Covid vaccine boosts
It has been a day of major announcements for Ireland's Covid-19 vaccine programme.
In a potential boost to supplies, Ireland has agreed a deal in principle to purchase one million unwanted vaccines from Romania. The shipment is expected to be made up of around 700,000 Pfizer and 300,000 Moderna vaccines, with the logistics yet to be worked out.
In another game-changing move for many younger people waiting on a vaccine, those aged between 18 and 34 will be able to get a jab through a pharmacy from Monday and in mass vaccination centres later this month.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced this morning that from July 5th, Janssen vaccines will be available to those aged 18-34 in pharmacies. Pharmacists have reported “hopping” phonelines in the wake of the announcement.
From Friday, July 9th the vaccine registration portal will open for those aged 30 to 34 and will proceed down through the age group.
We've broken down everything you need to know about the changes to the rollout — including when you can expect your jab, where you will get it, and if you will have a choice of which vaccine you take.
Delta variant wave
Ireland is at the beginning of the fourth wave of Covid-19 and a “serious level of transmission” is expected in the coming weeks, public health officials have warned.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said it was “a question of when, rather than if” the Delta variant becomes dominant in Ireland, and said the aim was to slow down transmission as much as possible.
The speeding up of the Covid-19 vaccination programme next week to 18-34 year olds will not “materially alter” the course of what the country will be dealing with in July and August, deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn has warned.
Much of Europe will be experiencing a fourth wave of Covid-19 in three or four weeks' time, he said.
International travel is of more concern in Ireland’s fight against the Delta variant than indoor dining, according to a leading virologist.
Dr Cillian De Gascun, director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory and a member of Nphet, said Nphet’s position remained that non-essential travel should be avoided, even though the Government had decided to go ahead with the EU's digital travel cert and allow travel from July 19th.
Tactics "characteristic of comedians and propagandists" are being used by the prosecution in the trial of four men accused of abducting and assaulting Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney, a barrister has told the Special Criminal Court.
Meanwhile, an eyewitness has told a murder trial jury that boxing trainer Pete Taylor ran towards a gunman who fired into Bray Boxing Club "to protect" members of his fitness class.
Separately, a retired Limerick Garda Superintendent and three gardaí serving in the southern region have been sent forward for trial to the Circuit Court, on a total of almost 40 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Finally, an 11-year-old boy who had sued claiming there was an alleged delay in diagnosing a brain tumour when he was a toddler has settled his High Court action for €7.5 million.
Gardaí have launched a new operation targeting street-level drug dealing in cities, towns and villages across the country, aimed at protecting communities from the "scourge of illegal drugs".
Operation Tara commenced on Thursday with the aim to "disrupt, dismantle and prosecute drug trafficking networks, at all levels". Gardaí added the operation will target people involved in the importation, distribution, cultivation, production, and local sale and supply of drugs.
The organised crime situation would be “far, far worse” if drugs were legalised, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said.
Advocates for decriminalisation argue it would damage criminal gangs by targeting their main source of revenue, and say the ongoing, decades-long “war on drugs” has been a failure.
But Mr Harris said organised crime would not disappear overnight and said current Garda anti-drugs operations have “great effect”.