Video: Ashling Murphy funeral preparations, signs of Omicron peak, hospitality restrictions

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Ashling Murphy funeral

Preparations are underway ahead of the funeral of Ashling Murphy, due to take place in Co Offaly on Tuesday.

The investigation into her murder is continuing, with focus remaining on a man being treated in hospital.

Gardaí are cross-checking his DNA against samples taken from the crime scene, while they are also being checked against forensic evidence taken from the mountain bike believed to have been used by the killer.

Vigils were held around the country over the weekend, while sporting events observed a minute's silence.

However, there has been anger after an online vigil was disrupted by a man who exposed himself after falsely using the name of one of the event’s organisers to join the call.

Department of Foreign Affairs investigation

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has ordered an investigation into a gathering of staff in his department during lockdown in June 2020.

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A picture, shared on social media in the aftermath of Ireland winning a UN Security Council seat, showed officials drinking champagne in the offices of Iveagh House.

The investigation will be conducted by the department's new Secretary-General, Joe Hackett.

Omicron peak

HSE chief executive Paul Reid has said there are positive signs that Ireland has passed the peak of the Omicron wave.

Mr Reid said there has been a drop in demand for PCR tests, while hospitalisation and ICU figures have somewhat stabilised.

At 8am on Monday, there were 1,006 people in hospital with Covid-19, 96 of whom were in ICU.

Hospitality restrictions

The National Public Health Emergency Team are due to meet this week to discuss the latest Covid data, with officials hoping restrictions may be eased from the end of the month.

Over the weekend, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he will be pushing for a "more ambitious, quicker reopening", but said a phased approach will be taken.

Representatives from the hospitality industry have been calling for an urgent removal of the 8pm curfew, however, the World Health Organisation’s special convoy on Covid-19, Dr David Nabarro cautioned that restrictions should only be eased on the basis of the health risk.

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