Video: Storm Franklin aftermath, new Covid sub-variant and road safety warning

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Storm Franklin aftermath

Stormy conditions continued overnight as another series of weather warnings remained in place for the entire country, with motorists asked to be cautious of fallen trees.

Following Storm Dudley and Eunice last week, Storm Franklin swept over Ireland on Sunday and the early hours of Monday, again bringing high winds.

ESB Networks has also apologised to customers who are without power, confirming approximately 29,100 homes and businesses were impacted on Monday morning.

The effects of the storm were felt across the country, with a Cork church closed after a 15-foot-high cross on its top sustained structural damage and footage in Mayo showing the force of winds blowing a small waterfall skywards on Sunday.

Ukraine latest

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is in Brussels today to discuss ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

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Foreign ministers will be assessing how best to coordinate the EU response to the situation. "I think the main focus needs to be on preventing war rather than how we respond to it," Mr Coveney told reporters.

It comes as US president Joe Biden has agreed “in principle” to a meeting with Vladimir Putin, provided Russia holds off on what American officials believe is an imminent assault on Ukraine.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the US administration has been clear that America is “committed to pursuing diplomacy until the moment an invasion begins”.

Road safety warning

Two women, both aged in their 20s, are in hospital in critical condition following a road traffic collision in Co Louth that saw a vehicle hit a tree.

It follows a number of crashes over the weekend, including a five-car collision in Mayo, a collision in Cork that claimed the life of a 19-year-old man, and a crash in Clare that killed a woman in her 30s.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) this morning called for drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt on every journey, with new data showing that over a quarter of those killed on Irish roads last year were not wearing one.

Sam Waide, chief executive of the RSA, said not wearing a seat belt is "a potential killer behaviour".

Covid sub-variant and masks

The leaders of the Coalition will meet today to discuss proposals to end the rules on mandatory mask-wearing, after health officials recommended a move towards a voluntary recommendation to wear a face covering.

It comes as a sub-variant of the original Omicron coronavirus variant, understood to be up to 50 per cent more contagious than Omicron, is likely to become the dominant variant in Ireland in the coming days.

The arrival of the new sub-variant makes a case for giving children booster doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, immunology expert Professor Kingston Mills said this morning.

The good news was that Covid seemed to have “lost its punch” because of the levels of vaccination and infection, he added.

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