Video: Cork vigil, communions backlash and Zappone defends hotel function

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Kenneth Fox

World record swim

A Co Armagh man has claimed a new world record for swimming from Ireland to Scotland.

Jordan Leckey (29) from Portadown swam from Donaghadee, Co Down to Dunskey Castle close to Portpatrick in nine hours, nine minutes and 30 seconds. He celebrated with a pint and a jam sandwich.

Once ratified it will replace the previous best time of nine hours and 34 minutes by US swimmer Michelle Macy in 2013.

Italy pushes EU

Italy has stepped up pressure on fellow EU nations to open their ports to migrants rescued by humanitarian ships as political tension simmers in the Italian government’s coalition over a sharply rising number of arrivals this summer on the country’s southern shores.

The office of interior minister Luciana Lamorgese said she had a long telephone conversation with the European Union’s internal affairs commissioner, Ylva Johansson.


Political and economic crises in Tunisia are feeding steadily increasing streams of migrants determined to reach Europe, many of whom set out in smugglers’ boats from Libya.

History maker

Diver Tanya Watson made history in Tokyo today, as she became the first Irish female diver to compete at the Olympic Games.

A strong performance from the 19-year-old saw her qualify for the semi-finals of the women’s 10-metre platform, in 16th position with 289.4 points.

Tomorrow’s semi-final will see the top 18 scores from today’s 30 divers compete, with the top 12 from there contesting the final on Thursday.

Watson performed consistently across the five dives, and said she felt “great” after her Olympic debut.

Vigil held

A candlelight vigil was held in a Cork harbour town last night for a bus driver and priest who were killed in a collision yesterday.

The Irish Examiner reports that prayers will also be offered in Passage West and Monkstown today for the two victims, who were named locally last night as bus driver Mark Wills, who was in his 50s, and Fr Con Cronin, a curate in Passage West, who was in his late 60s.

Gardaí say they are investigating whether the driver of the 216 Monkstown to Cork University Hospital (CUH) Bus Éireann service suffered a medical trauma behind the wheel causing him to lose control of the vehicle.


The collision happened on the Strand Road in Monkstown in Cork Harbour on Tuesday when the bus collided with pedestrian Fr Cronin and a number of parked vehicles.

Communions backlash

A scientist has described the decision by various clergy to defy public health advice and allow religious ceremonies to go ahead as “absurd”.

Choices have to be made and “we can’t do everything all at once,” Prof Aoife McLysaght told RTÉ radio’s Today. “Our reopening is quite delicate.”

Her comments come after five bishops gave the go-ahead to parish priests to resume First Holy Communion and Confirmation ceremonies, despite being asked by the Government to delay such events until more people are vaccinated against Covid-19.

The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Dermot Farrell, has said that while he still believes the celebration of the sacraments should be deferred until the autumn, he will not stand in the way of parishes who press ahead with the ceremonies.

Hotel function

Katherine Zappone has defended a private outdoor function she hosted at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin which was attended by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

Ms Zappone hosted around 50 friends and former colleagues at the event, six days before she was controversially appointed as special UN envoy, according to the Irish Independent.


Currently, Fáilte Ireland guidelines for the return of hospitality state that organised events are not allowed to take place.

In a statement to RTÉ News, Ms Zappone said: "Please contact the Merrion Hotel for their statement regarding compliance with Government Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines for my private event.

Covid booster shots

Around one million people are likely to be targeted for Covid-19 booster shots as the State begins their rollout over autumn and winter.

The Irish Times has learned this is the number likely to be covered in the first push from sources involved in planning the rollout, however, planning is still at a preliminary stage.

Under initial advice given by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac), those targeted first will be healthcare workers, those over 80, residents of care facilities aged 65 and above, and those with certain medical conditions associated with suboptimal responses to the vaccines.

Those aged 60 to 79 and people at risk of severe Covid are next on the list.

Wally the Walrus

Video footage of Wally the Walrus has been captured in Waterford, as the giant walrus makes waves with his return to Ireland.

Alan O'Reilly who was on a staycation in Ardmore, Co Waterford, made the new sea friend while out on his daily run this morning.

He captured the footage of Wally, newly returned to Irish shores after a European sojourn around the coasts of Wales, Cornwall, France, Spain and the Scilly Isles.

The giant walrus was first spotted on Kerry’s Valentia Island last March.

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