Video: Coveney no-confidence motion, Edna O'Brien archive, vaccine milestone

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Sinn Féin to table Simon Coveney no-confidence motion

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has described a Sinn Féin motion of no confidence in Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney as an attempt “to divide and conquer”.

It was an example of “old style naked politics” and was "a bit rich coming from Sinn Féin", he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Sinn Féin will next week table the motion of no confidence in Mr Coveney in the Dáil. It comes as the Government has faced sustained criticism over its appointment of Katherine Zappone as UN special envoy, with Mr Coveney subject to scrutiny over his involvement in the affair.

Mr Martin said that Mr Coveney had apologised on a number of occasions, including to him personally, and had gone before an Oireachtas committee on the matter.

Covid vaccination milestone

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The Government's reopening plan to lift all major Covid-19 restrictions by October 22nd has received a boost, as Ireland reached a “major milestone” in its Covid-19 vaccination rollout on Friday amid falling infection rates.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that 90 per cent of adults now fully vaccinated, adding that more than seven million vaccines will have been administered by the end of Friday.

It comes as the average rate of Covid-19 infection across Ireland has fallen by 14 per cent in the last two weeks, according to weekly figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

A fortnight ago the average incidence rate had climbed to 526.4 but has continued to fall, reaching 450.9 as of last Monday.

However, Ireland also continues to have the highest incidence rate of the disease in the EU, with data produced by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showing a 14-day incidence rate of 434 cases per 100,000 people.

Archive of once-banned author Edna O’Brien acquired by National Library

A new collection of the papers of Irish author Edna O’Brien, whose work was once banned in the State, has been acquired by the National Library of Ireland.

The archive of literary and personal papers covering the period 2009 to 2021 includes notebooks, drafts, revisions and correspondence with other well-known literary figures. It will be added to a collection of the author’s papers for the period 2000 to 2009 already held by the National Library.

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The Department of Culture and the Arts said the acquisition represents “an important moment for the collection of work by Ireland’s women writers” and was made possible by a special allocation of funding from Minister Catherine Martin.

Ms O’Brien’s first book, The Country Girls, was published in 1960 and banned in Ireland for its frank portrayal of female sexuality.

Ireland generated over 1.1 million tonnes of packaging waste in 2019

The majority of Ireland’s plastic packaging waste is sent for incineration rather than recycled, according to new figures from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Less than a third (28 per cent) of plastic packaging was recycled in 2019, according to the EPA data on packaging waste, with almost all remaining plastic packaging sent for incineration.

The share of plastic packaging waste incinerated for energy recovery has grown year-on-year, now standing at 69 per cent.

The EPA said Ireland generated over 1.1 million tonnes of packaging waste in 2019, an increase of 11 per cent on the year before and the third year in a row it has exceeded one million tonnes.

The largest increases were seen in the generation of plastic, paper and cardboard packaging waste. Almost all plastic, paper, cardboard and most metal packaging waste was sent abroad for recycling.

Local infection rates

Two parts of Co Monaghan have the worst Covid incidence rates in the country.

The Ballybay-Clones local electoral areas along with Monaghan itself have rates over 1,500 per 100,000.

They are also joined by another Local Electoral Area from the same county, though further down the list slightly, it's Carrickmacross-Castleblayney.

Monaghan GP Ilona Duffy says it's a frustrating time for parents when their children are notified that they are close contacts.

Ms Duffy told Newstalk: “The big difficulty is it means these children are out of school for a full fortnight and their parents obviously have to provide childcare for that time. I think the big thing is children are losing time at school at a time when the online availability of school is no longer there so it's hard and I think it's going to continue like that while we see high rates of transmission in the communities.”

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