Morning top 5: National average rent tops €1,000; Pressure mounting on Facebook CEO; Dáil to vote on referendum bill

The top stories of the day on Newstalk.com

The national average rent now is more than €1,000 a month.

The latest figures from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) show the average price around the country is €1,054.

Dublin is still the most expensive area at just over €1500, but there has been a slow down in the rate of increase.

Rents across the country grew by 6.4% in the last 3 months of 2017 – down from 8% the previous quarter.

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Pressure is mounting on Facebook to explain how a British firm used data from 50 million of its users without permission.

Boss Mark Zuckerberg's been asked to appear before the British and European parliaments.

Meanwhile, a warrant's being sought to search the premises of Cambridge Analytica - which denies accusations it used the data to target ads at voters.

Its CEO Alexander Nix was suspended yesterday evening.

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The Dáil sat until close to midnight last night to conclude the second stage debate of the Abortion Referendum Bill.

The late night discussion was to facilitate the speedy passage of the legislation – with a May referendum dependent on the bill being signed into law before Easter.

The house is expected to pass the bill this afternoon before it moves to committee stage.

Concluding last night’s session, Health Minister Simon Harris praised TDs for the tone of the debate.

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Poorer households will bear the brunt of higher costs if there is a hard Brexit, according to new research.

The study by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the ESRI shows people here will face a rise in their cost of living of up to €1,300.

Those on higher incomes will be paying around 2.5% more - but lower-income households will face a 4% hike.

A no-deal Brexit would mean tariffs on UK imports, meaning we pay more for goods.

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An environmental group is urging shoppers to leave behind excess packaging when they check out at the supermarket.

Friends of the Earth has announced a 'shop and drop' protest to take place on April 21st as part of their Sick of Plastic campaign.

They say there is growing anger about excess plastic packaging - in the wake of programmes like Blue Planet 2.

Oisin Coghlan from Friends of the Earth says change is happening across Europe.