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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C

The 9 at 9 Nine things you need to know before 9am: Gardaí make five arrests in relation to a massive drugs haul; good news for cash-strapped ESB customers; presidential elections in Nigeria; and Stephen Fry is prepared to go to prison.

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

1. #DRUGS Gardaí have arrested five people and seized cannabis plants at three growhouses in Dublin and Co Cavan, RTÉ reports. Almost 1,000 cannabis plants at various stages of growth were seized as part of ‘Operation Nitrogen’ which is investigating an Asian organised crime group. The arrests included four men and one woman who are all believed to be from China.

2. #ESB Good news for cash strapped electricity customers with the ESB now agreeing to extend its discounts for customers to those in arrears, according to the Irish Independent. But the discounts will only to the value of up to €95 a year compared to the savings that those who are up to date will make which could be around €195. There had been considerable pressure for ESB to extend their discounts.

3. #OBAMA IN IRELAND Those unlucky not to be able to access Moneygall, the ancestral home of Barack Obama, when the US president visits next month will be allowed to take part in a street party – but only after Obama has left, according to the Belfast Telegraph. Details of who or how many are to be invited to the actual appearance of Obama in the Offaly village are not yet known.

4. #LIBYA Colonel Gaddafi has been accused of using cluster bombs against his own people. Human Rights Watch alleges that the Libyan leader has been overseeing his forces’ use of the devastating projectile explosives in residential areas of the western city of Misrata. Meanwhile the BBC reports that a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin has ended without a commitment from non-participating states to contribute warplanes.

5. #CORPORATION TAX The enterprise minister Richard Bruton has vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to save Ireland’s current corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent. He was speaking to business leaders in Shannon. The Irish Times also reports that French finance minister Christine Lagarde has said that Ireland could satisfy EU demands and keep its tax rate.

6. #TEACHER A teacher’s claim of sexual harassment or bullying against her colleague at Tullamore College in Offaly was “not credible” a judge ruled yesterday as he dismissed Mary O’Toole’s claim against Jim Mooney at the High Court. O’Toole was said to have herself pursued Mooney romantically, the Irish Independent reports.

7. #NIGERIA Voting is underway in presidential elections in Africa’s largest oil producer. The poll will be the continent’s biggest presidential vote with the appropriately named Goodluck Jonathan the favourite to hold onto the presidency. Although his party did suffer losses in last week’s legislative elections.

8. #HOSPITALS A plan by the HSE to shut 50 per cent of the surgical  facility at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital in Co Limerick for eight months will be “disastrous” for patients according to health unions. Staff were informed of the decision yesterday, reports the Irish Times.

9. #TWITTER JOKE TRIAL Serial tweeter Stephen Fry has said he is “prepared to go to prison” over the infamous ‘Twitter Joke Trial’, BBC reports. Fry was appearing at a benefit gig for Paul Chambers who is appealing to the UK High Court against his conviction for sending a menacing communication at an airport in Nottingham last year.