Video: Baby John remains exhumed, Covid restrictions, Coveney no-confidence motion

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Gardaí exhume remains of 'Baby John'

Gardaí have exhumed the remains of 'Baby John', also known as Kerry Baby, as part of an investigation into his death in 1984.

This morning, the remains of Baby John were exhumed by gardaí at Holy Cross Cemetery, Caherciveen, Co Kerry and taken to the morgue at University Hospital Kerry, Tralee, for examination as part of the ongoing investigation.

The exhumation commenced at first light and was conducted on foot of a ministerial order granted in accordance with the Coroners Act 1962 as amended.

The exhumation was conducted by gardaí from Killarney District, assisted by gardaí from the Garda Technical Bureau, a Forensic Anthropologist and relevant personnel from Kerry County Council and the Health Service Executive.

The Coroner for South Kerry has been kept advised.

The remains of Baby John have been reinterred at Holy Cross Cemetery this afternoon.

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“Investigating gardaí continue to believe that there are members of the public who have information in relation to the death of Baby John in April 1984, and we are appealing to those people to come forward and help us,” said a Garda spokesperson.

Investigating gardaí continue to appeal for any information in relation to this ongoing investigation and can be contacted at Killarney Garda Station on 064 6631222, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

Covid restrictions

Further coronavirus restrictions in Ireland cannot be ruled out in the future, the chief medical officer is expected to warn an Oireachtas committee.

Dr Tony Holohan will tell TDs and Senators at the Joint Committee on Wednesday that the epidemiological situation “indicates a high incidence with an uncertain trajectory”.

There has been a drop in cases among those aged 19-24 and 13-18 years in recent weeks, but there has been a rise among those in the five to 12 age group, and an increase in outbreaks in settings with vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes.

Dr Holohan is to describe the Covid-19 vaccine programme as very effective, but will caution that the Delta variant will continue to circulate extensively over the coming months, particularly among individuals who have not yet been vaccinated or those who have not been sufficiently protected through vaccination.

Coveney no-confidence motion

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On Wednesday, Simon Coveney will face a Sinn Féin motion of no confidence when the Dáil returns from the summer recess.

Mr Coveney said he hopes to move on from the saga following the vote, and said he believes he will have enough support from across government parties to see the motion fail.

“It became, subsequently, a political controversy that was handled, in my view, poorly by me, initially, that allowed it to grow into something that it didn’t need to grow into.

“And I regret that,” he added.

Mr Coveney also claimed that the Taoiseach “wasn’t particularly annoyed” that he was not made aware of the appointment ahead of the July 27th Cabinet meeting.

“He was just surprised.

“I had that conversation with him, I don’t think there’s any disrespect there, to be honest,” the Fine Gael minister added.

It comes as Sinn Féin is to table a Bill to tighten Ireland’s lobbying regulations following the controversy.

The Bill would see the so-called cooling-off period extended to two years.

Government’s ‘risky’ Budget strategy will ‘lock in large deficits’, warns Fiscal Council

The Government’s current Budget plan is a “risky strategy” that will “lock in large deficits”, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council has warned.

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In its pre-Budget 2022 statement, the council said a Government plan to expand public services, ramp up investment and cut taxes at the same time “avoids making hard choices and leaves the public finances more vulnerable to growth shortfalls or higher interest rates”.

The council, an independent body that provides assessment of the Government’s fiscal stance and budgetary forecasts, advised that a “more prudent” approach would be to limit current spending to a slower pace of increase or raise taxes at the same time as the ramp-up in public investment spending.

Zappone to be invited before foreign affairs committee

Katherine Zappone is to be invited to appear before the Oireachtas foreign affairs committee to offer details regarding her controversial appointment to a UN special envoy position.

The committee is holding a private session today in which members decided to write to Ms Zappone asking her to appear before the committee.

According to The Irish Times, the committee is also thought to be discussing whether a similar invite should be extended to Martin Fraser, the secretary general of the Department of the Taoiseach, to answer questions as to when the decision to nominate Ms Zappone was conveyed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Earlier this week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said a memo naming the former minister was received by the Taoiseach's office the day before the Cabinet meeting when Ms Zappone was nominated.

Residential property sales jump by almost 50% in 12 months

The volume of residential properties sold in July this year was 49.2 per cent higher than July 2020, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

In July 2021, 3,822 dwellings were purchased at market prices filed with Revenue, 3,221 (84.3 per cent) of which were existing dwellings and 601 (15.7 per cent) were new builds.

Prices increased by 8.1 per cent in Dublin and 9.1 per cent outside the capital in the year to July, giving a national increase of 8.6 per cent.

The latest figures show purchase volumes have returned to pre-pandemic levels. In the first seven months of this year, 24,280 dwellings were purchased at market prices compared to 24,416 during the same period of 2019.

The price increases, broken down by type of dwelling and location, show house prices in the Border region noted the largest jump, increasing by 16.2 per cent, followed by apartments outside of Dublin, which increased 14.6 per cent.

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