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Public patients visit GP more often

SURGERIES will be overwhelmed by patients if the Government pursues its current objectives of introducing free GP visits for all citizens without any increase in resources for general practice. The warning has come from the GP Committee of the IMO in response to claims made by Minister for Primary Care, Alex White. Dr Ray Walley,  chairman of the GP Committee,  said that claims made on Monday by the Minister for Primary Care, Alex White TD, that there was “no evidence” that visit numbers would increase when free GP visits were introduced were “mistaken”.  “The Minister is wrong and his views are not supported by the research.  The Government has consistently used incorrect visitation rates as a starting point when the true figure, backed up by published research in the Irish Medical Journal, is 24 million consultations a year in general practice.  The research further demonstrates that demand for visits to GP services is likely to increase by four million visits a …

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€30m to warm up more homes

MINISTER for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan has announced that €30m will be invested in upgrading the energy efficiency of local authority homes this year.The funding is part of a three year jobs stimulus programme that will see the energy efficiency of 25,000 of the poorest insulated local authority homes improved. Last year, Clare County Council carried out energy efficiency retrofitting on 366 houses. Clare, which had a 2,330 local authority dwelling stock in 2011, will receive a general allocation of €75,000 this year, together with a supplementary allocation of €222,632, based on the proportion of exisating stock, which brings the initial allocation to €297,632. Minister O’Sullilvan said an initial €15m funding should substantially complete the first phase of the insulation programme announced in June 2013 and ensure that every local authority house will have at a minimum draught proofing, attic insulation and where appropriate cavity wall insulation. When Phase 1 is complete a further €15m will be allocated for …

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South Galway floods still serious

FARMERS and householders in Ardrahan and other areas of South Galway are still in serious difficulty with flood waters following the recent storms. There are concerns that further rain in the coming day days could exacerbate the situation in an area where thousands of acres have been flooded and some families have had to leave their homes. For some, it is a repeat of what happened a few years ago and they not be able reoccupy their home for a considerable period of time.

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Prison sentence imposed on rape charge

By Jessica Magee and Emer Connolly A Kilmihil man who raped a Brazilian woman he had asked to clean his house has been sentenced to seven and a half years, after a judge said he couldn’t “buy himself out” of a custodial sentence. Father-of-four Thomas Egan (47), a developer, of Cahermurphy, Kilmihill, paid over €10,000 in court to be forwarded to his victim, who has since returned to Brazil. Mr Justice Barry White suspended the final three and a half years of the sentence, noting that Egan had a previous “unblemished record” apart from a minor road traffic offence. Egan was convicted last May by a jury at the Central Criminal Court of raping the 23 year-old woman at a house in Tipperary on July 5, 2010. He had denied the charge. Egan admitted having sex with the woman, but told gardaí it was consensual and that she had not shown any fear. During the trial, Seán Gillane SC prosecuting, …

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Ennis a winner with hurling fixture

ENNIS Chamber has welcomed the added economic boost which came to the town with the hosting of Clare’s opening National Hurling League game against Kilkenny. “The success of the All-Ireland winning senior hurlers in winning their first Allianz hurling league match was made a little sweeter for the local economy by the thousands of people who came to Ennis to see the game yesterday.  The welcome reprieve in the recent stormy weather conditions also meant that spectators were able to travel in comfort.  Given the calibre  of teams in Division 1 of the league and as kingpins in hurling, Kilkenny attracted many of their supporters to follow their team to the West of Ireland,” commented Chamber CEO, Rita McInerney. “Ennis Chamber welcomes the playing of such league games in the County Grounds of Cusack Park.  It brought a real buzz to the town at an otherwise quiet time of year.  Local hotels reported a busy weekend both for Valentine’s and …

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A marker against fuel fraud

THE Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTA Ireland), has welcomed the announcement by the UK and Ireland governments that they are to introduce a marker that will help tackle fuel fraud. This has to be good news to help reduce fuel laundering,” the organisation general manager, Neil McDonnell said. The product will be used to mark rebated fuels, including the off-road diesel commonly known in the UK as ‘red diesel’, in a move that will boost both countries’ fight against illegal fuel laundering. The marker will help HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Irish Revenue Commissioners tackle the criminal market in off-road diesel, marked with a red dye in the UK and green in Ireland, and also kerosene primarily used for heating oil. Neil McDonnell commented, “FTA welcomes any effort such as this to tackle fuel laundering. The costs of fuel laundering to the exchequer, to fair competition, to the environment are simply too high, and are not being …

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Shannon’s hangar expansion programme

SHANNON Airport’s decision to expand its programme of hangar development has the potential to lead to significant growth in the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector as well as the composites industry throughout the Mid-West Region, Senator Tony Mulcahy has stressed. The Shannon-based senator was reacting to the announcement by Shannon Airport that it is to embark on a programme of new hangar development after achieving full occupancy of its existing capacity. He said the new development will help Shannon to position itself as “a one-stop-shop for all airline needs”, including use of hangars to house aircraft and pilot-training, but primarily for the MRO sector. “It is clear that the future viability of Shannon Airport and surrounding businesses cannot be justified through passenger growth alone, and that the development of ancillary aviation business is key. “The level of existing use of aviation-specific hangars along with the planned construction of a new hangar means that Shannon Airport is working towards establishing …

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Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins

Mayor defends NY parade decision

MAYOR of Clare Joe Arkins is standing by his decision to participate in the New York St Patrick’s Day Parade, despite a call to follow the  boycott stance taken by New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio in support of gay rights groups. Mayor Blasio has decided not to march in his own city parade over the long standing exclusion of American gay and lesbians  publicly express their sexual orientation under a banner. Councillor Arkins and Ennis Town Mayor, Mary Coote-Ryan have been invited by the Clare Association in New York to represent local authorities in the New York Parade. Lesbian and Gay Bisexual and Transgender director Brian Sheehan from Kilrush has appealed to the two Clare first citizens to seriously reconsider their participation and follow the “moral leadership” shown by Mayor Blasio by opting out of the parade. Stressing the two mayors should still travel to New York and attend any meetings promoting industry and tourism in Clare, Mr Sheehan would …

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