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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C

The 9 at 9 Nine things to know by 9am: Mullingar assault victim dies, warnings of black ice on roads, how former taoisigh feel the pinch… and a hint for finding a lost wedding ring…

EVERY MORNING, brings you the nine things you need to know as you kick off your day…

1. #ASSAULT: A 20-year-old man who was critically injured in an assault in Mullingar in the days before Christmas has died from his injuries. 20-year-old Andrew Dolan was attacked in the early hours of December 23.

2. #ROADS: Motorists have been urged to take caution on Ireland’s roads this morning, after an overnight freeze – and snow in some parts of the country – left treacherous conditions, and black ice, in many parts of the country.

3. #HARD TIMES: Among those feeling the pinch of the spending cuts in the Budget today are Ireland’s former taoisigh – with the Irish Times pointing out that the New Year means the end of paid secretarial assistants and mobile phone expenses. Hardest hit will be Bertie Ahern – who had received over €377,000 in such expenses since stepping down in 2008.

4. #VITA CORTEX: Protests at the former Vita Cortex plant in Co Cork – where staff are seeking improved redundancy payments – will escalate today when the families of the 32 affected employees join the sit-in which has been continuing there since December 16. SIPTU is also upping its campaign at the former foam packaging plant.

5. #NURSING HOMES: Local-run public nursing homes faced with closure could be taken over by local communities with government support, James Reilly believes. The health minister told the Irish Times’ Martin Wall that the government could intervene to stop public homes from being closed, with ‘different combinations of measures’ available.

6. #VACANT SITES: An Irish body has suggested that vacant or derelict sites around the country – including many of those owned by NAMA – should be used for community projects. The Irish Planning Institute says the sites could be used for low-cost projects and that planning restrictions could be eased.

7. #SYRIA: The Arab League has been urged to withdraw its observer mission to Syria, amid fears that the presence of outsiders was distracting attention from the continued clampdown on anti-government protests.

8. #MURRAY VALLEY: Health authorities in Australia have warned of a possible outbreak of a rare but deadly disease. The mosquito-borne Murray Valley disease has been found in chickens – the first time it has been spotted since the 1970s – and if passed to humans can cause long-term neurological problems.

9. #REUNITED: A Swedish woman has been reunited with her wedding ring – 16 years after losing it – after finding it growing around a carrot in her garden. The Telegraph tells us how the woman took off the ring while doing her Christmas baking in 1995 – when the ring fell into the sink, was mixed with potato peels, and then either composted or fed to a sheep.

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