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Irish News headlines today: Mass vaccination centres may run on 24-hour basis, and counties with highest Covid-19 deaths revealed

There is optimistic news in the Covid-19 vaccination race, with a proposal to have some vaccination centres running 24-hours a day put to the HSE by Nphet. However, it would be dependent on vaccine supply. Meanwhile, to avoid paying high interest rates, first-time buyers under the State’s new affordable housing scheme may feel the pressure to repay their loans within five years. Gabija Gataveckaite details what you need to know about the three-point Affordable Housing Bill. Read the top 10 news headlines on Independent.ie this morning…

Mass vaccination centres may run on 24-hour basis if jabs delivered on time

Mass vaccination centres may run on a 24-hour basis if promised supplies of Covid-19 jabs due to be delivered here escalate, it emerged yesterday. The proposal to have some vaccination centres running round-the-clock has been put to the HSE by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

Home buyers in affordable scheme to face pressure to repay loan early

First-time buyers using the State’s new affordable house scheme will be under pressure to repay their loans within five years to avoiding paying rising interest rates. Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has staked his political reputation on a cheap homes plan given the green light by Cabinet yesterday. It emerged that buyers will be hit with increasing rates on their shared-equity loan.

‘I don’t think there’s enough help there for Traveller men,’ says widow after husband dies suddenly in his sleep aged just 29

Martin Ward was only 29 when he died in his sleep while on holiday with Rosie and their six young children in Achill Island, Co Mayo, last August. At his inquest last month, Mayo Coroner Pat O’Connor found the young father, from Blackberry Lane, Athlone, Co Westmeath, died of natural causes due to an undiagnosed heart condition. The next day, a report by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) found that Travellers are “by far the most disadvantaged minority group in Ireland”.

Revealed: the counties least and worst hit by Covid-19 cases and deaths since start of pandemic

Mayo and the border counties of Louth, Cavan and Monaghan have recorded the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 per head of the population. Data on infection rates shows how communities in these counties have paid a huge price in the battle against coronavirus.

Bill and Melinda Gates pledge to keep working together despite ‘irretrievably broken’ marriage

Bill and Melinda Gates, who run one of the world’s largest philanthropies, both announced their divorce on Twitter in posts released at the same time. Mr Gates, the co-founder of the software giant Microsoft, has an estimated net worth of $130.5 (€108.5bn), ranking him fourth on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people. They added that together they would continue to run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose mission is to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.

Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu confirms Dáil bid with Greens

Dublin Lord Mayor and Green Party Chairperson Hazel Chu has thrown her hat into the race for the Dáil, she has confirmed to the Irish Independent. Councillor Chu is expected to officially announce today that she will be seeking a nomination for the Green Party backing in seeking the Dublin Bay South seat left vacant by Fine Gael TD and former housing minister Eoghan Murphy.

Tributes flow for Alan McLoughlin – the hero of Windsor Park

Irish football is mourning the death of Alan McLoughlin, the man whose famous goal in Belfast secured qualification for the 1994 World Cup. Manchester-born McLoughlin has passed away at the age of 54 after a battle with kidney cancer. He won 42 caps for Ireland, breaking into Jack Charlton’s squad for Italia ’90 to start his journey.

Juror seen in George Floyd T-shirt ‘gives Derek Chauvin basis for an appeal’

A juror who convicted Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd has defended his attendance at a protest last year, amid speculation it could give the former officer grounds to appeal against his conviction. A photo of Brandon Mitchell wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt that read “get your knee off our necks” – a reference to Mr Floyd’s death – at an event in Washington last year recirculated online in recent days.

‘I haven’t been off the phone – people are desperate to get their hair done’

Ray Skelton runs his own salon in Clybaun in Galway city. As a master colourist who opened the salon, Raymond Skelton Hairdressing, in 2005, he believes his loyal client base will serve him well as the hairdressing industry gets back on its feet in the days and weeks ahead. And after decades of experience in the industry he is certain of one thing: “Hairdressers are resilient.”

McCanns still ‘hang on to hope’ of finding Maddie as 18th birthday nears

The parents of missing Madeleine McCann have said they still cling to the hope of seeing their daughter again as they prepare to mark her 18th birthday. Kate and Gerry McCann posted a statement on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign website to say the poignant milestone and the global pandemic have made this year even harder for the family.

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