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The 9 at 9: Friday

Covid-19 restrictions due to lift, Brexit row over medical internships and violence against women

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Updated Jan 21st 2022, 8:45 AM


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

Covid-19 restrictions

1. NPHET has advised the Cabinet that it supports almost all of Ireland’s Covid-19 restrictions being removed.

Almost all current Covid-19 hospitality restrictions – including the 8pm pub closing time, attendance limits at events and the use of digital covid certs – have been given the green light to be stood down.

However, the exact dates on which the measures are rescinded has yet to be decided.

A meeting between Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan this morning will be followed by a Cabinet meeting this afternoon.

Medical students

2. Medical students in universities in Northern Ireland and Great Britain cannot apply for internships in Irish hospitals due to Brexit – an anomaly that the Department of Health is hoping to fix by the end of the year.

The situation means that there are students from Ireland who are studying in universities in Northern Ireland who will not be able to apply for internships in the Irish healthcare service, as the rules stand now, Gráinne Ní Aodha writes in today’s lead story.

Medical students who wish to work within the Irish health service after graduating need to apply for internships within the healthcare system in their final year or after they graduate in order to gain the required Certificate of Experience.

Violence against women

3. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he was struck by some of the “shocking” testimony from female TDs in the Dáil on violence against women.

He said the unimaginable tragedy of Ashling Murphy’s murder has “left the country reeling”, stating that is has “particularly resonated with so many women” as it is “their worst fears realised”.

The Government must lead on the issue of violence against women, and “must do much more to make sure this doesn’t happen again” and ensure women do not live in that fear, he stated.

There were no party divisions among female TDs this week as they joined together to recount their own ordeals and demand action.


4. Vladimir Putin must “desist and step back” from war in Ukraine or risk being dragged into a prolonged conflict like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Liz Truss will warn.

In a message to the Russian president, the British Foreign Secretary will say the UK and its allies “continue to stand with Ukraine”. She will urge Putin to engage in “meaningful discussions” about the crisis following the build-up of Russian forces near the border with Ukraine.

Her comments come after US President Joe Biden said he believes Putin does not want a full-scale war and warned the Russian leader would pay a “dear price” if he launches a military incursion.


5. The singer and actor Meat Loaf has died at the age of 74.

In a statement issued this morning, his family confirmed the news.

“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side. Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.”

The entertainer, whose real name was Michael Lee Aday, sold millions of albums worldwide, with the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy among his most popular musical offerings.

Boris Johnson

6. The Conservative Party has been embroiled in more infighting as reports suggest rebel Tory MPs are considering publishing a secret recording and text messages linked to allegations of “blackmail” from Boris Johnson’s supporters.

The British Prime Minister insisted yesterday he had “seen no evidence” to support the claim made by senior Conservative William Wragg that his critics were facing “intimidation” as part of an effort to prevent him being ousted from office.

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But The Times has reported that Tory MPs keen to see the back of Johnson have a secretly recorded “heated” conversation with the chief whip, as well as text messages to support the accusations.


7. Responding to the new Birth Information and Tracing Bill, adoption rights campaigner Claire McGettrick believes the legislation will put adopted people’s rights in “grave danger“.

Writing in The Journal today, McGettrick states: “If this Bill becomes law, an adopted person who applies for their birth certificate or ‘birth information’ but whose parent has registered a ‘no contact’ preference on the new Contact Preference Register must attend a mandatory Information Session.

“One of the express purposes of the Information Session is to inform the adopted person of ‘the importance of… respecting the privacy rights’ of their parent. It should go without saying but adopted people do not require assistance in understanding the concept of privacy.”

Morning Memo

8. US airlines and telecom companies are caught in an aerial standoff between 5G implementation and the danger it could pose to commercial flights.

European airlines have reported no issues with flying near 5G towers, but that hasn’t stopped American regulators from stalling the new network’s rollout. Devin Sean Martin writes in today’s Morning Memo.

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9. And finally, the weather.

Today will be largely dry and cloudy with a few limited bright or sunny spells, mainly in the east and south, according to Met Éireann.

There will be some patchy drizzle at times on western and northwestern coasts. Highest temperatures will range from five to eight degrees Celsius.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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