Video: Indoor events return, Covid downward trend, Bray Boxing Club trial

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Kenneth Fox

Irish produced alcohol

Ireland's high rate of tax is making Irish produced drink more expensive to buy here than it is abroad, according to a report from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI).

The study, led by Dublin City University (DCU) economist Anthony Foley, examined alcohol tax rates in EU countries and the UK, finding Ireland to have the second highest overall rate among the 28 countries included.

Second only to Finland, Ireland's excise duty is "making us a far more expensive place to visit compared to other European countries," according to the chair of DIGI and corporate relations director at Diageo Ireland, Liam Reid.

He added the rates are forcing hospitality and drinks businesses, particularly small exporting breweries and distilleries, to make "growth-limiting sacrifices".

Taliban victory

The Taliban said they have taken control of Panjshir province north of Kabul, the last holdout of anti-Taliban forces in the country and the only province the Taliban had not seized during their blitz across Afghanistan last month.

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Thousands of Taliban fighters overran eight districts of Panjshir overnight, according to witnesses from the area who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement, saying Panjshir was now under the control of Taliban fighters.

Easing of restrictions

Ireland will continue with a major easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Monday, with live music returning and larger crowds allowed at indoor venues.

The Government confirmed last week that it was embarking on a phased easing of Covid-19 restrictions, aiming to see the removal of the vast majority of public health regulations by the end of October.

Monday, September 6th, is a key date in the reopening calendar for the Government.

Restrictions on indoor venues ease today, with larger crowds permitted.

Downward trend

Senior Government figures and health chiefs are optimistic that Ireland’s level of Covid-19 infection is on a downward trajectory, linked to the impact of vaccination among younger people.

On Monday morning, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that a downward trend in Covid-19 infections was “very evident in younger age groups as they come forward for vaccinations”.

“The impact of vaccinations continues to be seen across the population,” he said in a series of posts on Twitter. “It is thanks to the collective efforts of everyone that we are on a pathway out of this pandemic and we can progress towards the full re-opening of society.”

Varadkar backlash

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s attendance at a music festival in the UK has drawn divided opinions as Ireland's entertainment sector remains subject to Covid-19 restrictions.

A photograph emerged over the weekend of Mr Varadkar attending the festival in London on the same weekend Electric Picnic was due to take place.

On Monday morning, the Event Industry Alliance (EIA) said it was “glad to see An Tánaiste recognises and trusts the safety measures put in place by our UK colleagues”.

The industry group said it was now calling on the Government to “open our industry at 100 per cent capacity without further delay,” as it said full capacity was needed to make events financially viable.

Bray boxing trial

The trial of a man accused of the murder of an early morning gym goer and the attempted murder of coach Pete Taylor at Bray Boxing Club has collapsed at the Central Criminal Court due to a juror becoming seriously ill.

Evidence was scheduled to continue before the ten jurors on Monday but Mr Justice Michael White told the nine remaining jurors this morning that one of their number could not continue to attend the trial as she had to "go back into" hospital.

The judge said that whilst the juror's illness was not "life-threatening", it was "impossible to continue" as they had "gone below ten jurors".

Mr Justice White thanked the jury of three men and six women before discharging them from their civic duty.

Soft plastics

All plastic packaging waste including soft plastics can now be placed in household recycling bins, in a radical overhaul of waste management in Ireland.

From this week, all permitted waste collection companies are required to take and sort soft plastic packaging waste, provided it is “clean, dry and loose”, The Irish Times reports.

Soft plastics can be scrunched in the hand, and include crisp bags, sweet wrappers, bread wrappers and various types of plastic film.

Placing soft plastics in mixed dry recyclable bins was prohibited in 2017, due to high levels of contamination and poor recycling infrastructure.

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