

An estimated 12,000 people attended the march calling for the introduction of an Irish Language Act, giving Gaeilge equal status with English.

The issue is currently one of the stumbling blocks affecting negotiations aimed at restoring a power-sharing government to the region.

The George Nightclub vandalised with homophobic slur

The George Nightclub in Dublin's City Centre was vandalised last night, with a number of vile slurs and symbols being drawn on the front of the bar.  

Thankfully, this morning the messages, which were written in chalk, were wiped off by the County Council who are expected to clean the rest off with water.

The defacement of the bar comes two days before the second anniversary of the marriage equality referendum. It's expected that similar to last year there will be a parade to celebrate the anniversary.

Man charged in connection with death of mother in Kilkenny

A man has been charged in connection with the death of a woman in Kilkenny last weekend.

29-year-old Rita Apine died last Sunday after being found with serious injuries at the bottom of the stairs in her home in Freshford.

She was taken to St Luke's General Hospital in Kilkenny where she later passed away.

A man in his 30s was arrested yesterday and is being held at Kilkenny Garda Station.