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Walk out of places that do not demand Covid certs, doctors advise public

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A senior Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) doctor has endorsed comments by chief medical officer Tony Holohan that the public should walk out of pubs or restaurants that are not asking for Covid-19 digital certificates.

Ina Kelly, the chair of the IMO’s public health committee, told RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland that hospitality businesses need to follow the protocols which insist that only those who are fully vaccinated can be served indoors.

“If we see places that aren’t safe, it is best not to go into those and we need to encourage businesses to follow the protocols as well as possible,” she said.

“All of this helps us to keep places open while we have a Covid risk in our communities.”

Her comments come in advance of the meeting on Tuesday between representatives of the hospitality industry and Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Officials in the Department of the Taoiseach will brief the hospitality sector on the dangers of the transmission of Covid-19. In advance of the meeting they warned the sector that non-compliance could have consequences for the continuing reopening of society.

Denis McCauley, the chair of the IMO’s GP committee, said the levels of non-compliance with the Covid certs in pubs and restaurants is in the order of one in three to one in two establishments.





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He said Northern Ireland has much higher rates of Covid-19 because it allows unvaccinated people into pubs and restaurants.

“I would hate to think that we could get to the same levels of Northern Ireland,” he said.

Dr McCauley said non-compliance in the hospitality sector is “completely unacceptable” given how hard the sector lobbied to be opened up.

“If you walk into a place and they don’t ask you for your digital cert, leave. If you apply those simple rules when you are doing something it is much easier,” he told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show.

Infectious diseases expert Sam McConkey has warned that antigen testing for children could give false reassurances.

Regular routine testing had a role to play, he told Newstalk Breakfast.

Antigen testing in schools could be of benefit if used correctly, he said, but testing would have to be done on day five and day 10 after possible infection. Testing on other dates could provide negative results which would provide false reassurance.

There was a need to go back to non-pharmacological methods to avoid spread of the virus, he urged, such as mask wearing, sanitisation, social distance.

The vaccine alone was not enough to control spread of the disease, he said.

When asked about booster vaccines, Prof McConkey said they were needed as immunity waned, but the question was when was the optimal time to boost.

It might be better to wait until new vaccines were developed, just as new flu vaccines were developed every year. It was not going to be feasible to have to vaccinate the entire population every three to six months when their vaccine waned.

Prof McConkey said that Niac was right to take its time on the issue of extending the booster campaign. There was an obvious advantage in giving it to the over-60s and the vulnerable, but he did not think that giving it to the over-12s at this stage would make things better.


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Everybody over 16 to get booster shots following Niac recommendations

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Everybody over the age of 16 in the State will now be offered booster shots following a decision by the Department of Health based on advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac).

The booster shot will be offered in order of preference to pregnant women first, then those aged 40 to 49 and finally those aged between 16 and 39 in descending order starting with the oldest first.

They will receive their extra jab in these cohorts at least five months after their last vaccine, but, in the case of those who have been given the one shot Janssen vaccine, the gap will be at least three months.

Those who have had Covid-19 after being fully vaccinated before will have to wait at least six months following infection to receive their dose.

It now means that everybody over the age of 16 will be offered a booster as Niac has already approved the shots for everybody who is 50 or over.

Booster shots were first recommended for those over 80 or those over the age of 65 in nursing homes in September. Last month the programme was extended to 60 to 79 year olds and on November 15th to those between 50 and 59.

This advice received by Niac reflects the recommendations made in respect of booster doses in the latest European Centre of Disease Control (ECDC) rapid risk assessment which recommends that countries should consider a booster dose for all adults with priority being given to people aged 40 years of age and above.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said it will be some time before the new cohorts get their vaccine as they have not reached the recommended gap since the second dose.

“We continue to prioritise boosters because we know that they are having a positive impact on the level of hospitalisation, severe illness and mortality from Covid-19 in those aged over 70,” Mr Donnelly said.

The HSE has started offering walk-in clinics for Covid-19 booster vaccines to people in their 60s and to healthcare workers at designated times through its vaccination centres.

In a speed-up of the booster programme, the walk-in clinics will be available to eligible groups once it has been at least five months since their second dose of a Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca jab in their initial vaccinations, or three months since the individual received the single Janssen vaccine.

The booster rollout will also be accelerated for those who are in their 60s.

Damien McCallion, the HSE’s national lead for vaccinations and testing, said that many of the 470,000 people in their 60s will only become eligible for boosters over the coming weeks.

The walk-in clinics will allow the HSE to administer booster doses more quickly. Details of the times and locations of the walk-in vaccinations are available on the HSE’s website.

“We are very conscious that life has moved on for many people and it isn’t always possible for people to come forward on an appointment basis,” he told the weekly HSE briefing.

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How can I ensure my listed home’s kitchen extension has right approvals? 

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I’m buying a listed property and want to make sure a recent kitchen extension was done with the right approvals. 

How do I check this and protect myself on this front? LP

Before buying a period property, check for the correct consents if any renovation work was carried out

Before buying a period property, check for the correct consents if any renovation work was carried out

MailOnline Property expert Myra Butterworth replies: Before buying a period property with a recent kitchen extension, you will need to check that the relevant consents were sought.

This is because you will inherit the liability for any unauthorised work undertaken by the vendor.

Ultimately, this risk can be removed completely by reversing the works carried out – if that is possible – or by applying retrospectively for consent for the kitchen extension.

There are compromises that can be made, including looking at an indemnity insurance that will cover you and bank against the cost of rectifying unauthorised alterations.

And if you are a cash buyer, then you can decide to proceed on the basis that you will accept the risk for the lack of consent.

Vanessa Rhodes, of law firm Kingsley Napley, said: If you’re looking to buy a house that is listed, it is likely to be a unique and interesting property full of character. You are right that being listed means there are additional controls over any works to the property.

The National Heritage List for England protects buildings of special architectural or historical interest, which are considered to be of national importance. It means listed building consent is required for all works of demolition, alteration or extension to a listed building.

Local planning authorities provide approval for works to listed buildings. Where the works have an impact on the external appearance of the building, planning permission may also be required and should be applied for at the same time. 

For example, this may include building an extension or installing new windows and doors. 

Below, Vanessa covers what you need to know: 

How do I check necessary consents were obtained?

Make sure that you instruct a specialist heritage surveyor to review the property and all the planning and listed building consents for the property to verify the corrects consents were obtained.

This can be in addition to having a regular building survey carried out or some surveyors will do both in one survey. 

The heritage survey should make clear whether the kitchen extension was approved, and what to do if it isn’t. 

You can get heritage surveyors that will do both in one survey and charge the same as a standard building survey but frequently, clients will instruct one in addition to the building surveyor and they are usually slightly cheaper.

Heritage surveys also provide historic building and heritage conservation advice to assist buyers who will be responsible for the practical care of historic buildings.

Your solicitor will review the results of the local authority search for the property, which reveals all the permissions obtained from the local planning authority for the property. 

They will also raise enquiries with the seller to find out if the right consents have been obtained and check that any conditions on the listed building consents have been discharged or, if there are on-going conditions that they are being complied with.

Your solicitor and heritage surveyor will also check to see if the work was done before the building was listed. If this is the case, there will be no issue as no listed building consent will have been needed.

Why is checking important?

It is essential to check if the previous owners obtained the relevant consents because you will inherit the liability for any unauthorised work they undertook.

Given there is no time limit on enforcement action, you may be required to reverse the alteration at any time in the future. In effect, therefore you may potentially have to ‘undo’ or alter the kitchen extension if it lacked approval. 

This could be costly and may reduce the value and your enjoyment of the property, so should be carefully considered before proceeding with the purchase.

It is also a criminal offence not to seek listed building consent when it is required. 

The maximum penalty is two years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine. Not knowing a building is listed, or claiming the works were carried out by a previous owner are not defences to any criminal proceedings.

Your options as a buyer

As the buyer, you need to consider the extent of any liability you might take on before proceeding with the purchase. 

If you find that works have been carried out to the property without the appropriate consents or the listed building consent conditions have been breached, you will need to consider the extent of the breach. 

The heritage surveyor will normally guide you as to whether you will be able to obtain retrospective listed building consent for the breach and which breaches could be problematic.

If the kitchen extension was not approved, there are various things that you can do as part of the conveyancing process to alleviate any stress or anxiety about the consent, and ultimately protect yourself.

The way to remove the risk completely is to reverse the alteration – if possible – or for you or the seller to apply retrospectively for consent for the kitchen extension. 

You may elect to negotiate a conditional contract with the seller, which stipulates that you will only complete the purchase of the property when the seller has obtained retrospective consent for the kitchen extension if it was unapproved.

Most sellers will be reluctant to agree to this approach because if they apply for retrospective consent and are unsuccessful, then it draws the issue to the attention of the local planning authority who are then likely to serve an enforcement notice on the seller in relation to the alterations.

Alternatives include negotiating a price reduction to cover the costs and hassle of obtaining retrospective consent for the extension after completion. 

Any price negotiation should include recognition of the fact that the buyer will be accepting the risk for the lack of consent, and any liability that comes with it.

If you are a cash buyer, then you can decide to proceed on the basis that you will accept the risk for the lack of consent. 

However, if you are using a mortgage, the bank will require you to obtain indemnity insurance, which will cover you and the bank against the cost of rectifying unauthorised alterations. 

You will need to discuss the indemnity insurance policy with your solicitor though as they often include provisions that invalidate the policy if you approach the local planning authority for consent for any works in the future.

For example, if you want to carry out alterations to another part of the property and apply for consent then this could invalidate the policy. 

There are some more bespoke indemnity policies available that might get round this problem but these policies can be costly or have a high excess.

Another factor to bear in mind is that if the kitchen extension was carried out without proper consent, then you, in turn, will have to deal with this problem as part of any future sale of the property unless you and the seller can resolve the issue now, either by removing or adapting the alterations or by obtaining retrospective consent.

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Irish shoppers set to splash €40m on Black Friday spree

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The impact of Brexit, tax changes and global supply chain issues have presented Irish retailers with a chance to win new customers and ensure more spending stays local over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period according to retail groups.

Close to €40 million will be spent by Irish consumers on Friday alone, according to research from AIB, with this weekend now marking the start of the Christmas season for many shops and shoppers.

While deep discounting at the end of November is being resisted by some smaller operations, others have embraced it and are hoping it will be a launchpad for a solid Christmas.

“I think the general view out there is that this first big weekend of the Christmas period and in these more difficult times it is being used as a footfall driver,” said Retail Excellence chief executive Duncan Graham.

He said he understood why some smaller independent retailers continued to resist going into sale so close to Christmas but added that for others it had become an inevitability.

“There have been mixed views,” he said. “In some cases it can be a case of wanting to hold the margins for as long as possible otherwise it ends up being a short season.”

He noted that an air of optimism he had seen across the retail sector at the start of the month had diminished in recent weeks as the trajectory of Covid-19 grew more concerning.

“There is a little bit of unease and anxiety at what might happen in retail and so much will depend on the path of the virus,” he said.

Buy Irish

Bríd O’Connell of Guaranteed Irish said Black Friday should be considered an opportunity for retailers to push more locally sourced products.

“We are asking all shops to stock more Irish suppliers,” she said. “The support for local shops only goes so far if everything the shop stocks comes from China.”

She called on consumers to look towards Irish-made products this weekend. “If you are buying a candle, I really would like to see people buy an Irish luxury candle . . . and if we could all spend an extra €20 or €50 on an Irish product this year that money will stay in the country and make a big difference to the local economy.”

Joann (SIC) Mahon is going all in on Black Friday this year. She owns two retail outlets in Kildare and has an increasingly large digital footprint.

“A lot of people spend a lot of time researching ahead of time and I think that there are more eyes on your business as a result,” she said.

“I embraced Black Friday early and I could really see the impact,” she continued. “Every year it has grown and it can generate long term custom if it done right but most people won’t come back again unless they are properly encouraged to do so.”

She said that since the start of the pandemic she had noticed a bounce in business as more people shopped locally and it had kept going this year. “I haven’t seen the drop off from last year from April of last year. People want to support Irish and that has been boosted by Brexit.”



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