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Breaking News

INMO seeks assurance on use of respirator face mask

A NURSING union has made a written request to a local hospital group to ensure a respirator face mask (FFP2) is provided to any nurse or health care worker who deems it essential for their own health and safety. This coincides with new guidance from the national HSE concerning the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which has been the source of a dispute between the INMO and the UL Hospitals’ Group. According to the INMO, frontline hospital staff in Limerick, Ennis, Nenagh, and Croom have been told they could face disciplinary action if they upgrade to a safer standard of face mask following a recent memo. However, this was disputed by the UL Hospitals’ Group, who stated nothing in the memo restricts staff from wearing FFP2 face masks where appropriate and in line with national infection prevention and control guidelines. It has also emerged the number of health care staff off on Covid-19-related leave in the group has fallen …

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McNamara warns ‘Zero Covid’ strategy would devastate Clare economy

ZERO Covid is strategy that would be unworkable and herald the end of tourism and aviation in Clare, according to Deputy Michael McNamara. The approach has been mooted by a growing number of opposition TDs and members of the medical profession and would involve reducing coronavirus cases to an absolute minimum, through a combination of lockdown and tight border controls. “Zero Covid sounds fine,” the Independent TD said, “but even if it was achievable, and I don’t believe that it is, when we can’t decide where we are going to have our border, what then? If we get to zero Covid cases, how are we to maintain that situation without more or less permanent quarantining of people arriving into the country? If that’s to be the system, we can forget about tourism and aviation in Clare, permanently.” The Scariff-based deputy also rejected the narrative that the response to the pandemic involves a trade-off between public health and the economy. “I …

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Cahercalla Hospital

Community activist shaken by online abuse

A COMMUNITY activist was shaken by the vile online abuse she experienced after posting a video seeking support to deal with a major outbreak of Covid-19 at Cahercalla Community Hospital and Hospice, Ennis. Hillary Tonge spent weeks organising the manufacture and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with others to nursing homes throughout the county including Cahercalla last May. On Saturday, January 16, Ms Tonge recalled she was contacted by a very stressed Cahercalla staff member, who outlined staffing issues, presented a letter written by Board chairman, Dr Michael Harty, and requested her assistance. In view of the role played previously by the Mná ag Gaire Women’s Shed group making PPE for nursing homes, Ms Tonge posted a video on Facebook seeking the public’s help under the group’s name. In an interview with the Clare Champion, Ms Tonge confirmed she did make efforts to contact Cahercalla management on Saturday, January 16 by phone but couldn’t get through. Dr Harty’s letter …

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Man dies in workplace accident in West Clare

A man has died in a workplace accident that happened shortly after midday today near the village of Doonaha in West Clare. Two units of the Clare County Fire and Rescue Services from Kilkee station along with National Ambulance Service resources were sent to the scene. A Garda spokesman confirmed that gardaí also attended the incident along with a request for the Athlone-based Emergency Aeromedical Service air ambulance to attend. Volunteers from the Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard were tasked to secure a safe landing site for the helicopter, however, the man was pronounced dead at the scene and the helicopter was stood down and returned to its base. The man’s body has been removed to University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem examination will be carried out. The Garda spokesperson confirmed that the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) will conduct an investigation into the tragedy and that gardaí will assist as required.

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Pain now, but economic hope for second half of 2021

WITH the third wave of the pandemic having crushed economic activity, there is a general malaise and many businesses having closed, there is a sense of malaise and pessimism in many quarters right now. However, with a vaccine being distributed there are hopes that normal life will resume later this year and at Tuesday’s meeting of Shannon Municipal District, Clare County Council’s Director of Economic Development Liam Conneally said there is genuine cause for optimism about what may happen in the latter months of 2021. “In November and December and so far in January the number of planning applications lodged have been up on the last number of years and that is a good barometer of economic activity,” he said. Mr Conneally said that there is reason to “look forward to quarter three and quarter four with a degree of optimism,” and added that “the construction industry normally leads out on this”. Mr Conneally said that there are large projects …

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Scariff anti-mask protests strongly condemned

ANGER over the regular presence in Scariff of a number of people protesting about pandemic public health guidelines has prompted furious debate on social media and a rejection of the anti-mask agenda. Since the end of last year, a group of up to 10 people been gathering in the centre of the East Clare town at weekends, carrying placards with phrases including, ‘Breathe again, masks do nothing’ and ‘I am here for your freedom too’. It is understood the group operate under the name ‘Vigil for Freedom’. In recent days, The Champion has been contacted by a concerned senior citizen living locally. In a strongly-worded letter, the man said he was “angered and appalled” by the demonstrations and the “callous disregard” of those taking part. “At this time when hospitals are being overrun by the sick and dying it is just not acceptable to have this type of demonstration going on,” he said. “Doctors, nurses and other health workers are …

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GP calls for clarity over Covid vaccine priority list

AN ENNIS GP has described a number of incidents where Covid-19 vaccines were administered people in non-priority groups as “insulting”. It emerged in recent days that so-called ‘remnant’ doses, left over after vaccination of priority groups at the Coombe and Rotonda hospitals in Dublin, were administered to relatives of staff. “The idea that hospitals would start giving spare doses to other people without evening thinking of their other frontline healthcare colleagues is insulting,” said Dr Máire Finn. “The fact that hospitals would get extra quantities of the vaccine and wouldn’t consider other staff or calling in GPs in their area makes me incredibly cross. There’s a sense that GPs have only been getting the scraps off the table.” Dr Finn welcomed updated guidance from the Health Service Executive (HSE) stating that hospitals should compile stand-by lists of other healthcare workers who would be vaccinated in the event of any spare doses becoming available. She also commended the roll-out of a …

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Drugs destined for Clare seized by Revenue

A QUANTITY of drugs that were on their way to Clare were seized by Revenue officers at the Dublin Mail Centre on Thursday. Officers, with the help of detector dogs, seized over 1.5kg of illegal drugs, including herbal cannabis and cannabis infused ‘jelly sweets’ with an estimated value of over €32,000. The drugs were discovered in parcels that originated in the United States and the UK and were declared as items such as ‘clothing’, ‘candle set’, ‘tea’, ‘backpack’ and ‘incense burner’. The parcels were destined for delivery to various addresses Dublin, Offaly, Kilkenny, Clare and Kildare. Investigations are ongoing. These seizures are part of Revenue’s ongoing operations targeting the importation of illegal drugs. If businesses or members of the public have any information regarding smuggling, they can contact Revenue in confidence on Confidential Phone Number 1800 295 295.

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