Video: UK to publish Northern Ireland Protocol bill, refugee accommodation problems

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Coveney warns Truss over protocol legislation

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has warned his British counterpart that introducing a Bill to unilaterally amend the Northern Ireland Protocol will breach international law and “deeply damage” relationships.

Mr Coveney said the new Bill “marks a particular low point in the UK’s approach to Brexit”.


Mr Coveney spoke by phone to British foreign secretary Liz Truss following a request by the UK Foreign Office on Monday morning.

The British government has defended the new Bill, saying it is “lawful” and “correct”.

Government struggling to meet refugee accommodation needs

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has said efforts are being made to ensure the provision of accommodation for Ukrainian refugees and others seeking international protection is accelerated to meet demand.

The number of people in Direct Provision last year was 6,500, he told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show, adding that there are now 35,000 people from Ukraine and elsewhere seeking protection, indicating the scale of increased demand, he said.


The Cabinet’s subcommittee on Ukraine will meet on Monday afternoon to discuss the accommodation situation, Mr O'Gorman said, adding the response to date had been slower than he would have liked.

The Minister acknowledged there had been a drop in the number of household pledges for accommodation. In many cases this had been when it became obvious that such pledges could be long term as the war continued.

Report finds rise in problem cocaine use

Cocaine has overtaken heroin as the main problem drug among new reported cases in Ireland, a report has found.

The latest figures from the Health Research Board (HRB) show continued growth in the number of cases of people seeking treatment for problem cocaine use, with the figure tripling between 2015 and 2021.


Figures in the new HRB report National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) 2015-2021 Drug Treatment Data show a total of 10,769 cases were treated for problem drug use in 2021.

Two in every five of these cases were new to treatment. Almost one in three cases sought treatment for cocaine.

Opioids (which include heroin and methadone) were the main problem drug for which cases sought treatment, followed by cocaine, then cannabis and benzodiazepines.

Cocaine was the main problem drug among new cases.


Strong output expected for construction sector

Despite macro-economic and geo-political pressures that have led to a sharp rise in construction materials, the outlook for the construction sector as a whole is cautiously optimistic, according to an EY report.

They said this is largely down  to a strong economy, buoyant labour market and a remarkably resilient public sector balance sheet.

Their report estimates the value of construction output at €29.1 billion for 2022 in Ireland. Despite inflationary pressures, output volumes for construction sector are projected to increase by 4.9 per cent in 2022 and 4.1 per cent in 2023.

Housing completions forecast at 25,000 for 2022; 27,000 in 2023; and 32,000 in 2024; but rising construction costs combined with material and labour shortages remain key challenges to housing supply


Construction volumes are projected to increase by 4.9 per cent in 2022, followed by further growth of 4.1 per cent in 2023.

This growth is expected despite construction inflation which is projected at 10 per crnt on average in 2022 and 6 per cent in 2023.

ESRI: Increased female labour force participation can reduce poverty

A mix of policy measures will be needed to reduce the number of people on poverty by 2025, including increasing female labour force participation, according to a new study.

The Economic Social Research Institute (ESRI) research has called for increases in payments to working families and those with children.

The Government aims to have a consistent poverty rate of 2 per cent or lower in the next three years.

ESRI Senior Research Officer Dr Karina Doorley said a combination of measures will be needed to achieve that.

"Not surprisingly the main takeaway is that there is no silver bullet to reducing poverty, so we have options, we have lots of options. On the employment side, we can reduce barriers to work through the provision of affordable childcare, elder care, and other things that would prevent people who want to work from actually going out to work. This will decrease poverty rates somewhat."


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