Video: Irish Water bosses face grilling, Zappone declines invite, US travel ban lifted

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Water contamination

Irish Water bosses are to face a grilling by “hugely concerned” TDs this Thursday over the “unacceptable” contamination controversy which went unreported for days.

The Oireachtas Housing Committee will take evidence from Irish Water, which is under threat of legal action from Gorey residents who were left violently ill with people vomiting, passing blood and cramping.

Unsafe water leaving the Gorey water treatment plant over a five-day period in August led to 52 confirmed illnesses and a number of hospitalisations.

Wexford Senator Malcolm Byrne said that reports of people becoming ill from drinking water were ignored by Irish Water and Wexford County Council.

Zappone declines committee invite

Former minister Katherine Zappone has declined an invitation to appear before the Oireachtas foreign affairs committee to answer questions on her appointment to a UN special envoy role.

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The committee's chair, Charlie Flanagan, confirmed on Monday that Ms Zappone decided not to take up their invitation which was extended to her following a private session last Wednesday.

The attempted appointment of Ms Zappone to the role by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has caused widespread controversy, with Opposition party members accusing him of cronyism.

US travel ban

Meanwhile, Mr Coveney has welcomed the US administration’s decision to lift the 18-month blanket ban on foreign travellers from entering the country.

He said that he welcomed the announcement that the ban on foreign travellers entering the country, introduced by former president Donald Trump at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, will be removed in November.

Irish travellers will be able to visit the US from November if they are fully vaccinated.

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“This is something that we, along with our EU colleagues, have been advocating for a considerable time and we have alerted the US Administration to the high levels of vaccination within Ireland,” Mr Coveney said.

AstraZeneca plant

AstraZeneca has said it will invest €305 million to develop a manufacturing facility in Ireland to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The new plant in Dublin will produce small molecules, the primary ingredients for medicines. Small molecules are the mainstay of pharmaceutical drugs and lately have been used in new ways to help target cancer in treatments such as the company’s Enhertu.

The news was welcomed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who said it was a “significant commitment” to the country.

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