Video: Christmas lockdown ruled out, Ballyfermot shooting, Cop26

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Taoiseach rules out another Christmas lockdown

The Taoiseach has ruled out the possibility of another lockdown around the Christmas period.

Amid rising Covid-19 case numbers, Micheál Martin said the country would be back in lockdown were it not for the vaccine campaign.

He told Today FM’s Dermot & Dave show that the country was in a different position now because of the vaccine rollout and said he does not anticipate a dramatic return of restrictions.

“I don’t see Christmas lockdowns,” Mr Martin said, but added that the high number of cases at present was worrying.

Mr Martin said he expected the vaccine booster campaign to be expanded, but added that people’s behaviour was also important.

Cop26: Taoiseach hails US-China pact

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has hailed a pact made by the United States and China at the Cop26 climate summit.

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The two superpowers, the world’s biggest emitters of CO2, pledged to act in a joint declaration made in a surprise announcement in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Both nations agreed to “recall their firm commitment to work together” and to close the “significant gap” to achieving the 1.5C temperature goal set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Martin praised US president Joe Biden for bringing America back from the point of being in “climate denial” under the Trump administration.

He said: “The most important thing that happened in the last year and a bit has been the election of Joe Biden as president of the United States in respect of climate change.

“That’s my view because prior to that we were facing a fairly depressing scenario where you had an administration that was almost in climate denial.

“Why is that important? You can see already leading into Cop 26 that the European Union, which is a leader in terms of climate change, is now partnering with the United States and the Biden administration with John Kerry as a special envoy, and driving the global agenda.

“Now this morning, we hear about a very good partnership announcement between the US and China.

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“John Kerry’s saying he’s had 30 meetings with his counterpart in China and they’re reaching agreement.

“The Chinese envoy on climate is now saying this is an existential crisis, we’re partnering with the world and with the US to deal with this. This is progress.”

Night flight ban at Dublin Airport’s new runway suggested

A ban on night flights at Dublin Airport's new runway has been suggested by regulators in order to cut down on noise.

The Aircraft Noise Competent Authority (ANCA) suggested that the restrictions on the north runway, which is due to open next year, would cover midnight to 6am.

The ANCA also suggested a noise quota or budget in its draft recommendations regarding daa’s application to amend aircraft operating restrictions at Dublin Airport when the new runway opens.

The recommendations will now go out to public consultation for a 14-week period.

Ballyfermot shooting

Gardaí have charged a man in connection with a fatal shooting in Ballyfermot.

The incident saw a man in his 50s shot in the Dublin suburb on July 27th, 2020.

The man charged in connection with the shooting is aged in his 30s.

He is expected to appear at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin on Thursday morning at 10.30am.

HSE chief: No health system could cope with one third of beds taken by Covid

The HSE’s director general Paul Reid has said that no health system in the world could cope with one third of its bed capacity being taken up with Covid-19 patients.

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Speaking on RTÉ radio’s News at One, Mr Reid said that better resourced health systems elsewhere in Europe were also under pressure.

It was now up to the public to control the situation through collective individual actions, he said.

Armistice Day marked in Dublin and Belfast

Armistice Day has been marked with acts of remembrance across Ireland.

One of the largest gatherings took place at Belfast City Hall led by the Royal British Legion where the Deputy Lord Mayor Tom Haire and High Sheriff Michael Long were part of a delegation at the Garden of Remembrance.

A crowd gathered in the grounds as the Last Post was played before a two-minute silence was observed at 11am.

In Dublin the armistice was marked at Glasnevin Cemetery.

It was attended by Deputy Lord Mayor Joe Costello, Lord Lieutenant of Belfast Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle, British ambassador to Ireland Paul Johnson as well as the French, Canadian and German ambassadors.

Also in attendance was Major General of the Defence Forces Anthony McKenna and John Connolly from the RAF Association Ireland.

Mica: New scheme could include cap of €400,000 per home

A cap of up to €400,000 per home under an enhanced scheme for those affected by the mica crisis is under discussion.

The scheme for homes built with bricks now cracking and crumbling due to the presence of mica, a mineral that can absorb water, is set to go to Cabinet the week after next, according to The Irish Times.

Sources have said two of the remaining major sticking points in negotiations are the size of the cap on works and the inclusion of rental properties in the scheme.

The likely cost of rebuilding or repairing affected homes is growing rapidly as further problems emerge in Clare, Limerick and Sligo after first surfacing in Donegal and Mayo.

Gardaí may have to travel two hours to crime scenes under proposed changes

Gardaí could be delayed by up to two hours in arriving at serious crime scenes due to plans to amalgamate garda divisions.

The Irish Examiner reports that middle-ranking officers are also warning of the impact the new model will have on community policing.

The operating model is currently being introduced on a phased basis and will take place over a number of years in what will be the biggest ever restructuring of the force.

Members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) were given a presentation on the model at their annual conference in Killarney. Under the proposals, Tipperary and Clare will become one garda division, Meath and Westmeath will be merged, as will Wicklow and Wexford. The existing divisions of Cavan/Monaghan and Louth will become one, as will the current divisions of Laois/Offaly and Kildare.

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