Video: Covid staff shortages, shorter working week, debate over Leaving Cert 2022

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Staff shortages

Staff shortages due to Covid-19 continue to be a problem across multiple sectors, as supermarkets, clothing shops and hair salons are among the businesses struggling to keep their doors open without adequate staff numbers.

Supermarkets Tesco, Supervalu and Aldi have all been forced to assess opening hours because of the number of staff isolating due to testing positive for the virus or being identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, while the Irish Hairdressers Federation has said the latest wave of infections has had a "devastating effect" on salon owners.

The Government is understood to be considering changes to the rules for close contacts in the hopes of easing the staffing pressures.

Case surge

The State recorded its one millionth case of Covid-19 since February 2020 on Monday, after the Department of Health confirmed 23,909 additional cases.

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Monday's figures brings Ireland's total to 1,002,013, while hospitalisations also increased to an 11-month high.

As of 8am on Tuesday, there were 1,062 people in hospital with Covid, a decrease of one from yesterday.

Working week

Public servants look set for a shorter working week following a recommendation from the Independent Body Examining Additional Working Hours.

It has been recommended to the Government that additional hours for some public servants accepted in lieu of pay cuts during the economic crash will be discontinued.

New recommendations are expected to set a minimum working week for public servants of 35 hours a week.

Terror charges

A former member of the Defence Forces is seeking to have charges of being a member of so-called Islamic State (Isis), and financing terrorism dropped at the Special Criminal Court.

Lawyers for Louth woman Lisa Smith (39) have made an application for the case against her to be dismissed.

It is expected they will argue there is not sufficient evidence to convict their client on any of the charges.

Hybrid Leaving Cert

Calls are growing for a rethink of how school exams are to be held in Ireland this year, amid concerns about the disruption students have faced.

On Monday, the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union insisted exams "cannot go ahead as planned", however, a leading teachers’ union has expressed the view that “traditional” exams must take place in 2022.

Speaking this morning, the deputy president of NUI Galway said he too was in favour of the traditional written exams, describing the hybrid system as "intensely unfair" and "deeply problematic".

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