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The 9 at 9: Sunday

Child benefit delays, J1 visas and protests across the United States


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

Child benefit

1. This morning Aoife Barry writes that delays of ‘two or three months’ in registering births are being reported by parents in Ireland, leading to knock-on delays in accessing child benefit.

These delays are in turn meaning delays in registering newborns for free healthcare and passports, for example.

The delays are caused by the cyber attack on the HSE, which took place from mid-May to the end of July. HSE online systems had to be shut down as a result, and staff are still grappling with the impact. 

J1 visas

2. The Government has been pushing the Biden administration to reinstate the J1 visa programme by next summer

The popular programme was suspended last year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The impact on the travel sector, and the shutting down of the scheme, resulted in the company that operates USIT Ireland, which dealt with the visa applications, going into liquidation.

Women’s March

3. Meanwhile, in the United States the first Women’s March of the Biden administration headed straight for the steps of the Supreme Court, part of nationwide protests that drew thousands to Washington and other cities to demand continued access to abortion.

Many thousands of demonstrators filled the streets surrounding the court, shouting “My body, my choice” and cheering loudly to the beat of drums.

Before heading out on the march, they rallied in a square near the White House. Many waved signs that said “Mind your own uterus,” “I love someone who had an abortion” and “Abortion is a personal choice, not a legal debate,” among other messages.


4. A new Fine Gael report has called for a major rethink of the way Ireland supports children and the childcare sector.

In the first report to emerge from the party’s new “policy lab”, Fine Gael is proposing what it has called a “major re-prioritisation” of early childhood by the Government and policymakers.

“There is no denying that there are strains within the early childhood sector,” the report says.

Donald Trump

5. The former US President has asked a judge to force Twitter to restore his account, which the company suspended in January following the storming of the US Capitol.

Trump’s attorneys filed a motion in the US District Court in Miami seeking a preliminary injunction against Twitter and its CEO, Jack Dorsey.

They argue that Twitter is censoring Trump in violation of his First Amendment rights, according to the motion. 

Twitter declined to comment on Trump’s filing.

No winner

6. Ireland’s record Lotto jackpot remains unclaimed as there was no winner of the €19,060,800 prize in  last night’s draw.

The jackpot rolled over from June until this week, when it was capped less than €1 million shy of the €20 million milestone.

It reached the record breaking figure on Wednesday when it wasn’t won.


7. Two men were arrested in connection with an alleged stabbing on Friday in Co Longford.

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A man was stabbed at an apartment on the Strokestown Road in Longford town at about 10pm.

The man, in his 30s, was taken to the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar with non-life threatening injuries.

The Irish For

8. This morning Darach Ó Séaghdha writes: “Recently, Nameberry,  website devoted to baby names – released its predictions for the top baby names they expect in the UK in 2022.

Drawing on patterns seen in “fashion-forward celebrity parents”, popular TV shows such as Bridgerton, and social trends (such as changing attitudes to a binary understanding of gender), they anticipate a spike in names such as Pixie, Bear, Regé and Blair.

Is Ireland likely to follow these trends? Thanks to the excellent CSO baby names database, it is possible to identify distinct patterns in the rise and fall of certain Irish baby names since 1964, which gives us a clue to what the future might hold.”


9. The first cartons of goats milk have come off the production line at a Co Offaly factory badly damaged by fire earlier this week.

The fire hit Glenisk organic yoghurt factory in Killeigh, near Tullamore, on Monday.

The blaze caused significant damage to the plant, with the exact cause of the fire still unclear.

The yoghurt plant is believed to have been destroyed, but a smaller milk bottling site was not damaged and is now being used by the company.

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