Video: Reopening plans revealed, Afghan refugees and Beacon controversy

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Reopening plans revealed

Office returns are to begin within weeks under a roadmap for the phased easing of remaining Covid-19 restrictions.

The roadmap also includes a phased easing of restrictions on the number of people that can attend outdoor events, with the Government saying it intends to engage with the organisers of Electric Picnic over the weekend.

Under plans discussed for around four hours on Friday by senior ministers, confirmations and communions are also to be allowed to resume in September.

The meeting will reconvene on Monday, with final decisions on the measures and the timeline to be decided on by the full Cabinet on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly declined to fully back a suggestion that the vast majority of Irish people aged 16 and over need to be vaccinated before a significant easing of restrictions can take place.

Focus on Afghan refugees

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An Afghan woman who holds a visa for Ireland has spoken of her fears now that the Taliban has taken over the country.

The woman, who is one of 50 the Department of Justice has given visas to enter Ireland because they are deemed to be under threat, could not get out of Kabul as she could not access the airport.

Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan today called the Government to continue efforts to ensure safe passage for refugees fleeing Afghanistan, saying the situation was “spiralling into a humanitarian catastrophe”.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that the opportunity to get Irish citizens out of Kabul has effectively closed, as 75 Irish citizens or residents requiring support remain in the country.

Beacon controversy

The Beacon Hospital did not consider giving leftover Covid-19 vaccines to higher priority groups before vaccinating teachers from a private school, a HSE review has found.

Around 20 teachers from St Gerard's School in Bray, Co Wicklow, were vaccinated at the Dublin hospital in March during the early stages of the vaccine rollout, ahead of their place on the official sequencing list.

The HSE report says it would have been feasible for others who were considered a greater priority for vaccination to receive the surplus vaccines if they had been considered by the Beacon.

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