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The 9 at 9: Sunday

Extra bank holiday preference, Priti Patel to answer questions on Amess death and Robert Durst has Covid.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

GOOD MORNING.

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

Bank holiday

1. In our main story today, Céimin Burke reports that nearly one quarter of people in Ireland have picked February as their preferred month for an additional bank holiday.

The government is considering granting the additional holiday as a part of a ‘Covid bonus’ to reward frontline workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

New polling by Red C on behalf of The Journal shows that 23% of respondents think the extra holiday should take place in February, making the month the most popular option by a significant margin.

David Amess

2. In the UK, the Home Secretary will face questions concerning what was known about a suspect held on suspicion of murdering MP David Amess as police were granted extra time to question him.

During broadcast interviews this morning, Priti Patel is likely to be pressed over whether the 25-year-old man was known to the UK Government’s anti-terrorist programme prior to the fatal stabbing of Amess on Friday.

Amess, 69, who had been an MP since 1983, was meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday afternoon when he was stabbed multiple times in a frenzied attack.

Robert Durst

3. In the US, real estate mogul Robert Durst, sentenced to life in prison for killing his best friend, has been placed on a ventilator after becoming infected with Covid-19, according to media reports.

Durst, 78, was given a life sentence this week with no possibility of parole after a jury found him guilty of killing his friend in 2000 at her Beverly Hills home to keep her from talking to police about the disappearance of his wife two decades earlier.

Behaviour around Covid

4. Back in Ireland, Professor Philip Nolan has said a “modest” change in people’s behaviour over the coming weeks would enough to “shift the balance” in transmission of Covid-19 in the country. 

He said the balance had “tipped in the wrong direction” but that change in behaviour would bring down the reproductive number of the virus, below 1.0, and start to suppress it once again.

Lockdown

5. In an interview with the Sunday Independent, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the government won’t reintroduce restrictions to curb the surge of Covid-19 cases. 

“We do not want to go back, and we are not contemplating going backwards. The only issue facing us now is going forward,” Martin said. 

There were concerns among members of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) earlier this week about a rise in Covid-19 case rates. 

Covid cases

6. Sticking with Covid news, public health officials yesterday confirmed 2,180 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

As of 8am yesterday, 406 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 71 are in ICU.

On Friday, there were 1,914 new cases of Covid-19, 413 people with the virus in hospital and 73 in ICU.

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Irish death in Spain

7. In non-Covid news, RTÉ has reported that a 24-year-old man found dead in a swimming pool at a property near Marbella in Spain was one of a group of Irish holidaymakers. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs has said it is providing consular assistance following the death. 

Fuel Allowance

8. On Tuesday, the government unveiled its Budget for 2022, announcing how it plans to spend a €4.7 billion package.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the allowance was increasing by €5 to €33 a week.  

Here’s an explainer on what the Fuel Allowance is, how it works and who qualifies for it.

Jazz festival

9. And finally, Cork officials have encouraged revellers to travel to the city for next weekend’s jazz festival despite the news that there will be no direct airport or train services there on the Bank Holiday weekend.

Work on the runway has meant that the city’s airport will be closed until November and the city’s Kent Station will be closed next week as works are underway on a new signalling service. 

The pandemic prevented the festival from taking place last year and it is due to make a comeback next week.

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