Video: Counting underway in Dublin Bay South, booster vaccines, Delta pressure on health service

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Dublin Bay South byelection

Counting is underway in the Dublin Bay South byelection, having begun at 9am this morning in the RDS.

The constituency's seat was vacated by Fine Gael's Eoghan Murphy, who announced his decision to step down in April, prompting the byelection.

Voting took place between 7am-10.30pm on Thursday, with RTÉ News reporting just 24 per cent of voters had turned up to cast their vote by 5pm.

Follow our live blog for all the latest news on the count here.

Booster dose

Pfizer/BioNTech are looking to apply for approval for a third 'booster' dose of their Covid-19 vaccine.

The drugmakers are expected to put their application to US regulators in the next month, citing data from Israel which suggests a booster shot may be needed within a year of initial vaccination.

Earlier this week, Israel reported a decrease in the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine in preventing infections and symptomatic illness, but said it remained highly effective in preventing serious illness.

Delta overtake

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The chief executive of the HSE has warned the impact of the Delta variant will likely "outmatch" the supply of the Covid vaccines in State over the coming weeks.

Speaking at the HSE's weekly press briefing, Paul Reid said the health service was facing into the challenge of the variant “from a high base”, adding he wished there was more time, and more supplies, to enable the health service to stay ahead of the increase in cases.

HSE chief clinical officer, Dr Colm Henry said the rise in the Delta variant was likely to lead to more pressure on the health system, adding that he was fearful that the planning easing of restrictions in the UK later this month would have an impact on Ireland.

Indoor dining

Plans for the reopening of indoor dining on July 19th are thought to be on track following resumed talks between the Government and representatives from the hospitality sector on Thursday.

Work has now begun on legislation to allow for indoor dining to be restricted to those who can show proof that they have been fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from the virus. The legislation is expected to be put to the Oireachtas next week.

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Six scenarios for the further reopening of the sector will be brought to Cabinet next week, with a final decision expected on Tuesday.

Hospitality sectors have voiced their dissatisfaction with the options put forward, with the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) saying they have “no option” but to accept the “deeply problematic” proposals.

Road crash investigations

Gardaí and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) are continuing their investigation into a fatal road traffic collision on the N7 in Dublin in which three men were killed.

The crash occurred on Wednesday night after the car drove the wrong way down the road and collided with a truck.

Gardaí investigating the matter believe the men were trying to evade officers at the time and deliberately drove the wrong way down the road in the hope they would not be pursued.

A Garda superintendent referred the matter to Gsoc, which is obliged to investigate any incident involving the death of a person, or injury caused to a person, at or around the time they had any form of contact or interaction with Garda members.

European Commission president visit

The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is due to visit Ireland next Friday to hold talks with Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

In a tweet, Mr Martin said he was “very much looking forward” to Ms von der Leyen's visit, during which they will discuss Covid-19, Brexit and the EU recovery fund.

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