Opposition criticise Government housing plan
The Government has been accused of doing the “bare minimum” to address wealthy investment funds bulk-buying homes in the country.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald claimed the Government’s plans to address the issue were a “cop-out” and that so-called “cuckoo funds” had breathed “a sigh of relief” when the details were unveiled.
Ms McDonald told the Dáil the measure to increase stamp duty to 10 per cent on such purchases is “too low” and that the investment funds will “easily” be able to absorb the costs.
In response the Taoiseach accused Sinn Féin of exploiting the housing crisis for its own gain.
Cabinet ministers have agreed to implement a 10 per cent stamp duty for bulk purchases of 10 or more properties in an effort to tackle so-called cuckoo funds buying up housing developments from first-time buyers.
It will include exemptions for local authorities and approved housing bodies.
During Leaders’ Questions Ms McDonald said wealthy investment funds and developers “always come out on top with Fianna Fáil”.
“People have pretty low expectations of what your government would do last night given that you have a history of supporting these funds for years but you have defied even those low expectations,” she said.
“The truth is you have done the very bare minimum.”
Covid-19: 503 new cases confirmed
The Department of Health has confirmed 503 new cases of Covid-19 have been detected as of midnight on Tuesday.
Due to the ongoing disruption caused by last week's cyberattack on the HSE's IT systems, the Department notes that daily case numbers may change due to future data validation.
There are now 101 people in hospital with the virus, 38 of whom are in intensive care. This compares to 110 patients in hospital on Monday, 42 of whom were in ICU.
Patient's data leaked to medical organisation following HSE cyberattack
A medical organisation from outside the State contacted a patient whose details were released on the “dark web” offering to provide the procedure he required, the Dáil has heard.
Labour leader Alan Kelly said that “one of my local GPs was in touch. One of his patients was contacted by a medical organisation from outside the State with all his details as regards a procedure he needed, medical history”.
Mr Kelly said the organisation knew exactly what he required and offered in a short period of time to provide the operation he needed because he could not get it as a public patient for a certain period of time.
The Tipperary TD said the family contacted their GP and the Garda, and the GP contacted the Garda as well.
Indoor dining could resume in July
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.”
He added: “It is certainly our hope and intention to allow indoor dining to resume in July, hopefully in early July, and also some mass events as well.”
The Fine Gael leader said the State’s vaccination programme is “picking up momentum”, administering about 270,000 vaccines per week.
“Nearly 40 per cent of our adult population has had at least one dose now and we hope to have the vast majority of our adult population at least once by the end of June and fully by end of September,” he added.
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.