Video: Taoiseach travels to the US, expert advises mask wearing, Ukraine peace talks

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Kenneth Fox

Private bus operators

Most private bus operators cannot guarantee service provision up to June, according to a survey from the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC), with spiralling fuel costs following the pandemic cited as a major factor.

The survey from Ireland’s largest representative body for private bus and coach operators found that 95 per cent of private bus operators say it is not commercially viable to continue running services up to June 2022 without any subvention or support.


Nearly two-thirds of operators have seen fuel costs increase by more than 50 per cent in the past year, driving the organisation to call on Government to urgently reduce the VAT rate on fuel to nine per cent.

France Covid resitrictions

France has lifted most Covid-19 restrictions, abolishing the need to wear face masks in most settings and allowing people who are not vaccinated back into restaurants, sports arenas and other venues.

The move had been announced earlier this month by the French government based on assessments of the improving situation in hospitals and following weeks of a steady decline in infections.

It comes less than a month before the first round of the presidential election scheduled on April 10.


US visit

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is travelling to Washington DC on Monday for a series of engagements to mark St Patrick’s Day.

He will meet US president Joe Biden as part of his four-day trip.

It will be the first time the Fianna Fáil leader has met Mr Biden at the White House after last year’s celebrations were scaled back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mask wearing

Infectious diseases expert Professor Jack Lambert is calling on the public to continue to wear masks on public transport and in shops.


“This is still a serious virus” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

Vaccines had made it “less of a killer”, but some people were still getting very sick and needed to be hospitalised, he explained.

There should be a “clear message” from the Government that people should continue to “do the right thing” he urged.

State pension survey

Concerns over financial security and their long-term ability to survive on the State pension are common themes among retirees in Ireland, according to a new survey.


The survey, carried out by home equity release specialist Home Plus, found the likelihood of older people experiencing financial hardship has been compounded by the rising cost of living and heating/fuel inflation.

Respondents to the survey of those aged 50 and older expected to live a minimum of 20 years after retiring from full-time work, with the average age of retirement amongst those surveyed 62 and most expecting to live to around 86 years old.

Ukraine talks

At least one person was killed when a Russian shell smashed into an apartment block in Kyiv on Monday and a second person was killed by falling debris after a missile strike on another part of the Ukrainian capital, city authorities said.

Three Russian rockets also hit the Antonov aircraft factory in Kyiv and firefighters "localised" a blaze at the plant, Deputy Mayor Mykola Povoroznyk said. There were no immediate reports of any deaths at the factory.


Minute's silence

The HSE is set to hold a minute's silence in solidarity with healthcare workers in Ukraine.

The minute's silence is being organised to honour those who have died in Ukraine and healthcare workers who are continuing to treat people across the war-torn country.

The minute's silence will be observed at 12pm on Tuesday unless it is not clinically safe to do so.

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