Video: Country braces as storms hit, house prices continue to soar

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Storm Dudley

The country is facing high winds and heavy rain as two storms on the way.

Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice are expected to cause significant disruption across the country over the coming days, with flooding possible in some areas.

A Status Yellow wind warning remains in place until 11.30pm on Wednesday for the entirety of the Republic, with gusts expected to reach 110km per hour.

Face masks

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) could recommend an end to the requirement for face masks, with the group due to meet on Thursday to discuss the latest Covid-19 data.

Although Nphet may make the suggestion to Government following Thursday's meeting, it is not expected that a Cabinet meeting will be scheduled for Friday, meaning the change will likely not come into effect until the middle of next week.

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Speaking on Wednesday, Minister for Education Norma Foley said any changes in schools will follow the recommendations of public health experts.

Oireachtas health committee

Outpatient waiting lists jumped by 98,000 (18 per cent) while day cases rose by 9,000 and endoscopy waiting lists grew by 10,000 (47 per cent) during the pandemic, the health committee has heard.

The head of the HSE, Paul Reid, said demand continues to exceed capacity in many specialist areas, telling the Oireachtas health committee that he accepts patients are waiting too long to be seen.

Meanwhile in the Dáil, the Government also faced criticism over the matter, with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald stating the Coalition is “failing miserably” to deal with the crisis in hospitals.

Pension fraud

A 59-year-old man has been jailed for three and half years after claiming pensions for his dead parents for 33 years and defrauding the State of over €500,000.

Donal (Don) O'Callaghan's fraudulent claims were the largest and longest running case of welfare fraud in the history of the State.

Since his father's death in 1987, O'Callaghan claimed his parent's pensions on almost 1,700 occasions, totalling €527,000.

House prices

Residential property prices have surged once again, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The latest data shows property prices rose by 14.4 per cent in the 12 months to December 2021, with current prices almost reaching the peak recorded during the Celtic Tiger.

Since reaching their lowest point in 2013, residential property prices have risen by 114 per cent.

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