Video: Varadkar defends cost of living measures, hospitals facing late winter surge

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Cost of living

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has been forced to defend the Government's plans to ease the financial burden on households due to the rising cost of living before the measures have even been unveiled.

Opposition TD's have said the support package will not do enough to support people, with Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty accusing Mr Varadkar of being "tone-deaf" to the public's needs.

The Tánaiste said the promises of opposition parties are cheap when they are not the ones having to make decisions, adding: "No matter what we announce today it is not going to be enough. Your press releases are already written saying things like "it is not adequate" and "it is not enough'".

An announcement on the measures is due to be made shortly.

SVP research

The number of people financially struggling since the onset of the pandemic has doubled according to a recent Red C poll.

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The research, carried out on behalf of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) found 17 per cent of people have cut back on how much they spend on essentials due to rising energy costs.

The poll found the number of people who said they are financially struggling increased from 9 per cent in 2020 to 18 per cent in January 2021.

Hospital surge

Record numbers are attending hospital emergency departments, the HSE has said, with hundreds of patients waiting on beds and many services battling Covid-19 outbreaks.

The health service said over 27,900 people attended emergency departments (EDs) this week alone and almost 7,000 people were admitted to hospital, an increase of 23.8 per cent on the same week last year.

A range of factors, including the impact of winter pressure and the high numbers in hospital, mean “services are treating more people than ever before.”

The HSE issued an appeal for members of the public to consider all care options before attending hospital EDs, as acute and community services face this “period of unprecedented pressure”.

Garda recruitment

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has opened a new Garda recruitment campaign as she pledged to increase the number of gardaí on the streets.

The new campaign has begun as An Garda Síochána marks its centenary.

Budget 2022 provided for the recruitment of up to 800 officers and 400 staff and Ms McEntee has urged members of new Irish communities, women and people from minority groups to consider a career in the force.

Michael Lynn trial

The trial of former solicitor Michael Lynn accused of multi-million euro thefts has heard he was issued a cheque for over €4 million for the purchase of a home in 2007.

Mr Lynn (53) is facing 21 charges relating to the alleged theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard, but he denies all charges against him.

On Thursday afternoon, the trial heard from the internal auditor for Irish Nationwide Building Society between 2003-2008 who gave evidence from the records of the bank. The trial continues in front Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.

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