Video: Coveney faces questions, CAO offers and Covid latest

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Coveney faces questions

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has denied that he offered Katherine Zappone the job of special envoy in a conversation with her months before the Government approved the appointment.

Facing questions from the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr Coveney said he had “raised the possibility” with Ms Zappone that she might fill the role but did not offer her the job.

Mr Coveney apologised for the “sloppiness” of his answers in relation to the controversy, admitting that it has caused a “political embarrassment” for the Government.

He said he failed to explain how this role came about, and apologised that his handling of it led to another hearing.

CAO offers

The CAO round one offers will be released at 2pm today, with over 84,000 students having applied for a college place for the 2021/2022 academic year.

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This year's offers are coming later than previous years due to the delayed release of the Leaving Certificate results which were only published on Friday, but the process remains the same.

When the portal goes live this afternoon, students will need to enter their eight-digit CAO number, their date of birth and their CAO password to view their offer.

The impact of calculated grades, inflating results achieved by students in this year's Leaving Cert, is expected to cause points to jump once again.

Covid latest

Eleven cases of the two newest Covid-19 variants of interest, the Mu and Lambda variants, have been identified on the island of Ireland.

A €4 million “state of the art” laboratory at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) will be one of the nation’s key weapons in the fight against Covid-19 due its ability to detect variants of concern and track outbreaks faster and more accurately.

Meanwhile, up to 12,000 children are out of school due to being close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has expressed concern about non-Covid healthcare ahead of winter, particularly deferred cancer care and people who held back from visiting their GP during the pandemic.

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He also said that 90 per cent of adults aged 18 and over will be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the coming days.

However, it comes amid reports that pregnant women in the early stages of gestation have been refused the Covid-19 vaccine, despite a Government announcement last week that it was being made available at any stage of pregnancy.

Smokey fuels ban

A strict ban on all domestic solid fuels will be introduced across the State from next year, meaning the most polluting of home-heating fuels will no longer be available.

The move will, in effect, put in place a national smoky coal ban by extending restrictions beyond designated cities and towns.

The regulations are designed to curb air pollution and its impact on public health, especially the threat from particulate matter arising from solid fuel burners.

The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) welcomed the new measure, which they said will reduce the number of lives lost to dirty air in Ireland.

Meath collision

A woman aged in her 70s has died in a single-vehicle road traffic collision in Co Meath.

The fatal collision occurred in the Bellinter area of Co Meath shortly after 1pm on Monday, September 6th.

Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene where the woman, the driver and sole occupant of the car, was pronounced dead.

Her body was later removed to Navan mortuary and a post-mortem will take place in due course.

Cost rental homes

Applications open today for the first purpose-built cost rental homes in Ireland.

The rent charged to tenants for the homes at Enniskerry Road, Stepaside in Dublin will cover the cost of delivering, managing and maintaining the homes and “will not be driven by market movements”.

The 50 two-bedroom apartments will be let from October of this year at a monthly rent of €1,200, which management agencies said was a “significant reduction” when compared to market rents for two-bedroom apartments in this location.

Those who are eligible can begin the application process today on Daft.ie, where tenants will be “randomly selected”.

Warm September

Temperatures are forecast to reach up to 27 degrees Celsius in parts of Ireland on Tuesday as the country enjoys a warm start to September.

Met Éireann said an area of low pressure to the west of Spain has allowed very warm air from north Africa to push up across Ireland, bringing above average temperatures for September.

On Monday, the maximum temperature in Ireland was logged at 23.7 degrees at Phoenix Park in Dublin, followed by 22.9 degrees at Dublin Airport and Oak Park, Co Carlow.

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