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Tag Archives: payments

Government fails to champion PO payment options

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications Timmy Dooley has hit out at the Social Protection Minister following the issuing of a circular to all staff in his Department relating to social welfare payments. The notice states “Customer wishes should be facilitated where they choose to receive their social welfare payment at their local post office”. The Clare TD explained, “Far from actively encouraging payments at Post Offices, as is the commitment on page 48 of the Programme for Partnership Government, this circular merely outlines the options open to social welfare recipients and instructs staff to “facilitate” customer wishes. “The previous Government attempted to divert business away from Post Offices by asking social welfare recipients to collect payments from a bank rather than their local post office. These latest circulars will do nothing to reverse the damage that has already been done; they just pay lip-service to the commitment made in the Programme for Government. “This gesture by Minister Varadkar is deeply …

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Farmers in a flap over ‘worthless’ land

Hundreds of farmers in North East Clare and South Galway are in a flap over the designation of land for the protection of the hen harrier, which has rendered an estimated 9,844 acres “worthless”. Feelings are running high among landowners in the Sliabh Aughty area, which has the dubious distinction of having the largest designation to safeguard this protected species under an EU directive. As a new farming group, Irish Farmers With Designated Land (IFDL) briefed deputies and members of the Oireachtas Agricultural Committee on the difficulties that landowners are experiencing due to this designation at a meeting in Dublin this week, local farmers said they are mounting an intensive campaign for change. Frustration and anger over the Government’s decision to suspend the previous compensation scheme in 2010 due to budgetary constraints, will be voiced at a public meeting in Ballinakill, County Galway on Tuesday next at 8.30pm. Farmers’ efforts to receive adequate compensation for the devaluation of their land …

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Paramedic shortage putting lives “at risk”

THE lack of 19 paramedics for the Clare ambulance service and the frequent withdrawal of the rapid response vehicle (RRV) from the county to deal with major trauma cases is putting “lives at risk”, a union has claimed. The chronic shortage of local paramedics to provide a safe service for emergency patients has come sharply into focus this week, in light of excessive overtime levels for ambulance personnel. The top 10 Clare paramedics were each paid, on average, €82,000 in 2013, to work exceptionally long hours, due to a chronic lack of ambulance personnel. This average figure is more than double the highest starting salary of €36,640 for a paramedic with over 11 years of experience. This expenditure, which included €550,385 in total overtime payments made to local paramedics two years ago, has placed the spotlight on “unsafe” levels of additional hours that are still being worked by staff, providing life-saving interventions. The National Ambulance Service (NAS) had declined to …

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North Clare GP takes High Court action against HSE

A North Clare-based GP has launched a High Court action over the Health Service Executive’s decision that he does not qualify for payments under a scheme designed to ensure services are provided to medical card-holders in rural areas. The action has been brought by Dr Liam Glynn, a GP working out of Ballyvaughan and Fanore, arising out of a decision by the HSE earlier this year that he no longer qualified for payments under a scheme known as the Rural Practice Allowance. The scheme applies where a doctor lives and practices in a centre with a population of less than 500 people and where there is not a town with a population of 1,500 or more within a three-mile radius of that. He provides medical services  from Ballyvaughan Medical Centre and Fanore Dispensary, and makes numerous house calls to patients every week. The HSE in correspondence with Dr Glynn said its decision was based on the fact that Dr Glynn …

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Horse trading on Council positions continues

BROAD power sharing of positions of responsibility on Clare County Council between the various political groupings will almost certainly continue over the next five years, although a final agreement has yet to be reached. Talks on how positions, including those of mayor and deputy mayor, are to be allocated began on Tuesday of last week and were continuing on Wednesday evening, with another meeting slated for Thursday morning. It is hoped an agreement will have been reached by the time the new council holds its first meeting this Friday afternoon. Following the local elections, Fianna Fáil has 12 seats, Fine Gael eight, Independents seven and Sinn Féin one. For the purposes of the negotiations, two representatives from Fine Gael, two from Fianna Fáil and two representing Independents/Sinn Féin are in discussions. Wednesday was the ninth time they met. It is understood one of the main stumbling blocks is due to Fine Gael and Independents/Sinn Féin having the same amount of …

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