‘An amazing day for Ireland’: Punters return to pubs for first time in six months as restrictions lifted across country
Banjo musician Anthony Ward takes a long draught of Guinness and looks like he is savouring every drop.
The Dubliner can’t go back to gigging yet, but he can at least enjoy a proper pint.
“I’ve had one jab myself now so far”, he tells us.
“My next one isn’t until the end of July, so this is literally my first day out.
“I’ve been locked in now for the last year, and I’m no spring chicken either!”
He’s sitting in O’Donoghue’s, a well-known pub on Dublin’s Merrion Row.
As Ireland’s rules relaxed today, allowing outdoor hospitality for the first time in six months, the Dublin institution was able to blow off its cobwebs.
While gastropubs were forced to shut back in December, traditional pubs like O’Donoghue’s which don’t serve food have been shut even longer – since the very first lockdown in March 2020.
“It’s just great sense of relief today, that’s the main feeling”, says co-owner Carol Barden.
“We’re excited to get going and welcome everyone back. It’s great to see the familiar faces coming through the door.”
Her staff ferry pints across the pub’s courtyard to thirsty punters.
It’s estimated that 25,000 bar staff will get back to work today.
“We’re really lucky”, says Ms Barden.
“We’ve all our staff back, it’s a great relief for them and all their families as well.
“It’s been really tough.”
One of her regular customers is Pat Kelleher.
“Today is an amazing day for Ireland,” he says. “It’s just great freedom.
“That word freedom meant nothing to me before, but today, to sit here and have my pint again is very emotional.”
As the sun beat down on a Bank Holiday Monday, many of central Dublin’s outdoor hostelries were packed.
A queue formed outside Grogan’s Castle Lounge, renowned for its ham and cheese toasties.
Like O’Donoghues, it had been shut for almost 15 months.
Customers were exuberant. Laughter and good-natured roaring filled the air, over the soundtrack of one of Dublin’s street buskers.
It all felt very much like a normal Bank Holiday – rather than the first chance a frustrated people had to raise a proper pint all year.
Somalia truck bombing kills 15 people and wounds 40 others
A bombing at a checkpoint in Somalia has killed at least 15 people and wounded 40 others, authorities have said.
Images on social media showed a damaged truck cab on fire and black smoke billowing from the scene in the central city of Beledweyne.
No one has immediately claimed responsibility, including Al Shabaab, which often carries out attacks and controls parts of Somalia.
Police officer Ahmed Aden said the dead included five police officers who fired on the truck in a failed attempt to stop it from ramming into the nearby checkpoint.
Shops nearby were reduced to rubble, with reports of people missing beneath the debris.
It was a truck loaded with explosive devices that forcefully passed through the government-manned checkpoint, and a pick-up vehicle belonging to security personnel was chasing it when it exploded,” said witness Abdikadir Arba, who said he was about 200 metres away and was one of the first responders.
Abdifatah Mohamed Yusuf, director-general of the Hirshabelle Ministry of Humanitarian and Disaster Management, confirmed the deaths.
“Twenty of the wounded have been admitted to Beledweyne hospitals, while another 20 are in critical condition, prompting a request for their airlift to Mogadishu for advanced medical treatment,” he said.
Hirshabelle is a state that includes Beledweyne. It has been the centre of the Somali government’s latest military offensive against extremists from Al Shabaab.
Al Shabaab has been battling Somalia’s central government for more than a decade, aiming to establish its rule based on strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.
Fugitive on run for more than 30 years laughs as he’s finally caught
A fugitive convicted of attempted murder who evaded police for more than 30 years has been caught.
Greg Lawson, who had been on the run for 32 years, laughed and asked officers “how are you doing?” as he was handcuffed in Huatulco, Mexico.
Lawson, 63, fled Louisiana, in the US, just before a jury found him guilty of shooting a man called Seth Garlington in 1991 – sparking an FBI manhunt in May that year.
In a video shared by FBI News Orelans on X, formerly known as Twitter, Lawson is seen wearing a short-sleeve shirt and camouflage cap.
With police officers in escort, he patted someone on the shoulder while laughing, before another officer turned to handcuff him.
Douglas Williams Jr, the agent in charge of FBI New Orleans, said the capture would not have been possible without the help of authorities in Mexico.
“We want to thank our partners and the public in this case, who never gave up hope that justice could be served for Mr Lawson’s victim,” he said.
“There is no doubt that Mr Lawson might still be in the wind if our partners in Mexico had not been willing to deal with this so swiftly.”
The FBI said they had always suspected Lawson was hiding out in Mexico, but a “tip” they received earlier this month appeared to confirm their theory.
He was arrested on Tuesday, 19 September, and was taken into custody back in Louisiana.
According to a local Louisiana news channel, KTBS, Lawson had a “fistfight” with Mr Garlington in a car park at a petrol station.
Court documents, they added, claim Lawson forced Mr Garlington’s vehicle off the motorway, with Lawson then firing shots.
When the jury came back from deliberation to confirm the guilty verdict, Lawson had already run away.
The FBI had offered a $10,000 (£8,200) reward for his capture.
Sweden: Chunk of motorway collapses in landslide – leaving three in hospital
Three people have been taken to hospital after a large chunk of a motorway in Sweden collapsed in a landslide early on Saturday morning.
Several buildings were also damaged, including a Burger King restaurant.
The landslide has affected a total area of around 700 x 200 metres, which is roughly equivalent of 21 football pitches.
“The hardest hit parts of the landslide area measure around 150 x 100 metres,” the Gothenburg Rescue Services added in a statement.
“A number of people have been helped out of vehicles in the slide area with the help of fire personnel and a helicopter.”
Rescue services say further landslides cannot be ruled out.
Police say nobody is suspected of a crime, but an investigation has been launched into whether a construction site nearby caused the landslide.
There has also been heavy rainfall in the area over the past few days.
Swedish news agency TT reported several cars and one truck had fallen into cracks caused by the landslide, while rescue services told public broadcaster SVT all people have been helped out.
Specially trained dogs were on the scene to ensure no people had been overlooked among the debris.
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