News & Weather 17th April 2024

News & Weather 17th April 2024

Ireland ranks third in the world, behind Slovakia and Hungary, for number of pubs per capita despite an overall decline, with the drop being offset by a rise in off licences according to analysis from the Health Research Board.

In its latest report, the HRB says that three-in-four people in Ireland live within walking distance of a licenced premises.

The findings are part of a wider study which outlines that – while there was an overall decline in consumption per capita – the average person aged over 15 in Ireland last year consumed 9.9 litres of pure alcohol, which is above the OECD’s average of 8.6 litres.

This, the HRB says, equates to 37 bottles of vodka, 104 bottles of wine or 400 pints of beer.

Almost one-in-three people aged over 15 do not drink at all according to the research, with the number of people abstaining from alcohol up 5% in the four years up to 2022.

The report states that harmful and hazardous drinking patterns are impacting on people’s health as well as health services.

It notes that alcohol-related illness is the 8th leading cause of death in Ireland, saying that one person dies every day due to alcohol-related liver disease, while one-in-five emergency department hospitalisations are due to alcohol.

The report’s lead author, Anne Doyle, says they found that there is a greater density of licenced premises in deprived communities.

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The possibility of petrol and diesel prices breaking the €2-a-litre mark is looking increasingly likely in the coming months. Standard crude oil is expected to pass the high price of $100 a barrel soon, approaching the previous price spike in 2022. The last time prices for barrels rose this high, prices at the pumps went over the €2 threshold.

The price of crude had already risen 20% since the start of the year, and widespread conflict and unrest across the Middle East has left experts expecting spiralling prices.

High prices of €1.85-a-litre can already be seen in petrol stations in Dublin, Galway, Kildare and Roscommon. Average petrol and diesel prices are marginally lower, but are expected to raise nationwide soon. This is bad news for Irish motorists, with excise duty, a tax on goods which was cut in the wake of the energy crisis sparked by the Ukraine invasion, expected to be fully restored by the start of August.

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A Garda appeal to find a missing Kilkenny man has stood down following the discovery of a body this evening.  Thirty-year-old Edward Prendergast had been last seen in the Jamespark area of Kilkenny City at approximately 12.50am on Tuesday, April 16.

An Garda Síochána would like to thank the media and the public for their assistance. 


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TikTok removes 80 million accounts of under-age users every year, an Oireachtas committee has been told.

The revelation came during a Children’s Committee hearing on child protection in the context of artificial intelligence.

Representatives from Meta, TikTok, and X were told by TD’s that “social media is a cesspit” and their companies were not doing enough to protect children.

One of the issues discussed at the committee was age verification of users on apps to protect children.

Meta’s head of public policy in Ireland, Dualta O Broin, suggested a solution to concerns over age verification could be done at App Store level, taking the burden off individual apps – particularly newer companies that see rapid rises in users.

“That would be a step forward,” he said. “It would be a resolution of the age verification question. We would still have huge responsibilities to ensure that all of these users are then placed into an age-appropriate experience.” He said other solutions included the process being done by telecommunications companies or by device. The social media giant, which owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, said it dismantled 27 abusive networks and banned almost half a million accounts for child safety violations between 2020 and 2022.

Fine Gael senator Mary Seery Kearney raised concern about social media platforms’ “deliberate manipulation” of users and resultant “behaviour modification”.

She said the companies at the committee had a business model based on the capture of attention, adding that smartphones should be banned for young people.

Ms Seery Kearney said she wanted to see more time limits on app use, adding: “Social media needs to come with a mental health warning.”
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Weather

Patchy rain and drizzle will spread southwards through the morning and afternoon. Some sunny intervals will develop between spells of light rain later in the afternoon and evening. Highest temperatures of 8 to 12 degrees with light to moderate west to northwest winds.

Generally dry and cloudy, although a few patches of light rain or drizzle will linger. Lowest temperatures of 0 to 6 degrees with winds easing light and variable.