Paint message for minister

Ireland's health minister was pelted with red paint yesterday as anger grows over government plans to slash €1 billion (£870 million) from the republic's health service running costs.

Health minister Mary Harney was hit by a paint-filled balloon as she was about to open a new mental health facility in west Dublin. Police arrested a woman in her twenties and the minister carried on with the ceremony.

The protest coincided with Ms Harney's announcement of a €400m redundancy offer for 5,000 staff from the health service's 28,000-strong payroll.