Evening top 5: 'Fevered atmosphere' may affect cervical investigation; Calls to expel Israeli ambassador; 12 month extension for 'Grace' investigation

The top stories of the day on Newstalk.com

Head of Cervical Check inquiry warns 'fevered atmosphere' may affect investigation

The head of the inquiry into the CervicalCheck scandal has said the 'fevered atmosphere' around the situation may affect his investigation.

The admission is contained in new documents released by the Department of Health this evening.

In the documents, Dr Gabriel Scally said a number of key figures have been distracted by having to appear before Oireachtas committees.

In the memos, Dr Scally told the Secretary General of the Department of Health that he has met with Vicky Phelan and will shortly be requesting information from the parties involved in the investigation.

Government will not expel Israeli ambassador over Gaza violence

The Taoiseach has said Ireland will not expel the Israeli ambassador despite yesterday's violence in Gaza.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil that expelling the Israeli envoy would lead to a breakdown in relations – and Ireland’s representative in Israel being sent home in response.

At least 58 people were killed by Israeli forces during Monday's protests, which coincided with the official movement of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

It marked the deadliest day in the region since the Gaza war in 2014, with thousands of others injured.

North Korea pulls out of talks with South over US military drills

North Korea has said it is scrapping high-level talks with the South due to military drills with the US, reports from the region say.

It has appeared to question the US' commitment to a summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set for next month in Singapore.

The joint Max Thunder drills between the South Korean and US air forces are a rehearsal for the invasion of the North, the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

They are also a provocation amid warming inter-Korean ties, KCNA said.

Disclosures Tribunal: Superintendent Dave Taylor unable to provide details of negative press briefings on McCabe

The former Garda Press Officer has accepted that a smear campaign he says he was ordered to direct against Maurice McCabe was a flop.

Dave Taylor has finished his second day of evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal which is currently examining whether garda management ordered the Superintendent to brief journalists negatively about Sgt McCabe.

Asked repeatedly for specifics on when the negative briefings occurred, Supt Taylor was unable to provide any details.

While Superintendent Taylor accepted that the smear campaign ran for nine months from mid 2013, to Spring 2014, he could not give details to counsel for RTÉ or Independent News and Media (INM).

Investigation into 'Grace' case granted 12 month extension

The government has approved a 12 month extension to the Commission of Investigation examining the Grace case.

The Cabinet was informed a large amount of documents still need to be trawled through.

Marjorie Farrelly, the Senior Counsel heading up the investigation applied for the extension based on the “enormous volume of documentation disclosed to it from a wide range of public bodies, organisations and individuals.”

She also reported issues identifying potential witnesses and establishing their current health.