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Dublin: 5°C Tuesday 7 December 2021

The 9 at 9: Sunday

Anti-vaxx claims, cannabis seized in Carlow and Colombia’s most wanted drug trafficker arrested

Image: Shutterstock/Natalia Lisovskaya


Here’s all the news that you need to know as you start your day.

Anti-vaxx claims

1. In our main story today, Stephen McDermott reports on how anti-lockdown groups are suggesting that vaccines aren’t working and breaks down the data that shows otherwise. 

In recent weeks, these groups have leaned on data published by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) every week to claim that the number of Covid-19 deaths since April is higher among vaccinated than unvaccinated people.

This had led to claims that vaccines aren’t working, that unvaccinated people aren’t putting pressure on the health service, and that Ireland is only pushing the use of vaccines because of the government’s links to Big Pharma.

None of these claims are true and there is important context missing from the claims which rely on the HPSC’s data, namely the definition of a ‘vaccinated’ person.

Cannabis seized

2. A man has been arrested after €460,000 worth of cannabis was seized during a Garda stop and search in Carlow yesterday. 

Members attached to the Carlow Detective Unit conducted the stop and search of a vehicle travelling on the M9 motorway. 

The drugs seized will now be sent to Forensic Science Ireland for analysis.

National Maternity Hospital

3. A group campaigning for the independent ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) has said that the fresh proposals for extending the lease of the site are a “smoke and mirrors exercise”.

The Campaign Against Church Ownership Of Women’s Healthcare said the proposals were aimed to deflect from “legitimate concerns” around the ownership of the site, and the “intransigence of an organisation determined to hold on to a valuable asset”.

The campaign group’s comments come after The Irish Times reported that the State is set to take control of the site of the NMH from St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG), who own the Elm Park site in south Dublin. 

Colombia drug trafficker arrested

4. Over to international news, Colombia’s most wanted drug trafficker has been captured by security forces after evading arrest for more than a decade.

President Ivan Duque likened the arrest of Dairo Antonio Usuga, who has avoided imprisonment by corrupting state officials and aligning himself with combatants on the left and right, to the capture three decades ago of Pablo Escobar.

Travel rules relaxed for England

5. In England, Covid-19 travel rules have been relaxed for those returning to the country from today, allowing fully vaccinated holidaymakers to take cheaper lateral flow tests instead of PCRs. 

Sky News reports that the antigen tests must be purchased from a private provider and not those provided by NHS Test and Trace for everyday domestic use. 

Covid figures

6. Back in Ireland, public health officials yesterday confirmed 2,427 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

As of 8am yesterday, there were 449 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 93 are in ICU.

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ICU cases

7. The Taoiseach yesterday warned that up to 150 people could be in intensive care with Covid by the end of November.

Micheál Martin also said he believed there could be an annual vaccine against the virus in the future and added that he could not predict when the country would return to normal following the pandemic.

In an interview with Newstalk FM, Martin said there was concern about the growing number of Covid cases in the country.

Pets and fireworks

8. Halloween is almost upon us and the fireworks have already started in many areas across the country.

Animal welfare organisations have urged members of the public not to use fireworks – which are illegal in Ireland – as they are not only dangerous to those using them, but also frightening for pets. 

Dogs Trust has put together their top tips to help keep your dog happy this Halloween.

Proposal B

9. And over to sport, a motion to restructure the All-Ireland SFC was defeated at Special Congress yesterday afternoon, meaning the status quo will remain in place next season.

Motion 19 (Proposal B) received 85 votes in favour and 83 against in the secret ballot, meaning the league-based championship was defeated with a 50.6% majority – well short of the 60% required.

Motion 18, also known as Proposal A, which proposed to redraw the provincials into four equal conferences, failed to get the required support with 90% of delegates voting against it.

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