Nursing homes have been one of the settings hardest hit by Covid-19 infection and mortality during the pandemic, with more than 1,500 related deaths. File photograph: Getty

Move comes amid optimism in Government ahead of easing of restrictions on Monday

The Covid-19 vaccination centre in Citywest, Dublin. Some 220,000 to 240,000 people are expected to be vaccinated across the country this week, according to chief executive of the HSE, Paul Reid. Photograph: Enda O’Dowd

Over a third of the eligible population has now received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine

A crowded Croke Park in July - 2019 -  GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final. Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie

Groups of up to six being permitted for indoor dining in July, parliamentary party meetings told

Investment fund SFO Capital have bought 135 of 170 houses at the new-build Mullen Park estate in Maynooth in Co Kildare. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ministers fear they are politically exposed on housing issue as pandemic recedes

A meeting of Fianna Fáil senators and TDs was told by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien that the purchase of large swathes of housing schemes by investment funds is “unacceptable”. File photograph: iStock

Parliamentary party meeting hears calls for buyers to be limited to one property each

Robert Watt, secretary general of the Department of Health, appearing before an Oireachtas committee

Robert Watt claims broadcaster did not offer opportunity to respond to allegations

Department of Health Secretary General Robert Watt  appears before an Oireachtas Committee

Secretary General Robert Watt appears before an Oireachtas Committee

Over 90 per cent of frontline healthcare workers have taken up the offer of vaccination, says the HSE

No plans by HSE to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for health workers

Confronted by the prospect of hundreds of thousands of vaccines going to waste, the decision was taken to recommend sticking with an age-based rollout. File photograph: Sao Paulo State Government/AFP via Getty Images

Decision to recommend an age-based rollout may mask a bolder play to avoid wastage

Donnelly to consult with Niac over proposed changes in Covid-19 vaccine plan. Photograph: Liselotte Sabroe/EPA

HSE proposed plan envisages AZ and J&J vaccines being offered to under 50s

Robert Watt, Secretary General of the Department of Health, set up a team in the department to examine the issues raised by the programme, which was supported by three independent barristers.  File photograph: Collins Photos

Department of Health Secretary General Robert Watt to speak at Oireachtas Committee

Tayto Park reopens to the public: Five-month-old Anna with her mum, Claire Monaghan, from Duleek, Co Meath, say hello to the tiger as the easing of Covid-19 restrictions allowed the park to welcome visitors back on Friday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Nphet letter came ahead of Cabinet decision to approve easing of restrictions

In its latest advice to Government, Nphet has set out various scenarios but made it clear that the success of the vaccination rollout out will be  key to keeping case numbers down if the reopening of society is to continue through the summer.   Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Analysis: Decisions made based on risks and advice outlined by Nphet in letter to Cabinet

A range of scenarios have been presented to Government by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) lead by chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin

Scenarios presented to Government suggest close indoor contact high risk for eight weeks

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it had been a “very tough and unprecedented year”. Photograph: RTÉ

Travel outside county, larger outdoor meet-ups, hairdressing, sports training and religious services to be permitted in two weeks

 Customers sit outdoors at a restaurant after reopening in Turin, Italy. Photograph: Alessandro Di Marco/EPA

Planned split of restart dates is designed to help the hotel and wider accommodation sector reopen

Helen McEntee  pictured before going on maternity leave. Photograph: Tom Honan

TD stood aside as Minister for Justice but remains a member of Government

The general expectation had been that May would see more incremental reopening

Inside Politics: expectation had been that May would see more incremental unwinding

Grafton Street, Dublin in December following the re-opening. Non-essentail retail set to reopen in May. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

May will see intercounty travel ban lifted while hairdressers and retail will reopen

It is understood public health officials agreed reopening outdoor activity in May and June would be low risk

Move follows lengthy talks between health chiefs and leaders of the coalition parties

Visitors to Doheny and Nesbitt pub on Baggott Street Lower in Dublin in October 2020. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Hotels will open doors on June 2nd with outdoor hospitality at restaurants and pubs due back June 7th

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan will brief Ministers. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Inside Politics: Government may surprise people with an unexpected tweak to rules

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that while there will be a reduction in a coming shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, he is still expecting further large deliveries to come in May and June.   Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Cabinet also adopting Niac advice to offer mRNA vaccines to all pregnant women

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee: “It’s really important women see other women in roles and positions being able to take maternity leave, being able to return to their jobs . . .” Photograph:  Tom Honan

Minister for Justice signals need for legislative change in addition to policing reforms

People arriving on bus from Dublin Airport to Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry, the State’s first hotel quarantine centre. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Travellers arriving into State from countries on list must spend at least 12 days in hotel

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Nphet says ‘level of uncertainty’ remains despite ‘improving’ Covid situation

‘Those aged under 50 years and who are not immunocompromised and who have had a Covid-19 infection in the previous six months should receive a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine,’ Government says. File photograph: iStock

Pregnant women to be offered faster access to vaccines after Cabinet decision

Eoghan Murphy has resigned his Dáil seat. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Fine Gael will pick candidate who is ‘most likely to win’ byelection – Varadkar

A file photograph of  Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Janssen vaccine boxes. Photograph: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

Inside Politics: J&J vaccine use is approved and AstraZeneca restrictions are eased

While Ministers will be told that operating cashflow is still healthy, the company is facing fundamental challenges caused by licensing backlog. File photograph: Getty Images.

Understood Cabinet will be told borrowing increased from zero to €28m last year

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has approved the use of  the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen)  vaccine and relaxed its restrictions on the AstraZeneca shot. Photograph: EPA

Allowing J&J for over 50s, along with change in AstraZeneca guidelines, to accelerate vaccinations

 Minister of State at the Department of Health, Anne Rabbitte, says she dord not agree with ‘tying people down’. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Growing pressure from within Government to ease Covid curbs on travel around country

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe:  “Our public debt is approaching a quarter of a trillion euros.” Photograph: Julien Behal

Pandemic supports burning through cash quicker than anticipated

Dublin Airport. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Passengers at Dublin Airport declined by 78% to almost 7.4 million in 2020

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is to be recommended for use by over-50s. Photograph: Giuseppe Lami/EPA

Use of both vaccines had been curtailed due to concerns around blood-clotting events

Vaccinators administering Covid 19 Vaccinations of Cohort 4 at the HSE Vaccination Centre in the Aviva Stadium .Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Number of Covid-19 patients in hospital falls to 162, the lowest level since October

Taoiseach Micheal Martin looks at a lemur during a visit to Dublin Zoo which reopened to the public today. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Steps to reopen the country include measures for sports and an increase in mourners

The European Medicines Agency has reiterated that the benefits of AstraZeneca’s vaccine outweigh any risks. File photograph: Getty

Change to supply plan comes after EMA licenses manufacture of drug in Asian plant

Airport quarantine  figures show 886 bookings in the system in April, with 134 rooms reserved in May, and nine in June. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Passengers from initial 33 designated countries fell from 564 to 194 up to April 4th

Sinn Féin housing spokesman, Eoin O Broin, sais  slide in the training material suggesting people can be tagged as a “social media engager” was not correct. Photograph:Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

FG Senator calls for German data commissioner to investigate Frankfurt-based system

 Defence Forces outside the Crowne Plaza quarantine hotel in Santry, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Cost is ‘an undue burden’ on citizens with home in Ireland who must travel in emergency

People queue up outside the Covid-19 vaccination centre at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on  Wednesday. Photograph:  Niall Carson/ PA Wire

Niac to consider extending time between doses of Pfizer jab to vaccinate more people

Some 14,400 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine have arrived in the State, with 26,600 due next week. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP

Niac to discuss key elements of the State’s plan on Thursday

People undergoing mandatory hotel quarantine as part of Ireland’s Covid-19 response  arriving at  the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Call for applications for secondments to team due to high workload associated with scheme

Government Ministers have signalled they want as wide a reopening as possible in May

Cabinet agrees to proceed as planned with further easing of measures from Monday

Some 300 bedbound people in older and vulnerable cohorts remain to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the Oireachtas health committee has heard. File photograph: Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

HSE confirms this week’s delivery reduced from 45,000 amid further delays

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine at the Atlantic County vaccination megasite in Atlantic City, New Jersey. File photograph: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg

European regulator finds benefits of one-shot vaccine outweigh risks of rare blood clots

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan became the public face of the State’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. File photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin

Nphet chairman’s wife Dr Emer Feely died in February prompting outpouring of sympathy

Coalition sources say following changes to the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and the uncertainty around Johnson & Johnson, all options have  to be considered to keep the vaccination programme on track. Photograph: Getty Images

Senior medics say a significant benefit to the vaccination programme would be needed to justify extending the gap

HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry: ‘We have faced many planning challenges with changes in supply, cohort definitions and clinical guidance in relation to specific vaccines.’  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

HSE briefing document describes ‘changes to supply forecasts for all four vaccines’

 Paschal Donohoe: he  will outline the scale of the challenge to Ireland’s corporate tax policy from  tax reforms planned by US president Joe Biden. Photograph: Alan Betson

Tánaiste expected to get Cabinet approval for law that would ban ticket touting and reselling for large events

The company’s country president for Ireland, Daniel Wygal, said it expects to deliver 100 million doses to the EU in the first half of the year. Photograph: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Drugmaker says it is committed to supplying EU with agreed quantities of Covid-19 vaccine despite previous shortfalls

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said there was no point in updating advice on the gap between Covid-19 vaccine doses until the European Medicines Agency  advises on the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine later this week. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

No further deaths and 403 more Covid-19 cases reported in the State

A member of the defence forces escorts passengers from Terminal 1 arrivals hall at Dublin Airport as part of the State’s mandatory quarantine system. Photoggraph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Higher penalty of €2,000 introduced after Taoiseach told Dáil €500 ‘not sufficient disincentive’

The Government will outline in two weeks’ time what restrictions will be removed over the month of May. Photograph: Getty Images

Officials fear a spike in cases among younger people once society begins to reopen

Micheál Martin: There will be mounting pressure from outside and inside Government to unwind restrictions, which must be managed.  Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Thousands of cancelled AstraZeneca appointments forced significant restructuring of vaccine programme

The Government’s exemption to mandatory hotel quarantine would only apply to those vaccinated with jabs approved in the EU. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Exemption would only apply to people vaccinated with jabs approved by EU

The Health Service Executive will attempt to hit April’s target of 860,000 doses administered. File photograph: Getty

System review in tandem with diplomatic, domestic pressure produces policy change

Taoiseach Micheal Martin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Brussels is ordering more vaccines for children and teenagers for 2022 and 2023, Martin says

A file image shows people leaving the Crowne Plaza mandatory quarantine hotel  after completing their quarantine period. Photograph: Collins

Online bookings for the system will resume this evening after extra capacity added

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Photograph: Bloomberg

IMO says rollout for the highly vulnerable and vulnerable have been recalibrated

Nurse vaccinators Francis Galvin, Joan Love and Mary Hanafin  at the HSE Vaccination Centre in the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Alan Betson

Delaying second doses of Pfizer vaccine may be a possibility, subject to Niac assessment

Passengers from additional countries including France, Belgium and the United States face mandatory hotel quarantine from Thursday.

Figures relate to passengers from 33 countries on mandatory hotel quarantine list

Several Cabinet members on Wednesday indicated their support for flexibility within the mandatory hotel quarantine system for those who have been vaccinated. Photograph: iStock

Barry Ward describes move as an ‘unnecessarily restrictive measure’

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, who received cabinet approval for the plan today, said his aim was to protect incomes and the environment. Photograph: iStock

Among to be completed in 2021, plan outlines that food ombudsman’s office will be established

The Citywest Covid-19 vaccination centre in Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Government open to considering offering AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 60 who request it

Health sources say the rapid rollout of AstraZeneca to the 60-69-year age group would be considered, in an effort to keep momentum in the programme. Photograph: Alan Betson

Double blow likely to mean significantly fewer vaccines administered this month

Greencore ceo Patrick Coveney strongly criticised the Government’s mandatory hotel quarantine policy.  File image: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Greencore chief Patrick Coveney accuses Government of ‘incompetence and lack of foresight’

Enhanced fines of €2,000 for non-essential travel only came into effect yesterday, despite first being signalled by the Taoiseach two months ago. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Increased fine first flagged by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the Dáil on February 10th

A file image of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry which is being used for mandatory quarantine. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Airlines reminded to be vigilant in not to letting passengers without reservation on planes

The rare risk of blood clots from the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine need to be kept in “perspective”, says Dr Mary Favier, Covid-19 adviser to the Irish College of General Practitioners. Photograph: Alan Betson

One option available is to space out the doses between vaccines still being administered

The  recommendation by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) was prompted by reports across Europe of unusual but severe clotting events as very rare side-effects to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP via Getty Images

HSE rescheduling appointments as Niac recommends not giving vaccine to under-60s

Joe O’Brien said there is a ‘very good chance’ that the rate of consistent poverty went up last year due to the impact of Covid-19. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Green TD Joe O’Brien said move could offset potential of deepening inequality

 Professor Karina Butler, Chair of National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Dr Ronan Glynn said the change in advice was based on ‘an abundance of caution’

Defence Forces personnel on Friday afternoon at the  Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport,  one of the hotels being used for mandatory quarantine. Photograph:  Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Concern over system’s capacity to deal with extending mandatory hotel quarantine list

The most arrivals came from France, with 1,300 travellers coming into either Dublin or Shannon airports in a week. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Thousands arrived in last week from countries health experts wanted on list

The site of the new national children’s hospital in Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Main contractor on hospital project lodges High Court proceedings

A queue at the HSE vaccination centre in the Aviva Stadium at the weekend. Photograph: Alan Betson

Anger over ‘downgrading’ of profession as rollout shifts to age-based model

The draft email says the project would ‘provide a central and integrated insight centre and platform that better informs our cross-government C-19 response. Photograph: NIAID-RML via AP

Email outlines plan for ‘integrated insight centre’ that could seek data from State bodies

The public works contract awards deals on the basis of the lowest price submitted. Photograph: iStock

Fifteen projects over 10 years paid out €270m above tender but came in ‘under budget’

‘Construction’s a tight margin business and there’s very little room between a project making money and becoming an abysmal failure.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Lowest bid wins’ approach to tenders needs to change, say both sides of process

The Forsa union which represents Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) is unhappy that the vaccine rollout plan has been changed to one based primarily on age rather than occupation. Photograph: iStock

Home quarantine among compromises to be discussed by Ministers

People arriving for mandatory quarantine at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Use of vaccinations to shorten isolation times also mooted as part of solution to Cabinet rift

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes issued its final report earlier this year.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman to meet with pharmaceutical giant

Paul Reid, chief executive of the Health Service Executive: ‘It’s completely wrong for somebody who’s not at risk, or not exposed in a healthcare setting, to be vaccinated.’ File photograph: Crispin Rodwell/The Irish Times

Numbers being vaccinated out of turn ‘marginal’ but ‘regrettable’, says health service boss

Members of the public line up to get tested at the pop-up Covid-19 test centre in Crumlin, Dublin, on Friday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Potential ‘super-spreading’ by undetected cases greatest concern, de Gascun says

Former Labour Party minister of State Kathleen Lynch will head up the high-level task force convened by the Department of Justice. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Government task force to look at how criminal justice system deals with vulnerable

Defence Forces personnel at Dublin Airport await flights in order to escort passengers to their mandatory hotel quarantine. Photograph:  Colin Keegan/Collins

Anger in Department of Foreign Affairs in relation to Department of Health plan

Norma Foley said ‘it is important and helpful’ that the National Immunisation Advisory Council ‘explain their rationale for this move’. File photograph: The Irish Times

FF parliamentary party meeting registers unease at ‘pulling rug’ from some workers

Parents have struggled to order properly fitting shoes for growing children during the lockdown. Photograph: Getty

Guidance to be published enabling shops to measure for children, according to Taoiseach

A bus leaves the Crowne Plaza hotel after dropping off airline passengers to hotel quarantine in Dublin earlier this week. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Getty Images

Attorney General warns Government over plans to add 43 countries to high risk list

A letter from the National Public Health Emergency Team stated that the health system is said to remain ‘extremely fragile’.  Photograph: Collins

‘Very high’ risk of fourth wave if restrictions eased too fast, warns letter to Ministers

 Pedestrianised Princes Street in Cork: The outdoor dining enhancement scheme will be run by Fáilte Ireland and local authorities around the country. Photograph:  Clare Keogh

Workers already leaving live entertainment sector, Oireachtas committee hears

People enjoy the warm weather in Seapoint, Dublin, as the Taoiseach says: ‘We are on the final stretch of this terrible journey.’  Photograph: Niall Carson/ PA

Trinity immunologist disagrees with Government moving away from occupation-based approach

A file image of Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer. Photograph: Collins

Public health team tells Government Ireland’s epidemiological situation remains ‘precarious’

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has  revised the vaccine priority list to base it on age not occupation.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Restrictions to be gradually lifted as long as virus keeps moving ‘in the right direction’

Staff demonstrate a Covid-19 antigen test at the RocDoc testing facility at Dublin Airport. File photograph: Laura Hutton

‘Majority report’ is in favour of mass rollout of antigen tests, possibly in schools by September

The Aviva Stadium, at Lansdowne Road in Dublin, which is due to host European Championship games this summer. Photograph: Eric Luke

Uefa seeking assurances on a minimum threshold for attendance at matches

Micheál Martin speaking outside Government buildings. Photograph: RTÉ

‘We are on the final stretch of this terrible journey’, Micheál Martin insists as he announces phased changes to Covid-19 lockdown

The State has not vaccinated enough people to take risks when it comes to Covid-19 restrictions, Ministers have been warned. File photograph: Paul Faith/AFP via Getty Images

State has not vaccinated enough people to take risks with Covid-19 restrictions, Ministers are warned

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