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The 9 at 9: Monday

Northern Ireland, consultant contracts and Covid vaccines

Image: Shutterstock/Michaelspb

Updated Jun 14th 2021, 8:50 AM

GOOD MORNING. Here’s all the news that you need to know as you start your day.

Consultants

1. Some terms in a draft Sláintecare consultant contract have caused outrage among doctors, with unions set to engage with the HSE and Department of Health on the details of the deal, Orla Dwyer writes in today’s lead story.

The public hospital contract firmed up on 31 May will not allow doctors to conduct any private hospital work and will have a starting salary of almost €189,000, the Department of Health said. This will increase to a range of around €220,000 to €252,000 by July 2022 under public service pay restoration agreements.

The contract forms part of the government’s Sláintecare cross-party plan aimed at transforming Ireland’s health and social care services over the course of a decade.

Northern Ireland

2. US President Biden urged UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ensure the Northern Ireland peace process is protected in his bitter row with Brussels over post-Brexit trading arrangements, the White House has disclosed.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden – who has spoken of his pride in his Irish roots – had held a “candid discussion” with the Prime Minister about the issue during the course of the G7 summit in Cornwall.

Answering questions from American reporters, Sullivan said the president had expressed his views with “deep sincerity” but declined to go into detail, suggesting Biden may have delivered his message with some feeling.

Goodbye Arlene

3. Staying with the North, the region facing a week of political uncertainty amid an intensifying dispute over the process to replace departing First Minister Arlene Foster.

A stand-off between Sinn Féin and the DUP on the vexed issue of Irish language legislation has the potential to derail the power-sharing institutions unless resolution is found in the coming days.

When Foster formally quits as joint head of the devolved executive – a move expected at the start of this week – it sets the clock ticking on a seven-day timeframe within which the DUP must renominate its chosen successor, Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan.

New Garda powers

4. The Minister for Justice will today outline plans for a sweeping overhaul of how gardaí operate, including a new power for gardaí to request passwords or encryption keys for electronic devices.

The new legislation aims to make changes based on the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

A single power of arrest will be among the measures introduced, subject to conditions to ensure the arrest is necessary in the particular circumstances (such as to prevent harm to establish identity), in line with other common law jurisdictions and is intended to streamline laws from the past 200 years.

Covid vaccines

5. Pharmacists will begin administering Covid-19 vaccines from today. People over the age of 50 who have not yet received a vaccine will be eligible to get a jab from their local pharmacy.

More than 1,000 pharmacists are expected to administer vaccines to members of the public, and appointments can be made on pharmacists’ individual websites rather than via the HSE portal.

Israel

6. An alliance of Israeli parties have ousted Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, and formed a new government in a seismic shift in the country’s turbulent politics.

Naftali Bennett, a right-wing Jewish nationalist and former tech millionaire, will take over at the helm of the eight-party bloc, united only by their shared disdain for the hawkish right-wing leader known as Bibi.

Netanyahu (71) in typically combative style, vowed shortly before his defeat that “if it’s our destiny to be in the opposition, we’ll do so with our heads high until we take down this bad government and return to lead the country our way”.

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School closures

7. New research has warned that the impact of school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to be felt throughout the next century – but the damage can be mitigated with appropriate action now.

Social Justice Ireland today published its Education and Covid-19 policy brief, a report examining how moving to remote learning in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus will negatively affect earnings and even the national economy.

“The findings regarding the economic impact of interrupted learning and education on individual student’s earnings throughout their lifetime are very concerning with long-term losses in income of around 3%,” research and policy analyst Michelle Murphy said.

Morning Memo

8. Ireland’s aviation crisis seemed to reach fever pitch over the weekend with the news of Stobart Air’s collapse and more bad news on the jobs front at Shannon Airport, Ian Curran writes in today’s Morning Memo.

Aer Lingus’s regional services to Kerry and Donegal have been thrown into turmoil after Stobart moved to appoint a liquidator. Meanwhile, a strategic review by Lufthansa of its operations in Shannon could spell trouble for its 500 staff.

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Forecast

9. And finally, the weather.

According to Met Éireann says it will be mainly dry today with hazy sunny spells developing and a few showers in the west and northwest. The best of the sunshine will be over the southern half of the country. It’s expected to be less humid and not as warm as previous days with highs of just 14 degrees under cloud in the northwest, up to 19 degrees in the southeast.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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