Video: Pfizer Irish vaccine plan, Dáil housing vote, Aer Lingus close Shannon base

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Pfizer to produce Covid vaccine in Ireland

Pfizer is adding Ireland to its global Covid vaccine supply chain network, with the Grange Castle plant in west Dublin “contributing to the worldwide supply” of the jab.

The site will produce the mRNA drug substance used in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The pharmaceutical firm plans to invest up to approximately $40 million (€32 million) in Ireland and an additional 75 roles will be recruited.

Pfizer expects the facility will be brought onto the network by the end of 2021.

Grange Castle is one of just a handful of Pfizer plants in Europe capable of producing biologics medicines, such as vaccines.

“This is a very significant moment for Ireland and for our Grange Castle site. We are immensely proud to be able to play a part in manufacturing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr Paul Duffy, vice-president, Pfizer Global Supply.

Cyberattack disruption continues at hospitals

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Restoration of computer systems in the health service will take “many weeks” following last week’s cyberattack, according to the Health Service Executive.

While some IT systems in voluntary hospitals could return this week, it will take “several weeks” before systems in other, HSE-run hospitals return, it said.

The complete rebuilding of its computer network could take several months, sources told The Irish Times.

With major disruption set to continue, the HSE said many emergency departments were very busy and patients requiring non-urgent care could expect significant delays. Registration of births and deaths has also been hit, as details cannot be submitted by email.

The cyberattack is continuing to have a serious impact on radiation oncology, because medical staff are unable to access details of individual treatment plans. Essential services, such as blood tests and diagnostic services are taking much longer to operate than usual, the HSE said in its latest update.

People aged 49 can register for Covid vaccine

People aged 49 can now register for a Covid-19 vaccine.

Registration is open to people aged between 45 and 49 from this week.

Those aged 48 will be able to book an appointment from Thursday, and it will continue through the ages on each subsequent day.

People can register for their jab by going to vaccine.hse.ie or calling 1850 24 1850.

Dáil housing vote

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The Government has moved to clamp down on bulk-buying of new homes with an increased stamp duty of 10 per cent on certain multiple house purchases set to be approved by the Dáil on Wednesday.

Under measures agreed by the Cabinet on Tuesday night, the higher stamp duty rate will apply to the purchasing of more than 10 houses within a 12-month period.

Apartments will be exempt from the higher rate, as will purchases by local authorities and approved housing bodies.

The new rate is set to come into effect from on Thursday after a vote in the Dáil which is expected on Wednesday.

Furthermore, new planning guidelines will state that all houses and duplexes should be available for sale to individual non-commercial purchasers for at least two years after they are built. If a local authority is then satisfied that a market has not emerged, the houses will be open once again to funds and other buyers.

Aer Lingus to close Shannon base

Aer Lingus has announced that it will permanently close its Shannon cabin crew base and lay off Cork crew for three months.

The 81 cabin crew in the Shannon base will have the options of enhanced severance terms or base transfer to Dublin where possible.

The 45 Shannon-based ground crew will continue to be laid off.

Between September 12th and November 22nd, 198 Cork-based staff are to be temporarily laid off without pay – 60 ground staff and 138 cabin crew.

Cork Airport will be closed between these dates to facilitate a complete upgrade of its main runway.

The company has notified the Government that all of its Shannon-based crew are “in scope for redundancy” and is seeking to reduce the Cork headcount by 10.

Aer Lingus has warned of possible further lay-offs after it lost €103 million in the first three months of 2021. This is on top of a €361 million loss in 2020.

Varadkar hopeful Ireland can return 'close to normality' by late summer

The Tánaiste has said he is hopeful Ireland can return to “close to normality” by late summer.

Leo Varadkar told the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade and Employment Committee: “I’m very hopeful that we can return to something close to normality by late summer.

“It has been an extremely long road for everyone – for workers, businesses, friends and family – but I think our patience will have been worth it.”

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