Video: 170,000 homes at radon gas risk, monkeypox case in North

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Radon gas risk

An interactive map that shows which areas across Ireland are at risk of a cancer causing radioactive gas has crashed due to high traffic.

The Environmental Protection Agency says 170 thousand homes are exposed to high levels of radon, up 25 thousand in the last two decades.

Radon is naturally occurring and is thought to cause 350 cases of lung cancer in Ireland every year.

The EPA is urging all households and businesses, especially those in high radon areas, to test for the gas - the south and west of Ireland are said to be the worst affected.

Monkeypox case identified in Northern Ireland

The first case of monkeypox on the island of Ireland has been detected.

It is in Northern Ireland, according to the Press Association with a briefing of the North's health officials expected later.

A number of countries in Europe have reported cases, while Wales announced its first case this morning.

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The virus causes mild-flu like symptoms and a chicken-pox like rash.

More than half of households that rent receive State supports

More than half of households that rent are in receipt of State supports, new research by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI) has found.

In 2020, there were 293,673 households receiving supports for renting, up from 134,973 in 1994.

The difference between figures from 2020 and 1994 was attributed to "a shift away from the direct provision of support – through local authority and approved housing body owned accommodation".

Over the last number of decades there has been a move towards "indirect subsidisation of housing costs in the private rental sector", with the introduction of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and Rent Supplement (RS).

State supports are being availed of by one-in-three renters at present, compared to one-in-five in the early 1990s.

Harris admits it is 'frustrating' Leaving Cert students have no results date

The Minister for Higher Education admits it is "frustrating" that students about to sit their Leaving Certificate exams have no idea when they can expect their results.

They could be delayed until September because of a second sitting of the tests in July, and the time that will be needed to meet a Government pledge that results won't be marked any lower than last year.

It means the date of the results is unlikely to be known when Leaving Cert students enter the exam halls on June 8th.

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Minister Simon Harris has said urgent clarity is needed.

"I have conveyed this in the strongest possible terms to the Department of Education, to the State Examinations Commission, who ultimately decided the date."

He added: "I am hopeful that the date can be a little bit earlier than last year, I really think it needs to be. My understanding is that the State Examinations Commission seem to want to wait for the first exams to start, so they can see how many students actually take the first exam, therefore how many might need the second chance.

"But it is a very stressful time, and it would be hugely helpful the results could come out in August rather than September."

Inclusion Ireland 'shocked and appalled' over plans for special education centres

Inclusion Ireland, the national advocacy organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, has said it is "shocked and appalled" at Government plans for new special education centres.

As reported in The Irish Times on Wednesday, the Government is planning to create special education centres as an emergency response to the shortage of appropriate school places for vulnerable children.

Last week, educational authorities confirmed there are 80 children waiting for a special class in Dublin.

Meanwhile, it is estimated there are many more children waiting for places outside the capital.

Minister of State Josepha Madigan, who has responsibility for special education, is expected to announce the establishment of five special educational needs (SEN) centres across north and south Dublin.

Supreme Court to make final orders as Dwyer moves to appeal murder conviction

The Supreme Court will soon make final orders dismissing the State’s appeal against a significant mobile phone metadata ruling in favour of convicted murderer Graham Dwyer.

The orders, on consent between the parties, include setting aside a stay of the order of the High Court, which was continued in the Supreme Court. The court was also asked to affirm the High Court’s declaration that a section of Ireland’s data 2011 retention laws breached EU law on data privacy.

In a case management hearing on Thursday, Chief Justice Donal O’Donnell was told the parties had agreed that further hearing was not necessary in the appeal, which has already been argued in the Supreme Court and later, when issues were referred, in the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Remy Farrell SC, for Dwyer, said the affirmation of a High Court declaration expressly relates to the regime of data access by gardaí, under section 6 of the 2011 Act, as distinct from the system of data retention.

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