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Cabinet briefing on cyber attack

The Minister for Communications Denis Naughten will be briefing the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Infrastructure, Environment and Climate Action on the international cyber attack incident later this afternoon.The minister will also brief the Cabinet tomorrow (Tuesday). “There have been no further reported incidences of the ‘Wannacry2’ malware in Ireland, beyond the isolated case in a HSE funded facility in Wexford on Saturday. It is still possible that further incidences will arise and a sustained period of vigilance will be required, both in terms of updating and patching software and monitoring equipment,” he said. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment is monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis, and remains in close contact with international counterparts and with public and private sector entities in Ireland, both in terms of the dealing with the threat and taking measures to ensure that the impact of any future variants of this malware is limited. The NCSC …

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Harty deplores Fair Deal extension delay

THE Government’s progress on extending the Fair Deal Scheme to Home Care is proceeding at a snail’s pace, Clare Deputy Dr Michael Harty has claimed. The independent TD has, however, welcomed the decision by Helen McEntee, Minister for Older People, to launch a public consultation process at the end of May. “I welcome this public consultation as it is important to seek the opinions of all those who have views on the subject including old people themselves. I also welcome the fact that the department commissioned the Health Research Board to undertake a review of the home care systems that are in place in four other European countries. However, long experience in the health service has taught me that reports upon reports can merely act as a delaying tactic. “I don’t doubt the minister’s assurance that Government considers that a standalone funding scheme, designed for Home Care is needed but I don’t detect any real sense of urgency in her …

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Magnificent minors bridge 23-year gap

Clare 3-13   Limerick 0-12 FOR up to half an hour after the final whistle at the Gaelic Grounds on Wednesday evening, Clare supporters, the team and management celebrated in an ecstatic huddle. For the first time in 23 years, a Clare minor football team will play in a Munster minor football final this summer. Managed by Seamus Clancy, they produced a superb second-half display, outscoring Limerick 2-8 to 0-2. It took Clare almost four minutes longer than Limerick to emerge for the second half and referee David Murnane almost deafened the 1,007 attendance with his increasingly shrill blowing of his whistle. However, Clare were justified in taking their time at that point. They emerged a different team and immediately took the game to Limerick. Ironically, they did the same thing at the start of the first half and led 1-2 to 0-2 after five minutes. Paudie Kelly deflected home the goal, after it was put on a plate for him by …

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Arts funding for ‘not for profit’ groups

Stream 3 of the Arts and Culture Capital Scheme, which will provide small capital grants to not for profit arts organisations, has been launced by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys. It comes after the minister announced €9 million in funding for regional arts and cultural centres under the Arts and Culture Capital Scheme in February, which benefitted 56 organisations and venues nationwide. Funding of €500,000 is now being made available under Stream 3 of the scheme; with individual grants of up to €20,0000 available. Application forms will be available on the Department’s website from next week. Minister Humphreys said, “This funding scheme aims to provide capital assistance to not-for-profit organisations that have a clearly defined arts and culture remit.While the amounts involved are relatively modest, the grants will in themselves make a huge difference to these individual organisations and will be of particular benefit to local cultural centres throughout rural Ireland.”

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Wildfire sparks warning on Wildlife Act breaches

In a week during which a major forest fire has raged  near Oughterard in County Galway, landowners and visitors have been warned to be more careful during this spell of exceptionally dry weather. Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine, Michael Creed and Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys have reminded landowners and the public that it is an offence under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, 1976 (amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife Act, 2000) to burn, from 1st March to 31st August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated. Individuals who are found to burn vegetation within that prohibited period are liable to prosecution by An Garda Síochána or by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Commenting on the recent incidence of gorse fires throughout the country, Minister Creed said, “The Department of Agriculture has issued a number of Fire Danger Notices to the forestry sector since the beginning of March, including …

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Daily Telegraph highlights Clare

A TOURISM Ireland campaign is under way in The Daily Telegraph showcasing the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland to British holidaymakers. The campaign includes a series of articles about Ireland in the Saturday travel section of The Daily Telegraph, which has readership of 1.4 million people across Britain. An article Be a wild rover along Ireland’s dramatic coast, highlights the Wild Atlantic Way and “the towering Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, where you can stare west across to the Aran Islands”. The campaign also includes a specially-created ‘Indulge in Ireland’ hub on The Telegraph website. Julie Wakley, Tourism Ireland’s deputy head of Great Britain, said, “Our partnership with The Daily Telegraph is another excellent opportunity to highlight Clare and the Wild Atlantic Way. Tourism Ireland is actively promoting longer-stay holidays and encouraging British travellers to come and discover Ireland by car. Visitors who use a car on holidays tend to stay longer, spend more and are more likely to visit more than one region.”

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Dáil Committee to discuss Census

The Joint Committee on Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government will meet on Wednesday to discuss the Census 2016 results. The primary focus of the meeting is to examine the trends and developments in housing across Ireland and identify how this may impact upon existing housing policy. Officials from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) will address the Committee. The latest census figures are of significant importance to the Committee. The Housing in Ireland report is the first of eleven thematic reports from Census 2016 and will form the focus of the meeting, The report provides data and analysis on the housing landscape in Ireland over the last five years from April 2011 to April 2016. The census found that there are almost 260,000 vacant homes in the State and Committee members will be keen to discuss this breakdown.

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Regional imbalance in employment trends

REGIONAL variations in employment trends point to imbalanced economic growth that is not benefiting all parts of the country equally, it has been reaffirmed this week. Eamon Murphy, economic and social analyst, Social Justice Ireland, highlighted this as one of the key findings from the think-tank’s latest Employment Monitor, published today (Tuesday). “Jobs growth over the last couple of years has been impressive and very welcome, but when it is broken down by region, trends are very uneven. Employment first began to decline in Ireland in autumn 2007, and from then until the end of 2016, employment in the West and Border regions fell at a rate much faster than the national average, and more than five times faster than Dublin. “At the end of 2016, the South-East, Border, Midlands and West regions were suffering from the highest unemployment rates in Ireland; all had a rate notably higher than the national average. “As well as this, falling labour force numbers in …

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