Zelenskiy addresses Oireachtas, second boosters and Holohan salary

Zelenskiy addresses the Oireachtas

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said Ireland has not remained neutral in the face of the disaster Russia has inflicted on his country.

In a historic speech to Parliament, he said Ireland had supported Ukraine from the earliest days of the war.

Addressing a joint sitting of the Houses of the Oireachtas through a translator, he said: ‘You had no doubts about starting to help us, you started doing it right away and, although you are a neutral country, you have not remained neutral in the face of the disaster and misfortunes that Russia has brought to Ukraine.

He also said that Russia was using hunger as a weapon in its war against his country.

The Russian ambassador to Ireland declined an invitation to attend the speech.

It comes as the government has been told that less than half of the housing offered by the public to Ukrainian refugees is likely to be suitable.

Central Bank forecasts

The Central Bank has revised down its forecast for economic growth this year and raised its projection for inflation, predicting that a reduction in real incomes will weigh on spending in the coming quarters.

The Bank still expects modified domestic demand, its preferred measure of the health of the economy, to rise 4.8% this year on the back of strong momentum late last year and in the early month of 2022 after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. .

However, he had expected much faster growth of 7.1% just three months ago.

Inflation continued to climb in the republic and hit an estimated 6.9% high in 22 years last month, according to Eurostat.

Second boosters

The government has announced that people aged 65 and over as well as immunocompromised people will receive a second booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

NIAC has issued new advice that people in these cohorts should receive a second booster shot, four to six months after their first booster shot.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said the HSE will now work to roll out the final dose to those who need it. Work is ongoing between the Department and the HSE regarding the medium term vaccination strategy against Covid-19.

The recommendations were made last night by the National Immunization Advisory Committee (NIAC) to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

Holohan Salary

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has described Dr Tony Holohan’s new role as Professor of Public Health Strategy and Leadership at Trinity College Dublin as a “really positive move” which he fully supports.

Dr Holohan announced last month that he was stepping down as chief medical officer to take on the new role. He will remain a civil servant and his annual salary of €187,000 will be paid by the Ministry of Health.

Minister Donnelly said whether the TCD or the Department of Health funds Dr Holohan’s salary, “it’s all public money”.

He said the Ministry of Health planned to fund the role in TCD because the ministry and the country would benefit “very greatly”.

Wind warning for four counties

A yellow status warning for the wind has been issued for four northern and western counties.

Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo will be affected from 1pm today until 9pm tonight.

Met Éireann’s warning of very strong SW winds which could make riding conditions difficult.

It will be windy today with widespread heavy showers, changing to longer spells of rain in places, with a risk of hail and thunder.