Evening top 5: Tillerson takes on Syria; Census 2016 and the Fennelly report

The biggest stories on Newstalk.com this Thursday evening...

It's reported the Pentagon is in discussions with the White House about military options in Syria.

It comes in the wake a deadly gas attack killed at least 80 people in the northern province of Idlib.

The White House says Donald Trump's talked to several leaders about setting up safe zones in Syria.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the US is sure President Assad's forces are behind the strike.


An investigation into the mass recording of telephone calls in garda stations has found the practice was not lawful.

But it says no criminal cases were significantly affected by the practice.

The Fennelly Commission found that it is "reasonable to conclude, based on the evidence before it, that no widespread or systematic, indeed probably no significant, misuse of information derived from non-999 recordings took place".

The commission, headed by Mr Justice Nial Fennelly, was set up in 2014 to investigate telephone recording systems to record calls other than those to 999.


Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar says Fianna Fáil knows well the Government is not obliged to bring forward legislation it knows is contrary to European law.

Mr Varadkar has been quizzed in the Dáil about the confidence and supply agreement - which does say the Government will facilitate the passage of legislation to give effect to the water committee report.

Appendix 2 of the reads: "The Government will facilitate the passage of legislation (whether it be a money bill or otherwise) for the implementation of the recommendations in relation to domestic water charging supported by the Oireachtas".


The number of people in Ireland who identify as non-religious has increased by over 70% in the past five years.

The figures were included among the first batch of statistics from last year’s Irish Census, which were published this morning.

2 million households filled out the Census form on the evening of Sunday the 24th of April 2016.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the data will lead to “a greater insight and understanding of Ireland today.”


The Israeli Labour Party is moving its primary election in July by a day to accommodate a Britney Spears concert.

Israeli publication Haaretz reports that the pop star is due to perform in Hayarkon Park in north Tel Aviv - adjacent to the planned venue of the Labour vote, the Convention Centre.

A senior party source said that the clash would see Labour struggle to employ an adequate number of stewards at the venue as many would otherwise be employed securing the concert.

Traffic concerns were also highlighted as an issue, with defence minister Amir Peretz telling media: "We put it back one day to July 4th [...] They said there were likely to be traffic jams."

He added that the new date had symbolism for a democratic party.