Morning top 5: Over 700,000 Irish passports issued in 2016; Harris to meet HSE officials today; and Apollo House update

The top stories on this morning

The chief executive of the Health Service Executive (HSE) is to meet with the Minister for Health Simon Harris later for an update on emergency department overcrowding.

The number awaiting hospital admission on trolleys has surged past 600 on two days this week.

Meanwhile, SIPTU has raised concerns about the knock-on effects for ambulance workers, who they say are spending up to five hours waiting at hospital Emergency Departments.


The group occupying Apollo House will outline their plans to resolve the situation this morning.

Home Sweet Home are due to host a press conference at 11.30am, at which hey plan on outlining how best to deal with the wider ongoing housing crisis.

"It's such a relaxed, safe, supportive environment", one resident told Newstalk. "I don't want to leave here."


Over 700,000 passports were issued in Ireland in 2016.

The new figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs show a 9% increase on the previous year.

Statistics reveal the increase in demand is due to a number of factors including Brexit, the Euros, and people meeting the 10 year renewal cycle.

Applications from Britain alone increased by over 40% last year.


Belgian authorities have released a new image of the man suspected of carrying out the Berlin Christmas market attack.

The CCTV pictures show Anis Amri at Brussels North Station - two days after he apparently drove a truck into the market - killing 12 people.

Police have arrested  a second suspect - another Tunisian man who was seen having dinner with Amri the night before the attack.


Social media giants are being accused of having too much control over the data they hold about young people. 

Critics are suggesting more privacy protections, including a new regulator to help get abusive content removed.

Campaigners are also recommending that websites simplify their terms and conditions.