Video: Protest outside Donnelly's home, booster plans, former mayor slams RTÉ

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Kenneth Fox

College admission scandal

Two businessmen sought to use their wealth to fraudulently secure spots for their children at elite US universities, a federal prosecutor said on Monday at the start of the first trial in the "Operation Varsity Blues" college admissions scandal.

Former casino executive Gamal Aziz and private equity firm founder John Wilson paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure spots for their children at the University of Southern California (USC) as "phoney" athletic recruits, Assistant US Attorney Leslie Wright told a federal jury in Boston.

She said they did so with the help of William "Rick" Singer, a California college admissions consultant who prosecutors have said masterminded a vast scheme to help wealthy clients get their children into top schools through fraud and bribery.

Anti-vaccine protest

An anti-vaccination protest was staged outside the home of Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly over the weekend.

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Gardaí attended the scene of the protest which saw about 20 people gather outside Mr Donnelly’s house at noon on Sunday where they held up placards about the vaccine, according to The Irish Times.

Gardaí drove past the protest outside the house in a rural area of north Co Wicklow occasionally, but did not intervene.

It followed a smaller protest late on Friday night when a handful of protesters travelled to Mr Donnelly’s house and remained out front for a short time.

Vaccine boosters

Covid-19 vaccine booster shots may be given off label in Ireland due to lack of authorisation for this use, according to the country’s chief medical officer.

Dr Tony Holohan said those receiving boosters should be provided with whatever evidence is available about their safety and efficacy as part of an informed consent procedure, according to The Irish Times.

He has accepted the recommendation of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) that boosters be given to residents in long-term residential care aged 65 and older and to those aged 80 and over living in the community.

The shots should be administered no sooner than six months after a person received their regular second dose of the vaccine.

'Disgraceful' article

Politicians have united in condemnation of an article in the Irish Mail On Sunday newspaper in which the outfits and appearance of representatives at the Fianna Fáil think-in were mocked and criticised.

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Speaking at the Fine Gael think-in on Monday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “We really shouldn’t be demeaning people based on what they wear or their appearance.

“It goes for women, it goes for men as well.”

The article was criticised across social media on Sunday.

The comment piece took aim at several female Fianna Fáil parliamentarians and criticised their fashion choices and outfits at the party’s think-in in Cavan last week.

RTÉ drama backlash

A former lord mayor of Dublin has blasted RTÉ’s new crime drama Kin, saying that the national broadcaster is “a disgrace to allow such toxic material” to be aired.

Christy Burke, an Independent councillor for Dublin's North Inner City, is demanding that RTÉ management take the series off-air immediately.

The eight-part series, which was shot in Dublin, is being aired at the prime time broadcasting slot of 9.30pm on Sundays.

Kin follows the lives of the Kinsellas, a fictional Dublin family embroiled in a gangland war. When a member of the Kinsella clan is killed, the family embark on a gangland war with an international cartel

Cabinet memo

The Taoiseach has denied that he knew about the Katherine Zappone appointment before it was raised at Cabinet.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar this morning told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the memo had been with the Taoiseach's office the day before the controversy broke.

However, in a statement issued this afternoon, the Taoiseach's spokesperson contradicted this as the Irish Examiner reports.

“The Taoiseach was not informed of the name proposed for the appointment of a UN Special Envoy before Cabinet.

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