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The 9 at 9: Friday

DUP drama, the housing crisis and Covid vaccine rollout

Image: Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

Updated Jun 18th 2021, 8:40 AM

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

Housing crisis

1. While the housing crisis affects large swathes of the Irish population, the problem is at its most acute among minority groups, such as Travellers, migrants and asylum seekers who have been granted status to remain in Ireland but are unable to move out of Direct Provision centres because of the lack of other places to live.

In today’s lead story Cormac Fitzgerald, for The Good Information Project, examines the figures and the significant barriers to access to secure living arrangements for Travellers and migrants.

DUP

2. Sinn Féin has called on Executive ministers to focus on the task at hand, following the resignation of Edwin Poots as DUP leader.

Poots announced he is to step down after only three weeks in the job, following a party revolt against his decision to nominate Paul Givan as Stormont First Minister.

However, there was little sympathy for the Agriculture Minister from either nationalist or unionist politicians reacting to his departure.

Northern Ireland

3. Staying with events in Northern Ireland: After a short snap as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Edwin Poots has announced he is resigning. He will stay in the role until a new leader is chosen by the party.

Here are the crucial events that have led up to the extraordinary political development.

Covid vaccines

4. HSE CEO Paul Reid has said the 35-39 age group may take longer to move through, as the health service gets ready to open up Covid-19 vaccine registration to this cohort.

The registration portal will be open for those aged 35-39 from this Sunday, with this aged 39 being asked to register on the first day, followed by those aged 38 on Monday and so on.

Reid said: “Just to flag up front, this will be a slower age group to move through based on volume, but particularly based on the high level of dose twos we’ll have to do and also the fact that we do move to two supply lines in July, which is Moderna and Pfizer.”

Pride

5. Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman is to visit LGBTQ+ groups in Waterford after a number of incidents which local activists have described as “heartbreaking”.

O’Gorman said Irish people want to live in a “compassionate” country and that he is looking forward to raising the Pride flag in the city, following incidents targeting Waterford’s LGBTQ+ community.

Flags were removed and set alight last week and, when re-flown by the Mayor of Waterford and local activists on council buildings on the city’s Mall, were cut down again.

Debunked

6. A misleading claim from a retired microbiologist about antibodies and Covid-19 has been shared in a Facebook post in the past week.

Dr Sucharit Bhakdi, who previously worked as a professor in the German University of Mainz, claimed it is “naive” to believe Covid-19 vaccines protect “against infection of the lung”.

He claimed that because Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, and the antibodies created as a result of the vaccine are in the blood, vaccinated people are not protected against infection.

This is untrue. The coronavirus does not only impact the respiratory tract and antibodies travel to the site of infection to fight illness.

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Israel

7. Benjamin Netanyahu, who was ousted as prime minister this week, staunchly supported Israeli settlements – but what is the history of this controversial practice?

As Israel sees a change in leaders, Hannah McCarthy looks at the history of settlements and the controversy surrounding them.

Morning Memo

8. Ireland and Europe’s aviation crisis remains in sharp focus to end the week, Ian Curran writes in today’s Morning Memo.

After the collapse of Stobart Air last weekend with the loss of nearly 500 jobs, pressure is being heaped on policymakers across the world to unwind air travel restrictions and get the moribund sector back to work. Meanwhile, Europe’s airports are facing a post-pandemic ‘investment crunch’ according to the sector’s main lobby group.

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Forecast

9. And finally, the weather.

Any lingering mist patches will clear this morning to leave a dry day with sunny spells, according to Met Éireann.

The best of the sunshine will be in the east and south of the country. Highest temperatures will range from 14 degrees in the northwest to 18 degrees in the southeast.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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