- Freshers’ Week will this year be followed by a new rite of passage at a number of college campuses across Ireland – the Department of Further and Higher Education’s “Vaccination Week”.
- Pop-up Covid-19 vaccination centres will be set up next week at 11 third-level colleges across the country, aiming to boost uptake among both domestic and international students.
- In addition, free face masks will be distributed to over 200 locations nationwide over the coming weeks.
- It comes as 40 per cent of Covid tests last week were carried out on children.
Lyra McKee murder
- Two further arrests have been made by police investigating the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.
- Men aged 24 and 29 were arrested in Derry on Wednesday morning under the Terrorism Act.
- Three men have already been charged with the murder of Ms McKee in Derry in April 2019 as she observed rioting in the Creggan area of the city. Another two men have been charged with rioting and associated offences.
Renters' Rights Bill
- The Labour Party says its new Renters' Rights Bill will address the current power imbalance between renters and landlords.
- The legislation is being introduced in the Dáil later, and includes protections against evictions and provisions to prevent large rent hikes.
- The Renters' Rights Bill also proposes to improve renters' quality of life with measures like the right to have pets and request an unfurnished home.
Free counselling nationwide
- Free online counselling therapy for anxiety and depression is available across Ireland following the success of an initial pilot.
- The pilot found 88 per cent of patients who presented with severe anxiety and depression experienced significantly reduced symptoms after the online counselling, and 57 per cent with a clinical diagnosis were found to be “diagnosis-free” after two months.
- The service is available to people referred by GPs, primary care psychologists, the national counselling service and Jigsaw mental health charity. It is paid for by the HSE and provided by online provider of mental health supports SilverCloud.
Biden concerned over Northern Ireland
- The US president says he does not want to see a “closed Border again” on the island of Ireland and he feels very strongly about protecting the Northern Ireland Protocol.
- Joe Biden downplayed the prospects of a trade deal with Boris Johnson during talks at the White House and raised concerns about the situation in the North.
- A UK cabinet minister has said Mr Biden is “wrong” to have concerns about peace in Northern Ireland and does not “fully appreciate” the row over post-Brexit trading arrangements.
- Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has praised Mr Biden’s speech to the UN General Assembly and cited him as a key ally on tackling climate change and Covid-19.
- On Tuesday, the US president used his first address before the UN General Assembly to declare that the world stands at an “inflection point in history” and must move quickly to act on the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights abuse.
Ed Sheeran announces Dublin date
- Ed Sheeran has announced an additional Irish date in Croke Park.
- The English songwriter will play at GAA HQ on Saturday, April 23rd. He has already announced dates in Cork, Limerick and Belfast for his Mathematics World Tour next year.
- Tickets for all four gigs go on sale this Saturday, September 25th. There is no pre-sale for the tour.