Russell Crowe donation
Ireland's biggest book club, which has over 20,000 members, has received a €5000 donation for their charity appeal from actor Russell Crowe after they jokingly tweeted that they could do with an influx of donations from the "super rich".
RTÉ broadcaster Rick O'Shea, who runs the online club, said he tweeted the appeal to the super wealthy after the fund reached €15,000.
"I quite jokingly tweeted today after the Xmas appeal for the DSPCA and the Peter McVerry Trust reached €15,000 that we were halfway there and that if any super rich followers of mine fancied topping that up, so I could stop yammering on about this between now and Christmas that would be great.
World Health Organisation (WHO) officials in the Western Pacific have said border closures may buy time to deal with the Omicron coronavirus variant, but measures put in place and experience gained in dealing with the Delta variant should remain the foundation for fighting the pandemic.
While a few countries in the region are facing surges, Covid-19 cases and deaths in many others have decreased and plateaued, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific Dr Takeshi Kasai told reporters.
In a virtual news conference broadcast from Manila, Philippines, Dr Kasai said: “Border control can delay the virus coming in and buy time. But every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases.
Christmas Covid restrictions
Further Covid-19 restrictions for the Christmas period are expected to be discussed by the Government on Friday.
The Cabinet meeting at 3pm will follow a meeting of the Covid-19 sub-committee on Friday morning.
Reduced capacity in pubs and indoor hospitality, as well as limits on the number of households that can mix are all likely to be considered.
On Thursday evening, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) met to make the further recommendations to Government following the emergence of the new Omicron variant.
The introduction of new testing rules for arrivals into Ireland, introduced in response to the Omicron variant, has been delayed by 48 hours.
The PA news agency understands that industry figures were informed last night that the rules will now come into effect at midnight on Sunday.
Earlier this week, the Government agreed new rules on travel that would see all travellers entering Ireland required to show a negative result on a professionally administered antigen test 48 hours before arrival, or on a PCR test 72 hours before arrival.
A new “landmark” scheme to regularise thousands of undocumented migrants and their families who are living in Ireland has been approved.
Scheme for undocumented migrants
The scheme, which was announced by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, will be for long-term undocumented migrants and their eligible dependents.
It is understood that, under the scheme, eligible applicants will be able to remain and reside in the State, as well as regularise their residency status.
Although there is no reliable data on the number of undocumented people in the State, it is estimated that the number is somewhere in the region of 17,000, including 3,000 children.
Live register figures
The number of people on the live register or receiving the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) dropped nine per cent in November, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The total number fell 9.4 per cent to 216,959 over the month to November.
There were 164,626 people on the unadjusted live register for November 2021, while the seasonally adjusted live register total was 170,200, up 100 from October.
Restaurants have seen an 80 per cent drop in bookings as they head in to what is traditionally the busiest time of the year, according to the chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins.
It is understood that Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath will meet with representatives from the hospitality industry on Friday morning amid the ongoing concerns.
Mr Cummins has warned that their industry has "fallen off a cliff" since the Government told the public to reduce their social contacts whilst insisting more support are needed.