'Element of risk' with close contact rules
Easing rules on close contacts of Covid-19 cases carries an "element of risk", according to the Minister for Health, but high uptake of booster vaccines puts Ireland in a position to consider easing restrictions - despite reporting the second-highest Omicron cases in Europe.
Cabinet agreed to relax rules on close contacts on Wednesday shortly before lunchtime, clearing the way for thousands of people to return to workplaces.
Those with a booster shot and no symptoms are no longer required to restrict their movements for five days. Close contacts who do not have the booster vaccine will have to restrict their movement for seven days and all positive cases will need to isolate for seven days.
On his way into Cabinet this morning, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the country had not yet reached the peak of the Omicron wave, which is predicted to occur within the next week or two.
As the Omicron variant sweeps across Europe, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has estimated that up to half a million people may have been infected in Ireland last week. The World Health Organisation has warned that half the population of western Europe could be infected in the next six to eight weeks.
One person has died and another has been injured in a road traffic collision in Co Clare on Wednesday morning.
The two-car collision happened shortly before 6.00am on the R352, the main Ennis to Scarrif road, on the outskirts of Bodyke village.
Gardaí, National Ambulance Service paramedics and units of Clare County Fire and Rescue Service from Scarriff station responded to the incident.
On arrival, they found the driver and sole occupant of one car, a man in his 20s, had been fatally injured and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Right to birth certs
New legislation which will give adopted people the right to access their original birth certificate and other personal information is set to go to Cabinet on Wednesday and be published this week.
Under the new legislation, adopted people will be able to learn the identity of their birth parents, even where they object.
The legislation, which is being brought forward by Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman, was promised following the publication of the report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission last year.
The right has been called for by campaigners for decades, however previous governments have cited difficulties legislating for it due to the rights of privacy of the birth mother.
Used car prices skyrocket
Used car prices have risen 56 per cent on average over the last two years, according to a report by online marketplace Donedeal.
Analysis of used car prices on its site found prices rose by an average of 7.7 per cent over the last three months of 2021, hitting what it claims are record levels of price growth.
The report’s author, Dr Tom Gillespie, an environmental economist at NUIG, said: “The supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic and the realisation of Brexit market consequences resulted in a perfect storm for used car price inflation.”
The report forecasts that the elements contributing to car price inflation are showing few signs of easing in the short term. For buyers looking to trade in their old cars, it means they have stronger bargaining chips as car dealers struggle to maintain their inventor, according to Dr Gillespie.
Salaries to rise
Salaries are expected to increase by five to 10 per cent across many sectors as the majority of people consider a career move within the next year, according to Morgan McKinley.
The 2022 Irish Salary Guide from the Irish-owned global recruitment consultancy, which analyses pay across a range of professions and sectors, predicts salaries will rise between 15 and 20 per cent for certain niches skills in demand.
Upward pressure on salaries has been driven by a reduction in mobility of international talent and a corresponding demand for workers already in location, Morgan McKinley said.
It said it expects normal inflationary figures between two and five per cent “to come back into play in a post-pandemic world as countries open up and the flow of external candidates into Ireland takes pressure out of an overheated employment market.”
Separately, a recent increase in the minimum wage has led to some employees experiencing a reduction in hours, with others seeing the average take-home pay rise.