Video: Taoiseach defends cost of living strategy, cancelled Aer Lingus flights latest

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Taoiseach vows to focus on childcare, pensions and rising family costs in budget

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the Government will focus on childcare, pensions and rising costs for families as part of the budget.

Mr Martin made the comments as Fianna Fáil members held a special party meeting on Friday to discuss the budget and measures to address the cost of living crisis.

He said the budget will focus on the marginalised, those on low incomes and those who will feel the brunt of inflation.

Describing the party parliamentary meeting as “lengthy and comprehensive”, Mr Martin said more than 100 ideas were mooted in how to address the financial burden on families.

Cancelled Aer Lingus flights

More than 30 flights departing and arriving at Dublin Airport on Friday and Saturday have been cancelled today.

The cancellations impact flights within Europe and the majority are with Aer Lingus, although British Airways and TAP Air Portugal also cancelled one flight each on Friday.

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Aer Lingus has cancelled a total of 31 flights across the weekend, with 21 flights into and out of the airport cancelled on Friday, including nine return services, and 10 further cancellations for Saturday.

"Due to a spike in Covid cases, Aer Lingus has been forced to cancel nine return flights and one direct flight today, Friday 1st July, and three return flights tomorrow, Saturday 2nd July," the airline said in a statement.

Woman describes 'horrendous' experience after Aer Lingus flight cancelled

A woman has described as "horrendous" her experience at Dublin Airport after her flight to London was cancelled one hour after it was due to take off.

Gemma Jones is one of the hundreds of passengers who have been caught up in Aer Lingus flight cancellations this week.

Ms Jones was due on a flight from Dubin to Gatwick just before 6pm on Monday, returning home after a trip to Ireland to visit her partner.

She told BreakingNews.ie: "It was horrendous. We got to the boarding gate around 4.30pm, the flight was supposed to take off at 5.55pm. Nothing happened for a very long time, we just sat around waiting. Nobody came to the gate to tell us anything.

"The time the gate was meant to close passed, there was still nobody from Aer Lingus around. Around 6pm somebody came and said they didn't know what was happening, but they would find some information for us."

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Ms Jones then received a notification from Dublin Airport flight alerts telling her the flight was cancelled.

"I went up to the desk and asked if this was correct, and they said 'we haven't been told it's cancelled, as far as we're aware it's not so stay where you are and somebody will come down and talk to you'."

After an hour since the flight was scheduled to take off, "a worker from another gate came over and said 'oh, should you not have taken off by now?"

"We said 'yeah, what's going on? We don't know anything'. She rang someone, and when she got off the phone said 'I'm sorry to tell you, but your flight is cancelled'."

Joshua Allen jailed for possession of drugs six weeks after release from custody

Joshua Allen, the eldest son of celebrity chef Rachel Allen, has been sent back to prison for seven months arising out of two drugs offences, with the sentencing judge warning the "penny has not dropped" for the 22-year-old in getting his life properly on track.

Allen, of Ballinamona, Shanagarry, Co Cork, appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court on Monday where he was appealing a two-month sentence he previously received after being convicted for the possession of €280 worth of cocaine in July 2020.

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The offence occurred just five weeks after Allen was released from custody having been found in possession of €22,000 worth of cannabis for sale and supply in August 2018.

Allen had received a 30-month sentence, with half of it suspended by a judge in February 2020. However, his re-offending was a triggering offence and Allen came before the court last Monday so Judge Sarah Berkeley could make a determination on whether he should go back to prison.

Irish inflation at 9.6%

Ireland’s estimated annual inflation hit 9.6 per cent in June in new figures released by statistics agency Eurostat that revealed record price rises in the euro zone area.

Consumer price growth in the 19 countries sharing the euro accelerated to 8.6 per cent from 8.1 per cent, Eurostat said on Friday, higher than expectations for 8.4 per cent and driven primarily by energy prices even as food and services also made a marked contribution.

Eight of the 19 Eurozone countries had a lower annual increase than the estimate of 9.6 per cent for Ireland while 10 countries had higher rates. Estonia had the highest estimated annual inflation at 22.0 per cent while Malta had the lowest at 6.1 per cent.

Energy costs in Ireland are estimated to be up 6.2 per cent in the month and up 54.0 per cent since June 2021.

Paid leave for new parents extended to seven weeks

Paid Parent’s Leave and Benefit is being extended to seven weeks.

From today, parents can avail of the leave as part of steps introduced by Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys and Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman.

The measure will see the number of weeks parents can take time off work with financial support from the State increase from five weeks to seven. The support applies to both parents.

Parent’s Leave and Benefit is available to anyone with a child under two years of age or who has adopted a child within the last two years.

The take-up of the leave has increased three-fold since 2020.

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