in this issue
New variant CJH disease discovered
The country is still reeling from the shock announcement yesterday that the number is expected to increase to at least 19,750 this year, possibly with a high of as much as 20,000. This would represent an unprecedented increase. Some observers are putting it down to the highly unusual performance of the economy in recent years, while others cite the changing demographic makeup of Ireland.
The developments have taken financial analysts by surprise. "Looking at the numbers of recent years", says Granger Stewart of Deloitte & Touche, "We were expecting a figure of mid 18k to 19k. This 20k just came out of nowhere".
Father Peter Delaney, a member of the board of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, disagrees that the figure (picured right) should be any surprise. "Nobody who is doing our kind of work is taken aback by this kind of prediction, in fact we've been expecting it for a while now. After all, think of the social factors involved".
The Dail has been recalled to debate the number, with many calling for concerted action. Fears have been expressed that if the situation is not dealt with in a proactive and targeted fashion we could yet see numbers of an even larger magnitude.