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Coronavirus Ireland Live Updates: 98pc of Leaving cert candidates registered for predicted grades by tonight's deadline

  • The coronavirus death toll in Ireland has risen to 1,639 after 9 further deaths were recorded
  • 46 new cases have also been confirmed
  • In total, there have been 24,841 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland

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A nurses helps to primary health care centre director and nurse Gloria Jodar (R) as she gets dressed in personal protective equipment  (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

A nurses helps to primary health care centre director and nurse Gloria Jodar (R) as she gets dressed in personal protective equipment (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Getty Images

People pass a signpost at the Academy venue on Abbey Street whoch is closed to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic in Dublin's City Centre Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

People pass a signpost at the Academy venue on Abbey Street whoch is closed to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic in Dublin's City Centre Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Health workers prepare to give people free COVID-19 tests without needing to show ID in Virginia. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Health workers prepare to give people free COVID-19 tests without needing to show ID in Virginia. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Social distancing signs in St Stephens Green Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Social distancing signs in St Stephens Green Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Lydia Hassebroek waits to cross the street with her father during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Brooklyn, New York. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

Lydia Hassebroek waits to cross the street with her father during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Brooklyn, New York. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

REUTERS

Sailors from Holywood Yacht Club take to their Laser dinghies with wind in their sails on Belfast Lough after last week's decision by the Northern Ireland Executive to ease the lockdown. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Sailors from Holywood Yacht Club take to their Laser dinghies with wind in their sails on Belfast Lough after last week's decision by the Northern Ireland Executive to ease the lockdown. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

PA

A man wearing a face mask waits to walk over Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

A man wearing a face mask waits to walk over Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

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A man wearing a face mask amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus crosses a street on a bicycle in Tokyo. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

A man wearing a face mask amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus crosses a street on a bicycle in Tokyo. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

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A nurses helps to primary health care centre director and nurse Gloria Jodar (R) as she gets dressed in personal protective equipment (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Follow the latest coronavirus news in Ireland and across the world on the Independent.ie live blog.

22.57 28/05/2020

98pc of Leaving cert candidates registered for predicted grades by tonight's deadline

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Changing world: Michelle O’Kelly, principal of Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore, Dublin, and Leaving Cert student Georgiana Teslaru, part of the Tech2Students campaign aimed at closing the digital divide by donating laptops to students in DEIS schools. Photo: Mark Condren

Changing world: Michelle O’Kelly, principal of Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore, Dublin, and Leaving Cert student Georgiana Teslaru, part of the Tech2Students campaign aimed at closing the digital divide by donating laptops to students in DEIS schools. Photo: Mark Condren

Changing world: Michelle O’Kelly, principal of Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore, Dublin, and Leaving Cert student Georgiana Teslaru, part of the Tech2Students campaign aimed at closing the digital divide by donating laptops to students in DEIS schools. Photo: Mark Condren

Education Editor Katherine Donnelly Reports

ALMOST 60,000 Leaving Cert candidates had registered for the calculated grades process, which is replacing summer exams this year, by today’s 10pm deadline.

At 59,859, the figure stood at 98pc of the 61,029 traditional Leaving Cert and Leaving Cert Applied students entered for the traditional exams.

Education Minister Joe McHugh announced that the deadline was being extended to 12 noon Friday ( May 29) and he urged the outstanding candidates to take the opportunity to register

Students are asked to sign up on the online portal, gov.ie/leavingcertificate.

A Department of Education spokesperson said there were some outstanding queries in the portal's helpdesk system, which were being worked through.

The spokesperson said the Department was very conscious that there may be some students who, for some reason, may be unable to register despite the extended deadline.

“We will continue to work with schools over the coming weeks to ensure that all students who wish to receive Calculated Grades are supported in having this option,” the spokesperson said.

Students who have provided contact details through the portal will be contacted directly when it is time to indicate if they wish to opt-in to receive their calculated grades later. The grades will be issued “as close as possible to the usual timeframe for examination results”.

All Leaving Cert and Leaving Cert Applied students are being asked to register, even if, ultimately, they decide that they don’t want to receive the calculated grades.

Importantly, signing up to provides an opportunity for candidates to confirm the level at which they want to be assessed in the subject.

Students can stick with the same level – higher, ordinary, foundation - at which they entered for the traditional exams or they can drop down a level.

While students generally stay at the level at which they originally entered, it is not unusual for candidates to drop down a level, in the run –up to, or on the day of the exams itself. This is particularly a feature in maths.

Teachers need confirmation of subject level information so they can provide an estimated mark/class ranking for students at the appropriate level.

If students are not happy with their grades under this process, there will be an opportunity to sit exams at a later date – November is the earliest mentioned- but it will be too late for college entry this year.

22.35 28/05/2020

'We can't stay in hibernation forever' - Return of visitors to holiday villages stirs up mixed emotions

As the sun-drenched bank holiday weekend approaches, there are mixed feelings about the possibility of an influx of visitors to coastal areas.

The village of Kilkee in Co Clare, hit the headlines in April after a series of threatening posters were displayed around the scenic resort town telling holiday homeowners to "f**k off".

The A4 printed pages were widely condemned by locals, but concerns remained about holiday homeowners breaking lockdown rules and travelling to the area at the height of the pandemic.

But six weeks on and with the economy hurting, some believe the attitudes of communities such as Kilkee have softened.

On your bike: Shops are running out of bicycles as lockdown sends sales surging

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Chain reaction: Justin Walsh, owner of Cyclezone, can’t meet the demands of customers. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Chain reaction: Justin Walsh, owner of Cyclezone, can’t meet the demands of customers. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Chain reaction: Justin Walsh, owner of Cyclezone, can’t meet the demands of customers. Photo: Gerry Mooney

An 80pc-plus surge in bicycle sales sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown has left bike shops struggling to secure supplies. Read the report by Mícheál Ó Scannáil, Ralph Riegel and Allison Bray here:

21.49 28/05/2020

French way of life to resume with restaurants reopening

Sylvie Corbet, Associated Press

The French way of life is set to largely resume next week, with most virus-related restrictions easing as the country prepares for the summer holiday season amid the pandemic.

In a speech on Thursday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe promised that "freedom will, at last, again become the rule".

France is one of the world's hardest-hit countries by coronavirus and was under strict lockdown for two months before starting to ease restrictions on May 11.

Authorities have reported at least 28,596 Covid-19-related deaths.

From June 2, restaurants and cafes will reopen, together with monuments and museums, concert halls and theatres, beaches, campsites, gyms and public swimming pools.

There is a notable exception for the Paris region, the country's worst-affected by the virus, where many facilities will have to wait until June 22 to reopen.

Mr Philippe said the French are yearning for cafes and restaurants to reopen, noting that these "are part of our art of living".

Diners will be no more than 10 to a table, with at least one metre separating each group.

Clients will have to wear masks when they move around the restaurant and staff will have to wear them all the time.

In the Paris region, only outdoor seating will be allowed.

Cinemas will not reopen before June 22.

And as the summer holiday season looms, the French will be allowed again to travel freely across the country - instead of being limited to 60 miles from home now.

"You can move around, you can go on your annual holidays but it's probably more reasonable to delay a long trip if that is possible," Mr Philippe said.

France aims at reopening its borders with other European countries on June 15, he said.

Diarmuid Martin warns churches 'don't jump the gun' when it comes to re-opening for masses

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Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called on churches to ‘adhere strictly to public policy’ (Brian Lawless/PA)

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called on churches to ‘adhere strictly to public policy’ (Brian Lawless/PA)

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called on churches to ‘adhere strictly to public policy’ (Brian Lawless/PA)

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has warned churches in his diocese not to "jump the queue" and put "everyone at risk" by breaking the lockdown restrictions on public masses.

Dr Martin said disregard for public health norms in a pandemic is "unacceptable" and added, "there is no room for self-dispensation from or self-interpretation of the norms."

His statement followed media reports that a parish in Blackrock, Co Dublin allegedly allowed people attend daily mass in recent days contravening pandemic restrictions on public worship.

Drivers face bank holiday checkpoints after crash deaths soar

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A stock picture of the Garda badge logo (Niall Carson/PA)

A stock picture of the Garda badge logo (Niall Carson/PA)

A stock picture of the Garda badge logo (Niall Carson/PA)

Don't do it - that's the advice given by gardaí to anyone thinking of driving to a holiday home outside their 5km limit over the bank holiday weekend.

Speaking at the launch of an appeal for road users to exercise extra caution this weekend, officers warned there would be checkpoints in place after revealing there had been a doubling of pedestrian deaths in the year to date, and a 17pc increase in fatal collisions compared with 2019.

Sixty people have been killed in 56 crashes up to yesterday, compared with 55 deaths in 48 fatal collisions in the same period last year.

"In light of the increase in road deaths this year, An Garda Síochána will launch a roads policing enforcement operation this coming June bank holiday weekend," said Chief Supt Paul Cleary, of the Garda National Roads Policing Unit.

20.40 28/05/2020

Pints on wheels: 'People are delighted. It's like being Santa'

With pubs not due to open until August 10, a number of locals have started up delivery services. Eoin Butler decided to treat himself. Read his report below:

Nursing homes not left isolated, health chief insists

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Ryevale Nursing Home in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, has seen 35 residents die from coronavirus to date, according to figures from the HSE. (Stock photo)

Ryevale Nursing Home in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, has seen 35 residents die from coronavirus to date, according to figures from the HSE. (Stock photo)

Ryevale Nursing Home in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, has seen 35 residents die from coronavirus to date, according to figures from the HSE. (Stock photo)

David Young and Aine McMahon, PA

Nursing homes in Ireland have not been left isolated during the coronavirus crisis, a senior health official has insisted.

Dr Kathleen MacLellan challenged claims made by representative body Nursing Homes Ireland, which has criticised the level of state support offered to the sector, particularly in the early stages of the outbreak.

Dr MacLellan, who chairs the National Public Health Emergency Team's Vulnerable People Subgroup, told the daily NPHET briefing: "I think it's very difficult to see how Nursing Homes Ireland can see themselves isolated from the state.

"There's clear and significant ongoing engagement with Nursing Homes Ireland in what I would say has been a very problem-solving way - every time an issue has come up, we have worked with Nursing Homes Ireland to try to resolve that."

The coronavirus death toll in Ireland rose to 1,639 on Thursday after a further nine deaths were announced.

About 62pc of Covid-19 deaths in the outbreak have occurred in care homes.

Dr MacLellan, who is an assistant secretary in the Department of Health, said a significant number of healthcare workers had been tasked to support the homes and 23 separate Covid-19 response teams had been set up to work with the sector.

"So it's very difficult to see how nursing homes could feel that they were isolated," she added.

"But I wouldn't take away from the challenges that we've had. It's been a very difficult time. It's been a difficult time for staff. It's been a difficult time for relatives, and obviously it's been a difficult time for residents."

Dr MacLellan said it was important that lessons were learned by everyone involved in tackling the virus in care homes ahead of potential further outbreaks in the months ahead.

"This is a virus that's going to be with us for the next six to 18 months," she said.

Boris Johnson announces UK lockdown easing after his advisor is accused of breaching guidance

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Travel row: Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Travel row: Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

REUTERS

Travel row: Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Groups of up to six people will be allowed to meet outside provided they stay two metres apart as Boris Johnson announced a "cautious" easing of lockdown rules amid a continuing row over Dominic Cummings.

The Prime Minister confirmed that all five tests required for the next phase of restrictions to begin have been met, meaning more pupils can return to school and outdoor retail and car showrooms can open from Monday in England.

Mr Johnson outlined that people would be able to see "both parents at once, or both grandparents at once" in what he said would be a "long-awaited and joyful moment" for many.

The PM set out the details just hours after Durham Constabulary said they would have taken action if police officers had stopped Mr Cummings on his 50-mile round trip to Barnard Castle.

He said he regarded the issue as "closed" after the police said they did not intend to take "retrospective action", though the force found that the aide may have committed "a minor breach" of lockdown rules in driving to the town.

Mr Johnson told the daily press conference that people should "try to avoid seeing too many households in quick succession so we can avoid the risk of quick transmission from lots of different families and continue to contrl the virus".


"It remains the case that people should not be inside the homes of their friends and families, unless it is to access the garden.

"I should add that, at this stage, I am afraid that those who have been asked to shield themselves should continue to do so."

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance stressed that the number of new infections is around one in a thousand per week - meaning that "54,000 new cases are occurring every week, so somewhere around eight or so thousand per day".

19.38 28/05/2020

Politicians hit out at Supermacs boss's claim that some workers 'won the lotto' with €350-a-week unemployment payment

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SUPERMACS boss Pat McDonagh has been criticised in the Dáil

SUPERMACS boss Pat McDonagh has been criticised in the Dáil

SUPERMACS boss Pat McDonagh has been criticised in the Dáil

SUPERMACS boss Pat McDonagh has been criticised in the Dáil for remarks he made claiming some workers "won the lotto" with the €350-a-week emergency unemployment payment.

Politicians also made claims about levels of pay at the fast food chain and attacked a practice where deductions are made from staff pay for break-time food.

Some part-time workers are being paid more under the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment than they earned before the crisis.

Mr McDonagh has said that there's no incentive for some workers to return to jobs as a result.

On RTÉ Radio today he gave the example of a mother and son who work for his company.

The son is a student that works part-time and gets around €80-€100 per week.

The mother works full-time and both qualify for the same €350-a-week payment from the State.

"There’s no incentive for him to come back to work because he’s on a winner. He’s won the lotto." Mr McDonagh said.

Later in the Dáil Labour TD Ged Nash said that a “horrible narrative” has emerged suggesting people who have incomes of €350-a-week on the PUP “are somehow cheats, scroungers and spongers”.

Loss of sense of smell and loss of taste confirmed as coronavirus symptoms

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Chief medical officer Tony Holohan during a media briefing on coronavirus (Photocall Ireland/PA)

Chief medical officer Tony Holohan during a media briefing on coronavirus (Photocall Ireland/PA)

Chief medical officer Tony Holohan during a media briefing on coronavirus (Photocall Ireland/PA)

The loss of a sense of smell and the loss of taste have been confirmed as coronavirus symptoms by Nphet this evening.

These symptoms may be seen in individuals who may be asymptomatic or not presenting any other symptoms, including coughing.

In this evening’s Nphet press briefing, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan described these symptoms as a “phenomenon” seen internationally and that there has been anecdotal evidence from GPs that Covid-19 patients have been losing their sense of smell or taste before testing positive.

“We do know from anecdotal evidence that there have been report of this symptom in this country but because we didn’t have it in the case definition, I couldn’t give you numbers [of how many times this took place],” he said.

18.41 28/05/2020

Almost 59,000 Leaving Cert candidates registered so far for calculated grades process

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We won’t see scenes like this in the summer of 2020 after radical changes to the Leaving Certificate.

We won’t see scenes like this in the summer of 2020 after radical changes to the Leaving Certificate.

We won’t see scenes like this in the summer of 2020 after radical changes to the Leaving Certificate.

Reports Education Editor Katherine Donnelly

Almost 59,000 Leaving Cert candidates had registered for the calculated grades process, which is replacing summer exams this year, by 6pm today.

At 58,821, and with four hours to go to the deadline for registration, the figure was a little more than 2,000 shy of the total 61,000 traditional Leaving Cert and Leaving Cert Applied students entered for the traditional exams.

Students have been asked to sign up on the online portal, gov.ie/leavingcertificate. It will remain open until 10pm today.

Education Minister Joe McHugh said today that if all candidates had not registered by 10pm, the Department of Education would follow up with schools to seek to establish why, and if there were reasons, such as lack of access to technology.

Mr McHugh said: “We need every student to register so that the new system can operate smoothly.”

All Leaving Cert and Leaving Cert Applied students are being asked to register, even if, ultimately, they decide that they don’t want to receive the calculated grades.

Importantly, signing up to provides an opportunity for candidates to confirm the level at which they want to be assessed in the subject.

Students can stick with the same level – higher, ordinary, foundation - at which they entered for the traditional exams or they can drop down a level.

While students generally stay at the level at which they originally entered, it is not unusual for candidates to drop down a level, in the run –up to, or on the day of the exams itself. This is particularly a feature in maths.

Teachers need confirmation of subject level information so they can provide an estimated mark/class ranking for students at the appropriate level.

Schools have contacted students about the registration process and, when they log, they will be asked for their exam number, public service number (PPS), which they will use to create a personal identification number (PIN) , email address and mobile phone number

If students are not happy with their grades under this process, there will be an opportunity to sit exams at a later date – November is the earliest mentioned- but it will be too late for college entry this year.


18.20 28/05/2020

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, as of midnight, Tuesday 26 May (24,795 cases), reveals:

· 57pc are female and 43pc are male

· the median age of confirmed cases is 48 years

· 3,267 cases (13pc) have been hospitalised

· Of those hospitalised, 404 cases have been admitted to ICU

· 7,920 cases are associated with healthcare workers

· Dublin has the highest number of cases at 11,996 (48pc of all cases) followed by Cork with 1,458 cases (6pc) and then Kildare with 1,414 cases (6pc)

· Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 40pc, close contact accounts for 58pc, travel abroad accounts for 2pc

Level of disease in the community remains "low" at 50 cases per day. Admissions to hospitals are declining and admissions to intensive care stand at one to two per day, which is "low".

The reproduction number of the virus is now 0.5, which is "very low".

Professor Philip Nolan: "Everything we're seeing is astonishingly stable".

18.03 28/05/2020

A further nine deaths as a result of Covid-19 have been announced, bringing the country's death toll to 1,639.

An additional 46 confirmed cases have also been announced.

There have now been a total of 24,841 cases in Ireland.

17.08 28/05/2020

Grieving during the pandemic: 'We'll only understand the trauma this was afterwards, when it's safe'

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Brian Dowling's mother, Rosie, died unexpectedly two years ago

Brian Dowling's mother, Rosie, died unexpectedly two years ago

Brian Dowling's mother, Rosie, died unexpectedly two years ago

Journalist Liadan Hynes looks at what it means to suffer loss in a time of national crisis, and finds that those who began this unprecedented period already in mourning, have wisdom to share.

Premier League to resume on June 17 following agreement of all 20 clubs

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'The pace of the project is now accelerating' (stock photo)

'The pace of the project is now accelerating' (stock photo)

PA

'The pace of the project is now accelerating' (stock photo)

The Premier League is set to return on Wednesday June 17 after all 20 clubs have agreed to come back that week, following Thursday's video conference.

Executives from the 20 top-flight clubs gathered for a shareholders' meeting on Thursday, and it was reported that agreement was reached over the remaining rounds of games to be played.

Two rearranged matches - Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal - will be played first, before the first full round of games on the weekend of June 20 and 21, reports said.

16.25 28/05/2020

Contact tracing programme in Northern Ireland likely to run for two years

Contacting tracing to track coronavirus infections is likely to continue in Northern Ireland for the next two years, the First Minister has indicated.

Arlene Foster described contract tracing as "another key component of keeping the virus under control".

She told Stormont's daily media briefing that staff are to be recruited for a period of two years for the programme.

Mrs Foster detailed how over seven days, from May 19-25, 212 cases were contact traced, about 30 per day, by 99 health and social care staff who have been redeployed.

A contact tracing programme, aimed to identify and alert people who have come into contact with a person infected with coronavirus, was piloted in Northern Ireland from April 27 before being fully rolled out earlier this month.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said "considerable work" was involved.

"That is going to be a crucial part of our recovery and as we work in the absence of having a vaccine, it is really important that we roll this work out because it allows us to lift more restrictions," she said.

Mrs Foster added: "The chief scientific officer referred to the contact tracing piece of work today as the cornerstone of what we're doing now in terms of trying to control the transmission of the virus.

"He also was very clear that the app which is still being developed in different jurisdiction is only a small part of what we're trying to do, it's actually about the manual contact tracing.

"We have a number of people already being traced and I'm very pleased we're the first part of the UK to have contact tracing in place."

'We've never experienced a crisis like this' - nursing home with highest number of Covid-19 deaths in country

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A nurses helps to primary health care centre director and nurse Gloria Jodar (R) as she gets dressed in personal protective equipment  (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

A nurses helps to primary health care centre director and nurse Gloria Jodar (R) as she gets dressed in personal protective equipment (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Getty Images

A nurses helps to primary health care centre director and nurse Gloria Jodar (R) as she gets dressed in personal protective equipment (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

A NURSING home with the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the country has "never experienced a crisis like this" in its 35-year existence, reports Catherine Fegan and Hugh O'Connell.

15.55 28/05/2020

Plans to end exclusion of women returning from maternity leave from wage subsidy scheme

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Paschal Donohoe said he will act to ensure the wage subsidy scheme includes new mothers returning to work (PA)

Paschal Donohoe said he will act to ensure the wage subsidy scheme includes new mothers returning to work (PA)

Paschal Donohoe said he will act to ensure the wage subsidy scheme includes new mothers returning to work (PA)

Reports Political Correspondent Cormac McQuinn

MINISTERS are set to consider proposals to end the exclusion of women returning to work after maternity leave from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told the Dáil that he is to bring the plans for resolving the issue to Cabinet tomorrow.

It comes after criticism from Opposition politicians at the situation that sees returning mothers excluded from the scheme.

The TWSS was introduced as an emergency measure to help employers whose businesses have been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic to keep staff on the books.

Under the scheme the State subsidises up to 85pc of an employee's wages up to certain caps.

Mr Donohoe was asked about the issue again in the Dáil today.

He said: "In relation to the issue raised by many regarding those who are on maternity leave looking to go back to work and then access the wage subsidy scheme I want to confirm to the House that I intend to bring a proposal to Cabinet tomorrow to resolve that issue."

He added: "It was absolutely my intention to ensure that all were treated equally in... the wage subsidy scheme".

Mr Donohoe said this includes mothers returning to work after maternity leave.

He said there had been difficulties in how the TWSS legislation was drafted.

Mr Donohoe said: "I heard what all deputies said in the House here last week and myself and the Revenue Commissioners have been working on this issue over the last fortnight.

"I believe we can find a way to ensure that mothers who were on the maternity leave scheme who were coming back to work can be treated equally to anyone else who’s already on or planning to be on the wage subsidy scheme."

15.15 28/05/2020

Patients must self-isolate before going under the knife as hospitals tackle surgery backlog

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Health workers prepare to give people free COVID-19 tests without needing to show ID in Virginia. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Health workers prepare to give people free COVID-19 tests without needing to show ID in Virginia. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Health workers prepare to give people free COVID-19 tests without needing to show ID in Virginia. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Patients undergoing planned surgery are now having to self-isolate for a week to 14 days as part of the "new normal" in hospitals due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Public and private hospitals have now resumed operations on waiting list patients after mass cancellations were ordered in March, pushing the number of people queueing for surgery to 86,343.

Dr John Lunn, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Hermitage Medical Clinic in Lucan, Dublin, who is operating on public patients referred from Tullamore Hospital, said the pandemic had led to an overhaul in procedures and how patients were managed.

WATCH: Covid-19 victim: Dominic Cummings' actions show a complete lack of respect for us all

Kathryn De Prudhoe, from Leeds, who lost her father Tony Clay to Covid-19 on Dominic Cummings breaking lockdown rules.

She talks about the loss of her father, being unable to properly mourn him and says Cummings has delivered a kick in the teeth to victims of Covid-19.

'If it's really busy, go somewhere else' - beach and park picnickers told

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Liz Canavan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Liz Canavan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Liz Canavan (Brian Lawless/PA)

PEOPLE who want to have picnics in parks or beaches have been told to "go somewhere else" if their chosen location is crowded.

Senior government official Liz Canavan - who previously discouraged people from having picnics in public amenities - said the public should "use common sense" ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend.

She urged people to follow the public health guidelines when they're out and about in the expected good weather and also to consider road safety amid a rise in the number of fatalities this year.

Last week Department of the Taoiseach assistant secretary general Ms Canavan, told the public: "If you're visiting a public amenity try not to stay too long at the site or have picnics.

"Please do your exercise and then go home."

13:40 28/05/2020

No guarantee a vaccine for Covid-19 will be found, HSE says

Aine McMahon, PA

It is not clear if an effective vaccine against Covid-19 will be found, the HSE has said.

Speaking at the body’s weekly briefing on Thursday, chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry played down hopes of an effective vaccine being available this year.

He said: “We’re in an environment where there is no evidence and we are relying on the principals of infection control.

“This is a very transmissible virus. We have nothing to draw on other than what other countries are trying to do."

“Bear in mind that when HIV first came out a huge amount of investment was put into developing a vaccine which did not materialise, but a treatment did.

“There is no guarantee an effective vaccine which fulfils all the criteria of conferring immunity, being safe and being manufactured at a mass scale for a population … there is no guarantee that will happen.”


12:50 28/05/2020

Fears hospital emergency departments could become 'reservoir' for Covid-19 as trolley overcrowding returns

Eilish O’Regan

Doctors have warned that hospital emergency departments are in danger of becoming the new reservoir for Covid-19 as trolley overcrowding has returned.

The emergency doctors said the number of patients attending emergency departments in April and May has increased and there has been a return to people waiting on trolleys for a bed.

Dr Fergal Hickey, the doctors’ spokesman said :”This is most evident in Limerick and Cork but many other hospitals are on the verge of seeing this scenario return.

“At a time when the advice to the public is of the vital need to ensure physical distancing with a minimum separation of 2m between healthy people, it is absolutely indefensible that crowding be allowed to occur in an emergency department.”

12:40 28/05/2020

Government seeks approval for €6.8bn in emergency funding for welfare payments

Cormac McQuinn

THE government is seeking Dáil approval for €6.8bn in extra funding for social welfare payments due to the increased demand caused by the coronavirus crisis.

More than 1m are reliant on the State for all or part of their income and unemployment rates have reached record levels due to the pandemic.

The extra sums needed are mostly to cover extra costs of the €350-a-week Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said the sums are being sought on a "no policy change basis".

She said the PUP will extend beyond June but the nature of the payment will have to be reviewed.

Ms Doherty said the government is currently considering this and she hopes to bring forward proposals for changes "in the next week or so".

She said approval for the extra funding is needed now to legally make social welfare payments next week.

Ms Doherty told the Dáil that failure to pass the extra funding would be "devastating in its consequences for the people we're meant to serve.

The extra funding needed for the PUP is €2.23bn and the €2.07bn is needed for the TWSS.

The additional funding needed for existing jobseekers' payments is €2.2bn.


12:00 28/05/2020

Public asked to remain "cautious" ahead of bank holiday weekend.

The Department of the Taoiseach has asked the public to remain “cautious” ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

Speaking at a briefing this morning, Senior government official Liz Canavan said that that the country is still in the “very early days of reopening,” and that “we need to prioritise our health and the health of our loved ones.”

Gardai have so far invoked Covid-19 regulations 263 times and have reported "very good cooperation" among the public in following public health guidelines.


11.50 28/05/2020

Women's Mini Marathon cancelled

Eavan Murray

The VHI Women's Mini Marathon 2020 has become the latest victim of the coronavirus pandemic after organisers today confirmed its cancellation.

The annual 10K charity run, due to take place on Sunday, May 31st, has now been replaced with a virtual event in October.

Over 30,000 entries have already submitted and over 1,000 charities were set to benefit.

Details of the ‘virtual run’ will be announced in the coming weeks.

Organisers hoped to reschedule the popular event, which raises hundreds of thousands for charity annually, but says that doesn't seem possible as things stand.

All those registered to run will be automatically included into the 2021 event or alternatively entrants can get a refund from the event's website.

The Mini-Marathon is held every June bank holiday weekend in Dublin.

It's the largest Women's event of its kind in the world but just over half of entrants are women. Men often dressed in wigs and flamboyant dresses, also take part.

It reached a record attendance in 2014 with 41,006 taking part.

Last year, there were more than 460 participants who were over 70 years of age

“The health and safety of our participants is always our highest priority, and this tough decision was made with their wellbeing foremost in our minds”, said David O’Leary, the event General Manager.

“We fully support the Government’s measures to combat Covid-19 and to protect lives, and we have an enormous responsibility, not only to our participants but to the many hundreds of charities, volunteers, supporters, partners, suppliers – and the residents of Dublin city – who play such an important part in making our event a success. While we are very disappointed to make this decision, unfortunately, it will not be possible to run our event in a safe manner this year.

“In recognition of the hundreds of charities that depend on our event for a significant part of their fundraising efforts, we have joined together with our title sponsor Vhi to create a special Virtual Race. We have very exciting plans and we will be announcing full details in the coming weeks.”

The news comes a week after the cancellation of the 2020 KBC Dublin Marathon was announced.

Organisers decided that after exploring many alternative options “ultimately none were viable” in the face of the coronavirus.

11:00 28/05/2020

'It's difficult to see all students back in September' - Education Minister

Aoife Walsh

EDUCATION Minister Joe McHugh has said it is "difficult" to see all students returning to school in September, even if the 2 metre social distancing rule was reduced.

Mr McHugh said health officials are currently reviewing international advice and the Department of Education will publish a roadmap providing guidance on when schools will reopen in two weeks time.

He said that the two metre rule in place will make it "very difficult" for all students to return back to school in September.

He added that "even with with a one metre rule, it's very difficult to see."

Advice from public health officials will guide "a type of potentially blended education" to be introduced in September.

He said the Department of Education is working to open a summer programme for students with that for students with special educational needs.

"We're trying to work a summer program that won't be the same as the July provision which families are used to, where over 10,000 students take part during the summer, but we want to have some form of program which may be a mix of remote, and some school setting as well," he told RTE's Today with Sarah McInerney.

Speaking about the Leaving Certificate, Mr McHugh said 56,000 students have signed up for predictive grading while 5,000 have yet to register.

10:30 28/05/2020

Coronavirus deaths pass 100,000 in US while cases rise in India

Nick Perry

The death toll from coronavirus has risen above 100,000 in the US, while there were also record numbers getting sick in India and worrying signs of a resurgence in South Korea.

The once-unthinkable milestone in the US means more Americans have died with the virus than were killed in the Vietnam and Korean wars combined.

“It’s a striking reminder of how dangerous this virus can be,” said Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington.

India, home to more than 1.3 billion people, reported more than 6,500 new infections on Thursday as cases continued to rapidly rise. The surge comes as the nation’s two-month-old lockdown is set to end on Sunday.

South Korea reported 79 new cases, its biggest daily jump in more than 50 days, and a big setback for a nation that has been held up as a model for containment.

08:15 28/05/2020

Four out of five Ryanair passengers still waiting for refunds – survey

Neil Lancefield

Four out of five Ryanair passengers who requested a refund after their flight was cancelled during the coronavirus pandemic are still waiting for a pay-out, a survey has suggested.

Some 84pc have not had their money returned and only 5pc received a refund within the legal time limit for EU carriers of seven days, the poll by consumer group Which? indicated.

Ryanair said in a statement that customers “will be refunded in due course, once this unprecedented crisis is over”.

07:25 28/05/2020

ESRI warns against pandemic payments cut as decision may be put off

Cormac McQuinn and David Chance

The country's leading economic think tank has called on the Government to maintain the €350-a-week Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and warned that moves to taper it prematurely would damage the economy further.

The comments from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) came as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar signalled that major decisions on the payments could be put off to the next government.

The ESRI said in its quarterly survey of the economy that the payments should be maintained and extended even if that meant a much bigger State budget deficit this year.

07:20 28/05/2020

Holidaymakers warned there will be no July U-turn on overseas trips

Eilish O'Regan

Health chiefs are ruling out giving the go-ahead to non-essential holiday travel abroad from July 1, dashing the hopes of people who were hoping for a mid-summer getaway.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said yesterday he did not anticipate any change in the advice that non-essential travel should not be undertaken from July, despite plans by some airlines, like Ryanair, to resume flights.

"We have said for now to avoid non-essential travel," he said, and advised people not to book trips.

07:00 28/05/2020

New travel quarantine regulations come into effect in Ireland

David Young, PA

A requirement for people arriving in Ireland from overseas to alert the authorities where they will be self isolating has come into effect.

Travellers must now fill in a Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form.

With some exceptions, including transport workers involved in supply chains, diplomats and people crossing the border from Northern Ireland, people arriving into the Republic of Ireland are already required to self-isolate for 14 days.


Online Editors