Video: Refugee accommodation shortages, food supply threats, courts latest

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Covid restrictions

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have been joined by Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM) in calling for the reintroduction of mask-wearing in indoor settings.

Emergency pandemic legislation is due to lapse at midnight, however, hospitals are under immense strain due to the latest wave of the virus.

Despite the calls, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has reiterated that the return of Covid measures is not necessary, but denied the Government is now taking a "hands-off" approach to the virus.

On Thursday afternoon, the Department of Health confirmed 11,741 new cases of the virus - 5,252 confirmed through the PCR testing system and a further 6,489 logged through the HSE's antigen portal.

Used car prices

The first three months of 2022 saw a 7.9 per cent increase in the price of used cars, making it the tenth consecutive quarter in which prices have climbed.

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According to data from DoneDeal, annual inflation for used car prices hit 30 per cent, averaging a monthly increase of 2.1 per cent.

Compared to pre-pandemic levels (January 2020), the overall inflation figure is now 53 per cent.

Food supplies

Irish farmers are being urged grow more barley, oats and wheat in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

The Government is hoping a new multi-million euro scheme, launched today, will ensure the backing of farmers in the bid to boost crop production.

The €10 million scheme was quickly put together by the Department of Agriculture, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, both countries being major exported of wheat and cereals, fuelled concerns about the stability and security of grain imports to Ireland.

Last week, the Government also approved a €12 million package for tillage farmers, which the tillage scheme a key part of the measures agreed.

Refugee accommodation

Over 15,000 refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Ireland since the start of the war, with emergency accommodation expected to run out within weeks.

The number of arrivals is significantly down on forecasts last week from Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who said it could be up to 20,000 people.

However, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the number of people being displaced from Ukraine into Europe is rising "steadily" again after a "slight dip".

The Cabinet has been told that tents, prefabs and emergency dormitory-style units will have to be used to house refugees arriving in the State within weeks, as emergency accommodation will soon be used up.

Belfast security threat

A Belfast man has been remanded in custody over a security alert which halted a peace event addressed by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

Darren Service (40) of Ballysillan Road, has been charged with preparation of terrorist acts, hijacking and placing a hoax bomb last week.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard he was identified through a car he had been driving in the area at the time, although he denies transporting masked gunmen who threatened a van driver and forced him to transport what he believed was a live bomb on Friday, March 25th.

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