Taoiseach Micheál Martin has ruled out closing schools early, as the Government met with NPHET last night. It comes after reports that some schools have already decided to use discretion to allow students to finish earlier than planned, while parents are also opting to take children out of class to ensure they can safely meet grandparents over the holidays.
Meanwhile, Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman has confirmed an antigen testing programme is being introduced for early learning and childcare services.
Cabinet has approved plans for one-off electricity credit of €100 per household to be paid to customers next year. The scheme worth €210 million will credit all domestic electricity customers with €100 in 2022.
Elsewhere, the operators of the National Lottery are seeking regulatory approval for a “must be won” draw following controversy over the length of time the jackpot prize has not been won. Representatives for the National Lottery will appear before the Oireachtas finance committee this morning to face questions regarding the unclaimed jackpot prize, which has not been won since early June.
Several Irish airports are to receive €108 million in funding under three schemes to help them stay financially stable through and beyond the pandemic. The funding from direct exchequer supports will be provided for airports in Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Ireland West (Knock), Kerry and Donegal.
It will take "decades" to fully modernise Ireland's creaking water infrastructure at the current rate of progress, the environmental watchdog has warned. In its latest report, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said more than 1m people were relying on vulnerable water supplies at the end of last year, while more than 15,500 people were on a boil water notice for over a month last year.
In a new tightening of rules in the fight against Covid-19, France has announced people aged 65 and over will lose the validity of their health pass unless they have had a third jab.
And health watchdog Hiqa has called for a "complete overhaul" of homecare, saying the current situation is "unsustainable" and urging new legislation based on need and adequate level of services for those who need it.
Finally, Ed Sheeran & Elton John deliver us our zen this morning with their new single ‘Merry Christmas’. The unlikely buddy duo have penned what has already emerged as the season’s only sure musical takeaway. Enjoy!