EU green certificate
Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne has said he is optimistic that Irish people will be able to travel abroad this summer if the EU's digital green certificate initiative is established.
Speaking on Virgin Media One’s Ireland AM, Mr Byrne said: “I am very optimistic, and I can tell you, you will be able to travel at some point, but I wouldn't be booking something, yet that's non-refundable.”
He added the situation surrounding Covid-19 is still uncertain, and there is still a risk attached to travelling.
“This certificate isn't going to guarantee you will not catch Covid when you are abroad, which will present a pretty difficult situation for you, but we will be able to travel, the only question is when.”
Senior officials expect that advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac), due this week, will clear the way for the use of the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines for people under 50.
According to The Irish Times, Ministers and senior figures in the health service have been waiting for revised advice from Niac on the use of the vaccines since last week, and there is an expectation that it will be forwarded to the Government before the weekend.
The HSE will shortly begin sending the J&J vaccine to vaccination centres for use in the currently approved cohorts.
On Wednesday evening there were growing hopes the advice from Niac could allow for even more latitude than the age range for eligibility suggested by the HSE, of 45-50.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has described Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s comments on the numbers who could be vaccinated by June as “very ambitious”.
Mr Varadkar told colleagues on Tuesday evening that everyone who wants a Covid-19 vaccine appointment could be offered one by the end of June.
Speaking on Newstalk, Mr Donnelly said he hoped the Government could “deliver on that”.
If the vaccines that have been ordered are delivered on time then by June four out of every five people who were entitled to the vaccine will have been vaccinated. The latest analysis showed that everyone could be vaccinated by September, he said.
Lock it or Lose it
Almost 7,000 bikes have been reported stolen since January 2020.
New figures released by gardaí show more than 1,000 have been taken since the beginning of this year.
Bike thefts are a particular problem in cities, with more than 4,800 stolen in Dublin since the start of last year, while in Cork more than 300 were stolen.
A video shared by An Garda Síochána as part of its “Lock it or Lose it” campaign shows a bicycle theft on Grafton Street in Dublin city centre.
Roscommon house fire
Two people have died in a house fire in Co Roscommon.
The Irish Times reports that a man and a woman, both believed to be in their 50s, died in the blaze in the early hours of Thursday.
The fire at the house near Rooty Cross, about 13km east of Ballinasloe, was noticed at about 2am. Fire services from Ballinasloe and Athlone attended the scene.
The bodies of the man and woman have been removed from the scene.
The house has been sealed off and gardaí from Ballinasloe and Roscommon stations have appealed for witnesses to come forward.