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Minister for Health announces National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy

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Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, has today (Tuesday) announced the National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, which outlines Ireland’s high-level plan for safe, effective and efficient vaccination of the population, while safeguarding continued provision of health and social care services.

The National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, which was prepared by the High-Level Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccination, was signed off by Cabinet this morning.

The Government established the High-Level Task Force (HLTF) on COVID-19 Vaccination in November with the purpose of supporting the Department of Health and the HSE in developing the plan. The HLTF has also produced an implementation plan.  This provides more detailed operational information and will be a ‘living document’, requiring regular revision and updating as the programme evolves.

“Today is a really positive day for all of us,” the Minister for Health said.

A MATTER OF WEEKS

“After a very difficult year, we are hopeful that COVID-19 vaccines will be approved for use in Ireland in a matter of weeks. The National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy announced today means that we will be ready if a vaccine passes the rigorous quality and safety tests by the European Medicines Agency.  The scale of the COVID-19 vaccination programme will be bigger and more complex than previous vaccination programmes. It will play a central role in our exit from the pandemic. Over time it will allow us to return to reopen our society and to reconnect in the ways we once took for granted.”

This Strategy is the result of the close cooperation that has taken place across Government, between his Department and the HSE, and with a wide range of key stakeholders.

THREE PHASES

The vaccines will be rolled out in three phases - the initial roll out, a mass ramp-up and open access. The highest priority groups, those over the age of 65 living in long-term care facilities and frontline healthcare workers in direct patient contact, will receive the vaccine first.

Vaccines will be administered from long-term care facilities, hospitals, mass vaccination clinics, GP surgeries and community pharmacies. This will be done by qualified and trained healthcare workers, including hospital doctors, community medical officers, nurses, GPs and pharmacists.

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What to look out for when viewing second hand homes

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY After spending so long saving for a mortgage and filling in countless application forms, you are now ready to begin your house hunting in earnest. Set yourself a budget and have a look to see what is available in your desired locations within that budget. Viewing appointments can […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

After spending so long saving for a mortgage and filling in countless application forms, you are now ready to begin your house hunting in earnest.

Set yourself a budget and have a look to see what is available in your desired locations within that budget.
Viewing appointments can be arranged via a telephone call or a simple email to the selling agent. When making the appointment make it clear that the mortgage is in place and you are ‘ready to go’.

This week we will deal with viewing second hand homes and what to look out for on that first property viewing.

When you arrive at a house, you’ll get a general feel outside of how well it’s been maintained. Arrive early and study the exterior of the property before going in, and have a glance at neighbouring properties. This will help you to get your bearings before continuing with the viewing.

If viewing an older house, a musty smell is the first red flag for signs of damp. Also be wary of the smell of fresh paint; was this done to simply freshen the property up or what is it covering up? Is paintwork bubbling or flaking?

Take note of any wall cracking; hairline cracks in walls and ceilings are generally fine, but if you can spot a crack from the other side of the room, then it’s probably big enough to be concerned about.

In older houses, take a good look at windows and roofs. Window frames can slope downward if there are poor ground conditions underneath, and the roof of the house can sag in too.

Is there room to extend? If you are lucky enough that there is have a look for external manhole covers; it gives a good indication of the drainage and pipe layout which may complicate a future extension.

Don’t be afraid to ask the nosy questions; why is the house for sale? How long has it been on the market? How long have the current owners resided there? Has the house been rented out frequently? How many times has it changed hands in the last decade? Have there been any refurbishments? Has it been rewired/replumbed? Who are the neighbours? What is included in the selling price?

It is a good idea to take photos (with the agents consent) or videos as this will help you remember the property after you have returned home.

And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for more time. Spend as much time as you think you need to and don’t hesitate to request a second viewing.

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Bus to Belfast to stay on the road

A Kerry TD has today (Monday) welcomed the news that the Bus to Belfast is to stay on the road. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said assurances from the Department of Health that The Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme (NI PHS), which has been in effective operation since January 1 this year, will remain in place until […]

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A Kerry TD has today (Monday) welcomed the news that the Bus to Belfast is to stay on the road.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said assurances from the Department of Health that The Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme (NI PHS), which has been in effective operation since January 1 this year, will remain in place until a new a statutory scheme is put in place.

The Kerry deputy avails of this service for his constituents on a regular basis and said many were concerned that the scheme may come to an end due to Brexit.

“What this will mean to so many of my constituents is that they can continue to avail of this scheme for treatments for cataract removals by travelling from Kerry by bus to Belfast so that they can get treated in a timely manner and get back to living their lives in a healthy manner,” Deputy Healy-Rae said.

“I am delighted that the Government has seen the good sense to help continue this scheme and I’m delighted that the pressure of representation that I have brought to this scheme will see it continue.”

The Scheme was first introduced to mitigate the loss of access to care from private providers in Northern Ireland under the EU Cross Border Directive, which ceased to apply as a result of Brexit. However, the Government intends to place the administrative NI PHS on a statutory basis and an extensive examination of options to inform the drafting of a General Scheme is currently underway with confirmation that the administrative scheme will remain until such time that a statutory scheme is in place.

Patients also continue to have access to health services under the EU Cross Border Directive Scheme in all other remaining EU/EEA countries.

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