Video: Easing of restrictions, Homecomings ruled out and church QR donations

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Kenneth Fox

Money laundering arrest

Gardaí have arrested a woman as part of a money laundering investigation into a West African organised crime group (OCG).

On Thursday morning, detectives from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, assisted by the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau and Armed Support Unit, carried out searches in two premises in west Dublin and Co Kildare.

"A significant number of items of electronic and financial evidence were seized during the course of this search and these items are currently being analysed," a statement from Gardaí said.

The woman (44) was arrested on suspicion of committing offences contrary to Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006 and is currently being held at Ronanstown Garda station.

Afghanistan withdrawal

The US military is ramping up evacuations out of Afghanistan, and that 7,000 civilians have been taken out of the country since August 14th, the Pentagon said.

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Army Major General Hank Taylor told reporters that 12 C-17 aircraft departed with 2,000 evacuees over the past 24 hours.

Speaking at a Pentagon briefing, Mr Taylor said the military now has enough aircraft to get 5,000-9,000 people out a day, depending on how many have been processed and other factors, such as weather.

Restrictions easing

The Government is hopeful of easing restrictions later in September after it publishes a roadmap for further reopening on August 31st.

As The Irish Times reports, with schools and universities set to reopen early in September, coalition sources said they were hopeful of removing further restrictions later in the month, but which restrictions are being considered for removal is not yet clear.

A meeting of the Cabinet subcommittee on Covid-19 took place on Thursday afternoon.

Coalition leaders met with public health teams to receive an update on the latest coronavirus situation as the Government prepares to move ahead with reopening schools and universities in the early part of next month.

Meath collision

Two men have been killed following a road traffic collision in Co Meath involving three vehicles on Thursday morning.

The crash took place on the R152 at Keenogue, Duleek shortly after 6.30am.

Emergency services attended the scene where a man (40s), who was the driver and only occupant of a van involved in the incident, was pronounced dead.

All-Ireland homecomings

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Official team homecomings have been ruled out in both Cork and Limerick whatever the result of Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final amid ongoing concerns over Covid-19.

As the Irish Examiner reports, warnings about potential super-spreader events, and the public health guidelines which limit gatherings at outdoor events to just 200, scuppered plans for any potential events.

Authorities in both counties had been liaising with their county board officials, gardaí and public health experts over the last week as they explored what could be possible in the context of public health guidelines.

Daily case numbers

Around a quarter of Covid-19 daily case numbers and intensive care admissions are in fully vaccinated people, according to the HSE.

A briefing on Thursday heard around 20-23 per cent of ICU admissions, and between 20-25 per cent of daily case figures, are among those who are fully vaccinated.

Of total hospital admissions, 45 per cent are fully vaccinated, while 52 per cent are among people who are not fully vaccinated.

Hospitalisations among the double-jabbed are “overwhelmingly” in people with underlying conditions, the briefing heard.

The days of basket collections at Mass may be a thing of the past, says a Co Louth Priest, whose Parish has introduced a QR code on weekly bulletins to scan for donations.

Mass QR codes

Mass-goers in the Termonfeckin Parish can now simply scan the code on the bulletin with their smartphone in order to make a donation to the upkeep of the Church and its two cemeteries.

Fr Paul Byrne says the Parish council had to rethink ways to obtain funding after Covid-19's lockdowns closed Churches and decimated collections.

Although the QR code was rolled out before Easter, restrictions on opening for services again meant mass-goers are really only starting to get used to using the system now.

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