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The 9 at 9: Friday

False Covid cure falls, tragic accident in Ballybunion, and possible windfall tax on energy companies.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

Updated Aug 5th 2022, 8:55 AM

GOOD MORNING.

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

False Covid-19 cures

1. Seizures of the false Covid-19 “cure” Ivermectin – an anti-parasite medication – have fallen in recent months, Garreth MacNamee reports in this morning’s lead story.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) seized just under 40,000 doses of the anti-parasite medication since August last year.

There were more than 8,000 and 6,000 units seized in September and November 2021 respectively, falling to 5,577 in January and to only just over 1,000 in May and June.

Ballybunion beach

2. A man and a woman died yesterday evening after getting into difficulty off the coast of Ballybunion beach in Co Kerry.

Gardaí are treating the incident as a tragic accident.

Local councillor Robert Beasley said the local community is ”shocked and bewildered”. 

Energy

3. The government may consider introducing a windfall tax on energy companies in next year’s Budget, according to the Taoiseach.

A windfall tax – a one-off government tax on an unexpectedly large profit – has been floated after companies’ profits rise amid the cost of living crisis.

“On the other hand, we do want significant investment in renewables into the future, but that said, I think there are significant profits being made all around. We will examine that in the context of the Budget,” The Taoiseach said. 

Getting home

4. Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has said a plan to overhaul licensing laws will include ensuring that people can travel safely after a night out.

The minister will bring a bill to Cabinet in the autumn to allow nightclubs and pubs to open later, she told The Journal.

Expanded public transport services will be necessary when the new law is enacted, she said.

Higher education

5. More than 4,000 applicants will receive third-level offers in the Central Applications Office’s (CAO) ‘Round Zero’ today.

This early round of offers includes people like graduate entry medicine applicants and some mature applicants, deferred and Access applicants and applicants presenting QQI FET/FETAC qualifications for particular courses. 

The offers will be available to view from 10am today and must be accepted by 3pm on 10 August if the applicant is taking up the place.

Banking

6. Almost 300,000 new personal current accounts were opened in the first six months of this year – an average of about 11,000 each week.

The Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) has released its latest data, with a spokesperson saying it shows customers of banks exiting the Irish market are “taking action” and opening current accounts with new providers.

KBC and Ulster Bank both plan to cease operations in Ireland. 

Monkeypox

7. The US has declared a public health emergency over its growing monkeypox outbreak.

More than 6,600 infections have been recorded in the country, which named it an emergency to allocate resources towards fighting it.

Sandy Hook

8. A jury in Texas has ordered a far-right conspiracy theorist to pay over $4 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a six-year-old boy who was killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Alex Jones, the host of an online show that has been banned from YouTube, Spotify and Twitter for hate speech, repeatedly claimed that the shooting was a hoax invented to implement controls on guns.

He admitted during the trial that the attack was real and that he was wrong to have lied about it.

The jury must still decide how much he must pay in punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six educators who were killed in the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut. 

Taiwan

9. Finally, also concerning – though not in – the US, Nancy Pelosi has said that China will not be let isolate Taiwan by preventing American officials from travelling there.

Speaking in Texas on the final leg of her Asia tour, the US House of Representatives speaker said China “may try to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us to travel there”.

Pelosi became the first House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years when she touched down on the island this week.

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About the author:

Lauren Boland

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