Video: Summer travel plans, HSE cyber attack delays, new housing measures

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Kenneth Fox

Cyber attack gang

The criminal gang responsible for last week's cyberattack on the HSE's IT systems is threatening to release the stolen data online if the ransom demanded is not paid by Monday, May 24th.

The gang asked for $20 million in bitcoin, according to The Irish Times, however, the Government and the HSE have both stated it will not be paid, in line with State policy.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said if the ransom was paid, Irish authorities would be giving money to a group who could then use the funds to further strengthen their hacking capabilities.

Significant delays

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has warned people to expect “significant delays” at emergency departments due to the ongoing disruption caused by last week's ransomware attack.

“Please only attend if you need urgent care,” the HSE said in an update on Wednesday evening.

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Most hospital appointments are still going ahead as planned but many x-ray appointments have been cancelled.

Most community health services such as disability, mental health, primary care and older people’s services are operating as normal, along with Covid-19 vaccinations and tests.

New housing measures

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said new measures aimed at deterring investment funds from buying large quantities of residential properties came into effect at midnight last night.

Mr Donohoe told the Dáil yesterday evening that 10 per cent stamp duty will apply when a purchase of more than 10 houses is made within a year, however, there will be a three-month transition period for transactions that have started, but are not yet complete.

He confirmed the increased stamp duty will apply on a cumulative basis, meaning the higher rate will still be incurred if the purchased properties are in one development or spread across multiple estate.

The Minister said the new measures will increase opportunities for individuals and families to buy homes, but opposition parties have criticised that the change will not apply to the bulk-purchasing of apartments.

Summer travel plans 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said there will be a “comprehensive statement” next week on how travel and aviation will be resumed.

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Mr Martin told a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting that the announcement will also include plans for the future of mandatory hotel quarantine as well as sport and entertainment for the next phase of reopening in June and July, according to The Irish Times.

The Taoiseach said plans for the EU's digital green certificate and progress in the State's vaccination programme were factors that will support the return of international travel.

On Wednesday, EU member states agreed to ease Covid-19 travel restrictions on non-EU visitors.

Murder trial

Two psychiatrists have told the trial of Deirdre Morley, who is accused of murdering her three children at their family home, that she fulfills the criteria for a special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

The jury will return to the Central Criminal Court tomorrow to consider its verdict having so far spent one hour and 28 minutes deliberating.

Both expert witnesses were in agreement that the nurse was suffering from a mental disorder at the time, was unable to appreciate that what she did was morally wrong and would not have been able to refrain from her actions.

Weather warning

Three status yellow weather alerts came into effect overnight for counties Clare, Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Wexford, Galway and Mayo.

Up to 50 millimetres of rain is expected to fall in parts of the country today.

Met Éireann says gusts of up to 110 kilometres per hour are also likely.

The national forecaster described the weather as “unseasonably wet and windy”.

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