A warning not to cough under any circumstances, an instruction to keep windows open in the driving rain, and glasses fogging up due to a facemask were among the complaints made by learners following the resumption of driver testing by the Road Safety Authority.
The issues were among 61 written complaints made to the RSA since driving testing restarted in mid-July after the Covid-19 lockdown.
One candidate explained how they had asthma and had advised the instructor they had recently changed inhaler and might need to cough.
“I was advised that if I coughed at any stage the test would be over immediately,” wrote the candidate. “This was difficult to control while under exam pressure, and added a huge amount of unnecessary stress.”
Another said it seemed strange that an instructor had only used a mask with them, and not with other people they were dealing with.
“[The staff member] was talking with other Irish without having the mask but to me was … using the mask; is that because I’m from different skin colour?” they asked.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told officials in June that local property tax needed to be reformed and that it was “untenable” to allow so many houses, including those built since 2013, to continue avoiding having to pay.
However, three months later he announced another deferral on changes to the scheme despite vowing that he would “deal with [it]” if re-elected.
The original promise was contained in a submission signed off by Minister Donohoe in June before a new government had been formed.
The Fine Gael politician was told that reform of property tax would need to be prioritised if it was to be changed in this year’s budget.
In a personal note added to the submission, Mr Donohoe wrote: “It’s untenable to continue to allow a growing number of homes outside LPT [local property tax] base.
“One way or other, the Minister for Finance must legislate for this matter in 2020. May be no harm to get legislation done now for a later revaluation date. A government with a majority must deal with this matter, I hope that I can.”
Irish Water had to spend €160,000 on providing water in Achill Island after aluminium levels skyrocketed to five times recommended levels.
Records released by the water utility reveal how at one stage aluminium levels in the water rose above 1,000 micrograms per litre … when the recommended maximum safe amount in drinking water is 200 micrograms.
Irish Water said they had contracted a third party supplier to provide tankered water on the Co Mayo island during the peak tourist season.
The total cost of this over the 28-day period of the water warning came to €160,000, or the equivalent of more than €5,700 daily.
Internal records reveal that pressure on water supply in the area was such that pumping water into tankers for Achill threatened to cause shortages in the Westport and Castlebar area.
The problems were being compounded by frequent bursts on the mains water pipe on Achill whenever the raw water supply was switched off.
As a result, Irish Water laid a new pipe on the island to help deliver a continuous supply of water to the Achill water treatment plant.
The internal records – which were released following a request under Access to Information on the Environment Regulations – show how the plant reached capacity with rising water temperatures on 7 August.
An email said: “The plant cannot cope with demand and there’s a serious problem with water quality.”
A dog being left sitting on a table, just a single toilet on a two hour train ride, and passengers vaping and drinking were among more than 690 complaints made to Irish Rail about Covid-19 measures over the past four months.
Figures show that there were 176 complaints received in June with a steep rise in July when the rail operator logged 280 from disgruntled passengers.
There was a fall-off in August to 149 complaints, and a sharp drop in the number received by Irish Rail in September at just 86.
A sample of complaints released by Irish Rail under FOI reveal a variety of complaints including one of two passengers who travelled with their dog from Dublin to Cork.
The HSE feared losing public confidence over a flaw in the Covid-19 tracking app that was draining the batteries of some mobile phones.
Internal emails reveal how 12,000 people had deleted the app within a matter of hours of the problem first being reported.
At one stage, the loss of users was down by more than 83,000, according to records released in response to a Freedom of Information request.
The development team working on a fix were told it was needed “ASAP” and that time sensitivity on solving the problem was key.
One email said: “We’re back into a work week tomorrow and people will not be able to survive without a phone; the risk is that we lose public confidence and start seeing high rates of deletion.”
Developers were also worried that fixing the issue might create new problems but were “sprinting” to push out an update for the app.
An email sent from Google to the HSE said: “This issue is our highest priority – we’ve been sprinting on a fix that we can push out as fast as possible without creating risk of inadvertently making things worse.”