Seventeen people have been arrested following an investigation into suspected Covid-19 social welfare fraud at a number of business premises in Dublin.

The multi-agency operation, led by the Garda National Immigration Bureau, searched five businesses, including a shop and a restaurant, in the city centre yesterday.

Nine men and eight women, ranging in age from their 20s to 60s, were arrested for immigration offences.

Officers from Mountjoy Garda Station, as well as representatives from the Workplace Relations Commission and Department of Social Protection, were also involved in the searches, as were Revenue officials.

A statement from the Garda Press Office said: "Five business premises were searched with the aim of disrupting, eliminating and prosecuting this fraudulent activity."

It said 16 of those arrested have been charged and given bail and will appear before the district court on 18 November.

One man aged in his 50s remains in custody and is scheduled to appear before Dublin District Court today in relation to an outstanding bench warrant which is unrelated to this operation.