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The 9 at 9: Friday

Fraud probe launched by gardaí and over 700 money mule transactions this year.
Aug 6th 2021, 7:44 AM 11,265 0

Updated Aug 6th 2021, 8:49 AM

GOOD MORNING.

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

Fraud 

1. In our main story today, Garreth MacNamee reports that gardaí have launched a fraud probe into a specialist student travel agency suspected of having obtained large volumes of cash from English language students in Ireland on a false basis. 

The English Language Students’ Union, which is working to support the students who have been left out of pocket, estimates that up to €250,000 was obtained from them by the company in question. 

Directors of the company are believed to have left Ireland in the last six weeks and are suspected to have travelled to Mexico. 

Money mules

2. Over 700 ‘money mule’ transactions with a total value of more than €5 million took place using Irish bank accounts during the first half of this year.

New figures released today show that the vast majority of the incidents identified involved bank accounts belonging to people aged between 18 and 24.

Money mules are people who allow their bank accounts to be used by criminals.

Zappone saga 

3. As the Katherine Zappone aftermath trundles on, Fine Gael senator Seán Kyne said the 50-person gathering on 21 July at the Merrion Hotel was lawful, but didn’t meet the Covid-19 guidelines.

Calls have been made for the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to make a further statement on the event last month at which he was in attendance for 45 minutes. 

Climate change 

4. The Atlantic Ocean’s major current, which influences weather systems worldwide, may have been losing stability over the course of the last century, a new scientific study said today.

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), to which the Gulf Stream belongs, transports warm water masses from the tropics northward at the ocean surface and cold water southward at the ocean bottom.

This plays a major role in creating the relatively mild temperatures found in Europe, notably in Ireland.

No booking required

5. Walk-in Covid vaccination clinics will operate again over this weekend, with some open from later this afternoon.

The clinics were open for the first time last weekend and over 30,000 people received a jab.

More than half of those who attended last weekend had not already registered on the HSE’s online portal and 65% were below the age of 20. 

Meath crash

6. A teenage girl died and two other people were injured in a collision in Co Meath yesterday.

A 17-year-old girl was pronounced dead at the scene. A man aged in his 20s was brought to Beaumont Hospital where his condition is described as serious.

A third person, a man aged in his late teens, was brought to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown to be treated for his injuries, which are understood to be non-life threatening.

Assassin’s Creed

7. Tourism Ireland spent almost €50,000 on a marketing campaign to tie in with the release of the new instalment of hit video game Assassin’s Creed.

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The latest expansion of the Valhalla series ‘Wrath of the Druids’ saw gamers travel virtually to Ireland with the Giant’s Causeway, Benbulben, and the Hill of Tara all featuring.

For the first time ever, Tourism Ireland collaborated directly with gaming streamers using influencers on the popular streaming platform Twitch in France, Germany, Britain, and Scandinavia.

Sydney lockdown 

8. Australia’s hope of returning to ‘Covid zero’ suffered a fresh blow today, as Sydney reported another record number of new infections and authorities warned residents to brace for worse to come.

For a second day in a row, New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian said Australia’s most populous state today hit a new peak with 291 cases detected.

“At least 50 of those were infectious in the community,” Berejiklian said, foreshadowing more cases to come, despite a lockdown that is now in its sixth week.

More rain

9. And finally, the weather prospects are still relatively gloomy with a Status Yellow thunderstorm and rain warning issued for 23 counties from 9am today until 9am tomorrow.

Met Éireann has forecast thundery spells of rain for Connacht, Ulster, north Leinster and north Munster.

The national forecaster said this will lead to localised flooding and hazardous driving conditions – particularly in Kerry, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary where longer spells of rain are expected.

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Orla Dwyer

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