Evening Top 5: Brexit plan "pure illusion"; Trump doubles down on armed teachers; Next week "critical" in vulture fund stand-off

The top stories of the day on Newstalk.com


Tusk warns British Brexit plan "based on pure illusion"

The European Council president has delivered a scathing assessment of the UK's Brexit position less than 24 hours after Theresa May appeared to have secured an agreement among her divided Cabinet.

Donald Tusk was speaking at a news conference alongside European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels.

He told reporters the British Prime Minister's Brexit plan "is based on pure illusion."

"I am glad that the UK seems to be moving towards more detailed position, however if media reports are correct then I am afraid the UK position is based on pure illusion." he said.

"Running out of words" - EU calls for immediate Syria ceasefire

The European Union is calling for an immediate ceasefire as the death toll in Syria’s eastern Ghouta continues to mount.

In a statement this afternoon, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini warned that the “massacre” in the Damascus suburb “must stop now.”

It is believed at least 428 people, including 98 children, have been killed in the rebel-held area since Sunday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has claimed that the number of people killed or injured in the onslaught has topped 2500 in the past five days.

Trump doubles down on call to arm school teachers

The US President Donald Trump has said an armed officer's failure to protect students during the Florida attack serves to illustrate the need to arm school teachers.

President Trump addressed the American Conservative Conference in Maryland this afternoon.

He was speaking after it emerged that an armed officer was at the scene of the Florida shooting but failed to confront the gunman.

Addressing the Conservative Crowd in Maryland, President Trump said Officer Peterson “was not a credit to law enforcement” and insisted students would be better protected if some teachers were armed

Next week "critical" in political stand-off over 'vulture fund' regulation

Fianna Fáil has warned that next week is “critical” in terms of its bid to ensure vulture funds are properly regulated.

This morning, Ulster Bank became the second major bank to announce plans to sell off thousands of non-performing home loans in recent weeks.

The bank said it could sell up to 7,000 loans that are currently in arrears.

It comes after Permanent TSB confirmed it plans to press ahead with the sale of around 18,000 distressed loans worth €3.7bn, despite major political opposition to the plans.

Cash, cars and watches seized in series of CAB raids targeting Dublin gang

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has carried out a series of searches across the country this morning as part of an investigation into organised crime.

Investigators say 40 searches have now been carried out in a series of raids targeting the Kinahan crime gang.

150 gardaí are involved in the searches which have been taking place in Dublin, Meath, Limerick and Longford.

As part of the searches, €15,000 in cash has been seized, along with a number of Breitling, Rolex and Cartier watches.