Thursday 18 January 2018

Human torch scare at Dail

n A MAN stood on top of his white van, doused himself in fuel and threatened to set himself on fire outside Leinster House.

Among the onlookers to the incident – which started at 4pm and lasted around 30 minutes – were Irish rugby players Jamie Heaslip and Cian Healy.

The man, a foreign national whose identity is unknown, but who appeared to be aged in his 30s, pulled his van up outside the Dail, before climbing on the roof and emptying a two-litre bottle of fuel over himself. He spoke in broken English, and it was unclear why he was threatening to self-immolate.

Gardai talked the man down and hosed his van and the road with water.

The junction of Kildare Street and Molesworth Street in Dublin was cordoned off.

500 caught in welfare scam

• ALMOST 500 welfare tourists had their payments stopped last year after investigations by the Department of Social Protection.

And 36 welfare fraudsters were using false identities to claim welfare payments.

The details are contained in a progress report on the Department of Social Protection's fraud initiative, which will be published later today.

The two-year initiative was launched by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton in September 2011. Two of its main areas were the "non-residency project" and "Operation Filter", which focused on those using false identities to claim welfare payments.

The non-residency investigation discovered 466 people living outside Ireland claiming welfare, and the crackdown led to savings totalling €5m for the taxpayer.

In-depth examinations of suspect welfare claims were carried out and profiles were built up on those that "exhibited specific characteristics".

It led to 36 social welfare payments being stopped, with savings of €550,000 to the taxpayer.

Irish Independent

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