Video: No cap on Ukrainian refugees; hospital overcrowding breaks record

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No cap on Ukrainian refugees

Ireland will not cap the number of refugees it accepts even as the Government admits it is facing a struggle to house arriving Ukrainians, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has said.

She indicated the Government will avoid, if possible, forcing people or businesses to give up property or open their homes to Ukrainian refugees.

It comes as more than half of the accommodation pledges made for refugees in Ireland have failed to come to fruition with around 25,000 Ukrainians having already arrived in the country.

Mass accommodation for refugees is going to become a larger part of the Irish response to the crisis, Minister Roderic O’Gorman, whose department is leading efforts to house refugees fleeing the war-torn country, earlier said.

He confirmed the Millstreet Arena in Co Cork is now being used to house 70 refugees. He said such accommodation is “not the preference” but he expects refugees to be there for a “number of weeks”.

Hospital overcrowding breaks record

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The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called for an emergency plan to be activated amid record overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

There were 126 patients on trolleys in UHL this morning, the highest number of patient overcrowding in any Irish hospital since the INMO started its Trolley Watch in 2006.

INMO assistant director of industrial relations Mary Fogarty called on senior HSE management and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to urgently act on "what is a chaotic situation for the people of the midwest".

It comes as the Department of Health confirmed 3,035 new cases of Covid-19, 1,426 of which were verified through the PCR testing system while a further 1,609 were uploaded via the HSE's positive antigen result portal.

Elsewhere, Professor Luke O’Neill described early results in the trial of a variant-proof Covid-19 vaccine as “tremendous”.

Sligo witness appeal

A man has died after being seriously assaulted in Co Sligo on Tuesday.

The incident happened at Rockwood Parade in Sligo at around 6pm on Tuesday evening. Emergency services attended the scene and treated the man, aged in his 30s, for an apparent head injury.

He was taken to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where he later died. A post-mortem examination will be carried out, the results of which will direct the further course of the investigation, gardaí said.

As the investigation continues, gardaí are asking for witnesses to come forward.

Stalking and strangulation offences

Stalking and non-fatal strangulation are set to become standalone offences under new legislation, with the changes aiming to create greater awareness and reporting of the crimes.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has secured Government approval to draft the legislation.

While both stalking and non-fatal strangulation are already crimes, the Minister is proposing a number of changes to make the law in this area “clearer and stronger”.

The changes, which will be included in the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, will empower courts to issue orders restraining stalking behaviours without a criminal prosecution and ensure strangulation can be prosecuted as a serious offence even if there are no visible injuries.

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