Video: Booster vaccines for all, accusations of cronyism and today's courts

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Booster vaccines for all

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said that booster jabs to protect people from Covid-19 may become available to all members of the public in the near future.

Meanwhile, investigation of “complex” outbreaks of the disease in the midwest region has revealed that at least 41 people attended hospitality settings in one recent week “while they were infectious”.

The Department of Health has confirmed 1,408 new cases of Covid-19 as of midnight on Tuesday. Updated figures show 21 Covid-related deaths occurred in the Republic since the start of June.

Meanwhile, the HSE has confirmed the locations, dates and times of walk-in vaccine clinics, which will open their doors across the country this bank holiday weekend for anyone aged 16 or older.

The Department of Health is considering advice on mixing Covid vaccine doses, the chair of National Immunisation Advisory Committee has said.

Accusations of cronyism

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has dismissed as “nonsense” the suggestion that the appointment of former minister Katherine Zappone as UN special envoy was “cronyism”.

He acknowledged that he or the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, should have informed the Taoiseach of the appointment, but that had not happened.

The position was not “a plum, well paid” job, he said, and claimed Ms Zappone would receive only €7,000 net after taxes while she would put hundreds of hours into the work.

It comes after a number of Government sources said the Taoiseach was unhappy he was not informed before the meeting that Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney was bringing a memo on the proposal to Cabinet.

Belfast death

A 29-year-old woman is being questioned on suspicion of murder following the death of a baby at a house in Belfast.

A second child is in intensive care following the tragedy at Brompton Park in the north of the city which occurred on Tuesday evening.

Sinn Féin North Belfast MP John Finucane said it was “a tragic situation compounded by the fact that we are dealing with somebody who has died at such a young age.”

Alleged rape at quarantine hotel

A criminal investigation has begun into the alleged rape of a member of the Defence Forces at a hotel used for the mandatory quarantine of new arrivals into the State.

The female member of the Defence Forces has made a complaint to the Garda, which was now being investigated.

The Defence Forces, members of which are involved in operating the system, said it was aware of an alleged incident that recently took place at a hotel being used for mandatory quarantine.

Today in the courts

A €65,000 consignment of counterfeit Viagra imported by a Co Clare chef was destined for a sex shop in Lithuania, a court has heard.

Separately, a man who was still on probation when he was caught with a stolen car by gardaí on a stakeout will serve 18 months of a previous suspended sentence on top of a two-year jail term.

Meanwhile, a former Donegal priest has been jailed for 15 months for the sexual abuse of two young sisters. Con Cunningham, now aged 86, pleaded guilty to eight counts of indecent assaults between 1971 and 1975.

Finally, a former solicitor has been charged with stealing approximately €330,000 from clients.

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