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Mental health system needs urgent change

An Ennis woman, who recently tried to take her own life, has appealed for changes in the general admission and treatment policies for people suffering from severe psychological and emotional distress. Aisling Byrnes, aged 36, claims she was discharged on her own from University Hospital Limerick recently, without a care plan or a request for a family member to take her home, despite being under high observation while she was in the hospital. She has decided to speak about her recent experience to try and ensure no other patient experiences the same serious deficits in the regional mental health system. Her experience has prompted Liam Minogue of Emotions Peer Support Centre (Peer) to request the Mid-West HSE to conduct an urgent review of general admission and treatment policies for people in crisis. The Mid-West HSE hadn’t responded to a number of queries from The Clare Champion at the time of going to press. Ms Byrnes, who suffers from borderline personality disorder, …

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Housing action protest at Dáil

Trade unions, political parties, community groups and campaigns will participate in a housing action protest on this Tuesday at the Dáil. The protest will take place at 6PM and is endorsed by Mandate Trade Union, People Before Profit, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and Housing Action Now. It will target in particular the Government’s proposed Housing Assistance Payment Scheme. “Under the legislation those in receipt of the new Housing Assistance Payment will be removed from the social housing waiting list. There has been a 92% drop in social housing construction since 2007 and Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan intends to build just 700 new homes for the 90,000 families on the waiting list. This legislation is being introduced to cut the waiting list by another means. Fine Gael and Labour are shirking their responsibility to provide adequate levels of social housing and instead choosing to prop up private landlords,” said spokesperson, Councillor  Karl Gill, People Before Profit – Dun Laoghaire “There are further concerns that …

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Monica’s poetry on a lifetime of memories

MONICA Stirling, who lives in Mullagh, has had a book of poetry published, somewhat against her will. Musings and Memories contains more than 70 poems, all written by Monica, who has been encouraged by Kilmurry-Ibrickane Active Retirement Group chairperson, Helen McGrath, to publish her work. “I’ve been writing for years but most of them were under the bed and scattered around the house. And a lot of them have gone out in the rubbish,” Monica laughed. Musings and Memories is Monica’s first collection of poetry. “The active retirement group have been after me for a couple of years to put them together in book form. I was reluctant but they decided they’d get on with it themselves. There are 70-plus poems in it. They have been up and down for few days, trying to fit them in,” the retired nurse explained. Monica and her husband, Bill, lived in Zambia for many years. She spent a year there in 1964/1965, before …

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Currach launch gives it five

QUERRIN Pier was buzzing last Sunday for the launch of a five-hand currach, built by boat-builder, James Madigan. A vessel of this type has not sailed the estuary waters since the 1800s. The launch was in conjunction with the Querrin regatta, which was held last year, for the first time since 1907. Dixie Collins, of the West Clare Currach Club, said that elements of the five-hand currach were unique to West Clare. “She’s just under 30 foot and she’s a five-hand canoe, with a mast up on the bow with a lug sail. That’s a square sail that you use in boats like this. They wouldn’t have been traditionally used in Clare but they would have been used on the Aran Islands and down in Kerry. “She’s a bit wider on the beam and the oars are a bit longer than our three-hand canoe. We’re all quite curious to know how she’ll handle and how she’ll feel. We have people …

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Baby Sophie’s legacy lives on

A hearbroken mother has spoken out her frantic efforts to resuscitate her newborn baby daughter before she died from suspected heart failure at their home in Ballina-Killaloe. Sophie O’Brien, who was born on May 6 last with a serious defect in the left side of her heart, died less than four weeks later on June 2 with her family. Despite the best efforts of Darren O’Brien (31), Scariff, and his wife, Pamela (32), Sophie was pronounced dead within a short period of time at the University Hospital, Limerick. In an emotional interview, Pamela recalled how her husband, Darren, sought her assistance after noticing a change in the colour of Sophie’s face around 11am. “I held her in my arms, looked at her and thought she is not fine. I put her on her lovely fleecy blanket on her changing unit. I tapped the end of her feet. I called her name, she didn’t open her eyes. I knew there was …

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Saying goodbye to your pet

Anyone who has owned a pet, be it a cat, dog, rabbit or something a bit exotic, has no doubt felt sadness when the animal has died or been euthanised by the vet. Sudden death, such as a road traffic accident or death due to a long illness are equally hard. The decision to euthanise a pet is one of the hardest decisions an owner will ever have to make on behalf of a loved pet. As a vet nurse, I have dealt with this many, many times and have shed countless tears with my clients over the death of a furry member of the family. It never gets any easier but, as long as the animal is let go with love and dignity, it’s the most loving thing we can do for an ill or old pet. Animals have the same emotions as we do and pain and suffering is a reality in their lives when illness or old …

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Courtesy and friendliness needed to make Ennis top Tourism Town

Tourism promoters in Ennis are calling on the business community here to treat everyone as if they are a judge in this year’s Tourism Towns and Tidy Towns competitions. Local co-ordinator of the Tourism Towns competition, Teresa McGrath who is also vice -chairperson of Ennis Tidy Towns, explains that Toursm Town competition is a prestigious one, is organised by Failte Ireland on a national basis and is now in its third year. She and her colleagues are urging businesses here to pull out all the stops when it comes to customer service, especially during the months of June and July when the judges will be in the town for Ireland’s Tourism Towns Competition. “Winning the competition would have long-term beneficial effects by way of tourism and social events as everybody knows that a strong tourist industry contributes to the sustainability of towns and villages and to the economic viability of the business community,” she said. “The Tidy Towns competition is …

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Swans make Sunday visit to Angela

A FAMILY of swans going on a Sunday afternoon ramble in Clarecastle held up traffic this afternoon before Angela Kelleher managed to divert them into her front garden. The family, two adult swans and seven cygnets, are currently resting there while local authority staff are expected to arrive later and take them away. “They were all walking along the Ennis-Clarecastle road and all the cars were stopped behind them, it was unreal to see it. We managed to veer them off the road, got them into the driveway and closed the gate after them,” said Angela. Her father and some neighbours assisted her and she says the swans seem very tired after their afternoon walk.

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