Morning top 5: Netanyahu denounces Kerry's Israel-Palestine speech, Debbie Reynolds dies, public sector pay

The top stories this Thursday morning

US Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Israel of threatening peace in the Middle East.

He says leaders aren't interested in finding a two-state solution to the conflict with Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has responded by decrying what he calls Kerry's "lip service to the unremitting campaign of terrorism that has been waged by the Palestinians against the Jewish State for nearly a century".

Last week, the United Nations passed a resolution condemning the building of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land – a motion the United States refused to veto.

US President-elect Donald Trump has given his opinion that Washington should have done more to support Israel and thinks the UN isn't living up to its potential.


Debbie Reynolds, the mother of Carrie Fisher, has died a day after her daughter.

The 84-year-old is thought to have had a stroke at her son's house as they were making funeral preparations for the Star Wars actress.

Carrie died in hospital on Tuesday, after she had a heart attack on a flight from London to LA last week.
Reynolds' son says his sister's death was too much for his mum to take.

Debbie shot to fame in Singin' In The Rain and more recently appeared in Will & Grace.

Showbiz correspondent Jeanne Wolf was friends with both women:

"I can't describe to you how close they were, how much love and turmoil they went through together during the years. It's beyond heartbreaking that this mother and daughter died within a day of each other."


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that the value of public sector pensions will be taken into account in pay talks with state employees.

He has again insisted that substantive talks around pay restoration will not take place until next autumn, after the Public Sector Pay Commission issues their report. He said:

"The Government and the Minister have decided here that the Public Pay Commission have been asked to take into account the value of public pensions and the Minister will not deal with his strategy for public pay until the PPC sends its report. Obviously the Government are fully supportive of Lansdowne Road and the structures that are there to roll back FEMPI [Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest]."


Health Minister Simon Harris will attend the second day of a HSE open recruitment event today, amid Sinn Féin calls for the Government to 'get to grips with the health crisis'.

The three-day recruitment drive at Dr. Steevens' Hospital in Dublin is aimed at addressing understaffing in the health service.

But Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O'Reilly says the Government has no strategy for solving the problem:

"There's no real plan in place to actually shift the focus onto the community, which takes the pressure off the hospitals. The Minister should start listening to staff and to their representatives and to hear what it is that they are saying. They want the nurses to come home... the nurses, the doctors, the porters, the care assistants – we all want those people to come home and work in the health service."


Concern is being raised about the level of discrimination against people with disabilities in Ireland.

The Irish Commission on Human Rights says almost a third of all discrimination complaints to it in 2016 were about disability.

The figures for 2016 come as Ireland remains the very last EU members state left to ratify the key UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Government has committed to passing it into law in early 2017.