Video: Restrictions easing due to proceed, Donaldson becomes DUP leader, losses for Aer Lingus

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Delta variant concerns

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has warned the public need to remain careful as the number of Delta variant Covid-19 cases has increased notably in the country over the last number of days.

Concerns regarding the more transmissible variant have been raised by public health officials, however, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said there is "no need to panic at this stage".

On Monday, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan confirmed the Delta variant accounted for up to 20 per cent of Covid cases reported in the State last week, adding “a number of outbreaks” associated with the strain have been reported.

Planned reopening

The Taoiseach has said there is no plan to delay the next stage in the easing of Covid-19 restrictions on July 5th, despite the rapid rise of Delta variant cases.

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Speaking after today's Cabinet meeting, during which Ministers were briefed on the threat of the Delta variant, Micheál Martin said the country has to remain vigilant, with the rollout of the vaccine being key.

He said it was "so far so good" in terms of going ahead with the reopening in July, but the situation will continue to be monitored.

Aer Lingus losses

Aer Lingus is losing more than €1 million a day and does not expect the Government's plan to ease travel restrictions from July 19th to give it a significant near term bounce, the company's chief executive, Lynne Embleton has said.

Addressing a Dáil committee this afternoon, Ms Embleton said measures to facilitate the resumption of non-essential international travel next month are welcome, but added it is "looking too little too late".

Mr Embleton also defended the airline’s decision to close its Shannon Airport base, saying it was the “right decision” to get the company profitably flying, confirming they would not be reversing the decision.

DUP leadership

Jeffrey Donaldson is to become the new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) after no other candidate stood against him by the deadline earlier today.

Outgoing leader Edwin Poots announced his intention to resign last Thursday following an internal party revolt just weeks after taking over the leadership from Arlene Foster.

The Lagan Valley MP has said he will now speak to British prime minister Boris Johnson to underline his message regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol, saying it is "not realistic" to expect stability in the North under the terms of the Brexit deal.

Reverend Mother fined

A Reverend Mother who was convicted of setting up an illegal hermitage in West Cork has been fined €1,000.

Mother Irene Gibson appeared at Skibbereen District Court in December 2019 where she was found guilty of a breach of Planning Laws.

At the time she said she ignored letters from the local authority as she was too busy praying to study County Council Law.

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