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The 9 at 9 Nine things you really, really need to know by 9am: travellers face chaos as they try to get home for Christmas; gardaí launch an investigation into Sunday Independent claims on cocaine use in RTE; and the rape case against Julian Assange “may be less flawed” than thought.

Every morning, brings you nine things you really need to know with your morning coffee.

1. #BRRR: Travellers are facing chaos right across Europe as they try to get home for Christmas. Flights have been cancelled in Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands. Dublin airport is fully operational but warning that disruption to flight schedules is likely because of conditions in other European airports. Locally, temperatures in the West of Ireland are as low as minus 14 in some places. One in four schools is likely to be closed today, the Irish Primary Principals Network has warned. Met Eireann is warning that freezing temperatures are due to last right up until Christmas Eve.

2. #GERRY RYAN: The Garda Síochána has taken the unusual step of issuing a denial of yesterday’s claims by the Sunday Independent that the force covered up for high-profile drug abusers, and said it has launched a full investigation into the claims which, it claims, are “without any apparent grounding in fact”. It intends to interview Aengus Fanning and journalist Jim Cusack.   RTE has issued a robust denial of the claims that there was a tolerance of drug abuse in the organisation, but acknowledged that its coverage of issues around cocaine use was “less than it could have been” last week.

3. #BANKS BILL: The ECB has “serious concerns” about the scope of the credit institutions (stabilisation) bill. It is concerned that the bill is insufficiently legally certain on a number of key issues, and that it could usurp the ECB’s own rights over the collateral given as security for bailout, the Irish Times reports. The President has yet to decide if she will refer the bill to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.  Meanwhile, the BBC reports that the ECB is concerned that the size of the bailout to Ireland could affect its ability to provide further support to eurozone members.

4. #QUIET MEN: The Irish Daily Mail has published a list of the Dáil’s ten worst contributors – and concludes that Jacke Healy Rae cost us €14,142 for every word he spoke in the Dáil chamber in 2010. Bertie Ahern was even worse value: he didn’t speak a single word all year

5. #CANAL DEATHS: Gardaí believe that the two people who drowned in the canal at the weekend died after the woman, Wendy Atkinson, fell in – and her friend, Robert Sneedon, jumped in to try and save her, several reports this morning suggest. They were homeless and living under the Suir bridge in Inchicore, The Sun adds.

6. #RENT ARREARS: One in four Dublin city council tenants has fallen into rent arrears of 12 weeks or more, with the total reaching €20 million by the end of this year, according to The Irish Times.

7. #ASSANGE: The New York Times has gotten a look at the leaked Swedish report against Julian Assange – and concludes that it “could be less flawed than Mr Assange’s supporters have claimed”.

8. #FACEBOOK CRIMES: Crimes linked to the social networking site Facebook have increased by 7,000 per cent, the Daily Mail claims.

9. #SOLSTICE: In an unusual celestial coincidence, dawn sunlight will beam into the passage grave at Newgrange tomorrow morning – at the precise moment that a full moon passes out of a total lunar eclipse. The last time this happened was 450 years ago.

We’ll be compiling a slideshow of photographs to celebrate the Winter Solstice tomorrow, so please email your full moon, solstice or dawn photographs to, or tweet them to us.