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Breaking News

Light needs to be shed on “dangerous” road in Ennis

A “DANGEROUS” stretch of road in Ennis needs to be lit up with more and more walkers using the route, a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District has been told. Councillor Mark Nestor proposed at the meeting that the local authority request Clare County Council “explore the possibility of installing public lighting on the Golf Links road”. The councillor said that he has received numerous complaints about the lack of lighting from members of the public saying it is a popular location for walkers. “They told me this is a very dangerous stretch of road in the darkness. We are all very much aware that we are limited to our 5km due to Covid-19 restrictions and this is a very popular loop,” he said. Eamon O’Dea, Senior Engineer, responded, “The Ennis Municipal District recommended planning conditions on developments at Ballymacaulla, Beechpark for a special contribution to cover the cost of the provision of public lighting on Circular Road from Golf …

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Council spending over €100k per week on consultants

WELL over €10.6 million was spent on professional consultancy fees on Clare County Council projects in 2019 and 2020. At the February meeting of the local authority, Councillor PJ Kelly sought information on professional consultancy fees in 2019 and 2020, and a subsequent report from the Council’s Director of Finance Noeleen Fitzgerald showed that €5.21 million had been spent on such fees in 2019 and €5.48 million the following year. However, she said the 2020 figure might yet rise further, as it only reflects costs processed so far. “It is important to note that approximately 85% of the overall costs for both years relate to capital projects that are fully funded and primarily recouped from grant income as part of our capital works programme. These costs do not therefore form part of our Revenue operational budget. “25% of the overall costs in both years relate to the SHIP Social Housing Investment Programme where we have a number of local authority …

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Deputy McNamara Calls For More Antigen Testing

` DEPUTY Michael McNamara has called for an increase use of antigen testing in hospitals, schools and homes to facilitate a quicker safe exit from stringent Covid-19 restrictions next month. Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy McNamara recalled the European Commission advocated greater use of antigen testing last November and this is being rolled out right across Europe. The Biden Administration has now introduced far greater use of antigen testing in America, including in homes. He claimed the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has finally moved, reluctantly, to a very “circumscribed” role for antigen testing in the context of outbreaks. “Is there a conflict of interest between being chair of NPHET and being director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, which has very large contracts with the State for PCR testing? “I am not saying there is any subjective bias on the part of that member of NPHET, but there is a clear perception there is objective bias, or a …

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Innovative plan to put Clare on the map for inward investment

AN innovative ‘talent mapping’ project will position Clare as an attractive location for inward investment, Clare County Council’s Director of Economic Development believes. Clare County Council in partnership with Irish technology company, Abodoo, have launched the initiative aimed at mapping the talent and skills of those living and working in Clare. The aim of the project is to develop ongoing live skills mapping for the county, align with Clare’s growing international business profile and showcase the broad talent Clare has to offer. The work will leverage Abodoo’s AI skills data information technology in order to identify the skills that exist within Clare. The Talent Mapping Technology will provide ongoing anonymised data analysis of the skills in Clare, both for persons residing here, as well as the diaspora or those working remotely wishing to relocate to a setting with equal access to urban and rural life, and which allows for improved work life balance. The data provided to Clare County Council …

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14 new cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Clare

THE Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified 14 new cases of Covid-19 in Clare along with 26 additional deaths nationally related to Covid-19. 24 of these deaths occurred in February, 1 in January and 1 in October. The median age of those who died was 81 years and the age range was 58-98 years. There has been a total of 4,135 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland. As of midnight, Friday February 19, the HPSC has been notified of 988 confirmed cases of Covid-19. There is now a total of 214,378* confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland. Of the cases notified today: 487 are men / 499 are women 70% are under 45 years of age The median age is 32 years old 378 in Dublin, 68 in Galway, 61 in Kildare, 47 in Limerick, 45 in Louth and the remaining 389 cases are spread across all other counties.** As of 8am today, 719 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 149 …

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Concern Over Impact Of Lockdown On Mental Health

DEPUTY Michael McNamara has criticised the lack of comprehensive information on self-harm presentations and suicide in Ireland during the current “oppressive” lockdown. The East Clare deputy has described the lack of empirical evidence on the impact of the lockdowns for people with mental health difficulties as an insult to these patients. The Independent deputy has expressed frustration about receiving self-harm information from only 24 out of 36 acute hospitals who are collecting this data. Speaking in the Dáil recently, Deputy McNamara stated nothing visibly has happened since he raised this issue recently. Acknowledging Minister of State, Mary Butler is working hard behind the scenes to advance mental health issues, he stressed everyone is living in an “incredibly oppressive society at present”. “The feeling is entirely oppressive and it is largely driven by elements in the media. I questioned whether there was sufficient coverage of mental health and I was attacked by some public health doctors for doing that and told …

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Older residents in parts of Ennis “feeling very isolated”

OLDER residents of Ennis are “feeling very isolated” because of the condition of footpaths during cold spells, a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District has heard. The growing numbers of people enjoying the outdoors during the latest lock-down has prompted calls on the local authority to ensure footpaths are safe and salted during cold spells. Councillor Ann Norton raised the issue at a recent meeting of the local authority where she pointed out that there are now many people out walking as Covid restrictions are preventing people from going outside of 5km. “I’m asking the Ennis Municipal District to make sure that footpaths are safe and maintained and with cold icy weather that footpaths are salted where possible to prevent accidents.” Eamon O’Dea, senior engineer, responded, “As cold spells in Ireland are normally of short duration it is difficult to structure a maintenance schedule for footpath salting or gritting. Where cold weather conditions prevail the key access point within the …

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US military enter country at Shannon without Covid tests

PASSENGERS on a US military flight were allowed to enter Ireland at Shannon Airport despite not having been tested for Covid, the Dáil has heard. In response to the breach gardai instructed the passengers to isolate in a Limerick hotel, which they did – not without leaving their quarantine to obtain food however. Speaking in the Dáil, following a question from Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan, Minister Simon Coveney said, “The landing in question was by a US military aircraft, with five crew and 48 passengers on board. “It had sought and received prior diplomatic clearance to land subject to our routine stipulations, including that it did not carry arms or ammunition. The US authorities have confirmed that this condition was met.” The Minister added, “As regards public health measures, Statutory Instrument 11/2021 was the applicable regulation on that date, which stipulated that all passengers should present negative PCR tests on arrival and complete a passenger location form. “Due to …

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