Video: Cabinet to make mask-wearing voluntary, oil prices rise as Ukraine crisis continues

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Mask-wearing to be voluntary

Senior Ministers will sign off on plans to make mask-wearing voluntary when they meet on Tuesday.

Coalition leaders last night agreed the mandate for schools, shops and public transport should end from next Monday.

Other physical distancing rules, such as pods in schools, are also expected to be lifted on that date, while the future of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will also be discussed.

Last week, Nphet advised mask-wearing should remain mandatory in healthcare settings, while people should be advised to wear masks on public transport.

Burials Bill to be considered by Cabinet

The Minister for Children is set to seek Cabinet approval for the Bill related to former mother and baby homes.

The Burials Bill would authorise excavations, exhumations, and reburials of remains at the sites.

In 2017, human remains were found at Tuam, where it is estimated that 802 died.

Taoiseach meets the German Chancellor

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The German Chancellor has said that the certification of the Nord Stream 2 project cannot go ahead, following the latest Russian action in Ukraine.

The comments come after Moscow ordered troops into two breakaway regions in the east of the country, allegedly to carry out “peacekeeping” duties.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, speaking during a press conference with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, said that he had asked the German officials to halt the review process for the major gas pipeline project.

“The situation we find ourselves in today is a completely different one,” he said.

Oil prices rise

Oil prices have climbed to record highs after Russia recognised two rebel regions in Ukraine as independent.

Brent was trading at $98.77, its highest level since 2014.

A full-scale invasion, as well as the EU and US sanctions could raise oil prices even higher.

Families worry about feeding children

New research launched today found that 25 per cent of parents often worry about not being able to provide food for their children and nearly three in 10 people in Ireland have witnessed child food poverty first-hand.

The research was launched by national children’s charity Barnardos and leading grocery retailer Aldi Ireland. The research comes as the charity hosts a forum on child food poverty today

The new research, conducted by Amárach Research on behalf of Barnardos and Aldi Ireland, explores both the prevalence and impact of food poverty in Ireland on vulnerable children and families. The study found that 9 per cent of parents feel “close” to food poverty.

Families are particularly affected by this issue, with 10 per cent of parents and those looking after children skipping meals in an average week in order to feed the children in their care, increasing to almost 30 per cent when including those who report doing so “occasionally”.

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