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The 9 at 9: Friday

Man held in Ashling Murphy case released without charge and Djokovic faces deportation after cancelled visa.

Image: Shutterstock

Updated Fri 8:52 AM

GOOD MORNING.

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

1. Ashling Murphy

The man arrested in relation to the murder of Ashling Murphy in Tullamore has been released without charge and gardaí have said he is no longer a suspect.

Gardaí confirmed in a statement last night that the man has been “eliminated from Garda enquiries and is no longer a suspect”.

Gardaí are continuing to search for Ashling’s killer.

2. Unvaccinated hospital staff

Two hospital groups have confirmed that almost 300 of their employees had not been vaccinated against Covid-19 almost a year into the State’s vaccination programme.

Figures provided to The Journal by Saolta University Health Care Group and UL Hospitals group show that 294 workers in 11 hospitals across the west of Ireland were considered ‘at risk’ to patients because of their Covid-19 vaccine status last November.

Those unvaccinated included healthcare workers who dealt with members of the public, such as nurses, healthcare assistants, therapists and a non-consultant hospital doctor.  

3. Downing Street

Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson amid fresh allegations that two further Downing Street parties were held while pandemic restrictions were in place, the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.

The events were held in April last year, while the UK was in a period of national mourning, it was reported. The Prime Minister was said to have been away from Downing Street at the time.

Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “The Queen sitting alone, mourning the loss of her husband, was the defining image of lockdown. Not because she is the Queen, but because she was just another person, mourning alone like too many others.”

4. Australian Open

Novak Djokovic faces deportation from Australia after the country’s Immigration Minister has cancelled his visa.

The male tennis star has been in limbo in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open after issues with his visa since he arrived in the country last week. 

Djokovic is not vaccinated against Covid-19 and had sought an exemption from Austrian entry requirements on the grounds of a recent Covid infection.

5. Ashling Murphy vigils 

A number of vigils are planned around Ireland today in memory of Ashling Murphy.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) said that wishing to reflect the “huge outpouring of grief”, it will be holding a vigil outside Dáil Éireann for Ashling at 4pm today. 

Dozens of other vigils will be held in towns and cities around the country today and over the weekend.

6. Close contact rules

The new guidance around isolation times for people who have Covid-19 and also close contacts of confirmed cases are changing from today.

Approved by Cabinet earlier this week, the new, more relaxed regime is being put in place largely to alleviate staffing issues across both the public and private sectors.

You can read the full details of these changes here. 

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7. United States

California’s governor rejected releasing Robert F Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan from prison more than a half-century after the 1968 killing left a deep wound during one of the US’s darkest times.

Governor Gavin Newsom, who has cited RFK as his “political hero” and embraced the historical significance of his decision, rejected a recommendation from a two-person panel of parole commissioners.

Newsom said Sirhan, now 77, poses an unreasonable threat to public safety. 

8. Housing

House prices nationally are expected to rise by 5% in 2022, according to a new report by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.

The new report says there will be a sharper rise in Connacht/Ulster, where a 7% increase is expected.

Nine in 10 SCSI estate agents believe that house prices will rise this year, with a majority of those believing that it will be due to market factors, including the lack of supply of new and existing houses. 

9. Newsletter

The Journal is launching a new monthly climate newsletter.

There are just eight years left until major climate target deadlines come to pass while the impacts on temperature patterns, extreme weather events and loss in biodiversity are seen more and more around the world. 

We’re launching a new monthly climate newsletter called Temperature Check to get to the heart of climate issues. You can sign up to receive the monthly email here.

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