Public transport returns to full capacity
Use of public transport is not expected to reach peak levels for some time despite a return to 100 per cent capacity from today, the chief executive of the National Transport Authority (NTA) said.
Anne Graham told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that levels at present were 55 per cent of 2019 pre-pandemic figures and that numbers were expected to build week-on-week as people return to work.
However, she did acknowledge crowding at present during peak travel times and advised anyone who was nervous to consider travelling off-peak if they could.
Ventilation on buses and trains was good, Ms Graham said, with windows on some buses “restrained open”. As buses stopped regularly this meant a good change in air quality, she added.
Reopening could be paused for areas with high Covid rates
The Taoiseach has said the Government will not rule out keeping Covid-19 restrictions in some areas with high rates of the virus.
Donegal and Monaghan have consistently had among the highest rates in the country.
While Micheál Martin said the Government is not currently considering such a move, he added: “We rule nothing out over the course of time.”
He also expressed concern about a comparatively lower uptake of the vaccination in some counties with high rates of Covid-19.
Housing for All plan
Sinn Féin has said that it will judge the Government’s housing plan “by its details” when it is published this week.
The delayed Housing for All plan is expected to be published by the Government on Thursday.
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said on Wednesday that he expects “a lot of whistles and bells” to come with the plan.
Mr Ó Broin, who has been critical of Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, said his party would be scrutinising the plan before it responds, but said that it would be judged on the level of direct investment in housing the plan promises, as well as the planned output of housing.
He also said it would be crucial to see what the Government’s new targets for social and affordable homes would be.
Coveney defends deleting texts over Zappone appointment
Simon Coveney has defended his decision to delete text messages exchanged with other Government ministers on a regular basis because his phone has “been hacked”.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said it was “prudent” to clear his phone over hacking fears.
The Minister has come under further pressure over the controversy surrounding the abandoned appointment of Katherine Zappone and the subsequent fallout over an event at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.
The former minister for children stepped back from the position after a storm arose around the manner of her appointment to a new role of special envoy on freedom of opinion and expression.