These are some of the leading stories in Ireland's newspapers on Friday. Reuters has not verified these stories and cannot vouch for their accuracy:
THE IRISH TIMES
- Contracts for the 405 million euro sale of the National Lottery were finally signed today placing the franchise in private hands for the first time in its 27-year history.
- Ulster Bank is in advanced talks with An Post about the State company providing lodgement and withdrawal facilities for the bank's customers.
- Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has been accused of "abdicating responsibility" for government decisions on pensions, most particularly in his attempts to blame the industry when he announced plans in the budget to increase the pension levy for this year.
- Troubled British insurer RSA has said it is committed to Ireland despite massive losses caused by its Irish division.
- UDG Healthcare has agreed to pay 105 million euros to buy a UK-based communications business.
- A financier who laundered some of the proceeds of the 26.5 million pound Northern Bank robbery received a five-year suspended sentence and was ordered to quit the finance industry.
- Vincent Crowley, 60, will stand down as chief executive of Independent News & Media at the end of May, the company confirmed in a statement last night
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