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The 9 at 9: Friday

Today’s 9 at 9: Gardaí confirm new sighting of Monica Riordan on day she went missing; bed closures at Tallaght hospital; are drink-driving laws leading to suicides?

Image: losminos via Flickr

EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you really need to know with your morning cup of coffee or tea…

1. #MISSING Gardaí have confirmed a new sighting of missing woman Monica Riordan the day she went missing. She was seen on Pearse St at the Macken St Junction at approximately 5pm on Tuesday 20 December. She walked along Macken St from under the railway bridge toward the junction with Pearse St and when seen she “had the appearance of being disorientated and confused”. Yesterday, Monica’s friends renewed their appeal for information on her whereabouts.

2. #TALLAGHT Beds are to be closed in Tallaght Hospital, the Daily Mail says today. There will be 62 out of 627 beds closed to help cut costs. A spokesperson from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Derek Reilly, warned that the closures could lead to more overcrowding, which could then “increase the risk of the winter vomiting bug”.

3. #DRINK DRIVING A coroner has said that the tougher drink-driving laws are increasing isolation for older men in rural areas, leading to suicides. Terence Casey, who works in the south Kerry area, told the Irish Examiner that the laws mean that many older man cannot go to the pub for a pint because they are afraid they will be caught for drink-driving, and this is leading to them feeling isolated.

4. #OSBERSTOWN The detention centre at Osberstown in Co Dublin is still unbuilt, the Irish Examiner says today. It quotes Labour Senator Ivana Bacik describing the situation as “scandalous”. So far, only the gates to the centre have been built. The government said it is still committed to ending the use of St Patrick’s Institution – but the new detention centre is no longer on the capital investment programme.

5.#BELFAST A device that caused homes in north Belfast to be evacuated yesterday was viable, the PSNI has said. The suspicious object was found in the Blackdam Court area of the city in a vehicle. A controlled explosion was carried out on the device and no one was injured. Residents were able to return to their homes yesterday evening.

6.#AFGHANISTAN Four NATO soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. Three of the men were victims of bomb attacks that took place in the southern part of the country, says the Associated Press. It is not yet known what nationalities the soldiers were – their home countries will release their details, NATO said. At least 544 NATO troops died in Afghanistan in 2011.

7. #EU Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is to meet French President Nicola Sarkozy and other senior French politicians today to discuss the eurozone debt crisis. This comes in advance of a summit later this month which will involve all 27 of the EU leaders.

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8. #SWITZERLAND The chairman of Swiss National Bank, Philipp Hildebrand, has said he has no plans to quit his job after it was revealed that his wife made a currency trade just three weeks before Hildebrand imposed a cap on the Swiss franc. Reuters reports that he said: “Looking back, I made mistakes, but I always acted in line with the rules and I can look at myself in the mirror.” He says he did not know his wife had spent 400,000 Swis francs buying dollars in August.

9. #PREGNANT Peaches Geldof, daughter of Bob Geldof, is pregnant. The model/TV presenter/socialite (22) announced she is expecting the baby with her 20-year-old fiancé, musician Thomas Cohen. Her spokesman released a statement saying that Peaches is “utterly thrilled” and that the couple have the full support of both their families.

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