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Breaking News

Homeless figures on the rise

THERE has been an increase in the number of adults accessing emergency accommodation in Clare in the past month. Department of Housing figures for the period September 21-27 show there were 67 adults in the county in emergency accommodation, up from 60 the previous month. The homelessness report also indicates a total of 67 dependents in emergency accommodation across the Clare-Limerick area. Chief Executive of Mid West Simon Jackie Bonfield said there are reasons to believe that homelessness will be an increasing problem in the coming months. “If there is one person homeless it is one person too many and we are expecting it to get worse because a lot of people will be in difficulty because of having lost their jobs and because of Covid. “There has been a stay on evictions but that doesn’t protect everybody. If somebody is part of a household and the family unit breaks down, it doesn’t protect the person who has to leave …

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University Hospital Limerick.

Overcrowding protocol concerns at UHL

EMERGENCY measures, to manage overcrowding, has been used at the region’s main hospital, on average, every second day of the year to the end of September. The situation has been compared, by a member of the HSE West forum, to rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Figures, obtained by the Irish Patients’ Association, show that the Full Capacity Protocol was deployed at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) on 184 days. The protocol involves putting extra beds on wards and in corridors, and only the acute facility in Waterford invoked this so called ‘last resort’ more often. Councillor Cillian Murphy described the protocol as “a nice fancy name for overcrowding”. “When I hear of a solution being described as ‘low cost, high impact’, my cynicism button lights up,” he said. “When something is low cost, it is rarely high impact in a positive way. We need to get to the root of the problem and, in my view, that means getting more …

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Clare men clock up more penalty points than women

OVER 5,000 penalty point notices were issued to Clare drivers last year, with close to two-thirds of those being incurred by male drivers. The figures, released this week by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), show that the vast majority of points notices issued to Clare motorists in 2019 – 71% – were for speeding. The second most common offence incurring points, at 14%, was driving while holding a mobile phone. In relation to both of these motoring offences, men incurred a higher percentage of the points. A total of 3,620 points notices were issued last year in Clare for speeding. 60% of those were incurred by men and 40% by women. The data, which is outlined in the CSO’s latest Transport Omnibus, show that 4,838 Clare drivers got penalty points last year. The vast majority of those motorists, at 84%, clocked up three points. However, there were four drivers who incurred a total of 12 points over the course of …

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Broadband access slammed as farmers hit mart hitch

WEAK broadband infrastructural across Clare has been condemned by the county chairperson of the IFA, after online mart trading collapsed recently due to pressure on the system. Level 5 restrictions have severely curtailed the operation of marts across the country with all transactions now taking place virtually. Tom Lane of Parteen said that the inadequate state of broadband infrastructure in the county had been exposed and that speeding up initiatives like the National Broadband Plan was now an urgent matter. A technical glitch, outside of the control of Clare Marts, who use an external supplier for their streaming and online sales, meant that trading was interrupted for a time last Saturday week. “There was a major problem nationwide,” Michael McNamara, the manger explained. “One of the software providers that offer livestreaming, their server crashed or was unable to handle the volume of business. Thankfully, that got resolved. It was out for two to two-and-a-half hours, but got up and running …

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Covid-19 Cases Confirmed in Ennis Hospital

An outbreak control team has been established after a number of Covid-19 cases were confirmed in patients and staff on a ward at Ennis Hospital on Thursday. An outbreak in a healthcare setting is called when there is a minimum of two positive contacts. In accordance with HPSC guidelines, an Outbreak Control Team has now been convened in Ennis Hospital and continues to work with Public Health and Occupational Health to manage the response. Testing and contact tracing of patients and staff is underway and the hospital are now, in line with the national guidance, putting into effect all the appropriate infection control measures to mitigate the risk to patients and staff. Covid-19  testing and contact tracing of both staff and patients is undertaken to ensure the protection of public health. Hospital preparedness plans are developed to support continuity of services and guide senior management to identify the level of impact on service and staff. The UL Hospitals’ Group has …

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US company to create 25 jobs in Shannon

A US company has chosen Shannon as the location of its European Centre of Excellence, creating 25 roles over the next five years. Exida, a world leader in functional safety, industrial cybersecurity, and alarm management, provides certification, services, assessments, and tools to a number of industries. Company CEO Chris O’Brien said, “We are very excited to launch Exida IRL to provide local support for our European customers and expand Exida’s technical capabilities.” There were several factors that led to choosing Ireland for this expansion, said Mr O’Brien, including proximity to European customers, strong local talent pool to recruit from, support from IDA Ireland, and the country’s proven track record for foreign direct investment. Exida director Iwan van Beurden said, “Initial hiring is already completed for the Shannon office and our plans are to bring the total staff count up to 25 in the next three to five years. This staff will allow us to expand our software development capability and …

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Shannondoc records €103k surplus, but still in the red

SHANNONDOC’S recently filed annual accounts show a surplus of over €103,000 for 2019, but the company remains in the red. Its liabilities at December 31, 2019, exceeded its total assets by €141,813, and with the statements prepared on a going concern basis, the continued support of the HSE and member doctor contributions are necessary for the company to remain in operation. Having filed a loss of €65,918 for 2018, the company performed better in 2019 to deliver a surplus of €103,591. The financial statement read, “The validity of the assumption (that it will continue to operate) depends on the continued support of the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the member doctors’ contributions. The HSE has confirmed that it will continue to fund the company for the next 12 months subject to the terms of the Service Arrangement entered into with the company, which is renewed annually. “The company has made a surplus for the second quarter of 2020 and is …

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Application made for Stonehall biomass plant

AN application has been made for the development of a bioenergy plant at a 3.5 hectare site in Stonehall. At the moment the site in question is owned by the Shannon Airport Authority, who have consented to Carbon Sole Group Limited making the application. Back in 2012, Clare County Council voted to rezone land to allow Carbon Sole to develop a green energy faciity in the Stonehall area, despite strong local opposition. While no objections to the new proposal have been lodged to date, it would certainly not be a surprise if that changes before the November 3 deadline for submissions. Among the items that would be included in the development would be a biomass processing and storage area utilising forestry products, a Gasification and Methanation Plant for the production of advanced biofuels, a Gasificaiton and Combined Heat Power Plant, a thermal energy recovery and storage facility and a new 38kV substation. In essence the new development would see bioenergy …

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