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Taoiseach raises possiblity of holidays abroad and indoor pints in late July

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has raised the possibility of holiday travel within Europe resuming in late July or August if the risks associated with Covid-19 are low enough to allow it.

The Taoiseach said that Ireland will participate in the so-called “EU Digital Passport’ and a high-level group in Government was working on the technology required, as well as working out how to implement it.

He said that as vaccinations programmes increased throughout Europe it could open up possibilities later this summer.

“As Europe vaccinates in sync the travel situation opens up. The US and other countries will also be well advanced at the end of the summer,” he said in an interview on Morning Ireland on RTÉ.

Asked will it mean that holidaymakers will be able to fly to France and Spain in late July and August, he said that the advice was certain for May and June that people should avoid all non-essential travel.

However, he said the situation would open up more in July if transmission rates were in keeping with predictions of them declining.

“We cannot stay disconnected forever. Ireland is a globalised country,” he said.

“We have to assess all the risks as we move forward. Travel resuming towards the latter half of July is a possibility,” he said.

In a separate interview on Newstalk Mr Martin said it might be possible to have an indoor pint by late July, again depending on the extent of vaccination and case numbers.

Asked if fans could have an indoor pint and then go to the All Ireland final (in August), he said: “It’s a possibility. I do not want to be nailing my colours to the mast (but) by that time there will be a significant number of vaccinations,” he said.

During the course of the interview Mr Martin said the vaccination programme was a key factor in suppressing the virus and had a “transformative effect on the cohorts vaccinated so far.”

He said reopenings, during May in particular, would be cautious and gradual and the Government would have no hesitation in intervening if numbers began to rise.

“In the past we have intervened. We have delayed reopening. We will assess towards the end of May for June and beyond,” he said.

“We will not be afraid to intervene if there are worrying trends in this.”

He did not discount the possibility of county lockdowns but said the National Public Health Emergency Teams’s advice had been a “national approach on management” given the transmissibility of the B117 (UK) variant.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan also has said he expects that international travel will return this year, but not until later in the summer.

Mr Ryan told Newstalk Breakfast that there were many details that needed to be worked out before international travel could resume and he could not give an exact date.

“I expect we will open international travel, but we have to be very careful, as we don’t want to create false expectations. Whether it’s going to visit a friend or family, or for work, or whether for some people it’s for a holiday, when I say open up international travel, it’s for a variety of different purposes.

“I don’t want to give an exact date, as we have to work with our European colleagues in having an international system.”

Mr Ryan estimated that it would be later in the summer and that timelines would be revealed in the next two months.

On the economy Mr Martin reiterated there would be no “cliff-edge” report and said there would be particular supports for the sectors that were harder hit than others. He said the Government would reveal the national economic recovery plan with a new direction and approach towards the end of May.

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URW rolls out Westfield brand to three new destinations

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Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) unveiled plans to rebrand three flagship centres, rolling out the Westfield brand to Parquesur in Madrid, Taby Centrum in Stockholm, and Galeria Mokotow in Warsaw this fall. The rebranding continues the expansion of the Westfield brand in Europe as the company drives new revenues through media advertising and brand experiences, turning its huge footfall of 550 million visits across its European assets into a qualified audience, while also leveraging the Westfield brand’s significant value to retailers, who see over 20%2 higher sales at URW’s centres even when compared to other A-category malls.

 

The flagship destinations share a number of characteristics in addition to being among the most important retail centres in their respective markets: they are set in excellent locations with unrivalled transport options, have distinctive architectural and design features and a best-in-class approach in terms of customer experience, community engagement, and sustainability practices. To celebrate the launch of the Westfield brand at these assets, each destination will host festive consumer events which will be announced later this year.

 

Caroline Puechoultres, Chief Customer Officer of URW, said: “The rebranding of these centres continues our strategy to expand Westfield to Flagship European destinations in the wealthiest cities and catchment areas. The significant opportunity afforded to both retailers and brands by this increasingly digitally linked network of destinations is unparalleled – through Westfield our partners can reach tens of millions of European consumers, driving new possibilities in advertising, brand marketing and retail.”

 

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Farrow & Ball’s colour guru on her converted schoolhouse and four for sale

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You may not be familiar with her name, but Joa Studholme is the person responsible for many of the colours in posh living rooms and kitchens throughout Britain.

Mrs Studholme is the colour curator for Farrow & Ball, a job title that sparks curiosity about what her own living room looks like, and what type of property she lives in.

Her home is an 19th century converted schoolhouse overlooking the hills of Somerset, which has inspired some popular Farrow & Ball colours, including one named School House White.

Pictured: Joa Studholme is the colour curator for Farrow & Ball and has used its School House White colour in the living room of her 19th century converted schoolhouse in Somerset

Pictured: Joa Studholme is the colour curator for Farrow & Ball and has used its School House White colour in the living room of her 19th century converted schoolhouse in Somerset

The woodwork and beams in the living room of her home are painted in a colour called Drop Cloth, which is another of her Farrow & Ball creations

The woodwork and beams in the living room of her home are painted in a colour called Drop Cloth, which is another of her Farrow & Ball creations

She moved to the property four years ago with her husband Andrew and their their two children. The children have since grown up and left home.

The unique property proved to be a perfect blank canvas for the Farrow & Ball colour chart, particularly the spacious living area. 

The room has vaulted double-height ceilings and was once the main classroom of the old school. It is painted in Farrow & Ball’s School House White – a colour that Mrs Studholme created especially for this particular property.

The woodwork and beams are painted in a colour called Drop Cloth, which is another of her Farrow & Ball creations.

Mrs Studholme told MailOnline Property: ‘When one chooses to live in an old schoolhouse, it is the size and the light that is so compelling, so as a general rule I feel that these outsize rooms should be kept a soft white – these special buildings deserve to be left in their iconic simple state.

‘When I moved to my old schoolhouse I mixed a colour to soften the bright white interior walls – now Farrow & Ball’s School House White – and painted the exterior windows in Archive Colour Black Blue to match the cows in the surrounding fields. 

‘Although it felt like a strange concept to me to be living in a white room, I actually find it extremely relaxing. And of course, the smaller rooms have all been packed with glorious colour.’ 

We take a look at four former schoolhouses for sale online, around different areas of the county, which have been converted into large family homes.

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘If you’re looking for a quirky property that’s brimming with history, it might be worth considering a converted schoolhouse. 

‘Many of these types of properties are brimming with characterful features and have the potential to be truly spectacular homes.’ 

1. Five-bed house, Oxfordshire, £850k

This former schoolhouse is in the village of East Challow, Oxfordshire, and is being sold for £850,000 via Connells estate agents

This former schoolhouse is in the village of East Challow, Oxfordshire, and is being sold for £850,000 via Connells estate agents

The Grade II listed property is an attractive example of Victorian Gothic architecture and now includes four bedrooms, plus a self-contained annexe

The Grade II listed property is an attractive example of Victorian Gothic architecture and now includes four bedrooms, plus a self-contained annexe

This Grade II listed former schoolhouse was built in 1865 and converted into a family home in the 1960s.

It mixes the old and the new, with a new bespoke oak staircase and oak doors working in harmony with the original fireplace and exposed beams.

The property is an attractive example of Victorian Gothic architecture and now includes four bedrooms, plus a self-contained annexe.

It is in the village of East Challow, Oxfordshire, and less than five minutes by car to Wantage High Street. It has a price tag of £850,000 and is being sold by Connells estate agents.

2. Five-bed house, Cornwall, £795k

This five-bed detached house in the Cornish hamlet of Tresmeer is on the market for £795,000 and is being sold by Open House estate agents

This five-bed detached house in the Cornish hamlet of Tresmeer is on the market for £795,000 and is being sold by Open House estate agents

The original school room is 40 feet long and is now a living room with a wood-burning stove and a dining room with exposed beams

The original school room is 40 feet long and is now a living room with a wood-burning stove and a dining room with exposed beams

The property was originally built in the mid 1870s and ran as a school for about 100 years before closing around 1966 and being converted into a family home

The property was originally built in the mid 1870s and ran as a school for about 100 years before closing around 1966 and being converted into a family home

This five-bedroom detached house in the Cornish hamlet of Tresmeer, near the town of Launceston.

The original school room is 40 feet long and is now a living room with a wood-burning stove and a dining room with exposed beams.

The property was originally built in the mid 1870s and ran as Tresmeer Primary school for some 100 years before closing around 1966. It has since been converted into a family home.

It is on the market for £795,000 and is being sold by Open House estate agents.

3. Eight-bed house, Shropshire, £650k

The Old School House in Telford, Shropshire, is being sold by Purplebricks estate agents with an asking price of £650,000

The Old School House in Telford, Shropshire, is being sold by Purplebricks estate agents with an asking price of £650,000

The living room includes wooden beams and a large solid stone fireplace with exposed brickwork

The living room includes wooden beams and a large solid stone fireplace with exposed brickwork

The Old School House in Telford, Shropshire, was renovated in 2001 and then updated by its current owners between 2011 and 2019.

The living room includes wooden beams and a large solid stone fireplace with exposed brickwork.

The property includes an annexe with large bi-folding doors overlooking the garden. It is being sold by Purplebricks estate agents with an asking price of £650,000.

4. Five-bed house, Berwickshire, £595k

This five-bedroom house in the Scottish village of Ladykirk, Berkwickshire, is on the market for £595,000 and the sale is being handled by George F White estate agents

This five-bedroom house in the Scottish village of Ladykirk, Berkwickshire, is on the market for £595,000 and the sale is being handled by George F White estate agents

The property sits on a plot of just under half an acre and the building was fully renovated by the current owners in 2004

The property sits on a plot of just under half an acre and the building was fully renovated by the current owners in 2004

This five-bedroom house in the Scottish village of Ladykirk, Berkwickshire, dates back to 1859.

The property sits on a plot of just under half an acre and the building was fully renovated by the current owners in 2004.

It is on the market for £595,000 and the sale is being handled by George F White estate agents.

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Childcare and transport measures being examined -Tánaiste

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The Government is looking at further measures to help with the cost of living crisis, in particular focusing on childcare and public transport proposals, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar has said these were areas the Government could help and do more .

The Tánaiste was speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on Thursday, after Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Pearse Doherty said the Government had “lost control” of the cost of living crisis.

Mr Doherty said the crisis was reducing the living standards of low and middle income households, and that workers and families were “really struggling”.

The Donegal TD said while many factors were beyond the State’s control in terms of rising prices, “soaring rents and unaffordable childcare are not beyond the control of this Government”.

“In many ways, they have reached such unaffordable levels because of Government policy,” Mr Doherty said. “The Government can and must respond.

“We in Sinn Féin fully recognise that every household can’t be protected from every single price increase, but low and middle income households must be supported and in this regard, the Government has lost control of the cost of living crisis.”

He said electricity bills had risen by 28 per cent, gas bills by over 50 per cent, the cost of home heating oil had almost doubled and rents had increased by up by 12 per cent.

Mr Doherty said the most vulnerable in society were being faced with choices of “whether they should eat or heat their homes” and that “shamefully” the Government had not increased social welfare rates in response to historic levels of inflation.

He said his party had been consistent for many months calling for a “mini budget” to support low and middle income households and asked Mr Varadkar were the Government planning to introduce any further measures.

In response, the Tánaiste said the Sinn Féin TD had not acknowledged the measures already implemented by the Government to help with the cost of living which was “not fair”.

He said there had been packages of measures totalling €2.4 billion which was “considerable and more than would be the case in any budget”.

Mr Varadkar said there were areas where the Government “can help and can do more” such as childcare and the cost of public transport adding “we are working on proposals in those areas”.

Mr Varadkar said inflation was at levels “we haven’t seen for a very long time”.

“People are feeling the pinch and it’s more than a pinch, a lot of people are struggling to make ends meets. It’s affecting households, families and also businesses in terms of the cost of energy,” he said.

“People see it when they fill their car with petrol or diesel, you really see it when you see your electricity or gas bill, and increasingly you’re starting to see it in other areas such as the cost of groceries as well.

“It is true that those affected the most are those on the lowest incomes, because they spend more of their incomes on food and energy than people on middle and higher incomes do but I don’t think it’s the case that it’s only affecting people on low to middle incomes.

“People on average incomes of €40,000 to €50,000 a year, working full-time are being affected too.”

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