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The 9 at 9: Wednesday

Vaccine trials in Mother and Baby Homes, new isolation rules for close contacts and Boris Johnson.

Image: Shutterstock/Julia Metkalova

Updated Jan 12th 2022, 8:55 AM

GOOD MORNING.

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

1. Vaccine trials in Mother and Baby Homes

In our main story this morning, Órla Ryan reports that a woman who was adopted via St Patrick’s Guild, a former Catholic adoption society, has claimed that nuns threatened to subject her to a vaccine trial as a baby if her mother didn’t sign the adoption papers.

Sally McAndrew was born in the Coombe Hospital in Dublin in 1969 and spent her early days in Temple Hill, a mother and baby home run by the Irish Sisters of Charity in Blackrock in Dublin.

Sally (52) was adopted and considers herself “one of the lucky ones” who grew up in a loving household and had a happy childhood. She met her biological mother for the first time when she was about 15 years old.

Speaking to The Journal, Sally recalled how her mother was just 19 years old when she became pregnant. In one of their conversations, her mother told her about a threat allegedly made by nuns.

2. New isolation rules

Cabinet is expected to sign off on the scrapping of isolation periods for close contacts with no symptoms who have received their booster jab.

Public health advice received by government last night also recommends that people who test positive on an antigen test should not need a confirmatory PCR test.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said yesterday evening that he has also received a recommendation that all isolation periods for those with symptoms and are testing positive will be brought to seven days across the board.

3. Birth Information and Tracing Bill

Adopted people seeking documents about their birth and early life will no longer have to attend an in-person meeting if one or both of their birth parents has registered a no-contact preference.

The Birth Information and Tracing Bill – legislation that aims to enshrine in law a right for adopted people to access their birth certificates and early life information – is set to be published today.

Under a previous iteration of the Bill, adopted people seeking records would have been required to attend a mandatory information session with a social worker if the person’s biological mother or father had opted to not be contacted.

4. Boris Johnson

In the UK, Boris Johnson is to face MPs amid furious demands to come clean over his attendance at a reported “bring your own booze” party in the No 10 garden in breach of Covid lockdown rules.

The Prime Minister will make his first public appearance since the leak on Monday of an email from his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds inviting Downing Street staff to the gathering in May 2020.

5. Novak Djokovic

In Australia, Novak Djokovic has admitted “errors” in his travel papers and in not isolating after a claimed coronavirus infection, as he battles to stay in Australia and fight for a record 21st Grand Slam.

The world number one said his team had offered fresh information to the Australian government, which is pondering whether to cancel his visa, again, and throw him out of the country.

6. Mortgage approvals

Back home now, new figures from the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland show that almost 5,000 mortgages were approved in November, a fall on 4.6% in a year.

Although the amount of mortgages has decreased year-on-year, the value of these 4,959 mortgages total as the largest amount approved in any November for the past ten years.

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7. Supply and demand

Irish used car prices have jumped 56% from the outset of the pandemic to the end of 2021, outstripping the rate of inflation in the United States and the United Kingdom over the same period.

At the same time, electric vehicles (EVs) represented a growing share of new registrations last year. Compared with the first half of 2019, when fully electric vehicles accounted for just 2.4% of new car registrations, that figure had quadrupled to 10.5% in the second half of last year.

The figures are contained in the latest DoneDeal quarterly Motor Report for the final three months of 2021.

8. Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau

An Garda Síochána has hailed an “exceptional level of success” after its organised crime unit revealed that it has seized over €5 million in assets last year.

The largest seizure of last year was made in January, where €1.6 million in cash was seized after two vehicles and a hotel bedroom in Dublin 1 and 5 were searched.

9. YouTube disinformation

Factchecking organisations around the world, including The Journal, have called on YouTube to take further actions to stem the amount of disinformation being spread on the platform.

In an open letter to the platform’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, over 80 factchecking organisations have called for the company to take at least four steps to stop YouTube from being “one of the major conduits of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide”.

About the author:

Jane Moore

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