Morning top 5: Harris "ashamed" at waiting list numbers; Syrian government accused of mass executions; Trump travel ban back in court

The top stories this Tuesday morning ...

The Health Minister has said reducing waiting lists is a key priority for government in the next year.

Simon Harris was reacting to an RTE Investigates programme that found tens of thousands of patients aren't included on official waiting lists.

Minister Harris said he is ashamed and heartbroken by the ordeal being endured by patients on waiting lists around the country.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund – which collates and validates information on people waiting for public hospital treatment – said the waiting list figures are compiled using "international best practices."

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly said the authorities are trying to “deflect and confuse the issue once again.”


The Syrian government has executed up to 13,000 prisoners in mass hangings at a prison near Damascus since 2011 according to Human Rights organisation, Amnesty International.

A new report also claims systematic torture has been carried out at the military jail - which is referred to by detainees as "the slaughterhouse."

Some inmates were allegedly executed after a "sham trial" lasting no more than a couple of minutes.

The group said the killings were often authorised by senior Syrian officials - including deputies of President Bashar al Assad.

Amnesty's most recent figures suggest an average of 20 to 50 people were hanged every week at the Saydnaya prison between 2011 and 2015 - but many thousands more may have been executed since then.


The US President Donald Trump's travel ban will be back before a judge later today.

A Federal Appeals court will hear testimony as he tries to get it reinstated.

In arguments filed yesterday evening, the Justice Department insisted the executive order was a "lawful exercise."

Government lawyers said the President has clear authority to "suspend the entry of any class of aliens" in the name of national security.

Yesterday lawyers for Minnesota and Washington made the case for permanently ending the restrictions, which stop people from seven mainly Muslim countries entering the US.

15 more States are also expected to make fresh legal challenges.


The arrest of a Dublin man in the Netherlands is being described as another blow to the Kinahan drugs cartel.

The 29-year-old from the Drimnagh area is thought to be a senior figure in the organised crime gang.

Two Dublin natives were among four people arrested after an armed incident at a bar in Amsterdam on Sunday.


New figures show an alarming rise in the rate of adolescent self harm.

The figures from the National Suicide Research Foundation - based on 2015 - show there has been a 15% increase in male self-harm since 2007.

St Patrick's Mental Health Services and Pieta House are urging parents, school-teachers and caregivers across Ireland to get educated on the subject of self-harm.