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Sharp rise in restrictive practices at Ennis psychiatric unit

THERE has been an increase of 70% in the use of physical force to manage patients at Ennis’s Acute Psychiatric Unit, new figures show. The rise comes at a time when mental health experts say such measures should only be used in “exceptional” circumstances. A report from the Mental Health Commission shows there were 85 incidents, in 2019, when residents of the unit were physically restrained after they were judged to pose an immediate danger to themselves or to others. While there was a decrease nationally in the number of episodes of physical restraint in the country’s 65 approved inpatient psychiatric treatment centres, the facility in Ennis bucked that trend. There were 50 incidents of physical restraint at the unit in 2018 and 85 episodes involving 41 residents in 2019. In response to a query from The Champion, the Health Service Executive (HSE) Midwest, said it welcomed the report’s findings and is currently reviewing them. “While restrictive measures are sometimes …

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Date set for hearing on Kilfenora Waste Water Treatment Plant

AN ORAL hearing is to be held later this month in relation to the compulsory purchase of lands required for an upgrade to the Kilfenora Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). An Bord Pleanála will facilitate the online hearing on Tuesday, January 19 with a decision on the matter pencilled in for January 21. According to December’s management report from Clare County Council, it is proposed to upgrade the existing Kilfenora WWTP, reuse the existing treated effluent rising main to the current discharge point and construct a new percolation area at this site. Planning permission has been granted to Irish Water, but the appeals board has opted to hold a hearing before it adjudicates on the project. The event is described as an opportunity “to make further submissions and to allow the inspector to seek clarification on any relevant issues arising and objections made”. The board has also stressed that the hearing will look at the nature of the Compulsory Purchase Order …

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Different views for future Shannon Heritage ownership

THE government has been urged to put a strategic plan in place to support the development of Shannon Airport and tourism attractions this year. This issue was raised by Deputy Michael McNamara in the Dáil recently when he reminded An Taoiseach Micheál Martin that he highlighted the Shannon Group, Shannon Airport and their pivotal role for the economic well being of the Mid-West following his elevation six months ago. Deputy McNamara asked what plan is in place to support aviation and tourism across the Mid-West in 2020. “What is the plan for Shannon Heritage? The two sites that have opened are closing on January 3. It is planned to open the sites again in April, but Shannon Heritage remains in the Shannon Group with a commercial mandate and the sites ill fit a commercial mandate because while they generate money, they generate money more broadly in the economy than they do within the group itself. The Taoiseach acknowledged this “serious” …

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HSE suspends testing of close contacts of Covid-19

THE Mid-West HSE has suspended testing of close contacts of Covid-19 confirmed cases on a temporary basis in response to the very high rates of positive tests seen in recent days. In a statement issued to the Clare Champion, the HSE appealed to everyone to stay at home and to effectively act like they have Covid-19. In a continuing effort to maintain effective turnaround times for testing and contact tracing, the HSE will not be referring any close contacts in the country for a test. This step is being taken to ensure that those who are symptomatic are prioritised and receive a test as quickly as possible. The HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry explained the HSE are asking all close contact to restrict their movements, as this is the strongest defence against the spread of this virus. “If you show any symptoms please call your GP or GP out- of-hours service immediately and they will refer you for …

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Former councillor narrowly escapes blaze at family home

A FORMER member of Clare County Council says he is lucky to have escaped with his life, after a fire destroyed his family home in Clarecastle. Bernard Hanrahan, an active member of the community and former Fianna Fáil representative on the local authority, awoke in the early hours of last Sunday morning to find his home in flames. He told The Champion that if it wasn’t for the fact his dog alerted him to the danger, he might not have escaped the blaze. Bernard, who lives alone in the home where he was born and raised, credits his faithful bison frise with saving him. “It was around 5am when I heard Daisy barking,” he said. “She wouldn’t normally be looking to get out until around 7.30am. I knew something was wrong. I got up and then heard a bang. I thought straight away that someone was trying to break in. When I got close to the kitchen, I was hit with …

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Local retailers ‘overwhelmed’ by customer support

OVERWHELMING loyalty from Christmas shoppers has given retailers a badly-needed boost, as the sector braces for further restrictions. While non-essential outlets face another period of uncertainty as Covid cases rise, shop owners have thanked people for making a concerted effort to support them in the month of December. Tina Grogan from Bambino in Ennis said it was very apparent that people made a conscious decision to back local retailers. “It has been so touching and the support coming up to Christmas was phenomenal,” she said. “It was really obvious that people were making an effort to shop local and, after the year that’s been in it, it was almost overwhelming to see.” At the County Boutique, Gwen Culligan described the support as “unbelievable”. “We were just blown away by it,” said the former President of Ennis Chamber of Commerce. “We did brilliant business. Our customers came back to us and it was clear they were determined to give their support.” …

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Half a million win for Clare lottery player

ANYONE who picked up a EuroMillions ticket at Paper Chase in Ennis is being urged to check their numbers as they could be half a million euro richer. The National Lottery has confirmed the winning location for Tuesday night’s €500,000 EuroMillions Plus top prize win. The winning Quick Pick ticket was sold on December 29 at Paper Chase in Ennis town centre. The all-important winning numbers are: 01, 02, 06, 09 and 19. Paper Chase newsagents first opened its doors in Ennis in 1992 and owner, Sharon Casey started her career as a shop assistant when the store first opened before becoming manager and finally taking over the business in 2008. Celebrating her first big National Lottery win as the store’s owner, Sharon has now called on her customers to check their tickets to see if they have won this life-changing priz. “It’s absolutely incredible, we still cannot believe it! I got the call from the National Lottery late last night and …

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Covid-19 increases at “alarming” rate in Mid-West

The Department of Public Health Mid-West is strongly urging Clare people to review their Christmas plans, as Covid-19 infections continue to increase at an “alarming” rate. Over the past eight days, there have been more than 300 Covid-19 cases in the region. The vast majority of these cases have been recorded in Limerick, which has seen one of its largest spikes in infections since the start of the pandemic. Unlike any other period in the pandemic due to the nature of the festive season, the Department of Public Health pointed out there have been approximately three weeks of large social gatherings that have continuously intensified to date. Preliminary evidence indicates that gatherings among families, in private households, organised events, and in the hospitality sector, are now associated with outbreaks. The Public Health Mid-West team is managing outbreaks and new cases in extended families, private households, residential care settings, workplaces, the hospitality sector and in the community. Dr Rose Fitzgerald, Specialist …

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