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Lack of support keeps carers in ‘crisis mode’

A SOUTH Galway mother is calling on the Government to provide more support for parents of children with special needs, who she says are at breaking point. Sonja Luan Devine’s son, Ché O’Grady, is 11-years-old and suffers from cerebral palsy. Since he was born, as well as being his mother she is also his carer but because Ché’s needs are so great, Sonja is unable to work and finds it difficult to make ends meet. “People have no clue how tightly families with children with special needs are squeezed. Even the fact the dole is the same as carer’s allowance is, quite frankly, insulting on a very deep level. Because I have a partner, I get half the carer’s allowance so I get €100 per week. A trip to the hospital in Dublin could cost €150,” she says. Even if she had the time to work, Sonja doesn’t believe anyone would hire her. “I don’t think I’m employable at the …

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A ‘raw deal’ under Fair Deal

A CLARE mother is facing the grim prospect of being forced to sell her family home or pay up to €114,000 over the next five years to cover the cost of long-term care for her incapacitated husband. Councillor Tom McNamara has claimed the mother is getting a “raw deal” under the Fair Deal Nursing Homes Support Scheme because the needs of her two dependant children are not taken into account, due to an anomaly. Councillor McNamara has requested Health Minister Dr James Reilly to change the current legislation to alleviate the distress being caused to this mother, as well as other similar hardship cases. Under the existing scheme, the couple are jointly assessed to pay €600 weekly on top of the Fair Deal allowance to cover the cost of the husband’s long-term residential care in a Clare nursing home. However, the most the mother can pay is €700 a month, leaving the remainder as a burden, which continues indefinitely on …

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Shannon overrun with rats

“RATS the size of cats” are causing issues for residents in various parts of Shannon. This week’s meeting of the town council heard of one case where a child cannot be let play on a lawn because of the amount of vermin. The size might be a slight exaggeration but the scale of the problem isn’t. The matter was raised by Councillor Cathy McCafferty, who called on Clare County Council to “take urgent and immediate action to address the rodent problem in Aidan and Finian Parks that is a cause of much concern for residents”. She said several people have contacted her about the issue. “Over the summer, we had a number of complaints over the rat infestation in Aidan and Finian Parks and nothing appears to have been done.” The independent councillor wasn’t impressed with the response shown by Clare County Council.  “I understand that one of the engineers responded to a complaint but his solution was to tell …

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Picture emerges of new market

A radical new design concept has been put forward for the first phase of a planned re-vamp of Ennis’ market. Phase one of the redevelopment of the market will begin at Garraunakilla, the site of the current Farmer’s Market. The plans involve creating a ‘covered’ market, with the first phase part of a wider scheme of improvements to the entire market area. Consideration had been given to having ‘umbrella’ style covers of the market. However, the new design unveiled this week involves the creation of a permanent roof for market goers made of patent glazing or plexi-glass. The concept includes the creation of a landmark entrance from a new pedestrian forecourt in a highly visible location on the boundary between Market Place and Garraunakilla. The new enclosure design features a covering of the entire public circulation areas of the market with the permanent roof with retractable awnings giving cover to stalls on market days. It is proposed that the space …

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Postscript for Heaney from Clare

Just two weeks after his gentle voice hushed an audience in Glór, County Clare has been paying tributes to literary giant Seamus Heaney. The 74-year-old Nobel Laureate died in hospital in Dublin on Friday after a short illness. He was in Clare with friend and fellow poet Michael Longley as part of the Merriman Summer School last month. Clare Labour TD Michael McNamara paid tribute to the late poet, saying his death is a loss for Ireland. “However, he will always live through his poetry and his ability to speak to the heart with compassion and the understanding of a seer,” he said. Deputy McNamara also spoke about the impact of the poet and his work on him personally. “Seamus Heaney influenced generations of young people who studied him at school or who read his poetry for other reasons. When I once had occasion to meet him as a student, I found him kind, warm and considerate with none of …

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Kilrush principal frustrated at education cutbacks

KILRUSH Community School principal Rock Kirwan has expressed his frustration at Education Minister Ruairí Quinn’s education cutbacks, which he feels will have serious, long-term implications. “I have met Ruairí Quinn and I found myself unable to speak to the man. If I did, I wouldn’t stop. I’m absolutely appalled that a Minister for Education in this country would feel that something as fundamentally important as history or indeed geography, would be almost a superfluous option for students under the age of 15,” the principal of the 38-teacher West Clare school told The Clare Champion. Mr Kirwan said he has particular concerns over paring back the teaching of history and geography. “I didn’t think I’d live to see the day. I think it’s quite incredible that he would ask people to justify why history should be taught. The modular approach he’s talking about is not, in my view, sufficient. This was tried in England and they are now waking up to …

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More pupils squeezing into overcrowded classrooms

ALMOST 3,600 Clare national school pupils are in classes of more than 30, according to official figures. Latest statistics from the Department of Education show 27% of national school pupils in the county are in classes of 30 or more. More than 90% of Clare pupils are in classes of 20 or more and 14% are in classes of under 20. The increase in overcrowded classrooms has been described as a “wake-up call” by INTO vice president Seán McMahon, who urged Education Minister Ruairí Quinn not to increase class sizes in the forthcoming Budget. His call coincides with a pre-emptive strike by the INTO  against proposed cutbacks of up to €100 million by. A public meeting has been organised for all interested stakeholders, teachers, parents, Oireachtas members and public representatives at a venue to be decided on September 19. This is being supported by the establishment of a new National Alliance for Primary Education, comprising representatives from management, parents, teachers …

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Vigilance urged as the long nights set in

GARDAÍ are investigating a number of incidents of ­burglaries and thefts over the past two weeks and are warning people to be vigilant and to ensure their premises and property are secure as the long nights set in. A senior garda based in Killaloe warned “The long evenings are coming to an end now and as we get into September, October and November, crime does pick up. “I’m appealing to the public to pick up the phone to us if they see a car acting suspiciously. They should ring it in and try if they can at all to get some portion of the registration number. Sometimes this is all that is needed to break a case for us”. A pub in Kilmore was broken into between 1.15am on Tuesday, August 27 and 7.15am on Thursday, August 29, by forcing open the rear door. Two televisions, a black 19” and a black 32” and four bottles of spirits were stolen. …

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Shannon CEO gets hurling introduction

HE’S more used to soccer and rugby, but Shannon Airport’s new CEO Neil Pakey has already got the hurling bug. From Troon, on Scotland’s west coast, he has spent a lifetime following the fortunes of Scottish sides, he says that hurling has an appeal all of its own and that he can’t understand how it isn’t better known around the world. “I was lucky enough to have gone to the quarter final between Clare and Galway and the two things that got me most were the speed of the game and banter between the fans. “You almost need a trained eye to follow the ball, the game is that fast. Only for the umpires and their green and white flags, I really didn’t know wheter or not the players had actually scored.” The banter among the supporters was what got to him the most. “I learned all sorts of things from the fans, including the wide variety of names to …

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“Rats the size of cats” in Shannon

“RATS the size of cats” are making themselves known and are causing issues for residents in various parts of  Shannon. The town council heard this week of one case where a child can’t be let play on a lawn because of the amount of vermin, while there are issues in a few parts of the town. The matter was raised by Councillor Cathy McCafferty, who called on Clare County Council to “take urgent and immediate action to address the rodent problem in Aidan Park  and Finian Park that is a cause of much concern for residents.” She said that several people had contacted her about the issue. “Over the summer we had a number of complaints over the rat infestation in Aidan and Finian Parks and nothing appears to have been done.”

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