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The 9 at 9: Wednesday

Psychiatrist shortage, growing tensions in Ukraine and the latest on Russian missile tests

Image: Shutterstock/Rybalchenko Nadezhda

Updated Jan 26th 2022, 8:45 AM

GOOD MORNING.

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

ADHD

1. There are currently no psychiatrists in private practice to assess, treat, and prescribe medicine for children with ADHD, amid a surge in demand last year for ADHD supports, Gráinne Ní Aodha writes in today’s lead story.

Ken Kilbride of ADHD Ireland told The Journal that there had been two or three private-practice psychiatrists for children with ADHD up until two years ago, but that they left the industry due to the overwhelming demand for their services.

Children with ADHD could be waiting up to two years to be seen in the public system, and Kilbride said that there is a ‘postcode lottery’ in terms of the resources available to help people seeking to be diagnosed.

Ukraine

2. The US has warned Moscow of damaging sanctions, including measures personally targeting Vladimir Putin, if it moves ahead with an invasion of Ukraine, as Russian combat troops massing around the pro-Western country launched new exercises.

Tensions appear to be increasing, with the White House saying the risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine “remains imminent”.

Warning that such a move would prompt “enormous consequences” and even “change the world”, US President Joe Biden said he would consider adding direct sanctions on Putin to a raft of measures being drawn up.

Non-essential travel

3. Taoiseach Micheál Martin has described the situation between Russia and Ukraine as “serious”, as he confirmed that Irish people are now advised to avoid non-essential travel to Ukraine.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Martin said Ireland was “not politically neutral but militarily neutral” and that Russia’s massing of troops on the border with Ukraine was not justified.

Martin said that Ireland stands for “a rules-based international order”.

Missile tests

4. The Minister of State for Heritage said he is “deeply concerned” about the potential impacts for marine wildlife caused by Russian military exercises planned around 240km off the Irish coast.

Malcolm Noonan said he has written to the Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and the Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov to express these concerns.

The Journal reported on Saturday that the Irish government had received a warning of a major exercise by the Russian navy and air force in the Atlantic off the south west coast planned for the first week of February.

Minister Noonan said underwater sounds such as active military sonar “can have devastating consequences for cetaceans including some of our rarest marine mammal species, notably the deep-diving and rarely-seen Blue whale, Sperm whale and beaked whales”.

Economic growth

5. Despite the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 Ireland’s economy has proven resilient with demand growing and unemployment falling, the Central Bank has said.

Published this morning, the Central Bank’s latest Quarterly Economic Bulletin suggests the economy has largely shaken off the worst effects of Covid-19 crisis.

The report notes that the economy is already back to its pre-pandemic level and forecasts that gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 8.7% this year and modified domestic demand will grow by 7%.

Employment is also predicted to grow strongly, with the unemployment rate on track to be below 5% through 2024.

Mortgages

6. More than 43,000 mortgages were drawn down in Ireland last year to a total value of €10.5 billion, the highest figures in over a decade.

The Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) said that this is the highest volume of mortgages drawn down since 2009 and the highest overall value since 2008.

In the final quarter of last year, 13,299 new mortgages were drawn down. This is a 9.4% increase in volume. At a total value of €3.31 billion, it is also a cost increase of 12.3% on the same period in 2020.

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Gender equality

7. If the current government survives past the end of the year, political parties will be expected to ensure at least 40% of their candidates in the next general election are women.

While progress has been made in this area, it will still be a big ask for political parties. Fewer than one quarter of the TDs elected to the 33rd Dáil in 2020 were women and female candidates similarly took just 25% of seats at the most recent local election.

Ireland is doing better at a European level, as 38% of the country’s MEPs are women. Experts have said many of the main barriers to politics remain for women and not enough is being done to keep those who do succeed in elections in the job.

Partygate

8. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces further questions as the UK Metropolitan Police announced yesterday that they would be carrying out an investigation into alleged parties at No 10 Downing Street during Covid-19 lockdowns.

It comes as top civil servant, Sue Gray, is expected to publish her report into the alleged parties this week, with some reports suggesting it could be published to coincide with Prime Ministers Questions today.

Yesterday, Johnson’s spokesperson suggested that he would be willing to speak to the police as part of the investigation, but said that Johnson believes that he has not broken the law.

Forecast

9. And finally, the weather.

Any patchy frost and mist will clear this morning, leaving a largely dry start to the day with sunny spells, according to Met Éireann.

However, cloud will build from the northwest through the day with outbreaks of rain and drizzle developing in the west and northwest during the afternoon, spreading further southeastwards in the evening. It will be breezy with highest temperatures of eight to 11 degrees.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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