Senior EU figures are contemplating a major reset in relations with the UK that would coincide with the formal ratification of the free trade agreement at the end of April, RTÉ News has learned.

The idea would be for both sides to work towards a package of solutions around the outstanding issues of the Northern Ireland Protocol, as well as other areas of tension, such as the status of the EU’s delegation to the UK.

Senior figures have confirmed to RTÉ News that a formal, set-piece event marking the ratification of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA), which was concluded by both sides on Christmas Eve, could inaugurate a more harmonious relationship.

It is understood very tentative discussions have been under way at a senior level between officials in Brussels and London.

There has been a fractious start to the new post-Brexit relationship from the beginning of January, with simmering tension over the Northern Ireland Protocol, vaccine procurement, the diplomatic rights of the EU ambassador to the UK, and the alleged discrimination against citizens from a number of eastern European member states over UK work visas.

The fear among senior EU officials is that unless there is a clear reset then the relationship could become one of perpetual tension.

Some observers have seen the appointment of David Frost, the former UK Brexit negotiator, to the role of overseeing the future relationship as reflective of a dynamic that could be more about confrontation than co-operation.

The European Parliament is expected to formally ratify the TCA on 24 March, meaning national capitals would give their final and formal consent to the treaty early to mid-April.

Senior figures envisage a possible “handshake” moment involving British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU leaders that would symbolically mark a new, more harmonious era in relations.

This would ideally coincide with both sides signing off on a package of solutions to the most contentious outstanding issues, especially the Northern Ireland Protocol and the London embassy issue.

However, it is understood that there would have to be hard negotiations in the coming weeks in order to provide the political space for a genuine reset.

The Northern Ireland Protocol remains the most difficult issue, following the European Commission’s move to invoke Article 16 at the end of January.

Demands by unionists for the protocol to be scrapped have thus far fallen on deaf ears, but London and Brussels remain some distance apart on how to resolve the deepening antagonism over trade barriers on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

In December, both sides reached agreement on how to implement the protocol, which came into effect on 1 January.

A grace period, during which Northern Ireland supermarkets importing huge volumes of food from Great Britain would be absolved from needing expensive and cumbersome documentation, expires on 1 April.

A meeting on Wednesday of the EU-UK Joint Committee, co-chaired by commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and his UK counterpart Michael Gove, concluded with no real breakthrough on the outstanding issues.

It is understood Mr Šefčovič has requested another joint committee meeting before the end of March, ahead of the deadline for the grace period to end.

The UK has asked for two grace periods, related to food safety rules, to be extended until 1 January 2023.

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is underway. Supplies of vaccines are in production but they are limited at the moment. Vaccines are being given as soon as possible after they arrive in Ireland. Our priorities are safety and working to protect people as quickly as we can.

People who are most at risk from COVID-19 are being vaccinated first.

You do not need to contact us to get your COVID-19 vaccine. We will let you know when you can register for your vaccine through your healthcare team, news or public advertising.

Groups currently being vaccinated

The people currently being vaccinated against COVID-19 are:

Next groups to be vaccinated

After people over 85 have been vaccinated, we will continue to vaccinate the rest of group 3 at different stages.

COVID-19 vaccination will be offered to the next groups as soon as possible.

See the full list of provisional vaccine groups on

Because supplies of vaccines are limited at the moment, it is not possible to give an exact time for the vaccination of the next groups. We understand this is disappointing as so many people are looking forward to getting their vaccine.

We will publish more information about these later phases when they have been agreed. The rollout of vaccines will only be limited by supply. There will be no build-up of stock.

Read more about getting your COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccination progress updates

See the latest updates on numbers of vaccines given to date. This includes details on which group people are in and which vaccines are being used.

See the latest figures on the vaccination programme GeoHive dashboard

Group 1

People aged 65 and older who live in long-term care facilities

People over 65 who live in long-term care facilities were the first group to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine. This is because they have a greater risk of serious illness if they get COVID-19.

The schedule for long-term care facilities will change from week to week. Vaccination may be delayed if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in a facility. Our vaccination teams give the vaccines to residents and staff at each of the locations. Vaccinators make 2 separate visits, 4 weeks apart.

How you will get your vaccine

Residents will get their vaccine through their home.

Group 2

Frontline healthcare workers

Frontline healthcare workers were the second group to be offered COVID-19 vaccines. This is because they have a greater risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.

We are now vaccinating at hospital and community services sites around the country, and at special clinics for GPs and their practice staff.

How you will get your vaccine

Frontline healthcare workers will get their vaccine through their workplace.

Find out how to register for your COVID-19 vaccine if you are a frontline healthcare worker

Group 3

People aged 85 and older

People aged 85 and older living in the community are the first people in group 3 to be vaccinated. This is because they are at greater risk from COVID-19.

How you will get your vaccine

If you are over 85, you do not need to register for your vaccine. Your GP will contact you when your vaccine is available.

Most people in this group will be vaccinated at their own GP surgery. Some GPs who work in smaller practices will join together. Some people will be invited to attend a vaccination centre.

If you do not have a GP, call the COVID-19 helpline for advice.

We will make arrangements for anyone in this group who has trouble travelling or cannot leave home to get their vaccine.

People aged 70 and older

After people over 85 are vaccinated, we will start vaccinating the rest of group 3.

Vaccinations will be offered in this order:

  1. People aged 80 and over.
  2. People aged 75 and over.
  3. People aged 70 and over.

We will let you know when it’s your turn to get your COVID-19 vaccine. You will get an invitation from your healthcare team, news or public advertising.

Later phases of the COVID-19 vaccination programme

Later phases will focus on the next groups.

The next groups to be offered COVID-19 vaccines are:

  • other healthcare workers not in direct patient contact (group 4)
  • people aged 65 to 69, prioritising people with medical conditions which put them at high risk of severe disease (group 5)

Conditions which make you a priority member of group 5 include:

  • chronic heart disease, including hypertension with cardiac involvement
  • chronic respiratory disease, including asthma requiring continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission
  • type 1 and 2 diabetes
  • chronic neurological disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • body mass index (BMI) greater than 40
  • immunosuppression due to disease or treatment
  • chronic liver disease
  • cancer
  • Down syndrome
  • having received an organ transplant
  • sickle cell disease

See the full list of provisional vaccine groups on

The provisional list of groups for vaccination may be changed by Government based on new information or changes in vaccine supply. Our priority is to protect the people who are most likely to have a poor outcome or die if they get COVID-19.

Where you will be vaccinated

You may be vaccinated through a:

  • vaccination centre
  • GP surgery
  • community pharmacy

This will be done by qualified and trained healthcare workers, including hospital doctors, community medical officers, nurses, GPs and pharmacists.

You do not need to contact us to get your COVID-19 vaccine. We will let you know when you can register for your vaccine through your healthcare team, news or public advertising.

Vaccination centres

37 HSE vaccination centres have been confirmed. Many people will be offered their vaccination in these centres and you will be able to register for your vaccine online.

Each vaccination centre varies in size. They have been selected based on population density, ease of access, public transport and parking. There will be at least one vaccination centre in every county.

COVID-19 vaccines being offered

There are 3 COVID-19 vaccines currently licensed for use in Ireland.

These are the:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (also known as “Comirnaty”)
  • Moderna vaccine
  • AstraZeneca vaccine


From Galway to Dublin, Donegal to Cork, thousands of Irish people each year make the decision to start a life down under in Australia. Australia offers a wide array of jobs in a vast array of sectors, from natural resource mining and construction, to IT and banking; there’s something for everyone.

For those thinking about, or already planning a move to Australia there are many things to take into consideration; the following is a list of crucial areas that every potential emigrant from Ireland should have covered before they arrive in Australia and also some tips on how to make your move as seamless as possible.


  1. Prepare your legal documents.

We cannot overstate the importance of this; along with your passport you will need to bring other documents which will include birth certificates, college transcripts, proof of work permits and visa receipt, marriage licence if applicable, and drivers licence if you intent on driving. Remember to make duplicates of these and store them separately.


  1. International shipping and moving companies.

This is another aspect that we advise organising well in advance of your departure, moving your whole life to the other side of the world is not something you want to leave until a month before you leave, however with the right preparation you can have this taken care of in advance and it will be one less thing you have to worry about before leaving. Many shipping companies today can provide temperature controlled storage for your belongings when they arrive in Australia, which will keep your furniture etc in outstanding working condition for when you and your family arrive.

At Prolink we offer a complete removal service that covers everything from unload and unpack at your destination, to  packing and unpacking, export wrapping , dis-assembly of furniture and even customs brokerage. Remember that it is imperative to employ a company that have existing working relationships with international agents. If you are going to Australia for an unknown period of time, make sure to also get any property that you are leaving in Ireland in order, there is a plethora of storage options available in this country so find the one that suits your needs best.


  1. Research immigration regulations and laws.

We live in a constantly changing world and for this reason immigration rules have a tendency to change regularly, this can be for a number of reasons, security and economic changes can have some of  the biggest affects on immigration rules. Also remember that there are vast differences in the regulations for immigrants who are coming into Australia as ‘skilled’ ‘unskilled’ or ‘retiree’s’, in most cases your assets may be subject to scrutiny.


  1. Inform yourself about your planned destination.

Between friends and family who may have been to your planned destination previously and the internet, you can find vast information on any destination on the planet. Expat websites are always a great resource as well as traveller blogs and social media pages. Check out sites such as


Websites like these can not only offer you great insight into life in a certain territory or city, but also help you meet current expats before you even arrive.


  1. Insurance.

There are many different kinds of insurance that you will need to think about before you depart for Australia, research these in detail and well in advance of departure. The most important areas that you need to take into account when it comes to insurance are:

  • Insuring your property when shipping internationally: Finalise your transit and destination coverage.
  • Health insurance: Australia has strict guidelines when it comes to your personal healthcare needs and insurance, information of which can be found here
  • Vehicle Insurance: If you intend on operating a vehicle in Australia, make sure that you have an up to date full Irish driving licence as it can be difficult to complete your lessons and test down under if you are not citizen of Australia; also look around and get some quotes from different insurance companies so that you have an idea of what it will cost you to operate the vehicle of your choosing when you arrive.


  1. Banking

A vital aspect of your transition to a life in Australia must include good financial planning. Internet banking is a great way of monitoring and transferring funds around the world but we would suggest setting up an Aussie bank account as soon as you arrive or even prior to departure if possible. We would also advise setting up a prepaid ‘top up’ style card. Companies like O2 provide services such as the ‘O2 money card’ which can be topped up online and used wherever you see the ‘Visa’ sign. Options like this are always great to have as a payment alternative in a new country.



These are the most important areas that you should focus on prior to your move, there are many checklists that you can find online that you can use as additions to this guide and will hopefully make your move as easy and stress free as possible; for more information on the moving packages that we provide at Prolink please contact us at:

Tel: 1 890  815 633 Mobile:  +353 (0)85 7656467 or Email us at:

Also be sure to stayed tuned to our blog for regular national and international moving tips and info.

Contact Us

Galway: +353 91 779636
Dublin: +353 1 5313838
Mobile: +353 (0)85 7656467