The test and trace system may be able to handle tracing close contacts once more if daily cases remain below 2,000 this week, HSE chief executive Paul Reid says. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Donnelly says 143,000 vaccines issued as Government considers tougher sanctions

The outbreak on Danish farms has shut down mink farming until at least 2022. Denmark ordered the slaughter of up to 17 million mink in early November. Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen/AFP via Getty Images

Mass cull of 120,000 mink in Ireland was not carried out despite urgent recommendation

Talks resumed on Thursday between the Department of Education and unions regarding the safe reopening of special schools. Photograph: iStock

Letters on behalf of 200 parents issued to Department of Education and unions

Minister for Education Norma Foley. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire/File

Survey shows second-level students are opposed to plans to hold examinations in June

The woman was attacked when walking along the pedestrian walkway between George’s Dock and Custom House Quay at the IFSC at about 9.30pm. Photograph: Google Maps

Victim seriously injured in Wednesday night attack near Custom House Quay

The HSE published a report in December recommending a move away from psychological support for  gender identity issues provided by the UK clinic to a service  delivered by the Irish health system. File photograph: iStock

British regulator raises ‘significant concerns’ about facility to which 180 Irish were referred

Functional technologies, such as calendar and medication reminders, can be of use to people in earlier stages of dementia who are living at home. Photograph: iStock

Number of people with dementia in Ireland expected to double in next 25 years

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys: it has always been clear the payment would be treated as income by Revenue. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Government messaging on taxing PUP is confusing, says Free Legal Advice Centre

Hundreds of  on-the-spot fines were issued to people in breach of Covid-19 regulations over the last week. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty

‘Supreme effort’ made to ensure force can continue with duties, Garda Commissioner says

 Minister for Education Norma Foley. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Still unclear if planned reopening of special needs schools will go ahead on Thursday

Following enquiries, gardaí arrested a man in his 20s and a woman in her 40s in connection with the incident.

Man and woman charged after allegedly threatening occupants with knife

Bundles of cash seized at a Dublin premises by gardaí on Sunday. The “significant” cash seizure will contribute to the “disruption and potential ultimate dismantling” of particular organised crime groups, Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said. Photograph: An Garda Síochána

Vehicles seized during searches of properties in North Dublin and in city centre

A paramedic and ambulances at the Mater Hospital in Dublin amid the current Covid-19 surge. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

CSO figures show rise in close contacts, as Dublin accounts for half of deaths since October

The town of Tuam in Co Galway  as apologies were offered by the  Government and the Bon Secours order following  the mother and baby homes report. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Many unsure what to do next about hundreds of baby remains in home’s grounds

Tuam mother and baby home survivor Carmel Larkin and historian Catherine Corless. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

Historian and Tuam mother and baby home survivors unhappy with report and apology

 Taoiseach Micheál Martin announcing further restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 last week. Photograph: Julien Behal

Irish rate was second only to Belgium’s in October as worst of entire pandemic to date

Feedback from parents suggests they want students to be given a choice of assessment for the 2021 Leaving Cert exams. File photograph: Getty

Opposition politicians appeal for ‘clarity and certainty’ over exams

Rescue team responding to a call out from a party of walkers in distress on Slieve Meelmore. Photograph: Mourne Mountain Rescue Team/Facebook

Plea for hikers to not go up mountains in bad weather as rescue teams under ‘enormous pressure’

“I do not look like a sick person… It doesn’t take away from the fact that I have about 10 tumours in my body,” Vicky Phelan said. Photograph Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

‘If this trial works I will get more time with my kids,’ CervicalCheck campaigner says

The man’s iinjuries are not thought to be life-threatening, although they could be life-changing, according to a statement from the PSNI. Photograph: Paul McErlane/EPA

Attack is the second shooting in the city within the space of two days

A view of Rockall, a small uninhabited rock approximately 230 nautical miles north-west of Donegal and 167 miles west of deserted Scottish island of St Kilda. Photograph: Irish Air Corps

Government says European Commission intervention may be required as tensions rise

Cost of energy increases for Electric Ireland customers in North. Photograph: iStock

The price increase equates to an extra £18 per year for the typical residential customer

Met Éireann said it would turn bitterly cold once again on Friday night. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Cold snap set to continue into weekend, with lows of -5 and ‘severe frost’ on Friday night

Construction workers on site in Dublin City Centre. Only Ireland, Italy, and the United States shut down construction during earlier lockdowns, according to the Construction Industry Federation. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

All but essential projects will stop from Friday in bid to stop spread of virus

Minister of State Robert Troy (right)  encouraged consumers in Ireland to continue to enjoy the benefit from shopping online with the UK but he urged them to ‘think ahead’ before making a purchase. File image: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Not all retailers will automatically add VAT or customs charges at the online checkout

CUH is urging people to avoid its emergency department unless absolutely necessary.

Emergency department at Cork University Hospital ‘exceptionally busy’ as large number of very ill patients require admission

 There were 56 seriously ill patients in intensive care units with Covid-19 on Saturday night. FIle photograph: Massimo Percossi/EPA

Republic passes 100,000 confirmed cases with hospitals under ‘extreme’ pressure

RTÉ said in a statement: ‘Having reviewed the feedback and complaints received up to this point, RTÉ wishes to apologise to those who were offended by the segment.’ File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Broadcaster acknowledges offence caused by satirical clip accusing God of rape

Parcels being sorted by An Post. File photograph: Bryan O’Bryan

UK’s departure from EU will not impact on goods and parcels to or from Northern Ireland

Over 81,000 tonnes of packaging waste is expected to be generated in Ireland over the Christmas period. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Packaging waste from increased online sales will create influx of waste, Repak says

New Ross, Co Wexford: Data  on the Government’s Covid-19 data hub shows the New Ross local electoral area has the highest 14-day incidence rate in the State. File photograph: Google Street View

14-day incidence rate at 659.7 cases per 100,000 people, up from 57.7 a week ago

 President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, asked that the nation continue to move forward in a spirit of solidarity next year. Photograph: Maxwells  President Michael D Higgins and his wife, pictured this Christmas. Photograph: Maxwells

Christmas message: President seeks renewal of sense of solidarity, sensitivity, forgiveness

Waves crash against the pier wall on Thursday, Christmas Eve, at Tynemouth on the northeast coast of England. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Met Éireann warning active in western areas from midday Saturday until 6am on Sunday

‘All I knew was it was up the chimney and Santa would get it.’ Yvonne Foley said. photograph: iStock

Chain of people involved in tracking down Yvonne Foley who was six or seven when she wrote letter

Operation was part of a co-ordinated effort from gardaí attached to the Garda Extradition Unit and Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Photograph: iStock

Seven men and two women aged 28 to 63 to appear before High Court on January 8th

Irish Ferries services are continuing as normal for freight and freight drivers. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

‘Our situation could get a lot worse if we are not allowed on this ferry this afternoon’

Christmas shoppers on Grafton Street, Dublin, during the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Shutting hospitality before Christmas would be ‘disastrous’, says restaurants association

Anyone with information is asked to contact gardaí. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Worker threatened by lone male while returning to security van in Dublin on Tuesday

Passengers in Heathrow Airport on Sunday night trying to leave London. File photograph: The Irish Times

People arriving in Belfast and Derry with, in one case, over 100 continuing on to Dublin

Dublin Airport had expected 60,960 arrivals from  December 21st, to January 4th. This figure is likely to fall significantly if the travel ban for British flights is extended past its current expiry date. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Since their introduction, 11 people have refused to complete the forms on arrival

A passenger said one flight from London to Belfast carried more than 100 people. Photograph: iStock

Passengers reportedly flying into North to get around ban on UK flights to Republic

Tom Hill outside his refurbished home with some of the volunteers who worked on the project. Photograph: Gerard O’Loughlin

Roscommon community combine to get pensioner back to childhood home

Masked Christmas shoppers are seen on the Ha’penny Bridge last week in Dublin city centre. Photograph: Collins

‘Start this weekend. It is never too late to cut down your contacts, cancel plans, or avoid a crowd’

Detector dog Sam who helped Revenue officers at Dublin Mail Centre seize herbal cannabis, magic mushrooms, and cannabis-infused jellies, along with 4.5 litres of liquid amphetamines.

Detector dogs help Revenue officers find herbal cannabis and magic mushrooms

In the last seven days 84,981 Covid-19 tests were carried out across the country, which had a positivity rate of 3.5 per cent. Photograph: Alan Betson

Outbreaks in private houses continue to increase with 328 reported last week

Bird owners must keep all birds in secure buildings to curb spread of bird flu Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

New measures from Department of Agriculture come into force on Monday

‘Butter Boat’on Streedagh Strand in Co Sligo

Researchers discover that 20 people died after ‘butter boat’ got into difficulty in stormy weather

  Astronomers Dr Eoin Carley and Luis Alberto Cañizares at Dias Dunsink Observatory to mark the launch of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies  ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Person with best astrophotographs will win tour of Dunsink Observatory

The rental car industry is  calling for a financial rescue package akin to the €10m delivered to the coach tourism sector. Photograph: Lorenzo Patoia/iStock

Pandemic decimates industry with huge sell-offs due to restrictions on movement

The empty cash box was discovered on fire at St Kevin’s Avenue, an approximate six-minute cycle from the scene of the robbery.

Male armed with hammer grabs undisclosed sum and makes good his escape on bicycle

Forensic collision investigators were still examining the scene on Tuesday evening and the road remained closed with local diversions in place. File image: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to the incident at Killaneen, Ballinamore

The Disability Act 2005 stipulates that a child is entitled to an assessment of their need within six months. File photograph: Getty

Drastic improvement in services needed within year, says Minister of State for Disabilities

Det  Garda Colm Horkan was revered in his community for his stellar football career.

Mayo club unveils plan to honour murdered garda ahead of what would have been 50th birthday

Department of Agriculture has confirmed that  H5N8 strain of  avian influenza was discovered in a ‘small free-range flock’ in Co Wicklow. Photograph: iStock

Department of Agriculture has established protection zone around area near Knockananna

More than a fifth of people who are unemployed report some form of depression, compared to nine per cent of the working population. Photograph: iStock

Survey conducted in 2019 and early 2020 finds wealth has significant impact on health status

The funeral of Michael and Beatrice Hurley,  who died in a fire  at their  home in Beach Park, Portmarnock last week, took place  at St Anne’s Church in Portmarnock, Dublin on Friday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Mass told many people have fond memories of visiting Beatrice and Michael Hurely’s home

The O’Malleys of Achill Island Sea Salt say a green light from the European Commission would ‘definitely help the brand’

Minister announces publication of PDO application for product produced by family-run business

NPWS is investigating the illegal killing of the common buzzard.  Photograph: iStock

Buzzard driven to extinction by early 20th century but recolonised after significant absence

Shopping bags in Dublin city this December. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Covid-19 restrictions on inter-county travel lessen the rush of shoppers to capital city

Ballet teachers Rita Linehan and Rebecca O’Brien Taylor (sitting) from the Metropolitan School of Dance during a Zoom ballet class. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Private dance tutors forced to take classes on to Zoom fear students will give up

Mink look out from their cage at a farm in Denmark where a cull has also been ordered. Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

Mutated strain of coronavirus could negate efforts to secure effective vaccines, experts say

Ballina Community Clean-up members in front of the Joe Biden mural in the town. Photograph: John O’Grady

Bridie Higgins (85) believes the US needs someone ‘more compassionate’ than Trump

Hilary Tully, Patrick McGivney and Judy Sheridan objected to  the planning application sought by Kiernan Milling.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Fáilte Ireland has ‘serious concerns’ about siting and scale of proposed development

The HSE supplied one nurse and one care attendant to the Nightingale nursing home yesterday afternoon to support staff drafted in from Roscommon University Hospital, along with volunteers. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

TD says support system has fallen down despite assurances from Taoiseach

One resident of the Nightingale nursing home in Ahascragh, Co Galway,  has died and two have been hospitalised in the latest mass outbreak of Covid-19 in a long-term care facility. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Officials insist rosters at facility are covered despite claims home had been abandoned

The Health Service Executive issued advice for people living in north Roscommon and the Elphin region, saying public health officers were “aware” of Covid-19 cases. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

‘I will put my hands up. I didn’t know I had to self-isolate,’ An Bóthar Rua barman says

Detective Garda Colm Horkan was shot dead while on duty in Castlerea, Co Roscommon.

Accused Stephen Silver deemed unfit to appear by video link at Castlerea court

Val Dempsey (73) who has been climbing Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday for more than 30 years. Photograph: Ellen O’Riordan

Val Dempsey (73) and his wife climbed ‘just a little bit’ for the exercise and the tradition

Mayo Mountain Rescue crew on Croagh Patrick: “It is impossible to treat a casualty when you are socially distanced.” Photograph:  Odette Duignan

Mayo mountain locals fear infection and rescue health challenges on Reek Sunday

Air crew wearing a face masks  arrive at Heathrow airport, west London. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)

Journalist who was due to travel from England to Roscommon says Covid-19 not the Black Death

Stephen Silver: charged with the murder of Detective Garda Colm Horkan. Photograph: Michael McCormack/PA Wire

Stephen Silver (43) accused of fatal shooting of Detective Garda Colm Horkan in Castlerea

Wez Pollington and Tuesday Whitfield get things ready for Willowbrook glampers. Photograph: Brian Farrell

Poor weather is not deterring campers who have opted for holidays at home

Stephen Silver pictured at Castlerea District Court last Friday. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin

Stephen Silver (43) receiving treatment in Central Mental Hospital

Hundreds gathered in the centre of Charlestown, Co Mayo on late on Friday night , for the arrival home home of the cortège of Detective Garda Colm Horkan. Photograph: Ellen O’Riordan

Garda will lie in repose at family funeral home in Co Mayo on Saturday afternoon

A book of condolences for Detective Garda Colm Horkan was opened in garda stations across the country, including  in Castlerea. Photograph: Ellen O’Riordan

Loss of a much-loved garda will leave a lasting scar on his community, say locals

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris speaking  at the scene of the shooting in Castlerea, Co Roscommon. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Priest who said last rights for Det Gda Colm Horkan (49) describes aftermath of shooting

Alan Dillon

Mayo: Elected on 7th count

Sinn Féin’s Rose Conway-Walsh. Photograph: Ellen O’Riordan

Green Party’s rising star Saoirse McHugh was knocked out after the fifth count

Pat Mahon (83), a regular at Guiry’s Bar in Foxford, Co Mayo. Photograph: Ellen O’Riordan

The regulars at Guiry’s Bar in Foxford are tired of the ‘same old’ politics

Hannah O’Connor (83) said she voted in the election with a ‘heavy heart’ while Labour voter Bridie Madigan (R) is a fan of Boris Johnson.

Pensioners tired and frustrated with ‘boring election’ and European ‘skullduggery’

Gráinne Jennings, director, Matt Talbot Community Trust, Ballyfermot, with John Farrell, who works on copper embossing at the centre. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Blaze at Matt Talbot centre in Ballyfermot has curtailed support programmes

Brendan Kilduff, who died after the shooting incident in Co Mayo.

Brendan Kilduff (67) believed ‘if there isn’t a sing-song it’s a bad night out’, funeral told

 Traffic on Dublin’s M50. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Maintenance firm says bottles of urine and used needles are regularly picked up by its workers

A white plastic sack was found at a depth of 2,125m on the Atlantic Ocean seabed some 320km off the coast of Dingle. Image: UCC

UCC researchers made discovery during study of Porcupine Bank Canyon in Atlantic Ocean

Group home run by St Michael’s House found to be in breach of 15 out of 17 regulations

Shane Lowry at his homecoming in Clara, Co Offaly. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

‘I don’t have enough time to take it all in. You’d love to be allowed stand there forever’

Esker Hills Golf Club in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where Shane Lowry learned his trade. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Locals at Esker Hills club recall ‘mischievous’ teenager who became British Open champion

Hedge-cutting is banned between February and September, except where overgrown hedges pose a risk to drivers and pedestrians.

Paraic O’Brien is disappointed by the Minister’s decision to abandon plans for August hedge-cutting

Cut hedgerow near Shillelagh in Co Wicklow. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Proposal to permit cutting hedges in August abandoned in favour of protecting nature

Karl Shiels’ agent says the actor was ‘a uniquely talented individual, simultaneously intense, light-hearted funny and sharp-witted.’

Shiels, best-known for role as Robbie Quinn, was founding member of Theatre Upstairs

Four hospitals have breached HSE guidelines around controlling the spread of the CPE superbug, health inspectors have found. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Aging hospital infrastructure and lack of isolation facilities partly to blame – Hiqa report

Applicants were advised to have their PPS number, and their parents’ or spouse’s PPS number, as well as records of their 2018 household income to hand.

‘Leaving Cert students do not need their results or their final course choice to apply’

The European Regional Development fund is responsible for 85% of the scheme’s six-year €269m  budget.

Oireachtas group flags ‘urgent need for certainty on funds’ to swerve return of Troubles

Jarlath Farrell from Tuam, Co Galway at the farmers’ protest outside the Dáil. Photograph: Alan Betson

Farmers gather at Dáil to protest at Mercosur trade deal

Visitors of Dublin’s Grafton Street were in a particularly buoyant mood on Friday night as they broke into an impromptu dance.

Jazzy rhythms see young and old tapping and twirling on warm summer night

Gerald Faulkner (68), from Galway,  now living in New South Wales in Australia: ‘Our hearts still lie with the mother country and we should be permitted to have a say in who gets to be elected.’

Many want vote for emigrants. Others fear unintended consequences

‘If my father was dropped down here tomorrow he would not know where he was. This could be Brazil for all he’d know.’

‘If someone had told me 20 years ago this would still be going on ... I would have gone’

Employees in the offices of Facebook’s European HQ in Dublin’s dockland.  Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Most workers unable to buy or rent in locality due to rising costs, says Owen Keegan

Vacant shop fronts on the Main Street of Naas, Co. Kildare. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

After setbacks during the recession, many shops in the Kildare town are still empty

Rows of mink cage houses each holding up to 1,000 mink. Donegal-born Sven Sjoholm’s parents, Sune and Karita Sjoholm, moved from Finland in 1968 in response to an advertisement looking to attract foreign fur farmers to Ireland.

Fur farming is deemed contrary to animal welfare. But what of those who work in it?

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