Video: Wednesday's three-minute lunchtime news update

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Rent and house prices

The Covid pandemic has sent Dublin rents down while the rest of the country has seen prices rise seven per cent on last year.

According to the Daft.ie rental report for the first three months of 2021, the rise for renters outside of Dublin means they are now handing over an extra €900 per year.

Meanwhile, house prices grew by 3.7 per cent year-on-year in March – the fastest rate of growth recorded in two years – while property-related transactions jumped by 23 per cent.

Bulk-buying homes

The Government is considering a stamp duty hike to deter investors from bulk-buying homes.

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien has said he wants to ringfence a percentage of homes in new developments for first-time buyers.

In the Dáil on Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin hit back at Sinn Féin criticism of Government housing policy, accusing the party of objecting to many housing developments at the planning stage.

Maternity visits

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said the partners of expectant mothers should not be excluded from attending hospital but local considerations, such as where there are Covid outbreaks, must also be considered.

On Tuesday a series of protests took place outside maternity hospitals across the country demanding better services for women.

The Association for Improvements in Maternity Services (AIMS) staged a series of protests at Holles Street and the Coombe in Dublin, as well as hospitals in Donegal and Louth.

Water quality

Ireland
Man dies in fatal collision in Co Westmeath
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Bathing water quality continued to improve at swimming spots across the country in 2020, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA’s annual report on water quality at Irish beaches and lakes found 96 per cent, or 142 out of 148, met or exceeded the European Union's minimum standards.

Westmeath crash

A man in his late 70s has died following a single-vehicle collision in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

Gardaí are investigating the incident that took place on Tuesday at around 7pm, in the Gainstown area of Mullingar.

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